The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
A fantastic session, or at least much much better than the previous one, it took us a while to get the game scheduled after the grousing and melancholy brought on by session #14. We were glad we stuck with it…
A gentle start with a recap, and then the guys dived straight into encounter #56 the Proving Grounds- I took a few liberties with the Dragon for this encounter, allowing the beast to avoid attacks of opportunity by nefarious means- what’s a poor DM to do? The guys made mincemeat of the creature in the end though, and mostly without Kaspard’s help- the Priestess clocked up at least half-a-dozen failures to escape the Grasping Dead. Still the encounter played out at quite a pace, and kept the guys on their toes throughout, and left the front line (Dirty & Phrenic) low on healing surges.
The encounter with Scarmaker also played out wonderfully, at first it looked like the guys were going to whizz through the bad guys- then I managed to land a few hits, and kill both of the ex-citizens of Winterhaven that the adventurers were sent to save. I also managed to re-dedicate the Well of Demons to the Gnoll Warlock’s purpose- in the original scenario Scarmaker’s ritual would see the Well fall under Yeenoghu’s rule, in my version the purpose of the ritual was to harness the power of the Well to signal/summon Scarmaker’s master. Alas for Scarmaker the ritual failed… actually the ritual didn’t fail, Scarmaker’s master will arrive in his own good time. The players were apoplectic when the last two ex-citizens of Winterhaven died, and also when Maldrick managed to finish his ritual. The players were certain that something terrible had happened, they spent a good while after the encounter trying to see if ‘something’, scratch that- ‘anything’ was different. They’re on the lookout for the fallout from their failure. That said the guys were also overjoyed that they managed to beat down the Gnoll Warlock and his followers- it really felt like a tough encounter, with very dangerous enemies.
Next up we took a time out for food and thorough re-evaluation of the state of play, this after translating Paldemar’s letters to Scarmaker, and also a good long chat (although mostly fruitless) with Vadriar. Just a note to say that from the first session the guys were keen to get a hold of the Vadriar, the Sage of the Labyrinth, I made sure to remind them most every session that they’d still not found the guy. When they did catch up with the Sage, and discovered that Vadriar was addled, the players made it their personal mission to make the human well again- and all, as I’ve already said- for nothing. Vadriar was a red herring, and the guys ran with it for just short of three months- the Sage’s whereabouts generated hours of conversations, towards the end the players were asking everyone they met (repeatedly), in the Hall and elsewhere- “have you seen Vadriar?”
Orontor’s return played out fantastically, the guys already knew all of the salient points that the Ordinator had to tell them. This fact made the players feel good about themselves, and then better still when Iain (Grey) guessed correctly that the next place they needed to visit on their schedule was the huge statue of the Minotaur in the center of the Seven Pillared Hall. If you remember Grey found a secret compartment on the base of the statue in the very first session of this adventure- what is it with players? Why do they do that? Back in the first session in the Hall, while his compatriots were out gathering info, Grey decided, on a whim- seemingly, to check the huge Minotaur statue for ‘secret doors’. It was fortunate for me that having found the secret compartment the mage was quickly distracted, and then either forgot, or else got caught up with events and didn’t bother checking out the statue again, that is until he found the ornate silver key in Scarmaker’s belongings. Players- they’re rum buggers at times.
The first fight in the Tower of Mysteries was nicely chaotic- and with lots of enemies, it left the guys wanting more.
We’re back on track, or so it seems- next session, the finale.
Last bit, I almost forgot- the players had plenty to say (mostly after the session) about the riddle told to them by the huge Minotaur- the Lord of the Labyrinth-
“The Labyrinth is but a mortal maze,
The Maze of the Dead however is your destiny.
Remember well- when the three become one,
You are at the beginning of the end.”
The guys are unsure as to what constitutes the ‘Maze of the Dead’- none of them (after History, Religion etc. checks) have a clue as to what, or where, the Maze is- if indeed it exists as a place. They are however of the opinion that they’ll be encountering the ‘Maze’, in whatever form it takes- some time in the future.
The players were also less than happy to hear the phrase- ‘when the three become one’; a Tiefling they fought while rescuing Mrs. Charrak said something similar- again they have no idea what the phrase means, or else refers to. They do however understand the last line- ‘You are at the beginning of the end’, it seems the guys have got their wish, the implication- they think, is something bad is coming along the tracks. The last line is in short a prophecy of impending doom.
Which is my favourite kind of doom.