LOTCS Field Report – Week 10

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Field report for D&D Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard (Week 10) now available at Dungeon's Master.com.

 
We didn’t really advance the story forward much this week but we had a thrilling 3-hour, non-stop combat session that everyone loved. It was a lot of fun and a really let the players showcase the combat side of their PCs. Next week they'll finish up in the Verbeeg Lair and move on to the final showdown at the Ice Queen's tower. That puts us back on track to finish when we're supposed to.
 
We discuss the ups and downs, what worked and what didn’t in this week’s Recounting Encounters Podcast (also available through iTunes).

 
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 for both 4e and D&D Next.

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This week at Game HQ we had one DM out, so only three VERY full tables. I had seven players at my table.

 

Last week at my table, the party defeated the remorhaz in the verbeeg’s lair and successfully opened the mirror portal. Going through the portal, their bodies are pulled thin and they find themselves being transported through the atmosphere , out over the ocean, onto a huge glacier and into a giant black tower shaped like a crystal shard. When they arrive their bodies are slammed into a point in the center of the ground floor, their minds shocked and disoriented from the experience. I used to maps posted in the Maps and Minis thread and had them printed in large format. They worked great.

 

As the party struggled to get their bearings, they are verbally berated by an intense looking man, Daverick Fain, is standing at the throne clamoring about them killing his pet. He then tells them that they will now feel Auril’s embrace and four enormous yetis appear from behind the columns. Because of their disorientation, he is able to gain get the jump on them in initiative and hits the clumped group with a Cold Blast, and adapted Flame Blast spell. And does a huge amount of damage to them. The yeti’s jump into they fray as well.

 

Daverick is a 9th Level Dark priest caster with chain mail, shield. The yeti’s are the beefed up version from my Level 4-6 conversion posted in the Maps & Minis thread. It was a pretty tough fight for the party after sustaining that huge opening blast of damage, but they stuck with it and were finally able to take him down. 

 

At 9:30, they were feeling pretty good about themselves and decided they wanted to press on track down Akar. They did this and pushed on to the 2nd floor. When they reached that area, Hedrun descended from the third floor and recognizing them, told them that they would surely die for invading her home. And bade Akar to deal with them. The Paladin had sensed his presence, but didn’t know where he was exactly, because he had an improved version of the Magic Mirror spell. As Hedrun raid back up to the 3rd floor, Akar, a Lich and also listed in the conversion doc, stepped from behind a pillar. He was in Mirror Image form and a version the undead necromancer stepped out from each pillar simultaneously. 

 

The group did not learn from Daverick and fell victim to the same type of opening as downstairs when Akar let loose a Cloudkill spell. All characters sustained another huge opening blast and decided it was best to retreat back to the first level away from the cloud. Before doing so they were able to destroy all of the false images. As they are trying to establish strategy and are readying actions for the moment they see the Lich, the dead zombies and Daverick’s corpse raise up and begin to attack. During this shocking development, the Lich appears and blasts them with a fireball. The Paladin again goes unconscious twice in this battle, along with the Fighter, Barbarian and the Druid dips to 1 hp. Thanks to a multi-class decision of the Mage to take one level of Cleric, as well as a scroll of Mass Healing Word found in the verbeeg’s lair, the party is able to recover. At the end of the fight, only one player lay unconscious and the party survives. 

 

Next week, we finish up this season and fight the Ice Witch herself. Our store has decided to end one week early and use the final week as a character creation day for next season. We will likely have 4-5 tables, so there are quite a few people making new characters and it would be too much to deal with prior to the game day activities, so we carved out a night just for that.

Good write ups on the both of you. We talked about ending early as well for character creation but most people want to stick with the characters and do a 6 - 8 campaign next season.

 

Another cold day in Michigan but we had a far better turn out at Fun4All in Ann Arbor for week 9/10 than we did the previous week. Everyone was pretty excited to hit level 6 and we actually had 1 player (Derek) go into multiclassing. Will be interesting to see how it all turns. Only 2 weeks to go and I believe I have moved the story in a way so that it will have a nice wrap up without going over schedule.

 

Meet the adventurers:

  • Drea – Orcling Barbarian
  • Rob – Dwarf Fighter
  • Rico – Woodelf Druid
  • Derek – Highelf Paladin 5 / Barbarian 1
  • Trevor – Highelf Evocationist
  • Mike – Half-elf Cleric of Battle
  • Sean – Woodelf Rogue

 

After the swift massacre of at one of the smaller Bear tribe camps the group thought it was wise to take a breather at the newly acquired outpost. During this downtime the party rotated who was resting, who was on watch/pretending to be a barbarian and who was interrogating the sole captive. The captive didn’t put up any fight to hide what he knew in hopes that by doing so would mean he can go free (he was one of the standard barbarians with the commoner stats) but wouldn’t give information that wasn’t asked for. Sadly for him though, once the party divulged all the information they wanted they put an end to the poor creature with the reason being that the captive was weak for giving up so easily and had no chance of making it out in the tundra on his own.

 

With the newly obtained information and their path laid out before them, the group thought it wise for Rico to scout out the area ahead of time (in crow form to switch things up). Upon his return Rico gave a description of the area (a shrine to Auril with several black ice statues just a short distance away from the start of the ice flows) and what he saw as far as enemies, the group thought it wise to shoot for a nighttime approach. I understood the reasons for the approach but also kindly reminded them (from the POV of one of their barbarian acquaintances) of how truly dark the tundra can be at night without a light source; it didn’t sway the adventurer’s decision in the slightest. With a marching order determined the group traversed the tundra toward their destination.

 

Their luck in crossing open lands continued and they found their way to their go without issue. When approaching the finally realized that I wasn’t lying about how dark it was and realized that they may be in for a lot of trouble if a larger brawl broke out. The party slow spread out across the shrine grounds, Rico and Sean went behind the wood structure near the fence while Drea, Trevor and Sean hide near one of the stockades while Rob and Derek knew they wouldn’t be stealthy so they just marched right into scene.

 

They were able to figure out where a few of the enemies were (especially Rob with his darkvision) but had trouble on thinking up a game plan. Rico tossed a Spiked Growth near the tent so that it went in the tent it only to have it quickly dispelled, which let him know that there was at least 1 caster in the tent. Trevor tried to position himself a bit better and ended up breaking the arms off one of the frozen corpses in the stockades and making a terrible amount of noise as it fell to the ground. Rob didn’t want Trevor to be the main focus so he ran at the closest enemy, double critting it and killing it in 1 turn (I described it as upper cutting with the flat of his axe so hard the guy left the ground and before the enemy hit the ground Rob grabbed him and impaled him on one of the “statues”).

 

With the brutal assault by Rob complete there was no hiding that the few barbarians stationed at the shrine had unwanted visitors. The ones that were in the tent started to pour out only to encounter another Spike Growth. One of the shamans that was amongst the “statues” began chanting and channeling near an altar (too far ways for anyone except Rob to really make out). As the shaman chanted 4 of the “statues” rumbled, sprouted magical wings and came to life. This took the party by surprise and essential created two fights, one group handling the barbarians near the tent in low light and then the others handling the black ice gargoyles (but with a human form instead of monstrous) in the dark. Sean avoided the Spiked Growth by climbing on the fence so he can rain bolts down from atop of it.

 

With the party distracted the shaman at the altar continued to pray and unleashed an unknown beast that gave a loud growl and tore the shaman apart. The beast chose to not show itself at this time and continue eating the shaman while hidden behind the altar.

 

Derek used his new found rage to start chipping away at the new targets with some ease and Drea followed suit so she could negate the disadvantage of fighting in the dark. Rob continued to devastate the battle field landing an additional 2 crits making it 4 back to back critical hits (3 of them being natural 20s in a row) taking out another enemy with ease. Rico kept the barbarians pressed by enacting a flaming sphere so that the barbarians had to either decide running through the thorns, eating the sphere or cutting a hole into the tent to exit out the other side and get out another way. The smarter of the 4 choose to retreat while 1 stood to fight with a bow and 2 charged toward him and Sean on the fence.

 

Of the barbarians that charged Sean missed with a swing only to succumb to its wounds from the Spike Growth and the other climbed the fence and tossed him down. Sean retaliated by kicking the fence hard enough to knock the barbarian off. For the rest of the encounter these two would keep traded blows, never landing any real success or doing any real damage (the enemy was still up with about ½ health when we ended the session due to time).

 

At this time things started to go a bit sour for the party. Rob stopped critting and actually ended up with a natural one. What hits did land on the enemies for the next two wounds could only be considered glancing blows at best. The gargoyles continued to fly in and out of range, taking a few OAs as they did but with minimal damage. As the fight progressed the shaman that retreated and slashed through the tent broke down the fence that separated the sleeping area from the shrine and unleashed Silence on the group fighting the gargoyles. Trevor and Mike both had spells fizzle due to the silence (Trevor went first and Mike didn’t notice that Trevor’s spell fizzled). This really upset Trevor and he gave up for the rest of the encounter, revert to melee hits and not moving out of the silence. Even after the silence ended he still was a lump on a log.

 

The same (and only remaining) shaman dropped the silence shortly after it and cast Hold Person on Rico, which took him out until the shaman died. At this time the beast from behind the altar appeared and began devastating the adventure’s ranks with a critical hit. The party had a tough time connecting with the beast, never really hitting where it was actually at. Rob was able to bring down a gargoyle from the sky via his “Beer Me” bracers, and did so with great force causing some good damage and taking it out.

 

The end of that gargoyle was the turning point the party needed. With the gargoyle dropped Rob turned his attention to the shaman while Drea ended another gargoyle. In rapid succession enemies dropped and the party knew they could make it through the fight. Even the beast that they had issues hitting died quickly once the full attention of the party (minus Sean and Trevor) turned to it. As they finished off the beast it shattered into icy crystals, leaving nothing to show that it was there minus the mangled body of the shaman.

 

With the enemies finished they tried to break into the one remaining structure, the wooden shack that they couldn’t see in. However, no matter how hard they smacked it the shack wouldn’t budge so they lite it on fire. As the fire started to rage they discovered that the reason it wouldn’t budge is that the inside was reinforced with a black ice cage and inside the cage was a young (and very angry) remorhaz.

 

At this point time was really pressed due to a late start on combat so I wrapped the story up with that.

 

Thoughts: I like that my players are starting to get consistent challenge when in combat. I know that this combat session was a bit outlandish with black ice gargoyles and a frost displacer beast but it was fun. I think that everyone had a pretty good time minus once the Silence went off. And as bad as I feel that their spells fizzled out, it is a part of the game. And while the DM is supposed to be a friend he/she is also supposed to  bring you to the brink of death/frustration/hopelessness but also leave enough room for a success (unless they are taking on something they clearly cannot handle).

 

I am really looking forward to the next two events. I have planned it so my players get a short rest now and no rest between the last two fights. I really want to stress resource management and get them to use some of those consumables that they LOVE to horde. It would be nice if we can run two separate tables for those events (have some good ideas on how to do that and still have both fight Lich & Witch) but doubt it will be possible since Jason is MIA. At least Rico has stepped up and agreed to run a 2nd table next season!

 

 

This weeks session write up is here.

 

a good session with one of our quiter players taking centre stage and turning what could have been a bloodbath encounter into an excellent RP led session with brains conquering brawn.

 

its all building up to a great climax over the last two sessions.

"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/

SublimeBW wrote:

We talked about ending early as well for character creation but most people want to stick with the characters and do a 6 - 8 campaign next season.

Understandable, but I'll give you fair warning: This coming season, SotSC, is designed to start at 2nd level and go through 5th/6th. The season after that, Dead in Thay, is basically a continuation. It takes place in the same Daggerford region and is designed for levels 6-8. People are more likely to want to continue their characters from next season than from this one I would think. Just an opinion.

 

I know we will be starting fresh at 2nd level.

When did this come out? All early posts on Sword Coast said lv1-3 AGAIN.

 

Gonchar wrote:

When did this come out? All early posts on Sword Coast said lv1-3 AGAIN.

 

I was a little surprised too. It says it under the "Running Launch Weekend" section in the flyer from the Encounters Kit.