It wasn’t a huge turnout; I had three players to start, and two more joined half-way through. Because of the numbers, and also the War Machine tournament that was running in the back of the store, we had neither the bodies nor the space to split into groups and do the build-the-adventure portion of the event, so I just ran the adventure I had prepared from their materials.
The basics I decided on were that first of all, livestock was going missing from a nearby village, then some livestock carcasses were found horrifically mutilated. This continued for a time, until people started disappearing, and lights had been seen in a nearby cave at the top of a waterfall. Then a pair of children disappeared on the night of the new moon, and the village elders sent some heroes over to the cave to straighten things out.
Yeah, it’s a kind of hokey set-up. It’s a one-shot.
Anyway, the idea was that the Doomdreamer was blending the worship of the Elder Elemental Eye with arcane experiments tapping into the Far Realm. He had set up a small shrine to tempt locals, using the Scarecrow Stalker, and seeded the offering pile with Scarabs. As he grew in power, he enlisted some Minotaurs and summoned a couple of Foulspawn, who liked hunting further afield and snatched the kids.
I made the encounters fairly tough:
- Encounter 1: Scarecrow Stalker, Hoard Scarab Larva Swarm, 3 Minotaur Thugs (1,750 xp, a level 8 encounter for 5 characters)
- Encounter 2: Doomdreamer, Foulspawn Mangler, Foulspawn Hulk, 2 Minotaur Thugs (2,200 xp, a level 9 encounter for 5 characters)
For the first encounter, though, I only had three players, so I dropped two of the Minotaur Thugs, reducing it to a 950 xp encounter, or a level 7 encounter for 5 characters. The group had some trouble with this encounter, mainly because they were lacking a striker (they played the fighter, the invoker, and the artificer), wound up in a bottleneck with the Minotaur hitting and retreating repeatedly. Not being able to dish out a huge amount of damage (and suffering from some truly disheartening dice rolls) made this a tougher fight than it looked like on paper.
Two other folks joined for the next encounter, so I didn’t have to trim down the encounter at all. It was an interesting fight, with the problem of getting down to the second level without getting spotted by the monsters down there.
There plan only sort-of worked.
The opening round had the heroes swinging down on ropes to attack (and some flopping painfully onto the rock), and then they all started shoving enemies down into the pit after afflicting them with ongoing damage of various flavours.
Despite this fight being significantly tougher than the previous one, having the party roles filled out, as well as the extra bodies to distribute the beatings being received, served to make it go more smoothly and successfully for the party. And, to be fair, the players all knew this was the last encounter, and most had saved their dailies for it.
So, they managed to slay the cultists, and looted enough cash to raise the kids from the dead. There was a party with ice cream and puppies. Yay!
Thanks once again to Pedro, Wendy, and Kieran, not to mention Leo and Maya, at Imagine Games for being such excellent hosts for these events. And thanks to the people who came out to play. I hope you had fun.