Archive for 5e

D&D life – living to DM

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , on June 13, 2017 by vobeskhan

So as many of you will know I organise, DM and on rare occasions play D&D at my local store (Tabletop Tyrants) here in Leicester, as well as now and then online using Roll20.net.

Well back towards the beginning off the year I was on Roll20’s looking for game forum and saw a couple of posts regarding DM’s for hire, and looked into what it entailed. Basically players could hire the DM in question to games or them (either one offs or for ongoing campaigns) and I considered doing so myself.

Now at the time nothing came of it, despite having had a couple of enquiries including one to run a game in person at a stag weekend. However, fast forward to a few months later and I decide to try again and this time I had a bit more luck.

I’m now running two regular games as a paid DM and looking to begin a third in a couple of weeks time.

Game 1 is a fortnightly Thursday evening game running the “Lost Mines of Phandelver” from the Starter set.

Game 2 is a two weeks on, one week off rota on a Saturday afternoon/early evening running the “Storm Kings Thunder” adventure.

Game 3 will be a fortnightly Tuesday evening game running a homebrew adventure in the Forgotten Realms but using bits and pieces from some of the older edition adventures I have at my disposal.

I’ve also ran a one-off Adventurers League adventure on request and may well do so again should the opportunity arise.

This is all in addition to my in-store “Encounters” (I know the Adventurers League doesn’t call them that any more but I do) running 3 tables on fortnightly basis over two weeks (Tuesday. Wednesday and opposite Wednesday); and my once a month AL game for the Hackspace group (also running the “Lost Mines” adventure).

Am I mad? Quite possibly, but I enjoy DMing and while I continue to do so I’m happy to carry on until they lock me up 🙂

So, who brought the dice?

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D&D online campaign – Domains of Dread episode 1

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by vobeskhan

RavenloftLogoWith the release of the current D&D hardback adventure “Curse of Strahd” conversations within our group turned inevitably towards the history of Ravenloft. With it being one of my favourites I was able to supply much information including the fact that there were so many more dark domains than just Barovia, each with its own Darklord, some of which were possibly even worse than Strahd!

I offered to run a campaign for several of my friends using the latest version of the rules (5e) but running converted versions of my collection of 2e Ravenloft materials. We knew if would be difficult to get everyone together at our local store (where we play Encounters and Expeditions) with our various schedules and I also wanted to make sure that the guys that usually have to man the shop had the opportunity to play too. So we decided to run it over the brilliant Roll20 virtual tabletop and then to live stream it from one of the players points of view.

It took me about a month of preparation due to other projects but once I had things in place we were able to sort a date out to run and we were set. Despite the preparations we still had a few teething problems getting to grips with the technology (one of the players being unable to access the tabletop and audio from his tablet, resulting in his character not really taking part in the first session). Hopefully we’ll be able to sort these out in time for the next session.

We also agreed that we would run an open game rather than the Adventurers League rules version that we play for Encounters and Expeditions, this meant that not only were all player options available, but players had the option to roll their stats (roll 4d6 drop the lowest, 6 times and assign as you wish, roll three sets and pick the one you need). The only restriction being exercising my DM option to deny multi-classing. All begin at 1st level but I’m reasonably certain they’ll reach a level up quickly.

So who do we have in our ragtag bunch of misfits and miscreants?

  • Aran Swiftshout, human Ranger – Liam
  • Goragal, half-orc Barbarian – Jon
  • Odin Ironbeard, mountain dwarf Tempest Cleric – Lee (once he gets his technology sorted)
  • Odion, human Monk – Alastair
  • Solun Ryka, aasimar Bard – Tim
  • Talios Eversong, high elf Mage – Jack
  • Sun ‘o’ War, half-orc Druid – Emily

 

I would pre-warn you that the video/live stream will contain adult language etc so may not be suitable for everyone or for viewing in public.

 

We have been discussing dates for the next installment and currently have it pencilled in for Saturday 13th August 7pm (UK time), when it will once again be streamed live at www.twitch.tv/everoth so feel free to watch our continuing shenanigans.

Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide – my review

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by vobeskhan

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This is the first release from WotC that is neither a core rulebook nor an adventure arc and it’s what I have been waiting for – a campaign guide for the Forgotten Realms. While it doesn’t cover the entire realms as previous editions did, it does concentrate on the (as the title suggests) Sword Coast which is where the story/adventure arcs have been located thus far.

 

The book is split into five chapters and an appendix:

  • Chapter 1: Welcome to the Realms
  • Chapter 2: The Sword Coast and the North
  • Chapter 3: Races of the Realms
  • Chapter 4: Classes
  • Chapter 5: Backgrounds
  • Appendix: Class Options in the Other Worlds

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The preface gives a brief outline of the book, including its origins back in the days of TSR owning D&D, but its main content is the full colour map of the Sword Coast. While it’s a great map it has a few niggling issues for me – it would have been better as an included fold-out poster, as my second issue is that with the way the book is bound part of the map is obscured where it crosses over the pages.

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Chapter 1: Welcome to the Realms

 

This chapter gives us an overview of the post-Sundering Realms and even tells us briefly of the lands beyond the Sword Coast (I’m hoping we’ll get further guides for some of these areas, especially as the Expedition adventures are all set around the Moonsea region which isn’t covered in this book).

 

We also get details on the calendar of the Realms and its currencies which will add immense flavour to games, but I think the most important section here is the pantheons of the Realms. Descriptions of the numerous gods and their folios, as well as those associated with particular races too present more flavourful options to those of us that play clerics etc (Oh you’re a cleric of the god of War, which one?)

 

Chapter 2: The Sword Coast and the North

 

As you’d expect this is detailing the environs and inhabitants of the Sword Coast (and the North, who’d have guessed). It features some nice maps of the locations including city layouts, one of my favourite being a post-Sundering map of Neverwinter.

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This whole section is absent of actual rules, being all fluff information for bringing the locations to life but leaving enough latitude for individual DM’s to make them their own.

 

Chapter 3: Races of the Realms

 

While not giving new playable races as such it adds a Realms flavour to the existing races available, old school Realms-players/dm’s will remember elves being known as Sun elf, Moon elf etc and the details such distinctions are here. My personal favourites being the Ghostwise Halflings of the Chondalwood and the variant Tiefling racial traits.

 

Chapter 4: Classes

 

This section covers not only how the existing classes function and are represented within the Realms but also brings us a few new things too.

 

The dwarf-only Barbarian path of the Battlerager will be instantly recognisable by readers of the R A Salvatore books, the legacy of Pwent will live on. The other barbarians also get some additional Totem Spirits as the Uthgardt and Reghed Barbarians are a prominent feature of the area.

 

Bards have long been associated with one of the major power groups in the area, the Harpers, and we now get information and options on the Bardic Colleges and some of the common (and not so common) musical instruments of the Realms.

 

As the Realms has two very prominent gods of Magic (Azuth and Mystra) we get the Arcana Domain for Clerics. We also get information on the Druid Circles of the Realms, and how they interact with the Harpers and Emerald Enclave.

 

Fighters gain access to the Purple Dragon Knight martial archetype, this I couldn’t quite see why it was included as the Purple Dragons are a staple of Cormyr which isn’t part of the Sword Coast and surely would have been better kept for a later sourcebook detailing that area, I would also have thought they would have been more suited to being a Paladin archetype but I guess not all Knights need to be holy warriors.

 

Monks of the Realms are not your usual type (pseudo oriental kung fu masters), that’s not to say they aren’t schooled in the ways of martial combat, they just don’t all have shaved heads and orange robes. The book gives us information on a few Monastic Orders of the Realms (some of which will be familiar) and two new Monastic Traditions – the Way of the Long Death, and the Way of the Sun Soul.

 

Paladins are a more tolerant lot in the Realms, dependant on their particular faiths tenets. Here we have the common “code of conduct”. The chapter contains information on a trio of Paladin Orders, one of which (Order of Samular) will be familiar to those that played the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure, as well a new Oath for paladin characters, the Oath of the Crown.

 

Rangers surprisingly get short shrift in this section, despite being abundant across the wilds of the Sword Coast and the North. The only additional information we get is regarding the deities associated with the different racial archetypes of Rangers. I was kind of hoping for at least one optional “path” and perhaps more suggested animal companions here, but nope.

 

Rogues however get two new archetypes, the Mastermind, a real schemer and person of influence which I can see being great for city based campaigns of intrigue and political maneaouvering, and one I have been waiting for, the Swashbuckler. Duellist extraordinaire and all done with a roguish smile and wink for the ladies. I can see this being a firm favourite very quickly.

 

Sorcerers, while note being one of my favourite classes, have been a staple in the Realms since 2nd Edition and the appearance of wild magic during the Time of Troubles (oh how I laughed when the party wizard cast his fireball, seeing his little face light up when I told him it was maximum effect, and then see it turn to horror as I add that its centred on himself). To accompany the origins of Wild and Draconic Magic we get the new Storm Sorcery.

 

Warlocks get a good section on possible patrons for the Archfey, Fiend and Old One paths as well as the new Otherworldly Patron – the Undying – Warlocks of the Undead, how could that possibly go wrong?

 

The section on Wizards gives us two wizardly groups – The Red Wizards and the War Wizards – neither of which are traditionally associated with the Sword Coast (Red Wizards are from Thay, and War Wizards are from Cormyr), though the Red Wizards did make in-roads in gaining ground during the Sundering adventures (particularly around Neverwinter and Daggerford). We get a new take on another old Realms favourite Arcane Tradition – the Elven Bladesinger. The chapter then closes out with four new cantrips (available for Sorcerers, Warlocks and Wizards).

 

Chapter 5: Backgrounds

 

This chapter presents some Realms-flavoured Background choices to use instead of those presented in the Players Handbook; some are variations on existing ones while others (Far Traveller, Faction Agent to name a couple) are a little different.

 

Appendix: Class Options in the Other Worlds

 

This section gives notes on how to adapt the information from this book to be useable in the other Campaign Settings (which will hopefully eventually get their own full guides), such as Dragonlance, Eberron, Greyhawk, or a “Homemade” world.

 

Overall this book is a nice addition to the options available for players and DM’s alike, while the new class options will be of more use to players, the overall world information will be invaluable to both to bring their Realms adventures to life.

 

One important thing to note though, at this point in time, none of the class options are currently “legal” for play in the Organised Play events such as Encounters and Expeditions – though word is that there is an update coming to the Adventurers League Players Guide “soon” which will address which (if any) will be allowed in due course (I’m not going to restart the Aaracockra argument).

 

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 9-10

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300Down at Tabletop Tyrants this week we continued with chapter 3 of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

We picked up where we’d left the players, preparing to examine the chest in front of the five headed dragon fresco. Sarah’s rogue realised it had some form of trap which they believed was linked to the holes in the maws of the dragon heads. They decided to remove the fingers from the dead beserkers and stuff them into the holes.

At this point one of them noticed that most of the depictions of dragons on the walls were of black dragons (though the other chromatics were shown in lesser numbers and prominence).

As an added precaution Daniel tied a rope around the chest and while Lee “bravely” waited on the stairs, the rest of the heroes pulled the chest away from its resting place. It slid relatively easily but there was a loud snap as a trip wire attached underneath broke, followed by a grinding noise as stone slabs dropped in the entryways and sealed the room (Lee’s paladin effectively locked out). Then the sound of liquid rushing through tubes could be heard just before each of the black dragons mouths began spewing acid out and onto the floor. It splashed those too slow to react, but worse still, as it hit the floor it reacted with the stonework and gave off caustic fumes that burned the eyes and lungs.

A glut of failed saving throws saw half the party fall unconscious (and another of Patrick’s sprites die horribly) before the remaining conscious heroes (and Lee) broke through the stone (just as the trap ran its course and retracted the remains of the slabs).

After reviving their allies Sarah disabled a second trap on the chest and they were able to loot it before retreating back to the kobold barracks but as they got there they ran into a group of flying kobolds and a guard drake. After a brutal but brief fight the heroes were able to take a short rest in peace.

Once sufficiently ready they headed back through the upper chamber and into the area where they encountered the bats and stirges, and “surprise”, another quartet of stirges struck though they bounced off everyone except Patrick. Thankfully without bat-cover the bloodsuckers were quickly dealt with and the party explored the far end which appeared to descend in stages until it ended in a foul-smelling refuse area. The slight glint of metal enticed Daniel to investigate with Sarah providing cover and everyone else took another short rest. Daniel discovered a pouch with some semi-precious stones in but was ambushed by a group of troglodytes who had also decided to investigate the area from their tunnels. Despite being better armed and Sarah’s covering fire only 2 trogs fell before the rest dropped Daniel and fled back to their tunnels (with the pouch of stones) – I did ask if the rest of the party wanted to break their rest and assist but no-one chose to 🙂

By the time they revived Daniel, Patrick had summoned another sprite and Daniel convinced him to send it down the tunnel to see where the trogs had taken his gems (a true dwarf). Unfortunately, even invisibility didn’t help the sprite as Patrick rolled typically abysmally on its stealth and it got ambushed by the trogs – the last mental image Patrick got was of the trogs pulling the tiny feys wings off.

The party investigated the next set of stairs finding them blocked by a leather strip curtain, still annoyed about the gems Daniel grabbed a handful and yanked it aside – getting the poisoned barbs jammed into his palm. Sarah used her rogue skills to remove them as painlessly as possible and the party carefully made their way into the chamber beyond. A quick search of the area turned up nothing other than the “meat” hanging there.

The heroes trudged back through the tunnels to the temple area and as they crossed it a pair of ambush drakes charged out of the western alcove, thankfully the heroes focused on taking them out one at a time so as to negate their pack tactics.

Sarah then stealthed into the chamber to the east before returning to report seeing a pair of large egg shapes. Lee and Jack decided to drag the dead drakes in (in case they needed to distract someone/something and were surprised when a quartet of kobolds lobbed ceramic pots at them. Thankfully they were able to dodge aside and the pots broke open on the dead drakes, spilling their sticky contents over them.

The party began trading missile fire with the kobolds, which resulted in another volley of ceramic pots, though these contained phosphor which ignited when they broke open and burned Lee, Jack and Jon.

As they dealt with the kobolds Jon heard a voice in his head “FEED ME”, as some long tentacles snaked out from what they had though was a stalactite. One latched onto a drakes corpse while another grabbed Jon and began pulling both toward a rather large fanged maw.

By the time the kobolds were dead Jon had made a deal to bring the creature sentient meat. They fetched the remains of Cyanwrath and the beserkers which it happily munched, its razor-sharp teeth crunching through bone and armour easily. With a fair few shudders the heroes left the chamber and headed back to the nursery entrance and the dark side passage they had previously left unexplored.

Taking the right hand fork they found a chamber that may have once housed the collected treasure, but now just had a sleeping cultist clutching an empty wine bottle. Sarah easily knocked him unconscious before tying him up.

Taking the left fork led to another barracks type chamber with several bunk beds and a narrow dark tunnel leading further on. Sarah sneaked down and found Frulam Mondath waiting for her with 5 spectral dragon heads circling her (each representing one of the chromatics), unfortunately this had an effect on the already injured rogue (failed WIS save) and she dropped unconscious. As no-one else had come forward Mondath performed a coup de gras and killed poor Sarah.

The rest of the party started to file down the tunnel but as they began to fail their saves they quickly retreated – this just allowed Mondath to heal the minor damage they had dealt to her. Eventually the heroes rushed back in (again failing most of their WIS saves) and despite most of them succumbing to Mondaths attacks and spirit guardians, they managed to get the map off the table to Patrick who fled (didn’t look back till he was well on the way to Greenest). Jack also decided to flee but only as far as the camp outside, hiding in an empty tent. Lee, Daniel and Jon were shortly dropped unconscious but Mondath was wary of any reinforcements Patrick and Jack could be bringing and so grabbed her stuff and got any remaining kobolds to grab the dragon eggs and got the hell out of there.

Jack was able to go back in and revive his companions, they recovered Sarah’s corpse and returned to Greenest (where Sarah received a Faction raise dead).

Wow, an action packed session with the party really taking a beating at the hands of the cleric of Tiamat. This brought us to the end of chapter 3 (and the official Encounters part of HotDQ) so next time we’re continuing with the rest of the adventure from the hardback book. Most of the players are eager to get some revenge on Mondath (especially Sarah and Lee) so that’s something to look forward to.Nursery

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 7-8

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300This week down at Tabletop Tyrants are intrepid heroes continue to explore the “Nursery” at the Cult of the Dragon’s camp.

Nursery sess 5-6With the entrance clear of guards the party had the choice of the narrow tunnel of the lower chamber that was filled with fungi. Sarah’s rogue stealthily made her way ahead as Daniel chose to jump off the ledge onto the fungi below. Not to let an elf out do a dwarf in a tunnel Jon’s cleric made his way down the steps only to have them collapse under him, dropping him into a patch of violet fungi. The assembled heroes quickly moved out of the fungi’s reach and then continued up the other (clearer) path through the inanimate mushrooms.

in the next part of the chamber they realised that they were not alone, a colony of bats resided on the ceiling, unfortunately they made too much noise and disturbed the colony. As the bats flew around them in an agitated state three of the party were struck by something a little larger. Whatever it was bounced harmlessly off the armoured forms of the paladin and cleric but the third latched on to the rogue – a stirge! Jon was able to use Thaumaturgy to create a noise of sufficient pitch to attract the bats, leaving the stirges without the advantage of hiding within the swarm and they were quickly despatched.

Wanting to move on before the bats returned (and possibly more stirges) they headed north and despite the rogue assuring them the path was safe, Jack and Ross both ran afoul of a clever spike trap but thankfully neither succumbed to the poison it was laced with. In the chamber beyond Sarah found a quartet of kobolds as well as another – with wings!

As the heroes slaughtered the kobolds (including the flying one) they observed movement in the lower part of the chamber. Lee’s paladin tossed a kobold corpse in and before t even hit the floor a pair a large guard drakes raced out ripped it apart. The heroes tossed all but one of the remaining kobolds in, the last one they dropped over the spike traps (its legs twitched comically as they walked safely over it).

Following the stairs leading down from the chamber they came to a landing and Patrick sent his sprite to investigate the adjoining chamber. Unfortunately he continued to have atrocious luck on his stealth rolls and the kobolds in the chamber spotted the little fey, quickly hacking it apart, but not before Patrick was able to discern their numbers and relay that  information to his allies.

The party decided to have the armoured warriors form a wall of steel across the chamber so as to limit the kobolds pack advantage. This worked to a degree , until the half-dozen flying ones bypassed them and dropped rocks on the rogue, warlock and cleric at the rear. Despite the airstrikes effectiveness the result was inevitable, even when the last flying kobold tried to flee down the next set of stairs he was blasted with an eldritch bolt the ended his miserable life.

The heroes searched the chamber, discovering a small stash of coins the kobolds had collected. Having taken a pretty severe beating so far the party decided to risk taking a rest here, they were lucky and despite hearing the sounds of chanted prayers to Tiamat floating up the stairs they were undisturbed.

Once they were ready to proceed, Sarah once again sneaked ahead discovering the chamber to hold three beefy looking cultists and the blue half-dragon that had led the assault on Greenest. Reporting this to the others they decided to try the steel wall plan again – but once again Patrick’s stealth let him down as he attempted to get close enough to use a Shatter spell on the enemies.

Instead he found himself the victim of a trio of brutal axe slashes which very nearly ended him. Thankfully the majority of the party were able to quickly back him up. It took a while but the heroes were eventually able to force the remaining cultist and Cyanwrath back from the stairway, allowing more of them to enter the melee, and the end result was the brutal death of the followers of Tiamat.

The heroes began to search the room, Sarah paying particular attention to the chest before the sculpted image of the dragon queen and discovering there was indeed a trap of some description……

…and that was where time caught up to us. Another fun-filled session under their belts, and revenge on Cyanwrath meted out. Though with the noise of that last battle anything left in the tunnels most definitely knows that enemies are about.

Nursery sess 7-8

 

 

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 5-6

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300We continued our double session this fortnight down at Tabletop Tyrants, with the party approaching the cultists camp.

Sarah’s rogue scouted ahead, getting the rough lay of the land and easily dodging the kobold patrols. When she returned to tell everyone else they took a little time to organise their plans, though when they saw a group of rough-looking adventurer types sauntering into the camp unhindered they decided to try and blag their way in while Sarah once again stealthed around to the rear to get closer to a bound prisoner.

They had a couple of close calls with almost being recognised, but managed to move relatively freely around the camp and gathered most of the information available before deciding that they couldn’t risk trying to free the prisoner and headed back out of the camp under the guise of a hunting trip.

At this point one of the kobolds recognised Jack’s fighter as the one that Cyanwrath had butchered at Greenest and caused a commotion that began to attract a lot of attention. Luckily Lee’s paladin was able to convince all but the one kobold that it was mistaken “he robbed the gear of the corpse, all humans look-alike anyhow” but when the annoying kobold continued to call out Lee just back-handed it across the snout (rolling a crit!) and knocking it senseless, much to the amusement of its comrades.

With this unplanned distraction Sarah sneaked forward and freed the prisoner (they assumed it was the monk they had been asked to look for as he matched the description. After a struggle to start she was able to assist the weakened monk back up the cliff face and finally lead him around the plateaux to the rest of the party and they escorted him back to Greenest.

We took a quick break while the players were able to level up their characters before continuing with chapter 3.

Returning to the camp they were amazed to find that most of the cultists and kobolds had gone! Only a small group of humans remained and the heroes managed to blag their way in as returning hunters (they had brought a slaughtered cow from Greenest with them). They noticed that the cave entrance guards had moved into the cave itself and were partly concealed. Patrick sent his familiar, a sprite, in to investigate and although trying to be stealthy it rolled abysmally –  I rolled for the guards perception and they spotted the diminutive figure easily, ambushing it and obliterating him (it was only then that Patrick realised the sprite could have used its invisibility!).

Meanwhile the heroes were preparing to share food with the remaining handful of humans and Sarah had been despatched to gather some poo from the abandoned latrines to slip into the pot and try to poison them with it. While she was collecting her sample an ambush drake began stalking up to her but Daniel and Jack spotted it and the rest of the party were able to intercept it before it got to her. She managed to slip the extra ingredient in un-noticed but only one of the humans showed signs of feeling ill. Thankfully they began passing around several jugs of alcohol and were too intent on getting hammered to pay attention to the heroes.

Returning to the cave Patrick (having summoned another sprite) remembered to use its invisibility and sent the little helper in. It saw the pair of guards were now accompanied by a trio of armoured fighters and a handful of cultists deeper in the entrance. It also saw that the main tunnel continued down a staircase into further chambers, and then noticed a hidden narrow tunnel on the opposite side. It headed that way but the tunnel forked and was too dark to see any further.

Patrick recalled the sprite and the heroes prepared to enter the cave. Jack threw a torch in (being human he didn’t want to fight the dark) and that seemed to trigger the cultist into action. They surged forward and blocked the entrance, stabbing at the nearest heroes as they did.

The armoured guys and the dragonclaw guards eventually joined the melee at the entrance, the dragonclaws taking advantage of their pack tactics – although the heroes eventually overcame them Daniel was dropped unconscious (raised back by Jon’s healing magic) and Sarah was also stabbed almost to death.

The heroes moved into the cave properly and saw that the stairs led into a lower chamber that housed several groups of fungi with two distinct paths leading through them.

And that was where we had to leave it as time had unfortunately beaten us. Will the heroes venture further into the “nursery”? What has happened to Daniel’s beloved pony Sandal? Just how drunk are those humans?

All these questions and more will (maybe) be answered next time……

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 3-4

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300Our second table has had to miss a few sessions recently with a spate of illness and other commitments, but my table played our next fortnightly double session last night at our FLGS (Tabletop Tyrant).

Where we had left off we had 4 out of 7 pc’s unconscious and waiting to recover. This left 2 of the warlocks and 1 fighter on their feet, how could this ever go badly (insert maniacal laughter). I had asked the players to make notes of what they needed when or of they reached the end of the chapter during the session so they could level up and then continue on to chapter 2 rather than cut the session short.

  • Matt – human warlock
  • Jack – human fighter
  • Patrick – human warlock
  • Jon – dwarf cleric (unconscious)
  • Lee – dwarf paladin (unconscious)
  • Daniel – dwarf fighter (unconscious)
  • Sarah – tiefling warlock (unconscious)/rebuilt to wood elf rogue upon level up

While their companions recovered, Escobar the castellan calls upon the conscious pc’s to come and man the battlements where they see one of the cultists commanding the dragon to attack the keep again, they notice that the dragon doesn’t really look like it’s relishing this task, though this doesn’t stop it blasting the wall and defenders with its lightning breath. Thankfully the 3 of them blast away with eldritch bolts and thrown spears/javelins and manage to do enough damage to drive the reluctant beast off. (During this time I had the other players roll for the attacks of the keeps militia).

Escobar was suitably impressed with this and gave the heroes his own potion of healing in thanks. Using this and the recovered paladin’s lay on hands they soon had everyone back on their (albeit unsteady) feet, Nighthill came to them and asked if they could capture prisoners so they could be questioned. They took a short rest and spent their hit dice before they saw a handful of militia charging into a doorway close to the main gate, investigating they found that enemies had breached the sally port and the defenders were trying to hold them back. They immediately took charge of the situation and commanded the militia men to focus on the drake while the warlocks and cleric blasted the kobolds. The fighters and paladin attempted to attack the acolyte but thanks to his Sanctuary they switched to the last few kobolds before one of them finally overcame the spell and knocked him out.

A brief discussion on how to secure the broken entrance resulted in Lee suggesting they pile the dead bodies (especially the drake in the doorway as the militia could use their halberds to fight over it until a more permanent solution could be made (I gave Lee an inspiration point for this).

They handed their prisoner over and asked that a work team be sent to seal the entrance. It was then that a huge cheer went up from the attackers outside. Taking to the battlements again they saw the invaders gather in a semi-circle around the main entrance and a draconic figure strode forward as a handful of townsfolk prisoners were pushed forward and to their knees. The figure offered to release the prisoners if a champion would face him in single combat, it didn’t take a lot for Jack to decide to step up to the plate. The rest of the heroes were ready to join in with boost spells etc should the enemies be lying and not release the prisoners, Matt even used his Scale of Bahamut to cast the Bless spell, but as Jack strode out the draconic figure ordered the prisoners released.

The 2 combatants circled each other until Jack made the first move, throwing his hammer (and missing) only to have the draconic warrior weighed in with its greatsword and cut the human down, then use an action surge before the body even hit the floor to blast its breath weapon into the body and fry it to a crisp.

With the cultists and kobolds cheering loudly the draconic figure simply walked away, his entire force following.

Recovering Jacks corpse (he was fully dead at this point – the players we suitably shocked at the brutality) Governor Nighthill announced that he had a way to revive their fallen ally should they wish (we gave Jack the choice of being revived or bringing in a new character – he chose revive) and did so.

This ended chapter 1, the players leveled up (Sarah rebuilt her character as a wood elf rogue) and we got chapter 2 under way.

Following the questioning of the prisoner Nighthill had found out that the invaders had a camp nearby and asked the party to seek it out, find out their numbers, and the motivation for the attacks as well as next targets. The cash reward offered was enough to entice them and they commandeered an extra pony for the journey, as they prepared to leave a ragged figure approached and begged them to find his missing master (a scholar who specialised in Dragon Cults that had been investigating the rumours of cult activity in the area) – the party realised that this guy might have more information on the invaders so said they would try.

Easily picking up the trail they follow for a few hours before spotting a campfire in a dell ahead. the rogue scouted and spots a handful of kobolds and a few cultists and reported to the others. The rogue and the fey warlock attempt to sneak around to the opposite side of the dell to try and catch the foes with a sleep spell – unfortunately the warlock was a clutz and the kobolds heard his approach. Calling for initiative proved even more bad news as he then rolled lowest of everyone.

The rogue shot a kobold before ducking back into cover, the dark pact warlock waited for the expected sleep spell, then the kobolds unleashed their slings at the fey warlock – and my dice were on fire (again) – out of 8 shots, 2 missed and 3 were crits! The warlock dropped faster than the sling stones that pelted him. The other warlock realised that the sleep spell was no longer an option and used his hex and bolt combo to drop a kobold. The human fighter charged in to the cultists, failed to hit them but they failed to strike back either. The dwarf fighter charged into the kobolds taking 1 down, the dwarf paladin smacked both the ponies and made them charge through the dell in hopes of at least distracting the kobolds, the remaining little reptiles used their opportunity attacks to slash at the dashing ponies (much to the chagrin of the dwarf fighter).

The rogue began to fire at the cultists, the kobolds (thanks to pack tactics) battered the dwarf fighter to the floor, and then to everyone’s surprise the dark pact warlock charged into the kobolds, black inky tentacles of power reaching out at them as he did so – and all of them failed their Strength saves (unsurprisingly) – I gave Matt inspiration for this.

The remaining cultists were soon dealt with and the fallen pc’s stabilised, thankfully they were only out for an hour and the party took the opportunity to take a short rest  before continuing on the trail.

By late afternoon the trail led into the foothills and the sharp-eyed rogue spotted enemies atop a rise overlooking a narrow pass the trail led through. While some traded ranged attacks, the fighters and paladin raced to the rise and began climbing – well, apart from the paladin who struggled to climb.

Eventually the 2 fighters engaged the small group of cultists and with their allies continuing to add ranged firepower tried to fight them – Jack chose to grapple one and try to throw him off, failed and so the cultist returned the favour. Despite the setbacks the heroes still killed the cultists without taking any casualties, and then spotted another figure racing up the trail on horseback – probably going to warn the main camp!

Matt leapt on to Daniels pony (the cultists bow fire had killed the other on the approach) and gave chase, blasting the fleeing cultist with eldritch blasts as they went. He was rewarded with seeing the figure slump forward onto his mounts neck before slipping from the saddle and under the thundering hooves. While the horse continued riderless, Matt recovered the body and returned to his companions.

That was where we left it for this week. Before our next gathering we have the 2nd of our Expeditions coming up so that should be interesting. I can honestly say that 5e is capturing the imaginations and being well received here. I’m loving it.