Week 12 Field Reports (Spoilers)

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Having just returned from Firehammer Hold, they met with Istval at the end of last session.  He rewarded them for saving Jekk and they managed to have a pretty positive overall interaction with Istval.  I note that because this party has a highly uneven track record wrt the NPC interactions.   He also managed to get them an invitation to dinner with the Duke.

 

*Spoilers below*

 

This group had some pretty nasty interactions with possession at the infernal summoning circle in Firehammer hold.  Baazka knew a fair amount about the party from having spent a few hours in the head of one of the PCs, before getting ejected.  The backstory on that is long and complicated, but resulted as the confluence of player choices and my desire to get the PCs on track to reach the end point of the module in the final session, despite having only done Julkoun and Firehammer Hold (yes, we really did spend 5 weeks at each of those locations). 

 

The PCs showed up for dinner without suspecting the Duke of any ill intent.  Sir Istval was not on time, so the Duke started without him.  In reality, Istval had been deliberately delayed by Pencheska sending charmed villagers to vandalize the Temple of Amaunator while he was in it. 

 

Each player then received a personalized note with either something they had observed, or a telepathic suggestion from Pencheska, designed to stir up trouble.  Fortunately for the party, they pretty much all made their saves.  However, this was enough pretext for the Paladin to use Divine Sense and then accuse the Duke of being a fiend.   Cue his cries to his guards and combat ensued.

 

I'll note that the final fight is hard to balance.   If no one fails their charm / dominate / suggestion saves, then Pencheska uses up her actions failing to swing the fight in her favor.  If PCs fail saves vs Pencheska then I'm sure the difficulty level goes way up, but my player's dice rolled well against every one of her tricks.  However, they also failed to use non-lethal (quite deliberately in some cases) methods against the Duke and he went down before his second action.  Pencheska bailed out the window when it became clear that things were not going to go her way.  Then stirred up some guards to "avenge" the Duke.

 

The party was left in the awkward aftermath of having killed the Duke and one of his guards.  They did not distinguish themselves in the ensuing discussions, mostly by not being able to adequately explain why they went lethal against the Duke, trying to get away with looting the Duke's sword, or in one case, trying (very badly) to get the surviving guards to pledge fealty to one of the PCs as the new Duke.  So, no knights of Daggerford reward for these guys.  Based on the fiendish evidence on the scene, and the testimony of a surviving guard, Istval interceded on their behalf to get them remanded into his custody to work with him against the Red Wizards.

 

All season I've been pushing my group through at a pretty good pace. Last week we started Floshin Manor and this week we finished.

 

I used the Lair Assault 'Kill the Wizard' map (http://dungeonsmaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/lair-assault-season-5-map-b.jpg). Upstairs were the gnolls, dread warriors, and animated armor (plus an invisible Imp). The Imp fled downstairs as the party rested.

 

This week we had 6 players and they went into the downstairs map. The fight started with grues, and more grues, then the party split. One direction blew away the shadows and zombies in the cell area while the other fought the guardian dread warriors.

 

The final fight ended with a two pronged assault on the circle stair room with Shalendra catching the whole group in a fireball. Everyone made their saves and a Mass healing word brought everyone back to pre-Fireball status. She then dropped quickly despite a solid AC plus Shield.

 

At that point we were short on time and started the audience with the Duke. The Duke dropped quickly after a very ineffectual first round by the bad guys. We didn't have time to finish but the party under Bless and Call to Battle was going to make short work of her.

 

We only missed Phylund Lodge which I may do a side trip for before starting on Dead in Thay (I may also go back and run The Cursed Crypts of Ambergrul as a gap between 5th and 6th level). For Dead in Thay - I may have the main group on Wednesday and a second group running other areas non-Encounters.

We finished off Firehammer Hold in our final session, having completely missed Harpshield Castle. And we did a very small nod to the Fiend attack...

 

http://merricb.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/dd-encounters-scourge-of-the-sword-coast-finale/

 

Cheers,

Merric

My group finished Firehammer Hold. I was extremely short on time, but they took Nalifarn and Theggar prisoner from the Hold and I had a possessed Shalendra attack them on the road to try to free the Red Wizard. It went reasonably well - the Fireball was suitably impressive and killed Nalifarn and almost one PC. They rallied despite one of my problem players fighting the rest of the group to try to get them to free the Red Wizard -- he was just being contrary, and it didn't matter. Shalendra turned herself invisible and snuck into camp to turn the Red Wizard invisible as well, but then he got killed anyway by a lucky strike. Because the invisibility lasted past the end of the fight, the PCs were convinced he had escaped until he reappeared after an hour, dead next to the tent he started in. Shalendra was unconscious by then, and the party had no magic types to try to dispel the transmutation.

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TiaNadiezja wrote:

My table took a brutal beating last session and so wanted to take a long rest, fair enough I let them find a defendable position bu reasoned that would then allow the Thayans to add more defenders to the final chamber and so included a trio of dread warriors to accompany the imp and Shalendra.

 

http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/ddenc-17-scourge-of-the-sword-coast-session-12-season-finale/

 

I was planning on running the part with the Duke and Pencheska but the final fight took all of our 3 hour slot (those dread warriors just didnt want to die) but our second table had dealt with the pesky succubus.

 

So we're all set for the Launch Weekend (which I've actually just come back from today).

 

So another great season ends - a thoroughly excellent adventure, I just wish we'd had more time to play the bits we had to skip to try and keep on track

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

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

Follow me on Twitter @Vobeskhan or check out my blog http://vobeskhan.wordpress.com/

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