The group ended the last session just as the last Water Weird dissipated back into water. So we tidied up after that long string of battles from the previous session. They collected themselves, rescued a pair of very distraught children and returned to the townsfolk to let them know that the town was cleared and safe to return to. For now at least.
I had a plan for this session, hopefully leading the group into the next couple of incidents around the village. But, as GM you need to be able to improvise and the session almost went off track very quickly, but some surreptitious rolls and ad-libs kept it on track.
After the long day of fighting, they spent the afternoon and night recovering in a building provided by the Council. In the morning they met with the council and settled on an agreement to support the town for the next few months and to investigate where these undead and cultists were coming from and why. The town provided them some immediate reward, an ongoing retainer and access to repairs and provisions for their stay.
The only clue they had were the lightning embosed symbols found on the cultist. Merrygold, the local priest had taken them away for research and provided that they represented the Storm God, Talos, but could offer nothing else.
The party headed to the port to see if the fishers had anything.
My intention was to have them recuperate in the town for a few days. After that, it would seem appropriate to launch into “Missing Patrol”, but understand that they might investigate the Tower, and so lead them into that adventure, either before or after. I didn’t think Missing Patrol made much sense the next morning – the town wouldn’t have set up patrols again and the townsfolk might not think to seek aid from the adventurers.
The fishers had little, but suggested that the invaders came from the south across the water. At this point I couldn’t find any information on where they had come from. Later on I found that they had come from a place north along the coast. They looked about, becoming interested in the islands and peered southward at the Mere of Dead Men stretching out across the water.
Searching the islands, they discovered the statues and after the rumours from the fisherfolk decided to return after dark. Then they turned back to town, with a plan to head south and search the marsh. I was really worried here as I didn’t want them in the marsh just yet. But I didn’t want to force them to stay in town.
They spent the afternoon following along the High Road as it wound alongside the Mere. I threw in some random rolls to keep them guessing and at one point some strange, non-human tracks (foreshadowing the lizard folk). But they decided the marshland would need a bit more prep before they explored too deeply. The gnome wizard especially was unhappy at the mess his boots were in.
After returning to town, they went out to the Idol Island for the night. Most decided to stay up, so there was only a single character asleep to get the “prophetic dreams”, so I gave him the “storms gathering over Leilon” and made it a warning, but positive dream. I also had the priest describe the statues to be the ‘Swords of Leilon’. This gave them the opportunity to learn about these folk, which would help with the story of the Tower, the Planar Beacon and the women on the hill later.
The next day they rested mostly, recovering from having spent the night awake. They took their info to the council and learnt of the wizard working to restore the tower. This set them up nicely to investigate the tower the next day.
They walked up the hill, coming across the workers hurrying away in fear. This encounter only seemed to further excite the gnome and he rushed up the hill ahead of the others.
He spied the dark skinned woman at the crest, and gave chase as she went around the back of the building. The rest of the party went the other way, only to meet the gnome and no woman. Suspense!
They called out and the wizard came out. He was furious that the workers had fled, but clearly believed their story. And the session ended with the party agreeing to investigate the ghost, and hopefully remove it, so the work can continue.
In the end, I was really happy how the session turned out. I think our first session without any combat and the players seemed to enjoy the role play as they began to investigate. They haven’t made much progress and have done nothing about the undead threat, not even realising that the two are seperate. They will get more of that when they head to Phandalin. It certainly got well back on track after my first alarm when the party was about to head straight into the Mere at the start of the session.
I’ve started creating the town for them as well. There’s an eatery which I can turn into the Tavern later (ready for Sleeping Dragon module). The fishermen and Merrygold have been helpful and so they become more accepted within the town. They have connections within the town and are starting to get to know the place. Pretty soon they will be as warmly welcomed here as they are in Phandalin
I do wish that D&D would organise these modules in level order before alphabetical. I was all set to send them to Phandalin, before further reading made it clear that it was for later. I’ve since noticed that several modules seem to be organised like that. Storm Kings has a progression chart, which is something I had to work out for Storm Lord’s. Something I might not have noticed at first. It’s certainly something I will keep in mind if I work through Sleeping Dragon and Divine Contention.
From a playing perspective, the next hiccup is going to be that my Sunday Morning time isn’t going to work soon when all the schools go back. My youngest has some tutoring and with the new schedule I will be dropping her off at the time I’m supposed to the starting. I’m sure we can figure something out.