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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hoard of the Dragon Queen - Dragon Shrine

This week I'm going to run down what happened in our D&D Encounters game and then at the end I will talk a little about how the other groups in the store are doing.

I got to the game store this week to run another session of encounters and to pick up the Monster Manual. I've begun going through it and am working on an article about it. The art is better than in the PH. Not much else stands out to me at first glance except for the way-too-dark drow image.

We added one more player to the group, and we're maxed out at 7 players. Here's the make-up:

- Four 14-year old boys who go to school together
- Rules Guy: 25 year old male
- DARK'S DAD: Dude in his 30's

Because we sped through some material, the heroes are 2nd level. This dungeon has some very tough-looking monsters in it. I was worried this would be too hard.
Last time, Dark led our heroes through the dungeon, spotting an ambush and violet fungi. They had a harrowing battle with stirges in a cloud of screeching bats. They took an hour rest, and then headed left into a dark cavern.

Room 7: Dark led the heroes through a corridor. She stepped on a trap that confused her (as per the spell) for one round. It caused her to run back from where the heroes had come from. She got lucky - that could have been bad.

The hallway led to a room that had four kobolds and one winged kobold. There's a pit with some drakes in it. The adventurers pummeled the kobolds and wisely let the drakes be.

Room 8: There are stairs that descend down to room 8. The top step is trapped. Dark stepped on it, and caused a partial collapse which mostly affected the people behind her. Dark was very amused that the falling rocks injured her dad.

They made their way through the rubble into a room with 6 kobolds and 6 winged kobolds. This looked like a rough one for our trusty heroes. After a moment of consultation with her dad, Dark declared to the kobolds that she and her friends were dragon egg inspectors!

I was vastly amused. I asked her to make a charisma check. She rolled a 19. The kobolds all nervously let the heroes go through as the entire group gave Dark a round of applause. She is one of the most awesome players in the history of D&D Encounters.

Room 9: This room is a shrine to black dragons. Dark has black dragon blood, so she felt a weird connection to this room. In here was the blue dragon-man Langdedrosa and two berserkers.
On paper this one is scary. Langdedrosa's breath weapon does 22 points of damage! Each berserker has something like 60 hit points, if I remember right. That is a far cry from the 5 hit point kobolds they've been facing.

Langdedrosa breathed on half the party (they were in a line in the hallway) and hurt them very badly. The berserkers have a cool little gimmick where they have advantage to hit, but enemies also have advantage to hit them.

Dark charmed one of the berserkers, nullifying him. For some reason, Dark began a conversation with him about her sister. She explained to me that she and her dad had created Dark's sister at home. I think her name was Sabrina or something like that.

It was a rough battle. A couple PCs went down. But the new kid made a druid, so he had a few cure spells that brought people back up. He also really seemed to get a kick out of the Thorn Whip spell (which does damage and can pull an enemy 10 feet closer).

The adventurers took them down. What to do with the charmed guy? Why, open the trapped chest, of course!

 The group had spotted the chest and figured it was trapped. All but the two paladins left the room entirely. Good thing they did! When the chest is opened, the whole room fills with acid mist. This requires two saving throws, each for a different type of damage.

The berserker's face melted off like in Raiders of the lost ark. The loot was split and the heroes made their way to the dragon egg chamber.

Room 10: I decided not to use the roper, as we were running low on time. I thought the room was difficult enough.
This room has a bunch of stuff: A pit with four bomb-throwing kobolds, a lower cavern with some 3 foot tall dragon eggs, and a pair of guard drakes.

A wild melee ensued. The adventurers did surprisingly well. I thought the drakes would be too difficult, but that wasn't the case at all.

We wrapped it up. They got a pile of XP, and almost everyone leveled.

I scoped out our other two tables. Both lost a few players this week. I am kind of wondering if the 5e frenzy around here has peaked.

I noticed something else. Both tables are still in episode 1. One DM commented to me that basically they do one "Town Under Siege" scenario per session.

We blew through episode 1. As soon as people started hitting the XP, I ended it and jumped into episode 2. I didn't want to have a situation where players were sitting there playing entire sessions without getting any XP or treasure (this adventure is very skimpy on loot thus far).

I guess I am still in 4e "we gotta get through these encounters tonight" mode. I haven't gotten any complaints, so I'll continue our efficient run through this adventure for the foreseeable future.

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