Saturday, February 22, 2014

SSoI -Session 22: The Fane of Tiamat

Our Heroes (9th level):
  • Lt. Alex Gravis, Water Genasi Warlord (and Ivan, owlbear and guardian of the forest) 
  • Gartok, Dwarf Earth Warden
  • No-Name, Elf Bow Ranger 
  • Torin Tsai, Half-Orc Slayer
  • Xyla, Drow Vampire
Finding the foyer somewhat quiet, the party begins exploring the fane of Tiamat. 

For the first time in a while, there are a lot of doors to be dealt with. This leads to a discussion of the true roles in a D&D party. There is the Door Decider, the Door Checker, the Door Unlocker, and the Door Opener. This also leads to the dubbing of Gravis as the "Doorlord".

Checking as quietly as they can the team finds several empty rooms.

After finding a storeroom and four guest rooms someone exclaims "It's a Comfort Evil Inn!"

After some time though they hear sounds coming from another room and so kick in the door - it's a kitchen! With a remarkably attractive woman, a pair of devilish looking cooks, and some hobgoblins all at work. At first the woman screeches at the party, ordering them to work. Then she realizes they are not her lackeys and she screeches even more loudly to get the intruders!

This fight is over almost before it starts. In a matter of seconds the ranger drops 3 of the hobgoblins while the slayer and the warden kill the other 3 while also engaging the devils. The vampire rips the woman, leaps past her,  finishes off one devil, the kills the other for good measure! The warlord and Ivan drop the woman - who changes in death to reveal herself to be a hag -  to finish the fight. 

DM Notes: Three rounds! They wiped out 3 normal opponents and 6 minions in 3 rounds! Also, in round 1 of the combat I rolled four 3's in a row for monster attacks - not a good showing for Team Evil. Standard procedure now is that the warden locks the enemies down all around him, the ranger shoots one or more targets, the vampire and slayer bloody an enemy each, then the warlord lets one or more of them strike again! They are just ripping through most fights now.

Poking around the kitchen reveals nothing of particular interest. The slayer decides to foul the bubbling pot of nastiness a bit further as the rest of the group moves on. Grinning, he runs to catch up.

Heading back down a different corridor the team opens up another door and finds a very large room. A group of dragonborn are pushing their chairs back and flipping the table over as the party bursts in. 

The dragonborn are clearly seasoned soldiers as they form a line and restrict the invaders to the corner of the room, a cramped area that makes it difficult to fight. One of the soldiers falls to combined strikes from the ranger, vampire, and slayer, but in the confined space various blasting spells and breath weapon attacks are taking their toll on our heroes. The slayer tries to leap to assault the wizard but a summoned gust of wind blows him back over the barricade. They pull back and jam the door shut - retreat? Never! Going with plan B they race around to another door they now are sure opens into the same room, planning to come in behind the defenders.

Bursting in again the heroes find that the scaled soldiers have flipped an even larger table over and are quickly moving into defensive positions. This isn't going to be easy either, but there is more room to maneuver than in the corner. Removing one target in particular though will make this much easier, and he is the slayer's prey. Pushing himself to the limit Torin leaps over the barricade and with some guidance from Gravis he kills the elemental mage with two swings of his blade! As the rest of the party surges over and around the makeshift defenses another soldier falls leaving only one more wounded grunt and the dragonborn commander. 

The entire group assaults the leader and though he is a canny, experienced, and mighty warrior even he can't withstand this and falls to their attacks. The final soldier prepares to sell his life dearly and he does - to the vampire's claws and the rangers bow. 

Searching the room yields gold, gear, healing potions, ...and a magical ring, from the body of the commander. The victorious heroes rest for a few minutes, then prepare to push on in search of their true enemy.

DM Notes: While the kitchen encounter was pretty close to the original this one was a little different. The module has a group of blackspawn raiders which are big minotaur-like dragonspawn. All of those MM IV monsters are not included in 4th edition and I wanted something a little more interesting anyway. This ended up being a nod to the old "rival adventuring party" we used to see in AD&D adventures, with a more military theme. We had a leader, some grunts, and a wizard, who use some tactical sense and have some complimentary abilities. They are pretty nasty in melee and the wizard gives them both some decent ranged area capabilities and some close blasts, on top of every single one of them having a small breath attack. It worked, as it was a fun group for me to run and a challenging encounter for the players, which was especially nice after they steamrolled the kitchen crew. 

One of the advantages of converting and adapting the adventure is that I get to rework it so that it still makes sense but it's more fun for me - and hopefully the players. After all, if we're going to spend 2 hours on one fight then I'd better enjoy it too.

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