Last week the party faced two mini-encounters back-to-back without a short rest. By the time they’d faced off against the Ooze and Hounds, and then against the Plaguechanged Maniacs the PCs desperately need to take a short rest before venturing on.
While catching their breath, the citizens of Neverwinter emerged from their barricaded homes to thank the PCs for defeating the Plaguechanged attackers. They told the PCs everything they witnessed, including a description of the Lost Heir which the PCs realized was in fact Seldra, the Half-elf they’d encountered previously and until now they believed was on their side. Before the PCs finished their 5-minute rest, General Sabine arrived on the scene and asked them to continue following the Lost Heir and stop her once and for all.
This week I had six players at my table which made things very manageable. The party consisted of a Human Wizard (Enchanter), Goliath Fighter (Battlerager), Warforged Druid, Human Cleric, Gnome Bladesinger and Tiefling Battlemind. This group was relatively new to D&D, many of the players discovering the game through the D&D Encounters program. As such they are usually more interested in combat than role-playing as was the case this week.
The heroes had no problem following the fiery footprints which led them to the town square. The last time they were here (in the week 2 encounter) they fought along side the Lost Heir against a White Dragon. At the end of that battle the Lost Heir performed a ritual that encased the wyrm in stone. When the PCs arrived this time they saw Seldra (now referred to as the False Heir) glowing with blue fire and performing some kind of ritual on the petrified dragon statue.
The concerned citizens were gathering around the square, curious and cautious. The vendors realized that things would likely get worse so they were hastily packed up their wares. The heroes took in the situation and realized that the False Heir was trying to free the dragon. Unfortunately she was surrounded by a field of energy that the Wizard and Bladesinger both realized protected her and would injure anyone trying to get through. The PCs decided to leave the False Heir alone while they helped the rest of the nearby people of Neverwinter.
Some of the PCs made impassioned pleas to the townsfolk to leave the square and take shelter, while others moved towards the vendors to help them pack up. While at the vendors’ stalls those PCs in need of magical items were able to strike pretty good deals with the frightened merchants and score a couple of items before the impending battle. Within minutes the PCs managed to clear the town square and get the vendors away to safety.
The False Heir finished her ritual and the protective barrier disappeared. Flecks of stone begin falling from the Dragon revealing its white scales and blue Spellscar. Within minutes the White Dragon would be free once again. As the heroes approached the False Heir she turned towards them and said, “You’re all fools. I tried to help but you lacked vision just like those rebel dogs. If this is what must be done to save Neverwinter then so be it.”
A couple of decent Insight checks revealed that the False Heir seems to be driven by madness and may not be in complete control of her actions. However, the combat-hungry players didn’t seem interested in the role-playing opportunity and decided in stead to just attack her before she could do any more damage. As they readied themselves to attack the False Heir said, “I won’t be stopped. I will save Neverwinter.” Her Spellscar exploded and six blue Elementals burst forth to defend the False Heir.
The False Heir won the initiative and attacked the closest PC, the Cleric, and hit him with her sword. Her Spellscar then erupted and a ray of blue fire shot out and scorched the nearby Druid.
The Wizard used Beguiling Strands to hit multiple Elementals and discovered to his horror that they were not minions. He managed to push two of the Elementals into the fiery footprints inflicting additional damage and bloodying two of them in the process.
The Fighter decided to leave the False Heir for now and put his incredible damage output to better use killing the Elementals. He hit an bloodied the nearest one.
The Elementals didn’t do any actual damage with a hit; instead they inflicted 5 ongoing fire damage. This was bad news for the Battlerager who would likely loose his temporary hit points at the beginning of each turn that he was on fire. However, from a tactical standpoint the ongoing fire was actually better than real damage. Once a PC had the ongoing fire he could provoke as many opportunity attacks as he wanted since the ongoing damage wouldn’t get any worse if he got hit again. When the players realized this loophole they took full advantage of it to get flanking bonuses every round.
The Druid was the only party member to focus on the False Heir so he attacked her twice (using his action point) while the rest of the PCs worked on taking down the Elementals.
The Battlemind and Bladesinger put the White Dragon statue between themselves and the False Heir and attacked two Elementals that managed to get over there.
Since the Druid was the only PC to stay anywhere near the False Heir she shifted and then attacked him, scoring a crit. Her Spellscar shot out and managed to get the Cleric now within range thanks to her careful movement. The False Heir then used her action point to attack the bloodied Druid again but missed. The Cleric wanted to attack one of the injured Elementals, but was marked by the False Heir. He opted to use Sacred Flame which hit allowing him to throw some temp hit points to the badly wounded Druid.
The Wizard again blasted two Elementals with Beguiling Strands, killing one and bloodying another. The Fighter attacked and killed a wounded Elemental and then moved in to flank with the Battlemind.
Three Elementals engaged the Battlemind, Bladesinger and Fighter behind the Dragon statue and managed to ignite the Bladesinger and her familiar. The Battlemind’s resistance to fire made the Elementals attack completely useless. The Bladesinger retaliated attacking and killing another Elemental. She and her familair were unable to save and both kept burning from the ongoing fire.
The Battlemind, Fighter and Bladesinger flanked two remaining Elementals on their side of the battlefield and on the next round destroyed them easily. The Bladesinger and her familiar were again unable to save against the fire.
The Druid moved further away from the False Heir before attacking her from safe distance. The Cleric moved in the other direction and attacked the wounded Elementals with Scared Flame. The Wizard risked opportunity attacks from the Elementals in order to get a clear line of sight on the False Heir. The Elementals missed but so did the Wizard.
The False Heir set her sights on the Wizard but was unable to hit on three consecutive rounds. Since none of the other PCs were within range her Spellscar effect was useless as well. The Druid kept attacking her from a safe distance slowly eating through her hit points. When she finally reached her bloodied value only one Elemental remained but it was destroyed by a Magic Missile before her next turn.
The False Heir had an ability to heal by draining hit points from the remaining Elementals. However, since the PCs did such a good job of focusing fire and destroying the Elementals before bloodying the False Heir she was never able to use the power.
The Battlemind and Fighter tag-teamed the False Heir and easily brought her down to ¼ of her hit points.
With the Elementals destroyed, all six PCs all focused on Seldra, the False Heir. Realizing that they had her grossly overpowered and outmatched the heroes offered Seldra the chance to surrender. Despite her madness Seldra realized she was defeated and agreed. She collapsed and Crown of Neverwinter fell off of her head and rolled a few feet away. The Druid immediately picked it up.
Seldra’s Spellscar stopped flaming and returned to normal. She looked at the party as if emerging from a haze. “My Gods, what have I done?” she asked.
Next week is the final encounter of the adventure. The White Dragon is only minutes away from freedom. Will the heroes manage to defeat it before it can destroy Neverwinter? And what information can Seldra provide that could help them in the coming battle? Find out next week with the thrilling conclusion to D&D Encounters: Lost Crown of Neverwinter.
Did any groups play this encounter and next week’s encounter back-to-back? If we’d had more time at my FLGS I would have but we’d already made plans to run Lair Assault on the same night. I think the final two encounters would work better if played immediately one after the other. Waiting a week really disrupts the sense of excitement and urgency. Oh well, that’s one limitation of the D&D Encounters program that we just have to accept.
I’ve looked ahead to next week’s encounter and I’m very concerned that the White Dragon won’t pose a significant challenge for my group. I’m thinking back to the battle during week 2 in which the party had no trouble defeating the Dragon. Now that they’re level 3 things should be considerably easier for them. My instinct is telling me to double the Dragon’s hit points and maybe even increase its damage output. I want the conclusion to be satisfying yet if the PCs walk all over the Dragon they’re certain to be disappointed. What do other DMs think?
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 13 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.