Archive for the ‘Dungeons and Dragons Encounters’ Category

A well thought out adventure with great encounters

Circumstances beyond my control (also known as ‘life’) have conspired to knock me off my pedestal of stability, and hence my Wednesday Encounters sessions were beginning to suffer. Having missed 2 weeks out of the last 3, and with worries that I would be forced to cancel further games as the relentless summer melted us all into pools of ourselves, I made a hard decision yesterday. This was to be the final week of Encounters for me. After 5 seasons of Encounters played at 2 different stores, the Evil DM was hanging up his Cat O Nine tails and unbuckling his belt of shackles.

Before I go into a brief recounting of the epic finale, I want to give thanks to everyone who showed enough interest to come to the local game store on a weekday night and throw dice for a couple hours. It is my great honor to have DM’ed for every one of the players who showed up at my table, numbering in the hundreds of unique players over 70+ weeks of gaming. I met a lot of great players during my run, and had the distinct pleasure of teaching dozens of people the basics of the game, and husbanding them through their initial foray into the world of Dungeons and Dragons. At some point I may write more eloquently on the subject of spreading D and D to the masses, but for right now I will just say that this is my own personal prime directive, and the Encounter program allowed me the chance to do that on a scale heretofore unimagined.

Journey forth into adventureSpecial thanks go to that handful of players who showed up week after week, season after season, to submit themselves to my maniacal meanderings. It is to these hardcore few that I owe my run, long and fun as it was. At this point I should begin a list of names of those whose presence kept me coming back for so long, but I am notoriously bad with names, and have to choose between remembering their character names or their people names.

Finally, the biggest thanks of all need to go to the two game stores for which I DM’ed, Game Café in Independence, and The Basement Games in Zona Rosa. Without the time energy, and well, table space, of these fine establishments and the people who work in them, this project would never have even started. Everyone who plays and loves D and D owes a debt of gratitude to the small business owners who struggle to keep a point of gaming light open in a struggling market. I hope my efforts helped bring revenue to the stores who participated. I know I tried to make purchases at the stores I played at, when possible. (That permanent 34% off at Amazon is a hard discount to pass up.)

A new adventure awaits!

There remains one entity worth thanking, and that is the company piloting the flagship Dungeons and Dragons game, Wizards of the Coast. The Encounters program was ingenious. The adventures were awesome. The rewards were inspiring, and the chance to be a part of something bigger, a world community of like minded gamers was like being in a real world guild of friends and fans of the game. Wizards of the Coast created something new and valuable with the Encounters program and my fondest wish is that it continues to expand and draw in crowds while delivering epic fun for all involved.

That is my wish. My goal of bringing Dungeons and Dragons to every living soul (and thus creating a world of peace, plenty, and hacking and slashing) is not dead, only sleeping while I deal with the slings and arrows of a world disinterested in the good things in life. I will be back.

Part 2 – The Splendid End in which the party is victorious against the darkness and shadow

(There may be spoilers about the rest of the season, so be prepared if that sort of thing matters to you, o gentle reader.)

After the sadness of breaking my players hearts by telling them this was the last week for us, I gave a quick run-down of events that lead them to the manor house of Vontarin on the outskirts of town. The weird sky of the Shadowfell hung overhead as they approached the house, and they knew their quarry was inside. They merely had to get to him.

The house was large, stone and imposing. There were no windows on the first floor, and only a few narrow windows above. The only entrance was a heavy oaken door with iron fittings. Now, anyone following along for any length of time will know that the heroes of this and the last adventure have a hrd time with walls, and climbing in general, and have learned from the bruises and blood loss to climb only as a last result. This meant Merrick the halfling thief had to curb his natural desire to climb intot he upper story window and instead content himself with picking the lock. He rolled a natural one, resulting in a puff of orange dust in the thief’s face. No it wasn’t poison, the rusting tumblers collapsing into a fused mess, the lock was unpickable.

Next up the minotaur, who has opened countless doors before, tried his standard method of charging the door, but dare I say, he toorolled a natural one. This was no ordinary door! The minotaur lost his footing and hit the door wrong, bruising his shoulder and causing him to sit down for a moment to recover. The mighty door remained locked.

Kaleth mentioned that this might spell the end, and they should perhaps give up and go home. Merrick eyed the windows above, but Thorn held him back. He found a long piece of masonry to use as a battering ram and I know it is unbelieavable, but he too rolled a natural 1 on his athletics check (three in a row!) and the masonry became lodged in the door. Now they truly were thwarted by this legendary door.

As the invoker started backing away towards home, and the thief started eyeing the window ledge above, Torrin the dragonborne calmed everyone down and said he had a plan. With a huff and a puff and a prodigious blast of dragon fire, he blew the door down. Thank Bahamut he didn’t roll a 1 on that attack door! He was attacking the broad side of a barn, that is true, but I was not pulling any punches with the critical failures. He blew a dragonborne sized hole in the door, the edges still smoldering, and heard the spectral yelp of another two headed dusk beast, whose fur was singed by the fiery blast.

A battle began in the little 10 ft square foyer of the mansion as the party squeezed into the chamber to get a hit on the devil dog, who quickly expired under the attentions. And then as it burst into quickly dissipating smoke, they discovered it.

Another locked door.

The paladin could hear the soft growling of more dusk beasts on the other side, but the run of bad rolling ws (mostly) over and some one, I forget who, but probably the minotaur Jack, burst the doors asunder without further ado. So began phase two of the battle, beating on a trio of double-headed dusk beasts, while getting shot at from behind a curtain, and ensorcelled from a balcony above.

In this battle, I loosened the reins and let pretty much anything awesome or crazy happen. There was much jumping on backs, throwing of enemies, and all kinds of hijinks. It created an atmosphere of anything goes, but it was also a very difficult fight, so the balance of fun and crazy was maintained.

Some highlights were when Merrick threw his grappling hook up to the balcony, then rolled a natural 1 on his climb check (of course!) Causing him to fall flat on his back. When he made it up the next turn, Vontarin grabbed him by the neck and hurled him off the balcony. This time the little halfling caused a domino affect of falling bookshelves that completely covered the invoker in Encyclopedias – for 17 damage!

This was only topped by the minotaur, who also rolled a one on that slippery rope, and when he made it up to the top, , he too was thrown back down! For awhile there it seemed like no one would make it up to the second floor, especially because the mess of books created an area of difficult territory all around the stairwell, making the run up the stairs a slow, slow process.

Vontarin was cackling the whole time, daring them to continue. Suddenly the rune priest cast a spell that gave everyone in the party a big boon, but it had one slight cost – the healing surge from an ally, and of course the rune priest picked the biggest burliest fighter with the most healing surges for his target – willing or not. It was Jack the minotaur.

Wrong move.

The boy who plays the minotaur decided that was the last straw, and voiced his determination to join the forces of darkness surrounding them. Vontarin welcomed him to his side, and spoke of the wealth he would heap upon the minotaur for his aid. Now, having players turn on one another is always a risky business, and as the player of the minotaur was the sone of the player of the rune priest, I wasn’t too worried about hard feelings (though sore bottoms are another matter!) but I didn’t want the game to get out of hand. The game so far had been an improvised, inspired mess, and with this turn of events, your humble DM had a masterstroke of genius. He calmly told the minotaur that the best thing he could do would be to grab his erstwhile allies and begin hurling them up onto the balcony (thereby avoiding the whole problem of getting upstairs.

Ever creative, the minotaur took it one step further and actually through his fellow PCs at the few PCs who were already upstairs – namely his sister who was playing the vampire Connie. It was beautiful, and I thought the nirvana of gaming had been achieved. This night could not get any better. There was just one small cloud hanging over this beautiful day in the annals of adventuring.

The poor paladin, had been missing all night. Sure he broke the impasse of the legendary door –nothing to shake a stick at (though they tried that, along with bribing, bluffing, and intimidating the door) but as for combat, the only thing the paladin hit all night was that first dusk dog. He was slowed, slipping and stumbling amidst the books as he tried to make it upstairs. He even missed on his epic daily power that had only the weakest of effects on a miss. In short, he was pissed.

By this time Vontarin was reduced to minion status. He had one HP left and had retreated to the far end of the chamber. Miss after miss extended his life by a few seconds until it was the paladins turn to go. With great dismay he looked down at the map to realize there was no way he could make it to the wizard, even with a running charge, and he had no ranged attacks or weapons.

There was only one thing to do, double move, and watch as his glory slips out of his fingers. But oh no, Torrin would not go out with a whimper. He Heaved his great axe spinning through the air as an improvised thrown weapon. Everyone looked at him, and pointed out that the wizard had a realy high armour class, and that the paladin was only +1 with a ranged basic. He practically needed a critical hit to get him.

What do you know, natural 20.

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In an interesting twist to fate, the fabric of reality itself shifted to result in your humble evil dungeon master not DM’ing this week’s session of D and D. Ah no, he was a player instead, in the session DM’ed by his apprentice, his minion and henchman, his heir and son, DM Jibber Jabber we shall call him. I also sometimes call him Jackson Delaney, but only when I am especially angry at his antics. This week his antics were spot on, and the dragonborn vampire-paladin Lord Frost made his appearance in the party out to explore the mystery of the dark legacy of Evard.

We were in a basement it seems: a dank cellar below an abandoned manor house, repurposed into a bandit hideout. The bandits were devil-men. Their skin was red, they had horns and tails, and things seemed to catch fire too close around them. This did not stop Lord Frost, the bringer of cold, from engaging in such nefarious activities in the subterranean depths and he charged in with gusto. Their were two rooms full of the devils. One on the left Lord Frost pretty much ignored. The minotaur Jack had stripped his last devil foe of its burning bastard sword, and now wielded it with as much precision as he had his previous rapier.

But in the room ahead, the foes were not so easily defeated and it seems as though Lord Frost was struck with a weapon he least expected from such ignoble foes – the blast of radiance. He fell to his knee, bloodied by the blow, but the white-hot invisible flames continued to tear into his vampirical flesh. He prayed to five headed Bahamut – Why have you forsaken me great draconis? Must I suffer the privations of undead-like flesh, and a proclivity for blood for you? I am a paladin of the five headed dragon, out to to god and justice for those deserving?

The holy prayer went unanswered and Lord frost fell to the ground his pearlescent scales blackening under the radiance he could never wield again. Luckily the rest of the party slew his foes and a rune priest drove the radiance from his body just before he went to the open embrace of the five slavering maws of Bahamut.

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After missing last week due to some emergency dental surgery (ugh) it was nice to be back in the saddle. Since my son (and co-dm) was in the middle of an intense Warhammer 40k battle with one of the players when I arrived, we decided to let them keep playing and consolidated the DnD’ers into one large table of 7. It was a nice experience. I have always favored large groups for Encounters, it was great to have a large table again after so many weeks of playing with 4 or 5. I was also glad to see most of the regulars were back. After standing them up last week, I was sure that they would do the same to me. Thankfully, I was wrong, and it shows what an awesome crew of players I have to put up with my shenanigans and return week after week.

I was sad to miss week 5, since it seemed especially awesome, but week 6 looked good too, so I was caught in a conundrum. In the end, I decided to work both encounters into one, and with the 7 players, it made it possible to combine the monsters, or one notable monster that is.

The party was just waking up from their naps, after spending the night chasing shadows, when a young strangely dressed fellow showed up, begging them to come see his grandmother. He wore clothes with strange patterns embroidered into them, and wide flapping lapels. The paladin knew his kind –Vistani. They were a nomadic people who never stayed one place long, and who were often accused of nefarious activities. This kid seemed honest enough under the paladins glaring eyes, and so they agreed to follow him.

Mother Grivelda met them at a house outside town, and had heard of the heaors exploits. She had one question for them – who was buried in Evards tomb? When they guessed Evard, he chuyckled and told them no, the body was switched and Vontarin was buried in the tomb. She said his old house was nearby, and they they should seek it out for clues to the curse that has befallen the town of Duponde. As she spoke, they heard a long wailing howl of a wolf in the woods outside. She then asked them if they would like to have their fortunes read, and Gale the hunter, Connie the vampire, and one or two others agreed. She told them of dark times ahead, and of the fear of loss, and told the vampire specifically to keep to the shadows. The party then left and made their way down the lane towards the abandoned house of Vontarin.

As they walked, they heard more wolf sounds, this time from closer, and Gale thought she might have seen a flitting shadow, but soon they left the woods behind, and came to a hill atop which the ruins lay. The courtyard was empty, and a fountain with black sludge stood between statues of Vontarin, one on horseback, one on a seahorse.

The invoker stepped forward and tried the door, it was locked. The house was in ruins, with part of the roof caved in, but all the windows were shuttered, and some looked recently nailed shut. Also, there were recent tracks of men and beasts leading to the locked door. This was all the minotaur needed, and he charged forward, slamming into the doors with his be-horned head, smashing the doors off their hinges and 10 feet into the dark, dusty interior. He was immediately attacked by a pair of drakes. If dogs are man’s best friend, then drakes are surely monsters best friend. No self respecting humanoid is without at least one guard drake. In this house were a pair. One was small, but what it lacked in stature it made up for in fangs. Its had fangs hanging out of its mouth, pointing every direction, and it knew how to use them. It charged the minotaur and bit into his thigh. Meanwhile, the other drake was larger and covered in green scaly hide. It sat back on its haunches and its throat expanded like a bull frog’s before disgorging a huge glob of acid that arced across the room and splashed into the minotaur.

The rest of the party moved into the room, except for Gaunt the shadow wizard who moved around one side, and Gale the hunter who kept alert outside the front door. She noticed a shadow flit behind a nearby tree and without hesitation she fired an arrow at a shoulder just visible. A wolf-like howl met her attack, and out of the cover of the tree a half-man half-wolf came bounding. Along the way it pulled the arrow out of its shoulder, and Gale watched with fear as the wound began to close. It then slashed the hunter knocking her down. It bit her too, then leapt into the doorway to take on the others.

Meanwhile, a party of 4 red-skinned demi-humans with tapering horns on their heads – tieflings – stood up from one back corner of the house where they were playing a game of cards. They rushed forward ,and from the other end of the house came a huge tiefling with a flaming bastard sword in his hands. He struck out at the paladin and the rune priest.

Connie the vampire wore a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off, and as she was hit with a glob of drake spit, the hat began crumbling from the acid. I warned her that it was a good thing she was in the house, since it was high noon outside and her hat was destroyed. On her turn as a minor action, she put on another hat.

The melee was fierce as the allies and enemies crowded into the front room of the ruined manor. The card playing tieflings went down quick, but their boss was harder to kill, and he stood in front of the spitting drake, protecting it. The werewolf tore into the allies from the door, while the tieflings hit them from the other side. But these are heroes, and they turned the tide. After the minions and the chihua-drake were slain, the party ganged up on the boss and the werewolf, and the battle was won. The poor spitting drake was the last to go down, spitting and backing away until it was finally, mercifully slaughtered.

After seeing the flaming bastard sword, the hulking minotaur knew that he would feel inadequate if he continued using his rapier, and he took it with a smile. Now that’s a sword worthy of a minotaur.

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Finally after a night spent in the shadowfell, dealing with shadowy monsters and elusive threats, the party has a fleshy enemy they can really sink their teeth into. Or let me rephrase that, the enemy finally sinks their teeth into the party of heroes. Groans, moans, and the occasional slurred word “brains…” comes from the shadows of the cemetery, and Brother Zevan wants them to investigate. But before that happened…

While chasing down shadows, town guardsman came up to the heroes, and mentioned a brother Zevan from the Chapel of Light who wanted to see them. The paladin had heard of this warrior priest and knew him to be an upstanding fellow, if on the older side. When they arrived at the chapel, they saw he was protecting a group of civilians who sought the chapel’s safety. Though old and bent, brother Zevan looks like a born fighter, and indeed his trusty mace is leaning by the door. He tells the heroes a tale of seeing the strange mage involved in a ritual in the cemetery near his chapel just before the “shadowfall,” and wants them to investigate.

The runepriest has been eyeing Brother Zevans mace – a big deadly, finely crafted thing, and asks the priest if he could have the weapon. Zevan takes great interest in the runepriest, and they agree to swap maces – and that’s how Thorn ends up with a masterwork +1 mace. (that and a good diplomacy check)

After that, it is off to the cemetery, and they arrive just as corpses are pulling themselves up out of the dirt – perfect timing! So begins a big battle of organs, blood and body parts flying. It was a good battle, pretty tough, and fora moment there it looked dangerously like a TPK in the making, but the party pulled through it, despite the poor paladin being knocked unconscious every round repeatedly. But the organs of slaughtered ghouls and zombies quickly piled up on and aound him, and the party was victorious just as the first light of dawn spread its wings across the vault of the sky.

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Under roiling dark midwestern clouds the faithful gathered in the Basement, preparing to loot and kill. SO began week 3 of Encounters, featuring Gale, Torrin, and Thorn, as well as newcomers Keira the rogue and Jarren the wizard. The episode began with the characters outside the recently cleared armory. Grimbold the sargeant of the guard meets up with them and asks them to take one side of town and warn the people to stay in their houses, as well as helping to deal with the weird shadowy creatures that were appearing all over town, bent on destruction. They would meet up at the town center.

Aside: This was a skill challenge and I was being very free-form with it. Basically I described the situation and the guardsman’s plea for help. I then turned to the first player and asked him, “so what do you want to do to aid the people of Duponde?” and let the characters describe their actions. We came up with all sorts of good and goofy ideas as we went around the table. Jarren used his wizardly powers to shed light and noise, while the rune priest ran from house to house, shouting a message. The rogue went after shadows, slaying them, while the paladin called out warnings to the houses he passed. Finally Gale the hunter tracked the shadows and herded them onwards, until suddenly three great two-headed hounds turned and stood their ground.

And so the battle began. The night was so dark, and illumination so low, that we were using low lighting conditions outside the range of the runepriests sunrod. This meant the dusk beasts had concealment. The ranger and wizard went first,blasting from range, but the rogue decided to get up close and personal with one of the beasts. He was attacked by the shadow lurker, who peeled away from the corner of the building to meld with the poor elf’s shadow. He felt a chill as his life force was drained away, but continued his charge agains tthe dusk beast. The other lurker revealed itself and struck at Gale, who deftly avoided the attack, the only one directed against her the whole battle.

Then the dusk beasts struck back, and the rogue was mauled within inches of his life. The paladin and rune priest each took on the other dusk beasts. The rune priest struck his and immoblized it, before bolstering the rogues health, thus saving him from what would surely have been a demise by shadow-melding. Instead he shook it off, slashed into the shadow and then stabbed deep into the dusk beasts flank, penetrating nearly to the dark tendrilled ball of ts heart. The beast bayed in pain and anger. It was soon stilled by the paladin who charged in to aid his ally with healing hands.

Then from an alleyway a tiny evil man appeared, Frank the shadow bolter, who proceeded to shoot people with his crossbow. Then he got tired of that and charged forward to stab with his dagger, and a great melee erupted in the midle of the street. Dusk beasts and Fred fought the party to a standstill but with well aimed shots by the ranger, as well as huge hits by the rogue and paladin, finally wore the enemy down. The beasts were first to fall, and then after surviving a crippling blow by the paladin, he cackled, made one last attack, and was slain with an arrow from Gale the half fox archer. They found many good items of loot including 100 gold, a large green emerald, and what they first thought was an amulet of protection. But when Gale and Keira each reached for it, it split in two (good die rolling) so they each got one.

See I can be nice not evil (sometimes.) 450 exp woot!

Biggest mistake of the night: totally missed the immediate reaction tail attack of the dusk beasts. Whoops!

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I love milestones – they are a great way to gauge success. Tonight we hit a new milestone in the Basement Games with three tables playing Encounters. We’ve run two tables since the beginning of last season, but the past several weeks have brought in enough players that our two tables were regularly seeing 6-7 apiece. Many of these players are kids, who outnumber the adults about 2 to 1. My good friend, and now co-DM Leah (of Ria the cleric fame) agreed to DM table 3 as she really wants to get some dungeon mastering experience. Of course, a part of me realizes that by letting her into the secret cabal of dungeon masters means that I am creating the weapon of my own destruction, but needs must be met. Im sure we will meet in a snowy Japanese garden one night and fight to the death for the right to be the supreme dungeon master, but until then I am content teaching her the ropes, and what better way to Dm than a table full of wild monkey children? She DMed 3-4 of the lunatics and nobody cried, so I am calling it a success. The real success will be if she comes back next week.

But forget about all that, it was not MY game of D&D they were playing, and that is what we are here to reminisce. I will let leah describe her own game if she chooses (over at Gamer Grrrl) while I go on a bit about our game. Playing at my table were most of the usual suspects, some with new characters. Ash was replaced by Thorn the shifter runepriest. The invoker Kaleth was back, as was the mighty paladin Torrin. Included this week was my youngest daughter Audrey who played Gale the hunter (using the elf race to depict her half-fennic fox.)

Encounter 2 of “Evards Dark Legacy” begins as the characters catch their breathes following the battle with the inns gargoyls come to life. The paladin checked on the inn keep Harald, who came to with a few slaps on the cheek. They found his wife Tilda in the kitchen, then began a search of upstairs. The three dwarves would not answer their door at first, but finally opened up and the heroes found the dwarves barricaded in, refusing to leave until they returned to the natural world. Moving down the hall, they came to the locked, unoccupied room of the mysterious scholar Nathair and his halfling servant. The room was unslept in, but their personal goods were still in place, and their steeds still stood in the stables. Their disappearance was a mystery.

Finally the rune priest went out into the dark night. The sky was a deep purple and their were swiles of sickly yellowish green light around the stars, until thick heaving clouds moved in and turned the night black as pitch. Ther was a palpable sense of dread, and a chill crept into the bones. The few lights burning throughout town seemed forlorn and tiny, giving out much less illumination than normal. The runepriest saw a lantern coming down the street. The hunter Gale used her eagle eyes to learn they were humanoids, and Torrin the paladin could just make out the clink and clank of battle armour. Soon the town guard Grimbol came down the street leading a few guardsmen. They explained that one of their soldiers at the north gate was stabbed by a halfling running like his life depended on it, and that the town armory was in the hands of some monster preventing the guards from arming themselves.

The paladin Torrin asked about the wounded soldier, and Grimbold gave him a friendly look and said he was stabbed, but at the apothecary, and looked to recover. He then asked if the heroes would be willing to check on one of the leads, either the occupied armory, or chasing after the halfling. The party, after much discussion chose the armory. (It turns out all three tables chose the armory.) So the party heads through town toward the armoury.

They can see it in the distance, but have to cross a bridge over a canal to get there. The invoker, feeling the power of the gods flowing through her veins charges forwards across the bridge and to one corner of the small stone building. She can see the door is ajar and a dead guard lies in the doorway, his body covered in hundreds of tiny red marks. As she steps closer, she sees the wooden shutters of the windows bulging and rattling, and hundreds of tiny spiders of all shapes and sizes come scuttling through the cracks towards her. They climb, leap, and rappel out of the armory and begin to cover her, each of them trying to bite at her skin. She shrieks (the player that is) and tries to stomp them as they approach, but some are so big that they cant be stomped.

Gale is next and she moves to the middle of the bridge and fires an arrow at the swarm of spiders. She knows she cant do much damage but any little bit helps. After she looses the arrow, a dark shape leaps from the top of the armory and flies towards the poor invoker. Another spider with huge back jumping legs attacks her on the way down, stabbing into her with its poison-dripping fangs. The invoker is poisoned, wounded, surrounded and cut off. She is also about to faint from the descriptions of the hairy scuttling arachnids surrounding and biting into her. (the player that is.) I have to use a trick I use with my wife, where-in I tell her that they are really not spiders, they are lizards! Black, hairy eight-legged tail-less lizards with fat dripping fangs, multitudinous eyes, and strange patterns on its back, like a yellow hourglass, or a red diamond.

The deathjumper was not done, and after attacking the invoker, it made a prodigious leap to land just behind the hunter on the bridge, thuse dividing the party in half. Gale was not amused, and the final two heroes, Torrin the paladin and Thorn the runepriest, moved up to the deathjumper and attacked. On her turn, the invoker dropped unconscious from the poison. Gale stabbed at the deathjump spider then moved forward to help the invoker.

Little did Gale realize there were more enemies waiting for the moment to spring. Shadows detached themselves from the darkness near the canal’s edge, and slid across the ground to meld with the heroes own shadows. This caused necrotic damage to anyone unlucky enough to be so stricken – Gale and Torrin. All looked lost as the the battle on the bridge continued with the deathjumper while the ladies fought in the armoury yard. (I really hated the mechanics of the minion shadows who I ruled once they melded with an opponent they merely did ongoing 4 necrotic until thy were killed or shaken off. Last weeks shadows were much better, if also much tougher. These were a confusing, but deadly nuisance.)

Then a miracle happened. Kaleth the invoker rolled a natural 20 on her death save, so she shook off the nightmare dreams of scuttling venomous lizards, and leapt up, healed, and blasted the swarm almost to death. Merely 4 spiders remained of the swarm of hundreds, and Gale put one arrow through all four tiny spiders on her turn. The battle turned, the death jumper died, and they finally shook off and slew the shadows.

Party victorious.

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Seeming over so soon at 13 weeks – the March of the Phantom Brigade has come to rest. It was a well made adventure by one of the Wizards of the Coast’s top designers, Rodney Thompson, and continued the process of refining the adventure with each passing season. To say each adventure was better than the last in this epoch known as the Encounters Era would not be far from the truth. Technically this was the best adventure yat, and it was included all in a single package, rather than the woeful multiple mailings of all but the first season. It also changed the way the adventure was written so that the DM could read through it week by week as the adventure progressed, rather than having to continuously flip back and forth between pages. March of the Phantom Brigade also pushed the boundaries in other ways to, such as the second encounter of the adventure that could go one of three directions. There were also some notable skill challenges such as the search through the winter forest.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5 Nentir Winters Axe
Week 6 The Death of Aldus Splintershield
Week 7 The Sack of Inverness
Week 8 – Showdown with Salazar
Week 9 – The Total Party Kill
Week 10 – Tomb Raiding
Week 11 – Visions, Ghouls, and Dead Elf Rangers
Week 12 – Vampire Kills and kills and kills; … and kills.

Week 13 – Last March of the Phantom Brigade

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