This is it – the final week of D&D Encounter: Beyond the Crystal Cave. The heroes just defeated the devil Kalbon and ascend the watery staircase to the upper level of Soryth’s fortress. When they reached the top of the staircase they spotted a beautiful Fey woman before them wandering among the statues in the garden. To the left the PCs saw Juliana, unconscious on a mound in the nearby garden.
The woman, clearly the Hag Soryth, turned towards the party and spoke to them. “No longer have we cause for conflict. I have what I desire, and forgive your trespasses. Serve me, and I shall grant your fondest wishes.”
Take One – Harry T North
We had a great turnout for the final week and ran two tables of six. At my table were a Satyr Paladin (Caviler) [Fey Beast Tamer], Dwarf Rogue (crossbow build), Human Seeker [Unseelie Agent], Dwarf Cleric, Elf Cleric, and Wilden Monk [Sidhe Lord] – this was exactly the same group from the previous week.
The party began with a brutal, all-out assault. They all used their most powerful attacks and those who had them used their action points. They almost bloodied Soryth on the first round. They did manage to daze and slow her (never underestimate the power of a good controller). Soryth moved to her most advantageous position on her turn, even drawing an opportunity attack for her trouble. The PCs learned why during the next round.
Now that all the PCs were within three squares of Soryth, they were subjected to her Fields of Delusion and were compelled to attack their allies at the beginning of their turn. The Monk attacked his allies and was compelled to add Flurry of Blows, the Rogue was compelled to attack allies with combat advantage and use his sneak dice. With the strikers’ extra damage being used on each other they couldn’t use it on Soryth. When they were fortunate enough to miss with the compelling powers they took 5 psychic damage for their troubles. Suddenly they realized that they were in really deep trouble.
It actually turned out to be a fairly even fight. With two leaders and a decent controller they managed to keep most of the PCs conscious and involved in the fight. The Monk, Seeker and Paladin were all low on healing surges so they had to be more mindful of their tactics than the rest of the party who all joined in week 12 and were in pretty good shape.
By the time the party finally defeated Soryth three of them were unconscious and making death saves while the other three were just as close to death as Soryth. The encounter was difficult, but in the end the heroes were victorious.
Take Two – Dueling Grounds
We were surprisingly low on participants this week. I expected a good turnout for the finale, but in the end we ran the session with two tables of four. At my table were a Shade Assassin, Human Fighter, Human Wizard (Arcanist) and Elf Rogue. This was the first time the player running the Rogue had ever played D&D.
The party was in rough shape with minimal healing surges and less than full hit points. The Twig Blights won initiative and two rushed the heroes. The Assassin and Rogue both attacked and destroyed the nearest Twig Blight only to discover they were minions. The Fighter charged the Xivort while the Wizard used Magic Missile on Soryth. However the PCs remained bunched together so Soryth opened with Visions of Desire (area burst 2) and got three of them. The Wizard was unconscious and out of healing surges.
Not wanting to have the player running the Wizard sit idle for the session, and realizing that the party was in for a short and fatal encounter without a leader to heal them. I had Valenae the pre-gen Cleric arrived on the scene. The player running the Wizard now had two characters. He started by using Healing Word on the Rogue and gave the Wizard the 2 overflow hit points of healing. She then attacked Soryth.
By the start of the second round Soryth had moved closer to the PCs and now everyone was close enough for her to compel their actions using Field of Delusions. At the beginning of each PCs turn they had to attack an ally. Considering the dire straights this party was facing I opted not to apply the 5 psychic damage if they missed their allies.
The Rogue and Assassin worked in tandem to attack Soryth while the Fighter focused on the Xivort (I only had one present in order to scale for an original party of four). The Cleric hit and badly wounded the Assassin because of the Hag’s compulsion but made up for it by healing him and giving the Wizards the 2 extra hit points. She then used a power on Soryth that granted everyone 5 temporary hit points. The Wizard, now with 4 real and 5 temporary hit pints, wisely moved as far away as possible and continued using Magic Missile on Soryth.
Soryth moved tactically and on the Rogue’s turn compelled her to attack an ally that was granting combat advantage from flanking. This meant that the Rogue was using her sneak dice on the party and not on Soryth.
Things looked grim so I threw the PCs another lifeline. Valenae produced two healing potions from her backpack that were extra special healing potions. They did not require the imbiber to expend a surge to regain the 10 hit points. This allowed the Assassin to heal back up to full. Unfortunately on the very next round the Rogue was compelled to attack him and scored a crit bringing the Assassin from full hit points to 1 hit point.
The Fighter finally dropped the Xivort. The party by this time learned that if they left one Twig Blight alive Soryth couldn’t summon any more. They also realized that ranged attacks from opposite sides of the map meant fewer of the PCs could be compelled to attack their allies. They took turns engaging Soryth in melee, limiting the potential for friendly damage.
After two rounds of getting hit with the Rogues flying daggers, Soryth focused on her. However another crit and solid teamwork brought the Hag closer and closer to death. The Fighter, Assassin and Cleric all dropped. The Rogue finally managed to land the killing blow. The Wizard only ended up taking one hit from a minions so he ended the battle on his feet with 4 hit points.
As the PCs landed the killing blow on Soryth she cried out “Oh, Kalbon would that I were a Devil, so that I might have your company in the Hells.” She then fell as a bright white light tore free of the Hag’s body. The essence flew through the PCs healing each of them before finally returning to the unconscious Juliana’s body.
As Juliana awoke Ragnar and Uma appeared in the garden. “You have succeeded beyond all we dared hope. With the Hag’s power broken, all her enchantments are dispelled, and the palace is open to us once again,” Said Uma. “Now, it’s time for your reward.”
The PCs were led to a nearby white dome. Inside was the tomb of Propherio and Caerwyn; water from an elegant fountain flowing between two sarcophagi. “This is the Fountain All Heal,” says Uma. “Drink from it, if you will, and make the wish that was offered you.”
Before the PCs can drink Uma does so first. She wishes that the archfey learn of what has transpired and appear. Uma is rewarded by the Summer Queen and becomes her agent on the isle. Ragnar drinks and the Green Lord maked him the greatest master of the isle. Fianlly the heroes each drank the water and wished.
Harry T North Party
- Satyr Paladin – Wished for a harem. The archfey provided him with a map of the Feywild which marked areas where creatures gather to engage in carnal delights. His Charisma greatly increased when dealing with potential partners.
- Dwarf Rogue – Wished for perpetual combat advantage. He was rewarded with a magical quiver. Each day he can draw forth 1d6 bolts that are work as Surprise Bullets.
- Human Seeker – Wished for an enchantment on his blade. They instruct him to submerge his sword into the fountain and when he drew it from the water it had the enchantment he sought.
- Dwarf Cleric – Wished for immortality. Although they cannot grant that request, they were able to extend his lifespan by 200 years and provide +2 to all death saves.
- Elf Cleric – Wished for greater healing powers. They allowed her to use Healing Word one additional time per encounter.
- Wilden Monk – Wished to ascend to godhood. The archfey found this wish humourous and very much beyond their power. He instead wished for the power to travel freely between the Feywild and the real world. They granted him a ritual that only he could use once a day to transport back and forth between worlds.
Dueling Grounds Party
- Shade Assassin – Wished to return to his home in the Shadowfell where he could restore peace to a warring kingdom.
- Human Fighter – Wishes for gold and was promised a “win fall.” When he returned home he learned that his uncle, a very, very old man died happily and peacefully in his sleep and bequeathed unto him 3,000 gp.
- Human Wizard – Wished to remain in the Feywild where he could find a tower and rule all around him. He was given a map. “Follow the trail to the X. It’s a long journey and along the way you will meet many friends. They will see you as a leader and will follow you. When you arrive at the X they will help you construct the tower and will remain nearby. They will accept your authority and remain loyal to you.”
- Elf Rogue – Wished for an enchanted blade. The archfey reached into the fountain and drew forth a finely crafted Elvin Luck Blade.
Those heroes who wanted to return home were able to do so. Juliana and Orlando chose to remain on the isle where they were welcomed with open arms. The heroes explained to Lady Tamora and Lord Carric what happened in the Feywild. Although they were saddened to learn that their children would not be returning they were happy they found love and would be safe. They agreed to end the fighting and peace was restored.
I thought the final encounter was great. It was difficult but not prohibitively so. The players enjoyed themselves and it really could have gone either way. Soryth was a deadly solo monster since she could compel the PCs to attack each other.
The story had a satisfying conclusion which tied up all the lose ends nicely. The wish as a reward was a lot of fun to play and adjudicate; it’s too bad that none of these characters will ever be used again. Some of them were quite creative with their wishes and it sounds like they will have fruitful adventures ahead for many levels to come.
Although we haven’t yet received our kits for D&D Encounters season 8, we’re all assuming that next week will be another slot 0. With no field report to share next Thursday I’ll be posting my season 7 Report Card in which I look at the entire season as a whole. Until then what did you think of this final encounter? Did it live up to your expectations? Did anyone have a TPK? What kind of things did you players wish for?
We continue to record our D&D Encounters sessions and make them available to you for download every week. This season I’m going to try to record the games at both FLGS where I play so that you can hear how two very different groups handled the same encounter. These recordings are made in a loud, crowded game store so at times it may be difficult to hear everyone.
D&D Encounters: Beyond the Crystal Cave (Week 13) – Podcasts
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