Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The Favorites of Selune campaign - Level 2 - Session 1

At the end of the last session, the group returned to Fallcrest with the ring of depetrification with which the mage Arris inadvertently had freed the demon Jaazzpaa. They had reached level 2 with that adventure, but felt that this wasn't quite enough to go demon hunting, and furthermore didn't have clue on Jaazzpaa's location. So back at the temple of Selune in Fallcrest high priest Ressilmae Starlight had a different task for them: He had received a letter from Sister Sondal, tending a small temple in the village of Harken. Sister Sondal wrote that there was a new government in the barony of Harkenwold, and they were demanding 200 gold special tax from her, or threatened to evict the temple from Harken. Not having heard about any new government, and the "old" government of Baron Stockmer being friendly to the church, the high priest asked the players to bring the 200 gold to Sister Sondal, and at the same time check out what was going on in Harkenwold.

Once arrived in Harkenwold, trouble quickly found the players: A farm was burning not far from the road. When the players approached, they saw a group of bandits in uniform burning down farm buildings and threatening the people in the main building. The bandits tried to shoo the players away, explaining that this was "Iron Circle business", but the cries from the farmhouse persuaded them that this was more of a robbery, and battle ensued. The group was facing 4 Iron Circle brigands, and 2 grey wolves. The player of the wizard had just taken a talent that increased his fire damage, and had changed his at-will power to Scorching Burst, which he used to good effect. That made the brigands identify him as a threat, so in the first round the wizard ended up with 4 crossbow bolts flying his way. He survived, and the cleric patched him up, and then the group was close enough for melee combat. Here the brigands didn't to that well: They had a power to push their enemies 1 space to set them up for flanking attacks and the like, but with the group's two front fighters being dwarves and immune to this, the power wasn't all that useful. In the end the players won without much trouble, the clerics new Shield of Faith power having given the players a distinctive edge.

The farm belonged to a woman named Ilyana, who told the players that the Iron Circle was a group of mercenaries who just recently had invaded Harkenwold, and imprisoned the old Baron Stockmer in his own castle in Harken. The Iron Circle under their leader Nazin Redthorn was now pretending to be the new government of the barony, extorting money as "taxes" from everybody. A resistance movement was forming, and Ilyana advised the players to visit Reithann the druid in a grove nearby, or Dar Gramath in Albridge, if they wanted to help the cause of the rebellion.

At this point the players did something completely unexpected: They did exactly what the adventure module suggested and visited Reithann the druid. And then without question did exactly what Reithann asked them to do, which was to attack a cave full of bullywugs. The bullywugs were allies of the Iron Circle, and were keeping the nearby village of Tor's Hold busy. With the bullywugs out of the way, the men of Tor's Hold would be free to join the rebellion against the Iron Circle.

While I had expected some more discussion and roleplaying, at least this straightforward approach led to us finishing a second combat in this session. After climbing up on the ledge leading to the cavern, the group faced 4 bullywugs (2 muckers and 2 leapers) plus as special guest stars 3 stirges. Stirges are always fun, and one of the great classic low-level mobs of Dungeons & Dragons. The fight took place in a relatively small cave in front of a much larger cave, and space being very restricted was an interesting effect. At the start the wizard still got a Sleep spell off (which ultimately killed one of the bullywugs), but soon the party and the mobs were so mixed up, that area effect spells were hard or impossible to place, and the wizard was reduced to Magic Missiles. The ranger did much better here, as 4th edition doesn't have rules for friendly fire from bows any more, and the ranger can fire into melee. A stirge attached itself to the rogue, but I allowed him to use his new Great Leap power to escape that grab. The stirge on the cleric was killed before it did much damage, and the third stirge also died quickly. The bullywugs had a bad day: I managed to roll 4 and under for the special attack of both muckers, and their regular attack rolls were rarely better, and then I rolled a lot of 1s for damage. Only one of the leapers ever got to deal decent damage,  while the other fell asleep and got killed by a coup de grace.

Overall two rather easy fights in this session. But with things moving forward so quickly, we will still be on the same game day in the next session. With several fights a day the D&D rules on action points, daily powers, and number of healing surges per day come into play. We will see how that works out when the players explore the bullywug cave further in the next session.

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