Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 27, 2017
 
Gardmore Abbey 5E rerun - Session 3

Having accompanied Sir Oakley to the temple of Gardmore Abbey and defended him against mad harpies, it turned out that the job of the heroes wasn't finished. The 3 sacred vessels needed to purify the temple were missing, and so now they are on a quest to find them, among some other quests. A closer examination of the temple revealed a staircase down into the catacombs, with fresh footprints leading there. The group decided not to follow, but made a short rest and then headed over to the wizard's tower.

Now I have to mention that the 4 locations in which the group can meet an evil group of rival adventurers are determined by the 4 cards drawn for that group. The first encounter was hearing of the group in Winterhaven, the second encounter was the group helping the rivals in the garden to fight giant spiders and being left holding the bag for their effort. The third encounter, in the first room of the catacombs, the group avoided by going there. And by pure chance the location where they wanted to go, the wizard's tower, was the location for the 4th encounter. So while the group was resting the rival adventurers "moved" to the wizard's tower.

On the way down to the wizard's tower the group had an encounter with a Galeb Duhr and two Rust Monsters in the gate house. However the monk and the druid weren't wearing any non-magical metal at all, the ranger stayed at a distance, and the barbarian succeeded all saving throws to turn his extra weapons into rust; so the Rust Monsters weren't really all that scary for this particular group. Being under no time pressure the group made another short rest.

Again they discovered traces of the rival adventures, them having left climbing gear in place to descend the slope to the wizard's tower without taking the detour through the orc camps. And finally the two groups met again, this time with the evil group in full health and ready to strike. The ensuing combat was a tough one, as the evil group had the same level 5 and outnumbered the players 5 to 4. However I had deliberately not optimized them, and so the players ultimately prevailed. With 3 of the evil group members down, the player druid offered them terms of surrender ("give us your cards and leave the abbey forever"), which they accepted. As I give out full xp even for diplomatic victories this fight got the group up to level 6, but I told them they needed to return to Winterhaven for that.

In Winterhaven there was some chaos, because their previous "diplomatic victory" had involved letting loose a beholder, who had passed by the town, burned down the church, and killed the priest, before moving on. One always needs to consider the possible consequences of not killing your enemies!

Now level 6 and back at the abbey they found the wizard's tower's door had been breached during their absence by a group of orcs, which then had been slaughtered by forces unknown. Mistrustful of the gargoyle statues in front of the door they first attacked them, but that was a short and easy fight. Inside the barbarian librarian found a scroll on a bloodstained sheet covering a large female form. Taking the scroll of course awoke that form, a female flesh golem, the failed attempt of the wizard to resurrect the love of his life. The fight against the golem was a bit harder, also due to some random magical effects in the room. Before going up the tower we decided to stop the session and continue next time. 

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If my memory does not decieve me, the beholder was not their enemy at all. I'd call it a "temporary ally", as they helped each other to leave the trapped tower.

If the beholder had any real enmity towards the characters, it would just attack them when they are comparatively weak (e.g. while they are having a rest).
 
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