The enemy is introduced

Yesterday was the second game that I have had with my current group. This time I prepared an adventure for four players (as many said in advance that they could not come), however unfortunately Masreal’s player bailed out at the last second, leaving Etha the half-elf warlock, the shifter rogue (now renamed Aden), and the goliath fighter Tyroan to take down the monsters.

The hook this time around still involved the dwarf Ilben asking them to do stuff, except this time he asked them to escort him through a tunnel passage to the nearby city of Nalthor. The players, despite being CE, CN, and CG respectively, bought the hook immediately (likely because of the prize of money) and set off.

The first encounter was fairly simple, featuring a bridge battle when a goblin warring party of two slingers on either side, one goblin hexer opposite a goblin lurker, and with a goblin cutter thrown in front of the hexer for balance, ambushes and flanks the cavern.  The party immediately split, with Aden and Tyroan going after one slinger, the hexer, and the cutter/minion, while Etha was left to take care of the other slinger and the lurker. Interestingly enough, Etha was able to kill both of her targets in a matter of turns, and the other two were only able to finally kill the other slinger and the hexer with her aid. While this could just be that warlocks are overpowered, it is more likely because the goblins could effectively shift 3 squares every time anyone missed with a melee attack against them, which made it very difficult for Aden to get around and get sneak attacks. However, with the party exultant, and only mildly annoyed Ilben for his staunch refusal to help them in combat, they marched forth into the caves.

The second encounter featured a Centipede Scuttler and Centipede Swarm, as many winding caverns and some “disgusting sludges” on the floor which impeded movement for the PCs. Etha’s player decided to roleplay her disgust and had Etha stay as far away as possible while still remaining effective and trying as hard as possible not to touch the sludge (Etha is apparently scared of insects). That being said, she was once again the most effective member of the party, possibly because the cramped corridors made flanking once again completely impossible for Aden. Mildly nauseated, the party continued on.

The third encounter featured a floor pockmarked by acid pits that dealt damage to anyone that started their turn next to or inside them. This was also the encounter where I introduced my first recurring villain, an CE elf Ranger named Kelan a member of the Etzamged Initiative militant association. I used the Motivation/Virtue/Flaw for him to flesh him out: I decided his motivation was to rid the world of all the human empires and make them subservient to elves and eladrin, his virtue was Perseverance, and his flaw Pride. Thus, he haughtily walked into the cavern, demand that the party hand over the caravan, and went on to insult Etha (the half-elf)’s heritage. Etha’s player roleplayed marvelously, declaring an oath to kill (or possibly worse) Kelan, and Etha spent much of the rest of the session muttering what she would do to Kelan when she caught him. However, it could be said that Kelan was a bit too popular with the party, as Aden also swore an oath against him due to Kelan dropping him to one hit-point, so I am not entirely certain how to resolve this. Other than Kelan, the encounter featured two elven archers and one elven scout. This encounter proved a little too difficult (mostly because of the archers that could pick off the party members without mercy from a higher vantage point), and both Etha and Aden were within an inch of death by the end of the encounter, which ended when fighting was forced to cease because the walls of the cave began to collapse. This opened up to a series of two skill challenges for the party: The first to pass through a room full of hazards and boulders to climb over before it filled up with water from the river nearby, and the second to pass through a maze filled with poison gas released from the collapsing caverns. The first challenge they passed with relative ease; quicker than I had wanted them to. However, the maze worked as well as I hoped: I ruled that players could only see 5ft ahead of them at any given moment, and as such could only move at half their speed. Additionally, I forced them to make endurance checks every turn not to succumb to the poison, which, while having a laughably low DC (10), served to increase the tension at the table (and Etha and Ilben actually failed their checks a few time, adding urgency for the party to escape.

When they finally exited the caverns, the players were triumphant (and now a level higher), though some of the ideas that Etha’s player was having about Kelan admittedly have begun to bother me.

In Summary:

  • There need to be more opportunities for the rogue to flank, as he is performing far too poorly as a result.
  • Both Aden’s and Etha’s players (and Masreal from the previous session) seem to be getting the hang of roleplaying.
  • The players present have finally gotten a grasp of how to play the game!
  • A recurring villain has been introduced, and it seems that the party likes (well, likes to hate) him, which means I should probably use him in either the next session or the one after that.
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