This season of DnD Encounters - The Elder Elemental Eye - started on Leap Day! I am going to write this one up quickly - that way I can say I was able to post a blog entry on Leap Day as well. No, I suppose I really don't lead an exciting life.
We had ten people show up tonight at The Gaming Goat for the first week of this session of Encounters. We divided up into two tables with our two DM's (Jack and Clyde) and we got started. At my table Clyde read us through the introduction and we were off and running. At our table I was playing a mage that made considerable use of her ranged spells, plus we had a ranger (Tim) to throw some arrows around as well. Up front we had two tough dwarven tanks (Tom and Zach), so at least at first glance we seemed to be a solid group.
The story started with our group of heroes being charged to proceed to the town of Easting to investigate an outbreak of the Abyssal Plague and to put an end to it. Those infected with the plague first get noticeable oozing sores that eventually become red crystalline growths. Some of those that get infected recover, some die, but some turn into demons. It's never a good things when you have demons running around, so the party members quickly made their final arrangements and hit the road.
On the road the party pooled its knowledge of the plague and came to the conclusion the only way to accurately "cure" anyone that was infected was to kill them. The party had hopes of maybe eventually finding a less intrusive way of curing infected citizens, but for now the rule was "don't get infected."
Upon arrival in Easting it was apparent that all was not well. The place was vacant, with nary a sound coming from the buildings and the surrounding area. The first building the party came to was a house that had recently been burned - thin wisps of smoke still rose from the warm embers of what was left of the house. A quick investigation showed no charred bodies in the ruins, but the party did find five freshly filled graves. After some more inspection of the scene the party came to the conclusion that it was likely that the five people had become infected and the town members had decided to "cure" them in the only way they knew how.
That meant there were other townspeople somewhere and they had been here relatively recently. But where were they now? The party moved forward and found a small altar that had been built under a tree and it had obviously been recently used. Our dwarven cleric recognized a symbol carved into the altar as belonging to Teloma, Goddess of Disease. No doubt a local cleric had done his best to improve the plight of the small town, but we still didn't know much.
As the party moved into town they saw a temple and a barn-like inn. They also saw several other houses that were still standing, but all featured boarded up windows as if the occupants were trying to protect themselves from what was outside. The party decided to visit the temple first, and there they found the town priest (Evendur) with a young lady paladin (Arven). The gist of the argument between the two was that the paladin wanted to continue with the known cure (i.e., kill all the infected) while the elderly cleric said he knew of a magic ritual that would cure the plague, at least he could once he had all the proper spell components.
The party rook this opportunity to step into the temple and to introduce themselves as the ones sent here to help (i.e., we're from the government and we're here to help). Evendur and Arven were pleased to see us, although it was obvious that the young paladin had herself become infected by the plague as she had oozing sores up and down her arms and face. Further discussion revealed that Arven wanted to put the infected out of their misery and to then "throw herself on her sword" so to speak, but Evendur insisted he wanted to save as many towns people as he could. After all, not all those infected became demons, although it was impossible to know who would or wouldn't.
The party agreed to help find the missing spell component (residuum) for Evendur and got Arven to agree to hold off on the "kill them all and let god sort them out" portion of her plan for the moment. Once agreed they walked the party over to the barn-like inn that sat across the street from the temple. The remainder of the townspeople were being kept inside, although once the door was opened the party knew something was dreadfully wrong. The foul smell of disease and decay filled the air and there were moans of pain and fear coming from the darkened interior of the room.
Just then a scream of pain pealed from the back of the room and a foul looking beast roared out the darkness directly at the party. Arven used the opportunity to push Evendur to safety and the battle was ensued. The party quickly slew the first demon (and I mean quickly - no critical hits for the party, but the first three blows all dealt maximum damage).
Once inside the party put down two more of the demons when all of a sudden a dwarf came out of the darkness swinging a large axe. He did manage to get a critical hit against one of the dwarven party members but he was soon bloodied and just when things looked bleakest for him he threw down his axe and held up his hands in surrender. The party held their blows, when all of a sudden Arwen reappeared and asked the party to not kill him. The dwarf started to make a move for the weapons on his belt, but before he could do anything Arwen slapped him down and told him he would surrender.
Arwen tied up the renegade dwarf and the party members inspected the room. There were many towns people moaning in sickness all around, but at least the demons had been killed for now. A further inspection found a small pouch of residuum on the dwarf, enough for Evendur to successfully execute his plague healing ritual on Arwen. Now cured she presented her +1 Ebon Plate Armor as a reward to our dwarven fighter (Tom).
The party earned 250 XP for the encounter. The fight should have been a lot tougher, but the party members were dealing a lot of damage for 1st level characters, plus the DM had the misfortune of rolling a 1 on at least two different attacks. No doubt this luck will even out next week when the party gets to interrogate the dwarf and find out what the next step in our adventure will be.