Chapter 2 of the Keep on the Borderlands – A Season of Serpents began this week. This season of D&D Encounters is running well at my FLGS. We’ve managed to run one solid table every week. On top of that new players keep coming out to try their hand at D&D. Some with absolutely no 4e D&D experience and other who are old pros looking for a pick-up game.
Even though we see new faces every week we’re having difficulty getting them all to come back. The good news is that the interest is there and that the players seem to be having a really good time (I know I am). The negativity that clouded our FLGS during the final weeks of D&D Encounters Dark Sun seems to have disappeared and we’re picking up a lot of positive momentum. I think we’ll start to see more regular attendance moving forward and perhaps have enough people to run two tables.
If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and want to join us, we play on Wednesday night at Dueling Grounds. D&D Encounters begins a 6 p.m. every week.
This week we were a party of six again. All the usual suspects were present and accounted for: Quinn, Eldeth, Hagen, Sola, Barrian and Barrian. Even though Merric was available two players still preferred to play Wizards. So down a Rogue and up a Wizard we proceeded with the encounter.
The party awoke after a restful night by the well. None of the Kobolds returned to bother us during the night. When the sun rose over the horizon we used the daylight to search for any signs of where the Kobolds might have run off to. A natural 20 on Eldeth’s Nature check helped her spot the tracks the fleeing Kobolds left from the previous night’s encounter. After a few hours of following the trail the party arrived at Dragontooh Hill.
The tracks led to the bottom of a 20-foot waterfall. From the ground as they approached the party noticed that the waterfall spewed forth from a large cave opening. Quinn easily climbed the slick rocks to the top of the falls. Once there he noticed a knotted rope which he lowered for the rest of the party to use to reach the top more easily. Everyone managed the climb without incident.
The river originated deeper in the cave. The party realized that there was faint light originating from chambers further within. Quinn decided to investigate. He noticed more knotted-ropes hanging from the ceiling. Grabbing the nearest rope, Quinn jumped across the river and on to some flat rocks jutting above the water’s surface. Using the rope made the jump considerably easier. With the others coming up behind Quinn, he moved deeper into the cave. After a few steps a Squelching Ooze surprised Quinn and attacked.
Seeing how easily Quinn made it across, some of the other party members tried swinging across too. Hagen grabbed the rope and jumped. He didn’t quite make the distance to the rocks so he decided to hold on to the rope and return to his point of origin. Eldeth showed Hagen how it was done and easily jumped across, using the rope but not really needing it. On his second try Hagen made it, but he was attacked by a Squelching Ooze as soon as his feet landed on the rocks.
The two Wizards decided not to risk falling into the rushing water so they let Sola go next. She got halfway across and then fell in the water. The current pushed her back 10 feet but she easily managed to fight her way onto the far bank. And that’s when she too was attacked by a Squelching Ooze.
Eldeth and Hagen worked together to try and take down the closest Ooze. The Wizards contributed as artillery firing Magic Missiles at the Oozes and using Beguiling Strands to keep them away from the rest of the party. When the Ooze was hit it used its squelching stench to push Hagen into the water. Eldeth was pushed into the chamber, closer to where Quinn was battling his own Ooze.
From across the river a Kobold Ooze Talker emerged from behind some giant mushrooms, threw an ooze orb at Quinn and hit him squarely.
As usual we split the party and all attacked different targets making the combat more difficult and take a lot longer. Eldeth charged the Ooze battling Quinn and landed a solid blow. She decided to tack on her Power Strike for an additional d12 but only rolled a 1. For the next few rounds the Ooze focused its attacks on Quinn while the two Fighters flanked it.
Hagen had a hard time getting out of the water as the Ooze nearest to him kept on attacking. Sola drew an opportunity attack in order to move into a flanking position. The opportunity attack hit for 14 damage (1 off of the max). Her attack was a solid hit with a 17 on the die, combat advantage from flanking not even factoring into it. However, Hagen made good use of the flank and managed to hit on his turn.
The remaining Ooze kept attacking the nearest opponent, which was Sola. When Sola moved to flank with Hagen she left herself open to a flank from the other Ooze. Sola managed to stay in the thick of things despite taking a lot of damage. A combination of her Sun Burst (which granted temporary hit points), Blessing of Battle (which provided her with resist 2 to all damage) and Healing Word kept her going throughout the encounter. For a couple of rounds in a row she drew attacked twice – either from two Oozes, or once from an Ooze and once from the Koblold. Luckily her high AC helped her avoid getting hit more than once each round.
The Wizards easily took out the Kobold, one using Hypnotize to have an Ooze attack the Kobold and the other pelting him with Magic Missiles. The Kobold was the first monster to fall during this encounter.
In the same round Quinn and Eldeth destroyed the Ooze they were fighting, Hagen destroyed the Ooze he was fighting and Sola, with some help from a Magic Missile, managed to destroy the Ooze she was fighting.
When the combat was over the party carefully searched the Kobold and then the rest of the chamber. Sola’s keen eyes (and her only natural 20 of the night) noticed a body at the bottom of the river. When the party drudged up the body they found a suit of magical armor on him. Everyone immediately claimed it. When reasonable arguments failed we decided to do things the old fashioned way – an old-school roll off.
Barrian rolled highest and ended up with the armor. So now we’ve got one Wizard with a magical staff and another with magical armor. Meanwhile the Fighters and Clerics who actually run into combat are still using their mundane gear. Oh well, that’s the way things work out sometimes.
I had a lot of fun playing this encounter. The monsters were a suitable challenge. They were relatively easy to hit, but had a lot of hit points. They hit hard (2d6+3) but didn’t connect with every attack. The DM’s hot dice had them score some serious damage at the outset, but as things progressed the dice seemed to randomize sufficiently and the monsters missed more often than they hit. The Kobold was more annoying than anything else. He was taken down by a few good Magic Missiles and attacks from his own allies thanks to one of the Wizards Hypnotize spell.
The PCs took a lot of damage but it was spread out pretty evenly. No one fell unconscious but Quinn, Hagen and Eldeth were all bloodied by the end of the combat. Had we not had two Clerics I think at least one of the heavy hitters would have fallen which would have made things a lot more difficult.
Next week I’ll be vacationing in sunny Florida. That means I’ll miss next week’s encounter and there won’t be a week 6 article. But don’t worry; I’ll be back at the gaming table for week 7.
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