The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
Encounter #45 Random Encounter- Troglodyte Crusaders.
Click on the Links to see the Monster Stat cards.
Troglodyte Mauler (Soldier 6) x2
Troglodyte Impaler (Artillery 7)
Troglodyte Curse Chanter (Controller 8)
Dark Angel of Valour (Soldier 8)
Encounter Level 7- 1500 XP
Freeday, 28th of Fireseek, 2000.
And so we fore-go the usual Skill Challenge- there are after all two Charrak’s keeping the guys on course, and what’s more one of them knows where she’s going- it seems Mrs. Charrak is the better guide of the pair. The guys soon find themselves closing in on their destination- a large chamber ahead, Mrs. Charrak points the way, although… things are not as they expected- isn’t it always the way.
There are noises coming from the massive cavern, and no- not the sounds of construction work, far from it- chanting. The guys take a peek in, they wish they hadn’t- over on the far side of the huge chamber, on a raised stone shelf- only accessible via a steep and narrow pathway, are a bunch of creatures- armed and monstrous looking humanoids. The creatures on the ledge are too far away to see clearly, however two of their number- guards by the look of things are stationed in the cavern proper, and close enough for the guys to see. I describe the creatures to the adventurers, to blank faces- Lizardmen? Is their best guess. “Troglodytes” Mrs. Charrak volunteers- and then tuts loudly, and to my astonishment none of the guys are particularly familiar with these creatures (OOC). The strangle tableau, on the raised section, depicts (the guys think) two Trogs- one chanting, or else making gargling strangled sounds in its guttural tongue, this figure is dancing about a rough looking bearded human dressed in rags- another slave the guys presume (at first). The rough looking human is bound and gagged, and being held firmly by the second Trog.
“Sacrifice!” Phrenic worries.
Between the ledge and the guys are three things of import- the first is a stair carved into the far rock wall, although ‘great stair’ may be overselling the construct a little- the spiral staircase disappears up into the ceiling of the chamber. The stairs themselves look to be only eight or ten feet wide, at the base of the stair is a sprawling field of broken rock- and the remains of stone-working activity. That’s the first item of import- the second and third are the two Trog guards, mentioned earlier.
Note a strange thing happened with this encounter, as I’ve said previously two of the guys had not played D&D, or any other RPG prior to this game; the other three however are all experienced players, and yet between the three of them they couldn’t come up with anything interesting to say about Troglodytes. Clearly these guys have been underexposed in previous editions, whatever the reason the conversation about Trogs went a little like this-
“They’re Trogs- like big Lizard… (pause as player realises the trap he has just walked into) … Men.”
“I thought you said they weren’t Lizardmen?”
“They’re not- they’re different to Lizardmen.”
“They… that is…”
The two guys that were new to D&D (when we started) often look to the other three players to fill in the gaps info-wise, and particularly to supply a bit of back story for all of the monsters the adventurers encounter. Troglodytes reduced the three ‘experienced’ players to a series of pretty pathetic shrugs, the best they could come up with was-
“I think they’re good swimmers.”
“Like you said Lizardmen were?”
“Shut up and just kill them already.”
The debate is brought to a swift conclusion when the chanting Troglodyte, up on the ledge, begins to wind down- the creature draws a small crude stone dagger and moves towards the prisoner- at which point the guys reveal themselves, screaming- and in a rush.
Phrenic dashes into the fray, and to the nearest Troglodyte guard, a Mauler, he Charges and slashes at the creature cutting it with his longsword- the Tiefling gags and wretches, the Troglodyte stinks.
“That’s it- I knew there was something, they stink!” Phrenic helpfully shouts back to his companions
Troglodyte Mauler- Mr. Stinky.
Wistanley spins out his magical dagger with a Sly Flourish- the blade thuds into the same Troglodyte, Kaspard’s Daunting Light follows on and the creature burns and is illuminated by the prayer’s radiant power, it’s bloodied. Grey thumps a Magic Missile into the first Trog, Dirty Charges over and swings, and then gags, and vomits- the Dwarf is way off target.
The besieged Troglodyte Mauler screams a warning, and then smashes its greatclub into Dirty, the second Mauler back-pedals, interposing itself between the adventurers and the route up to its comrades on the raised section of the cavern, it grabs out a javelin en route and lets it fly- Dirty is skewered. Up on the ledge the prisoner is dumped to the ground- the chanting Troglodyte has however changed its tune- it seems to be performing a different ritual or else… suddenly a burst of blinding dark, a patch of shimmering black blinks into existence- suspended in the air, a portal?
I take a moment to describe the portal to the guys- basically it looks exactly the same as the portal they closed in the Keep on the Shadowfell, this news doesn’t go down well.
Winstanley, while gawping up at events on the ledge, closes in on the first Mauler- the Halfling spins out another Sly Flourish, and ends the first Trog. Kaspard and Grey follow the Halfling, the pair rush forward to find a spot they can fire their ranged powers up and at the two Trogs on the ledge.
Phrenic and Dirty meanwhile dash straight for the second Mauler, and the stairway up onto the ledge, the pair Charge in screaming- alas only Dirty connects, he smashes the Trog with his maul. The Trog up on the shelf, formerly holding the prisoner, moves to the very edge of the elevated section, javelin in hand, it launches its Impaling Shot and skewers Phrenic clean through his right thigh. However, at the last moment Phrenic’s armour pulses- what was destined to be a critical hit is reduced to merely a terrible wound- the Warlord is left skewered and restrained.
Troglodyte Impaler- Putting his enemies on the spot!
Seconds later from the burst of blackness, the portal, a swooping fury descends, or else… an angel… or at least, the adventurers are awed (not Dirty though, of course) the creature’s feathers are as black as night, and it’s face is set in a rictus grin. The creature issues a blood-curdling scream- its an Dark Angel of Valour. The winged female humanoid swoops down with longsword and dagger drawn- it swings and slices with both weapons at Phrenic, the Tiefling is cut- and a little panicked. The Warlord’s Lead the Attack against the Dark Angel comes to naught- although he screams at his comrades to slay the outsider, he also fails to make any headway with the javelin protruding from his thigh- he’s still restrained.
The Troglodyte Mauler attempts to smash Dirty, while the other Troglodyte on the ledge- the Curse Chanter fires out an inky Poison Ray, at Phrenic, both attacks alas are off-target.
Kaspard screams her divine prayer and three Radiant Hands set out to deliver burning blows to her enemies- the Mauler, the Impaler and the Dark Angel are each slapped and burnt, although the Dark Angel it seems is entirely resistant to the radiant attack. The Priestess of Bahamut however is not done, she conjures her Spiritual Weapon, the glowing mace slams into the Dark Angel- it felt that.
Dirty flails wildly at the Mauler- his Crushing Blow attack is followed by a Brute Strike- neither of them connect, thank Moradin his daily power is reliable- the Dwarf Fighter continues to gag and choke within the Trog’s stench.
The Troglodyte Impaler, up on the ledge, readies and then flings another javelin, the second missile hits- and rips into Phrenic’s shoulder (another crit), the Tiefling staggers and screams horribly in pain- he’s bloodied. The Dark Angel, still hovering a little above the Tiefling, swoops down again and unleashes her Blade Fury- the Warlord is stabbed by the Dark Angek’s dagger, and then slashed by her longsword- the Tiefling is a whisker away from collapse. At least for a second, Phrenic mutters Inspiring Words and his wounds are briefly forgotten- he slashes up with his Steel Monsoon and cuts the Dark Angel across her legs- it bleeds profusely, and yet still the Tiefling cannot dislodge the javelin that impales and restrains him.
Troglodyte Curse Chanter- The leader of the Pack.
A moment later the Curse Chanter’s Poison Ray scours the Warlord- Phrenic sags- weakened, bloodied and badly wounded, thank Avandra he is able to resist some of the toxin’s bite. Winstanley rushes in and then leaps into the air- the Halfling, with another Sly Flourish, buries his magical blade in the Angel’s back- the terrible outsider screams and wails in tortured pain. Winstanley lets go of the blade, and then drops back down to earth and lands cat-like ready for his next move. The Dark Angel desperately tries to reach around to remove the dagger, it drops out of the air and lands awkwardly, but on its feet, onto the cavern floor- the Angel is bloodied.
Kaspard offers Phrenic a few Healing Words, and the Tiefling is suddenly back to fine fettle. In the same moment the Priestesses Spiritual Weapon smashes the Dark Angel again, seconds later Grey’s Magic Missile thumps into the outsider- the creature staggers, it’s almost spent.
The Wizard however is not done yet, he flings his Fireball a little way over the Dark Angel’s head and onto the ledge, careful to avoid the prisoner there- the area is suddenly swathed in a glorious burst of flame, both Troglodytes on the ledge, as well as the outsider, are caught in the power’s compass. The two Trogs are burnt, the Curse Chanter badly, while the Dark Angel- damn her, entirely resists the heat. The Troglodyte Impaler immediately gets its own back- another Impaling Strike and this time it’s Grey who is skewered and restrained.
Dirty delivers his Brute Strike, the remaining Troglodyte Mauler is left bloodied and staggering after the ferocious blow. The stinky humanoid strikes back however and smashes Dirty with its greatclub.
The Dark Angel lurches forward- a last gasp effort, Phrenic is shocked and frazzled by its Lightning Strike, the Tiefling is still weakened, and now also dazed; the Warlord grimaces and finally rips the javelin free from his leg- he can move again. The Dark Angel doesn’t hang about, she leaps back into the air, and then swoops towards the ledge, the Curse Chanter drones and gestures and the Dark Angel is healed by its Chant of Renewal.
This news goes down like a lead balloon with the players.
Angel of Dark Valour- Winged Death!
Winstanley manoeuvres behind the Mauler and with his Bait & Switch attack stabs the Troglodyte and drags it away from Dirty- the Trog is almost spent, the Halfling moves on and forward, he’s past the Mauler and racing up towards the ledge. Dirty steps up, and with a Reaping Strike, smashes the second Troglodyte Mauler down.
Kaspard’s Spiritual Weapon flies forward and up to harass the Troglodyte Impaler, the creature is thumped hard but doesn’t look too concerned. Grey meanwhile struggles, and fails, to wrench the javelin free from his leg. The Trog Impaler takes a step back from the ledge, and then readies and flings out another javelin- and another Impaling Strike- the second missile skewers Grey’s other leg, the mage screams and hollers loud enough to wake the dead, he’s bloodied and in a bad way.
The Dark Angel swoops back down, now grinning and laughing- she taunts the adventurers as she flies high overhead, and then gracefully lands and begins slashing at Grey, with her Blade Fury. The Wizard ducks in time to avoid the outsider’s longsword attack- but in doing so he moves straight into the path of her dagger, only… Grey teleports away at the last moment, his Wizard’s Escape- the mage is also no longer impaled upon the javelins. Phrenic quickly conjures and the Dark Angel is encompassed by his Cloud of Daggers, and yet the outsider is barely affected- remember the Tiefling Warlord is weakened still, although at last he manages to throw off the affect. Winstanley turns and rushes back the way he came- down the slope and towards Grey, en route the Halfling spins out another dagger, and with another Sly Flourish, the blade thumps into the Dark Angel’s back- and she collapses to the ground- dead.
Grey takes a moment and grabs out a Healing Potion, and then swiftly drains the draft. Dirty meanwhile has no-one left to fight, the Dwarf rushes up the slope and onto the ledge, at full speed, and then delivers his Cometfall Charges- just before its impact his Flaming Maul ignites and is swathed in fire, he smashes the Curse Chanter- and almost ends the Troglodyte in one hit, the creature is bloodied and set aflame. The Troglodyte Impaler drops its javelin and grabs out its spear, and then rushes to its master’s rescue- it Charges Dirty and spears the Dwarf. Phrenic comes running up the slope, trying desperately- but failing, to get to the action. The Curse Chanter dodges back- out of the Dirty’s reach and then hits the ferocious Fighter with another Poison Ray, the Dwarf sags- badly injured and weakened.
Winstanley clatters to a halt, turns again and then scurries back up the slope and towards the ledge; en route the Halfling Rogue grabs out a pair of daggers and when in range he flings both in a Blinding Barrage- both the Impaler and the Curse Chanter are hit, and blinded. The Impaler, poor Trog, is also bloodied; while the Curse Chanter sways and almost falls. Grey and Kaspard follow the front line up the slope- the mage gets far enough to see his enemies and then unleashes an Arcane Whirlwind- the Curse Chanter is picked up by the swirling wind and slammed repeatedly into the cavern wall, and then dumped for good measure off the ledge, the Troglodyte lands hard, and dead. The Impaler almost suffers the same fate, the creature is left staggering and swatting blindly, teetering on the lip of the stone shelf, totally disorientated.
Dirty sucks up the hurt and gets his Second Wind, the Dwarf gestures towards Phrenic in an ‘after you’ sort of way- the Tiefling steps up and cuts the Troglodyte Impaler dead.
The fight is over, and the Troglodyte’s prisoner is, moments later, freed.
The wild man dressed in rags gets to his feet grinning, just as the adventurer’s two Kobold guides arrive on the scene, Mrs. Charrak points at the ex-prisoner.
“Vad! Vadriar!” She declares, and then hugs the Sage’s legs- which doesn’t go down well with Mr. Charrak.
The guys are sore amazed- the wild man glares at them, Dirty glares back.
“He’s Vadriar? He’s the Sage?” Phrenic asks, still not sure.
“He looks like a bum.” Dirty states, to nods from his compatriots.
Vadriar the Sage- At last!
Phrenic takes a step forward, grasps Vadriar the Sage by the shoulder- in a friendly way, and suggests its time for a chat- the scruffy Sage, still grinning, simply nods.