D&D Encounters Season 12 – Against the Cult of Chaos – Session 2
Having had a restful night at the inn the heroes set off on the 4 hour march to the ruined keep suspected of being the bandits lair. As they approached they noticed a pair of huge frogs which broke into a loud chorus of croaking as they neared.
In an effort quiet the nearest of the frogs they approached only for it to lash its sticky tongue out and drag one of them nearer so that it could bite them. While a couple of them tackled the guard-frogs the runepriest and hunter approached the keep itself. The runepriest was quickly called back to aid his companions as they had taken considerable damage before despatching the frogs.
As the group turned their attention to the keep and most of them entered the courtyard the bandits sprung their trap and arrows filled the air. The rogue was soon lying unconscious on the floor as the battlemind teleported beside his attacker and smashed him with his maul.
The bandit archers continued to rain their deadly volleys as three more villains appeared, a pair of rough-looking dwarves and a scarred female halfling. The battlemind charged the halfling, backing her into her room as one of the dwarves followed behind. It looked like the mighty goliath was going to cave the halflings skull in but at the last-minute the wily little bandit spun away and suffered only a glancing blow.
Meanwhile the hunter and the genasi had snuck up to the eastern wall breach and discovered the trip wire within. The hunter was content to stand back and return arrow fire on any bandits she could pick out behind their cover so the genasi swordmage tried to bypass the trap. Unfortunately setting it off but luckily evading the alchemists fire it rained down. He managed to enter the courtyard as the runepriest came over the drawbridge, both drawing fire from the bandits and engaging the other dwarf.
It was beginning to look grim as almost all the heroes became bloodied (or worse) but then both the dwarves fell, freeing those on the courtyard to chase down the remaining archers as the battlemind and the paladin (who had gone round and in through the western breach) battered the halfling into surrendering.
http://www.meetup.com/EMRPGG/photos/13270872/ (photos from early session)
The heroes were released from their jail cell and headed off to the moathouse. The minotaur warden upon noticing the nearest frog decided to try and use his nature skills and calm it. Bending forward and calling out “who’s a good little froggie-woggie then” and such, to which the frogs response was to splat his tongue on the hairy forehead and pull the surprised warden into the pond.
The heroes despatched the frogs with relative ease before deciding to sneak in via the western wall breach. Discovering it was defended by a bandit archer who the other minotaur smeared into the wall with his goring charge. As they made to move into the upper courtyard they discovered more archers as well as a dwarf with a wicked looking mining tool and dagger laden halfling.
The heroes quickly shut the door, keeping themselves hidden in the northwestern room for a few minutes while they reasoned their plan. Then bursting out to tackle their foes……who had taken the opportunity to reposition themselves into cover and proceeded to pepper the now exposed heroes.
The dwarf had hidden on a descending set of stairs and charged up to engage the minotaurs, bloodying the warden. The halfling had hidden on the stairs that should have led up to the ruined upper floor and danced around the other minotaur as she threw daggers at the hairy hulk and moved towards the lower courtyard.
As the heroes pounded the dwarf into unconsciousness the halfling ordered the remaining archer to cover her escape just as the hexblade’s eldritch energies sucked the very life out of him. Despite having a slight lead the minotaurs caught up to the halfling at the keeps ruined gates and after a severe pounding demanded she surrender, swearing by the old gods that she would get a fair trial back in Hommel Lane. Seeing her chances of outrunning the hulking brutes she quickly agreed.
Both groups had chosen the same route making my preparation easier but as it shows above both tackled the adventure in different ways. In the second session I deliberately moved the halflings room just incase anyone had “overheard” the earlier group. The early group had six players and found it a challenge, overrunning our time slot by about twenty minutes, but this could have been down to the fact that we had two new players, of which one had never played D&D at all but as one of the wargamers in store had watched us and wanted to try. Happily he wishes to continue with us. The late group was unfortunately low on numbers and so I removed some of the opponents. It was still a challenge as they had no definitive healer, finishing at roughly the same position as the other group with about five minutes before the store wanted to close.
Next session will be a combined group due to work commitments, so should be between seven and nine players! One of the things I’m really liking about this season is the opportunity for DM’s to be able to adapt to situations like this and modify the sessions like a traditional adventure. The feedback I’ve got so far from my players backs this up too, and I hope this continues with future seasons.