NOTE: This is where I started diverging from the module significantly when it came to rooms and overall organization. I kept all of the monsters and treasure, I just organized it differently and fixed a couple of the puzzles that wouldn’t have worked nearly so well with such a large group.
Ok, so as the party tried to get their bearings, as well as assess what might have happened to Dhagri, Wren, & Rhys, they ever so quickly realized that they were in a Demi-Realm, a pocket dimension created by a puissant mage or some other powerful supernatural being. An admittedly excellent method to guard excess to some location, the party was discomfited as they realized that they had no idea of how to progress.
There were no visible lights, and a luminescent mist rose off the ground – deep enough to almost entirely obscure Fonkin – and far off in the distance the party thought it could see a light coming from within the mist. With a lack of anything better to do they decided to investigate – sending familiars out ahead to scout the way. After an attack by fiendish beasts that were quickly dispatched the party found the source of the glow, a set of ancient arcane runes inscribed in the ground that flickered and danced with arcane power. The party spend an unknown amount of time striding through the mists of the Demi-Realm, fighting off fiendish beasts and finally culminating in a fight with a horrifically sized giant scorpion. When this final monster was fought, a brilliant scintillating light within lights appeared, almost a free-floating lamp of some sort. Floating there it then led the party through the mist to a free-standing Leygate crackling with leyfire.
Taking a deep breath and girding their loins, the party stepped through quickly before it closed (as this was a concern of theirs). On the other side they found themselves in a somewhat featureless room with a broken-down archway or door in the far end, as they stood there and debated what to do they were attacked by a pair of the bestial goblins that they had encountered before, as well as a hobgoblin warrior. In a short but vicious battle the party came out victorious but after the seemingly endless fiendish beasts of the Demi-Realm and the ravages of the goblins the party decided that needed to take a longer rest to take care of their wounds as well as hopefully manage to recover some spells. Through the passageway the party found an area when the tomb-robbers had also clearly rested for a period, as well as a bound and gagged half-elf unconscious and on the verge of death. The party resolved barricade a door even further in, treat the wounds of the half-elf, and rest – hoping that Dhagri, Wren, and Rhys would somehow manage to join them again…
- This was a very combat-heavy session, while there was certainly roleplaying and a sense of accomplishment because of that the sheer length (and somewhat confusing nature) of the module was starting to show. In hindsight I should have started “fixing” the dungeon earlier, I just didn’t realize how much it was going to drag on.
- The missing characters was partially to force the party to handle encounters without their two tanks, and the other combat-oriented henchman. Dhagri’s player had a work-related emergency and ended up on the West Coast for an unexpected trip and I simply took advantage of that to force the other characters to step up a bit.
- Converting 3.5E adventures obviously takes some work, creatures really work differently in some ways (this was even more of a factor in the next session). Plus, I am also realizing just how bland 5e creatures really are – which is kind of surprising when you look at their trait system. I think part of the problem is that many of the creature features that require saves are simply way too easy to save against – they simply don’t factor in very often.
- That said, some things did some Constitution damage this session and the hit that players took to their maximum hits due to lowered Constitution bonus inducing some puckering on the part of the players. Looking at undead in general I do think this is an interesting way to handle “not energy drain” since so many of the new undead have that sort of effect (maximum hit point reduction) on creatures.
- Overall, the group is still really enjoying themselves, 5e, and even the module (though the module was sinking fast) – so the plan was to wrap up the module the following session if possible and then move on to the next one (which will involve some serious tweaks).