Session for 6/29/2013 - Our group continues to playtest.
12th Level Group
Mythra (Elven Wizard/Evoker)
Jaden (Human Barbarian)
Levos (Elven Rogue/Assassin with Bow)
Rynlore (Human Nature Paladin….who had to leave after about 45 min of roleplaying)
The party was rummaging through their treasure and they found a pendant with the image of two lovers etched into it. Mythra put it on the table in their room at Wrafton’s Inn and she conducted a detect magic ritual. She could feel that the pendant had some magical property acting like a spirit beacon of sorts. Just then, the window blew open and a ghostly figure of a woman floated into the room. Then, another ghostly figure of a man floated in. Both of the ghosts began speaking with the group, but it was obvious that neither ghost could see or hear the other. Mythra suggested that the woman speak with her in one corner of the room, while the man would speak with Rynlore at another corner of the room. Levos decided to stay near the pendant so that he could toss it out the window if anything bad started to happen.
The ghosts told the party their story: Valkar and Sarahara were lovers who married. Unfortunately, Valkar unintentionally crossed an evil Sorcerer named Tegross the Mad. Tegross took his revenge. Death was not enough for Tegross. He had to curse the two lovers for all eternity. Using Valkar and Sarahara’s wealth, Tegross built an elaborate burial site for the two lovers. The site consists of 4 buildings (3 of which are ante-chambers for the 4th, which can only be accessed if three special keys are used to open the doors…a red one, a blue one and a green one.) Somehow, through magic and forbidden lore, Tegross cursed Valkar and Sarahara to wander the earth in spirit form never to reunite. As a result, each ghost has been searching aimlessly and fruitlessly for the other for over 150 years.
The two ghosts asked for help and told the adventurers that they could show them where the burial site is. He and the others were skeptical at first, fearing the worst, but as the two ghosts spoke, the adventurers began to feel that Valkar and Sarahara were sincere. Rynlore was touched by the tale; he even decided to begin writing a song about it. The party agreed to follow the two ghosts to the burial site, but they had to travel by night so they agreed to leave the next night. Rynlore had to excuse himself to tend to temple business, so the group agreed to tackle this challenge without him.
All through the day, the party prepared for their journey and then they set off with Valkar and Sarahara leading the way. The ghosts were excellent guides, and helped the party arrive at the burial site by morning. At the door to the central mausoleum, the ghosts pointed to the door and told the group that they would need to find the three keys. Then the ghosts said that they had manifested themselves for too long, so they needed to dematerialize.
With that, the group tried to force the doors open to no avail. Mystra could sense that the central mausoleum was radiating strong magic, so the group decided to go to the stone structure to the west. Jaden was able to push open two huge wooden doors and the adventurers peaked inside. The room was dark, but when Mystra casted light on Jaden’s great axe, they could see a barren room with huge pillars in the 4 corners of the room. The pillars were 15’ tall, and 5’ around. There were two more doors on the other side of the room to the north. Jaden strode forth to get to the doors, but in the middle of the room, a whirlwind began and the exterior doors locked shut, trapping Jaden in the room alone. His great strength allowed him to remain on his feet, fighting the surge of the wind. Then, as Levos tried to pick the lock at the front door, and Mythra tried to lend a hand, Jaden was able to pull one of the doors open and escape the structure. Mystra poked her head in and saw the vortex, she realized that it was magical wind, and there was probably a way to deactivate it, but round by round the vortex was getting larger and stronger. Thinking she had at least 1 round before the wind could buffet the edges of the room, she walked into the room and examined one of the pillars. She glimpsed a 3’ face carved in bas relief nearly at the top of the pillar, and then she slipped out of the room again. The adventurers decided to retreat, moving over to the eastern-most mausoleum.
The party was able to gain entrance into this stone structure, Levos picking the lock to the giant stone doors. Inside there was a hall that had a large statue of a grotesque frog about 40’ down the hall. The group could see a 2” slit that ringed the outside of the pedestal, and they suspected it was a trap. Beyond the statue, a double wooden door blocked their path. Jaden went up to the statue, and when he got 5’ from the base, a scything blade slashed out around the pedestal about 2’ from the floor. Jaden leaped up and was unscathed. Then he climbed on to the statue. The others came closer and tried to see what was in the 2” slit. Mythra used her light spell on a stone and threw it into the slit, and Levos walked up to the statue but stopped 10’ from it. Jaden decided to jam an old sword he had on him into the slit to try to jam the mechanism. Then Levos walked up to disable the trap. The sword stopped the mechanism from attacking Levos, but after Levos failed to disarm the trap, the scything blade strained against the sword, so Levos stepped back again. Eventually, using ray of frost to freeze some gears inside the slot, and after Jaden broke the statue on top to see gears underneath, he jammed another sword into the gears, all of which prevented the blade form harming Levos as he disabled it.
The group pushed through the next doors and saw a long pool of shallow water before them. They threw in broken sword parts to see if anything was in it. On one piece, Mystra casted light and the group saw that the pool was only 2’ deep and clear. It was water. When Levos tried to walk on a narrow wall to the east, trying to get to the far end of the pool where the room opened up into a larger room, he slipped and fell into the water. Jaden hustled through the water to get to the other side, and Mystra stayed on the south side of the pool. Just then, the water in the pool turned to ice, and Levos could not jump out. He was frozen inside the pool, immobilized. Next to Jaden, an Ice Devil teleported and threw up a wall of ice that isolated him from the Levos and Mystra. He fought the beast for a few rounds as Levos and Mystra tried to bring down the ice wall. Mystra’s fireball softened the ice wall, and the ice pool, which helped Levos break out, and then a round later, Mystra used burning hands to melt the ice wall completely. Meanwhile, with his magical great axe, Jaden was taking out huge chucks of the Ice Devil’s flesh. The devil tried to polymorph Jaden, but Jaden would not succumb. Then, Jaden stepped over on to another tile in the larger room, and a Vrock Demon teleported next to him. Soon the Ice Devil went down, and Jaden cleaved into the Vrock Demon, a stunning screech stunned Mystra, but Jaden kept on fighting. Levos stepped up slightly and fired at the wounded Vrock, killing it. Then he moved up. When Mystra could move, she moved into the room and another Vrock appeared next to here and Levos. Mystra used shocking grasp and disengaged from the Vrock, but it screeched out, stunning both Mystra and Levos. Then it attacked Levos and opened up some horrible wounds. Mystra figured out that the tiles of the room were dark and light, and whenever someone stepped on a light tile, a Vrock would appear. From then on, they were very careful. Eventually they dispatched the remaining demon and they went back to the disabled statue to take a short rest and bandage their wounds.
Walking back to the north they saw a trap door, and under the door, a ladder that led down to a chest. Jaden climbed down and broke open the chest. In it the party found 4,000 gp worth of gems, a potion of healing, a potion of flying, a scroll of stoneskin, a +1 Ring of Protection and a Blue Key. Now they had 1 of 3 keys.
I like using traps to make the players more wary. It is painfully obvious that monsters are not the most deadly encounters. The devil and the demons didn’t really scratch the barbarian, but the group was afraid of the traps (even though they never even saw how much damage they would do).
The barbarian is too strong/powerful, period. When he rages, he hits too much and does so much damage, and he absorbs too much damage. I don’t like that he has to wait until a short rest to use his rage again, but I don’t like how powerful rage is. I’d rather rage be something he can do in each encounter, but it should not grant advantage. I think it should grant only limited temporary hit points too. Resistance is too dang strong, especially when he has 144 hit points to begin with (12th level with con bonuses).
Last week, I ran a Legendary White Dragon against them, and this session, I longed to apply the Legendary template to the devil and demons as well, but I didn't do it. Looking back, they needed to be Legendary, and from what Mike Mearls said in L&L, it may be that WotC is planning to give all dragons, demons, devils and elder elementals Legendary features.
The group still has to find 2 more keys and then enter the central musoleaum, at this pace, think they will be able to do it without having to take an extended rest. Hopefully they Paladin player can play next time, because as it is now, the party can only heal with short rest HD and some healing potions they have.