This week at Tabletop Tyrants we had just one table of 7 players running under the D&D Next playtest rules. The players are running 4th level pc’s and we have been increasing the difficulty of the encounters accordingly. The party consisted of:-
- Tanis – Elf Mage
- Hannah – Half orc Fighter
- Richard – Half orc Druid
- Adam – Tiefling Mage
- Sunyi – Elf Bard
- Shane – Half orc Barbarian
- Vipin – Gnome Cleric
We picked up the action straight in at the point following the events of the Launch Event….
As they heroes caught their breaths after the defeat of the Ancient Yeti the female dwarf that had accompanied them on the caravan, Helda Silverstream, approached them. She congratulated them on their defense of the gate and it was obvious that she too had been busy fending off yetis that had made it over the walls. She told the party that she would be carrying on her journey to her uncle in the dwarven valley of Kelvin’s Cairn shortly and asked if they would accompany her “This place has got a lot more dangerous since my last visit and I don’t rightly think I’d make it alone”. The heroes were happy to oblige Helda told them she wouldn’t be leaving for five days while she did some business in Bryn Shander.
While they were talking with the dwarf Shane overheard a pair of guards mumbling while they cleared away the corpses of yetis. “Its that bloody fool barbarians fault I tell ya, durned fool led the yetis right to our door so he did” said one. “He’ll pay the price though. Lets see how tough he is after a ‘night on the town’ eh?” replied his comrade with a snigger. Shane was a little curious at the mention of a fellow barbarian but his attention was pulled elsewhere as the party concluded their talks with the dwarf and focused on a human shop owner nearby. His store had been all too close to the city wall and suffered significant damage from several yetis that had made it over the wall before being finally taken down by the defenders.
“Protection! Ha! Where were Slim and his boys for this? Slimy little sods probably sat in a nice warm tavern!” The heroes approached the man and discovered that his name was Rierdon and this was his apothecary store, well what was left of it. Apparently he (and several other businesses) paid an individual named Slim to “protect” their premises from accidents and such. The yeti raid had caused substantial damage to the outer walls of his store. Rierdon asked the heroes if they would get his money back from Slim, if they did so he would split it with them and use his share to repair his store, he’d also be able to give them a discount on future purchases. The heroes were happy to oblige and Vipin recalled hearing of this Slim during his time in Luskan. Slim was a member of Ship Rethnor and known as a particularly nasty piece of work. Rierdon told the heroes that Slim could usually be found at the Northlook tavern and off they went.
The tavern was a seedy looking place and Sunyi decided to try his luck earning a few coins with a musical performance but the journey north had de-tuned his lute and the resulting “tune” wasnt his best work. After making discrete enquiries they found out that Slim was upstairs in his room, having returned in the company of some of his associates and Aarun the weaponsmith (at this news Vipin’s little ears pricked up, Aarun was the person his harper contact had told him to seek out). Midway through Sunyi’s second tune there was an ominous thump from the room upstairs followed by a cry of pain. Still hyped up on adrenaline the heroes rushed upstairs and Vipin charged through the door.
The room had five burly looking guys in mismatched leathers standing around a body on the floor who’s throat had been cut and had bled out onto the dirty floor. Beyond them stood a wiry individual with a bloody dagger in hand. “Intruders! Kill them all!” hissed the dagger holder, who Vipin recognised as Slim.
Vipin, Hannah and Richard engaged Slim and his thugs in melee while Shane and Tanis supplied ranged support with spells and crossbow respectively, and Sunyi used his abilities to bolster his allies attacks. (Adam had arrived late and I had his mage join on the second round).
The fight was vicious and the heroes were taken aback when Slim morphed into a rat-man, but came to a head when Tanis used burning hands to torch the room, using his evocation training to protect his three allies from harm. As Richard created water to quench the remaining flames Adam used his staff to knock the last standing thug out. The other thugs and Slim were dead. They went through their pockets, including Aarun’s, finding a total of 125 gp, a pair of gems worth 50 gp each, and a note in Aarun’s pocket that read ““Aarun—Problems have arisen. Please meet me at the Northlook to discuss. Mithann.”, the heroes recognised the name Mithann as the local priest of Lathander they had heard about but she was obviously not here.
The heroes then came up with a cunning idea for Sunyi to use his disguise self spell to impersonate Slim and drag the surviving thug into the alleyway and convince him to lead them back to their hideout. Once he was conscious the thug proved to be none too bright and totally believed Sunyi was Slim. The rest of the heroes followed at a safe distance using Tanis’s message cantrip to keep in touch. They were a little concerned when the thug led them out of Bryn Shander and north through the snowy landscape towards Kelvins Cairn. As Sunyi felt his spell begin to fade Tanis used message to distract the thug while “Slim” went to relieve himself (and Sunyi swapped places with Adam who had also cast disguise self). This continued for about 4 hours when they spotted a dwarven patrol set to cross their path, the groups passed with barely a nod of acknowledgement and the thug continued to lead “Slim” to safety.
A couple of hours later (approaching midnight) a large shape barreled out of the dark and snowy night and a polar bear attacked! With its first swipe of a claw it knocked the thug unconscious to the snow and its second claw laid Adam low too. Alerted to their comrades predicament by the message link the remaining heroes hustled to the rescue with Richard using his healing magic as soon as he was in range to bring Adam back to consciousness while the bear eviscerated the thug. As Adam got to his feet and ran toward his allies the bear gave chase, trying to pounce on the fleeing mage. Luckily his allies had caught up by then and were better suited to tackle the ferocious ursine.
Tanis wanted to skin the bear but due to the multiple hits of acid arrow spells its pelt was ruined. Richard realised that the bears behaviour was out of character and upon inspection discovered that its eyes had been covered in a layer of white ice. Both the druid and the mages concurred that the ice was not of natural origin and Vipin suggested it may be the work of Auril, the Frostmaiden, goddess of winter. Whatever its origin it had made the bear angrier and more hostile than usual.
The heroes had lost their guide and without knowing their destination decided to make camp on the tundra before heading back to Bryn Shander in the morning.
And so we left it there, though I did roll to see if their camp was disturbed (other than a worsening of the weather the night was uneventful). In a 2 hour session we’d had 2 good combats, some exploration and interaction with npc’s, we we’re amazed at the thugs total inability to discern the deception and as my rolls barely made it to double figures he proved to be very gullible. In fact the only decent die roll I had all evening was the bears initial attack on Adam coming up a crit (revenge for him crit rolling the staff to the face of the thug earlier).