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.