D&D Encounters: Scourge of the Sword Coast (Week 4)

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 13, 2014

scourge-of-the-sword-coast-coverSent to Julkoun by Duke Daggerford to investigate a missing shipment of goods and the strange appearance of a dozen messenger pigeons with no messages, the PCs found Goblins manning the guard towers and no evidence of the townsfolk dead or alive. During last week’s session the PCs got inside the walled village, killed all the Goblins in the towers, and defeated six Bugbears. Now they proceeded into the underground sections of the village: the Warehouse Basement and the subterranean inn & tavern, Jester’s Pride.

We’ve seen a steady decline in our numbers over the past few weeks at Harry T North in Toronto. The 4e table is holding strong with six players and the other D&D Next table was down to five this week. The double group that Craig and I are running started with 12 players in week 1 and was down to only six of our regulars and two new players this week.

Both new players decided to play Clerics making the party composition look like this: Halfling Rogue, Human Cleric, Drow Paladin, Half-Orc Mage, Half-Orc Paladin, Elf Ranger, Human Cleric, and Elf Cleric/Rogue.

My group, the Half-Orc Mage, Half-Orc Paladin, Elf Ranger, and Human Cleric were inside the Warehouse. The other group, the Halfling Rogue, Human Cleric, and Drow Paladin were about to enter the Jester’s Pride. The Elf Cleric/Rogue was still in the guard tower waiting and watching while the rest of the PCs continued their searching.

Warehouse Basement (#19)

Last week the PCs searched the main level and upper level of the warehouse. During their search they found a hatch in the floor that lead to the lower level. The doors were smashed. From the basement they could see a dim light emanating.

The PCs moved around the main floor of the warehouse being deliberately noisy to distract any creatures downstairs while the Ranger quietly moved downstairs to scout the room. Halfway down the steps he noticed three Hobgoblins. One rolled a natural 20 on her Spot check and saw the PC. She called out to the other Hobgoblins and threw a javelin at the interloping PC hitting him in the leg. The Ranger fired an arrow back but missed before running back upstairs.

The PCs gathered around the opened hatchway waiting for the Hobgoblins to run up and engage them. Unfortunately none did. After a few rounds the PC descended into the basement. One of the Hobgoblin guards stood openly at the far end of the room. The Paladin leading the party ran down the steps and threw a javelin at the Hobgoblin. Unfortunately the Paladin did not see the tripwire the Hobgoblins set up and she fell prone. However, even from the ground her javelin hit the guard.

The Hobgoblin leader emerged from his hiding spot near the steps and thrust both of his scimitars into the prone Paladin. The Paladin’s armor protected her from both hits. The Cleric was next on the steps and engaged the Hobgoblin leader in melee scoring a hit.

The Mage and Ranger came half way down the steps and used ranged attacks to target the monsters. The Mage hit the guard the Paladin wounded. The Ranger noticed another guard approaching, and shot her with an arrow. She moved up, into the melee, and attacked the Cleric.

The wounded guard turned and fled through the passage to the south. The Paladin stood up and attacked the leader. The leader slashed the Cleric but only hit with one sword before he turned and fled for the passage to the east. Both PCs missed with their opportunity attacks. The Cleric stabbed the Hobgoblin guard the Ranger hit and managed to drop her. He then stepped over her body and pursued the leader.

Without any melee combatants blocking the bottom of the stairs, the Mage used a double move to follow the wounded guard who fled to the south. The guard was waiting for someone to follow her and she stabbed the Mage as he entered the room, brining him to 2 hit points. The Ranger and Paladin ran towards the sounds of their wounded ally screaming in pain.

The leader risked another opportunity attack and ran away from the Cleric at full speed down the hallway. The Cleric hit with his opportunity attack and then hit with his Scared Flame spell. However, the PC was unable to close the distance between him and the leader, and the Hobgoblin got away. The last thing the Cleric saw as he rounded the corner was the leader heading past a heavy iron door which he closed and barred after getting on the other side.

Southern Well Room (#20)

As the Mage entered he caught a brief glimpse of a dark form flying upward and out an open hatch in the ceiling. The Hobgoblin guard speared the Mage again and dropped him. Reinforcements arrive quickly. The Paladin missed, but the Ranger’s arrow killed the creature. The Paladin used magic healing to revive her fallen comrade.

In the centre of the square room was a well, its cover smashed. Empty water skins and bottles lined the shelves around the room. The Mage produced a copper coin from his pouch, cast light on it, made a wish and flipped it into the well. He then asked the Paladin to lower him down on a rope so he could retrieve the coin. After all, item #21 on the scavenger hunt list was coin from a wishing well. It took a few minutes but the Mage successfully retrieved his coin along with two other copper pieces.

Jester’s Pride Common Room (#14)

After the Mage dried off the party followed the Cleric back to the iron door. They considered smashing the door down but that would be loud and slow. If they had a key they could unlock the door easily enough. Alternatively one of the two Rogues with the other group might be able to pick the lock. The PCs headed down the passage believing it would lead them to the Jester’s Pride, which it did.

The common room was in shambles. Clearly the other PCs had fought monsters here. On the floor were a few Goblin bodies and the corpse of a giant Worg. One side of the room was damaged by fire and some embers still blazed. Pipes in the ceiling dripped ale throughout the room. The Drow Paladin was drinking the droplets when he spotted the party and confirmed that they had things under control here.

The PCs saw the Halfling Rogue standing around. They told him they needed his help getting past a locked door so he followed them. Back at the iron door the Rogue tried the lock but it was beyond his abilities so they returned to the common room.

The other Cleric, the inebriated Paladin and the Cleric/Rogue were now outside fighting monsters. The PCs called out to see if those outside needed and assistance they said no. While they waited for the rest of the PCs to finish outside they searched the adjacent rooms.

Preparation Room (#17)

This was where food was prepped and stored. On the floor was a bed roll where one of the monsters had decided to set up camp. The room was unoccupied and the PCs found nothing of value. However the Ranger fond item #88 on the scavenger hunt list, a stone tankard.

Kitchen (#18)

In the kitchen the PCs found pots & pans, herbs & spices, and various fresh vegetables. Item #47 on the scavenger hunt list is identical looking mushrooms (1 poisonous, 1 edible) so they scoured through the mushrooms. They all tried to find a poisonous one but their Nature checks were so low they couldn’t be sure. The Mage did find item #23 copper spoon. In fact he found 19 spoons. He gave each PC a spoon and then hid the rest in his backpack.

At this point the Cleric/Rogue noticed through the open window that the party had retuned. They said they needed his help so he joined them and left his two companions to face the final Bugbear outside.

Roofed Passageway (#21)

Back at the iron door again, the Cleric/Rogue tried his luck with the lock and failed. Frustrated at all the wasted time spent trying to finesse the door, the Paladin borrowed the Cleric’s hammer and pounded at the door until it bent enough to force open. What the party found beyond was a disappointment.

A short stone passageway led 20 feet to another closed iron door. On each side of the passage were windows, the one on the east side wide open and a rope was hanging out of it.

The Rogues both tried the lock and again both failed miserably. The Mage looked out the window and at the end of the rope swung the corpse of a Human male. Once pulled up, they PCs recognized the man’s adornments of those of a priest of Chauntea. They collected his hold symbol with the intention of returning it to the church in Daggerford.

With no other options for getting through the door the Paladin went to work smashing it open. The sounds of the pounding echoed all the way back to the common room and the other Cleric and other Paladin had no trouble following the sounds right to the party’s current location.

Underground Shelter (#22)

As the group came together the door burst open. The Paladin drew her sword and stepped inside. The large subterranean chamber was huge. More than half the room was filled with triple bunk beds. Clearly this is where the locals would flee in times of trouble. However, inside the room were at least a dozen Goblins. Each was armed with javelins and hiding behind the cover of overturned beds ready to attack the PCs as they entered.

We’ll pick things up here next week. Rather the players will pick things up here next week; I won’t as I’ll be on vacation next week without internet access. So next week there won’t be a weekly recap. However, the following week I’ll do my best to recap what we missed in a week 5 & 6 combined post.

Thoughts

This week we finally saw some of the real benefits of playing two parties in the same adventure. During the initial exploration and combat the groups did their own thing, but when my group needed skills none of them possessed they were able to recruit the Rogues from the other table. I’m anticipating as the PCs face more combat in a shorter period of time we’ll see this same phenomena happen with the Clerics being called to help the more injury prone party.

The scavenger hunt list continued driving creativity at my table as the players looked for specific treasures and took risks to be the first to find the next item on the list. I’ve had fun using the list to flesh out details and encourage competition between players. This week the idea that it’s a competition finally hit home as some PCs deliberately hid items they knew other scavenger hunters would be looking for.

This adventure is moving a lot slower than I expected. The guideline most DMs were expecting was two weeks per section of the adventure. We spent the first two weeks at Daggerford and have spent the last two weeks in Julkoun. Next week the party will finish up in Julkoun, return to Daggerford, learn more about what’s going on and then head to the next area of interest. I doubt they’ll get into any of the real substance of the next location until the beginning of week 6.

At this rate we won’t have nearly enough time to complete everything. The popular consensus in the forums is that at least one of the areas of interest will need to be skipped if the groups have any prayer of finishing the adventure in the time allotted. Even by dropping one location I think we’ll find ourselves hard pressed, but time will tell.

How are things moving along with your group? What have you done so far and where do you think you’ll go next? How is attendance at other stores? Are your numbers going up, down or remaining the same? Have any groups faced difficult combat scenarios that have resulted in any PC deaths?

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.

We’re experiencing technical difficulties getting the actual play podcasts uploaded. We recorded the sessions but just haven’t been able to upload the files. As soon as we resolve the issue we’ll post them immediately.

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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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe March 13, 2014 at 9:58 am

This week my table played a 4e version of the adventure at Modern Myths in Northampton, MA. They were finishing off Julkoun, where goblins & hobgoblins had taken up residence, and the dwarven scholar Jekkra (she’s female in our game, as part of a larger effort to fix some diversity issues in the adventure as a whole) had been kidnapped by said goblins while (naively) thinking she could interview them about their traditional cultural folktales.

There was some fun sneaking into the village, though the party mostly just used disguises from the hobgoblin patrol they’d killed last week. When they hear Jekkra screaming in what used to be the village hall, though, they ran in to face the hobgoblin warchief, a goblin hexer, & 8 or so minion goblins.

[Interesting side-note: the online Adventure Tools Monster Builder is NOT infallible. In putting together the 4e version, I'd just grabbed some level 4 minion goblins to balance-out the encounter, not realizing that a glitch had given them defenses equal to level 40 minions(!). So it took me by surprise to look at my printout and see that the minions had an AC of 32... but some quick refiguring put them back down at a more reasonable 19 or so. Still, quite an amusing glitch.]

After winning the fight, they brought Jekkra back to the village, learning that she did NOT have the Delimbiyr Bloke, but that she suspected it was part of a larger dwarven artifact. They also interrogated one goblin who talked about how the “Red KRAKA-BOOM Man” was scary, but that “Ghost Demon Man make red man’s KRAKA-BOOM stick look like splinters.” The party wasn’t sure how to interpret this… though they tried. They’ve previously determined that “red man w/ kraka-boom stick” means a red wizard, so they figured this new information meant that there was something WORSE than the red wizards, likely something ghostly or insubstantial, that was also in the region controlling things. Still no info on the source of those higher quality weapons all the monstrous humanoids have been using, though Jekkra confirmed that they were made in a dwarven style.

The party now gets an extended rest, and will start next week at level 5.
Joe´s last blog post ..Heroine Addict: the Clothes make the Hero

2 Vobekhan March 13, 2014 at 11:18 am

This weeks fight with the duergar went a lot quicker than I expected with the basic warriors dropping in 2 hits usually and only the plate armour and magical defenses of the other two prolonging their lives by another couple of rounds.

Once the heroes decided to lead the remaining prisoners to safety they lost interest in searching the upper halls.

I think we’ll be having the heroes head to Harpshield castle for the next couple of weeks before leveling up to 4th, and then the Floshin Estate before the finale.

If I hadnt chosen to take the party prisoner in Julkoun it would have been a TPK but since then the heroes havent felt as threatened. Hopefully facing some different types of foes will change it up a bit.
Vobekhan´s last blog post ..D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Session 4

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