The level seven Silvers for this session
Garth, fighter/Battle Master;
Richlen, paladin/Oath of Glory
The Silvers begin 134xp below level 8, and end on 100
The story so far
Lord Neverember of Neverwinter hands out licenses to a number of ventures in Leilon ruin. It marks his decision to extend Neverwinter law as far south as the Mere of Dead Men. But reliable sources such as Sildar Hallwinter of the Lords Alliance tell him that things are not going well in the reconstruction. There may be three major factions working against Neverwinter:
- Talos, god of storms;
- A dragon cult;
- Privateers operating out of Port Last
It is with these three primary objectives that he authorizes the Silvers to venture there.
Our heroes first deal with undead attacking the Wayside Inn some three leagues north, then arrive at Leilon in time to dismount straight into battle with watery knights, their support caster, and four very tough archers! We pick up the yarn as Vern discovers that the caster has tricked him using a minor illusion, and Rich has descended into the wagonload of archers.
Wrasslin’ and ropin’!
Shortsword blades chime and rattle off Rich’s steel wall defense or are knocked aside by the tall paladin’s shield. Then with a dwarf war-whoop the high elf is joined by his comrade Garth, who vaults up off a wagon-wheel and into the wagon, laying about with the Ungart Hammer! The whoop attracts Dak’s Reaction shot, and the archer that Rich previously cut takes a longbow shaft under his arm. He staggers, Rich stays focused on the same man, chopping with Alagondar, taking advantage of Garth’s help. [Rich makes a poor Perception check to see the wider battle.] The archer slumps, out.
Dak meanwhile, still well back, has spotted some reeds shifting, not too far from the minor illusion. He sends a shaft there and is rewarded by a howl and the breaking-up of the thunder-threatening cloud overhead. He calls the direction to Vern who sends a Fire Bolt hissing into the marsh.
The three remaining archers become disheartened, unable to penetrate Rich’s armor, especially now that the elf and dwarf can aid one another’s defenses. Garth reacts by leaping back up, vaulting over the tailgate, and departing in a rush for the caster! Shortsword blades rattle off his excellent armor as well.
Garth regains Inspiration as he plunges into the marsh and grapples the caster. Who uses Command, which Garth resists! Rich likewise decides not to bother with these tough archers:
“I believe I can flyyy!”
Rich uses his boots to gain maximum height and unleash Guiding Bolt from way up where he can pick Garth from caster below the marsh surface.
“Glbbbmlkjkj!” Garth protests but succeeds in hauling the now-battered caster out, hustiling him over to the wagon. Something’s missing.
“Where are those guys?”
“They surrendered then ran away,” Dak reports, loping up.
“Hah, I sent a Fire Bolt after them that will keep them running for days!” Vern boasts unconvincingly. “And if you don’t want your toes warmed by the same, you’ll talk!”
“I’m gonna tie you up, hold still,” Garth explains chattily.
“He’s holding his muscles tight, Garth, make sure you pull on that rope,” Dak warns, having made a very unusual Sleight of Hand check to spot the move.
[That may actually be the first Sleight of Hand check in the entire campaign?]
Garth does so, until the caster, a grey-skinned half-orc, groans, “Leave them that tight and I’ll die!”
Side note, because I don’t want to lose sight of it: the dead pair of knights “look wrong” for sea-elves and this will come into play during the campaign arc.DM
The Silvers are still interrogating the caster, who – impressed by their creds as dragonslayers – assures them that Talos has condemned the entire coast to death, when project manager Grizzelda and project lead Valdi arrive on the scene, with worried townsfolk in train.
XP: lvl8-127 including the bonus for capturing the caster
Loot: Wand of Minor Illusion (3/day), Talos holy symbol (provides the Magic Initiate feat to devotees), Ring of Swimming, Potion of Greater Healing, two small gems worth appx 25 gold each, variety of coin worth 42 gold coin in total, three longbows, four shortswords
Lizardfolk attack! Wharfside battle
Dak, leading the party, sneaks along an alley close to the harbor wall. Sure enough, his ears did not deceive him! He peers at the harbormaster’s gate – it lets onto steps leading down – and finds himself looking at the back of a splendidly decorated lizardfolk leader, haranguing some thing or things below.
No need for havering or hackneyed warnings: Dak is here searching for kidnaped townsfolk! He takes careful aim and uses his Assassinate ability. The leader staggers, part-falling down the steps, as the heavy shaft impales his neck from behind.
Alarmed, his lizardfolk followers trumpet aggressively and move to the attack!
Two lizardfolk warriors make checks to scale the gate barrier while another, followed by a large Render type, barge up the steps once their chief is safe. The chief evacuates, rowed away by a Render. A third Render and fourth regular warrior wait their turn below.
Inits: Vern, Garth/Render/warrior, Dak, remaining lizardfolk, Rich
Vern can see a target and opens up with Fire Bolt – accurately!
“Ohhh suuure, but when I am in the way – Blam!” – Garth
“Well stop looking and smelling like a goblin” – Vern
The render punches forward with heavy shield, failing to knock the gateposts away, and as a result, squeezing through slowly behind his warrior. This suits Garth, who races across the ruin by the alley, as far as the main wharf gate. It is barred from his side. Dak realizes the lizardfolk hasn’t seen him, and from a spot a couple feet away round the corner, brings up Whisper and slams a shaft home! The warrior falls.
The render lunges at Dak, triggering a reaction swipe from Garth. Rich throws Compelled Duel on the render, warning his comrades. In response Vern throws Fire Bolt, slamming the blazing spears into Dak’s back!
“OK that’s fine, not fine” – Dak
“You need to stay out of my way guys…” Vern
“Bwahahahahaaa! Classic Vern!” – Garth, seeing the funny side since he is not the victim this time
A lizardfolk warrior leaps down on top of Garth, flattening him. Garth heaves him up as a second warrior lands. With a swing of the Ungart Hammer Garth retreats. Dak ducks away from the scene, sends another shaft into the render and hides behind Vern.
“Safest place…” – Rich, awaiting the render’s charge.
As the render charges Alagondar activates, flaming damage adding to the severe cuts. The render staggers then falls!
To the surprise of the Silvers the battle abruptly shifts. Instead of pursuing Rich and Garth the two warriors by the main loading gate open it and leap back down. Peering after them, Rich and Vern realize an organized retreat is occurring!
Rich dashes down the steps. Garth decides to go one better, and rushes for a jump through the main loading gate. He nose-dives and the cobbles below grate to the sound of his adamantine armor skidding along. Garth pulls himself painfully to his feet…
“See, you don’t need me,” Vern encourages him, and “Garth self-inflicts,” Rich adds kindly as he peers out across the marsh. Lizardfolk are swimming away, though Dak wounds another render as it covers its comrades. Rich targets this one, leaping down into a wetdock to finish it with flame. He gazes after the retreating jolly-boat. It seems to be headed for that low-lying islet nearby, the one with statues or suchlike poking up.
“Guys, I think I hear crying children,” Vern calls.
Sure enough it is Smithwell (Smittie) and Burnice (Burnie) the two lost children. They witnessed their parents and other townsfolk being loaded into boats and rowed out into the marsh!
The marshes are hostile
Valdi Estapaar learns that none of the Silvers are versed in water transport. She orders a bargee to row them. Dak takes bow watch, Rich takes stern watch.
Both the lookouts see the attacking Water Elemental and Water Weird before they attack. Dak makes a nat20 for his Perception check. The water creatures will attempt to break up the boat. As the action commences, one of the two remaining healthy lizardfolk warriors attempts to help capsize the boat, and Garth spots that too. The marsh is shallow, but shallow may mean over dwarf height at any given point.
Warned by Dak, Vern hurls a Lightning Orb hissing at the boiling marsh ahead but without effect. For his part, Rich cuts at watery tentacles reaching for him. One gets past, but merely glances off the boat’s stern. Garth spots a vee-shape wake as a lizardfolk warrior attempts to flank the little vessel: he rises and leaps overboard, hammering at the creature and rolling over and over as in its turn it tries to drown him.
Dak stands and sends a shaft accurately into the lizardfolk.
“uhjnkjrlztwsthtdp” – Garth (Translation: I didn’t think it was this deep)
The Water Elemental rises to its full height – and barely taps the boat. Which rocks dangerously.
Dak fails a DC15 STR SV and is limited to one action or move next round
Alagondar scintillates in the water, slicing deep, as Rich unleashes Thunderous Smite! The Water Weird has had enough, dropping back into the marsh and away. Rich glances about. They have been stopped by a water elemental. And Garth is in trouble. He launches up and over, the craft rocks again, Rich splashes down to somewhat above waist height.
Meanwhile Vern racks his brain for what his tutor told him about the element of water. Nope, lightning was right the first time. He tries again, to no effect. Maybe the water elemental had a tutorial on avoiding lightning.
Meanwhile after an herculean battle the lizardfolk warrior is out, and Rich helps Garth slog up the marsh to the isle itself. Dak and Vern drive the water elemental off, helped on its way by a couple of slashes from Alagondar.
The Battle of Idol Island
The lizardfolk contingent is being harangued by a largish-human-size being working up at the highest point, seemingly arranging human sacrifices. The harangue is in common.
Dak makes a nat20 Perception and as DM fiat I rule that the caster has let drop something pretty vital.
Dak learns that the lizardfolk are working under duress! Naturally shy of human affairs, this does help explain their attack on Leilon. It sounds as though the Talos cult is holding some important personage hostage.
That makes no difference to the battle itself. The caster uses Mass Cure Wounds to revive his local forces, hurls Lightning Bolt, singeing Rich and Garth, then retreats back to his original position. Two renders hulk forward with shields, while the sole surviving warrior hurls a trident from behind. This doesn’t work for them. Dak easily focuses Whisper and sends a telling shot through, disabling the warrior, who limps away into the marsh.
Garth runs forward and burns two charges of Ungart Hammer’s power, the soft ground turns to marsh under the renders! Vern and Rich angle off to see if they can pick off the caster, who is somewhat screened by foliage and statuary. Vern (nat20! on Nature) scales a statue that he has picked out earlier as pointing directly at the highest point. From it he sends Fire Bolts across at the caster. Rich draws himself up on tiptoes and gets a partial view: he too uses Fire Bolt. The caster heaves a victim up as shield and the Fire Bolt fries the poor wretch.
“Ooh Vern is very dangerous to everyone!” – Garth
“Garth – that was Rich – I’m innocent (this time)” – Vern
“MURDERER! Those round ears are the ears of a murderer!” – Garth, secretly delighted
“He he – I see the wretch is important to ye – what say we do a deal? This ‘uns no good to me fried – I bring him back to life, we deal with the lizardfolk together, then ye let me go?” – Shuggy Menge, the caster
“Uhh OK, deal” – Vern
The caster takes hold of the crispy commoner and a glow races from his chest into the charcoal. Pink skin appears, the man (still with shirt burned off) lives!
The renders look both shocked and hurt (in so far as lizardfolk can) but between the caster and Silvers they are mowed down. (Though at one point Vern encourages Dak to shoot Garth.) Shuggy is very insistent that neither render can be left to speak. Dak makes no mention of the warrior that has already swum away. Garth (mentally) checks the wording of the deal and stands ready as Shuggy approaches, and the session ends.
XP: lvl8-100 including the bonus for rescuing the townsfolk
Fame: The Silvers can all add their d8 reputation for CHA checks in the Leilon area
Reverse props this time. I feel that a lot of Storm Lords Wrath is phoned in. It feels disjointed: it may have begun as a low-level, Phandalin-style affair, with Tier 2 material bolted on later. The lack of maps is particularly striking in this virtual age, and I think Roll20 could boost the product vastly there. There are no useful side-notes on how a DM may combine four, more or less concurrent, events that this session covers. Two of those events have high CR and lead directly to the Idol Island confrontation, again with a high CR. By contrast how is one supposed to frame two missing children (PS while you were searching someone sacrificed many able bodied people, now we don’t have a viable town)? Why isn’t the attack on the town framed properly in Grizzelda’s initial speech?
Look at this quote to see what I’m getting at: The DM is not told directly that there is an ongoing invasion:
- [Grizzelda] asks if anyone saw anything strange happening in the town as they were evacuating. One of the stonemasons claims that she saw something strange happening in the water out on the swampland, past the marsh islands, but then she picked up her tools and ran as the soldiers ordered her to evacuate.
- Another stonemason claims to have seen heard some of the returning fishing-folk, who were still out on their skiffs in the marshland, shouting in panic. Others nod and “harrumph” to indicate they heard this as well.
- At this point a short dragonborn wearing a holy symbol of Lathander shouts, “May the Morninglord forgive me! We are missing two of the children. Smithwell and Burnice aren’t here. They were right behind me as we left the town.” (The two human children are best friends, the son and daughter of two of the fishers who are still out in the water.)
The whole thing is framed as though the DM, not the players, is to be kept in the dark. The party is (as written, on the wrong side of town from Neverwinter) supposed to stop a mile shy of town, listen to a laundry list of difficulties, then focus on some one or two of them. If they act quickly, they are penalized, because other things happen at the same time.
As I’m sure many a DM has noted, the writers even mix up the identity of Merrygold the Lathander priest. (I circumvented this by writing Merrygold as a casualty of Cryovain, see 6.07, item 4 in the final loot list.)
Hopefully I’ve set the right train of events in motion. There are three following missions, all logically arising, and all able to be placed in order of urgency. So next session, the Silvers should be seeking a missing patrol, which was sent out to find the missing priest. Stay tuned!