Its been over a week since I debriefed the Overday. Here is the promised second half of the DND Role-playing adventure!
After passing the Druid Worthiness Tests, the party got the real news on what had been happening in this part of Frostreach. The leader of the Druids explained that they have little trust for Clan Bear’s ability to gather real information about the realm. In the eyes of the Druids, the Frost Giants and Orcs are not trying to unite. The Druids have information that suggest that the Frost Giants and Orcs could be negotiated with peacefully to avoid any further damage to the realm from war.
The Druids plan to send an emissary, one of their Shamans, to negotiate peace with both of the factions to the North. The problem is getting there. Even though the Druids control Cloud Step Ravine, and the Crossing, they cannot patrol the entire ravine. The players are informed that it is likely that rogue warmongering groups of Orcs will attack the crossing. Their job is in two parts: 1) Protect the Shaman at all costs and 2) Decide how they will do that.
The Ravine crossing is divided into three cable cars. Each car has an interior and a top that can be accessed via a ladder. The Shaman was at the front of the first car. The players had to decide, at the start, where each of their twelve group members would be placed to defend the cars and the Shaman.
After deciding, they loaded up into or on top of the tram and began the trek over the Cloud Step Ravine. The first half of the crossing was without incident. Then, they heard sounds from below and saw what looked like birds flying towards them.
They weren’t birds. They were giant bats carrying orogs (large orcs) in their talons. The orcs on the ravine below were attempting to use a unique mode of transportation to assault the cars where they were most vulnerable and could not be protected by the Druids. The combat was designed to have several challenges: 1) Every time a character missed a melee attack on top of the tram, they risked falling, 2) anytime the players tried to climb from the top to the bottom of a car, or jumped from car to car, they risked falling, 3) The bats would continue to drop off orogs until they were killed and 4) The bats could not be attacked unless the players were in the air (Manticore and someone riding on his back) or until they were a certain distance from the trams.
That sounds awesome, I know, but I messed it up right from the start by using the published stats of the bats. The Gamers recognized right away that the bats were the biggest threat and with only 22 hit points, the bats went down quick. I should have just made “super” bats with more hit points. I tried to mitigate this by having a bat that was about to die HURL an Orog at the cars. Some orogs made it, some didn’t. I sent in a second wave of bats and orogs, doubling what I had originally intended, to make a threat out of it.
The players had some really cool ideas during this encounter. Some highlights include: 1) Dominick casting an illusion on the Shaman to hide him in case any Orog got into the car. This turned out to be critical because I did get one in there and he was confused long enough for Dominick and some other players to take him out, 2) Sandy throwing spears at Orogs that were hurled at the cars, one of which provided sufficient force to prevent him from actually reaching the cart, 3) Heaven and Candace taking advantage of some fire-bomb acorns that they got in the forest, 4) Josh picking up an Orog to hurl him off a car and 5) Liam returning with his long time PC in our game to make a cameo appearance.
Liam did a good job running support. I basically pulled all 12 players into one group around a sheet of paper with a drawing of the three cars.
I divided the twelve players into initiative “groups” (High, average, low) to make it more manageable and then we took turns starting with different people in each group each round to give it a little variety. Liam did all of the attacks for the enemies. I handled positioning and hit points. Liam did not care for the fact that no characters died, but I’m not about to suck the fun out of the game just for the sake of challenge. Most of our players are just developing their RPG experiences and they need to see it as an enjoyable endeavor at all times. Candace did take a huge hit from an Orog and dropped unconscious, but she was quickly revived by a teammate. So, the threat of character death was always there. There were all kinds of DC 5 Dex checks that needed to be made to avoid falling into the Ravine as well.
After the players repelled the Orog threat, they made it to the other side and each received an uncommon magical item as a reward from the Druids. This marks the first time that I’m bringing magic items into the game because I want it to be mysterious and powerful to players. These prizes ranged from +1 weapons (just a few) to interesting pieces of kit like Boots of Elvenkind or Bags of Tricks.
Any player who had not won a dice set early got one from the pool as well so that everyone has dice to play with moving forward. It was an awesome time.
We wrapped up the Overday with clean up, which went smoothly. I was exhausted from the amount of mental effort I had expended that day but Grayson did a great job, as always, with coordinating the clean up. Qapla’!