D&DEnc 16 – Legacy of the Crystal Shard – Session 9
Following a conversation with the players away from the gaming table, we agreed that the party just hadn’t felt “threatened” so far this season and after the disappointment of the skeletal dragons damage output I decided to fall back on the 1e/2e stats for this weeks monster and I think it definitely made the “oh shit!” factor even though, as we’ll see below, it wasnt responsible for the evenings casualty.
As always we were running the D&D Next playtest rules down at Tabletop Tyrants and this week had a table of 8 players:-
- Tanis – Elf Mage
- Adam – Tiefling Mage
- Richard – Half orc Druid
- Vipin – Gnome Paladin
- Sunyi – Tiefling Bard
- Shane – Half orc Barbarian
- Tilly – Elf Rogue
- Hannah – Half orc Fighter
Adam and Tanis completed their Identify ritual and discovered that the robes were dedicated to the Frostmaiden and would eventually prove fatal if worn by non-believers, Adam announced he would begin worshipping Auril and donned the robe but the powers that be didn’t feel any sincerity in his faith and his body began to feel very cold. His allies quickly tried to help his disrobe but the cuffs had frozen to his wrists so without warning Vipin set light to garment and it went up in a flash of blue flame, thankfully his demonic ancestry meant Adam was able to resist the worst of the conflagration. As the party regained their composure they could hear someone moving stealthily down the corridor outside. Thankfully, on investigation, they find it was just Tilly catching up with them after missing the caravan from Bryn Shander.
Hannah then decided to check out the double doors at the end of the corridor, opening them just enough to see another large dining area but most of the furniture had been moved aside apart from a pair of large tables that had been overturned to face the doors, she could just make out the movement of several figures behind them.
Tanis wasted no time in hurling a fireball at the group on the left and then strategically withdrew to the rear of the group and the half orcs lurched into the room. Richard used Thunderwave to remove the cover of the table, while Hannah and Shane move to engage the cultists on the right. Vipin steps forward to assist with healing following the cultists return attacks, and Sunyi and Tilly use their bows. Adam follows Tanis with another well placed fireball which deals with the left flank.
Hannah chases her opponent down and delivers a pair of crippling hits (a critical followed by action surge with another critical!) leaving little more than a smear of bone and blood while Shane still dukes it out with his foe.
Vipin charges across the room and flings the next set of doors wide, revealing what appears to be a kitchen of sorts with a huge central fire pit. Along with more opponents.
Tanis and Sunyi hang back while Adam moves forward and hurls more arcane assaults at the new foes. Vipin then uses misty step to bypass the cultists at the door and attack the figure on the other side of the fire pit, using his momentum to knock the man into the hot coals. As he lands on them, Vipin notices the surface ripples as if something moves beneath!
The mages begin targeting the behemoth but find their spells having limited effect, indeed Tanis suffers his own Magic Missiles reflecting back at himself and decides to back off. This proves prudent as the cult leader then conjures an icy version of fireball which catches several of the heroes in its blast.
The remorhaz keeps striking at Vipin but the gnomes size and armour help to prevent the worst of its attention.
With the cultists blasting another Iceball and dropping Shane unconscious to the ground, Hannah withdraws up the corridor. One of the cultists takes the opportunity to coup de grace Shane before retreating from the doorway.
Calling upon the might of Yondalla (that’s a phrase I never thought I’d be typing) Vipin smites the remorhaz with his attacks and surprisingly manages to wear it down before killing it.
The cult leader uses a hold person spell on Tanis and the elf stands helpless while his allies mop up the remaining cultists.
Vipin knocks the final cultist unconscious, with the intention of questioning him, as Adam animates Shane’s corpse as a new zombie companion, noticing as he does so that there is a hidden door in the corner of the dining room. Sending his new pet ahead the short tunnel leads to a small room whose only feature is the far wall taken up with a sheet of ice that glistens wetly as it seems to reflect images. Looking closer the heroes realise that the image isn’t a reflection but shows a great audience hall within a tower of black crystal. Not willing to investigate further they return to Vipin and his now conscious prisoner.
Through questioning they discover that the cultists were hatching the remorhaz with the hopes of releasing it amongst the villages of Ten Towns once it was full-grown. When they asked about the ice wall he tells them its some sort of portal to the Ice Queen’s castle. Asking if there’s anything else he can tell them he says “whatever you do don’t pull the lever” and motions to a small lever in the corner of the kitchen. Satisfied they can’t get anymore out of him one of the mages use shocking grasp to finish him off.
Vipin examines the lever but is unable to determine exactly what it does, Hannah nervously decides to wait in the corridor while someone pulls the lever. There is an ominous rumbling and then, oh no, the ceiling of the corridor Hannah is in collapses! The wily half orc maiden is luckily able to dive aside and avoid being crushed though. Adam commands zombie-Shane to open the doors in the kitchens south wall only to find that has also been blocked by fallen rubble.
Their only apparent exit being the ice wall/portal the heroes decide to lick their wounds and rest up before deciding on a course of action. Having looted the cultists bodies (and found nothing of interest), Sunyi decides to don one of the cultists robes and appears to suffer no ill effects, Adam decides to try one again – and once again the cuffs freeze to his wrists but nothing else seems to happen so he happily puts up with it.
This was were we left it, having gone a little over our 2 hour slot. They had definitely felt a threat with the cult leaders spells and the remorhaz, hopefully once the monster math is finalised within next this wont be such an issue. I think the use of the battlegrid/map helped visualise this sessions fight a little more though it does mean combat can devolve into a bit of a board game, though at least with the playtest rules it still flows reasonably quickly.
I have told the players to level up to 6th level ready for next session, and we shall move on to Act 3 and the final stages of this season.