D&D Encounters: Murder in Baldur’s Gate (Week 12)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on November 6, 2013

murder-in-baldurs-gate-coverThe party’s candidate for Duke, Carl the Half-elf Paladin, was invited to speak before the Parliament of Peers during last week’s session. While there he discovered evidence that someone was planning to blow up High Hall and all Members of Parliament with it. At the same time Ravengard had ordered mass executions of hundreds of criminal, many of whom did not deserve a death sentence if any punishment at all.

The PCs had to make hard choices about where to intervene, deciding in the end to split their efforts. Although the some PCs managed to save the Members of Parliament, High Hall was destroyed. The rest of the party successfully freed 300 “criminals” sentenced to death thereby stopping the pubic executions.

We had a packed house at Harry T North in Toronto. We had a table of seven and two tables of six. At my table were the following familiar faces: Carl the Half-Elf Paladin, Dwarf Fighter, Human Monk, Elf Mage, Human Cleric and Warforged Fighter.

Ravengard Must Pay

Following last week’s events the PCs regrouped at Wyrm’s Rock. They were furious with Ravengard and they wanted answers. Unfortunately they were unable to find him anywhere, and neither could anyone else. It seemed that he’d been mysteriously absent for more than a day.

While they looked for Ravengard they learned that he was not as personally responsible as they’d believed. It turned out some of his senior staff took his ranting more seriously than he intended and acted without Ravengard’s knowledge. Despite the tragedy of the public executions the PCs were unable to stop, it seemed like Ravengard’s involvement was indirect. The PCs calmed down and decided to give Ravengard the benefit of the doubt until he could answer their questions.

Over the next few days the leaders of the city united to issue a proclamation. They declared that the situation in Baldur’s Gate had gone too far and that the power groups must work together to settle their differences politically and peacefully. The new laws recently enacted were temporarily suspended.

To help the city mend, the leaders poured resources into the upcoming Festival of the Moon, a three-day long fete featuring costumed merriment, entertainment, somber remembrance, and feasting. During the festival the Wide is transformed into a festival ground. There was plenty of free food, masks and costumes, minstrels and dancing, puppeteers and fireworks, and games of chance. All citizens were welcome.

Death from Above

The first day and night of the Festival of the Moon proceeded without incident. The people of Baldur’s Gate enjoyed the festivities and took their first steps towards healing the city.

During the second night an elaborate fireworks display erupted above the Wide. The crowd’s initial cheers turned to screams as the fireworks rained down burning shrapnel upon the Wide. The explosions continued above the Wide and more and more people got hurt. Fires erupted as the flaming shrapnel made contact with the stalls in the Wide.

Panic set in and people began pushing and shoving as they tried to find safety. The PCs used their influence to guide many people to safety through Underceller. The majority of the guests, however, charged towards the gates out of Upper City only to find them all blocked.

Careful observation indicated that the explosions originated as shells being launched from the roof of the Seatower of Balduran. Using the Underceller passages, the PCs made their way towards the Seatower. When they arrived it was under full lockdown. Four of Ravengard’s elite guards were blocking the entrance.

The PCs tried to pull rank and convince the guards of their urgency, but the guards were well trained and did not waver. The guards warned the PCs that if they tried to enter they’d be met with deadly force. Seeing the shells continue to launch from the roof, the PCs engaged the guards in combat. It was a tough fight but the PCs managed to defeat all four guards without killing any of them.

The Flaming Fist soldiers the PCs encountered inside the Seatower allowed them to pass unmolested. They assumed that the PCs were authorized to be inside since the guards let them pass. The PCs managed to get to the roof, but what they saw shocked them.

Chosen of Bhaal

On the roof a trebuchet was being manned by four more of Ravengard’s elite guards. They were loading the explosive shells into the war machine and firing it into Upper City. Commanding them was a large demonic creature that the PCs knew immediately was Ravengard.

Ravengard had become something unholy – a Bhaal Spawn. The essence of the god of murder had corrupted this once fine man and transformed him into a foul mockery of his former self. This explained Ravengard’s erratic behavior and recent bloodlust.

The heroes didn’t hesitate at the sight of this creature, they attacked! Ravengard commanded his four guards to engage the PCs, forming a wall between them. The Monk and Carl the Paladin managed to get through and engage Ravengard directly.

The guards were no pushovers and gave the PCs a difficult challenge. The Warforged Fighter decided to use the terrain to the party’s advantage. He threw a lit torch on the readied ammunition resting near the trebuchet. The explosion badly damaged the siege weapon making it useless, and caught two of the guards in the blast. This was a pivotal turning point in the melee.

The Mage heard reinforcements running up the stairs and realized the PCs would be outnumbered if they didn’t act quickly. He and the Cleric stopped fighting and barred the door, keeping the newcomers trapped inside.

As the battle continued the Warforged Fighter and Mage both fell unconscious but were revived by the Cleric and Paladin. As the battle neared its thrilling conclusions Carl the Paladin scored a crit on the Bhaal Spawn Ravengard. This killed Ravengard and exorcised the evil essence.

Ravengard’s men immediately stopped fighting; clearly they were under some kind of charming effect that was now gone. Likewise the reinforcements stopped banging at the door. The PCs had vanquished their enemy and saved Baldur’s Gate.

Aftermath

In the days following the Ravengard’s defeat a weight was clearly lifted from Baldur’s Gate. The reputation the PCs earned by defeating Bhaal’s Chose was immeasurable. The Parliament of Peers convenes a special session and officially offered Carl the vacant seat of Duke, which he happily accepted.

In the days and weeks that followed the PCs used their influence to help unite the people of Baldur’s Gate. The general mood in the city improved considerably and the people began working together to rebuild their city. The new Council of Four began discussions about how to more equitably govern Baldur’s Gate. The dark days Baldur’s Gate recently experienced were clearly behind for now, thanks to a group of brave adventurers.

So ends Murder in Baldur’s Gate, season 15 of D&D Encounters. Thanks for playing.

Thoughts

Today we’re only going to discus the final encounter. Next week in the Report Card we’ll look at the season as a whole and discus all the ups and downs.

I actually ran the last two sessions together as one. I felt that the final encounter lacked substance. Knowing it was going to be a final confrontation it didn’t seem like groups using the D&D Next mechanics would need a lot of time to complete the combat. Even though I beefed it up and added a confrontation with the guards at the base of the Seatower it still took less than an hour to play out the final encounter.

The fact that the final blow against Ravengard was a crit from the Paladin couldn’t have been better if it was scripted. It was the logical conclusion to the adventure for this party.

What the players likely didn’t realize was that the outcome was uncertain. The final confrontation could have been with any of the three “villains” depending on how things played out during the season. The DMs secretly kept score and the NPC with the highest score became the Chosen of Bhaal. I was glad the math supported Ravengard at my table because it would have seemed like a cheat to not let the party fight him in the end.

Which of the three major NPCs – Silvershield, Ravengard, or Rilsa – became the Chosen of Bhaal at your table? How did your group handle the final confrontation? Did anyone spare the villain by banishing the essence of Bhaal? How many people realized in the end that the creature they fought in week 1 was also a Chosen of Bhaal once they saw another version of him in the finale?

Which villain from Murder in Baldur’s Gate ended up becoming the Chosen of Bhaal at your table?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike November 6, 2013 at 11:16 am

As players, we hated the adventure and all of the factions so much, that we killed off Silvershield, Ravenguard, and Rilsa.

And since I was the one who “incited riots” and yelled at people all the time, I got to be the chosen one. I suppose, in the end, that the bad guys were *intended* to infuriate everyone.

2 Alphastream November 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

Very nice write-up! I look forward to your analysis of the overall season.

Stores and home groups should report results here: https://apps.facebook.com/dndsundering/ (Facebook seems to be required)

3 Ameron (Derek Myers) November 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Editor’s note

My group played sessions 11 & 12 together last week, and I wrote up both encounters last week. When I loaded this one into the blog I accidentally picked the wrong date which is why it was published a day early. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.

Visit Dungeon’s Master next Thursday for the Murder in Baldur’s Gate Report Card.

Visit us this weekend for the full Legacy of the Crystal Shard preview.

4 Ameron (Derek Myers) November 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm

@Mike
The adventure specifically told DMs to do this if the party killed off the three major NPCs. Congratulations on being the Chosen of Bhaal. I’m sure the other players loved fighting (and I assume killing?) your PC.

@Alphastream
Thanks for providing the link.

5 joe November 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

We ran the finale in 4e last night at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA. My modified 4e-centric version pretty much followed the script, though it was built-out into just one big fight, regardless of who the Chosen ended up being (it was Ravengard at my table, but Rilsa at the other two tables). We were all horribly underwhelmed by the enemy stats for this supposed big final encounter, and each of the 3 DMs at our store completely beefed-up & changed the enemies to be more challenging (one table had the Bhaal energy turn them into winged demons, another table just upped defenses & HP, while at my table I added more HP & threw in a Revenant-like extra necrotic damage for the Chosen whenever someone was killed (bystander or enemy) within 5 of him. Given that we’d implemented a “you have to make a saving throw to NOT kill someone you drop to 0HP” rule, this added a lot of drama.

A fun fight, and the players felt like they’d accomplished something at the end as the murderous air lifted from the city. One of the PCs even declared himself Duke (filling the position the newly-elected Ravengard had just vacated), and the crowd cheered in agreement.
joe´s last blog post ..MythSpoken Gaming Special: The Quiet Year

6 Vobekhan November 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

We combined both our regular tables into a single mass group (9 players) which myself and Liam DM’ed in concert. As such we’d both got a clear leader in our Bhaal trackers and decided that we’d have both (Rael and Silvershield) transform at the Feast and attack the heroes.
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&D Enc Murder in Baldur’s Gate – Session 12 Season Finale

7 Justin Yanta November 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

GM NOTES:
After a massive 4 1/2 hour session we were down to the final fight… It was Duke Silvershield that was causing all the problems. Now it was time to find him and bring him to justice. The party started hurt and tired in the crypts of High Hall after stopping the bombing of the Parliament of Peers.

The party this week consisted of:
• Half-Orc Cleric (Lucy)
• Wood Elf Paladin (Woodarrow)
• Tinker Gnome Rogue (Nezzle)
• Half-Orc Rogue (Jackal)
• Half-Orc Fighter (Torrak) – Took week off to Co-GM with me
• Stout Halfling Barbarian (Kah-Kaww)
• Half-Elf Paladin (Jeff)
• Half-Orc Barbarian Pre-Gen (Fluffy Bunny)
• New Person Half-Orc Barbarian Pre-Gen (Shadow Caster)
• New Person Human Monk Pre-Gen(Jeuke)
• New Person Dwarf Fighter Pre-Gen (Torn)

So since it was going to be one big battle we just did one big table and had everyone go at it. 10 players, 2 GMs no problem. Since we had a large group I added guards for Torlin (5 Watch Sergeants) and Cuthbert Oberon joined to help track down Nezzle. We rounded out the encounter with a turned Torlin Silvershield and 12 Acolytes of Gond.

Parliament of Peers (Everyone):
The party moved up the stairs and into the Parliament of Peers chambers. After a brief discussion about what they just did and how that Silvershield was the one that set it all up the Parliament of Peers asked the party to take down Silvershield. The Parliament of Peers also had three more adventures join the group to help them take down Silvershield. First was Torn a Mountain Dwarf sent to Baldur’s Gate to help with the chaos there. Shadow Caster was a Half-Orc from the outer city. She was joined with Jeuke a human monk from the outer city.

The party was able to piece together that Silvershield was in the Wide having a party today so the group healed up and headed to the Wide.

The Wide (Everyone):
18 bystanders are around the area drinking from goblets set out by Silvershield for his party. Silvershield is laughing and talking with 5 watch sergeants about the changes he will be making to Baldur’s Gate. Using the map from Seekers of the Ashen Crown (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/Map_Crown/15.jpg) I had the party start at the very south end of the map (at that entrance) and Silvershield with his 5 guards starting just behind the statue.

The first 3 people that started (Fluffy, Jackal, Shadow) moved forward and hid in the crowds trying to get closer to Silvershield. Jackal was able to hide in shadows and rolled a 19+ his +10 made it a 29. They were not going to see him. Shadow had the funniest turn. This was her VERY first time playing any RPG and she was not sure what to do. I had human bystanders all over the map and so at first she said “Him… I am going to charge up and kill him”. We had to explain that he was actually someone they were trying to save and walk her though why they were there. We had a laugh but she truly was in a Half-Orc Barbarian’s mind. Attack and Kill anything that moves.

Kah-Kaww decided not to let them have a chance to talk and shot his long bow at one of Silvershield’s guards. Kah-Kaww started to rage when his first shot hit off the guard’s armor but his second shot struck true and the soldier fell back a step. Silvershield saw this and yelled out, “Ah I see. I thought that the Parliament should be been destroyed already. I guess if we cannot have their deaths than yours will take their place. Men kill the heroes”

At this Silvershield cast Prayer on himself and his men and then raised his arm in the air like a signal. The 3 Soldiers spread out a little and shot at different people, while two charged forward one targeting Fluffy and one targeting Shadow. Kah-Kaww took two arrows for 8 points of damage while the others were all able to dodge. This lead to Lucy running into a building an heading upstairs. She noticed some movement on the roof but was not sure what it was. Lucy shouted that she saw something and Jeff answered the call. He ran upstairs and saw a different person on the roof. He then shouted that archers were on the roof and that started the chaos. 12 Acolytes of Gond stood up and shot into the crowd and at the heroes trying to kill as many people as possible. They were able to take out 6 bystanders and hurt Jeff and Lucy. Nezzle ran to the far right of the map and hid as she searched for a way to get on the roofs. Woodarrow ran forward and attacked one of the soldiers that was attacking Shadow but missed. Torn did the same and also missed. Some one new ran in from a different direction but was able to hide well enough that no one could see him. Jeuke was able to run upstairs and charge one of the Acolytes killing him with two powerful attacks.

GM NOTES:
The special enemy was Cuthbert that could cause some issues for the Heroes. Here is the enemy I created to challenge the group. As you can see he was made to be a good challenge and really take multiple people on him to stop him:
Cuthbert Oberon (Human Fighter)
AC: 18 (+1 Leather Armor) HP: 40
Speed: 30ft Vision: Normal
STR: 10 DEX: 18 CON: 14
INT: 10 WIS: 14 CHA: 10
Traits:
Fighting Style: DEF +1 AC
Action Surge
Improved Critical: Critical on 19 or 20
Fencing Master: As a Reaction Add +7 to AC against a Melee Attack.
Attack:
2 Attacks per turn
Keen Rapier: +7 to Hit (1d8+5 DMG), +1d8 and +2d6 if Critical

So this battle took 3 1/2 hours to complete and here is the highlights.

Back to the Game (Everyone):
So Cuthbert and the Acolytes were being controlled by Torrak’s player and I had Silvershield, the Soldiers and the Bystanders. Torrak’s goal was to kill as many people as possible with the Acolytes and Cuthbert goal was to kill Nezzle.

At this point Silvershield changed thanks to the murders here and just sat back and laughed. The watch kept attacking and hurting everyone badly. Cuthbert kept moving around the battlefield looking for Nezzle. When he saw Kah-Kaww get held by Silvershield spell he ran up and took Kah-Kaww from full HP (well 2 hp from max) to -12. Overall only 2 bystanders survived and Kah-Kaww, Jeff, Shadow, Jeuke, Torn, and Fluffy were koed. Everyone else was bloodied (Lucy and Woodarrow both were knocked down to 1-2 hp but able to survive).

The best moments was when Shadow’s player just kept demanding blood. She was so excited to fight that she wanted to attack as many people as possible. Another was Woodarrow holding off 3 Acolytes at the same time and slowly chipping away at them till help arrived. Another was Fluffy continuely being tripped up by the watch and having to stand up to charge them or attack from range.

The funniest was Kah-Kaww. He was on his last rage and did not want to lose it so he kept rolling on the ground and attacking people since he could not stand and attack without losing his rage. It was really funny. Good new Kah-Kaww with a long bow was finally able to break the curse and shoot though a window. He took out 3 Acolytes and a Soldier on his own which was the best I had seen him do in all the weeks we played (even though a window at one point).

Cuthbert was a great enemy with the Fencing Master trait. That helped him take out anyone that challenged him one on one but as soon as they figured out that mobbing him was the way to do it he went down quick (like I expected him). This helped people to think of tactics and not just charge in showing that sometimes it is better to work as a team then one on one.

So after all of that we now had 2 Duke seats open. Nezzle became the Duke of the people and she now is helping out Baldur’s Gate and is the voice for the Outer City. Ravengard became the other Duke and was the voice for the Lower City. This gave equal voice to all in Baldur’s Gate and everyone was pleased. Now they found this map of a Mine nearby. Maybe it is time to investigate that…

GM NOTES:

Great end to the Season for us. We have some new people and I think after running this I have ideas on how to make it better for next season (i.e. sometimes don’t follow the book exactly). Next week we are going to run the Mines of Madness for the group to give them a good dungeon crawl and also help people that have Pre-Gens to make new characters (I hope to find out what level the characters will be going into Icewind Dale). My daughter (the one playing Lucy, 10 year old) wants to DM so I will Co-DM with her. She is excited to try to tell a story and Mines of Madness, I think, will be a good choice.

8 Hillel November 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I thought the Divine Favour Spell was a little bit overpowered. I rolled a lot of D8s that last adventure, 3d8s for when I scored a critical hit. If it wasn’t for that we might not have survived.

9 Tom November 9, 2013 at 2:53 am

My players were most keen on foiling the gunpowder plot. I gave them a delima by having explosives placed in parliament AND in the abandoned mines in the mountain next to the city. The party, under the coercion of the paladin, went to parliament and stopped the bombs there but did not send any of the party to the mountain. They told the theives and ravengard but while the theives beleived the party, ravengard – or rather his officers neither beleived or really cared that there was a plan to clear out the slums. I had the theif in the party roll for the theives guild to see if they could find and stop the bombs but he rolled poorly. The paladin, who was strongly attached to ravengard,rolled for the poor squad sent to check out the mines and rolled even lower than the theif (at a higher difficulty level to reflect their lack of interest). Boom went the bombs. This did more than the intended landslide. I had the top of the mountain explode due to the trapped gasses that were ignited.

This oblitereted the slum areas and the sections of the city next to the mountain. The mointain then spewed rocks and ash onto the city nessecitatinf saving throws by the party as they attempted to get to the docks and the boat they had readying for a potential escape.

Silversheild went bhaal and was killed by a party of guardsmen under the command of the druid who was disguised as silversheild. The druid then went into silversheilds estate and ordered the household to evacuate with all documents and valuables. Fortuneately the real silversheild had already made preparations for running from the city so the household staff was ready and prepared to go.

The theif went to the closest boat contolled by the theives guild and after working his way through the congested city districts arrived just after sliversheild died in the rich district. I then had rael become a spawn and the theif led a group of theives against her and barely won. The theif then (with a sailor background) took charge of raels boat and rescued about 500 citizens in 5 trips to the other side of the river. His boat disintegrated from flying rock damage as they approached safety and the theif was able to perform a captain jack sparrow walk of the sinking ship as it grounded safely on shore to the aclimation and cheers of the theives and the persons he saved.

The rest of the party, (dwarf cleric, hafling paladin, dwarf barbarian and elf mage) made their way to the boat they had arranged to be ready for them. On the way the paladin found that the pseudodragon he had befreinded and left to keep watch on the location of a smokepowder bomb was missing and that the area had been heavily damaged by rocks from the mountain which continued to rain down on the party. The mage fell due to failing his “dodge the rocks” rolls repeatedly, but was revived by the cleric several times.

The party made it to the dock and left with 100 civilians on board. As the passed the flaminf fist tower they saw ravenguard tearing into the civilians who were begging for assistance. The part attacked ravenguard with the ships ballista doing some damage. I gave ravengard the ability to throw back any bolts that hit him and he knocked out the ballista. The paladin then tried to lay on hands on his injured party members and found out that his paladin powers no longer were operational. (Something about ignoring the plight of the thousands of poor in favour of saving parliament, among his many transgressions) the no longer a paladin then had the biggest sailor throw him at ravengard who was 50 feet away on shore. The nolongerapaladin killed ravengard and was picked up by the cleric and 3 sailors in the skhips longboat. The ship had taken some damage (50%) by this time but i failed to get the longboat.

Once on board the nolongerapaladin then turned into a bhaalspawn. He attacked the dwarf barbarian (his daughter, who was aghast that I would do such a thing) but failed to even hit her. He then made his rediculous saving throw to contol the demon.

At that point the ship was almost to the safe shore when the nolongerapaladin spotted his pseudodragon on the arm of the theif captain he had turned into the city guard in elisode 1 (the low lantern owner). She had exacted her revenge by stealing and charming his beloved buddy. The nolongerapaladin swore to get his buddy back! (And maybe deal with the festering demon inside him. Or maybe not)

We left the adventure there with the city in ruins, being covered with ashes, dead and dying throughout the devastation and multitudes streaming out of the city to safety. The lowest classes had the least loss of life as the theives guild had warned their people to evacuate the slums but the city proper was pummeled.

The part theif was heralded as one of the leaders of the theives guild and with the riches and treasure he looted from rael looked to setting up well either in a dug out baldurs gate or another location.

The druid was prepared to continue his masquade as silversheild and work for the actual good of the city. Not sure how that was going to work out but he was a glib talker and fast thinker. He had a chance to succeed – or at least get away once discovered…

The cleric, mage abd barbarian were lauded by the citizens they saved. The nolongerapaladin was adamant about going after “his” pseudodragon. He originally tried to convince the crew and party to try and chase down the ,ow lanterns captains ship but they refused on the basis of “stupid”. Spells were gone and the ship was hurting. Taking on a pirate crew was deemed “unwise”. The nolongerapaladin was talkng about a covert mission to rescue the pseudodragon as i left thevtable.

Some of the party want to continue with their characters, the notable exception being the nolongerapaladin. Not sure that i am want to give him a blank check for a new 4th level character in legacy. Might be fun to give him the choice of 1st level or the 4th level nolongerapaladin. Perhaps he has to gain fighter levels or something similar until he can regain favour with a god he is willing to serve (and can get rid of the bhaal possession!)

10 dan November 9, 2013 at 3:07 am

This Week, We ran 2 weeks’ worth of play in one. We had 2 tables of Next and one of 4e. My table of next had 5 players: a human monk, a human rogue, a half-elf druid, an elf mage, and a gnome barbarian (me).
We began by hearing screams from the direction of the docks. Upon investigation, we found that the flaming fist had gathered about 50 people onto a raised platform, and were executing them. Among them were many we had previously tried to save, or otherwise protect. We tried reasoning with the merc in charge of this location, but he held fast, obeying Ravenguard’s orders in spite of reason. The party decided that the only way to make a difference was to try to get Ravenguard to personally stop it. However, he was at Wyrm’s Rock Crossing, overseeing another execution. The gnome rode on the shoulders of the monk, who ran them there quickly. The gnome then tried to use his influence and familiarity with Ravenguard to make him stop, but to no avail. By the time the rest of the party arrived, the executions were finished, and 200 people were dead. Nobody left the scenes feeling good about it, and Ravenguard seemed to believe it was for a good purpose, and we could do little to convince him otherwise.
Over the next few days, the leaders of the city realized that things had gotten out of hand, and they threw their efforts into the coming festival. The party rested, and recovered from the horror of the past few days. On the first night of the festival, we discussed events with various figures, such as Corrin and Rilsa. The mage decided to bet on the gnome in an eating contest, and the gnome was out in the first round.
On the second night, the party noticed what appeared to be shooting stars, but turned out to be flaming balls of death. When the party-goers tried to escape through the gates, they found them barred from the outside. We decided instead to use the under cellar to get to the seatower of baulduran, where we determined the flaming balls of death were coming from. Upon arriving, we saw that it was guarded by the flaming fists, who let us pass after seeing our badges. When we reached the top, we saw Ravenguard and 4 of his men with a trebuchet, launching boulders at the city. He had glowing red eyes and horns, and we realized that he had been chosen by Bhaal as a champion, and he had willingly accepted. Upon seeing us, he told us he had been expecting us, and invited the monk to join him (this is the same monk who has been causing trouble all season). The monk immediately turned to the mage, and attacked 3 times (expending a use of ki for flurry of blows), and crit on the first hit, bringing the mage to a whopping 1 HP. The party was displeased, but not surprised by the betrayal. After a few hits from the very lucky raging gnome, the monk was injured to the point of fleeing, taking another attack of opportunity from the party, being hit only by the gnome (he had an AC of 20). The gnome decided to only attack the monk, while ignoring the other threats (who were not participating either), but the monk his behind Ravenguard. The druid healed the mage, who then cast web, covering the area except for the gnome’s space. The party mostly focused on taking out the reinforcements, while the gnome and mage weakened Ravenguard, and the other enemies remained tangled in the web. The combat drew on, resulting in the gnome being surrounded on all sides by enemies and webs, the druid and a couple foes caught in webs, and the monk trying to reposition the trebuchet to launch straight up to cause chaos in the combat.
Only the damage resistance of the raging gnome kept him alive, and the combined efforts of his duel-wielding advantage (which resulted in 2 crits with a whip) and the mage (casting magic missile) reduced Ravenguard’s health fairly quickly. When the mage, the druid, and the rogue fell to the reinforcements, and the web dissipated, the battered gnome was barely able to kill Ravenguard. He then used his rank to assert his authority in putting down the mad dog the commander had become, and commanded the remaining flaming fist soldiers to attack the traitorous monk. The monk finally got off his trebuchet attack, but the boulder came back down on top of the trebuchet, destroying it, and nearly hitting the monk. The remaining forces made short work for the traitor.
We were hard pressed for to!e, but we wanted to get the adventure over with. We were upset that we could find no diplomatic way to stop the executions, and that combat would be so heavily weighted against us. Also, it was saddening that Ravenguard became the villain. There was very little in the way of evidence, or even need for concern. If anyone, it seemed that Silver shield would be the villain. Toward the end, we saw very little of the guild, and the Flaming Fist’s violence was barely mentioned, or was glossed over. I saw it coming as a player (as I had kinda figured out the point system from bits and pieces here and there), but didn’t let that influence my actions in character.
I did enjoy that our monk (who I’d wanted to kill for a while) turned to the enemies’ side, and that we got to kill him. The final battle was fun, but difficult. I disliked the difficulty of hitting the 2 biggest foes (Ravenguard and the monk both had 20+ HP), who also hit pretty hard. The tactical aspect of web was fun, and gave us a decent edge, and the fact that the barbarian is so broken helped even the odds a bit, but we still felt pretty weak. As it ended, though, it seemed appropriate that Ravenguard would die at the gnome’s hands, and the near tpk right before the end kept us on our toes as to whether we would win or lose.
We still have to get the aftermath text from the DM next week, though, as we were actually over-time and had to leave right away after combat. I look forward to shaping the next season as DM, and feel like my experience this season will help me do well.

11 bisonic November 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm

We had five for Next at my store. My group has been trying to play all sides and were seeking the smokepowder. They were working with Skoond and, after failing his mission and dragging a single guild member to him, he had told them to wait in his house. After a thorough recap of the previous few weeks the group felt suspicious about Skoond and decided to search his house. They found a few empty passages, a map of the High Hall marked with X’s, and a secret door that led to an altar of Bhaal.

They tried to disrupt the ceremony but one of them, an elf Druid, was possessed by a ghost. She freed herself of the possesion and they kept disrupting the ceremony. The Half Orc Warrior was possessed by could not shake it. He ended up taking half the host’s damage. The ceremony had 12 corpses around the altar and I had it that the ghost had a chance to take half damage at a rate of 10% per body around the altar. Eventually they cleared the bodies and beat the ghost. They came down stairs to find two guards standing in their way. Once they attacked the guards, Skoond revealed himself and attacked the group. They took a beating but defeated him before he could flee. It took more time then I had planned because one player kept talking smack about having him cornered so I had him turn invisible for a little. It was not fun for them to poke at empty squares and I should have kept a clearer head.

They plan to drag Skoond to parliment but they believe that the smokepowder is not in place for some reason. This week is going to be a big fight but I still haven’t decided if they are going to have Silvershield turn into Bhaalspawn or if I should have Rilsa change and come after them. They have been ignoring or bungling the anti-guild missions and Rilsa is tied with Silvershield. If things go well next session, which they probably won’t, I will have them save parliment with a series of skill challenges and fight Rilsa as she becomes Bhaalspawn and murders her way through the city. If not, there goes parliment and then attack from the Guild. I’m not sure the plot will make sense to them, but they have been avoiding anything plot related from the start.

12 bisonic November 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm

We had five for Next at my store. My group has been trying to play all sides and were seeking the smokepowder. They were working with Skoond and, after failing his mission and dragging a single guild member to him, he had told them to wait in his house. After a thorough recap of the previous few weeks the group felt suspicious about Skoond and decided to search his house. They found a few empty passages, a map of the High Hall marked with X’s, and a secret door that led to an altar of Bhaal.

They tried to disrupt the ceremony but one of them, an elf Druid, was possessed by a ghost. She freed herself of the possesion and they kept disrupting the ceremony. The Half Orc Warrior was possessed by could not shake it. He ended up taking half the host’s damage. The ceremony had 12 corpses around the altar and I had it that the ghost had a chance to take half damage at a rate of 10% per body around the altar. Eventually they cleared the bodies and beat the ghost. They came down stairs to find two guards standing in their way. Once they attacked the guards, Skoond revealed himself and attacked the group. They took a beating but defeated him before he could flee. It took more time then I had planned because one player kept talking smack about having him cornered so I had him turn invisible for a little. It was not fun for them to poke at empty squares and I should have kept a clearer head.

They plan to drag Skoond to parliment but they believe that the smokepowder is not in place for some reason. This week is going to be a big fight but I still haven’t decided if they are going to have Silvershield turn into Bhaalspawn or if I should have Rilsa change and come after them. They have been ignoring or bungling the anti-guild missions and Rilsa is tied with Silvershield. If things go well next session, which they probably won’t, I will have them save parliment with a series of skill challenges and fight Rilsa as she becomes Bhaalspawn and murders her way through the city. If not, there goes parliment and then attack from the Guild. I’m not sure the plot will make sense to them, but they have been avoiding anything plot related from the start.

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