D&D Encounters Season 12 – Against the Cult of Chaos – Session 8 Finale
The heroes led the freed villagers and Canoness back to Hommel Lane where they found Haffrons ghost inhabiting its huge statue. Following a collaborative prayer by the followers of both the Old Faith and the Lawbringer the statue led the heroes back to the Caves of Chaos to put an end to Miska’s attempt to manifest on this plane.
While the animated statue tackled the hordes of creatures swarming the ravine, the heroes snuck into the cave leading to the chaos mote and temple of Miska.
As they engaged Inuggh and Miska’s acolytes a small force of zombies emerged from adjacent chambers, backed up by the reanimated corpse of a fallen ogre, and the surprising attacks of what appeared to be Haffrons skeletal remains jumping in and out of the mote itself.
It was looking a little grim as the party began to take a fair bit of damage and the rogue was dropped to the ground but a timely use of the sorcerors flaming barrier soon equalled the odds. Though not soon enough to stop the Genasi swordmage from being shrunk by Innugh.
Eventually the runepriest (carrying all three of the chaotics items) was able to use them on the chaos altars and close the mote. Bereft of her mistress’s power Inuggh soon fell to the heroes blows and victory was theirs.
Returning to Hommel Lane they received a heroes welcome, and Lord Burne had actually left his tower. The party questioned why he had done nothing to protect the town and he told them he had been possessed by the same spirit that had affected Sir Moonbrook, so had sealed himself within his tower so as not to hurt the people of Hommel Lane.
The party arrived back in Hommel Lane bearing the body of the deceased Canoness, to find Haffrons ghost in the statue. The Druid and Sister Euphemia led their followers in a prayer which animated the statue and it led the heroes to the caves once more.
Entering the temple the minotaur knight felt the compulsion of the chaos blade even stronger than before and was eager to slake its thirst with the acolytes blood. The battle was brutal but brief as the knights cleaving strikes took down the zombies easily and was able to use the blade on the chaos altar to begin closing the mote.
Once they had dealt with Inuggh and the acolytes, the hexblade took the remaining two items to the altars and as his prepared to use them he felt Miska in his mind offering him power if he would only use them to open the mote rather than close it. The Hexblade seemed to consider the offer for a moment before replying “I serve another master” and closing the mote forever.
Returning to Hommel Lane they discovered that Lord Burne had hidden himself away to protect the people while he was possessed and enjoyed the celebrations thrown in their honour.
Our two groups are quite different, the early one usually having 6 players on average while the late one only 4 (sometimes less unfortunately) so I often have to “tweak” the encounters to fit the differing numbers and their play styles. This session (and the whole season for that matter) was easier to do on the fly than others (hence the zombie hulk in the early group and only 4 minions in the later one).
The players of both groups enjoyed the session and season with the slightly more open route of the adventures though the hooks for them definately had to be fleshed out to appeal to some of my players more (quite mercenary some of the time) and having the three threats seemingly unlinked felt a little strange to begin with. Once the players found that the bandits were working for Lareth, who in turn was a follower of Miska’s tied those together neatly but the addition of a second cult (the reptile god) felt out of place and apart from the naga having one of the three items of power appeared to have no real link to the overall threat of the mote and Miska. Multiple threads like this would be fine for campaign play but felt a little add in Encounters.
The interaction and fleshing out of the village was huge bonus in my eyes and one of my players pointed out that it felt like the first chance for real role-playing within the Encounters program to date, but as we discovered the 2 hour slot we have in store (due to running 2 groups back to back) places a premium on “getting done in time”.
My groups are now looking forward to net season and a return to the Forgotten Realms, as well as the chance to use (slightly) higher level characters from the off with “Storm over Neverwinter”. We played both groups this season using the 4e rules.