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?
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 11 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.
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