5E Adventure Review: The Leviathan’s Tomb

It is a delight to read the adventures of new writers, especially when they write adventures as well-constructed as this one. The Leviathan’s Tomb is an adventure for five level 3 characters, although it provides notes for scaling the adventure for 3-5 characters of levels 1-4, in the manner of the D&D Expeditions adventures.

A nearby lord needs help clearing out an ancient, island castle of the dangers that inhabit it. The adventure begins with the characters reaching the lord’s town by sea… or almost reaching the town. In fact, they’re dropped a few miles away from the town, because the sailors are wary of this land, calling it thrice-cursed. This impression is likely to be reinforced by encounters in the nearby town, and then the island.

There are a nice set of encounters in town, several that help set the atmosphere and allow the players to realise that not everything is as it appears. The dungeon part of the adventure takes place in the crypts of the castle, and are stocked with a variety of monsters, tricks and traps: the essentials of a good dungeoncrawl experience. There’s a good amount of detail and background as well, which helps the DM properly set the stage for the players.

I really appreciate how the adventure builds: characters discover things throughout the adventure that become relevant later. The adventure rewards good play, and presents interesting situations for the players. If I have any concern, it is about how difficult it is. Some of the encounters are very challenging! However, it’s quite likely that good play would be able to overcome these encounters.

The artwork is good, and the maps are excellent.

The Leviathan’s Tomb isn’t a particularly long adventure: at 19 pages, it would likely be finished in a session or two, but it’s one that has impressed me. There are other adventures on the way from Save vs Boredom, and I’m really looking forward to reading them.

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5E Adventure Review: Rescue from Tyrkaven

Dale C. McCoy Jr has been producing material for the Pathfinder game for several years, and with Rescue from Tyrkaven he has turned his attention to the 5E game. Rescue consists of a single dungeon of 15 areas. A short but effective introduction gives the DM the background and synopsis of the adventure, but it wastes no time in giving you the meat of the adventure.

In summary, a merchant caravan has been beset by hobgoblins, who have taken goods and kidnapped some of the merchants. The characters are hired to go on a rescue mission for both the merchants and the cargo (barrels of wine). However, it isn’t so simple because the hobgoblin’s lair is actually an old abandoned shrine to an evil god… giving Rescue great potential for inspiring a dangerous, entertaining adventure.

The adventure changes from a rescue mission to something more resembling a zombie horror adventure. It’s a nice touch, and one that allows the DM to give a good surprise to the players. Although the adventure gives the possibility of not triggering the change, you pretty much need to do it to elevate this adventure above being just a standard dungeon crawl.

Production-wise, it’s a nice product, with good formatting, art and maps. I find the text to be a little overwritten, and – as usual – there are a number of editing mistakes, but they’re not too bad.

If there’s a problem with the adventure, it’s that the potential for apocalyptic adventure is a little low due to a lack of monsters. Only nine zombies? (Okay, they’re not exactly zombies). It feels like it could be a lot more memorable with more… as it stands, it might be just a touch too easy.

Overall this is a nice little adventure, which works best with a modicum of judicious adjustment from the DM.

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5E Adventure Review: Campaigns in Cairnvarthi

Campaigns in Cairnvarthi is a big product – 145 pages in total – which its author, Matthew Evans, has made available through DriveThruRPG in pdf or print-on-demand format. Part campaign setting, part adventure, it’s something he’s been working on for some time.

I’m not going to review the campaign setting here in detail. It contains a short history of the world and details on the nations, gods and monsters, as well as providing a number of random encounter table. It takes up the first half of the book.

The second half of the book contains a number of adventures which provide a small sandbox adventure setting for characters levels 1-5. The adventure begins in a small dungeon and ends in a bigger dungeon, and between are town adventures, short wilderness expeditions and other dungeons.

The dungeons provide a good mix of traps, tricks and monsters. They feel very much like old-school dungeons, something that I enjoy. The adventure almost uses the old Law vs Chaos theme of original D&D, with Orcus being described as the chief god of Chaos, not as a “mere” prince of demons, although the text primarily uses the terms “Good” and “Chaos”.

Where the setting is let down is in the lack of well-described NPCs in town. Although the villagers are the sources of several missions for the characters, they’re basically ciphers. There’s not that much meat to role-play with. Yes, you can create your own personalities, but I would have liked to see more motivations and conflicts than do appear. Strangely enough, the book does manage to give a lot of NPC personalities in the random encounter tables, but more developed personalities are lacking in the town descriptions.

The artwork is good to very good, and the maps are likewise well done. It’s a nicely presented product, even if the editing is occasionally erratic; I should say that it’s a fair sight better than a lot of other products I’ve read recently, although we do get a new take on one of my pet peeves of misspellings: “Foreward” – halfway between “Forward” and “Foreword”. (Forward is the direction, Foreword is the introduction at the beginning of a book! Gary Gygax managed to get them confused in the original D&D books…)

However, despite these misgivings, there’s a lot of very good material in the book. The campaign setting material is pretty solid, especially the random encounter tables, and there are a lot of good encounters in the adventures. My chief problem with the work is the lack of a good villain; you don’t really get a good narrative arc (such as in Lost Mines of Phandelver, which this somewhat resembles). This is an adventure about discovering about the forces of Chaos, which is likely to be important in future adventures.

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Out of the Abyss – coming soon!

Out of the Abyss, the main published adventure for the next storyline season of D&D, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Here’s the descriptive text:

Dare to descend into the Underdark in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game
The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day. It is here that the dark elf Gromph Baenre, Archmage of Menzoberranzan, casts a foul spell meant to ignite a magical energy that suffuses the Underdark and tears open portals to the demonic Abyss. What steps through surprises even him, and from that moment on, the insanity that pervades the Underdark escalates and threatens to shake the Forgotten Realms to its foundations. Stop the madness before it consumes you!
A Dungeons & Dragons® adventure for characters of levels 1–15

The release date is September 15th, 2015.

Menzoberranzan is the major city of the drow, the dark elves. In D&D lore, the elves had a great war a very long time ago, which ended up with them casting out their evil brethren. The dark elves retreated beneath the surface into the Underdark and started worshipping Lolth, the demon-queen of spiders. In the Forgotten Realms, where this adventure is set, Lolth is also a goddess, not a mere demon.

The city of Menzoberranzan is (in many ways) the Forgotten Realms version of Erelhei-Cinlu, the original Vault of the Drow. Menzoberranzan was named by R. A. Salvatore when he created Drizzt, and has been revisited many times by Salvatore and other authors. The novel Homeland is the earliest work to be fully set in Menzoberranzan, and it also has the first appearance of Gromph Baenre. The city was released as a D&D supplement in 1992 for the AD&D 2E game, and again for the D&D 4E game in 2012. This last work is set about 10 years (1480 DR) before current events in the Realms, and so is fairly accurate in its description of the city, although the 2E version is a touch longer (and a lot harder to get). The 4E version can still be found on Amazon.

Basically, the drow are divided into various noble houses and their servants. The nobles constantly feud for power. The culture of the drow elevates women above men, with (traditionally) female drow being clerics and male drow being wizards; both can be fighters all rogues. The drow often consort with demons, and it seems that in this adventure Gromph Baenre manages to surpass even the normal method of contacting the Abyss – which is unlikely to be good for most involved.

How many noble houses? Lots. Only the top 20 are given in the most recent source (along with a handy chart showing their rise and fall over the past 300 years or so). Head of them all is House Baenre, which is ruled by Matron Mother Quenthel Baenre, High Priestess of Lolth.

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The Rise of Tiamat – Session 11

Outside Baldur’s Gate. The Sword Coast. 1489 DR.

The adventurers had stopped off in Baldur’s Gate, where they had paid the priests of the Lady’s Hall money to raise Ice, the halfling sorceress having been slain in their last battle against the Cult. Now they were on the Trade Way, heading north back towards Waterdeep.

However, the Cult of the Dragon had not finished with them. As they left an inn one morning, a red dragon flew above them, devils jumping from its sides to surround them. Darius and Mordechai engaged the devils on the ground as the others sent bolts of energy up towards the dragon. One thing they’d learnt from last session’s encounter: Don’t stand together! And so the characters scattered. It also helped that two of the characters were resistant to fire breath, as both Music and Mordechai were tieflings.

The devils soon discovered that the adventurers had area effect spells, and they weren’t afraid to use them, and Ice gleefully used her frost magic against the Red Dragon above. All of a sudden, the surprise attack had turned into a rout of the Cult – and the adventurers weren’t going to let them get away. The dragon may have wished to disappear into the clouds, but it couldn’t get away fast enough before magic missiles and eldritch bolts brought it down. Their attackers dead, the adventurers wasted no time in continuing on to Waterdeep.

The meeting of the Council of Waterdeep was tense. The Cult of the Dragon had stepped up its attacks on the towns and villages of the Sword Coast, and people under the protection of the Council were dying. The leaders who had gained aid from the dragons had fared better, but none were happy. The mood got worse when the Blue Dragon Mask was analysed by mages of the Harpers, and found to be false. Once more, the Cult of the Dragon had spirited away one of their key artefacts!

Discussion turned to the Tower of Xonthal. Who would gain possession of it – most of the Council members wanted control of it for their factions. As the debate continued, a representative of the Zhentarim – who had been curiously absent from most of the meetings – approached the adventurers. “It is yours by way of conquest,” he told them. “If you gift it to the Zhentarim, we can prove useful allies against the Cult of the Dragon.”

The proposal was initially favourably received, with the agent offering them a large sum of money and magic items as an incentive to make the “right choice”. Ice, herself an agent of the Zhentarim, was entirely for this plan. However, one by one the remaining adventurers realised that it was entirely possible allying with the Zhentarim was not in their interests. The Harpers stood against all the Zhentarim represented. The Lords Alliance didn’t want anyone gaining a position of power so close to their lands. The Order of the Gauntlet were worried of the influence of Bane. Only the Emerald Enclave might not have been bothered, but that was no reason to make the decision. In the end, dealing with the Zhentarim was a step too far, much like dealing with the Red Wizards of Thay. So, the adventurers declined the offer, instead offering the tower to the Harpers.

Now news was brought to light from agents of the Council that the forces of the Cult were gathering at the Well of Dragons. The oracles agreed – it was essential that the headquarters of the Cult be brought down before they could summon Tiamat to the Realms.

At this point, the leading voices of the Council turned to the adventurers. The Council could form an army to take on the forces of the Cult, but a strike team needed to go in and take out the wizards and clerics of the Cult and stop them from finishing their ritual. The adventurers agreed, but would all the Council?

One by one, the leaders pledged their agreement: Lady Laerel and Sir Isteval spoke highly of the adventurers’ deeds, rallying their fellow council members to the cause. And finally, as one, the council all pledge their aid to the cause. War plans were made. The time for talking was over – it was time for war.

From the cities and towns of the Sword Coast, men have responded to the call of the Lords Alliance. They have left their families to march towards a forbidding plain of bones. They march side by side with the armies of dwarves and elves. At the vanguard march the holy warriors of the Order of the Gauntlet.

Overhead, the metallic dragons fly in great formations. A great flying castle holds the giants of the North, who have come to the call of Blagothkus of Skyreach. The Harpers and Emerald Enclave scout ahead. The land is empty. The Temple awaits.

After much discussion, the battleplan is complete: The armies of the Sword Coast will fight the armies of the Cult. The great castle Skyreach and its giants will neutralise the evil dragons, while the good dragons will attack the Temple of Tiamat directly, attempting to sever its connection to Faerûn. The wizards and druids of the Emerald Enclave will use their magic to block the malign influence of the Mask of Dragons.

Over 20,000 have marched to the Well of Dragons.

And yet, the adventurers must still penetrate the Temple and stop Severin, mad leader of the Cult, from summoning Tiamat to the Realms. The Great Alliance has given the adventurers a chance – but the fate of the Realms is in their hands.

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The Great Battles of Alexander: Erigon Valley 358 BC

The Erigon Valley. Upper Macedonia. 358 BC.

Philip had ascended the throne of Macedon the year before after his brother, Perdiccas III had been killed by King Bardylis of Illyria. Bardylis had been an ongoing thorn in the side of the Macedonians: he’d defeated Philip’s father as well and occupied most of Macedonia. The next year, Philip II of Macedon decided enough was enough and marched to deal with the pesky Illyrian once and for all.

Welcome to an After Action Report (AAR) of the latest edition of The Great Battles of Alexander, which came out earlier this year. The Great Battles of History series is one the few Ancients war-games I play, but it’s a series I really enjoy. The first title in the series was Alexander, which has moved to a fifth edition with this release. The box is bigger, and it includes three expansions as well as a few new scenario. This particular scenario is one of the new ones: one of the major battles that Alexander’s father, Philip, participated in.

I played this game solitaire. It’s probably better to play with a friend, but the GBoH series plays pretty well solo. (There are other games, such as full Advanced Squad Leader, where there’s a lot of hidden information and I prefer to play them with friends.)

The big question is this: How historical is it? Well, not all that much. The system may represent how to resolve historical conflicts well, but it can only do that as well as the data we feed into it. And we know almost nothing about this battle. We know it occurred. We know a few of the tactics that were used. But we certainly don’t have an accurate data on how many people were fighting and how they were armed. So, the designers have given it their best shot. This scenario originally appeared in C3i Magazine #13 and was by Stephen Jackson; the developer was (most likely) Alan Ray.

It’s a fairly simple scenario: each force has just a few counters, there are a handful of leaders, and the sides will withdraw once they lose 40 “rout points”. I wasn’t expecting a long scenario, and it lived up to that expectation. It’s a good one to get back into the hang of the system – or to learn the system for the first time.

Here’s how the set-up of the scenario looks:

For the purposes of this scenario, we’re ignoring all the terrain: it’s just a flat battlefield somewhere in Upper Macedonia. Philip II’s forces are in red at the bottom of the map and Bardylis’s troops are the other ones towards the top. Unusually, Philip has set up his troops so that his cavalry and skirmishers on the left are set back to protect the left flank from attack. Phalanxes have a lot of trouble fighting cavalry when they’re facing the wrong way!

It feels odd to go back to Alexander after playing the most recent volumes in the series, Chariots of Fire and Hoplite. The way you activate troops in this early game is quite unusual, and there are times when it just doesn’t properly work.

Newer titles arrange troops in commands – when you activate a command, all the troops in that command move and attack. In Alex, each leader can activate a finite number of individual troop counters. As a result, there are battles where some of the troop counters stay behind and don’t move! This is one of those battles. (Later battles in the game allow Line commands, which at least allow groups to enter battle together).

The other thing – and this is something I did when playing this scenario – is that once a leader enters shock combat, he’s trapped there unless the Overall Commander retrieves him or his opponents die. The biggest problem here is that the leader doesn’t get to give movement commands to his other troops – so any that need to be rallied or called to advance just won’t. This is a bad thing. On the other hand, at least he gives a die roll modifier to the battle he’s in! I think it would have been a much better idea this battle to keep my leaders back a bit.

The lesser leaders in this battle are the two flank commanders of the Illyrians, Grabos and Clitus. Grabos, on the right flank of the Illyrian line, sent forward some of his light and medium infantry and skirmishers to engage the Macedonian line (or to prepare for H&D – Harrassment and Dispersal fire), while staying back himself – he didn’t have enough commands to advance everyone. Clitus advanced with his troops to directly engage the right flank of the Macedonians; some of the Macedonian cavalry retreated as they advanced, but most of the line held firm – they paid for it as well, taking quite a few cohesion hits along the way.

Parmenion, Philip’s commander of the left flank, pushed back hard. The phalanxes he controlled inflicted quite a bit of damage on the Illyrian troops, and two of their units turned and ran – as did one of the Macedonian phalanxes, him with it! Parmenion tried to activate again using the Momentum rules, but failed.

(Each leader has an initiative value, and leaders activate from lowest to highest, alternating between players if there are several leaders with the same initiative score. After a leader finishes activating, it can attempt to activate again by rolling equal or lower than its initiative on the die – a d10. However, if it succeeds, the opponent can try to “trump” the activation by making its own die roll with a leader with an equal or better initiative. The Macedonians tend to have better leaders than their opponents, and this ability to trump and make fairly reliable momentum checks can be decisive).

Now it was time for Bardylis to bring up his hoplites. Although they’re double-size counters like the phalanxes, they weren’t quite as effective. That said, it’s not much of a difference, and the initial attack was extremely good for the hoplites, dealing a lot of damage to the Macedonians, routing one of their phalanxes!

Philip activated last, and pushed back, breaking a hole in the line in front of him. Activating again, he brought up his heavy cavalry to punish the Illyrians, and also managed to rally his fleeing phalanx. A fair number of Illyrian troops now tried to flee the battlefield, and both sides had taken a fair amount of damage.

At the end of the first turn, here’s how the battlefield looked:

Troops in Alexander are rated by troop type and Troop Quality, which typically goes from 3 to 8. (There’s also a size value, which is of limited relevance). As troops engage in combat and take damage, they take Cohesion Hits. Once a troop counter has hits equal to its TQ, it routs. Phalanxes have a chance of not routing, based on a die roll. Determining combat results depends on troop types and from where they’re attacked, the TQ indicates how long they’ll stay on the battlefield.

In the picture, I’ve got the cohesion hits set next to (rather than atop or underneath) the troop counters. There are also markers for Routed units and for units who have run out of missiles (or are merely low). Javelin-armed troops that enter shock combat use their javelins immediately and should be marked Missile No, but I rarely do so, preferring not to clutter up the battlefield and just remember their status.

A battle ends when a side loses a certain number of rout points – 40, in this case, for both sides. Generally, a unit is worth its TQ in rout points, although double-sized units are worth twice that. By the end of the first turn, the Macedonians had lost one phalanx, which had routed away and so were on 12 of 40 rout points. The Illyrians had troops running, but they hadn’t left the battlefield yet. They had 0 of 40 rout points, and were looking pretty good. It wasn’t to continue!

The second turn began with Grabos sending up his remaining troops, while Clitus activated the troops around him in shock combat. It was a bloody affair, and units on both sides began to turn and run – in one case, the routing unit ran straight at a friendly unit, which also turned and joined the rout!

Pergamon, finding himself away from the battle in a place where he could influence affairs, started rallying the fleeing Macedonian phalanxes. Unfortunately for the Illyrians, Bardylis was trapped in the battle and unable to do the same. Indeed, as Philip started on the last activations, Bardylis found himself running for his life along with his hoplites, as the Macedonians pushed forward.

Philip pushed his main phalanx forward again – it took a cohesion hit, but stayed together (5 of 6!), and there it engaged two routed hoplite units, destroying them both. It itself began to run, but Philip used his last momentum activation to rally it and those others of the troops that were still on the battlefield. He wasn’t always successful – a couple of really bad rolls eliminated a pair of units, including a phalanx – but he was successful enough.

The Macedonians had lost 36 points of troops – they had only 4 remaining before they lost. However, that exceedingly bloody turn had seen the Illyrians lose all 40 of their Rout points – in fact, 45 in total! Three hoplite, one medium infantry and two light infantry counters.

It had been a narrow victory, but Philip II would take it!

There’s little doubt that the fact the Illyrian leaders were trapped in combat and unable to rally their troops made a big difference in this scenario. Assuming I find the time to continue playing through these scenarios, I’ll have to try keeping the leaders back and see how that works.

What happened historically? Philip II won the battle, aided primarily by his heavy cavalry which could attack whilst the phalanxes pinned the hoplites. Apparently 7,000 Illyrians were killed. Yes, each counter represents about 700-1000 men, double that for the phalanxes!

Posted in Great Battles of History, Session Report, Wargames | 2 Comments

Princes of the Apocalypse, session 3

Red Larch. The Dessamber Valley. 13th Mirtul, 1491 DR.

Following the disastrous expedition against the Lord of Lance Rock, the remaining adventurers sent messages back to Waterdeep through their faction contacts, asking for aid. It was a few days coming, but five new adventurers presented themselves in Red Larch: some sent by the Zhentarim, others coming to find out what the Zhentarim were doing in Red Larch in such numbers!

With such reinforcements, it was not long before the new group headed to Lance Rock to confront the necromancer one final time. All had, by now, heard rumours of the necromancer’s undead beginning to range out from Lance Rock, attacking travellers and increasing his store of corpses to work upon. The signs that the last group had destroyed had been replaced, and new undead protected the necromancer’s caverns.

The adventurers were properly nervous as they entered the caves, but no undead lurked in the “ambush” cavern – instead a tripwire attached to some bells was strung across the entrance. The adventurers carefully removed it, and progressed inwards. They first made their way to the “stock” room, where the necromancer had kept his corpses. As expected, there were more corpses there now – travellers ambushed by the necromancer’s minions – and four skeletons stood guard. Unfortunately, skeletons were not fast enough nor strong enough to stop this group, especially as the cleric was burning them to ash with her sacred flame spell, and the fighters were smashing the skeletons’ bones with great swings of their hammers.

Krovis, now a paladin of Kelemvor, blessed the bodies of the corpses and sent them to ash.

The group then returned to the entrance chamber and proceeded down the other passage. The “entertainment” room had been restocked – four zombies were there, including a recognisable dwarf in a bear suit: Thumbalina!

The zombies, unaware of the party’s advance, were easily subdued. It may have been a different story if the warning bells hadn’t been discovered, but now the question was what to do with the corpses. Krovis was in favour of destroying all the corpses, but Jandar talked him out of it, explaining that their contacts would likely be able to raise the mountain dwarf.

With that, the group progressed to the necromancer’s chambers. With numbers on their side – seven of them – they still faced a difficult challenge, with the necromancer standing far, far away from the group, guarded by his skeletons. Krovis charged into the chamber, as the rest of the party made their way more cautiously, taking advantage of what cover there was. Krovis was struck several times by arrows fired by the skeletons – four times, the last a critical hit. Somehow he maintained his feet throughout, although he had to take a moment to catch his second wind before engaging the skeletons proper.

It could have gone worse for the party, but the Lord of Lance Rock had – in the end – been caught off guard by the ferocity of the adventurers’ attack. Missile after missile pierced his flesh, and bolts of force struck him from afar. He had time for only one spell before he was struck down, and that spell proved not as effective as he wished. Krovis went down, but by this stage his companions were able to destroy the skeletons quickly and revive the paladin; he’d given them enough time to win the battle.

The adventurers progressed on to the necromancer’s bedchamber, in which they found a strange pedestal made of body parts, holding a glowing globe in which a strange rune resembling an eye drifted. The rune disappeared as they touched the globe, but none of the adventurers were aware of what the rune meant. A wand of magic missiles was retrieved from its storage place, as well as a number of coins, before the adventurers were sure that they’d discovered all the secrets of Lance Rock. The necromancer’s body burnt to ashes, they returned to Red Larch to great acclaim.

The Players and their Characters

  • Michael is playing Krovis Thorn, a LE human fighter 1/paladin 2 working for the Lord’s Alliance.
  • Josh is playing Grigori, a CN human fighter working for the Zhentarim.
  • Danielle is playing DDG, a rock gnome cleric working for the Emerald Enclave. (The character doesn’t like the name her parents gave her, so is referred to by her initials).
  • Dean is playing Zed Lepplin, a human warlock.
  • Callan is playing Jakesy Flagons, a halfling rogue.
  • Shane is playing Monkey, an air genasi monk.
  • Harry is playing Francis Copeland, a human fighter.

DM Notes

Neither Mikey nor Noah joined us again, and Josh was away on camp, so I was contemplating the problems associated with running the session with only three characters, before learning that Callan’s table was also hit by cancellations (work, illness and car trouble). The solution was easy: I merged the tables for this session. Next session we will likely split again; I doubt we’ll be missing so many players again! We also had one new player joining us for the first time: Dean. I’m not sure which table he’ll play on long-term; it rather depends whether my table or Callan’s needs more players!

There are a number of details in this report that I worked out when writing it rather than explaining them in-session. One example of that is the number of days that passed between the events of the last session and this one. Writing these reports is quite good for working out the passage of time – it also helps me to remember the events more clearly. There is a lot of banter and discussion that doesn’t make it into these reports, unfortunately.

Dean chose to go to the shrine in town before leaving a give an offering to the gods. I rewarded this with inspiration, one of the uses of the mechanic I may repeat in later sessions. I will likely consider how significant the offering is to the character. A 1 gold piece offering is significant to a first level character, but not to a tenth level character. There has to be some element of sacrifice involved!

You may note that Michael has suddenly jumped to third level. Where have all the XP come from? Well, they’ve come from adventuring in the D&D Expeditions adventures! I’m not particularly a fan of jumping characters from one campaign to another, but I’m rationalising it by saying they were adventures he had before coming to Red Larch. Interestingly, he’s also now taken levels in paladin. His choice of Kelemvor as his god was made during the session (he had some other god chosen at first) as he realised how much he liked the deity and its interaction with the undead. Michael was also the one who last session made the mistake of telling the necromancer they were sent by Kelemvor… it seems he was correct!

Michael was all for destroying Thumbalina’s corpse, which would have distressed Danielle. (She intends to go back to running Thumbalina next session). This is one of those times when I make sure I step in as DM to ensure the players’ actions don’t cause problems. Michael agreed to let Thumbalina survive, and so we have the mountain dwarf back next session. Josh made a choice to leave his PC dead, so he’ll have a new character next session, although I don’t know what it will be!

This was also a good example of what a DM needs to do to make the setting react to the actions of the players. It didn’t really make sense that the necromancer’s caves would be exactly the same the next time the party went back, so I added in replacement undead, put in a new trap, and added in reports of the undead attacking travellers.

With the destruction of the necromancer, that ends Episode 1 of the adventure. There will be a new event at the beginning of the next session which will start Episode 2. I hope it also means more role-playing in town, something that we didn’t do that much this session primarily due to the process of introducing new characters.

Posted in D&D, D&D 5E, D&D Adventurers League, Elemental Evil, Session Report | 1 Comment