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Just some notes before we start. As my group is experiencing some playtest fatigue, namely from having to create multiple characters that they typically only get to play for 2-3 sessions, it's getting more difficult to for players to get really invested in their characters. I get that different parts of the playtest focus on different areas of the game and thus have different party requirements, but I think things would have been nicer to be able to play the same character throughout at different levels. That said, here are the PCs. Note the lack of names on most of these PCs, as I have mentioned above, player investment is waning from creating these 1-shot PCs.
Syd, Halfling Ranger (Stalker)--returning from In Pale Mountain's Shadow
Elf Wizard (Universal)
Half-Elf Rogue (Finesse Striker)
Goblin Paladin of Shelyn (Liberator)
I chose the Elf Wizard to be Necerion's nemesis, based on the party's Occultism's scores.
A Meeting in Calaphas:
Keleri gathered the party and gave them their mission briefing. She provided a copy of the letter and provided some background about Captain Whark. She provided them with teleportation to Plumetown. The wizard asked that she provide attire for the affair, and Keleri did so. Keleri also emphasized the mission was to retrieve the Last Theorem, not to kill Necerion and other possible enemies. We will see if they listen to this advise next week.
Arrival in Plumetown:
The PCs gathered information on the Gala, the Mysterious "K", and Necerion. Nothing too useful was learned as the snippets were mostly rumors and speculation. The rogue critically succeeded on gather information on the Gala so they did learn why Whark was gathering and dumping gold into the sea at the dedication. The wizard also invested in a disguise to hide from Necerion and generally kept his distance from the man during the gala.
The players payed good attention to the warnings about drawing weapons or casting spells. They would do neither as they made their way into the Inner Sanctum.
N5. Kadhibat "Kad" Alysamin:
Spotting Kad and his admirers, the party keyed him in as someone who might know some things. I played him up as a real pompous jerk. Ranger tried first to get Kad's attention, but was unable to do so, but the wizard had better luck of the die. Kad provided some minor intel on Kasbeel. The paladin then asked about Whark, and on a critical success on the Diplomacy check, learned that she would favor a gift worth over 600 gp.
N8. Whark the Alabaster:
The paladin and the ranger went to meet Whark. The paladin was going to offer her his necklace of fireball whereas the ranger decided to pickpocket one of the other guests (he succeeded on his Thievery check). I had them both roll diplomacy--a natural 1 for the paladin, and critical success for the ranger. We laughed as I suggested the ranger pickpocketed the paladin's necklace and that's why he failed. The ranger asked Wharked about any interesting books she had, and I had her recount the tale of how she retrieved the tomb from the Pact Stone Pyramid. Luckily, I had read that adventure recently given it's relevance to Doomsday Dawn and remembered enough of the details of the background for the adventure to include in Whark's story. They did not mention the letter to her, so she sent them on their way. As they exited, I had them not Necrion talking with a female devil why a goblin fetched him a drink.
N9. Kitchen and N10. Servant Quarters:
I had printed out the map for the adventure, and used paper to cover the servant quarters, kitchen, and the Inner Sanctum. Since Necerion was lurking near the door on the balcony, they opted to explore the downstairs first. I had mentioned that servants were going in-and-out of the northern doors and they correctly assumed that it was the kitchen. They head back and with a natural 20 on his Deception check, convinced the staff that they were health inspectors, putting the fear of Kasbeel into the kitchen staff. This provided a diversion to allowed the rogue to pick the lock leading to the servant quarters. The guards their escorted him back to the gala while he feigned drunkenness.
At this point, I had Whark begin her procession to deliver the tributes to the temple. They ran up to the balcony and found Kasbeel "guarding" the door and no sign of Necerion. Kasbeel introduced herself and taking a page from Lucifer asked them what was their greatest desire. The paladin said "fire," back backed down after she pressed him for more details. The wizard said "knowledge" and elaborated by going into detail about the topics in the Last Theorem. She produced a contract promising him all the knowledge he desired, but he wisely chose not to sign it (although had it done so might have greatly changed to the events to come). The wizard turned the question on her, and she answered "the completion of a contract" in reference to her deal with Necerion's father. When pressed for details, she declined, stating "devil-Client privilege," although in truth, she just didn't want to talk about it as she felt shame at being on the losing end of a contract.
When asked about Necerion, she not-so-subtly hinted that she would not mind of ill will were to befall him, but she could not assist them in that matter. However, she would not stop them either. They asked her where Necerion went, and I had them roll Perception vs. her Deception DC (a hefty 39, although the rogue succeed nonetheless by rolling a natural 19) to notice her glancing towards the door, as she would not answer the question directly. They then entered the Inner Sanctum.
N11. Whark's Nest.
The ranger took the lead, and began to Seek the room. He critically failed and triggered the Spectral Tentacle trap, and that's where we ended the first session.
TO BE CONTINUED....
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Also, a quick note, when assisting the rogue's player with char gen, I noted a peculiarity in the class feats. One of the Level 6 Rogue Feats, Blind-Fight, requires the Rogue to be a Master in Perception, which rogues don't get to Level 7. Wouldn't it make more sense to include it as a Level 8 Rogue Feat?
N11. Whark's Nest
As per the cliffhanger, Syd had triggered the spectral tentacle trap. The party was good at keeping it down to one or two tentacles at a time, as they spawned 1 per round rather than overwhelming the PCs with their numbers. The Paladin was very effective with his magic glaive, and the Wizard was also surprising effective with a magic shortbow. The Rogue and Syd the Ranger had trouble beating the Hardness, and Syd rolled poorly on his attacks and rarely hit if at all. On the fourth round, the Rogue disabled the motion-sensing runes. It was unclear what would happen if the trap was disabled while sprung. The general hazard rules state that SOME Hazards can be disabled after being triggered, and the text reads that a Thievery check can disable the motion sensing runes. Does this cause the trap to end completely or have no effect? I ruled halfway, that it would not spawn additional tentacles, but the remaining ones would not be dismissed automatically.
The rules for this trap were not very clear in many aspects. First, the constrict action does not extend the grab duration, so whenever a tentacle used this ability, it dropped the PC at the end of the turn. Second, when using Acrobatics to Escape, the Skill is rolled against the opponents Athletics DC, for which none was listed (using Athletics, on the other hand, to Break Grapple, uses its Fort save, so no problem there). Finally, listing the object immunities in the equipment chapter (and not listed in the index) made them difficult to find, and I only found them after our session.
I used miniatures to represent the tentacles so this may have introduced some extra confusion, but it was not clear whether the tentacles could flank or be flanked (I believe they could not). Also, are the tentacles free to attack anyone in the room regardless of position (I believe so).
After destroying several tentacles and disabling the traps, the party took 20 minutes for the Ranger to Treat Wounds while the searched for treasure. A success Perception check identified the poisoned faux-treasures and the secret door. The party completed looted the nest for all 6000 gp of goods.
N12. Shifting Portals
It was obvious that there was a magical trap here form the description. Necerion's goblin butler was found dead opposite the southern portal (the rules did not state which portal he tried, only that he tried an incorrect portal, so I rolled to pick one randomly). The party threw its body through that portal and observed no effect (since the trap is triggered by a CREATURE, I reasoned that the corpse would not trigger it). They also threw copper coins through all three with no effect, and then the Wizard sent his familiar through what turned out to be the correct one. Syd the Ranger tried to follow but was repelled back on the spikes with a critical failure. He then immediately decided to take 10 minutes to Treat Wounds on himself while the others worked on the traps. The Paladin then correctly guessed the correct portal and made it to the other side. The Wizard threw up a wall of force over the spiked, reducing the damage (thankfully,the hazard had such a scenario listed in case the creature flew against a non-spiked wall. The Ranger than tried another incorrect portal and flew back again, but was with a regular failure and the wall of force in place, took much less damage this time. The Wizard then attempted to discern a pattern and rolled a DC 39 Arcana check on the nose so the three remaining party members cleared the room.
N13. Dangerous Second Steps
This room proved little difficult thanks to fortunate magic item and spell selection. The party had chosen 2 Anklets of Alacrity for the Ranger and Rogue as the bonus items for this scenario, so they were able to pass via Water Walk. The Wizard bypassed this trap using a Fly spell, and the Paladin just jumped in and walked across the bottom, breathing fine in his plate armor of the deep. The adventure did not list an Athletics DC to climb out, so I used the same DC as listed to Swim in the water.
N14. Hall of Mirrors
Again, fortunate magic item selection aided the party here. Since they could spot the mirrors outside of the 20 foot range, the Rogue and Ranger used their Cloaks of Elvenkind to turn invisible, and thus had no reflection. Since the mirrors by a creature being reflected in the mirror, and invisible creatures having no reflections, they were able to move about this chamber with impunity. Several Thievery checks later with no Critical Failures, and the Rogue had disabled all the mirrors.
N15. Vault of the Last Theorem
That party rolled Perception against the Kraken's Stealth, and the Paladin won initiative, and struck the Kraken with his bow. The Kraken then filled the water with its Ink Cloud to provide itself with concealment and poison the waters. It then used Double Strike to attack the Paladin and the Wizard, and Grabbed both. The Rogue activated his anklets again to walk across the water to the island while the Rogue Sensed and struck the Kraken at range. The Kraken then moved to get within range of the Rogue, Double Striked them both with its tentacles, then maintained and grappled all 4 PCs. One by one, it Repositioned the PCs into the water, where it could attack with its beak, and they were subject to Suffocation and Kraken's Ink poison. Things seemed dire as first the Wizard and then the Rogue fell unconscious, but the Paladin then remembered he had Channel Life and used a burst-Heal to revive the fallen party members. Some lucky rolls to Escape the grapple (and a dimension door from the Wizard) got the Rogue and Wizard onto the island.
Since it was compelled to protect the vault (and they both on the far side of it), the Kraken dropped the Paladin and moved so that it could attack the Rogue opening the vault. The Rogue had utilized his Cloak of Elvenkind to turn invisible, but that Kraken was able to Sense him anyway. However, the 50% miss chance would negate many hits against him (and the Ranger who likewise used his Cloak once he climbed up onto the island). The Wizard as not so lucky and fell unconscious once more. The Ranger and the Paladin made their way onto the island as well.
The Rogue and Syd the Ranger both worked on unlocking the Vault Door while the Paladin revived the Wizard. A critical success revealed the trap switch, but after two success, the Rogue critical failed to disable the switch and triggered it, starting the countdown. Even the worst, the Kraken then clocked him despite his invisibility and downed him a second time.
Syd the Ranger then unlocked the door and entered the vault, swiftly spotting the Last Theorem among Whark's treasures. Necerion then made his move, moving into the vault and turning visible to cast Reverse Gravity on the party. The Kraken, which had been a thorn in the party's side, now became somewhat of an asset as it directed its attacks on Necerion as well as Syd the Ranger. Necerion used Drop Dead to avoid the grapple, then moved out of range, then casting Repulsion to keep the Kraken (as well as the Paladin and Wizard) at bay. Syd managed to shove the Last Theorem into his Bag of Holding while the Paladin revived the Rogue, who in turn joined the Ranger in the vault. At this point, as per the 3 round countdown from the trap switch, the vault door slammed shut.
The Kraken, being intelligent (+5 Int modifier, the same as the Wizard), realized that those inside the vault were the ones most likely to steal from it, so it focused it attacks on breaking down the vault door so it could prevent them from using magic to escape with the treasure (I reasoned that it new teleportation magics existed, but since it was not trained in Arcana, did not realize the vault was warded against such magic). Inside the vault, Necerion used Modify Memory to alter Syd's memory that he was a spy for the Order within the Night Heralds and that Keleri had instructed him to assist him in retrieving the book and asked Syd to hand him the bag so they could escape. The Rogue attacked him, and Necerion again used Drop Dead to avoid further attacks as he as really down in HP at this point. He then reappeared and blasted both Syd and the Rogue with Vampiric Exsanguination, dropping the Rogue a third time and regaining some much needed HP. The Ranger than asked for another save since Necerion attacked him (and thus contradicted the Modify Memory spell), which I granted and he succeeded on.
By this point, the Kraken had broken the vault door. The Wizard at this point cast his own Reverse Gravity to return to normal gravity (although it is unclear if two castings of Reverse Gravity have this affect or if a Counteract check is needed), and asked for everyone to gather near him to he could Shadowwalk out. Syd shoved the Rogue into the bag of holding and moved outside the vault. Necerion gave chase and attempted a Heightened Paralyze on the PCs, but they all made their saved. The Paladin struck Necerion down with his glaive, killing him for real, and the Wizard cast Shadowwalk allowing the PCs to escape with the Last Theorem, leaving a dead Necerion and his Night Herald allies to take the blame. Despite a difficult encounter, the PCs succeeded with clever tactics and a little luck.
Another thing I would like to point out, which has already been mentioned on the forums, is that the Kraken can grapple PCs, but they seem unable to attack it tentacles with a melee weapon, so if they are grappled out of reach, they must used ranged weapons to attack back. This seems a bit weird and should be addressed.