Hoard of the Dragon Queen – Chapter 1 Part 4

Greenest02

Greetings readers, (I’m only assuming people are reading this…) this week the players encounter more terrors and loads and loads of kobold hoards. The team last time had just encountered some dragon cultists and a hoard of kobolds being chased (more like pursued) by the Goliath. Talos is still being pursued by the fighter and ranger but only see traces of his victims.

Now in this part of the campaign, I have to say that they made quite a bit of progress. They managed to met Linan, momentarily rescue her and her family, rescue more villagers along the way and still manages to lose their trust all in one session. The team then arrive at the gates of the keep after the panic of their plans but alas the gates were shut. To their luck and skill they managed to get Zel to provide them a map of another entrance and that is where they end the session. This is just the short summary of the session and I will expand this farther down in the blog/rant.

First off, I will start with the group “Tracking” Talos. These two adventures had lost sight of Talos once they turned off a smoky bend. Since both of them were Human and lacked (lot of common sense) darkvision and were wondering around the town in the dark looking for an elf that had darkvision and was just killing all the enemies he could find. The reason the fighter and the ranger could even follow Talos in the first place was because Talos had been leaving a trail of bread crumbs so to speak. It was a trail of dead victims with an arrow shining bright light from the body of the corpse.

Now how can this be since I said that Talos was just an NPC at Level 1 from the previous blog/rant. Well to answer that, Talos is a high elf with the wizard cantrip LIGHT. He had cast the spell on all his arrows (only the ones in hi quiver and not his whole stash) and when ever he killed a creature the “light” arrow would be shining from the body of the dead creature.

Not knowing this the fighter thought it was some kind of special arrow (maybe magic of some power) and decided to take his time with savaging the arrows from each corpse. The ranger on the other hand just wanted to catch up to the elf to ask him some questions (as well as to use him as a shield). The fighter unfortunately could not retrieve any shining arrows and only obtained regular arrows or snapped arrows. Anyway the fighter thinking he could just wait for Talos to get the light arrows back  he decided to hide in some alley way, without telling the ranger. The ranger made it to where he had last saw the fighter but could not detect or find him. So he continued the search. (Again another split party member…)

I wasn’t sure where the fighter wanted to go and I had everyone’s locations written in my notes so there was any confusion there. But with another split I now had 4 different situations I needed to explain and describe. I let the ranger wonder for a bit until he spotted some enemies. I went but to the Goliath who had been waiting for his turn in the session. I asked want he wanted to do and all he said was “Hunt my prey” I assumed kobolds but I just had to ask. “So, kobolds?”. He said yes and sniffed out some of the filth.

His character literally used his sense of smell to hunt down groups of kobolds. Man that was hilarious. He managed to find 4 houses chalk full of them raiding and looting the place. A single roar of intimidation gathered most of them and had the rest laughing and sneering at the goliath. With enough of them in his sight he started the slaughter.

Goliath: Can I attack now?

DM: Sure. Bare hands or with your weapon?

Goliath: The first two with my bare hands. Can I crush them to death? Or is that not allowed?

DM: It’s fine just make a Strength check and if you roll a 15 or higher you have crushed them.

Goliath: So tow Strength checks right?

DM: Why two?

Goliath: One in each hand.

DM: Ok but you get disadvantage on the second one.

Goliath: Ok but I want to grab the two closest laughing ones. Do I still get disadvantage for the second one?

DM rolls for a Perception check (rolled a 3) and then and an Insight (rolled a 5). Both failed.

DM: Nope, I guess not.

Goliath rolls Strength once per kobold and kills both.

DM: (silent WOW) Roll an Intimidate.

Goliath rolls a total of 19.

With such a menacing aura, the kobolds realise their mistake and try to make their escape. But it was too late for most of them. They were now being chased through the streets by the goliath and this is where he arrives to the area of the Wizard and the Paladin.

Meanwhile the ranger had now found some enemies to deal with (2 bandits, only 2 and only bandits the basic kind). He panicked because he was alone and ran for it.

DM: Are you sure?

Ranger yes I’m going to run.

DM: are you sure you don’t want to hide or sneak past them? or just avoid them?

Ranger: Yes I’m going to run!!

DM: (at this point I had to face palm. He had found the enemy and they did not even know he was there at all) Ok, as you run past them they see you and gather the rest of their men.

Ranger: what?

DM: yes, you are the one to spot them not the other way around.

Ranger: Can I sneak past them now?

DM: No, I gave you that hint ten minutes ago. So its too late. You now have 6 bandit chasing after you.

Ranger: six? I thought it was only two?

DM: They gathered their men after they spotted you. Please listen. You still have quite a bit of distance from you and the bandits so you and still lose them.

Ranger: I run faster!!!

DM: Are you sure? You can try and lose them instead.

Ranger: Ok, I turn left.

DM: Ok please roll an Athletics and then an Acrobatics check.

Ranger: can I use just Acrobatics?

DM: No, because you are running and turning sharply or suddenly

Ranger: Oh, ok. I won’t turn then. Now can I use just Acrobatics?

DM: (Face palm again… lets out a big sigh) No because running is about using your legs and the power to move forward not speed to evade or weave. You need to use Athletics for running.

Ranger: oh. (rolls athletics and failed to get a 10 or higher)

At this point, the bandits were catching up and the ranger also made an entrance to the area where the Wizard and the Paladin were. The wizard and the paladin were fighting some of the cultists to help the NPCs Dorian and Zel. Once they had finished them off, Dorian thanked them and healed them of whatever injuries they had sustained. Then he bid them farewell to go search for their missing glory bound friend Talos. The paladin tried to convince them to stay but she failed twice with no argument to say and just went for the easy roll of the die.

As the DM, I told her that Dorian will meet up with you at the keep soon enough if they could go out and help the village. But the paladin thought just because this was a game where you roll dice on skills on your character sheet it meant something. I always try to encourage players to just say their speeches or words to other players then just rolling ambiguous skill checks to get they’re way.

Like I said she failed twice because her checks were just that dice rolls. I would have liked her to say something like “please stay and help us with our task” or “I think it would be best for us to stick together” something long those lines. The DM guide doesn’t say much about checks like these but with me, I usual make the check really high like 21 or higher if the players just want to roll and not play their Role. If she had role played the check would have been much lower like 13 or 14. Challenging but it can be achieved.

So Dorian and Zel left in search of Talos. But in the mean time, the paladin decided to loot the dead for their valuables. Once the NPCs were out of sight any way. But if you are all wondering “why is the paladin acting like a thief?” well that’s because she made it with a Chaotic Neutral alignment.

DM: why Chaotic Neutral?

Paladin: because I want to do what I want.

DM: is it part of your background?

Paladin: (she looked at me with a confused look on her face and said) Back ground?

DM: Ok, you can have this character for now but if you don’t give me a reason why your character or should I say your Paladin is Chaotic Neutral then you will need to make it Lawful something.

Paladin: why?

DM: (I cringed so much… twitched a bit too) Because a Paladin is like a Policeman the good kind. The kind that follows and enforces the law. Helps people and saves lives. Yes I know there are corrupt cops out there but in general they are good people.

Paladin: oh, then I don’t want to be a paladin anymore.

DM: What would you like to be then? I suggest a rogue or warlock

Paladin: (she talks to her partner next to her and makes this decision) I think I will stay as my paladin. I’ll think about it

This is where the ranger and the goliath burst into the area with their share of troubles and prey. After the paladin and the wizard had looted all of the cultist I had all my player roll for initiative. The order is shown below:

  • paladin 19
  • wizard 7
  • fighter 12
  • ranger 15
  • goliath 2
  • kobolds 4
  • bandits 21

During this series of fights, the ranger managed to hide in a large bush near the scene, the wizard was downed by one of the bandits as they thought he was the ranger. The paladin hiding in smoke to hide from the bandits and the goliath thrashing through the hoard of kobolds killing as many as he could but unfortunately some of them split up. The bandits were frantically looking for the ranger and after the 3rd round of the encounter finally found him. Yes they found him even though he was hiding in a bush. For 2 rounds the ranger could of just escaped or found a better hiding spot but NOOOO[with heavy sarcasm attached] he decided to use his hiding spot to shoot them from a distance of 30 feet away. The paladin could have helped the wizard instantly and healed him with a single point of her Lay on Hands but decided to just heal herself and hide in the smoke (without preventing to breathe in the smoke). She got poisoned after failing a CON save of 10.

Paladin: how can I heal this poison?

DM: you need to get someone to cure it. Like a cleric.

Paladin: can I use Medicine check instead?

DM: No, you need to get someone, like a cleric to cure it.

Paladin: Why can’t I use Medicine check to cure it?

I had to explain to her that using a Medicine check in combat was for stabilising the dying or if you had the Healer feat bandage up some wounds, that were not life threatening.

Paladin: oh, ok.

At this point, where most of the kobolds had either escaped of vanquished by the goliath, I had Linan appear with her family followed by some more kobolds. This made the goliath charge in to slay his foe not really thinking about rescuing or aiding the family. But at least he gave me a reason for such a wild character. With the help of the goliath the ranger was “saved” the wizard finally woke up after all the fighting was done and the paladin only wanted to rob the poor family of all their worth. I had the children cling to the paladin to use subtle punishment for acting like a FREAKEN Rogue all the time.

Linan then thanked her heroes and asked them to aid her to the safety of the keep. Saying that there should also be others in the village that will need this type of kindness. So do you know what the party asked excluding the goliath as he had run off for more kobolds (actually he had to leave the session early so after he said he wanted to run off he was gone) “So what will be my reward?”

On the other hand the fighter was still waiting for Talos in his newly found hiding place. He waited many minutes but Talos did not return. Thinking that maybe he would not actually return he went exploring. In the span of the fight he managed to sneak his way to the church/chapel of the town. He found out that there were people inside and a lot of bandits and raiders trying to lay siege to the place. He had just arrived when the raiders had just started to construct the ramming siege weapon. He decided that it was just too dangerous to face 50 plus enemies by himself and go back to the keep for help. He manages to find Talos at the most random place ever. Stuck between a barrel full of trash and a crate full of firewood. He helped him out and they both set off towards the keep.

On the way to the keep the party with Linan manage t find more villagers in need and rescue them. Sometime from cultists or kobolds. The party now had about 10 villagers in toll and that is when coincidently they meet up with Talos who had been travelling and fighting along side with the fighter. Talos agreed that aiding the villager took first priority and so travelled with the team as their scout.

Now this is where shit hit the fan when it wasn’t even an option to but the choice was still taken. Talos returned from scouting up ahead and told the party that there are two patrols on the road to the keep. One group had 6 well armed men while the other only consisted of two guard drakes. He ask for their plan and the paladin wanted to fight so long as Talos went first. The villagers worried for their own safety asked that the party should just sneak past both patrols. Just time it right and everyone would be safe. The ranger liked this idea but the player playing the paladin kept saying “but I have disadvantage this and disadvantage that…”. I told her that she only had disadvantage while wearing her chainmail. And it still did seem to click that if she removed her armour then she could sneak past all the patrols with no worries. I even hinted it by having the children she had rattle her armour here and there.

Thinking of how annoying those kids were the paladin decided to scare them using Intimidation and “Yelling”. Her check was successful and scared the children away from her but also attracted the patrol towards them. This is the point where I had Talos make a decision for them (as I had been waiting for 20 minutes on the players’ decision). Talos just said “I’ll meet you in the keep…” and leap out and distracted the patrol away from the party. Unfortunately the fighter also wanted to follow but I said this was during the same moment when the guards started to move towards their position, so it was too late to follow Talos. I had him roll Athletics because he really wanted to go and failed. The check was 23 by the way. He insisted on following him so he too leapt out but there was still one patrol remaining. The guard drakes.

This is where the party thought they had to fight since there were enemies on the map. But that was just a challenge. And apparently they all did not understand. This is where the fighter dies taking 40+ damage from two charging drakes. The paladin trying her best to fight the creatures but failing to complete their mission. PROTECT THE VILLAGERS. The wizard also tried to fight but failing as he used the wrong spells and was now completely depleted of spell slots. The ranger on the other hand had not forgotten the villagers and told them to run for it when they had the chance. But forgetting that the paladin had scared all the children stiff from her Intimidate check early.

Man, these guys never seem to listen. So the ranger carried as many of the kids he could so that they could escape to the keep. But the paladin not thinking of others shout “hey, you (pointing at the ranger) come help us”. that is when the drakes charged at the ranger carrying the children and knock him unconscious. Luckily he had thrown the children away to their parents (respective parents) and they were safe from harm. Linan tried to aid the ranger but she was too late and thinking of her family she was the one that rescued the them.

After all the NPCs and monsters had left the map I had the team roll for their death saving throws. And like I said early the fighter dies. The rest of them came back to life and walked towards the keep, after the paladin looted the fighter’s body. Unfortunately for them 2 hours had past while they were unconscious so when they arrived at the entrance to the keep the portcullis was down and the gates shut. Worried, they shouted for some help and a side door near the bridge revealed Dorian. He told them of another way in but to make sure they are not followed as it is a secret entrance. The paladin again failed to convince Dorian to let her in as he had told her this way cannot be opened unless you break the gate.

So the team moved towards the secret entrance. The sewer pipe. There the ranger finds a group of goblins guarding the area. He had an easy choice to make and he still didn’t make it.

  1. Sneak past them
  2. Lure them away, then ambush them
  3. Wait until they all fall asleep

So what you think he did? None of them. He just ambushed them from the shadows. He managed to kill 3 of them but 1 got far enough away to call for re-enforcements. The team managed to break the sewer grate but are now be chased by those re-enforcements.

 

That was my session. I think these guys just think D&D is a tabletop version of MMORPGs. Bit they are wrong. And I have told many different people about this group and all they do is say “sucks to be you”. I only have fun when I have or players that actually play their characters.

I hope next week is better but that’s just my optimism talking. (Let’s out a Heavy sigh).

At least they made it to the keep. But how will they fare?

 

See you readers next time.

 

 

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