D&D 5E A playthrough of The Shattered Obelisk (spoilers)

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
thanks

I think that many of us are interested in how the new stuff works out.
I'm really, really interested in how the new stuff works out! Unfortunately, we've had three weeks off due to people not being available. Argh! And we're doing side-content in the original adventure at present because it makes the entire thing flow better.

One more session of Lost Mine content, then on to the new!

Cheers,
Merric
 

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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I'm really, really interested in how the new stuff works out! Unfortunately, we've had three weeks off due to people not being available. Argh! And we're doing side-content in the original adventure at present because it makes the entire thing flow better.

One more session of Lost Mine content, then on to the new!

Cheers,
Merric
I think you need to tell your players that this game isn't for fun but to satisfy the curiosity of internet people they never heard of. That should motivate them!
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
This has been an incredibly disrupted campaign, but it didn't help that I missed last week's report.

Ninth Session: December 4, 2023
Party finally faced the Green Dragon in its tower. I could have been nasty and have it fly around, but they were overmatched as is. It managed to get THREE breath attacks in succession. (Yuan Ti was glad for his poison resistance, and he'd given antitoxins to everyone else, so it wasn't quite as bad as it could have been. Still a lot of damage, though).

But a couple of timely crits on the dragon managed to drive it off (sadly, no kill for the party), before we got a TPK. I was wondering.

Then they went and dealt with the dragon cultists, who were pissed that they'd driven off the dragon. The cultists were a joke, though, and didn't survive the experience. Some nice loot from those two encounters, though!

Back to Phandalin, and - amazingly - we got to the new material!

There'd been a goblin attack on Phandalin. The way the adventure has Harbin pull the party inside his house despite a large crowd outside his door (and likely hammering on it) makes no sense. But anyway, there had been a goblin attack and the party were given the task of investigating.

We investigated the first two locations of the four sites.

At the first, the Shrine of Luck, it was nice to reconnect with Sister Garaele (to my mind, the most interesting of the town's inhabitants). I showed the party the book's artwork of the partly collapsed shrine, and it was pretty laughable. While I think a lot of the art in The Shattered Obelisk is stunning, this isn't the case for the locations the goblins attacked.

Ooh! It's the young daughter of the innkeeper, who we didn't remember. (Is she mentioned earlier in the book? Nope, this is the first time. Also the first mention of the innkeeper's wife, who also appears.)

Apparently the goblins had taken a stone! (The keystone of the shrine's arch, causing it to collapse). They'd left behind a duergar axe. The party helped repair the shrine, and went to investigate another location.

The other one we got to was Barthen's Well, where a key component of the winch was missing. The goblins had taken it and disappeared down the well - which lead to a cavern with an Otyugh.

Fun fight. Over fairly quickly.

But now there was a collapsed tunnel (which was also blocking a river's path into the well, meaning it was dry). Setting to it, the party were able to clear the rubble and find a long, long tunnel leading onwards.

They began to investigate the tunnel, but it was just too long.

We'd run out of time, so we ended the session here.

Here's a note: There's no mention of how long the tunnel actually is in the text, only that it leads to a mountainous outcropping near the goblin lair. How far is that? 18+ miles.

Where the goblins came from and how they returned home is something that doesn't quite make sense in this adventure.

Cheers,
Merric
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Tenth Session, December 11, 2023
Continuing through Chapter 5: Paths of Peril.

The party quickly abandoned their idea of following the tunnel when I worked out how long it was, and instead kept investigating.

Next on their list was the Miner's Exchange. The artwork depicting the missing foundation stone from the base of the exchange is truly terrible. One of my players, the son of a carpenter, looked at it and said "there's no way that missing stone makes it unstable." I'm the son of a person who learnt stonemasonry to build a bluestone house. I agreed. Sigh.

But at least I could play Halia. There's nothing like role-playing a Zhentarim! And she wanted to know what the goblins were up to and what the characters knew. By now it was obvious that they'd been stealing stones, and obsidian ones at that. Which was weird, but that's how it goes at times. But she'd driven them off southwards, and so the party picked up the trail and followed.

(There's no check mentioned in the text, but I allowed everyone to make Survival checks to follow the trail, because I like making skill-based characters feel useful. Except, of course, the tempest cleric with a +7 Nature rolls terribly... again! She's good at that!) But the party were able to follow the trail regardless. (Since other characters rolled well).

They found a camp with three wounded goblins - but not normal goblins! Psionic ones! The fight was sort of tough, but once one was knocked unconscious, the rest surrendered. (Yes, the party were looking for captives, not kills!)

Two pieces of information were gleaned from the captives: The approximate location of the goblin lair, which turned out to be near where the long tunnel ended, and the name of the goblin chief!

(The goblins are in a camp where it looks like several more goblins were present, given the tents left behind. So, it really looks like the goblins used this as a staging point to attack the town, after approaching overland. Meanwhile, a second group of goblins went through an 18-mile tunnel that just happened to end under the well and used that? Because, otherwise, how would they know that they could escape through the well? Suspension of disbelief is hard at this point).

Back to Phandalin, and time to investigate the Sleeping Giant. Where Grista the orc has mysteriously become Grista the dwarf. Just as well the party never met her the first time, right?

The "good luck" stone in the bar top that got stolen - which actually brings sickness - is not a good idea. Cause, if everyone who goes to the Sleeping Giant gets ill, who ends up visiting? Also, it's spherical. Which brings to mind Obelisks, cause they're spherical. Oh wait, no they aren't. (I guess it's a decorative bit?)

But there turned out to be goblins on top of the tavern! (This is a very nice touch - they dropped a bag of loot and are recovering it. I appreciate things like this). Very quickly noticed by the characters as they returned outside, it was time for a fight.

Text of the adventure: "During the ensuing combat, the goblins do their best to stay on the roof of the two-story tavern, using the high ground to their advantage." Also note that two of the three goblins do NOT have ranged attacks.

Attention to detail is not always a strength of this adventure.

This turned out to be a tricky fight, because the goblin who has ranged attacks can incapacitate characters for a round. And, let me tell you, the Int saves of this group are terrible.

They killed one goblin, and the other two ran off - but it wasn't that easy. And returned the bag of treasure to Griska, who was grateful, offering a week of free food. (Another lovely touch: it mentions the food isn't great! My players and I were amused).

It was time to meet up with the person in town who knew a lot about history and hidden lore, Sister Garaele, and discuss what they'd found. Oh wait, SIster Garaele is strangely sidelined in this adventure. There's a brand new character, a dwarven woman named Gwyn Oresong, who just happens to turn up and be helpful. (I'd be a lot less salty about this if they were also using the lots and lots of NPCs that were established in the original adventure, but they don't. We have now seen the last mention of the townmaster, Harbin, and a lot of the other established NPCs.)

The players already knew most of it, but Gwyn was able to identify the partial mentions of the goblin hideout as an old Duergar Stronghold.

So, off to the stronghold they went!

More editing cock-ups were to come. Look, this is still the same chapter, and we get this text: "The characters also might know about the pantry tunnel entry from their investigations in Phandalin." If anyone can tell me what this is referring to, I'd love to know.

Yes, the stronghold has three potential entrances - though how the party might work out an undergroup, watery vent would work, I don't know. But they're adventurers, perhaps they assume it.

But the party quickly determined that staying dry was important, so they took a tunnel dug by the goblin's pet badger into the abandoned pantry. And from the pantry, they exited into the... bedroom.

WTF?
1702295898581.png


Z8=Kitchen
Z9=Pantry
Z10=Bedroom

This is just such bad editing.

I changed it so Z9 entered into Z8, which made SO MUCH MORE SENSE. (Especially as the giant badger who dug the tunnel from Z9 to the outside is in Z8). Whereupon, the window in the west wall alerted the goblins to their presence, and soon it was a massive battle.

With three CR 4 psi commanders joining in. (Two are standing guard on a parapet nearby; there's no way they wouldn't hear the disturbance and come to investigate).

I did have a nice moment where one of the commanders didn't use his area of effect attack because it'd hit their pet badger! Which saved the characters for a round. But the badger ran for it, and he didn't miss with his next attack - that was every character staggered. Even with a bunch of rerolls due to the variant (playtest) inspiration rules I employ.

(Yes, the commander got himself in the blast. He survived).

From there, things went very badly, with two characters unconscious, including the frontline fighter. One of the commanders dragged him away as a prisoner, and the artificer used a fog cloud to help take the unconscious sorcerer to safety. Back down the tunnel!

And that was it for the session. The fighter captive, and the other characters going back to Phandalin to hire help. I rather enjoyed the session, but some of the editing/writing could be a lot tighter here.

We should have another session next week, but then we get hit by three skipped sessions in a row, as the Monday night falls on Christmas, New Year's, and the birthday of our Artificer's wife. So, see you next week before a gap?

(I'll probably run some Cyberpunk RED for the other players on one or two of those occasions).

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Cool play report. A couple weeks ago we started this adventure. I started it at chpt 5 since we had already started a Lost Mines/Sunless Citadel story. We played the whole session without a single combat and everyone had a blast. There's definitely some issues with the investigations but they can be managed with some good prep work from the DM. So far we are all enjoying the campaign and I'm not regretting buying the premium version from Beadles.
 

Rabbitbait

Grog-nerd
Ooh! It's the young daughter of the innkeeper, who we didn't remember. (Is she mentioned earlier in the book? Nope, this is the first time. Also the first mention of the innkeeper's wife, who also appears.)

I'm playing via roll20, so have been making tokens of all named NPCs and placing them on phandelver map in the buildings they are commonly found in. Very annoying that the list of NPCs cannot be relied on and I need to go further through the module to check for changed NPCs or new NPCs. Also annoying that there isn't art for all named NPCs.

The entire reason for buying prewritten modules and having them on roll20 is to remove as much prep as possible.

I am enjoying the actual game, but there are quite a lot of badly done details.
 

pukunui

Legend
Next on their list was the Miner's Exchange. The artwork depicting the missing foundation stone from the base of the exchange is truly terrible. One of my players, the son of a carpenter, looked at it and said "there's no way that missing stone makes it unstable." I'm the son of a person who learnt stonemasonry to build a bluestone house. I agreed. Sigh.
Agreed. That image and the one of the 'broken' shrine are laughable. There's just so much that's wrong with this product. I haven't finished reading it myself, but I'd probably rate it down near the bottom with Dragon Heist and Descent into Avernus.

And Dragon Heist, at least, has some fantastic art.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Agreed. That image and the one of the 'broken' shrine are laughable. There's just so much that's wrong with this product. I haven't finished reading it myself, but I'd probably rate it down near the bottom with Dragon Heist and Descent into Avernus.
I really, really want the original version of this adventure to show up on DMs Guild, especially as a POD.
 



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