Monday, 18 January 2010

Chasing the party into the jaws of crocodiles

The game sessions continue on at a weekly pace, every sunday. I'm having great fun designing adventures and encounters for my little party of hereoes to face. I often think of designing villians as being like setting up bowling pins to be knocked over. I enjoy the drama of pushing the heroes towards their limits and the panic setting in, followed by the relief of victory as the enemy falls and the danger passes.

Yesterday, for example, I had a blast with an encounter I had designed. A dozen orcs came streaming out of a cave at the adventuring party, screaming and shouting. Their heads were covered with lizard like helmets. To get to this point, the group had progressed down a path in a forest and gone under three archways that were each carved to resemble dragons and painted white. The heroes fully expected to face a dragon, especially when they saw that three of the green skinned creatures, who they only suspected might be orcs but were unsure, were trying to pull on the leash of something to drag it out of the cave.

So the party fled towards a river crossing, driven there by the orc attack ... and straight into their trap. Straight into the jaws of crocodiles! What they had seen as bits of floating wood and detritus on the river surface were dangerous predators.

The three orcs were pulling a wyven out of the cave and then let it off its leash and all hell broke loose!

The orc leader ended up panicking due to a magical screaming arrow that the heroes fired at one of his men, who fell forward instantly dead, and ordered a retreat. The wyvern had been loosed, however and continued on its flight to the group but got caught up in the crocodile attack. It slew all of the crocodiles and almost killed one of the heroes, who fell back into the river and decided not to come back up for air to hide from the beast. The wizard hid from it behind a tree, using his magical cloak to help camouflage him.

The beast flew back into the cave and the heroes emerged from their hiding places and moved swiftly on. Only three orcs had been slain and it was a terrific encounter, despite the heroes being eighth and seventh level!

Both the heroes lived to fight another day, however and continued on their way to further adventure deeper in the forest. We had other memorable enounters that night, but for me as the DM, that was my favourite one. The players have expressed an interest in returning to the cave at some point soon, too :-)