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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Holy crap, 50 sessions! I knew “Princes of the Apocalypse was going to be a much bigger undertaking than the Starter Kit adventure, “Lost Mine of Phandelver.” This is by far the longest single campaign I’ve ever run, and we’re not done yet!

At this point the party has battled their way through at least half of three of the four final elemental dungeons. But only in the water dungeon, called the Plunging Torrents, do they actively approach the first elemental node of power. The source of all the elemental incursions wrecking the land. The gateway to the elemental planes beyond.

I made that sound exciting but what followed was actually a pretty mundane session as the party battled their way along what I realized was by far the most boring and straight-forward path in the dungeon.

We began this week having left off in an awkward predicament last week – Kalinaar had been separated from the group via the transporting water orb. He had ducked into an underground tunnel, found the narwhal horn, and was headed up the passage to P11.

The rest of the party was left to investigate around the floating corpse in P12. They played it safe, noting that the body was paralyzed and clawed to death, and the tunnel was gated and locked. Talus was curious, however, and used Invisibility to explore.


He and a stealthed Kethra found a horde of Ghouls feeding on dozens of bones. It looked like a convenient place to throw bodies into, and one in which the party wanted to back out of slowly (after double-checking for treasure of course).

Meanwhile Kalinaar made it back after finding another underwater tunnel, though I had a Giant Octopus attempt to attack him. I got off a solid hit and the party took up positions ready to fight it off. The beast wasn’t evil, just hungry, and it backed off as soon as its prey swam away. Not every fight is a battle to the death.

Reuinted, the party headed Southeast, retracing Kalinaar’s journey in the orb. They easily fought the One-Eyed Shiver in the random icy throne. Miri knocked him on his ass with a powerful Fist of Unbroken Air while Kalinaar did clean up duty.

d&dThe ice mephits proved more troublesome. Their Frost Breath and Claw attacks are incredibly weak, despite their numbers. But their exploding death burst of ice shards got off some solid hits on everyone, even killing one of Miri’s henchlizards.

That area also lacked treasure, as did the next one, which contained a pair of Dark Tide Knights and their Water Weird mounts. Since the PCs made plenty of ruckus against the Shiver, I had the Knights stage an ambush. It went poorly since the Knights were outnumbered and out-gunned, but I did get some really nasty blows on Talus, taking out 2/3 of his health when a water weird emerged behind them.

I also took out the second lizardfolk ally. Poor redshirt lizards.

Even more effective were several Swarms of Quippers that I spawned in P16 after the battle. The party has been cavalier about exploring areas, Kalinaar especially. He’s using his Ring of Swimming to scout all over, so I taught him a lesson that danger can lurk in an corner.

The quippers did some big damage in their opening salvo despite Kalinaar’s 20 AC. After that I don’t think I ever hit him again.

It was an odd fight as both Talus and Kethra kind of shrugged, not wanting to engage with a foe that was underwater. Kethra rolled a piece of meat in blood and fired it into the water. I love this kind of outside the box thinking (to an extent), and it drew one of the quippers away.

Talus Haste’d Kalinaar, which surprised me. They were just fish! I even told them that if they stayed out of the water, the fish couldn’t attack them. But Kalinaar jumped back in while Miri assisted by taking the boat to join Kalinaar and attacking from a ledge. Soon the fish lay dead. Crisis averted!


It was a fairly boring session. Partly because we all just got back from PAX South and were pretty drained. But also because that was just not a terribly exciting series of rooms compared to other areas. Sadly it’s the most logical one for the party to take given the watery orb’s path.

I’m okay with dungeons having multiple paths, but each one should be an interesting and unique route that really changes the dynamics (like emerging into the chasm within the Black Geode instead of across the bridge). This one really felt like simply going room to room killing cultists, which we have been doing for quite awhile. Hopefully I made things a little more fun with the fish, octopus and ambush.

Definitely looking forward to next week, as we ended with the party approaching the waterfall in the South that leads to a gigantic cavern, with an ominous giant pulsing water orb in the middle. And I’ve been teasing a new master of the water cult….

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