Thursday, August 28, 2014

WdH1: The Fire-Breathing Elephant Expedition (Duke Wallace Foghorn IV)

This is the second in a series of posts that collectively define an adventure module for the new (5th) edition of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) called "The Fire-Breathing Elephant Expedition".  The module is set in Wanderhaven, the homebrew campaign setting in which my kids and I play and in which I set my book, Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki.  It's meant to bridge the gap from "The Lost Mine of Phandelver" in the D&D Starter Set to the forthcoming adventure The Rise of Tiamat.  As such, it's a short campaign, taking the Player-Characters (PCs) from mid-5th to 7th level.

This post makes use of the following previous posts:
Today we meet our expedition's sponsor, Duke Wallace Foghorn IV.
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Duke Wallace Foghorn IV

Duke Wallace is a lithe, athletic man in his early thirties.  Though not a professional adventurer, he is trained to use the sword, the lance, the dueling blade (rapier), and the longbow, and he is reputed to be the finest horseman in the entire Kingdom.  Before Wallace III’s untimely death, the current Duke Wallace commanded the Blueblood Regiment of the Royal Heavy Cavalry Brigade.  He saw action in several skirmishes in the hinterlands north of Wanderhaven as well as one major deployment to coastal Frankonia where he fought Sentralian forces from the Legion of the Red Lord.  By all accounts, Wallace handled himself well at every turn.

The duke typically hunts astride his warhorse Thunderclap wearing loose green combat leathers (studded leather armor) with either a longbow or a spear.  For the Fire-Breathing Elephant Expedition, however, he will wear the breastplate from the Foghorn House Platemail (breastplate +1), and he will carry a shield alongside his full wartime armament.  This includes a lance, longbow and quiver with 40 arrows, dueling blade +1, dagger, and his House Sword, Rainmaker.  

Rainmaker

Rainmaker is a massive Mameluke Saber (scimitar) +2 of elven design that glows red when drawn in anger.  Its value is beyond price, and should Wallace fall during the hunt, his wife Jocasta will pay 5,000 gold crowns to see it returned safely to its House.  
If the PCs betray House Foghorn and attempt to steal Rainmaker for themselves, Jocasta will immediately appeal to the King, who will then spare no expense in hiring assassins to hunt for the thieves who’ve stolen his son’s best friend’s honor.  The PCs will become wanted fugitives in every corner of the Western Isles and will be pursued by bounty hunters elsewhere until they either return the sword with a hearty and convincing apology—and an appropriately enormous gift of wergild (blood money)—or they are finally killed outright, and the sword is reclaimed.  The King will pursue this vendetta relentlessly for ten years from the date he learns of Wallace’s fall.
Rainmaker has limited sentience.  It acts as a Cursed Weapon -2 for any wielder who has not been baptized as a member of House Foghorn in the Holy Temple of the Twelve in Wanderhaven’s Noble Quarter.  The curse can be removed by a Remove Curse spell, after which the new wielder must either surrender the weapon to its rightful owners or succeed on a DC 15 Charisma check.  If successful, the new wielder attunes Rainmaker and can wield it as a Mameluke Saber (scimitar) +2, and Rainmaker pledges itself to its new wielder and his/her descendants permanently.   On a failed check, Rainmaker shatters.

Duke Wallace Foghorn IV

Medium humanoid (human), Lawful Neutral
Armor Class  19 (17 without shield)
Hit Points  71 (6d10 + 6)
Speed  30 ft., 60 ft. when mounted
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
12 (+1)
16 (+3)
13 (+1)
 14 (+2)
10 (-)
15 (+2)
Saving Throws  Dexterity (+3)
Senses  passive Perception 10
Languages  Common, Elven, Dwarven
Proficiencies  Mounts (land), gaming sets (cards)
Skills  Persuasion (+5), Animal Handing (+3)
Challenge  3 (700 xp)
Duelist
Wallace gains +2 to damage rolls when using a single melee weapon in combat.  Note: This is factored into the stats below.
Expert Horseman
Wallace has Advantage on all skill checks related to riding and horsemanship.
Charger
When Wallace is mounted, and he moves more than 20 ft. in a straight line towards a dismounted enemy before making a melee attack, his first attack against that dismounted enemy gains +5 to damage rolls.
Trampling Charge
When Wallace is mounted, and he moves more than 20 ft. in a straight line towards a dismounted enemy before making a melee attack, and his horse Thunderclap makes a Hooves attack that hits, that target must make a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.  If the target is prone, Thunderclap can make a second Hooves attack against it as a bonus action.
Shock Effect
When Wallace uses his Charger ability, he can use Shock Effect as a Bonus Action.  All dismounted enemy humanoids within 5 ft. of his target must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be Frightened until the end of Wallace’s next turn.
Actions
Multiattack.  Wallace makes two weapon attacks.
Lance.  Melee Weapon Attack (mounted only, as part of the Charger trait): +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target.  Hit:  16 (1d12 + 10) piercing damage.
Hooves.  Melee Weapon Attack (mounted only): +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit:  11 (2d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.
Rainmaker.  Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 10 (1d6 + 7) slashing damage.
Dueling Blade.  Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 10 (1d8 + 6) piercing damage.
Longbow.  Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 150 ft., one target.  Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) piercing damage.
Wallace is a skilled combatant who is not afraid to fight.  However, he is keenly aware of his position in the Kingdom and firmly believes himself to be the third most important man in the entirety of the Western Isles.  Wallace will therefore fight only when the odds of winning are good or when he has no other choice.  He will not go out of his way to save his companions, all of whom he considers little better than base hirelings, even if they are also members of the nobility.

Tactics

Wallace fights atop Thunderclap whenever possible.  He prefers to sit back for the first rounds of combat and let the situation develop.  He then charges towards whatever spot has the most dismounted enemies standing en masse.  
On the first pass, Wallace charges the weakest looking of his dismounted foes with his lance, uses shock effect as a bonus action, and then lets Thunderclap strike with ahooves attack to try to knock the enemy prone before riding clear of melee, so that he can turn for another pass.  On the second pass, Wallace drops his lance and drawsRainmaker before closing for close combat.

If the situation looks dire, Wallace will hang back and use his longbow to attack from relative safety.  He will do this regardless of whether or not he is mounted.  If necessary, Wallace will retreat, leaving others to die in his place for the good of the Kingdom.

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