Fangs for the Memories
We had a late start last night, and the party wasn’t entirely sure where to turn after having angered the dragon and narrowly escaped with their lives. Rather than stick around and be identified as outsiders, they opted to circle around the giant ice structure in the center of the courtyard and check out one of the other towers.
There was a bit of debate over the purpose of their mission. The monk wanted to crash the castle, believing that doing so would solve all of their requirements in one fell swoop. I think the rest of the party generally agreed, although it was the requirements part they were getting straight. Originally they were tasked with following the treasure to find out why the cult needed it, and where it was going. Along the way, they learned the purpose, and I think they agreed that if they could stop the cult’s plans, it would be in everyone’s best interest. They were also asked to make Talis the White’s rival Rezmir look bad in the eyes of the Cult by disrupting Rezmir’s task — which was to get the treasure hoard to its destination. All in all, crashing the castle would handle all of that.
But what was causing the castle to fly? How could they disrupt the process and cause the castle to crash? They put their heads together and recalled that during ancient wars between giants and dragons, the giants traveled in flying fortresses to do battle with their draconian enemies. There was a vague recollection regarding something about deceased giants being pressed into service, but no one in the party could remember anything more specific than that, or how a dead giant could be put to work (that’s not the exact line I gave in explanation, but I was tired and unfocused, so this is the line I should have given).
The vampire encounter was a tad bit difficult, mainly because there were two of them, both had high HP, and their Bite attack was incredibly potent. Each vampire spawn healed for 10 points at the start of their turn (handled automatically by Fantasy Grounds!), and each vampire spawn would heal for the amount of necrotic damage they’d do with their Bite attack. We were running behind schedule by a bit, so the vampires didn’t bite as much as they certainly could have, since the 10 HP heal was more than enough to slow their demise. Of course, the encounter took place during midday, which meant the party could have simply…exited the tower and the vampires wouldn’t have been able to follow (yet…). Forcibly dragging the vampire out to the balcony would have negated their regeneration powers as well, possibly making the fight quicker, but they felt that moving the party to the veranda would have caused a scene that they didn’t want to cause.
This was kind of a session that would have really benefitted from a more robust narrative. The party wanted to think about what might make a giant’s giant flying castle fly, but no one’s skills could meet the DC to recall anything specific. Also, no one had any idea about what might be good to fight a vampire (which was well played by purposefully avoiding metagaming). I think everyone — even me — is finding it far easier to bully their way through this adventure than to RP/skill/ability through it. I know that I need to work on some of the minutiae that comes out of left field. The sarcophagus, for example, was adorned with a carving, but after describing it and then reading about the vampire within, I realize it probably would have been better to make the carving of a dracolich or something, since the vampire’s description in the module was that of a faithful cult servant who used to kill dragons expressly to create dracoliches. My lack of attention to detail bothers me because a better description and better minutiae would only serve to make the experience better, and could act as a vehicle for player epiphanies.