D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 53 Recap

We return to the Howling Caves, where the party has to stop one of their own from completing the elemental ritual!

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Sometimes you step out of your comfort zone and enter uncharted waters within a role-playing space. This week we attempted to spice up the story of elemental evil by having one of the PCs become corrupted by the elemental weapon she’d been wielding, ultimately acting as the Prophet of Air while the other three raced to stop her.

It was a neat idea but the execution left the rest of the party bewildered and hurt rather than excited at the prospect. They thought Miri was just straight-up betraying them.

I had previously established that the elemental prophet weapons were semi-sentient and definitely capable of having negative effects on those who wielded them. Miri had previously used and ultimately rejected Drown. But she was heedless with Windvane, having used it for quite some time. I had mostly forgotten about it, occasionally teasing the gossamer wings she’d grown and her haughty (haughtier) attitude.

But being so close to the wind node and having attuned to the weapon for so long compelled her to separate from the party about halfway through the dungeon. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 53 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 52 Recap

We journey back into the Black Geode and confront the Prophet of Earth in the Earth Node.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Those of you that have been following our campaign for awhile know we’ve had our share of technical difficulties. Unfortunately we had a nasty one crop up in our session last night – complete power failure from a thunderstorm. This resulted in the loss of the first 2/3 (almost 2 hours) of our session.

Crap!

As you’ll see in the video I attempted to salvage our session by recording a few minutes this morning and describing what happened before syncing up with the final 30 minutes. I’m devastated that we lost some great footage, and apparently I need to switch to recording via .flv instead of .mp4. So it goes.

Last week our heroes had sealed the water node and returned to rest in the Fane of the Eye. They set out this week to delve back into The Black Geode, battle the prophet of elemental earth and seal the earth node. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 52 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 51 Recap

We discover the water node and confront the new would-be leader of the Cult of the Crushing Wave.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

It’s boss battle time! I got lucky with the timing and received a whole week between sessions to prep for the confrontation at the water node. “Princes of the Apocalypse” has a lot of neat “if the PCs do this, then change this” situations. Mostly they have to do with the free-form order in which the PCs can tackle the four elemental cults.

If the Cult of the Crushing Wave’s prophet was previously defeated, then one of the big monsters in the final water dungeon, an aboleth, attempts to gain control of the cult.

I had to tease the creature through a bunch of cultists since my party unfortunately skipped the entire Western section of the Plunging Torrents, which features the worshiping Kuo-Toa and the aboleth’s lair.

I have a lot of fun role-playing monstrous creatures. The aboleth, named Yngukulub (whom my players affectionately referred to as Young Giggle Cub) provided a fun chance to dig into my players’ heads, tempting their characters with their deepest desires. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 51 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 50 Recap

We dive further into the Plunging Torrents, battling watery knights, icy mages, blood-thirsty fish, and mysterious tentacles.

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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. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 50 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 49 Recap

We rescue Rhundorth and escape the earth dungeon to rest and level up to 10, then tackle the water domain.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

My players have been in an awkward situation for the last few sessions. They’ve reached enough experience to level up to 10. But one of our house rules states that the PCs can only level up after a Long Rest. Right now they’re knee-deep in the depths of an elemental dungeon, about three dungeons below the surface.

Due to “Princes of the Apocalypse’s” interconnected labyrinthine mega-dungeons, finding a safe place to rest has proven difficult.

In this week’s session, Talus used his Arcane Eye to scout out the rest of the Black Geode  – finding the indentured Rhundorth. The party rescued the dwarf before retreating back up to the Fane of the Eye to find a safe place to rest, level up, and decide where to go next. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 49 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 48 Recap

We delve further into the monstrous depths of the deepest caverns of Elemental Earth – the Black Geode.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

My players often use standard shock ‘n awe, charge in the front door tactics. Many times when confronted with foes that are not immediately hostile, a fight ends up breaking out anyway.

I’ve been trying to steer away from this on my part, offering the PCs other ways and opportunities rather than just straight combat. My favorite RPGs, like the older isometric Fallout titles, offered multiple ways to get past enemies or tackle a challenge, with “kill ’em all” as only one possible solution.

This week the party manages to overcome two separate encounters without fighting. Well technically one fight did break out, but the party opted to end it fairly peacefully and escape.

The Black Geode is crawling with elemental evil, and the party pushes their limited resources to the limits as they make their way deeper into the crystal caverns. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 48 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 47 Recap

We journey deeper into the elemental earth dungeons, beyond a pair of tic-tac-toe playing giants.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Our heroes find themselves in the middle of a dungeon crawl of elemental evil. Due to the nature of “Princes of the Apocalypse,” they’re exploring a dungeon I don’t necessarily need or want them in, however. The solution? Give them a map with fairly obvious neon blinking arrows.

I’ve been known to pull out some DM cheats to get the players to go where I want. Directly railroading your players usually isn’t fun, but if your players are more frustrated than fascinated by directionless exploration (as mine are), it can be a useful tool to pull out a magically locked gate, or an incredibly useful map.

I had them find maps of both the current dungeon and the next one, the Fane of the Eye. They’d explored quite a bit of the Fane already, but hadn’t approached from the Earth side yet.

Meanwhile they were cutting a haphazard path through the Earth Temple. It was fun enough but with the prophet gone their main goal was simply getting down to the Fane, and from there start exploring the deeper Elemental Node dungeons. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 47 Recap”