During our last session the party befriended Otyughs and released them into the Forests of Slaughter. After that we convinced a Beholder that we were not working with the Red Wizards and helped the Eye Tyrant escape the zone in which he was imprisoned.
This week at Hairy T in Toronto we had a great turnout. Table 1 (DM: Craig) had six players, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had five players, and table 3 (DM: Tim) had nine players. One of the players at table 3 was new to D&D Next but had extensive experience playing 3.5e.
At table 3 we ended up with the following party members: Human Cleric, Elf Cleric, Gnome Druid, Elf Druid, Halfling (Kender) Rogue, Warforged Monk, Tiefling Wizard, Gnome (undead) Wizard, and Dwarf Barbarian (my character).
Far Realm Cysts
We picked things up moments after the Beholder used the Black Gate to teleport way to another sector of the Doomvault. The party was eager to move on so we headed through the White Gate and into the next zone.
Lake of Madness
Dark Water (#36)
The room was dark but we could hear the sounds of water lapping nearby. As the only PC with darkvision, my Barbarian scouted the area. In the centre of this large star-shaped room was a massive pool of water – the water rippled as if something beneath the water disturbed the calm recently. In the alcoves around the room were enormous globes of water suspended in the air.
Seeing no monsters or immediate threats I called the party forward. Most PCs were fascinated by the floating globes. They confirmed the globes were just water and anything that touched the globes was sucked inside it. No one wanted to drown so we left the globes alone.
A telepathic voice bellowed in our heads asking who we were and why we were here. We’ve learned in the past few sessions that few creatures in the dungeon seem to dislike the Red Wizards so we honestly answered that we were her to disturb the Red Wizards’ experiments as we sought an escape from the dungeon. Unfortunately our Persuasion rolls were terrible. The voice grew angry with us calling us untrustworthy and commanded us to leave its home. We gladly complied and moved onward, not wanting to discover what manner of beast lived in a pool of water so deep and dark.
Compelling Light (#37)
The first thing the party noticed as they approached the next room was the lights. All colours of the rainbow shone in this room. They seemed to come from crystals embedded in the walls. The second thing we noticed were the monsters – six Wights and a Dread Warrior just stood in the room, staring at the crystals. Before we could assess the possible dangers the lights hypnotized the party. The Elf Druid, Elf Cleric, Monk and Barbarian all fell victim to the pretty lights.
The rest of the party tried to wake the rigid and unresponsive PCs but were unsuccessful. The Cleric and Wizards put their combined knowledge together and realized the crystals were the source of the light and the source of our problems. If dispelled it might free us. But that would likely free the monsters too.
Before casting Dispel Magic on the crystals the non-hypnotized PCs disarmed the monsters and searched through their pockets. After taking anything dangerous or valuable (including another Glyph Key) the Cleric cast the spell. All hypnotized creatures immediately woke up.
The Dread Warrior demanded to know who the PCs were. The quick-thinking Undead Wizard, dressed once again in Red Wizard robes, stepped up and claimed to be a new Lich assigned to this section of the Doomvault. His 19 Deception check was enough to convince the dim-witted guard. When the Dread Warrior asked where his weapons were the “Lich” said that strange things were happening in this sector including items disappearing without explanation. He ordered the monsters to go and check out the areas the PCs just came from in search of anything strange. They followed his orders and left without incident.
The party didn’t know how long the bluff would last so we bolted for the nearest exit. As we left my Barbarian heard screaming and pleas for help in the telepathic circlet. The party in the Temples of Extraction was getting their butts kicked hard. Every few minutes there were more screams and calls for aid. And then the cries ended abruptly.
Forests of Slaughter
Forest of Death
Behir’s Lair (#56)
We quickly and quietly entered the next area. The terrain in the forest cavern was scorched and gouged. The turf was overturned, revealing the stone floor beneath. The Rogue and my Barbarian scouted the room to try and find the source of this damage and we found two Behirs. Fortunately they were sleeping so we left them alone.
The party moved quickly and quietly across the southern wall of this area. Despite the lure of grey light from the area to the south, we ignored it and kept on going until we reached the White Gate and passed through. The passage on the other side was normal dungeon stone again.
Iron Golem Foundries
Golem Forge (#97)
We headed along the corridor and down some steps towards bright light and tremendous warmth. When we reached the chamber, the first thing we noticed was a huge crucible in the centre of the room. Near it were two Red Wizards and two Apprentices huddled around an incomplete Golem. Six Iron Golems stood at attention against the walls of the room.
The party quickly realized that the Red Wizards were the biggest threat in this room. If they got a chance to command the six Golems we wouldn’t stand a chance. I won initiative, charged the nearest Red Wizard and attacked, hitting twice. The Druid went next and cast Sleet Storm in the centre of the room. The four Thayan spellcasters all fell prone as did my PC. The party advanced and attacked with ranged weapons as best they could.
The Red Wizards spent their full turn standing and then moving out of the ongoing storm. I managed to kill the Red Wizard in front of me before he could act, leaving only one for the rest of the party. The Rogue and Cleric easily took out the other Red Wizard before he could activate the Golems.
The Apprentices were forced against a wall to avoid the storm which set them up perfectly for the Wizard’s Lightning Bolt. He fired and they died. By the end of the second round we’d secured the Forge.
With things under control I decided that this party of nine could afford to go down a body. Realizing that there was a Black Gate in this room, I could easily teleport to another area of the dungeon and assist another party. Using the telepathic circlet, I asked the party in the Temples of Extraction if they still needed help. The answer was a resounding yes. Fortunately they happened to be back in area #105 which also had a Black Gate. I told my party that I was going to aid another group. I handed off the circlet, bid them farewell and good luck, and then teleported away.
Temples of Extraction
My Barbarian stepped through the Black Gate and arrived in area #105. The party before him consisted of a Warforged Paladin, Human Monk/Bard, Elf Cleric/Wizard, Elf Cleric/Rogue, and Drow Druid/Monk. They quickly brought him up to speed on their adventures in the Temples of Extraction and then we moved on to the next zone.
Temples of Oppression
Temple of Shadows (#102)
Our passage down the hallway was blocked by closed doors. The party said that so far none of the doors were trapped, but I checked just to make sure. Finding no traps I opened the door. The room was pitch black, fortunately my character has darkvision.
Inside he spotted six shadowy figures skulking around the dark room. In the far corner was a three-step stone dais with four jet black pillars. An unconscious humanoid was suspended between the pillars. The party told me they’d seen the same thing in all the previous rooms of this sector. The bound individual was one of the Chosen. They possessed the power and blessing of their deity and the Red Wizards were extracting the godly essence from them. Traps in each room were being powered by the Chosen’s essence. Killing the Chosen stopped the effects.
The Wizard cast a Light spell on a crossbow bolt and fired it into the room. The light barely penetrated the magical darkness. The Druid stepped up and cast Daylight. This cancelled the dark effects. The six monsters were indeed Shadows and they didn’t like the light. The rest of the party allowed the Wizard to step up and cast Fireball into the room. Without the darkness the monsters all had disadvantage on their saves. They all failed and they all died, including the Chosen. Easiest room ever!
With the monsters out of the way the party easily disabled the magic of the shrine. As they’d done this a few times before my arrival it didn’t take long and they knew exactly what needed to be done. We exited through the room’s only other door and continued onward.
Temple of Ooze (#101)
This room was also barred by a closed door which we checked for traps, found none, and then burst open. In the middle of the room was a Red Wizard. Between her and us was a Wight leading two Grey Oozes and two Ochre Jellies. To our right was another shrine, identical to the ones we’d seen before. An unconscious humanoid was suspended between the pillars of this one too. Around the hexagonal room, the shinny walls seemed to move and ripple occasionally.
Before anyone, friend or foe, could act my Barbarian charged into the room and attacked the Red Wizard – that got things started and we rolled initiative. Fortunately most of the party went before any of the monsters. The party’s Wizard managed to hit the Red Wizard with his Ray of Frost and then my Barbarian landed two solid blows, the second one a crit which dropped the Red Wizard (unconscious, not dead). Meanwhile the Bard killed the Chosen which returned the rippling walls we’d carefully avoided back to solid form.
The rest of the party worked together to easily take down the Wight and the two Grey Oozes by the end of the fist round. The Ochre Jellies were so slow that they couldn’t get within melee range quickly enough to be harmful. It only took another round and a half for the ranged attackers to take out the Jellies. With monsters dispatched we quickly and easily disabled the shrine.
Next week we’ll interrogate the captured Red Wizard and then continue onward, deeper into the Temples of Extraction.
Over the past few months we’ve run more than a few large tables. D&D Next is certainly easier to run with larger groups than any of the previous editions (especially 4e), but I’m learning that seven is the manageable max. Once you hit eight or more players things start to get unruly. Players start to have side conversations waiting for their turn and hearing the DM can become more challenging. I knew from the outset that our group of nine would have problems.
At the beginning of the season I realized that this group was going to be large but I really wanted a chance to get to know these players and the DM a bit better. Unfortunately as people brought their friends the numbers ballooned. I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to be at the same table as their friend, but it made things tough. Realizing I was the odd man out I took the opportunity to join another group this week. In game I don’t think there will be any issues, but out of game it was a bit disappointing to switch.
Both tables I played at this week saw combat, and both groups gave the spellcasters a chance to show off their power. Lightning Bolt, Sleet Storm and Fireball were all put to maximum effectiveness and devastated plenty of monsters. At level 7 we’re starting to see just how powerful Mages become in D&D Next.
As my new group terrorizes the Temples of Extraction I worry that in game we’re missing important details about what’s really going on. We’re killing everything in sight that looks hostile but not seeing any noticeable benefit of doing so. Hopefully one of the other groups can help us add up all the facts and figure out what to do. I fear that killing all the monsters won’t be enough.
How is your group doing? We’re half way through the season; does it feel like you’re half way through the dungeon? Have you found a Glyph Key to the Temples of Extraction yet? Now that you’re PCs are level 7 do things seem any easier?
- Pre-generated characters: Visit our D&D Next Pre-Generated Character Library where you can download the official level 6, level 7, and level 8 pre-gens.
- Players Map: Download a map of the Doomvault, this season’s super dungeon, from the Wizards of the Coast website.
Recounting Encounters Podcast
Listen to Derek Myers, Craig Sutherland, and Marc Talbot (from 20ft Radius) recount our weekly experience at D&D Encounters. We share the highlights from our respective tables 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 covaerage as well as other great D&D Encounters articles and resources.