D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Launch Event
This weekend saw our regular Wednesday evening D&D Encounters group descend upon our FLGS, Tabletop Tyrants, for the launch event of the latest installment in the Sundering – Season 16 of Encounters, Legacy of the Crystal Shard. Set in Icewind Dale, familiar to players of the pc games and readers of the Drizzt series of novels by R A Salvatore (indeed he was one of the co-authors of the adventure) our heroes begin escorting a caravan (for whatever reasons, known to themselves and shared only if they wish to do so) to the isolated community of Ten-Towns.
Although turn out wasnt as big as we originally hoped we still had enough to make two tables, both running using the D&D Next playtest rules as we have been doing for the past couple of seasons. One thing we had decided to do differently was to let players carry their characters over from the last adventure if they chose to (or create new level 4 ones) and this meant that myself and Liam (our other DM) would need to modify the adventure ourselves as its set (as usual) for 1st level pc’s.
The adventure begins with the caravan on the last stage of its journey and pushing hard to make the safety of Bryn Shander before nightfall. Unfortunately they are ambushed by a pair of crag cats, a species of sabre-toothed cat native to the Dale.
The players designated which of the half-dozen carts they were on (I had already rolled to see which the cats would be attacking) and rolled perception WIS checks to see if they had spotted the wily beasts as they approached. Two of the players spotted them and while one shouted a warning to everyone else, the other cast a Barkskin spell upon himself. The cats leapt at the carts, one slashing at the horses on the last cart while the other dragging the driver clean off his seat to the floor beyond.
Shane, Richard and Tanis (yes, his parents were Dragonlance fans) chose to attack the cat standing over the guard from a “safe” distance with missile fire but this didn’t deter the beast from biting the throat out of its stunned victim.
Tilly also chose to shoot her bow at the remaining cat, distracting it from savaging the horses any further (though they were panicking and quickly caused the cart to overturn with their thrashing in their harnesses), as the cat turned its attention to her she tried to hide with the aid of her Cloak of Elvenkind. Unfortunately the cat had her scent and pounced at her.
Richard and Shane both switched to their melee attacks and closed with their cat, while Tanis took up a “strategic position” under a cart and continued to provide covering bowfire. Their combined assaults quickly bloodied the animal and it managed to disengage before sprinting off into the snow.
Realising her cloak wasnt much help Tilly slashed ineffectually at the cat beside her before using her cunning action to dive beneath the cart. The cat followed, unwilling to let a tasty morsel get away, its huge furred paw reaching under the cart after her.
Shane ran between the carts to assist Tilly as Richard and Tanis supported and the heroes were able to bring the beast down. The caravan leader was eager to get back under way before further incidents befell them but the last cart was still overturned. Its owner unwilling to abandon his goods to the elements and any passing brigands. The caravan leader wouldn’t wait and left it up to the heroes as to whether they stayed or left with him. Tanis and Tilly accompanied the caravan while Shane and Richard remained to help the stricken cart. They were quickly able to right the cart, and under the owners supervision repair the damaged wheel and calm the injured horse (Tanis had cast a Cure Wounds spell on it before leaving) and with a determined effort managed to catch up to the caravan shortly thereafter.
Thankfully Tanis and Richard were playing a ranger and druid respectively, and made Nature lore checks, realising that yetis has a vulnerability to fire, so Richard summoned a Flame Blade to fight with.
The battle was going well until some of the yetis were able to mount the walls, overcoming the guards atop (during the fight some of the yetis attempted to dive off the walls onto the heroes, but thankfully succeeded only in hitting the floor – hard!).
As further yetis swarmed the walls a huge one with obsidian black claws stormed the gate. Richard summoned a Flaming Sphere and used it to block the beasts way while Shane and Tanis tackled it in melee. The beast slashed Tanis heavily and the elf ranger withdrew so as to be able to heal himself.
As the heroes concentrated their attacks on the larger abomination, the lesser ones began to rip up the stones of the wall and tower and pelt them with them. But as the large yeti fell to the heroes blows it gave a mournful howl and the remaining smaller yetis fled back into the snowy wilderness.
And that was where we left it, ready to continue this Wednesday evening with our regular Encounters slot, fingers crossed the ordered copies of our adventures actually arrive in time (though we have contingency plans in place). The session had taken 3 hours to play out, despite the lauch packs giving an estimate of 2 plus time for character creation. Our players had all created their characters before hand (or carried them over as mentioned above). I think it was nice for the players to face monstrous foes as well, as the last adventure was mainly facing against townsfolk/guardsmen, and they didn’t feel they had to “hold back from killing”.
Being a huge fan of the setting myself I’m really looking forward to how this season pans out and reporting it here.