I started playing Dungeons & Dragons and Adventurer's League in my local game store for a few sessions
and was kind of leaning towards maybe wanting to be a GM
So I talked to the coordinator like:
Hey, you know like... if you guys got a spot open or something
I think I... I think I might want to be a GM sometime.
Oh great! Actually, we're low on GM's right now.
We got a tier two table ready that doesn't have someone running it
and man before you, we were planning on
kicking them all out if someone didn't volunteer.
You have the Fane of the Night Serpent prepared?
Yeah, totally, yeah. Yeah no, yeah I uhh...
Yeah, Night Serpent Fana-a-majig is a thing
which I totally have right now
Great, we'll have your table up and running in five minutes
That's how I started GM-ing for Adventurers League
Okay, you guys just...
just give me some time 'cause I gotta flip through this to make sure I got everything down
By the way, also there's a new player at your table
Even though everyone's level five, she's level one
I don't have anywhere else to place her, so she's going to be here playing with you
I'm playing a Wislord!
The coordinator is standing behind her and he starts giving me this very serious look over her shoulder going
Haha. She's first level... New player.
Yeah, I heard you the first time
First level, new player Ben.
First. Level... New. Player. Ben.
He's telling me that because a lot of the enemies in the module that I'm running can instantly kill her in one shot
Many of the attacks can result in instant death
EVEN IF she rolls a critical success against them
So I have to be really, really careful with how I handle her character
to make sure she doesn't become meat paste against the walls in the first five minutes into the game
We started playing the module and the plotline
I was running them through was stopping Ras Nsi at the Fane of the night serpent
The players had to get into the temple and acquire some stolen items
Burrowed deep within the deadly jungle of Chult is a Yuan-ti or serpent-folk temple: Fane of the Night Serpent
Run by an insane deranged cult leader who's heralded as a prophet by his followers
and goes by the name "Ras Nsi"
His dark cult kidnapped those who wandered too far into the forest and uses them for labour
or sacrifices them to their bloodthirsty God
Ras Nsi has the upper half of a man and a lower half of a serpent
His body is wrapped with bandages covering sores and boils from his disease
Recently, he's become even more deranged and cruel, since he's looking for a cure for his ailment which shows no sign of slowing down
His dark lord Acererak has promised him a cure
but the cult leader is nothing more than a pawn for the necromancer's games
At first when I was running it, I was really confused
In the module, they're supposed to be getting in through the front gate
and somehow going over to get the item that Ras had stolen
But the module didn't really tell me what they had to do
Like there were no locks on the front gate for them to pick
and the Yuan-ti entered the temple by transforming into snakes
But... how are the players supposed to get in?
One of the players cast Minor Illusion on some rocks to turn them into fake coins
and they used that to bribe the front guard and get in... and I'm like, "Okay. Yeah sure. We'll go with that."
A fight breaks out once they get inside
One of the servants see a player decapitate an enemy and they start screaming and then I have to retcon it saying
Actually, she doesn't start screaming. On second thought, the room next door has a pool of blood...
from the dozens and dozens of slaves that were sacrificed so...
She's... she's seen crazier stuff around here
The hallways filled with the temple defenders to battle with them and the fight
immediately went south... and just - just kept going south even farther from there
The players get overwhelmed very quickly
There were several rooms filled with enemies and they ended up triggering multiple fights
It didn't look that bad...
... until one player went down...
and the next...
and the NEXT...
... and then two of the players look into a pool
and it gives them an insanity, and they both get blinded for three days
One of the players wanted to get out of danger, so he teleports into this mysterious room
which he ~thought~ was a storage area
Instead it turned out to be one of the head priest's quarters
with her two bodyguards
and her pet Air Elemental
and then she cast a spell on him, paralyzing him
and had her bodyguard stab him through the chest
Once the players start seeing that they're losing the fight, in a brilliant move one of the players says:
"Let's split the party!"
"Yeah, that's a good idea!"
One group fled through one door and the other group fled through the other door
and they both barred the doors, trapping the enemies inside
They used the time to heal up and route the enemies away from each other
After that was over, the players finally managed to limp out of there
I'm like, "Wow... that was CRAZY dangerous"
What I figured out was that I had accidentally skipped over a section
At the beginning of the chapter is a bit of fluff and extra details
My eyes had passed over it because I was rushed and jumped right into the next part
which was the room and the front gate details and didn't think it was relevant
Then, I decided to double back and eventually read it...
The Fane of the Night Serpent is a truly difficult adventure and if the players want to overcome it,
they're going to have to be sneaky about it.
In order to infiltrate it, the players need to submit themselves as slaves...
And they're all totally going to be okay with that.
In order to do this, the players have to find the nearest Yuan-ti patrol and say:
"Hey! You guys... I hear you're looking for slaves...
Wow!... That's really weird... that we should run into each other because...
we're looking to become slaves ourselves...
Y-you know... you guys... want slaves... we want to be slaves...
Maybe... maybe we could work something out here...?"
The players all immediately decide to become slaves
and everyone agrees to this
and they decide to all give up their weapons and armor... and magic items
and they decide to start working at the temple for a while and come up with a plan
and this is totally cool with everyone in the party
Hmm. Okay. Well then... uhhh, let's assume that doesn't work out.
Is there a plan B?
Hmm, okay. What about a Plan C?
This is my first group. I'd kind of like to NOT have them hate me...?
When I found out that I had accidentally derailed the storyline. I did my best to try and get them back on track
Until I discovered that one of their allies...
was now a bloody mess on the floor...
with a spear ran through her chest...
and that was when they had passed the point of no return
Originally, she was supposed to present an offer to the characters
Since one of the players... had
trespassed into her room
that was not an option
"Now that the players have made fast friends with the head priest...
"and sneakily infiltrated the cave...
"they should have no problem accessing the throne room.
In this adventure players should take care
NOT to go mindlessly about, murdering everything in the area."
After that, the players are using these teleporters to move around the temple
So you guys are going to be using these teleporters, but don't know where you're going.
Okay! Everyone, get me percentile rolls to see where you end up.
What was lucky was that most the players ended up going to the same area
What was unlucky was the one person who didn't
So he ended up in the throne room
and Ras Nsi is there
You see him talking to some slaves angrily:
"That'ssssss the lassst time I let you get away with that."
He reaches into one of the slave's chest, pulls out a still-beating heart and tosses the body to the floor.
"Uhh... I Leave"
Hold on, I have to populate the room.
You got one head priest, his three bodyguards
"I... I'm leaving"
Some dead servants... there's 12 of them. Got one champion... a few broodguard.
"I'm still leaving."
Let's add a few more...
Wait, hold on. I'm running out of figures to populate the room.
"Yeah just, I- I- I- I leave. I'm leaving. Right now."
I know I know. I heard you, I'm just...
adding some more enemies.
The wizard realizes that this room is just FILLED with all these enemies close together
So he runs in there and chucks a fireball into the center
But as it goes out Ras Nsi flicks his wrists, has a bright blue glow
and the fire ball flits out of existence
It turns out that Ras Nsi...
is a high-level spell caster and knows how to counter-spell
"You're going to have to do better than that... boy"
So he backs out of the room and teleports away
"After him! Bring me hissss head!"
The players use the teleporter to all split up
and Raz's forces were hot on their heels going out to different sections of the complex
And what followed... was one of the craziest encounters I've ever had to run...
Where the fight was broken up across the entire complex in several rooms.
There must have been over 20 people battling in it
For me it was a tough mega-encounter to run with so many enemies and each enemy had multiple types of attacks
I kept having to flip back and forth through the book going, "okay, Zombie 1... makes an attack... misses...
Zombie 2... makes an attack... hits. Roll versus paralysis.
Okay. (Flip-flip-flip.) Broodguard one makes a bite...
Miss... Broodguard 7 makes a claw attack...
Okay. (Flip-flip-flip) Malison one makes a bite... Make a CON save vs. poison...
Now, okay. (Flip-flip-flip) Now the champion decides to..."
In the hallway two people were fighting the broodguards...
Another group was barred in the Royal chamber stabbing through a door...
Another two were up on the balcony escaping from the undead...
While in the throne room, the fighter was going to town, mano a mano, with Ras Nsi
Personally insulted that someone would dare try and confront him,
"You worm would dare challenge a god?"
The cult leader looked at one of his slaves and said, "Bring me my sssword."
and the slave came back with this ornate handle and Raz unsheathed this sword which ignited with flames
Raz Nsi, which can see on a lot of the game artwork for him, has an enchanted flaming sword.
In the duel the fighter managed to cut off his hand steal the sword from him and used it to kill him
After an epic fight and a lot of back-and-forth the players managed to defeat the entire temple's defenses
and the whole place was just LITTERED with corpses
My table ended up having to stay later than most everyone else and we were the last group in the game store that night
Rolling and battling it out inch by bloody inch
You know oftentimes... if you bash your head against a brick wall enough, eventually, it'll come tumbling down