Back after an extended break, D&D Encounters has returned to the Northland! It was good to see a group already forming up at the table, waiting impatiently a half hour before the game was scheduled to begin. Every new season of Encounters I go through the same dread that I will sit there alone, me and my son, the only people to show up. Luckily this has never happened yet, and in fact is quite the opposite. Tonight was no different. Even with the late start of the season, the table filled out to be the perfect size of 5 players. Two of them (not including my son) were returning players, and two of them were brand new to the program, though they had a small amount of D&D experience.
And so it came to pass that 5 new heroes boarded a ship for the once great city of Neverwinter, now ruined these 30 years past. It was as good a place as any to strike for fortune, and the five found they shared an adventurous spirit while bunking in the ship’s cabin together. They decided to stick together and work as a team.
The city of neverwinter was destroyed during the Spellplague which leveled mountains, drained seas, and scarred survivors with terrible diseases. For Neverwinter, it was the eruption of the nearby volcano that spelled its doom. Now, 30 years later, the city is haunted by the survivors of that catastrophe, spellscarred maniacs and worse monsters. A small enclave of brave individuals still calls the city home. Also, a great lord of Waterdeep recently pulled up his roots and fled north to Neverwinter. He secured one corner of thecity by building and repairing wall, and now calls this the Protected Enclave, or green zone. From here he hopes to pacify the rest of the city, and go from being lord to king.
The new adventurers step off the boat and make their way to the bay-front market square, in the green zone. The afternoon is cool and bright and the square is bustling, as they make their way through the crowd, stopping to help repair a wagon wheel, before being distracted by a halfling telling tall tales. He was interrupted in his tales by two sewer covers suddenly exploding upwards when spellscarred maniacs boiled up out of the sewers to attack.
The maniacs went first. They were disjointed and moved jerkily, but with great strength, and blue flames sparked from their eyes. After leaping form the sewers, the half dozen maniacs paused for a moment of cunning concentration as they scaned the crowd for the biggest threats. Then they all charged the nearest weapon or implement carrying pedestrian which happened to be the party. In one case, a peasant was blocking easy access to a character and was struck down.
The ranger Belgos was first to react, and leapt onto the onion cart of the halfling and fired his bow at the maniacs. There speed and disjointed behavior made them difficult targets, even though the archer had the height advantage. Next went hios boon companion the knight Quinn, who played his tankiness to the hilt, getting in the enemy’s faces and drawing their ire, all the while their claws clanging of his steel shell. The next to move was the other Ranger and his cat, the panther One Whisker. The ranger fired an arrow, taking a maniac minion in the throat. His cat scratched, rowr. He then leapt into a sewer. (Ya I know)
Jarvix the mentat fired an ineffectual blast of will against an enemy, but it failed to penetrate the thick fog of single-minded madness and the maniac continued shredding the desert wanderer. Finally the illusionist, I forget his name, fired a phantom bolt (out of his nose) that took a minion in the forehead, magic-missile style.
Round two, they were dismayed to find six more of the minions come screaming around the corner towards them. Then the heard the clanking and saw a fully plaed knight come wheeling around the corner behind them, chasing them it seemed. The maniacs charged into the fracas with glee and cut down a few more cowering civilians in their effot to slaughter the heavily armed gang they faced.
The slaughter continued and all efforts to speak to the kinight were rebuffed, who merely grated “we will talk when the fighting is done.” He even ignored Qhinaro’s attempts to trip him (argh) When the maniacs lay dismembered at their feet the te knight pointed his sword at a black speck in the sky and mumbled something about that being the warm up or just a snack compared to the feast to come or somesuch.
Each character hada moment to catch their breath, and could choose to make an endurance check to regain a single healing surge, or an insight check to regain an encounter power. This was a mini-break as the speck spiraled down becoming ever larger until with a crashing impact it landed, knocking everyone back a square. The knight and dragon got into a staring contest, and the knight got shakier as the dragon got steadier. Then they snapped and the knight said it was too strong and must be weakened.
Then the dragon blasted most of them with its cone of cold, but the armored helm of the knight had a crown which flashed a dazzling blue and absorbed some of the damage. They were still hurt though but they came together and in a single round did some serious damage to the dragon. Three criticals and the knight rolled max damage on both his power attack dice.
When the dragon was bloodied, by an arrow fired straight down the throa of the dragon as it attempted to snap Belgos in half, the blue swirls on its scaly hide exploded in a freezing burst, nearly killing most of the dragon slayers, but it was the weakness the knight was hoping for, and in one swift burst of powerful energy, the knight turned the dragon to stone. Case closed.
Great encounter, ran over by 10 minutes, but everyone had a good time even if the ending was a bit rushed.