We begin with the party half way up Firefinger having just defeated the Stirges. The next level is reached on the outside of the column and this is the biggest risk to them – they are ascending at night without light or night vision so I am going to impose disadvantage on the climb check – this is of course clearly dangerous. I think that the consequences for failure by five will not lead to a character death but to a setback – all of the insect repellent getting destroyed for instance – or possibly the destruction of a magic item. If the party rope off then it will be falling damage and alerting the pterafolk.
Because the first encounter withe these creatures is with weaker elders it is possible that the players will be overconfident for the ascent to the top, I need to remember to stress that they are fairly infirm. They are also likely to raise the alarm unless the players can silence them quickly, a pterafolk elder will have to actually take an action to raise an alarm rather than just hope that the fight is noisy enough.
If the alarm is raised then it will be clear that retreat is probably not an option – the pterafolk on the pinnacle will attack anyone on a ladder even if it is dark. They will also not permit the party to take any kind of rest if they are holed up inside and hoping to wait and regain powers. Nephyr is grateful but is carrying four levels of exhaustion and he will not be useful in a fight.
Following victory at the Firefinger, the party should be set fair for reach Kir Sabal. From the description, the party can see 20 miles from the top of the tower – two hexes, however it also says that you can see the peaks of flame which are 250 miles away. We will let that go for now (You might hope to see around 500 km from one mountain to another but from an elevation of 100 m, not quite so far). At 200 meters above the forest canopy, Kir Sabal is not visible but the shape of the landscape is enough to give the players advantage on survival checks to navigate successfully from the head of the Tiryki to the Olung valley.
It feels like a random walk on the map will miss a lot of described encounters so this one will float about a little and I will try and lure the players to the village.
It feels like the communication barrier is going to get in the way here – I am going to permit all of the named grungs enough common tongue to communicate with lots of misunderstandings. If the players get into a situation where they have to simulate the summoning of Nangnang, N’yarg’s minor illusion will go a long way but it will have to be accompanied by something else.
Success here will be rewarded with some hallucinogenics that will unlock the ability for the players to swap out their spirit guide at the evening campfire. Failure should not end with a party wipe as they are attacked by sixteen CR 2 elite warriors, instead we allow them to escape pursued by the warriors, but the pursuit does not last as the grungs are nervous that there will be a coup in their absence. In the flight however the players should be separated from all of their equipment and supplies, left only with what they were standing in.
The players had a good session, the battle with the older pterafolk on the third level of Firefinger was fairly easy. A sleep spell took out one of the enemy for a round but they were woken by another, still it was enough for them to finish off the encounter before the alarm could be raised. I decided that raising the alarm was a full action and that the older pterafolk would do it as long as they were not threatened.
Maintaining the element of surprise made the battle on the top floor much easier. The players emerged from the chimney and despite not being stealthy enough to remain unobserved were nevertheless high enough on initiative to get into the room at the foot of the beacon. That gave them a defendable position and permitted them to do serious damage with a flaming sphere. The pterafolk did succeed in a shove attack to get into the room eventually but by then the battle was lost and the players won.
Nephyr, the captive aarakocra was able to give them an invite to Kir Sabal reinforcing their plan to go there in search of an answer.
Inevitably the players missed Dungrunglung on the map but I decided to move it to them. We played it with narrative and of course they had no means of communication so giving common tongue to the principal characters was necessary. In the end it resolved down to a series of skill checks which we decided gave a minimal success. As a reward the players were gifted the drugs necessary for them to enter into the spirit world and swap out for a random spirit guide.