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Thread: AAR - Undermountain Rescue

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    AAR - Undermountain Rescue

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    [box text - skip this if you don't care so much about story]
    Hundreds of years ago, the regions surrounding the Inrac mountain range were engulfed in a war between elves, those that wished to use their magical potential to enslave others and those that wished to remain undefiled. The power-hungry elves were darkened by infernal rituals, and became the drow. After much bloodshed, they failed in their bid and were banished. Since that time, elves secluded themselves in the forests so much so that they became nothing more than legends.

    Human nations rose and fell. The Dwarves stayed in their mountain homes, fighting off occasional goblin attacks. Smaller cities sprung up around the lands. But then strange things started happening. Creatures of unusual form started appearing in the forests. Goblins, who often break if dwarves glared at them, completely changed, attacking in mass droves without fear for their own safety. The dwarves were under assault from these maddened goblins, who buying each hold and cavern beneath the Inrac with hundreds of lives as they steadily pushed the dwarves towards the surface.

    The Dwarves, whos pride did not allow them to beg for help, only asked for better terms during trades with other races, and were left to fend for themselves, no other nation willing to lift a finger to help them. Goblins have always fought against dwarves after all.
    [end box text and glazed eyes]

    A group of adventurers, including concerned elves that didn't hold to their races aloofness, learned that three of their friend elves were captured by goblins and taken deep within the Inrac. All the PCs knew were that they were taken to a large room with three ancient statues of Dwarven Clanlords.

    The best bet to learn more was to go to the dwarven enclave in the Inrac. They arrived to a scene of confusion and chaos, as they watched dwarven women taking their young children closer to the surface, and dwarves usually too old or two young to fight were being armed for battle. They heard that goblins have taken a new tactic... digging tunnels to swarm into the dwarven holds from many locations at once. The dwarves have learned of this, and are preparing defences at each of those locations, but they are hard pressed and stretched thin. The PCs offered to help and were directed to the East Ore Chamber, to relieve the dwarves there and free them up for other duties.

    As they arrived, they were told that the goblins would soon be through. Digging sounds could be heard in two locations, and the PCs busied themselves preparing.

    Encounter 1 - Defending the Dwarven Enclave (Level 3 encounter: 900 exp)

    The PCs (none had played 4e before):
    2 Male Elven rangers
    Female Dwarven Fighter
    Female Human wizard
    Male Tiefling Wizard
    Male Halfling Paladin

    The players were all brand new to 4e, so this fight was designed as an introduction to 4e combat. I told them to feel free to use all of their daily abilities/action points since they would get a chance to rest afterwords (I wanted to let them get to understand the full capabilities of their characters).

    The paladin and fighter each chose one of the locations where the goblins would soon be entering, and the 4 ranged PCs set up a bookcase in front of them for cover.

    Then the goblins broke through, making two 2 square wide entrances:
    Goblin Warrior + Ranger template (tough elite skirmisher)
    2 Goblin blackblades (rougey lurkers)
    5 Goblin cutters (minions)
    3 Goblin sharpshooters (artillery)

    The paladin was quickly surrounded, but his high AC made it difficult for the goblins to hurt him badly. The dwarf faced 2 cutters and a blackblade alone, as well as being shot at by two sharpshooters. The rangers and wizards did what they could to help, lobbing arrows and spells from behind cover.

    At one point the teifling wizard centered a scorching burst on the surrounded paladin. It hit the paladin and all the surrounding goblins, toasting the minions and scorching the blackblade as well. The two cutters in front of the dwarf were also turned to cinder by the same spell.

    The goblin warrior was challenged by the paladin, so had to cross the room to get at him, which he did with a vengance. He used his ranger abilities to hurt the paladin pretty badly, and meanwhile the sharpshooters raining arrows on the dwarf finally brought her down.

    The paladin charged the lone sharpshooter on his side, with temporary hitpoints keeping him barely positive. Meanwhile, one of the rangers lept over the bookcase and marked the warrior with Hunter's Quarry, superceding the paladin challenge and freeing the Warrior to go after one of the wizards. The paladin was able to finish off his sharpshooter and get to the dwarf just in time to keep her from dying with his lay on hands.

    The Warrior went down after being skewered by a ranger bear trap, and the revived dwarven fighter and paladin finished off the last of the sharpshooters.

    The players learned firsthand how powerful the 4e monsters can be, as well as how leaving PCs alone (paladin and fighter) will get them beat up really quick. They also learned how essential it is to have a leader/healer among them.
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 07-02-2008 at 10:39 AM.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    Encounter 2 - Convincing the Dwarven Captain (level 1 complexity 3 skill challenge 300 exp)

    The PCs:
    Male Elven Ranger
    Female Dwarven Fighter
    Male Tiefling Wizard
    Male Human Cleric
    Male Halfling Paladin

    After the previous battle one of the ranger players decided to use a human cleric instead, and the human wizard's player had to leave.

    The PCs, upon holding the room against the goblin invaders, were rewarded with healing potions and gold, as well as being allowed to take any loot from the goblins they killed. The dwarves treated them with respect upon hearing that particular battle was more fierce than most of the others that occured at the same time.

    The PCs approached Captain Gardack, the current dwarven home commander about their first quest: rescuing the captive elves. They asked about the location of the room with 3 large dwarven statues, and were told by Captain Gardack that it was the Room of Remembrance. He did not have time to talk to the PCs then, so set them an appointment to meet him the next day.

    When the PCs arrived, he told them that the Room of Remembrance was one of the first locations to fall about a year ago when the goblin forces began their assault. He told the players that if they were to get the information they seek, they must convince him that they were worthy of it.

    One by one, the players attempted to convince the dwarf, but he was a tough sell: resentment by the dwarves of the other races, especially elves, ran deep as they have faced the goblins alone without even decent trade arrangements with other peoples. The players spoke of wrecking vengence upon the goblins by striking at the heart of their holdings, and allowing the dwarves to have some revenge upon the goblins for the losses they had suffered.

    The Ranger realized that the dwarf was testing them, and must be hiding a great secret he was reluctant to reveal to strangers (perception skill). The cleric realized the veteran commander was bothered when the Room of Remembrance was spoken of (insight skill), and the wizard was able to use this knowledge to remember hearing about a legendary dwarven commander that fought in that battle, realizing that Captain Gordack must have been that commander. History remembers that he lost his only son in that battle (history skill).

    The Dwarf expressed empathy (diplomacy skill) for the dwarven commander's loss, which got the gruff captain to speak of how he sent his son to fight the goblins as they always had... strike fear into them and they would rout. This did not work this time, and has never worked since, as the goblins no longer had fear for themselves, and his son was overcome. Captain Gordack felt responsible for his son's death, having given him his last orders.

    The Paladin succeeded in convincing the captain to allow him to bring a dwarven standard to place in the Hall of Remembrance (diplomacy), and the Cleric clinched the deal by speaking of how they would clear the Hall of Remembrance of taint by freeing the slaves held there and exacting vengance on those who held them (religion).

    The Captain, moved by the PCs offers, agreed to give them all the information they needed to get there, and gave them his personal standard to place in the hall (a great honor among the dwarves). He told of the Deepening, a place deep in the Inrac that reaches far and wide, that would allow the PCs to bypass the goblin armies. All entrances had been sealed, as terrible creatures stalk those caverns, and it provides access to many locations that would allow the goblins to strike at will if they knew of it. He gave the PCs information about how to navigate the Deepening to reach the Room of Remembrance.

    If the PCs had failed, another dwarf would have let them know of the deepening, but they would not be informed of the dangers within, leaving them vulnerable for surprise.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    Encounter 3 - The ancient seal (Level 3 encounter containing: Level 2 hazard, level 1 complexity 2 skill challenge, monsters. 900 exp)

    The PCs traveled through the Deepening, avoiding dangers and arriving at the exit near the Room of Remembrance. This encounter was designed for fun and challenge, showing how 4e stacks hazards, puzzles, and monsters very nicely into the same encounter.

    The PCs arrived at a room that contained charred bones on the floor and a stone slab for an exit with a large seal including three cocentric circles that could be moved independantly. As soon as all the players entered a stone slab enclosed them in the room, they saw new openings along the top of the wall with a red glow emenating from them, and heard the sound of leathery wings as monsters came down through a hole in the cieling.

    3 Fire spiders (uising fire beetle stats)
    2 Needlefang Drake swarms
    Seal puzzle: lvl 1 complexity 2 skill challenge
    Lava hazard: lvl 2

    This was a complicated encounter for the players: each round, the lava pouring out of the openings began to fill the room more, needlefang drake swarms and firebreathing spiders harrassed the PCs, and all the while they had to try to solve the seal puzzle.

    The Tiefling had fire resistance 5, so didn't take fire damage, but he was initially separated from the party, being behind the rest when the monsters arrived. Many in the party were surprised by the spiders and swarms so didn't act in the first round. The Paladin did act, however, and came to attempt to rescue the wizard from one swarm and spider while the Dwarf and Cleric faced the other swarm and a spider. The third spider chased aroud the ranger, who was focusing on trying to solve the puzzle.

    The players sensed the urgency as lava poured into the room and began to burn them. They kept yelling at the ranger to hurry up while barely fending off the swarms and spiders. The swarms were quite effective, pulling down opponents, hitting for extra damage against prone targets, and getting a free attack every time a player started their turn nearby (represent all the little bugs constantly attacking them). The spiders breathed fire a couple times, proving to be dangerous themselves, but at least weapons were more effective against them.

    The cleric and paladin both went down early, but were revived by healing potions. They were able to heal others, and the fight continued as the lava rose. The ranger in his haste to solve the puzzle even used an action point to get an extra skill action. He failed miserably at his first attempts, being sprayed in his face by fire for his failures, but then was able to succeed in solving the puzzle just as the last swarm was destroyed by one last (very effective vs them) scorching burst.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    The players learned firsthand how powerful the 4e monsters can be, as well as how leaving PCs alone (paladin and fighter) will get them beat up really quick. They also learned how essential it is to have a leader/healer among them.
    Our party saw that as well in our first adventure. The next game session we played we saw how powerful a cleric is and how hard it is to keep a party down when combined with a paladin. And they can dish out some good damage as well!

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Encounter 2 - Convincing the Dwarven Captain (level 1 complexity 3 skill challenge 300 exp)
    I really liked your skill challenge. It really built well on the pieces they found out during the conversation and added some real insight to your adventure's past. Well done!

    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Encounter 3 - The ancient seal (Level 3 encounter containing: Level 2 hazard, level 1 complexity 2 skill challenge, monsters. 900 exp)

    This encounter was designed for fun and challenge, showing how 4e stacks hazards, puzzles, and monsters very nicely into the same encounter.
    Maelstrom I wasn't even a player in this encounter but I was sweating it all the same! lol. Very well done. The encounter seems like a good challenge and the fact that all the players were screaming for the Ranger to hurry up made me feel their anticipation and dread. I like that in a DM lol Good work Maelstrom. Can't wait till your next post!

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    Ecounter 4 - The Room of Remembrance (Level 5 combat encounter, 1100 exp)

    After passing the seal, the passageway led upward until the PCs arrived at the Room of Remembrance. The sneakiest of the bunch, the Tiefling wizard moved ahead to scout it all. The three statues faced outward, with the center of them being open. It was here that three elves were tied up, being tormented by goblins. Goblins milled about, expecting no trouble this far from the front lines.

    8 goblin cutters (minions)
    2 goblin blackblades

    Seeing 4 of the goblins sitting on the floor near each other playing a game with stones, the Tiefling attacked, blasting all three of them (2 cutters and a blackblade).

    Utterly surprised the goblins failed to react as the rest of the PCs charged
    in and laid waste to more of the minions. They all got shots off, taking down minions and finishing off the singed blackblade. At the end of the round, only 3 minions and a blackblade remained, and they fled, showing fear in a way the PCs did not see in the first group they faced.

    Then a door opened at the back of the room, and in came three electrically charged spiders and a Drow wielding a wand. The goblins immediately changed upon a gesture from the Drow, showing the cause of their lack of fear. The drow's mental powers were apparent as the goblins turned and attacked again, along with the spiders.

    Drow: Lvl 5 Warlock (created like a character, focusing on psychic powers)
    3 Stormfang Spiders (based on stormclaw scorpions)

    The spiders and goblins charged forward, mauling the wizard to within an inch of his life and harrassing the fighter and cleric on the opposite side of the room. The paladin again came to the rescue of the wizard, getting into the face of the spiders and allowing the wizard to shift away. He challenged the blackblade, forcing it to come around after him rather than finish off the wizard.

    The dwarven fighter moved past the spider and minion near him, attacking and marking the Drow. The Drow, knowing that the fighter would get an opening if he attempted to move away, used his wand to use a daily power, Curse of the dark dream, on the fighter. The fighter got to hit first as he opened himself up, hurting the drow badly, but then she was forced back behind a minion by the spell, which also injured her heavily. The minion hit the dwarf again, knocking her down bleeding and dying. The same round, the spider brought down the cleric, who had already been injured by some of the Drow's magic.

    The halfling paladin's luck kept him alive as he faced two spiders and a blackblade, using his lost in the crowd ability to dance around under the spiders feet and avoid attacks while cutting at their bellies. He was finally caught by one of the spiders, held in place, but the Ranger came to his aid, finishing off one of the spiders while the wizard finished off the blackblade.

    Meanwhile, the drow repositioned himself, blasted the tiefling wizard, knocking him down. The minion and spider who brought down the cleric and fighter came in to harrass the ranger, and the paladin barely remained standing after finally besting the spider he faced. The dwarven fighter was bleeding to death, nearly dead, while the cleric may not be much further from death.

    The paladin decided to free the bound elves to see if they help. They could indeed, one with some minor healing abilities, one with some minor warlock abilities, and the last could fight. The healing elf took the paladin's holy symbol, and used it to cast a healing spell on the fighter, bringing her back into the fray, the warlock elf picked up the fallen Tiefling wizard's wand to shoot at the drow, and the final elf took one of the paladin's small hammers to attack the drow.

    The Drow was then trapped in a corner by the paladin, ranger, dwarf, and elves, not able to manuver out of the way, he finally was brought down.

    Thus was vengence paid against the goblins by freeing a holy place temporarily from goblin control, bringing down one of the goblins' controllers, and freeing the captive elves (and getting some nice magic items off the Drow to boot!)
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 07-04-2008 at 03:17 PM.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    sounds like a fun session. =D
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Thus was vengence paid against the goblins by freeing a holy place temporarily from goblin control, bringing down one of the goblins' controllers, and freeing the captive elves (and getting some nice magic items off the Drow to boot!)
    There was a lot of challenge here. You definately don't mess around in crafting encounters. The drow and the spiders were a nice touch for sure. Great work Maelstorm! I look forward to reading more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamerath View Post
    You definately don't mess around in crafting encounters.
    I actually ran this adventure twice, once each for two seperate groups. The first time I ran it it was too easy, so this is my beefed up second one. I think this was a bit on the tough side though, so next time I'll try for a middle ground. Party Level + 1-2 seems to be the sweet spot so far.

    Unfortunately, this was a one-shotter. Got a lot of the players to consider 4e when they normally wouldn't have, but they live across the country.

    We might jump into insider when it comes out though, so then there might be more story to tell. For now, I'm playing in my local 4e group.
    Last edited by Maelstrom; 07-06-2008 at 05:35 PM.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Unfortunately, this was a one-shotter. Got a lot of the players to consider 4e when they normally wouldn't have, but they live across the country.
    Nothing wrong with that! I would definately say this was a great success Maelstrom! Great adventure and very well done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamerath View Post
    Great adventure and very well done!
    Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

    Just make sure to keep us up to date on your campaign!

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

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