Upon finding evidence that the Abyssal Plague had infected the inhabitants of the town of Easting the heroes risked life and limb to traversed the subterranean shrine where a cult of evil Dwarves in service to Tharizdun (The Elder Elemental Eye) plotted to spread the plague across the Forgotten Realms. After two days of chasing the Dwarves through the shrine, battling them and their minions, the heroes finally found and destroyed the cult leader and the Voidharrow, the source of the Abyssal Plague the cultist were using to infect the locals. With the threat of the Abyssal Plague stopped, and Easting returning to normal, the PCs venture back to Iriaebor to report of their deeds and collect the reward promised them by the Merchant Council. And with that they adventure comes to an end… or does it?
This was the final week of D&D Encounters season 9. Although last week seemed like the conclusion to the adventure there was still one more loose end that was resolved in the final encounter. We had 11 players and two DMs (exactly as we did last week) at our FLGS. My table of five remained unchanged.
- Windsoul/Firesoul Genasi Assassin
- Earthsoul Genasi Swordmage [Earthforger]
- Firesoul Genasi Barbarian (Berserker) [Ironwrought]
- Sandsoul Genasi Ranger (Hunter) [Unseelie Agent]
- Elf Ranger (Scout)
This week’s encounter began with the PCs on the road from Easting to Iriaebor. A week had passed since they defeated the Dwarven cult and they have had ample time to rest and recover from their adventures. They presented their report to the Merchant Council along with sealed and signed testimony from Father Evendur confirming the party’s heroics. They were paid 50 gp as promised and awarded free room and board for a month at the Wandering Wyvern, one of Iriaebor’s finest inns.
The PCs spent the next week enjoying the finer things available to PCs flush with coin and beaming with talk of heroic deeds. The Scout hired a local Bard to sing songs of the party’s accomplishments, with particular focus on the Assassin’s shortcoming and soft approach to problems. The Ranger indulged in fine food, the Barbarian indulged in fine women, and the Assassin indulged in fine spirits. The Swordmage was the only Genasi still focused on returning home and visited the sage who might have the means for the party to do so (assuming the rest of the Genasi PCs wanted to leave and give up their new-found pleasures).
While the PCs spent their days doing whatever they felt like doing, they made a point of eating dinner together each night at the Wandering Wyvern. One night an Elvin adventurer entered the tavern and asked for the PCs by name. The Barkeep pointed them out and the Elf joined the PCs.
He was dressed in hunter’s clothing, armed with a short sword, dagger, and crossbow. His gear was old, used, and dirty. His weapons were rusted and nicked from repeated use. His hair was matted and knotted, his face dark and dirty with the dust of the road. Yet despite his appearance he seemed polite as he engaged the PCs.
He introduced himself as Belbol Zhaun and explained that he’d heard the songs about these PCs and wanted to meet them personally. He also had information that they might find useful which he felt compelled to share with them. The Swordmage and Scout both realized that the Elf’s name literally meant “bringer of knowledge” in Elvin, a subtle way that he was telling them he was using an alias and wanted to remain anonymous. As he spoke to the PCs he continually addressed the females, showing them respect while all but ignoring the men.
The Swordmage concluded that this “Elf” might actually be Drow. He then noticed that the pants this hunter was wearing were indeed the same pair he’d given the Drow scout the PCs spared during their march across the Badlands. With this realization he warmly welcomed the Drow and blew his cover to the rest of the PCs.
The Drow (real name Tebrizz) explained that he felt indebted to the PCs, specifically the female Ranger, who had spared his life. When he saw an opportunity to help the party he decided that this was a suitable form of repayment. While the PCs battled the Dwarves in the shrine Tebrizz continued searching the area for others following The Elder Elemental Eye. He found signs of a lone Drow, but by the time he caught up to her she’d come to Iriaebor. He’s spotted her a few times but was not able to get her alone. Attacking her alone would be futile, so he watched and waited.
In the past few days this Drow no doubt heard the songs about this party and realized that they weakened her god by killing his followers and destroying the source of the Abyssal Plague. She believes killing the PCs will bring her Tharizdun’s evil blessing.
With his warning delivered, Tebrizz again thanked the Ranger (and the rest of the party) for kindness he did not expect and left them to their fate.
The PCs took immediate steps to search the inn for signs of the Drow or any other followers but found nothing. They scouted the perimeter but also found nothing. They decided to post a sentry overnight on a nearby roof, but after a full 24 hours they saw no evidence of this mysterious Drow or her companions.
A few days later during breakfast the PCs heard a loud crash and then screams outside of the inn. They rushed to the windows where they saw one of the local barmaids pinned under an overturned wagon. The barmaid’s sister was nearby screaming for help. The Ox pulling the cart struggled to free itself but was stuck in the fountain. The driver seemed unable to coax the animal out of the fountain and seemed almost indifferent to the woman dying under his wagon.
The Assassin was first to go to the woman’s aid with the Barbarian following close behind. They managed to easily get the cart off the woman and administered a healing potion. From under a blanket on the cart a giant Spider emerged and attacked the PCs. The Ranger remained inside the inn and fired her bow at the Spider.
The man driving the cart (a Berserker) armed himself with a mace and attacked the Barbarian. Another Berserker emerged from behind the fountain and attacked the Assassin. The Swordmage and Scout ran outside to join the melee. The Scout managed to get into a flank with the Barbarian and attacked the Berserker on the cart.
From on top of the inn, a Drow female threw a shuriken and hit the Assassin. He risked an opportunity attack (which missed) and flew up to the roof. He was surprised to discover that the Drow had another large Spider on the roof with her. The two worked together to try to take out the Assassin.
On the ground the innocent bystanders managed to flee into the safety of the inn. The ox managed to break free pushing the card back towards the melee. Fortunately the Ranger, Swordmage and Berserker manage to avoid getting run over. The Barbarian and initial Berserker, both in the cart fell prone with the sudden movement but suffered no damage.
The Drow realized that the Assassin was almost dead so she left him for the Spider to finish off as she leapt down to the street and joined in the melee. She didn’t attack but instead used an illusionary feign. The Berserkers worked together with the Spider to gain flaking but they kept missing the PCs. The Spider hit consistently, inflicting ongoing poison to different PCs every round.
As the heroes were on the verge of killing the Berserkers, the Drow’s feign paid off and she managed to shift and attack four times. Two devastating blows (with flanking bonus) dropped the Scout and then two more (also with flanking bonus) dropped the Swordmage. She then used her action point to badly wound the Barbarian.
Rather than risk dying alone on the roof, the Assassin jumped off (taking only 4 damage for his trouble) and joined the rest of the party. He then administered a healing potion to the fallen Swordmage. The Spider followed him but missed on its attack.
The Ranger joined he party and revived the Scout with a healing potion. Unfortunately the combined efforts of the near-dead Berserkers managed to both hit and kill the Scout (dead-dead). This was the push the PCs needed as they rallied back to victory. They easily destroyed the Berserkers and one of the Spiders. The other Spider and the Drow continued to flank and attack but the party was working well, marking and focusing fire.
When the Drow was finally the only remaining enemy she used her Darkness Globe to gain concealment. However, when she fled the scene the Ranger and Assassin both spotted her. They followed her and fired. Both attacks hit and they managed to kill her before she could flee.
With the Drow and her allies defeated the PCs had successfully eliminated all members of the cult of the Elder Elemental Eye in this region. It cost them the life of their Elvin friend, but in the end even the side of good must make some sacrifices.
And with that we end another season of D&D Encounters. Next week we’ll have the report card on the season as a whole, but for now I’m interested in hearing how this final encounter played out at your FLGS. My group had fun despite losing one of the PCs this week (only our second fatality of the season).
The encounter itself really felt unnecessary and tact on. Having the Drow from week 3 reappear to warn the party was a good way to reward them if they let one or both Drow live. However, there was no down side if they’d killed the Drow. By sparing the Drows’ lives they should have received some kind of bonus, even a +1 during the first round of combat would have been a reminder that heroes who act in the service of good are rewarded.
In order to tie this encounter into the overall story arc better I’d have had the evil Drow appear earlier in the adventure and then get away. This way the PCs would know that at least one foe was still at large and when faced with an opportunity to stop her they’d likely jump at the chance.
I’ve been saying it all season and I’ll say it again, good tactics made all the difference this week again. This party has become a well-oiled machine and understands the value of teamwork and assisting fallen comrades. When I played this encounter a second time the party suffered a TPK because no one was willing to help each other. I’m going to miss this party of Genasi strikers. It was a neat concept that added something extra to the dynamic and the weekly games.
How did your party fare against the Drow and her followers? Did anyone face a TPK? Did any of the PCs flee? After all, their job was done and there was no reason for them to fight.
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 11) – Podcasts