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Tuesday, 8th March, 2011, 08:59 PM #1
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
My Dark Sun 4e Game Experience Updated 01/22/2013
This past Saturday, I ran my first session of Dark Sun 4e,
and I must say it was great fun!
I figured that I would use HS1: The Slaying Stone as a basis
for the group’s 1st adventure in Dark Sun. Not only is it a pretty
good adventure, but I also had a few new D&D players that this would make a
great introductory adventure for. Of course, I had to slightly modify several
of the encounters and factions in the module so that they would fit inside Dark
The group consists of 5 party members:
Dryder: An Elven Rogue who follows the Athasian Minstrel
Zanne: A Human Bard, also an Athasian Minstrel, who is a
good friend of Dryder.
Tor Val: A Half-Giant Barbarian and Gladiator
Gundrek: A Mul Battlemind who was once a cell-mate to Tor
Val in the Arena. Uses the Wilder theme.
Katrie: An Elven Druid and Elemental Priest.
After killing his master in an escape attempt from the Tyr
arena, Gundrek decided to exile himself, hiding in the wilderness and smaller
villages in the Tyr region. His hope is that now that there is no more slavery
in Tyr, there will be no more reason to find escaped slaves. He decides to keep
a low profile out of fear of retaliation for the death of his master and return
Katrie is also an exile from her tribe. For as long as she
can remember, she has heard the call of the primordial spirits, many begging to
be healed from the torment that the Defilers have imposed on them. After
refusing to join in her family’s “business” (a racketeering scheme that her
father and brothers had set up in Urik), Katrie was banished from her tribe.
She wanders into Tyr, hoping for work.
I would post the other backgrounds here, but the 3 monkeys
playing these characters haven’t provided them yet.
The party meets when they answer the call for a group of
guards to escort a caravan to Nibenay. Treona is the caravan master, and she is
hoping to get her last shipment of iron sold before there is none left (the
iron mines are closed). Sadly, Gundreks’ player was being a slacker and decided
to go out to eat with his family instead of gaming with the rest of us geeks.
Something about a birthday (insert eye-roll here). So, I had to cast Polymorph
NPC on his character. And since I was running him as an NPC, I’m quite certain
that he wasn’t as effective as he could have been.
The first half of the journey is completely uneventful. The
party gets to know each other, trading tales of past adventures. However, on
the 4th day of the trip (which lasts a week, usually), they are
ambushed by a pack of Jhakar. Treona stays back with the caravan while the party leads the
ravenous monsters away. Tor Val valiantly wades into the fray, charging one of
the Jhakar and smashing it with his massive maul. But soon, the rest of the
pack descends upon him, bloodying and nearly killing him in the first exchange.
Katrie, in her primordial cat form, makes several unsuccessful attempts to
distract the Jhakar attacking Tor Val, but the dice are not being kind to her.
Luckily, Dryder jumped in with the assist and was able to distract the Jhakar
enough so that Zanne could shout a Majestic Word at Tor Val, which allowed him
to shift away from the worst of the trouble. Gundrek then stepped into the fray
with his Trikal and his Battlemind’s Demand. Tor Val was out of danger for the
Tor Val again charges, smashing another one and soundly
killing it. Katrie, now in trouble from the Jhakar she was trying to distract,
summons her Giant Toad, who pulls the Jhakar away and happily begins munching
on it (we are going to have to find a name for that Toad)
The party makes swift work of the last of them, then returns
to the caravan. Sadly, Treona’s personal guards died fighting off a second
group of Jhakar, but at least Treona was safe.
Several days later, the group arrives in Nibenay. Treona, pleased
with the group, pays them their escort fee, then tells them to meet her at one
of the inns in the Merchant quarter after sunset.
The party uses their newly acquired wealth to purchase
weapons and supplies, and then heads to the inn.
There, the group meets Treona and her friend Allkirk. Treona
explains that she has another job for the group. However, she is unable to pay
them in gold, but assures them that Allkirk would be willing to grant a favor
from the organization he works for. Allkirk then covers the lower half of his
face and waits to gauge their reactions (they all rolled horribly on their
History check, so none of them were able to determine that he was Veiled
Alliance). Allkirk angrily admonishes Treona for sending such a group of
amateurs. Treona responds that the group is quite capable and would be ideal
for this mission.
Treona then reveals the story about a small city named Kiris
Dahn. Nestled in the Black Spine Mountains, Kiris Dahn is an unusual phenomenon
in such a dead world. Located in an idyllic valley, the town gets a fair amount
of run-off from the snow in the upper part of the mountains, which collects in
a small lake. The land here is fertile and rich, and due to the size of the
Black Spine Mountains, the town gets a fair amount of shade in the early
morning and late afternoon. Due to its location, the city was relatively hidden
until a few years ago. A Slaver Tribe somehow found out about the town and
attacked, enslaving many townsfolk and forcing the rest to flee.
Among those that fled were Treona and her sister Dreus. Both
knew the secret held in the city, and both knew that the town Wise-man hid that
secret somewhere within the town. Only recently did Treona discover the means
to locate this secret.
Treona wants the group to find a magical artifact known as
The Slaying Stone. She tells them that it is an extremely dangerous defiling
artifact that absolutely must be destroyed. She then warns them that her sister
Dreus may also be seeking this artifact. Then she reveals that Dreus is now one
of the Templar wives of the Shadow King. If she were to find the stone, then
she would gain considerable favor with Nibenay.
After much deliberation from the party, they agree to travel
to Kiris Dahn and retrieve the Slaying Stone. Treona gives them 3 ritual
scrolls and ritual components that will allow them to find the stone, and
assures the group that she is only interested in the stone; anything else they
find is theirs for the taking. She reluctantly provides them with mounts and
supplies, and the party departs for the Black Spine Mountains.
The journey through the desert is difficult, but they
finally arrive at the hidden pass to the valley where Kiris Dahn resides (the group
went through a skill challenge to survive the desert and find their way to the
hidden pass; they did well for the most part, but fail a couple of crucial
checks, thereby losing a couple of healing surges). There, they witness the
arrival of a mercenary band called The Severed Eyes. Dryder crosses the nearby
creek and scouts ahead, easily using the late afternoon shadows to hide his
presence. He is able to find a farmhouse on the eastern side of town that the
group can use as a base, and the party hides in there while Dryder continues
his reconnaissance. Dryder witnesses a group of Silt Striders digging through
the rubble of a nearby building, looking for something. He decides to skip the
building and move on, sneaking to the next building. While searching the
building, he sees a group of slavers harassing the Silt Striders he saw
earlier. Remaining hidden, he watches as the two groups have a heated exchange.
Then, finally, the slavers move on, leaving the Silt Striders to their search.
Dryder returns to the group and discusses his findings. The
group decides that the city would make an ideal base of operations if it could
be cleared out, but agree to wait until after they find the stone and destroy
it. Hoping to avoid the majority of the population there, the group travels
north from the farmhouse, hiding in the trees and vegetation. (The Skill Challenge went extremely well
for the party, having almost all successes before making any failures, so
moving through the city at this point was quite simple)
Soon, they come upon the hot springs. Finding a nearby bath
house, the party descends and discovers a ghostly guardian. After asking who
they were and what they were doing there (and getting lied to), the guardian
tells them that he is the keeper of the stone. He gives the stone to the Druid
because he trusts her to destroy it, thereby freeing him. But he warns that
they must not use the stone and that they must destroy it; he would know of its
destruction since he is linked to it.
The party leaves the bath house and witnesses the Severed
Eyes mercenaries accosting a group of slavers and interrogating them, asking
where the stone was. The slavers are unable to give a satisfactory answer, so
the slavers brand the image of an eye on the slaver’s foreheads before leaving.
The party decides to escape back the way they came, only to
run into a Silt Strider named Speelock, who had two strange stone wolves
guarding him. Speelock, thinking they were slavers, immediately attacks, sending
a psionic shockwave at the group, then throwing a vial of foul liquid at Dryder.
One of the strange stone wolves rushes to attack the group while the other
Soon, the purpose of the foul liquid becomes clear; an
Ankheg burrows from under the ground and attacks Dryder (the vial contained
pheromones). Tor Val and Katrie jump in,
trying to fight off the Ankheg while Dryder and Gundrek take care of Speelock
and his guardians. Zanne waits behind the party to heal them if needed.
It isn't long before the Ankheg is hurting. Grabbing Katrie, he tries to
flee the group and bring her back to his lair. Tor Val swiftly charges in and
makes quick work of it. Meanwhile, Gundrek and Dryder finish off
Speelock and his guardians, and the group wastes no time in fleeing.
The combat attracted attention, however. The party moves as fast
as they can through the forest in an effort to avoid patrols, all while the
slavers and mercenaries mount a search for them. Soon, the party escapes the
city and head back to Nibenay to return the stone.
But what none of them know is that the Severed Eyes have
found their trail. While the party rests and recovers, the mercenaries make
their way ahead of them, ambushing them the following day. A fierce battle
Only Katrie and Zanne are unsurprised as Vohx and his
companions spring their trap. Moving to advantageous positions, Vohx offers the
party quarter of they give him the stone. The party refuses (of course), so
Vohx orders them killed.
This was a tough battle. Since the party skipped most of the
encounters (and therefore loot) within Kiris Dahn, they were vastly
underpowered. Fortunately for them, the dice roller was not being kind to me.
Vohx throws his chain, binding Tor Val and effectively
preventing him from doing his charge and smash thing that he does so well.
Gundrek moves beside Tor Val to help keep the mercenaries from overwhelming
him, while Dryder and Katrie try to prevent the enemy Shaman from causing too
much havoc. Zanne is busy trying to keep Tor Val and Gundrek buffed, but it is
soon clear that the group is in trouble when Tor Val fails to break free of the
chains (he spent 2 rounds immobilized…a bad state for a Barbarian), and then
more so when Gundrek takes enough damage to fall to 0 hitpoints (Zanne had to
use his two Majestic Words on Tor Val and Gundrek). Meanwhile, Katrie and
Dryder take out the enemy shaman, but are soon nearly overwhelmed when Vohx
Finally, the party kills Vohx. With only two of the mercenaries
left, the party strongly suggests that they surrender. Tor Val (with his
massive scariness) eventually convinces them that surrendering is a good idea.
The party learns from their interrogation that the Severed
Eyes were hired by Dreus to find the Slaying Stone. When the mercenaries
discovered that the party had snuck into town, they used their Cilops (a one
eyed, centipede-like creature) to track them down and setup an ambush. They
also learn that the mercenaries had sent one of their number back to Dreus to
let her know what they found, and left one of their number back in Kiris Dahn
in case the party returned. Tor Val and Dryder then swiftly finish them off (I
wasn’t happy about this, but hey…the party are all Unaligned). They then loot
the bodies for Survival days and find their first magic item; a very useful Bag
They depart. Several days later, they arrive back at Nibenay and hand Treona the
Slaying Stone. She and Allkirk destroy the artifact, and the party basks in
Since they successfully completed the main quest, I granted
them the story reward for that. Also, they had gained just enough experience
from the encounters and skill challenges that they were just short of 2nd
level. So, I granted them a role-playing reward for a job well-done. Now, they
are discussing the next step in their conquest of Kiris Dahn.
Things I learned:
Barbarians can do GROSS amounts of damage….and I do mean
disgusting. Couple that with the Bard’s Focused Sound encounter power (grants a
crit on 18-20), and you are looking at one hit kills.
Druids can be fun and can lock an enemy down quite simply….if
the dice work for them.
Bards are interesting leaders. Their ability to heal and
move the party makes for some very nice team-work.
This I already knew, but I am still sometimes surprised how easily a smart party can derail plans. Improvise, improvise, improvise!
Favorite quotes from the session:
“It’s almost like Christmas! He keeps moving away.” –Tor Val
to the rest of the party as the Ankheg tries to flee him.
“Elven craftsmanship? Since when did Elves know how to craft
anything?” – Zanne to the Elven Merchant.
Last edited by Raunalyn; Tuesday, 22nd January, 2013 at 06:32 PM.
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