Another Storm Point session this past Sunday. Almost a full house – Dan couldn’t make it, so Milo used the magical plot device we had set up last session to vanish into the Feywild.
This session saw the group make it to the temple in the Trembling Wood. They ran afoul of two patrols while trying to sneak up on the temple, but managed to dispatch them without raising the alert level of the temple inhabitants.
For the patrols, I used a mix of different humanoid creatures: a gnoll huntmaster, an orc berserker, two hobgoblin soldiers, and two dark creepers*. The reason for the mix was to show that the shadar-kai are indeed drawing together disparate tribes of humanoids and getting them to cooperate, which point my players picked up on very nicely.
The first encounter came as they were resting. The group has set up a standard procedure for finding a camping spot each night, running it as a skill challenge with each party member contributing from his expertise. The fact that the group actually asks for a skill challenge makes me think that the skill challenge rules are a good idea. I run it as a complexity 1 challenge of the party’s level, and award experience accordingly. I also use the results to give me an idea of how camouflaged and safe the site is.
Well, the gnoll huntmaster spotted them resting inside a partially-buried eladrin house in the middle of the night, and the fight was on. The party was going to (I think) use the natural choke point of the house’s doorway to control the fight (which may not have worked all that well), but one of them ran outside to fight, and that plan was done for. That turned the choke point to the patrol’s advantage, as the dark creepers tied folks up blocking the door and taking opportunity attacks at those trying to squeeze past.
Still, they managed to defeat the patrol in a flurry of very silly roleplaying**. Once the fight was done, they relocated their camp (another skill challenge) and holed up again.
The next day was spent trying to find the temple without alerting the temple. This was a longer skill challenge (complexity 3), and saw some creative use of skills, including using Bluff to lay false sign to divert the patrols. Unfortunately, they got two failures in the first four rolls, which triggered an ambush by a patrol.
I was a bit of a bastard setting this one up, placing the characters along a deep stream, surrounded by the orc, the hobgoblins, and the dark creepers. The gnoll was on a hill with good cover across the stream, and focused his attacks on enemies that were adjacent to multiple monsters, earning extra damage. The eladrin ranger fey stepped across the swift-running stream to fight the gnoll on his own, which created a kind of interesting side battle, while the rest of the party dealt with the melee combatants. There were some good moments, including a the dragonborn rogue stumbling blindly into the stream after a dark creeper blew up in his face.
We left the game with the party looking out on the overgrown eladrin villa, surrounded by blighted plants, that is being used as a temple by the shadar-kai in their army-building endeavours. Next session, they start their infiltration.
*1,025Â xp, a level 5 encounter for 5 characters.
**Wherein it was determined that the only word in the dark creeper language is, “stabby.” Only pitch and intonation allow one to interpret meaning. Also, the hapless orc berserker’s name was Kevin.