The third and final chapter of this season of Encounters began tonight. I was running my usual 5:00 table, but I’d also been asked to run a second table at 7:00 (I guess there’s been some kind of DM shortage).
For the 5:00 table I had lots of my regulars – the first timer from week 1 along with the friend he’s been bringing, the father and son new players from last week, another father and son pair, and two other guys who’ve been coming pretty regularly.
Yes, if you’re counting, that’s eight players. We’d normally split up into two groups of four each, but we didn’t have another dungeon master, so I bit the bullet and ran with eight.
No one was at third level yet – I believe there were three people at level 2 and five at level 1. The encounter as written assumes a party of five characters of level 2-3, so scaling was interesting.
The party had the chance to take an extended rest back at the Old Owl Inn after dawn. In the afternoon, Grimbold (the captain of the Duponde town guard) came to the players to ask them to investigate a monastery a few hours’ walk to the west of town. The skeletons that had menaced the town the previous night were dressed in cassocks consistent with the long-abandoned Saint Avarthil Monastery. It seemed that someone had been reanimating the dead monks’ bones and turning them into monsters. Sure sounds like the evil wizard who’s on the loose!
Off they went to Saint Avarthil’s. The door to the crypt was open, and the adventurers trooped on in. The inside was well-lit by magical braziers, and lots of niches in the walls that once held buried monks had been broken open and stood empty. Soon enough, a couple of cassocked skeletons were found, and the battle began.
The 5:00 table of eight players ended up facing off against about 12 skeleton minions, a blazing skeleton (hello old friend from last week!) and a trio of dark ones – little shadowy guys with hooves and nasty short swords. We had a bit of a bottleneck at the top of the stairs until the minions were finished off, and then the dark ones started wrecking PCs with their double sword attacks. One of them kept getting knocked into the crevasse, though, which made for fun times. The player characters took a pretty good beating (a first-level thief foolishly rushed into the middle of melee and paid for it) but prevailed.
The 7:00 table had four players (one of whom was a fellow player from my Monday night Pathfinder game), and they were all third level (now that’s dedication!). Since they were a little higher level than expected for the encounter and there were only four of them instead of five, I decided to run it as written with eight skeletal minions, one blazing skeleton and two dark ones. This table rocked the encounter with little difficulty, despite a long series of failed saving throws against ongoing fire damage from the party’s vampire.
I had fun running this encounter, especially getting to do it a second time when I was a little better at making it interesting. I had one of the dark ones sneak around behind the party as they went into the main crypt, which was fun for me at least. I also really like the map. It was fun to re-create in MapTool, and I think it turned out quite nicely.
I’m also happy to report that I’m done putting the adventure together in MapTool. I’ve been trying to work a week or two ahead throughout the season, and I’m finally finished with all thirteen encounters. The map for week 12 is also awesome and I’m looking forward to showing off my version of it here on the blog.
I’ll be running next week twice, and possibly week 12 (Andy will be back to run a table that week, but it seems clear that we might need a second DM). Week 13 I won’t be here – I’ll be at GenCon! I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to finish the adventure with my awesome players, but let’s face it – I’m not going to be too broken up about the fact that I’ll be stuck at the greatest four days in gaming for the first time ever. I’m excited!