We had a couple of minor table changes for this evening session. Our lovely Bladesinger was at home sick and the Halfling thief Locke was nowhere to be found. Doing their best to pick up the slack were a Scout and a Range. Their ranged attacks might have been more helpful if they hadn’t kept firing at targets that were within melee reach, but more on that later.
|The players settle in and get ready for the Encounters Session.|
A quick trip across lake to the Lord Protector’s castle was all it took to get the scene started. The main group of PC’s arrived at the same time as a second boat that contained the scouts and ranger. The General turned the group over to an aide who quickly led them up the walkway and into a room where they were to wait for the Lord Protector. In the few minutes they had they quickly examined the room. Most of the questions revolved around what they could line their own pockets with. Their own exploration was cut short as the doors were opened and the Lord Protector arrival announced.
The Protector knew how to make a grand entrance and drew the group’s attention instantly to him. Fondle the great, was instantly attracted to the Lord Protector, the handsome man that he was. An aide followed him in and supplied the group with a selection of meat, cheese, and bread. Other offers of food and drink were ignored or outright rejected. In the end the players were much more interested in getting down business.
The Protector acknowledged and respected their desires and made his offer in plain simple language. He wanted them to find and bring the So-called heir to him. Then they could discuss the state of Neverwinter and his claim to the throne face to face. So far all attempts at diplomacy had been ignored. The group was once again somewhat split in their reaction to the Protector vs. The Heir. They wanted to ensure that the Heir wasn't being brought in to be executed. He was quick to reassure them that was not the case and that he only wished to talk.
In the end it was the Lord Protector’s generous offer that ended any discussion among the party. Afterwards they were all given a new badge as well as their initial payments. Then sent on their way to an awaiting carriage where they were given a tour of the wall that kept the Plaguechanged out of the recovering section of the city. The tour ended when they arrived at one of the gates and noticed a few men in blood splattered cloaks lingering around the entrance and no sign of the guards. They were quick to act. Our new Ranger peppered a group of bandits with arrows and with that attack combat was underway.
|The wall section is from a Heroescape |
Two of the bandits ducked into the gate house, closing the doors behind them, and began to work the cranks that would open the gates. A third one that was close to the door moves out enough to toss a dagger but stay near enough to the doors to run interference. The rest of them mobbed the archer that had just turned them in to pin cushions.
Those fighting furthest from the gate were being stalled by the bandits although they didn't know it yet. The group’s new Drow scout proved once again that his race wasn’t one to be trusted when he fired a rapid shot volley with the Fondle the Great, at the centre of the burst. Of course he scored a solid hit on fondle and did a poor man's crit. At least one of the two bandits in the burst was also hit.
It didn't take long for someone to break away from the main melee and to rush for the doors. He was intercepted by the bandit nearest the doors. One of the bandits inside swung open the door threw a dagger and then closed the door behind him. This tactic became a major part of the bandit strategy - Minor Action to open the door / Standard Action to attack / Minor Action to close the door / repeat as required.
The first PCs to make to the doors were the party's Ranger and the Scout they both pulled open the door and fired their bow. They both also received a Mace to the side of their head for their efforts. Opportunity attacks are a wonderful thing especially when a DM gets to use them. In the end their attacks were enough to bloody both of the remaining bandits.
On the bandits turn they took their attack and closed the door behind them. By then the group’s fighter had reached the door and went in and finish off one of the bandits. On the other side of the gate the bandit had made the mistake of shifting out of the door and a party member made good use of the mistake and got inside to finish him off.
Everyone was fairly surprised by how quickly they had blown through the Encounter. Then the arrival of Seldry made everything make sense. About half of my table had played through Gates of Neverdeath and their PC recognized her at once. They did ask about the whereabouts of the crown and if she could help them find the Heir. Of course she declined and directed them to the tavern. One character who had shown the most loyalty to the Heir asked if she would come with them. Again she declined saying that she had business with the Lord Protector she had to attend too. Afterwards she wished them luck and continued on her way.
It was a good session all in all. My only disappointment was that none of the PCs ran for the gate and jumped on it to try and pull it back down. I thought it would have been a rather heroic moment would have made a great peace of cinema.