D&D Encounters Season 13 – Storm over Neverwinter – Session 2
Due to work commitments we combined both groups into one this week, resulting in a larger table than normal. Having read some notes on the DM forum of the wizards community I made a few changes to the encounter as per their suggestion.
Entering Lady Nidris’s home the scene of destruction continued with symbols of Asmodeus daubed on the walls and the hallways contents trashed. The heroes came across the fallen form of another of her guards, a firesoul genasi, with a huge burn mark on his chest. The heroes tended to his wounds, managing to revive him enough to get information from him.
A group of Ashmadai had attacked, weilding flaming chains and lightning magic but under the command of a dark cloaked figure with a devil-face, and they were looking for Zann, Lady Nidris’s son. Further investigation revealed her aging butler and the serving girls had locked themselves in the kitchen and the child was taken from his play area in the nearby sitting room.
The heroes exmined the scene, discovering a familiar scent of rotting fish and sea-water as well as a large amount of ruddy mud that the attackers had traipsed throughout the house. They were able to ascertain two distinct types of footwear, the majority being the common hard boots associated with dock workers and a single set of smaller fine quality footwear (of the type associated with the upper classes).
Lady Nidris was distraught and begged the heroes to rescue her son. The heroes began by following the muddy tracks into the stormy night streets, one of them recalled seeing this type of mud in large amounts in and around the Blacklake Docks area and with the rapidly washing away tracks leading in that direction they sped off.
Arriving at the Docks the trail had been washed away and as they began to wonder where to look next they heard a cry from below the docks “Ow, the little bugger bit me!” and could see a faint torch light disappearing into an opening. Using the weather as cover they managed to get close enough to see a trio of Ashmadai goons standing before a rough cave entrance concealed behind a curtain of rain water run off from the docks above. The heroes were able to take the goons out before they could raise any alarm but then the Goliath and Halflings brands began to feel hot and the heroes felt a cold emotionless voice in their heads “We have intruders”, accompanied by a mental image of a black cloaked figure leaning over a bound child on a walkway, as it straightens a mark can be seen on the childs chest “Kill them all” commands the figure as it swirls its cape around and disappears into nothing.
Irann the elven hunter steped into the curtain of water raising her cloaked arms and called out “I’m Batman!” in an effort to intimidate and scare those within (unfortunately even with a +2 bonus for the idea her intimidate check was abysmal and failed) who responded by lancing her with hellfire. The rest of the heroes began to forge ahead through the small cave into what looked like a collapsed section of old sewer, complete with channel filled with almost solid waste that stank to hell.
Unfortunately the heroes seemed to bottle-neck in the entrance and the Ashmadai warlocks were able to concentrate their concussive infernos to blast most of the party back out into the lashing rain. Slowly the heroes gained the upper hand, the halfling barbarian even managing to leap the sewage to challenge the last warlock toe-to-toe, while the vampire attempted to dash across only to find that such close proximity to its foul odour caused even him to stop and wretch. In a desperate attempt to flee the warlock hurled hellfire at Irann who had remained near the entrance and then in a flash of demonic flames caused them to swap places. The warlock was unlucky though as the heroes still near enough were able to back him into a corner and swiftly take him down.
Rushing to aid the child they found the symbol of Asmodeus burnt onto his chest and once they calmed him down he asked where the devil-faced man had gone. Other members of the party made a quick search of the cultists hidey hole and discovered a stash of gems and coins as well as a trio of magical items (a wand of inevitability, an elixir of invisibility, and an arcanite gem – my own creation – which when bonded to your armour would improve the enchantment to that of +2 delvers armour). Taking the child back up to street level the storm seemed to be abating and Lady Nidris’s elegant coach approached. Following an emotional reunion she thanked the heroes and gifted them 250gp each and informed them that along with a number of her influential friends they would be pressuring Lord Neverember to post a reward of 10,000gp for the defeat and capture of the one responsible for these kidnappings.
This was another interesting session with the hazards of the terrain combining with the powers of the Ashmadai to caus the heroes a few hiccups rather than a straight out fight. The changes from the forum ideas made the outer guards into minions as well as changing the Concussive Inferno to a Range 10 burst 1 power, which made sense both tactically and storywise as you would make the lowest among you stand guard in the rain. Obviously having a 7 man party meant I increased the encounter a little too, with 3 minions, 1 zealot, and 3 warlocks (and giving the warlocks an action point too). The heroes did take a pummelling, particularly from the combined use of concussive inferno but I felt it went really well and the players looked to be enjoying it (aside from how long a single round took to complete with the number of players).
The arcanite gems was something that I have begun using in my home games which I have taken from a number of old rpg style console games. Rather than keep finding more and more suits of armour/weapons etc they find an enchanted gemstone that once bonded to their existing equipment either bestows or increases any existing enchantment of the item found. For example the players rolled for +2 delvers armour so it would increase any of their existing armours to have the properties of this but in addition to any existing powers. It works in campaigns better as once a hero has found his first +1 sword of surrounding he’s unlikely to throw it away just because he finds another sword with the power to inflict fire damage, so why not give the opportunity to combine them (also I’m not a huge fan of the residuum effect).