Archive for hoard

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 23-24 finale

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2015 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300This Wednesday down at Tabletop Tyrants saw us playing our final double session of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Sarah and Adam’s characters had finished “celebrating” with the cultists and retired to the room where they were joined by another new recruit, Daniels barbarian. In the early hours of the morning they are rudely awoken by the sounds of combat and rush out to find that Rezmir has abandoned the castle and so Snapjaw has taken the opportunity to begin his lizardman rebellion. The lizardfolk are engaging the bullywugs in open combat and the heroes spot Borngray and Spattergoo heading underground with a group of bodyguards.

Rather than follow straight away they head to the armoury where they find one of the low ranking cultists cowering. After convincing him to come with them and grabbing a spare weapon they head for the tunnels beneath the castle.

In the first chamber they spy the leaking crack and Adam sends his quasit through to investigate, it gets attacked by the gray ooze that resides there and so Daniel charges in to help the creature out – unfortunately he can’t see in the dark so he’s not an immense help but eventually they destroy the ooze and uncover its small treasures.

Heading further through the tunnels they find a clinging mist collecting in their way and decide to backtrack and try and get around it. This leads them down some slippery steps  where there are a pair of bullywugs on guard. As they try to converse with them the cultist slips on the stairs, falling and breaking his neck. The bullywugs find this highly amusing and while it distracts them the heroes quickly despatch them.

Moving on they find a large pool and hear an ominously loud croak, a massive frog sits on an island in the pool and as he croaks they hear responding splashes as several giant frogs leap into the water and head toward them. The heroes luck holds however and they tackle the frogs with relative ease, though once they finish the massive frog has gone. They spy a smaller cave off to the side and upon investigating find it contains a pool of tadpoles guarded by another pair of bullywugs. They kill the guards and Daniel goes into a slashing frenzy turning the tadpole pool into a bloody soup.

Not wanting to risk swimming across the pool they have no other choice but to head up into the mist which thankfully is harmless and then they find a chamber defended by their prey.

Borngray, Spattergoo and a half-dozen dragonclaws (cult warriors) are here and they realise the heroes shouldnt be. Daniel and Adam’s quasit attack the cultists while Sarah shoots at the elf who responds with a firebolt and thrown daggers. Before the other heroes can react Spattergoo uses entangle to trap them, positioning it so as not to trap his own troops. Adam wisely keeps back and uses his ranged spells. Unfortunately with the additional problems of being entangled and Daniel already having the disadvantage from being raised, the cult warriors pack tactics give them sufficient advantage to pretty much slaughter them and the only one to escape (running away while the entangle effect prevented pursuit) was Adam’s warlock.

So ended the season, pretty much as it began, with bloody and violence and none too few laughs. As we packed away we could also hear some of what was occurring on the other groups table, while they had managed to get a little further than we had it turned out their fate was no less fatal.

Next week I shall be sitting down with my fellow DM, Jon, to go through the new season notes (which we should receive on Tuesday) and decide how we want to split the groups between us – it has been suggested to put everyone’s name in the hat and for each of us to drawn one at a time, while this could be fun I know some people like to stick with others so we shall have to see.

Before that though we have our March Expedition to play – DDEX1-8 Tales Trees Tell (as I am typing this on Saturday evening, we played it today) with myself and Liam taking the helm for our respective tables.

Looking back at the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, would I change anything (do I hope its changed for the coming season)? XP capping! The main thing that irked me and the players was that the opening chapter had a low xp cap and consisted of 8 encounters all set within a single nights time frame. I think this was a bit too much of a baptism by fire, especially if players were new to D&D in general and not just 5th Ed, as the resource management for spells etc is something you need to get used too.

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 21-22

Posted in D & D 5e, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2015 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300First off i must apologise for the lateness of this post, I have found myself easily distracted of late.

Our heroes found themselves rudely awakened with a foul taste in their mouths and surrounded by lizardfolk, thankfully Daniel spoke draconic and one of the lizards spoke a little common.

Snapjaw (the lizard) wanted to enlist the heroes to free his people from the “dragon-kneelers” that were making them work alongside the bullywugs, in return he would ensure his people didn’t interfere in their actions within the cultists base. The heroes readily agreed, especially when they suggested the heroes pose as new cult recruits to gain access and the lizards would escort them there.

The two-day journey through the Mere of Dead Men was fraught with dangers, as the merry band encountered giant frogs, a raiding party of bullywugs, another patrol of lizardfolk, and a trio of yuan-ti before finally reaching the old castle.

They successfully blagged their way in as new recruits and were assigned quarters, unfortunately they were already occupied by a nest of giant centipedes but these were soon dealt with when Adam blasted Arms of Hadar in the doorway. (Worryingly) Adam then used his disguise self ability to appear dressed in a maids outfit as he tidied up their new residence. He kept the outfit when they were given their first duties in the castle, clear up after breakfasts and take the kitchen trash out.

Dragging the heavy cans of refuse to the dump site in the corner tower they were only slightly surprised when a pair of massive tentacles lashed out. Unfortunately a mixture of bad dice rolls on their part and ridiculously good ones on mine led to Patrick’s cleric and Daniel’s warlock/cleric being grappled and pummelled. Adam and Sarah tried their best but eventually all they could do was a mercy shot to end Patrick’s suffering.

The session ended there, and we have since decided to run an extra double session this week as the season end looms in the near future and we’d like to get through as much as possible. It’s going to require some cautious play on their behalf with one or more facing the penalties of being raised (as Patrick found out in this session) but this could lead to some creative thinking I suspect.

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 19-20

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2015 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300Last session we had enough players that Jon offered to DM a second table and so this week I had a table of only four players to run for.

The party had 5 uneventful days travel left along the rough road until they reached the roadhouse and the wagons began unloading. At this point one of the cultists started trying to goad Sarah, and when it was revealed to be Mondath in disguise Patrick actually stepped in to take her on in single combat.

It would have been a brief affair had Daniel not bolstered him with clerical magic but it still wasnt long before Patrick lay unconscious. Knowing Mondath would likely finish him off the heroes risked dragging him free of her Spirit Guardians though this then provoked a trio of other cultists to join the fray.

The camp organiser kept anyone else from interfering, enjoying the entertainment, but it was only a short time before the last of the heroes dropped. Daniel, Sarah and Adam were left unconscious but Patrick had been killed.

Thankfully the camp boss stopped the cultists finishing the rest of them off and had them taken to one of the rooms in the roadhouse to recover. A zhentarim agent within the camp was able to utilise a faction raise dead on Patrick, and as they quaffed healing potions they began to explore their surroundings.

The only room that seemed to have interest was the one that had an actual lock on it. Sarah easily bypassed the lock and they found a strong room with some of the cultists stolen goods. As they searched around they realised that there was less boxes here than had been on the wagons.

That was when one of the boxes tilted backwards and a handful of scaly humanoids clambered up into the room. The already weakened party unfortunately did not last long and were soon all once again unconscious.

So that was where we left it (I wanted to prep something a little more suitable as we only have a couple of sessions left until the new season begins) with the party being taken as prisoners, but to where?


D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 17-18

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

DnD_HOD_300x300This week at Tabletop Tyrants we had a full table for Encounters again, in fact we think we may need to split into another table in future.

The party continued escorting the caravan northward and before they reached Waterdeep their way was blocked by a troupe of Ogres. After slaying half of the brutes they convinced the remaining pair to back down, but as they ambled off a couple of the “heroes” decided they didn’t want to leave them to harass future travellers and chased them down.

Once they reached Waterdeep some of the heroes went on a shopping spree, Daniel buying a new warhorse to replace his dead pony Sandal, while the rest followed the cult members. They found that the cult wagons had signed on with another caravan heading further north through the mere of dead men and so they signed on as guards once again.

Heading north they could see why the road repair supplies the caravan was carrying were necessary, with the marshland encroaching upon the pathway considerably. They encountered a group of orcs accompanied by an ogre and the heroes easily despatched the marauders and continued on their way. A couple of weary days passed before they were once again accosted, this time by a scrag. Thankfully the quick thinking warlock was able to neutralise the monsters regenerative abilities and it was eventually slashed and bashed to pieces.

Time beat us once again, though looking back it seems we didn’t get a lot done but the 3 combats took fair amount of time with that many players and we also took a half hour break at Waterdeep as it was a chapter end so people could level up as necessary.

One of our players, Jon, has offered to begin running another table (also on the fortnightly format) to make smaller groups. Jon has also been DMing the Expeditions for us so we will be making sure he gets first chance at a player spot in future Expeditions.

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 15-16

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300After the Christmas break we return to Tabletop Tyrants and our ongoing Encounters table.

When we left the heroes had just come across a wagon, its horses dead and its crew cowering beneath it as a band of hobgoblins attacked.

The party wasted no time in letting fly with ranged weapons and spells, with mixed results. The hobgoblins began returning fire, using the martial training to focus on the weaker spellcasters while Daniel, Jack and Lee closed for combat.

Thinning the goblinoid ranks helped but the captain was still able to drop Jack to the ground before finally succumbing to the rain of blows against him.

The caravan master was unwilling to spare horses for the stricken wagon so once Lee had helped their wounded the caravan continued on northward. Later that evening as they set camp Patrick realised that his arcane focus had gone missing, the rest of the heroes checked their gear but nobody seemed to be missing anything else. Asking amongst their fellow travellers revealed that a female passenger had lost a brooch but has assumed it had been dropped along the road.

Following a few days of uneventful travel (apart from worsening weather) the caravan awoke to find themselves surrounded by mushrooms growing as far as they could see. Daniel picked several, each giving a small cry of pain/anguish as he did so. This began to unnerve the horses and the caravan master wanted to move on as quickly as possible. Daniel forced Sandal to dance around crushing mushrooms willy-nilly but then became overcome with a sadness at their plaintive cries. By the time the caravan was ready to move the mushrooms had grown to almost knee height so Jack used thunderwave to clear a path (almost reducing Daniel to tears at the cries).

The rest of the journey passed monotonously quietly and the caravan reached Daggerford on the 20th day, on schedule. The caravan master announced they would be resting a full day and several passengers left the caravan while several others joined it. The only ones of note being a very tall robed and hooded man who managed to purchase a seat on one of the cultists wagons and a short-tempered gnome woman who seemed to have no interest in conversing with the heroes. In Daggerford the heroes resupplied and Jack was able to get Cyanwrath’s head cured (it was beginning to smell).

Back underway again and Lee and Jack realise the gnome is watching them (and she knows they have noticed), when they try to talk to her again she simply grunts “Later” and moves away.

A few days later the weather is once again wet and miserable and the caravan decides to stop at one of the way Inn’s. When some of the heroes go inside they find the place empty aside from a small group of well dressed gents but get told there isn’t any rooms available. Patrick uses his noble status to try to garner a room but the gents announce that they have hired the entire establishment and the heroes arent welcome. Before Patrick can voice his outrage Jack ushers him outside. While this was happening Daniel took Sandal to the stables where another of the gents was seeing to their horses. He told Daniel the same, telling him that unless he removed the dirty pony it would be killed. The dour dwarf swung his blade at the gent, but the lithe figure proved the quicker, leaving the dwarf unconscious after the first blow and then thrusting his slender blade through Sandals skull and killing the poor pony too. John (who had witnessed this) agreed to remove the dwarf and pony (though the figure insisted the pony be moved first). Daniel was revived but infuriated at the death of Sandal.

That night during his watch he sneaks into the stable and kills the three horses, though the noise alerts the gents in the inn. Daniel runs and hides as two of the men investigate, one seems amused by it the other is very angry and starts harassing the nearest caravan members to discover what had happened. Most of the party has also awoken and John manages to defuse the situation with excellent diplomacy and the gents grudgingly return to the inn. The heroes and the caravan master agree that an early a start would be best.

Waking early the party notice that someone has put the removed eyes of Sandal on Daniels sleeping body but quickly realise that they would be no match for the men and hastily leave.

Continuing northward for a few more days, one morning the gnome comes to them while they are eating breakfast and shows that Lee’s gruel had been sabotaged, luckily everyone elses seems alright. Later that day the gnome talks to them and gets them to provide a distraction while she “examines” one of the cultists wagons – finding it full of valuables.

With the caravan only days from Waterdeep, that’s where time ran out for us and we left it until next session.

caravan progress

What a session! There had been a lot of talk on the forums about the encounter at the inn and the possibility of a TPK and seeing the stats for the bad guys, yes it could have gone very badly, very, very quickly. I tried to emphasise the sense of the gents “dangerousness” in their confidence etc and thankfully the majority of the heroes realised they were out-matched and backed down.

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 13-14

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300Last week at Tabletop Tyrants (I’m late posting this due to my laptop dying after 7 years and having to get a new one) we continued our adventures.

The heroes arrived in Elturel battered and bruised and the sorry state of them did not impress Orlam Thrume with confidence, however, after proving themselves to him he asked them to continue the mission he and Leosin had planned for them.

They travelled by boat down the Chionthar to Baldur’s Gate so as to sign on with a caravan heading north which included 3 wagons of guarded items belonging to the Cult alongside “normal” caravan merchants.  The journey would take 40 days of travel to reach Waterdeep and the heroes signed on as guards.

During their first day out they encountered another band of sturdy looking adventurers who managed to convince the caravan leader to hire them as guards instead. When Jack’s fighter loomed over them they quickly admitted they were nothing more than actors trying to scam an easy ride north.

A few evenings later and the camp was attacked by a trio of Ettercaps and a pair of giant spiders. Despite being caught flat-footed and taking a severe beating the heroes did eventually win out (though one glowing comment still resounds – Jack asking how big a 15 foot cube was!).

Next day as they continued to travel the caravan spotted a glorious stag standing not far off, despite many wanting to shoot it as sport the heroes stopped them. Jack threw his hammer as a warning shot to scare it off but as the hammer neared the stag morphed into a humanoid shape and caught the hammer. The heroes cautiously approached and discovered the being was named Herne and in thanks for their defending him he snapped off one of his antlers which as he passed it over became an ornate longbow. Jack reverently accepted and the heroes returned to the caravan as Herne (a stag once again) walked majestically off.

On their sixth day they crested a rise to see a wagon stranded on the road ahead, its horses laying dead in their harness’ and its drivers cowering beneath it while being surrounded by a band of hobgoblins….

Doesn’t look like we achieved much but we had a full 4 hours gaming with quite of lot of RP interaction and the battle with the Ettercaps was hilarious fun (especially with dwarves failing poison saves).

This was my tables last session before Christmas, though on Christmas eve I have been asked to run a special one-off Christmassy adventure for my fellow store staff so that should prove interesting.

D&D Enc Hoard of the Dragon Queen Session 11-12

Posted in D & D 5e, D&D, Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2014 by vobeskhan

DnD_HOD_300x300This week at Tabletop Tyrants my table began the after-Encounters portion of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen with chapter 4.

The heroes had returned to Greenest with the map they had acquired from the Nursery and Sarah’s rogue had used her faction contacts to get her raised before spending a few days to recover. Once they were ready to continue Lord Nighthill called them to his audience chamber.

He told them Leosin had followed the trail of the cult indicated on the map and had requested the heroes join him in Elturel as soon as they were able. To aid this he had purchased them mounts where necessary. After a brief discussion about their route they agreed on the direct cross-country route which would take them about 6 days of travel and set out the following morning.

Travelling north they could see signs of the devastation the cult raids had caused to the outlying farmsteads, and mid-afternoon came across a farm that had been razed but its apple orchard was untouched. Curiosity got the better of them and Patrick sent a sprite to fetch him an apple. The tiny fey wasnt strong enough to pluck the plump fruit so Daniel shot it free and the sprite began to roll it along the ground towards its master. That was when they saw a pair of scarecrows hop off their posts at the corners of the orchard and stalk towards the sprite, before the fey could react they clawed it to pieces and returned to their posts.

It was then that Daniel and Patrick noticed something metallic glinting at the centre of the orchard, before the others could stop him Daniel spurred his pony (Sandal) forward, but an exposed tree root tripped the steed and sent him tumbling. While the pony hobbled back to the safety of the party Daniel strode to the centre of the orchard to see a partly decomposed body (the surrounding undergrowth having grown not only over but through it) laying over whatever was glinting and he tried to tear it free. This caused all four of the scarecrows to begin stalking inwards, though Sarah bravely decided to intercept one.

The scarecrows proved to be quite resilient to the mundane attacks of the party as well has being able to instill a magical fear that could temporarily paralyze the heroes if their resolve failed, but eventually all that remained were scraps of cloth and straw. As the last scarecrow fell the orchard began to rapidly age and rot, and Daniel easily recovered what had been hidden – a gleaming greatsword showing no sign of tarnish.

The heroes decided to make camp in the ruined farmhouse and lick their wounds.

The next couple of days passed uneventfully, but on the afternoon of their fourth day of travelling they could see a bizarre sight ahead on their path. Five goblins, with bits of shrubs and bushes tucked into the folds of their armour, were squatting roadside in an attempt to remain inconspicuous. Daniel began laughing and shouted “We can see you” to which one of the goblins responded “No you can’t, we’re hiding!”. Needless to say the inept little greenskins didn’t stand up to the party’s attack and as the final one fled screaming, Daniel rode it down.

Day five of their journey was without incident, until they made camp. In the early hours of the morning while Sarah and Patrick were on watch, a band of orcs attacked. The brutal fight that ensued was a close call with the dwarves of the party relishing the battle with their racial enemies almost as much as the orcs were. Thankfully they were able to overcome the orcs but with their sleep disturbed it was a dour band of heroes that rode in to Elturel the following morning.

WOW, a three-hour session for a six-day journey. Loving the encounter building options from the Basic DMG (pdf – though as I write this I now have the hardback DMG and its even better!), and after seeing the scarecrows in the Monster Manual I wanted to include some in the game.

We have one more of our double sessions before Christmas, which will fall the evening before my birthday and will be followed by our next Expeditions game too, which I’m hoping to actually play in rather than DM (as long as we get some more volunteer DM’s) which should be interesting.