I’d only DM’ed for/played with one of the players at my table before, so it was nice to DM for a fresh set of faces…
- Mark, playing the theif, Keira.
- Daisy, playing the warpriest, Valenae.
- Chris, playing the paladin, Brandis.
- Glenn, playing the slayer, Fargrim (only one i’d gamed with previously).
- Travi, playing the hunter, Belgos.
- Ian, playing the mage, Jarren.
My players dived straight into roleplaying, taking the backgrounds of the character to give their characters vboices and mannerisms, and this continued through the first section while they were looking for clues in the temple. I actually found this a bit difficult, because while they were roleplaying to their characters class/race/background, they weren’t really asking the right questions to discover clues. I think if i’d have made notes on which characters skill was highest it would have helped.
Encounter 1: The Cellar
Our dwarf declared he was going to attack the dwarves the moment they entered the room, which effectively bypassed any option other than combat. They didn’t get a surprise round, and while they knew the pillars were magical, only used these for effect while the paladin monologued. Combat was swift, the dwarves were minions so did’t stand a chance, while the drow were dispatched before they could flee. I liked the pillars position, it blocked some lines of sight, and made the feel feel sneaky. The instant decision for combat kind of limited this encounter because their were ways to get round it, such as Fargrimm speaking to his clan mates for an adventure long bonus, or pretending to be captured.
Encounter 2: The Passageway
I wish i’d had the time and molds to make this in 3d… Annoyingly i’d forgotten to pack my doors so they just went straight down the wider corridor, which I found amusing given the secret door on my 3d terrain was painted a different colour. I did try to hint at something sinister to worry the players, mentionning the passageway looked to have been carved by umber hulks, but they didn’t really bite on that snippet of misdirection.
Encounter 3: Temple Prisoners
This proved to be a fairly tough fight for my table, mainly because they opted not to bring the roof down on the prisoners. The dwarves hammer/throwing hammer combo didn’t make much sense given their equipment, but on the other hand, was a nice way of moving around the room dealing damage. The spider was awesome, jumping here, there and everywhere, while the drow managed to got off 1 dagger strike from being invisible, nearly downing our thief.
Encounter 4: Did you Bring Trunks?
Knowing we were almost at the 2 hour mark, I simplified the skills check needed to figure out and deactivate the runes, but at the same time, Ian absolutely wiped the floor with his rolls here. Everyone made the stealth check to get through the water stealthily, and Jarren hung back to summon the water elemental. There was a nice ‘oh shit’ moment from the rest of the table as I put the mini down…
Encounter 5: Something Wicked Lurks Within
Daisy came up with the idea of sending the water elemental into the mist, and Travi charged through with Belgos only to be surrounded… Mistress Silhouette died by the end of the first round… the victim of a surprise round, dailies, and focused fire from 5 party members. The blademasters double strike was effective, but again, focused fire quickly took them down.
In the end, we overran by about 30 minutes, but my table was putting the effort into roleplaying rather than always making the most tactical choices. As a DM I fell victim to the paladins defender aura a lot, as my monsters went after thosewho had hit them. The adventure itself is well wrtiten and fun, with just enough drow to hint at the dangers to come in the Rise of the underdark storyline. My main downside is that my table chose straight up combat over the alternative solutions Shawn Merwin presented in the adventure.