Last week we had a couple less players show up. This week, we lost even more. The other two tables had 3 players each. I think, at least around here, 5e has peaked. The owner told me we might go with two tables from here on out.
I don't think this should be cause for alarm for the world at large. That's how it goes in this game store. The drop in attendance doesn't have much to do with 5e, but rather the way things are done in our store. We have some issues with noise, problem players and... well.. just think of some unpleasant gaming experiences you've had at a convention or public game and you get the picture.
The Dragon Eggs
The adventurers only had a few rooms left to explore. When preparing, I was worried we'd get through this really fast. Looking at Episode 4, I saw it needed some fleshing out. It is fairly involved. It turns out just a couple rooms filled an entire 2 hour session.
The adventurers ended up fighting it, but they backed out and fed it a drake.
There's dragon eggs in here. They are 3 feet tall and weigh 150 pounds! Our 4th grader plays Dark the Dragon Sorceress (who has the blood of black dragons coursing through her veins!) was very excited about this.
I should note that one of the three eggs is hidden in a dark corner. It just so happened that during the battle with a roper, a rogue hid right next to it and thus spotted it.
|Yes, "squirms like a human baby"...|
Killing a baby dragon might not be something appropriate for a 9 year old. I assumed her dad would know the best way to handle this and I'd play off of him.
They killed two and kept one. Dark, with her mighty 15 strength, hauled that egg around and guarded it carefully. I am determined to have this thing hatch and be her little buddy. I even have a wyrmling mini all ready.
After that, we had a cool fight in a tunnel. Long story. Basically, the leader Frulam Mondath was shooting spells down a shaft at the PCs while her guards assaulted them in a hallway. It was awesome. Frulam ended up getting away, which I did not expect.
Our heroes looted the place, found a map showing the bad guys plans, and rescued the monk. I don't really get what the point was of having the monk want to stay captured in Episode 2, it kind of throws a wrench into Episode 4. Nothing major, it's just a bit awkward.
We basically stopped there. Somehow all that took a full two hours.
Fleshing Out Episode 4
I wanted to show them that D&D is more than just fight-kill-loot. I wanted this monster to hit and run. I wanted them watching the skies, fearful as their horses reared up - smelling the creature on the wind.
I want the manticore to hunt their horses. This makes things more fun, as the PCs don't need to fear for their own lives. I want them to see that the creatures in the game have their own motivations - they are not just numbers on a piece of paper or monsters standing in a room waiting to be killed.
I wrote down the range of every ranged weapon in the game on a sheet. The manticore could fire spikes from 100 feet away without penalty. The heroes can fire back, but they'll likely have disadvantage and their ammunition will dwindle quickly. We'll get to it next week. I hope it works out. I'm pretty sure it will. Ultimately on day 5, they'll spot it chasing a griffon and they'll have the chance to take it down for good, and maybe even befriend a griffon.
Overall this was a good session. I wish I had done something else with the dragon eggs, though.