From memory, the party consistes of the following:
- Dragonborn Paladin, cha/wis/con, sword and board
- Dragonborn Fighter, str/dex/wis focus, sword and board, with a focus on OA and knockbacks
- Elf Ranger, bow using, dex/wis, rogue multiclass feat
- Elf Cleric, wis/dex, ranger multiclass feat
- Half Elf Warlock, fey pact
We borrowed from Spirit of the Centrury/Fate's character creation process and Pathfinder Society's raison d'etre (transplanted into Alia) to fill in the back-story of these freshly created level 10 characters. 'Twas fun. I'm not sure how much real depth that it's added, but if they want they have a framework that should work as a decent skeleton to develop their characters and their back-stories.
We started play off with a bit of narration, explaining how their contacts all referred them to the Thanes of Drunduin and jumped right into the action.
Encounter 1: Orc/Ogre/Dire Boar combat
I allowed for a skill challenge of Perception or Nature(DC 25) for the PC's to be aware of the Orc band following them. The party succeeded and decided to set up an ambush. They successfully surprised the Orc's as they traveled up the path toward the entrance of Rorni's Creek and the gate.
The combat was fairly straight-forward with the usual delays as the players tried out their new powers and got used to the way things worked. The Orc Chieftain proved to be very tough, if not very dangerous after all his companions were killed. It took nearly ten rounds for the players to defeat the initial encounter.
The double defender/double striker/single leader party is actually fairly well balanced. The fighter and paladin can fairly effectively control critical targets in combat and are proving to be very tough, and they each have a per-encounter use of their breath weapon, which should be a great help in killing and dealing with minions. The ranger/ cleric ranger and warlock are all quite comfortable in a second rank behind the defenders and the fey warlock is really enjoying his mobility. The fey pact is turning out to have a quite different play style from the infernal pact play style of Voden, even though the fundamentals are very similar.
Anyway the characters move on to opening the door after the combat was concluded, The ritual of opening succeeded and the vision of the closing was sprung on the players, who reacted with a sense of satisfaction and a hope that the sealed door will lead to many well preserved and long lost treasures and secrets.
Encounter 2: Trapped Room and Kloin
I brought out the ghost of Kloin after the party had set off one trap and were taking their time clearing the dust away, trying to see if there were more.
The Ranger and the Cleric/Ranger who both have excellent perception checks, noticed the faint amorphous blob of the ghost. Further perception checks also allowed them to hear a faint whispering in a foreign tongue (old dwarvish). The warlock actually knows dwarvish, so a bit of laborious sounding out of words, allowed them to translate one important word that Kloin is saying, "posses". When the warlock tries to converse in dwarvish with the spirit, he felt a "chilling" presence". The +2 versus willpower wasn't nearly enough to actually possess the warlock. A successful religion check by the Paladin revealed to the group that old spirits like this often cling to the earth because of a need to accomplish a task in the world of the living, but this particular spirit is too weak to much effect on the material world. The party decides that the spirit is in fact trying to posses one of them. After a few clumsy attempts at communication, the warlock agrees to allow himself to be possessed.
The possessed Warlock/Kloin briefly recounted his companions' ambush during their rest and the desperation that overcame the outpost after months of being sealed in. He reiterated his wish to discover what became of the outpost and to discover why this betrayal happened. And with that Klon faded to the back of the warlocks mind.
The party continued deeper into the outpost exploring the living and crafting quarters of the old outpost. Everything through those areas was covered with a thick layer of undisturbed dust. Several of the Thanes of Drunduin's valued objects were found, a few traps were avoided, leading the party eventually to the doors into the fungus farm.
The session ended with the adventurers opening the doors, seeing the foulspawn and the grell and the unfortunate the elven slave being "dealt with". The PC's are about to attack the aberrations. The encounter 3 combat will continue next session (in two weeks) .
Level 10 characters have a good deal more complexity than level 1 characters do. After one combat encounter, I feel that the players have a good grasp of their at-will powers and just a basic appreciation for their encounter powers. Hopefully the upcoming battle will allow the players to explore their characters a bit more fully.