D&D Encounters Season 14 – Search for the Diamond Staff – Session 5

Diamond-Staff001This weeks group consisted of  and we continue play using the D&D Next playtest rules

  • Shane – Elf Wizard (pregen)
  • Jodie – Halfling Rogue (pregen)
  • Tilly – Elf Ranger
  • Vipin – Half-orc Rogue
  • Liam – Dwarf Paladin

Having discovered Barcero’s interest in the Staff, the party decided to split up, with the Ranger leading the Wizard and halfling towards Peldan’s Helm while the dwarf and half-orc took the remaining Zhentarim horses and rode to meet Imani and apprise him of the developments. The half-orc tried to use Barcero’s offer to try and barter more out of Imani but the old sage held firm and urged the heroes that as an agent of the Shadovar, Barcero must not be allowed to acquire the Staff. The duo rode hard after their companions, rejoining them for the last part of the journey and reaching Peldan’s Helm without incident.

The heroes spread out within the pallisaded hamlet and made their casual enquiries as to recent visitors and passer-by’s. The wizard sensed a trace of the Staff’s essence and confirmed its passing by use of a Detect Magic spell. They managed to find out that a quintet of Zhentarim warriors passed by  a few days ago, the female leader carrying a wrapped object across her back that may have been the staff. The Zhent’s appeared to be heading for an area of the nearby woods known to have eirie chiming noises and inhabited by dangerous spider-like humanoids. As the heroes prepared to head off in pursuit of the Zhentarim one of the locals they had spoken to came rushing up to them and told them that he’d just remembered something that may be important. A group of grey cloaked monks led by a purple robed man also passed through this morning, heading in the same direction.

Approaching a clearing in the woods edge they came across this second group, apparantly ransacking a wooden lodge.  The paladin and ranger, now that they could see the men, recognised them as members of the Cult of the Dragon. The people they had “retrieved” the Staff of Chomylla from previously (see the Games Day event), unfortunately the mage leading the Cultists also recognised the heroes and was quick to order his men to attack.

The heroes were quickly surrounded by cultists, greatswords swinging, but thankfully most swung wildly and missed their mark. however the mage had no compunctions to ensure the safety of his own men and unleashed fireballs into the melee, taking down his beserkers as well as dropping the half-orc and wizard into unconsciousness. With the enemies reduced to a single warrior and the mage, the halfling rogue and ranger spread out into the fire-blasted woods and sent theiarrows and bolts at the mage. The paladin used his divine gifts to send healing energies into himself and fallen companions, bringing them back to consciousness before stepping to intercept the cultist warrior.

Dismayed at the lack of carnage his fireball had wrought the mage conjured another, once again engulfing the party and his remaining warrior. As the licking flames died down the cult warrior lay dead and the heroes all looked crispy, the half-orc and wizard once again lying motionless on the ground.

The ranger and halfling continued to rain bowfire at the mage while the paladin had to take time to channel more healing energy into himself. Seeing the tide turning with his own forces gone and the pesky adventurers still standing the mage threw up a wall of fire to delay pursuit as he started to flee, with the added bonus of catching the accursed paladin within the conflagration and finally dropped him into the welcoming embrace of waiting oblivion…. or so he thought.

As the mage began to run away the ranger pulled an arrow from her quiver, aiming up and over the fiery wall and with a quick prayer to Meilikki, fired……the shot flew true, coming down straight on the mage’s bold spot and dropping him dead.

The ranger and halfling quickly recovered the healers kit from the half-orc’s pack (the ranger also recovered her silver necklace) and used it to revive their companions and pulled them into the hunters lodge to take a brief rest in piece while they searched the cultists. Their endeavours yielded several gems and coins and the halfling found a wand of enemy detection on the fallen mage. Once rested the heroes continued on foot (their horses sadly, but tastily, roasted in the fireballs) and the ranger quickly found the Zhentarim tracks, following into the deepening gloom of the dense woods. Eventually coming upon the ruins of a shattered keep shrouded with spiderwebs, eight horses picketed nearby with their gear stacked neatly clearly showing the symbol of the Zhentarim. The heroes refresh their makeshift Zhent disguises in preparation of entering the ruins……

Photo’s from the session

Another fantastic session! With the heroes becoming very accutely aware that death is most definitely a possibility! I think our paladin used four of his five Hit Dice during the short rest. This was the first time we’ve had to look at the death and dying rules and I must admit they worked well, pc’s certainly aren’t as “indestrucible” as their 4e counterparts sometimes felt.

The cultist mage recognising the pc’s that took part in the Game Day adventure was a nice touch and served as another brilliant way of reinforcing the association between the two events tied storyline. I hope this will be a feature that continues in the upcoming sessions and seasons (looking at the list of future events I’m guessing it will).

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