D&D 5E Rhenny's New Mini-Playtest Campaign (August Package)

Rhenny

Adventurer
It’s been tough getting the group together to continue our D&D Next game with the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. We did play for 30 minutes Friday night, just enough to advance our campaign a tiny bit further.

The group had just finished resting inside the Orc bandits’ supply room. Since Fawnsworth the Gnome Illusionist was out of spells, and the group knew that the Travensburg could really use the food supplies that the adventurers found inside the supply room, he, the rogue and the barbarian headed back to town to get a wagon (the players could not make it). That left Fid, the Dwarven Fighter, and Erkas the Dwarven Druid alone in the halls of the ruined underground edifice, lucky for them, Nalcon, a cleric of Pelor, appeared on the scene. He had finished helping the townspeople try and convict Marsam, a human wizard who they caught leading an Orc raiding party against a wagon bound for Travensburg. Marsam and his Orcs had slaughtered the wagon drivers and two boys (the Johnson boys) who had gone out to see if the wagon was arriving soon, so the Regent of Travensburg was eager to exact revenge.

In the dungeon, Nalcon and the two Dwarves walked through a couple of corridors and heard the sound of heavy chains rhythmically jangling in the distance. As they got closer to a closed door, Fid could tell that the chains were in the next room. He opened the door to see a mine shaft with a winch that used a heavy chain to raise and lower the shaft car. The group crept up to the shaft opening and peered down. Without light, they couldn’t see much; even the Dwarves had trouble seeing down there so they surmised that the shaft car was probably pretty far below them, but it seemed to be slowly rising. Fid decided to jam his hand axe into the winch to stop it from working and he was successful. Then Nalcon dropped a silver coin that he magically lit, and the adventurers were able to see a semi-closed wooden shaft car with two Orcs inside of it. The Orcs were trying to turn another handle inside the car that the chain was attached to, but they could not make it budge. When the light shined on them, they looked up and started to panic. With Erkas assisting, Fid tried to jam his hand axe further into the chain, to break one of the links. It did not work right away, and soon the Orcs had applied enough pressure to their wheel to pop the axe from the mechanism. Unperterbed, Fid (with Erkas’ help) smashed the chain once more, and this time the link seemed to weaken. As the shaft car came within 10’ of where the adventurers were, the Dwarves tried to break the chain completely, but they failed. Nalcon, not wanting to get dirty, walked over and stamped his booted foot upon the axe that was wedged in the chain, and it popped the chain. The shaft car plummetted down over 100’ and smashed at the bottom. The group could see that the car descended at least 2 levels. Before they stepped away from the shaft, Erkas threw down some fire seeds, and the wrecked car started to smolder. The group could see more commotion below, at least 4 Orcs were trying to sift through the wreckage and put out the smoldering wood.

Cliffhanger. That’s all we did for the session.

Comments

It was really easy to use ability checks to keep this short session moving. I think I was able to create suspense and tension even when there was no combat. I like how Fid decided to jam up the works. I wonder how many Orcs are down below? lol.
 

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Rhenny

Adventurer
Travensburg Campaign Continued (9/28/13) - Updated PCs to the most recent playtest package.

PCs still 2nd level

Erkas the Dwarven Druid

Fawnsworth the Gnome Illusionist

Fid the Dwarven Fighter

Kleeeg the Human Barbarain

Nalcon the Human Cleric

Squeak the Halfling Rogue

The party had split up last session (since Kleeeg, Fawnsworth and Squeak’s players could not play). That left the two Dwarves and the cleric inside the ruins of the old Ironhand Dwarven mines. The other three left the mines to go back to town so that they could get a wagon to load all of the stolen food items they found in the Trembler brother’s supply room. Before the barbarian, rogue and illusionist could get to away from the cave leading into the mines, Kleeeg detected the sound of approaching humanoids. Four cloaked figures emerged through the trees to the south, and headed straight for the cave entrance. Realizing that they needed to ambush these creatures before they made it into the cave (and could possibly surprise the other members of their party who were deeper into the dungeon itself), they made their move.

The ambush was successful, and they each attacked before the cloaked figures could react. One of them was hurt badly by Squeak’s bow shot to the back, but the others missed their targets. The battle began, and it turned out that beneath the cloaks were two human acolytes and two human adepts. One stepped close to Kleeeg and inflicted painful wounds to the barbarian using some unholy divine magic. Squeak remained hidden in the trees and was able to fire at the others, while Fawnsworth (having no spells left) tried to hit with ray of frost. The party could hear one of the foes say, “we must deliver the message to Grek,” and instantly one of the adepts ran into the cave and away from the fray. In the ensuing rounds, Kleeeg was smashed by a critical mace blow, his head gushing blood as he fell to the snow covered ground. Fawnsworth froze an injured acolyte, and Squeak took out the other two foes with well aimed sneak attacks. All the while, Kleeeg slipped closer and closer to death’s door. With not a moment to spare, Fawnsworth ran to Kleeeg and slid on the snow so that he could reach Kleeeg before he expired. With great acrobatic flair, Fawnsworth moved 5’ more than he should have (I gave him a chance to make it there – He rolled a 21 on his dexterity check), and he poured a healing potion into Kleeeg’s mouth.

Meanwhile, back in the dungeon, the others decided to fasten ropes to a mine shaft and climb down 50’ to a 2nd level. They had previously (in the last game) broken the shaft mechanism and had sent the elevator with two orcs in it plummeting down over 100’. It had smashed at the bottom and was broken beyond repair. At this point, Erkas, Fid and Nalcon searched the 2nd level and found a dark, desolate corridor stretching to the east and then turning to the north. Fid saw that the area was quite dusty and they all determined that there was little to no traffic on this level. As they moved to the north, Fid saw a set of doors that had fallen off its hinges. Beyond the door, another dark room. Fearlessly stepping closer, Fid could see that there were two dead orc bodies about 20’ from the door near a pile of debris that looked to have fallen from the ceiling. As Fid and Nalcon stepped closer to determine how old the corpses were (pretty old by their reckoning), the party was surprised by a Choker brute (a choker with 42 hit points) on the ceiling.

During the battle, Erkas and Nalcon did some damage to the creature, but the creature’s tentacles did heavy damage to Fid and Erkas. More than once, each of them were wrapped up in the tentacles and constricted for more damage before they could break free. Twice Nalcon aided Erkas and helped to get him free, even after Erkas had changed into dog form and failed to break free on his own. Low on vital strength, Fid called on his reserve power (2nd wind), and even exhausted himself making an extra attack against the creature (action surge). His axe blows cut the creature badly, and eventually the party prevailed. Nalcon did use two cure wound spells and he tried to use fairy fire on the Choker as well (unfortunately the Choker made its dex save). He also got a chance to use Flare, but the Choker hit him anyway (a 23 and a 19…bad luck for Nalcon). Bloody and out of spells, the group searched the room to find a leather bag in the rubble with 7 gp and 2 healing potions. After a few minutes, Nalcon and the Dwarves heard a man screaming, in the distance. It sounded like someone falling down the mine shaft.

While Nalcon and the Dwarves were fighting the Choker, the others followed the escaping adept. Fawnsworth heard the sound of a human cursing his luck up ahead. The adept had found the mine shaft, but after wasting time trying to get the elevator to arrive, he realized he would have to climb down. Kleeeg was able to make up ground and Squeak, hustled up through the open door to the mine shaft. She could tell that the adept had started climbing down the rope that the others had left in the mineshaft. She also saw a small clip that Erkas the Druid had left on the rope, so they knew that Erkas and the others were down there somewhere. Kleeeg moved up to the rope and cut it with his blade. The rope dropped down the shaft; the adept fell to his death. Kleeeg also tied enough rope together so that it would reach down to the bottom of the shaft. As the party climbed down, Squeak slipped and fell. She bashed against a support beam taking some damage, but was able to make a terrific acrobatic flip to land safely 50’ below on the 2nd level of the mine. The others followed her down. When they got there, Fawnsworth cast his light spell on a coin that he held, and Squeak could see foot prints that looked pretty fresh going to the east.

The split party reunited, but before they could rest, they remembered that they had left a rope going all the way down the shaft. The Dwarves and Nalcon told the others that earlier, they had heard commotion below, a number of orcs were down there. Quickly, Fid and Fawnworth ran back to the shaft and pulled the rope up. Then they all rested for about an hour. Kleeeg was able to bandage himself (he had 1 HD left), and the two Dwarves drank the newly found potions to gain some health. Without HD of healing and without spells, the party decided to climb up the shaft, grab some of the food from the storeroom and travel back to Travensburg. Climbing up the shaft, Squeak slipped again (she rolled another 1), taking more damage, but her acrobatic ability saved her from falling all the way down the shaft, certain death. On the way out, Fid looked at a doorway on the first level that had been blocked by tables and chairs. On a plaque beside the barricaded door was a sign written in Dwarvish….”Water”. The party decided to leave that room alone for now, and they were able to make it back to town 8 hours later.

Comments

Terrific game. Lots of decision making and the players played their characters with personality and style.

Everyone loves the rogue’s Cunning Action. It really gives the rogue a special trick.

The proficiency system worked ok. No comments, and it did seem as if the +5 to rogue's expert proficiencies made a difference. The other rolls were fluid and moved pretty fast. Generally, I still like the way ability checks work. I had them make a ton of checks tonight: perception (spot, listen), strength (athletics), dexterity (acrobatics), and others. I like the consolidated proficiencies that are more broad (athletics, acrobatics and perception) more than the specific skills from earlier packages.

As usual, I play the rules pretty loosely. I let the Gnome move the extra 5’ to save the barbarian’s life…(The barb actually failed 2 death saves when he went down…so the next one could have killed him). The player did roll an awesome dexterity check so I let him slide the extra 5’ and pour the potion into the barb’s mouth. Nice move.

The entire session lasted 2 hours on the dot. It felt pretty satisfying for a 2 hour game. The 1 hour rest really made the party think about resting, which was a nice decision point. Also, the monsters I threw at them were plenty challenging enough. I did beef up the Choker to give it a chance as a solo monster (I think I gave it 42 hp).

It was also interesting playing split screen…one half of the party and then the other half of the party. It was also nice to have a 6 PC/player game again.
 
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