Tobold's Blog
Sunday, May 27, 2018
 
Rage of Demons: Session 7

In the previous session the group visited Neverlight Grove and discovered another demon lord, Zuggtmoy, on the loose in the Underdark. The general idea of the first half of the Rage of Demons campaign (aka Out of the Abyss) is that the group is escaping from the drow, travel through the Underdark pursued by the drow and looking for a way back up to the surface, and discover this demon threat which is far worse than the drow on the way. So I started this session with the idea to remind the group of the drow pursuit, and attacked them with a drow scout force.

Now playing D&D is not like telling a story in another medium. The DM starts telling a story, but there are two major other participants who can change the story as well: The players, and the dice. In this session the dice demanded their right to sometimes change the story in unexpected ways. Which is okay with me, I'm not the kind of DM who fudges dice in order to eliminate this third influence on the story. I roll in the open. And the dice decided to put a powerful curse on the drow. They couldn't hit a thing. Not just the 4 standard drows, but also the 2 elite drows just swung their weapons around inefficiently and looked like total wimps. Thus when the group captured one of them and questioned him, and he told them that a much larger drow party under the leadership of Mistress Ilvara was after them, the group wasn't much afraid. Instead of fleeing, pursued by the drow, they decided to ambush the drow and be done with them.

Now a drow priestess has a bunch of high-level spells, including divination, so I wouldn't let the drow be surprised by basic ambush tactics. Instead the priestess sent summoned giant spiders ahead that took the brunt of the ambush, then cast a darkness on half of the cave to give the drow the opportunity to set themselves up without all being hit by a single fireball or similar spell. This was supposed to be a very tough fight, and in the book this fight only occurs one chapter and one level later. However the dice still didn't like the drow, and continued to roll very badly for them. While Surina the dragonborn sorceress did drop to 0 hitpoints at one point, it didn't get worse than that. Surina was healed back up, and the group totally defeated the drow. Basically the group just played chapter 7 of the book before having started chapter 6. Which was unexpected, but doesn't really mess up the overall story too much. Arkoy got a nice tentacle rod from the drow priestess out of it.

Now back to chapter 6, the group continue their way towards Blingdenstone, the city of the deep gnomes (svirfneblin). Now the players don't have much information about the place, and they have run out of travel companions to give them information. However it isn't as if all of their former travel companions are dead, many just got left behind at some point. So I pulled a rabbit out of my hat and had them encounter Jimjar, a deep gnome with a gambling habbit, currently in the process of organizing a snail race and looking for people to bet with. And then of course Jimjar was able to tell them the history of Blingdenstone, which was abandoned for some time after a drow attack, and now the svirfneblin are reconquering it. He also told them of Entemoch's Boon and Ogremoch's Bane, magical forces affecting the stone elementals which are a major part of the Blingdenstone defense forces. However once arrived in Blingdenstone, Jimjar left the group again. (I might use him again later).

The general situation in Blingdenstone is that the deep gnomes are distrustful of outsiders. So why they do know a way to the surface, they aren't forthcoming with help unless the group helps them first. So the group is finding out what problems the deep gnomes have, and help them. In World of Warcraft terms you'd call it a quest hub. One of the problems is that in one quarter of the city there is now a tribe of deep gnomes who have been infected by lycantrophy and are all wererats. Blingdenstone is headed by a couple of deep gnomes, Dorbo and Senni Diggermattock. Dorbo wants the wererats chased away, while Senni thinks there might be a way to come to an arrangement with them.

So the group heads towards the wererats. They avoid a trap, but then are ambushed by wererats. Although technically much weaker than the drow, the wererats don't have the same curse on their dice, and the fight is sufficiently tough. But the group kills most of them, captures one, and has him lead them to the rest of his tribe. However that results in them meeting 40 wererats at the same time, which would be overwhelming to fight. But their leader, Chipgrin, wants to parley, so the group agrees. Chipgrin explains them that there is another threat in the neighboring quarter of Blingdenstone: A crazy deep gnome calling himself the Pudding King, who has some sort of power over slimes and oozes, and is summoning a lot of them. At this point we decide to stop the session, and continue the story the next time.

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Comments:
I'm curious, do you tell your players afterwards that they just fought "chapter 7 of the book before having started chapter 6" ? Do any/all read this blog?

Yes, somebody still reads these.
 
I for one read every post and enjoy every word.

When I ran OotA, the party picked up a necklace of fireballs from the tomb and used that to wipe out the drow pursuit before Gauntlgrym.

I like how the early loss of the drow story device doesn't derail the campaign. Well done to the authors.
 
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