Welcome to the beginning of another season of D&D Encounters. This season (season 8 for those keeping score) is set once again in the Forgotten Realms. The adventure is called The Elder Elemental Eye and sees the return of the Abyssal Plague to D&D Encounters. If you haven’t already read our Elder Elemental Eye Preview I suggest you check it out.
This season I will again be running two sessions a week. However, I’ve decided to cover only one session in my weekly write-ups. As much as I enjoyed providing the often contrasting tactics I found that many of the articles ended up being really, really long. It also required a lot more work on my part. I’m still recording both sessions and will provide links to them each week.
Knowing we would have a lot of returning players again this season, I suggested that they get together and come up with some kind of shared theme or back-story to help unify the party and give them more details to latch on to when role-playing. They all ended up making Genasi characters. We’ll see how this choice affects the role-playing and the overall enjoyment of the adventure. I’m expecting great things.
Here’s how the party shaped up:
- Firesoul Genasi Barbarian (Berserker) [Ironwrought]
- Cindersoul Genasi Wizard (Sha’ir) [Primordial Adept]
- Earthsoul Genasi Swordmage [Earthforger]
- Windsoul/Firesoul Genasi Assassin
- Sandsoul Genasi Ranger (Hunter) [Unseelie Agent]
They lack a leader but I think this group has learned from the mistakes of previous seasons. They know that strong tactics and good planning can reduce the number of hits anyone takes thereby reducing the need for a healer in combat.
The adventure began in Iriaebor, the independent city-state on the fringe of Elturgard. The heroes were hired by Lady Bron and the Merchant’s Council of to travel to the village of Easting and investigate rumours of an outbreak of the Abyssal Plague, a supernatural disease that can turn its victims into demons. The PCs are to investigate and if the rumours are true, ensure that the problem is dealt with by whatever means they deem appropriate. It’s clear that the swift destruction of the plague’s source and any victims might be the only way to accomplish the task.
Those knowledgeable in Arcana knew that wounds caused by an infected demon can infect a victim. Those with knowledge in Heal knew that when people are wounded by demons about half survive uninfected, a quarter die, and a quarter become demons themselves. They also knew that the infection can be spread through food and drink. Those knowledgeable in regional History knew that Easting is a faming community that serves training caravans bound to and from Iriaebor, Cormyr and Westgate.
Forearmed with his information they proceeded to Easting to investigate. When they arrived the town was devoid of life. They travelled to the central square and didn’t see anyone. Around them were wooden houses, a three-story inn & tavern, a temple of Chauntea and a tree-shaded pond. The strong smell of smoke led them to a building burned to its foundation at the edge of the village.
The Swordmage ventured to the church while the rest of the PCs explored the burned structure. The heroes at the burned house realized that neighbouring buildings were not burdened at all. Evidence suggested that great effort was put into keeping the fire from spreading to any other structures. However, there was absolutely no sign that anyone tried to put out the fire for this building.
A closer and more thorough examination of the house’s remains revealed that the all the doors and windows were barred from the outside. There were signs that someone or something was inside while the building burned and that they tried, unsuccessfully, to escape. Near the house were five freshly dug graves. The party decided that they should check the remains to see if the corpses showed any signs of the Abyssal Plague. They dug up two bodies. Both were burned but neither showed any signs of infection.
Meanwhile the Swordmage entered Chauntea’s temple. He heard the sounds of an argument in the garden out back. He quietly approached the voices while listening to the details of the argument. A male and female were debating a plan to deal with the plague.
The male seemed reluctant to take any drastic action while the female was convinced that immediate action was necessary. Infected townsfolk had been corralled into a nearby barn where they’ve been kept prisoner. The woman plans to go there, kill anyone infected and then kill herself. It turns out she too is infected. At this point they noticed the Swordmage.
They realized that he overheard their argument and decided to come clean. The Swordmage explained who he was and that he was here to help. They introduced themselves. The male was an old priest named Evendur. The female was a Purple Knight of Cormyr named Arveen, and recent wounds show signs of the Abyssal Plague on her face, hands and arms. Before diving into the full story of what’s happening in Easting, Evendur yelled at the rest of the party to stop desecrating the graves and to come into the temple. The heroes outside felt a bit embarrassed to be discovered digging up the graves and joined their friend inside the temple as requested.
With the party together they explained what happened. Two weeks earlier people began showing signs of the Abyssal Plague, however there were no signs of demon attacks. Evendur sent for help immediately and the PCs are the first to arrive. Two days ago one of the infected people transformed into a demon but Arveen managed to kill it. Unfortunately she was wounded and is now herself infected.
This caused the townsfolk to panic and mob mentality took over. They burned the home of a family they suspected to be infected and five innocent people were killed. Since then the town’s people felt great shame and guilt and now barricade themselves in their homes while they waited for help. The rest they already know thanks to the Swordmage.
Evendur does not want any more killing but Arveen makes a good point. Soon those infected, including herself, could become demons and kill everyone else in the town. Her solution to kill them all now will save more lives in the long run. The priest is extremely reluctant to go along but is wavering. He mentioned that he has the ability to cast a Cure Disease ritual which would save everyone but he lacks the materials necessary. The PCs all agree with Arveen’s plan and after some coaxing they convince the priest that it’s the only way.
They all went to the barn. Their intent was to free anyone not changing into a demon and keep the rest captive. With innocents clear the PCs and Arveen would enter and slaughter those remaining inside, ending with Arveen.
As Arveen opened the barn doors the PCs smell rotting meat, sweat and dirty straw, and saw several sick humans on cots inside. One of them cried out a warning as a froglike demon with glowing eyes and red plating on its skin moved into view.
The PCs worked together to take down the one demon they could see with ranged attacks. It was killed before it even got to take an action against them. The PCs then waded carefully into the darkness where they were beset upon by more demons. The Wizard used his Light cantrip to brighten the dimly lit barn. The PCs pushed past the first room and into the back area. This allowed Arveen and Evendur to run in and free the sickly people, removing them from the harm of battle.
The Swordmage was grabbed by a Demon’s lashing tongue and dragged into the darkness. The Barbarian, seeing another Demon attacker, engaged him in melee and marked him. The Wizard was surprised by a Demon on the second floor, grabbed by its Lashing Tongue and pulled up to the second story of the barn. The tactic to focus fire that worked so well on the first Demon was no longer an option as the party was being split up by the monsters.
While the party was engaged in battle with the Demons a Dwarf emerged from the shadows and attacked the Barbarian. The Ranger, seeing the Dwarf join the combat, called out to Evendur asking if there were any infected Dwarves in the barn. He said no, but if the Dwarf was not infected he asked the party to save him from the Demons.
The Wizard was stuck in the Demon’s grab for two rounds before escaping and finally killing it with Assassin’s help. The Dwarf realized that he could be the Demon’s next target so he tried to flee. He bull rushed the Barbarian and managed to push him 1 square. Now out of the defender’s aura he ran towards the front door screaming “I’m friendly and I’m heading out so hold your fire.”
The Barbarian made short work of the Demon on him and then turned to charge the fleeing Dwarf. Seeing the Barbarian charging right for him, the Dwarf surrendered and dropped his axe. The Barbarian still completed the charge but chose to do non-lethal damage.
The Swordmage and his Demon partner were locked in battle, but the Ranger managed to move in and provide some additional firepower. Together they finally killed the Demon they were facing.
When all the Demons were finally killed and the Dwarf knocked unconscious, the party ensured that all the innocent townsfolk were ushered out of the barn. When they picked up the Dwarf’s weapons and gear they searched it thoroughly for valuables. Inside they discovered Residuum. They decided to offer it to Evendur to perform the Cure Disease Ritual on Arveen.
Arveen was so grateful that she gave the party a +1 Vicious Weapon as thanks. Evendur returned the party’s generosity by awarding all of them with a Healing Potion.
The Swordmage, Wizard and Assassin were all at risk of infection by the Abyssal Plague but all three made a successful saving throw. The party took a short rest after which the Dwarf regained consciousness. Next week the PCs will have a chance to question him.
How did the first week go at your FLGS? Did you see a swelling in the numbers with the start of a new season? What kind of interesting parties did your players come up with? Anything like our all-Genasi party? Did anyone manage to kill a player this week? Any TPKs?
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: The Elder Elemental Eye (Week 1) – Podcasts
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