This week I ran a table of six. One of our regulars was absent but another player brought a friend. I’ve had a brand new player at my table every week since we started. The fact that they all keep coming back is a good sign. The party included a Drow Wizard, Tiefling Ardent/Battle Mind (hybrid), an Elf Fighter (Slayer), Half-Orc Barbarian, Ryltar the Drow Fighter (Slayer) pre-gen, and Syndrina the Drow Paladin (Cavalier) pre-gen.
As the PCs searched the basement of the temple they found a Drow in one of the cells. Since we already had two Drow in the party we said that they knew her. This made adding the new PC marginally plausible. In the other cells they found evidence that people were held here recently although no one was there now.
When they searched the altar the Wizard determined that there was a teleportation enchantment upon it. With the correct phrase they could active it.
They brought the bound and unconscious Devi upstairs where they left the unconscious Euphema last week. Euphema was just waking up as the bloodied and wounded PCs came up the stairs, Devi in tow. It took a few quick Diplomacy and Intimidate checks to calm her down but eventually they managed.
With a Heal check they woke Devi. She told them that she was not in her right mind; that she was under the power of an evil force. She apologized for her actions and begged the PCs’ forgiveness for her evil deeds. This was the same thing the grunts at the Golden Grain Inn said so the PCs believed her.
Suddenly they heard a scream from upstairs. Euphema and all the PCs ran upstairs. Another priestess had discovered the bloody body of Sir Moonbrook. The room was covered in Moonbrook’s blood. On the floor near the body Moonbrook had scrawled something with his own blood “PRAY BACKW.”
The heroes examined the body and realized he’d killed himself in a horrific, brutal and likely painful manner. It seemed that the spirit that possessed him could not escape while Moonbrook lived so it forced him to take his own life. The spirit was loose. Euphema begged the PCs to find it and stop it.
When they returned to the main level of the temple Devi was gone. She’d freed herself from her bounds and escaped.
The party proceeded to the basement to use the teleportation magic and follow the priest from last week’s encounter and possibly Devi (if she escaped this way). They read the inscription to the Lawbringer engraved on the now desecrated altar backwards (assuming that this is what Moonbrook’s message meant). The portal opened and the PCs passed through.
They emerged into darkness. They were in an underground tunnel near a large subterranean lake. Sounds of faint moans and cries of pain travelled across the water alerting the PCs to the presence of others nearby.
The Drow led the rest of the PCs towards a skiff at the water’s edge. The party got on and headed towards the sounds. When they rounded the bend, the Drow saw a group of prisoners bound and huddled together on a rocky ledge. In there midst was an enormous snake creature with the head of a human female. Atop her head was a golden crown set with seven gems.
“Only fools come before me willingly,” it said. “But even fools can serve me, either as minions or as a meal.”
With a readied action the Wizard cast light so that the rest of the party could see. The Elf Slayer moved the skiff right up to the shore while the Drow Slayer jumped off and charged the Naga. He hit, followed it up with an action point and scored a second hit. The Paladin followed the Slayer’s lead and did the exact same thing, unfortunately only hitting once. The Naga attacked the Paladin twice with Tail Slap but missed both times. It used its action point to attack twice more hitting the Paladin with the second attack only and pushing her back.
The Barbarian charged in and hit. He then used his action point and unloaded his daily attack and hit. On his one turn he inflicted over 60 points of damage to the Naga (on a non-crit). This easily bloodied the Naga. The Wizard used his Fountain of Flame to engulf the Naga in fire further damaging it illuminating the entire cavern. He then activated his Cloud of Darkness.
From beneath the dark waters an undead Wraith arose and attacked the Elf Slayer still on the skiff; however, it missed. The Slayer attacked the Wraith, but missed. She then shifted away into the Cloud of Darkness.
The heroes continued attacking the Naga but were not as fortunate with their rolls on round two. The Naga managed to hit and push the Barbarian and Slayer back. When the Barbarian charged back into melee, one of the helpless prisoners used an opportunity attack to strike him as he ran by. It was the Reptile Priest, Garath who escaped last week.
The Ardent was next to Garath and attacked him before he could take a defensive action. Garath crawled one square away, drawing opportunity attacks from the Ardent and Drow Slayer (both connected) before using his Curse of Poisoned Eyes, blinding the Paladin, both Slayers and the Barbarian, and causing a lot of ongoing poison damage.
The Drow Slayer and Barbarian both charged the Naga despite their blindness and both hit. The Paladin and Elf Slayer decided to use their Second Wind while blinded. The Wizard and Ardent focused on Garath and easily destroyed the pesky priest before he could do any more damage.
Meanwhile the Wraith attacked the Paladin and Elf Slayer on alternating turns but couldn’t score a hit on either one. In fact it didn’t hit anyone the entire fight.
The Naga used its Word of Pain on the Barbarian and hit. It then dominated him (unbeknownst to the party). However, when the Barbarian acted next the ongoing 10 poison damage knocked him unconscious. The Ardent’s instinct was to revive the fallen ally. But the player knew that he was dominated and was actually a threat if healed. After considering the best action the player did a great job of separating player knowledge from character knowledge and healed the dominated Barbarian.
One of the other prisoners called on the power of the Lawbringer to heal the wounded PCs as the fight continued. The party kept exchanging blows with the Naga and it was nearing death. The Barbarian attacked and injured the Drow Slayer once before shrugging off the Domination.
With only a few hit points remaining the Ardent and Elf Slayer managed to trap the Naga in the corner and drop it. The Paladin, the only PC with Radiant powers, finally connected with the Wraith and destroyed it.
When the Ardent reached for the crown the helpful prisoner (now revealed to be Canoness Yeeday) warned him not to touch it. She explained that it was a powerful and evil artifact. Cautiously he took it from the head of the dead Naga. When he did the cavern started rumbling and the ceiling began to collapse.
The heroes quickly helped the prisoners to their feet and they all ran for safety. The journey was perilous but after a half hour they finally managed to reach the surface. By the time they returned to Hommel Lane the sun was rising in the East.
This was a tough encounter. When I played it a few weeks back with my other group we got crushed. This time the PCs did a pretty good job. It’s amazing how much better a level 2 party can do in this situation than a level 1 party.
With four strikers in the party I bumped up the Naga’s hit points from 126 to 200. If I hadn’t they’d have killed the Naga before the end of round 1. I held back Garath and the Wraith until round 2, waiting for a PC to move past Garath and draw the opportunity attack.
The Wraith was all but useless. It didn’t hit anything. The PCs dismissed it as non-threatening. When it was the final monster on the board it still had 62 hit points. I wasn’t going to draw out the combat so I turned it into a minion and when it took radiant damage I said it was destroyed.
We ran out of time so the skill challenge at the end was just me narrating what happened. I don’t like doing this but we were already running quite long on the night.
I was pleased that the Wizard didn’t use his blast or burst powers once he realized they would also target the innocent prisoners. I was also very impressed by the Ardent’s decision to revive a dominated PC.
Next week the PCs will return to the Moat House dungeon before heading into the final week.
Which encounter did you do this week? For those who have faced the Reptile God, did you suffer any casualties? How many parties split up, some swimming and some on the boat?
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