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Patent Pending, Session 3: Heart of the Witchlight Fens, Part Three

Having returned to Fallcrest, the party set about investigating Mardan Coalhand, the dwarf who supplied the ritual components to the elementalist tapping the elemental node in the Fens. Coalhand's company logo incorporated a symbol the wizard recognized as belonging to a Fire Cult outlawed centuries ago by the Empire of Nerath. The wizard, bard, and artificer decided to research this Cult while the thief and warden talked to the thief's underworld contacts about Coalhand.

At the Temple of Erathis' library, the three scholars discovered that the Fire Cult sought to unleash an elemental apocalypse that would cleanse the world with fire, leaving only the faithful behind. They also tied this belief to a nebulous entity or philosophy called the Elder Elemental Eye. References were made to a temple where all of the Elemental Cults worked together toward some greater purpose.

On the streets, the thief tracked down Manny, a dwarf who trades with Coalhand. Manny told them that Coalhand reeks like smoke, and that he doesn't like to be around the charcoal monger because it makes him choke. While at this meeting, the warden spotted a cloaked figure watching them from across the street, but the figure disappeared almost immediately.

With this information, the party decided to go to the Moonsong Temple and interrogate the elementalist they brought back from the Witchlight. Before they got there, they were set upon by a stealthy elven woman who attacked them with a garrote-sword. The five adventurers easily subdued the woman, who surrendered and revealed she had been hired by a dwarf who reeked of smoke.

Inside the Moonsong Temple, the party turned the elf over to the High Priest, but when they checked in on their prisoner, they found that he had magically immolated himself in his cell. This was enough to convince everyone that Coalhand had to be stopped. Of course, the bard had to negotiate a fee from the Temple first.

The thief cased Coalhand's compound, and saw that it was built to withstand a modest siege, with high walls and many guards. The group decided stealth and subterfuge would be their best chance. The bard, warden, and wizard would go in posing as prospective clients, while the artificer and thief snuck in carrying everyone's weapons. This plan worked surprisingly well until Coalhand saw the adventurers for himself.

Coalhand was obviously infused with elemental power, billowing noxious smoke, coughing up sparks, and wielding a pair of red-hot pokers. The battle was long, with Coalhand easily holding his own against the entire party. In the end, though, he was on the ropes and about to run. Desperate, the thief dropped a heavy iron oven door on the dwarf's head, caving it in and ending his threat.

With the elemental upheavals ended and the seeming mastermind stopped, the party should have been able to rest easy. But they have the nagging suspicion that they have not seen the last of the Fire Cult...

Game Notes

This session ends the first adventure for the campaign. The players new to Fourth Edition encountered their first elite and their first solo. When I explained that mechanically, Mardan Coalhand was basically a dragon, they worriedly exclaimed that they were only first level and why were they fighting a dragon?

And in fairness, due to a combination of ridiculously bad dice rolls and a plan that split the party and left half of them without their gear for the first couple rounds of the fight, I did almost kill all of them. I drained both leaders of their heals, and at least two characters used second wind. Still, only one of them rolled a single death save.

Everyone is now level 2, so we'll begin the next session by leveling up. I'm using the inherent bonuses rules from DMG2/Dark Sun, so I'll have to explain how all of their numbers go up as well.

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