Dateline – Storm Point

***SPOILER ALERT***

Two things.

First, I’m using a published adventure for this leg of the campaign, but the group doesn’t know what that adventure is. Please don’t tell them if you recognize it.

Second, because this is a published adventure, my accounts are going to have spoilers in them. If you start to recognize this as the adventure you’re playing – or going to play – you may want to avoid reading on.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Last night was the latest installment of the Storm Point campaign. Once again, I had a full house of players ((I’m starting to get spoiled, having everyone show up to every game! This makes all three of the restarted campaign.)), and once again, I’m pretty happy with the progress we made through the adventure. We did, however, wind up going later than we normally do.

We rejoined our valiant heroes as they were standing on a rickety rope bridge. The crossing was somewhat challenging, and a couple of them failed their checks and began to fall. I was rolling falling damage when Milo, the swordmage, decided to use Lightning Lure to snag his plummeting team mate and pull him back to the bridge, figuring a little lightning scorch is better than falling sixty feet. They all looked at me as if they expected me to say no to this idea, but I said, “Hell, yeah! That’s cool!”

Because it was, y’see.

And that kind of thinking is what I want to encourage in the game – using powers outside of combat, going for the cinematic approach. I always want to say yes to those kinds of ideas, as long as they’re not stupid ((Sometimes even if they are. Enough cool will outweigh stupid on the scales of GM Judgment.)). If it would look cool in a movie action scene, odds are I’ll say yes.

He managed to catch everyone that fell ((Though he almost missed Thrun; that dwarf has an extremely high Fortitude.)), doing around 10 points of damage to each of them, rather than the 33 points that an average 60-foot fall will do. Everyone was singed but grateful.

Once across the bridge, they entered an oddly-shaped building that contained a diorama of the site. They were able to identify the building they were currently in, and the little garden area below the cliffs where they first entered, but the rest of the structures were completely changed. Galvanys recognized the layout of the diorama as a graveyard for the high eladrin ((“So, we’re in a desecrated graveyard in the Feywild. Great. Is there anywhere worse we could be?” “Dude, shut up! The DM can hear you!”)), being eladrin himself.

Finding nothing else of interest here, they went out the other doorway of the building, across another rope bridge ((Couple more falls, couple more Lightning Lures)), and into the oddly-shaped structure on the other side. This building was more obviously constructed of several smaller buildings that had been cannibalized for building materials, and the inside was covered in deeply-carved runes. Investigation showed them similar to the ones that the group had found on the bodies of the harpies and dryads who had attacked them. Again, they seemed to be catching the energy of death, and channeling it somewhere nearby. Milo and Faran realized that this was definitely something bad, as the death energy should be flowing to the Raven Queen, the goddess of death, but was instead being siphoned off for other purposes.

The next room they entered had an overflowing pool with a key in the bottom ((“Does 4E have water weirds?” “I don’t think so.”)). Reaching into the pool for the key caused the water to rear up in the form of a serpent and strike at Galvanys, who had tried to take the key ((“See? Water weird!” “Actually, no. It’s just a magical effect.”)), teleporting him out into the nearby river right near the top of the falls. He managed to swim to shore, and made it back into the room inside a couple of minutes.

After some trial and error (and a few more dips in the river), the group teamed up to distract the trap while Ssudai, the dragonborn monk, snatched the key and ran for the door. Once he was past the doorway, the serpent collapsed back into the pool, and everyone cheered.

In the next chamber, they found a brazier hanging above a sundial, more of the strange runes, and a captive eladrin woman, who turned out to be a lamia.

This was a tough fight, made tougher by two things: first of all, the group didn’t have a controller, so very few close and area attacks. Second, I didn’t read the encounter closely enough, and dropped in both scarab swarms at the start of combat, instead of waiting until the lamia was bloodied to bring the second one in. The first point meant that, by and large, the group was doing half-damage to the lamia and the swarms, and the second point meant that they had more fronts to fight on, splitting attacks and damage more.

Still, though the fight was long and grueling ((And the first part pretty boring for Thrun, who spent the first three or four rounds alternately dazed and stunned.)), they managed to survive and triumph. Ssudai dumped burning coals from the brazier on some of the scarabs, and Faran dropped his blade barrier in a narrow point so that everyone could just keep hitting the lamia and pushing her back into the zone for more damage.

At that point, it was ten o’clock, which is about an hour later than we usually game on a Sunday evening, so I wrapped it up before letting them explore the room. That’s where we’ll pick it up next time. No one minded, because I told them they’d each get enough experience points to go up to tenth level.

But we got through two combat-ish encounters, and a total of five encounter areas, so I think we did pretty good for one evening. I like this quicker pace.

We’ll see if we can keep it up.

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