Tuesday, January 6, 2015

D&D Hoard of the Dragon Queen Actual Play: The Inn of Lost Heroes

Getting caught up on our actual play write-ups for those who are into such things...this is the continuation of our Hoard of the Dragon Queen game, except I decided to slot in the Labyrinth Lord adventure Inn of Lost Heroes.

No dragons here. Except the Dragonborn.

The previous posts are presented below:

The group headed north to Elturel to meet with Leosin and Otharr Frume.

On their first night of travel, they happened on a roadside inn called The Inn of Heroes.

Our Monk player called BS right away. His Spider-Sense went off hard, but the group went inside anyway.

The group met the Mortigan family, whose patriarch (James) explained that he used to be an adventurer before he took an arrow in the knee.

I apologized immediately to my group.

The Hermit, our Dragonborn Ranger, made everyone a little uneasy, and Finnan became the target of barbs from a member of another adventuring group, a Dwarf who has a serious hatred of magic users, and who smelled the vile magically practically rolling off of Finnan. Finnan had to be talked down from unleashing a magical attack on the Dwarf. A fight nearly broke out between this group (The Furies) and another group, led by a Cleric of Lathandar named Xander Kohn over spilled soup.

The Hermit bonded a bit with the family dog, named Old Beast, and the group got to meet the whole family, aside from the mother (Evelyn), who was hard at work in the Kitchen.

Two more Furies made crude comments at one of the waitresses as well as Lerissa, before turning their attentions to a quiet man in the corner (who Shi Yan Hong noted that he hadn't seen him come in, and was sure he wasn't there before) but the whole powder keg began to blow when their Halfling got right in the middle of the group and picked a fight.

The brawl exploded and the mysterious man began screaming for the fighting to stop, when the building began to erupt into flames and smoke. Some of our heroes tried to evacuate the Inn, but soon fire and smoke overtook the group as they saw the "Inn of Heroes" sign begin to burn and the glowing word "Lost" appear in front of "Heroes".

This did lead to call of "I knew it!" from the table. Also, the Monk cleaned house in unarmed combat, shockingly.

The group awoke in an ashen, Silent Hill-like representation of the Inn. They crept downstairs and found the whole common room was also covered in ash. They ventured to the courtyard and scouted the area, seeing the surrounding landscape had turned into a dark, blasted wasteland.

They encountered Xander and his allies, Athreena (a young wizard) and Kipp (a thief), who surmised that everyone had been transported to another dimension. The group heard a fight breaking out in the common room and all parties rushed to it, to find the mysterious hooded man being beaten by The Furies!

The man, Alan Harker, is being blamed by The Furies, who are threatening to torture him to get information. Shi Yan Hong and The Hermit interject, and Harker explains that Evelyn Mortigan trapped them in the Inn, because her family was burned alive in a tavern brawl between two adventuring parties years ago. He told them that they needed to find the four pieces of The Blessed Medallion of Light, the one object in Evelyn's Hell that she couldn't control. Then Harker warned them that the "Charred Hag" was coming...and would destroy them all!

Harker was consumed with flame...and the horrible, burnt visage of The Charred Hag appeared! Both Xander's group and The Furies rushed to fight it...but the adventuring party bailed out!

This did kind of surprise me.

As Xander was immolated, his Holy Symbol clanked across the ground to The Hermit's feet, who scooped it up. The party bailed out to The Stables, leaving the adventuring parties to fight The Charred Hag.

Inside the stables, they were confronted by a corpse who spoke to Lerissa and summoned her to The Chamber of Battle upstairs. The rest of the group was kinda okay with letting her enter alone, where she saw a rack with a sword, shield and plate mail...across from a standing suit of armor similarly armed. It took her a moment, but she decided to put them on...and the suit of armor came to life.

The battle was brutal, but she held out and defeated the suit...at which point her armor and weapons burst into flame, burning her, leaving her with the first part of The Blessed Medallion of Light.

The fight was longer and more drawn out because she had to be fully garbed to fight the suit of armor, and since she doesn't have proficiency for Plate Armor, she was fighting with disadvantage. The burns from the equipment igniting was also creepy as she's a Tiefling, and should be resistant to that sort of thing...but being in what amounts to a Ravenloft-like demiplane, her resistances did not hold. I modeled the penalties by giving her Disadvantage on her attacks (which she is able to balance by Raging).

The party departed the Stables and began exploring the inn, experiencing the apparitions of the Inn, including the fight that set fire to the Inn and killed the family.

Upstairs, they found Old Beast - now something akin to a Hellhound - guarding the family rooms. The Hermit, using his earlier bond, tried to calm Old Beast...but Old Beast attacked. The group managed to make pretty short work of him, even with a hobbled Barbarian.

Exploring the upper rooms, they found a cabinet with a corpse strapped to it...and they could slightly make out a chamber inside the cabinet. The corpse invited Finnan into The Chamber of Books, and Finnan seemed rattled...but took the challenge and ventured inside. Unfortunately, he didn't have access to the simple magic needed to access the shard of the Medallion, but he found some spectacles that allowed him to read the magic seal holding it...and in doing so, the glasses burnt up on his face, blinding him! When the group tried to help him, he ordered them back, due to his sensitivity about his face. He wound up having his impish familiar ride on his shoulders to help guide him forward.

As the group traveled around the Inn, they saw more apparitions, showing him the family died. Hearing the horses in the stables crying out, they rushed back there to find crazed men actually eating the horses! They rushed to fight them and scattered them...then began to hear sick sounds from inside the stables.

Opening a stall, they found Xander's thief companion in a nearly catatonic state, repeatedly stabbing the wizard in the throat. When they failed to get ANY kind of reaction from her, Shi Yan Hong mercifully executed her, putting her to rest (and preventing her from becoming a threat to them).

The group ventured into the basement, where they found another talking corpse, this one telling The Hermit to enter The Chamber of Bones, and he did, without hesitation. He ventured inside, where the masses of bones began to shiver and rise and the skeletons drew around him to attack! The Hermit took out Lathandar's symbol and brandished it, and light emitted from it, destroying the skeletons! However, a cloud of searing heat shot down The Hermit's throat, burning him and swelling it shut, robbing him of his voice AND his breath weapon! But he did retrieve the third shard of the Blessed Medallion of Light.

This is why I love my players. Hardcore D&D guys metagame this and realize that only Clerics and Paladins are turning undead...but The Hermit moves to a natural reaction, brandishing a symbol of faith, and it pays off.

...and yes, there's a reason for it.

Getting desperate and traveling around the Inn and its grounds, they encountered the violent Halfling, who threatened them all and fell prey to Finnan, who began assaulting him with wicked whispers that caused the Halfling warrior to run screaming from the grounds...where something large and inhuman snapped him up in the darkness!

At last the group finally exhausted their options and found the room housing the fourth chamber, and Shi Yan Hong entered the Chamber of Sight, The Hermit offering him Lathandar's Symbol. He eyeballed the mist-covered cavern and watched as the fungi came alive and lashed out at a stray rodent. He used his acrobatic training and crazy Monk-Fu to spring from rock to rock, narrowly avoiding the fungi and retrieving the fourth shard of the Medallion...but was also covered in a glowing light that could not be extinguished!

The party put the four parts of the Medallion together...and it began to glow and summoned The Charred Hag! This time, there was no one else to fight her, so the group fought her...

Lerissa raged and Shi Yan Hong did Monk Things and The Hermit hacked away with his hand axes and Finnan summoned infernal magic, and the group managed to beat The Charred Hag, who began to transform into Alan Harker as the exit to the dimension appeared! He explained that Evelyn has been looking for her lost love, the one who is strong enough, but willing to leave the adventuring life behind. He explained that that if they fought to the last man, then the remaining champion could take the Blessed Medallion and put Evelyn to rest once and for all.

And Shi Yan Hong, Lerissa and Finnan promptly left the dimension behind, returning to The Realms.

Woops.

The Hermit, however, agreed to stay behind, and he walked through the common room of the Inn, where the deceased adventurers he had met earlier in the evening watched them, with the Dwarf motioning to a chair for The Hermit. He went to the courtyard, where he met the spectral form of Evelyn and told her he would stay with her, placing the Blessed Medallion around her neck...and freeing her from her anguished anchor of hatred! She saw her husband at last, and reunited with her family!

The Hermit was suddenly deposited in The Realms, at the burnt wreckage of the Inn, free from the burns that swelled his throat shut but marked by his experiences at The Inn...

He got full experience for "beating" Evelyn, and didn't split it since he did it alone, jumping a full level ahead of the group. Also, he was Lawful Neutral, I believe, going in...but shifted to Neutral Good after his experiences there, realizing he could care more about innocents than he realized.

As for conversions, that was actually pretty simple using these guidelines and some common sense. I used the experience values for the adversaries and matched those up with the Challenge Rating experience values to eyeball the opponents. With Old Beast, I took a Hellhound and tweaked it down a hair, for instance, while I roughly built all the NPCs. It ultimately convinced me that using older D&D stuff, and retroclone stuff, would be pretty easy to pull off.

They had other encounters, but honestly this session was two months old and I'm playing catch--up, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.