Since D&D Encounters is a casual play program, and we have people coming in-and-out with an alarming degree of regularity, I think I’ll start every ‘Encounters’ post with a listing of the PC’s. In our case, the party ballooned since the launch weekend.
- Waxon, an Elven Cleric of the Wood Elf variety, no relation to Wax-off
- Szenden , a Half-Elf Fighter
- Gavan, an Elf Mage of the High Elf variety
- Valantis, an Elven Monk, also of the Wood Elf variety (newcomer)
- Tassidar, a Half-Orc Fighter (newcomer)
- Belhand, a Half-Orc Monk (returning from the Legacy of the Crystal Shard adventure)
- Javert, the Drow Paladin (returning from the Legacy of the Crystal Shard adventure; unfortunately, my imaginary tale of Javert hulking out into Belhand has fallen by the wayside…unless I go with their bodies being separated, like how the Hulk and Bruce Banner were separated (temporarily) in the late 80’s (see The Incredible Hulk #315-324 for more details on that story.) Incidentally, I think playing an Elf that ‘Hulks out’ into a Half-Orc would make a great 13th Age ‘One Unique Thing,’ though how this would affect the gameplay mechanics would need to be worked out. To not cheat, I think the best way would be for the PC to effectively create two characters, but really be only playing one at a time: the Elf when calm, the Half-Orc when angry (albeit with the same equipment, which when combined with completely different skill sets, could present a unique PC roleplaying challenge, though I think to be fair it’s up to the DM when he / she hulks out.)
But I digress…
I teased Szenden’s player that since there was nothing on the bounty board, he was so depressed that he went whoring for the remainder of the night and slept in the next morning, leaving Waxon and Gavan to do the dirty detective work while the rest of the party just arrived. He apparently liked that story so much, it became canon. It does occur to me though that this may be to the party’s advantage at a later date when we eventually try to track down Natasha.
For now, with our party size more than doubled, we debate whether we should travel to Julkoun by land or sea. Since the failed shipment was supposed to arrive by boat, we decide to sail upriver. Thankfully, we don’t have to rent boats; since we’re investigating, Daggerford is happy to loan us two of their rowboats. Gavan is especially thankful in that we have so many beefy, strong fighters in the party, he can relax a bit as he’s below average when it comes to strength (a mighty score of 8; for those that don’t know or have never played D&D, typically character scores range from 3-18; while a strength of 8 is hardly pathetic, Gavan would not be the first choice to execute a feat of strength, like forcing a door open, or pulling a comrade up a cliff.)
As we sail, we pass by an area called ‘The Laughing Hollows,’ an area that we notice is ravaged by fire. We make a slight detour to investigate a bit, and while we found evidence that the fires were started by someone, we find no evidence of any malicious intent. For all we know, it can be a campfire that accidentally raged out of control. With no other evidence, we continue on to Julkoun.
When we arrive, we immediately notice a great deal of property damage. The town is basically divided by a wall, so we can’t see the state of the buildings behind the wall. However, those closest to the riverfront appear to be the least damaged, while the remaining buildings have been burnt to ashes. We search the intact buildings for survivors, but all we find is a bloody axe int he carpenter shop.
Suddenly, we hear a horn sound three times; eight goblins are making their way from a guard tower at the end of the dividing wall I mentioned. Naturally, we engage them in combat. Despite being joined by four more additional goblins, and a hobgoblin who appears to be their leader, we’re able to make short work of them for the most part. Gavan’s pitiful contributions to this battle include shooting arrows that hit anything and everything except the enemy. Searching the enemy, we find an equivalent of 80 gold pieces in jewelry and cash.
Searching the remaining buildings reveals nothing more, so we make our way to the tower; Valentis is the first to climb in, where he is ambushed by a single goblin. Thanks to some uncanny luck, or severe lack of luck depending on your point of view, this battle lasts longer than it should, and it’s actually rather comical how many problems the remainder of our party has climbing up this tower. Finally, Valentis puts down the goblin and lowers a bunch of ropes to make our lives easier as we all pull our best Adam West as Batman climbing up a wall impression.
So we get past the wall into the town proper, and see that this lower part of the village is not burned. Landmarks of interest include a mill, and a building where we can see colored glints on the roof. We decide to search the latter first, where we discover the building is a church, with stained, colored glass detailing images of a rose, which we know to be the symbol for Chauntea. However, we find nothing else at the church.
We go to investigate one of the mills; despite us trying to gain a tactical advantage by having us approach different entrances, the 6 hobgoblins within put up a great fight. In fact, as the fighting goes on, 4 more hobgoblins enter the fray, two from upstairs, and two emerge from a side room. Gavan manages to burn quite a few with his Burning Hands spell (think magical flamethrower emitted from your hands), though he technically is hacked into unconsciousness in-between castings. Thanks to some well-timed healing, he is able to make a second casting, and in the end, we emerge victorious, though we’re now rather battered, bloody, and bruised. We find 40 more gold pieces on their person, and a trunk containing 150 gold pieces worth of treasure. We suspect the trunk contains much if not all of the town’s wealth, and as a party decide to return it if we find that anyone has survived. We basically left things here at this point; I’m somewhat assuming we spend the night in that mill, as we could definitely use a full night’s rest.
One detail that I missed in the last post that thankfully someone else at the table remembered is that Julkoun apparently has an underground inn of sorts. We’re theorizing that most of the townsfolk are hiding there. That’s our hope, at any rate. As long as the weather holds up (it’s supposed to snow this coming Wednesday in my neck of the woods), I’ll find out at the next D&D Encounters session at my friendly, local game store.