D&D Encounters: Undermountain (Session 3)

My dice bag.

D&D Encounters: Undermountain

Another Wednesday and that means I get to have another D&D Encounters night!  Aero Hobbies was again the setting for our Encounters session, and this was yet another totally different experience.

I’m getting the feeling that I’ll need to show up yet earlier as the tables were full when I showed up at 6:45.  I tried to go early to talk with the DM from last week, but everyone was seated already and it didn’t seem appropriate to interrupt at this point and cause a further delay to the whole group.  There was some shuffling involved and one of the players graciously agreed to wait and play in the second round of encounters so that I could play in the first batch of encounters.  One of the regularly scheduled DMs was out of town, and as since the RPGA has a very strict policy on who can run an RPGA game, there were not enough slots for all the players with only two DMs.  However, they staggered the game play so that as soon as one ended another started and eventually everyone that showed up to play got through the encounter.

My session this week was run by yet another DM, so that’s three different DMs for three different sessions.  I suppose it could be a real curveball if you’re used to playing with the same crew week after week, but they made the process seem smooth and managed to integrate the changes without any hubbub.  In addition to a new DM, we also had a change up in the rolecall list.  I like the idea that for this campaign the faces change each week.  No one really mentions the fact that we’re adventuring with a different group of heroes each week, but we all just go with it.  This week’s party was shockingly balanced, with 2 defenders, 2 strikers, a controller, and a leader.  Now we would have no excuse on the battlefield.

The players make a quick introduction of their characters so the players can all get acquainted, and then it’s off to more delving.  We pick up immediately where we left off last week, and having just defeated the thugs who ambushed us, we move on down through Undermountain into ShadowHome, a shanty-town of riffraff and various monstrous denizens.

The DM this week made a conscious effort to have a little more story, even going so far as to explain the resurrection of our formerly dead companion.  My character has a sneaking suspicion that we’re going to be docked the price of a Raise Dead ritual from our total earnings.

As for specifics, this week’s session was a little different, because we actually had no combat.  It began as a Skill Challenge, and with a little luck and a little clever thinking, we managed to not fail the really dangerous encounters and make it through to the Inner Chamber of the Halls of the Sleeping King.  Though no actual attacks were rolled this session, it was really enjoyable nonetheless.  This just reinforces how much I enjoy the Skill Challenge system of 4th Edition, as even in our failures we were glorious and we worked together as a team to solve the riddles of the tomb.

For those of you who’ve played, you know that there were 6 little slots of blue flame and 6 team members, so sure enough we were each responsible for figuring out how to light one of the magic runes.  A great challenge designed to involve all of the players.  Unfortunately for the two defenders, our skill set seems to be limited to “bashing” and “crushing”, so with a little luck and more than a little brute force, the dragonborn and the minotaur managed to ham-fist their way through a delicate, arcane lock.  No Athletics check options means that fighters are slightly limited in their contributions.  I’ll keep this as a mental note to make an attempt to include a way for fighters to contribute in my own games.

All in all, a fun session of roleplaying.  My favorite moment?  Two players standing up and acting out how they would “distract” the otyugh long enough for the party to run past it and escape.  Yes.  Having permission to stand up and yell at the gaming table made for instant fun.  And for sticking my two horns into the remaining two locks and trying to unlock them at the same time, I achieved a Moment of Greatness.  It didn’t matter that it didn’t work.  Sometimes the attempt is what matters.

During the time I live-Tweeted the incident with my minotaur damaging himself and potentially losing one of his horns, Kyle (one of my fellow Tweeters, @d20plusmodifier) drew up this pic, scanned it, and posted it.  Genius.  I love the internet.

I now present Koroth, the uni-taur.
I can’t tell you how much I admire Kyle’s ability to produce in such a short amount of time!  The speech bubbles were part of a dialogue from a thread between @Wizards_DnD, @d20PlusModifier, @Level30Yinzer, and myself (@4eDnD).  This is also why I love the internet.  Incredible stuff.  Also, this is now my official character portrait.

SIDE NOTE: @Wizards_DnD posts various bonuses at various times on Twitter during Encounters for players with access to the internet, so depending on what time you play, your experience could vary.  We experienced two different potential benefits — one allowed a PC to reroll a Thievery check once this session and keep the 2nd roll.

The second (and most terrifying) of these was the following gem:
#dndenc Divine power washes over you. Each character can ignore the first attack that Orcus makes against you this session.

Yes. You read that right.  Implying that Orcus would be showing up in a 1st level adventure.  Guess WotC is getting a little jump on April Fool’s Day.  Nice one, guys. 🙂


Live Tweets every Wednesday at D&D Encounters: Undermountain on Twitter @4eDnD!


7 Responses to “D&D Encounters: Undermountain (Session 3)”

  1. March 31, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Not Entirely true. No scanning involved.

    I just whipped this out on Corel Painter.


    Glad you like it!

  2. March 31, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention that despite our somewhat-less-than-epic attempts to solve the arcane door, I picked up a +1 vicious greataxe. Can’t wait to start swinging away!

  3. March 31, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Like it? I love it.

  4. March 31, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You missed this one, which I liked even better than the Orcus one:

    #dndenc For the rest of the session, every attack against the Terrasque counts as a critical hit.

    Glad you had a much better experience tonight, sir. Did the sorcerer come back this week?

  5. March 31, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    What?! That’s just crazy! Must’ve missed that one…

  6. March 31, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Yeah, the sorcerer came back, and with only a -1 Death penalty until she reaches a milestone. Not as big a deal as a real campaign.

  7. 7 Tony
    April 21, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    So I’m looking for alternative rewards to grant in my weekly game, and I’ve found Fun Points and now Renown Points in D&D Encounters. Could someone elaborate on the Moment of Greatness award? And any similar storytelling awards? Also, how many Renown points it takes to acquire one of the cool bonus power cards?

    I’m also considering heading to my first D&D Encounters experience next week, and I found this site extremely helpful for insight on both alternative rewards and the “reality” of what D&D Encounters is like. So thanks!

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