So, I’ve finally made a concentrated effort to attend regular sessions at one of my FLGSs for the weekly D&D Encounters adventures. I tried it back in January but, since becoming a bit more on the lazy side thanks to unemployment, I’d failed to make a return trip until recently. I believe what prompted this was my experience with 4e Essentials and my sudden love of the system (At least compared to what I refer to as 4e Core. I don’t hate 4e Core, I just like Essentials a smidge more).
Anywho, I’ve been able to start into encounters at the start of a brand new season which kicks off with The Dark Legacy of Evard, a so-far interesting Shadowfell tale. Given the nature of the Encounters sessions, our first session had a different group of adventurers than my second. What I recall of our merry band included a Dwarven Cleric, a half-orc Paladin(?), a couple of spellcasters of some kind, and myself, a non-copyright infringing Drow Ranger (Hunter). The second consisted of a Human Cleric, a Drow Hexblade, a Human Binder, an Elven Mage, myself, and a Human Paladin.
So, here is a brief summary of those sessions as told by Urdithane, Drow Hunter extraordinaire.
Session 1: The Old Owl
Our tale begins in the tap of the Old Owl Inn in the city of Duponde. We were tasked with delivering a missive to city of Sarthel at the request of Lord Markelhay, the Lord Warden of Fallcrest. We were forced to settled down for the night in the Old Owl Inn as heavy rains had washed out the bridge we needed to cross. As the evening wore on and the taproom began to close, the conversation began to turn to the restless dead. There was talk with a scholarly fellow named Nathaire, and his halfling companion Remy, of an old shadow mage named Evard that was rumored to be buried here. The owner of the Inn, Tilda, hushed such talk, perhaps fearing the name of Evard, while Grimbold, the town captain of the guard, left to make his rounds. That left a trio of dwarven stonemasons, Tilda, the wizard and halfling, and ourselves to our own devices. However, with the tap closing, we all decided it best to settle down for the night.
And that’s when it happened.
Sometime into the night, we were roused from our slumber by a disorienting, wrenching feeling, as if being pulled in multiple directions. Truly something unearthly. Examining our immediate surroundings, we noticed that things seemed, well, our of sorts. The air was cold and almost palpable and the room seemed slightly, well, askew Yes, a strange way to describe such things, but there was an uneasy feeling as we looked about the room. Warily, we donned our garb and slipped down to the tap to see if anything had happened. Fortunately, my companions that were trained in the ways of the arcane were able to deduce that we had somehow slipped into the Shadowfell, the land of the dead.
And that’s when the attacks began.
Suddenly, as we were examining the taproom, a number of the small gargoyle statues sprang to life. Not only were we beset by them, but the shadows itself seemed to desire our very lives. Unfortunately, while we fought them back, they were at least successful in claiming the life of the half-orc. He died a noble death however, saving myself from a gruesome fate. May the Raven Queen watch over his soul.
Session 2: The Garrison
Having finally dispatched our assailants, we gathered our wits about us and assessed our situation. Searching the inn, we discovered that only ourselves, the three dwarven engineers, and Tilda remained while Nathaire and Remy had disappeared. After explaining to the four where we were, and dealing with their panic-driven fits, we decided to help them board up the place before we went out in search of Nathaire and, hopefully, discover how we got here.
When we finally ventured outside to begin our search, we were overcome with fear and surprise. It seemed the entire town of Duponde had slipped into the Shadowfell rather than just one small building. Be it for that reason or others, the direness of our situation began to weigh heavily upon us. Fortunately, we were able to shake off our doubt and proceed on, determined to put right what had happened. As we proceeded down the streets, once familiar to us but now almost a living maze, we came upon Watch Captain Grimbold and a few of his men. Pleasantries were exchanged (As best as one could in this god-forsaken place) and we came to discover that they actually spotted the halfling Remy fleeing town a short bit ago. However, they were hesitant to pursue given a lack of manpower. It seems that when they tried to roust the militia, some strange beast was lurking in the Armory.
We decided it best to aid Grimbold and his men with the Armory as more armed men in the streets might help keep folks calm and provide a decent defense. However, what we found there was something that I truly did not wish to face; spiders. You’d think that given my…nature…I’d be less apprehensive about dealing with hordes of spiders. But, to be honest, it’s that very reason that the damned thing give me the willies. And, when their ‘mother” joined into the frey….let’s just say I was less than thrilled.
However, despite the odds, we managed to prevail. Many of us had been seriously wounded, though the paladin seemed to come through with nary a wound on him), but the armory was freed of the pests and the men were once more able to arm themselves. After a brief respite, we decided to press on towards our goal; The city’s cemetery and, hopefully, answers.
So far, this has been an interesting Encounters adventure and a nice introduction to the Shadowfell. I do find it a little odd and difficult to build a report character-wise with others when the players keep changing. But, I’ve not been out from behind the screen for very long so I’m still getting my “player-legs”. We’ve got another session tonight so Urdithane will keep folks posted about our progress.