Following the cataclysm in Elturel, the Player Characters are now confronted with two large buildings burning a short distance away. In front of the buildings are a group of very panic stricken villagers – as well as 3 unusual figures; Dara, Ghorin and Clyde.
These NPCs, and the entire rest of this article, are from the Adventure League module DDAL09-01 Escape from Elturgard*. Obviously I won’t reproduce all of the content here, as that isn’t very ethical and you should support creators! Instead I will summarise the events and provide any changes I’ve made, or thoughts to consider.
Dara, Ghorin and Clyde
The first section of Escape from Elturgard is just an introduction which presents some important NPCs; Dara a Chosen of Ilmater, Ghorin her chaperone and Clyde the goat.
Dara is about 10 years old (even though the Adventure League modules don’t mention it until the next one) and the ward of the old man Ghorin – who has a goat that my players absolutely love. They (jokingly) refer to Clyde as the most important character in the game.
Dara isn’t a normal 10 year old. As mentioned she is the Chosen of Ilmater. This makes her essentially a demigod in terms of her power – which could make her a massive mistake. After all, being told what to do by a literal demigod who could easily do those things is stupid (see Elminster).
Fortunately, Dara is the Chosen of the god Ilmater whose portfolio covers endurance, suffering, perseverance and martyrdom. As such we can simply say that despite her divine nature Dara does not have access to demigod levels of power, as a test of her god. As such she is ‘simply a divinely created 10 year old on a pilgrimage from Amn to Baldur’s Gate, who happened to be stopping off near Elturel when the city fell.
At this point in time Ghorin and Clyde are as they appear – a stubborn and protective old man and his goat. Later they will be revealed to be a planetar and deva respectively, but I wouldn’t even remotely hint at that yet.
Dara directs the PCs to the 3 locations of named refugees to rescue, while she and Ghorin gather a number of unnamed NPCs.
These 3 locations are; The Smith, The Miller and The Innkeeper.
While they could be tackled in any order, it makes sense to start with The Innkeeper, as a burning building is an immediate problem and you can’t realistically expect the PCs to walk away from it. Next it makes sense for the PCs to go and secure weapons for the refugees, now that monsters have been seen. Finally, getting supplies from the miller puts everything in place to leave for Baldur’s Gate.
Of course, your players may have different ideas, so don’t feel as if you need to in any way direct them.
I ran this unchanged from the module. It ran well except we had 3 characters get knocked down… that many enemies for a split party is challenging (some went to the barn, some the inn).
Consider having Vasha come out and help if necessary – this also presents her as an actual defender of the refugees, not just a snotty noble who hides in cupboards.
Also, the module tells you not to let Sergen recover from his injuries, even with magical healing. This appears to have been a plot thread set up for later modules that then gets forgotten and dropped… I’d just let him recover normally if her survives.
I ran this unchanged from the module. It worked really well and the cult lair had some interesting puzzle solving, combat and interrogation all wrapped up in about 40 minutes.
Oh boy. This part just completely needs to be gutted. While I really enjoyed the idea of Billiam the author, his fetch quests just seemed trite and unnecessary.
Skip them entirely and the pegasus attack and just make it a skill check to convince him to come with them. If they succeed he comes happily, if they fail he comes along out of pity.
Don’t run this now, it will be added into the Journey to Baldur’s Gate section.
The PCs advance to level 2 after this first session. I pretty much always advance to level 2 after one session as it’s a great way to ‘reward’ players for the start of the campaign.
It also helps with survivability, as level 1 is arguably the most deadly level in the game, because some characters can die from a single unlucky crit or a couple hits.
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