Now, where were we? Ah, yes…
Quinn’s player decided to open negotiations with a bit of a veiled threat. “Let our friend go, and this won’t have to end in violence.” He also mentioned that they had about 20 people from the Keep waiting outside the cave.
Intimidate and Bluff were probably the best skills for the job. However, at that particular moment in time Diplomacy sounded good, so Diplomacy it was. The only real guideline for interaction provided in the adventure text itself was a DC 19 Intimidate check to get Kesk to spill the beans about Ronnik if he was about to die. The player rolled decently, so Kesk was a bit worried, but not high enough to make him do anything. Then the Paladin took out her sword, rattled it, and rolled a 19 Intimidate. However, Kesk wasn’t about to die, so he didn’t surrender. Instead he said, well, I’m getting paid for this job so if you can pay me more, we’ll talk.
The party decided not to pay him. Quinn wanted to try another Diplomacy check, but I am a fan of one encounter, one roll. A problem I notice even among experienced D&D players is when it comes to actions that have no immediate result for failure, they keep wanting to retry the check. There is a whole discussion about this going on over at Gnome Stew as I write this, so feel free to read up on that. Suffice it to say, I think rerolling is a bad idea, and I don’t want to encourage bad habits among my eager new players!
Combat began with Kesk and his guard drake charging into melee at the mouth of the cave. The kobolds were still hiding up on the cliff, waiting for an opportunity, but the party was out of range and they had no real way to get down. It was a good first combat for the campaign. Reinhalt sneaked ahead a bit, and noticed the kobolds with his passive Perception, but only just after Aessa had moved farther into the grotto—far enough to be in range! Four hits from the kobolds’ blowguns dealt a whopping 20 damage to the poor eladrin and he was hurting. Fortunately between his magic missile and Reinhalt’s crossbow bolts they were able to dust off the scaly bastards with ease.
Quinn took a bit of a beating, and Guinevere either escaped unscathed or only took marginal damage. They handily slaughtered Kesk, dropping him from bloodied to dead before he had a chance to plead for his life! The guard drake ran away, injured and frightened.
Two things I realize we all forgot: Guinevere’s defender aura, which would have given Kesk and his drake a -2 to their attacks against Quinn, and Quinn’s ability as a Druid of Summer that increased the reach of his mace attacks!
Reinhalt realized Gordi was poisoned, but there wasn’t anything he could do with the materials he had at hand. Getting him back to Benwick was the group’s best bet, so they headed back. We wrapped up the session here, as everyone needed to go home. All-in-all everyone was pretty satisfied, and I made a note of my mistakes during the session to try and improve on them.