Last week the adventure began with the Merchant Council and Lady Bron of Iriaebor asking the PCs to travel to the village of Easting and investigate rumours of an outbreak of the Abyssal Plague. When the PCs arrived in Easting they discovered the rumours were true and those infected were already quarantined in a barn. When the PCs tried to enter the barn to assess the extent of the outbreak they were attacked by four people that had already transformed into demons.
They managed to defeat the demons and none of the heroes got infected in the process. During the battle in the barn a Dwarf emerged from the shadows and attacked the party before they knocked him unconscious. The village priest suggested brining the captured Dwarf back to the church where he could be questioned.
This season at my FLGS we’re trying to maintain consistency with party makeup. The other table had four of the same five players from the week before, plus one brand new player. At my table we had four of the five players we had last week. Our all-Genasi party looked like this:
- Firesoul Genasi Barbarian (Berserker) [Ironwrought]
- Earthsoul Genasi Swordmage [Earthforger]
- Windsoul/Firesoul Genasi Assassin
- Sandsoul Genasi Ranger (Hunter) [Unseelie Agent]
Still no leader, but if last week was any indication a good offence might be enough to make up for the lack of healing. If not the healing potions they PCs all earned last week will be useful and necessary.
Back in the church the priest finally got a good look at the Dwarf and he told the heroes that he knew him. His name was Jakairn (Jak) and he’d been in the village for a couple of weeks. He claimed to a tinkerer/handyman looking for work. When questioned the Dwarf told the PCs his name was Jak of Clan Sabark.
Jak began thanking the heroes for rescuing him from the demons. He was sure he was going to die, but thanks to these brave adventurers he survived. When asked what he was doing in the barn (since the priest didn’t put him in there), Jak claimed that he was possessed by a demon, transformed into a snake, and then commanded to slither into the barn where he was again transformed back into a Dwarf. The PCs weren’t sure if he was crazy or not, but they knew that the story was outrageous and completely false.
The PCs finally managed to get Jak talking when they mentioned that they would discovered the source of the Abyssal Plague and destroy it. This brought a glimmer of hope to Jak’s eye. He agreed to confess and spill his guts if the PCs promised to wipe out the Abyssal Plague in this area. It was clear that Jak was very afraid of the plague and the demons it creates. The PCs agreed.
Jak began by confessing to poisoning the nearby well with the taint of the Abyssal Plague. His brother, Zarnak, a seer who has visions of dark places, gave him the vial and instructed him to pour the contents into the water. He went on to explain that his clan, led by his two brothers, discovered the ruins of a temple south of Easting and moved in. It was once dedicated to “That Which Lurks” which the PCs realized was another name for Ghaunadaur, the greater god of oozes and aberrant creatures. Zarnak has renamed the temple The Sunset Shrine.
He then gave the heroes directions to the temple, all the while expressing his incredible fear of the plague and the powers his brother must be employing to control it. When asked if there’s a cure he admitted that he didn’t know, however, Zarnak told the clan not to worry about falling sick so he must have a cure or some other way of controlling the plague. It’s likely in the lowest levels of the temple since Zarnak forbids anyone else from going there.
When Jak finished his confession the priest explains that Jak must be put on trial for his crimes against the village and that he’ll be held in Easting’s jail while the appropriate preparations are made.
The PCs went to the well to see if the water was still tainted and discover the red and gold flecks in the water. They cover the well and the priest agreed to keep anyone else from drinking its waters.
The PCs made haste for The Sunset Shrine since a cure might be the only way to save the remaining sick villagers. The journey was long and boring. A few hours after leaving Easting the PCs entered a marshy valley which slowed their progress considerably.
When they found a shallow area to ford an Earth Elemental arose in their path. Across the swamp they saw numerous Dwarves all armed with crossbows. A Dwarf with purple robes stepped out from behind a tree and addressed the party. “We expected to find you in easting. No matter, here or there, you are a worthy sacrifice for our master.”
In order to scale the encounter for four PCs I removed one of the Earth Elementals. However, with the abundance of output I knew this group possessed I increased the Acolyte and Elementals maximum hit points.
The party immediately spread out. The Barbarian charged headlong towards the Bolter and managed to get him inside his defender’s aura. The Swordmage engaged and marked the Acolyte. The Ranger focused on the Elemental. The Assassin took out the Warrior minions one by one.
With the two heaviest hitters locked into battle with the defenders it left the Ranger and Assassin to demolish the rest of the monsters. The Assassin killed three minions on three shots. The Ranger made short work of the Elemental thanks in part to an initial attack by the Barbarian as he ran past it on his way to battle the Bolter.
The Bolter only managed to get one shot off on the Barbarian before he was stuck in the aura. After that he took opportunity attacks every round while trying to shoot the PCs with his crossbow. Fortunately for the Bolter there was a Warrior minion nearby and the Barbarian decided to kill it before focusing on him.
Both the Barbarian and Swordmage took a lot of damage during the combat. Both ended up using their second wind and a healing potion before it was over. However, the Ranger and Assassin remained relatively unscathed. None of the PCs fell unconscious. Considering there was no leader to heal them, I was very impressed.
The highlight of the battle was when the Swordmage (down to only 1 hit point) was locked in battle with the Acolyte and the Assassin was the only PC close enough to help. The Acolyte had only taken one hit so far and had 45 hit points remaining. The Assassin had already placed four shrouds on the Acolyte and knew that if he didn’t kill him the Swordmage would fall this round. The Assassin, using his new Vicious Crossbow+1 rolled a 20. Max damage on the weapon and shrouds was 33. He needed to roll a 12 on the overflow damage to kill the Acolyte. The d12 rolled all over the map before finally stopping on 12. The table cheered as the Assassin unloaded 45 points of damage on the Acolyte, killing him. Moment of Greatness achieved!
On the next round the Ranger managed to drop the Elemental and Barbarian managed to kill Bolter. The party took a short rest and after two encounters was still in pretty good shape. Despite the heavy damage the Barbarian and Swordmage took they still had plenty of healing surges remaining. Who needs a leader when you’ve got three good strikers?
The players had a really good time this week. They got in to the role-paying at the beginning and have started fleshing out their shared Genasi history. The combat seemed balanced and the PCs took some hits along the way. If they keep playing smart, having the defenders lock down the most serious threats, and have the strikers focus fire, they might be able to making it all the way through the adventure without a leader. But we’ll see if their luck holds.
How are everybody else’s parties holding up? Have we had any PCs die yet? Any TPKs? Tell us about your Moment of Greatness from this week?
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 2) – Podcasts
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.