D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 2
Another full table this week at Tabletop Tyrants with seven players and myself as DM (unfortunately Liam was unable to attend – feel better soon mate) and although Tilly had missed last week for the sake of brevity we just ignored that and continued from where we had finished last time. As usual we ran with the D&DNext playtest rules.
- Shane – Half-orc Barbarian
- Tanis – Elf Mage
- Sunyi – Elf Bard
- Hannah – Half-orc Fighter
- Adam – Tiefling Mage
- Richard – Half-Orc Druid
- Vipin – Gnome Paladin
- TIlly – Elf Rogue
After spending a cold night camping out on the tundra of the Dale, while the rest of the party prepared to break camp, Richard took the form of a hawk so as to get their bearings and the lay of the land. From his vantage point he could tell they were about an hour and a half from the dwarven valley and about six hours north of Bryn Shander. He also noticed a small group of figures heading in the general direction of his companions but before he could land they fired bows at him, one managing to hit him with what appeared to be an arrow made of an icicle! Quickly returning to camp he resumed his normal form and told the others what he had seen. Tilly, Tanis, Adam and Richard tried to hide among the snowbanks (though only Tanis and Tilly had any success) while the rest boldly prepared to engage the newcomers should they approach.
Having followed the path of the hawks flight the figures soon arrived, and they party could see that they looked like goblins though having a bluish-white tint to their skin rather than the usual green found in warmer climes. Tanis conjured a flaming sphere and managed to scorch two of the half-dozen frost goblins, receiving an icicle arrow for his trouble. Sunyi began playing his mandolin with a rousing call to battle as Hannah, Shane and Vipin closed with their foes. Realising his attempt at hiding was a failure (due to a n icicle arrow narrowly missing him) Adam hurled an acid arrow back at his opponent as Tilly returned bowfire.
The goblins gave up on their bows, drawing maces made of carved ice, half were already engaged in melee and the others charged towards Tanis, Adam and Tilly – though the one running towards Tanis managed to slip over and end up face first in the snow at the elf’s feet. The remainder of the fight was brutally brief and ended with Adam cracking the skull of the prone goblin at Tanis’s feet. Not wanting to wait and see if any more goblins were nearby the heroes followed Richard’s directions and set off towards the dwarven valley – or so they thought.
Their sense of direction was a little off and with the wind and falling snow they were already on the lower slopes of Kelvin’s Cairn before they realised their mistake. As they adjusted their course they heard the approach of a trio of dwarves, arguing amongst themselves. The leader of the trio seemed pleasant enough bit one of his companions bore an axe that looked as if made of a black crystalline substance and he took offence at being halted to talk to strangers, especially half-orcs! Luckily Vipin was able to smooth the situation and got directions to the entrance of the valley before bidding the dwarves farewell.
The valley entrance was guarded by a pair of sturdy stone towers manned by several dwarves armed with impressive crossbows while another pair of well-armed dwarves barred their way and asked why they were there. Again the heroes were able to talk their way in and even got one of the younger dwarves to act as a guide to show them to the dwarven settlement. Despite several sidelong glances, they encountered no hostility as they purchased some supplies before heading to a tavern.
While the rest of the party took a table and relaxed, Sunyi and Hannah decided to try and make a few extra coins and set up a game of “Find the Lady”, the dwarf they cajoled into playing won the first round and readily agreed to try double-or-nothing but when he lost, he asked for one more chance to make his coin back, Sunyi agreed but wanted to raise the stakes to a nice round ten gold pieces. The dwarf checked his purse, he couldn’t really afford to lose another ten gold but was pretty sure he knew how the game was worked now and so agreed. As Sunyi pulled the stack of his winnings towards him and shared them with Hannah, the dwarf glumly left the bar wondering to himself how he was going to explain it to his waiting wife.
Meanwhile a group of three dwarves sporting more of the black axes had entered the tavern and taken a table near the party. Drinks were flowing and they were steadily getting louder with comments such as “Stokely refuses to protect whats ours”, and “whats found by dwarves should be for dwarves”. They got rowdier and soon comments were coming aimed at the heroes “Stokely’ll let anything in here, its un-dwarf-like to drink with tree-hugging elves and their half-bred farm animals!”, Vipin tried to calm the situation by engaging one of the dwarfs in a drinking competition but before he could suggest it Tanis emptied his flagon over the nearest ones head and the trio exploded with anger.
One flipped the table over in rage as the beer drenched dwarf swung his meaty fist at the elf mage and his other companion decided to do the same to Hannah. Tilly and Sunyi busied themselves seeing if any other patrons wanted to place bets on the ruckus while Adam conjured a glowing sigil on the floor around the feet of the table-tossing dwarf. The dwarf’s eyes opened wide and with a shout of “the devil-spawn’s summoning demons!” he ran screaming out into the street.
As the brawler’s continued Richard and Tanis tried to use hold person magics to halt the dwarves, succeeding in forcing one to stop fighting and as the remaining heroes surrounded the last dwarf Sunyi’s silver tongue managed to force him to reconsider his position, with Vipin offering to settle thing with his drinking contest idea. The dwarf begrudgingly agreed on the terms that he face the gnome and loser left the tavern with his companions and no repercussions. The barkeeper brought over a tray loaded with glasses of some locally brewed spirit, setting down on the righted table with a muttered warning of “don’t spill it on the woodwork” before retreating to his bar. Having trained for a short time with the druids of his people, Tanis surreptitiously used his magic to bolster Vipin’s resistance to the liquour as the pair downed their first glasses. After the third glass the dwarf was breathing heavily, and following the fourth he could barely reach for the fifth, Vipin meanwhile looked to be thoroughly enjoying himself and none the worse for wear. Downing the fifth glass the dwarf put his empty glass on the table with a grin, and seconds later fell face first onto the table with a glazed face. Vipin calmly swallowed his fifth glass’ contents and placed his empty upturned on his opponents hairy head (though when he got to his feet it was a little unsteadily), the remaining dwarf pulled his inebriated ally roughly to his feet and dragged him out of the tavern.
Several of the remaining patrons congratulated Vipin on his “victory” and with the excitement over the tavern returned to normal.
Time had caught up with us, so that was where we left it for this week. Though it might have felt that we hadnt “achieved” much we had used all three of the “pillars of D&D” – Exploration, Interaction, Combat – so I feel that we had a successful session. As other DM’s on the forums have found, with the openness of the adventure and not knowing which way the players are going to go in advance the only prep you can do is to read up on whats likely to occur in the area their in and be ready to “wing it” if needs be. Not an easy task, but thankfully after thirty-plus years of DMing, do-able.
Next week with word of the heroes bar-room exploits spreading there may be someone with a proposition for them.