Session 2 Field Report

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Field report for D&D Encounters: Storm Over Neverwinter (Week 2) now available at Dungeon's

This week's combat was interesting, but poor tactical decisions by the players at my table led to 1 quick PC death and another PC spending most of the session unconscious. After a tough fight and a huge expenditure of resources the PCs rescued the lost boy. The consensus from the group was that this week's encounter seemed a lot like filler.

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Unfortunatley we are cramming in 9 players into our table so things worked out just fine with a really simple adventure for the week. So far I think last season was more fun because our group finally did some RP instead of just combat.

I like the limitation on resting though, it is pretty nice. Some of the players are a little bit to quick to spend their resources (D&D Next by the way) but its working out pretty nicely. We have 3 fighters as well so they don't have to worry about conservation. 

The battle would have been a bit tougher if the DM remembered that the enemies get multiple attacks per round, but as it was two of the frontline characters were almost at zero hit points and our wizard who got a little too close to the front lines took a powerful hit as well. If we did a better job rotating people out of danger then it would have been pretty easy.

The main issue I had with this week is that nothing interesting happened, maybe if there was a sewer monster or something it would have spiced things up.

I disagree slightly with those that say this week’s content was “filler”. I thought that is was good stuff and I ran it so that when The Tormentor senses the PC’s approach on the safe house and they get the mental static, they also get the mental image of the Tormentor standing over Zan, with his black robes and devil mask and turning to them as if interrupted, before giving his orders and teleporting away. In this manner, the PC’s all get to see their foe.

I thought combat for this session was very challenging, but well tuned. I ran a simulation of the encounter with 6 PC’s with the combat taking place mostly outside. When we actually played it out, we had four PC’s (Wizard, Fighter and Warlock pregens and a Cleric). For the actual session I posted 2 minions as guards outside to act as alarms for the mental event. When the PC’s moved inside, having caught a glimpse of Zan, the combat took place mostly inside and at the mouth of the cave. This was much more interesting as far as terrain and LOS. By the end of a great combat sequence, all the PC’s were in a bloodied state and three of the four were at less than ten HP. Had it not been for the Dwarf’s damage mitigation, he would have gone down. They did survive though, and did well enough on the skill challenge to save Zan. Although when one of the zealots went down while using Zan as a human shield, the PC’s had to jump in the sewage to fetch him. (failed endurance check = retching. There was retching).

The Cleric currently sits at zero healing surges remaining while the Wizard clings to one. The fighter sits comfortably with seven and the Warlock has 4. To help this situation, I gave them a ritual, Comrades’ Succor, in their spoils so they can distribute those healing surges a bit if they like. I also suggested that if they don’t have their eye on a particular feat for Lvl 4, they might take a look at Durable.

All in all, the players get a look at the villain, an awesome skill challenge with role play opportunities (which I raised all of the DC13’s to 16 btw), and an excellent combat sequence with way fun monster powers. Plus they get to see the Tormenter’s handiwork up close as Zan is overcome by the effects. I’d say they learned quite a bit from this session. If they were able to interrogate a cultist, they find out a little bit about the cult cells, which is a good clue for later.

I admit that it was easy to play this session pretty straight, but there were opportunities to liven it up. Knowing what’s coming next week, I would be ready to insert some material to spice it up as well. I am drawing on a sub-quest teaser I presented in week one to add some fun before the Belly of the Beast encounter gets going.

We didnt feel this session was a filler either, whereas reading ahead next session seems unnecessary to the story line and just a resource drainer from an already hard nights adventuring for the heroes. The only upside I can see would be the milestone it will let them achieve.

The mental image of the cloaked figure worked for us as I actually branded some of our heroes in the initial encounter which is causing them to have some sort of link with the victims and their Tormentor.

Unfortunately the heroes didnt take any prisoners for questioning this week and so have come across this name for their foe as yet.

"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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