After getting their butts kicked by a bunch of drunken teenagers last week, the heroes accepted General Sabine’s invitation to meet with Lord Nevermember at the Hall of Justice. The wounded adventurers healed up during the ferry ride across the river before arriving at the Hall. Once there they were escorted to a room where lavish food and beverages were laid out, awaiting their arrival. Inside the room was someone the party had never met before.
The heroes introduced themselves to this stranger; the party consisting of a Kalashtar Psion, Human Cleric, Human Fighter and Eladrin Avenger. The stranger introduced himself as a Deva Wizard (Necromancer) and said he’d been summoned to meet with Lord Nevermember, just like the PCs. The five PCs exchanged niceties and explained who they were and what they they’d been up to over the past couple of weeks.
As they helped themselves to the refreshments and snacks provided they noticed that the room they were in bore many details reminiscent of Waterdeep – a shield bearing the city’s coat of arms, an ornamental sword hanging over the fireplace, and the use of blue and silver in the room’s colour scheme a clear homage to Waterdeep’s own colours.
Before the PCs even noticed how long they’d been left unattended, a door opened and in walked Nevermember, the Lord Protector himself. He greeted the heroes by name, telling them that he’d heard of their heroic deeds. He shook each PC’s hand and asked them detailed questions that clearly demonstrated that he knew who they were.
He encouraged the PCs to eat, drink and make themselves comfortable as he did so himself. Nevermember explained that he’d spent a great deal of time, energy and resources over the past few years to rebuild Neverwinter and make it a prosperous city again. Now that a good foundation was in place he’s eager to find a true heir that can take this burden from him. This “Lost Heir” that emerged 10 days ago could be such a man.
However, Nevermember has a lot at stake and wanted to be sure that whoever takes over is the right person for the job. If the Lost Heir is the real deal than he’d gladly allow him to take the throne. But if he’s a fraud the Lord Protector doesn’t want to just turn things over to a con man, especially one that may have evil intentions. He had to know more about the Lost Heir before he could make a decision either way. So far the Lost Heir had refused all invitations to meet and discus the legitimacy of his claim to the throne of Neverwinter.
What Nevermember needed was reliable information and that’s why he summoned these five heroes. He asked the PCs if they would find the Lost Heir and gather proof that he is either who he says he is or that he’s a fraud. The ideal outcome would be a meeting between the Lost Heir and Lord Nevermember.
Since the PCs were new to Neverwinter and had already fought alongside the Lost Heir, Nevermember believed that the Heir’s supporters, and possibly even the Heir himself, would be more willing to meet with the PCs than any of Nevermember’s men. The PCs had not yet demonstrated allegiance to either side which should make it easier for them to investigate and gather the information that the Lord Protector sought.
This was a difficult and possibly dangerous assignment so Nevermember offered each PC 500 gp. If they accepted his offer he’d pay each of them 100 gp now and the remaining 400 gp when they returned with ironclad proof of the Lost Heir’s identity. The PCs accepted the offer and took the money.
Lord Nevermember thanked them and then presented each of them with badges bearing his family crest. The badges would grant the PCs access to areas that might otherwise be off-limits, such as the Winged Wyvern Bridge which crosses over into the Blacklake District. Nevermember suggested that the PCs head to the Blacklake District in search of the Lost Heir, but before they leave the Protector’s Enclave he suggested that they visit the Wall to see the progress being made to keep Neverwinter safe. He then bid them good luck and summoned a carriage to bring them to the Wall.
When the PCs arrived at the Wall and stepped out of the carriage, the Necromancer’s keep sense of Perception (natural 20) alerted him to a few things that were strangely amiss. The guards that should be at their post were not there. In the shadows two Bandits with blood on their clothes tried to hide from the PCs. Three other Bandits were trying to hide the dead guard’s bodies behind the guard hut. The Necromancer alerted the party to the danger and the party readied for combat.
The Avenger immediately sprung into action and rushed the Bandits disposing of the guards’ bodies. He designated the nearest bandit as his Oath of Enmity and then swung at him with his greatsword and missed. Seeing that they had a 3:1 advantage on the lone PC, the Bandit attacked the Avenger with Dazing Strike, hit and dazed him. The Bandit then ran through a nearby open door into the Wall and closed the door behind him. Another Bandit threw a dagger at the Psion, hitting him, and then ran closer to the guard station door.
The Fighter ran to help the Avenger, charging one of the Bandits, putting himself adjacent to two of them and ensuring that they were in his defender’s aura. The Necromancer, new to the party, suggested focusing fire on the Bandits until they fell. He then attacked and hit the same Bandit as the Fighter.
The remaining Bandits retaliated. One shifted drawing an opportunity attack from the Fighter and took minimal damage. Now flanking, both Bandits attacked the Fighter and hit for a combined 29 damage. (The maximum damage these attacks could have done was 38, 19 from each Bandit). The Bandit near the gate moved into the guard station, closed the door and began turning the winch and rising the portcullis.
The Cleric healed the Fighter and then rushed into the melee. He judged that the portcullis would take a few rounds before anyone on the other side of the Wall could get into the Protector’s Enclave and pose any real threat. He told the PCs to keep fighting the Bandits and forget about the portcullis for now.
The Psion moved closer and used his force orb to continue focusing fire on the injured Bandit. The dazed Avenger decided that the portcullis presented too big a danger to ignore so he moved closer to the guard station. The Bandit nearest the gate ran to intercept the Avenger and clobbered him, bringing the Avenger below bloodied. The other Bandit began turning the other winch and the portcullis started rising even faster.
The Fighter easily killed the wounded Bandit and then moved next to the nearest remaining enemy. The Necromancer was torn between chasing the Bandit into the Wall to stop him from raising the winch or attacking the Bandit he could see. He chose to attack the Bandit in front of him.
The Cleric realized that with two Bandits working the winches the portcullis would open a lot faster than he first anticipated. However he was already committed to fighting the nearest Bandit so he swung and hit. The Avenger used Fey Step to teleport next to the guard station door, opened it and attacked the Bandit on the winch, but missed.
The Avenger alone again, was flanked by a Bandit and hit with the Dazing Strike, rendering him dazed and knocking him unconscious. The Bandit on the other winch decided to return to the fight, leaving the guard station and attacking the Psion, bloodying him.
The Fighter attacked the adjacent Bandit and brought him within a few points of death, the Psion’s Force Orb finishing the job. The Necromancer decided to try to stop the winch so he moved into the Wall and used his Mage Hand reversed the crank. He used his action point to crank it back again ensuring that none of the plague-changed on the wrong side of the Wall got though.
The Cleric moved twice in order to get close enough to revive the Avenger with a Healing Word. The Avenger, still dazed, used his second wind to regain more hit points. The Bandit who dazed the Avenger last round realized he was awake so he attacked him again. He missed by 2 thanks to the defense bonus provided by the Avenger’s second wind. He then moved away from the Avenger and joined the melee. The other Bandit attacked and bloodied the Cleric.
The Fighter charged a Bandit who had not taken any damage yet, and scored a critical hit.
The Bandit adjacent to the prone Avenger jumped over him in order to get into the melee outside the guard station. The Avenger tried to hit him with an opportunity attack when he jumped over him but missed. The Bandit managed to flank the Fighter but missed.
The Necromancer took another round to crank back the winch and ensure that even the combined efforts of the creatures on the other side of the portcullis would not be enough to open it. The Cleric moved to flank with the Fighter and then used his second wind. The Avenger crawled into the abandoned guard station and managed to damage the winch using sheer force. The portcullis was now frozen until the winch was repaired.
The Bandit in melee with the Fighter attacked but couldn’t inflict enough damage to drop him. The other Bandit couldn’t connect despite the flank. The Fighter used his second wind to try to remain conscious for another round. A third Bandit moved in and attacked the Fighter but the resilient Fighter stayed on his feet.
The Necromancer decided that it was time to use a daily attack, hitting one Bandit and missing the other. However, it dealt damage even on a miss. The Cleric attacked the Bandit that took the brunt of the Necromancer’s daily power, hit and killed him. The Psion attacked the other Bandit that was missed by the Necromancer’s daily, hitting and bloodying him.
The bloodied Bandit attacked the Fighter, rolled a 20, and knocked him unconscious. He then moved adjacent to the Psion. The other Bandit moved in to flank the Psion, attacked with Dazing Strike and also rolled a 20, knocking him unconscious.
The Cleric moved in to melee and killed the wounded Bandit. The final Bandit knowing that the Cleric was just above bloodied moved in and attacked, rolling a 1. The Necromancer and the Cleric managed to hit, bloodying the Bandit. The Psion rolled a 20 on his death save bringing him back into the fight.
The Avenger finally joined the melee so that he’d get two attacks, but missed. The Bandit decided that it was time to run. He risked opportunity attacks from the Cleric and the Avenger. The Cleric missed but the Avenger rolled a natural 20, killing the final Bandit as he tried to escape.
As the final Bandit was killed the PCs heard clapping as a lone figure emerged from the shadows and approached them. It was a Half-elf woman dressed in leather armor, a russet cloak and a long sword at her hip. She congratulated the PCs on a well fought victory, but made no effort to hide her sarcasm. It’s clear that she knew who the PCs were and was aware that they were now in the Lord Protector’s employ. She introduced herself as Seldra and revealed that she too works for Lord Nevermember.
Seldra was tracking these bandits for days and regretted that she didn’t arrive sooner to stop them herself. It was apparent that the guard’s deaths and the sorrow she felt will weigh heavily upon her. She believed that these bandits were hired by the Sons of Alagondar and that a gang called the Dead Rats commissioned the deal. She needed to alert General Sabine and get more guards to protect the Wall and take the bodies away for proper burial.
Seldra suggests that if the PCs were going to the Blacklake District anyway that they might want to head to the House of a Thousand Faces, a known hangout for the Dead Rats. In addition to hiring out mercenaries they often deal in information and will likely know where to find the Lost Heir.
When asked about the Lost Heir, Seldra proudly spoke of her belief that the Lost Heir is indeed Neverwinter’s savior. She saw no conflict in working for Nevermember and supporting the Lost Heir. After all the Lord Protector said on many occasions that he’s not here to become the king, and that he would step aside when a legitimate heir comes forth. She believes that time approaches and the Lost Heir will become the king very soon.
The PCs looted the bodies before parting ways with Seldra and heading onward to the Winged Wyvern Bridge. On the corpses they found three magical items (I rolled a 20 which lets the DM roll two more times). Among the swag was a +1 earthroot staff, +1 vicious weapon and a +1 defensive weapon. The Psion took the staff, the Avenger took the vicious weapon and the Fighter took the defensive weapon.
Again the role-playing and the exposition at the beginning of the encounter took just as long as the combat. The group I’ve had is really getting into the story and the politics. They enjoy the social interactions and seem genuinely grateful for more than hack and slash. For the first time in many months D&D Encounters seems a lot more like a home campaign than LFR or other public play. I guess the right group makes all the difference.
The combat was a lot of fun and seemed suitably challenging for the party. The early decision to focus fire really helped, but once again splitting the party almost led to character deaths. Three of the five PCs were making death saves at some point during the encounter. My hot DMs dice didn’t make things any easier for the PCs. With two more encounters to go it will be interesting to see how the combat tactics change as the party’s resources continue to dwindle.
How was week 4 at your FLGS? Are your players enjoying the role-playing or do they press forward quickly in search of combat? Did any tables see character die this week? The Bandits could really deal out a lot of damage if they had combat advantage (as a few of the players at my table discovered).
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 4 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.