EPISODE 4: INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST, PART ONE
Only a month behind schedule!
We're stepping outside the Adventurer's League to run this adventure, which is available on the DMsGuild here: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/209...t--Adventure?term=into+the+belly&test_epoch=0
Side note. I'm gonna do some plugs. I have a LOT of adventures in my DMG library which is fortunate because out of nowhere I was asked to run a TON of games during the week between Christmas and New Year's, all for different groups of people.
On the train up to Boston on Christmas Day, my wife and I played TYRANT OF ZHENTIL KEEP, a DM-less solo adventure for 1 or 2 players. This the the second one in a series. If anybody is on the fence about these, they're great: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/228...ep--A-5E-Solo-Gamebook?term=zhen&test_epoch=0
My nephews had never played before but have been watching Critical Role and wanted a one-shot. They got Temple of the Basilisk Cult from the Arcane Library. This one is free, excellent, and you can get it here: http://www.thearcanelibrary.com/the-arcane-library
(For level one)
On Thursday night I ran Dan Coleman's BAD APPLES for one of my regular groups. Like most of the material from this author, this was brilliant: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/198662/Bad-Apples-Level-3-PCs
(For level 3)
And some of my friends wanted a game for New Year's Eve, including one newbie. They got another Dan Coleman, Cryptic Entry. This is a Pay-What-You-Want and it's one of the best level one adventures I've ever run: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185231/Cryptic-Entry-Level-1-PCs?term=cryptic+&test_epoch=0
And FINALLY we continued this campaign.
INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST is a tier two adventure so there was no need to modify the combat.
Black Wizma received the message from the previous post: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showth...out-AL/page3&p=7283436&viewfull=1#post7283436
So they trudged into the Marsh of Chelimber and almost immediately they observed that the ancient map they'd been given had some inaccuracies. Instead of a castle at the edge of a swamp, they could see only a single tower protruding 30' from the swamp. They crossed a patch of trembling earth
. Nobody puts two and two together here, so everybody but Klegg fails their dex saves and plunges through the grass into the sunken castle. Klegg catches himself at waist level and is able to make his way safely down.
They explore the submerged ruin and scavenged a little treasure (dagger +1 and a philter of love, which Wizma had her familiar sip to test) and open the wrong door and get ambushed by a giant constrictor snake. This isn't too much trouble and eventually they find the base of the tower and climb out of there.
Next stop is a bridge linking two swamp islands, where a pretty backwoods half-elf is fishing. Everybody makes friends and since night is coming on they head to her cabin (which is on stilts) for dinner. Lots of rodent skulls hung up to dry in here. Huh. Delicious soup. Hey, Klegg bit something hard. Is it a toenail? Something is making a racket in the closet. Wizma mage-hands the closet open. It's a bound and gagged goblin missing a foot! Crap, half-elf is a green hag! And planted outside the cabin is her pet roaper and it's on like neckbone.
Great knock-down drag out fight here as the roaper immediately grapples everybody but Tordeck and pulls them out through the windows and door. Tordeck thinks quick and gets off a silence spell in round 2, but the hag is still owning him with her claw attacks. Mille cuts herself loose and uses her Boots of Striding and Springing to quickly get back in and help him. Klegg is bitten to death by the Roaper! Everybody is wrecking each other in a nail-biting fight. The goblin's works his gag off: "SOUP IS FOOT! SOUP IS FOOOOOT!" Our heroes pull it out and Tordeck, with a single hit point left, makes it out to revivify Klegg with a round to spare before he's done. Wizma was also down to less than 5hp and cantrips. Millie finishes the roaper with a well-placed longbow shot from the cabin window and a revivified Klegg action surges inside and cuts off the hag's head.
Long rest with new friend Me-Jerk the goblin. Searching the cabin, they find a sending stone and have a whispered conversation with a gnome who has the other stone. He is apparently a captive of a tribe of swamp goblins. Me'Jerk confirms the story but assures the party that his tribe is peaceful. They found an ancient shrine in the swamp and want the gnome to unlock it. Also, they have boats, which the party needs to reach the island with the cave.
On the way to the village, we pass a weird altar where the local goblins are leaving offerings of free fish. Me'Jerk doesn't want to linger here, and the party agrees. If they had been here at night, they would have met the ghouls who come out of the swamp for the fish.
Goblin village, as promised, is friendly, has a well-treated gnome prisoner, and a rather unremarkable puzzle which the players solve in about 90 seconds. Goblins share the shrine treasure, so everybody gets a silver bar and the chief throws in a goblin canoe.
A creepy boat-ride later and we're on the shore of Darkroot's island. This area is guarded by a treant who demands a service before the party can proceed. Party has a choice of taking out a local troll (which would have turned out to be the more complicated option as he has his own small cave complex) or eliminate a newly-arrived catoblepus who is befouling the swamp. They opt for the latter, and the beast is not hard to find. These things are reasonably tough, but it's four-on-one and we know how that goes in 5E.
We were out of time at that point, but all that remains is for the players to enter the cave, confront Venomfang, and retrieve the book of rune magic. I removed from the module a tribe of hostile lizardfolk and their village, as they didn't seem particularly interesting.
We're scheduled to play again this Sunday; they made it through 75-80% of the adventure already so I may pad out part two with one more swamp encounter, and then for the cave I think I'm actually going to drop in the bottom level of Forge of Fury from ToTYP.
Playing time: Right around 3 hours; we did not finish and I also cut the lizardfolk which could have added anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour plus, depending on how they were handled. Going after the troll instead of the catoblepus could also have added easily another 30-45 minutes.
B+. Really solid adventure, which obviously we haven't quite finished. I've undersold the comedy value of Me'Jerk here. The players LOVED the hag/roaper fight. Goblin village puzzle was weak. Adventure needs some polish in pulling together some of the locations and elements. Plenty of additional optional content is provided (like the altar for the ghouls; there are half-a-dozen things like that for you to drop in as needed). Fit very well with the AL Season 5 adventures; players don't know it's not officially in the season and stylistically it's very much in keeping with the other adventures.
NEXT EPISODE: INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST, PART 2 (Sunday, Jan 7)