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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Princes of the Apocalypse - Temple of Howling Hatred

I spent a few hours preparing for today's session. We're finally in the temple of elemental evil, and I wanted to make sure I had the whole place ready. We're doing the air temple, aka the Temple of Howling Hatred.

I've pretty much taken all the sand out of the sandbox. I removed two exits in this temple section. They lead to the fire temple and to the Fane of the Eye, both areas much higher level than they are. I have constructed this so that the characters will march right into the water temple next, as that is for level 7 characters.

A weird thing about this dungeon is that there's a good chance that the characters will end up heading right to the big bad guy (Aerisi) right away. But they'll still have to make their way through more of the dungeon, which seems a bit awkward.

The Party
  • Elf Rogue: Played by a 4th grader, her character's name is Lucky and she has a black cat named "Bad Luck". Her character loves ghost peppers.
  • Dwarf Cleric: In real life, played by Lucky's dad. He has a scottish accent and worships Ilmater.
  • Drow Rogue: Middle Schooler. Wants to be evil, but Adventurer's League rules restrict this. Has a dog.
  • Goliath Barbarian: Middle Schooler. Really nice guy.
  • Human Bard: The player is about 25 years old, knows the rules pretty well. 
  • Human Paladin: Worships Helm. Played by the bard's dad, who played old D&D and is new to 5e.
  • Human Rogue: A new player. Taking to the game very well.
Plaza of the Muses

The bard is in room 4.
We had left off last time with the adventurers walking through a hallway. Arrow slits opened in the walls and kenku started pelting them with arrows.

We picked up from there, and to my surprise, the heroes ran from this room into room 4, where a bard named Windharrow was playing the flute with five initiates. They were terrible musicians. The heroes ran in, one by one, and Windharrow thought they had come to audition (I swear this is in the module). So, the adventurers began to play the flute, mostly unsuccessfully. The kenku ran into the room and attacked the heroes, who suddenly had a giant pile of foes to defeat.

The characters are level 6, and today we got to see just how powerful they are. The party bard shut down the enemy bard with counterspell and then a hold person spell. The adventurers chopped up these bad guys with ease. One kenku ran, the heroes didn't follow. He ran to the temple to alert Aerisi (the prophet who is on the cover of the adventure).

The characters then explored a hallway where three guys were tied to pillars, starving. To join the cult, they had to subsist on nothing but air for days. The heroes tried to free them, but the crazed would-be cultists told them not to. Lucky finally forced a guy to eat some rations, but he declared that Yan-C-Bin, prince of elemental air, would see to it that no digestion took place.

Palace Plaza

Then the adventurers came to the main area in this place - a giant pyramid surrounded by a moat. On the top of the pyramid was a cultist (a skyweaver - powerful spellcaster) riding a wyvern!

Since they'd been warned by the kenku, the bad guys attacked. To my utter surprise, the heroes trounced these two. Part of it was some massive critical hits rolled by the players. The wyvern was very, very deadly (the poison in its tail does 24 damage!). One rogue actually did go down, but the party has an abundance of healing and they won out in a swift and convincing fashion.

The Waterfall

Then, we had... an incident. The heroes were about to enter the pyramid. They picked a set of double doors at the base of it, ready to bust in and mess some bad guys up. I narrated the nearby crashing sound of the waterfall (the moat nearby had a waterfall that plunged into a dark chasm). Lucky, whose player is nine years old, told me she was going to swim to the waterfall.

I stopped her and told her it looked incredibly dangerous to do that - the current looked strong and if she got dragged into the waterfall she could fall and die. She still insisted. I asked her why, and she said she wanted to see the chasm. I think what was going on in her head was that there was likely more to this area than it seemed. She was right!

There's a couple things to know about this moat:
  1. The bottom of this 20 foot deep moat is littered with gold and treasure. I had rolled earlier in the day where the platinum chalice worth 2,500 gold was in the moat, and I'd actually rolled this side by the waterfall!
  2. Patrolling the moat is a 12 foot tall dwarf statue, which is a stone golem with +10 to hit, an AC of 17 and an immunity to non-magic weapons!
  3. When in the water, a PC must make an athletics check or get dragged 20 feet toward the waterfall - and maybe right over the side!
What followed was utter insanity. Lucky dove in. Her driftglobe illuminated the treasure on the bottom of the moat, including the chalice. She also saw the statue stomping toward her.

Other heroes dove in to fight the statue. The new guy, the rogue, got taken by the current and dragged right to edge! Others tried to attack the statue, but saw that their weapons did nothing to it.

Almost the entire party was in the moat, but for the most part they rolled freakishly high on their swim checks (every roll was terrifying for all concerned!). The statue pummeled poor Lucky, who ended up unconscious.

The cleric was able to toss a rope to the rogue. Other heroes got out of the water and were able to pull him to safety.

But now Lucky was unconscious, certain to go over the waterfall on her next turn! A rogue hooked her with a grappling hook while the barbarian kept the statue busy. In the end, everyone got out of the moat and the statue resumed its never-ending underwater patrol.

Lucky's player felt bad and was worried aloud that everyone was mad at her for almost getting them killed. I told her that if she hadn't gone in the water, she'd never have seen that goblet that was worth 2500 gold!

The goblet was still there, underwater. One rogue, an arcane trickster, had an idea. He cast mage hand. He focused, and levitated the goblet out of the water and into his grasp! The heroes have very little gold (they make maybe 30 gold per session each). This goblet will increase their wealth immensely.

We were out of time. I am so glad Lucky messed with the moat. The moat and the statue is one of my favorite parts of the air temple.

It looks like we are going to get in a special session this Sunday, so I should have a report up on it soon after.

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