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Archive for the ‘Dungeons and Dragons Encounters’ Category

The sixth season of Dungeons and Dragons Encounters: The Lost Crown of Neverwinter was also my last. Due to an ever-increasing busy schedule and the relocation of my local game store, I was forced to retire,for the time at least, and hand off the DM torch to another younger, stronger than myself. This adventure was a wild ride through the streets of Neverwinter, battling were-rats in the sewers and choosing sides in a war to determine who rules the city.

This was also the season I took the most liberty with, since I was playing with a group of mostly younger players. We had a recurring villain “Ninga-Jedi” and other fun stuffs. The reporting also became spotty, and for the first time, sessions went undocumented, forever left to the imagination. Sorry about that folks, read seasons 1 – 5 for some epic story telling. Overall, it was a great adventure, and in many ways, each season is an improvement on all the past seasons as the publishers learn and push the boundaries.

Played every Wednesday night at The Basement Games in Zona Rosa, KC MO. between the hours of 6 and 8 pm.

Session 1 – Lets Get This party Started
Session 6 – Trickster Magic
Session 6 (or 4) – Belly Flopper Bridge Battle
Session 8 – Sewer Rats and Crocs
Session 9 – Rat Fink Halflings

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This week was marked by a table of uproarious adolescents around the gaming table. We had our two stalwart youths, and another 3 more they have recruited. All in all, the play was made up of Quinaro the ranger, Suldin the illusionist, Lord Frost the Dragonbon Vampie, Alvin the Paladin, and finally my son, the Jabber to my jibber, who played Edith the axe-wench. We left them last week floundering in the sewers after a battle with some rats and crocs. Searching amongst the sewer, they found 4 piles of slimy filth. Two of them held healing potions, while the third held an old moldering pouch with 7 gold. The dragonborn meanwhile was able to skin a croc and make a wonderful cloak to help protect his hids from the sun.

So doing, they continued down the sewer pipes, following foot prints and the squeaking of rats. Eventually they came to a long hall with a dim light at the end of it. Quinaro snuck forward to find that around a corner the passage opened into a wide chamber lit by a flickering candle, but the way was blocked by an iron portcullis. He reported his findings, then they charged forward.

Edith was first to go, and her muscles rippled as she pulled on the barbican. With a shriek of iron hinges, it began to rise, halfway up just to the level of the sewer flowing down the center of the hall. Edith paid for her success with 2 daggers thrown from hidden figures peering around a corner of wall.

Quinaro was next and he took a deep breath and dove in, swimming as far up the vile stream as he could. Alvin went next, and the paladin wrenched the portcullis the rest of the way up. He took three daggers from Halflings peering around the other side of the chamber ahead.

Lord Frost charged forward and sunk his fangs into a halfling, who began to transform into a rat even as he was struck. Then Sulding cast his spell, and the 5 halfling transformed into half rat half halfling and attacked. A wild melee ensued. Nobody was killed but the rats, though it was tough going for awhile.

I introduced a new house rule, (a variation of my home game houserule) that an action point can be used once per encounter but only if a successful save is made. This seemed to work well, since I didn’t want to keep track of everyone’s action points from session to session, especially since I am playing with a table of kids. The less tracking we have, the more fun they seem to have. My intent is to make each encounter its own story, since many of the kids have erratic schedules and are not their every week.

During the battle Quinaro discovered 2 silver short swords with jeweled hilts, and Suldin found a pile of coins and jewels that they divided, worth 100gp apiece. Lord Frost was lucky enough to find a suit of fine cloth armor that boosted his armor class by 1, while Edith uncovered a magic great axe +1. The way I hand out magic items, is that I have each of them roll a d20 and whoever gets the highest roll finds the item. (unless they already have found one.) In this case both players rolled natural 20s, so they each got items. When rolling on the table, they were sad to roll 2 and 3, but it worked out well for them!

I discovered while handing out this treasure that ALL the kids wanted to find something, so I had one find the short swords, one find the gold, and another find the jewels. Gotta be fair after all. Playing for kids is tough, but it does bring out my juvenile sense of humor, so I have a blast.

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Another week of D&D Encounters sees our doughty group of heroic swimmer, the Bellyfloppers, looking to make their next splash. This time is the district of Black Lake, where the Sewer Rats make their hideout. They were attacked by members of the Dead Rats gang last week who also claimed to be good friends with the Lost Heir of Neverwinter. After the fight, the tavern owner congratulated them on clearing out the trash and offered them free room and board. He also told them where tofind the Dead rat hideout. “Follow the street out front until you can’t follow it no more.”

So bright and early the party makes their way down the ruined avenue towards Black Lake. Once a small pond in Black Lake Park, thought to be bottomless, the lake expanded to be over a mile across, flooding the neighborhood around it. Now forlorn ruins, steeples, chimneys and walls stuck out of the water at precarious angles as they neared the end of the street, which continued on right into the waters of black lake.

Next to the water’s edge, a small wooden boathouse sat, with an empty dock jutting into the black water. The ranger Belgos determined that many feet went in and out of the boathouse, and under a mildewed rug they found a big green sewer pipe with ladder rungs descending into darkness. Soon they discovered they were under the lake itself, and fould water dripped from th stones of the sewer pipes. The twisting and turnings were difficult to follow and each character took a turn leading the party.

They had a horrible time, getting stuck in one way tunnels, finding themselves in noxious fumes, and going in circles for hours. Eventually they came to an area that was recently traveled, and knew they were close. But turning a corner they saw a humungous fat crocodile, lazing half in the putrescent water Quinaro wasted no time but launched an arrow that glanced of the horny crocodile hide.

The rest of the party moved into the long narrow hall to attack, but no sooner had they done that, then two huge dire rats spilled out of a pipe behind them. Caught between rats and crocs, the heroes were hard pressed. At one point, the wizard Suldin was down to 1 hp, and his familiar owl was knocked out of the air by a dire rat. He risked all to get to his owl, and rescued it.

Not so fortunate was Jarvix the mentalist, who was grabbed by the crocodile and pulled to the back of the hall. Jarvix miraculously recoverd and pulled himself out of the crocs mouth, only to be bit again. This time, his legs and arms fell into the water as the crocodile swallowed what was left of the unconscious Jarvix. Played by my son, I showed no mercy describing the awful death of Jarvix. His half orc barbarian may have avoided the death blow for two years and 14 levels of play, but when I found the chance to slaughter Jarvix, I could not say no to the coup d’etat.

Nearly everyone else died in this battle, and I am sure they would have if I had not started pulling punched. When one of my favorite players Trent got quiet and ashen faced upon hearing the news that his owl was struck down by a rat, I knew that this was not the night for a lesson in hard core. The new player in the group, Belgos, was still standing and had a few hit points left.

One thing that was different from the way the encounter was written was that I used a large and a huge crocodile instead of 2 medium ones. The reason for this is that I have large and huge croc miniatures, but I would have had to use frogs if I went with the recommended medium, and that would be lame. Also, for whatever reason, any time I bring a croc into a fight, whether it be at Encounters or my home game, the battle always becomes intense, so I brought them for the drama. I kept all their stats as written.

About this encounter, the most I can say, is WOW was it deadly. Those rats hit for some major damage, and this ould easily have been a wipe if I had not let a replacement for Jarvix show up mdway throught he fight. Edith the fight came screaming down the stairs to help slaughter the implacable beasts and finally, luckily, the heroes vanquished their foes. Good battle, too hard, but fun. For once no one went swimming, must have been because of my 5 minute soliloquy on how disgusting, vile, and noxious the thick soup of human waste was.

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Ok first off, for anyone curious, I substituted this week’s encounter with the Twig Blights. The reasons are manifold, but namely that gawd I hate twig blights, and the encounter seemed random and unimportant. For that reason, I decided to look back to encounter 4 or 5 (which we missed due to my late start this season) and found the bridge encounter be more inspiring. Its triage out here man, for the best encounters possible, and culling the twig blights for some plague spell mayhem felt more epic and connected to the 0overall story.

In addition, I changed the party start position to be the back edge on the bridge – really trapped, not that weak sauce start position the module recommends. Next, I made it so the party was surprised, and the monsters got a free action except for those who got above 20 initiative. (Heh, I have to maintain my reputation for evil, don’t I?) And the final piece of the puzzle was a slight change to one of the monsters, from a lame-o plaguechanged wretch with nothing but a similar melee claw attack as the 3 brute allies, into a ninga-jedi who fired a plaguechanged hand-cannon. (pronounced neen-ga for copyright issues. Jedi is fine though.)

These jedi were hidden in doorwells and one hand glowed white hot and shot out bolts of cold-flame. Each character hit ended up with their face either frozen with ice or blackened by flame. They are Ninga! They actually ended up pretty lame anyway, though to great hilarity and suspenseful action. One of them was riddled with no fewer than 3 magic missile holes in his forehead (making a smoking slot) and finally when he was ultimately destroyed the top of his head exploded into a volcanic eruption of brains that rained down on everyone for moments afterward.

The other one was in a personal duel with the eladrin sword mage. New player wanted an eladrin sword mage, but the best I could do was an eladrin mage – with a sword! He had an encounter long duel one on one with a ninga-jedi and was down to 1 hp at one point, but never fell. As his finishing move, he used his teleport to appear next to the ninga and then stab him with his sword. Sadly he missed, but I told him that the ninga screamed like a little girl when he appeared and wet himself. The next wizard finished him and sent him flying backwards into the river, and the ninga’s last words were that at least no one would notice his wet pants.

Meanwhile everyone refused to leave the bridge by any other means than jumping into the fould smelling black and oily river with jagged rocks just below the surface. Sounds exciting don’t it? Well we all expected Quinaro to dive into the river, but whn the illusionist Suldin, did a cannonball, everyone was surprised. The wizard had just finished doing 0 damage on a hit while stabbing with is obsidian dagger (1d4-1 ya thats right he did 0 damage, though I ruled it was minimum 1 after describing the frail mage’s weak chicken arms stabbing stabbing stabbing and leaving not but tiny red marks on the plaguespawn’s back. One of the ninga saw his action and said “Surely this is a mighty wizard who is so powerful that he can afford to forgo his mighty spells and stab with his puny blade” thereupon hitting him with his hand cannon.He had little choice but to dive off the bridge after that fiasco.

Then the ever tactical minded Belgos did a bellyflop into the river and it was anarchy. He actually landed on an enemy and impaled him on the sharp rocks, transferring the falling damage to the plaguespawn and impaling him on the rocks, which he then rode like a boogy board for awhile. It was at this point a crowd started peaking around nearby corners shouting things like “Hey look its that new adventuring group in town, the Bellyfloppers!”

There was so much more that happened. Like the magic missile that chased a ninga all the way up a drain pipe, across a roof and down the other side before hitting him, there was the cat One Whisker who sheathed his claws in the head of a plaguespawn, and a statue that got chipped to pieces every time the ninga’s hand cannon missed Berrian the eladrin mage with a sword. Etc.

End time 8:02, mission success.

Addendum. My wife says I play to the crowd. Tonight’s average player age: 12.5

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This adventure was a very fun romp through the Shadowfell in an almost fairy-tale way. A city is cursed to spend each night in the Shadowfell and the characters are trapped until they manage to break the curse. Featuring a duel between two (dead?) wizards, gypsies, werewolves, and other scary things that go bump in the night. The season was only marred by the incompetence of the DM running the event, as he decided to take the month of August off, French style, for what he calls a “sabbatical.” On top of that, the last few sessions were not even recorded for prosperity! Despite the fact that the not-so-humble DM even deigned to climb from his throne and partake of the adventure from the players perspective in a couple of the encounters while his son, DM Jr stepped in to take over.

Heroes of Shadow 1 Page Characters
A Pair of One Page Character Sheets
Week 1 – Whose Enemy Anyway?
Week 2 – Attack of the 8 Legged Hairy Tail-less Lizards
Week 3 – The Shadows Attack
Week 4 – Shadows linger, and finally some brains
Week 5
Week 6 – Party at Vontarins House
Week 7 – Basement Got Devils

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Week 6 begins on the heels of the combined week 1 and 2 encounter from last week. Having helped the supposed Lost Heir of Neverwinter defeat a dragon by turning it into stone, the nearby city folk broke into cheers and came rushing into the central square until it was full to bursting with jostling crowds. The gravelly voiced knight in unmarked armour thanked them for the aid, and ave each of them a large amethyst gemstone with an inlaid golden ‘N.’

As they tried to speak to the stranger who seemed to be wearing the Lost Crown of Neverwinter (said to be enchanted that only a true heir of the city’s ancient ruling family can wear it without dying an agonizing death.) But the crowd was geting more and more boisterous. People began chanting “King King King” and oher groups called back “Governer Governer Governer” and the scene was threatening to tip over into violence.

Then the lost heir was suddenly gone, and Quinaro’s keen elven eyes saw a hand grab the knight by a shoulder and pull him into the crowd and disappear. The rest were being pushed by the crowd. Oh and one other figure, a dwar in armor and carrying a battle ax also grabbed an amethyst and the lost heir’s thanks. Apparently he had shot off one quick spell at the dragon as it was petrifying. The dwarf introduced himself as Allen, some sort of fighter-magic user.

Quick aside: Allen was a character a passer-bye happened to have with him. It was a 3rd edition character, and he didnt know or care about any of that, he just REALLY wanted to play Allen the dwarf. So I let him, converting his antics into the current edition as we went. It was hilariously fun. I told the group that after 30 years of DMing, the rules of d&D had coalesced in my mind into one grand structure that spanned all editions and renditions, weaving them into a pastiche that allows this type of cross-edition improvisation. Im still not sure how the 1st level fighter/wizard/some-other-crazy-shit managed to have the spells eyebite and enlarge, as well as full plate and 58 hp, but that is a tale for a DIFFERENT type of improv.

The crowd was about to start rioting so each of them tried to do what they could to calm the crowd. The new dwarf acquaintance Allen cast enlarge upon himself and began to grow above the heads of the throng. Then the illusionist created a storm above the dwarf, making his appearance even more sinister. The ranger Quinaro was on his hands and feet sniffing the ground next to his mountain lion One-Whisker.

The dragonborn Lord Frost Stepped up to the growing dwarf and hissed at him while he was still shorter, intimidating the dwarf, but the attempt backfired and shot up to a respectable 8 foot 8 inches. The crowd backed off forming a circle around the two but the dragonbon bowed to the dwarf as the dwarf began roaring at the crowd.

Just then a lady came through the crowd. She was panting like she had run a great distance, but was otherwise quite attractive or an elf. She said the governer wanted to see them at his headquarters in the green zone, and that they should accompany her, which they did. He offered them 500 gold to hunt down the truth of this lost heir, and the dwarf was about to intimidate him for more money, until he realized that he couldnt fit through the door. He had grown tobe 8 feet wide aswell as 8 feet tall. It was up to the wizard tosmooth talk the governer which he did and got them 100 gold up front. The governer told them to go to the Blacklake area, which they did, stopping along the way to buy some stuff, such as a claymore for the dwarf (which he used for the entire battle when not casting spells such as eyebite.)

They found the store tha used to bea fine clothes store but was now a shady tavern. Mannequins and full length mirrors filled the room, giving it a strange funhouse aspect. They asked the barkeep if he knew anything about the lost heir, and was pointed toward a halfling at the back of the hall.

The halfling was rude and mocking, then suddenly though down a smoke bomb and disappeared. The wizard used his arcana check to detect that beside his natural cunning, the halfling was using “trickster magic” to augment his hiding skills. Out of the dark leapt four robbers with knives in one hand and heavy head thumping maces in the other.

A wild melee ensued, with Charl popping out of a shadow to stab some one in the gut with his shortsord, as the toughs ganged up and beat their opponents over the head. The wizard went down twice, and stood up twice, healed once by Allen and once by a great death save. The dwarf was stabbed twice in the gut before the ranger was able to slay the halfling with a lucky shot. The dwarf had just thrown an axe which embedded in the halflings chest, grievously injuring him. The halfling then risked all to use a daily, but missed. doing half damage. The arrow struck the axe, pushing it deeper into Charl, slicing into his heart.

The robbers fought half heartedly for a few more rounds, then they each tried to run ans were cut down mercilessly. Good encounter.

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Your humbly awesome DM is back from his energy revitalizing sabbatical, and is once again ready to start shredding characters and making women, children and grown men cry. Join me every Wednesday Night from 6-8pm at the Basement Games in Zona Rosa for a heaping helping of Dungeons and Dragons. This time we adventure north to the ruins of the once great metropolis known as Neverwinter.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to go high-power and hard core through the first 4 encounters in the new season until we are all caught up, since I am starting the season a bit late. It should be a blast.

He donned his war-gear, indifferent to death;
his mighty, hand-forged, fine-webbed mail
would soon meet with the menace underwater.
It would keep the bone-cage of his body safe.

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