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D&D Encounters – Tales from the Yawning Portal – Goblins everywhere!

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2017 by vobeskhan

So we reach the end of another round of sessions for my three tables. I shall as always try to be as spoiler free as possible but some things might be inferred from the comments below.

Tuesday table 1

The team replaced their fallen elf ranger with a human cleric and decided that having reached the lower level now was the time to blitz the dungeon. A tactic which looked to be working well for them for the most part – up until the fell afoul of a trap which also alerted the nearby foes. While the ensuing battle went their way they were bruised, battered and their resources severely depleted. As another swathe of foes approached they made a swift retreat to what they hope will be a safe room to rest and recuperate.

Wednesday table 2

With a couple of their comrades returned from holidays the party were able to return to some previously troubling puzzles, figuring out what the fountains did with the help of a kobold accomplice. They then encountered the main goblin encampment and were deep in the thick of it when the session drew to a close.

Wednesday table 3

The party had the gnome cleric they had rescued use his channel divinity to open the cold stone door and encountered the undead within. They also then worked out what the fountains did, before finally encountering the missing dragon. However, unlike the other two groups, these decided that the evil beast needed to be destroyed and battled it to the death! Spurred on by their victory they also then found the goblin encampment and engaged the goblins within, narrowly securing a victory but has the violent and noisy combat alerted others nearby?

 

D&D Encounters – Tales from the Yawning Portal – Death in the dark

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2017 by vobeskhan

Last night completed the round of third sessions for my trio of tables down at Tabletop Tyrants. As before, all three are exploring the Sunless Citadel but have taken slightly different approaches and made their own progress.

While I’m hoping to avoid spoilers for each group some may slip through so I apologise in advance.

Again this round we have seen a couple of deaths amongst the tables :

  • Tuesday (table 1) had what has been one of the most memorable ones for me, with Melissa’s ranger copying a maneuver that ended badly for Phil’s ranger and ended with her hitting the floor at a literally break-neck speed!
  • Wednesday (table 2) and Jack S’s cleric met a demise in the first half hour of the session. Thankfully his companions dragged his corpse back to safety where it received a faction raise and they were then able to proceed apace.
  • Wednesday (table 3) still remain the only table not to have suffered a character death, though they are also the ones to make the least progress through the Citadel so far. Their cautious approach is certainly safer but low risk often equates to low reward.

All three groups have now encountered the Citadels second group of inhabitants in some form or another – the Goblins!

All three groups have also encountered and freed the goblin’s prisoners – three kobolds and the gnome priest Erky.

So how are each tables progress then:

  • Tuesday (table 1) have recovered and returned the missing dragon, and found the way down to the lower level.
  • Wednesday (table 2) have recovered and returned the dragon but are yet to discover the way down.
  • Wednesday (table 3) have just begun to foray into goblin territory, no dragon or way down yet.

What will the series of session fours bring? Will table 3 make it a death-free quartet or will the grim reaper finally claim one of their number?

D&D Encounters – Tales from the Yawning Portal – I must be crazy

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2017 by vobeskhan

So the new season of Adventurers League story arc is upon us, and it’s not the same as previous ones. This time the adventure consists of remastered classic dungeon crawls collected together in the one hardback.

Now when I hear the title and that it wold be a dungeoncrawl my brain automatically screamed “Undermountain!” but sadly the mega dungeon below Waterdeep doesn’t even get a look in. The only link being that the books premise is that adventurers from all over gather at the Yawning Portal to swap tales of their exploits in these “Legendary” dungeons.

That’s not to say I don’t like the book, its good and some of the adventures within are amongst my personal top 10.

Another change this season is that I am the only DM for Adventurers League this time around as our other regulars take time out for other games (or to continue their current Storm Kings game beyond the AL banner), this means that with the recent influx of new players I will be running 3 separate tables of 7 players apiece on fortnightly schedules (1 on a Tuesday evening, the other 2 on alternate Wednesday evenings), in addition to my fortnightly paid-DMing for a roll20 campaign and a monthly game with the local Hackspace group. This might sound like a lot, but I really enjoy DMing, especially if its bringing new players to the game and in the past I had even been running games 6 days out of 7 on a regular basis.

So who are my victims this season:

Tuesday (team 1) is a mixture of returning players and new players (to our AL group at least)

  • Phil (elf ranger)
  • Stuart (elf rogue)
  • John (human barbarian) new player
  • Elliot (dwarf fighter) new player
  • Jason (tiefling warlock)
  • Rose (gnome druid)
  • Melissa (half-elf ranger) new player

Wednesday (team 2) is mostly my previous Storm Kings group with a couple of returning players and a new addition

  • Jon (dwarf fighter)
  • Lee (bugbear barbarian)
  • Jack S (assimar cleric)
  • Tim (kobold ranger)
  • Morgan (assimar rogue)
  • Josh P (elf wiard)
  • Tommy (dwarf cleric) new player

Wednesday (team 3) is a mixture of newer players and some that while in our group for a while havent been on my table before.

  • Jack P (half orc barbarian)
  • Joshua P (elf ranger)
  • Sil (tiefling warlock)
  • Kieran (human fighter) new player
  • Lucie (gnome wizard) new player
  • Kara (elf ranger) new player
  • Vin (aasimar paladin)

As I prepared for the first sessions I realised the opening adventure, the Sunless Citadel, was written with a party of 4 in mind so using the AL and DMG guidelines I went through it and recalculated the encounters for my larger parties so as to maintain the challenges. I also noticed that the adventure had 3 different suggested hooks to get the players involved so decided to give each group a different one (though through interaction with npc’s etc they could uncover the other hooks in the course of the game).

As each table is progressing at a different rate I wont go into extreme detail on their sessions so far but it’s certainly been interesting to see how they have tackled the same adventure in their own ways.

Some things they have all done though so I can comment on those without fear of spoilers.

Meepo – the kobold keeper of the dragon. All three groups encountered him, and all three chose to interact with him rather than just slaughter him outright (maybe there’s hope for some of them yet). A source of little information but certainly some amusement, he was easily convinced to take the parties to his queen, Yusdrayl.

Queen Yusdrayl of the kobold clan inhabiting this part of the citadel, surrounded by her guards was willing to “recruit” the parties to recover her missing dragon in return for some of her treasures. She was able to tell the heroes that the goblins seem to be working for a man down in the grove below the ruins of the citadel and he gives the goblins the magic apples they’d heard of.

This is where the three groups begin to diverge on their progress however, some took Meepo with them as a guide, some left him behind so he didn’t get hurt. As I write this we have just wrapped up the second session for each group (around 7-8 hours gameplay each table) and interestingly enough 2 of the 3 have suffered their first pc deaths each and the ones that haven’t come close yesterday with both the barbarian and paladin being taken unconscious.

Looking ahead, I am planning on running the corresponding “expedition” adventures interspersed with the hardcover to allow us access to the additional content and Faction rewards.

D&D Encounters – Storm Kings Thunder – update, recap and finale

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2017 by vobeskhan

Well despite my best intentions to keep on top of these posts I failed utterly.

The campaign has since ended and the new season has begun, so here is the recap, update and final post on our heroes shenanigans.

Heading out of Icewind Dale they encountered a Frost Giant during the night in a mountain pass, after taking several boulder hits they decided to just use the darkness and escape. Making their way to Hundelstone and delivering the message to Thwip, who urges them to visit his colleague in Everlund.

Arriving in Fireshear they book passage by ship down to Waterdeep (with a brief stop over in Neverwinter for supplies), en route they spot a huge ship made party from an iceberg just outside Port Last and signs that the town was under heavy attack but they chose not to engage the enemy.

Arriving in Waterdeep they visiting the Roaringhorn  family and delivered the news that Cimber was being hunted by the Frost Giants, the family were thankful and allowed the heroes to use the teleportation circles to travel to Everlund and the Moongleam Tower. Here they received Tressym, and the suggestion to meet up with an unusual Harper ally, the frost giant Harshnag, at Silverymoon.

Once they reach Harshnag he gets them to accompany him north towards something called the Eye of the All Father, but as they reach Rivermoot Harshnag is informed that a Fire giant and its allies are digging something up nearby and the heroes investigate.

The Fire Giant is accompanied by ogres, hobgoblins and goblins and looks to be digging out the remains of a dragon. The heroes and Harshnag engage their enemies in a bitter struggle but are ultimately victorious. As they examine the aftermath it becomes clear that the Fire Giants are searching for the remnants of the Vonindod, a massive war engine from the last giant-dragon war, which the fire giants could use to tip the current balance of power to their advantage.

Harshnag leaves to take this information to his allies and that was where we too had to leave things.

There were several other encounters in between these highlights but they were over a month ago and the exact details are fading in my brain (though I do recall them scaring a band of orcs away using an illusory headless giant, and finding a live goat in a giants bag which Morgan’s halfling then rode – until it was killed by a wolf).

I liked the overall story line for SKT but it was too open-ended and nothing other meeting up Harshnag led to the players ever visiting the Eye of the All Father and progressing to the next stage of the adventure. My other big issue with it was that unless they trawled the countryside looking for trouble they were never going to reach the levels suggested for each progressive chapter after the first which seems to be a major flaw in most of the hardback adventures unfortunately and encourages the “murder-hobo” mentality.

Moving on to the next season, Patrick will be continuing his table through the further adventures of SKT (albeit going off Adventurers League to include some variant rules) while I begin DMing not 1, not 2, but 3 separate tables through the Yawning Portal adventures! I honestly don’t know if I shall be posting updates on how each group progresses as I really want to avoid spoilers for each of them – as of this moment (Easter Sunday) we’re 2 sessions in for 2 tables and 1 for the 3rd, and all are at different stages. What is nice is to see the different approaches each group takes to the adventure too.

D&D Encounters – Storm Kings Thunder – Cold Cold on the Range

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2017 by vobeskhan

14064236_10209789776363134_3461628604885620888_nSo I’ve let these recaps slide a little so this one will catch us up to where the heroes are.

Having arrived in Bryn Shander they awoke to find the town besieged by a dozen frost giants. Heading to the main gates with the crowds they heard the giants leader demanding the town turn over someone named Artus Cimber. No-one appeared to know who that was but the giants were adamant that they had magically tracked his blood to the town. It was then that one of the acolytes from the temple revealed that Artus was his father, but had no idea why the giants would be looking for him as he hadn’t seen his father in years.

After some persuasion by the heroes the acolyte agreed that for the good of the town he would submit to the giants and surrendered to them. As they giants dragged him into the wilderness Jack commanded Gobby to turn invisible and follow them.

Sorting supplies while the giants got a head start they set out after them. With their invisible spy feeding them directions and Lee’s goliath tracking the giants the heroes marched into the wilds of Icewind Dale.

Every so often Jack would check with Gobby as to what he could see, though the responses were “snow, giants” and occasionally “trees” so not overly helpful.

The heroes were attacked by a young remorhaz and after a shaky start were able to pull it together and defeat the beast. As they caught their breath Gobby contacted Jack to tell him that the acolyte had broken free of the giants and was making a run for it. Though he didn’t get far as the giants were carrying heavy nets.

By this time they realised that they were no where close to their quarry but did spy off in the distance a pair of frost giants heading westward and began following them. They also noticed that a bulge in the snow was also following the giants but couldn’t tell what it was – that is, until it decided to turn back and leap out of the snow at the party!

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A massive yeti burst from the snow and caught Liam’s paladin off guard with its icy glare, leaving the dragonborn stunned. The beasts claws tore into the party, shredding clothing and flesh. The heroes bravely fought back but then the beast unleashed its icy breath at the stricken paladin and also caught Morgan’s halfling bar in the blast. The paladin was frozen into unconsciousness but the plucky bard was doomed!

Thankfully through judicious use of his pixie dust Jack had made himself and Jon fly and were strafing the beast with their eldritch blasts. Eventually wounding it enough for it to decide to seek prey elsewhere (that didn’t put up as much of a fight). Regrouping they took Morgan’s remains back to Bryn Shander in the hopes of getting her raised.

Arriving back in town they realised they were severely lacking in funds but Jon used his disguise abilities to pretend to be the acolyte, blagging the priests to lower the cost as thanks for the heroic rescue. Following some truly epic persuasion rolls (and equally atrocious wisdom saves from the priest) the bargain was struck, but the party was still a little short. Once again Jon used his deceitful shenanigans to visit the harper-beggar in the market who gave him some money on condition that the party deliver a letter to a colleague in Hundlestone for her.

So with Morgan back in the land of the living and having a good reason to get out of town sooner rather than later (before their ruse was discovered, as well as to deliver the letter), that was where we left it.

D&D Encounters – Storm Kings Thunder – Diplomacy and Delivery

Posted in D & D 5e, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2016 by vobeskhan

14064236_10209789776363134_3461628604885620888_nAs Zephyros continued to guide his flying tower northward the heroes settled into a routine. The halfling rogue happily sharing her food with the griffon she had befriended. It was while visiting the griffon that she spotted a figure flying towards the tower at speed and raised a warning to her companions (though chose to remain in the aerie – just in case).

As it neared, the remaining heroes could see it was a silver dragon carrying half a dozen armed and armoured dwarves in its claws. The heroes moved out of the tower to the cloud to intercept the incoming visitors.

While the dragon dropped the dwarves off, it continued to circle the tower (Zephyros having brough it to a halt in the meantime). The dwarves stated they were sent by Queen Dagnabbit of Mithril Hall under the auspices of the Lords Alliance to commandeer the tower.

Thankfully the heroes were able to talk the dwarves down and convince them that Zephyros posed no threat to the people’s of the Sword Coast. Satisifed, the dragon picked the dwarves back up and they were on their way once again.

Aside from a fly by from a small group of aaracockra the rest of the journey northward passed uneventfully. Zephyros lowered the tower outside of Bryn Shander and once again made a stairway of cloud matter wishing the heroes good luck before taking his leave.

It was now that the heroes realised they hadn’t brought any cold weather gear, so entering the city they made their way to the market to procure some. On the way they spoke to the Sherrif’s right-hand dwarf and got a brief run down on the lay of the land and directions to a few of the relevant places. After securing warming clothing they went and visited Sherrif Southwell, delivering the belongings and news of his now deceased kin.

The Sherrif told them if they were likely to remain in the area for a while they could earn coin hunting some of the marauding giants that had been attacking caravans and some of the other towns of the Dale. The heroes decided to go and find lodgings and ask around about the caravan raids.

They secured rooms at the Northlook, and after asking around got themselves places with a caravan of scrimshaw traders heading back to Lonelywood next day.

With the heroes spending the rest of the day and night at the Northlook that was where we left it.

bryn-shander

D&D Encounters – Storm Kings Thunder – Goblins & Gods, and Up, Up, Away!

Posted in Campaign, D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2016 by vobeskhan

14064236_10209789776363134_3461628604885620888_nApologies first of all, as I’m so late writing the previous session up its here with the latest one.

 

It was looking grim for the heroes, a rampaging ogre and several goblins still active while just about the only person on their side still standing was Gobby the quasit/bear. Thankfully reinforcements arrived in the form of a pair of extra players, one of which was the cleric.

A goblin from the back of the cave gave some sort of signal and the archers lowered their bows, waiting to see what the party would do, the ogre however waded in. Thankfully though the cleric was able to bring a couple of the others back into play and the heavily wounded brute was dealt with. Reviving the rest of the party they were intrigued as to why the goblin had halted the attack. Turns out she wasnt happy with being made to hunt excessively to feed the ogres which kept the goblin boss in power. She offered the party a deal, kill the boss (so she could take his place) and they could take the prisoners and the goblins would go home too.

The heroes had taken a pretty bad beating so were ready to agree to this (hopefully) simpler solution. They headed into the cave the boss used and found him with his two burly guards. The guards were easily dispatched and the boss beaten to within an inch of his life when he surrendered, offering the party the location of a glowy sword if they let him live. They agreed, and he told them it was at the bottom of a pool in a nearby cave. When they asked why he hadn’t retrieved it he looked embarrassed and admitted “can’t swim”. The cleric then decided to use his magic to brand his holy symbol into the boss’s forehead and “anoint” him as an acolyte.

Leading the creature back into the main cave the female goblin wasnt happy to see the boss, the party said that she was now in charge, she replied “not quite” and promptly shot the boss with her bow. “Now I am!”. She gathered the rest of the goblins and they set off down one of the deeper tunnels further into the darkness.

The heroes went to investigate this glowy sword. Following the tunnel they came to a chamber with a stalagmite with lots of holes in it. The goliath thrust his axe handle down a couple but nothing happened. Continuing on they came to the end of the tunnel and a chamber with a small waterfall emptying into a pool. Clearly visible in the pool was a sword, untarnished by being submerged. The tiefling warlock went into the water to retrieve it, but while he did so a large black oozing creature attacked from the tunnel they had come through.

The Goliath threw handaxes at it with no apparent effect, but eventually through their combined assaults they drove it back towards the chamber with the stalagmite and conquered it.

Realising that they were in no shape to tackle much else they recovered the remaining villagers and began leading them back to Nightstone.

En route they spied a trio of large grey skinned humanoids dismantling an abandoned cottage and wisely made an extensive detour so as not to attract their attention.

Arriving back at Nightstone they found it a hive of activity with guards patrolling the walls and workmen busily rebuilding the damaged sections. As they cautiously entered they were greeted by the leader of the Seven Snakes once more.  Despite the heroes previous misgivings he announced that all he wanted to do was help, and the villagers “elected” the Innkeeper as their new spokesperson with Lady Nandar being dead.

The heroes were given a room for the night and retired to recover and plan their next move. While they rested the Innkeeper approached them and asked for a favour. He had the belongings of some of those who had fallen and wanted them delivering to the next of kin in each case. Would the heroes kindly take one such task as he had volunteers that could do the others. After hearing the choices of destination, the heroes agreed to travel to Bryn Shander (way up in Icewind Dale) and deliver the package to Markham Southwell there.

While resting the tiefling gave the sword to the goliath, who discovered it was a magical sword that would glow if goblins or orcs were near.

That was the end of that session, we then missed a session as many of us had prior commitments, but we resumed this week….

The heroes were awoken by a commotion outside, the tiefling sent Gobby out to see what was happening, apparently a stone tower on a cloud had descended over the town and steps made of cloud were forming to lead up to it. Gobby flew up and around the tower but could see no-one. Eventually the heroes roused themselves from bed and investigated, though a few found the stairs hard going.

Entering the tower they found a single large chamber, well-lit, with an oversized tabel and chair, a pair of statues and hole in the ceiling some hundred feet above them. Descending form the hole came a cloud giant who introduced himself as Zephyros. He had been communing with other-worldly beings about the current situation and they had instructed him to seek heroes here in Nightstone and assist them.

He readily agreed to transport them to Bryn Shander in his flying tower, cutting their expected journey down to less than three ten days. The party gathered any provisions they thought they would need and they were off.

Zephyros explained that the god of the giants had broken the Ordnung, the caste system that organised giant society and thus many giants were amok. He wasnt sure why their king, King Hekaton, wasnt trying to maintain order. He lived alone in his tower aside from a group of griffons that nested in the aerie at the top of the tower.

The goliath, halfling and sorcerer asked if they could see the griffons so he took them up to see them. The goliath was satisfied so quickly returned to the “ground” but the sorcerer and halfling decided to remain and watch the creatures. The halfling even tried to feed one some of her rations, which led the creature to allow her to pet it.

The first couple of days passed uneventfully, but on the morning of the third day before the tower began travelling onwards a group of birds were seen approaching, as they got nearer they could be seen to have riders.

Four giant vultures carrying riders in pale blue/white attire landed on the cloud outside the tower. Zephyros was busy preparing to move the tower so asked the heroes to see what they wanted.

The visitors turned out to be emissaries of Yan-C Bin, and had a gift for Zephyros in return for him considering to join their efforts to “return the world to its primordial order”. Zephyros asked the heroes their opinion before using his communion to decide not to accept their offer. Disappointed they left the bag they were carrying the gift in, mounted their vultures and flew away.

The pair of warlocks both used mage hand to hold and open the bag, retrieving a pouch of sparkly dust from within. One sprinkled a pinch of it over Gobby, finding it increased his flying speed somewhat.

They couldn’t investigate further though as the tiefling and goliath were suddenly attacked by thin air!

The ensuing combat was chaotic as the other warlock used his mage hand to “feel” for the foe which they assumed was using invisibility of some sort. The goliath was taking the brunt of its attacks and was quite relieved when they were finally able to overcome it as a group. Whatever it was still remained invisible, so they pushed its corpse over the edge of the cloud.

Returning into the tower they examined both the bag and the pouch, discovering that the bag was a Bag of Holding and that he pouch contained Pixie Dust. Zephyros had no wish to keep them but was happy for the heroes to do so if they wished.

And that was where we left it for this session, the fight with the Invisible Stalker had taken rather longer than I anticipated. I honestly thought one of them would have tried puling the curtain in the foyer down over it to reveal its location but alas no. We’ll find out how the continuing journey to Bryn Shander goes next session (in a fortnight’s time).

We also had a new member take part this week, so a hello to Morgan our halfling bard, we look forward further adventures with you.