Islands in the Sky, Session 1
Play began with Kevin and his as-yet-unnamed Revenant Avenger of the Raven Queen. In his previous life, he was a Shadar-Kai and was part of a rebellion against the New Arkhosian Empire, which had conquered his Island and bound it to New Arkhosia. In a daring raid, he was captured, tortured, and ritually sacrificed in a most gruesome manner. The Raven Queen sent him back and gave him the Ravenblade, a black fullblade +1 with a carved raven for a hilt. He awoke in a temple to the Raven Queen and was found by Tarak, half-orc ranger, and Khaledra, eladrin druid, as they were making their morning rounds about the wilderness areas of their island, Verys Hiladian.
Strange things had begun happening on the island. There were rumors of a giant spider, and little blue gnomes, and the mosquitoes biting people were unnaturally large. People in town were experiencing weird deja-vu moments, and things felt very... off.
Khaledra, Tarak, and Avenger were joined by Ripper, the warforged warden, and Arriana, the tiefling invoker. They tracked the giant spider up to the mines, but none of the miners had seen it. This is when Kevin played the Plot Twist card "Erratic Behavior", which I ruled caused a cave-in deep inside the mine (the cave-in was plotted to happen that evening anyway, so I just let it happen then). A number of miners were trapped inside. Our intrepid heroes went to investigate, of course, and see if they could help.
It didn't take long to discover that there hadn't really been a cave-in, but actually an attack by a group of earth elementals! The heroes pretty well clobbered the elementals, and the stirges that flew in to back them up. They were then faced with a right-or-left path choice, and went down the corridor the stirges had flown in from. This led to a Xirbolg lair, evil little blue gnomes, whom they also handled with ease. All along the way, the heroes were easily winning initiative and throwing down critical hits. Meanwhile, the DM was missing about 85% of the monsters' attacks. Definitely will be using a different D20 next time.
After clearing out the Xirbolgs, they made their way to the end of the mine, and found the source of all the trouble: a beholder gauth had taken up residence and was performing some kind of ritual, using captured miners as sacrifices. Definitely not good.
Of course, I proceeded to miss all but one of his eye-ray attacks and he was quickly clobbered, and a critical hit ended his life with a sword to the Eye. All in all, far too easy a romp, but good for a first night out. Kevin and Curtis knew that a beholder could do some nasty shit if it hit with its eyerays, and that knowledge alone, even though everyone was in pretty damn good shape, health-wise, was enough to raise the tension level at the table for a bit. They found some treasure in the form of a bag of holding full of strange art items and other things. What kinds of art would a beholder be collecting...?