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I was out of town last week for work and for my brother’s wedding (I actually spent Wednesday evening going to the circus in a small town in Ohio), so I don’t have a week 9 recap for you. However, I was told that the party took the direct approach of beating down some ogres and some drow. We don’t need no stinking negotiation!
After finding someplace to rest, the party began this session fully rested and ready to delve deeper into the drow city of Zadzifeirryn. They found themselves in a twisting set of tunnels with spiders on the ceiling, known as the Flycatcher Tangle. An obvious trail of blood led them to the badly beaten, but not dead, elf ranger Tharinel. They had last seen Tharinel back in week 5, just before he and Khara Sulwood were abruptly teleported away by Elminster.
Someone handed Tharinel a Cure Light Wounds potion, which got the elf back on his feet, and he asked the party if they could help him avoid drow patrols long enough to escape. After some debate, the party agreed to do this, which led to a fairly easy fight against some drow scouts.
Meanwhile, as the group had been navigating the Flycatcher Tangle, they ran into two problems every five minutes. First, the swarms of spiders on the ceilings would attack everyone, potentially dealing 10 poison damage. Second, they had a chance of running into drow patrols, which wouldn’t lead to actual combat but could lead to some lost healing surges.
I played this as written for the journey to find Tharinel, but I soon got sick of having to attack all seven PCs with spiders, so I skipped that part. They still had to roll for drow patrols and distracting the drow, but I had a hard time making it interesting.
This skill challenge didn’t really “pop” for me, but it did wear down some healing surges, I suppose, so that’s something. The combat was fun for the party – they got to feel powerful. Still, I think this was one of the weaker sessions of the season.
-Michael the OnlineDM
Yes, I thought this section of the adventure was really poorly written and not much fun to GM or to play through.
This encounter in my honest opinion was the worst one. I can understand and I respect what the author was trying to do and I think it was quite alright, but a lot of things did not seem to jive properly.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
I agree- this week (along with the tests of the drow) were fairly weak sessions. This time, I ran this entire week as a “Rodrigo’s Rules” (from the Critical Hit podcast) skill challenge, charging them 1d4 healing surges for each failure, plus 1d4 for casting a 10 minute ritual in the Tangle. This was easier and faster than rolling to hit them with spider damage. We combined weeks 10 and 11 together, so we moved on into the meatier combat of week 11, and were still done in about 2 hours.
Thank all for the replies! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who felt “meh” about it. My players ultimately didn’t seem to mind too much, since they still got to beat up on some bad guys, but I as the DM was pretty disappointed. I showed them the map for next week’s torture theater encounter, though, which I think ended the session on a high note. It’s a pretty cool map!
-Michael the OnlineDM