Madness at Gardmore Abbey: Session Two

Earlier sessions: Session One

My party of three recovered from their run-in with giant spiders in the feygrove of Gardmore Abbey and continued making their way toward the orc village. Before long, they came upon a spring populated by a number of eladrin warriors. The leader of the eladrin ordered his soldiers to surround the party, which they did via teleportation. The leader demanded to know who they PCs were and what business they had here.

Homer the elf hunter (played by my brother-in-law) quickly explained that the PCs had been sent by Lord Padraig of Winterhaven to scout the orc threat, and they meant the eladrin no harm. Deciding that enemies of the orcs couldn’t be all bad, the eladrin leader introduced himself as Berrian Velfarren and invited the party to come to the spring to join him in a glass of high-quality feywine.

Berrian explained that he had come to the region of Gardmore Abbey in search of his father, but that the trail had gone cold. Making matters worse, his sister Analastra had gone off on her own and hadn’t reported back yet. Berrian said that he would appreciate help in locating her, which the party agreed to do. Berrian explained that he planned to stay by the spring, trying to understand more about its magical properties.

Stasi the half-elf warpriest (played by my sister-in-law) talked to Berrian and examined the fountain and determined that drinking from it could give visions of the history of the region. Only Homer the hunter was brave enough to take a sip, and he experienced a vision of a valorous knight of Bahamut defending himself against an onrushing horde of ten orcs, slaying them all in swift order and emerging victorious. This vision of heroism left Homer with the ability to get some extra minor actions in a future battle.

The party then left the Font of Ioun and moved toward the orc village, eventually coming upon the sounds of struggle in the woods ahead. An eladrin woman was fleeing from a pair of displacer beasts, and the beasts caught up to her and knocked her to the ground, unconscious, as the PCs entered the grove. A dire stirge emerged from a nearby ruined bell tower, and the party moved to attack. Thus began Encounter 11: Bell Tower.

Since there are only three PCs in my party, scaling the battles down is always a little bit tricky. I decided to let this one be a challenge, and I only removed one dire stirge instead of removing a displacer beast (or a displacer beast AND a dire stirge). All I can say is wow, displacer beasts sure are annoying to fight! Rolling a 17 or 19 on the attack die and finding out that you missed is a major bummer.

I scaled things a little bit on the fly. I had a stirge go after a bloodied displacer beast. I had a surge die when it was knocked down to about 10 hit points, and I did something similar with one of the displacer beasts. I was planning on having the other displacer beast flee when it was badly bloodied, but the PCs REALLY wanted to kill that thing (it did eventually escape with 9 hit points). The battle ended with Stasi unconscious (but stable) and Homer only on his feat because he got a 20 on a death save. Whew!

After the battle, the PCs were able to revive Analastra, the fallen eladrin. She thanked them, but was clearly embarrassed to have needed their help. She asked them to come with her to meet her brother, whom the PCs revealed they had already met.

Berrian was grateful to see his sister again, and thanked the party by asking what he could do for them. They mentioned that they wanted information about the orcs, and Berrian obliged by telling them what he knew. He also let the party rest in his grove while his soldiers stood guard and Analastra regained her strength (an extended rest – they needed it!).

In the morning, Analastra escorted the party to the garden hedge maze that marked the end of the feygrove, from which point the party could see much of the orc village for themselves. They also noted the wizard’s tower, and the fact that the keep seemed to be the headquarters for the orcs, based on the foot traffic in and out.

As the adventurers made their way back through the feygrove to head back to Winterhaven, Berrian gave Sora the dragonborn swordmage (played by my wife, and the only PC to have made it through the displacer beast encounter without falling unconscious) with a Giantslayer Broadsword +2. Yay for Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium (the first time I’ve actually used the book).

Back in Winterhaven, the party settled in at Wrafton’s Inn and sent word to Lord Padraig that they were back and ready to report. Padraig came to see them in the inn, and they showed him the map of the orc village they had created with their notes about the strength of the orc troops. I asked the party if they were telling Padraig about the eladrin the feygrove, and they said no.

Padraig expressed dismay at the size of the orc force and said that he would need allies in order to chase off the orcs. Still no mention of the eladrin. He asked about the wooded area on the map. Still mention of the eladrin.


Padraig did at least note that the wizard’s tower the party had seen would probably be of interest to Valthrun the Prescient. He also paid the party some gold as a reward for their scouting report.

After Padraig left, the party was approached by a paladin in full-on shiny armor with the device of Bahamut prominently displayed. He introduced himself as Sir Oakley and said that he had heard that the party had been to Gardmore Abbey. He explained that he was a direct descendant of Gardrin the Hammer, founder of the Abbey, and that he wanted to cleanse the Abbey of evil and set it as a beacon of good in the world before he died.  Also, he knew of a secret stair that would lead straight to the top of Dragon’s Roost, bypassing the orcs. He asked the heroes to help him, and they readily agreed.

They stopped off to talk with Valthrun before leaving town the next day, and he was excited to hear about the tower. He’d been researching the Abbey in the week the party had been gone, and he asked them to be on the lookout for a book bound in white dragon scales, which his research indicated had been owned by the last wizard to use the tower before the fall of Gardmore Abbey.

Thus ends session two. I hadn’t put together the encounters on Dragon’s Roost in MapTool yet, so we had to cut things a little bit short. We should be able to play again before the end of 2012.

Next session: Session three

6 thoughts on “Madness at Gardmore Abbey: Session Two

  1. Interesting development; it seems they will most likely skip over most of the “Peace with the Fey” quest chain.

    I noticed that you chose not to have Analastra follow them, but they will probably get the company of Sir Oakley, since in a party of 3, an extra defender can be useful; how well does MapTools handle henchmen/companions?

    As a side note: is it possible that your players can read this reports? If so, discussing details of the adventure may spoil it for them.. Does the forum software have a spoiler tag to hide those details?

    A suggestion: if they go back to the feygrove, a possibly interesting (although not on the script) encounter would be a rematch with the displacer beast that got away (something with a Moby Dick vibe); if your players are anything like mine, they will relish another shot at the one that hit them hard and got away (in my group it recently happened with the bullywug chieftain from Reavers, they were tripping over themselves to each get a shot at hitting it).

    • My players have the ability to read my blog, but I don’t think any of the players in this particular game do so. Still, I’d prefer not to spoil any details that we haven’t gotten to yet.

      The Peace With the Fey quest chain is what I expected them to do next; when they decided to hide the eladrin from Lord Padraig, well, I went in a different direction. That’s the beauty of this adventure – there is real, meaningful choice on the part of the players. Besides, there’s still a very real chance that the party will end up interacting with the eladrin again, one way or another. I have some ideas I’m mulling over.

      I like the suggestion about the Moby Dick displacer beast. I think he might be coming back in the future. Thanks for the idea!

  2. One thing i missed: last session, they found the “Key” card, did they used it in this session?

    Did any of the monsters got access to it (although probably only sentient creature should probably make use of it)?

    Im quite interested, as this is the card the players will get when fighting Kaltis (the Asmodeus priestess from Reavers, which in my campaign will be the last boss), and the only one they will have for some time.

    How will you deal with cards in the possession of different players (some of the powers are more appropriate for some players than others), and the -1 concordance penalty if the owner goes a day without using an arcane power?

    • Neither the players nor I remembered that they had the Key card, so it didn’t come up in the fight with the displacer beasts. I’m not sure it would have made much of a difference had it been there.

      As for the concordance issue, that’s only for the assembled deck as an artifact that can be used as a tome implement, not the individual cards. So, it doesn’t matter for my party (at least not right now).

    • Forget about the concordance question, on a further reading i realize it only applies to the completed artifact, not to the uncompleted one.

      Also, are you planning on either allowing them to do a reading and/or drawing from it upon completing the adventure (assuming they are playing the major quest of assembling the Deck)?

      • Again, I’m trying to keep spoilers out of here for now. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But I do have my own thoughts on the matter for now, which could change depending on what the characters do throughout the adventure.

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