4E D&D: Save the Princess, Episode 102

  • Aka (1st-level red panda hengeyokai slayer)
  • Kabuto (1st-level warforged vampire)
  • Mirai (1st-level human cleric/shaman hybrid)
  • Sho (1st-level spirit-folk cursed swordmage)

On their second day of slogging across the crater, the party came across a wooden, stalk-like growth that snaked up into the sky. Its branches gripped a series of stone platforms at various heights, from which water cascaded into a wide pool surrounding the stalk's roots. The mist and clouds quickly obscured it, so they had no idea how high it reached or how many platforms there were.

A stone bridge reached across the pool to a pipe clutched in the stalk's roots. It appeared unoccupied, and given that this was the first thing they'd seen since they'd entered the crater, they decided to explore it. However, before they were even halfway across the bridge a corpulent, fish-like creature flopped onto the stones behind Kabuto.

Kabuto stared at it while it jerkily stood on a pair of spindly legs, but when it began clumsily wobbling towards him, teeth bared, he turned to warn the rest of the party, which was when it spat a still-living, snapping fish at him. He was surprised that it was able to latch onto his chest, more so when it began easily tearing into his metallic body.

Sho charged and began blasting the bizarre fish-man with his magic up close, while Mirai hung back and battered it with powerful winds. Aka sliced the fish off of Kabuto, who then joined the rest, but after striking the fish-man it vomited forth a small group of smaller and seemingly normal-ish fish. They flopped about on the bridge for a few moments before growing wings, after which they began zipping about and biting the characters as they flew by.

Fortunately they weren't terribly strong, but moments after slicing, scorching, and smashing the fish, both humanoid and flying, a squad of five kappa soldiers emerged from the mist, likely attracted by Sho's flashy display of fire and lightning. Despite their wounds and exhaustion, the party stood their ground; they eventually succeeded in slaying four of the kappa and forcing the last to surrender, but Kabuto was destroyed during the battle.

Behind the Scenes
I reiterated to the group that not only is not every encounter intended to be fought, but many things in this place are going to outclass the lot of them, even if they manage to gain a dozen or so levels (like, given that this is a Mario thing and all, a level 15+ Donkey Kong is somewhere out there).

Fortunately 4th Edition can be pretty forgiving, which means that they'll ideally be able to realize that whatever is kicking their ass is probably going to kill them, so they can try to leg it sooner than later. Unfortunately, this time they stuck around.
I really tried to avoid houseruling the game, but I caved and started doing the "leveling up the party whenever" thing. Otherwise it's gonna take for fucking ever: after everything they've done, including the fights from this session, they were only halfway to 2nd-level. I'm using random tables from Rules Compendium to dole out treasure: they've got a few magic items, just not stuff that's ideal for them. Oh well, there's always the Enchant Item ritual.

Shane wanted to deal more damage, so I managed to convince him to roll up a tiefling oni infernal pact hexblade. That means bye-bye defender, but I've run a campaign with two leaders and a controller, so I think a party of one leader and two strikers will work out juuust fine. If not, they can always roll up new characters!

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.

The Cleric is out! Next up, The Paladin and probably The Mimic, after which we'll run another class vote.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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