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 36 Recap

Back into the sprawling elemental dungeons we go, this time going deeper beneath the Air temple.

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Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

There’s a lot I really enjoy about “Princes of the Apocalypse.” But if it has one glaring weakness, it’s that it quickly becomes a nightmare to run as a DM due to the interconnected mega-dungeons.

A clear theme in the adventure are the elemental cults and how they work with and against each other. This is reflected in their physical proximity to each other, with dungeons often leading into another cult’s territory, or deeper and deeper into a sprawling mega-complex.

My players have expressed concerns that it makes layouts confusing going from one dungeon to the next. For my part as DM it often becomes a stressful chore trying to figure out where my players will go and what all I need to prepare.

In this week’s session, the party decided to head back beneath the Sumber Hills to explore the one spot they left untouched in the Air Temple – the giant underground pyramid. They hoped to find Miri’s mother. It wasn’t going to be that easy. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 36 Recap”

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 21 Recap

Our heroes gain entry to an ancient underground Dwarven city and the Temple of Howling Hatred.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

If I had a lot more time and video editing skills I would start each session with a nice Game of Thrones style recap montage.

With our sessions lasting 2-3 hours once a week, it’s easy for plot details or side characters to get lost and forgotten in the shuffle. Particularly as “Princes of the Apocalypse” is a lengthy campaign.

We’ve already passed the total length of our previous campaign, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver,” a few weeks ago. Here, we’re just beginning to plumb the depths of Elemental Evil.

Which isn’t to say I’m not enjoying “Princes of the Apocalypse.” The dungeon-focused format and multiple villainous factions has worked quite well for my group thus far. Thankfully I also keep track of important quests and notes in the form of game-like Journal Updates in Roll20, which I was able to point to in this week’s session. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 21 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 15 Recap

Backtracking to Rivergard Keep we defeat the remaining forces. But returning to town comes with a surprise attack of hell hounds!

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse”

Recorded and uploaded a day later due to out-of-town player. Thank you for your patience!

We’ve definitely hit the record on consecutive battles and sessions without a rest. According to my calculations, the party last rested in shifts while traveling up the Dessarin River toward Rivergard Keep. That was Session 13!

Since then they’ve defeated the entirety of Rivergard Keep, as well as the guards posted inside the Temple of the Crushing Wave. After that battle they were feeling drained and exhausted. Not to mention they’d reached enough experience for level 6 after the first few battles in the Keep. My rules state that they can’t level up outside of a Long Rest.

So although they’d reached a new massive dungeon, they opted to pull back to heal up, level up, and rescue the hostages they had found in the Keep. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 15 Recap”

D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 Recap

Our heroes finally get a chance to spend their hard-earned loot in Red Larch before taking the Cairn Road to Womford.

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

Previously on “Princes of the Apocalypse” 

We typically have our Dungeons & Dragons sessions filled with dungeon crawling and combat. But even the most video game-like D&D groups occasionally need a session to sell all their phat lootz.

With the heroes wanting to personally escrot the prisoners from the Sacred Stone Monastery to Red Larch, I decided it was a good time to provide them with ample options to spend their accumulated wealth.

D&D 5E solved the power-struggle quite elegantly with the Proficiency Bonus. The side effect is that magic items are no longer needed quite as much, and end up being more rare than ever before. Heroes still gain hundreds of gold after only a few sessions, however.

If you have a group that’s not particularly interested in the more esoteric role-playing side of RPGs, such as building castles or engaging in politics, it’s difficult to create a proper money sink. My personal solution was to allow them to purchase a few select magic items from their local Harper agent (Endrith Vallivoe), as well as potions of healing, greater healing, and even their own horses. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Princes of the Apocalypse” Session 11 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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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”