D&D Encounters: Keep on the Borderlands (Week 12)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on December 9, 2010

Betrayal! Our suspicions of Benwick were well founded as the party was betrayed. After risking our lives for Gorn and Benwick we were repaid with violence. But this group of adventurers wasn’t about to fall victim to such an underhanded and evil act. We were ready to fight and expose this wrong doing.

This week our party consisted of seven players: Berrian, Eldeth, Hagen, Merric, Sola, an Assassin and a Wizard. The encounter began with the party retracing their steps through the three previous rooms. When we arrived in the room with the statue in the middle, there was Benwick, Gorn, Sal and Gordi waiting for us. Benwick explained that they were worried and wanted to see if we’d met with success or failure.

We quickly recapped all that had happened. Gorn seemed disappointed that there were no Dwarven relics, but was quite happy to hear about how much gold was collected. After much debate the party decided to give Benwick and Gorn their fair share.

Quinn made a compelling speech at the end of last week’s encounter that we should remain honour-bound to our word. If we’d felt we weren’t getting a good deal then we should have negotiated better terms in the beginning. Stiffing them now just didn’t seem right. The rest of the party begrudgingly agreed. You can’t argue with a man who starts citing honour and duty.

With Quinn not present this week, the players didn’t feel it was appropriate to change our minds now. So we coughed up a third to Benwick and a third to Gorn. We also returned the Serpent’s Eye to Benwick. Truthfully, we totally forgot that he had given it to us. I have no idea if it could have helped us at all, but I guess we’ll never know now.

Suddenly the group heard footsteps quickly approaching the dungeon entrance. Benwick said it must be Lord Drysdale’s men and suggested we attempt to use Diplomacy rather than weapons to get out of the dungeon. Sola agreed and moved towards the door.

With 1/3 of the gold in one hand and the Serpent’s Eye in the other, Benwick revealed his true colours. He revealed his evil intent, insulted the party and then told Gorn that if he killed us he could keep our share of the treasure. Benwick then used the Serpent’s Eye to disappear in a flash of green light.

The Assassin immediately moved to attack Gorn and hit, but did almost the minimum possible damage. Merric then moved in to flank and also hit, yet he too did well below average damage. Gorn turned around and attacked Merric twice with his double attack. He rolled the maximum damage (36 points) dropping Merric.

Since Hagen was already standing next to Sal, he focused his attacks on him using Blessing of Wrath to smack Sal with his Warhammer. Hagen then used a Healing Word to revive Merric.

Since combat began, Sola pleaded with the party not to kill anyone. Until we know who is on their way we could be in a lot more trouble if we’re found over the bodies of these men then if we just explain why were here and what’s happened. For the most part, this plea fell on deaf ears – except for Eldeth.

Eldeth used her turn to double move towards the entrance to back up Sola when the mystery men appeared. If they were hostile, she’d fight. But if they were open to talking she’d back up Sola. Two men who were clearly not part of Lord Drysdale’s militia appeared at the doorway. They threw small globes into the centre of the room. The globes became poisonous snakes as soon as they hit the floor. That’s all Sola and Eldeth needed to see. These men were clearly hostile.

The snakes spit poison at Merric, missing fortunately, and at the Assassin, hitting unfortunately. The Assassin was blinded. The snakes then crawled up the statue in the middle of the room hiding among its intricate details.

The Wizard used Beguiling Strands to try and hit the snakes, Sal and Gorn. Gorn was the only one hit, and the Wizard pushed him well away from the blind Assassin and the severely wounded Merric.

Berrian move to a defensible corner, away from the melee combat, and used Magic Missile to inflict Gordi with his first damage of the fight.

Sola and Eldeth continued to guard the door. Sola hit the first initiate, dealing non-lethal damage and dropping the first minion. Eldeth hit the other one also dealing non-lethal damage, dropping the second minion. No more guys with snake globes. Both heroes moved closer to the melee. Eldeth, the only PCs from last week that didn’t use her action point decided to rush Gorn and grapple him. She succeeded on the check and kept Gorn locked down.

The Assassin, although still blinded, tried to attack Gordi and missed. He then failed to make his save and remained blind. Gordi took advantage of his blinded opponent and hit him for enough damage to bloody him. Seeing Berrian only a few squares away, hiding in the alcove, Gordi then moved toward Berrian.

Hagen and Sal continued to exchange blows, both hitting the other guy, but neither doing any significant damage. These two seemed pretty evenly matched. Merric moved to help Hagen battle Sal, but couldn’t manage to gain combat advantage. Merric’s damage dice were ice cold and the lack of his additional sneak dive really made a big difference.

The snakes got back into the action spitting on the Wizard and blinding him too. Knowing he was unlikely to hit a single opponent, the blind Wizard again used Beguiling Strands and managed to destroy both snakes but missed Sal again.

Gorn tried attacking Eldeth but wasn’t able to land a blow. He also was unable to escape the grapple. Sola moved to the most advantageous positioning and attacked Gorn with good old Sun Burst and scoring a crit. Max damage and all of the heroes, except Berrian off hiding in the alcove, got their 5 temporary hit points. Eldeth took her shot and landed a solid hit on Gorn, despite the penalty for using a two-handed axe one-handed. Berrian used Arc Lightning to fry Gordi and Gorn for max damage.

Hagen and Merric kept working together to try and drop Sal, but it wasn’t happening. Even though they both kept hitting their damage rolls were just awful.

The Assassin used a healing potion and his second wind to regain some much-needed hit points before finally saving against the blindness. Gordi, seeing his boss getting beaten to a pulp decided to forgo any more attacks on Berrian or the Assassin and moved toward the bigger fight.

Sola stepped away from the still-pinned Gorn and attacked Sal, delivering the killing blow (non-lethal) and granting the Wizard a save to counter his blindness – which he made.

The Wizard then used Charm of Misplaced Wrath to get Sal to run over to Gorn and attack him. That was the killing blow and Gorn was defeated by his own ally. Before Sal could escape or surrender Merric and the Assassin moved in, attacked and dropped him (using non-lethal damage).

The DM noted after the combat that Gorn had a really cool immediate reaction that he never got to use. The power was triggered when Gorn was attacked and not hit. Unbelievably the PCs hit Gorn with every single attack during the entire combat.

When the fight was over the party noticed that both Gordi and Sal were actually Changelings. When unconscious they reverted to their natural, faceless forms. We tied up the survivors (which was everyone but Gorn) and then interrogated the lot of them. They spilled their guts and told us everything.

The party eventually left the dungeon, taking Gorn’s share of the gold for themselves, and then turned these prisoners over to the proper authorities. Next week we’ll begin chapter 4 by trying to convince Lord Drysdlae of what really happened and then persue Benwick. Now we’re motivated by revenge.

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1 Al December 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

You left out my favorite part when I informed the party of part of Benwick’s plan involves recruiting 2 Black Dragons. I know how much you enjoy running into dragons. LoL

2 Lahrs December 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

We loved last night’s adventure, and did more role-playing than we have had in some time.
Our group refused to get near the statue as they did not notice it was still disabled. This forced everyone, except Benwick, to move deeper into the chamber to divide up the treasure. The previous two sessions, everyone grumbled and debated whether to divide the treasure fairly, but as soon as Gorn asked what they found, they mentioned every last copper piece. Gordi and Sal divided the treasure into the sacks they carried, but dropped them when Benwick shouted that Lord Drysdale’s men were coming to steal the treasure. Despite their lack of trust in Benwick, they had a similar lack of trust in Drysdale since Benwick had completely convinced them of Drysdale’s desire to take over the town and wipe out anyone who didn’t worship his god. The only person they seem to trust at the moment is Ronnick, which I find amusing but think it is great none-the-less.

Our group willingly gave up the Serpent’s Eye, which, besides sending Benwick a message of their success, forgot to use the other abilities. Ironically, one of the party mentioned they were never poisoned anyway, so no loss. The same person was later poisoned in combat. Benwick did not make off with any gold however, which may make it more difficult to bribe the dragons.

After Benwick left and the battle began, Gorm did his double attack, doing a significant amount of damage to our fighter and knocking him prone. Since the fighter was next in the order, he stood up and used a daily right back at Gorm, connected, and doled out his own punishment. An entertaining bought of insults and trading strikes lasted for most of the battle.

Next up, two initiates, the acolytes who served the party food and drink when they were with Benwick, ran down the steps, proving Drysdale was not on his way, and then tossed the snake pellets into the room. The Thri-kreen, having successfully climbed the statue, used his daily to split his shot. He did great damage, but wasted it on the two initiate minions. Still, he took out two enemies before they could do damage.

Sal and Gordi were next. Gordi bull rushed the wizard, Drace, and as they entangled, Gordi polymorphed into an identical copy of the wizard. I was pleased with my deception, but I forgot about one little detail. When making the character, my wife, playing the wizard, gave herself a little inconsequential story element that would prove to be the doppleganger’s downfall. The wizard had magical clothes that could not get dirty, which one of the other members remembered from the first session. Good memory. When the two stood up, only one was dirty, and therefore, had to be the doppelganger. The DC to decipher the fake identity was a 30 incite or perception check (forgot which one. I am at work without my books). The cleric who mentioned the cloak was granted a free success, and I dropped the DC to 20 for the rest of the party members.
Sal went next, and for some flavor it transformed into Ronnick and began to attack. I did this to help them understand that Ronnick had been impersonated by them. There was a lot of back and forth, and since the players knew they would get an extended rest, dailies were flying everywhere. I still haven’t decided how I can fix this problem of them knowing when they get their rest, and as a result know how long to hold their dailies. This is a problem with the way Encounters are set up.

The person playing the cleric has played a cleric since Halistar’s Apprentice, and for the first time, forgot to heal a player, and after a final shot from Gorm, the fighter went down. She felt horrible, but it happens, and we can’t deny that she is a quality healer. This did open up the opportunity for the monk to administer a healing potion, reviving the fighter and earning a renown point.

I was hoping Gorm would survive and would spill the information, but the ranger took away that option with a crit. In the end, it was Sal who surrendered and begged for mercy. It wanted a guarantee of being kept alive to talk, but threat of slow dismemberment changed its mind quickly and the group gained a ton of valuable information. I had to look up in the next chapter to answer the question on how many were going to attack the keep, but Sal didn’t have any other information not in the book.

The party then tied Sal up and is going to present it to Drysdale as proof of what is to come and to hopefully set Ronnick free. The party also walked out with all of the gold and the extra gold the book gave them, for 180gp each. Add in the three magic items, and the revelation of what is really going on and this was a very successful chapter for the party. They just hope they can get back to Drysdale in time to warn him, and then hope he listens.

3 Acheron December 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Great, thanks for the summary, betrayal always spice things up jajajaja!!

4 Sunyaku December 13, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Sigh. You guys are still a week ahead of my FLGS. I wonder if we’ll catch up over the holiday season, of you’ll just finish the season before we will. :-/

In related news, I just received my copy of the next chapter, and it looks AWESOME. I’m expecting some player death and/or TPKs in the next chapter… buah ha ha…

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