Ok, so it’s a cave, not a castle. This week I found out a lot of my players might be unavailable so I quickly wrote up a side quest I’d be planning to put in anyway but I knew I could scale it either way pretty easily. Luckily my party decided they wanted another go at the Half Dragon, or rather the Fighter immediately suggested they go back to the cave.
So after a few minutes of re-drawing out the dungeon, I described the camp was still deserted, the cave was still dark, however, now there was a makeshift barricade between the mushroom farm and the Stirge lair. The players hadn’t approached any of this stealthily so I didn’t roll for the Cultists to notice them coming, these guys are now somewhat on edge having their ranks thinned significantly.
Once they climbed over the barricade the Rouge decided to scout ahead stealthily. I asked for a stealth check and perception check and described that he saw two Kobold heads poking up from the first drop into the rubbish pit, assuming there were more he cast Sleep, chose his centre, rolled his dice for HP effected and I described the two thuds just after the heads disappeared from sight. He made his way over to see what was down there… just two Winged Kobolds. However now the trap was sprung, the two Kobolds hiding down the stairs to the Meat Locker and the Beserker and Kobold hiding down the other passage, towards where the players were captured, all converged on the Rogue. The rest of the party surged in to help and quickly took out the Kobolds, but then I realised the Beserker is a 9 HD creature, but with the whole party attacking him he didn’t put up much resistance, and the last hit dropping him to 0HP he fell to the floor unconscious.
Some of the party decided they wanted to interogate him so promptly stripped him, bound his hands and hung him upside down from the gateway they had locked themselves behind the previous session. They also had the idea to blindfold him but cast Light on the blindfold to try and convince him he had ascended into heaven. I had described him as a Dwarf so when they force fed him a single goodberry for 1HP ad he came round I described how he started stammering in a language none of them understood, Dwarven. I allowed a religion check to recognise a name being said, both the Clerics and the Druid picked out the name ‘Dumathoin’.
I was largely pulling this scene out of the air but some quick googling of the Dwarven pantheon whilst the players were planning got me the Keeper of the Dwarven Dead. They tried some intimidation in Draconic but the Dwarf didn’t understand, so they tried again in Common to which he responded. Not getting anywhere with the whole afterlife thing the Death Cleric tore off his blindfold as the Rouge decided to try to intimidate him with his oil and torch. They managed to get that he was a hired mercenary rather than a cult member but not much else before the Rouge decided to set him on fire anyway.
Happy with their efforts so far, the players made their way down into the lower levels, the Rouge led the way with stealth and once happy there was nobody in the next chamber called the rest of the Party who spent time to search the room finding a decent amount of coin around the Kobold barracks.
Decending further they came across a shrine room to the Dragon Queen, with a large wood panelled area with carvings of dragons flying around a large 5 headed dragon int he centre. After the Rouge entered the room, the Figher made his way past him and was promptly assaulted by a couple of Kobolds who were hiding behind the corner. To be honest this was a bad placement by me, they rolled into initiative but were nowhere near an advantageous position for the other hidden members of the cult. If I did it again I’d put them either behind the alter, maybe with a Perception check to notice them, or completely out of sight with the rest of the combatants.
After a few confusing rounds of being under initiative but nothing really happening, the Death Cleric moved towards the wood panelled sections and when the enemy initiative came up they kicked down the panelled section they were hiding behind and raced up from the stairway to the next area.
(At this point I’ve left this so long I don’t fully remember what happened)
While the Rouge and Life Cleric held the stairs, the Fighter, Death Cleric, Druid and Paladin took on the main group from the secret passage. They quickly took out the remaining Kobolds leaving just Langdedrosa, several Beserkers and a Cult Fanatic spell caster. With the Paladin and Fighter wailing on Langdedrosa, the Druid in wolf form taking on a Beserker they were quickly knocking down their HP. The Death cleric was assisting with his twinned toll the dead and using his spiritual weapon. Eventually I had Langdedrosa use his lightning breath weapon, I couldn’t get the players in a good enough line, I guess I need to work out how to better control player location, but I managed to line up the Fighter and Death Cleric. The Fighter made his save but the Cleric didn’t and it took him down to 0 HP also dropping his spiritual weapon.
Meanwhile the Rouge had used sleep and taken out all the Kobolds on the stairs and was facing off against another Beserker and Cult Fanatic. The Beserker’s ire was drawn by the main fight for a reason I can’t remember but eventually the Rouge and Life Cleric were just facing off against the Cult Fanatic and were easily able to deal with him.
The Death Cleric had to make a death save, and rolled a 20… although so did I. I came up with a new way of rolling death saves to still allow the player to roll, but the party not be sure how close to death they are. Not to worry though as the Life Cleric used healing word on him to bring him back from the brink on her next turn.
As Langdedrosa was approaching his HP max (well half, I generally go with the average hit die figures on the creature stat blocks) I thought it would be fitting given their previous 2 encounters for the Fighter to finish off Langdedrosa so fudging his health a little… the Fighter missed. I thought it wasn’t too bad, he could stand another round without going into silly HP levels… of course this round every hit for near max and got critical hits. His health was getting a bit high, almost to the 100 mark but it was the Fighters turn again and… he missed, again. Unfortunately I had gotten into the groove of just tallying up his damage and not really thinking about it, I should have had someone else kill him at this point. It was also the end of the session and so we had to leave the fight hanging until the next week.