D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 10
The players (should) have levelled up to 6th ready for this session and as with last time, I had “upped” the bad guys in advance too. Before the session started I drew out the Audience Hall on my battlemat, and then Tilly noticed that it looked a little like a Cyberman from Dr Who (and proceeded to draw the “handlebars” on the side).
As usual down at Tabletop Tyrants, we ran using the D&D Next playtest rules and the regular party were:
- Tanis – Elf Mage
- Sunyi – Tiefling Bard
- Tilly – Elf Rogue
- Adam – Tiefling Mage
- Shane – Human Mage
- Vipin – Gnome Paladin
- Hannah – Half orc Fighter
- Richard – Half orc Druid
Having taken their burial as an opportunity to rest and recuperate the heroes then turn their attentions to the ice wall that seemed to show an audience hall beyond it. Sunyi used his arcana knowledge to determine that it should act as some sort of portal to the place seen but still didn’t know how to activate it. Adam commanded his zombie to walk through the ice and the mindless beast simply bounced off. Vipin tried pushing on the ice but it wouldn’t give, but when Sunyi and Adam tried their arms passed through without resistance. Sunyi continued all the way through, disappearing from his companions sight. Keeping his arm “in” the portal Adam commanded the zombie through once more and the creature followed the bard. Realising they had little other choice the rest of the party followed suit.
They emerged in the audience hall they had seen, but could now see that it was built entirely of the strange black ice. Richard turned to make sure they could travel back through the portal if necessary only to find it wasnt there. Adam also realised that his zombie hadn’t survived the journey intact as it lay lifeless on the floor. The heroes realised they weren’t alone either. A pair or steep staircases circled the chamber leading to an upper floor and framing a dais with a large ornate throne. However these features weren’t what caught their attention.
Seated on the throne was a huge man dressed in the garb of the tundra tribes with a massive axe resting across his lap as he stared at his new arrivals. Half a dozen similarly dressed warriors stood around the room as well as another half-dozen hulking orc warriors interspersed amongst them. There was also a robed human tied to one of the pillars supporting the vaulted ceiling.
The figure on the throne turned out to be King Gunvald and he demanded to know who the new arrivals were and why they had come to the tower of the Frostmaiden. The heroes discerned that some form of ensorcellment was in effect which could explain why these usual enemies were apparently working side by side. Quick thinking Sunyi stepped forward in his robes of Auril and declared that he had brought new devotees to the goddess and it looked like they were going to get away with it until one of the guards noticed the paladins holy symbol of Yondalla and pointed it out to the king.
The plucky gnome stepped forward and challenged the king to trial by combat, and Sunyi surreptitiously cast Suggestion to convince the king to accept. Standing up to his full almost 7 foot height the mighty barbarian king accepted and charged at the diminutive figure before him.
While the two battled Sunyi used his performance skills to hide his use of a bardic tune to enhance Vipin’s combat prowess, and Tilly cut the ropes holding the human mage (Shane) free.
Unfortunately one of the warrior guards noticed the mage had been freed and fired his bow at the prisoner, but luckily Adam (still wearing a robe of Auril) stepped between them and convinced the warrior to watch his mighty king. Vipin proved mightier than his stature alluded and soon stood over the corpse of the fallen king and Sunyi was quick to declare “The goddess has spoken and shown the gnome is worthy” and despite a possible riot when Adam donned the dead kings bearskin cloak ( quickly removed by one of the half orcs by force) the heroes were allowed to ascend the stairways to present the new champion to the Frostmaiden.
Well, what could have been a bloody and brutal battle turned into one of the most entertaining RP heavy sessions of the entire season so far, indeed giving Sunyi’s bard and his silvery tongue a real chance to shine. I was surprised by their ingenuity and happy to let them try a non-combat solution to the encounter. The session ended a little earlier than usual but rather than start the following encounter I felt it better to cut it there.
In the instances where the players (Sunyi in particular) wanted to cast without startling the wary barbarians I had them roll performance or stealth checks to remain unnoticed and it worked quite nicely, something I find increasingly fun to do within the playtest rules especially on the fly.