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 – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 6 Recap

We finally clear out the rest of the Redbrand Hideout in one epic battle involving a very bloody hallway.

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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!

Three weeks. It took three weeks to get through our second ever dungeon, the Redbrand Hideout. Averaging about 2.5 hours per week means this campaign will end up taking several months to get through, which is far, far longer than the relatively bite-sized Shadowrun modules we were running previously.

It’s still a ton of fun, but I do find myself needing to gently remind my players of important events, characters, and information they they’d been given weeks ago. I created a pseudo-journal system and quest log within Roll20 to help alleviate this issue, and now how I just say “check your quests!” whenever my players wonder what just happened or what they need to be doing.

Anyway, on to the session! This week began right after the PCs dealt with the terrifying Nothic that had made its home in the middle of the dungeon. The PCs had several paths available and must’ve been feeling pretty confident after slaying the Nothic. They decided to split up and explore, which is always a terrible, terrible idea. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 6 Recap”

Shadowrun 5E “The Bodyguards” Session 6 Report

The stealthy infiltration devolves into a bloody shootout and knife fight in the foyer of the mansion as the runners wrap up the adventure.

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Watch our sessions live on twitch.tv/gorbash722 every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central.

Read “The Bodyguards” Session 1 Report
Read “The Bodyguards” Session 2 Report
Read “The Bodyguards” Session 3 Report
Read “The Bodyguards” Session 4 Report
Read “The Bodyguards” Session 5 Report

After two shortened sessions in a row, we were prepared to dive into a normal length session and really make some progress stealthily infiltrating the Yamoto villa. I’m pleased to say that, despite the mission devolving into one big combat sequence, we were able to complete the mission. It did take a very lengthy and extended session, thanks to my wife (who plays Mauta) being on vacation and off work this week. Three and a half hours later and my players have secured the evidence, making all new friends, and all new enemies.

The session began right in the middle of the action. The party had split up: Saren had infiltrated the guard house outside the community gate and downloaded the floor plans. Mauta, pretending to be captured singer Lana Grace, had been taken inside the house to an upstairs bedroom. Falkirk and Ursev parked the van inside the garage and began snooping around the first floor.

They quickly realized the house was crawling with guards, though none of them were actively patrolling at the time. I inserted a few scripted events to get the ball rolling and create a heightened sense of urgency. Lana’s mother would attempt to talk with her, and Lana’s father would return home also expecting to see his forcibly returned daughter.

The players had such an impressive plan to get in, but clearly no plan once they were actually inside. They explored a bit – I was pleased that one of them found a hidden passage in the wine cabinet I had included. But they never came close to discovering the office or the computer with the evidence.

Mauta was in trouble upstairs, and she opted to shimmy down the balcony and escape, narrowly avoiding the attention of a patrolling bio-engineered guard dog. At that time Saren used an Edge point to roll under an approaching car and let it drag her to the entrance of the house.

Once the parents were upstairs banging on the door, the players decided to unleash a sneak attack on the guard in the foyer. It did not go well, with both missing and/or failing to take the guard out in one blow. Likewise Saren tried to sneak out from the car but was spotted by a nearby guard. Roll for initiative!

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Once the guards took their first move the jig was up as they radioed for intruders. The foyer quickly turned into a bloodbath as bullets flew, knives parried, and some serious damage was done to both runners and guards. The guards were fairly strong for random NPCs, rolling 10 total dice for their attack and 8 for defense, and the party ended up having to fight about half a dozen of them, though their staggered appearance helped immensely.

I also had a ‘boss monster,’ a heavily augmented cyberwarrior named Shinjen. He nearly killed Ursev in one blow, but the troll shaman responded in kind with a heavy attack by his battle axe. Ursev was able to deflect the following killing blow, then use an Edge point to finish him off.

Everyone sustained heavy amounts of damage but miraculously came away from the fight unscathed. I was honestly surprised as I thought a frontal assault would be suicidal. It did help that they were only ever fighting 3 or 4 at a time. Oh and Saren had to deal with a Cujo situation as he jumped in the car outside to avoid being eaten by the guard dog.

That extended fight felt suitably climactic, so when the players went upstairs to confront the parents, they quickly acquiesced. To their credit my players did a fine bit of role-playing their exhaustion and bloodied-ness, and I let them talk to the parents without any social skill tests. They downloaded the Yamoto’s Yakuza involvement evidence and bugged the hell out of there.

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For the end it was a question of whom to turn the evidence into. One of the recurring game concepts in the pre-made Shadowrun adventures I’ve read is to give the players multiple interested parties and let them decide whom to ultimately turn their McGuffin to. I liked this concept so I quickly inserted an authoritative figure that had staked out the Yamotos. Identifying herself as Ms. Johnson, she offered the players cash reward to hand over any evidence to her so she can take them down and strike a real bow to the Yakuza in the Seattle area.

Of course the players were already working for Lana Grace, stealing the evidence to give her blackmail leverage she can use to keep her parents from every reaching out to her again. I enjoyed the little dilemma that occurred at the end as the players deliberated. Keep in mind this was after over three hours, yet everyone was enjoyable debating the ethics and ramification of their choice.

Ultimately they decided to stick with Lana. They copied the data and told Ms. Johnson to give them 24 hours – an interesting monkey wrench that I could use for the next mission. Returning to a grateful Lana gave them about the same amount of money, which surprisingly they didn’t try to negotiate higher for. Maybe they took my not-so-subtle hint that acting selfishly/money-grubbing would naturally come with less of a karma payout (Shadowrun’s system of experience/skill points).

I’ll go over what worked and what didn’t during our recap episode next week, and it should be an interesting one. This adventure was much more open-ended than the previous two I wrote. It was essentially compromised of two major areas where multiple events happened, but mostly were a chance to let the players loose and see what they did. I’m not sure if it’s this group or my own methods of railroading them during the fist two missions, but they definitely seemed like they required a firm guiding hand in order to advance. Still, I felt like it was a fun mission, especially the first half which was fraught with nifty role-playing opportunities. See next week for my full recap and breakdown of “The Bodyguards.”

Watch our sessions live on twitch.tv/gorbash722 every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central.