During the last session my PC travelled through four different sectors along side two different parties. My original party had a relatively easy time going from the Far Realm Cysts to the Golem Laboratories – one of the other parties at my FLGS did not have such an easy go of things. The party in the Temples of Extraction called for help via the telepathic circlet so I answered their call and joined them. This week we continued onward through the Temples of Extraction.
At Hairy T North we actually had to turn away players for the very first time. It seems that with summer upon us and the new edition of D&D coming out in just a few weeks more and more people are coming out to see what D&D Next is all about.
Table 1 (DM: Craig) had seven players, one new to our FLGS, table 2 (DM: Hillel) had seven players, and table 3 (DM: Tim) had eight players. I was playing at table 2 this week. My party consisted of the following members: Warforged Paladin, Human Monk/Bard, Elf Cleric/Wizard, Elf Cleric/Rogue, Drow Druid/Monk, Elf Ranger, and my Dwarf Barbarian/Rogue.
Temples of Extraction
As the party finished in the Temple of Ooze (#101) we needed to figure out what we wanted to do with our prisoner, the Red Wizard Myrra. After taking precautions to ensure she couldn’t cast spells we began to interrogate her. Unfortunately she would not crack. Most of the party wanted to torture and kill the Red Wizard. I had objections both in and out of game. As none of the PCs were evil alignment I had a hard time rationalizing why they felt this course of action was acceptable. In the end the group decided to bring the now unconscious Red Wizard with us into the next room.
Temples of Anguish
Temple of Suffering (#99)
The next room contained another shrine, the same as the shrines in the previous Temples. It was a three-step stone dais set with four pillars. The top edge of this shrine glowed with arcane runes. Between the pillars was an unconscious humanoid suspended. The air was filled with red mist.
In the corner was a Dread Warrior and at the far side of the room were four Wights. Before us were two Thayan Apprentices and a familiar Red Wizard – Mennek Ariz. The last time we saw Mennek he betrayed the PCs at the Bloodgate Nexus by calling for the Pit Fiend, Baazka.
The Barbarian, Monk, and Paladin rushed in to engage the monsters in melee, starting with Mennek. The Wizard, Cleric, Druid, and Ranger stayed in the hallway using ranged weapons and spells. Mennek and the Apprentices fell quickly but the melee combatants took a few hits in the process. When the Wights reached the PCs they ganged up on the Monk. Before he could be healed by his allies he was struck down by the Wights. Their energy drain killed him, dead-dead.
The Wights turned their attention to the Barbarian which left the Paladin free to engage the Dread Warrior. Fortunately the Dread Warrior only attacked with his sword and didn’t resort to spell casting. The ranged attackers focused fire on one Wight at a time dropping them systematically. The Barbarian managed to avoid taking too many hits before all the Wights were defeated. With only the Dread Warrior left standing it didn’t take long for the rest of the PCs to drop him.
When we took damage during combat we had to make Con saves or suffer disadvantage when we made attack rolls, Str & Dex saves or ability checks. We also granted advantage to anyone who attacked us until the end of its next turn. This is why so many of the PCs stayed in the hallway during the fight, knowing that each room had environmental traps.
In order to stop these effects we had to free the Chosen bound by the shrine. We easily took the steps needed to disable the magic and free the prisoner. The Chosen was a Human male who awoke once freed. It turned out he was rational and not intent on killing us without provocation. We explained that we were fighting the Red Wizards who had imprisoned him and he seemed content with that explanation.
Now we had two Red Wizard prisoners and still no information. Once again the party wanted to maim, torture and kill them if they were uncooperative. I suggested we let the Chosen, a follower of Ilmater the god of suffering, try his hand at interrogating the Red Wizard Myrra while we questioned Mennek.
We expected Mennek to cough up whatever information he could to save himself. After all, he’d already proven that his loyalty was non-existent and easily coerced. It seemed that he was not acting of his own volition. Those trained in Arcana determined he was charmed so the Druid cast Dispel Magic to free Mennek’s mind. It worked and he was exceptionally grateful and cooperative.
Although his memory was fuzzy he did share some particularity useful information. Beneath the Doomvault is the Phylactery Vault. This is where the power of the Chosen is being funneled. Only Szass Tam has the appropriate Glyph Key to reach the Vault. However, Mennek believes that if the Black Gates are manipulated they could alter the way the teleportation magic works and allow the PCs to reach the Phylactery Vault with their Glyph Keys.
While the PCs questioned the Red Wizards the party’s dead Monk was revived to unlife as he became on of the Walking Dead. Realizing he was not at full power he returned to the Black Gate and entered the Seclusion Vault to take a long rest. He returned just as Mennek finished spilling his guts.
Our Wizard, the PC wearing the telepathic circlet, shared the details Mennek revealed with the other parties. He got a plea for help in return. He grabbed the newly revived Monk and the two of them ran to the Black Gate so they could assist table 3. The decision happened so quickly we didn’t think to ask him to leave his telepathic circlet. Once he was gone we realized we had no way to contact the other groups.
The rest of the party was ready to move on to the next room, so we left the Red Wizards under the watchful eye of the freed Chosen as we moved onward.
Temple of Poison (#98)
The next room was almost identical to the one the PCs just left. At the far end was another shrine which contained another Chosen prisoner. This time the prisoner was a Yuan-Ti. The room was filled with a dark hazy mist. Inside the room we saw another Red Wizard and two more Thayan Apprentices. In the centre of the room, close to the door was a guard in heavy plate armor.
The tactics we used so successfully in the last room were repeated here. The melee heavy hitters ran in to engage the Red Wizard and his Apprentices while the ranged attackers focused on the armored opponent.
Once in the room we learned that the mist forced living creatures to make a Con save or be stunned for a full round. On the plus side, once a PC made the save they were immune to the effect for 24 hours and gained the Venomous Touch power which 2d4 poison damage to melee weapon attacks.
The combat took a few more rounds than usual but in the end the PCs defeated all opponents. Disabling the shrine took a few tries but we finally got that done too. When the Chosen awoke he realized we did not share his religious beliefs. He transformed into a giant viper and attacked. He only got one attack because he was dead by the end of the first round.
During this fight we only had five PCs so we took more damage than we had in previous battles. Most of the PCs were below half their maximum hit points. No one wanted to use the Seclusion vault but we could use a short rest. I reminded the party of the Pool of Recovery in the Forest of Slaughter. Drinking the water would grant us the benefits of a short rest. We decided that we’d head there next week.
After seeing how powerful Wizard are in combat during the past few weeks, we realized how dependent we’d become on them. The party’s Wizard only used cantrips during the first fight and it made the rest of us carry more of the load (for once). It certainly reinforced the need for smart tactics and focused fire. It also reminded everyone that sometimes running or taking are better options that hack and slash.
Although we liked that some PCs felt comfortable teleporting away to help another party we didn’t remember to get the telepathic circlet back until after they’d left. It will certainly create some interesting scenarios as we try not to apply what the players know to the decisions their PCs make.
The Monk was the first PC to die at table 2. He was not interested in creating a new character so taking the Walking Dead option was his only logical choice. He was also willing to lose 5 hit points off his max by taking his second long rest in the Seclusion Vault. His decision was surely motivated by a desire not to die again.
Our DM decided not to have the Dread Warrior use spells when he fought the PCs. I’m not sure why he held back. In my opinion the Dread Warriors are among the toughest monsters in the dungeon. But if they don’t use spells they aren’t worth the XP you earn from killing them. DMs please read pages 22 & 92 of the adventure before you use a Dread Warrior against the party.
What’s happening at your FLGS? Have you faced a Dread Warrior? Has it used spells? Did you survive? Has anyone at your FLGS found their way into the Temples of Extraction Yet?
- 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
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Actual Play Podcasts
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