As is usual these days, I had seven PCs at my table for D&D Encounters. The party was moving through the drow city of Zadziferryn in search of their friend Khara Sulwood and the broken Pendant of Ashaba. They found themselves in the drow torture theater, where two torturers with scourges were beating and killing prisoners while being cheered on by drow in the stands. Combat began pretty much right away.
Most of the party hung back in the first round, which let one of the clerics cast a spell to increase everyone’s defenses by 2 points; this would be extremely useful later.
The drow torturers each used a pit of blood to summon a demon made up of a gigantic toothed maw and little else. Meanwhile, the drow in the stands grabbed weapons and rushed into the arena to fight the intruders. The spectators turned out to be minions, and our spellcaster finally achieved the toasting of three minions on a single attack.
The demons were easy to hit, but they had a lot of hit points. They also had a nasty habit of chasing after bloodied PCs and trying to eat them.
The real threat, though, was the pair of drow torturers. These creatures used spiked scourges to attack PCs from two squares away, dealing a bunch of damage on a hit plus a grab that dealt ongoing 10 damage (only ending when the PC escapes the grab). The torturers couldn’t make other attacks while grabbing a PC, but that’s okay – they were nasty enough. They also had the highest AC the party has faced so far in the adventure.
Once the minions were wiped out, the party started focusing on the demons. They killed both demons in the same round, whereupon the torturers used minor actions to summon new demons! Ouch.
By this point, the torturers had already killed our drow ranger Drizzt (no relation), using the ongoing damage from the scourge to rip off of the ranger’s head and cast it into one of the fonts of blood (hey, if a PC is dead-dead, let’s at least make it entertaining). Our spellcaster was busily failing death saves, and our goblin scout was barely staying above zero hit points. Finally, at long last, the party managed to finish off one of the torturers, which caused both it and the demon it had summoned to be dragged into the Abyss in a cloud of black smoke. With only one torturer left to deal with, the party was able to gang up and finish it off.
This encounter is written for a group of five PCs. We had seven at our table, and I didn’t scale it upward at all. The party had also done well on last week’s skill challenge, which meant that no minion reinforcements joined the battle. And with all of those advantages, it was still a hard, hard fight, and the players did well to escape with just the one dead adventurer.
I realized belatedly that I forgot to tell my party that they found half of the pendant of Ashaba on the belt of one of the torturers; I’ll say that it dropped to the ground when the drow was dragged into the Abyss.
-Michael the OnlineDM