Posted by : David Guyll April 19, 2009

Party Roster
Grynn: gnoll artificer, played by Jennifer
Vimak: deva invoker, played by Adrian
Other-Vimak: goliath fighter, played by Matt as a stand-in for Red Jason.
Josh is played a razorclaw shifter ranger, but I cannot remember his name

Loot List
70 gp, 75 sp
Tarnished electrum necklace with a star sapphire (50 gp)

What started out as a simple test-delve to see how well the concepts worked gradually changed into the first session of my Songs of Erui adventure path that I've been working on for the past few months now. I was mostly concerned for Jennifer's character because it was A) very unorthodox (gnoll artificer), and B) it was a role she had never played before (leader). However, many players were using new races and classes from PH2, so I felt it would be good to see if they actually liked them before cementing their choices.

While I was planning Songs of Erui, I emailed each player a guide on the home base village, Dorsen. Its a sizable farming village that is nestled within a ring of big-ass menhirs that depict various animal spirits. I wanted to know if the lived there, and if not, why they were there. They also knew that they would be hunting goblins in the first adventure, so had to figure out why they would help (ideally because they had a stake in the village for some reason). Red Jason didnt make the game, which left me with Jennifer as the only player that actually did her damned homework.

Undaunted, I proceeded the adventure as planned with a round of Perception checks that were followed by Stealth checks. Everyone but Vimak succeeded, and as such got the drop on a band of goblins that were busy chowing down on roasted humans within the forest that they had tracked them into. This quickly became a running joke as Adrian determined that Vimak's failures were due to him wanting to give the monsters a fair chance, and in tradional bad-paladin fare would announce the arrival of the "Brink of Corruption", or some other random title that he claimed his deva had "just recalled".

The first battle went okay despite me not downgrading it at all: I had planned the adventure for a party of five, but even with Red Jason's dwarf absent they did an amazing job holding off about 650 xP worth of goblins (including a goblin hexer). Now not counting Jennifer, each player is a veteran of 4th Edition as well as past editions, so I was pleased with how well she pulled off a leader role considering she exclusively played defenders prior to this adventure. I could only imagine how difficult this might have been in 3rd Edition if she had to figure out which spells to pray for, when to convert, and all the other minor nuances of playing a spellcaster. Point to 4E for accessible design.

Looting the goblins, as desperate neophyte adventurers are want to do, they discovered a pair of tattered parchment that pointed to a specific location within the Bone Forest and a triskelion symbol. Josh managed to squeeze out a natural 20 on a History check, and having been raised by elves I gave him another +1 to top it off. Somehow, against all odds, he recognized it to be an eladrin rune that meant "hydra", which refers to three eladrin noble houses that were closely allied together over a millenia ago.

He also noticed more goblin tracks moving away from the campsite.

The party tracked them to an old crypt hidden in the forest and spotted a goblin digging through shallow tombs in the walls from quite a distance. Adrian took the opportunity to bellow out a challenge while Josh just rolled his eyes and plugged him with a few arrows. Entering the crypt, they were surprised by a few goblins that were cowering out of sight to the left of the door, and were easily dispatched.

What made the crypt encounter interesting was that there were several links rooms from which the goblins could prepare and ambush or dynamically reinforce eachother. I used a lot of minions in addition to the standard fare, which in total amounted to about 1,000 XP of monsters that they were able to tackle in rapid succession without having to stop. This impressed me as I was used to parties stopping after roughly two encounters in our earliest 4th Edition sessions.

All in all they only took one extended rest, which was after a particularly difficult fight against eladrin undead that they encounter further into the crypt: they werent expecting them to retain fey step, you see. They somehow least expected to fight undead eladrin swordmages, complete with teleporting-mark-goodnes. Narrow corridors dont do much when they can blink past your defenses and start stabbifying your soft-casters. I wanted to use minions to test how dangerous this could be, but also because it gave Jennifer and Adrian a chance to shine with area-effect attacks.

Once the dust had settled, they were able to activate a fey crossroad that would let them explore further and each ended up almost 700 XP (about 2,800 XP in total) richer for their troubles. They didnt find much treasure, and to be honest I had forgotten to double up on item parcels since the first adventure is supposed to push them all to level 3. However, I didnt plan on putting much of anything on the top level and have since added a lot more loot to the rest of the dungeon complex.

The next session will include Red Jason's character, a dwarf paladin that is on a kind of vision quest by Moradin. Hopefully it'll go smoother than having the casual-new-guy play meatshield.

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