As per usual with these stories, it's best that I talk a bit about the party members first before actually starting the story; in case you ask, yes, I decided to have them start at Level 3 as I initially meant for this game to be a one-shot:
- Sean – White Dragonborn Paladin 3 (Oath of Vengeance)
- Khom O'teye – Tabaxi Monk 3 (Way of the Shadow)
- Red – High Elf Rogue 3 (Assassin)
The story begins when the three, accompanied by a half-elven Kelemvorite named Cassyt who was serving as their guide, arrive in a large room at the very bottom of the catacombs below Valinghen Graveyard. They had just dealt with some zombies in the other room, and were running rather low on resources by this point. They initially considered the option of taking a rest in order to gather their strength.
However, things started to look a little more hairy once one of them managed to catch a glimpse of a wizard in red robes frantically packing up several items into a haversack, having been warned by the kobold that was in the room where the party fought the zombies about their presence not too long earlier.
After learning this, the party ultimately agreed that they had no choice but to act now if they had any hope of accomplishing their mission. Sean was about to step forward, when he suddenly felt a greatsword stab right through his abdomen – a surprise attack from what would then be revealed to be a knight with the Thayan crest on one of his shoulder pauldrons that had been invisible until he made his move.
"Roreth, go!" the knight bellowed to the wizard behind him after successfully lodging his greatsword onto the dragonborn paladin. Now, I don't recall how much HP exactly Sean had left after that attack, but I do remember the players beginning to panic as they heard the damage I rolled for the attack, so it's safe to say that he wasn't looking to good after that.
With that out of the way, everyone rolled for initiative, with Khom rolling the highest out of the party as per usual. For the most part, the first round went fine as a chunk of the enemy forces were quite far and couldn't reach them without taking a dash action. More importantly, Red managed to deal a significant amount of damage on the knight with a sneak attack from her shortbow, dealing roughly around half of his HP worth of damage. In addition, Cassyt knew that they'd all the help they can get and used her last remaining spell slot to cast Bless on the three of them. However, the Red Wizard – Roreth – was successful in escaping through the teleportation circle he had set up, and so he immediately was out of the fight with most of his belongings, much to the party's dismay, leaving only the knight as the major threat.
While Khom and Red were doing their best to hold off the other enemies, Sean was duking it out with the knight one-on-one, but barely able to land a blow himself as the knight was more skilled a warrior than he had anticipated – indicated by his Parry ability, which managed to keep Sean's roll of 19, which would have otherwise hit him, from actually hitting. Evidently, even with his Vow of Enmity towards the knight, this was going to be a tough fight.
Things took a definite turn for the worse when Sean decided to back off and restrategize, unfortunately leaving poor Cassyt open to his next attack – or rather, attacks. His attention turned towards her, he landed the first blow, immediately chopping off 14 out of her 16 HP. I had her roll for her concentration save in order to maintain the Bless, but ended failing with a measly 7. I then roll for his next attack. Natural 20.
In the heat of the moment, I had forgotten the house rule of using max damage on half of the damage dice that would have been used for the critical hit and ended up rolling all 4 damage dice. But it didn't really matter in the end, as I ended up rolling a total of 18 – the exact amount needed to instantly kill the young acolyte.
With a large gash across her chest, Cassyt's robes were then coated in her blood as she fell down with her back lying on the ground. She then turned to Sean, who was only a few feet next to her. As the feeling of life gradually left her body from her fatal injuries, all she could mutter to the dragonborn paladin was a pitiful, "I-I'm… sorry…" With that, the half-elven Kelemvorite tragically passed on – far too soon, might I add.
From there, everything was starting to look rather bleak; Sean had taken a massive beating from the knight, Khom was repeatedly trounced by some of the kobolds, and… I'm not even sure what Red was doing at that point. Either way, the party began to consider fleeing and even made an effort to slip themselves back to the other room. However, things started to take another turn when Red, rather than running, opted to fire off another arrow at the knight, managing to hit him with a total of 22 on the attack roll. The knight was starting to look incredibly hurt, barely hanging in there as his HP was finally into the single digits. However, things were still rather tense as they were severely low on resources, leaving Sean at a loss of what to do as his next turn came up. After some contemplating, the dragonborn steeled his resolve and spoke to the knight, "You have been a worthy foe."
"As have you, dragonborn," the Thayan knight responded, steeling his blade. Sean then stepped forward and prepared his attack. Sean needed to roll higher than a total of 20 in order for his attack to make its mark, as rolling anything from 18 to 20 would still technically miss due to the knight's Parry ability. He rolled his attack. It was silent for a few moments as he counted his total on the attack roll. He gets a total of 22. It hits! He then rolls for damage and, with a very nervous tone in his voice, says that he deals a total of 9 points of damage.
Channeling the immortal Matt Mercer for a second, I spoke these legendary words: "How do you want to do this?" The players then broke into a mad cheer over their hard-earned victory over such a tough foe.
As Sean approached the imposing knight, he channeled all his rage towards the hell they'd just been through, the loss of Cassyt, and his lust for vengeance in what this attack that may very well determine their fate. As the knight got ready to parry it, the dragonborn manages to slip through and swing his warhammer right up his nether regions, instantly crushing them with the amount of force it would have taken him to pull off such a feat.
Feeling the impact of his testicles being crushed by the head of a warhammer, the knight then vomits blood that ends up splattering all over the dragonborn paladin's rage-filled face and hunches over, covering the area where his testicles would have been before falling limp on the floor, finally dead after an incredibly difficult fight.
While they weren't exactly out of the woods yet, they had managed to get rid of the biggest threat in the room, leaving on the lone cultist and the three kobolds, all of whom were scared shitless by Sean's devastating display. Khom nearly died to the cultist a couple of times, only managing to knock him back by swinging the kobold he managed to grab a hold of as he moved away earlier before being killed off by another arrow from Red, which pierces right through the cultist's eye and causes him to fall down on the ground.
From there, the module is essentially finished, though we do some roleplaying and some plot is revealed when they interrogate the remaining kobold, whom they essentially intimidate into joining them and half-jokingly name "Gerald". After some investigating, the three then take their rest at the beds that were on the other end of the room before returning to Doomguide Glandon, who had been the one in search of adventurers to search the catacombs in the first place, and reporting their discoveries down at the catacombs, as well as of Cassyt's unfortunate fate.
Though their job was done, it would seem that these three may continue adventuring together around Phlan for a while, though what troubles may lie ahead remains to be seen…