D&D Encounters: Lost Crown of Neverwinter (Week 3)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on August 25, 2011

It’s been 10 days since the heroes defeated the spellplauge-infected White Dragon along side the Lost Heir of Neverwinter. Since then the PCs have each pursued their own sources of information and tried to learn more about this mysterious stranger. Tonight they agreed to meet at the Beached Leviathan, a local tavern, to share what they’d learned and to possibly find out more about the rapidly shifting politics in Neverwinter.

During the first week of this season I ran my table through encounters 1 and 2 back-to-back. Rather than take week 2 off and let the other players catch up the guys at my table decided that they wanted to push forward another week and stay ahead of the crowd. However, as game time approached two players who did the double session didn’t show. The remaining three guys had to decide if they wanted to proceed short handed, play the week 2 encounter again or head home. They all decided to push on.

Fortunately a player who missed week 1 decided that he’d rather start at the beginning of a new chapter than join the other group in fighting the Dragon. So the party rounded out with four PCs and we pushed on and played the week 3 encounter last week. The party composition ended up being the Human Fighter, Human Cleric (War Priest) and Eladrin Avenger from the previous two weeks. The new party member decided to play the Valenae, the pre-generated Eladrin Cleric.

Support for the Lost Heir grew considerably over the past week. There were more and more attacks by plague-changed creatures within the Protector’s Enclave, a supposedly safe area, and each time the Lost Heir arrived on the scene to defeat the creatures. The Sons of Alagondar, a group of rebels who oppose Nevermember, have thrown their support behind the Lost Heir. Residents and shop owners are being forced to choose sides. Those who remain loyal to the Nevermember, the Lord Protector, have become the victims of ridicule, harassment and vandalism.

The PCs had to decide if they were going to wear the badges that the Lost Heir presented them with at the end of the last encounter. Wearing the badges openly is a bold statement of where the PCs’ loyalties lie. After a brief discussion of the pros and cons, the PCs decided to keep the badges but not wear them at this time. They preferred to try and remain neutral as long as possible while they continued to gather more information.

The PCs spoke with the tavern’s proprietor, Harrag, a large human with a peg leg. On previous visits to the Beached Leviathan the PCs found Harrag in good spirits and recounting tall tales of his days as a sailor, but today his mind was clearly elsewhere. Where he once proudly spoke of his allegiance to Lord Nevermember, toady he tries to remain neutral as to not attract the wrong kind of attention or loose any paying customers who have different political opinions.

A group of Bright Blades, teenagers that support of the Lost Heir, sit on the opposite side of the tavern talking a little too loudly and boasting a little bit to aggressively about their new patron. Valenae joined them for a round of drinks and realized very quickly that they were all talk and in no way affiliated with any organized resistance or rebel group.

Although there were numerous regular people enjoying a drink at the Beached Leviathan, one other patron stood out among the crowd – a Watersoul Genasi named Len-Jes. The PCs had heard a few things about her. They knew that she works for Lord Nevermember as a bookkeeper and that she has permanent residence in one of the rooms upstairs. Despite the insults being hurled at the Lord Protector, Len-Jes showed no visible sign of taking any of what was said personally. It was as if she has no care at all for the politics of Neverwinter. When the Cleric asked her about her take on the events happening in Neverwinter she merely said that she was confident everything would work out and the Lord Nevermember would remain in control while he continued to make Neverwinter prosperous.

After the PCs interacted with Harrag, Len-Jes and the Bright Blades they heard booted feet approaching the tavern. The entire establishment fell silent as two soldiers in Nevermember livery stepped in, surveyed the room and then stepped aside. From behind them a woman in an officer’s uniform, exuding confidence and military efficiency entered the Beached Leviathan and upon spotting the PCs strode over to their table where she proclaimed “You’re the ones I’m looking for.” The PCs recognize her as General Sabine.

General Sabine told the PCs that she was sent to retrieve them by Lord Nevermember himself. He wishes an audience with the heroes who defeated the Dragon. Supporters of the Lost Heir shouted insults at the General, but she ignored them. The PCs debated going or not, when General Sabine told them that they would be accompanying her back to the Lord whether they want to or not. She wasn’t threatening the PCs; she was just stating a fact. The PCs decided that it was probably best to just go and hear what Lord Nevermember wanted.

As Sabine and her men begin leading the PCs out of the tavern some of the rowdy patrons took this opportunity to prove themselves by shouting insults and attacking anyone who shows support for Lord Nevermember, including the PCs.

The Brawlers got the jump on the heroes. The first one ran towards the table, swung a chair over his head and with a natural 20 clobbered Valenae with it, bloodying her with the first attack. The next Brawler ran up to the Cleric, and swung a chair at him but missed.

From across the tavern a Brawler threw a tankard of beer at the Cleric, hit him and soaked him with sour ale. Another Brawler did the same, scoring a hit on the Avenger. A third tried to get the Fighter but missed.

Before the heroes struck back at the Brawlers, the Fighter shouted out to the party not to kill any of the combatants. Valenae attacked the closest Brawler hitting him and granting everyone in the party temporary hit points. The Cleric used Healing Word on the wounded Valenae and then blessed the Fighter so that his next attack would be more precise.

The Fighter moved away from the melee in an attempt to get closer to the Brawlers throwing tankards. The Brawlers adjacent to him took an opportunity attack but missed. The Fighter moved up to the tankard throwers and using non-lethal damage smacked one with the flat of his blade. He added on power strike to deal a few more points of damage and bloodied him. The Avenger subjected the closest Brawler to his Oath of Enmity and then attacked. He hit successfully, bloodying him.

The two Brawlers adjacent to the Fighter and in his defender aura both attacked him, one hitting and the other missing. A Brawler still not engaged in the melee threw another tankard of ale at the Cleric and hit him again, bloodying him.

The party retaliated. Valenae attacked and hit the nearest Brawler before using Healing Word on the Cleric. The Cleric, sick of getting hit by flying tankards, drew an opportunity attack to get closer to the ranged attacker. The opportunity attack connected for maximum damage. The Cleric unleashed his rage on the Brawler who hit him twice with a flying tankard, and just hit after throwing Heroic Effort onto his attack roll. The Fighter chose to use his season wind. The Avenger attacked the bloodied Brawler dropping him unconscious.

Valenae used Fey Step to teleport next to one of the bloodied Brawlers. Rather than attack him she tried to talk some sense into him. She used Diplomacy to encourage him to back down and stop fighting. The Brawler agreed to run away if she agreed not to attack him when he turned his back.

The Brawler who claimed he’d leave if given the opportunity ran out the door. Valenae did not take the opportunity attack as she promised. The two Brawlers flanking the Fighter and continued to attack him; one finally hitting.

Valenae moved next to the Cleric, the two of them ganging up on the Brawler. Both attacked and hit, bloodying him. The Avenger moved out of melee to use his ranged attack, hitting the Brawler, bloodying him and gaining temporary hit points.

The Brawler between the Cleric and Valenae begged for mercy. The Cleric refused but Valenae agreed. She moved out of the way and allowed the Brawler to get away. The Cleric took an opportunity attack but missed as the Brawler fled the tavern with only 1 hit point.

The Brawlers flanking the Fighter attacked. The first one hit and pushed the Fighter, freeing the other one from the Defender Aura. The second Brawler, now free of potential Fighter retribution (stupid Defender Aura) ran for the door and fled before he could be knocked out.

Valenae moved adjacent to one of the two remaining Brawlers and tried to convince him to surrender. He agreed to leave but the rest of the adventurers could still attack him before he got to move again. The Cleric attacked the other Brawler hitting him for the first time during this encounter. The Fighter hit and blooded him. The Fighter then tried to get him to surrender but failed his Diplomacy check.

The Brawler who said he’d leave bolted for the door leaving only one remaining Brawler. The final combatant took one last swing at the Fighter, dropping him to exactly 0 hit points. He then ran for the door, the Cleric missing him on the ensuing opportunity attack.

After the fight the heroes and General Sabine left the Beached Leviathan. They took a ferry across the river to the Hall of Justice to meet with the Lord Nevermember. On the way Sabine let slip that the PCs are going to be asked to investigate the Lost Heir, which is where things pick up next week.

I was very impressed that the players at my table thought to a) use non-lethal damage and b) tried to get the Brawlers to surrender when they were bloodied. Considering the damage that the Brawlers could inflict (1d10+3 with a melee attack and 1d6+4 on a ranged attack) things could have been disastrous for the PCs if they’d fought the Brawlers until they’d all reached 0 hit points.

When I ran this encounter the second time at another FLGS I realized that I totally forgot to use the Brawlers rechargeable power the first time though. The power let them make a melee and ranged attack in the same round and recharged on 4-6. I don’t know how things would have turned out at my table, but with only four PCs I suspect it would have been ugly.

As a side note, it actually turned out to be a good thing that we played ahead as I was unable to make D&D Encounter this week. Two of the guys who played at my table last week ran the week 3 encounter for everyone else this week. That means that next week everyone at my FLGS will be back to playing the same encounter at the same time. I’m curious to see if the players shake up the parties a bit or if they decide to keep playing in the groups that have worked so well tougher over the previous three encounters. Be sure to visit Dungeon’s Master next week and find out.

How did week 3 go for everyone else? Did you find the Brawlers too powerful? Was anyone able to keep them pinned in the little room before they could get into any real trouble? How many PCs are wearing the Lost Heir’s badge openly?

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 3 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.

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1 Ted August 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

I’m not a full time DM for this season, so I wasn’t expecting to run last night’s game. However, the scheduled DM didn’t show up, and as I was the only one who had read through the encounter at all, I ended up running it. It was my first experience DMing with little preparation before hand.

I had 5 players, and they chose not to directly interact with any of the people in the bar at first, instead just listening and trying to glean information that way. (One did try to approach the bright blades, but failed a diplomacy check and was run off by them.) Being a newish DM, I struggle some times with what to do when there are pauses. The module calls for the players to do a bit of role play or information gathering, but my players just kind of look at me and wait for something to happen. So, without a lot of fanfaire, the general walks in, and then the patrons get rowdy.

I encouraged them to use the environment for weapons, chairs, mugs, etc. based on the twitter buff that rewarded renown for doing so. I think only one person actually did though, tossing a beer bottle at a brawler. In the end, my rolls were low (as usual) and one of the players playing a slayer didn’t seem to roll anything less than 15 all night. The fight was over in three rounds, and the players were on their way to see Lord Neverember.

One person wore their Lost Heir badge to try and confused the brawlers, but their drunkeness sort of muddled alliances a bit. The rest of the group is still wary of the Lost Heir’s motivations, but I don’t think anyone actually sold their badge yet.

I wish I had been more prepared, as I feel like I stumbled through the opening scene a bit, and provided more for the players to work with before the fighting started.

2 C.J. August 25, 2011 at 10:14 am

We found the brawlers abilities to be too powerful somewhat and monotonousness. The DM almost always rolled the recharge so pretty much every turn they could do 2 attacks a turn; really ripping into players. Nobody went down but it was tiresome.

They had a lot of HP (like 40?) and hit crazy hard for some drunk kids. Plus… where were they getting all these chairs and tankards?? I felt they should’ve had like 3 tankards or something; not infinite. Maybe a vomit close blast 3 that lowers defenses -2 of all creatures in blast; and make that attack involuntary based on a 1d6 roll would’ve been a nice variant.

There was also some confusion with the plot etc. We had 4 players, and out of them I decided to keep my badge shown. It didn’t seem to make any difference at any point, but I also didn’t do any skill checks with the bartender. At first we all decided to leave the tavern and let the soldiers handle the fight, but the encounter didn’t seem to allow this so our DM decided it was basically forbidden. He said it we left it’d basically be the end of the encounter for this week… so I suggested to him that the bartender locked the door (nobody could get in our out).

In retrospect I should’ve suggested to allow us out but just make the brawlers fight us in the street if need-be. Really I didn’t understand why we were even being attacked… RP-wise my character was ready to support the new heir and I had been flaunting my badge and even mentioned to the brawlers my possible loyalty to the heir; I didn’t want to fight my comrades at all. So it didn’t make sense that I didn’t even have a choice to simply stand back.

Hopefully next week is a better encounter, because out of the 2 tables run this week neither group really enjoyed this encounter.

3 James August 25, 2011 at 10:38 am

The table I ran had six players, and so I added one brawler. The players were intrigued about the spellplague, and tried doing a lot of research during their tenday rest. The bladesinger wanted to look for another wizard who might know more about the spellplague, and so the party actually went to the Beached Leviathan looking for Len-Jes. They interacted with some of the patrons, the halfling rogue getting a little tipsy with the brightblades. The bladesinger talked to Len-Jes and expressed interest in seeking an audience with Lord Neverember, which of course worked out marvellously when Len-Jes recommended that the heroes seek out General Sabine, who appeared moments later.

Once combat started, everyone started doing non-lethal damage to the brawlers until the halfling rogue got hit with a tankard, then he was having none of it. He stabbed one brawler to death while the two dwarven priests and the two scouts were helping the bladesinger with the other brawlers. All of the brawlers got their double attack off once, but none of them ever recharged, which worked out well for the party. The halfling ended up crossing the room to the other brawlers and used Positioning Strike to slide him into the double-sided fireplace, delaing extra damage. On the brawlers next turn, he took 5 points of fire damage for starting in the fireplace, and burned to death before he could escape. The last brawler promptly dropped his weapons and ran for it.

The party finished talking to general Sabine and accompanied her to meet Lord Neverember. All things considered, I thought it was a good session. I’m often less enthused about fights involving just one type of monster, but I and the players all had a good time, particularly with the roleplaying components.

4 Wendy McLaren August 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

I wanted to play up the roleplay aspects of this week’s encounter, so I encouraged that to go on for some time. To keep that flavor going, I fudged some of the damage done to the PCs. I saw no need in making it an all-out fight to the death when it was supposed to be a simple bar fight. However, to keep it challenging, I didn’t have Sabine and her guards take on 4 Brawlers, removing them from the field. We had 5 PCs vs 8 Brawlers (with 2 more in the wings if things moved too quickly), fighting alongside the NPCs. The PCs all chose not to kill any of the Brawlers, although one did kick one of the unconscious ones.

At another table at my FLGS, the PCs attacked Sabine and her guards, along with the Brawlers. I wish I’d seen that. 😀

5 Kenneth McNay August 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm

would you mind making these reports shorter in the future.

6 Lahrs August 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I have always enjoyed the longer posts, especially now that I am unable to attend Encounters due to a night class.

7 Sunyaku August 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

My cleric rolled a 20 initiative which was enough to trap the brawlers. The defender moved over to assist, and they were thoroughly locked down. Two leaders, hardly any healing was used during the fight.

8 Pedro Rodrigues August 26, 2011 at 9:55 am

I played in a 5-player party, where only one PC (a dwarf) wore the badge (but was the first to join the bar fight anyway).

The party went down, with the two controlers (my char and another) fleeing the site.

9 Rob August 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I enjoy the longer reports as well. Cannot stand short reports as they leave out interesting information.

10 Jaytee Starr August 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

I also enjoy the longer posts.

About the RP aspect of this encounter… I was quite annoyed. No one in my party wanted to fight the brawlers. We wanted the fight the general. The badges meant nothing, and when we tried diplomacy, the brawlers were “too drunk to listen to reason.” I agree with the above poster about the damage and attacks. These were teenagers, here! How/why are the so damn proficient and strong with chairs and tankards? Did they waste a feat on proficiency? Jeez.
Another problem that I’m having is being a thief. I chose thief so I could steal things. So far, no one has had any gold because they want every PC on the same level. Me getting bonus stuff would be unbalanced. On top of that after the battle week 2, I rolled a 19+12 to steal the crown off the heir’s head and he rolled a 1 on perception check. Before we could examine it properly, the heir disappeared into the crowd and had stolen the crown back from me. He did not roll to steal. I this assume was because the DM used the “you’re not supposed to do that” rule.
So my question is now, is my problem with this encounter, with the DM, or some combination of the two? Did anyone else have similar feelings so far? A bar-fight just didn’t seem very epic or exciting, especially because we all wanted no part of it.
Either way, I’m switching to a Minotaur Warden for next week, lol.

11 Sentack August 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm

My group had a pretty good go at this encounter but we lacked any idea of unity and so it was a long and pretty rough encounter. While we won and nobody went down, it was touch and go a few times. The main issue was the players at the table spreading damage, even when I would suggest, every round, to focus on one brawler at a time.

That being said, I though the idea of 6 Level 1 Soldiers was sort of crazy. AC 17 for a bunch of drunkards and they somehow mark you? That was quite, quite odd.

Still, a fun encounter, I can’t wait till next week. No recording this session? I’ve been enjoying those again lately.

12 Ameron (Derek Myers) September 30, 2011 at 7:56 am

D&D Encounters – Only On Wednesday

I was contacted by Wizards and asked to clarify and correct some details I recently posted in my D&D Encounters articles and the follow-up comments; specifically details about playing on nights other than Wednesday. I was asked to post a correction and clear up any confusion my comments might have caused.

During the D&D Public Play seminar held at GenCon this summer there was some discussion about playing D&D Encounters on nights other than Wednesdays. I wrote in my articles that although D&D Encounters happen in most locations on Wednesday, Wizards understand that this will not always be the case for every store. Where I was mistaken was in saying that Wizards was ok if your FLGS runs D&D Encounters on a different night. Apparently I misunderstood the intent of what was said.

Wizards wants to be very clear that they are “committed to our program’s structure, and we do not want stores to think it’s OK to run on nights other than Wednesdays.” Wednesday is the mandatory day to run D&D Encounters. Wizard does periodically check to ensure that stores run D&D Encounters sessions on Wednesdays. If they discover that a store is not compliant, it can lead to punitive action (such as pulling the program from the store).

Stores can run whatever other D&D events they want on any other night and schedule or report their sessions under the “D&D Game” sanction rule. If the store organizer has any questions about it or how it’s done, they can contact their WPN representative.

I realize that my comments about it being ok to play D&D Encounters on other nights of the week, comments that I now realize were made in error, may have caused some confusion. Hopefully this post will clear up any misunderstandings and set the record straight.

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