D&D Encounters: Legacy of the Crystal Shard (Week 7)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on January 9, 2014

legacy-of-the-crystal-shard-coverThe games we should have played during week 5 and week 6 were canceled due to Christmas and New Years. The plan was to pick things up this week and try to get back on track. Unfortunately four of my five players were unable to play this week due to extended vacations, bad weather, and illness. So for the third week in a row I did not run my usual table.

However, two of the other three DMs did have a chance to get their games back on track this week. I grabbed a pre-gen and joined one of the D&D Next tables. The choices this party made so far this season took them on a very different path than my group. This party had spent a lot of time in Bryn Shander with a short detour to the Dwarven Valley and the bandit’s cave hideout. This week they were back in Bryn Shander in looking for the missing Speaker.

The party already had the following PCs: Tiefling Rogue, Dragonborn Ranger, Halfling (Kender) Rogue, Human Cleric, and Human Monk. The character I got was a Half-Orc Barbarian.

The DM gave me a few minutes to give my PC a name and when I drew a blank he assigned me with the name Kyle. Going with that I dubbed him Kyle Reece. The Half-Orc was plagued by terrible nightmares where the autonomous Warforged race gained dominance and took over the world of men. In these dreams Kyle remembered something about a net dropping from the sky to imprison his people.

I had fun getting a chance to play and the party welcomed the addition of a combat character with full hit points and serious damage output. My character only had an 8 Intelligence so I played him as a bit dim. During one encounter he recognized the danger of a magic sigil on a door but had no idea how to avoid the danger. He decided to recite the only magic words he knew (“please” and “thank you”) as he ran through the door. As luck would have it he was the only one to make a successful saving throw when the sigil was activated.

New week I’ll be back behind the DM screen. I’m going to try to jam pack as much into that session as possible. I’m really concerned that there aren’t enough weeks left to get everything done that needs to get done by the end of this season. I may have to limit the options I present to my group and somewhat force their hand to keep them on the right track during the next few weeks.

Recounting Encounters Podcast

Even though I didn’t run my table this week, Craig did run his so we went ahead and recorded another episode of Recounting Encounters. After the brief recap we talk about next season. Some details we now know, others are purely speculation.

Recounting Encounters is a weekly podcast I record with fellow Toronto DM, Craig Sutherland, and Marc Talbot (Alton) from 20ft Radius in which we recount that week’s experiences with D&D Encounters. We share the highlights from our respective FLGS and we talk about what worked, what didn’t and what we might have done differently. Find all episodes of Recounting Encounters on iTunes.

Note: New episodes of Recounting Encounters will be available in our D&D Encounters Archive and on iTunes on Wednesdays moving forward. Now DMs can listen before they play.

Visit the Dungeon’s MasterD&D Encounters Archive for all of our ongoing weekly coverage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.

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1 Joe January 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

We were still running my less-sandboxy 4e rewrite of the season at my table at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA. Had a big group this week: 7 players, so I added an extra enemy or two.

This week the group was finishing off the Vaelish Gant plot. After stopping some scrimshaw smugglers, getting hired by the politician Gant to go “uncover” the group behind the smuggling, and failing to get killed by both a room full of thieves and a ship full of pirates, the party was confronted by the wizard/politician Vaelish Gant himself, who said “I guess if you want heroes killed right, you have to do it yourself.” Summoning some imps to help him out, he started the session with a combat.

Once the battle was done and Gant killed, the party found documents on his person revealing his Arcane Brotherhood connections and his plans for financial success at the expense of the populace in the Ten Towns region. They also found several bars of mithral on the pirate ship and a horrid figurehead at the front of the ship made entirely of Black Ice. They brought both back to the dwarven blacksmith Graendel, whom they had previously noted as an upstanding old man in a city of pirates & moral gray areas.

Graendel told them the history of Akar Kessel, and aided the party in an elaborate ritual to enchant his hammer with enough of Moradin’s strength to destroy the figurehead (very dramatic). The party also mentioned that they’d heard some of the criminals saying that “the wizard of the black ice has returned”, which lead to much speculation about the obscure death syndrome Kessel suffered, getting mysteriously killed-but-with-no-body-found by an avalanche almost a century ago. The the party took an extended rest as they planned to head northeast towards the dwarves that were rumored to be making items out of this black ice, and potentially confront Kessel himself.

Overall we’re keeping momentum going with this season, though I have had several players asking if there will be any new products to coincide with any of their play experiences. Sadly, we know that there will not be, and that next season will be download-only for the adventure and whatever version of Next they’re using, so we can’t offer much in the way of cool add-on items for players to buy (and thus support our FLGS with). Oh well.

2 evermore January 10, 2014 at 9:09 am

last week b4 xmas my heroes entered the burial area the catacombs of the dwarf temple they are attacked by zombies and large spiders also the wizard kessel the shadow from the prior encounters makes a showing, it’s a tough battle but and the wizard makes to flee. this week kicks of that pursuit

As the hero’s pursue, the Temples guardians come to life and say only priest of Moradin or the dead can pass, they are the protectors of the halls of the dead

After negotiation fails the statues combine to a large construct and the fight is on, they take down the golem and proceed into the deeper temple they encounters the Temples forge and Kessel the necromancer wizard is again reanimating dead dwarves,

They are in elemental forge room for this encounter, Zombies on one with Kessel, the hero on the other..

Before things go any further Icingdeath slithers though the tunnels, his villainous speech declares the Dwarves valley is currently under attack from Elk and Bear barbarians, and he’s been sent to track the scent of death in the tunnels, and recruit or destroy its source,

Kessel now declare the hero’s should work together to destroy the new threat

The hero’s are undecided the dragon moves to attack both parties , Kessel has little power over the dragon them both being dead and him dealing necrotic damage, however during the course of the fight several of the vats or knocked over, causing lots of burning terrain

Good use of immobilization powers do prevent much of the dragons attacks also the hero party all seem to have AC above 18, but burning and a few hits cause some panic and also this had been a running battle of 3 chained encounters, I allowed a brief short rest.

Icing Death is burned and Kessel declares that game has shifted and that his attention is needed else where and promptly managed to flee again! Plenty of opportunity to get away with lots of burning lava in the path of the heros now..

This was part 1 of my interlude,

Because of the 2 week x-mas brake I wanted something epic to return too, so Kessel and Icing Death having a little tiff seemed appropriate,

I liked the dwarves temple catacombs setting idea, I assume dwarf cleric would probably also smith and have a forge and made for a “Hobbit movie 2” like battle scene.

Part 2 I think the ice witch is well in control despite losing her dragon, with her barbarians now on the rampage, I also her her cults assassins to put in to play, and heros have of yet not met Berrik, but with the zombie issue stopped I think I’ll try and wrap that string up quickly this will turn into a tale of how hero’s and dwarves saved Ten towns

3 Spykes January 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

I posted my write-up on the WotC site, but I’ll follow-up a bit here. They have completed the Elk tribe line and just defeated the zombie horde in the Dwarven Valley. They are are hot on the heals of Akar Kessel, chasing him through the mines. One thing I’ve seen fairly consistently across most tables is the fact that most people are not going to get through all of the scenarios presented in the Adventure. In fact, my table will not even be able to venture into any of the Ten Towns. Remember, they still have to make their way across the Sea of Ice and get through three levels in the Ice Tower. I don’t really feel bad about this because there was so much content presented in this adventure, that’s it’s pretty near impossible to get through it all and do it justice. This is a large adventure line and every turn is ripe with tangent opportunities.
Like I said, my group is chasing Akar through the mines. I’m going to have them track him to the Verbeeg Lair. From there, they will have the opportunity to use Akar’s mirror to teleport to the Ice Tower and potentially save a huge amount of game time. If your table is at or thinking about going to the Verbeeg lair, this might be an option for you too.

4 Vobekhan January 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Agree totally with Spykes above, too much to cover in insufficient time to do this adventure justice which is a crying shame as I really enjoy the Icewind Dale setting.

I think I may just steal the idea of the portal in the Verbeeg lair to launch the heroes into the finale when they come to it.

As my group are about to return to the dwarven valley I’m going to have them run into Stokely and the survivors part way, with zombies hot on their heels.

(has anyone else found the Next turning undead rules out of whack? able to affect all undead in range regardless of cleric level/moster HD)

Also since one of my players has the background of wanting to find Kessel’s source of power I can see him wanting to follow that up.

But it’s good to back at the table and gaming after he Christmas break. Lets take the Dale out in style.

5 Brian Criswell January 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I agree Vobekhan, the turn undead is way to effective, but I think the amped up the channel divinity ability without upping all of the monster resistances. Turn resistance only seems to keep monsters from being vaporized, and a lich or icingdeath at this level wouldn’t have to worry about that anyway. Icingdeath appeared on the table and the cleric turned him! Problem solved apparently.

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