Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Dead in Thay: Finale

We ran the final session of Dead in Thay this week, due to scheduling conflicts. So if you’re playing Encounters at another shop, wait a week to read this post.

In this final session, the PCs travel to the Phylactery Vault, where Szass Tam has hundreds of lich phylacteries stored, the phylactery jars of his many lich minions. The mission of the PCs is to go in, breach the sepulchers where the phylacteries are housed, and destroy the phylacteries. This will ensure that the liches themselves can be defeated permanently.

Continue reading Dead in Thay: Finale

Dead in Thay: the Penultimate Session

HomePage_DnDLogoWe are going to be ending Dead in Thay a week early, due to Comic Con, so I sped up a bit of the campaign. With 3 tables, the second half of the campaign has been going quickly, and we’ve had at least 1 table in the Temples of Extraction for the past 3 weeks.

Last week, I had car trouble (dead battery– happens every 2 years in Las Vegas’ summer weather) and had to miss the game. It’s very nerve-wracking as the organizer and a DM to miss a game, but my co-DMs Mike and Josh picked up for me and carried on!

Anyway, between missing last week and needing to end the season early, I came into the game this week with just 2 sessions left. The module is clear: the parties need to clear out the Temples of Extraction and disrupt sufficient black gates by the end of this session.

On the other two tables, Mike and Josh ran their PCs through the Temples of Extraction. Due to a miscommunication, they both went in the same directions, freeing the same remaining Chosen. I handwave and say they took care of all of the remaining Chosen.

My own goal was also clear, even if it wasn’t part of the bigger picture: I have three PCs who are undead, including one who has been played since the Neverwinter campaign 2 years ago.

There is one room in the Doomvault proper where the soul-bound dead can be restored to full life. I told my PCs which sector it was in (the Master’s Domain), explained they really wouldn’t have another chance to restore their lives if they wanted to do so. They took the bait.

Because they started at a black gate a bit far from the room in question, I gave them a “random encounter.” It was far from random, though, since the alert level of the dungeon was high enough to automatically cause a random encounter. In this case, the dice came up with “special encounter.”

The rules in the Dead in Thay module are really poor for “what to do about special encounters.” There are instructions for the organizer to make a special encounters table, but no idea what is probably going to be on it, or how to use it.

I decided that the PCs get into a special encounter with the hezrou they released earlier, and the little squadron of quasits. They encounter these in the room with a monument that disrupts physical abilities (disadvantage on STR and DEX checks), but enhances magic. They parlay with the hezrou, who makes a bargain to trade information on where the resurrection room is, in trade for their spare glyph key and information on how to get out. When they lie (badly) about not having a key, the quasits steal it from the cleric. The cleric hits the quasit with a lance of faith, and the key falls. An opposed dex check between the crossbow-wielding rogue and the hezrou results in the hezrou beating him, but only barely.

The hezrou tells them anyway, because he doesn’t care as long as he can get out of here. The hezrou heads for the black gate, to eventually head out to Thay and, in time, to find a portal home.

The party heads up to the laboratory where they find a red wizard torturing one of the named NPCs, and a bunch of wights on the stone tables of necromancy. The party tries to bluff her, but she doesn’t quite buy their story. The wights get up to attack. Combat starts. The mage draws aggro from all the wights (our wizard has been an amazing tank through this campaign– he regularly takes the attacks and survives them!)

The druid blasts the shit out of the red wizard, who yells “hey, let’s not be hasty, here!” She bargains with them to teach the wizard the ritual for restoring life via the necromantic tables.

Unfortunately, after they raise the druid and cleric, they tell the red wizard to GTFO– without the NPC, and she resists. The monk punches through her sternum, bringing her down to negative hp, but the cleric stabilizes her so they can question her for more information. She makes a second deal to be let go; she’s not going to fight them for the NPC now.

The druid cures the NPC’s wounds while the wizard brings the rogue back to life. The party disrupts the black gate, then heads up to the sanctuary vault and, to start next week, the gatehouse.

Next week: The Phylactery Vault!

Dead in Thay: Weeks 6-7

HomePage_DnDLogoLast week, our Dead in Thay campaign reached a new threshold: three tables and DMs! Josh, one of our players from Day 1, stepped up as DM and did a great job!

Josh’s table went into the Master’s Domain, which is an excellent place to muck around, poking at very dangerous intelligent creatures.

Mike’s table continued their pursuit of danger in the Ooze caverns, eventually finding and conning a dangerous wizardess into handing over her special black glyph key– a key that is attuned to one of the Temples of Extraction!

My table continued their exploration of the Golem Laboratories, mainly darting around in the Hall of Teleportation, where multiple golems and constructs bashed on them repeatedly before being dismantled by the heroes.

For Week 7: Spoilers ahead!

Continue reading Dead in Thay: Weeks 6-7

Dead in Thay: Week 5

After the party had rested and leveled up to 7th level, they hit the Predator Pools sector, first encountering a pair of sea trolls (scrags) which a well-timed fireball and a lot of punching took care of. They spent about 10 minutes, carefully disguising themselves as a Red Wizard/Dread Warrior patrol with some prisoners (the gnome and halfling).

Their next stop was the lacedon pool. Lacedons are aquatic ghouls which paralyze and drag their victims into the depths. They’re lurkers– these were all floating like corpses in the water until the party arrived. I tried to give a kind of “horror” description by describing one of the corpses as it rose out of the water to strike at an unaware PC! During the fight, the druid shaped a wall of fire to keep the ghouls back, but Robert the “completely trustworthy halfling” was on the other side! He sprinted to rejoin the party, but was caught (failed save) by one of the ghouls and scratched! A second failed save meant he was paralyzed and in peril!

I turn to the rest of the party, having pretty much dropped out of initiative at this point. “Who is going to rush out and save him?”

One of the new players (new to the group, but not to the game or even to my playing groups) raised his hand. “I will!” His half-orc bard/barbarian (?) dashed out and nimbly picked up the halfling, throwing him over his shoulder and sprinting to the rest of the party. They slipped out the door and into the next room– and even the next sector!

Indeed, the next room they ran to was a prison in the Golem Laboratories! We paused for a smoke break and to give me time to decide if we could continue in the adventure, or if I’d need a break. I decided that, if they could bluff through this room, we’d be good to go. If not, I’d need to stop at “roll for initiative” and we’d pick up at the following session.

Well, the party had disguised themselves pretty well, and the wights who challenged them aren’t overly observant, so they were let through with only a minor hissing and snarking.

The session ended as the party entered the Golem Vault, a room of “parts” for the frankenstein-monstrous flesh golem creatures the Red Wizards are constructing in this sector. The disguises are good, but I already warned the party that they probably won’t fool any Red Wizards.

I look forward to seeing what the PCs do next!

Update from Jennifer Wolff, a Player at Mike’s table:

We’ve been trudging through the Forests of Slaughter, trying to set our foes against each other where we can and outright slaying them when we can’t. My druid remained in her tiger form throughout, following the previous week’s encounter with a pack of predatory perytons (which we dispatched).

Wandering from that victory, we stumbled upon a wight with a helmed horror body guard. The wight was quickly dispatched by some very quick spell-work by our mage. The helmed horror, however, continued its assault. Amusingly, our blows could barely connect against its armored form, but the construct itself was surprisingly inept at landing a blow on any of us, switching targets from the mage to the rogue once it realized the rogue was hitting it the hardest, then back to the mage when the rogue proved too slippery. All the while my druid is tagging behind it, scratching and biting at its armored hiney.

The pragmatic dwarf cleric simply walked away from the fight and began exploring, asking everyone to just leave and outrun the damn thing. Not wanting to leave loose ends behind, the rogue finally struck it with a fatal blow, which left us a chance to loot an additional keystone from the wight’s charred remains.

Not wanting to keep slogging through aimlessly any longer, we used the portals to pass through the gatehouse and back into an entry point at the Ooze Grottos, following a hunch I had about the Augmentation Chambers.

Appearing nearby, we first encountered a bizarre column of red ooze, with a Red Wizard embedded inside. My druid approached and somehow took acid damage just by being near it (following a Charisma save?), so we all pretty much went around it with a shrug. Next we entered a white room, with another wizard who had become merged with oozes. In fact, the whole room was an ooze, and as it began to lash at us, our pragmatic (and after encounters in the Far Realm Cysts, rather insane) dwarf cleric was able to somehow understand the composite creature’s babbling. He struck an agreement with it; in exchange for leading others to become consumed and absorbed by the ooze (including the rest of the party when we’re done), the ooze-room allowed us to pass through, and produced the robes of previously consumed Red Wizards to use as a disguise.

Donning the robes to look like a cadre of Red Wizards (and their pet tiger, I guess), we stepped into the Augmentation chamber to see undead fussing over vats of roiling goo, to some hideous purpose. From a curtain along one of the walls, our most perceptive party member spotted a face peeking out briefly, which belonged to a female Red Wizard of apparently some importance.

To be continued next week….

Dead in Thay: Session 4

HomePage_DnDLogoWe had our first genuine player character death last night at Dead in Thay, and I would have been disappointed if it didn’t happen.

This week was “Room 10.” In the Dead in Thay megadungeon, Room 10 should be known as a killer. The party is 6th level, and they open a door and there’s a lich and four of its guards, waiting for them.

Continue reading Dead in Thay: Session 4

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