AAR: Unexpected Evils of Illmire

10 Jan, 2021, updated 31 Jan, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

Continuing from part one, this post summarises the next two sessions. The party decide they want to investigate the bandit camp (shown by the tower in the map below).

Hand-drawn hex-map showing Illmire, with a tower to the east, mine to the north, lizard to the west
Things close to Illmire

This of course is Just Great as I’d prepped the temple because they were very keen to go back last session. I had the map in FVTT though with some walls on it, so it was more-or-less ready to go. I just didn’t have NPCs, encounters etc ready.

They arrive at the camp, which is pretty large and surrounded by hills, with some walls built between them to have a completely defensive location. Happily the players decide a direct frontal assault is a bad idea and decide to creep up a less-carefully monitored hill. With heavy armour removed, they make some Stealth rolls and carefully climb up an area that (coincidentally, they didn’t check that well!) isn’t overlooked by guards. They don armour and investigate the first building they find, which is the Armoury, containing slaves of the bandit captain.

Some emancipation and looting occurs. However what doesn’t occur is any successful Perception checks for the person on lookout duty. A pair of bandits come, find the crew, and promptly try to flee looking for backup.

One of them makes it.

So now a lot more bandits and their captain come a-running. The paladin does his tanky-defender thing while everyone else scarpers back up the rope they came down (which reduced the difficulty in climbing the steep slope they came in on). Unsurprisingly, he takes a bit of a pasting, but due to some good Blessing by the cleric (and his own Shield of Faith) he’s able to improve the situation significantly.

And then the Ranger starts monstering the Captain, the Web the cleric puts down stops him escaping, and then the bandits get very upset to see him die.

Monochrome line map of a long hill with a building to the right of it
Much blood was spilled here 🩸

Next session was all about fleeing the camp. Only three of the players could make this, so the party ‘split into two teams’ to escape. The cleric had the best Survival skills, so he obviously failed every single roll for the first half of the session.

The party tried to go south to the King’s Highway, away from the direct route to Illmire, but got a bit lost, on more than one occasion. Only their reflexes saved them from one of the bandit scouts surprising them. They still had to bribe him with a candlestick, having failed to find any way to hide from him.

He was happily honest and led the bandits away from the party. This finally allowed them a short rest before they proceeded further into the hills.

The cleric then stepped in a poo. A big one, clearly from some kind of predator. But which one? Better taste it to find out. 🤢 👉 💩

Oh, no, an owlbear! This gave them some time to prepare for the encounter, and enabled them to see off the beast, and very nearly kill it.

Lessons

🆗 top lesson, nobody gets to make the Due South joke unless they don’t want to be offered Advantage on their Nature roll. And then, you know what players are like, they’re stupid enough to do anything for Advantage.

Second lesson, have some more dummy maps prepared, not everyone can follow Theatre of the Mind, sometimes a sketch helps. Although in that case I need to turn off the grid otherwise in FVTT (or others) if you’ve got a measuring tool, the players will use it.

Two very bad scribbles indicating an improved obstacle
As you can see, this map was called MIKE USE YOUR IMAGINATION

Final lesson, don’t try to schedule a game during the announcement of a third national lockdown for COVID. In my defence, I picked the time first. But we didn’t get so much done.

Tools

I’m pretty happy with the Foundry setup I mentioned before, although I’ve not tried the SimpleFog one yet. What I’m tempted to get now is some of the accompaniments to FXMaster to allow me to have some animated spell tiles as well. But I’m worried that’ll finish me off with midi-qol and some utility toolkits that look very clever but just try to turn 5e into a videogame.

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