Playtesting The Spider’s Lair | Week 66
“If it doesn’t work the first time, then try again!” – Bryce Ward 8/7/2021
With the first quest for my Siege of Amberfall campaign ready to go and with a freed-up Friday night, I had the perfect opportunity to test out the encounter. If you haven’t already read Week 64 & Week 65, I’d recommend reading those posts as I’ll be referring to them today.
I had four friends playing as characters for the Farm Infestation encounter, and I was the Dungeon Master for this session. I started the group off at level only had a couple of rules for making characters. I asked for no evil characters and that everyone should have a reason for owing a favor to Rolen, a half-elf merchant who would be the primary quest giver for the start of the campaign. We ended up with a human monk, an air genasi ranger, a dwarf fighter, and a Dragonborn fighter. Overall, a solid group of frontline combatants with some ranged support.
The party discovered the abandoned wagon and had begun picking through its cargo before uncovering one of the spider swarms hiding in a crate. Following that, two giant wolf spiders jumped out of hidden burrows behind the wagon. Three more giant wolf spiders hiding in the trees made their move. Two of them had entangled two party members and dragged them into the trees while the third jumped down to join the fray. Another spider swarm had sprung out of its crate once the fight had started. In total, I had five giant wolf spiders and two spider swarms. I realize now that I may have gone overboard with the number of enemies. Next time with a group of four level one heroes, it would be better to go with one spider swarm and three giant wolf spiders, one hiding in a burrow behind the wagon and the other tree waiting in the trees above. While the spiders are weak and could be killed within three hits, they have a nasty bite. Plus, the poison effects alone can kill a level one character quickly. However, the group managed to cut down the spiders with some effort and a lot of good luck.
Clearing The Nest
Once I realized my mistake with the large group of spiders, I cut down their numbers inside the farm. The group was faced with the choice of searching the one-story farmhouse or the two-story barn. Wisely they chose to clear out the farmhouse first. They found cocoons filled with either spider eggs or the remains of their victims, along with a few coins. In addition, they found a few items that would make their next fight easier if they chose to use them. Sadly my group did not think to throw burning oil bottles or lay down caltrops to slow down the Broodmother waiting inside the barn. However, they used the environment once they cleared out the remaining cocoons to prevent the Broodmother from awaking more spiders. The party lured the Broodmother under a hanging platform and smashed that overgrown spider into a paste with a lucky ax throw. With victory secured and spider threat ended, the party rescued Bruits, the farmer’s dog, and recovered the farmer’s old war axe. The Dragon Chopper is a magical item that deals an additional 3d4 damage to dragon-type creatures, which will be very useful in future quests.
Hey, thank you for reading this week’s post! If you are interested in digging into the story behind this quest, then be sure to check out my short story, The Infestation. It’s only $5 a month to gain access to all of my short stories, and every month I add four more stories for you to enjoy!