Monday, March 25, 2013, 4:48 AM
Following a successful introduction to D&D session and requests from some of my regular Encounters players I decided to organise a new ongoing campaign.vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/keep-...vobeskhan.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/keep-...
On my regular blog I recount the thoughts behind organising this, how and why I chose the adventures and how the group are progessing.
I must give a big nod of thanks to for his brilliant article on converting the original H1 Keep on the Shadowfell adventure for use in the Forgotten Realms. I have decided to take parts of this plus another superb fan-written article which expands the original adventure and ties all three of the H-series into a more cohesive story line (Demon Prince of Undeath, H1-3 conversion by Myrhdraak).
Friday, September 14, 2012, 4:39 AM
Due to a drop in numbers we had to meld our two 4th level groups into one this week. So rather than two tables of three players I ran a single table of 6 players (drow avenger, dwarf fighter, dragonborn paladin, human sentinal, vyrolka blackguard, and dragonborn hexblade), so I had levelled up the encounter accordingly (using the old off-line monster builder, and including Snut as neither group had encountered him last week. The bad guys consisted of Iryele (now lvl 7), 5 hobgoblin soldiers (now lvl 6, one on guard in the side room), snut (a lolthbound gobbo lvl 3) and a spider minion also in the side room (lvl 3).
(photos and captions here www.meetup.com/EMRPGG/photos/10686172/)
The hexblade went alone to explore the side room, while the rest of the party surged forward. but the hobgob soldiers used their phalanx abilities perfectly keeping the party away from their mistress.
Only one hobgob falls to the heroes, the paladin goes unconscious but is raised, and after two and a half hours playing the avenger, blackguard and hexblade are heavily bloodied and all healing has been used.
The party decide as a group to abandon the quest and withdraw to Menzoberranzan empty handed.
My players really havent embraced the drowishness of this season, as mentioned in my own blog, and most refuse to play drow. But rather than let the encounters program fold (after it taking two years to get off the ground in my hometown) we made our concessions, unfortunately though I think this season is begining to definately raise a few of their hackles, which is a shame as I personally love drow and their conniving society.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 2:02 PM
Early Session – Xune’s journal.
As the dust settled behind us the svirfneblin attacked, calling out that they had been warned of our approach by a goblin. The doughty dwarven warrior stepped up to the plate and engaged them joined by a grumbling dragonborn paladin (who kept murmuring something about keeping my pet away from him) I decided to wait alongside the human priest but the impetuous man decided to step into the fray.
One of the accursed gnomes fired his slingshot at me, so I responded with my hand crossbow, burying one of my spider-blessed bolts deep into his fleshy legs, the trialing strands of spider webbing entangling his feet and slowing his progress temporarily.
My travelling companions soon became embroiled in a heated melee leaving me little choice but to join in, bringing my scepter of Lolth to bare on deep gnome skulls. All the while the dragonborn continued to mumble his fears that my pet would feast upon him (as if I would sully its fangs with such degenerate fluids) but he also made several disparaging remarks about our illustrious dark lady, I shall have to watch him closely and take action if and when the time comes. The dwarf continues to fight well, almost eager to protect me, may Lolth bless his hammer-swings against our arrayed enemies. I shall ensure that he receives the blessings of her favour when his wounds require.
Eventually the svirfneblin were defeated though there was no sign of the goblin they mentioned nor the traitorous priestess from the Faen Tlabbar expedition, the warriors regrouped and led the way as we continued through the tunnels toward our goal.
Surprised by the suddenness of the svirfneblin ambush, the party we’re caught napping as the deep gnomes advanced from thier hidden positions. One of the sling-wielders tipped over the brazier, plunging the area into concealing darkness until the blackguard activated a sunrod from his pack. The light source revealed that the gnomes were bottle-necking them as a pair of sturdy looking warriors with warpicks set about the party, supported by a handful of miners, and a sinister looking garrote wielder.
The dragonborn hexblade transported himself into the midst of the enemies, summoning a madenning mist around himself. As it cleared the swarthy gnome got the garrote around his scaly neck and began to choke him, using the dragonborn as cover from other attacks.
The drow hunter began to launch a hail of deadly shafts through the tunnel, rapidly thinning the gnome ranks while the blackguard and the sentinal’s wolf companion battled against the pickmen. The gnome slingers responded to the hunters volleys with accurate slingshots, bouncing them from their initial targets into secondary ones and causing more than a few heavy bruises.
The battle was bloody and costly, but thanks to the sentinals healing magic the heroes weathered the storm, capturing the last of the heavily wounded slingers as he attempted to flee. As the blackguard and hexblade began to question him, the sentinal commanded his wolf to bite the defenceless gnome to “encourage” his co-operation, unfortunately it was too much for the little svirfneblin and caused him to expire.
Recovering gems and equipment dropped by the now deceased deep gnomes, the party continued through the tunnels to the outpost and their destination.
As usual, I played in the early session while Robert DM’d and we swapped for the second session. The earlier session very nearly overran our timeslot, due in no small part to the addition of a new player and our paladin showing her the ropes, but after all thats what Encounters is all about, so no harm no foul. The second session seemed to run through the encounter a lot easier, although I think Robert had increased the difficulty a little harder than I had, but thats part of the fun – neither of us know what the other is going to do and so its fair to everyone.
Next session Robert is working and so unavailable to DM or play, so due to numbers (they’ll lose me as a player so I can DM) we are combining the two groups to face my encounter. This means that should everyone else turn up, we’ll have a pair of drow hunters, a dwarf fighter, a dragonborn paladin, a human sentinal, and a human priest. No drow priestess of Lolth to keep them in line!
Sunday, September 2, 2012, 11:06 AM
Yesterday saw us attending the fifth instalment of the Lair Assault series (and second to be a feature of the Rise of the Underdark special event) up at Mondo Comico in Nottingham. This will contain spoilers!
An elf wizard has built a construct with a single purpose: the destruction of the drow. This discovery has led the drow houses of Menzoberranzan to forge an alliance and send a “murder squad” to kill the wizard and destroy his sinister creation.
Forty years ago, a raiding party of drow emerged from the Lurkwood and slaughtered the inhabitants of Silvershore, a village in the Valley of Khedrun. A sole survivor—a young elf with an aptitude for the arcane—escaped the carnage, and born within him was a hatred for drow that he would carry the rest of his days. Four decades later, this elf matured into a wizard of no small power and built the prototype of a new construct he hopes to mass-produce and release into the Underdark, with the sole intent of devouring drow.
The wizard, Etherik, is preparing to show off his construct to gain the full support of his peers, several of whom have arrived via magic portal to see the device for the first time. With their help, Etherik plans to build many more of them and release the constructs into the city of Menzoberranzan.
News of the wizard’s wicked machine reached Menzoberranzan quickly. The drow houses consider the elf a common threat and have banded together to take him out, unaware that their “murder squad” (which consists of drow from multiple houses) will be used to test the construct’s destructive power.
The goal for this assault is to kill Etherik and destroy his drowslayer construct. Best of luck! Though of course, it won’t be easy . . .
This was the brief we had been given, along with the character creation guidelines of 8th level pc’s of Drow or Drow Revenant origin to form the murder squad (following the normal Lair Assault rules which I wont repeat here – go check out the WotC page for details). I decided to take a levelled up version of my Encounters pc, the Drow Priestess, knowing that at least some healing may be needed (especially for myself!). We had been informed that there may well be enough players to run 2 tables on the day so now guarantee of who would be on which team.
Arriving in the store early I had the opportunity to chat to David (the store owner and one of the prospective DM’s) while awaiting the others arrival. As it turned out we had 6 players (including myself) and both DM’s turn up, so ran with just 1 table which Glenn DM’d for us. The rest of the party consisted mainly of my Encounters players that had made the journey up plus Jay, a wickedly funny young lady that I had gamed with previously. Once everyone was ready and hadbeen introduced (both in and out of character) the party we had assembled was as follows:-
- Myself, playing Drow WarPriestess of Domination
- Robert, playing Drow Dark Pact Hexblade
- Jay, playing Drow Greatsword Fighter
- Simon, playing Drow Fey Pact Hexblade
- Matt, playing Drow Hunter
- Daniel, playing Drow Blackguard
We approached the wizards abode under cover of night, Robert and Jay scouted for any other entrances to the main door before us as Matt investigated one of the stained-glass windows. I hung back as the most of the party congregated around the front door and Daniel (true to form) kicked it open without checking for traps of any kind! Sure enough the door blasted nearby pc’s with a force attack as Matt snuck in the side window he had opened.
Inside the house the pc’s met a pair of fire-breathing iron defenders, and the most annoying elf apprentice mage whose attacks caused both her and her target to teleport each time. The main problem was that she’d also activated a defense mechanism that spread gas throughout the house which slowed, then weakened you before putting you to sleep! She also had a dominate ability which she used to make Daniel hit Robert – and then he crit’d him! This was not a good start for Robert as shortly after he succumbed to the gas and spent several rounds sleeping while we dispatched the metal dogs and chased the elf around the house. During which I let my spiderling feast on Jay, causing her to spend a healing surge but instead of her getting the healing I gained it as temporary hp .
Finally we reached the basement via the magical teleport properties of the upper doors, only to be seperated and dispersed around the complex. Simon and Jay appeared in a room with 2 Barlgura and an Owlbear, though Simon’s first action was to tell one of the demon-apes to f@!k off, which it did! Unfortunately the remaining pair of monsters were able to spend the next few rounds just pounding on the pair of pc’s. Robert and Matt appeared in a room containing a flesh golem made of drow parts that quickly dropped Robert into unconsciousness, though Robert amazingly kept making stable death saves and Matt led the golem on a game of hide and seek. Daniel appeared in a store room adjacent to the room I appeared in which appeared to be a cultivated mushroom grove. As he moved to my area a Black Pudding oozed under the other door, swiped the pair of us and promptly oozed back. We followed it into some sort of workshop where it continued to move away under the next door, and I found the plans for constructing the wizards drow-slayer construct (quickly pocketing them as this was my house goal) and Daniel found a crystallised drow skull on a book shelf.
The next door led into a room with cages where Matt was dodging the flesh golem and the pudding decided to stop running as Daniel opened the door. Realising that these 2 fine warriors had the situation in hand I moved back to the storeroom Daniel started in, removing one of the numerous everburning torches from its sconce and removing the stopper from the large barrel of oil sat in its rack before moving to the far door. Once there was a sufficient layer of oil on the floor I stepped through the door, threw the torch to the far side of the room and quickly closed the door as I heard a satisfying “whump” of ignition.
Despite the owlbear getting dropped by the pc’s cpmbined assault, it and the remaining barlgura had also put Jay down. As the barlgura moved to continue attacking Simon and myself Matt struck from hiding and skewered the beast with his pinpoint archery. I used my remaining healing potion to bring her back to the land of the living as we moved up towards a mysterious blue portal at the far end of the complex. As Jay ran through it Simon saw the construct approach and was first to feel its wrath.
Unfortunately time was no longer on our side as we realised it was after 5pm and most of us needed to travel back to Leicester. We knew we wouldnt be able to tackle the construct, its maker, 8 apprentices, flesh golem and black pudding with the 3 of us left (myself, Matt, and Daniel) so sadly admitted defeat.
As we packed away and thanked Glenn for running and David for hosting, we agreed that it was once again a brutal but fun adventure. Most of us said we would look forward to having another crack at it within the 3 month target period, and so headed off to our respective transport.
As I am running the adventure in Leicester soon I had a read through and there are some little changes to how it ran that I think need to be made. Although no rests are given (usual for Lair Assaults) it does call for a new initiative roll once the pc’s reach the basement, which to my mind signifies the beginning of a second encounter and thus the refreshing of encounter abilities. Without this I feel the basement is way too overpowered for even an optimised party. I also think the teleporting elf upstairs is overpowered too, with too many free actions which if used correctly will result in the party never being able to lay a finger on her. I think she should be either limited to a single free action per round (using a room power, activating gas, or teleporting) or that the teleporting should be at least a minor/move action instead. Otherwise the party will swiftly become dissilusioned spending hours of real time chasing her around the building fruitlessly.
Monday, August 20, 2012, 1:38 PM
Cast of players and their characters for early group:-
- Bryce Palmer, playing Human Mage
- Me, playing Kobold Ranger
- Matt Mawdsley, playing Dwarf Fighter
- Daniel Creed, playing Dragonborn Paladin
- Glenn Waters, playing Svirfneblin Warpriest
- Robert Cleale, DMing
(From the Tail of Skrit)
As we entered the sepulcher of the Tower the drow spider-wizard was waiting with more of his lolth-cursed allies! The big spider-beasts stretching forward to slash at us as we break from the stairs, but Skrit too quick and ducks under blade!
The wizard and priest call down fire magic on the spider-lord and his beasts as I grab one of my special slingpots and fire it at another skulking drow mage, but I miss and the pot breaks harmlessly against the wall, its runny brown contents dripping down the stonework. The drow mage looks from the stain back to me with disgust, I answer with a shrug and a grin as I draw my blades.
The dragon-warrior pummels one of the spider-beasts to the floor but before we can cheer a smaller bony spider climbs from its body – eugh! More of the drow magelings appear around the room as Khara-red-head bounds up the stairs (taking a slash from the remaining spider-beast) and a magical assault from the spider-lord that leaves her heavily wounded. The dwarf fighter moves to intercept one of the drow mages.
The deep gnome warpriest sends waves of healing energy to Khara before pounding the spider-lord with his trusty weapon as the dwarf, Khara and myself beat upon the drow mage nearest. The dragon-warrior walks through his allies magical fire like one of the mighty draconic beasts he resembles to strike down the remaining spider-beast.
The spider-lord falls before our attacks, but once again we are denied as his body crumbles into thousands of tiny spiders, Skrit tries to bite a couple as they skitter past but his allies remind him that there are still foes to battle. While we tackle the remaining drow, Khara leaps up on the sepulcher and reforges the Pendant of Ashaba, then douses it the river that shares its name before dripping her own blood (as an heir of a former lord of Shadowdale) on it to complete the ritual and restore the wards of protection.
Shadowdale is saved and a party ensues at the Old Skull Inn, a couple of villagers even give Skrit a friendly pat on the head (quickly wiping their hands afterward, but Skrit not mind).
Cast of players and their characters for later group:-
- Robert Cleale, playing Dragonborn Hexblade
- Chris Night, playing Elf Hunter
- Tom Wright, playing Human Sentinel (very short so used a dwarf figure)
- John Grey, playing Drow Hexblade
- Tilly Calow, playing Drow Hunter
- Me, Dming
As they entered the sepulcher they found Valan Jealre waiting for them along with a pair of wicked looking driders! The heroes are confined within the staircase as the drow lord and driders stand before them. The elf hunter looses a shaft and dazes the drow lord.
The dragonborn hexblade tackles one of the driders and summoning its dark gifts destroys the arachnoid in a flurry of eldritch energy. A small bony spider forms from the driders twisted remains and menaces the heroes as four more drow spellcasters appear, hurling their own magical energies at the assembled heroes.
Valan retreats, summoning a cloud of darkness around himself as Khara reforges the pendant runs for the river. The remaining heroes continue to battle the drow spellcasters as the bone spider created from the second driders demise proceeds to munch on the drow hexblade accompanying the heroes.
The drow realise what Khara is attempting and begin to focus on her, two of them moving to follow her towards the river dock. The sentinel sends her spirit companion to try and intercept them. The drow hexblade summons his own cloud of darkness in an effort to avoid the attentions of the bone spider.
As Khara recovers from the magic assault from the drow she completes the ritual, restoring the wards of Shadowdale. A blinding light flares through the tower and out over all of Shadowdale, several cries of pain can be heard in the sepulcher and surrounding area. As the heroes vision clears they see that all the drow (even their allies) have been severely burned, and their clouds of darkness have been dispelled. With a cry of anguish Valan falls lifeless to the ground, his body cracks open and thousands of tiny spiders skitter away. The remaining wounded drow look as surprised as the heroes, and quickly offer their surrender.
With the defeat of the drow throughout the town a party is thrown at the Old Skull Inn, where the heroes are praised in the same breath as the mighty Elminster.
Two excellent sessions to round out the season, we were hoping to have the new packs for Council of Spiders ready for next week but they hadnt arrived. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who played and DM’d throughout this season (whether for every session or just a couple) the games just wouldnt be the same without you all (It’d just be me being a saddo in the corner reading to myself). Also big thanks to the guys at Tabletop Tyrants for allowing us to invade their wargamers paradise on a weekly basis. Here’s hoping for many more adventures to come.
As they say in the Realms, “Swords high till we meet again!”.