D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Launch-Session 1
This week saw us descend upon Tabletop Tyrants on a Sunday afternoon for the Launch of D&D Encounters Season 17 Scourge of the Sword Coast. As usual I got down there a little earlier to get set up as I knew there were some other events happening in store too. However we were all delayed as the police had cordoned off the area following an incident in the wee small hours of the morning. Thankfully a really helpful lady officer was able to arrange access for us after only half an hours wait.
This season is only supplied with stats for use with D&DNext, but as we were continuing to run the playtest rules we were happy with that, and our second DM, Liam, returned to run the other table for this season.
We waited to allow any latecomers, but eventually started off and let the players choose how to split themselves between the tables. My table ended up with a dragonborn cleric, wood elf rogue, and high elf ranger (later joined on Wednesday by a halfling rogue).
So this write-up will cover the Sunday Launch event and this weeks Wednesday Session 1, my party consists of:-
- Sunyi – Mal, dragonborn cleric (Light domain).
- Adam – Gedrick Gladomain, high elf ranger.
- Tanis – Langar ‘Lan’ Shadowweaver, wood elf rogue.
- Tilly – Harrold ‘the halfpint’ Hopson, halfling rogue.
Having been resting between adventures in Waterdeep the heroes heard of Sir Isteval’s call for heroes aid in Daggerford and signed up as guards on a caravan heading south. As they travelled the caravan picked up refugees, many abandoning farmsteads following raids of goblinoids that were on the increase in both frequency and severity.
Pulling up for the penultimate night of their journey they spy one such abandoned farm a short distance away. While the rest of the travellers make camp the heroes investigate. They find tracks of goblins, gnolls and wolves, and even a severed bloody wolf’s paw before hearing something break from inside the farmhouse.
Tanis snuck forward and managed to observe a goblin rifling through the kitchen cupboards. Reporting this back to Mal and Gedrick the heroes they decide to split up. Lan and Mal return to the rear of the house and the kitchen door while Gedrick approached the main entrance. He called out in goblin that he knew they were in there but the only response was a goblin shouting back in broken common that they were fine and to go away. There was also a low growl coming from behind the door.
Lan took a sniping shot at the preoccupied goblin, killing it before it even hit the floor, and he and Mal entered the house as Gedrick was attacked outside by a goblin that had been masquerading as the farms scarecrow. The wolf that had been waiting in the entrance charged out to attack the ranger too, albeit gingerly as it had lost a paw. It barreled into Gedrick and managed to knock him off his feet and the goblin lookout proved to be quite adept with his sword.
Creeping upstairs, Lan discovers goblins in the two rooms, Mal tried to creep up too but wasnt as stealthy. Two goblins and their leader burst out onto the landing and attacked the heroes with swords and slings. While the two common goblins proved little problem their dual sword wielding leader took a little bit more effort before falling dead at their feet.
Gedrick meanwhile had despatched the ragged wolf but still traded blows with the wily goblin, thankfully a well-aimed bowshot from the farmhouse put an end to the greenskin. After a search for anything recoverable turned up nothing of consequence, they returned to the caravan.
While they camped, one of their fellow travellers (a chirpy halfling fellow called Curran) regaled the refugee children with tales including the origins of Daggerford, before their parents ushered them off to bed. Breaking camp next morning the caravan continued on to their destination.
Arriving at Daggerford the caravan and refugees found the gate blocked by a handful of militia, with several others watching from the town walls and more than a few locals within the gateway. Apparently Duke Maldwyn had decreed that no more refugees were to enter the town due to someone stealing the Delimbyr Bloke. Curran tried to assure the militia leader that as the caravan had just arrived it surely couldn’t be them. A heavily pregnant refugee woman and her husband begged for entrance, and the militia leader offered a compromise that those that could afford lodgings could enter. Mal quickly stepped forward and volunteered to pay for the couple to do so.
The heroes noticed one of the militia was acting very nervously, just before he fired his crossbow into one of the refugees and killed him. Before anyone could react Lan and Gedrick had the militiaman restrained on the ground and bound his hands. The commander took him into custody and asked the heroes to come see her next day.
Those that could afford to, entered the town and Curran offered to give the heroes a quick tour, which they accepted. Once they had the lay of the land he bid them good day. Gedrick chose to visit the tannery outside of town so as to have the pelt of the wolf he had slain cured and made into a cloak. Mal chose to seek out the Temple of Chauntea and after talking with the priestess, shared her concern over lack of contact with the nearby temple at Julkuon. Lan meanwhile bought some dice at the market and entered the Lady Luck tavern, gambling at dice and cards with other patrons before making a tidy profit. The heroes regrouped at the River Shining where they had rented rooms.
Before they retired for the evening they listened to the local gossip, hearing that the local tailor has been awaiting a cloth delivery from Julkuon for over a tenday, and that Sir Isteval had travelled north with his companion Kelson Darktreader in response to gnoll raids.
Next morning the heroes headed to the jail to talk to the militia leader whom they had found out was called Sherlen Miller. When they arrived she told them that Grengel (the man they had restrained) had been found dead in his cell this morning, having hung himself. She told the heroes that under questioning he had said he heard a womans voice in his head telling him to do it and could only watch as his body seemed to work on its own. While they talked the Priestess of Chauntea arrived in distress. The homing pigeons used to communicate with the Julkuon temple had all arrived together, and after using a speak with animals spell they had told her that their keeper released them and as they flew away they were shot at. Sherlen had been given the authority to hire mercenaries and offered the heroes the chance to investigate on behalf of the duke, and agreed to hire a rowboat for them to head up-river. She also gave them a map that Sir Isteval had left for such a occasion, long with a potion of healing – just in case. The priestess gave Mal one of her homing pigeons so the heroes could get word back quickly.
As they headed for their transport they passed the Duke and a handful of his men searching the shanty homes of some of the refugees. When the search proved fruitless the Duke stormed off in a huff.
The journey up-river was hard but thankfully uneventful and as night began to close in the heroes pulled ashore at the western dock and decided to approach on foot as stealthily as possible. Using burnt farm buildings and a surprisingly intact barn for cover they were able to observe crude guard towers each manned by a single goblin. Lan was able to sniper each of the goblins in turn without raising any alarms. They could see that goads and lilies had been placed around the outer palisade too and carefully made their way around to the main gates, again being able to take out the goblins on watch. Gedrick noticed several tracks leading away from the town, appearing to be those of shackled humans and hobgoblins heading north, slaves? Further around the palisade they discovered it had been breached and decided to enter that way, despite Mal falling through the crude wooden bridge into the moat.
Cautiously exploring they made it to the temple of Chauntea and discovered it abandoned and ransacked. The only nearby building showing signs of life was the Mill and as they peeked in the could see hobgoblins at rest. While Lan took up position opposite the doorway, Mal and Gedrick set the wall alight. The hobgoblins came running out and were engaged by the heroes. The six goblinoids soon lay dead on the floor, but not before the heroes took a major beating.
(This is where we left the adventure on Sunday, and picked it up from on Wednesday)
As they rummaged through the hobgoblins pockets they noticed a patrol of more goblinoids approaching to investigate the burning mill. This one consisted of a hobgoblin leading a hairy bugbear and half a dozen goblins. Gedrick charged into them and was immediately surrounded by the goblins, their wicked blades scoring several wicked strikes on him as he lay about with his own blade. Mal lit the bugbear up with a scorching ray and the beast roared in pain as it charged the dragonborn priest, hitting hard with its morning star.
Lan and Harrold used bowfire to bring down the hobgoblin while their companions fought on. Unfortunately Mal fell to the brutish onslaught of the bugbear before they eventually slew it. As Lan tried to stabilise the priest Gedrick’s final goblin foe tried to flee only to be brought down before it cleared the town square.
With Mal stable but still unconscious the other heroes withdrew to the temple priests room and barricaded themselves in. It took three hours for their dragonborn companion to come around and despite hearing other patrols, none came to investigate. As the heroes emerged they could see that the remaining fires at the mill had been put out, leaving a burnt shell. Using the buildings as cover the heroes scouted, finding another pair of guard towers and dealing with their occupants just as easily.
They decided to enchant an arrow with a light spell and fire it at the mill while using the temple as cover. Although the shot fell a little short it still attracted another patrol. They concentrated fire on the hobgoblin and goblin boss, dropping them easily as the remaining goblins returned fire with their slings and one scored a lucky crit on Mal. The bugbear was heavily damaged but ran off into the cover of the darkened alleys between buildings.
As the last few goblins got closer Gedrick leapt from the temple roof and charged them, easily finishing them off. Meanwhile the bugbear had worked his way around and charged the heroes hiding amongst the temple pillars. However Mal had no intentions of suffering at the hands of another of the hairy brutes and stabbed his spear through the beasts brain.
Pausing long enough to relieve the goblins of their valuables the heroes headed for he upper town finding the gate to have been axed open and roughly repaired. Lan climbed it and secured a rope to lower himself safely on the other side before throwing back for his allies to do the same. There were two more guard towers which the archers easily dealt with before the party headed towards the Jester’s Pride tavern.
And that was where we left it for this week. I’m definitely enjoying the more traditional style adventure of this season, and its nice to not have to juggle three possible plot lines simultaneously. With only having the four players this time around I havent been increasing the monsters hit points beyond the suggested averages and this still feels like it presents enough of a threat to not feel “super easy” for the players.