Iâ€™m running Tomb of Horrors for this leg of the Storm Point campaign – indeed, for the rest of the campaign. You may not want to read on if youâ€™re playing the game yourself.
This past session of theÂ Storm PointÂ game, we started on the penultimate adventure in theÂ Tomb of Horrors series. The plan is to use this series to wrap up theÂ Storm Point campaign – the series finishes with the characters in the early Epic tier, and at that point the whole group thinks they’ll have had enough ((About three or four years’ worth of 4E, and about five years ofÂ 3E before that.)) ofÂ D&D for a while. We’ll take a look at other games at that point, and decide what we want to do next ((Some of the ideas on the table include Ashen Stars,Â Night’s Black Agents,Â Dungeon World,Â 13th Age, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying,Â and some sort of Fate game.)).
In the downtime between sessions, I had the players level their characters up to 18th level, the recommended level for this adventure. This is my way of speeding us along to the conclusion of the adventure and the campaign; by just levelling up to the appropriate level at the start of the new adventure, we get to focus more on the adventure, and have a fighting chance of wrapping things up in the next year or so. I think I was a little too generous with the way I let them pick new magic items, but what the hell.
We started the session with a recap, focusing on the big picture of the previous adventures: someone was using strange necromantic devices to steal the energy of death that rightly belonged to the Raven Queen. This energy was being collected and used to power Acererak’s bid for godhood, and our heroes had messed up two of his devices, so he was going to start gunning for them soon enough. The only chance the party had was to take the fight to him, and put him down before he put them down.
To that end, I started things with skill challenge, letting them try and figure out how to get at Acererak. It was also a way for the players to flesh out what the characters had done during the downtime – each character got to tell a little story about how they had tracked down information. I decided that, when they got to Skull City and the abandoned tomb, they would have to face one encounter before getting to the tomb, plus one more encounter for each failure on the skill challenge, as the various gangs in the city got word from their contacts that the group was coming.
There were no failures in the initial skill challenge, nor in the follow-up to actually get through the city safely, so they only ran into the Brothers of the Black Academy right at the entry to the abandoned tomb. Our heroes, in their own inimitable fashion ((That is, as bullying dicks.)) decided not to talk to the folks whose home they were invading, but instead threatened them and tried to scare them off. The Black Academy mages and their wrath spirits were having none of that ((After all, they dealt with bullying dicks all the time.)) and attacked.
We didn’t make it all through the combat before we had to quit for the evening. Part of that is the fact that it’s a pretty tough fight, and part of it is that the players aren’t completely familiar with their new powers yet, and part of it is that higher level fights tend to be a bit more of a grind. But I was able to dish out a gratifying amount of damage, almost dropping a couple of the characters, and only having one of the monsters drop.
But we were getting tired, so I took a picture of the positions of everyone, and we retired until the next session.