Ditching the Death Curse of ToA gives me and the players time to do as we please. The downside, maybe, is the possibility to, huh, not advance anything at all, as this session demonstrates…
- Flyzus, Wood Elf Ranger (Hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
- Varis, Drow Elf Rogue (Thief), Far traveller; exiled scion of a noble family on the losing side of a feud
- Lucky, Half-Elf Cleric of Tymora (Trickery), Street Urchin; the lowly will be exalted
- Phileas, Half-Elf Bard (College of Swords), Archeologist; “it’s not tomb-robbing if you do it respectfully”
- Shin, Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
- Pocor, Human Druid (Circle of Spores), Outlander; member of Chultan Diaspora, returned to his roots, literally
- Corpos, High Elf Wizard, Archeologist; antiquary, strange fixation on the undead
Also, show me something like a Grand Coliseum as a location, and of course I will want to stage battles in it!
I offered the players a 8 teams Gladiatorial Tournament. The way I planned it, I told them that as first time participants (low-level characters) they really had not much chances to win this. The point would be to go as far as they could in the competition.
- The Seven Associates (PCs) (strength ?): newcomers, have done a couple of prelims combats in the past two weeks
And the other teams, roughly in order of strength:
- Disciples of Kossuth (+0): cultists dedicated to Everburning Kossuth – forced to fight
- Flaming Fist (+2): mercenaries based at Fort Beluarian – here for the money
- Sons of Malar (+4): local gang of thugs – here for the fame
- Resilient Ferns (+5): Jungle Dwarves in town for the event only – here for the thrill
- Gnoll Marauders (+6): evil, mangly typical gnolls – here for the blood
- Claws of Destiny (+10): Tabaxi monks – here to test their skills
- Liberators (+16): All-Stars Team of Chultans – here to win
The teams were randomly picked for the quarter finals as follows:
- Seven Associates (PCs) vs Gnoll Marauders
- Disciples of Kossuth vs Resilient Ferns
- Flaming Fist vs Liberators
- Sons of Malar vs Claws of Destiny
Seven Associates vs Gnoll Marauders
The Maurauders: 3 gnolls (2 with longbows), 2 gnoll whiterlings, 1 Dire Hyena, 1 Pack Lord.
A well placed entangle spell from Pocor ensured that the 7As had time to make the most of their ranged firepower: arrows and spells bombarded the Gnolls. Shin’s explosive arcane shot in particular proved very lethal. Unfortunately, he missed his second shot. The two gnoll archers tried to retaliate but weren’t very successful. The Whitherlings were blasted to bits before they even reached the middle of the Arena. The Dire Hyena moved fast but only managed to get itself impaled on Pocor’s waiting spear.
The confidence of the PCs was understandably high at this point but it was soon to be shaken as the Pack Lord and another Gnoll reached their side of the Arena and rampaged through their ranks, felling three of them in no time.
Judicious use of healing – Pocor, Phileas and Lucky all had such magic at their disposal, ultimately made them prevail, but not without a bit of luck.
Rewards: 50 gp and an Ikakalaka +1 sword
Block 1: Seven Associates vs Resilient Ferns
Block 2: Liberators vs Claws of Destiny
Seven Associates vs Resilient Ferns
Resilient Ferns: 1 Girallon, 1 Albino Dwarf Druid, 5 Albino Dwarves Warriors (two with a barkskin spell effect on, one with a triflower strapped to his back).
The opening round was much like the previous fight with the 7As peppering their opponents with arrows and spells while the Jungle Dwarves dashed forward to get in melee quickly. Three RFs were slowed by a grease spell from Corpos. The Girallon (with its aggressive feature) got to the other side of the arena and pummelled Flyzus the very first round. The Wood Elf then retaliated with two sword slashes that inflicted heavy damage (one critical hit). Phileas then played a mind trick on the beast with a dissonant whisper, that made it flee. Flyzus killed it with a sword stab in the back.
The Jungle Dwarves joined the fun and soon everyone, except Shin who, again, had climbed up a spike on the wall, was in a confusing brawl. Varis got into deep trouble when the triflower covered him in corrosive sap AND poisoned him with its grappling pistil. Meanwhile, Lucky’ scale mail offered good protection against the wooden clubs of the jungle dwarves but that made him the target of the druid’s heat metal spell that nearly did him.
Phileas’ quick thinking saved the life of Varis as he correctly guessed that pouring water would wash away the corrosive sap. He even asked the assistance of the spectators to shower the poor Drow with, well, anything they had!
Flyzus slashed and stabbed, right and left, very efficiently. The triflower was dispatched with a firebolt and an arrow. The Seven Associates yet again managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!
rewards: 100 gp each and a ankylosaurus breastplate
Seven Associates vs Liberators
Liberators: 7 gladiators (4 with added quirks)
It was already surprising that the newcomers had managed to get to the final. An impressive feat indeed, but they were clearly not in the same league with the local favorites and long time gladiators: the Liberators. The best of the best of the Grand Coliseum assembled in one team for the Tournament of Liberation Day.
The Seven Associates did all they could but predictably, they could not avoid defeat. Between Sukomo the Fragrant and his unnaturally good scent, Wèwè the Killer, a ferociuous woman who didn’t seem to feel pain, Mkongu Lightfooted, faster than even a Wood Elf, Skanga the Ripper and his many shongo throwing knives and the other fearsome gladiators, there weren’t any way to win for the less experienced team.
Nonetheless, the Seven Associates gained valuable combat experience and a challenge for later.
- Before the session, Corpos’ Player asked to change his rock gnome to high elf, he read somewhere that gnomes are silly, duh…
- Corpos’ Player finds the 5E grease spell underwhelming and changed it for cause fear.
- This session was pure, undiluted, tactical combat. It did help us get used with combat options that we had skipped, somehow, in the previous campaign.
- I was bit creative with the Resilient Ferns, with the girallon and triflower added to the jungle dwarves and it was a great fight!