Nah, just kidding. (Wouldn’t that be funny though?)
I have to say that the second time DMing was much better than the first. (Much like other virginity-losing experiences?) To review, here is the cast of characters:
- Egon – Halfling Rogue, ex-husband of Babs.
- Babs – Barbarian, ex-wife of Egon.
- Orsik – Dwarf Cleric
We last left our adventurers as they were entering the tower on the side of the mountain. Egon fell when walking over the rotted fallen door and got himself a pile o’fire beetles. They killed off the beetles, crawled into their cave, and found a +1 frost battleaxe.
Moving on to session 2…
The PCs go into the tower and inspect the dwarven statues. Egon goes to Pillsbury Dough-Boy one of them, which conveniently happened to be the one that opens the secret door revealing a small room. A dwarf skeleton is collapsed in front of a coffer. Egon goes in, picks the lock to the coffer, and pulls out a box. The door to the room closes on him, locking him in the dark (he’s a Halfling – can’t see!!). Now, if it were up to his ex-wife Babs, he’d probably rot in there and die. Luckily, Orsik is much nicer and presses the statue again, opening the door for Egon.
Opening the box, Egon finds three heavy pouches full of very shiny iron filings. He touches the tip of his dagger to the filings, which immediately jump out of the bag and attach themselves to the blade. Egon drops the blade to the ground. After thoroughly checking it out, he realizes that there is nothing different about the dagger other than it being shinier and a bit heavier. He puts the other two pouches of filings in his bag.
Searching the dwarf, the PCs find masterwork thieves tools and a note:
At the Gates of Gilded Blood
One click sinister,
then shun both extremes.
Keep to the center,
keep your life.
I made that note back before the first session (which was shorter than expected) and have been dying for them to find it ever since. I worked hard on making it look cool. It was all wrinkly and smudged and everything. (Shoot me, I was proud of myself!)
The PCs decide to climb up the mountain path rather than jump the river to the lower path. They find the secret stairs into the caves and manage to be quiet enough that the zombies don’t hear them. They fight the two zombie ogres in their lair.
These were supposed to be two level 8 zombies. I had to nerf them quite a bit because I only have 3 PCs (the module is written for 4-6 PCs). I could have cut it down to just one zombie, but really, what fun is ONE zombie? I made the cleric’s radiant damage have a higher bonus and did not use the Zombie Slam or Rise Again powers. It was a tough and long fight, but the PCs finally took them down. (This despite Egon sliding out of the room and refusing to fight about halfway through the encounter.)
They move out of the caves and back along the mountain path, where Egon is shot by dwarven guards with crossbows who are guarding the big green copper door. The PCs battle the dwarves and their ogre slave (Babs tried to negotiate with the ogre, but he was very dumb and very angry).
The dwarves manage to sneak away, leaving the PCs with the ogre. The ogre is killed and just as Babs’ axe is cleaving through its body, the PCs hear the big green doors close. It takes a big team effort to push the doors open (thanks to Orsik’s knowledge of the type of door – it’s good to be a dwarf!).
The Floodgate trap was set off by the dwarf (it’s not good to be a dwarf!) and Babs went flying down the hallway in the rush of water, falling into the lake below. The boys threw her a rope and hauled her back up. As they’re heading back up the hallway, they are attacked by the two dwarves that threw the trap switch. The PCs kill them pretty easily.
Egon had scouted into the next room, seeing the great staircase and the three orcs camped near it. He sneaks in and ambushes them. The surprise round really hurt the orcs (they were eating dinner!). The three level 1 PCs took down three level 4 orc beserkers. Only one orc was able to use his Warriors Surge (when bloodied, can regain 16 hps on a hit). The PCs had some close calls in the single digits of their hitpoints, but thanks to Orsik’s healing abilities and Egon’s big damage, everybody survived.
Babs was the one who saved the party from their last bit of danger – she caught the vial of poison that rolled out of the orc’s secret stash in the side of the staircase. After that, the PCs decided to retreat to the caves near the dead zombies and make their camp for the night.
Things I Learned
- DMing is way easier the second time around.
- When the monsters are too hard, it’s okay to fudge numbers to make the monsters still hard, but not impossible.
- I wish Anubis’ Encounter Manager would move dead monsters to the bottom of the list so the only folks left in the initiative order are PCs and live monsters.
- Minis are cool, but even with silver dots to number the identical orcs (1,2,3), I can still manage to mix up which orc is which.
- My friends can be well-behaved players when they try (or when they’re really tired – Babs was exhausted today.)
- Maybe I should arrange for Babs to be tired every time we game…