D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 22 Recap

The PCs dive further into the Temple of Howling Hatred, freeing prisoners, talking to djinnis, and the return of the wyvern.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Non-hostile creatures have become a favorite of mine. They allow for fun, often memorable scenes of role-playing. I also enjoy a bit of amateur voice acting. Sometimes these scenes turn hostile, other times my players meet an ally.

This week our heroes dived further into the Temple of Howling Hatred. We ended up plumbing through the most boring sections of the dungeon in the SouthEast, but things finally picked up when they met the friendly djinni Ahtayir and had their second encounter with the wyvern.

After cleaning up the Kenku guards at the entrance the party explored the seemingly empty living quarters on the South Eastern corner of the dungeon. These areas offer both optional respite and random encounters – so not the safest place to rest. They’re also kind of boring to walk through as I relied solely on the random encounter rolls, and didn’t produce a single one.

Perhaps if I’d had a bit more prep time I could’ve staged at least one mini-encounter. They doubled back and found a room with giant stone wheels and the classic villains whipping prisoners scene.

I let the PCs use Free Actions to make Persuasion and Intimidation checks on the coerced initiates-in-training, and most ended up fleeing.

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The Howling Hatred Priests have pretty terrible spells – how many times does an enemy spellcaster need to use Feather Fall? And Dust Devil is super dumb and limited. Witch Bolt (Sith Lightning) is pretty spiffy, and charged up to level 3 is quite strong, but then there’s Talus with a Counterspell. The PCs are very good at neutralizing enemy spellcasters.

They discovered an old dwarven shrine with more kenku torturing prisoners. The crow-people were quickly slain and I used the prisoners as a brief fountain of information.

They alluded that the tunnel in the SouthEast lead to a different cult faction. I mentioned there was a gate down the path, but didn’t dissuade my players from exploring. They opted not to, which may be a result of the map literally leading off the edge of our Roll20 map. I was prepared for them to go there just in case.

Instead they headed North and met Ahtayir. The djinni had been summoned centuries ago by the dwarven king to keep up repairs, a task which he’s kind of sucked at from what I can tell. I made him friendly and forthcoming with the heroes.

d&dMiri asked about her mother with both the prisoners and Ahtayir. I teased that she had been taken before the Queen and prophet of Air in the pyramid, but later “sent below.”

Ahtayir asked the PCs to destroy the horn that summoned him and bound him to his task. He also warned them that whoever blows the horn next can command him in a single task, a very interesting scenario that may play out in the future. He knows only that the horn resides within the pyramid in the middle of the moat, which is still guarded by the now rider-less wyvern.

Previously the PCs had turned the wheels, and soon spotted the fruits of their labors. The moat had been completely drained of water, revealing hordes of coins and jewels in the bottom. Kethra used her Inspiration to force a 20+ roll on Perception, and I revealed the platinum, ruby-encrusted goblet. The greedy rogue tied a rope to a pillar and climbed down, while the wyvern screeched in the distance.

I had teased that the wyvern was till in the area, patrolling the pyramid. I gave the PCs ample time by teasing its presence, but still they lingered. When Kethra was halfway to the goblet, the giant dwarven stone golem fell on her. The guardian patrols the moat, and is normally hidden when the moat is full.

Stone Golems are insanely strong. They shrug off non-magical attacks and have a multi-hit slam attack that hits like a truck. I won the Initiative battle and Kethra took both blows, only surviving thanks to Uncanny Dodge. She hightailed it back up the rope – then I had the wyvern show up.

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This was a cool set up. The PCs were in an awkward position on the bridge. Kethra was still on the rope while the rest used their actions to pull her up, correctly assuming that the golem would not follow.

The wyvern launched itself at Talus at the North end, getting in some mean damage. Miri used her First of Unbroken Air to deal a solid hit, but more importantly knock the wyvern on its ass when it failed its saving throw. It tumbled down 20 feet to the bottom of the empty moat.

Kalinaar saw this as an opportunity and leapt down after it, while the rest had a more cautious approach and peppered the downed creature with ranged attacks. The wyvern was already slightly wounded, but lasted only a single round before it went down. Both tail strikes (one against Talus and one vs Kalinaar) missed, which caused the PCs to sigh with relief, though they sustained heavy damage from its bite.

Fun Fact: At CR 6 the wyvern is the single most powerful foe our heroes have defeated so far!

It was a fun, tense moment, and I liked the epic feel of the battle. It helped turn an otherwise dud session into a fun one – though things quickly could’ve become much more deadly had those viscous tail strikes hit. Next week – the pyramid?

Recorded every Sunday night, uploaded on Mondays. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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