My online group gathered for its eighth session in the War of the Burning Sky campaign yesterday evening. Eight sessions for a group of strangers spread across the US plus one person in London – that’s pretty impressive. I honestly expected when I first gathered folks for an online campaign that people would flake out, drop out, not show up, etc. But my players are flat-out awesome, and I love them.
The session began with the party having recently entered the Fire Forest. They had easily defeated some fiery bats, and now found themselves faced with a precarious-looking bridge.The bridge had clearly collapsed in one area, with the wreckage of a wagon visible in the canyon 60 feet below.
None of the players had enough Dungeoneering skill to identify the weak points, so Fudrick the gnome shaman started heading across. He soon learned that if all of the weak points were stepped on and the monsters living beneath the bridge were revealed, it would look like this:
Fudrick’s reflexes weren’t quick enough to jump out of the way of the collapsing stones, and he fell 60 feet, taking 33 damage. His maximum hit points were only 37. Ouch.
The bat swarms sleeping under the bridge were alerted by this, but I granted everyone in the party a full round of initiative before adding the bats. Some of the characters started working together to tie two ropes together to lower to poor Fudrick. Others moved forward to attack. Jaks, the minotaur druid, used perception to identify two more fragile squares. However, on the next round when the swarms moved in, Jaks hit with an attack that let him shift – and he shifted right onto one of those weakened squares! Down he went, falling unconscious.
It looked grim for a while, but the healers in the party got Jaks up on his feet and out of the canyon while the defenders handled the swarms. It made for a pretty exciting fight!
Next, the party was confronted by a hell hound who dropped a bone at their feet. The bone had a message saying that they should “leave the case” (a case of military secrets they were trying to get through the forest) and take the bone if they wanted to escape with their lives. They quickly discovered a loophole – the message didn’t say the plans had to be IN the case! This let them avoid combat with the hell hound and his fiery wolf friends and also gave them some quest XP to boot – not bad!After that, the party was confronted by the devil who had written the message on the bone. He wasn’t happy about the empty case and he attacked, but the PCs beat him up easily before he teleported away.
We ended the session after the gang met a dragonborn sorceror who was researching the magic of the fire forest and agreed to help him collect some mushrooms so that he could complete a ritual to quench the fire in a nearby glade with a dryad. I hadn’t prepared the next encounter area, so we called it a night a little early.
I definitely am enjoying the fire forest adventure in this campaign. It allows for a lot of branching and meaningful player decisions. Most of those choices will come later, but there are some even now. It helps to have such a great group of players!