LotCS Field Report - Week 4

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Session 4 is complete! This was a pretty fun session to run, not only did we have a new player (Brandon) start that was really into RP we also had an old player (Lee) come back and will be playing with us a few weeks during the holiday. We had a larger group once again but I was able to split the tables up and actually accomplish 2 parts of the campaign at once making it so that we do not have to play or make up any additional time during Christmas week.

 

We started the session off with the White Elephant gifts. No back story or anything just had the characters roll a D20, highest goes first. I had all the items cut out and face down and then a small description of what the item was (example: magic ring just said Ring on the back of it). Surprisingly, nobody took another person’s gift and everyone went for one that was on the table. End the end everyone was able to look at their item and since I had about 5 extra if anyone was truly dissatisfied with their item they could exchange them. Luckily, everyone was happy with their items.

 

  • Drea – Orcling Barbarian – loot: Beggar’s Smallclothes
  • Rico – Woodelf Druid – loot: Endless Quiver of Shiver
  • Rob – Dwarf Fighter – loot: Errtu’s Claw
  • Jason – Dwarf Cleric of War – loot: The Martyr of the Mines
  • Derek – High Elf Paladin – loot: Gloves of Magic Missile
  • Trevor – High Elf Evocationist – loot: Ring of Memory
  • Brandon – Halfling Rogue – loot: Scarf of the Wind
  • Tom – Human Cleric of Flame – loot: Oaken Staff
  • Lee – Human Paladin – loot: The Fool’s Edge
  • Sean – Human Rogue – loot: Beljac’s Mighty Sap

 

Now, on to the game! I had all the players gather up for the main portion of the session, meeting up with Stokely. Since we lost some time with the gift exchange I streamlined the Q & A portion of meeting up with Stokely and role played him very straight forward and to the point. While he was happy to hear that his niece was OK and was pleased to hear that the party protected her he was upset that they killed the dwarves that attacked (even if they were Baerick’s boys). Stokely used the killing as a way to have the party work on some of the problems going on in the dwarven valley (the zombies and the split of the clan). Stokely didn’t want to force the adventures to do these but said that it would go a long way in terms of making up in the eyes of his people if they did this for him, the party readily accepted.

 

With the two tasks laid out before them the party had time to take a short rest and decide who should go do what task. In the end Brandon, Sean, Rico, Drea and Derek thought they could go and deal with meeting up with Baerick while Lee, Tom, Jason, Rob and Trevor would investigate the mines. With the parties decided we split the tables up, Jason took up the duty of DMing the mines group while I took the Baerick situation.

 

From the report back from the mines group it went just as the book laid out, no surprises. Jason used tiles from The Legend of Drizzt board game for the mines, flipping 2 tiles at a time and then after so many tiles he built a 3x3 room with the times for the main encounter. The group seemed to like it, although he didn’t throw as many zombies at the group as I thought he should and they ended their session pretty quickly (about 30 minutes after splitting up).

 

The group sent to meet with Baerick set up a game plan of how they were going to handle the discussion. They really wanted to play on Baerick’s sense of pride in his culture. On their way to the other side of the valley the group found a deep crevice where they could get rid of their Black Ice items (they didn’t want to keep them after hearing how Stokely felt about them) excluding the single Black Ice trinket that Derek acquired a few days prior. As the group approached the entrance to Baerick’s area Brandon snuck off and so that he could come in separately and stealthy.

 

The guard that meet them at the entry wasn’t about to allow a bunch of non-dwarves go and see his leader without good reason and in the end the party was able to convince the guard that they were there on behalf of Stokely. The guard then escorted the group to see Baerick and warned them against any “funny business”. Brandon managed to sneak into the mine as well as the group was being escorted to see Baerick. Meeting with Baerick was pretty straight forward at first, I had Baerick say that the group was either spies or assassins and that they were not leaving the mines in one piece.

 

At this point Brandon revealed himself, much closer to Baerick than anyone else in the group and dropped his daggers in a sign peace. Baerick wasn’t buying it and then shifted his anger toward Brandon, saying that while the group may actually be a group in hopes of peace as they said there is no way that Brandon was not an assassin. After some discussion Baerick started to kick the adventures out of the hall and as the dwarves were forcing the players back they singled out Brandon and brought him forth toward Baerick. Baerick was not about to let this rogue live. At this point, Brandon submitted to Baerick and knelt down on his hands and knees, trying to call Baerick’s bluff.

 

As the scene was playing out (had both party & guards focused on Baerick and Brandon), Rico snuck off into one of the side tunnels, transformed into a bat and started scouting the area for the Black Ice. Back in the hall Baerick strode forward; readying his maul to smash the poor Halfling’s head like Gallagher would do to a watermelon. As he was winding up Sean thought it would be a good idea to intervene only to be restrained by two of the guards. Baerick wound up for the swing heaved with all his might and missed! And with the thud of a Black Ice maul striking the ground combat was on!

 

The party jumped into actual, 2 of the 4 remaining members scored critical hits on their first attack, taking out a good chunk of the dwarven guards’ health. The players luck continued as I rolled poorly for the first 2 rounds, no scoring a single hit (even with advantage). Luck didn’t hold out for long though and soon blood was flying from both of the fighting groups. Baerick continued to chase Brandon around, missing with every swing while the emissary tried to hit with a sling without any luck. As the dwarves began to fall Baerick became more furious but still continued to miss. Sean finally made his way up the front wanting to take the emissary hostage only to fail and catch a blade in the stomach (sneak attack at near max damage).

 

Back to our flying bat buddy… Rico swiftly moved about the mines without any results to show for abandoning his comrades. Although, after some time he found the area he was looking for. With a quick scan of the surrounding rooms and seeing that he was truly alone he reverted back to elf form and investigated the mass amounts of Black Ice that he found. Rico, being a druid of Icewind Dale, was able to piece together some guess as to where the Black Ice was coming from (described as seeing soils best known to be near the top of mountain). After thinking back to some stories of the area he pieced together that the Black Ice might be in some way linked to the crystal shard that plagued the Dale 100 years ago. With the information that he wanted to uncover discovered he started to make his way back to the meeting hall.

 

The battle in the hall was still raging but starting to go in favor of the adventures. Drea and Derek were making short work of the guards that were blocking the way further into the hall; Sean was keeping a guard and the emissary busy while Brandon kept up his dangerous dance with Baerick. Baerick took a step back and did a massive upward swing (landed a critical hit) and absolutely clocked poor Brandon, taking him out in 1 swing. As Brandon was flying through the air thanks to the assistance of Baerick the emissary scored another fantastic hit on Sean, dropping him to near death state (1 HP). Derek and Drea dropped the remaining guards barring their way in and charged for Baerick and the emissary. With the charge Drea scored a fantastic max damage critical hit (stated doing non-lethal damage) and knocked Baerick out cold. Derek was able to take out the guard that was with the emissary quickly and with that forced the emissary into submission. Seeing no other way out of the situation and all dwarves either dead or unconscious she gave up willingly.

 

At this point time was getting late and we wrapped up. Next week we will meet with Stokely, having 2 captives, figure out what to do with them and move forward with the intermission steps.

 

Thoughts: It was nice running a smaller table once again. I haven’t had a chance to do that in a while. We will continue to do the 2 table format for as long as we can (most of the RP being at 1 table and then split the groups up based on the task at hand). But instead of taking on 2 tasks at once maybe have each group approach the task in a different way. As for the Baerick meeting, my group tried really hard to go about it peacefully and I applaud them for it. I tried to keep from resulting to violence if I could be in the end I had to since they were not making a strong argument as to why he should stop what he is doing. I will now have to think about how to go about how this will affect the valley.

 

Nice write up SublimeBW.

 

Here's our groups session write up.

 

Next week with our paladin rushing headlong into danger I'm going to run Kessel's Trap, and for a change will use a battle-grid and mini's for the fight, and start the following session in the new year with the Interlude and Act 2.

"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/

Thanks Vobeskhan! I actually started doing my write ups because I enjoyed reading yours and the ones at Ameron does for Dungeon's Master. I figured if you guys did it why couldn't I? Of course, I don't have a fancy website like you guys do though. Doing the write ups helps me get into the DM spirit. And it allows for some feedback, always looking for feedback since I have only been DMing since MiBG.

 

Also, I was curious as to how you were going to weave in Bearick. If you don't want to share until it happens I understand, but I am always curious to see how it would be handled with Akar getting interfered with first.

SublimeBW wrote:
Also, I was curious as to how you were going to weave in Bearick. If you don't want to share until it happens I understand, but I am always curious to see how it would be handled with Akar getting interfered with first.

My understanding is that Akar and Baerick are two different problems in the mind of Stokely, and technically, they don't have to affect one another even though we know they are related. The PCs can run Akar out of the mines and still have the Baerick problem because he has a load of Black Ice that is really the root of the issue.

As the players havent made any move to show interest in Bearick I shall let him continue "off screen"

"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/

well better late than never? my week 4 (12/18) report

 

This week's lineup;

Marice - human barbarian

Kayla - elf mage

Ko'Dal - elf bard

Nalden - dwarf cleric

Klepto - drow rogue

Danlor - gnome mage

Goldsong - halfling fighter (new to group)

 

So we tidied-up events from last time, the Warehouse breakin with Marek, and the characters all took an overnight rest.

In the morning, in our campaign it was now Eleint 27 just two days after the characters arrived in Bryn Shander, Nalden (who was out last week) rejoined the group and told the stories he'd heard while drinking with some other dwarves about the mess in the Dwarven Valley and that Helda had approached him about leaving right away. Marice (who was out sick last week) had taken Hengar to rest up and heal while the party guarded the warehouse. He also rejoined the group and Hengar explained the troubles in the Elk tribe's lands and asked for their assistance.

I had Mithann show up and call away Kor (our paladin who was out this week) and she reminded the group about looking into helping Aglonell.

After we discussed where each of these plots would take the party they tried to do everything but I said Helda rrefused to accompany them to check out a "bandit's hideout". Hengar agreed to travel with the group to the Dwarven Valley. I introduced the new player as being someone Helda had also recruited.

So the group got to the Dwarven Valley and met with a band of Dwarf warriors from the Hammerstone/Black Ice group. After the dwarves tried to insist Helda come with them and the rest of the group leave the party attacked them. The party defeated them all and kept one alive for questioning, who Kayla had charmed. After too many questions about the dwarves' Black Ice pendants the charm broke and the group killed the last one. Klepto and Goldsong gathered all the Black Ice pendants but neither decided to wear one. Danlor decided to cast detect magic on them. Finding nothing in the adventure about them but knowing it was created by Akar I just assumed they gave off necromantic energy. They then travelled through the valley to where Silverstream's group was holed up. I just made this easy without any random encounters due to time. They met some Battlehammer guards who after recognizing Helda took the group to Stokley. He explained everything happening with the dwarves and asked for the groups assistance. The group spent the night with the dwarves to weigh out their options.

we ended on that.

The session went pretty well. They did throw me off a bit when they charmed the dwarf and interrorgated him about the Black Ice. I tried just saying he tells you the Black Ice makes them better warriors, but since the group had just defeated 6 of them and took very minor damage it was a pretty empty boast. The detect magic thing really kind of threw me and maybe the Necromantic energy was a bad call since that pretty much sealed it for the group avoiding the stuff. Though isn't healing magic also Necromantic? I did try slipping the players who had taken the pendants notes about feeling the Battlehammer dwarves wanted to take away the Black Ice. I know that might be kind of fast but they had each gathered three pendants so I felt pretty justified trying to work it into the game that way.

 

We discussed the holiday break and had decided to meet at another location on Dec 26 but I ended up having to cancel that session.

 

In the morning (next play session 1/1/2014) I will have Kor rejoin the party having met up with a group from Bryn Shander's Temple of Tyr who were going to investigate reports of zombies in the Dwarven Valley. That party, except for Kor and a cleric, will have all been killed in a fight with a group of zombies, the two survivors just making it to Battlehammer Hold.

I am going to tell the group that Hengar insists on leaving and urges them to help him. If they choose to go with him I will run that story line and try to get up to, if not through, the Ice Witch/Dragon encounter. If they choose to stay with the dwarves I am going to kind of force them to the zombie/Akar storyline by having Helda along with Nalden (who I know won't be there) and a small band of dwarves go and meet with Baerick. I know that's kind of bad as a DM to push the players along but I'm sure everyone will enjoy a good monster fight more than talking to an angry dwarf. "Know your party" right? We will also be missing Klepto & Danlor this week. Danlor is almost certainly out for good due to a work schedule change and I'm not certain if Klepto will be back next week or not. I can't see having the dwarves request a drow come help them so I may have to just ignore the fact that those characters are suddenly gone. Either way I hope to close out Act 1 and get into the interlude next week. I have serious doubts about Season 17 running here so I'm much more relaxed about finishing this campaign "on time".

 

      Our group continues late, and with difficulties.

 

       Reaching the barbarians, we found another tribe had been doing some kidnapping, and the tribe needed some assistants for the rescue attempt.  So of course we volunteered.

 

      At first this looked easy as we took on some wolves and disposed of them pretty easily.  In fact we went out of our way to try to capture some of them for pets, The pet lovers were rather upset with those who kept on killing, but we continue on burdened down by live wolves.

      Things went way South after that.  The DM insisted the encounter was just too harsh, but of course we didn't get to verify that.  So the DM may have misread.  But we started with a rather nasty skill challenge.  It may have been nasty by our failing it so badly [4 out of 5 of us didn't even make an easy success.]  So it became the party making a lot of noise and suffering several rounds of archery attacks, and entering the main fight about a surge down and with no chance to heal up.

       And the enemy proved to be higher level and outnumbering us.  To make matters worse, our druid got top init and charged, only to have the enemy go next.  So he was lucky to be on his feet at round's end.  But even if the party had managed to spread the damage we would have been in trouble.  3 party members out of 5 went down,  The DM decided to ease up and 2 friendly barbarians arrived,  Add in a 20 on a death save, and the fight turned in our direction, but only after we used about all of our dailies and action points.  The fight is still not over, and we will suffer more before this is over, but a win seems likely.  But only for this fight.

     If, as expected, there is another, and tougher fight still coming up, the question is likely how soon we run or die.  If we get not rest time, a possibility, we will have to flee right away.

     It looks like this is a problem caused by not railroading.  It becomes easy to hit the hard encounters when the party is weak.

Yes that encounter is one of the hardest in the entire adventure.

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