The Tanius Campaign Journal – Chapter 2: The Endgar Riots

The Tanius Campaign Journal
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Kroul stopped speaking mid-sentence, and a wave of panic swept over me. This was already shaping up to be one of the best stories I had ever heard, and the prospect of losing an opportunity to get a first-hand account of the tale was daunting. However, the issue quickly became apparent when I stared into Kroul’s mug of ale; I quickly swapped his mug with mine, and after a swig of ale and a deafening dwarven belch, the lights in his eyes turned back on and the barely coherent rambling continued.

A Night On The Town

Campaign Log Day 1 – Part 2
14th day of Kythorn – Evening
Year of The Rebuked Storm – 1574 Dale Reckoning
Endgar Entertainment District – Minor Triumph

The tavern across the street, known as Minor Triumph, seemed to have a similar issue to The Hasty Loft. Ungoldor snuck up to the window and peered in, this time seeing three smaller-looking elves with blades harassing the good people of Endgar. Kiddo and Rkard decided the best course of action would be to barge in and scare the daylights out of the elves inside. So the party entered the tavern aggressively, with the two brutes in front and the other three in tow.

Roll Intimidation

Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Enemies: 3x Bandit
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Some HP Loss
Actual Outcome: No HP Loss
Loot: 18 EP, 11 SP, 16 CP

Tactical Considerations: The bandits are somewhat clustered inside of the tavern, but everybody should be able to reach them in one turn. The bandits are alert to threats, but a stealthy approach could potentially lead catching them by surprise.

How It Went Down: After sizing up the situation the party burst in and attempted intimidation checks on the first bandit they saw. They ended up rolling well, and once the first bandit dropped their weapon, the other two realizing they were outmatched followed suit.

Behind The Screen: At this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a bunch of murderhobos for a party. I was relieved to see them resolve an encounter this early on using a method that didn’t involve killing everybody in the room.

The combination of a large, angry, and well-equipped dragonborn lady alongside an equally loud and terrifying orc was more than enough to scare these elves into submission. They lay down their swords, and the tavernfolk restrained the would-be bandits.

Once the party was sure Minor Triumph was secured, they moved on to the next bar down the road: The Amiable Lion. Ungoldor’s reconnaissance revealed three dwarves with short swords harassing the crowd inside. Kroul saw this as his moment to shine, and belligerently waltzed through the front door.

Roll Initiative

Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Enemies: 3x Bandit
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Some HP Loss
Actual Outcome: No HP Loss
Loot: 7 GP, 9 EP, 16 CP

Tactical Considerations: All of the bandits were facing south towards the bar, with one standing by the door, and two sitting at the bar. A window on the north wall of the tavern could allow the party to attempt to sneak in undetected. Otherwise the bandits seem much more relaxed than the previous groups, and seem more focused on drinking their ale than watching for threats.

How It Went Down: Once Kroul had the bandits facing the other way, Ungoldor was able to sneak through the window with a well rolled stealth check. Ungoldor was then able to grapple and hold a knift to the bandit’s throat. Eventually he was discovered and slit the bandit’s throat which I decided was automatically a critical hit with sneak attack, which was enough to kill the bandit in one strike. The party burst in and their salvo of weapon strikes and cantrips burned the other two enemies down in less than 2 rounds.

Behind The Screen: I was starting to see a pattern emerge. As long as the party is able to get the drop on lower level opponents, they are going to be subject to very few attack rolls. The party continued to approached new situations very effectively, and the dice continued to be on their side.

This surprised the bandits, but no attacks were made; Kroul told me his mighty presence left them awestruck, but other witnesses agree the whole tavern was simply impressed that a dwarf so drunk could even walk across the room.

Regardless of Kroul’s intent, he succeeded in diverting their attention as he sat down next to one of the bandits and asked the frightened bartender for a drink. While the bandits were distracted, Ungoldor quietly opened a window and put his sword to one’s throat.

Before the remaining bandits realized the setup, our party barged in and snuffed them without incident. After the dust had settled, the extremely gracious bartender  (rendered even more gracious by some smooth talking from Bellamy) rewarded them with a small bounty of gold for their trouble.

The final bar on victory row was The Blacksmith’s Boast. The party repeated their previously successful strategy of Ungoldor scouting and Kroul “impressing” those within. This time, our brazen dwarf managed to bait a large thuggish human, who told his compatriots to watch the people inside while he “dealt with” Kroul. Once the thug rounded the corner, a salvo of arrows and firebolts coupled with an aggressive smashing from Rkard’s maul resulted in a quick and uneventful death.

Roll Initiative

Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Enemies: 1x Bandit, 1x Thug
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Some HP Loss
Actual Outcome: No HP Loss
Loot: 13 GP, 16 SP, 1x Potion of Healing

Tactical Considerations: This is a similar setup to the party’s first encounter, however instead of having the enemies already surrounded they will be forced to use a door or window instead. The thug and bandit are close together which means that there is a good chance that his pack tactics skill will be in effect if they skirmish indoors.

How It Went Down: Kroul opens up the door, allows himself to be seen, then runs away. This prompts the Thug to give chase, and the Thug is promptly shot down as he rounds the corner. At this point the party is feeling silly and decides to toss the Thug through the window. The bandit seeing the his ally’s corpse runs out of the tavern in fear, and right into the trap the party laid outside the door. The party then proceeds to carve him up in less than 1 round.

Behind The Screen: The party did a very effective job dictating the range of the encounter. Combine that with every attack landing and the Thug was jibbed in 2 turns.

Treasure Horde

Item: Potion of Healing
Item Type: Potion
Description: A potion that resores 2d4+2 hit points to the user.
Recipient: Party supplies.

With the party’s confidence sky-high, they decided to bait the bandit inside by throwing the thug’s corpse through the window. This technique, though unconventional, proved effective. The bandit ran outside, where our waiting party quickly pulverized him. Rummaging through their foes’ pockets, the party found an intact minor healing potion on the thug, fortunate given his rough dispatch.

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

The party left the Blacksmith’s boast, stealthily following the path south of Victory Row to the courtyard. Slowing at the sight of three city watch members, they hear one of the guards growling at the other two to just “do their job” and not interfere with the operation.

Roll Persuasion

Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Enemies: 3x Guard
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Some HP Loss
Actual Outcome: No HP Loss
Loot: 16 SP

Tactical Considerations: The gaurds are all clustered together having a conversation in a well lit area. However the direction the party is approaching from is fairly dark, and there are carts the cover could use as cover for a surprise attack. However, a direct assault may be tricky since the guards have a much higher AC than anything they have fought thus far.

How It Went Down: Bellamy decides now is the time to put that Charisma score to use. He immediately focuses on the city watch member who seems on the fence about the whole operation and asks him to help the party. He then proceeds to roll a natural 20 on his persuasion check, which combined with his +4 CHR mod and +2 persuasion bonus is more than enough to sway him. Once this happens one of the watchmen attacks, but the party takes him out quickly. The third and final watchman decides he just wants to go home, and the party lets him leave.

Behind The Screen: I was curious to see how first level characters handled multiple opponents with 16 AC. I guess I’ll have to wait until my next campaign…

The party decides to butt in on the conversation, and Bellamy the silver-tongued sorcerer uses his penchant for persuasion to turn the guards against each other. Through these guards, our party learns of a criminal organization known as “The Flock”, who was responsible for the shake-downs in the Entertainment District. The Flock has been bribing and strong-arming members of the city watch for months, forcing them to turn a blind eye to crime and come up short in criminal investigations.

Bellamy eventually convinces this same guard to join the party in the fight against The Flock, sparking a very brief fight with his more aggressive colleague. With the corrupt watchman lying dead on the floor, the third guard left the courtyard with the party’s leave, and our heroes, along with “Josh” of the city watch moved in on their next target.

DM Note: Josh Has Joined The Party

Really wasn’t planning on this one. I had used the recommended experience formulas in the DM guide to design these fights. With Josh of the City Watch joining the party, this added essentially another level 1 hero to the party, who as far as the group was concerned was completely disposable. With this in mind I decided the best move was to humanize this NPC as quickly as possible so the party had a reason to stick their neck out for him in future encounters.

This ended up being way more effective than I expected.

Although Josh’s knowledge of The Flock was limited, he had a hunch for who was leading their efforts. Whenever there was persuasion or intimidation to be done, The Flock typically senteither Marco Maran or Gurash. Josh was almost certain they would both be present, and recommended eliminating them before the party tried to head south. With rumors of Gurash sent to “handle the nobles in the banquet hall at the jousting lists”, the party had their next destination.

Spoiled Appetites

The party slowly crept up to the banquet hall, with Ungoldor out ahead hopingto spot Gurash. Peeking through a window, he saw the bodies of dead nobles strewn through the hall with an orc and two other bandits casually enjoying the leftover food. Confident that this was their target, Ungoldor regrouped with his comrades who decided that Josh would go in and attempt to convince Gurash to follow him into an ambush outside. Josh accepted his role, and boldly marched into the tavern with the party lying in wait.

Roll Initiative

Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Enemies: 1x Half-Orc Barbarian NPC, 2x Bandit
Difficulty Rating: Deadly
Expected Outcome: Major HP Loss or KO
Actual Outcome: Minor HP Loss
Loot: 6 PP, 12 GP, 11 SP, 1x War Leaders Round Shield +1, 5x Moonstone

Tactical Considerations: Although this fight has the toughest set of enemies yet, they are spread out and aren’t paying attention. The orc is very well armored with an AC of 17 and the bandits are equiped with ranged weapons. There are also a number of windows surrounding the mess hall that can be used to flank the enemy, but spreading out too thin could allow them to concentrate their attacks and put somebody at risk.

How It Went Down: After yet another strong persuasion check on Josh, he agrees to try to bait Gurash out. After winning an insight/deception contest Gurash decides to attack Josh, but Josh is not caught by surprise. The party rushes in, and Bellamy skirts around the outside. They manages to focus down the bandits one at a time, and eventually surround and defeat Gurash. However, this fight marked the first time in the campaign that a party member took damage when a ranged attack from a bandit hit Ungoldor.

Behind The Screen: This was just over the threshold of a deadly encounter for the party. The main thing that ruined my plans was Josh joining the party. Gurash rolling very poorly against Josh’s 16 AC, allowed Josh to tank the orc long enough for the party to kill the bandits and then focus fire Gurash.

Unfortunately, Gurash did not take the bait, and within moments attacked Josh, forcing the party to come to his aid. They quickly dispatched the bandits, but not before an arrow struck Ungoldor. Josh held his own against Gurash long enough for the party to come in and take the orc down.

DM Note: Looks Like I Didn’t Need Those Kiddie Gloves After All

I won’t lie, part of me was very upset that I hadn’t managed to land a single blow on the party to this point. However, aside from some lucky rolls, most of their success could be attributed to how deftly they handled the encounters. The party managed to initiate all but this final combat in their first session, and they were rewarded with quick, painless kills as a result.

Designing encounters for level 1 characters can be very streaky, which I attempted to mitigate by creating open-ended encounters where the party could engage on their terms. The group almost always used these advantages in ways I didn’t expect, which frustrated the “evil DM” part of me but also left me excited to see what they came up with next.

After searching Gurash’s equipment and finding some moonstone in his satchel, they noticed his shield was magical in nature.

DM Note: Transition from Session 1 to 2

Session 1 ended after the party defeated Gurash. Word of the D&D campaign had spread, and we ended up picking up a new player for session 2. Her character had a noble background, which made transitioning her in very straight forward. This also gave her character an immediate reason to join forces out of hopes of exacting revenge on The Flock.

While searching the hall for survivors, they found an elven woman unconscious but alive. Kroul’s Healing Touch brought the woman back from the brink of death.

Kroul described the fortunate survivor as “strangely calm” when she first awoke. She remembered everything that had happened before she passed out from blood loss, but despite the trauma of a near-death experience she didn’t seem shaken up. Once she was able to stand, her most pressing concern was to get revenge on those responsible for ruining her evening plans. The woman never revealed her name, telling the party to simply refer to her as Elle.

PC Introduction: Lilyth The Enigma

Race: High Elf
Class: Druid
Druid Circle: Moon
Background: Sage
Homeland:The Red River – Endgar
Attributes: Str 12, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 17, Chr 12
Proficiencies: Stealth, Arcana, Perception, Deception, Persuasion
Equipment: Leather Armor, Quarterstaff, Scimitar

Personality: Lilyth has a very hard time trusting anybody. As a result she tends wear many different faces depending on who she is dealing with. However, as long as your interests are mutually aligned, she can be a very powerful ally in difficult situations.

Elle managed to scrounge together equipment from the fallen bandits and nobles, and before long appeared completely battle-ready. Kroul, however, decided it would be best for him to stay behind and tend to the dead. After Kroul restored everyone  to full health, the party moved on while he settled in to pray for the dead.

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