Dec 19, 2014

Game Session: When Kobolds Fly! (Part 2)

After the last session, Duncan and Ataraxia found themselves in an empty cave, having cleared out the bat swarm that lived here. In a small make-shift cell, they found a young human male, who had been gagged and his hands and fingers tightly bound.

After freeing the thankful young man, he said that his name was Embreth, that he was a young apprentice wizard, and had been taken prisoner recently by the kobolds while in route to Saltmarsh (he was on the same road carriage that Erik Frause was on). In addition to the kobolds here, the leaders of the tribe were actually a nasty hobgoblin called Crookneck, and a few other hobgoblins who served as his lieutenants. Embreth also mentions that two other humans he had been traveling with were somewhere else in the cavern. Embreth was isolated as Crookneck clearly discerned that the young man was a mage. Though Crookneck took the mage's spell book, and most of his spell components, Embreth still had enough components to cast a few of his lesser spells.

After arming Embreth with a small dagger--it was the only weapon they had on hand the young mage could use--the three set out to explore the rest of the cavern. Down one twisting and turning hallway, they found another room where the bats in the area nested, and beyond they found, not another jail cell, but the living quarters, such that it was, for the kobolds of the tribe. While the kobolds outnumbered their hobgoblin leaders, they had no loyalty for Crookneck or his ilk. Since the party was willing to leave the rest of these kobolds alone, including the women and children of the tribe, the kobolds were willing to stay out the heroe's way.

Down another corridor, the party was able to sneak up on a hobgoblin guard. The guard was half asleep at his post and they were quickly able to subdue the hobgoblin before he could alert anyone. From the hobgoblin, Embreth took a spear that he could wield instead of the small dagger.

With surprise, the party burst into the room to find two more hobgoblin and a lone gnome. The gnome is chained to a heavy chair near a set of work benches. One of the benches displays all manner of chemicals, oils, and liquids, while the other table shows small mechanical devices in various stages of build.

After fighting and defeating the hobgoblins, the party was able to talk to the gnome. It seems the gnome, who's "human" name is Sparks, was captured by the kobolds months ago. He was a member of the Mt. Nevermind gnome's Guild of Fences and Defences. He would have been killed, but Crookneck saw the gnome's plans for various inventions in his journals and spared the tinkerer so long as he created useful devices for the tribe.

Sparks also told the party that there were a few other humans still alive in the caverns, based on talk he overheard from the guards. Embreth was able to scrounge through the supplies in the room for the spell components necessary for the few spells he could still recall. Equipped, the party headed back into the hallway, to explore further into the caverns.

Down the main hallway of these caverns, they came across a pair of hobgoblins who've set up a defensive position. After hearing some of the commotion nearby (the party wasn't as stealthy as they'd hoped to be), some of Crookneck's top guards started investigating and after finding the mage missing, they knew something was amiss.

The hobgoblins launched a few volleys of arrows at the party before retreating. Embreth was able to hit one of the guards with the spear he had been carrying. The guard was wounded, but made it back to their fall back position behind a nearby door. The party pursued, and after listening, knew that their were just a few hobgoblins in the next room.

With a coordinated attack, the party burst into the room, which was better decorated than any other place in the caverns. Inside there was one wounded guard, as well as his unharmed partner. Also in the room, giving orders was clearly the tribe leader, the one others referred to Crookneck. With everyone in clear view, Embreth cast one of his spells. Soon missiles of magical force flew unerringly toward the various targets wounding each of the hobgoblins.

After than, Ataraxia rushed in pummel the wounded guard while Duncan went after the other guard. Crookneck was just out of reach, but he soon rushed in to gang up on the cleric. In short order, Duncan, Ataraxia, Embreth, and even Sparks defeated the leader of the tribe and his personal guard.

In the room they found some valuable treasures, including several bags of coins of all types, a handful of precious gems, and a few rare and valuable books. Mostly importantly, among the other books, Embreth was able to find his personal spell book. From Crookneck, Duncan was able to retrieve the leaders enchanted long sword, and a set of keys, for what, the cleric did not yet know.

On the other side of the room, was another door, but instead of leading to another hallway, this was a dark and narrow stairwell down, deeper into the bowels of the earth. Heading down, with sunrod close at hand, the party soon found themselves in the makeshift dungeon. In here, they were able to find the two remaining prisoners, shackled to the walls. One of the keys Duncan retrieved from Crookneck undid the locks. The young men were in fact Oswald and Hubert Fastralli, as Erik Frause has mentioned traveling with on the the road carriage. After freeing the young men and tending to their wounds, all minor, everyone made their way out of the caverns.

Behind the Scenes: As you may have guessed, Embreth was supposed to be a new ongoing character in the campaign. Unfortunately, shortly after these sessions, the person playing him he had to drop out of the game.

Dec 5, 2014

Building D&D 5e Encounters

With the lack of D&D 5e modules currently out on the market, I find myself running more older edition modules, and convert the creatures up to the latest version.

Two new websites I've recently come across help greatly with the problems and issues that come out of conversions.

First, why the new Monster Manual is a great resource of your 5e game, and chock full of all the classic monsters you could be looking for, not everything from past editions is in the book (nor could it be, without ending up looking like the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary.

So if you're older edition module calls for a creature not yet stated in 5e terms, or you have your eye set on a particular monster from an old favorite book, what can you do?

With that in mind, I offer the following web page:

Here, the author has set up a nifty little utility for converting 1e and 3e monsters into their 5e equivalents. Fill out a few fields and you get a easy to copy and past stat block in 5e terms. Note, the conversion guidelines are unofficial, and you may need to do a little tweaking, but this is a great start.

Secondly, now that you have your 5e monsters, you should probably re-check your encounters, just to make sure you didn't accidentally create a deadly encounter when it should have been easy. As we know from The Angry DM's youtube video about 5e encounters, they can be a little more tricky than previous editions.

Thankfully, we have a great website, Kobold Fight Club where you can define the number and level of your PCs, then build out an encounter. The result is a calculation for the experience points for the encounter, and the adjusted XP for determining the lethality of the encounter.

The site also allows you to search for monsters from a number of sources (D&D Basic, MM, etc) and filter by various criteria, such as CR range, monster type, and environment.

Not only do I use this for checking converted encounters, but also for brainstorming original encounters as well. The site also allows you to save encounters for later reference.

Whether you're running older modules, or original content, these two sites can greatly speed up your prep time. Hope you find them as useful as I do.