As with recent sessions I was running a double length game (and will continue to do so fortnightly) and had a full table of 7 players. Not just my newly converted wargamers from our Phandelver sessions, but a couple of returning players from our 4e era along with one totally new face (though not voice, as I had gamed with Sarah in an online campaign).
- Jon – Dwarf Cleric of Ilmater
- Lee – Dwarf Paladin or Tyr
- Jack – Human Fighter
- Matt – Human Warlock (Dark Pact)
- Patrick – Human Warlock (Fey Pact)
- Sarah – Tiefling Warlock (Ancient Pact)
- Daniel – Dwarf Fighter
Some of the players have chosen to take bonds from the optional ones included with the adventure but in conversation after we realised that the adventure itself doesn’t actually have a good reason for the heroes to be together and heading into Greenest at the start so post-session I came up with good old Sir Isteval of Daggerford, a paladin of some renown and because of their personal backgrounds and experiences, “invited” them to head to Greenest to investigate rumours of cultist activity. Sir Isteval feared it may have been further machinations of the Red Wizards of Thay, but the subsequent situation would indicate otherwise.
Approaching the town as night falls the party find it under attack by kobolds, cultists and a blue dragon! Moving closer to find out what the hells going on they find a family fighting a retreat against a bunch of kobolds and step in to help. They realise its going to be too dangerous to let the family continue roaming alone and agree to escort them to the towns central keep, on the way they are attacked by more kobolds and cultists, taking heavy casualties en route. Thankfully once they reach the keep they are able to purchase some healing from the resident priests tending the wounded defenders.
The town leader, Governor Nighthill, and his seneschal, Escobar, are very happy to see the heroes and thankful for their help. Escobar asks for their further help, letting use an old escape tunnel to bypass the majority of the invaders in the hopes of rescuing further trapped townsfolk in the temple of Chauntea. The tunnel had become home to a number of rats but the heroes scared them off with burning torches (and eldritch bolts).
Climbing the river bank towards the church they find a trio of townsfolk hiding amidst the brambles and tell them to head to the tunnel and the safety of the keep but the trio are too scared to leave their hiding place. Taking cover at the churchyard wall the heroes prepare to scout the area but are surprised by the attack of a vicious green scaled drake. The reptile takes a massive bite out of the heroes before they are able to deal with it, luckily they havent attracted further attention. They spot a group of enemies trying to batter the main doors open, and another group (with 2 of the green drakes) making a patrol around the building. Through judicious use of their magics they make the patrol think there’s something in the bushes south-east of the church and the kobolds and co run eager for easy targets.
Meanwhile the heroes charge the group at the doors, half a dozen kobolds attacking the door under the urgings of a human dressed in pink/purple robes and wielding a wicked looking scimitar. Sticking with a tactic that had been working well so far the warlocks target the kobolds with ranged attacks while the fighters charge into the human. However no-one told the kobolds to play along and they quickly swarm around the combatants despite the continuing warlock barrage. The human proves quite handy with his scimitar, laying a couple of the heroes low before finally succumbing. The refugees inside had seen the combat through the windows and open the door when the heroes ask, but take a little convincing to leave their sanctuary, but eventually agree to follow them to the tunnel before the patrol returns. The trio from the brambles join them this time and everyone heads to the tunnel entrance.
Unfortunately a large group of kobolds have decided to lay in ambush and begin pelting the heroes and refugees with their slings. It’s a war of attrition with 2 of the warriors still unconscious from the fight outside the church, and things look decidedly grim once Jon’s cleric also gets taken down. During this battle the kobolds also manage to score a pair of critical hits on Sarah dropping her too. Luckily with no cultists to rally them the kobolds suffer enough losses to cut and run, allowing the heroes and remaining refugees to make it to the tunnel and into the keep for safety.
After just shy of 4 hours gaming we called it there and completed our session logs while I tallied up the xp, they had earned 253 each, a little short of the capped amount for the chapter (I still don’t like that but hey ho) and had completed 3 of the parts of the chapter. However they are severely low on resources, healing in particular and still have no time for a rest. I had read on the DM forums how deadly this chapter could be and my rolling multiple crits hadn’t helped – but that’s the deal with dice games, sometimes they’re in your favour, sometimes not.
The players still enjoyed themselves so I’d count that as a win. As a DM I’m a big fan of the kobolds pack tactics, it seems to balance out their inherent squishyness nicely and the players soon realised that not dealing with the annoying little snappers could leave them in worse danger than the accompanying cultists posed. Good fun.