For D&D Encounters season 6 the PCs are once again in the Forgotten Realms. The adventure takes place in the city of Neverwinter. Although the Neverwinter Campaign Setting hardcover isn’t required to play this season it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a copy at your gaming table. All characters began the adventure at level 1 and had the option of using the new Neverwinter Character Themes presented during D&D Game Day as well as within the Neverwinter Campaign Setting.
We had enough players at our FLGS to run two tables of five. At my table was a Human Fighter, Human Cleric (War Priest), Eladrin Avenger, Dwarf Slayer (Fargrim) and Drow Ranger (Belgos). Three of the players are veterans of many previous seasons of D&D Encounters. The two players using the pre-generated characters were new to Encounters and relatively new to 4e D&D, although they both had extensive experience playing previous editions.
Before play began I read the players the adventure background and the Neverwinter background to make sure they understood the setting and the political and social atmosphere of Neverwinter.
The adventure started when the PCs all arrived at a small market in the Protector’s Enclave. Although long-time friends, some of the PCs hadn’t seen each other in quite a while so we did introductions and explained what the character were doing since they’d last been together.
While the PCs spoke to each other they wandered around the market. Belgos offered to assist a merchant struggling to replace a broken wheel on his cart. He gracefully accepted the party’s aid and introduced himself as Clorde. The PC managed to get the cart in working order rather quickly. The Cleric suspected that the merchant might not have been all that eager to fix the cart himself as he seemed to be overlooking obvious and easy ways to fix it himself before the heroes intervened. Clorde spoke with the PCs for a while, talking of local politics and answering questions before heading off, his cart now in working order.
As he was about to leave he quietly asked Belgos if he was affiliated with any of the Drow in Neverwinter. Belgos explained that he was new in town but would be looking for more of his kin soon. Clorde suggested a few places where Belgos might find other Drow in Neverwinter.
Next the PCs visited the armorer’s stall where they met Aothir the Dwarf. He was happy to talk to the PCs, especially Fargrim. He shared with Fargrim the tale of his search for Gauntlgrym, explaining that he was not destined to find the fabled city, but instead equip other Dwarves who might take up the quest.
Aothir admitted that he wasn’t all that interested in local politics, he was just happy to see more customers arriving every day. When it became apparent that none of the PCs were actually shopping for armor, Aothir politely excused himself and helped other customers.
The PCs moved on to the weaponsmith’s stall where a no-nonsense Half-orc named Nagda was all business. She initially seemed a bit standoffish when she first spotted the Cleric and Avenger, but once she realized that they both carried weapons of the finest quality with signs of repeated use and wear, she opened up a little bit. She was not very talkative and when the PCs realized that she didn’t have magic weapons for sale they moved on.
The heroes made their way across the market to the food cart. A Halfling named Jarvy was humming a tune and called out to the heroes when he spotted them approaching. He hawked his goods and talked the party’s ears off. When they actually agreed to purchase something to eat he was even willing to share a few saucy rumours he’d heard recently.
While the party ate their sweets and meat pies the Cleric heard strange noises coming from the nearby sewer. Before he could alert the rest of the party creatures began climbing up from the sewers and onto the streets.
The humanoids that emerged from the sewers were misshapen and their eyes were alight with blue fire. At the same time three Drakes, also misshapen with eyes glowing with blue fire, emerged from the nearby sewer grate. The people in the market began to flee in terror as these strange monsters started attacking.
The Cleric, assessing the situation and acting quickly charged Drake 1 before anyone else could act. Unfortunately he missed. Fargrim followed suit and charged, attacking Drake 2 and landing a solid hit. Before any of the other PCs could act, four of the eight Maniacs attacked. Two moved towards the PCs attacking Belgos and the Avenger, while two others attacked adjacent NPCs hitting one and knocking it prone.
The Fighter rushed over to the Drakes 1 and 2, intentionally putting himself between them in order to get them in his defender aura and draw attacks. He then attacked Drake 2 and bloodied it before it could even attack.
Belgos then shot the closest Maniac minions, killing three. He then used his action point to repeat the attack and shot and killed two more minions threatening the innocent bystanders. Five kills in one round; not bad for the player’s first round of 4e combat.
The Avenger then designated the Maniac threatening innocent bystanders as his Oath of Enmity, charged and destroyed him. The remaining two Maniacs attacked, both rushing Belgos.
The Drakes, still grouped tightly together attacked. Drakes 1 and 2, both in the defender aura, attacked the Fighter. One scored a crit for 19 points. The other did minimum damage and only dealt 10 points. The Fighter remained standing with only 6 hit points. Drake 3 moved away from the others and attacked the Avenger.
The Cleric healed the wounded Fighter and then joined the battle against Drakes 1 and 2. Fargrim moved, drawing one opportunity attack for his trouble and charged Drake 3. Fargrim drew one opportunity attack, but the attacking Drake also drew an opportunity attack because he was inside the defender aura. The Avenger used his action point and took two attacks on the Drake 3 hitting both times. Drake 3 then returned the favour and bit the Avenger.
The Fighter laid into the wounded Drake 1 but couldn’t kill it. He used his action point to attack again, hitting and finally killing it. Drake 2 attacked the Fighter but missed. The Cleric worked together with the Fighter and continued attacking Drake 2 as well.
Suddenly, from amidst the shadows emerged a lone figure dressed in plate armor, a purple cloak swaying behind him and a gleaming mithral crown adorned with sapphires atop his head. “For Neverwinter!” he cried as he joined the battle.
The Fighter attacked and hit Drake 2, killing it. He then moved next to Drake 3 to get it in his defender aura. Fargrim, now flanking with the Neverwinter champion, attacked and hit Drake 3, but couldn’t inflict enough damage to kill it. The Avenger attacked and hit, but Drake 3 was still standing. It attacked the Fighter but missed before the Cleric moved into the melee and finally killed Drake 3.
Meanwhile Belgos was unable to hit either of the two minions threatening him, but they both connected on their attacks against him. He kept shifting back and they kept following him. He dropped one, but the other pinned him against the cart. He switched to his sword but couldn’t hit.
When the Drakes were all defeated the Neverwinter champion pointed to Belgos and the one remaining Maniac. “We must help him,” he cried out as he moved closer to the melee. Fargrim ran and then charged. He jumped up on the cart and then took a might swing down on top of the Maniac. He rolled a 1.
Belgos, now surrounded by his allies, shifted back, drew his bow again, fired and killed the remaining minion. Cheers erupted from onlookers as the monsters were defeated. They began chanting “The king! The king!”
“The master comes,” says the Neverwinter champion as he points to the sky. “Make ready.” A great white dragon wreathed in blue fire descends upon the market and landed with a deafening roar.
Week 1 ended with this cliffhanger. Will the PCs survive the next battle against the dragon? Who is this mysterious warrior who the people call the king? Is he friend or foe?
After just one encounter what are your thoughts on this season of D&D Encounters? Did anyone suffer any fatalities this week? Are people excited that D&D Encounters is once again set in the Forgotten Realms? Is anyone playing this adventure at any level above level 1?
As an added bonus this season we’re recording our D&D Encounters experiences and making them available to you as downloadable podcasts. Listen to the Week 1 Encounter. Bear in mind that these recordings are made in a loud, crowded game store so at time it may be difficult to hear everyone.
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.