Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
The Favorites of Selune campaign - Level 4 - Session 4

After the events of the previous session, the players rest and are now ready to descend to the bottom of the dungeon below the Keep on Shadowfell, to stop the demon Jaazzpaa from opening a rift between worlds there. But there are still obstacles in their way. At the bottom of the staircase they find a large room with several statues: A huge titan statue in the middle with a big sword, two dragon statues in the corner on one side of the room, and four cherubs carrying vases full of water in a niche before the exit door.

On approaching the titan statue, the trap triggers: The door behind the group bangs shut, and the titan statue swings his sword in a big circle. In the world of D&D 4E, pi equals 4, and a circle is technically a square, but nobody ever bothers to adjust the description of events to talk of "firecubes" instead of "fireballs". :) As the players quickly discover, the trap is easily avoided, because the statue's area of effect doesn't reach until the wall. So they have the choice of going along the wall either on the side with the dragons, or the side without it. They take the obvious choice, and never trigger the dragon statues trap.

The third trap is unavoidable, as they can't get to the door without passing between the cherubs. The thief and the warlord go first, and are promptly trapped with an invisible wall closing behind them, and the cherubs tilting their vases to make the water rise. But the trap never really gets dangerous, as the thief manages an incredible roll on his second attempt to open the exit door. (The trap as written would have required them to destroy the cherubs, but I felt that would have been just long and annoying, with two thirds of the group being outside of the trap and unable to do anything. The whole room full of traps isn't really a great design, but the whole dungeon in the Keep on Shadowfell adventure module is kind of bland, and I just picked half a dozen or so of the more memorable rooms and discarded the rest.)

Having escaped the traps, the group enters a nightmare: An abandoned temple of Shar in which many fresh corpses hang from chains from the ceiling. The corpses have been cut to bleed dry, and streams of blood are flowing through a large hole in the floor. Another body is lying on an altar before a symbol of Shar. Benji, the young bandit the group saved from undead identifies the corpses as being the members of his Grim Dagger bandit group. He rushes forward to the body on the altar, his father Darin. Miraculously Darin is still alive, and the cleric manages to heal him. So Darin rewards them with his amulet, and leaves the dungeon with his son.

Ominous chanting is heard coming from the hole in the ground, into which 4 chains descend. And the priests magic mace with its detect undead ability is sensing undead below. The chanting must be the demon performing the ritual to open the rift, redirecting it to the Abyss. So the groups rappels down the chains, into a pool of blood in another big temple room, and the final boss fight begins. Besides the demon Jaazzpaa chanting his ritual, there are 8 skeletons and one shallowgrave wight in the temple. A big black portal is to one side, with a statue of Shar pointing a skull-topped rod at it from the other side of the room. Black tentacles strain against the surface of the portal as if it was a living thing.

Being an experienced adventurer, the cleric starts by buffing the group's defenses, which helped them a lot. The fighter, being driven to hate undead by his artifact axe decides to go for the wight. The wizard thinks the statue of Shar is responsible for the portal, and unsuccessfully tries to topple it. The rogue goes for one of the skeletons and discovers they are easy to kill minions. But then the monsters strike back: The skeletons have a longbow attack that slows down characters for a turn, while the wight's attack even immobilizes a character until he makes a save. And the portal turns out to be a danger on its own, pulling people towards it, and trying to draw them through with its tentacles. Once interrupted in his ritual, the demon is using his wings to fly through the room, with a flyby attack targeting those who felt safe staying behind the better armored characters.

Now there are various tactical possibilities to this fight, including the option to try to close the portal with a series of skill checks. But that thought apparently doesn't cross their minds, and the adventurers just try to keep away from the portal while fighting the monsters. That works rather well as a tactic. In spite of the wight being able to revive one skeleton per turn, the minions fall quickly. Aecris, the artifact axe can be used as a throwing weapon and return to its wielder, so the slowing and immobilizing effects don't stop the fighter from doing damage. The demon has high defenses, but the rogue is rolling high most of the time, with the warlord using his abilities to give the rogue combat advantage through flanking. So in the end the fight is over faster than I would have thought. Well played!

But before the group gets to celebrate their victory, I have a nasty surprise for them: On the death of the demon, the portal to the Shadowfell collapses, sucking all the characters through it in the process. The adventure ends with the heroes falling endlessly through blackness, towards an unknown destination, presumably in the parallel Shadowfell plane, a world of death and undead. But with the xp from the fight, the characters reach level 5. And for simplicity I let them take an extended rest and level up between sessions before they arrive in the next session.

That a is fortunate ending for your adventurers. Now they don't have to walk back through the dungeon and discover the corpses of Benji and his father incinerated by the dragon statue trap.
My players actually thought of that and talked with Benji about avoiding that trap. As Benji was with them when they took the safe way, that shouldn't be a problem.
I'd have thought a level up but not a rest would be fair in the circumstances. But I suppose you could say levelling up is such a morale boost it is worth an automatic rest, as is apparently the case in Diablo-style games!
If the fall is as long as the one in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, then they could have 2 extended rests.

I think sometimes gameplay trumps story, and here is one case. There are some times that a rest doesn't make a ton of sense, but keeping track of resources spent in between sessions that are far apart can be really annoying or difficult. Keeping rests between each session goes a long way to easing the burden.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool