D&D Encounters Season 13 – Storm over Neverwinter – Session 0
“The frontier city of Neverwinter has persevered in the face of calamity. Yet even as the city rebuilds, an insidious threat rises from within its walls. Neverwinter’s citizens are succumbing to an inexplicable madness, while from the shadows, an evil cult of Asmodeus spins sinister plans. Unless a group of heroes rises to stop these perils, Neverwinter might face an even greater danger on the horizon.”
This season sees our players return to Neverwinter in the Forgotten Realms in an adventure designed to follow on from the season 6 of Encounters (Lost Crown of Neverwinter) and sort of tie-in to the new MMO Neverwinter game. Having played in either of these is not essential but does help in knowing a bit more of the rich and deep background of the setting.
Same as last season, this one can be ran as either 4e or Next, and my players and I agreed to stick with 4e once again. There had been a little confusion on the forums as the cover states 4th-7th level play but once you begin to read the information it becomes clear that players begin at 3rd level unless they are bringing back pc’s that completed the earlier season 6, none of mine are (mainly as we didnt start running encounters here until season 8). As usual we have two groups running in back to back 2 hour slots at our FLGS (Tabletop Tyrants), and as normal my players had all created their characters long before this weeks session 0 so I created another small encounter to supply the adventure hook.
Having read the opening of session 1 I was aware that the story begins with the heroes “relaxing” in the Moonstone Mask, a quality establishment and not the usual place such relatively unknown adventurers would choose to spend their hard earned gold. So I had them returning from a succesful “delivery” job for a local merchant when they came across a scene of devastation (not a totally uncommon occurance in Neverwinter, but this was brutal). Several members of the Dead Rats gang layon the street, most were dead but one was barely alive.
All the corpses bore the mark of the Ashmadai burned into their flesh but no Ashmadai were among the fallen combatants. As they tried to aid the last of the Dead Rats he screamed as they approached him “No, not the devil-faced man, aaargh!” screaming in agony as the symbol of Asmodeus burned its way from inside his head to appear on his forehead, the pain finally killing him.
Before the heroes could investigate further another group of Dead Rats appeared coming down the street towards them, their leader spotting the heroes standing over their fallen comrades. “‘Ere, they’ve done Fat Eric an’ is boys in! Get ‘em lads!” he cried as attacked. Two large rats accompanying them began to change shape as they surged forward, becoming bipedal rat-men and grabbing wicked morningstars off of their fallen kin. (For those that want to know, it was 4 human goons and a 2 wererat muggers).
As the fight got under way the heroes could hear the sound of horses approaching, but had no indication of whether they were friend or foe. The fight was viscious but brief for both of our groups, though the Dead Rats opening attacks on the late group managed to bloody the dragonborn hexblade in the first round (dealing 28 points of damage) and and the vampire/sentinal hybrid in the same group had a spectacular damage roll of 2 (on 2d10!).
As the last Dead Rat fell the source of the hoofbeats became apparent as a luxurious black coach halted nearby and the side window lowered. A striking woman peered out and called the heroes over, introducing herself as the Lady Nidris of Calimsham. Having recently returned to the city and with the recent spate of kidnappings people were worrying about, she found herself in need of people with strong arms and quick wits. If the heroes were such she invited them to meet with her at the Moonstone Mask later that evening after 10th bell to discuss such an arangement further.
As the coach moved off the heroes gathered what gear could be salvaged off the Dead Rats (mainly their shoddy weapons) before selling them at a local weapons dealer. Spending the rest of the day relaxing before heading to the Moonstone Mask for their meeting with Lady Nidris.