Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The Favorites of Selune - Gardmore Abbey - Session 3

We ended the previous session with a cliffhanger, the heroes having opened a door leading to a room with a mummy and possibly other monsters in it. So this time we jump right into the action, rolling for initiative. The effect from the cards of the Deck of Many Things comes up with the rogue card, allowing a player to dominate the mummy for one turn. So the group stays back, orders the mummy to come to them, and then all attack it. That works reasonably well, but it means the players are are grouped closely together. That turns out to be not ideal, as among the other monsters arriving is a floating, flaming skull that throws a fireball and burns everybody in the group. But otherwise the fight goes well, and is quickly finished. One nice move was the warrior using an action point for a second attack instead of moving into safety, and being rewarded with landing a critical hit for very impressive damage, killing an enemy.

Now this was already the third fight of the game day, and the players are running low on healing surges and daily powers. A discussion breaks out where to rest, with the wizard preferring to go back up to the temple, where Sir Oakley holds vigil. But when the group arrives there, they find they aren't the only adventurers in Gardmore Abbey: A group of five rival adventurers is in the temple, busy collecting the gold from the harpies that the players had left behind. And a tugging feeling from the cards in the players' possession shows that the rivals have already found cards of their own.

Now this is pure sandbox, a combination of an event determined by random card draws in the adventure module with the situation created by the decision of the players to leave the gold behind. I half expected the players to attack their rivals, but ultimately they don't. Instead they decide to leave the abbey complex and spend the night outside. And when they return to the temple, their rivals are gone. So they go back down into the catacombs and randomly decide which of two possible doors to open.

Behind the door they open is a heavy dragon-scale curtain, which somewhat negates their usual tactic of staying behind and firing into the room from outside. The wizard holds the curtain open with his summoned mage hand, and everybody rushes in for a fight with another mixed group of undead, ghasts and wraiths. The players are closely packed just inside the curtain, with the undead rushing them from all sides. But this time that works out better, as the monsters have no area attacks, and with so many undead so close the turn undead ability of the cleric becomes really powerful. At first the fight looks difficult, as the wraiths are insubstantial and only take half damage. But the radiant damage from the turn undead makes them vulnerable, and the turning makes some of them miss turns. Two of the wraiths are vortex wraiths, which explode on death, so the heroes end that encounter victorious but damaged. And as it was already midnight, we ended the session there.

If your party has "good" aligned people in it and their rival party also has "good" aligned people then I don't think they'll really fight each other unless spurned on by external influences.

Sounds like a combat heavy round this time. Will you have any monsters left other than the orcs by the end of this? :D
Oh man, when my players went through this campaign, there was BLOOD when they ran into the other adventurers. They outright killed two of the opposing party, and then a gentle reminder that oh, perhaps the Cleric's god didn't look so kindly on murdering other people for no good reason (and no, the other party not negotiating for the cards was not sufficient for killing people) they switched to non-lethal damage. But it was pretty interesting, because they made an enemy of Tam for life.

Which was fun because 10 levels later they ran into Tam in a different city, she was a mercenary, and when she saw who she had been hired to kill she just said "Hell no!", threw her sword down, and walked away. The players liked that little bit of play.

But the party has evil, neutral, and good aligned characters, so it's fun to play the players against each other like that.
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