Dateline – Storm Point

***SPOILER ALERT***

I’m running Tomb of Horrors for this leg of the Storm Point campaign. You may not want to read on if you’re playing the game yourself.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I’m a little behind on this post – the last Storm Point game was about three weeks ago. I’ve put the game on hiatus until after the New Year, just because everyone ((And by everyone, I mainly mean me. Don’t care so much about the other yahoos. 😉 )) is so busy, and scheduling, which is always a challenge, is even worse this time of year.

Anyway.

We’re continuing with the Tomb of Horrors adventure. The gang are on the second leg of the adventure, making their way through the city of Moil in the Shadowfell, looking for the centre of badness. This phase of the adventure has a couple of fights, some wandering around, some random encounters, and a fairly complicated set of skill challenges to get through one of the towers along the way. When I sat down to prep for the game, I looked things over, and decided that was far too much stuff for this group – we’re lucky if we get through two encounters in a session.

So, I kept a bit of the exploration, but cut out the random encounters. I also scaled back the skill challenge tower significantly – originally, it was a layered death trap, with shifting metal spires, whirling blades of force, and sonic mind disruptors, laced with a few banshees if the group was taking too long to navigate it. That thing alone would have taken at least one session for us to plow through. On the other hand, I liked the idea of a section of the city that the heroes needed to navigate carefully as a skill challenge, so I threw in a half-collapsed tower that they needed to find their way through.

They had some interesting times finding their way where they wanted to go, especially when they ran into a long, deep gap in the walkway. I used their various attempts to cross this gap to highlight the dangerous nature of the Shadowfell ((For example, the cleric fired a radiant bolt down into the darkness, and I made an attack against his Will. They don’t know what that was, and I’m not telling.)). I also had them making Endurance checks every hour or two to deal with the necromantic cold of the place. Failure meant losing a healing surge.

I capped off the evening with the fight against the Moil Barrow. In the adventure-as-written, this is an eminently avoidable ((Also, pretty nasty.)) fight, but I plopped it down right on the pathway to throw an exciting battle into the evening.

Well, it was meant to be exciting. I rolled so consistently poorly that this big, nasty solo soldier wasn’t much of a threat at all. It took them some time to wear it down, but its low initiative roll, plus all the conditions people placed ((And maintained.)) on it meant that it just wasn’t the death machine it was designed to be. Oh, well. Sometimes the dice just don’t co-operate.

After that fight, the gang decided to take an extended rest. I sprang the other nasty environmental surprise on them at that point: resting in the Shadowfell meant that they recovered one fewer healing surge, plus they had to make an Endurance check or lose another healing surge. They’ve decided they don’t like that.

After the New Year, the gang will get back to Moil, and find the center of evil that they’ve come seeking. I’m hoping to wrap up this leg of the adventure in another three to four sessions. Then, we’ll advance the characters up to be tough enough to take on the next episode of the Tomb of Horrors.

If they survive, of course.

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