D&D Encounters Season 12 – Against the Cult of Chaos – Session 0
As our group had already decided during the period between seasons to continue using the 4e rules rather than the playtest and my players had (mostly) prepared their characters already I put together an introduction encounter so as not to waste an evening. Due to work commitments we decided to combine both tables into one session and I increased the number of bandits accordingly. No pc’s died but a couple came seriously close to dropping unconscious before finally gaining victory.
Having read ahead into this coming season I am really excited to be running Encounters again and the story ahead uses elements from some of my favourite classic adventures.
An elven paladin, Sir Hadarai Moonbrook, is answering the call of Canoness Yeeday (leader of the Temple of the Lawbringer in the village of Hommel Lane). The village is plagued by strange happenings and so the call has gone out for heroes to champion the cause.
The Druids of the Old Faith has divined a terrible imbalance between the forces of good and evil, law and chaos, in the area surrounding the village. Followers of the Faith have been asked to join Sir Moonbrook’s mission. A druid named Ramne Ashtaff tends the flock in the vicinity of Hommel Lane.
Characters that follow neither faith have joined the mission with the promise of high adventure monsters to slay.
Those answering the call assembled at the Baron’s keep, prepared to make the two week journey to Hommel Lane alongside Sir Moonbrook. A more motley assortment couldnt have been imagined.
Valorite a Goliath Paladin, Eselda a Half-elven Priestess, Keevan an Elven Hunter, Spit a Caustic Genasi Swordmage, a Shade Vampire, a Minotaur Knight and his estranged brother a Warden.
They departed in high spirits with Wyndell the halfing and Carjo the half-elf riding the wagon and Sir Moonbrook and his squires bringing up the rear. Wyndell told them that several merchants had been attacked on this route recently, himself included, and if it happened to him again he would give up and just stay home.
That was when the Hunter spotted furtive movement in the trees beside the road and a quartet of thugs stepped into the road, with archers in support from their perches in the trees.
As the heroes engaged the bandits they noticed that Sir Moonbrook held his squires back, even when they forced a bandit to almost stumble into them they didnt lift arms against them. The bandits were happy to have four fewer opponents, the the tide began to turn as one of the minotaurs charged a tree holding one of the archers, his head connecting solidly enough to not only dislodge the bandit (causing him to fall to his death) but also to knock himself into a daze.
Another archer fired his crossbow at the goliath triggering one of his powers that teleported the paladin beside the tree-bound villian and allowing him to knock him out of the tree with his trusty maul, unfortunately the goliath was more used to rocky mountains than spindly tree branches and also fell groundward with a thud.
The priestess, swordmage and the other minotaur had surrounded one of the bandits that had hunkered into a ball in an effort to reduce his pumelling and then decided to make a run for it. As he did so all three of the heroes tried to subdue him but the wounds he had already suffered proved too much and he collapsed under their blows.
Hastily shouting to the vampire and goliath to capture the last remaining bandit but the hunter either didnt hear (or just ignored them) sending an arrow through the hapless thugs neck.
As the heroes gathered themselves and in true heroic fashion, went through their foes pockets, Sir Moonbrook clapped slowly (with only the smallest touch of sarcasm) and congratulated them. The heroes were understandably concerned that the paladin and his squires hadnt helped out and when they asked him about it Sir Moonbrook calmly replied “I am being sent into possible battle with allies of whom I have no knowledge, either of their intentions nor abilities. Be assured if this riffraff had proved too much for you I would have dealt with them. However, I am satisfied that you can be trusted to handle yourselves should the worst come to pass at our destination.”
When one of the minotaurs asked if Sir Moonbrook had set up the ambush for the purpose of ‘testing’ them he simply glared and ordered the caravan to continue onwards.
The heroes found a fair amount of gold upon the bandits and one of them had been wearing a suit of Bloodcut Leather armour. Wyndell, the halfling merchant, was very grateful to the heroes for fending off the bandit ambush and gifted them a Stag Helm as a thank you. His half-elf companion Carjo apologised for having nothing to gift the heroes but offered a warm bed and company in Hommel Lane should the heroes need it alongside himself and his Gran-gran.
The caravan continued onwards towards Hommel Lane.