The Three Faces of Evil, part 1

I haven’t been very consistent on play reports, but here’s what we were up to last night.  To catch you up to date, the party had finished up the Caves of Chaos, with the cultist’s cave being replaced with the Whispering Cairn, the first adventure from the Age of Worms adventure path.  The kids liked it, the puzzles a nice change from the mostly hack and slash of the Caves.

My 3 kids are the players, my 14 year old daughter, and 9 year old twin boys.  Each has a main character, and a henchman, with each henchmen getting half experience.  Our cast includes:

Daughter has,
Lylas, drow elf rogue thief, level 4
Third, human fighter sentinel, level 3

Son 1,
Narcisso, half elf life cleric level 4
Dravin, human moon druid level 3

Son 2,
Jackson, human earth wizard, level 4
Kargash, half orc ranger hunter, level 3

Also, 2 NPC’s are tagging along
Rurik, mountain dwarf totem barbarian, level 4
Filch, human necromancer, level 3.  This is Filge from the observatory in the Whispering Cairn.  He surrendered to the party and is tagging along.  The kids, being Harry Potter fans, renamed him.

Knowing they have to get into the Dourstone Mine, they go about getting some info first.  They talk with Alustan, the wizard, who gives them some info on the green worm they found with Filch.  Also informs him of an underground temple that he believes is beneath the mines.  He also suggests they talk to Smenk.

Smenk keeps them waiting before their meeting, and when he finally meets the party, he feasts while offering them nothing.  Eating with his hands, belching and snorting loudly while talking with his mouth full.  He fills them in with his relationship with the Ebon Triad, and some info on the Dourstone Mine, including the presence of an elevator that leads to a dark temple that “creeps him out”.  The group does not like Smenk, which is fine, the feeling is mutual.  But as the old drow saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

A scouting mission reveals the mine is surrounded by a wooden stockade, patrolled by guards, dwarves with darkvision at night.  Also wanting to avoid having to fight various miners, a direct assault is ruled out.  They decide to sign on as miners themselves, leaving their armor behind, and secreting daggers and other small weapons and minor magic items upon themselves.

They start their new “jobs”, and find a side passage that is barricaded off, with variations of “Keep Out” signs posted.  They feel that this is where the elevator to the temple is located.  Talking with the other miners, they find them a generally unhappy lot, and convince them to not raise any alarm if the group starts something.  They tried to incite them to riot, but that idea fell flat.

Once they get a feel for the guard rotation, they jump a 4 man patrol as it passes, using pick handles to knock 2 out in the surprise round, and gaining initiative, quickly knock out the other 2.  They pry out a couple boards from the barricade, drag the guards through, tie and gag them, and put the barricade in place the best they can.  Following a long sloping passage down, they find the elevator and lower themselves.

They find themselves in the grand temple below.  The shining black marble pillars and floor and exacting architecture of a great dome in stunning contrast to the rough hewn mine tunnels above.  While investigating an unnaturally cold dark pool under the great dome, they hear the tink of a coin hitting the ground at their feet as they are plunged into magical darkness.  They simultaneously hear a knocking at one of the doors behind them as Rurik is hit hard in the back.

The group starts attacking wildly, with Disadvantage, trying to hit their unseen attacker, only to fail, while Rurik is hit again, and Narcisso, on the other side of the party is also hit.  Thinking quick, Dravin uses faerie fire,  outlining one of their attackers, a humanoid wielding a greataxe, the one targeting Narcisso made its save and remained hidden.  Concentrated attacks on the outlined attacker with pickaxes dropped him after a couple rounds, but not before Rurik took a few more hits.  The confusion of the fight keeping him from going into a rage.  Narcisso cast a cure wounds at 2nd level on the barbarian, while a faerie fire by Lylass outlines the second attacker.  He also proves hard to drop, and wounds Narcisso severely before falling.  When the attacker falls, the magical darkness falls as well.

I normally use the Escalation Die, from 13th Age in my game, and the players were calling for it, but since they spent most of the fight at a disadvantage, using improvised weapons, I ruled against it in this fight.

Finally getting a chance to see their foes, the loot the two tieflings of their chainmail (which fit Narcisso and Third just enough), while Third and Rurak take the masterwork greataxes.  Four potions of healing are also found, which should provide useful to the party that is not wearing their normal armor.  The tieflings were also wearing tabards with the symbol of Hextor on them, which match the banners flanking one of the doors at the far end of the room.

With that, it was bedtime, so we ended for the night.  For my 5th Edition conversion notes for the Age of Worms, I used the Guard for the mine guards, and wanting the tieflings to be a harder fight, used the Thug, but with chainmail and greataxe.  One had cast darkness on a copper coin that they had tossed into the party before attacking.

As for the loot, I like disposable items a lot, but I try to make it stuff the party will actually use.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve DMed games where characters had a laundry list of random potions on their character sheets.  Most of them just get forgotten about, I think.  I’m thinking about buying/printing up spell cards for the spell casters in the party, and might do the same with character abilities and magic items as well, that way everyone can more easily remember what they have.  I know stuff is easily lost on a character sheet, and with my kids being new players, I try to help them remember everything they have.  The casting of faerie fire was probably a first time I ever saw that spell used, and I was proud he remembered it.  As the druid he very often just wildshapes and wades into combat.

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