Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Favorites of Selune - Gardmore Abbey - Session 15

In the previous session the Favorites of Selune found out how to control the cards of the Deck of Many Things they had been collecting. That turned those cards from a curiosity into a bunch of powerful magic items. So we started this session with distributing those cards, the players taking turns choosing the cards they wanted. Then the group headed towards the second entrance of the vaults, some ruined barracks. In the barracks the group encountered two carrion crawlers and a bulette, which attacked from below. The carrion crawlers were relatively easy to kill, leaving the bulette as main enemy. And the heroes used the cards of the Deck of Many Things to great effect to hit the bulette with various status effects like stun and petrification, making the fight quite an easy one.

Heading downstairs from there the Favorites of Selune came to a room with a moon of Selune on the floor, and frescoes showing minotaurs venerating Selune on the walls. In the middle of the moon was a chalice, and a gnoll shaman was trying to get to that chalice. But whenever he approached, flames shot out of the ground. The group attacked the shaman and the other 3 gnolls in the room, but the gnolls fled into the next room and closed and barred the door behind them. The group's priest approached the moon on the floor, and provoked no defense reaction, so that he could grab the chalice, which turned out to be the chalice of the dragon that they had been looking for.

Now the group was still in combat, because there was the possibility to break down the door and go after the gnolls. As nothing happened for a round, I diminished the count of the escalation die to zero. And I waited for the players to decide whether they wanted to go after the gnolls, or leave the place to bring back the chalice of the dragon to Sir Oakley. They did neither. Instead the warlock and the rogue came up with a plan to open another door in the room to see what was behind it. And when they saw two minotaurs and a demon in that other room, the rogue shot an arrow at the demon. All that while they technically were still in combat with the gnolls.

That ended as you would expect it to: The arrow "pulled" the minotaurs including the demon and some minotaur reinforcements towards the players. On hearing the demon roar and the heroes in combat with the demon and minotaur, the gnolls opened their door again and attacked them from behind, nearly killing the wizard (who already wasn't too happy that the others had opened that second door). As the players had managed to pull two large encounters at the same time, there were a LOT of monsters attacking them. So the adventurers ran away. And as the gnolls and the minotaurs were somewhat hostile to each other, and neither of them wanted to be between the adventurers and the others, nobody followed the Favorites of Selune upstairs. At this point we ended the session.

It has to be said that "dungeons" don't make a lot of sense in any game, pen & paper or MMORPG. Why are there so many monsters living so close to each other, and why don't they all come running when the first group of them is attacked? Obviously there are genre conventions at play here, which make a dungeon possible in the context of a RPG, for gameplay - not realism. But those conventions require that the players stick to them: The monsters will not come running by themselves from the next room, but if you deliberately "pull" them, they will. So even if there was a certain logic to verifying what was behind the second door, opening that door and shooting and arrow at the monsters behind went against those dungeon conventions. The players were just lucky that the wizard survived with 2 hit points, this session could well have seen our second death of the adventure.

Love this series Tobold! The party was acting a bit silly there. Also, prepackaged stuff always has issues like why are gnolls and minotaurs near each other.

Either change/make your own the encounters or just say the entire group of monsters were uh... friends? Maybe a minotaur fell in love with a gnoll and their tribes joined forces. LOL. :P
Oh man! I fully endorse running away in circumstances like that.

Brave, brave Sir Robin!
why are gnolls and minotaurs near each other

The players actually had that information: The gnolls and minotaurs were originally fighting over control of that dungeon, when a mysterious leader appeared and united the two tribes, although they are still unfriendly to each other.
The PCs obviuosly haven't been to BRD or heroic Stonecore... :-)
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