The DnD Encounters group this week at The Gaming Goat featured seven players and two DM's, making for either one large table or two smaller tables. We decided to go with two tables, our table included Bobby, Andrew and myself with Clyde the DM. Uh-oh - two wizards and a fighter ... where's my MASH Unit in the form of a cleric? This doesn't bode well.
Last week's session had ended with the characters entering a magic portal that transported them to an underground room. The room featured a statue in one corner and the crumbled remains of another statue in the opposite corner. Aside the two statues were two pools of a mysterious looking liquid. In the center of the room stood a three foot high well, and just beyond that was a cage with the withered form of a corpse laying on the floor of the cage. Beyond the cage and in the corner opposite of the magic portal featured a red with gold flecked ooze that bubbled and roiled - the source of the abyssal plague.
The room wasn't bereft of characters though. Two dwarven templars dressed in black armor stood next to the well basin and swung their mighty axes. From the back of the room stood a familiar face - Zarnak - the other half of the crazy dwarven brothers. Zarnak laughed and taunted the party members until he suddenly decided he'd had enough and ordered his templars to attack. Just as they moved forward a pair of dwarven minions, either wielding a crossbow or swinging a war hammer, emerged from the magic portal behind the party - and the encounter was underway.
The party's strategy was solid. The party would initially concentrate on the minions and the two templars, with the long term goal of ganging up and taking out Zarnak. Unfortunately another minion appeared, and then a few more, and even then a few more, by my count twelve total by the end of the encounter. The fighting was fast and furious and the party managed to take out the two templars and eleven of the twelve minions, but it was one minion too many, plus even if we had of succeeded with part one of the plan Zarnak was barely touched. I don't know if we could have pulled this out, even with a fully functioning cleric.
So yes, another TPK, the third for this table this session. The other table was going strong when we finished, so we took the opportunity to discuss what the adventure guide actually provided for (another templar and even more minions - yikes!), but Clyde also told us how we could have eventually turned off the "minion spigot" so to speak. But even with all that, I'm still not sure this group could have still put up an effective fight against Zarnak.
Next week is the finale for this encounters session. Hopefully I won't have to die again for awhile.