D&D Encounters: Dark Legacy of Evard (Week 4)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 2, 2011

As the party caught their breath following the battle against the two-headed Dusk Beasts from last week’s encounter, two members of the town militiaarrived on the scene. Captain Grimbold sent these men to retrieve the party and bring them to the Chapel of Peace. Brother Zelan, the town’s priest, had something urgent to discus with the heroes.

This week we ran two tables at myFLGS – a table of six and a table of seven. The party at my table was made up of Fargrim, Jarren 1, Jarren 2, Byshir, Dolora, Drenda and a Human Vampire.

When the PCs arrived at the Chapel of Peach they discovered that many of the townsfolk had sought shelter within. They must have gathered there when Duponde shifted into the Shadowfell. Grimbold assigned six of his soldiers to protect the chapel and ensure the safety of everyone gathered there.

Brother Zelan, upon noticing the PCs arrival, welcomed them to the chapel despite the circumstances and quickly ushered them into his private antechamber. Once everyone crammed into the small room the good priest did his best to win over the PCs. He explained that Grimbold told him of their deeds at the Old Owl Inn and at the armory. Brother Zelan was very impressed and knew that these heroes were certainly powerful enough to take on a special (and likely dangerous) task on behalf of the people of Duponde.

Before the town shifted into the Shadowfell, Brother Zelan saw lights in the graveyard near Evard’s Tomb. He noticed the Wizard, Nathaire, and his Halfling servant, Remy, near the tomb’s entrance. Before the priest could go and investigate he heard screams and then experienced the disorientation that accompanied the shadowfall phenomenon. He’s certain that the Wizard was in some way responsible for all of the turmoil that has befallen the town this evening.

Brother Zelan rummaged through an old chest and produced a gold holy symbol with a large red gemstone at its centre. He explained that the Wizard, Vontarin, who was the one responsible for killing Evard almost 50 years ago, left this medallion with the priests of this chapel for safekeeping. He said that if the shadows ever threatened Duponde again that this talisman would help drive them away. Given the circumstances, Brother Zelan felt that giving it to the party now was the best course of action.

Jarren 1 quickly snatched the amulet. However, after examining it he quickly realized that it had no magical properties. He didn’t do a very good job of hiding his disappointment.

Now armed with the holy symbol, Brother Zelan asked the PCs to go into the graveyard, explore Evard’s Tomb and see if they could figure out what happened. With any luck they might also figure out how to get Duponde back to the real world and out of the Shadowfell. The PCs agreed and headed for the graveyard.

As the heroes entered the graveyard and approached Evard’s Tomb most of them noticed a creature hiding behind a nearby tree. They also heard moaning and shuffling near or possibly behind the tomb. Byshir jumped over the bench and charged the creature. Once face-to-face with it she realized that it was a Ghoul. Fargrim also charged the Ghoul while the Vampire began moving around to the other side of the tree to flank it.

That’s when four Shadow Lurkers joined the battle, giving both Drenda and Dolora a “necrotic hug.” Jarren 1 and Jarren 2, knowing just how deadly the Shadows could be, wasted no time and both fired Magic Missiles, killing one shadow each.

Dolora, not worried about a little necrotic damage from the hug (since she had resistance) moved towards the tomb to investigate. Unfortunately two Zombies lurking behind the tomb rushed her. One managed to grab her and the other slammed her hard.

Another Ghoul arose from the shallow grave and attacked Jarren 2, knocking him prone. Four more Shadows also joined the battle, one giving Fargrim a “necrotic hug” and the others missing the Vampire, Jarren 1, Jarren 2, and Drenda. The Vampire and Drenda both took care of the Shadows nearest to them on their turn with absolutely no difficulty.

The two Zombies attacking Dolora continued to have their way with her – one held her tight and the other slammed her. Two more Zombies came from the back side of the tomb and rushed Jarren 2 and the Vampire.

Jarren 1 shifted back and used his Fountain of Flame, engulfing a Zombie, the Ghoul and a Shadow. All three were hit. The minion was destroyed and the Zombie was bloodied. The Ghoul, the only creature in the zone to have vulnerability to radiant damage, seemed to take extra damage from the attack even though it didn’t have a radiant keyword.

Byshir and the Vampire told Fargrim that they had this Ghoul under control and that he should help the wounded and outmatched Dolora. Fargrim charged the nearest Zombie, bloodying it in the process. Dolora tried to free herself from the Zombie’s grasp but couldn’t. She decided to attack the undead creature and scored a 20. The head shot destroyed the Zombie even though it was at full hit points.

Byshir and the Vampire made short work of the Ghoul, killing it easily. The Vampire moved to assist Fargrim and Dolora. Byshir rushed to help Jarren 2, still prone and now very bloodied. She jumped over the bench as part of her charged and destroyed the wounded Zombie. However, the Zombie stood up again on its turn and dealt some retribution damage to Byshir. Jarren 1 took care of it with a Magic Missile.

The Ghoul kept attacking the Jarren 2 who eventually risked an opportunity attack (which luckily missed) and blasted it and a nearby Zombie with his Fountain of Flame, killing both.

Drenda realized that Fargrim could use some help and moved closer to the tomb. Fargrim couldn’t shake the Shadow’s necrotic hug and kept getting hit by the adjacent Zombie. Fortunately with all of his friend nearby, ganging up on the last Zombie, it didn’t take long before the creature was dead permanently.

With all of the monsters defeated the party searched Evard’s Tomb. Inside they discovered that someone had opened the sarcophagus. Both Jarrens and the Vampire realized that the sarcophagus was cursed and opening it is what caused the town of Duponde to be thrust into the Shadowfell. On the floor near the sarcophagus they found a leather-bound notebook that belonged to Nathaire. However, it was written in some kind of code which they couldn’t immediately decipher. Aside from these details they couldn’t find anything else of importance or value.

When they retuned to the Chapel of Peace and told Brother Zelan what they learned he expressed his gratitude and congratulated the PCs on a job well done. As the sun broke over the horizon in the East, the town of Duponde returned to the real world, exiting the Shadowfell. The PCs were finally able to get the rest they deserved. However, it was unclear if Duponde would return once again to the Shadowfell come nightfall.

So ends chapter 1 of Dark Legacy of Evard. We’ll rejoin the adventure next week after the PCs awake from a much deserved and badly needed extended rest. Perhaps the journal will give them some clue as to what’s going on and how to break the curse that was unleashed when the sarcophagus was opened.

With chapter 1 completed how are participants finding this season of D&D Encounters? Do you think it’s better than March of the Phantom Brigade, about as good or worse? Are people finding the encounters too difficult? For the groups running level 3 characters, are any of you allowing the PCs to level at this point? The DMs at my FLGS are waiting until the end of encounter 6 before allowing the PCs to level up, assuming of course that they have appropriate XP.

Visit the Dungeon’s Master D&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dixon Trimline June 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

It’s been pretty thrilling, following along with your articles while I’m playing the same game. Just seeing how different groups approach situations has been very instructive: “Oh, you guys went after the minions first!” “Wait, you guys divided up your group and crossed both bridges” And so on.

This was the first week I saw a significant drop-off in attendance. Previously, we easily filled up two tables with 10-14 people, but this time, we had 7 players, so the DM elected to run us all as a group. We were a human slayer, a dwarf knight, a human cavalier, a human sentinel, a human wizard, a drow executioner, and an eladrin warlock. It was an excellent mix, two defenders, three strikers, one leader, and one controller.

Maybe it was the player numbers or maybe we just got lucky, but this graveyard battle seemed a good deal easier (and just between us, MUCH more fun) than previous battles. It’s kind of nice feeling cool.

2 Bobbydrake75 June 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

It was a fitting end to an story arc. 2 Leaders, 2 Defenders, 2 strikers and controller stood against the dead. One of the Defenders played superman and moved out only to be surrounded by the 4 zombies and 1 ghoul and was quickly taken down. The rest of us banded together and fought as a unit and slowly slugged through it. The Cleric made my work (Shaman) easier and though we started to fade I popped my daily Flood and we fought hard till they all fell. Most of us are second level now and should be a little tougher and ready for the action. I like the format and the quick gaming that happens every week. Too much fun.

3 Al June 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

A member of my group decided that he wanted some company and took Evard’s corpse with them. MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!

4 Ameron June 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

@Dixon Trimline
I’m always amazed at how a different party make-up, varying level of experience, and sheer good fortune can make the same encounter so different for so many people. That’s a big party of why I share our experiences every week.

If last summer was any indication, we saw our numbers jump a bit when high school ended, but then had a sharp decline until the fall. Not sure if that was typical for everyone or not.

Since this week’s encounter was already listed as a level 3 encounter (and my party was all level 3 PCs) I didn’t really ramp it up much this week – just enough to account for a party of 7. As such, the PCs had a relatively easy time with it (a few bumps and bruises aside). It’s important for DMs to remember that the party needs a resounding victory every once and a while. Having it happen at the end of a chapter is just icing on the cake.

@Bobbydrake
There’s always one player that just has to run out on his own and try to be the hero. We have one in our regular non-Encounters group and he’s always getting destroyed.

Glad to hear that teamwork led to an awesome victory. If you thought the first chapter was good, wait until you play through chapter 2.

@Al
Yeah, some of the players at my table tried that as well. I told them the curse that caused the shadowfall protected the corpse. They could examine it, but couldn’t move or damage it.

5 David Argall June 6, 2011 at 1:06 am

Our return to the city, not covered in glory, was at least not greeted with contempt. That was somewhat generous since we had failed in our objective, but we did achieve some lesser goals in making the roads safer, and finding some hints about what was happening, even if we don’t understand them yet. In any case, the marshal was happy to see us and told us that order of a sort had been restored, at least enough that we could be dispatched to investigate the graveyard, where this event appears to have started.
When we got there, we found the problem was still going on.
Several undead appeared and blocked our way. At first, we seemed to have them outnumbered, but a tad too late we realized we were the ones that were outnumbered. Korgun was the one who suffered the most from this. He charged the undead ahead of us, only to be cut off when the additional enemy showed up and blocked our path to him. He put up a good fight, but was soon cut down. Fortunately the undead assumed that down was the same as dead and left to attack us, and I was able to squeeze close enough to revive him [a feat that involved considerable risk, but turned out to work too well to mention any wounds. And a bard gets paid for singing the brave feats of others, not his own.]
Once he returned to the fight, the battle went rapidly in our favor. Suprano, Lord Kevin, and Horag were dealing out good damage, and I and Philia, a tiefling warlock that had been assigned to us, did our share too. One by one the undead became dead.
Once done with the undead, we continued to the tomb of the great mage, only to find someone has broken in. Looking inside, we found a sarcophagus which had also been broken into, but the body inside had not been disturbed. Some checking by Lord Kevin and me discovered the remains of a magical trap. We were not sure what it did, but it seems to have ended the opening of the tomb. We still have no idea what happened to the missing wizard, but we assume he has paid for his folly.
It was nearly dawn as we exited the graveyard, and we were pleased when dawn also brought a return to normalcy. Perhaps our adventure is all but over, but I fear not.

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