Princes of the Apocalypse, session 11

It’s an interesting tactic to announce to your host that you were sent to kill him, but that’s what Thumbalina did upon meeting the head of the Feathergale Knights. She followed this up with the pronouncements that she’d changed her mind, they were all really cool, and could she ride a griffon please. Yes, you’ve got to enjoy the antics of the dwarf who thinks she’s a giant (she was raised by giants), is a barbarian and belongs to the Emerald Enclave.

This even managed to stop Jandar from pronouncing that they’d been sent by the Zhentarim to help (followed by the usual denials of that status from the other adventurers) for about 10 seconds, a definite first! Although what wasn’t surprising was when he eventually managed to state this, the rest of the adventurers were unaware. You’d think they’d be quick enough to stop him by now, but such was not the case.

This excitement led into a very nice dinner with the Feathergale Knights, which was interrupted by a manticore hunt!

The manticore hunt was interesting; each of the adventurers hopped on their own mount, except for Zed, who rode with one of the knights. This backfired on the gnome when his knight retired from the hunt after being hurt by the manticore. The search for the manticore saw half the adventurers set out on their own separate ways to discover the manticore first; however, they were not successful in that and it was the main group that discovered the manticore first. Several of the knights retired during the combat, and Thumbalina jumped onto th the back of the manticore, laying about it with her axe. Eventually, Diablo slew with a scorching ray spell, with Thumbalina leaping to safety on another’s griffon. The adventurers who had split from the group caught up just as the manticore fell.

The knights were delighted with the dwarf’s success, and the next morning – before the rest of the adventurers were up – Thumbalina found herself inducted into the Featherspire Knights!

Discussion between the adventurers and the master of the Knights, Thurl Merosska, turned to the matter of Stoneheart Monastery. Thurl revealed that the monastery had been corrupted by evil and – based on their reports – it was time to deal with it once and for all. The adventurers happily agreed, and after being reprovisioned by the knights – the group actually being flown to a nearby town to buy supplies – set off once again for the monastery.

This time, they directly attacked Qarbo, attempting to deceive him first; saying that a bottle of explosive spirits was the head of Thurl, but he fled, leaving his guards to face the intruders, and ended up fleeing into the mines and then further down, into a long spiraling staircase that led to a bridge over a great chasm. On that bridge the adventurers were attacked by gargoyles which caused them a lot of trouble, but Zed dodged his way along the bridge until he faced Qarbo, grabbing him and stopping him from fleeing further. Then Thumbalina charged into the evil priest, knocking him into the chasm – and to his death.

The adventurers then returned to the surface to rest and recuperate.

The Players and their Characters

  • Michael is playing Krovis Thorn, LN human Paladin 5. (Soldier, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Jesse is playing Jandar, CN human Fighter 4 (Criminal, Zhentarim)
  • Josh is playing Ivan, CN water genasi Bard 4 (Pirate, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Danielle is playing Thumbalina, CN dwarf Barbarian 4 (Outlander, Emerald Enclave)
  • Dean is playing Zed Lepplin, CN human Warlock 4 (Entertainer, Zhentarim)
  • Mikey is playing Diablo, CN dragonborn Warlock 3. (Sage, Lord’s Alliance)
  • Noah is playing Gimble, CN gnome Rogue 3. (Criminal, Zhentarim)

DM Notes

It’s always a lot of fun running this group, as I’m never sure what they’ll do next. Danielle’s initial declaration of “We’re here to kill you!” was hilarious, and led to a lot of the players just doing double-takes. It was absolutely priceless! Thankfully, she then continued on immediately to flatter Thurl, so the group weren’t then slaughtered out of hand.

I apologise for the lack of updates on the progress of the group (and my blog in general); I haven’t been in the best of health, and other matters have also been drawing my attention.

Interactions with NPCs can go in many different ways, and good background on the NPCs goals and personality help. In other words, read the adventure! Princes doesn’t quite have the same background information as in Hoard of the Dragon Queen (which gives a lot of very good information about the factions), but there was still enough for me to work out a strategy that Thurl would adopt when faced with the party. Would he attack them? Would he try to influence them? The Knights are noted as not trusting the monks in any case, so it was easy for them to aid the party against the monastery, and even give them a little push in that location.

Which brought the characters down into the depths beneath the Monastery… It’s quite possible in this adventure for the party to wander into areas which are a little too difficult for them. That’s fine; one of the tactics as a DM is to provide other adventure opportunities for when they retreat after realising things are going badly. If they retreat…


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