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 45 Recap

We stir up the hornet’s nest at the entrance to the Temple of the Black Earth, then confront a Mud Sorcerer

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

After weeks of side treks, character-focused story lines, and overland travel, we’re back to good old fashioned dungeon crawling. We’re officially entering the late game portion of “Princes of the Apocalypse.” The PCs know what needs to be done and generally where to do it.

But the elemental cults have large, sprawling, interconnected dungeons. Time to knock on the main entrance! Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 45 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 43 Recap

We journey back to the Sumber Hills to find a holy dwarven shrine infested with bandits.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

The tricky thing about side quests is that they’re technically optional. As a DM there’s a definite allure to creating an open-world filled with things to do. But I’m not exactly Bethesda or Rockstar. Creating or adapting content into Roll20 takes time – and anything my players choose not to do unfortunately becomes time wasted (although the way “Princes of the Apocalypse” is structured it’s not only possible but even emphasized that the PCs skip some of the main quest dungeons).

That hasn’t happened too much in our campaign. What does happen is my players putting off at least one side quest until much later, after they’d gained two more levels. The Vale of Dancing Waters side trek was designed for a 7th level party, and certainly meant to be tackled before their mishaps in Yartar last week.

I could’ve adjusted the self-contained encounters a bit to make them more challenging, but these side treks tend to lean easy anyway since the party is almost always fully-rested.

So they made it to the Shrine of Tender Oaths and kicked its ass – including some fun moments. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 43 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 42 Recap

We travel to Yartar to recover an elemental orb from the Black Market; Talus’ past catches up to him.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We dive into another official side trek this week, and one of my favorites from the “Princes of the Apocalypse” campaign book. Dark Dealings in Yartar features some fun role-playing opportunities in an urban setting that we rarely get to explore, culminating in a big brawl in a graveyard.

Of course I also used the opportunity to add an additional NPC from one of my PCs’ past. Given the smaller, more contained story-telling in the side treks it’s much easier to mold them into my players’ backstories.

This week, Talus’ shady past as a former Red Wizard puts them all in an extra bit of danger. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 42 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 41 Recap

We deal with a powerful new threat who seeks to rebuild the air and water cults.

Recorded Monday night, uploaded Tuesday. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

The way “Princes of the Apocalypse” is structured, it makes sense to bundle the various cult attacks and side treks together. The PCs end up delving into the multi-dungeon sprawl of elemental evil for the main quest. Then when they surface I can throw a bunch of additional content at them to flesh out the story, the world, and incorporate their own character backstories. It’s been a lot of extra work, but also a lot of fun.

This week we tackled one of the more interesting cult reactions from the Wrath of the Elements section of the campaign book.

One of my favorite aspects of this campaign is how many ideas and events are set to trigger by the PCs after accomplishing various milestones in the main quest. I’ve had to slightly adjust the timing on some of them to make them work, but Haayon the Punisher came at a perfect time. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 41 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 40 Recap

We reach level 9 and race to a nearby town to prevent an elemental attack.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We finally came to the slower session that I thought we’d hit last week. Emerging from the crazy multi-dungeon elemental cult area, the party finally Long Rested after about a dozen encounters in a row, identified some powerful artifacts, and received some startling news.

“Princes of the Apocalypse” is paced to give players plenty to do outside of the hefty dungeon crawling that makes up the entirety of the main quest. Previously I’d even inserted a few side treks from outside sources.

I decided it was time to run the Race to Destruction event after the fall of the second prophet. The party has dealt with the Devastation Orbs and seen first-hand the destruction they can cause to a town. Being warned of an impending attack was all the motivation they needed to finally travel East of the Sumber Hills, to Beliard. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 40 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 39 Recap

After a harrowing battle last week, the party accidentally delves further into the Drow caves and battles some minotaurs.

Recorded Friday night, uploaded Saturday. Subscribe for our weekly adventures!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

We had a hell of a dramatic session last week. The second of four elemental prophets was defeated and one of the four delegates rescued in a night that included PC ooze transformation, a djinni granting a wish, and some fun personal heroics.

Like a TV show that just ran a jaw-dropping episode, I expected this week to be far more subdued. I had planned on including a massive info dump from the captive delegate, whom I totally replaced with Miri’s mom since she came from Waterdeep nobility (but was estranged from her family).

This session was anything but, as my players decided to inadvertently delve deeper into the Fane of the Eye, running into the Fire cult’s domain and some minotaur guards. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 39 Recap”