D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 7 Recap

From the Feathergale Spire to the Sacred Stone Monastery, only to get dropped into a trap with an enraged Umber Hulk!

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

Sometimes your open world campaign may be a bit too open, or you sprinkled in a personal quest that was a bit too dire. Magical locked gates to the rescue!

I don’t feel great about it but it ultimately helped funnel my players into a much more agreeable path, especially after hinting how “Princes of the Apocalypse” is set up. Plus, I got to send them tumbling down a flight of stairs into a room with an enraged Umber Hulk. Fun stuff!

We picked up this week after the non-stop action at the Feathergale Spire that left most of its residents dead. The party swept through the rest of the now empty tower, seeing a few rooms on the ground floor for the first time.

Kalinaar made a dramatic show of releasing the last few hippogriffs in the stables, dumping oil all around and then lighting it all on fire with his dragon breath. A major structure like the spire won’t go down quickly but it did transform into a giant smoke stack as the flames did their work. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 7 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 6 Recap

Our heroes act on the information gained from Thurl’s letter, and end up in a giant battle royale with the Knights of the Feathergale Spire.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

Here’s an interesting solution to making a lower-level dungeon a bit more difficult: have the PCs fight multiple rooms together, and without a proper rest! In this week’s session our heroes act on their new information gained from Aerisi’s note to Thurl, and end up in a giant battle royale with the Knights of the Feathergale Spire.

The Spire is an interesting set up. A small, multi-leveled dungeon offers some interesting perspectives for going room-to-room. The most important factor is that the knights are not initially hostile, and I further played with that by having the guard at the door, Savra, be an old childhood friend of Miri, the party’s runaway-from-home monk.

However, at the end of last week’s session Kethra did some snooping and found an incriminating letter in Thurl’s room. It spoke of a battle with a Black Earth Cult, and a captured prisoner – one that matches the description of one of the diplomats that went missing.

Armed with this information our heroes marched straight to the Pinnacle and accosted Thurl himself. The party’s emotional interrogation was awkward at best, including Thurl successfully resisting a Zone of Truth spell from Kalinaar. Coupled with Kalinaar drawing his sword and Miri kicking him toward the ledge, Thurl called the alarm and the fight was on! Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 6 Recap”

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

The party gains peaceful admittance to Feathergale Spire, attends a feast, hunts a manticore, and discovers a startling secret.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

A standard monster-filled dungeon can be fun, but I really enjoy when an area has some unique twist about it aside from room-to-room monster-bashing. The Feathergale Spire is a neat four-story tower filled with seemingly innocuous knights and aerial enthusiasts.

The encounter can transpire in numerous ways depending upon how the PCs react. Nothing is more fun to me as a DM than listening to my players hastily deliberate on a course of action, each crazier than the last.

First the party had to make it to the spire. When we left off they’d just killed a bunch of griffons in the Sighing Valley and found an alcove to rest in. When they awoke I had a group of aarokocra find them. The aarokocra were wary but curious. It was a fun opportunity for some unique role-playing, as neither party could understand each other.

Talus rolled really well on a History check and I gave him some information on these bird-like humanoids – mainly that they’re not evil and often fight forces of elemental evil. Numerous drawing, pointing, and miming ensued which was delightfully funny.

Talus would eventually cast Comprehend Languages (gotta love when seemingly mundane spells become very useful), and I would give them a bit more direct information – drawing a symbol over the tower, skull and crossbones nearby, question mark over the gully, and a hidden trail that lead up to the tower. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 5 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 4 Recap

Our heroes leveled up to 5 and left Red Larch to follow one of their leads – some shallow graves near the mysterious white tower in the hills.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

The aftermath of the scandalous town elder – secret cult revelation lead to some fun role-playing. Our heroes then leveled up to 5 and left Red Larch to follow one of their leads – some shallow graves near the mysterious white tower in the hills.

I’m never quite sure how a purely role-playing section is going to pan out. My players feel most comfortable rooting through dungeons and killing bad guys. Occasionally some big dialogue sessions can occur, and the enjoyment level seems to fluctuate depending on the mood of the table and the players’ interest levels in the NPCs and plot.

In this case my players got to be the triumphant heroes, having defeated Larrakh and exposed Red Larch’s town elders as a creepy, murderous cult. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 4 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 3 Recap

A giant sinkhole opens up in the middle of Red Larch, spurring our heroes into action and revealing a mysterious dungeon beneath town.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

The town of Red Larch received a real kick in the teeth when a giant sinkhole appeared in the middle of town. The sinkhole opened a path into a hidden underground dungeon. The micro-dungeon teased some magic stones, and lead our heroes to their first real taste of Elemental Evil.

The Player Characters had nearly explored the entirety of Red Larch last week. At least the sections that were relevant to our adventure. I teased a bit more information in the form of a whistle-blowing employee at the wagon-repair shop. The PCs headed over to the tavern to seek him out.

When describing places in town, I specifically mention any important NPCs. I picture them as hotspots in an Adventure game or Exclamation Points in an RPG. My players like having the guidance and direction, and it helps cut down on time.

The local tavern – The Helm at Highsun – contained a half-orc fighter, an old shepherd, and our anxious halfling. The halfling spilled the beans on his boss Wulver, telling the party about a possible secret cellar entrance he’s seen the town elders use. The half-orc confirmed that the missing delegation had been in Beliard. I also had her aggressively come on to Talus, to the humorous delight of everyone. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 3 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 1 Recap

Part 1 of the party’s journey from Phandalin to Red Larch, where they meet Cragmaw riders, cursed skulls, and ominous weather.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

After the events of our previous campaign “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” the party receives a job to escort a wagon East to Red Larch. On the way they encounter a retaliatory strike by some Cragmaw Hobgoblins, experience strange weather patterns, and suffer fitful nightmares of elemental forces destroying the world.

If you want to learn about our cast of heroes, see this post from before our first adventure, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver.”

The logical next step after “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” was to select another official published adventure for our new campaign. I really enjoy having everything already organized and planned out, and especially official maps of dungeons. Since Phandelver only brought our heroes to level 4, I wanted to continue their journey. Out of all the official campaigns released thus far, “Princes of the Apocalypse” made the most sense to adapt it as a sequel to the events around Phandalin. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 1 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Epilogue & Recap

We recap our four month long intro campaign to D&D Fifth Edition, and each player reveals their favorite moment.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

We recapped our four-month long campaign in about two hours.

The final Epilogue & Recap session is something we’ve been doing since our Shadowrun tabletop days. First, it gives me a chance to elicit feedback from my players on elements of the game they liked or didn’t like. It helps me as a DM tailor the gameplay, story, and structure more towards everyone’s liking.

Second it offers a way to pull the curtain back on events and let everyone see the How’s and Why’s of the adventure. In this case I even went through all the dungeons and turned off fog of war and dynamic lighting. We all poured over the dungeon maps together for fun, and discussed how they tackled various situations.

And finally it simply gives me another week to prepare for our next adventure! In this case we’ll be transitioning from “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” right into “Princes of the Apocalypse.” “Princes of the Apocalypse” was published in Spring of 2015, and takes place directly to the East of Phandalin in the Dessarin Valley. It even includes specific plot hooks to get the players to travel East as they uncover, well, evil. I very much enjoy utilizing the official published adventures, thanks in large part to not having to make any maps, and only having to convert them into Roll20. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Epilogue & Recap”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 18 Recap

A final showdown with the Black Spider, meeting the leader of the Undead, and finding the Forge of Spells brings Wave Echo Cave and our four-month long campaign to a close.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

A final showdown with the Black Spider, meeting the leader of the Undead, and finding the Forge of Spells brings Wave Echo Cave and our four-month long campaign to a close.

First the party had to deal with the flameskull. Though the guardian undead lay defeated, they learned it would rise again in an hour. Without the proper spells or tools to prevent its rejuvenation, the party had to go into D&D: Mythbusters mode involving the nearby smelter.

I don’t exactly have the extended lore or concrete details regarding flameskull regeneration other than if it’s destroyed the pieces will reform. However, I imagine if you can trap it in an effective manner, it would still be trapped. The flameskull has access to powerful fire magic, but that does it little good when its melted into liquid metal!

I was impressed with the way the party came together to work the smelter and agree on how to deal with the flameskull. It was a great act of improvising a solution, and I definitely allowed it to work – later teasing that the creature was banging against the inside of the smelter in impotent rage.

The task dealt with, the PCs retreated to the nearby barracks for a Short Rest. They planned on continuing East and dealing with the flameskull’s master, presumably another powerful undead. But the Black Spider wasn’t idly sitting by. One of the advantages with having a live DM is you can make a dungeon a truly living, breathing thing that reacts to the party’s actions. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 18 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 17 Recap

A good old-fashioned dungeon crawl culminates in an awesome boss fight with a flaming skull and his zombie army in this giant 4-hour session.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

It’s amazing how much progress you can make in a marathon four-hour session. How about five separate battles, including an epic confrontation with a fireball-slinging Flameskull and his army of zombies?

We started our session a bit earlier on Sunday. At this point “Lost Mine of Phandelver” has lasted us nearly four months, doing weekly 2-3 hour sessions. We’re coming up to a busy schedule for me at the end of January/beginning of February: a gaming convention followed by a family vacation. Wrapping up this campaign and going on a brief but necessary two week hiatus would be extremely helpful to my sanity.

Thus not only did we start earlier, but we ended up going an additional hour later than usual! I was impressed by my players’ energy levels and enthusiasm throughout this session. They were in their element – this entire session was one big dungeon crawl filled with baddies to deal with, culminating in the biggest fight of their lives. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 17 Recap”

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 16 Recap

We finally come face to face with the The Black Spider, and he’s shockingly reasonable.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Wave Echo Cave Part 2: The Black Spider revealed! And he’s…reasonable?

“The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is frustratingly sparse when it comes to describing some of its NPCs, but thankfully The Black Spider isn’t one of them. Billed as the overarching villain, the drow has been plaguing the adventurers throughout the campaign, ordering the kidnapping of Gundren and his map, and putting out a bounty for the PCs.

With the PCs’ quick excursion into the NorthWest corner of the mine and battle with the bugbear army in the previous session, meeting up with the Black Spider was the next logical step.  Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 16 Recap”