D&D General How Was Your Last Session?

Richards

Legend
In today's "Dreams of Erthe" campaign we completed one short adventure and then started a second one, knowing we wouldn't finish it off until next time (it had a natural stopping point built in).

The first adventure, "Dregs," started with an 8-year-old boy asking the PCs, who are traveling across the continent rescuing people who have fallen into stasis as their minds get stuck in their dreams, to come wake up his mother who's been sleeping for two days and won't wake up. They feed him and he takes them to the slums of the city, where he and his mom live in a one-room hovel. One of the clerics checks out the woman in the corner...and she's been dead for about two days. Then she surprises everyone by sitting upright. They keep the boy from seeing what's going on (one of the PCs gets the idea to send him away with a silver coin to go buy garlic for the "waking up procedure") as the cleric/paladin tries turning the zombie - no luck. Then the first dregworm bursts out of her torso and tries burrowing its way into a new, living host. They kill the three dregworms that exit the nearly-hollow body of the boy's mom, deal with her now-driverless body, and when the boy returns they tell him they're having a hard time waking up his mom and ask if he has any other relatives they can take him to. He takes them to his Uncle Willick who works at "the temple with the lady," which turns out to be a whorehouse disguised as a temple to the goddess of fertility. Once the PCs realize Uncle Willick is planning on using the boy as a worker in the temple, they have it out with him, he attacks, and they end up taking on the two dwarven guards and a cleric of the god of betrayal disguised as a cleric of the goddess of fertility, freeing the six "priestesses" forced into working there. The boy ends up as an apprentice to the owner of the inn the PCs are staying in.

The second adventure, "The Missing Dreamer," started with the PCs being asked to accompany a cleric to the temple of the god of death and undeath, as someone fell asleep in their temple and everything they've tried to awaken him has failed. They show up to see if they can wake him from his dreams and find out he's now missing. A commune spell indicates he's still asleep, trapped in his dreams, was taken away from the temple by a living person for some nefarious reason, and is still on the material plane although he's no longer in the city from which he was abducted. Scouting around, they find a homeless beggar who saw the sleeping guy being carried away by a necromancer, and for the price of two chicken legs he tells them they went into the shrine of the goddess of magic and haven't come back out since. But there's nobody there at the shrine; the PCs find a hidden door allowing entry into a cramped passageway with a magic book that allows you to teleport to other shrines of the goddess of magic. They figure out the puzzle giving them the command phrase and teleport away, no doubt to the same place the necromancer and his kidnapped dreamer went. But whatever city they're in now is crawling with undead - and the teleport book is missing from the shrine at this end....

Johnathan
 

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Quickleaf

Legend
I prepared a strong start, an idea courtesy of Mike Shea at Sly Flourish, with the group being confronted by thugs of the villain they were pursuing at the riverside. Basically they were simple thugs, but by giving each a feat, lots of background tying into the PCs' own backstories, and making them sympathetic it was a lot more interesting. Definitely aim to use more strong starts going forward.

At the funeral parlor I had three bodies with funeral masks and funerary apparel – one of which was the villain, but the PCs needed to discern which was actually alive. They came up with a seemingly fullproof plan – send in the invisible super stealthy cat familiar – but I injected some humor with the cat's favorite food (duck pate) being served as an hors d'oeuvres and offered the warlock player Inspiration if his cat sampled the food. It was a low challenge but tense bit of humor.

When they defeated the villain (a suped up tiefling bard), I was pleased to see his tragic villainy and sympathetic motives inspired some debate among the players about how to handle him.

After the session, I received feedback one of the players appreciated the forthrightness of these NPCs where they weren't lying, they were either conflicted or believed they were doing the right thing.

Reflecting on my own DMing, I notice when I'm not doing it regularly (we had about a month break) that my descriptive language takes longer to warm-up and the first half of the session I felt very "stiff" in terms of my descriptive acrobatics.
 

Dragonlance using 5e, running war of the Lance part 1 3.5 edition. Players just took on and defeated Onyx, the black dragon. Heathen cleric (cleric class with every magical element removed) used the Blue Crystal Staff to take the dragon down after the battle master fighter used his maneuver to give her a free attack. They were absolutely staring down a tpk.

the dragon and cleric both were consumed.

Session ended with party feeling like they won at a huge cost leaving the temple and finding the cleric snoozing at the base of a statue to her goddess.

it was a good time
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
1st Ed AD&D, Forgotten Realms (Cormyr) continues...

Kyla the Kensai's mini-session (as outlined above) was a success but left her with some wounds to heal, so she bowed out to convalesce. By some strange coincidence her player also could not make it to the session. Amazing how these things just work out! :p

Feltuun the Dwarven fighter is joined by Arash the Ranger, friend and colleague to the fallen Braern. Both are joined by two guest players running Gnome Illusionist/Thief siblings.

Feltuun wants to act fast and retrieve the 10k buried electrum before the Dwarven Assassin and Elf Fighter/thief from the other group can get to it, so they head out with haste.

A cold snap has settled upon the land bringing early winter conditions prompting rolls against frostbite, but they take precautions and find their way to the burial site of Braern and Dastan (the fallen Ranger/Cleric and Kensai from previous session). The bodies have been dug up and looted, confirming the groups concern that the thieves' guild has beaten them to the punch. They push forward after re-burying their former comrades, and arrive at the site where they hid the rest of the loot.

What they find is a group of men mysteriously slaughtered, and all the electrum already dug up and left behind! The Ranger's tracking fails, and he is unable to ascertain any clues as to what killed these men and women. They quickly load up their treasure and retreat back the way they came.

En route home, an old woman from a distant homestead frantically approaches stating that a group of men took her grandchild, and went north. The ranger, unwilling to walk away without investigating the claim, is ultimately joined by the teammates who while suspecting a trap of some kind (old lady all alone on the frontier? Hello?) they feel it would be wrong not to try.

A family of skunks crosses the path of the heroes, and the young Gnome sister gleefully rushes forward to make friends with the cuties. Using the gnomish ability to speak with small animals she brings them into the fold where they can keep warm during the cold weather. They react well to everyone save the poor ranger, who narrowly avoids getting sprayed after spooking one. Laughter all around the table. The gnomes are able to glean from the skunks that a large predatory 'bird, not bird' is hunting in the area.

The old grandmother told the heroes that bandits often use an old nearby military training facility and watchtower as a hideout, so it's possible her grandson was taken there. The group immediately heads in that direction. On the way in, about 100 yards from the front gate they find a body, discoloured and pierced. A dead warrior armed with a strange, collapsible pike, sectioned in 5 ft lengths. The ranger grabs the pike to take a look at it. They don't search the body further yet, feeling time was of the essence, so aside from the pike they take nothing else, but move closer.

As they near, something large moving catches the eye of the Ranger. Knowing that a large flying creature is hunting in the area, they immediately move into a copse of woods to take cover and watch from safety. A massive, two-legged, winged beast with a long tail (with stinger) occasionally flies up from the top of the watchtower and returns with some large game. Correctly assessing that it's a wyvern, the group makes a plan.

They will wait for it to fly out to hunt again and use that time to approach the compound and get inside where they can attempt to ambush it from within. When the creature flies off, they sprint for the watchtower. The front gate is locked, albeit damaged and rusted. The Gnome brother attempts to pick the lock, but is unable to move the rusted tumblers, the attempt taking 3 rounds. The Gnome sister tries, her attempt taking 4 rounds... but the wyvern's screech alerts the group after she's but one round in on her work.

The Gnome sister says she will keep working on it if they can hold off the wyvern. The gnome brother casts phantasmal force to create and illusion of a prancing buck, hoping to distract the beast with a tastier target. The Ranger, having assembled the pike, stands in a protective centre spot and sets it against the creature should it swoop in. Feltuun the dwarf readies a bullet in his sling.

The wyvern soars around and flies in from the flank. Feltuun misses with a sling bullet, while the Gnome brother moves the prancing buck between the group and the attacking creature... alas the wyvern has its sights set on the tasty gnome. Dive attack... BUT... Arash the Ranger has the pike ready and despite being non-proficient, scores a key hit with a natural 20! The pike keeps the wyvern at bay disrupting its charge.

The gnome sister is almost done, 1 more round and they will see if the door is opened. (they don't know the roll result yet until the time has fully passed. Feltuun misses with another bullet, the gnome brother maintains his concentration on the phantasmal buck.

New round The wyvern is flapping its wings in front of them, but decides the yummy looking deer is probably an easier meal than the pesky humanoids, and goes for it. Two successful strikes dispelling the trick and distracting it long enough for the gnome sister to complete her work and with a successful roll to opens the gate! in the subsequent round the group opts to retreat into the building, only poor Feltuun is a little too slow to slip in before the wyvern can attempt and attack. Both attacks miss!

With its snack hidding inside the building the wyvern flies around, eventually returning to its perch. The group hears sobbing in an adjacent room, discovers the kidnapped boy, huddled in moldy blankets. He explains that the bad men took him to be a cup boy, but the beast attacked and one of the men who wasn't so bad brought him here for cover before going back out to try and kill it - he didn't know this was its nest. The boy's food has run out and he's too scared to leave.

The group forms a plan to use the gnome sister's memorized phantasmal force to create another bit of bait, lure the wyvern out in the open and bombard it at range. The plan works in luring it down, but rolls don't go their way as most shots miss... save one lucky shot from the ranger succeeding in just enough damage to ground it! The wound to its wing forces it to land, and Feltuun's chaotic bloodthirst drives him to charge in full tilt to melee it, hoping to finish it off. Alas, the charge is unsuccessful, and the wyvern scores a hit on him with the dreaded stinger! Feltuun's CON is 16, however, and that gives dwarves a +4 to save vs poison... Feltuun makes the save and continues the fight.

The gnome sister's last remaining spell is colour spray, but being a lower level than the wyvern all she can hope is for a minor stun, still better than nothing! The wyvern fails the save! Stunned for but a few segments, it's still long enough for Feltuun to score a blow! Recovering from the stun, the wyvern's morale fails and it flees on foot, running humourously on its two likes like a scared chicken! It uses its claws to scramble up the tower to its nest. The group plans to finish it off by climbing the stairs on the inside and attacking. Sending the ranger forward alone to maximize his stealth, they wait. He gets the drop and peppers with arrows from a position of cover on the staircase, and in the subsequent round Feltuun rushes in to finish it with his axe. They learn that it was a momma wyvern protecting a little one... but such creatures are too dangerous to live, so they dispatch it as well... but not before it scores a stinger it on poor Feltuun... dwarven resilience to poison saves the day again!

Some loot is found in the Wyvern's nest as well as in the abandoned watchtower. They return the boy to his grandmother, as well as leaving them with enough coin to set them up for a while, and the party returns home triumphant.

Levels are made, training is paid for, and a good time is had by all.

Regulars:
Feltuun, Dwarven fighter. Now level 5.
Arash, Human Ranger, now level 3.

Guests:
Gnorm the Gnome brother. Illusionist/thief. (Guest player, new to my table)
Gnorma the Gnome sister. Illusionist/thief. (Guest player for this group, is a regular in my 1e spinoff group)

Absent:
Kyla, Human Kensai, lvl 3.
Name TBD, 1st level Human Druid.
 

2nd episode of my Banewarrens campaign using the Shadow of the Demon Lord system. 5 characters all at level 1. The goblin magician with the Necromancy and Forbidden traditions already has 3 points of Corruption, failed his roll to gain a Mark of Darkness, and now weeps blood. "That happened sooner than I was expecting," said the player. Life comes at you fast.

In this episode, the players spent most of their time discussing the opening session and trying to piece together all the clues to understand who was doing what and why. There was no combat, we barely rolled any dice.

The player of our priest missed the first session and so we roleplayed him joining the group. He's investigating the disappearance of his wife, whom he learns was killed and returned as undead in the opening session. His goal is to find her and return her to life, if he can; or send her to eternal rest, if he can't.

The players tried to discover who was hunting the boggle that kicked off all the trouble in the first place. They went to the courthouse that issues bounties. The elf magician's otherworldly grace soon had the bureaucrat charmed. They learned there was a bounty on the boggle from the Church of Lothian -- specifically Sister Mara of St Valien's Cathedral in the Temple District. But they also discovered the bounty had been issued after their first run in with the boggle. That suggested the orc bounty hunters they tangled with were seeking a payoff from unofficial sources -- the criminal underworld or other unsavory sorts.

At the cathedral, the priest quickly got them in front of Sister Mara. The characters admitted they had been present at the bloodbath between the boggle, the orcs, and an undead knight. Mara said the Church was worried that the knight's presence suggested an ancient evil had been loosed from the Spire. The Church had divined the spot at which the undead knight emerged into the city and sent in a team to investigate. That team has not been heard from since. She asked the players to follow the team, discover their fate, and report back. The characters agreed. They were given some silver coin and a healing potion each.

Next session: Into the Banewarrens!
 
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30th session of my Neverwinter campaign. Three PCs: drow evoker wizard, human genie warlock, half-orc vengeance paladin. At the end of the session they reached 6th level.

Previously, the wizard had been captured and interrogated by a mind flayer and his thralls. The other PCs invaded the mind flayer's lair inside a giant statue that was an offshore light house.

This session was the climax of the rescue. The PCs reached the chamber inside the statue's head and freed the wizard. As they approached, the wizard convinced the nothic guard to release him in return for sparing its life. It gave him some intel on the mind flayer and its plans.

The mind flayer teleported into the chamber just as the other PCs arrived. It targeted the nothic for its treachery. The PCs got a front row seat to the brain devouring which followed. (I love me some mind flayers.) The PCs fought their way through a gibbering mouther (which are great at wrecking player's plans) and attacked the mind flayer. It teleported away before they could kill it -- but promised to return and wreak vengeance.

The PCs then descended to the sea cave at the base of the light house. There they fought a tribe of sahuagin in thrall to the mind flayer, eradicating them with a few fireballs. They destroyed the mind flayer's tadpole pool.

The sea cave held a great treasure hoard in its depths, but it was guarded by a kraken the PCs had tangled with previously. They weren't strong enough to defeat it so they reluctantly left the lighthouse via airship. They plan to return later, slay the kraken, and claim the hoard.

Next session: Downtime in Neverwinter.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
As I mentioned in the new "What are you prepping for your next D&D session?" thread, this was a transitional session, so there was plenty of opportunity for awkwardness or faltering progress, but overall it went very well.

The first half of the session was mostly logistics and wrap up - splitting treasure, talking to NPCs, and making future plans.

There was a nice moment where the one woman in the party explained that her objection to the party's young friend being betrothed to a knight the party hates was not about whether he was a nice guy, but because if she is old enough to marry, she is old enough to make her own choice and she was being pushed into it by her father.

The fact that part of the reason the young woman doesn't want to marry this guy is because she has fallen in love with a singing troll she's never seen does complicate the situation however.

The party succeeded in befriending the troll after finding him on their way to wrap up one last loose end (the sage that originally hired them is missing and they think they figure out where he was hiding), but he warned them has his visiting family (his cousins Geeser and Gooser and his uncles Feester and Fuster) would want to eat them and the girl, should she come looking for them. The unexpected presence of the trolls had kept the sage from returning after fleeing the now-defeated cultists in the village.

After retreating to a safer spot (at least in terms of trolls), they were then attacked by the knight and his men-at-arms, who took their friendship with the troll as evidence of their malintent, causing the party to flee. They followed this up by making a plan to trick the knight and his men to chase them into the trolls' lair, hoping this will weaken them and the party can mop up what's left.

On their way back to the area of the troll hole they ended up fighting a phalanx of skeletons supported by an ogre zombie, because the whole area of the Black Fens are haunted. [This was a callback to an encounter they had on their way back from their first adventure. The first time they were 1st level and they fought four skeletons. This time there were 16]

When they finally got back to the entrance to the troll hole in the dead of night, they decided to find a place to stand guard where they they could not be seen but they could watch for the arrival of the knight nd his men (probably in the morning). Unfortunately, as they crept across the view of the tunnel entrance, the barbarian lost his footing, kicking up rocks on the rocky beach. Within the hole the heard a voice bellow, "Do you hear someone out there?"

This one was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, scheduling the next session is looking hard and we may not get to play again until early December. :(
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
So we had a session 0 that morphed into the first session of Tyranny of Dragons.

The DM moved ToD to his world. The players, with a different group of PCs, had among their travels been in a faux-Arabian area where they got in a lot of trouble with the Sun King's High Priestess whom was basically runnign the country, and no one liked that country. So I'm playing a Genie Warlock from there so I can play with expectations.

The others are an elven ranger (to be Drakewarden), a wood elf monk (likely Dragon Ascendant) and a harengon barbarian. (Or BarBUNian as she calls herself.)

Also, this particular group isn't heavy of optimization, so I tune my characters with them to be around the same - I have the most fun that way. Maybe turn it up a little if playing a support character deigned to make others shine, but nothing highly optimized.

As a brief but pertinent aside, early in the year several DMs including this one had tried to get together a West Marches game online that ended up failing, and the DM had run the first session of ToD there. I was one of the players and we walked all over the encounters. It was in big part because it's a 1st level adventure and we had six or seven 3rd level characters.

So this game he upped the threat from kobolds (thematic) to goblins (?). However, there were four of us, no healer, and starting 2nd level.

You know, when 7 goblins + a higher level goblin leader (took 19 dmg and was still going) all focus fire on a single 2nd level character, that character goes down? And when most of them are archers and they do that every round?

It wasn't helped that my to-hit rolls the first three rounds had my d20 showing 2, 3 and 3. Fourth round I mimed switching to the other hand for my eldritch blast and got an 18, which is how I discovered my genie warlock Akubakas was left handed. :)

Yeah, we got our rears handed to us. We ended up retreating, successful at least partially because of DM kindness.

And then the DM was in a pickle because it seems there's some timing happening with getting to the keep but we had one party member unconcious for 2 hour before they could wake with a single HP. He fudged that a little to make us fit the scenario - I wish we had ended up off script for having to take that time but it seems that would have taken us really off track for the adventure.

We made our way in through the town as it was being looted and made it to the keep. We talked to the Ritter (local lord) and have just went down a secret tunnel from the castle, which we hadn't been before in the West Marches game so I am thankfully unaware of what will happen.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Two weeks ago, just finished our Saltmarsh campaign (Ghosts of Saltmarsh), wrapping up with the big battle at the end of the Final Enemy (actually about half-way through the book).

It didn't go as well as I had hoped (it lagged a bit and felt somewhat anti-climatic), but we were able to wrap everything up and then each player got to take a few minutes to explain what their characters did afterwards. I might pick up the game sometime later to run the rest of the campaign, but I'm overall satisfied enough that it's a good stopping point so we can move on to something new for a while.

Details spoiled for those playing the module
The party had been engaging in several activities throughout the campaign as they not only acted as troubleshooters for various problems, but they also became ambassadors gathering together the various races to unite against the growing threat of returning Sahuagin. By the time the group had located the Sahuagin's impenetrable fortress, they had allied the locals of Saltmarsh, Burle and Seaton as well as the local Tritons, Merfolk, Locathah and Koalinth (but failed to save the Sea Elves). They had managed to get word to the capital, who sent a small regiment of soldiers and knights to help at Saltmarsh. They'd also managed to get on the "good" side of a Green Dragon named Valdosra (Greenleaf) and her Kobold minions, and the elves of Silverstand and the Dwarves of the Seacliff Mines. They'd even made friends with a Treant named Whisperleaf (saving him from giant wasps in the marshes) and after their first (semi-successful) recon of the fortress, they'd also managed to make an impression on some Orc & Hobgoblin forces under the guidance of Granny Nightshade. They'd basically built a sizable force to face down the Sahaugin - and a Kraken under their (seeming) control.

The plan was that the group would pre-infiltrate the fortress a second time (they had cleared the top level and one barrack on the 2nd), opening a way for the land forces to get in and disrupt the forces inside while the seaborne forces attacked from below (the Tritons had tried earlier, and had been smashed in the attempt; the king of the Tritons had perished in the last battle and one of the player's replacement characters was the up-and-coming prince).

With this three-way battle, I had visions of Return of the Jedi swimming in my head, and while I didn't want to get too bogged into the details of the other two battles, I wanted the players to feel like they had control over what was going on and some leeway on tactics. Most of all, I wanted to impress on them just how powerful of an enemy they were really fighting!

I decided to use the Mob rules out of the DMG to handle the land battle and sea battle, and created a spreadsheet to handle the math. Unfortunately, it took so long to make the sea map (using Dungeon Fog) and set up the initial forces (& spreadsheet), that I didn't really get to test out a mock battle beforehand to get a feel for how long it'd take to do.

So, the session commenced with the party breaking into the upper level, finding it deserted and signalling for the land/sea forces to begin their assault. Along with the PCs the Triton prince had an NPC named Serenade who we'd set up as a sidekick courtesan/assassin. She was assigned the task to find the Sahuagin's Kraken Priest and getting rid of her to take the Kraken out of the fight. We then switched into semi-round-by-round, moving between the PC's scouting through the second level as the other two forces moved in. I tried to time it dramatically, and it worked well at first - for the PC's & the sea force.

So, the sea force slowly moved in from the south of the seabed map shown below, only for the Merfolk flank to be ambushed by Shell Sharks hiding in the rift in the lower left. At nearly the same time, the party inside the fortress found the main temple to Sekolah, and the Maw of Sekolah that was awaiting within. Both the shell sharks and the Maw caused a lot of damage and it was a hard-fought battle. Meanwhile, the land forces pulled up to within arrow range of the narrow land bridge to the fortress, and waited, rather than pushing towards the land bridge.

Back in the fortress, the party finished off the Maw as the Merfolk & Triton Cavaliers (astride Hippocampii) managed to destroy the Shell sharks. However, the tritons found themselves out of position as Baron Kepmak and his shell-shark riding Champions moved forward to crush the Tritons for once and for all.

As Kepmak's forces crashed into the Triton soldiers, the Baron blew his seafoam horn. On land, Baroness Seklaz's waiting forces moved up to seize the end of the land bridge as her supporting forces rose from the sea to produce a solid wall designed to keep the land forces at bay. Whisperleaf the Treant responded by tossing a boulder amid the Sahuagin forces aimed at the Baroness, but her bodyguards hurled themselves in the way to save their mistress's life. The rest of the land forces prepared to pivot for an encircling maneuver, hoping to draw the Sahaugin into their trap. However, flanking Sahuagin champions and Coral Smashers began their move towards the land forces, attempting to do the same.

Back inside the fortress, as the party finished their battle with the Maw and began to inspect the ritual they'd interrupted, Serenade found the Kraken Priestess in the nearby throne room. Invisible, she snuck past the priest's guards and with a single hit (3 Nat 20's, followed with a Nat 19), she killed the Priestess with one blow - and then used Fog Cloud to evade the Priestess's bodyguards. At about the same time, the party in the temple discovered that the ritual they'd interrupted was powering the spell that was raising the Sahuagin fortress from the deep depths it had been consigned to a hundred years ago. Destroying the altar, would, in effect, collapse the fortress back to the depths - along with everyone still inside. So, the party's necromancer "sacrificed" his skeleton minions as a deadman's switch - the Warlock player cast a spell with a 10 minute duration in view of the skeletons, and the Necromancer ordered the skeletons to destroy the altar when the spell ended. The group (who had already lost several minutes wandering the 2nd level previously) set off to delve into the 3rd level and join the forces to tip the undersea battle.

Luckily, the undersea battle was beginning to turn in the allies favor. The triton cavaliers had feinted a withdrawl, drawing off 2/3rds of Baron Kempak's mounted forces where the Locathah and Koalinth were able to encircle and blunt the mounted forces. Suddenly, Kempak found his initial push into the triton end with himself and his honor guard surrounded by Merfolk and Triton soldiers. Only now, the reserve Sahuagin forces began to realize the peril of their leader and began to move forward from their defensive positions to aid their leader.

Outside, on the land side, the allies attempt to encircle the Sahuagin was not going well as the flanking Sahuagin began to rip through the ally flanks, catching the Keoland General Arish by surprise. Only the sacrifice of his loyal knights kept the general from falling to the Coral Smasher's blistering assault, and the entire allied force had to pivot to try and save the general. As the land forces moved in disarray, Baron Seklaz ordered her forces to take advantage of the chaos, and Sahuagin began to wade onto the beach, ignoring the singular stone being thrown by Whisperleaf.

Until a bombard blast from fortess-side blasted into the back ranks, sending stony land bridge debris and Sahuagin flying. The Sea Princes, with their 45-gun ship, The Devil's Maiden, had arrived to the battle, armed with cannons and depth charges! (Yes, normally guns don't work in Greyhawk - this particular former PC/NPC from another campaign had made a deal with Myrlund for access to gunpowder weapons - this was a once-in-a-lifetime relic they were risking in this fight).

Back inside the fortress, time was spiralling down when the group finally found themselves in the great arena at the heart of the fortress and an augmented (i.e., given Legendary Actions & Saves) Blademaster Makaht and his elite squad awaiting the party. A grand melee broke out as the Blademaster moved forward, but the group quickly whittled down his support forces with a combined casting of Hunger of Hadar and Control Water (whirlpool) - now it was the Blademaster himself against the entire group, with a devouring whirlpool at their backs!

In the undersea battle, as the allies realized they had surrounded the enemy general, the forces did their best to whittle him down, hoping to break the army before the supporting enemy forces could advance to aid and overwhelm the allied force. Waveshapers were moving into position to create devastating whirlpools to save their beleagured Baron but the question was if they would arrive in time - which was answered as depth charges from the Devil's Maiden abruptly halted their advance by blowing the closest to smitheens!

On land, the allies breathed a sigh of relief as they were able to reorganize their forces to protect General Arish as the Sahuagin regathered from the shock of the initial bombard from The Devil's Maiden. Still, if something wasn't done soon, it was clear there were not enough troops to withstand the assault from the Sahaugin, and the enemy's assault had decimated the only archery unit the allies had beyond the furious Whisperleaf, who could only take out a single Sahaugin at a time with powerful rocks.

Inside the fortress, the intense battle with Makaht continued. The sahaugin fought like a beast, focusing his attacks on the young triton prince - the blademaster bore the trident he had taken from the young prince's dead father and the two were intent on killing one another. As the fight raged on, Makaht savaged the young prince, driving the Triton to one knee with a ferocious series of blows, and then turned to skewer the nearby cleric to ensure she could not raise the triton when he would deliver his final, gleeful blow. But he underestimated the group's warlock, who used Thunderous Step to grab the cleric and step away, simultaneously unbalancing the sahuagin to falter and slip perilously close to the hurricane of dark water nearby. As the Blademaster staggered for balance, the triton regained his own footing and smashed the relic Wave into the Blademaster's weapon arm, disarming him. In the moments that the triton reclaimed his father's weapon before the consuming whirlpool dragged it away, the group's Necromancer lunged forward with Black Razor and ended the Blademaster's life. As the life visibly left the Blademaster's eyes, his body was lifted up by the churning waters and dragged into the black abyss to be swallowed with the remains of his elite guard.

With little time left to spare, the group then raced through the remainder of the abandoned third level, emerging only moments before the spell on the second level ended. With the precision only afforded to the dead, the Necromancer's three skeletons smote the altar, destroying it. With an animalistic howl of a thousand denied sharks, the entire fortress began to collapse. On land, the forces of Baron Seklaz found themselves buried by the crumbling landbridge, and the remaining Sahuagin immediately fled. Undersea, the Sahuagin who had lagged behind their defenses found themselves dragged down as the great fortress burrowed itself back into the deep sea. Without support, Baron Kepmak quickly fell as their own sharks turned on them and devoured the remaining Sahuagin, before they themselves swam away, released from their cursed state.

The allies had won, and it was time for celebration back at Saltmarsh!

Screenshot from the Undersea Battle
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Screenshot from the Land Battle
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Two weeks ago, just finished our Saltmarsh campaign (Ghosts of Saltmarsh), wrapping up with the big battle at the end of the Final Enemy (actually about half-way through the book).

Fantastic! My group is working their way there, but I have added a lot of other stuff between and among the Saltmarsh series - so they won't be getting to U3 quite yet (my guess is another 8 to 12 months of sessions - we only only play every 3 to 5 weeks) but I am am considering using some variation of MCDM's Kingdoms & Warfare to allow the players to run the big battle vs. the sahuagin.
 

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