D&D Encounters, Dead in Thay, part 7

So this past Wednesday’s D&D Encounters session was insane, in that we had four new players and zero pre-generated characters. And while character creation is not terribly complicated, that is not entirely true the higher the level of your character. Create a first-level character? Probably can do so between 10-20 minutes, depending on if you’re a newbie, how fast you write, how fast you make your decisions, etc. Create a seventh-level character, with many more options to choose from, and the amount of time it takes to create a character multiplies exponentially. Add to that the fact that there was only one hard copy of the rules available, and creating the four new characters was taking quite awhile. I hope the seemingly in-depth character creation didn’t turn people off to the game itself.

Speaking of the game itself, since one of the dungeon masters was away at Origins, we ended up having one huge group with one guy to run the game. So predictably, combat was as slow as a turtle (not the teenage mutant ninja variety), and with people talking over one another like at most bars and taverns in the world during peak hours, I hope the new players weren’t turned off by the experience. I did make an effort at the end to explain that we normally split into two groups, so it normally isn’t this much of a slog.

I also found it interesting that some people did have the playtest rules on their tablets, but it was honestly easier to look up the rules on a hard copy, and to find what you wanted much more quickly. Despite the dominance of digital over the printed word, there are still moments when a hard copy is superior. This was one of those times.

But I digress…

Our big damn heroes for this week, together once again, include:

  • Anya, an Elven Mage; unsure if she’s a Wood Elf or High Elf
  • Coronna Tumblebelly, a Gnome Bard
  • Crystal Evergreen, a Human Cleric
  • Crassus Gaius – A Human Fighter
  • Emrose, a Half-Elf Cleric, and newcomer to the party
  • Gavan, an Elven Mage of the High Elf variety
  • Genju, a Human Monk and newcomer to the party
  • Jarvan, a Human Barbarian and newcomer to the party
  • Rob, a Human Ranger and newcomer to the party. Also, apparently his name isn’t really Rob, but for this week, it is indeed Rob
  • Tassidar, a Half-Orc Fighter, specializing in being seven-feet tall, and three-hundred pounds

So we had some unfinished business in the Blood Pens to take care of. One of the groups last week peeked through a door that led into, according to our map, the ‘Dark Gardens’ with a young black dragon, as well as one wight, two dread warriors, and eight zombies wearing robes, all commanded by a red wizard. This week, we returned to cause some ruckus.

And ruckus, we caused, as after strategizing, we basically charged in. We allowed our bard to sing us a song that buffed our stats, which tipped them off that there was noise coming from the door. Perhaps our strategy wasn’t as sound as we had thought?

In any event, we were told way back when we first came to Thay that the Dread Warriors, if they weren’t defeated in the first round of combat, would be able to communicate telepathically with the Lich leader whose name evades me at the moment…wait, Szass Tam? So we made them the priority, relying on long range attacks and spells to wipe them out. The red wizard instantly surrendered, and after some parley, we agreed to let him live for loot and information. Among our newest acquisitions are: 2 glyph keys, a gold circlet set with rubies, a gold cup, a potion of healing, a scroll of fly (this spell will probably go into Gavan’s spellbook), oil of etherealness (basically rub it against yourself and become incorporeal & invisible for 1 hour; could be very useful), a potion of poison, a diamond, and 100 platinum pieces (worth 500 gold in D&D terms.)

So the red mage (whose name is Thuria) tells us that a demilich slumbers beneath the Doomvault, and that in the Far Realm Cysts (an area of the Doomvault we haven’t explored yet), the creatures there guard a powerful shrine…perhaps the phylactery vault we seek is there?

In any event, our short venture ends here. Gavan did suffer quite a bit of damage in the battle (in D&D terms he went from 42 to 17 hit points,) but He only cast one spell, so I’m not sure it’s worth it for him to rest in the Seclusion Crypt. Perhaps one of the Clerics can heal him before we begin exploring next time? Or he could probably down a healing potion.

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