Posted by : David Guyll May 10, 2010
I'm just going to fast-forward to the part where the group actually got to the dragon burial site, as the events that transpired between Winterhaven and there are best forgotten. All that needs to be said is that they "got" a kobold cleric on their side, partially because Liz (playing a drow assassin) wanted one and mostly because the three-man group was missing a leader of any capacity.
So, burial site.
I think that initially Nate (playing the warforged fighter) wanted to try and talk to the diggers and find out what they were up to. All they had learned from the previous...encounter...is that the Orcus-cultists were looking for some sort of special bone to use in a ritual, but didnt get any specifics since A) they seriously botched some of their Intimidate rolls, and B) Kalarel didnt leave affectionate notes for his flunkies thoroughly detailing his plans.
The encounter composition used the original map from the module (kind of a mistake), with the following changes to the setup:
- 1 human cult fanatic (level 3 brute)
- 1 human necromancer (level 2 controller)
- 4 human rabble (level 2 minion)
- 2 grave drakes (level 3 soldier)
Again, the grave drakes were not there when combat started. The necromancer "summons" them during another round, allowing me to start out the fight with a more manageable XP budget before ramping it up a bit. He could summon them within a burst of 5 squares, meaning that they could be conjured up at tactical positions. I had entertained the idea of requiring a sustain minor to keep them in the game, but promptly forgot about it when he died and the dragon skeleton showed up (not that it would have changed much).
For the most part, combat ran pretty damned smooth for the group, even when the necromancer summoned the grave drakes. I surrounded the bone pile with necrotic terrain, and each time the necromancer used one of his spells the necrotic ground surrounding the pile of bones got bigger. Necrotic terrain halves the efficacy of healing powers, so the bigger it got the further they had to get from the center of the pit in order to ensure that they got the full oomph from second wind and healing word. This wasnt terribly easy since three out of four party members were melee oriented.
Once the necromancer was killed, I gave it two rounds before the young white dragon skeleton popped out, which I changed to a blue dragon at the last minute because they had that white dragon skull and +1 frost fullblade, and didnt want to render both items basically useless. Besides, I wanted to use one of my three blue dragon minis. Sadly, they steamrolled this fucker handily and we called the session.
I think the biggest problem was that there was really only two encounters for the entire fucking day, meaning that for this encounter they basically had all of their resources on hand to take down the necromancer and his minions. I tried to ramp things up a bit by introducing the dragon skeleton before they could snag a short rest, it didnt matter much.
White Dragon Skull: This is a head slot item that lets characters use a daily version of a dragonborn's breath weapon, except that it relies on Int, Wis, or Cha and can only inflict cold damage.
I had to manually create a stat-block for Meepo, since companion characters are not quite the same as monsters. Thankfully I kept all my template files for Microsoft Office. ^_^
I changed this guy to a blue dragon, which basically meant that resist 15 cold became lightning and the breath weapon became a ranged attack that arced to different enemies instead of a blast. Nothing too massive.