Arcadia Recap: Mimics, Cool Terrain and Dragons

Sarah Darkmagic - Posted on 29 July 2010

I had a great time running our regular game last night. No one quite wanted to stay on task but we still got through a bunch of story and encounters in the time we had together, which was awesome. The game started easily enough. Last session the PCs had defeated Ragdin and his henchmen when they came to collect the latest group of "volunteers" for the Shadow Army. They allowed Ragdin to live with the promise that he would make it easier for them to enter the mine where they are holding Sirius Darkmagic.

Mimics, Mimics, Everywhere

This session was supposed to be them going to the mine but, like PCs like to do, they took a bit of a detour. The bard was convinced that a man in town, Garel, still had the papers about the Shadow that he stole from various libraries. So they decided to break into the guys house.

Now, I'll be honest, I had nothing planned for this event. I mean, I knew where the guy lived, in the end, he was just a dwarf who had more money than sense thanks to the papers he stole. But the players had no idea about this and they started making checks for...every...movement. Perception to see if the door was trapped. Arcana to make sure it didn't have an arcane trap. The list just goes on. Believe me, I'm not complaining, but it told me they wanted something to happen.

Trying to think quickly on my feet, I settled on the idea of mimics. I invented a study on the first floor of Garel's house since that would be a good place for papers. Ok, so a desk full of papers, some chairs and bookcases. What to make into mimics? The desk was a bit obvious, so I settled on the chairs. True to form, they asked all sorts of questions about the desk but the chairs sat there, unnoticed.

So what should be the trigger? Ok, how about one old looking sheet of paper, its corner sticking out from the pile? On it, one word, "Die!". When the bard found the paper, lifted it from the desk and read it, we rolled initiative and had fun with the mimics for a bit. I think the players felt rewarded for their carefulness and they had the fun of reminiscing about instant death traps without their characters actually being in one.

The Shadow Army's Home Base

After they settled out the mimics and terrorized poor Garel, they made their way to the mine. I created this encounter months ago and I'm glad I was finally able to run it. The entrance to the cave is beneath a waterfall cascading off the side of a cliff. One both sides are recently constructed platforms holding dwarf fire archers. While they are using dwarfs to guard, they didn't use them to build, a fact gleefully pointed out by Ragdin to the PCs when they interrogated them. It didn't take much to trigger their collapse, and when the tumbling rocks also wiped out a bunch of minions, things were even more fun.

As the last minion and archer died however, a large form sprang forth from the pool beneath the waterfall. A dragon! It flew high into the air. A few seconds later, the body of a dwarf, Ragdin, fell and landed at the feet of some of the players. The black dragon then landed in front of them and taunted them the best he could. "Did you really think I wouldn't notice that you had turned Ragdin against me?" he asked.

A recent addition to the encounter, I created the dragon that morning. I started with the earthquake dragon from Monster Manual 3 and just changed some things to make it fit a black dragon better. I can't say that it's the best conversion ever, but I'm pretty happy with it. And the exploding aura is pretty awesome. However, working on this dragon did bring a few more bugs in Monster Builder to the surface, but I'm sure they'll fix it soon. One of them involves the additional speeds. For some reason it keeps putting the difference from normal instead of the full distance.

Overall the fight between the PCs and the dragon went really well, with the players honestly afraid for a good portion of the battle. I think having the elite rather than the solo was a great change. It had just the right amount of hit points to worry the players without dragging out the fight past the fun limit.


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