Princes of the Apocalypse, session 8

The Stoneheart Monastery. The Sumber Hills. 9th Kythorn, 1491 DR

The rest of the adventurers was disturbed by a small group of guards sent from the monastery to deal with the intruders; they came in the middle of the night, but were swiftly dealt with by the group without too much trouble. The next day, the adventurers prepared for another assault on the monastery, now convinced it had something to do with the missing delegation. They were direct in their approach to the monastery, and simply broke down the door… only to find two minotaurs standing behind it along with one of the monks.

It should be noted that minotaurs are dangerous, especially for a group that is still quite low-level. Krovis took the lead, aided by Thumbalina, and both suffered several near-deadly blows in the melee that followed. The reckless attacks of the minotaurs may have exposed them to the blows of the barbarian and paladin, but their own blows were of such power that – if not for the ability of the paladin and barbarian to ward off damage – one or both of the adventurers would have died.

The adventurers then chose to examine the other corridor leading off from the entrance chamber. The corridor turned after a short span, and a number of doors led off from it. A party of monks were keeping watch there, and they moved to engage once the door was opened. Unfortunately for the monks, both Krovis and Thumbalina were still able to ward off their blows and the combined force of the archers and spell-casters behind them were able to deal with the monks quite quickly; it was certain that the monastery was now alarmed, however.

Investigating one of the doors led to a scriptorium, with many books and scrolls piled about. Rather than moving onwards quickly to foil any plans the monks might have, the group paused to rummage through the papers. This, of course, gave the monks the chance to summon the leader of their order.

She was less than amused to find the adventurers, and words were exchanged. Amazingly, instead of a mass combat, we ended up with a duel between her and Krovis, with the adventurers and monks watching on from various points around and outside the room (and, in Thumbalina’s case, from outside through a window).

The duel was long and hard, with Ivan occasionally shouting words of inspiration and healing in Krovis’s direction, but for the most part it was a battle between Krovis’s excellent defences against the superior open-hand fighting style of the abbess. And the abbess was good – much better than Krovis. Krovis was lucky, getting in a couple of critical hits, which severely hurt the abbess, but he wasn’t able to quite keep up with the damage the abbess was inflicting on him.

Thus he fell, and the abbess moved in to finish him off, only to have the remainder of the group (chaotics all) to attack. The abbess had survived Krovis’s attack, but she couldn’t survive the rest of the party, and soon the monks and their leader lay dead on the floor.

Considering the wreckage – and the poor state of Krovis’s health, the group retired from the monastery to get some much-needed rest.

The Players and their Characters

  • Michael is playing Krovis Thorn, LN human Paladin 3/Fighter 1. (Soldier, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Mikey is playing Diablo, N dragonborn Warlock 3 (Sage, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Jesse is playing Jandar, CN human Fighter 3 (Criminal, Zhentarim)
  • Noah is playing Gimble, CN gnome Rogue 3 (Criminal, Zhentarim)
  • Josh is playing Ivan, CN water genasi Bard 4 (Pirate, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Danielle is playing Thumbalina, CN dwarf Barbarian 3 (Outlander, Emerald Enclave)

DM Notes

What happens when you camp near an outpost of evil? You get attacked, that’s what! The decision to run the attack was pretty easy, with particular attention being paid to how hard it would be for the cultists to discover the party (not particularly hard, in my opinion). It wasn’t a really dangerous attack, but it was a taster of what may occur in the future.

The adventure has certain notes as to what reinforcements are brought in for when the party leave and return; the minotaurs in particular were described in the adventure. For this group – which is still very low level, especially compared to the level of their opposition – it was potentially lethal, although the resistance that Thumbalina possesses due to her rage and the damage reduction Krovis has in heavy armour mitigate a lot against this type of opponent. Less well against spell-based attacks, but we’ve had very few of them so far.

The level disparity is expressed during play by the group engaging in much shorter trips into the monastery than you’d otherwise expect: it’s just too difficult to stay in there for long. This actual session ran short at about 90 minutes compared to the regular 2 hours, but with the group retiring after the fight with the abbess, it seemed the appropriate time to end things.

The Chaotic nature of most of the party was well expressed in their reaction to the “duel” – where only Krovis was really talking it seriously (and, as he was unconscious when his friends pitched in, could hardly object). Michael’s chosen for Krovis to follow Kelemvor – a particularly amusing decision given his mis-step in the earlier session when talking to the necromancer. Although I’m not drawing attention to it in my reports, at every chance Jesse gets, he’s having Jandar announce that the group represents the Zhentarim, who are there to help. (Michael and Josh are rather less than amused at this).

Although the leader of the monastery is now dead, the second-in-command – the priest seen last session – still survives and so further defense of the monastery will be organised. It will be interesting to see what the players do. My challenge now is to work out how much the monastery will be defended before it is abandoned as a lost cause…

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