Last night, we began the first of nine sessions that will finish up the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure. Ten weeks ago, I began this adventure playing a level 1 sorcerer with some fellow gamers that I didn’t know all that well. With ten sessions gone, I’m now playing a level 3 sorcerer and have a group of new friends that I look forward to seeing each week.
This week, I was fortunate to be sitting at a table when a brand new player, Ryan, walked in. He’d never played D&D before, and only understood basic concepts of levels and XP from the video games he’d played. It’s important to remember that the Encounters events are designed for new players; although almost everyone at my event has past experience with D&D, it’s still nice to see how a novice is welcomed and made to feel at home. We got him up to speed on the rules, provided him with a pre-generated character (a level 1 Halfing Rogue) and we had a good mix of combat and role-playing provided by DM Martin. When the night’s game was over, Ryan told us he’ll see us next week… a good sign that he enjoyed the night’s adventure. He tells us he’s going to create a custom character, too… can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
We were informed that after Session 18, there would be a short break before Encounters starts up again. Of course, by this point in time, the new 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide will be out. That means I may very well be starting up my own campaign and looking for players. I’ve got some solid ideas, and am looking forward to getting back behind the screen.
Stay tuned after the adventure recap below for some miscellaneous news items… and let’s get going with the action!
*** NOTE SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS BELOW ***
*** Do not read further if you wish to play in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen Adventure ***
*** NOTE SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS BELOW ***
After our return from the cultist camp, both Chi and Anton volunteered to go with the Governor of Greenest to help spread the word in a few nearby towns about the dangers of this invading group. We were unable to determine the cultists’ next target, so we’re all hoping the group returns soon with good news and not news of another attack. Just after the small party left this morning, the old monk Leosen visited with the rest of us, thanking us over and over for helping to rescue him. He admitted to being over-confident, and is glad we were there to help him escape and return with the information he had managed to gather from the cult leaders he saw and spoke with… information we hope will help nearby communities to shore up their defenses in anticipation of attacks. After we enjoyed a fast meal with Leosen, he casually dropped a request along with a certain gold incentive. He wants us to return to the camp and investigate that strange cave… the one he refers to as The Nursery. I must admit… I really want to know what’s in there. Dragon eggs are on every one’s mind, but might there be more? We’ve met a fellow adventurer that the townsfolk call Bull. He claims to have a detailed knowledge of the back trails in the area and says he can get us to the camp and the cave fast and without being observed. I’m not confident we can get in the cave, but what’s the harm in taking another look. There might even be some hidden way into that cave. Where there’s one cave, there’s usually more. Maybe.
We were down THREE regular players tonight… Chi, Griffon, and Anton. In our group tonight:
Essie — Human Fighter
Rolan — Wood Elf Ranger
Niloshis — Half-Elf Sorcerer
Bull — Halfing Rogue (Pre-Gen, first time player)
So our new player, Ryan, chose to play the role of a halfling rogue from the area. Once Ryan got the hang of playing the role and speaking to DM Martin about what he wanted to do and what his character would “know’, he was off. With some successful Nature rolls, Bull was able to get us back to the campsite in fast order… with only one encounter with a small group of Kobolds. It was a great opportunity to teach Ryan the basics of AC, modifiers, and the use of miniatures. One of the kobolds was exceedingly tough, and managed to survive long enough to let Bull supply the finishing hit. Tonight, my Firebolt cantrip would also have an amazingly high ratio of hits to misses.
Bull managed to find us a trail that swung us behind the encampment and high above the cave. We took great care to try and hide, as it was mid-morning and the sun was high above us and could easily give away our position. Strangely enough, all that we could see below us were signs of an abandoned camp. Smoldering fires, debris from tents and broken equipment, and a general disarray that one sees when a large group has left the area. Still, we took our time circling the entire camp from above, spotting a few moving figures here and there. Bull seemed to recognize some of the figures and thought they might be local hunters or rangers, but we weren’t willing to take chances. We moved down to the camp from a side we thought we could use for cover, and made our way to the cave. Essie pointed out deep tracks from wagons, and a better look at some of those wandering around the camp allowed us to determine they were simply locals from a nearby town or possibly a local group of scavengers. We didn’t see them as a threat, but then we caught a glimpse of a green robe near the entrance of the cave. A member of the Dragon Claw, an elite group within the cult. And he was with kobolds…
We discussed rushing the cave. Going full-on LEROY JENKINS! Our group got a good laugh as we related that bit of Internet lore to DM Martin, but ultimately decided it wasn’t such a good idea with only four players. We did a split approach to the cave from the two sides and then timed our entrance into the cave and… nothing. We knew the cave was NOT empty, so we moved in deeper… and deeper. Right into two ambushing Dragon Claws. Bull was not surprised and managed to get a solid hit on one cultist, but these guys were crazy dangerous — dual attacks. They both targeted Rolan (4 attacks!) but only managed a single hit. It was enough, however, to force our nervous ranger to disengage and pull back 30 feet closer to the cave’s entrance. He prefers bow attacks from a distance. I don’t blame him. We took some damage, but we still managed to defeat both of them, knocking the second one unconscious.
The noise from the first attack attracted four more kobolds, but they were no challenge for our group. The cultist was waking up, however, and we wasted no time pushing him hard for information about the cave. He admitted to the dragon eggs, but tried to scare us by telling us over two dozen Claws were guarding them deeper into the cave. Maybe. But with the camp abandoned and the cult moved on, why leave such a large group of skilled fighters in a cave? Bull offered to scout ahead and stick to the shadows as best he could. We let him, and were surprised when he returned quickly and urged us to follow him. He led us forward to these steps carved into the stone floor. Ahead the large cavern was divided in half, with these large luminescent mushrooms covering the floor. The back of the room wasn’t visible, but there appeared to be nothing unusual about the room. I recognized the mushrooms as edible… completely harmless. Bull made the decision to proceed to the rear of the cavern, and that was when we discovered the truth about this cavern…
It was a trap. A sneaky trap. The stairs were triggered by weight, and unlucky Bull found himself dropped down onto the cavern’s floor. His skin began to burn, and he realized there were actually two types of fungi — one was harmless, the other not so much. He sprinted to the opposite side of the cavern, not really caring what was back there but knowing he needed to find an exit or a way to get away from the attacking fungi. He jumped on top of a large (safe) mushroom and was able to warn us about the trap. Of course, we tried to avoid the trap… but that didn’t work either. Essie was able to avoid the trap and run down the safe side of the cavern. Rolan and I triggered the trap and found ourselves running to avoid the attacking fungi. We made it, but barely…
And that’s where Session 10 ended. We began to talk about where this cave adventure was going, and DM Martin showed us a quick glance of his “map.” And by quick, I mean a split second “here it is” and then gone. What did I see? Dungeon crawl! Not one or two rooms, but an honest dungeon that will probably require some mapping finally. This is looking good…
Some closing comments for this week:
* XP and Gold — 150XP and 2GP each. I’m now up to about 1800XP… 2700 for level 4. I was thinking about playing my new monk, but now I think I really want to get this sorcerer to level 4 first. Decisions, decisions.
* Recordkeeping — You can download my 3-page adventure log PDF for Session 10 here.
* Titan Games & Comics — As always, a big thanks to the crew at Titan for providing a place to hold the Encounters event as well as lots of other games. They give a discount to any RPG purchases made during the Encounters event (that explains all the boxes of miniatures being bought each week!) and give you a Re-Roll Ticket for every $5 purchase (up to a max of 2). Please come join the D&D game or any of their other planned gaming events — check out Titan’s Meetup.com signup page here.
* Level 3 — I burned three of my level 1 spell slots tonight. Three. And eight more sessions where I’m not 100% certain a Long Rest will be provided. Maybe we’ll find a nice place to hole up and rest in this cave… one can hope.
* Tarrasque Takedown Part 2 on YouTube — A few weeks back, our Encounters host, Topher, took part in a level 20 D&D 5th edition battle royale — the first of many monsters they would fight turned out to be probably the toughest of all… the Tarrasque. The team didn’t finish up their fight with the other surprise monsters, so they picked up where they left off and have released the latest video on YouTube for your enjoyment. From the video’s description:
It’s time to save the multiverse! James Introcaso, Joe Lastowski, Christopher Dudley, and Topher Kohan are back to take some more abuse from the world’s greatest DM, Mike Shea, to see how high-level play shakes out in the new edition of D&D. It’s level 20 characters going toe-to-toe with some of D&D’s most legendary baddies! Currently mid-fight with a death tyrant and it’s zombie beholder minions, there’s no telling who else might show up. A demilich? An ancient red dragon? A tarrasque redux?! Anything can happen. Join us as we sacrifice four PCs to the elder gods to find out just what high-level combat is like in 5e.
Click here to watch the full video.
That’s it for now. Next week, Session 11 and we see how deep this rabbit hole cave really goes…