Sorry it's late I got distracted with all the excitement of Thanksgiving, and starting as a PC in a local fantasy LARP.
It was a much smaller group than our regularly table. We were down to four characters, oddly enough neither of the tables regular Bladesingers were in attendance. I toned the Dead Rat’s down by one member and we got down to business.
There was no advance planning or anything at the start. Locke just walked right up to the portcullises and inspected it for traps. Quietly he informed the group that he’d found none. So of course Darbeck had to double check and confirm that it wasn’t trapped. Afterwards Locke moved up again and picked the lock on it. Before it was lifted up he shifted to rat form and moved up to scout. It was enough to give the party some advanced warning and intelligence before they attacked. He scurried back through the bars just as a thrown dagger clattered against the wall beside him. Initiative is rolled and combat begins.
Mr. E. Meat moved up to the portcullis and lifted it. The mechanism locked into place with each foot he lifted it. He got it up high enough to pass but left it low enough that it would still would be a hindrance for anyone firing through it. Darbeck squeezed passed him on the ledge and got about half way down the narrow edge, and stopped in a defensive stance. Cognitoe fired his long bow from the far end of the tunnel and seemed unhindered by the portcullis and put an arrow firmly into one of the wererats; poor man’s Crit.
A couple of the rats threw daggers Darbeck & Mr. E Meat but both of them miss horribly. Another rushed Darbeck and bit a chunk out of his shoulder, leaving him in danger of becoming infected. The final wererat moved as far as he safely could in order to get at Cognitoe, in the end however it wasn’t far enough.
Locke tumbled around the corner and then under the portcullis. His sling already spinning as he got to his feet and the stone caught the wererat off guard and was enough to leave him bloodied.
Mr. E. Meat climbed up on to the portcullis and scrambled over the sewage while holding on to the slippery bars. Then he charged at the one Locke had bloodied. It was a solid hit but not enough drop it. Darbeck calls on that famous dwarven reserve of strength and then smashes his axe down in to the rat that had just bitten him. From the far end of the tunnel Cognitoe fires another arrow hitting it and leaving it lame and slow moving.
A wererat from the back of the pack calls out for his brothers to fall back and make the adventures come to them, sadly he was the only one really able to do much of anything movement wise. The slowed wererats moved as far back as they could in their condition and both throw daggers to no effect. Mr E. Meat provided a tasty snack for the wererat who was ever so near death.
Locke twirls his sling and is about to let fly another stone when the wererat across the sewage calls out to him. “Locke, is that you?” Only then does he realize that the intended victim of his stone was an old friend from the Dead Rat Nix. Locke didn’t recognize any of the others, but Nix was an old friend and they had done a few jobs together. There was a brief exchange in which Nix tried to convince Locke to help him out with these invaders. Locke wasn’t going to have any of it and wasn’t interested in coming back into the fold. He let fly the bullet, and called for stun damage. Nix slumped to the ground. After his friend falls Locke calls out to the party to not kill his friend.
Mr. E. Meat pulls the rat that was biting him off and kills it. Darbeck moves up and bloods one of the slow moving one with a massive blow from his axe. Cognitoe draws back another arrow and kills it. Not for the first time I find myself missing the old rules from earlier editions about firing into melee.
The player of Mr. E Meat out of the blue asks what the group is doing down here. I remind them all of the earlier flavour text and their meeting with Lord Neverember as well as the information that they had been given. It all leads to a short albeit interesting comparison between this season and last. Everyone is very much in agreement that they don’t feel they have any control over the adventure. They are mostly going from one combat encounter to the next without really knowing why or getting to make any decisions. At least in the last couple of seasons there were a few encounters where they had some say in what was going to happen.
The knocked out wererat stands back up and rushes across the pipe to attack his now ex friend. Apparently he didn’t believe friends should show their love for one another with sling bullets. The other wererat backed up and tossed a dagger at Darbeck. Locke dropped his friend like an unwanted bag of coppers and then kicked him in to the sewage. Cognitoe moves up past the portcullis finally and puts an arrow into the remaining the wererat. Darbeck moved up and took a defensive posture rather than charge and finish off the last wererat.
Seeing that the fight is over and his side has lost the remaining wererat pulls the rope that set off the trap. The chamber is flooded with water and sewage. Then everything is sucked down the nearest vortex. Each of the party members is able to make a check against one of several different skills. To my surprise as Cognitoe made his roll. The only person to fail it was Darbeck and it cost him a healing surge.
I was so certain that Cognitoe, who has a long history of poor dice rolls, would fail it. I had spent some time during the afternoon research what happens when a character which has no healing surges, is forced to lose one during a skill challenge. This situation wasn’t covered in any of the rule books that I checked and twitter didn’t provide me with any answers either. I ended up calling the DM hotline. The guy who answered basically told me nothing would happen, because it wasn’t covered in the rules. I guess it is his job to know the rules but I think a certain amount of creativity is called for at times. So what I had planned was to say that he hit his head on a rock and gave himself what would have effectively been a mild concussion. This would have left him with a -1 to attacks, skill checks and his speed as he was unsure of his footing. I had considered taking his surge value in hit points but with the last encounter coming next I didn’t want to take away the hit points.
From start to finish the whole was less than an hour and twenty minutes. It was the shortest encounter in the history of my experience with Encounters.