Back to where we left off last time. I had a week to figure out a way to describe how the next encounter will go. A word of advise, if you are running this module and have little experience under your belt, make sure you prepare for the ‘Chase’ encounter. With the amount of details and actions going on in this encounter you will very likely forget some key aspect like I did.
Last time we left off the party caught up with the fleeing caravan consisting of three wagons. The intention of the party was to find out what was in those wagons that could justify so much violence and lies. As soon as the party get a view of the trail of dust, a guard at the top of the last wagon yelled and this is when we rolled for initiative.
To be honest I did not prepare as I should have for this encounter because the first 10 minutes of it was a total mess. You have different actions being in the ‘Chase’ and the two key ones are ‘Move Ahead’ and ‘Fall Behind’. Those new actions pretty much dictate how your vehicle/horses will move during the encounter. The rest of the actions were mostly for me as a DM to try to use against the party. To avoid the mistake I made ensure you follow the ‘Move Ahead’ condition. The condition is if a player ‘Move Ahead’ they need to make a roll to ensure they can keep pace or they will ‘Fall Behind’ after their action, this happens at the end of their turn. The target roll increases after the 5th round.
After 10 minutes of messy fighting the tracking of the NPC became easier as one of the party member did have a skill that would push people off their horses. For the sake of my sanity I decided to leave whoever falls off the horse out of the encounter even though the rule states that they could catch up if they have or find a horse. Then came a great idea from one of the party member because the movement was getting confusing and messy, he drew at each 20ft interval a marker and each time you ‘Move Ahead’ you would go towards to next marker. The same thing would apply when someone ‘Fall Behind’ but up to a threshold which is the end of the map and as per the newly created rule, this is as far back as you could get. Which was a good thing because one of the party member was rolling very poorly that night.
The party consists of a Paladin whose power is to communicate with animal. I should have picked that up from the first time I DMed when he made the monkey talk. Well during this encounter he tried to charm all the horses and now every action would require a roll from the drivers to see if their animal handling was better than his charm. In the end only 2 out of 3 wagons’ horses were charmed. The battle went on to round 7 before they were able to subdue the 3rd wagon’s driver with the help of the bandit chief. Once the driver was dead, the Paladin ordered the horses to stop on the side of the road which they did without any resistance. As per the criteria from the module, the other wagons stopped in order to protect the stranded one and using the same initiative we went into regular combat.
At this point the party heard muffled scream coming from the stopped wagon and proceeded to take care of the guards quickly and swiftly. Once the last guard fell they searched the corpse and found the key to the wagon from the guard leader, which would only make sense. Unfortunately they rolled too low to find the secret compartment in the sword hilt but I gave it to them at the end. In the wagons they discover a total of 8 prisoners and also found out from one of the guard who was knocked unconscious that the prisoners were to be sold to a couple of Duergars a few hours down the road.
What the party did next was smart, they took the Red Plume uniforms and dressed the human members of the party. The goal is to fool the Duergars into performing the transaction and to hopefully get a surprise round on them. After a short rest, the party heard noise coming from an incoming caravan and coming out from the darkness were 2 Duergars and 2 Death Wolves. The Duergars became suspicious and asked about the whereabout of the Red Plume leader but before they had to the time to finish, the party jumped on them. We rolled for initiative. As an informed decision I granted them a surprise round on the Duergars but not on the Death Wolves. They managed to kill the Duergars before the surprise round was over and then switfly got rid of the wolves.
The last encounter was a bit short, I should have upped the difficulty but nonetherless the fight itself was very entertaining. I hope that you enjoyed my insight on the DMing part of the module and hopefully prepare new DMs to run this module.