D&D – Saltmarsh: The Emperor

While there have been a couple of missed sessions, I notice its now June and I haven’t updated since March. So…

The Saltmarsh crew were hired by a merchant to salvage a ship. A lost ship of his fleet had been recently spotted adrift. They were tasked with retrieving a strongbox from the ship, and would be paid handsomely. The crew turned down the offer of a ship as they preferred to take their own…

After a few days sail, they found the ship, looking weatherbeaten and with no sign of life on board. They had their crew take a boat over and tie up alongside while the adventurers headed onboard.

The deck was clear but damage, and spiders, were everywhere. Venturing inside, the party was immediately set upon by an ettercap and a couple of giant spiders. Some of the smaller spiders swarmed together to attack as well.

They were bested fairly easily and the crew ventured further in.

They came upon an ominous sight – an alter to Lloth, in her guise as Queen of Spiders. Not a positive sign, though it goes some way to explaining all the spiders.

Opening a cabin door they surprised a rather decrepit man inside. The man tossed aside the bone he had been chewing and attacked. The party overwhelmed him as well. This man was dressed in rags and looked like he’d been eating poorly. The ship just got stranger and stranger.

The hallway opened a little, but they were ambushed by more spiders, this time including a phase spider. It ghosted around as they fought, but again the party was victorious.

They found the opening to the hold, but decided to clear this deck of any threats before heading further in. This decision would prove its worth soon.

Here they found three, well, three cocoons? They were wriggling so the party suspected they might have people inside and started to slice one open.

They were met by a ferocious set of teeth. A maw demon raged out of the webs and two more quickly attacked. The party struggled a little, but put the demons down.

Returning to the hold, Hangs (our tabaxi) leapt down into the gloom.

He discovered, much to his dismay, that the hold was about waist deep in seawater. A rather wet and bedraggled tabaxi began to search the hold.

About halfway along he found their prize. A large crate marked with an A. Just as he was attempting to move the crate, 3 ghouls leapt out of the water.

Hangs took a couple of severe blows, and managed little in return. Some of the party jumped to help while others fired from a distance. During the fight, the ship trembled and shook a couple of times. A noise like splintering wood could also be heard.

Just as the ghouls sank beneath the dark water, mighty tentacles burst through the hull, sweeping across the room. It was only chance that saved anyone from damage.

The party attempted to move the crate, but found it much heavier than they had expected and it took two people. They found that with two, they could move it slowly across the deck.

And a race against time as the giant octopus started to take the ship apart. They heaved the crate up to the next floor. The ship settled into the water, the hold filling behind them. They continued to drag the crate along corridors and up to the main deck. Outside they could hear yells and screams.

Finally onto the main deck they discovered another ettercap had leapt onto the parties’ longboat in order to make an escape. Hangs, not being lumbered with the crate leapt over the side to land on the shoulders of the ettercap. Almost his only nice roll of the night saw a mighty blow and he managed to stay on the shoulders.

Back on deck, Reek had the crate ready to lower from the ship. Tentacles continued to lash across the deck and the boat listed over to port. The port side of the deck was now level with the water.

Reek had a great idea and let go of the rope. The heavy crate dropped down towards the longboat and a nicely lucky roll saw it crush the last of the life from the ettercap. Even better, Hang’s finest roll of the night saw him leap aside at the last minute, flip over and land with a flourish on the bow of the longboat.

With the ettercap gone and the crate loaded, the remaining members clambered into the longboat which pushed of with great haste.

Back at the ship, they hurriedly made sail, keen to vacate the area where the giant octopus was busily tearing the other ship apart.

As they sailed back they did investigate the crate and lockbox inside but quickly decided that they didn’t have the skills or magic to open it up.

Finally, the party returned to town, returned the goods and was handsomely paid their 10,000GP. Well, actually a promise note at a nearby bank.

As they settled into their beers and dinner, the party is approached by a member of the Mariner’s guild with a job….

D&D – Saltmarsh – Lizardfolk!

Their mission was clear. Deliver the lizard folk and their goods to the lizard folk base and determine if they were a threat to Saltmarsh. A successful mission would see them as the owners of The Sea Ghost.

It was only about 3 hours sail to the landing place shown to them by the lizards. Extremely close to town for a group that seems to be arming themselves. The sea elf accompanied them, so he could find out for his people.

Following their lizard escorts, the party went ashore and travelled across a headland to find the hidden entrance. The lizard escorts made this entry fairly amicable and they were handed over to a guard officer, who took them to see the Lizardfolk Queen.

The Queen and her advisors were a lot more fluent in common and the introductions went very smoothly.

It was quickly clear that the Lizardfolk were arming themselves to retake their home, further up the coast, that had been taken from them by a band of sahuagin. They also had emissaries visiting from the menfolk, the koalinth and the locathah. The sea elves had not been invited due to animosity between them and the koalinth. Humans had not been invited as the Queen couldn’t see the benefit of land dwellers in what would be a sea or undersea fight.

The party suggested that perhaps they could help with weapons, suggesting things like crossbows could also be added. More conversation ensued

At the end, the queen said that she would consider their proposals and respond soon. She would call them back when she was ready to discuss. In the meantime, they could roam freely within the Lizardfolk’s home.

Which the party did. They were asked not to enter a few sleeping chambers, and one area which the Lizardfolk used other creatures to guard the entranceway.

Wandering around they made a good impression on the lizards. Especially when they demonstrated the power and accuracy of the crossbows to the soldiers. This scored them a lot of points.

There was a tense moment when the koalinth emissaries spied the sea elf with the party. However, in the spirt of peace, and that the elf quickly moved away, nothing occurred.

Koalinth – basically sea orcs

In the end the queen agreed to send two emissaries to Saltmarsh, to begin negotiations. The party returned to the Sea Ghost, and sailed back to Saltmarsh.

This session was entirely RP’d. The session completed the entire Danger at Dunwater without any fighting. There were a few persuasion and insight checks. A couple of moments where there party did think about poking in where they had been asked not to but they did not.

Throughout their visit, the DM tracks what kind of an impression they are making on the Lizardfolk. Doing good things, establishing good relationships, being courteous would add numbers, with bad things, like releasing sahuagin prisoners or fighting with emissaries would reduce the number. At the end, if the number was high enough the queen would send them home with emissaries.

The party was probably meant to kill the lizards back on the ship, but that’s not what happened, so they entered this module in a very different place to the normal. I gave them a high positive number to start with because of that, and for returning the weapons. They treated courteously with the queen and friendly to their youngsters. They hit it off with the soldiers by showing them the additional weapons and (apart from the koalinth) were friendly to the other emissaries. They got a high number quite easily. (and were so close, and the session was about to end, so I didn’t feel like running the extra killer croc event)

Now they have some time off (they think) in Saltmarsh while the crown and the Lizardfolk negotiate….

D&D – Saltmarsh – Onboard the Smugglers.

I’m writing this about a month after, so I will probably be a little light on the details.

The party spent a couple of nights waiting for the ship, before almost at dawn it appeared. There was some initial confusion but the signals were sent and the party boarded the longboat and paddled out to the ship. They approached head on, and were recognised very quickly.

Storming the ship the battle raged across the main deck, with the party chasing enemy up onto the various parts. The tabaxi tried to “dance around” their enemy, but only slightly distracted him, so the fight was fairly even. The deck wizard got off a couple of good shots.

An angry man charged from one of the cabins proclaiming he wouldn’t have this on ‘his’ ship. But even the captain was no match of the party.

The Sea Ghost. (an epic conversion I found on Reaper minis message board)

The party relaxed a little as they cleaned off the main deck but the barbarian was still raging so he charged down one set of stairs into a cabin.

Without coming across anyone.

The ship was searched, and it turned out that the crew had perished in the fight upstairs. They found a large quantity of stores, with no indication if this was regular or smuggled goods.

As they finally finished up clearing the ship, they came across a cabin with 3 very wary lizard folk inside. I have to admit I did expect them to charge in, weapons swinging. It was lizard folk after all. They attempted to communicate.

Warily the lizard folk accepted that any fighting was between the sailors and the party not with the lizard folk. This did calm them down somewhat, but in broken common, they asked who was going to finish their deal now that the smugglers were dead.

Apparently there are some weapons on board, being smuggled for the lizard folk. Alarmingly, the lizard folk were based only 10 miles along the coast from Saltmarsh…. Is an attack coming against Saltmarsh?

The ship was searched again.

And again.

After some time, a secret compartment was discovered. Inside, about 30 weapons, brand new, but plain, were being kept. The lizard folk’s goods.

In a compartment next to it, they found a rather miserable sea elf. He had been scouting the ship, trying to figure out what the smugglers were doing, when he was struck from behind and woke up in this cell.

Eventually, the party and lizard folk agreed that the party would head back to Saltmarsh and deliver the news and the goods to the town. Then they would ship the goods and the lizard folk home.

The goods were sold (some may have made their way into the secret compartments for later sale) and the ship was given to the party as reward. But the proviso was that they took the Lizardfolk home, with their weapons and found out what was happening.

Using some of their loot and cash, their hired on a crew, including a cook. The lizard folk were back aboard and the ship ready to leave.

D&D – and zombies

The broken battle continued in this session. 

Seeing that most of their company had fallen, including the leader, the last two bandits threw down their arms and came clean on everything that they knew.

The party listened, but every quickly decided that they needed to dispatch the remaining threats behind each door before too much time passed. The chimera was sounding decidedly unhappy, so they started there. A pet of the bandit boss, the animal was already incensed by her death. Just as I was about to have it burst out to disrupt the conversation with the surrendered bandits, the party opened the door.

With the platemail wearing dragonborn paladin holding the doorway, the chimera found getting out of its room rather difficult. Coupled with several mighty arrow strikes from the ranger, the chimera barely got a breath attack before it found itself very quickly dead. 

Next, they decided to drop the large room of zombies. With a great fireball, that destroyed the locked door and engulfed the entire pen, many zombies fell before the fight even started. The ogre zombies proved a little more sturdy, and there was a few rounds of fighting before they fell. 

At this point, I had a long line of dead tokens stacked off the map and the party is starting to find that it has only a few spell slots left, or not a lot of arrows etc. Once again, a long running battle has pressed the party towards their limits. 

One final door, and 3 zombies try to attack the party. Using a similar approach, blocking the door with the paladin, the party finds that while they don’t hit much harder, they take a lot more to put down. 

With the fall of the last zombie the party paused for a breath. During the distraction the bandits had fled, but that won’t have any lasting consequences. The bandits are running for Neverwinter and to find some other work to do.

With the keep theirs, the party secured the buildings and pulled up for a well-earned rest. They will continue to look for the dragon next session….

Or will they…. It will be Valentine’s Day for the next session and (assuming we are not all out entertaining our real life valentines) I am looking about for a short little sidetrack to run them through. There are a couple of possible options in DMs Guild and I have a couple of ideas myself…

D&D – Smugglers

And it was time to restart the adventure in Saltmarsh as well….

Our party spent the evening interrogating their prisoner, eventually finding out that a businessman in Saltmarsh who worked with the smugglers had sent him to observe and interfere with the party’s investigation. And if needed, to stop it.

To Ned it was quickly evident from the party’s loose chatter that he was too late to prevent the party interfering, so his task changed to stopping the party.

And evidently, this was a little too much to ask of Ned, hence the current situation. 

The party decided to stay the night, keeping a vigil for the smugglers boat (Ned let them know that one was due on the current new moon). No ship showed and this antagonised the party until they realised that a new moon isn’t just one night, and it is the sea, so there could easily be delays.

They knocked out Ned, slung him over the back of the Tortle and headed into town. 

As they passed through town there were quite a few curious looks. A particular set of people were noticed to see the party, confer and then quickly disappear into the crowd. Meek, the urchin druid Halfling set out to follow them, but it turned out they had some local advantage and he lost them as they climbed over the fences of some rather well to do house. After watching for a while, Reek headed back to rejoin the party.

Meanwhile the party arrived at the council chambers and were ushered into the office of the councilman who tasked them. He was both happy and dismayed that his hunch was correct. He was also very interested in hearing what Ned might reveal about the businessman involved. He sent Ned away with his man to keep him safe. Being that his man is the leader of another hidden faction trying to disrupt the smugglers for their own needs, he’s pretty stoked the party bought this guy back.

The councilman asks the party to remain in his employ, return to the house and try to catch the smuggler’s ship. He agrees on a reward, agrees to provide supplies so the party can remain at the house, and the party can have any spoils, including the ship. With several of the party having sailor backgrounds, some happy grins were exchanged.

With that, the party head out into the town to sell some of the items they had collected. The most memorable was a bidding war in a local miners pub for some illustrated erotic books. They headed back to the mansion as it grew dark, settling in to rest and watch for the ship.

D&D – Zombies again

Well the Leilon game has restarted. Most of the players got the message over various socials so we had 4 in attendance. About normal for us anyway.

When (before Christmas) we left our party, they’d just defeated a collection of zombies that charged out of the scrub at them. The fight ending up with a single armoured fighter who had been chasing the zombies (her colleague had died in the fight). The party and the fighter had an initially strained conversation, but it eased off as each side worked out where each other stood.

The party helped build a rock cairn for her colleague, accepting her story that they had been all that was left of a caravan that had been attacked by the zombies. The pair had decided to follow and either stop, warn or assist anything else they came across. With the zombies taken care of, she said she would head to Neverwinter and find more work. (At no point did the party check any of her conversation. She was lying through her teeth, not even her name was real. Ah well).

However, some of the party became suspicious when she left. She didn’t head towards the main road, rather deeper into the forest. A couple of them followed until she started down a trail, still heading “the wrong way”. They went back to the party and the party moved to follow and investigate. (Our fighter was headed back to the bandit gang she came from).

The party eventually came across a ruined keep in the forest. After some recon of the area, the party split. With 3 approaching the gate and 3 covering them, hidden in the surrounding trees. They could see several guards on the walls and more through a large hole in one wall.

The party assumed that the fighter had come here, and name dropped to no response. (She had actually come back, but due to her failure to hide the zombies or destroy the party, the bandit leader had her killed). The party was invited in (the 3 they could see) and a little conversation was had. The party enquired about the group (mercenaries apparently, enroute to Neverwinter – not true). They warned them about the zombies (the bandits had a whole stash of zombies themselves). This was really a pretext for the bandit leader to get them in the walls to kill them, to keep the secret of the zombies.

In classic ambush style, the bandits attacked as the party went to leave. Several things helped the party. The paladin had sensed a great number of zombies in a nearby room, but was unable to say anything without revealing it. And someone did an insight check, it was clear the leader was lying. And the other party member figured that the camp looked like it had been here for sometime, not the couple of days that the leader described. Everyone was suspicious. Outside, the others had moved to see through the hole in the wall as soon as they saw the gates shut behind the party. So there wasn’t much surprise when the bandits attacked.

Battle ensued. The members in the courtyard put up a good defence, but most of the damage was done by the ranger and wizard launching ranged attacks through the hole in the wall. The bard cast his (continually frustrating for a DM) Hypnotic Distraction and distracted half the bandits. The guards on the walls started shooting arrows into the fray as well.

Initially it looked more even than most fights. However with half of her bandits distracted, the leader made a run for a room at the base of one of the towers, where her pet chimera was kept. She never made it, but her death scream caused the creature to cry out. The party figured something nasty behind door number one.

Door number two was revealed to have something behind it too, when the bard came up against it during the fight. The moans were clearly audible and instantly recognised. And the paladin revealed there were definitely zombies behind door number 3.

The bandits did intend to release these into the party, but were prevented from door one and two simply by being cut down when they attempted to move in that direction. The wizard secured door 3 with a Wall of Flame cast across the courtyard, cutting the bandits off from it.

An exciting session had to cut off in the middle of this fight. With only 2 bandits standing, things could calm down shortly.

I imagine the party will move to eliminate the remaining threats piecemeal, which will make it easier for them. It’s something they are very at good at setting up even in a melee, so with each group behind a door, I think it will be easy to keep them seperate. However, there are a LOT of zombies behind door 3. The chimera sounds scary, but this crew has killed 2 dragons in short order. I don’t think the chimera on its own will be much of a problem.

I am planning on having the last couple of bandits surrender. This won’t stop the party from having to deal with the other creatures as the bandits don’t control them (with the death of the chimera’s owner). But they might get some intel that could set things up for later….

D&D – Aid to the Bronze

So the weekend was a double header for me. DM’ing the Saltmarsh on Friday evening and then DM’ing the Sleeping Dragon on the Sunday Morning.

Oh, rubbish, I’ve missed at least one session here as well. I’ll use the fact that time is wibbly-wobbley, timey-whimey stuff to sort that out. And the fact that I can have the post schedule for whenever I like, even the past…..

The party was recovering in Leilon when a they got a note. Their old party member. Baraxas, a paladin of Bahamut, had sent word that there was a old Bronze dragon that might be able to help supposedly in a shrine not too far away. It had not been seen for some time, so some were convinced it might be dead, but Baraxas thought it be worth checking out anyway.

The party hired a small boat (as the shrine was apparently easily spotted and accessed from the water) and headed up the coast.

Here they found a large shrine carved into the cliff, depicting a dragon roaring. A small stone jetty lead to some stairs and up into the cave.

They landed and snuck up the stairs. The lead, a ranger, spotted a tripwire at the top, which the party avoided. Inside, they surprised several cultists (in this case benign cultists who provided support to the Bronze dragon and tended its shrine, not your usual evil, rip your beating heart from your body cultists).

Initially it was at a tipping point, with combat imminent. However, some quick words (and persuasion and history checks) lessened the tensions and soon the group was being shown around and invited to visit Lhammas…….. something. Dragon names are tongue twisters for sure. I just called her Llama for short.

They were cautioned that Llama was not well, acting very strangely and may be violent.

Up in the dragon’s chambers several members immediately felt uncomfortable with a distracting buzzing filling their heads. One became very confused.

The dragon met them with confusion and distrust, suspecting them to be foes. Some quick words and a Calm Emotions spell had a positive effect, but it was soon clear that the dragon was confused to the point of dangerous. The party retreated downstairs.

Downstairs they spent some time discovering that this had happened fairly recently. A helpful ghost they came across also suspected that the dragon was suffering some external influence. The party set out to search the rest of the dragon’s home and also prowled around outside in case anything seemed out of place.

They had no luck, so discussions ensued. As they settled down for the night, they began to suspect the barnacles growing around the window in the dragon’s chamber might be related. It seemed the barnacles were unusually far from the ocean below. (That was the end of the previous session, have I missed 2 reports?)

The next morning, two important things occurred. Baraxas rejoined the party. He had been released by his church to return to the party and support them with the dragon. This would also provide confirmation to the church that the dragon was still alive. In reality, a new player joined the group and decided they didn’t want to waste time rolling up a new character, happy to take up the reins of Baraxas. Big bonus for the party as they have their tank back. And in this case, they are Dragonborn – who better to talk to a dragon?

Who better to talk to Llama. The party headed back to the dragons room, Baraxas almost overwhelmed by the rank odour of evil coming from the direction of the barnacles. But before they could explain to the increasingly agitated dragon, Baraxas was thrown into a confused state, so much for that advantage. However, a timely cast Calm Emotions and the party was able to convince the dragon to move downstairs while they dealt with the whatever evil remained.

The second important thing was that the wizard was able to recall a demon known as an Alkitih, which usually took the form of moss or fungus, around doors or windows. These were known to send beings mad unless destroyed.

As the spell started to wear off the dragon, the group charged back upstairs.

Without the additional support of the crazed dragon, the demon proved a fairly simple kill for the group. As soon as it died, a loud thump was heard from downstairs.

Back downstairs they found Llama slumped to the floor, alive but probably unconscious.

After a nervous wait by the party and the dragons helpers, she slowing regained her senses and was clearly recovering quickly from the effects of the demon’s madness. The cultists were very happy.

Llama took them into the chamber and they received a vision from Bahamut. In it a terrible green dragon was attaching Leilon. Llama recognised it as… another difficult dragon name, who I called Claude, an old green that lives nearby, but keeps to herself to avoid the wrath of the Cities of the Sword Coast.

They received some rewards, and I put them all up to level 9. Now they have returned to Leilon. After letting the town know what they had found out, they set off for the green.

As they moved through the hills towards the forrest where the green lived, they were confronted by several zombies lumbering along (who then lumbered towards them) being chased by two women.

The party engaged and the session ended with the zombies destroyed and the party about to talk to the 2 women….

Then the session closed and we’ll start again sometime in mid-January.

D&D – The Sinister Saltmarsh

Well looks like I have two entertaining sessions to cover for this adventure.

The party spent the night in the secret laboratory. Outside, the smugglers, being alerted by the Magic Mouth earlier and being all prepared to repulse the intruders, were quite perplexed when they disappeared. The smugglers were thankful that the party had cleared out the skeletons, but began to assume that the adventurers, not finding the further secret door (into the smugglers lair) had basically gone back the way they had come. They shrugged and went about their business.

Several hours later the party emerges, hearing sounds from the outer room they approached cautiously. Their sneakiest member managed to sneak up, knock one out and drag him back, all the way to the secret room where he was interrogated.

Discovering there were several smugglers, lead by a magician, the party headed back into the barracks. Here they were met by two smugglers, one of whom fled through a previously unknown secret door. The party quickly overwhelmed the remaining one and approached the secret door, the stairs and cave that followed.

Combat started as soon as they poked their head around the door. What happened next was a strung out, non-stop fight through most of the caves before facing off with a very confident lead smuggler. Whom they resoundly defeated. Ended that session there.

The next session was initially spent searching the now empty caves, finding a lot of trade goods and a small boat. They also remembered they had left a door unopened behind them and there discovered the wizard’s own quarters. Inside they found a lantern and signalling instructions along with some other bits and pieces.

They decided, having cleared out the underneath, to return to the floor above and search the rest of the house, before returning to Saltmarsh with their trade goods.

They kept going up and were soon on the top floor. Unlocking a door using a key hanging next to the door, they discovered Ned. Ned was tied up in the room and told them he was a traveller who took shelter in the building. Only he was hit from behind, knocked unconscious and left here without his equipment.

Ned is actually working with the smugglers and was sent here to infiltrate and stop the party. However, as the party “disappeared” he wasn’t sure what was happening. At this point he doesn’t know that the smugglers have already been defeated. The party was suspicious enough to leave him tied up while they talked, but wasn’t searched and no insight checks were taken. Oh well.

Convinced of Ned’s story, the party moves next door. These two rooms have a shaky floor, which one of the party proceeded to ensure was tested past breaking point, creating a large opening in the floor across the two rooms. Remember this for a moment.

In this second room they found evidence that the smugglers use this room and it’s window to signal their ships. Nothing else – on to the next room.

A shiny attracted their attention here and the first few entered the room. At this point the party is strung along the corridor, with a couple inside the room and Ned following along behind. He has figured out, through their conversations that they have defeated the smugglers. Ned decides he needs to defeat them, or at least inflict some damage and head for his bosses.

The members who entered the room were set upon by swarms of spiders. More of the party charged in to support their comrades. Ned took his chance and attacked the last person, causing a grievous wound with a dagger he had kept concealed (hey, the party didn’t search him, shrug)

Forced to fight in two directions the party split and defended themselves. Ned took a couple more swings and fled for the rooms behind to try to escape. There was a yelp and a crash. In his haste Ned had forgotten the holes in the floor and fallen to the floor below.

In some ways this made it easier. The party had all but killed the spiders so more and more members turned to retaliate against Ned. Several were shooting/casting through the gaping hole in the floor.

Reek, the halfling barbarian leapt into the hole and grappled Ned, knocking him unconscious.

And that’s where the party has left it for the Christmas Break. We should restart in mid Jan sometime.

DnD – From Wrath to Wakes

The party finished up in the caves with some convincing directions, and a battle with some hags.

Hearing the noises around the corner, the bard cast disguise, appearing as the drow lieutenant from earlier. He walked out into the group of low level cultists, assured them that there was nothing to be concerned about (They had some lucky opposed rolls here and the cultists weren’t too keen on disobeying the second in charge as well as not too keen on disturbing the crazy Gadrille. All of this worked in the party’s favour.). So the cultists went back to work, stripping the current wreck.

The bard eavesdropped and snooped about for a little longer before returning to the group. Collectively they decided to see if they could convince these guys to leave without a fight, so the bard returned to the cultists. He told them they were needed elsewhere and that they should leave immediately. (Again some lucky rolls had the cultist completely convinced) so they did. Who were they to disobey the bosses.

As they left they mentioned another group of cultists in the caves, and the hags. The group decided to deal with the remaining cultists (in hopefully the same way) and then the hags. They had decided that leaving the hags here was not doing the area any favours.

So the bard went off again to talk to more cultists. This group were slightly more difficult to convince and almost walked in on the party (which would have given it all away). However, before long they were in a boat and on there way to “the headquarters” (I have no idea where that might be, and don’t care. I was just rewarding a rare piece of non-murder hobo RP with some easy victories).

Then to the hags.

As the group arrived in the cavern with the hags, they were greeted with cautious friendliness, that was spoiled immediately by the Dragonborn Paladin demanding their deaths. So the battle was joined.

The hags got off the first attacks through some excellent DM initiative rolls. A mighty lightning bolt tore through the party causing some concern. Then there were several misses from the hag side, before the hunter crippled one of the hags with his arrows.

A fireball from our wizard was the solid return from the party. The hags did attempt a counterspell with little effect. This severely wounded several of the hags and their constructs (a floating skull with a stinger). At this point I realised that I had forgotten to look after the party’s fear response to the hags, so that would wait until a complete round had occurred, to be fair.

From the fireball, things started to go badly for the hags. One died and the other two took some serious damage. This meant that their coven actions were interrupted. I could not see that they could cast any spells without the coven so they would have to melee the group.

Once again, a handy cast of Hypnotic Pattern caused problems for the groups attackers. One hag was completely taken in and so the group was able to concentrate on the other. This meant it was down to 6 vs 1 and the last hag died too.

An uneventful return to Leilon followed. The party rested while the wizard tried to find out anything he could from the “jar of eyes” and the “severed finger” that they found in the hags cave. Actually I just put them in the locked box as they were momentos that one of the hags kept. She collects different eyes (as one might collect stamps) and the other was the ring finger of an ex (who didn’t know she was a hag, until she bit his finger off, well all his fingers). Maybe I can use them later….

The group also went up a level, so now level 8. They continue to destroy everything I put against them, so even though they are at least a level behind the expected level for this adventure, they are doing fine. I also awarded some extra special gifts from the Lord who hired them. Partly this was a “First Anniversary Gift” of the game as well, as it has been going for more than a year now.

They received

  • The cleric got “Shield of Expression” – the shield has a face which the bearer can change the expression of;
  • The paladin got “Dread Helm” – helmet that makes him look scary with red glowing eyes. So now we have a Dragonborn Paladin in plate armour with a Dread Helm;
  • The wizard received a “Enduring Spellbook” – a spellbook that isn’t harmed by fire, water etc;
  • The monk got “Expanding Pole” – a pole that extends magically from 1 – 10′ on command;
  • The hunter picked up “Quiver of Elhona” – a bag of holding for arrows, javelins, bows; and
  • The bard received “Perfume of Bewitching” – gives advantage on charisma checks.

The idea was that all the items were sort of related to the players but also didn’t actually provide much (or any) bonus in a fight. I’m thinking that the Lord could be more generous after the next modules complete.

So Wrath of the Storm Lord is completed. To tease them in to the “Sleeping Dragons Wake”, I mentioned that they noticed a fisherman arrive in town and run into the Town Council buildings. The fisherman has arrived from Leilon Point with reports of attack by “violent sea mermaids”. Once they finish Leilon Point, they will hear rumours of the Death Knight Dreadnaught washed ashore.

The next module is designed using an “Adventure Board” system, where all the adventures stem from reading a “Help Wanted” board in the village. Not really a fan of this, plus my way fits better with the story. The Lord is happy with their work, they are still uncovering Storm Lord cultists, so why would he suddenly cancel their contract. Notably, they haven’t thought to haggle on their contract since they have been so successful and have risen in levels, another reason that the Lord is happy to keep them on. He’s paying seasoned powerful adventurers (now level 8) at the same rate as when they were just famous, mid level adventurers (I think it was level 5).

DnD – Storm Lord’s Wrath

Okay, I thought, now that it is finished, a small review of the module might be handy for some. I will caution this review that this is only the second module I’ve run as DM since returning to DND after a 30 year hiatus.

Overall I thought it was an entertaining and pretty well balanced module. My group rang rings around it often, but that is some inexperience from me, as well as having 6 experienced players as my group. However, they didn’t always find it a walkover.

There are plenty of ways into this adventure, depending upon where your party is – I used a letter from Lord Neverember, looking for adventurers to support his new town and having heard of their success in Phandalin, he put an offer to them.

The Wayside inn encounter was good, would have been better if I had remembered that zombies have a “not die” chance. This would be a common theme in the early part of this module for me – inexperience as DM so forgetting to check for multi attacks, special abilities and the like. A little bit of roll play here, but I suggest that you read the Foul Weather at Wayside part before this as well, so you can get better RP going after this encounter.

The arrival at Leilon and ensuing encounters was a really good test for my players. Stringing the encounters out left the characters running out of spells, reducing their options as yet more bad guys appeared. The players really enjoyed this. But I would watch out for them to be overwhelmed and adjust accordingly.

I RP’d the House of Thalivar which the players enjoyed. No combat and almost no spells. The encounter with the Lizardfolk in the marsh and the encounters along the way were also a good series.

The goat herding trip to Phandalin was fun as well. Things had changed in the town and that challenged the party somewhat. People missing, new people. The three way fight would have been interesting to play, except my party uncovered the undead faction and incinerated them before this could occur. I think that they are still unaware that there are actually two bad factions at work. I think they will discover this very soon in the Sleeping Dragon module.

The rest of the module worked well as well. Well it would have if the party had not walked over various encounters, for example, even with additional hell hounds, they knocked over the big bad (of the module) in a couple of turns. They had more trouble with the hags they faced shortly after.

Some of the geography of the module is very unclear though… Where is the Thunder Cliffs in relation to the town? (It turns out that it is north, but even then, how far? I think I read somewhere that it is north of Neverwinter, so why would Leilon care? And if it’s not, then all the ship encounters have to happen in a single day? I located it a few days south. Even the first meeting outside of town, describes the settler’s camp, which is then drawn on the south side (most parties would arrive from the north, from Phandalin).

NOTES FOR ROLL 20: Here are some additional thoughts about the published Roll 20 Storm Lord’s Module.

I found (as I did for the Phandalin adventure) I had to add a lot of maps. This wouldn’t happen so much in a face to face game, as it’s easier to ad hoc an encounter, where as you really need a map in R20. So I created maps for outside Leilon, Leilon waterfront, all of the marsh encounters (except the actual meeting of Lizardfolk), the ghost ship, the rowing ashore under attack, the wyvern attack, the ogre attack, the undead base in Phandalin. I think that’s all.

In the end, this was kind of fun as I developed my own map-drawing skills and style, rather than using the free tiles etc in R20.

The manticore token was kinda wrong as well. There were a few tokens that were sort of messed up. The owner of Wayside is a swashbuckler lady, only the token is clearly male. In fact, it would be nice if there was a range of “Commoner” tokens to use for various occasions.