D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 3

ShardFirstly let me apologise for how late this post is but I’ve been a little busy. This weeks session was extra special for me as it was also my birthday (or as one of my friends said, my levelling up day) having reached the grand old age of 43, being at the game made me feel even older as most of the players are in their 20′s but that’s one of the wonderful aspects of this hobby – bringing all age groups together.

As usual down at Tabletop Tyrants we were running using the D&DNext playtest rules (if you haven’t already downloaded them then your too late as WotC have taken them down as they are now in the “endgame” of playtesting). This weeks party was:-

  • Tanis – Elf Mage
  • Sunyi – Tiefling Bard (I had previously listed him as an Elf in error)
  • Adam – Tiefling Mage
  • Richard – Half-orc Druid
  • Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
  • Vipin – Gnome Paladin
  • Shane – Half-orc Barbarian

The heroes were still celebrating Vipin’s victory in the drinking contest when a silhouette appeared in the taverns doorway. An impressive looking dwarf entered, flanked by several large built dwarven warriors, as he passed other tables the patrons sat respectfully silent. He nodded to the barkeeper and approached the heroes table. He introduced himself as Stokely Silverstream and asked if he could join them.

While the barkeeper brought over a round of drinks Stokely explained the situation with Bearick and the splintered dwarven people, he’d been informed about how the heroes had handled the trio of surly dwarves earlier and had a proposition for them. A group of his miners had gone to open up some long unused tunnels but hadn’t come back as expected. When a second group had gone to find them, all they discovered were signs of a struggle and a sense of foreboding. Stokely offered the party 200 gold coins if they could discover what had happened to the missing dwarves. Before the party could discuss it, Vipin drunkenly agreed on their behalf. Stokely arranged lodgings at Selda’s and told the heroes a guide would take them to the mine entrance in the morning, before taking his leave. Most of the heroes took advantage of the free lodgings to rest and prepare for the search, however Vipin decided to continue drinking with several dwarves who were only to happy to keep celebrating with the cheery gnome.

In the morning Vipin was surprisingly conscious and joined the rest of the party as they were led up the cleft of the dwarven valley. As they arched along they noticed on a couple of occasions that small groups of dwarves were watching them pass from other tunnel entrances up and down the eastern wall. Their guide left them at the tunnel entrance and wished them luck. The tunnel felt cramped for the taller members of the group but after a short run it opened into a chamber strewn with packs and mining equipment with a granite altar against one wall.

The altar was dedicated to Moradin and a brief examination revealed that the miners had been in a fierce struggle. A couple of the party picked up mining picks, in case they needed them later. They followed the tunnel deeper until they saw what appeared to be an arm hanging down from behind a roof support. Investigating they found it to be a severed dwarf limb but no sign of the rest of the body. Moving deeper they came to a junction, the tunnel continued ahead while the left side branch seemed to slope downward as it curved out of sight and the right side branch rose as it to curved. As they pondered their route they heard movement from the right and Vipin (still full of liquid courage) ran to investigate. The tunnel led into a roughly circular chamber and Vipin saw half a dozen dwarven figures milling around. As he called to them they turned and he could see to his horror they were zombies!

Vipin was quickly joined by Hannah, Shane, Adam and Sunyi while Richard and Tanis hung halfway down the corridor in case of more zombies (or worse). The heroes were doing well until as they downed one of the undead, it stood back up and fought on, then another, and another did so. Richard and Tanis’s fears were well founded as another group of shambling dwarven corpses approached the tunnel entrance along with another dark figure they couldn’t quite make out. Richard quickly dropped a flaming sphere into the corridor entrance to hold them back but something drove the zombies onward despite the burning of their flesh as they passed through the flames. Tanis decided to attack the mysterious figure with an acid arrow spell, smiling as the scent of acid-singed flesh mingled with the air. His joy was short-lived though as his target responded with magic of its own, and a bolt of lightning careened up the corridor to blast the pair of heroes.

Meanwhile the others had managed to destroy all but one of the first group of zombies, but one tenaciously kept getting back up after each blow until Adam brought his staff down on it with a crack and it finally stayed down. By this time Richard and Tanis had retreated to the chamber entrance and Richard had controlled his sphere to bring it past the zombies and burn them again. Still undeterred they came on, through the repositioned flames and into the reach of the waiting heroes. The extra crispy zombies didn’t do as well as their predecessors and were quickly despatched. The mystery figure had disappeared by this time, and Vipin called upon his divine gifts to reach out with his senses. He was rewarded with the sense of a group of undead somewhere below his current position. Without waiting for his allies, who were tending their numerous bite, claw and scorch marks, the intoxicated gnome charged down the tunnel and into the opposite one ……

Oh the look on their faces when the lightning bolt hit! I think it took Richard down to almost single figure hp as he failed his saving throw. Although we didn’t use a battle-grid I did draw a simple line sketch of the situation (though for next week I’m thinking my drywipe mat will be of use). I had one zombie which seemed to be invincible, making its save to keep fighting time after time (I do like that trait).

I think the lightning bolt was one of the first times the pc’s have felt truly threatened this season, especially as they didn’t know who (or what) had cast it.

Next week is our last session for a couple of weeks as our store wont be open on Christmas Day or New Years Day (I know right, the inconvenience) so planning on making it one to remember as it will also see us close Act 1 and allow the players to level up to 5th level over the break.

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