D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap

The party gains several new side quests in Red Larch. They journey to Westbridge and discover the ruined town being bullied by the Cult of the Black Earth.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

It’s entirely possible to over prepare for a D&D session. This produces the opposite effect of the phrase, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” Instead you’re so consumed by the entire forest, you skip over trying to plant and nurture individual trees.

This past week I think I spent more time on D&D than anything else. My party had recently returned to Red Larch after a very lengthy stay within the temples of elemental evil. The sojourn encompassed three dungeons, at least two Long Rests, and over two months of real time.

So I had a bit of a backlog with side treks and extra events that were happening around the Dessarin Valley.

d&dI also wanted to include even more extra content. I recently received the Book of Lairs book from Kobold Press’ Tomb of Beasts Kickstarter (the ToB is also fantastic) and found a dungeon that I could easily include in our current campaign as a Side Trek.

On top of that I found another mini-dungeon that would work wonderful for my campaign with a few tweaks, from Nerzugal’s DM Toolkit. That’s on top of a Side Trek included in the campaign that I was adding.

So that’s three Side Treks I built this week. Then I noticed my party would be traveling to Westbridge, and realized that “Princes of the Apocalypse” includes a neat little mini-scenario that occurs when they travel there in the latter half of the adventure. Four – four new things!

It was overwhelming but I got it all done. I could’ve easily just picked one and dove deeper into it. But I enjoyed giving my players the option of picking where to go and what to do. I wish I hadn’t done the Westbridge event at the last second on Sunday – as that’s what we ended up tackling this week. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 32 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap

We sneak past trolls and ogres with stealth and deception before battling reavers and bugbears. Curious water weird tanks are found while we escape the elemental temples.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

When exploring a large dungeon, I prefer not to leave it as a series of static rooms filled with monsters and traps. Depending on how much prep time I have, I try to include unique scenarios, dialogue, and role-playing situations whenever I can to break up the blood bath. Particularly after the super long combat encounter that lasted all last session.

This week our heroes squeezed in a Short Rest before having to think on their feet and employ some stealth and deception to make it through a series of trolls, ogres, and an opportunity-seizing sea hag named Thuluna. They discovered magical experiments involving mobile Water Weird battle tanks, and a whole host of baddies to take down as they made their way out of Crushing Wave territory. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 31 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap

An explosive trap sets off an epic battle in the heart of the water temple with cultists, lizardfolk, and a dragon turtle.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Some sessions are filled with intrigue, role-playing, puzzles, and exploration. Others are just one big battle royale. Our thirtieth session was the latter, as our heroes charge forth into the waiting arms of the water cultists.

My players’ progress within the water temple has been haphazard at best. They narrowly avoided being slaughtered by the dragon turtle, and at one point looked to be separating to different corners via the underground river.

But they regrouped and headed North and East, which lead them straight to the boss. They defeated Gar quite handily (being at nearly full strength).

But now most of the temple lay before them – and its denizens were aware of intruders lurking about. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 30 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 29 Recap

The party survives an ambush and takes on the leader of the Crushing Wave cult with help, then betrayal from their lizardfolk allies.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Holy crap my players are powerful. Like Polymorph the captured rogue into a giant ape that kills everything, powerful.

D&D’s always had a weird balance that revolves around attrition. Creatures are given a Challenge Rating and DM’s have a tool to calculate how to make encounters Easy, Medium, Hard, and Deadly depending on the type and number of enemies.

But that assumes a “well-rested party.” Much of the challenge of D&D comes from fights taking a gradual toll on the party’s resources. It was a tricky balancing act, particularly in dungeons.

5E lets the party Short Rest to recover some abilities. If the party does that right before a major boss battle, they’re sitting much prettier than an otherwise easy or medium fight that’s at the end of a long string of encounters. See for example the near deadly fire elemental encounter near the end of Scarlet Moon Hall.

For this week’s session the party tackled their biggest boss battle to date – the leader/prophet of Elemental Water Gar Shatterkeel, and suffered nary a scratch. I even threw an extra force of reinforcements at them, AND had their lizardfolk allies turn on them afterward.

frysquintThe PCs defeated them all.

Nary a scratch.

 

 

Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 29 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 28 Recap

In the water temple the party stumbles on a massive dragon turtle lair and mounts a daring escape.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

In some dungeon-crawling sessions we simply go room-to-room, slaying monsters and looting. The Action-RPG approach isn’t necessarily wrong – everyone plays D&D differently. Sometimes, however, your party stumbles into an area that’s way over their head, and the ensuing chaos can be just as fun as actual combat.

The party was on their third dungeon in a row, doing most of the air temple, running through almost half of the Fane, and emerging in the Water temple. It’s been hell on my prep work, but it also lead to some of our most memorable moments in the entire campaign.

The Cult of the Crushing Wave is home to the largest monster we’ve seen so far – a dragon turtle. Of course I was super excited to unleash this monstrosity, and the campaign book had several scenarios that Bronzefume could be utilized in.

Turns out, I wouldn’t need any of them. The party decided to jump into the river, and attempt to deal with a long series of Swim checks that lead them closer to the Market Hall/Docks area in the Southeast. I added some torches to the quay on the west side to help orient them a little better, but they spotted the glowing lights in the Western part of the lake. Like moths to the flame, they decided to investigate. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 28 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 27 Recap

Reaching the water section of the Fane we battle killer fungus and water weirds, and parley with a tribe of lizardfolk. Then it’s on to the Temple of the Crushing Wave!

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

What do you do when you a have a string of interconnected dungeons, all of a different level, and no built-in way to stop your players from stumbling into them? Sit back and watch the chaos unfold.

When it comes to DMing, I’m far better at planning than ad-libbing. My skills at rolling with the punches have steadily improved, and it’s a very necessary skill to have to run a tabletop RPG.

That being said, I try to see where players are and what’s ahead and plan accordingly. These last few sessions have been extremely difficult in that regard, due to the dungeon layouts in “Princes of the Apocalypse.” I’m having to construct entire large dungeons every week as my party hops through them haphazardly. It’s fun to see which directions they take (seemingly at random!) but hell on my stress levels. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 27 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 26 Recap

We journey down a giant worm carcass into a whole new dungeon filled with even greater dangers.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

I have zero experience with high level Dungeons & Dragons. I mean, I’ve played games like Baldur’s Gate 2 and Neverwinter Nights. But in terms of the tabletop, we’ve never had a campaign reach the upper echelons, or even mid-tier for that matter.

Playing with stronger monsters with multiple abilities is a nice challenge as a DM. But what’s really interesting is when rooms or battlefields offer additional challenges. In this week’s session, the party travels down to an entirely new dungeon that offers some challenging new hazards. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 26 Recap”