The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
The fight with Murkelmor was just titanic, all of the guys at some point or other thought that things were going to end badly, there was a lot of chewed nails and dare I say it- foul invective, profane rather than profound. I love it when two encounters become one, I did consider at the time adding in the third encounter- the Duergar Guards, Theurge and Arbalesters; truth be told I didn’t have the guts.
The guys also loved the treasures found- the notes and ledgers and giant full-chest tattoos of the shrouded pyramid, whisper this but several of the players know the name of the next module in the series and so were not entirely surprised, only impressed at the manner of exposition. Just a note to say that none of the players however are aware of the content of the next module (or so they said at the time), the Pyramid of Shadows- save perhaps it must inevitably involve a pyramid- duh!
The second fight against the Guards & Theurge et al mentioned above went pretty much by the numbers, although the guys were well down on Healing Surges at this point. I should have combined the three into one- we’d still be talking about the fight today if the guys had survived.
After this fight we had a break in the session- most likely for take-out food and the like, I used this opportunity to talk through what the guys knew of the situation- just to check their understanding of the plot so far. Also to allow them to make a few rolls and make sense of Murkelmor’s ledger- obviously this is all about me trying to make the H-series of adventurers nestle a little closer, they’re joined as it exists by some fairly tenuous threads. I wanted a bit more of a run up for some of the coming adventures.
Back in the Halls we played out the celebrations that should have taken place after the guys saved the Nentir Vale in the previous adventure (KOTS). The victory then however was a little hollow because the people of Winterhaven were in mourning for their children, and unaware of the true threat they had faced. There was also the small matter of the populace just finding out that a number of the citizens of the town had been captured and sold into slavery. For the party in the Seven Pillared Hall I let the guys cut loose a little with the role-play, and then threw a bunch of strangeness at them the next day when they wandered the Halls again- this time in search of clues.
This being the second scenario in the series I didn’t want to just give them all of the answers they needed- the location of the two missing slaves, the Gnolls and Tieflings et al, I figured I’d first serve up a little bit of disappointment. I decided to pointedly not tell them the answers in fact, in the hope that they would jump at any opportunity that came their way.
So, when the Ordinator Arcanis turned up I thought I’d get the opportunity to reveal to them the next bit of the puzzle… It didn’t work out that way. Dirty, normally such a placid guy, decided for some reason that he was going to deliver swift justice to the the Ordinator (Orontor) on behalf of the once terrified people of the Seven Pillared Hall. The Dwarf, or else the guy who plays him (Dave), pretty much just kept screaming traitor at me- I mean Orontor; Grey and at one point (briefly) Winstanley decided to leap on the bandwagon. I thought they were genuinely going to attack my guy, therefore I had him bug out- and teleport away.
My (and their) slightly foolish reaction left me with a conundrum, how to get the next portion of exposition to the guys, thats when I invented Mrs. Charrak on the fly.
The final encounter with the Tieflings and the Bronze Warder was nicely done, it played out well- but again not to the conclusion I had wanted. I decided to deliver much of the info that Orontor was going to tell them, only to change the perspective so it came directly from the bad guys- the Tieflings. It was a little too direct- I felt like I was just telling the guys the story, I tried for the white-suited Bond-villain style approach (I expect you to die… etc.) and perhaps because it was so cheesey, and the guys were so desperate to make amends, it kinda worked. Again they were supposed to keep a Tiefling alive, between this session and the next I had to readjust what comes later in order to get the guys to the right place in the Labyrinth. Most of the stuff towards the end I put together on the fly, just papering over the cracks, and trying to make ends meet- and other similar metaphors.
As I say, it kinda worked.
A good session, we got a lot done, and a lot more said (eventually) and discussed, this was- according to my logs the longest session we played in Thunderspire, nearly 8 hours around the table.