No, so far as I know there is no huge underground cult of D&D players in Sicily, more’s the pity; but while we were there, and visited both by Giulia’s boyfriend (errm, fiance now) and Nick’s friend Buster, the dice came out for a few sessions.
Under the Village of Harken, Part 3 (28 July)
As you’ll recall, Nick and the girls were last seen just bursting into the lair of the Big Bad. Who should they find in there but Buster’s Drow PC, arguing with the Big Bad? In true pulp fashion, they recognised each other instantly as natural allies and set about the underground minions with a will, with the Drow joining the party. (“We are the good guys, right?”)
Tomb of the Novirate Council (30-31 July)
Not having much else in the way of scenarios with me, I made up a small dungeon (the titular tomb) and off we went.
The party made its way past a nest Kruthiks (which nearly ate them), and found the old puzzle of the two guard statues guarding a T junction (one of which always lies and the other always tells the truth); this they got wrong, but Drow infravision gave them disturbing clues of the nature of the trap down the “naughty” corridor, and they went down the “nice” one instead.
Here they found a selection of statues of various gods (which they vandalised), and the puzzle from Die Hard 3 about using 3 and 5 gallon jugs to make a 4 gallon weight. This they did get right; not in the way I expected, but the solution worked, so fair enough.
Beyond the door opened by this puzzle they found more than enough giant spiders, which would have resulted in another TPK (Total Party Kill) except for the heroic actions of Giulia’s cleric (crawling round healing her webbed colleagues one by one despite a total lack of Stealth) and the inspired knifework of Tenchi’s rogue.
However, Anna’s ranger was dead of poison by this point, so pausing only to collect 64 spider legs (in the hope of selling them to alchemists) they crawled off to the nearest large city (Holyport) for resurrection.
Holyport (3 August)
The Temple of Bahamut in Holyport agreed to raise Anna in exchange for certain financial considerations and on condition the party did one little job for them, namely recover a relic stolen from pilgrim caravan by minions of their old nemesis Szartharax the white dragon.
The kobold minions and their rockslide trap at the cave entrance were dealt with swiftly and pitilessly, and they charged on into the lair just behind the alarm.
They’re learning. The NPC wizard, Veon, was parked outside the range of the dragon’s breath weapon with orders to keep zapping it until it dropped. The drow and the rogue, both of whom have at-will powers that slide their foes, ran to diagonally opposite “corners” of the dragon and started a game of impromptu dragon ping pong – fighters attack, rogues attack and slide it back past the fighters who then hit it again with attacks of opportunity, lather, rinse, repeat. That was a clever enough idea that I thought they deserved to get away with it at least once.
Packing up, I decided to change the campaign name from Holyport to Nentir Vale. The reality is that I have limited time to play, and I’d rather use it playing than designing scenarios; until I know D&D 4E well enough to play it off the cuff, that most likely means using the published scenarios, so really it is yet another Nentir Vale campaign, at least for the moment.
I had considered running the Treasure of Talon Pass module next, but doing three modules in a row where the end of scenario boss is a young dragon seemed a bit repetitive. So, next up is H1, The Keep on the Shadowfell, which has the advantage of being a free download from Wizards.