Our Session #18, Emraag +
- In retrospect, I would have subtly worked in more tactical discussion about handling Emraag, played up his legendary status. That way, the party would be less likely to botch things by suggesting Emraag needed "charity" or a "bribe."
- Also chop Lavinia's speech up. It's got all the info you need, but don't read it in one big glob. Work it into supper, a discussion over the party's adventures, the funeral of Vanthus, whatever you can naturally work in.
- I glossed over the sea travel. At 3rd level, sea terrors can be an issue. But at 10 or 11th? I threw in some exotic text (e.g. a roc flyover), but I glossed over any hardship and said the party has come a long way. Plus, sea travel is really boring. An event a day is unrealistic.
- My players, not intentionally, pissed off Emraag immediately by saying all the wrong stuff for his ego. I ruled his demeanor (e.g. hostile) would determine how long the party had to say something to sooth his rage. In this instance, they could tell he was going to submerge and had 6 seconds to blurt something out. Had they been more tactful, maybe they'd have longer, he'd be more inclined to listen. Hence the above planning.
- For 5E, our battle came down to one magic item, obtained very early on around 1st or 2nd level, a ring of swimming. After the battle, it become VERY clear absent this item, it would have been a party wipe. In 5E, it allowed uninhibited battle movement in the water, a crucial requirement for our party which has 3 melee based characters. Anyways, very classic D&D for a battle to turn on something that many would have tried to trade as trinket trash.
- So they killed Emraag and I had to make up a hoard. In 5E, there's random tables, and of course you can't have a legendary battle with a centuries old creature result in random crap loot like a few potions of healing. Totally randomly rolled, my players ended up with a Wish scroll. Yeah, I may lose control of things as a DM, but it was worth it seeing their faces light up after winning a really stacked battle. Very old school, AD&D, where a lucky roll could drop something really nice in your lap.
- It took my players aback to see how pathetically weak the troglodyte guards were. That's good. Not everything should be an epic battle, evenly matched in levels. So they just charmed them. This has led me to an interesting dilemma, how far a charm will take you when religious belief comes into play. Good thing is a charmed being will probably tell you what's bothering them and maybe a way to work around it.