My original plan had been to summarize my first 10 sessions of the Adventurers League Encounters event for GeekDad.com and share with readers my thoughts and experiences as I returned to the most important game of my youth. I planned on continuing to play each Wednesday night at Titan Games & Comics in Atlanta, GA, but would discontinue my session reports. Apparently that was a mistake. For the past few weeks, I’ve continued to receive email requests to “keep going.”
Here’s the deal — during those first 10 weeks, I took lots of notes during the sessions. (Those notes were then scanned and made available as downloadable PDFs for each of my session reports.) But for Sessions 11-15, I took no notes. Sorry about that. While I ponder returning to a weekly session report, I can at least catch you up on some of the interesting bits that have happened over the last five sessions. These are from memory, so I know I probably won’t have the order correct, but I’ll try.
At the end of Session 10, my party had entered the cave (to find and retrieve some rumored dragon eggs) and successfully crossed a room filled with dangerous mushroom-like creatures that could burn you on contact. In our party were:
Essie — Human Fighter
Rolan — Wood Elf Ranger
Niloshis — Half-Elf Sorcerer
Bull — Halfing Rogue (Pre-Gen, first time player)
Missing were regulars Anton (rogue), Chi (fighter), and Griffon (cleric). Over the next five weeks, our poor DM (Martin) would have to find fun and interesting ways to figure out how certain party members disappeared and others would reappear. Martin didn’t fail in this endeavor.
So, what has happened since then? Glad you asked…
* The following week, two of our regular players were back — Anton and Chi. The question was out there — how would DM Martin get them back into our party? After crossing the Room of Killer Mushrooms, we did battle with a small group of wandering kobolds. No problem. We took some damage, but it wasn’t too bad. In one corner of this cavern was a strange “doorway” into another cavern/room with leather straps hanging down like a curtain and obscuring our view. Essie and I chose to go through the curtain and were told to roll a d20. Huh? I took some damage, but not Essie. Apparently the curtain had barbs on it as a sort-of trap. Oh, and they were poisoned. Nice. My max HP dropped by 9 points, and I could only recover that with a long rest. Inside the room? Anton and Chi, alive but hanging from meat hooks. WTH? We helped them down, healed them up, and found out they’d been captured prior to our finding the entrance to the cave. Okay. The cave was acting as a meat storage for the kobolds in the cave, and apparently Chi and Anton were to be dinner. We also found some cooking supplies that had a few bottles of poison and healing tucked in for good measure.* Bull (Halfing rogue) was gone, but the first-time player who the week before had joined our table had now returned with a Drow ranger. DM Martin allowed it after hearing a bit of the backstory. So yeah, we’ve got a Drow in our party now. This guy is twisted, too… as you’ll soon find out. Anyway, after rescuing Chi and Anton, we exited the cavern and proceeded to investigate a trash pit at the rear of the cavern. Big mistake. A couple of trolls (I think?) felt we were intruding on their territory and proceeded to light us up a bit. We defeated them, but we were hurting.
* The entire party continued out of the cavern down a flight of stairs. One of our party (can’t remember who) made it to the bottom of the stairs. Cool. I proceeded next. Boom… rock collapse trap. I took even more damage along with another party member who was behind me. Once we cleared the rubble and moved to the bottom of the stairs, we found a rectangular-shaped room with bedding. We chose to try and take a long rest, with most of us sleeping and two on guard duty.
* After just an hour’s rest, we were awakened by a group of kobolds returning to the room. We defeated them and THEN were able to get a long rest. I got all my spell slots back, healed back up (mostly) and we then proceeded down the rear passageway the kobolds had used.
* No traps on this staircase, but at the bottom we found a large room with dragon imagery carved all over the wall. Against the far wall was a large altar. Oh yeah, and in front of the altar were the Dragon-man (who kicked our butts previously back in Session 10) and two human guards behind him. I cast invisibility on Chi and tried to convince him to sneak up and attack the Dragon-man. Needless to say, my fellow players weren’t in agreement.
* Here’s where things started getting interesting. I have the Sleep spell — roll 5d8 and add up the rolls. That’s how many Hit Points will be subtracted from the lowest HP creature first, and then so on. I chose to cast it as a level 2 spell, increasing the dice to 7d8. Figure about 40HP worth of power, right? Higher if I had some lucky rolls. My plan was to cast it on the two human guards. They’d have much lower HP, but if we could knock them BOTH out, we might be able to take on the Dragon-man. Now, remember — the HP value I rolled is applied to the LOWEST HP creature first. If I rolled 40HP of sleep, and both of the guards have 30HP, it’ll knock him out but the remaining 10HP won’t be enough to knock out the second guard. I figured it was worth the risk. So… I cast the spell.
* The Dragon-man’s head sort of nodded forward and then he shook himself awake. The spell failed. Oh, and the two guards OBVIOUSLY have more HP than even the Dragon-man. #$@#$#!
* We retreated (quietly) to the previous room, while Chi remained and observed that the Dragon-man gave some orders to one of the guards. He left and was heading our direction. But we didn’t know that! Chi managed to leave the room quickly (and quietly) and warn us. We set up an ambush for the dude. In he came, and BOOM… five attacks came flying at him. Oh, and it turned out he was a berserker… so he didn’t just have some amazing attacks — our attacks are all at Disadvantage. And he had more HP than Dragon-man back there.
* We defeated him without much difficulty. Yeah, we were surprised, too. We got in that first round of surprise attacks, and then got lucky again on some Initiative rolls. He had a LOT of HP, but we did okay.
* At that point, I was feeling a bit cocky. Chi had observed the other guard leave the large alter room to move deeper into the cave. That meant the Dragon-man was left alone. I had a suggestion — the Dragon-man obviously had fewer HP than the Berserker, so we should proceed back to the room and pound on him hard and fast. Really, I was half kidding. This guy can shoot fire from his mouth! At great distances! Somehow the party thought it was a good idea, so down we went and tangled with this guy. It was so close. We were messed up when we finished, but the D-man was dead. Our Drow ranger cut his head off as a trophy. WHAT???
* Turned out this room was one big trap. There was a chest near the altar that our rogue successfully opened after disabling a trap. Acid would have sprayed from numerous black dragon mouths carved on all the walls. I made a note of that, hoping we could use that as a possible trap again if we needed it. Tucked in that chest were some good stuff — lots of jewels and some potions if I recall correctly.
* To the far left of the alter room was a small rounded section cut into the wall. Upon investigation, we found a rope ladder going up into a chiseled section of the cave. Anton was talked into going up the rope ladder. When they got to the top, they found the opening covered by a rug. Anton failed a Stealth check and heard a disturbance above him — lots of shuffling feet and a cutting sound. The rope ladder had one side cut, and Anton failed a Dex check and fell. Chi caught him, but they failed some sort of roll and both took some damage. Anton reported he heard lots of voices, including a woman’s voice. That would be one of the Big Bads we encountered in an earlier session… the leader of this cult group, I believe.
* We must have missed something earlier near the collapsing stair trap, because a group of eight creature came tearing around the corner (from the room we rested) and entered the alter room. COMBAT. Like… Holy @#$@# Combat. Drakes, kobolds, and humans (more berzerkers?)… Oh, man… Pics or it didn’t happen? Okay… here you go:
* Someone please remind me next time that a rear corner facing an incoming staircase is NOT a good place to be standing when a group of 8 creatures come barreling into the room.
* Sleep spell, thank you! I managed to sleep three or four of the attackers, and our two fighters bottle-necked them near the entrance to the room while our ranger and rogue took bow shots and I fired up a few lucky Firebolts that did max damage. We ended up winning, but someone died (I think it was Anton, our rogue). We healed him (no cleric) and used up our last few potions. After this battle, we once again returned to the rest room for a long rest. We needed it… most of us were so low on HP that it would have been suicide to do anything else.
* Session 15. Can I just tell you that Session 15 (last Wed, Nov 27) was an amazing mix of frustration and fun? Here’s what happened…
* Down a short staircase, we found a stretch of cavern that ran far to the left. Ahead of us, the cavern must’ve been large because it was so black we couldn’t see beyond about 20-30 feet and the ledge in front of us. About 40 feet to our left, we could make out a small staircase going down into the blackness. As a group, we cautiously walked to our left. As we approached the staircase, we could see bars that ran parallel to the staircase and a locked gate about 20 feet down. Stalagmites could be seen in the distance as well as a glowing near two large objects far in the distance. Eggs! Two of them! A key was hanging near the stairs, so the Drow ranger grabbed it.
* Yeah, we smelled trap, too. Such a big area… were we seriously going to be facing a dragon shortly? Our Drow volunteered to let me cast an Invisibility spell on him and then we lowered him down about 15 feet to the surface inside the caged area. He moved closer to verify that what we were seeing were eggs. They were dragon eggs… 3 feet tall each. Oh, and guarded by two drakes. Can I tell you how tough these drakes really are? We’d encountered them previously… they’re not nice and they don’t die easily.
* Our Drow ranger (still invisible) proceeded to return to us and unlocked the gate. Just as he got back on the “safe side” of the gate, a loud whistling sound was heard. I failed a roll that DM Martin asked us to make and found myself glued in place at the feet. A group of kobolds approached us from farther left, led by that other berserker who had gone. A few of those kobolds were using some sort of glue-tossing weapon… and it really sucked as you’ll soon learn.
* The noise from our combat has alerted the two drakes who ran over to the locked gate and began making even more noise. The rest of our party moved closer to the other side of the staircase and closer to the attacking group. I failed a Dex check and got hit by another glue attack. Down I went, glued hands and feet to the floor. I froze the glue with my Chill Touch cantrip and was successful in a Strength check, so I shattered the glue and was able to push myself off the floor. Then I got hit AGAIN and failed my Dex check and got glued again. Meanwhile, the rest of my party was dealing damage like crazy while I was examine the floor like I’d lost a contact lens. Finally I froze the glue again… rolled a successful Strength check, and stood up. I was angry. I fired off my final Sleep spell and dropped four kobolds as the rest of the team finished off the berzerker.
* With four kobolds sleeping, we were discussing rolling them over the ledge and feeding the drakes. Unknown to us, there was another party in the room that had been watching us. Anton failed a check and was pulled over the ledge. Whuuuut? We started firing everything we had at the only thing we could see… a tentacle. We had three new players who joined us (a bard, a paladin and a cleric!) in the previous session, and they managed to avoid more tentacles. Not me… I love failing checks. Down I went, pulled in by a tentacle. Same with the paladin. We began hacking at the tentacles but no luck… we were pulled closer to the creature… a Roper! AC 20, btw. You read that right. AC. 20.
* Turns out Ropers look like stalagmites until they attack. Argh. The tentacles had a 50ft grasp — 10 squares on the grid, and DM Martin wasn’t playing around. Step on that one grid that’s just within reach and BAM. I don’t know how many HP this thing had, but it didn’t matter because we were rolling miss after miss after miss. Turns out they’re like a tree made of stone… but with tentacles. Nicely played, DM.
* It took a hint from our DM for us to realize we weren’t going to beat this thing… we could only hope to negotiate. Fortunately we had a bard with a spell that allowed it to communicate and haggle. Haggling involves finding a middle ground — we did no such thing with Mr. Roper. Instead, we ended up buying our freedom by dumping all our gold and gems on the ground in front of it and hoping it was somewhat honorable and sticking with its promise to release us. It did… and then it disappeared. (In the photo below you can see the two drakes near the staircase, four stupid adventurers trying to haggle with a Roper, and a cleric and a bard standing around four sleeping kobolds and wondering if they’re standing a bit too close…)
* And then the two drakes who were staying a good distance away because they were fearful of the Roper… they noticed the Roper was gone and turned to face the four tasty adventurers standing around. And that’s how Session 15 ended.
* The XP I got from all this previous combat was enough to push me over 2700 and up to level 4 for my sorcerer if I can get one good long rest. Before that can happen, however, we need to handle two drakes and figure out what to do about these eggs.
* Tomorrow… Session 16.