This week marks the beginning of chapter 2. We decided to have all character advance to level 2 whether or not they’d actually played all of the previous encounters. We realized after tracking XP over the previous few seasons that when some of the party lags behind in the XP department it just weakens the party as a whole. It makes the encounter unnecessarily more difficult and people don’t have as much fun. Moving forward everyone will level simultaneously at my FLGS.
We continue to have good numbers for this season, with brand new people joining us every week since we began this adventure. At the FLGS where I played the adventure you’re going to read about below we’re holding steady with two DMs and 12 players. At my other FLGS we’ve gone from 8 players last season to over 20 this season. This week we had three DMs all running tables of six. Our fourth DM can’t play every week so we’ve begun actively recruiting another person to DM. I have no idea why this season has attracted so many new players and frankly I don’t care. I’m just glad we continue to have strong attendance. It wasn’t that long ago we could barely put together one table.
With the addition of a new player last week, our all-Genasi party became 1/6 Halfling. The new player came up with an interesting reason for why the Halfling joined this elemental-based group – he believes that they’re deities. He professed his devotion to them and literally worships the ground they walk on. He’s so humbled to be in their presence that he does whatever they ask him to do. It’s already made for some great role-playing moments and the Genasi PCs are certainly letting the admiration go to their flaming heads.
The party looked like this:
- Windsoul/Firesoul Genasi Assassin
- Earthsoul Genasi Swordmage [Earthforger]
- Cindersoul Genasi Wizard (Sha’ir) [Primordial Adept]
- Firesoul Genasi Barbarian (Berserker) [Ironwrought]
- Sandsoul Genasi Ranger (Hunter) [Unseelie Agent]
- Halfling Rogue (modified Merric pre-gen)
This week’s adventure began after the PCs finished their extended rest. They all leveled up and had all of their resources replenished as is the usual result of an extended rest. They broke camp and ventured towards the Teeth of Ghaunadaur where they expected to find the entrance to the Sunset Shrine.
I had the PCs roll initiative just to keep things orderly, but I didn’t have the monster appear for a few rounds. This gave the party ample time to explore the map and get an idea of what might be coming.
The Rogue managed to climb on top of skinniest rock, near the fallen log. He had difficultly climbing but just made the check (with a 20 on the nose). Once the rest of the PCs realized how hard it was to climb up they quickly abandoned that idea. The Swordmage moved closer to the teeth to examine them more closely. The Wizard and Assassin both moved closer to the stairs. The Ranger kept a close look on the surrounding, watching for movement.
Those PCs trained in Arcana (the Wizard, Assassin and Swordmage) all felt the faint emanation of residual magic from a bygone era. They concluded that at one point in the distant past these giant stones were part of some powerful protective magic.
The Ranger and Rogue both rocked their Perception checks and noticed splattered mud droplets around the mud pools. The Ranger realized that the pools were too shallow and cool to hide pockets of gas that might explain the pattern. Once they alerted the party of this, the Earthsoul Swordmage sensed (with Arcana) that the pools were earth elemental in nature. The party remained cautious of the pools.
The Assassin and Wizard noticed doors at the bottom of the stairs. Nether sensed magic but both were reluctant to proceed down. The Swordmage joined them and immediately cautioned them that there was a magical glyph protecting the door. He suggested they finished scouting the area before worrying about it.
At that point the wind picked up and a dust cloud formed into the humanoid shape of a Dust Devil. The blowing wind became a humanoid Air Elemental. From the muddy pools three Mud Men arose.
The Dust Devil managed to surprise the PCs and blasted the three heroes at the top of the stairs, blinding them in the process. The Air Elemental disappeared, going invisible and flying full-out towards the only PC on the top of the rocks. Then the party went to work.
The Rogue got combat advantage on the Mud Man closes to the blind PCs and unloaded on him. The Ranger moved safely out of harm’s way and then targeted the same Mud Man that the Rogue did bloodying him. The Berserker engaged the wounded Mud Man and although he didn’t quite kill him, he trapped him in the defender’s aura.
Although blinded, the Assassin, Swordmage and Wizard teamed up on the Dust Devil and managed to score a coupe of hits. The Mud Men in the aura attacked the Berserker while the other two used ranged attacks against the blind PCs. The Dust used Devil Gale Blast to knock the three blinded PCs prone before finally ending his movement in the Berserker’s aura and attacking him.
With all the monsters out of range for the Rogue to gain combat advantage, he had no other choice than to come down. So he jumped. Unfortunately he took 10 points of damage even after making an Acrobatics check. He then crawled and fired from his prone position to kill the wounded Mud Man.
The invisible Air Elemental (who was going to try to push the Rogue off the ledge) just swooped in and attacked him, doing almost max damage and bloodying the Rogue. The rest of the party divided their attacks. Those PCs who could see again worked together to destroy another one of the Mud Men while the rest of the PCs kept chipping away at the Dust Devil’s hit points.
Once the first Mud Man died I had another emerge from a random pool, but by then they PCs were already well in control of the situation. They didn’t seem to think the Air Elemental posed a big threat so they ignored it for a while. It gave up on the Rogue and moved its attention to the Wizard easily bloodying him too.
After all four Mud Men were defeated the party shifted their efforts to the annoying Air Elemental. It died quickly once six PCs started shooting at it. The Dust Devil actually managed to survive two more rounds on its own before the PCs finally killed it.
They took a short rest and searched the area. In one of the pools they discovered the remains of an unfortunate Dwarf that drowned in the mud. His gear was destroyed, except for the fine +1 Armor of Escape.
With their short rest completed and the party healed up (the Rogue and Wizard were really the only ones who took any real damage) everyone moved towards the door. The Swordmage explained how the glyph worked and knew that an Arcana or Thievery check could disable it. The Rogue volunteered to try Thievery. He didn’t want his deities risking themselves. The Assassin provided assistance while everyone else stayed safely back. The Rogue easily made the check and the doors opened quietly. The party proceeded into a hallway filled with statues that all looked as if tainted by aberrations. Next week with pick things up in the hallway.
This group is really having fun with this adventure. I was a little bit worried about their lack of a leader, but they continue to use strong tactics, communicate openly with each other, and demonstrate how successful a strong offence can be in D&D. I continue to beef up the encounters to challenge this party and they continue to rise to the occasion. This week I added a fourth Mud Man (since there were six players), increased the Mud Men’s hit points from 43 to 50, increased the Air Elemental’s hit points from 23 to 40 and increased the Dust Devil’s hit points from 47 to 70. It didn’t even faze them.
For the fourth week in a row no one missed a turn because they were unconscious. The group is doing a really good job of helping each other, triggering an ally’s second wind with a Heal check or reviving an unconscious ally. They didn’t even need to use any of their Healing Potions this week. I think that everyone can learn from this group. When you know there’s no one with healing magic or the like you play smarter. You have to or your PC will die.
How did you group handle this week’s encounter? Did anyone climb on top of the rocks? Did they fall or get pushed off and take a whole lot of damage? Did your group disarm the door trap or did it explode in their faces? Did any PCs die at your table?
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 4) – 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.