“Who’s buried in Evard’s Tomb?” During this week’s encounter the PCs learned more about what caused Duponde to shift into the Shadowfell, details of Evard’s Curse and the fate of the Wizard Nathaire. So begins Dark Legacy of Evard, chapter two.
Before we began this week’s encounter I cautioned the players that this chapter of the adventure has five encounters. That means that they have to survive through five battles before they get an extended rest. In most cases they’d have to really pay attention to how many healing surges they used during each battle. PCs with 10 or fewer healing surges couldn’t afford to use more than two per fight. With this cautionary tale behind us we continued.
This week the party at my table consisted of Jarren, an Eladrin Cleric, a Human Druid, a Vryloka Blackguard and a Dragonborn Paladin.
At the end of the last chapter the PCs returned to their rooms at the Old Owl Inn and went to sleep. The Eladrin Cleric, needing two fewer hours rest than the rest of the PCs, decided to try and decipher Nathaire’s journal while the others slept. He made a resounding History check but poor Insight and Arcana checks left him befuddled. When the rest of the party awoke, Jarren took a couple of hours to try and crack the code. He rocked the Arcana and History checks, but just missed the Insight check. However, with assistance from the Cleric the two managed to figure out what was written in the journal. Inside were details and insight into Nathaire and his true motives for coming to Duponde.
Meanwhile the rest of the party was getting bored and suggested that they do something other than stay inside and read. That’s when a teenage boy named Valkan arrived at the Old Owl Inn with a message for the PCs. His grandmother, a Vistani soothsayer, beckoned the heroes to come and see her as she had information that they need to hear.
The party didn’t immediately agree to follow the boy, but after some convincing from the Cleric and Paladin, along with reassuring words from Tilda, the proprietor of the Old Owl Inn, they finally agreed to follow Valkan and go see his grandmother.
After walking a couple of miles outside of town they arrived at an old cottage. Valkan introduced everyone to his grandmother, an old Vistani woman known as Mother Grivelda. Once the PC were all inside and sitting comfortably she began.
“Now, sweeties, answer my riddle: Who’s buried in Evard’s Tomb?” The question surprised the PCs. They answered “Evard” to which Mother Grivelda laughed. She explained that the spirits have made things known to her, beginning with the identity of who is actually buried in Evard’s Tomb.
Many years ago when Evard and Vontarin battled it was actually Evard who was the victor. However, he let everyone else believe that Vontarin won. Evard switched identities with his fallen enemy, burying Vontarin in a tomb marked with Evard’s name.
The Wizard Nathaire sought Evard’s remains because he planned to enact a ritual that would siphon the residual shadow magic energy from the body and channel it into an orb or some other magical implement. With this power Nathaire would quickly gain immense power. However, things did not go as planned.
When Nathaire opened the tomb he triggered Evard’s Curse. That is what caused the town of Duponde to shift into the Shadowfell. What’s more, Vontarin’s ghost seized this opportunity to possess the dumbfounded Wizard Nathaire. Now Vontarin walks the world again in a new body.
The curse affects all who were in Duponde when it was triggered. So even if the PCs left Duponde they would find that come nightfall they would shift into the Shadowfell regardless of where they were at the time. After a few nights, Duponde and everyone who is cursed would remain in the Shadowfell forever. The curse must be broken quickly.
Mother Grivelda suggested that the PCs begin their search for Vontarin in Nathaire’s body by going to Vontarin’s old manor house. It’s likely that the spirit will go someplace familiar while he decides how to proceed.
After Mother Grivelda finished, everyone heard howling as a pack of wolves approached the cottage. When the PCs looked out the window they saw three large wolves and a humanoid wolf-creature running swiftly on its hind legs.
The heroes recognized the danger and sprang into action. The Druid sent his bear outside to hold off the wolves. Unfortunately two wolves worked together to destroy the spiritual companion in the first round. The Blackguard and Cleric managed to get outside but couldn’t get close enough to any of their foes to attack.
The Werewolf tore into the Cleric with claws and fangs, knocking him prone and inflicting terrible damage early in the fight. Jarren responded with a Magic Missile from the safety of the cottage. The Paladin charged into the battle with the Werewolf, landing a solid blow. Unfortunately he didn’t see the third wolf circling around to flank him. Suddenly the Paladin was on the ground next to the Cleric.
The Druid summoned back his bear companion, sending it into melee while he tried to move away from the emerging battle.
One of the wolves attacked the prone Cleric and then jumped through the window of the cottage, making its way towards Mother Grivelda and Valkan. Jarren, the only hero still inside, used Beguiling Strands to push the wolf away from the innocents and into the roaring fireplace. Through the cottage’s back door a second werewolf snuck inside. Jarren spotted him and alerted the party. The Blackguard ran back inside the cottage to help.
Outside the wolves and the Werewolf worked together to focus their attacks on the Cleric and Paladin, both prone and bloodied. The wolves kept hitting and then shifting away. Both the Cleric and Paladin kept getting hit and knocked prone. If not for the availability of four healing powers (two from each from the Cleric and Druid) then the Cleric and Paladin would have fallen unconscious. Finally the combined effort of the two divine PCs managed to kill the Werewolf outside but not before the two wolves worked together to flank the bear and once again destroy it.
Back in the cottage Jarren again used Beguiling Strands to push the wolf and the Werewolf. The wolf ended up back in the fireplace and the Werewolf was pushed out the back door. Jarren then ran to the door where he closed and locked it, ensuring that no one else could get inside that way. This, however, meant that on the wolf’s turn it managed to trap Jarren in the hallway, the door at Jarren back. The Blackguard flanked the wolf and managed to drop it with two solid hits.
The second Werewolf, now stuck outside, joined the melee as soon as his companion was killed. The second lycanthrope wasn’t as accurate as his now dead companion. He missed the Cleric and Paladin repeatedly. Fortunately the outside wolves, gaining combat advantage from flanking, did manage to hit and knock the PCs prone again and again.
After killing the wolf inside, the Blackguard came charging out of the cottage to join the others who were not fairing well. This seemed to energize the Paladin who scored two huge hits, killing the badly damaged wolf and severely wounding the Werewolf. The Cleric and Blackguard managed to work together to finally kill the Werewolf.
The last wolf, which had not been damaged at all during the fight, attacked the Paladin one last time, hitting and knocking him prone before fleeing. The PCs all used ranged attacks to try and kill it before it could escape, but they couldn’t deal enough damage before the wolf disappeared into the nearby forest.
Mother Grivelda emerged from the cottage and thanked the PCs for their help. As a token of gratitude she awarded the PCs with a +1 Vicious weapon and two healing potions. She also told the PCs that she could brew potions for them as a discount if they wanted.
After the encounter the players took stock of their character’s resources. The Paladin and Cleric each used three healing surges (down from 10 and 9 respectively). The Druid took no damage but suffered the loss of two surges (one each time he re-summoned the bear). Jarren and the Blackguard each took minimal damage and decided not to use any surges. With four more encounters before the next extended rest things could get pretty interesting. On the plus side no one used their action point which could make a huge difference during the next fight.
How was this week’s encounter for your group? Were your PCs able to decipher the journal? Did the PCs find themselves overwhelmed by the wolves? Did the wolves mobility cause as much grief for your players and they did for mine? How are everyone’s resources after one encounter? Does it already look like some PCs will be out of healing surges before the final encounter?
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. Also check out our Dark Legacy of Evard video recaps. They provide a new and different way to be a part of D&D Encounters. Each episode is part session recap, part episodic story.