D&D General Age of Worms Upgrades - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (Spoilers, don’t read if you’re playing in the campaign!)

TheSword

Legend
Thanks for the feedback.

My personal feeling is that adventures have changed and the style of adventure I run has changed. I try and inject more mystery/strategy into them and less dungeon crawl. I also like to create more opportunities for debate and choice in an adventure.

Allustan I think shouldn’t run away and leave the PCs to deal with a lizard man army themselves when he could make a meaningful difference. It isn’t in the character the way I play him. The changes I made were to allow the PCs to shine and simultaneously build a sense of connection with Allustan that will make them tackle a dragon to find him later.

Secondly in both the adventure and my version Daggerford is a day’s ride from the keep. Reinforcements only takes two days max. I want to enjoy the siege not to rush it, but I also don’t want Allustan and the Lords Alliance to solve the problem for the PCs.

Unfortunately I can’t abide trivial combats - particularly a set piece such as the siege. basic lizardfolk just aren’t a challenge. As written there is nothing stopping the players heading out and slaughtering the Lizardfolk en mass in one go… they have fireball etc. I’d like them to use some tactics, display some problem solving and add some leadership to the siege. I think my players will enjoy that more.

I’ll talk about Ninja Kobalds and the background and how it could be revealed in a later post. Let’s just say the sole lizard folk character able to provide exposition in the adventure as written is the shaman Hishak - who the party only meet in the lair, after having fought and probably killed 60% of the Lizardfolk tribe - who at that point they have every reason to kill.
 
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Quartz

Hero
His weapon was a magic sword +1 sword/+2 vs reptiles/+3 vs dragons called dragonslayer. Dealing an extra 2d6 damage against dragons. The sword is also an intelligent weapon and can cast the spell protection from energy without concentration 1 per day. It’s purpose is to slay dragons. The sword is in truth named Dragons Lair and is the phylactery of a dracolich. What better way for a dracolich’s spirit to find a new dragon corpse to inhabit than to have its phylactery kill one... I love the play on words of the phrase Dragons Lair.

Yoink!
 

TheSword

Legend
So. We are two sessions into the third book and I thought I would share events with y’all.

First session.

The adventure started as the heroes made preparations to leave Daggerford. A bit of buying and selling and Thurrick researched some methods to make magical leather armour for Mae.

As the PCs travelled to Blackwall Keep they were ambushed into the swamp by a patrol and one of the lizard kings sons. A nasty half dragon lizardfolk brute. With a nasty acid breath weapon and higher AC and strength/hp etc. It was a tough fight and demonstrated the Lizardfolk weren’t to be trifled with. But they prevailed.

When they reached the keep they realized that something was seriously wrong. Three camps of lizardfolk around the keep with patrols between. The heroes resolved to fly to the castle. One drinking a potion of fly, and Allustan and Thurrick casting the spell once each. They did have to leave a fair bit of camping gear, rope etc behind as the carrying capacities for fly are pretty tough.

Inside the keep they were greeted warmly and given free run of the place. Informed the mage is missing, the lord commander is under quarantine and the tombs below the keep are a risk.

Second Session.

The PCs visited the crypts first and found the tombs… and a few sliced up lizardfolk. Approaching the open tomb of the original lord commander the sword rises up and the PCs hear a dry voice say, this is the resting place of the sword Dragonslair. A curse on all who try to take it save the commander of this keep, who must themselves swear to protect it. A great history roll revealed the name of the original Lord commander and founder of the keep who slew many dragons but was eventually slain by a dracolich who he slew in turn.

The Partt decided to bypass the current commander and headed for the captured mages lab. They found a spell book which Thurrick opened triggering a glyph of warding with a suggestion spell in. “Go to the Lord Commander and tell him you’re a trespasser and a thief and beg for his mercy.” Thurrick failed his save and then determined to break the quarantine and present himself. Which he duly did. The rest of the party tried to stop him, but when he tried to smash the window they resolved to let him and try and keep him safe.

Unfortunately the PCs ignored the warnings of tbe duty guard and when he took down the barricade and opened the door to the antechamber and proceeded across the dark room to the bedroom beyond the door was yanked open and the Spawn leaped out at him. It was scary because spawn of kyuss are brutal in combat. But also funny because Horris grappled and yanked him away before he could present himself to the wormy commander and state the words (which Horris did know were needed). He tried to re-barricade the door. They picked a worm off Thurrick and stomped it. And Duncan used his twilight aura so Thurrick could end the suggestion.

At that point I rolled a natural 20 on the commanders attempt to burst the door out (I love when this stuff happens - particularly on Roll20). We then had an epic battle with the commander almost infecting another guard before several blows and acid breath took it down. The rest of the guards were dismayed and explained about the potion gifts from the Lizardfolk before the troubles started. The potions were fetched and given to the PCs to investigate.

Then a guard runs in and says the keep is under attack. We had a great little defensive fight with the PCs manning arrow slits (and Horris misty stepping outside to defend the single file route to the posters gate). Six lizard folk and a black scale half dragon lizardfolk attacked the main doors (and Horris). It was really close they almost broke through. Bringing the door down to 7 hp before they managed to defeat everyone. The acid breath was really tough on the door. Thurrick started to mend the door.

The party approached the two servants at the changing of the watch and explained the need to choose a new commander and that whoever they picked needed to help them get the sword from the crypts. Both sergeants balked and suggested a battlefield promotion for one of the PCs just until the siege was ended (hoping to keep the party here for the duration of the siege). Horris agreed and was given the seal of the keep.

After giving Allustan suggestion to use magic the wall off tbe damaged wall section with his magic the PCs resolved to get some sleep while they can.

********************
Both sessions were really fun. It’s a tactical party but they roleplay really well and the suggestion spell impact was hilarious. And then suddenly very scary. Couldn’t have asked for better.
 

stebehil2

Explorer
I recall someone from paizo commenting on the too easy fight against the lizard folk at the siege. It was supposed to be easy, to give the PCs a break and allow them to show off their new 5th level powers.
 

TheSword

Legend
I recall someone from paizo commenting on the too easy fight against the lizard folk at the siege. It was supposed to be easy, to give the PCs a break and allow them to show off their new 5th level powers.
I think there is a lot of credit to this approach. I just think helping defend in a siege is too good an opportunity to solve with a couple of fireballs… probably why this campaign is taking six or seven sessions per adventure instead of 2 or 3 😂
 
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stebehil2

Explorer
I guess so. Each installment should be good for quite a number of sessions, especially if the players are somewhat invested in Diamond Lake for the first three parts - which they should be.
 

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