The PC began chapter two after an extended rest and a level bump. The desperation they felt during the previous couple of encounters was replaced with the confidence that accompanies power. Full hit points, maximum healing surges, better attack scores, better defense scores and best of all they’re out of the blazing sun and away from the obsidian storm. So began week 6 of D&D Encounters Dark Sun.
Before the combat began the PCs needed to overcome some basic survival hurdles. Being completely entombed in these catacombs meant that they had no light. They needed to create torches in order to see anything. Fortunately they (barely) made the necessary Dungeoneering check to fashion a torch from their gear. The adventure clearly indicated that the party has only enough material to make three torches, so the PCs need to use them sparingly.
The party ventured deeper into the cavern when there was an erry sense of déjà vu. Way back at the very beginning of D&D Encounters (the first season) the PCs found themselves on opposite sides of a gap, spanned only by a narrow bridge, with the villains on the opposite side. The PCs found themselves in a very similar scenario this week. The biggest difference this week over our experience back in season one was the presence of a ranged striker in the party. When we faced this scenario before, we only had melee combatants.
The party of four (Barcan, Phye, Shakirr and Castri) decided that Barcan should keep the torch and remain on the original perch while the rest of the party moved single file across the bridge, beginning with Shakirr. They did notice some movement on the other side of the gap as well as something shinny, possibly treasure. Shakirr proceeded cautiously. As he stepped off of the bridge the first Corruption Corpse arose and attacked him.
When the party identified the Corruption Corpse there was again déjà vu. These same creatures were part of our infamous TPK in week 8 of season one. Suddenly the players were really scared. Shakirr managed to take a solid hit before Castri and Phye ran across the bridge to help. Barcan remained safely on the other side of the gap and lobbed ranged attacks at the monsters.
After an initial onslaught on all of the PCs, the monsters hard a really had time connecting. Meanwhile the PCs scored two critical hits and before long the first Corruption Corpse was destroyed and the Grey Ooze attacking Castiri was in really bad shape. Upon learning that the undead were vulnerability radiant 5, Barcan used Blazing Starfall over and over again to its maximum efficiency.
The PCs found themselves in real peril when one of the monsters extinguished the torch. A round earlier Barcan attempted to throw the torch to Shakirr. Bacan is not known for his athletic prowess barely made the mark, but Shakirr fumbled the catch and the torch fell into the chasm. The intelligent undead realized the advantage of fighting in darkness and put out the torch on their turn. However, Blazing Starfall leaves the ground burning for one full round and that little bit of light lasted long enough for the PCs to finish the monsters before lighting a new torch.
When the combat was finished and the PCs took stock of their resources we were all very impressed with where the party stood. Phye, Barcan and Castir only expended one healing surge each. Shakirr used two. None of the PCs used daily powers and only two used action points. If this is any indication of things to come, the players at my table will be in very good shape for the next encounter, and likely the chapter. I realize that this is only one encounter, but after using these pre-generated characters for the previous five weeks the players are finally starting to get the hang of who these PCs are and what they’re capable of doing.
In last week’s post I mentioned that the DMs at my FLGS were going to tweak the pre-generated characters before running chapter two. I decided to have the players use the pre-generated characters as Wizards intended for the first week and then decided on how to proceed. After seeing this week’s encounter run so smoothly I’m likely to just have the players keep using the real versions of the PC. The other DM had revised versions of the PCs and let his players choose. They all opted for the revamped PCs. Over the next few games we’ll compare notes and see how much of an advantage the optimized PCs have over the normal versions.
The DMs kit for D&D Encounters comes with the adventure and a nice, full-colour glossy map. As a cheapskate who doesn’t own any dungeon tiles, I’m used to drawing all my maps by hand on graph paper. Until this week I felt that the presentation of the encounter has been top notch – until I saw the other table. The other DM pulled all the stops and put together a phenomenal 3D rendition of the map. It really gives the players a good sense of what the cavern looks like. No wonder I’m having trouble filling my table. I can’t compete with this kind of showmanship.
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 1)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 2)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 3)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 4)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 5)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 6)
D&D Encounters Dark Sun Week 6 – Map (picture 7)
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