D&D Encounters: Lost Crown of Neverwinter (Week 11)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on October 20, 2011

The PCs awoke in the rebel hideout of the Sons of Alagondar refreshed after their extended rest and ready to face the Lost Heir. Arlon, the rebel leader, explained that although the Sons of Alagondar were at first fully supportive of the Lost Heir, they realized that their hasty decision to support him was not the best course of action. The Lost Heir is instigating violence and full out rebellion against Lord Neverember when such a radical course of action is not necessary. Arlon wants what’s best for the people of Neverwinter and the Lost Heir’s plan will only cause pain and suffering to a lot of innocent people.

Arlon asked the PCs to help him by meeting with the Lost Heir and trying to talk him out of his plan to attack the Protector’s enclave. If the Lost Heir won’t listen to reason Arlon believes that fighting him will be the only way to stop him. The PCs understood and agreed to meet with the Lost Heir.

The Sons of Alagondar blindfold the PCs and then lead them to the surface to meet with the Lost Heir. The PCs didn’t have to wait long before the Lost Heir appeared.

The week we had eight players and two DMs show up for D&D Encounters at my FLGS. That meant two tables of four. At my table was a Tiefling Bard, Goliath Fighter (Battlerager), Warforged Druid and Human Wizard (Enchanter). After many weeks of playing with massive parties (as many as nine PCs one week) it’s been a nice, refreshing change to be back to parties of four and five PCs. The game runs a lot faster and everyone seems to have a much more enjoyable time – especially me.

The Lost Heir appeared on the roof of a nearby building, the Lost Crown of Neverwinter glowing atop his head. “Fools and traitors, all of you! I thought you might aid in my glorious ascension but I see that you are nothing more than hounds of the usurper. You will suffer for your treachery.” The Lost Heir removed his gauntlets revealing his spellscarred hands and arms. He channeled blue fire, blasting and destroying the Sons of Alagondar that led the PCs to the surface. “Come, my pets. Destroy them!” cried out the Lost Heir as four Plaguechanged humanoids emerged from nearby buildings and surrounded the PCs. The Lost Heir jumped down from the rooftop and fled towards the Proctor’s Enclave.

The Druid with a passive Perception over 20 noticed that the lost heir’s arms are unusually slender, possibly withered from the spellplague.

The PCs recognized the creatures they faced: a Plaguechanged Wretch and Plaguechanged Grunts. They’d battled them when they crossed the bridge into Blacklake district. Remembering the dangers these creatures presented allowed them to devise suitable tactics for fighting them.

The Bard started things off by attacking the Wretch with a ranged attack and scoring a hit. The Fighter then rushed the Wretch. The attack hit and marked him. With just the two hits the Wretch was bloodied and exploded in a burst 2. However, this was exactly what the party wanted and the only hero in the burst was the Fighter. However, between his racial power and temporary hit points he suffered very little damage from the reactionary attack that killed a PC the last time they faced off against these Wretches. The players were learning from their mistakes.

Next up was the Druid who changed into his animal form (a Warforged wolf) and then pounded the bloodied Wretch.

The Brutes all ganged up on the Fighter who had been pushed closer to them when the Wretch’s burst went off. The first Brute grabbed the Fighter while the other two slammed him. Fortunately only one attack hit, but I rolled the max and it dealt 24 damage to the already wounded Battlerager and bloodied him. The Wizard used Beguiling Strands to attack all of the Plaguechanged monsters, hitting the three Brutes (freeing the grabbed Fighter in the process) and pushing them away.

The Wretch shifted one square to move adjacent to the Fighter before attacking and missing. The Bard healed the wounded Fighter and then attacked but missed the wounded Wretch. The Fighter delayed allowing the Druid to pounce the Wretch. If the Druid rolled a 7 or 8 on his d8 damage dice he’d kill the Wretch. He hit and rolled an 8 destroying the Wretch.

The Fighter, no longer burdened by the adjacent Wretch, followed the pushed Brutes and attacked the nearest one scoring a solid hit. The Brutes again swarmed the Fighter, one grabbing him while the others slammed him. One hit and one missed, again bloodying the Fighter. The Wizard again managed to break the hold and slid the Brute into one of the nearby houses, forcing it to move through difficult terrain to escape.

The Bard, Druid and Fighter all teamed up to attack one Brute, but unfortunately couldn’t kill it. He remained standing with 1 hit point. The Fighter, anticipating another mobbing used Vanish, his Spellscared Harbinger theme power, to turn invisible. The adjacent Brute marked by the Fighter tried to attack the invisible PC but missed. The other ran past him and attacked the Druid, trying to grab him but missing. The Fighter decided not to break his invisibility and take the opportunity attack that his total concealment granted him. The third Brute charged the Bard and bloodied him with one punch.

The Wizard used his At-will power to slide the Brute into one of the sewer pipes. The Brute tried to catch the ledge but failed his save. He fell 20 feet, taking 2d10 damage and ended up prone at the bottom of the hole. The rest of the heroes quickly dispatched the other remaining Brutes.

The Wizard moved to the edge of the pipe and readied a Beguiling Strands. If the monster managed to climb up the Wizard would blast him, knocking him back down.

The rest of the party all gathered around the edge of the pipe and attacked the Brute. The Fighter used his second wind and then readied an attack in the unlikely event that the Brute managed to get out of the pipe. The Bard attacked and missed twice. The Druid missed the first round but on the second round used a power that not only inflicted damage but would cause more damage if the Brute didn’t move at least 2 squares on his turn.

The Brute finally managed to climb up but when he was still 1 square away from the top the Wizard’s triggered action went off causing him to take the blast damage, and pushed him back down where he took another 1d10 falling damage. After another round of getting pelted the Brute finally managed to climb out when the Wizard unfortunately rolled a 1 on his readied action. However, the Fighter was ready and killed the Brute.

On the next round the Brute actually came be back to life but before he could act, the Wizard used his readied Magic Missile to destroy him.

The combat was pretty straight forward and only the Fighter took a lot damage. However, the players all said afterwards that it was one of the most fun encounters they’d played this season. I think the smaller party and smart tactics really made all the difference. When the Wizard’s readied action went off and the Brute was pushed back down the pit the whole table cheered, something that I haven’t seen happen at D&D Encounters for a long time. The players are really starting to work well together as a party, even with the changing group dynamic.

The player’s dice were cold for the first two rounds. We saw three 1s and a 2. Fortunately karma was on their side and by the end of the night their dice bounded back.

The entire encounter only took us about 45 minutes. Normally I’d push ahead and give the players a 2-for-1, but next week’s encounter is pretty long. I think that ending the night on a high note will actually build better anticipation for next week. As we get closer to the final confrontation the entire group, me included, is really looking forward to the climatic conclusion. Only three more weeks to go.

Tell us how your encounter went this week. Did the Brutes manage to grab and destroy any of your PCs? Did anyone die? Did you table find this encounter as exciting as mine did? Are people excited about where this is going or do they just want it to end?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amradorn October 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

Our group has unfortunately been seriously disappointed by the content of this adventure.

2 Kenneth McNay October 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm

i kept the lost heir on the field of battle and this allowed the hunter to immobilize the LH. eventually this led to them killing the LH, but until then, it made the entire fight more difficult as all the creatures were orchestrated by the LH. It led to a death and the entire party is nearly dead. I would have easily accepted a TPK considering they forcibly invited the key villain to remain on the field of battle instead of allowing the key villain to get away.

Next week, I get to make all sorts of stuff up to finish out the adventure. However, they will not find answers to a great many questions without the LH to respond. Also, this kinda makes them look much more like ambitious killers than saviors of Neverwinter.

3 David Argall October 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Which is the sort of reason you don’t wander off the rails.

4 Al October 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Prior to last night’s encounter the DMs were given an additional sheet to add to the encounter with some RP with a member of the Bregan D’aerthe who had infiltrated the Sons. This was the tie in to the GenCon event.

I’m just wondering did any of the other DMs not get this in time for session 11?

5 Kiel Chenier October 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I’m still crazy excited for the finale. Promises to be a few final encounters with some real dramatic weight and consequences for the PCs.
Kiel Chenier´s last blog post .."My Campaign" art meme

6 David Argall October 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Never heard of this additional sheet

The luck of Chuck -11. Meeting the Lost Heir

Well, we got some good news and some bad news. Trouble is the good is just personal while the bad is really bad.
We got up to finally see this Los Heir fellow. These rebel guys insisted we wear blindfolds so we couldn’t find our way back. [A couple of the others say they think they can manage it, but it’s not too important just now.] They led us around a bit until we finally found ourselves in the agreed meeting spot and started hanging around.
That Lost Heir was a tad late, but that was good news compared to what happened when he showed. Went all crazy and said everybody was in league again him. Then he started tossing this blue lightning at our guides, killing them, before sending a whole bunch of these crazy folk against us.
As he bugged out, some of the others were claiming he must have been behind the whole thing from the start. But he’s too nice a guy for that to be true. Now that it matters just now. He’s gone right crazy and we have got to settle him down for some folks get hurt.
First think we had to do was take care of that bunch of changed crazies he sic’ed on us. Now that was where we finally got some good news. These were the same sorts of crazies who’d attacked us before, and had given us some serious lumps. But it seems we’d learned something, and this time we just walked right over them. Didn’t even break a sweat.
Big thing was them explodie fellows. It sure hurt to be near them before when they got hurt. This time Morgran the dward fighter and Mylkyr the Drow hunter hurt then right away, and Ashaddri the Tiefling Pyromancer, had herded the whole bunch into a small area. So when Variance the Bladesinger gave them some more hurts, they just expoded on their own kind. All of a sudden, they were mostly dead, and most of the rest hurt bad. Pretty much over for it got started.
The two warpriests, Santana and Zzyzi, and I took out the only unwounded one and then we mobbed the last few wounded. We hardly got warmed up, and I don’t think anybody got even scratched.
Given all the times I’ve been knocked to the ground, it was just amazing. We were lucky, but it seems we have really learned how to fight.
We may need to know. We got to chase down this crazy Lost Heir and he is looking really tough.

Legendary Leadership – 11. An Unsatisfactory Satisfaction

The rebels were of course cautious about our knowledge of their base, perhaps wisely so since we were openly Lord Neverember’s troops. Our long term loyalty to him is questionable, but for right now… In any case, we took a confusing route from the rebel base to the meeting with the Lost Heir.
Even so, we were there well before the lost heir and so had time to discuss what arguments we would be using, which turned out to be a waste of time as the heir was completely crazy when he did show up and, after declaring everybody to be his enemy, killed our guides and ordered his minions, those infected with the spellplague, to kill us.
Personally, this pleased me since I have been suspecting the Lost Heir was a fake since I first saw him. So I was not displeased to have that proven. The trouble was how completely it was proven. There were dead right there, and likely plenty more to follow. So we now have to hunt him down before too many are hurt. That is going to be difficult at best.
The immediate problem was several spellplagued attacking us [and allowing the heir to escape]. They were of types that had harassed us before, and they did so again. A burst of first from their leader seriously hurt Caclic [like I, a dragonborn warlord] and I, but we had him seriously hurt in return. The rest of the enemy was ready to cause serious damage, but Morgren the fighter bravely stood his ground in front of us and took the damage. [We had to heal him several times, and even so he was on his back at battle's end, but he survived and protected the rest of us.] This allowed Laurina the elf ranger and we others to attack back, and we gradually cut them down.
It was a tough fight and we had to rest once we had won, which gave the heir way too much of a lead. But now we are on his trail. I can only hope we can catch him before others die.

7 Kenneth McNay October 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

@David Argall
yes, it is a good reason to be watchful of the rails and accept them sometimes. In this case, they wanted to place their focus so squarely on one villain they ignored the other opponents–to their detriment. Also, the following weeks will become far different and far more difficult without the key villain as a major element. It is too bad for them, but they’ll have to decide if they have learned something about the railroad during next season’s adventure: Beyond the Crystal Cave.

8 Sunyaku October 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm

It still bothers me that “plaguechanged” and “spellscarred” are completely different mechanics. Otherwise spellscarred players would have known from the first encounter that something was up.
Sunyaku´s last blog post ..Lair Assault Lessons: Episode Three

9 Feetz October 21, 2011 at 6:53 am

The monsters beat us in initiative and quickly surrounded us. Our Hexblade and Mage were bloodied before they even acted. I, the thief, used thunder stomp to prevent opportunity attacks so the Wizard and Hexblade could get out. Before leaving the Mage hit all of the monsters with sleep. That left myself and the druid with his wolf. The wolf died on the monster’s turn while we ended up bloodied. Fortunately ALL of the monsters failed their saving throws putting them to sleep. It was a coup de grâce party after that.

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