On Wednesday evening, I played the last encounter of the Council Of Spiders adventure. The large group was spilt into three small groups of 4/5 players and we were off with our DMs for the final battle. My table was warned before hand that this ending was a bit disappointing. Which is interesting when the other encounters have been building up to something that felt really big, like a epic Drow war or battling a Goddess or a wizard army. Having never experienced the last encounter of an adventure I was keen to find out what was going to happen.
I was still playing my female Drow rogue, Kai. There was a female priestess, another rogue and a human slave. Now we were searching for this Drow called Valan Jaelre, who is one of the Council’s leaders. Questioning him and then killing him could be very useful and possibly help put an end to the unrest that has been going on in Menzoberranzan (that’s basically the whole of the Drow society). We entered some catacombs, which then turned out to be a forgotten shrine to Lolth. There were large patches of cobwebs everywhere and we were told that disturbing them and/or killing the spiders would lower our renown points. (Renown points are given or taken away due to actions taken by the players. Worth points work in the same way, but are decided on by the characters’ stats as well).
A brown cloud of smoke appeared and started speaking to us telepathically. This smoke turned out to be connect to Lolth and was a sign of her favour or displeasure depending on how we answered. It was a role playing moment with each of us answering to why we where here and though we had agreed on the goal of completing the Demon Weave, it being all telepathic meant that we could answer with something different if we had decided to have individual goals. Myself, the priestess and the slave stuck with the goal and the rogue decided to bluff a different answer and failed. Lolth was displeased and cursed him.
We were then attacked by Valan’s allies and they were Hex Knights and Spellsinners. I would like to say by a cruel twist of fate, but actually it was by the DM’s hand, that I who’d put Kai at the back, got moved to the front and because I’d rolled a higher number then anyone else, I had to go first! I had no choice but to fire an arrow at the nearest enemy. I hit and did some small damage. Everyone else then got immobilised, weakened or slowed down by Valan. They couldn’t really fight on their turns, so I had to fire another arrow and deal some more damage. I also got hit though and had to be healed by the priestess. I was then joined in the fight, though I was still stuck leading the group. I’m not very keen on being in that position, just because Kai isn’t built for fighting and I’m still learning!
The other rogue tried to hide almost the skeletons in the alcoves of the catacombs. This didn’t work so well and I decided that corners were still good shields. In front of us there was a staircase going down and we had to try and fight some of the enemies on it. This was a little bit hard and then it got worse because one set of the enemies (I forget which) when they went down turned into bone spiders. So, we had to fight them off as well. They turned out to be easy enough to finish off….as long as you weren’t blind or weakened. The rogue somehow was weakened for six rounds before finally shaking it off with a good dice roll. Valan then cast a spell and covered the staircase in cobwebs, making it difficult terrain. This meant for me and the other rogue that we could only move half our movement number (which is 6) down the staircase. The priestess and slave were on the last step when the spell hit, so they were the first to enter the chamber at the bottom.
We quickly dispatch the remaining enemies and were left to face Valan. The DM did a bit of RP, acting as if we couldn’t defeat him and he was so powerful. However, the priestess soon changed his mind about that and hit him twice with a magical attack really reducing his hit points. It was then my turn and it was decided that we’d question him before we killed him. The DM muttered that it wouldn’t matter and I rolled high numbers. Kai took aim with her bow and shot him with an arrow to the head. He dropped and silence hit the table. The DM claimed it was over and that on searching him we find the last piece of the Demon Weave. It also meant that the Drow civil war was dropped and things calmed down, going back to normal for Drow society.
So that was it and with such an anticlimax too! I have to admit that I did feel a bit disappointed by this because I’d been expecting a bigger finish and a much more victorious feel. I think if we’d not been warned before we’d started, I’d feel even worse. I’m not sure why the adventure had to end that way as it really felt rushed and unfinished. However, I’m happy to say that Kai (below) and I survived our first D&D adventure!
So, as the book closes, what is my conclusion about D&D and the Council of Spiders adventure? Well, I know I still have a lot of learning to do! But that’ll come with practise and time. The best way to play D&D is really how I’ve done it; going to a place which holds D&D playing and joining a group with newbies and an experienced DM. I’ve had a great time and it’s given me something to look forward too each week, which was so needed after four years of uni! I’ve also made lots of friends and had a lot of fun. I know at the beginning I was worried about a number of things; from not liking D&D and RP, to not being accept as I’m a girl, to being seen as silly for not understanding. This quickly disappeared though and I now have to admit that I really do like playing D&D. I like listening to the back stories behind the story of the adventure, I like creating characters, I like fighting the monsters, (even though I complain about it all the time!) I love all the little random events that happen like; characters jumping on tables, hiding in bones, arguing with the DM, role playing between the slaves and masters/mistress. Also for a change my writer and nerd sides are both happy.
As for the adventure itself; I enjoyed it and liked all the missions we had to do. It was good that everyone could be in a different house because we were all- beside from the goblin, human and dwarf slaves- of Drow race, so it was good that we were still able to have conflicted between characters because of the different houses not getting along. It was interesting how things were revealed too in twisty ways that could also be shocking. I liked doing the secret missions as it added a different element. As for the role playing, this is an area I need to work on and not be so embarrassed to be seen doing. It can make you feel a little silly at times and the DM ends up encouraging you to act in the mind set of your character. Other people are really great at RP and this just brings the game alive and gives you so many funny moments.
There are only two small negatives I can think of to add. The first is that this adventure is actually a squeal to Web of the Spider Queen and because I didn’t play that I don’t know if I missed some important information, which might have helped play in my adventure. My boyfriend did explain some of it to me and the background you get from the Council of Spiders is pretty sound. Still though, playing that adventure first would have been beneficial. Secondly, the ending of this adventure wasn’t very good in my opinion. I was expecting something far better and greater. Okay, maybe not an all out fight with a dragon or some large monster, but a more satisfactory conclusion then the anticlimax of things just returning to normal would have been good. Saying that it’s still a good adventure.
Finally, I’m happy to say that I’ve decided to play another season of D&D! So, there shall be more on this blog about my adventures. I’ve heard that things are slightly changing in the encounters though and that we are going to be given more chance to RP. That should be interesting! Next Wednesday will see the creating of new characters, so if you fancy trying out D&D then I’ve linked the website you need at the bottom. I also found this image whilst searching today and I thought it was cool, also if you click on the link and read about it, it becomes even more interesting and just goes to show that D&D is an ever expanding game of possibilities.