D&D 4th Edition My Dark Sun 4e Game Experience Updated 01/22/2013 - Page 2





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    ø Ignore Raunalyn

    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
    Sun’s canon.

    The group consists of 5 party members:

    Dryder: An Elven Rogue who follows the Athasian Minstrel
    theme.

    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
    to Tyr.

    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
    moment.

    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
    guards Speelock.

    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
    ensues.

    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
    attacks them.

    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
    of Holding.

    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
    their success.

    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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