Last week’s encounter not only set the stage for what is going to be a fantastic season of D&D Encounters, but it ended with a great cliff-hanger. The PCs managed to defeat the drakes and plague-changed maniacs with some assistance from a mysterious stranger wearing the Lost Crown of Neverwinter and called the king by onlookers. Before the heroes could ask questions of the so-called king, a large White Dragon wreathed in blue fire (and clearly infected by the Spellplague) landed in the market square in the Protector’s Enclave.
Knowing that this encounter would likely be completed quickly, we actually ran it back-to-back with last week’s encounter, so our party remained unchanged from week 1. At my table was a Human Fighter, Human Cleric (War Priest), Eladrin Avenger, Dwarf Slayer (Fargrim) and Drow Ranger (Belgos). Three of the players were D&D Encounters regulars with plenty of gaming experience where as the other two players were new to both D&D Encounters and 4e D&D and used pre-generated characters.
The Lost Heir (the man wearing the Crown of Neverwinter) stepped forward and locked eyes with the Dragon, memorizing it as a snake charmer would a mighty asp. The heroes quickly caught their breath following the last fight (short rest) and then prepared to battle the mighty wyrm.
As the heroes prepared to battle the White Dragon, the Heir told them that he was about to loose control of the beast and they should act quickly. Each PC got to take one standard action before the full combat began. Belgos fired an arrow at the Dragon but rolled a 1. The Avenger charged the Dragon slashing it with his great sword and drawing first blood. Rather than charge in, the Fighter merely moved to get better positioning. Fargrim was too far away to charge so he took a defensive stance. The Cleric put a blessing upon Fargrim, increasing the damage of his next attack by +4.
The Dragon managed to break free of the Heir’s hypnosis. Using his Instinctive Rampage, the Dragon moved, attacking the Avenger and the Fighter with his claws. This allowed all of the heroes to make an opportunity attacks against the Dragon. The Fighter was the only one to hit and the Dragon seemed resistant to most of the damage it sustained from this attack.
Belgos began his attack by lighting up the Dragon with Darkfire. This gave everyone combat advantage, including Belgos himself. He then shot and dazed the Dragon. The Heir moved right into melee and hit the Dragon with his sword. The Crown of Neverwinter empowered the Heir’s blade with both fire and cold which clearly caused the creature incredible pain.
The dazed Dragon used his breath weapon as is only action and managed to target Fargrim, Belgos and the Cleric, but missed all three PCs and inflicted only half damage. The Dragon then shrugged off the daze, but not the Drow’s Darkfire.
The Avenger designated the Dragon as his Oath of Enmity, moved adjacent and then unloaded with a daily attack scoring a solid hit for big damage. The Fighter flanked with the Avenger and triggered the Dragon’s tail slap, however the slap missed. Expecting to receive the brunt of the next attack now that the Dragon was in his defender’s aura, the Fighter took a defensive stance rather than attack this round.
Fargrim charged and his great axe planted firmly into the Dragon’s scales. Fargrim added his power strike increasing the damage considerably. He then used his action point to attack again and scored another devastating hit. The Cleric moved up and used his daily power which, in addition to the damage, improved everyone’s defenses by +2 for the rest of the encounter. He too used his action point but rather than attack he bestowed another blessing on Fargrim to increase his damage.
The Dragon again used Instinctive Rampage to move and attack with his claws, targeting everyone but Belgos. And again the Dragon drew opportunity attacks from all five PCs and the Heir for his trouble. Only the Fighter and Avenger hit, but the Avenger managed to score a crit. The Dragon claws only tore into the Avenger and Fargrim, missing everyone else.
Belgos had enough of the close combat and managed to move out of the Dragon’s perceivable threat range before shooting him and knocking him prone. This made things easier for the Heir as he again buried his blade deep into the Dragon’s scales with fire and cold from the Crown empowering the blade.
When the Heir’s attack damaged the Dragon, it bloodied the wyrm and caused its spellscar to explode in a blast that extended far enough to target all of the PCs. Fargrim managed to avoid the blast but the rest of the PCs were not as lucky. The attacks against both Belgos and the Fighter came up natural 20s.
Now it was the Dragon’s actual turn and his breath weapon recharged. He crawled two squares in order to get the most heroes in his breath, then targeted the Avenger, Fargrim and the Heir but missed all three of them. The Dragon then tried to extract revenge upon the Heir by attacking him with two powerful claws, but missed on both attacks.
The Avenger used his Fey Step to teleport next to the Dragon and attacked him. Even though the Avenger and the Dragon were both prone it made little difference as the Avenger’s attack connected. The Fighter stood up, charged the Dragon and missed. Fargrim stood up, used his second wind and then charged and hit. The Cleric used Healing Word to patch up the wounded Avenger before moving in and hitting the Dragon.
The Dragon, although still prone, he still used Instinctive Rampage. This time the opportunity attacks against him all received a +2 attack bonus, but the Avenger managed to hit. The Dragon in turn only hit the Avenger and the Cleric, bloodying both of them.
Belgos now had to decide if he wanted to shoot the dragon while it was prone and take the -2 penalty or delay until after the Dragon went assuming that it would stand on its turn. However, it was clear that the Dragon was very close to death so he decided to fire despite the penalty. He rolled a 20, inflicting maximum damage and sliding the Dragon away from the other PCs just in case the Dragon recharged his breath weapon again.
The Heir then ran up to the Dragon and cried “For Neverwinter!” as he stabbed the beast in the heart. The Dragon cried out in pain as he realized his death was imminent. The Heir dropped his sword, took a few steps back and began casting a spell. The Crown of Neverwinter began to glow and energy flowed from it, through the Heir and towards the Dragon. The blue flames around the Dragon begin to fade, and his white scales began to turn to grey. The Dragon continued howling in agony but to no avail. The Heir’s enchantment turned the Dragon to stone.
The crowd of onlookers watching the battle cheered as the Dragon was defeated. “The king! The king!” they chanted, ignoring the PCs. The Heir thanked the PCs as the crowd rushed the battlefield to congratulate him. The Heir was lifted on the shoulders of the people as they carried him towards the Blacklake District. He waved for the PCs to follow. In the hours after the battle the Heir was able to thank the PCs properly for their assistance in defeating the Spellplagued Dragon. He awarded all of them with Amethyst Badges worth 50gp each.
So ends Chapter 1 of the Lost Crown of Neverwinter. The next chapter begins 10 days after the battle in the market square so the PCs have ample time to take an extended rest before beginning Chapter 2. I enjoyed the short, two-encounter chapter a lot. It really did a good job of setting the stage for what’s to come. I was a little bit concerned about a level 2 and then level 3 encounter right off the bat, but the PCs did just fine at my table, especially since everyone saved their daily powers until the second encounter.
This is the first time in many weeks that the PCs had a chance to fight a solo monster on its own (I was happy to see that a few minions weren’t just thrown in to pad the encounter). The result was a thrilling combat encounter, but it didn’t last very long. I’m glad we choose to run it on the same night as the week 1 encounter.
The short chapter also let players act without worrying about their healing surges; something that continues to be a really big problem with D&D Encounters at my FLGS. Chapters 2-4 are all four encounter long which should challenge the party a little bit more and encourage better resource management.
How did your party do against the Dragon this week? Did the Dragon manage to kill any PCs at your table? How many tables were disappointed when they realized the encounter was over so quickly? What did DMs do about it? Did anyone move on to the next encounter or add anything to the finale?
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 2 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.