Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Guardians of the Vale - Session 1
It is Spring, 1479 D.R. - The Year of the Ageless One. In the town of Loudwater trade caravans begin to arrive as winter fades and with them the itinerant adventurers that always seem to be a part of trade and travels. A new band steps forth - an Elven Ranger, a Dragonborn Paladin, a Dwarven Warlord, and a Shifter Druid. No one knows their names yet but they will - destiny awaits!
Seeking opportunity they speak to Captain Harrowleaf, captain of the local guards. He has been trying to deal with kobold activity along one of the trade roads and, seeing opportunity here himself, offers the adventurers a 10gp bounty for each dead kobold and a 100gp bonus if they can slay the leader of this band and bring back his signature bone mask. The party agrees, hands are shaken, and they head out down the road where the raids are taking place, seeking a burned out manor house known locally as "Kobold Hall".
Locating the ruins with no difficulty the group descends a stone staircase into darkness. Inside there is a good-sized stone room with a pool of glowing slime and several surprised kobolds. The group charges the scaled ones and things seem to be going well until the paladin finds himself cut off from the rest, surrounded and being attacked from all sides. Both the paladin and the druid are hit with entangling glue pots from kobold slings, which doesn't help matters.The ranger fires shot after shot into the kobolds but things still look grim until the dwarf launches himself into the fight and relieves the pressure on the paladin. The remaining enemies are quickly slain and the party pauses to catch their breath.
Down another short stairway the party sees another large room with an altar in one corner, some stone coffins in the center of the room, and a couple of suits of armor in niches along th walls. Having been warned by the survivors of a previous expedition, the party knew this area was trapped and dangerous so they moved in with great caution. Three kobolds were in the room and they moved to engage. The heroes made an effort to track where the creatures moved but in the heat of combat it was nearly impossible. Reluctantly they moved to engage, virtually cringing as they did so. Combat was short once they did take it to hand to hand. The paladin was hit by a paralyzing dart as he attempted to disable one trap, but the group was otherwise in good shape. A bag of gold was found on the altar as wound were bound, then the team moved on.
Descending another set of stairs the group found another large room with another slime pit and some more stone coffins. It also contained 6 more kobolds who started shooting at the party as soon as they entered. The elf ranger quickly dropped one of the slingers with a pair of well-aimed shots. The dwarf burst into action and charged the raised platforms at the end of the room, climbed up the platform, and slew a kobold atop it! The dragonborn paladin moved to the other side of the room and charged the platform there. As he reached the stage instead of climbing up he blasted the area with his lightning breath, blowing one kobold away. The shifter druid was unfortunate enough to be hit by another glue pot and pinned in place for almost the entire battle, though he did fire off his firebird several times.
Having cleared the platform of kobolds the dwarf was met by a guard drake charging up a set of stairs behind the platform. In a short fierce combat the beast was slain by the dwarf with fire support from the ranger and the druid. He charged down another set of stairs and was met by another charging guard drake that proceeded to savage his leg while a wounded kobold took shots at him from behind the beast. Frustrated by the platform, the paladin hacked down a door with his battle axe to aid the dwarf and the elf moved to get a clear shot into the melee. In the end the heroes prevailed with a battered dwarf and a sticky druid, dejected by his ill luck with the glue shots from the kobolds. After this the party decided to post a guard and catch some shuteye, worn out from their battles this day.
Following their break the team moved up a long hallway and encountered a room with a high ceiling and some kind of platform in the center. As they entered a huge boulder rolled out of a chute in the ceiling and began circling the room, heading right for them - some managed to scramble out of the way but many of the party members were hit by the giant rock and knocked aside. Right after this a small flying lizard darted out and attacked the dwarf, who was farthest into the room. Two kobolds also appeared atop the platform and began raining shots down into the party, immobilizing the dwarf and the druid in short order. Stuck in place, the dwarf is nearly hit by the boulder again but manages to break free and leap aside just in time. The druid gets pinned in one corner and is subject to repeated attacks by the flying lizard which he cannot seem to fight off. He does however see the kobold leader and his bodyguards up on a platform on the other side of the room and calls out to the rest of the team what he sees.
Leaping into action the ranger is quickly atop the platform and fires off a mighty shot striking the kobold leader and nearly slaying him! Staggering, the kobold fires back with a spell that does nothing, only to be struck again by an arrow from the ranger which puts him down for good.
Enraged, the bodyguards wade in to avenge their leader. The paladin engages them and takes a serious beating, as does the ranger who is forced to fight hand to hand instead of leaping around firing off shots from his bow. In the end though the party fights through to victory, slaying everything in the room as the boulder finally comes to rest.
Searching the bodies turns up a silver key and a note about a secret door. The dwarf decides to explore a bit after a short rest and the rest of the party hurries to keep up with him. Descending a long flight of stairs, they find the air growing cooler as they emerge in a large natural cave. There is a frozen pool in the center of the room and the dwarf charges forward to investigate. As he does, a large white dragon uncurls and emerges from behind a large stone, looking none too happy at the intruders in his lair...
DM notes: This was actually spread over two sessions but they were pretty close together so I lumped them into one. This was the apprentices' second attempt at 4E and it went much much better for a few reasons - One, the DM knows a lot more about the game now. Two, they know a lot more about D&D too. Three, they have their own copies of the PHB and used the character builder to make characters, ensuring that the numbers are all on their character sheets and eliminating a lot of page-flipping during combat but giving them time to read the rules between sessions.
One thing I've noticed is that I always have rules to look up after a session with them because they try some crazy stuff. Shooting into melee, fighting around corners, nitty-gritty cover rules, using acrobatics instead of athletics to get up on a 10' ledge. I like it - it keeps me on my toes and shows they are thinking about the game. They are also diligent about collecting weapons from their enemies, a nice old-school touch.
Some of you may also notice I moved the campaign once again. More on that tomorrow.