Let's Play #4 4e Goodman Games DCC54 Forges of the Mountain King PCs End NOW WITH PICS OF PCs

Goonalan

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Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


The Seal

[sblock=The Map]


The Vault of the Silver Seal is in area 1-20 on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

Just a note to say I spiced up the skill challenge, a little, for the PCs to lift out the seal- in the text it plays out over five rounds, my version required four hours of set-up to get to the five rounds. I mainly did this because one of the players studied (I think) to be a civil engineer (or some such), and one of the other players is a forklift driver, regardless they were having fun so I extended the play and allowed them to break out the paper and pencils to draw their seal lifting pulley system.

I figure all dwarves are like this, frustrated builders with a stubby pencil behind their ear and a tape measure inside their overalls, itching to get stuff built.

The minimum time needed to lift the seal is four hours and four rounds, the guys manage it in four hours and five rounds.

Below the great seal is a circular shaft, intricately carved with various depictions of dwarven warriors and their kin- Ragnarr is secured and lowered down, in to an empty chamber with a corridor leading from it.

Ragnarr scouts out the passageway and the chamber beyond, or at least he has a look in- an empty octagonal chamber with what looks to be the corpse of a dwarf within, he scurries back to relay his news to his colleagues.

After a short discussion it is decided, the dwarves descend- they’re going to check out the area properly.

[sblock=The Map]


The Octagonal chamber is in area 1-19A on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

The adventurers head in, the leering dwarf corpse has half a key in hand, the other half has been snapped off, and another key intact- also a ruby hidden in his boot, the chamber is thoroughly searched but there’s no key hole, or anything else for that matter, to be found.

The adventurers head south, down an elaborately carved wide passage, dotted with alcoves containing statues of dwarf warriors- the first is thoroughly examined, the passage slopes down.

“I wonder what…”

CLANG!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


Encounter #12 Doomgrinder Hall

[sblock=The Map]


The Octagonal chamber is in area 1-19A on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

Ragnarr leads the others down the wide passage.

“I wonder what…”

CLANG!

Suddenly dropping from the ceiling behind the dwarves is a huge stone roller, like a pillar on its side- embedded in the massive stone are scores of metal blades…

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

The roller, and therefore the blades, spin at an incredible speed- the entire thing lurches forward, heading for the adventurers.

Bad Guys 700 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Doomgrinder Trap Level 8 Elite Warder Trap

[sblock=The Doomgrinder]


[/sblock]

“Sh…”

And…

“Fu…”

Are the most popular reactions.

The dwarves run as the great blades close in, Ragnarr is the first to the end of the passage, and ‘end’ is the correct phrase…

[sblock=The Map]


The passage ends spectacularly on the right hand side of the map (see below).

[/sblock]

Ragnarr teeters on the edge, Travok arrives just in time to skid to a halt and grab his friend, the passage exits in to a massive chamber, suddenly lights flare ahead- illuminating a central platform in the chamber- another platform beyond. At some time in the past this place would have been a marvel of dwarven engineering, now however it is broken- a ruin; nothing connects the three platforms, the stairs have fallen away.

“What the…” Travok states.
“Bummer!” Ragnarr adds.

[sblock=The Stairs of Ruin]


[/sblock]

The ceiling is shrouded in shadow, the floor below similarly obscured.

Ragnarr looks behind him, the Doomgrinder, and his fellows are approaching at speed.

“Nooooooooo!” The rogue screams, but it’s too late…

Fenchurch runs past Ragnarr, and then leaps, lands on the central platform with ease, the bard tumbles to absorb the impact and comes up grinning. Koda does the same.

Almost.

The monk thumps in to the edge of the central platform and scrabbles furiously to stay on board- red-faced Koda screams like a little girl.

Dave, who plays Koda, was very cocky prior to seeing his dice roll.

“MOOOVE!”

Tordek rushes full pelt and launches himself, and… lands in a heap on the central platform, the dwarf looks up battered and bruised- but grinning, pointedly at Koda.

Grimm and Berend skid to a halt- then look behind them, the Doomgrinder is only fifteen or so feet away from them, it’ll be on them in seconds.

“Jump!” Fenchurch encourages.

Ragnarr is the first to react, the rogue however has his doubts- he scans the walls and the floor, and the ceiling, and the trap itself; unless he goes over it, involving another jump, then there’s no way past he can think of.

“We have to jump.” Ragnarr plainly states- his three companions nod- all four take a step or two back, rush forward and launch themselves towards the central platform.

Travok lands with style, Berend with panache, Grimm lands in a crumpled heap face first- but still grinning.

Just to say this is a DC15 Athletics check.

Ragnarr flies, all too briefly, misses the ledge by some distance, and plummets, but oh…

The flailing rogue catches on to Koda’s foot- the monk sags, slips and is left holding on the ledge by one hand, Ragnarr scrabbling to climb the monk below.

It gets to swearing very quickly.

Fenchurch and Tordek are quickly to Koda, the monk is dragged up on to the ledge, Ragnarr who has alas ‘made his toilet’ is dragged up after.

“Phew that was close!” Ragnarr grins.

It’s at this point the first deathjumper spider lands.

On Tordek.

The fighter is smashed prone beneath the beast, bitten and injected with poison that causes his limbs to suddenly feel like lumps of lead- he’s Slowed.

The second spider smashes in to Travok, the third Fenchurch, the fourth Berend- each of the dwarves suffer a similar fate, the only exception is Travok , the paladin is left bloodied for good measure when the giant arachnid tears a huge chunk from his flesh.

Bad Guys 1400 XP Level 5 Encounter (7 PCs).
Doomgrinder Trap Level 8 Elite Warder Trap
Deathjump Spider Level 4 Skirmisher x4

[sblock=The Monster Manual]


[/sblock]

Ragnarr launches his Clever Strike, and when that misses he tries again (Action Point), with no success. Fenchurch throws off the poison’s affect but not before feeling its initial sting, he stabs the spider with his Guiding Strike, and manages to get to his feet.

The spiders attack again, although only Berend is bitten again- the ranger however is now bloodied.

The first three spider’s attack rolls were all below ‘6’ unadjusted, the one that rolled the ‘6’ needed a ‘7’ to hit- the dice mock me at times.

Koda Opens the Gate of… oh, no he doesn’t, the spider lurches back and the monk is to his feet, his attack wasted.

Travok shakes the poison off, but not before the burn leaves him bloodied, his Divine Pursuit stabs the arachnid, and he too is back on his feet.

Grimm swears his Oath and then with a Whirlwind Charge smashes in to a spider (with a critical hit), the arachnid is left bloodied.

Tordek also throws off the poison’s affect, he gets to his feet and slices with Steel Serpent Strike- the bloodied spider is to quick however.

Berend staggers (he’son 8 hit points), gets his Second Wind and then stabs with his longswords, a Twin Fang Strike at the spider- both hit and the arachnid is bloodied, the ranger gets to his feet. The ranger throws the poison off.

Ragnarr’s Clever Strike comes again, rips through one of the arachnid’s legs, the creature skitters- leaking yellow gunk, wanting to be away.

Fenchurch finds some space and issues a Staggering Note, one of the arachnids scurries but is otherwise unaffected.

The spiders surge, they all bite back, they all hit their prey- Tordek (9 hit points left), Travok (1 hit point left), Berend (7 hit points left) and Ragnarr (now bloodied) are all bitten and poisoned again.

Koda goes chop-socky crazy with a double Dancing Cobra, and double Flurry attacks- all four attacks hit and smash one of the arachnids (for 35 damage in total), the spider is left staggering, tottering on the edge of the platform (on 2 hit points).

Travok collapses, he’s dying- poison in his veins (-4 hit points).

Grimm’s Focussed Fury is not enough to see the second spider off, the creature however is left bruised and bleeding.

Tordek gets his Second Wind and then with a Weapon Master’s Menace smashes an arachnid and sends it sailing off the platform. He also shakes off the poison.

Berend’s longswords come again, but both miss this time- the ranger tries again with a Marauder’s Rush and clatters in to an arachnid, it too spirals off the ledge. The poison within his body is neutralised.

Ragnarr shakes off the posion also, gets his Second Wind but misses with his dagger. Fenchurch’s Staggering Note launches the third arachnid off the ledge- his Majestic Words likewise cause Travok to stir.

The bard pays the price, the last arachnid leaps and Death from Above, crunches in Fenchurch- biting deep and sending him sprawling beneath the beast, poisoned, bloodied and in peril (Fenchurch is on 5 hit points).

Travok gingerly gets to his feet, throws off the poison and gets his Second Wind.

Koda flails with her fists, Berend skitters back and launches a Twin Strike with Javelins, Grimm applies his Oath and then a Focussed Fury, Tordek smashes- the last arachnid is left bloodied, although only the avenger’s and the paladin’s attacks make their mark.

Ragnarr skurries behind the beast and delivers a Torturous Strike, and the last arachnid flops off the platform and crashes down below.

1400 XP Level 5 Encounter (7 PCs).
Doomgrinder Trap Level 8 Elite Warder
Deathjump Spider Level 4 Skirmisher x4

The dwarves sit tight on the central platform, breath hard and don’t say anything for a good while.

Eventually Koda breaks the silence.

“How do we get back?”

The silence returns for a good while.

Fifteen minutes later, secured with ropes, Ragnarr and Koda are sent exploring, the monk crosses easily to the final ledge. The rogue however comes a cropper when a section of the stairs he is standing on falls away and he swings back towards the central platform, and specifically the pillar that holds it up- like a pendulum.

The rogue is battered and bruised; he’s hauled back up- second time he makes it over to the far ledge.

Comment: Just fantastic, nice pictures to help the players, a terrible trap leading to a life-or-death (of close to) leap, and then the spiders arrive. That’s the thing with this scenario quite a lot of the time the players are certain they are fighting for their lives.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


Encounter #13 Portal Trap (1-17a)

[sblock=The Map]


The adventurers make it over to area 1-17A on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

Ragnarr moves forward, the platform ends in a massive golden portal- crimson light streams through the seams in the doors, at the centre of the portals a lock, with three key holes.

Bad Guys 800 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Portal Trap Level 9 Elite Warder Trap

Which gets Ragnarr thinking-

One click sinister, then shun both extremes.
Keep to the centre; keep your life.

Ragnarr goes on to confirm that only one keyhole shows any signs of use, the centre section of the key plate can be rotated, the rogue turns the plate sinister- to the left, and then gets to work on the lock.

Moments later the doors swing open and crimson light pours out.

800 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Portal Trap Level 9 Elite Warder

Ragnarr leads them in

Comment: Apart from a very short discussion, the action above is pretty much how it played out, which was a little underwhelming. In game Paul, who plays Ragnarr, after being told there were three locks asked straight away- “has one of them been used more than the others?” He then remembered the bit about the rhyme, a little disappointing that it was that simple.

Travok now has enough XP for level 2.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Because I’m a generous and kindly DM I allow Travok to level up in game, no extended rest.

Session 4.


Travok-
Battlecry 'Now Die!'
(Played by Becky)
Male Dwarf Paladin of Kord Level 2
HP 45 Surges 11 Speed 5 Init +1
AC 22 Fort 16 Ref 14 Will 14
Str 19 Con 12 Dex 10 Int 8 Wis 13 Cha 15
+5 Saves vs Poison
+1 Frost Warhammer & 3 Throwing Hammers
Plate Armour & Heavy Shield
Trained Skills: Diplomacy +8, Endurance +5, Insight +7 & Religion +5.
Feats & Class Features: Dwarven Weapon Proficiency, Cast Iron Stomach, Encumbered Speed, Dwarven Resistance, Stand Your Ground, Channel Divinity, Dwarven Weapon Training, Toughness.
Powers:
At Will: Divine Challenge, Lay on Hands, Valiant Strike, Holy Strike.
Encounter: Second Wind, Dwarven Resilience, Divine Pursuit, Divine Mettle, Divine Strength.
Daily: Blood of the Mighty, Bless Weapon.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


Encounter #14 Dead Crypt of the Underking. (1-18)

[sblock=The Map]


The Dead Crypt is in area 1-18 on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

The adventurers stand station at the entrance to the chamber, adjusting their eyes to the glaring light ahead, there’s also a fine dust in the air which diffuses and darkens the light a little. A raised walkway spans the centre of the chamber, with steps down either side to crypts, complete with sarcophagi. At the end of the raised walkway stands a pedestal, atop which is a large red-glowing gem. It seems to pulse and throb.

The adventurers cautiously approach, and twenty feet out hold station, Ragnarr-

“Why me?”

The rogue is sent ahead to investigate, as he approaches the glowing gem he notices that his dagger is beginning to heat up- in fact all the metal items on his person are, he stops and heads back- reports his findings.

Koda wanders closer, the monk doesn’t have any metal items, things start to heat up for the monk however- Koda heads back.

Ragnarr in the meantime searches the area for any traps- nothing.

A short debate ensues, and again the players thwart the trap- this time by simply ignoring it.

The adventurers instead hop down in to the crypt area and take a nose around…

The sarcophagi are sealed, in a similar manner to the seal they successfully removed to get to this area, with a silver solder.

The book says they require a DC30 Strength check to get free, I fudged that a little (a lot), and just made up a very quick and dirty Skill Challenge. The challenge didn’t really have a ‘bad ending’ for failure other than ruining the tools the PCs used, or else just increased the amount of time it takes to get a sarcophagi open.

And so an hour later the first sarcophagi is unsealed, which coincides with the lid of the stone coffin being thrown off and the Dwarf Skeleton Underking standing up.

Back in the other crypt the sarcophagi’s there burst open and a bunch more Skeletons get in on the action.

Bad Guys 900 XP Level 2 Encounter (7 PCs).
Dwarf Skeleton Honour Guard Level 5 Minion x6
Skeleton Dwarf Underking Level 5 Elite Soldier
Eye of Eternal Flame Trap Level 5 Hazard (Meh!)

[sblock=The Monster Manual]




[/sblock]

Tordek, Berend, Ragnarr and Travok are ready for the fellow, the four lash out as the skeleton stands, they all fail to connect as the king either ducks, dodges or else gets his shield up just in time.

:):):):)!” Koda declares. “He’s good.”

Tordek is thumped by the Underking just to punctuate the point, at which point six Dwarf Skeleton Honour Guards charge the adventurers, flocking around to defend their lord even in death- Koda and Ragnarr are sliced, Tordek smashes one down before it can its attack in.

Koda gets in to the mix, in amongst the undead- he launches his Five Storms, smashes two more of the honour guard to pieces and unsettles the Underking with a Flurry of Blows.

Grimm employs his Oath and follows up with Abjure Undead- the Underking suffers some more, the dwarves are making their hits count now.

Berend slices with his Marauder’s Strike and the Underking is wounded again, Tordek misses but alas suffers the skeleton king’s wrath- the fighter is smashed and bloodied. The skeleton underking locks his gaze upon the dwarf, Tordek clutches at his eyes- he’s blinded.

Ragnarr manoeuvres and lashes out with a Clever Strike, the Underking is bloodied.

The honour guards slash and cut- Ragnarr is wounded again.

Fenchurch offers a Majestic Word or two to Tordek- the fighter’s wounds heal over. Then with a Staggering Note serves up the Underking to Grimm- the avenger smashes the skeleton some more, and then again this time with his Radiant Vengeance- the Underking is left staggering.

Berend cuts twice in quick succession (Action Point) and the Skeleton Underking is no more. The other dwarves quickly cut down the remaining honour guard, and Tordek gets his sight back.

The deed is done.

900 XP Level 2 Encounter (7 PCs).
Dwarf Skeleton Honour Guard Level 5 Minion x6
Skeleton Dwarf Underking Level 5 Elite Soldier
Eye of Eternal Flame Trap Level 5 Hazard (Meh!)

There’s no debate about the treasure, the adventurers do not hesitate to rob the tombs of the dwarven dead- the king’s crown is found and taken, as are several magical items identified by Fenchurch, they are-


A +1 Fleshgrinder Longsword for Berend


And a Shield of Protection for Tordek​

Nice work.

A debate follows, the essence of it is this- do they really have to go back the same way to get out, none of the guys are looking forward to either crossing the huge open chamber again, or trying to make their way past the Doomgrinder.

Koda has a better idea-

“Why don’t we just go down and see what’s there?”

The debate had been raging (and I mean raging) for at least fifteen minutes when Dave (Koda) offered this nugget of wisdom, to be fair Dave had been in the kitchen for the last fifteen minutes helping himself to other people’s food, so he had an excuse- and was instantly forgiven all in one sentence.

Comment: The encounter itself was a bit disappointing but looking back on it that was of my own making- I should have made the traps work, and more complex- and should have increased the nastiness of the bad guys, what with their being 7 PCs.

Eventually Ragnarr is lowered sixty feet down on to the rocky floor of the cavern below, up above ropes are secured and made ready, on Ragnarr’s signal he will be hauled up and out of danger. Down below the rogue, a little terrified at first, cuts his way through thick webs, stumbles over skeletal remains, and generally has an unhappy time.

Things get better for Ragnarr however, the rogue starts finding things including a bunch of coins which he quite definitely doesn’t find, if you catch my drift. He also locates, later identified by Fenchurch, the following- a clutch of ritual scrolls, also-


A +1 Wand of Psychic Ravaging for Fenchurch


And a +1 Amulet of Protection for Koda​

He also finds one other thing- a passage leading out of the chamber…

“Guys…”
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


Encounter #15 The Thing in the Pit (1-15)

[sblock=The Map]


The exit tunnel is in area 1-16 on the map (see below).

It continues on a while (see below).

In to a watery chamber, area 1-15 on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

The dwarves lower themselves down sixty feet to the rocky floor of the huge chamber, Ragnarr leads the way to the exit tunnel he’s found.

“This better go somewhere…” Koda complains.

The rogue leads on, down a narrow, but high-ceilinged, rocky passageway, five minutes in Ragnarr and Koda are sent ahead- there’s a cool breeze coming from this direction, and the sound of… water.

The pair arrive at a chamber completely filled with water, although it’s shallow at the edge the pool quickly gets deeper. It’s difficult to tell the depth of the water as the entire surface is covered in algae, however there’s an exit visible- just at the edge of the adventurer’s light source.

The passage continues to the south, Ragnarr and Koda are sent to find a way, hugging the wall they wade over- Tordek watches and waits in the entrance passage.

The pair are almost to the exit when suddenly lurching up from beneath the surface of the water comes a massive skeletal serpent, the thing is lightning fast- it darts in and snatches Tordek in its jaws, grabbing the fighter and hoisting him in to the air.

The serpent must be huge, at least twenty feet is visible above the water, there must be at least the same again beneath the surface, perhaps up to twice as much- the serpent could be fifty to sixty feet long.

Tordek screams as he is crushed in the creature’s skeletal jaws.


Bad Guys 750 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Giant Skeletal Water Snake Level 3 Solo Soldier.

[sblock=The Monster Manual]


[/sblock]

The great serpent rises up some more, its skeleton coils are now visible above the surface of the water; the creature is definitely over fifty feet long, the struggling Tordek is neatly dropped in to the middle of the beast’s coils- and crushed, the fighter is bloodied and for good measure left dazed.

The creature darts forward to capture another dwarf, the adventurers take the opportunity to lash out at the serpent. Koda gives it hell- Opening the Gates of Battle, combined with a Flurry, the monk then ducks beneath the surface of the water and swims- concealed beneath the water.

Berend slashes the thing with his Twin Strike longswords. Fenchurch offers some Majestic Words to the clutched and crushed Tordek and then hits the beast with his Ray of Enfeeblement from his new wand, the serpent is wounded and Weakened.

Tordek, somehow manages to squeeze his way out of the great serpent’s coils (Athletics check 23 will do it) the dwarf- still dazed, totters and staggers.

Grimm swears an Oath and then hits the serpent with his Abjure Undead, the great serpent burns in his radiant light.

Ragnarr launches a dagger, Koda surfaces next to the skeletal snake’s coils- climbs aboard and then gets all chop-socky with his Dancing Cobra, with two Flurries to accompany, courtesy of his Supreme Flurry power.

Travok issues his Divine Challenge, the serpent takes notice and smashes in to the paladin who misses with his Holy Strike, Travok is hoisted in to the air, like Tordek, crushed in the serpent’s jaws. The serpent lurches back, and drops the paladin neatly in to its coils- the paladin is crushed some more, and left bloodied and dazed- only just clinging on to life.

Berend slices the snake with his longsword, a Marauder’s Rush, trying to smash Travok free from its coils, the serpent is at last bloodied (the creature started with 192 hit points).

Fenchurch offers more Majestic Words, this time to Travok- the paladin smiles weakly and gives a thumbs up sign, he’s alive for now. The bard follows up with a Staggering Note.

Tordek, still balanced on the beast’s coils, smashes appropriately with his Steel Serpent Strike, the great snake is being hacked apart, although Tordek’s follow up attack (Action Point) fails to make a dent in the beast. Grimm rushes in and leaps up on to the coils of the wyrm, hacks once, and then twice with his Radiant Vengeance- both blows shatter bones and burn the serpent.

Ragnarr suddenly screams at Koda, “the neck- NOW!”

The monk complies with the rogue’s demands for attack and gains the benefits of Ragnarr’s Sneak in the Attack- the monks Five Storms and accompanying Flurry shatter the spine of the serpent just below its head- the thing falls apart.

The dwarves scatter and splash in to the foetid water furiously doggy-paddle their way back to the shore.

750 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Giant Skeletal Water Snake Level 3 Solo Soldier.

The area is briefly searched, or at least as best it can be, and then after a short rest the dwarves head on, Ragnarr again at the front.

A few minutes later the guys but up against an ancient looking portcullis which completely blocks the passage, ahead a beach and beyond a much larger, a much much larger cavern.

Comment: Nice action with the serpent, tough on the dwarves trying to fight in five feet of water, I helped them out a little- but not a lot. Nice monster although as previous I should have made it nastier for the seven dwarves.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


The Way Back

[sblock=The Map]


The dwarves start behind the portcullis in area 1-16 as it enters 1-7 on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

A portcullis blocks the way!

“Damn!” That’s at least the polite way of putting it.

“Where not going back the other way.” Koda narrows down the adventurer’s options.

Tordek, Grimm and Travok get to work, the trio either smash at the structure with their hammers and axes, or else strain and struggle to lift the thing.

It takes an hour.

A very noisy hour but they succeed; the portcullis is hoisted in to the air, held open as the dwarves pass under, and then dropped again.

The adventurers move forward in to a massive water-filled chamber, to the west comes the sound of roaring water; they’re above the falls at the entrance.

The guys stick to the left hand wall, and lead by Ragnarr once more edge around the side of the cavern- attempting as best they can not to get in to any deep water, they fail once or twice but manage in the end to make their way around to an area which is flagged, constructed- no longer a rocky cavern.

[sblock=The Map]


The dwarves work their way around to the south of area 1-6on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

“That’s the ledge…” Fenchurch states and points up, “… at the end of the water trap- that long corridor.” And so it is, however…

“Fellers.” Koda calls over.

The monk has made his way back out in to the huge chamber, this time hugging the eastern wall of the cavern, and on to a raised are- the base of a statue, some thirty feet tall, another dwarf.

Koda climbs a little way up, just so he can get a look at the things face- another tentacle-bearded dwarf, looking even more nasty than the fellow in the defiled temple, the statue that spewed fire.

“I think there’s a bunch more of them…” Koda points on, along the eastern wall of the cavern, another base is visible a little way further in.

“I’ll just…” Koda gets a good run up and then leaps to the base of the next statue, another foul looking dwarf with the horns of a demon or a devil, this one’s wearing robes- it’s nearly thirty feet tall.

“I think they go all the way around…” Koda shouts back.
“Should I…”
“NO!” Comes the chorused reply.

The monk heads back over.

The statues are briefly discussed, Grimm tales a tale about the Septarch, the seven dark dwarven lords, gods of a sort- worshipped by some of the less evolved dwarven holds.

History lesson over Ragnarr is cajoled in to action, the rogue is made to climb the thirty or so feet up on to the ledge (the end of area 1-6). Soon after the other dwarves have made their way up- the group stroll back to the entrance of the hold.

“Is that it?” Koda asks.
“I think so.” Tordek answers.
“But we’ve not found the forges?” Berend states.
“There’s always that secret door, back in the wizard’s chamber- the circular room with the bear…”

The adventurers stop to think, as do the players- have they finished here, they decide to head back in- one last task, check out the secret door.

The task turns out to be much more complex than they imagined, the door- like the seal needs to be drawn out using the stone drill and the pulley system, it takes another two hours (and a minor skill challenge) to get the thing done.

Beyond a wide set of stairs lead down in to darkness, the dwarves descend…
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

Session 4.


Encounter #16 The Lost Forge of Kings (1-25)

[sblock=The Map]


The dwarves descend in to the Lost Forge of Kings area 1-25 on the map (see below).

[/sblock]

The dwarves, led by Ragnarr descend the stairs, half way down Ragnarr comes to a halt, the others catch up- on the step before them is the scorched and blackened remains of an armoured dwarf.

The dwarves continue on, finally emerge in another very large chamber, the air is thick with dust, or else… soot; to the right a dais atop which is a stone throne bearing a dwarven skeleton, slumped forward in death. To the left, the source of the soot, a huge forge- which glows still, even from here the adventurers can see the fuel that has been used to stoke the fires- the charred remains of at least half-a-dozen dwarves poke out from the forge.

The floor between is thick with more soot, here and there the remains of more dwarves- reduced to charred bones and blackened bones.

Nothing stirs.

Which the players don’t like.

The dwarves cautiously head in, the skeleton on the throne is batted aside by Tordek, it crashes to the floor but does not stir.

Ragnarr, Berend, Fenchurch and Grimm approach the forge, a single flame remains within, it dances as the dwarves approach- perhaps burns a little brighter.

“Should we… light it?” Ragnarr eventually asks.

The others mooch around, examining the remains of charred dwarves- clearing them from the forge, as they clear the forge the flame seems to grow and spread.

“I think we should.” Fenchurch replies, they get to work and moments later the forge is aflame.

The four dwarves grin, call to their colleagues- Tordek, Travok and Koda who are over the throne.

“I think this must be our reward…” Grimm states, “what have we found here we can feed to the forge?”
“I know.” Ragnarr states and goes rooting in his backpack for the three bags of iron fillings the adventurers found in the secret chamber in the ruined guardhouse.

It’s at this point the flaming devil- Azan-Zog erupts from the forge and chokes the dwarves in his Cinder Cloud, all four dwarves before the forge- Berend, Fenchurch, Grimm and Ragnarr are caught in the choking hot cloud of cinders, all are wounded- all are blinded; they scream.

Bad Guys 500 XP Level 1 Encounter (7 PCs).
Azan-Zog, Flaming Devil Level 6 Elite Controller

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Grimm lashes out blindly, the other dwarves making their way over from the throne react- rush to help, except for Tordek.

Something slams into the back of the fighter, Tordek spins around to see the shadowy remains of the dwarf from the throne, or at least a dark hazy version of some terrible grinning dwarf- the creature’s hand seems to grasp at Tordek’s inner being- the fighter feels a necrotic chill.

Bad Guys 1000 XP Level 2 Encounter (7 PCs).
Azan-Zog, Flaming Devil Level 6 Elite Controller
Nauroc the Slaugh, Shadow Fury Level 6 Elite Brute

[sblock=The Monster Manual]


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Ragnarr reacts and spins out a dagger, the demon curses, it’s wounded- they can fight it.

Fenchurch starts up his Song of Courage, his fellow dwarves soak up the bard’s power- they’ll fight a little harder thanks to his efforts. The bard follows up with a Staggering Note on Azan-Zog, and then throws off the devil’s blindness.

The devil leaps from the forge and brings down a flaming hammer on Berend, only the blind ranger somehow manages to step aside at the last minute.

Koda rushes over to the devil, the temperature rises as the monk approaches- until he’s burning up. Koda Opens the Gate of Battle, or rather fails to, and so follows up with a Dancing Cobra attack (Action Point), with a Flurry- he scores a good hit and devil rocks a little.

Tordek fights back against the shadowy dwarf king- his Brute Strike (Daily) is followed up by his Steel Serpent Strike- both hit (for a total of 46 damage), but the shadowy dwarf seems unconcerned, Tordek gets his Second Wind.

Grimm can see again, the avenger lurches over to help Tordek, he shouts his Oath and then unleashes his Strength of Many attack (Daily) and follows up with Abjure Undead- again both attacks slash and burn the shadowy dwarf (for a total of 51 points of damage), the dwarf staggers- bloodied, and immobilised. It claws at Grimm in retaliation- the avenger is wounded and affected by a necrotic cold.

Travok lurches in to the mix with his Blood of the Mighty (Daily) attack, and when this misses he tries again (Action Point) but misses again- the power drains him, he takes his Second Wind.

Ragnarr is still blind and staggering- bloodied now caught in the devil’s flaming aura; the rogue gets his Second Wind but still cannot see. Berend, also blind manages to land a glancing blow with his longsword, but he too cannot lift the darkness from his eyes.

Fenchurch is also subject to the flame, he too is bloodied and has to resort to his Second Wind- his powers again off target.

Azan-Zog lurches forward- smashes his Flaming Hammer in to Berend, the blind ranger is suddenly also bloodied, and now his hide armour smoulders, he’s on fire too.

Koda smashes the devil with another Dancing Cobra and Flurry strike, however the monk is also in the flames, he suffers and then gets his Second Wind.

Grimm staggers, the necrotic cold is sapping his soul- he’s bloodied; the avenger takes a few steps back and then launches his Whirlwind Charge at the shadowy dwarf king, follows up by unleashing a thunderclap from his sword. His enemy staggers back, almost broken- Grimm sucks up his hurt and gets his Second Wind.

The shadowy dwarf king suddenly vomits forth a cloud of screaming shadowy bats- the swarms flutters on, around and through the dwarves- Fenchurch and Grimm swat and swipe helplessly within the terror cloud. The shadow dwarf king grins and slashes at Tordek, the paladin burns with necrotic cold.

Travok however is not going to give up, he tries again with Blood of the Mighty attack- and smashes the shadow monster (for 35 points of damage), the paladin follows up with a Holy Strike (Action Point) and once and for all cuts the shadow dwarf king down.

Ragnarr continues to burn, and to be blind, and to fail to hit with his flung daggers, the rogue staggers and lurches not knowing quite what to do for the best. For Berend its worse, he too fails to lift the darkness from his eyes, or else extinguish the fire that burns his attire- the ranger is almost down.

Fenchurch to the rescue, a few Majestic Words and Berend is well again, at least for a little while.

Azan-Zog launches another Cinder Cloud which leaves Koda burnt and blind, and Berend and Ragnarr- who are already blind, both are further burnt, the later Ragnarr, barely stands. The Devil follows up with a Flame Blast but somehow contrives to miss his target- the blind Koda, the monk however continues to burn within the devil’s flaming aura.

Tordek stumbles towards the demon- eaten away by necrosis, the fighter walks in to a wall of flame and burns- thank Moradin he’s Unstoppable, he charges the devil but it comes to nothing.

Grimm is also gripped by necrosis, and then as he charges towards the devil burnt, and all for nothing. Travok at last shakes off the blindness, but burns still.

Ragnarr can see again, he manoeuvres closer and then launches his Clever Strike, and suddenly the devil roars and thrashes, it’s bloodied. The rogue follows up with a Blinding Barrage (Daily), but the devil is too quick for his daggers, Ragnarr staggers back, he’s almost done for- the fire is all too much.

Berend is out of the fracas, fighting to see again, fighting to put out the flames before he drops, he does neither and continues to stagger and burn- useless.

Fenchurch burns some more, he saves the rogue with a few Majestic Words and then fails to make an impact, as per usual, with his Shout of Triumph; frustrated the bard tries again (Action Point) with his Sprightly Rhythm (Daily)- the devil is affected, it struggles to keep the dwarven cacophony out.

It fights back and unleashes yet another Cinder Cloud which engulfs Tordek, Fenchurch, Berend, Grimm and Koda- all of them are burnt, and bloodied- all of them are left clawing at their eyes- blinded.

Things are getting desperate, Koda has the most hit points left- 16, and only Ragnarr and Travok can see.

Koda lashes out blind with his Spinning Leopard Manoeuvre, manages to catch the devil a glancing blow. Tordek triggers his Shield of Protection, and manages to lift the haze from his eyes. Grimm fails to connect with his attack but clears his sight also.

Travok Lays on Hands on Tordek, and then slashes the devil with a Valiant Strike, his Frosthammer also leaves its mark- a burst of cold which leaves Azan-Zog almost immobilised.

Ragnarr to the rescue, the rogue slices the devil from behind with a Torturous Strike, the creature staggers, lurches- its flames almost go out (Azan-Zog is down to 1 hit point).

Berend meanwhile continues to burn and flail- no use to anyone, at least he can see now however.

Azan-Zog will not be beaten, nor will it surrender, the devil hits Tordek with a Flaming Hammer, the dwarf burns some more, but the devil’s smile in short lived- Koda’s Dancing Cobra comes again, and the lights go out for the devil from the forge forever.

1000 XP Level 2 Encounter (7 PCs).
Azan-Zog, Flaming Devil Level 6 Elite Controller
Nauroc the Slaugh, Shadow Fury Level 6 Elite Brute

The dwarves breathe again, and then Fenchurch, Grimm and Travok rush around doing what they can to heal their colleagues.

It takes a good while, but time is on their side- their enemies are vanquished, the clan hold has been retaken, and thoroughly explored.

The adventurers search the chamber thoroughly- a bunch of magical gems are found buried within the forge itself, which also remarkably proves very easy to light again. The guys figure why not try- later the same day, when the place has been cleared up a little, and after much studying of the forge, the iron fillings (or whatever they are) and the magical gems an attempt is made by Travok to create something using the forge, in combination with the aforementioned items.

Success- wouldn’t you know it.

Each of the adventurers somehow has the knowledge and the power to manufacture an item to aid them in their future adventures.

I’m not entirely sure what I allowed at this point, I think I gave the adventurers a pool of money to divide up to allow them to in effect ‘buy’, for which read ‘manufacture’ a magic item each.

Actually I’ve had a think about this and now I remember the system for rewarding players with magic items involved a bunch of skill checks, for each dwarf as they tried to shape the powers of the forge; a vote for the best player/PC system; both of the previous serving to add bonuses or penalties to a d100 dice roll dice roll. I made it in to a mini-game.

The results were-


A+1 Robe of Eyes for Grimm​


A suit of +1 Chainmail of Fire Resistance for Fenchurch


A suit of +1 Black Iron Scale for Tordek


A suit of +1 Flowform Cloth for Koda- check out the pants on Koda!


A suit of +1 Battleforged Plate for Travok


A +1 Amulet of Protection for Berend


While Ragnarr’s +1 Dagger is transformed in to a +1 Lightning Dagger​

And that about wraps things up, session four is at an end, but not without a quick look at the little beauties with all their new gear-


Comment: A much nastier fight, again I should have probably made it nastier still but I didn’t bother to make any changes for this last session and with seven adventurers in play- rest assured we had a lot of fun along the way however.

A majority of the dwarves also have enough XP for level 3, all except Travok and Berend.
 
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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

The Book of the Dead.

PCs killed by Monsters & Traps etc.-


Morgran Level 1 Dwarf Barbarian (played by Iain)


Adrik Level 1 Dwarf Cleric of Moradin (played by James)


Dumphart Level 1 Dwarf Sorcerer (played by Dave)

Monsters killed & Traps bested etc. by the PCs-

31 XP each
Goblin, Boltspitter Level 2 Minion Artillery x4
Goblin, Slave Level 2 Minion x4

44 XP each
Orc, Spearman Level 4 Minion x6

50 XP each
Skeleton, Dwarf Honour Guard Level 5 Minion x6

63 XP each
Gnoll, Broken Fang Warrior Level 6 Minion x4

100 XP each
Beetle, Fire Level 1 Brute x5
Dwarf, Cult Warrior Level 1 Soldier x11
Raven, Ancient Level 1 Lurker x4

125 XP each
Goblin, Javelintosser Level 2 Artillery x3
Goblin, Sharpshooter Level 2 Artillery x5
Worg, Lesser Level 2 Skirmisher x4

150 XP each
Dwarf, Cult Priest- Master Gambolge Level 3 Controller
Dwarf, Guard Level 3 Soldier x2
Dwarf, Initiate Level 3 Soldier x2
Orc, Raider Level 3 Skirmisher x2

175 XP each
Dwarf, Bolter Level 4 Artillery x2
Human, Mage- Ivinrix the Mad Level 4 Artillery
Orc, Berserker Level 4 Brute x3
Spider, Deathjump Level 4 Skirmisher x4

200 XP each
Ghoul, Dwarf Level 5 Soldier x3
Hobgoblin, Lieutenant Level 5 Soldier x2
Trap Eye of Eternal Flame Level 5 Hazard

250 XP each
Gnoll, Broken Fang Veteran Level 6 Brute x2
Trap Ceiling Collapse Level 6 Hazard

350 XP each
Goblin, War Chief Level 4 Elite Controller
Ogre, Savage Level 8 Brute
Zombie, Hulk Level 8 Brute x2

400 XP each
Dwarf, Trapmaster- Ygrut Level 5 Elite Soldier
Skeleton, Dwarf Underking Level 5 Elite Soldier

500 XP each
Bear, Cave- Fang Level 6 Elite Brute
Devil, Flaming- Azan-Zog Level 6 Elite Controller
Shadow, Fury- Nauroc the Slaugh Level 6 Elite Brute

700 XP each
Trap Doomgrinder Level 8 Elite Warder
Trap Water Level 8 Elite Warder

750 XP each
Skeleton, Giant Water Snake Level 3 Solo Soldier

800 XP each
Trap Portal Level 9 Elite Warder
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Let's Play #4 Goodman Games DCC54
Forges of the Mountain King (Level 1)

The End.

As with the previous Goodman Games scenario- we (or rather, I) love their stuff. As I stated last time I particularly like DMing these early offerings, seemingly rushed out at the start of 4e with only a limited understanding of the edition and how it works/plays. The scenario, like the DCC53 offers a number of interesting encounters, mostly lightweight (although some less so), that are parked so close to each other that they’re just bound to overlap- if the DM desires.

And I know I said all of the above before in this section of my write up for DCC53, but it bears repeating- these early scenarios, in places, make it next to impossible not to have multi-encounter pile-ups. These pile-up encounters are great because they do one of two things, either weed out the weak (I’m a mean DM), or else they scare the players half-to-death, and on successful completion make them believe they’re “top of the world, ma.” Either way they get a reaction- be it swearing and cursing, or else swearing and cursing in a slightly friendlier tone.

The original TPK (or whatever you want to call it- two PCs dead, three captured) just lit a fire under the players- particularly as the encounter (a Level 9 affair), was just almost impossible to escape. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go in to the scenario thinking this is what I would do, I generally don’t have such complex thoughts. The Let’s Play series represents a time when we would just pick up a scenario I had read through, grab a few pregens, and play- I seem to remember turning up with three scenarios- DCC53-55, reading the blurb for each and then asking the players which one they wanted to play. My point, this is 4e on the hoof, I arrive at destination with scenario and dice- maybe a bag of minis, that’s it. This is D&D as a social activity, as fun.

That said I actually wish I had taken a little more time with this scenario, particularly at the end when there were seven dwarfs (cue Snow White jokes) in play and I hadn’t made the encounters any harder, I think this was just for the last session.

Some of the old skool Goodman Games malarkey, like the Water Trap, or the Portal Trap, or the earwig in the ear set-up; some of it worked, some of it didn’t- or at least I didn’t get it to work. I think this scenario needs a good read before you play it, with a few changes here and there to ensure some of the traps and set pieces work. That said there’s just bags of stuff in here to admire, once again the titanic encounter were a rush- the PCs charging in to the next lot of bad guys to avoid being caught in the Water Trap. The guys fighting their way through wave after wave of bad guys in the Defiled Temple and the Doomgrinder Trap combined with the Deathjumper Spider in the Ruined Bridges chamber- all groovy.

The scope and the scale of the scenario make it easy to do epic, or else Heroic Epic (or some such), the players really get it that they’re fighting for their lives at times.

I wrote in the following in my review of DCC53-

‘I also like the fact that in-game the players had no idea that there was a second level to explore, it wasn’t until the pit trap opened in the Beggar King’s throne room that they had any inclination that there was more.’

Well, same again- the guys didn’t know there was a second level, or else they thought they’d found the second level of the dungeon when they removed the seal, the finale again came as a un/pleasant surprise.

I’ll end with the same again-

I think in some ways this scenario is a blast from the past, or at least my past- it’s not big, bad or overly clever, it has a lot of simple encounters that combine well together, and it has heart- clearly written by a guy who likes to see heroes tested.

One caveat, check over a few of the encounters and make sure the traps work. Oh and I’ll just say that playing it with dwarves was just a really smart idea- not a massive leap of the imagination but it worked in-game oh so well.

8.1/10
 

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