D&D Encounters: Scourge of the Sword Coast (Week 2)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on February 27, 2014

scourge-of-the-sword-coast-coverIn the opening session last week two adventuring parties arrived at the gates of Daggerford. They’d heard the call for adventurers and came to slay the monsters that were plaguing the nearby lands. They also came to Daggerford because one of the items on their scavenger hunt list could only be found in the town for a limited time.

Unfortunately Daggerford was not allowing anyone to enter or exit the town. One of the PCs attacked a guard causing him to shoot his crossbow into the crowd of gathered refugees and then all hell broke loose. In the confusion the Druid transformed into a bear and while the guards were distracted the party ran past the guards and into Daggerford. Once inside they sought refuge in the Lady Luck Tavern and that’s where we left things last week.

This week at Harry T North in Toronto we ran four tables. We’re running three tables using D&D Next and one using 4e. The 4e table was packed with seven players. The independent D&D Next table was also full with six players. Craig and I had 9 players between us as we continued with out shared table experiment. We were expecting two more of our regular players to join us, but they never did.

Our massive party consisted of the following PCs: Drow Paladin, Half-Orc Wizard, Elf Ranger #1, Elf Ranger #2, Half-Orc Paladin, Elf Cleric/Rogue, Halfling Rogue, Gnome Druid, and Tiefling Rogue.

Welcome to Daggerford

Lady Luck Tavern (#17)

While the PCs gathered themselves in the tavern, two town guards arrived seeking those who entered the town unlawfully. The Halfling Curran stood up for the PCs and agreed to keep an eye on them until they could visit with Duke Maldwyn Daggerford the following day. This was acceptable.

As the guards left, another NPC, a Human scout named Ledoris, arrived at the tavern. He’d clearly just come back from a day patrolling and was looking for a few ales to quench his thirst. Curran invited Ledoris to join the PCs and made introductions.

With the situation outside calming down Curran requested some of the PCs aid him as he found the pregnant woman and her husband a place to sleep tonight. The Drow Paladin and Half-Orc Wizard went along.

The Druid, Rogue #1 and Rogue #2 stepped away from the group to pursue their own avenues of interest leaving the two Rangers, Paladin and Cleric/Rogue to socialize with Ledoris. He told them about the recent Orc raids happening to the north of Daggerford and east of the Floshin Estate. They didn’t seem all that interested in Orcs.

They did ask Ledoris about the Duke since they were planning to visit him in the morning in response for his general call for adventurers. By now Ledoris had consumed numerous pints and made no effort to be diplomatic. He flat out told the PCs that Duke Maldwyn Daggerford was an arrogant jerk. The Duke was self-centered and egotistical. He always had to have the best of everything including clothing, food, and wine… especially wine. He was known for his love of very fine wines.

sotsc-npc-jekkBy this time another notable character arrived for a pint, a red-haired Dwarf named Jekk Ironfist. Jekk sat at the bar and slowly enjoyed a pint alone. A drunken patron sat next to Jekk and started talking to him. Jekk did a good job of ignoring the man, but as the PCs heard the man mention the word “bloke” Jekk lashed out at him, shoving him with more force than was needed.

The Paladin and Ranger #2 decided to draw Jekk’s attention by chatting him up. They exchanged pleasantries and spoke of family. Jekk told them that he was leaving for Firehammer Hold the next morning to seek his ancestral clan. They did not inquire about the bloke comment. Instead, they invited Jekk to join them at their table.

The Lizard’s Gizzard (#29)

When Curran, the Paladin, Wizard, pregnant woman and her husband arrived at the Lizard’s Gizzard they were welcomed inside. The pregnant woman and her husband were ushered off and given a room. An elderly Half-Orc woman named Sasha greeted Curran and introduced herself to the PCs. She thanked them for helping the woman in needed.

After some small talk she explained to the male PCs that this was a place where women could find sanctuary and security and therefore few men were allowed inside. They convinced Sasha to let them come in and perform for the guests. The performance was a welcome change to the monotony, even if it was barely passable as music. As they were leaving, Sasha suggested they try the River Shining Tavern across the street if they needed a place to stay.

River Shining Tavern (#24)

The massive wooded building stood out among the other nearby structures. The building was clearly a place where those with money would feel welcome. Despite that, the PCs walked in the front door.

The inside was even more lavish than the outside. The guests were dressed in fine clothing and eating the finest foods. The maître d’ quickly intercepted the two PC ruffians before they could step too far inside. When they said they were performers hoping to sing for their supper they were told the tavern had an exclusive contract with a local bard but if they wanted to audition they could return in the morning before the restaurant was open. They agreed to leave.

The maître d’ suggested they bathe and change into fine clothing before they return because first impressions were important. He also commented that they had not made a good first impression on him.

Fairfortune Hall – Shrine of Tymora (#28)

Having met with no luck so far, they decided to visit the home of the Luck goddess herself, Tymora. If nothing else they hope to acquire some Tymora coins which were on their scavenger hunt list.

When they entered the small building an Acolyte welcomed them. He was glad to see another of Tymora’s faithful fold as the Paladin worshipped the luck goddess. They said they sought Tymora coins. The Acolyte told them that they musty make an offering to Tymora and then let a game of chance determine if they would get the coins they wanted. They agreed.

The game was Lucky 20. Each participant rolled 2d10 and added the numbers together. Highest total wins, ties favouring Tymora. The Paladin donated 5 sp, rolled and lost. The Wizard donated 5 sp and tried but the Acolyte stopped him. For games of chance to be exciting the stakes must increase with each roll of the dice. So he upped the donation to 1 gp, rolled, and lost. The Paladin donated 1 gp and 5 sp, rolled and tied (lost). The Wizard donated 2 gp, rolled and lost. Although this time there was some suspicion that the Acolyte wasn’t playing fair.

The PCs nodded at each other and then grappled the Acolyte. The Paladin got him in a sleeper hold and in seconds the Acolyte was unconscious. The two PCs took the Tymora coins they sought. The Paladin also took back his donation. The two returned to the Lady Luck Tavern. Needless to say, these actions will not put them in Tymora’s favour and they may find themselves facing some bad luck in the near future. (Can you say disadvantage?)

When the Paladin and Wizard returned to the Lady Luck Tavern to join their allies, the Cleric/Rogue decided he wanted to visit the Shrine of Tymora so that he could get a Tymora coin. When he arrived at the Shrine, the Acolyte was still unconscious on the floor. This allowed the PC to take a Tymora coin, take the meager donations in the collection box, and then route through the Acolyte’s desk looking for a quill and paper.

Just as the Cleric/Rogue was getting ready to leave, a worshipper entered the shrine; they saw the Acolyte on the floor and the PC filling his pockets. The quick thinking PC said the Acolyte challenged him to a wrestling match claiming the Cleric/Rogue couldn’t get him in a sleeper hold. The Acolyte lost. The bystander bought the lie knowing that the Acolyte has a gambling problem. They moved the Acolyte up on to a pew where he’d rest more comfortably and then the Cleric/Rogue returned to the Lady Luck Tavern.

Lady Luck Tavern (#17)

At this point all the PCs came together again at the tavern. The Druid, and two Rogues said they’d been to The Decorated Man (#16), a clothing shop where they learned that the proprietor’s shipments from the nearby town of Julkoun were days later than expected. They also visited Harvest House, a Temple to Chauntea (#4) where the priestess told them all the messenger birds from Julkoun arrived together a few days ago. When she cast a spell to speak with animals they said they’d all be released and that some of the birds were then shot down with arrows.

The NPC Ledoris emphasized that all the birds coming at once and not one with a message attached was extremely unusual. Something was clearly amiss at Julkoun.

The party decided to find lodging. In the morning they’d visit the Duke and follow up with Sherlen Miller, the local sheriff, and see if she knew more about Julkoun.

River Shining Tavern (#24)

The heroes learned River Shining Tavern was the only place in town with rooms for rent. In fact all that was left were two luxury suites. The maître d’ drove a hard bargain but in the end the PCs took the room. On the plus side the room came with a complimentary bottle of wine which Ranger #2 decided to save and present to the Duke as a gift when they met the next day.

Day Two in Daggerford

The Duke and the Delimbiyr Bloke

The next day the PCs split up again. The Druid, Rogue #1 and Rogue #2 went to the Jail house to speak with Sherlen Miller. The rest of the party visited the Temple of Amaunator (#18) and then the Shrine of Tymora (#28) for morning prayers. As they left the Shrine of Tymora they saw a well dressed man on horseback commanding the town’s soldiers to search the refuge camp set up in the nearby Drill Field.

sotsc-npc-maldwynIt was clear that the man on the horse was Duke Maldwyn Daggerford. He was yelling and carrying on about the missing bloke. A woman approached the Duke and tried calming him down. The family resemblance was obvious – this was the Duke’s sister, Lady Morwen. The PCs overheard her say the bloke was “just an old stone” which really set off the Duke.

The PCs remembered Jekk, the Dwarf from the tavern say something about the bloke and realized he must have taken it. That would explain why he left in such a hurry this morning.

The PCs called out to the Duke that they knew where the bloke was. This brought everything to a dead stop. The Duke demanded they tell him where it was. They said the Dwarf Jekk has it; however, he left town already. The Duke was furious. Lady Morwen stepped in and told the Duke that these heroes were likely here in answer to his summons. As the Duke, it was his responsibility to receive them properly. He calmed down and agreed. He told the PC to come to the castle in 30 minutes. He then rode off.

At this point the Druid and Rogues rejoined the group. They’d learned that the guard, Grengel, who fired his crossbow into the crowd yesterday, hanged himself overnight. Apparently the guilt of his actions was too much to handle. When they asked Sherlen Miller about the situation at Julkoun, said she was about to post notices asking for volunteers to go and investigate. She was authorized to pay each adventure 25 gp. The whole party decided to meet with the Duke before taking any further course of action.

Ducal Castle (#7)

The PCs arrived at the Castle a few minutes early and then were forced to wait another half hour. When the Duke met them he made no apology. He was dressed in fine clothes and clearly looked down on the rag-tag band of heroes.

Ranger #2 presented the wine which was less than graciously accepted. The Duke then asked the others where their offering was. His arrogance and sense of self-importance was obvious.

They apologized and then steered the conversation toward the events at Julkoun. All he was concerned about was that the new jacket he’d ordered was late and the tailor was making excuses. If the PCs could find out what was taking the shipment so long he’d be grateful. They mentioned the 25 gp fee which the Duke felt was fair for nine PCs. They corrected him, saying that the offer was for 25 gp each. He corrected them that it was 25 gp to a maximum of six, not nine. He counter offered 15 gp which they refused.

He finally agreed to 25 gp each, but they had exactly eight days. During that time they had to go to Julkoun, find the missing shipment and get it back to Daggerford. For each day they were late he’d deduce 5 gp each. The PC knew that it was normally a six or seven day round trip journey in the best of circumstances so they said they needed time to discus it before accepting these terms. The Duke told them the eight days had already begun and they could take the offer or decline, he didn’t care either way. The longer they delayed the less likely they’d collect he full reward. They accepted, thanked the Duke and left immediately.

The PCs visited the tailor at The Decorated Man and asked him to help them acquire a ship capable of brining back the goods from Julkoun. He was glad to help and vouched for the PCs allowing them to use the boat for free so long as it was returned undamaged.

The voyage to Julkoun will be uneventful and we’ll pick things up just outside of Julkoun during the next session.

Thoughts

This was a really long session. The players needed to learn about the town, its people, and the events happening in and around Daggerford. It was difficult for the newer players to realize what they were supposed to do. As the DM I found it challenging not to just spoon feed them everything. Yet at the same time I needed to give them something to go on. The players were simply not biting any of the hooks I was throwing out there.

What made it really tough was that no one really had any vested interest in this town, the Forgotten Realms, or even their own character. It was a lot of new information being thrust upon them in a very short timeframe. Despite our difficulties we did set a solid groundwork for the rest of the adventure. As the adventure progresses the PCs now have a good foundation regarding the support available in Daggerford. They know who the key players are and that will make subsequent interactions easier.

In order to help the players I gave each of them a list of all the NPCs the might find in Daggerford. As they met them, they could make notes. This was a big hit and by the end of this session they had more than a dozen names completed. Players love handouts!

Next week the two parties will explore Julkoun. Our hope is that the groups can split up and cover twice as much ground as a normal party. If all goes as expected they’ll only need one session to get everything they need from Julkoun. This will put us back on track.

How is your group progressing? Did they make it to Julkoun this week? Did any parties go to another location first? How many other groups are still in Daggerford?

Additional Resources

  • Pre-generated characters: Visit our D&D Next Pre-Generated Character Library where you can download the level 2 pre-gens that came with this season’s adventure.
  • Maps: A two-part poster map came with the Launch Weekend kits. If you want your own copy you can now download the poster map. Half is the map of the Sword Coast, half is the detailed map of Daggerford.

Recounting Encounters Podcast

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.

Actual Play Podcasts

We continue to record our D&D Encounters sessions and make them available to you for download every week. These recordings are made in a loud, crowded game store so at times it may be difficult to hear everyone. Some language may be inappropriate for all ages, although we try to keep it as family-friendly as possible.

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.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe February 27, 2014 at 9:40 am

We had a good time last night at Modern Myths in Northampton MA. We ran 2 tables doing a 4e version of Scourge of the Sword Coast. In this week’s adventure, the party was resting at an inn in town after having paid for all 200 of the refugees to gain entrance to the city for a night (I know, players willing to pay GP for no material gain? Crazy).

As they settled down to sleep, though, monstrous assassins broke into their rooms to kill them. I sent some Bugbear Stranglers (because I LOVE the body shield mechanic) and goblin blackblades after them. To further complicate matters, the map we were using, the Pathfinder Lodge flip map*, had rooms on opposite sides of the building, so the party was effectively split.

*Sidebar: why is it that every tavern/bar/inn map out there only has a 1st floor? Where are the 2nd floor/sleeping room maps? I had to search long & hard to find the map we ended up using. Infinitely annoying.

The battle was further complicated by the fact that we had all strikers at our table (assassin, rogue, elementalist sorcerer, slayer fighter, & ranger), and each of the stranglers dropped a character to below 0 HP at least once. It was a clearly chaotic battle, and we also threw in a “getting into your armor” mechanic, since we all agreed it was silly to sleep in armor.

When they had finally defeated the assassins (and for a while, the outcome was uncertain), they kept one goblin alive to question. Once again, they saw that these enemies had much higher quality weapons than you’d expect from goblins & bugbears… weapons forged in a dwarven style, but with a trace of a sulphurous scent about them. The goblin, Gort, reiterated what they’d heard last week, that “Red man with big KRAKA-BOOM stick give good stab-stabs to stab-stab your faces.” They asked many questions Gort couldn’t answer, like how many goblins there were in his tribe (he replied “More than 5″ while holding up 4 fingers). But they got vague directions from Gort about where the goblins were staying (towards the woods, near the mountains) and found out that the “red man” had a box of “good stab-stabs” that was carried by “little guys with horns & wings, but made out of bones.” This further convinced them that the elusive “red man” was a Red Wizard necromancer.

On the way to meet with the Duke (who, in my version, is a rotund and greedy dragonborn), I had the players describe the town to me, with minimal prompting. So I’d say that they were passing a blacksmith’s, but ask one player what was unique about that blacksmith, and then ask another for a bit of back story about that. This sort of “living town” model worked well, and engaged all the players’ creativity. Sometimes it worked better than other times. We got a blacksmith shop that was staffed by warriors who had flunked out of Paladin school, but were still honorable fighters. On the flip side, we also had a butcher shop that made meat smoothies. Then there was a statue of a blind servant of the sun god, which always had a soft, warm glow about it, even on the coldest of days.

The Duke was not easy to negotiate with. First they listened to him bad-mouth the dwarven scholar Jekkra (I changed her gender in my version to female to be more inclusive). He talked about how much dwarves loved stealing from dragonfolk, how dirty dwarves were, etc. In the week since she (and his dwarven artifact) had disappeared, he’d had his soldiers ransack her room at the inn she’d been staying at, but all they could find was an abstract for a book she was writing about “traditional goblin folktales of the Sword Coast”. The party figured that she’d probably left not with a stolen artifact, but to go interview goblins in their home, and maybe she got captured.

The party played to the Duke’s greed, and convinced him that not only would they recover his artifact (the “Delimbiyr Bloke”), but would also give him a percentage of any other treasure they found, and that in exchange he could look like a magnanimous and honorable ruler by letting the income-producing refugees into the city walls permanently. He eventually decided this was his idea, and presented it back to the party, who congratulated him on such a splendid plan. They went to the Duke’s map room to use Gort’s info to figure out where the goblins might be, and found that there used to be a small village in that area that had been abandoned, so the figured the goblins were likely infesting those ruins.

Next week our party will head towards the abandoned town, but will encounter some kind of problem along the way (it’s one of those either-or choices, so even I don’t know which way they’ll go). Can’t wait to find out.

2 Vobekhan February 27, 2014 at 10:46 am

We completed Julkoun this week, though not in the way any of us expected.
With all the pc’s unconscious I chose to capture rather than kill as it notes the hobgoblins had taken prisoners from Julkoun to Firehammer Hold previously.
Our other table continue to explore Firehammer Hold, which is where my table will pick it up next week, though from the prisoner cells.
Unlike previous seasons where we have had multiple tables we are not planning on having the parties interact, instead each table is its own seperate entity and neithers progress affects the other.

3 Mike February 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

My party also got killed by the problem in Julkoun. So that’ll be fun next week.

4 Frank Foulis February 28, 2014 at 3:09 am

Sounds like Dead in Thay will use a shared experience for the tables.

5 dcdnd March 1, 2014 at 8:52 am

First robbing a child, now robbing a temple. Is your party completely sold on the treasure hunt or does anyone have qualms?

6 DM Marcus March 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm

Thanks for these walkthroughs and the podcast. Always interesting to see how others are using the materials. Off subject a little… How does one go about Volunteering to DM at GenCon? I read last year’s plea for DMs and wondered if the info was available anywhere yet .

Keep up the great work !

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