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  1. #1
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    Jun 2013

    Default Partycrashers! A holiday themed adaption

    tl;dr: I ran a one-shot adventure inspired by the Partycrashers quest, themed for the 4th of July!

    I had nothing going on for the 4th of July (US holiday, Independence Day), so I figured I probably wasn’t the only person who had nothing else to do. Why not run a D&D one-shot?

    But what to run? What would be in the theme of the holiday? It just wouldn’t be right to run a holiday one-shot without referencing the holiday! I decided to re-educate myself, investigating the historical circumstances of Independence Day 1776. There was a Committee of Five who drafted the Declaration of Independence! Of course! Half an hour of internal debate later…

    The background:

    Some two hundred years ago (or thereabouts-the dates in question are seldom spoken), the first portal opened. Shortly thereafter, the Devil armies had conquered swaths of land and most of the cities. Within two years, the final steadfast town fell to the onslaught. In the generations since taking control, the Devil invaders have fully solidified their claim, established hierarchies and new organizational bodies which pass for government. Perhaps, they have grown complacent in their dominance.

    Over the decades, rumors pass here and there of resistance, even rebellion-but no one seems to know anything specific. If any such efforts were even attempted, the Devils clearly ended them quickly and quietly. Now, however, you are of age. You have trained in secret, instructed almost exclusively on your own. Few have such dedication and courage. The latest rumors have brought you to the town of Delphia, once a thriving port city, now a meagre town staggering beneath the weight of the Devil overlords. And you found them. Those who are serious. It took months to win their trust, but now you’re in the elite guard of the resistance.

    Today is July 4th. The Committee has a special party planned, a large celebration bringing nearly all of the disparate resistance cells together to meet and form the core of a unified revolution. The Committee has prepared a symbol to be revealed at the conclusion of the party. It is a document. A statement. A … Declaration, if you will. Of intent, and containing new ideas for rules of governance, which will be enforced wherever the revolution regains control against the Devils. A Declaration of Independence from the yoke of evil. With the unveiling and signing of this document, the resistance will begin. Right at the end of this signing party.

    Hopefully there won’t be any Partycrashers…

    You and your fellow elite guard members are pulled aside by the resistance’s director of intelligence: Spymaster Cyan. She informs you that her network has just become aware of a possible gap in their security checks. It is possible that infiltrators have worked their way among the guests. It’s up to you to find them and neutralize their plot before the Committee arrives.

    The setup:
    Taking inspiration from DDO’s Partycrashers quest in the Phiarlan Carnival chain, I devised the following one-shot (or two-shot) 5th edition adventure. My group of five 7th level characters spent ten hours playing through it all.

    The group starts at the Party, discussing the circumstances with Cyan. She reminds them that the partygoers should not be made aware that there is an active threat if at all possible. She has set up the Library for the group to … neutralize any danger as appropriate. When the group understands their task, Cyan departs. Possibly to go make sure someone fireproofed the Declaration (Devils just love their fire).

    The party takes place in a large structure (oddly resembling the Phiarlan Chapterhouse, for some reason). The players don’t know it, but there are actually three separate and independent plots at the party, each with a goal of disrupting the concluding events. In my opinion, the party would have time to address two of the three plots, and would then suffer the consequences of the third plot immediately before/as the Committee arrives. All of the following capitalized named enemies came from the stat blocks in either the DMG or Volo’s, and all of the tieflings were given the tiefling racial bonuses (Hellish Rebuke 1/day!)

    1. Poisoner (tiefling Assassin): The poisoner is concealed as a server, and is poisoning drinks! She has an invisible Imp accompanying her-“just a familiar of course.” If the party is able to discern her true nature, she can be convinced to join them in the Library, where she will coordinate with her Imp to gain some advantage against the larger PC group. In order to resolve this threat, the group needs to remove the poisoner from the party and arrange for the poison to be neutralized-either through their own direct intervention or through Cyan, who can come up with an antidote and distribute it if given some time. If the group fails to resolve this threat, nearly all of the partygoers are poisoned, excluding the Committee of Five, and including any PCs who have consumed any alcohol during the party. This poison becomes apparent only when the Committee of Five enters the party (approximately the same time that the BBEG arrives).

    2. Enthralled Guards (tiefling Enchanter): A tiefling Enchanter is enthralling other Guards at the party! He has a web of spells coming from a ring, stretching among several (6-8) nearby Guards. If the PCs catch him at his game, he will bring his charmed Guards with him to the library (they will insist on accompanying), wherein they will surround him and protect him from the PCs while he flings spells around. If the party does not resolve this threat, either by killing the tiefling or removing the mind control effect on all affected guards, when the BBEG shows up, the charmed Guards will attack other nearby guards and partygoers, creating additional chaos and confusion during those events. Who knows, some may even attack the party while they are engaged with the BBEG.

    3. Assault Team (group of martial tieflings): Hiding in the side rooms, guiding partygoers from the party to the restrooms while they wait for the Committee to show themselves, a group of five tieflings lurks, ready for action! One Knight, two Berserkers, and two Archers will attack the PCs if pressed into combat in the side rooms. They are unwilling to leave their posts (someone has to guide the guests to the restrooms) without intervention by the guard Captain just outside of the back room where the Committee is making final preparations. If the party fails to resolve this threat, they will face the assault team as they charge against the Committee of Five-the BBEG will show up as soon as this assault concludes.

    The BBEG: A Horned Devil leads a few dozen Spined Devils through a portal which opens on the balcony. After inviting volunteers to lay down their weapons (there are no takers, though this would be when any enthralled guards would strike), he will send forth his spined devils to slaughter the partygoers while he targets the PCs, on his way to the Committee if the PCs aren’t able to stop him. I gave the Horned Devil two legendary actions and two legendary saves. He could use the actions for: flying away up to half his fly speed while taking the disengage action, attacking with either his fork or his ranged flame ball attack, or he could use both legendary actions at once to make his more powerful tail stinger attack. This all sets up a flexible combat encounter where the DM can introduce elements from the larger battle as needed for balance, and avoid having to struggle through surviving five PC’s turns before acting again. If the party is struggling, perhaps a few guards or partygoers can offer a brief reprieve through their own sacrifice; similarly, if the party is wiping the deck with the blood of the Horned Devil, perhaps some of its flying Spined Devils might come to its aid-or just shoot some spines at the party.

    Win or lose, when the BBEG combat is resolved, the DM can describe what is happening outside the building, across the town at large. Red, smoking portals flare in the night sky as dozens open across the town. As devils pour out, various projectiles reach out to meet them: arrows, bolts, javelins, lightning, balls of acid, bursts of thunderous sound… Flashing bright colors across the sky… You see where this is going. If the PCs wiped, that’s ok-the resistance might still hold out… right? If the PCs succeeded, they witness this spectacle firsthand, and maybe even sally forth with the remaining partygoers to lead the townsfolk in open rebellion! Either way, as the fighting ensues in the town, the invading devils break off and flee. It is clear, as the DM will explain, that “the devils have had their [dramatic pause] fill o’ Delphia!”

    The results:

    In my group’s run through this adventure, we had a drunken master monk, a brass dragonborn paladin (mounted on an intelligent celestial horse) named Link Dracrulian-closely resembling his Hyrulian namesake, a necromancing wizard, a lore bard (someone has to get this party started, amirite?), and last but not least, a bugbear battlemaster fighter wielding a glaive. What’s special about that last one? Let me tell you. Bugbears, in 5e, have long arms. This gives them +5ft melee attack range. Glaives are reach weapons, also granting +5 melee attack range. Is that enough? 15 foot reach on melee attacks? Some say no, and for those, there’s the battlemaster’s Lunge attack, which at the paltry cost of a superiority die, adds ANOTHER +5 ft melee attack range. This fighter was hitting things from 20 feet away with melee attacks. Outrageous. But hey, it's a one-shot!

    Everyone was provided the background about the devil invasion, and they prepared spells and a smattering of magical items with the foreknowledge that they’d likely be up against devils.

    So this group chatted with Cyan, then set off to figure out who’s up to no good. Detect good and evil was insufficient (the caster didn’t walk around near where the poisoner was with the Evil aligned Imp, sadly). Detect magic showed a large number of partygoers with magical items or effects, but man that one guy by the fountain surrounded by a ring of guards really has a lot of magic-and it’s illusion and enchantment in nature? What’s he up to? So of course the PCs had a little chat with him and concluded that he was up to no good. Then, to my surprise, they moved on. One party member kept an eye on the Enchanter at the party while the rest looked elsewhere for other bad guys. And found the side rooms.

    Combat ensued, with the party split up. Three PCs were in the side rooms together, leaving the other two PCs out in the party when initiative was rolled. To keep it from getting out of hand, I was able to have just two of the five tieflings in the side rooms engage the three PCs in the first round. When the fourth PC arrived, there had been enough noise to alert the other tieflings in other rooms, and then it was five tieflings against the four party members for another round until the fifth PC made his way in (just after finishing his awe inspiring performance from atop the fountain to distract the partygoers from the small argument at the entry to the side rooms). As it turned out, this was a tough encounter for the party, especially because of the five Hellish Rebukes I threw at them.

    Once that all wrapped up, they decided a short rest was in order before following up with the suspicious guy who seemed to be charming the guards by the fountain. They brought him into the library and rolled initiative. I was excited because they hadn’t prevented the guards from surrounding the Enchanter right off the bat, which in my scenario prevented any PCs from getting within 5 feet of the spellcaster. Except then two things went sideways in this encounter. First, obviously the battlemaster with a 20 foot reach can hit anyone he wants to. Second and more important, the necromancer tossed a simple, straightforward, harmless Blindness spell on the enemy Enchanter. Now, I figured, sure no problem, he’s blind, but he can still cast spells… …. No wait. All of the cool Enchanter spells (hold person, charm person, suggestion, etc) require the caster to SEE the target! Augh! A brief combat ensued, wherein the blinded Enchanter ended up tossing a fireball blindly into a wall shortly before the party finished him off and thus freed the guards from the mind control effect. It was still fun for everyone, and the wizard still may not be fully aware of just how much trouble she saved the rest of the group.

    At this point, the party is winding down and preparing for the seriousness of the Committee’s entrance. The poisoner was successful. Two PCs were poisoned, and the group used spells to immediately remove the condition. Most of the partygoers were poisoned, however, with no immediate recourse. Naturally, the party must go on! The Committee of Five enter and just before the speech begins, the spinning red devilish portal opens on the balcony. Enter Horned Devil and entourage. When the BBEG offers to spare the lives of any who surrender immediately (lying, of course), the paladin, mounted, channels divinity for Sacred Weapon, lighting up his sword; his horse rears up as he shouts inspiring words to the partygoers. This also inspires the Devil to choose his first target. Initiative.

    A fairly long and intense combat ensues, with the powerful Devil knocking out two different PCs (he gets the paladin twice) and damaging most of the others pretty heavily, before finally collapsing as a well-placed shatter removed his last six hit points. Several heroic moments shined in this struggle, and I was able to bring in a few spined devil pot shots here and there toward the end. It turned out to be a very well balanced encounter all on its own, and if a few rolls had gone differently, it could easily have gone either way in the end. For a campaign, maybe this would have been more difficult than ideal, but for a one-shot it was dramatic and exciting.

    The PCs were able to survive one and all, with a few critical rolls swinging their way with a few death saves, and bore witness to the townsfolk rising up as one to expel the devils from Delphia. Because, after all, they’ve had their fill o’ Delphia.

    I’m looking forward to the next holiday one-shot, where perhaps this story can continue…
    Last edited by Nivlac; 07-15-2019 at 06:52 AM. Reason: forgot some cool details

  2. #2
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    Cordovan's Avatar
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    Nov 2010


    Very cool.
    Have fun, and don't forget to gather for buffs!
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  3. #3
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    Sep 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Cordovan View Post
    Very cool.
    I agree but then I might be a bit biased.
    But it is cool.
    The blinking Drooam "backpack" is NOT a party buff. But its fun to say it is.

  4. #4
    Community Member CSQ's Avatar
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    Jul 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Nivlac View Post
    Because, after all, they’ve had their fill o’ Delphia.
    I'm pretty sure this whole post was for that pun, and it was a critical hit. Well done.

    Jokes aside, that's a pretty cool adaptation. I've pulled a few different things from DDO over the years (including the Quivering Quiver, which I found quite helpful for a newbie vanilla ranger player who could use the damage bump random arrows gave him), but never a whole quest.
    I primarily play Zunzyne Siegemaker, and am the guild master of Ares Macrotechnology on Ghallanda.
    Reaper Experience Calculator: (out of date as of U42.4, needs testing for new values)

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