Session 5 Field Report

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Field report for D&D Encounters: War of Everlasting Darkness (Week 5) now available at Dungeon's

I ran this session twice this week. One group really got into the role-playing of the journey, the other just wanted to roll dice, make checks and fight monsters. It's amazing how two groups can handle the same material so differently. During the fight with the Drow and Wraiths I beefed up the Wraiths giving them a save on each hit. Success meant they phased and avoided death, failure meant they were destroyed. It certainly kept my players on their toes.

We discuss the ups and downs, what worked and what didn’t in this week’s Recounting Encounters Podcast.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as actual play podcasts and pre-generated characters.

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On my Sunday pre-game with the DMs, we TPK'ed, but that was because we were down a player, and 2 just can't quite make it against all those wraiths.

Last night, we ran 3 tables at the game store, 14 players total. I don't know about the other tables, but mine was rich with role-playing.

Some highlights:

We took the long road because one of the players had expressed at the beginning of the season that he wants his character to be a bar owner. Cool-- I made him write up some details and the Eternal Bosom bar (named for a vampire) is now in Sundabar, and he had an "in" with the guard there and could get us all rooms (for the 3 gp, but it was waived for him). Highlight of RP for him, for sure.

We are traveling with the "King of Goblins," a goblin rogue who steals everything from everyone. He has this kind of manic thing going where "SHINEY!" gets him really really going. Starting in session 1, when he stole all the gold from the party (who promptly stole it back to be equitable). The player is an excellent role-player, and a joy to have at the table. He used his "King of Goblins" con to get into see both the orc and drawf kings. And then my hamadryad enchantress uses her diplomacy "on behalf of His Majesty" to work towards beneficial ends.

She even made him a crown out of twigs and vines, and uses a Light cantrip to keep it glowing and "shiny." This and Prestidigitation keep him well and truly fascinated.

Well, my dryad has the Seer background, so we can justify the amount of meta-knowledge I have, having read/run the adventure already. So, we're on the docks, and the potion-seller approaches with his potions. After some nice fast-talk by the goblin, we buy 4 potions, at 45 gp each.

Fargrim has bought Kraken.

I bought Efreet.

The druid-bar-owner has  bought Demon.
Goblin King bought Angel.

The druid drinks Demon and the demon is summoned. Oh, noes! As we all scramble for our weapons and initiative dice, I yell "Quick! Summon an Angel to fight for us!"

"But-- shiny!"

"Won't be shiny if we're all dead!"

He drinks before the combat starts. Instant alignment change. Now he's Lawful Good! Buahahahah-- the most oppositely-aligned PC in the party!

As a player, I'm utterly gleeful, because there is no one who is more suited to having his alignment changed for a session than Blintz the Goblin King.

Fargrim drinks Kraken and is a little miffed until he realizes he can hold an ale mug while fighting.

I am convinced to keep Efreet handy for later. We're still not sure what will happen if I drink it while in my Wooden Defense form. 

We defeat the demon. At one point, I use hypnotism to almost walk the demon off the pier entirely, but he catches himself and falls prone on the dock.

"Hey, I can slide him right into the water next round and we can hop on the boat and get away..."

"Great idea!"

I look at the Goblin King. "Oh, wait-- you can't do that, can you?" Muahahah. He grins and yells about championing for the downtrodden and helpless (told you this guy is a good RPer-- he embraced LG-as-a-goblin as much as he did his Neutral-Selfish alignment before). He even took off his crown, because it would be wrong to lie about being a king.

Against the ghosts, our Paladin of the Raven Queen was eerily silent and muttered "just don't ask me to talk to them."

We get to the Fell Pass and fight the drow. Here is where my dryad shines, mainly by dropping overlapping zones of Visions of Avarice and Phantom Chasm. She does this after the wraiths show up at the start of the round, but before anyone acts. So, everything is pulled in and knocked prone, throughout the entire encounter (though I only did about 6 hp of damage through the whole night). The DM couldn't get out of my Zone of Control. The melee-ists took a severe beating, largely because of ongoing damage (their saves just sucked), with Fargrim and our Paladin taking the brunt of it. But the battle was well in hand, especially with our uber-healing sentinel druid on the job.

Highlight reel of the night: Bar-owning PC gets us into Sundabar. "Goblin King" con artist turns over a new leaf (for NOW). Raven Queen Paladin must confront non-evil undead. Dryad Enchantress controls the battlefield but does no damage. And we are all excited about getting onto the next week's adventure!

Again, I don't know how it went at tables 2 and 3. I know table 2 had 2 vampires on-table, who did well against the summoned demon, but snacked on refugees outside Sundabar for a night.

Both sessions this week were down on numbers for various reasons and both groups chose to take the shorter overland route to the Fell Pass. Once again I chose to utilise one of the maps from Vaults of the Underdark rather than the suggested map supplied with the kit. I felt it looked more appropriate for a Keep entrance in a barren mountain pass rather than the grass covered one in the packs. As each group crested the rise into the combat encounter thats where the similarities ended.

Early session.

The party crest the pass to discover a pair of drow summoning wraith from the shadowfell portal. The party mage immediately blasts a fireball and follows up with an action point to create a fountain of flame to block the portal spewing forth more wraith. The drow managed to batter the half-orc beserker and eladrin paladin with attacks causing ongoing damage and either slowing or immobilising the heroes temporarily.

The drow mage uses his levitation in an effort to stay out of the heroes reach but the party used hypnotism to force him to attack his wicked sister before draggin him back into the fight with beguiling strands. The melee was brutal, the heroes having to utilise all four healing powers of the wand as well as drinking from the Tears of Helm before finally overcoming the drow siblings.

Axelcrantz used the wand to clsoe the portal and push the darkness in the area back as the heroes discovered the war plans of the drow and the threat to Nesme. (photos)

Late session.

The heroes reach the Fell Keep and are immediately set upon by the drow and wraith. The immobilising effects and ongoing damage quickly take a toll and the party struggles to attack the drow mage as it levitates, continuing to rise as it rains necrotic lightning down upon them. The dragonborn rogue is first to fall at the hands of the drow priestess and minutes later the Lolthite coup de grace’s the helpless hero (I felt a little guilty here as it was only the players second session – but it quickly passed). The revenant vampire continually had bad rolls to save against the ongoing damage and its immobilising effect until just as its remaining ally, the dragonborn hexblade, fell to the ground it managed to finally save. Facing the barely bloodied pair of drow alone the vampire decided to grab the hexblade and flee, with Axelcrantz trudging along behind shaking his head sadly. Not only had the heroes lost the Tears of Helm and failed to retrieve the Wand of Tir Lien (see session 4) but now they had failed to prevent the drow raising an army of undead allies to their cause. The future of the Realms looked dark indeed. As they fled Axelcrantz had another vision, an army of trolls marching from the Evermoors against the town of Nesme and if unchecked, on to Silvermoon! (photos)

"Well that encounter was, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

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