Epiro: Episode 102

  • Yllian Faraday (high elf wizard 1)
  • Randy's As Of Yet Still Unamed Druid (wood elf druid 1)
  • Corvus Artmi (human ranger 1)
  • Iola Talmiel (wood elf monk 1)
  • Perseus Eurymedon (human paladin 1)
Last time the characters had discovered an old ruin infested with a nasty case of the bandits, made worse by the fact that they were being lead by a particularly skilled hobgoblin. Despite the odds--and how 5th Edition does hit points--they managed to dispatch all of them without losing anyone, collecting their heads so that they could later collect on the bounty once they got back to Sidon. But, before that, there was the matter of a few unexplored rooms and a basement level intentionally buried under rubble.

One of the rooms was used to store whatever they stole from caravans: there were plenty of marked crates filled with weapons, armor, food, water, booze, clothing, rope, lamp oil, medicine, and so on. All told they could probably fetch about a hundred gold pieces if they tried to pawn it off themselves, though the original owners might not appreciate that if they found out. 

The other room was apparently the quarters for the hobgoblin commander and her bugbear consort. The braved the scattered clothing, sweaty odor that permeated the room, and other unmentionables to haul out a branded trunk filled with the equivalent of over one-hundred fifty gold pieces in assorted coins; not every danger inflicts hit point damage, and not all wounds heal with a long rest.

They wisely decided to rest for the night, figuring that anything capable of scaring a large group of well-armed and organized bandits into just covering it up warranted a fresh start. Nothing showed up during the night, which is probably due to the fact that there are not more severe random encounter rules in the packet. The next day it took about a half an hour of hard work to clear all the unheeded rubble from the doors, and were ready to delve in further.

The stairs lead to a cellar, but aside from some thick wooden pillars there was nothing else to be seen, not even a skeleton-stuffed barrel. As they slowly crept about they noticed some passages leading to the north and east, the latter of which Iola saw a silhouette just beyond the range of Yllian's light spell. As everyone stood around arguing about what to do, a ghoul came darting out of the shadows and leapt onto Iola, hunter style. It wounded her a bit, but as an elf she was inexplicably immune to its paralysis.

Yllian, of all people, was the first to go to her aid. He had picked up a sword from the storage room, as Josh was curious to see how 5th Edition's flat-math was going to hash out in actual play. Unfortunately he was not able to make the entire distance before running out of speed, cursing 5th Edition's lack of a charge action that anyone could do. And then the followup attack came, not from the front, but from the side, by a ghoul that he did not even know was there.

It slashed at him with a bite/claw/claw routine, and as with Iola was not only able to land just the claw, but barely did anything because elf. At that point everyone else actually joined the fray, and they did not last long between Perseus's cure wounds and sword combo, and Corvus's arrow-crit. They examined the ghouls, and now that they were not trying to claw their faces off realized that they were dressed like the rest of the bandits, in red leather armor.


They explored the rest of the cellar, and found a small side room filled with the dead bodies of other bandits, stripped to the bone. The southern section revealed a passage that had been excavated. Yllian noticed that the wall was deliberately built to conceal the passage, and suggested that the bandits must have known to look here. A short way into the passage, they found a stone door with a bas relief  depicting a pair crossed spears, above which stood a boar and a crown that twisted into branches, etched with the word Orsos.

Yllian had heard of an old story, more of a cautionary tale, about a human king that was cursed for his greed hundreds of years ago, probably by some fey entity. His name had been long forgotten, and so he was referred to simply as the Boar King. A king whose crypt it would seem they just discovered. Sure, it was likely cursed, what with the bandits-turned-ghouls, but the only loot they found also likely had living parties that were still legally entitled to it. 

As kings go, the dead, forgotten ones are almost as ideal for adventurers as living, wealthy, generous ones.

They opened the door, which revealed a crypt with a lone sarcophagus. When nothing jumped out to immediately curse them, rather than count their blessings they decided to intrude further and crack open the sarcophagus, which contained a trio of expensive-looking articles of clothing: a pair of copper bracers, a cloak made of some scaly hide, and a belt with a golden boar crest. Not much, but at least nothing was hiding inside, waiting to deliver a curse.

The undead creature lurking behind a hidden passage? That might do the trick.

Iola and Randy's druid had noticed the passage, but elected to wait on opening it until Yllian was finished desecrating the tomb. They were right next to it when the wight decided to strike, which was good in that they noticed the passage opening--unlike the rest of the party--but unfortunately also meant that they were within its reach. Yllian gave diplomacy a shot, extending his hand and stating, "Hail King Orsos." The wight clasped his hand, replying with something along the lines of "long live the king" and an enervating touch. 

Word to the wise, never shake hands with monsters capable of touch attacks.

Even with its resistance to non-magical weapons, when the characters open up with a salvo of mundane weaponry coupled with divine healing magic, things do not last long. Especially when you also go last on the initiative count. At the least, I am proud that the False King lasts up until Perseus slammed with him cure wounds and a Divine Smite.

We left off with the characters staring down a dark, formerly hidden passage. What will they find next week?

(Hint: Probably the Boar King.)

Behind the Scenes 
As with A Sundered World I am having lots of fun making things up as the characters go along. We are still using miniatures, but again more for preventing confusion than tactical positioning. Combat speeds along way more quickly, but I am still trying to get used to using fewer monsters.

Having to rest after all of two encounters is murder for story pacing, and given the nature of the dungeon they can feasibly just stew around as long as they please to ensure that they can tackle it bit-by-bit at full strength (or nearly so). I preferred 4th Edition, where I could worry less about pacing, including having to resort to various tricks to "force" the party to press on or what-have-you.

Melissa is not satisfied with the monk. She misses Flurry of Blows, and I miss how dynamic and interesting the monk used to be in 4th Edition. No more jump kicks or punching monsters into other monsters. 

We also dislike how, at level 2, they all get Undaunted Strike. I think that all of the classes would be better served by allowing you to choose from a list of options as you level up, or increase the ones you already have (similar to how it works in Dragon Age or Mass Effect 2 and 3). Even divvying them up between things, like how the ranger does favored enemy benefits, but for druid circles, monk traditions, and paladin oaths would be pretty cool. Certainly way better than giving every barbarian, monk, paladin, etc the exact same thing at the exact same levels.


  1. So after having run two sessions in the same campaign, along with your other one-shot experiences, I have to ask: what are your impressions of 5E? From a pure theory standpoint, the system seems to have high and low points (as all systems do) but most of your post-session comments seem to have some criticisms of the system. I just wonder what your general impression is now that you've had some prolonged experience with it?

  2. The experience largely reminds me of 3rd Edition (low hit points, limited healing, limited in-combat options, etc), which nowadays aside from the speed of combat is not necessarily a good thing for me and my group.

    I think it is currently an alright game. It could be a lot better, but it could also be worse. I think that, if I do not like the end product, that I would still be inclined to combine so of its elements into a 4th Edition hack.

  3. Admittedly, I haven't had a chance to use the playtest material myself, but everything I've read has led me to the same conclusion you make there: some of the elements seem very interesting and cool but, by and large, I prefer 4E more. The exploration system as you described it especially sounded interesting but I grew pretty weary of the 3E system so I preferred the streamlined system that 4E gave us.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. I would definitely give it a nice, honest shot, just to see what you think when it comes to actual play, if for no other reason than to provide accurate feedback on the surveys, or at least crib the things you like.


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