Drow Ambush

Now we have all our pieces lets play the game of “drow ambush”.  This ended up being the last time the characters in my Out of the Abyss campaign meet Ilvara.  On previous occasions, they just ran.  At this point, they are level 4 and decided to try and end the pursuit once and for all.  Spoilers – they did.

First the battle map, which I lifted directly from the 4e drow Adventurers League module Web of the Spider Queen along with the supporting NPCS who I converted to 5e for the battle.

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AMBUSHED!

SETUP
The drow have had time to await the adventurers’ arrival, with most of them starting the encounter on a small ledge 10 feet above the floor the adventurers stand on.

Kietti is hidden in her position to the northeast, and Clinks is on the ceiling.

Perception (DC 18): A human-sized spider clings to the ceiling above you, motionless as if waiting for a signal to strike.

Perception (DC 21): A drow female in leather armour hides in a secluded corner of the cave, crouching low with
knives drawn.

When the encounter begins, read:

Ilvara says “So you finally decided to scamper out of your nest – that will be your last mistake – your gnome friends can’t help you here”

The drow priestess steps back as the two warriors leap down toward you, grinning at the prospect of a memorable fight.

TACTICS
Ilvara: The drow priestess is weaker in melee than her companions. She remains on the ledge and uses venom ray unless she is forced to leave that position.

Shoor: The bloodthirsty bonebreaker stays close to as many adventurers as possible, hoping to use seek revenge when one of the Jaelre drow falls.

Kietti: After dragging an enemy toward her with silken strand, Kietti poisons her foe with a dagger attack.  She is especially fond of drawing adventurers into her cloud of darkness.

Onauth: The ranger stays within 30 feet of Clinks to enable the companion’s movement with command spider. He flanks with Clinks whenever possible to maintain combat advantage.

Clinks, Deathjump Spider: The spider leaps across the battlefield to avoid melee attacks, dropping onto foes on its own turn, then following Onauth’s commands to get into flanking position on the ranger’s turn.

Jorlan and Asha: Both will only half-heartedly attack. As soon as Kietti and Shoor are killed and/or Ilvara is bloodied Asha will turn on Ilvara.  Jorlan and Onauth will be surprised but will join after a round of delay. If they win they are not above begging for their lives but will say “you are free to go, you have earned your freedom”

FEATURES OF THE AREA
Illumination: Phosphorescent fungi fill this area with dim light.
Ceiling: The rough cavern ceiling varies from 10 feet to 20 feet high.
Cliffs: The drop-offs are 10 feet high, and require a DC 15 Athletics check to climb.
Stone Piles: These areas of rubble are difficult terrain.

WHAT HAPPENED
Tactically the drow assassin Kiatti used her silken strand ability combined with darkness to drag a character – in this case the cleric Milsandra – off to the corner and murder her.  She didn’t quite get to murder Milsandra before bing killed but she did a lot of stabbing.

Ilvara supported from range while Onauth and Shoor attacked the party in melee with the help of the deathjump spider “Clinks”, Onauth’s beast companion.  Asha and Jorlan purposely held back attacking half-heartedly.  As soon as the party had killed Kiatti and Shoor and had blooded Ilvara, Asha and Jorlan turned on Ilvara and betraying her and performing the killing blow.  They then offered the party freedom on the proviso they went their separate ways.  They both agreed.

Onauth knew which side his bread was buttered on though not part of the original plan to betray Ilvara went along with it.  Just another day in Menzoberranzan.

One thing I noticed is how effective the drow’s faerie fire and darkness abilities are on a tactical map.  When using just theatre of the mind I rarely used darkness as it was hard to know exactly who was affected and how long it lasted.  On the battlemap, it is much easier to use and ended up being effective.  The party was in some form of darkness the entire battle.

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