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Friday, June 5, 2015

HotDQ: Ep. 1: Greenest in Flames (part 1)

So it’s time to recap our first session of our first campaign in 5th edition DnD. After discussing table rules, creating characters and explaining the basic rules as well as the inspiration system, we were finally off to Faerûn for some action. At this time I had been waiting for this moment for the better part of the last six months, so I was rightfully excited.

As you will notice, I decided on combining the missions available to the characters and let a central quest giver hand them out. I figured it would be a familiar scenario structure so that we could instead focus on the characters and explore the new system.


Seek the keep

The characters found themselves in a caravan, bound for a town called Greenest. Garos, a cleric and disciple of Talos, was investigating a lead concerning the Cult of the Dragon’s smuggling activities along the Sword Coast. At his side sat Kerr, a half-orc rogue who had been having apocalyptic dreams that seemed to call him to the hamlet. Finally, in his own carriage, sat Victor of Prestor, a nobleman and a fighter. In order to save his family alliance, he had to tend to his economic interests in the area.

After some light introductions, the characters got to talk to each other during a short stop at a watering hole. Shortly afterwards, the caravan could see the town and the calamity that was to dominate the coming night. Greenest was under attack by a Blue Dragon and a large number of unknown invaders. The caravan could not risk going into the town, so they stopped a bit outside. The characters decided to head for safety in the town's keep, around which the Blue Dragon circled. They had to cut down some strange men in purple robes as well as some kobolds, but they managed to reach the keep with a rescued family in tow.

The old tunnel

Inside the keep, the characters were greeted by the town governor, a mr Nighthill. He explained that they had no clue as to who the invaders were and that they were currently evacuating the citizens. He asked the characters if they wanted to help save some townspeople locked inside the local temple of Chauntea. They agreed, but wondered how to exit the now closed keep. Escobert, the keep castellan, suggested that they should explore the old tunnel under the keep.

Escobert lead them down to the cellar, but didn't dare to go any further. Kerr took the lead and, with night vision, managed to discern the two large swarms of rats in the tunnel. He tried to scare them away with a torch handed to him by Victor, but the swarms attacked instead. With rats hanging from their clothes and bite marks all over, the trio defeated the swarms and headed for the large grate and a way out. It was firmly locked and they had to break it open. Victor then thought of using his pitons as improvised door hinges, for which he gained an inspiration token. The invaders had heard the noise, however, and launched an attack outside the tunnel. After some wrestling, drowning and axe acrobatics the characters emerged victorious and headed for the temple.

Sanctuary

Hiding behind a small wall, the characters watched the ruccus at the temple. Three groups of invaders were placed around the building. After seeing some larger dragon-like beasts zip by, they decided to knock out the smaller group working to smoke out the prisoners. They did so swiftly and opened the door. Loud thumps suddenly echoed from the front doors – the invaders were soon be inside.
The characters convinced the local priest that Nighthill had sent them and they left, luring the ambush drakes away by throwing the rogues small bell into the wall further off. Some tight action ensued, while the characters helped the prisoners over the wall and into the small wooded area around the stream. They then managed to sneak inside the keep again and delivered as many townspeople as they possible could, much to the governors delight.

Despite their struggles, the night was far from over.

Thoughts:

My group showed that they were experienced role players during this scenario and I almost found the trials to easy for them. They rolled their dice like they should and were able to sneak around the town as they saw fit. They cultists and kobolds was never any problems with a fighter, cleric and a rogue, not even at level one, and I populated the encounters according to the “hard” column. The rogue found ways to convince me of advantage (mainly through successful sneaking) and the fighter just tore through every encounter. I was worried that the rats should be tough without magic, but they never hit hard enough for their possible 4 D6 damage to matter. Maybe it came down to good dice, maybe it was good roleplaying, but Greenest was not the meat grinder I had come to expect.

I used the "something happens" table now and then and managed to roll in some fitting thunder to frame the dramatic night. The disciple of Talos was more than pleased, as was the Blue Dragon, I presume.

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