D&D Encounters Season 14 – Search for the Diamond Staff – Session 2

This week we had four players – Liam’s Dwarf Paladin, David’s Halfling Barbarian, Glenn used the Half-orc Glaive fighter I’d knocked together, and Vipin had created his own Half-orc rogue (and it was only his 2nd ever session, excellent).

Having dealt with the threat of the orcs in the  immediate vacinity the heroes heard sounds of battle coming from Imani’s (dubbed Morgan Freeman by the players) tower at Haptooth Hill. The paladin and barbarian rushed to investigate while the others mopped up any remaining orcs in the village (ie the missing players) as they approached they were joined by a pair of half-orc adventurers.

Reaching “Casa de Freeman” they find the mage laying limp on the floor while a handful of Fangfist orcs battled a towering hulk of mismatched body parts – a flesh golem! Another orc with a dragon-tooth-studded helmet lay near Imani, several smoking holes in its chest. The newly arrived half-orc rogue attempted to convince a nearby orc that the heroes had been sent by “the boss” to check on their progress and it as going well until they made one little slip up an the orc cried out that more enemies had arrived. Luckily a couple of them were very occupied with the golem and the halfling chose to attack those. Unfotunately the golem didnt discriminate and its next blows hammered into the miniscule barbarian, bloodying him and throwing him across the room.

During the fight one of the orcs snatched a phial of volatile liquid from the holder on one of the desks and attempted to throw it at the golem, but its throw fell a little short, the phial hit the floor between them and exploded in a flash of phosphorescent flames, singing the golem but also the orc that threw it. The golem went absolutely berserk at the sight of the flames with a growl of “Arrgh! Grokk burn!” it barrelled past orc and adventurer alike (taking numerous opportunity attacks as it did so) to simply burst through the wall and on into the village.

The remaining orcs didnt take long to defeat and as the paladin took off in pursuit of the golem the barbarian, fighter and rogue discovered Imani’s scribe and housekeeper had locked themselves in the adjoining cottage. The rogue knelt by the mage and discovered that he had merely been knocked unconscious and roused him, while the barbarian investigated the helmed orc, finding a potion of healing (which he happily drank) and took the helmet.

Filling Imani in on the situation he urged the heroes to halt the golems rampage, explaining that it was a guardian of his tower but when he lost consciousness he had also lost his mental control of the creature and its blind panic of the fire prevented him re-establishing it. The trio quickly charged after their dwarf companion easily following the trail of destruction the golem had left.

They caught up to it as it was about to tear into another villagers home, the sounds of female screams of terror coming from inside. The dwarf was the first to reach the golem and landed a solid blow (Liam finally rolling not only a double digit but a natural 20!) distracting it from its demolition. The half-orc fighter quickly moved up to support while the rogue provided cover with his crossbow. The golem now focused its rage on the opponents before it as it refused to drop from their continued blows. The halfling barbarian finally charged up and with a mighty blow sliced the golem from left knee to right hip, ending the creatures rampage.

The heroes returned what was left of the golem to Imani in his tower to find him feeling better but obviously distressed. The orcs had come looking for the Staff of Chomylla, even being equipped with something to negate his wards, and now had the key to the Uvaeren treasures. After a little convincing the heroes took off in pursuit, easily picking up the trail of the orcs and following them to a ravine in the forest a couple of miles out of Hap, giving up attempts of stealth in favour of speed. The orc trial led into deep into the bramble choked ravine and an ominous cave mouth at its end.

The heroes take a moment to catch their breath and prepare to enter the orc lair……

Photo’s from the session

A great session from the get go, I was particularly impressed with Vipin’s attempt to bluff his way past the orcs as this was only his second ever session of D&D. All of the players are really getting into the habit of describing their actions more and more which leads into them feeling more in-character and being more inclined to RP.

Their faces when I placed the golem on the map (I used my flesh golem miniature from the Ravenloft board game) was a treat. Following from last week and discussion with other playtesters, I had decided that the monsters hit points needed upping and so gave each its maximum according to its hit dice. The orcs still went down fairly easily but didnt feel like minions this time.

Using the suggested “fleshing out” with the rampaging golem felt right with the orcs failed fire attack (classic Frankenstien’s monster reaction) and this week the session took more regular 2 hours.

The smaller group this week was no reflection on the playtest, as 2 players were ill, another was unfortunately babysitting. Hopefully they’re back with us next time.

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