I worked up the stats for the seven orcs and two ogres that were inhabiting the shrine. I gave them all characteristics that would help the players target them (Chest Scar, Drooly, Rash). I also rolled for loot on them. Now the adventure doesn't tell you where to place these creatures specifically. It gives you some guidelines, which I thought I would remember while we were playing... I didn't.
Finally I decided that in addition to the mithral shirt they got from Big Al, they should get a couple more magic items from Paellia. I figured some one time use items could help spice things up, and let them feel like they are accomplishing something. I get the feeling they think they should level up after this mission, but they actually have to complete another medium level mission before that happens. So giving them magic items is a nice way to let them feel like they are being rewarded.
I decided to give the Rogue a healing portion, and give the druid a spell scroll. I looked up the rules for spell scrolls, and decided to give her a spell that was higher level then she can currently cast. It is called Wind Wall and it creates a wall of wind that can be shaped, inflicts damage on anyone it is cast upon (or whoever tries to move through it) and messes up any missile weapons. I figured it might be useful, and the Druid could only cast it once before the scroll disintegrated.
With all that prepped we were ready for adventure.
|Unleash the wind!|
|"Petunia and I owe you some sarsaparilla."|
I was actually tracking time using the Forgotten Realms calendar (so I knew how many days passed to meet up with Paellia). This is on page 33 of the Dungeon Master's Guide and in more detail on page 14 and 15 of the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. I set the campaign in the month of Client "The Fading", essentially the 9th month of the 12 month calendar. The feast day of Highharvesttide was coming up. Essentially a fall harvest festival. Phandalin will be going all out and I think I can have some fun with that.
Anyway, with that seed planted, the characters started back to Phandalin along the Triboar Trail again. The group chatted a bit, with Inverna feeling like if they were going to attempt to clear out the Shrine, they needed to do it at night. She had a feeling they got real lucky last time. And as the DM I told them I screwed up a few sessions back, and that they shouldn't have been able to sneak so close to the shrine without being caught in daylight. But I said that guard was changing and that distracted the orcs as they moved past the guard tower. The players were fine with this, since I told them they got to keep all the intel they picked up.
|"Oi! Do I look like a raccoon to you?"|
As the Druid/racoon did recon, her companions hid in the grasses outside the rear wall and tried to keep quiet. So I was had both groups rolling stealth checks every once in a while. The Druid got some great rolls in and was able to explore the entire inner courtyard of the shrine. She didn't like what she saw. Two ogres and six orcs, with a seventh in the tower. As she tried to get past "Drooly" the ogre, she rolled poorly and he saw her. But since I described him as drooling on himself and staring at the moon, the Rogue asked, "Is he high?" I decided on the spur of the moment, that yes he was high. Seeing the raccoon, he just assumed it was part of his trip, so we went back to staring at the moon. But later the The Druid was spotted by a couple of guard orcs who thought it would be funny to throw rocks at her. One hit, but just as she was escaping through a hole in the wall. Meanwhile Inverna knocked over a rock as they were hiding. One of the orcs came out to investigate, but they rolled really well on stealth. The orc assumed it was some kind of critter and went back to the campfire.
|The web spell can give any D&D monster a bad day.|
No matter what the edition.
They rolled really well on stealth, and he didn't notice them. The moon was just too damn fascinating. As they passed I told the Druid that she noticed some mushrooms lying next to the ogre, and she knew they had hallucinogenic qualities. They felt pretty good about leaving him behind. They moved toward the campfire, where there were three orcs playing dice and the ogre with the rash hanging out. Unfortunately this failed their stealth check, and all four enemies spotted them. The Druid managed to roll very high for initiative and so she cast Wind Wall. She stretched it from one all of the shrine to the outer wall, catching all four enemies (I had described them as being in a rough line before - my bad). The Druid passed her wisdom check and Wind Wall hit like a mini hurricane. I'm not exaggerating. She rolled some amazing damage with he spell. The three orcs were swept up and blown around and all died! The ogre took some serious damage, but he came surging forward and at them.
|"I hear elf taste good... taste elf NOW!"|
Eventually the ogre fell to their blows. But before they could do anything else, they saw the two orc guards who were messing with the Web earlier come running over and seeing with Wind Wall. One went running off to get the boss (the guy in the tower) the other stood there dumbfounded... and that is where we ended for the night. One drugged out Ogre and three orcs left.
|You know you're playing well when even the other party|
members are a little scared of you.
Also I ended up placing the enemies oddly. I essentially did this, as the Druid was scouting things out as a raccoon. I probably shouldn't have clustered so many together, and even put the ogres in opposite sides of the shrine. But I was winging it, and couldn't remember exactly where campsites were supposed to be located. I didn't want to slow down the game by looking it up. In the end, I'm the only one who was frustrated by this. The players had a good time, and felt like they did a good job sneaking into the shrine. The especially liked the drugged out ogre. They don't want to kill the guy, which I find very funny.
I've got some interesting ideas for the next session - the orcs are going to try talking to the party. The Rogue player made the comment to the Druid, "You're pretty damn scary, you know that. Casting these Web spells, and then that Wind spell, I'd be terrified of you if I was an orc." It got me thinking...
Session 12: Tempestuous Negotiations