D&D Encounters Quest: Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Part 1

I was going to title this ‘Gavan Quest,’ then realized that what would happen if Gavan were to permanently die during his adventure in Icewind Dale? I’d have to change everything, so ‘D&D Encounters Quest’ it was.

Technically, I’m going to write part 3, but the first two parts were in my ‘Game Industry Quest’ postings. First, I’ll recap (and fix a few typos) by copy/pasting Gavan’s initial adventures below. The text is bolded and italicized, so you can skip ahead to his latest adventures if you prefer.

A game store recently opened in my area. When I say game store, I don’t mean Gamestop. I mean a brick-and-mortar store that sells board games, collectible card games, and tabletop role-playing games. So last week, I participated in Dungeons & Dragons Encounters. Since it’s tough to routinely blog about stuff, since his adventures are weekly, I can at least blog about that.

We are using the latest D&D Next / 5th Edition rules, and I guess 40% through Legacy of the Crystal Shard. At the time, the party consisted of a Dwarven Cleric who routinely saves our bacon with his healing, a tank-like Human Fighter, and an incredibly unique Dragonborn Druid. Thinking we needed either some magic or the skills of a rogue, I ended up creating an Elf Mage named Gavan. Why Gavan? I’m not the greatest fan, but earlier that day, I had heard the opening song to “Space Sheriff Gavan“, an 80′s (I think 80′s; may have been 70′s) Japanese tokusatsu (live-action) show. If nothing else, it’s a catchy song, so Gavan it was.

So the adventure began with us aiding the Elk Barbarian tribe rescue hostages from the Bear Barbarian tribe. Apparently lots of Barbarian tribes in Icewind Dale. So we opened up with storming up a treacherous hill; 3 dexterity checks of moderate difficulty to make it up this hill unscathed. Naturally, Gavan failed all three checks; at the bottom of the hill, he began with 14 hit points; by the time he limped to the top, covered in cuts, bruises, blood, broken ribs, probably a broken arm, a fractured leg, and busted eye socket, he had 2 hit points.

Remember the secret of comedy?

What’s sad is that Gavan actually get’s a bonus to Dexterity checks! (Negative bonus on Strength though.) I felt like Jerry Holkins or Wil Wheaton rolling my D20. Still, Gavan managed to redeem himself later in the fighting, taking out an an enemy spellcaster with two Magic Missile spells, and helping contribute to take down an Ice Queen that may-or-may-not have been the real Ice Queen causing the problems in the area with areas. Oh yeah, an Ice Queen has been terrorizing the lands with monsters, and elves in D&D Next are proficient with longbows and shortbows.

Hopefully, Gavan will be less clumsy this week.

Gavan wasn’t the only new party member to join last Wednesday at D&D Encounters; we had a Halfling Rogue join our group, and as it turned out in our final encounter of the night, with his final dagger he threw it and defeated the Ice Queen-that-may-not-have-been-the-real-Ice Queen for us. Gavan helped with that shooting arrows with his longbow, while the remainder of our party took out the a summoned Skeletal Dragon. We ended up with a decent amount of treasure for a level 2 party, and with a bunch of saved former hostages, we had to figure out a way out of the Icy Cavern.

We had another new party-member join us last night, a female human ranger named Solis (sp?). So we’ve got a pretty balanced party right now, including:

  • Ragner, male dragonborn druid
  • Jon, male human fighter
  • Waldo, male dwarf cleric
  • Walton, male halfling rogue
  • and last, but not least (except when traipsing up a hill): Gavan, male elf mage

So one interesting aspect to this adventure is that since Gavan is coming in mid-way through, he / I basically learn as we go along what’s happened previously. Apparently, a group of Dwarves around Icewind Dale previously asked the party (pre-Gavan) to help them with a necromancer in their mines, killing and re-animating their brethren into zombies. Due to time, or lack thereof, the party chose to assist the barbarians instead, but hoped to help the dwarves at a later time. Additionally, we have Dwarves being driven to be hyper-aggressive by black ice (it’s really crystal, but everyone refers to it as black ice).

So after helping out the Elk Barbarian tribe last week (and becoming honorary members), we were on our way to the Dwarves when we encountered Dwarven zombies intent on eating our remains. We put a stop to that with fisticuffs and our Dwarf Cleric turning undead.

We continue on our journey into a valley when we encounter a barricade defended by a group of Dwarves brandishing black ice weapons and the like. Previously, they had apparently treated our fighter rather poorly, so he was feeling rather aggressive. The Dwarves insisted that payment for passing the barricade was be our heads. We didn’t take kindly to that, but thought that if we managed to separate the Dwarves from the black ice, they might normalize into decent people. So we tried to fight with non-lethal damage. That plan quickly went south when they proceeded to kick our arses. and ended up going lethal, as a Gavanized magic missile spell killed one of the Dwarves. We did manage to subdue two, while killing the remaining four. We bury the dead and loot the corpses. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen!

In a rather poor plan lacking in foresight, but partially out of necessity, we proceeded to rest at that barricade, starting up a campfire, to recover hit points / spells. The previous two encounters left us in rather poor shape. The first hour went uninterrupted, but as we began our overnight, a Dwarf patrol came up from the valley, essentially flanking us. Thankfully, our perception checks were good enough where we noticed them and naturally, another fight breaks out. Gavan manages to take out two more dwarves with magic missile spells, but is now out of magic, excluding cantrips. The fight gets really dicey when our fighter, cleric, and dragonborn all fall. Thankfully, our ranger gets hot (no pun intended) and some high to-hit / damage rolls take out the remaining two dwarves. Of course, we bury the dead, and loot the corpses. Mage Hand is a rather useful cantrip spell for the former, as well as messily covering our tracks. We then proceed to find another spot to camp, and the rest of the night in uneventful.

Our Dwarf hostages are rather untalkative; they accuse of of being Ten Towns spies (I added a link to explain more about Ten Towns.) In the meantime, Gavan inspects the black ice weapons and attempts to to use his arcane knowledge to figure out what makes the black ice tick. With a natural 20 on his arcana check, he figures out that they are magical, but not arcane; he then fails to figure anything further out when he blows his religion check.

In the end, we go to one of the nearest town’s to find some help for our Dwarven hostages (we are so heroic!), and then decide to make our way to another town called Easthaven, where we’ve heard rumors there’s trouble afoot. That concludes Gavan’s adventures for the moment, though he does discover something rather worrying. Pre-Gavan, the party apparently were in a bit of a moral quandary, when one of the town’s were going to execute some of the barbarians for whatever reason. Apparently, the party rescued the barbarians-to-be-killed, but in doing so earned the distrust of the local town’s. Honestly not sure how welcome we’ll be. Maybe some cloaks to cover our faces would be helpful; we probably don’t need a full blown disguise, but walking around like we belong probably won’t help matters. Or I could be worrying about nothing. Oh well, I’ll find out next week when Gavan and co. make their way to Easthaven and get into more, crazy shenanigans that probably involve a lot of violence / non-peaceful resolution. A part of me can’t help but wonder if all of Icewind Dale will hate us (except the Elk barbarian tribe) when this is all over.

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