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.

DnD – No more wrath?

The party continues to sweep all before it…

Well pretty much.

They beat off the manticores, but had a little more trouble with the Invisible Stalker. It wasn’t until one of them splashed water that the others could see it. After that, it dropped pretty quick.

There’s an invisible stalker in this picture too, you just have to know where to look 😉

With a shape water spell, they calmed the water ahead of them and rowed to shore (I skipped the giant crabs that were supposed to attack). Arriving at the beach, a couple quickly spotted the alarm wire strung across the beach. So their first action was to send out mage hand to tug/pull/tap the wires.

Nothing visible happened, so they relaxed. Of course, inside the cave the cultists readied themselves to defend. There would be no unhappy banter for the players to eavesdrop on.

The group spent a little while trying to decide what to do with the wires, before just walking across the beach for the cave entrance.

The first area they found had a very sickly warrior and his guard. The paladin and the cleric managed to convince the warrior that they could help him and in exchange, the warrior would let not attack them. He was a cultist, but not a devout one, and the illness was making him consider his life choices.

The group determined that it was actually a curse, but that the priest would need to rest until the next day to be able to remove it. In exchange a wary peace settled into the room as the party settled in for the night as the warrior and his wary bodyguards watched on. The party retreated into Leomund’s Tiny Hut for the night.

Image blatantly swiped from here

In the morning they cured the warrior. He accused the cult leader and described how to find her in the caves. He then took his men and left.

The party kind of shrugged at this point and headed off to face the local leader of the cult.

Here they faced Gadrille, a half elf evoker and her two frost hounds (think hell hounds, only about cold). There were a few interesting moments. At one point Gadrille fireballed the party, doing some serious damage. The blast caught one of her frost hounds, but that was of little concern to her.

Though the party did suffer some damage, once they had beaten the frost hounds and could concentrate on the evoker, it was over pretty fast.

Now the party has basically finished Storm Lords Wrath. They are still in the caves at the moment, and have just caught the sounds of some furious and worried whispers around the corner….

The remaining low level cultists are around the corner arguing about checking on the sounds. They are terrified of Gadrille so are not keen to disturb whatever she is doing. They would likely attack the party if they see them. There is also a trio of hags in another chamber. I was planning to keep the party away from them, in the interests of time, but I’m not sure now. Could be a fun RP. Or a challenging fight, 3 hags in their lair….

DnD – Man the boats

There was a bit of technical hiccup in our previous session, seeing anyone who used Telstra as their internet provider disconnected just as the game started. That included me. So the session was off.

Two weeks later we resumed. In the meantime, we had also gained a new player and the party gained a half-orc gloom stalker ranger who stumbled into the aftermath of the brutal fight in the Wayside Inn wondering who had made all the mess.

With a map found in the Inn, the party realised that there was a main base of the cultists in a place called Thunder Cliffs. Our new ranger, familiar with the area, told them they would need a boat to access the caves, several days sail south of Leilon. So back to town.

After a couple of days, the council reported that they had found two captains willing to take the mission. The players interviewed the captains, and decided up the swift ship of Captain Stands in Tar (a tabaxi) over the slightly suspicious (but much more sober) Dragonborn captain.

And they set off. But the few days of transit were not boring. Stands in Tar had a catch up with another passing ship who warned them of a ‘ghost ship’. Ominious portents….. (and fairly obvious ones).

They headed off a mutiny lead by the first mate. Convincing her that this could all be sorted after the party finishes their mission. And are off the ship and don’t need to get involved.

Then it got foggy, and low dark clouds, and strange voices could be heard. “SHIP SIGHTED” came the call from the lookout and before they knew it, ghostly apparitions were looming out of the darkness.

The crew was incapacitated almost immediately. The party fought well with the spectres almost all incinerated by a well placed fireball from our gnome pyromanic…. I mean gnome wizard.

Afterwards, the party realised that in all of the ghostly whispering, several had clearly heard some snippets that seemed important. These were recorded for later. These are portents of actions in the next module “Sleeping Dragon Wakes”.

A day or so later, the ship dropped anchor off Thunder Cliffs. massive sheer 800ft cliffs dropped into the sea. The party could see several shipwrecks in the water and on the beach in front of the caves. Stands in Tar offered to wait up to 5 days, but they would have to put ashore in the ships cutter. She wouldn’t be taking her ship in any closer.

Into the small boat the party went. The wizard’s Unseen Servant took up the oars and rowed them steadily towards the shore.

They spied some fliers coming at them, soon being revealed as several manticores who attacked immediately. Strangely, one of the party was attacked on the boat by something they could not see.

So two combats started off. The party with ranged attacks started to battle the manticores, inflicting serious wounds. Meanwhile the pair sitting at the front of the boat swung wildly as they attempted to fight something they weren’t even sure was there.

And there the session ended.

I think there is about 2-3 sessions left in this module. I expect that they will want to continue into Sleeping Dragon Wakes, but I have offered them to change module, change DM, heck even stop the game altogether. We will have to pause for a bit as one player has some surgery and I don’t think its fair if we finish the module without him. So we might cram in an extra session to see if we can finish. Otherwise it will resume after the pause. I could run a one-shot or one of the others might in the planned sessions that he’s incapacitated. Or it might just form a natural break between the two modules.

DnD – Clearing the Wayside

My intrepid group woke one morning to find a terrible, yet strange looking storm brewing north of Leilon. They also found themselves summoned to the Town Council, who were in a bit of a state. Earlier that day, settlers had headed north for supplies and since then this terrible looking storm developed. The party was asked to take a look, see if everyone was ok.

As they were getting ready, the settlers came back. Less one horse (killed by lightning) and one guard (stayed behind to observe). They were drenched and described a storm that came out of nowhere as they approached the Wayside Inn (north, along the road). Strange in that that just a few steps past the edge of the storm, it was as if there was no storm.

With all the recent interactions with Storm Lord cultists, the party was concerned and intrigued. They set off up the road.

Well before the inn, they could see the edge of the storm. Just in the edge, it appeared that the remaining guard was being set upon by three armoured figures. The guard was holding his own, but unable to disengage or defeat them. The party joined in.

The fight went mostly well. Throughout the fight the storm seemed to push outwards from wherever it was centered. The armoured figures collapsed to empty armour when defeated, but seemed to lose their confidence when not in the storm itself.

After saving the guardsman, the party headed up the road through the terrible storm. Several were struck by lightning, with the gnome wizard almost dying. However the Paladin was able to support him enough to get to the inn.

Through the storm they got to 30′ of the Inn before they could really see it. Pinned to the door, with tridents through their bodies, were several commoners, still alive and desperately trying to get away. The party tried to release them, but sadly only saved 2 of the 6. Even the simple act of removing the trident was enough to finish the others.

Getting them hidden nearby, the party approached the door. Opening them, there was a mighty explosion, with the Dragonborn Paladin taking the brunt of the blast. Inside the common room they found a group of cultists with prisoners.

The wizard opened with a fireball, killing several of the cultists, and though they didn’t know at the time, a couple of prisoners as well. A battle ensued in the common room. Several more cultists rushed in to help their brethren, and although there were several solid attacks, the party defeated the cultists and released the remaining prisoners. The storm had not dissipated at this stage, which the group agreed was unexpected. There must be more cultists.

They searched the upstairs and the stable yard, but it was only when they revisited the kitchen that they found the cellar access. They headed below.

In the cellar they found the resident blacksmith chanting at a large statue of the Storm Lord. A beam of lightning joined the two. Tied up in the corner was the Inn’s owner.

The group charged in, put off a little, or triggered, by the strange grin from the smith.

The party fought against her, but they seemed unable to put her down. During the fight, one member untied the innkeeper, who joined into the battle. A couple also approached the statue, only to be set upon as it became animated.

After a few rounds they realised that to defeat the smith, they might need to defeat the statue first. They refocused their attacks and soon both were defeated.

And there ended the session. We’ll do the “what happens after the fight” next time. An extra long session has got them almost to the last set piece. Will they find the map that leads them there?

DnD – Finishing at Phandalin

The group I am DM’ing has been coping well with some enforced reschedules which has been very helpful. When last we left them, they had just finished – oh wait I’ve not written that up either…

Ok, they are in Phandalin, organising the goods for Leilon and checking out what has changed in the month since they left. They were a bit curious about a person who entered the Stonewall Inn one evening, but left immediately getting some odd comments from the proprietor. The group searched out his place the next day and found it without much difficulty.Finding it empty, they poked about inside, but found nothing of interest. They set up to wait and see, only for their quarry to emerge from the hut that they had thought was empty! One member followed him while the rest searched the house again. This time they found a cellar.

The cellar contained a host of ghouls, which the party immediately engaged.

Upstairs the quarry returned, but was set upon by the party’s monk who had been following him that evening. He was hitting hard, but not doing much damage.

Down below, the ghouls were being quickly dispatched, which meant some of the party could head back upstairs to aid the monk, who was having a hard time with the sole “prospector”.

With additional damage from the party, the “prospector” was killed.

At this point a more learned member of the party suspected it was a vampire spawn, so they took the head off to ensure it was actually dead. It would also prove if it was spawn or a full vampire. Then they collected the head and headed to the Townmaster’s house to make a report.

Here they disturbed his dinner, dropping the spawn head in the man’s soup. Yet more evidence of trouble in Phandalin, right under the nose of the Townmaster. He took their suggestion of a town militia seriously, but shooed them away as “always bringing trouble to town”.

The next day, Pinchwit, the goatherd, asked them to head back to Leilon. As they loaded the wagons, a storm brew up. Heavy clouds turned it almost to night, as the wind increased, and lightning and thunder began. In the gloom the party noticed a people sneaking towards them, using the surrounding buildings as cover

The bard, the first to see clearly what was about to happen attacked, warning the party. A group of kobolds had surrounded them! The kobolds were led by an elf, new to town, who had been working in one of the shops.

The battle was pretty one sided, though not entirely quick. The elf and most of the kobolds were killed in the fight. The storm dissipated rapidly after the battle was finished, returning to a mostly clear day.

They did capture a kobold. He revealed that they were all worshippers of The Storm Lord and that the elf had directed them to attack the party. He didn’t know why. The party suspected that word from Leilon Storm Lord cultists had sent a message to this cultist group to eliminate the party if able.

The group also found the elf had been carrying a pair of lenses and a note. The note mentioned a map, but so far, the party has had no hints on where this map might be. (It’s about to be discovered).

They have returned to Leilon, reported to the Council. They’ve also exhausted every thing they can think of looking for maps (the architect, the wizard tower, the Lathinder Shrine) and experimenting with the lens. So far nothing. To the next session then…

We’ve rescheduled again, so the next chapter “Foul Weather at Wayside” is about to start this weekend. Not far to go now, and then Storm Lord’s will be complete.

DnD – Just a Goatherder

(I’m sure there’s a song there?)

The party finished their negotiations with the Lizardfolk. After the party helped rid them of the Rot Trolls, the Lizards released the prisoners to the party. There was some discussion that the Lizardfolk might talk to Leilon about a mutual arrangement for protection. The party headed back to the town, returning the missing soldiers (not that the SGT cared, in fact the party sowed some seeds of ridding the town of the SGT after this).

After several days of little to do, the council approached them about escorting a herd of goats (and their owner) to Phandalin for trade. They also gave them a shopping list to bring back.

With little else going on, the party decided a trip back to check on Phandalin, especially on someone else’s coin, seemed a good idea.

The next morning they headed out. The herd did get spooked when a couple of wyvern flew over, but some desperate efforts kept the flock together and presumably the wyvern decide the group was too big to tackle.

One evening though, they were surprised when a group of Ogres snuck up to start snatching goats. The party member on watch noticed the goats acting up and woke the party, just as goats started to disappear.

They charged into battle, keeping the Ogres focused on them, rather than the goats. They were somewhat surprised when a further pair charged from the back, and then a second pair shortly after.

This shows one of my own map creations.
And from the players perspective with the shadows from the tree trunks creating dark spaces (that ogres liked to hide in).

The battle ended with one last ogre, captivated by the bard’s illusion, set up en masse by the group. But not before the most dismal fireball in the history of D&D (the player rolled 6 1s, a 2 and maybe a 6, on 8d8!) so instead of destroying a pair of ogres, they just got singed and really mad.

But the party made it to Phandalin, only losing a handful of goats in the night.

While welcomed by the town and many handshakes and cheers from the folk, they have become increasingly concerned that something sinister is occurring. They have found the Shrine of Luck desecrated in the absence of Sister Girelle. A pin, with the Storm Lord’s symbol was found in the mess. A group of Kobolds led by an elf have started work in the town. This seems an odd match.

But the day has gotten long and they have retired to the Stonehill Inn for some refreshments and to gaze upon the head of the White Dragon they killed (it’s mounted over the bar in the common room).

(Some google-fu uncovered the song. It’s a song from “The Sound of Music”. Considering the several decades since I last saw that – it’s stuck in my brain pretty deeply!)

DND – Into the Mere

Would this be the first session with combat after two that had only RP? Would they get swallowed up by the Mere of Dead Men… Would they think my new maps looked terrible?

The session started with a little recovery period for the party after the past sleepless nights watching the Wizard’s tower. Then, one morning, they were approached by a worried girlfriend about her missing partner. He was a militia soldier and was late back from patrol. The party agreed to investigate.

Firstly, they were dismayed, but I don’t think exactly surprised, by the lack of interest from the militia Sergeant. Their first impressions, as he high tailed it for the woods as soon as the town was under threat, mean he is not held in high regard by the party. Perhaps this is a recommendation they will make at the end of their work here in Leilon.

They did get that there was a patrol, it was late, and it headed south along the high road for a few days before they would turn around and head back. The party kitted up and headed off.

On the second day they came upon evidence of a small battle, including signs that the missing patrol may have been involved. They followed a set of tracks into the marsh.

My hand drawn map. I prefer this and hope my players do too. This was my first one and more will come in other sessions. I’ll have another post on some of the details of this.

After a run in with a couple of giant snakes, the party came upon a tribe of lizard folk travelling the marsh. They had 2 cages of prisoners, including the missing patrol. Some of the party tried to sneak closer, but were spotted.

A battle almost ensued, but with a Dragonborn in the party, dialogue was able to be established (as both sides could talk in Draconic). The lizardfolk were on the run from rot trolls. They planed to distract the trolls by leaving the prisoners and making a run for it. After some negotiation, the offer was made – if the party could deal with the trolls, the lizard folk would let the prisoners go.

Before anything was agreed, the trolls attacked. The lizards and the party did manage to kill the trolls, but 2 lizard warriors were killed.

The party agreed to the terms, and went after the 3rd troll. This almost ended in disaster when the troll critical hit the party’s monk and one shot him to unconsciousness. As one player says, these big guys might not hit too often, but when they do, look out.

That was the last threat to the party really. The troll was pounded into the marsh by the Dragonborn paladin, expertly backed up by the party’s pyromanic wizard. The monk was healed out of unconsciousness and able to join back into the fight.

And there the session ended. They’ll kick of again next time finalising arrangements with the lizard folk. I’m interested to see if they ask for guide back to the road. Otherwise, there may be some further encounters along the way.

DND – Almost off track

Oh, it was a close one today. The party used a spell to get assistance from other beings and ended up interpreting their response in a very unexpected way.

I had everyone come in this weekend for the adventure as the next meet I would be unavailable for. The party began to explore Thalivar, the lost wizard’s tower. I had a few ‘ghostly’ things occur, but I was really trying to get them to come back that night, or at least, hang around for most of the day to get the big nasties to come out.

They found a couple of skeletons and correctly deduced that one was the late wizard. This is where it started to head off the rails. In order to try and figure out why the wizard was haunting the tower, they cast a spell to ask “other beings”. I gave them a sensation of being confused and lost (the wizard didn’t realise he was dead and was confused why the tower was damaged) and that he was stuck somewhere (he was stuck as a ghost).

Of course, this was interpreted that Thalivar had been caught up in the explosion of his magical device and transported to a different plane. My vigourous wave off hand waving was not well communicated over the audio only comms we were using and the party latched on to this theory.

And here I was worried they were about to head off on an adventure to another plane in order to rescue a wizard who wasn’t there. Who was dead and his skeleton buried under a pile of rubble in the tower. But there were two things in my favour – there wasn’t long to go in the session, so I could delay to give me time over the week to create this branch. And two, they were still keen on the idea of burying the skeletons.

The party approached the town priest, seeking advice on the bodies, laying to rest etc. Here’s my chance to steer them back to the “plan”. Together with the priest they decided to get some workmen to dig graves, while they collect the bones of the two bodies. Then the priest will say some last rites, and the bodies will be buried. Hopefully that would clear the ghost.

It worked. Of course, there is still a small doubt in at least one character’s mind that perhaps he’s not dead, just trapped in another plane.

The mysterious disappearing dark skinned woman doesn’t help.

As a last little scenario before the session ended they did a little shopping in the Peculiarites Shoppe. A couple of fun interactions there. Including the reveal that the dark sinned woman is actually one of the heroes of the town from long ago.

Overall it seemed like a good session. I will get them out into the marsh next time. And into some combat again as we’ve now managed two sessions without combat.It may also distract them from pursuing this planar adventure.

Then it will be off to Phandalin with the goats before the last act begins. After that it will be on to another module – Sleeping Dragon.

DnD – Settling into Leilon

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.