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Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

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S33: The Search for Miri

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 4
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Welcome to the Downtimeisode where everyone does whatever they want with no module to hold their hands.  The safety is off on this one folks!  Send help!

 

Over dinner, the party discussed their plans for the next few days.  Some wanted to head back to Phandalin and some had business in town.  Talindra had taken a few requests for magic items to create and asked the group if she should focus her time on Sending Stones, Pearls of Power, or Cloaks of Protection.  The group agreed that while they all would be good, the cloak would never not be useful to everyone.  Reidoth cast Continual Flame on Ramond’s pommel and a coin for Bilba.  Over breakfast the next day he also cast it on a dragons tooth for Melandrach.  After breakfast, they all went their separate ways.

Karson and Thorivor hung out at the bar, waiting for Reidoth and Talindra so they could head back to town together.  Thorivor pulled out a notebook and started assembling his ideas towards crafting a set of magic bracers to aid his archery.  Araloth said he had run in to an old friend and he’d be gone for maybe a week helping them out with something.  He’d catch up with them later, either here or in Phandalin.

 

Melandrach asked around for craftsmen and found someone to turn one dragon’s wing in to a cloak for him, and a jeweller to affix his flaming dragon tooth to a silver chain.  When he wears it he now has flames rising up under his chin.  He also found a weapon smith to turn three dragon bones in to an iron capped three section chain staff that can also be used as a regular staff.  He then spent the remainder of the day and the next day wondering around the temples asking if anyone knew anything about an ancient elven temple in the Mere of Dead Men.  Nobody really did, but while in the temple of Denier (Lesser god of art) he saw an old painting.  This painting was of five trees that grew together to form one vast tree above head height.  This matched one of the markers to find his temple, as described in the journal pages they recovered from the mine recently.  He figured that if he took it to the Mere he could line up the mountains in the background and the sun and shadows and find where it was painted.  He asked the priest, who said it was called “The Midday Meeting of the Council of Elders”, but he could not take it.  He was advised to check art galleries and bookshops to see if he could find a copy.  He then spent the next seven days checking everywhere he could think of, before successfully picking up an old copy.  Whatever time is left he plans on continuing teaching himself Herbalism from a manual he found a while back.

S33: The Search for Miri

Reidoth went to speak to speak to his contact in the Emerald Enclave and report recent events and his plans and concerns.  Realising he had spent many months in the wilderness and was catching some attention in the streets, he also stopped off for a wash, shave, and haircut.  He then returned to the inn to wait for the others heading to Phandalin.

Talindra returned to the Component Companion and sold off the unwanted dragon parts and then returned to the inn to transcribe the scrolls in to her spellbook.  When her lunch was served she was also handed a short note that someone had dropped off for her.  After reading it and finishing her meal she touched up her disguise and left the inn.  She ducked down some back alleys and knocked on a door and Andrakas Zherichar, a Blue Tiefling male answered. “Darri, wasn’t it?  I’m sorry I couldn’t find your friend.  Perhaps you should come in?”  She entered and he offered Darri Talindra’s favourite brew, which she declined.  They had a short chat.  In the guise of Darri, Talindra had asked him the night before to get an offer of employment to a street urchin halfing girl called Miri Zithak.  He’d been unable to track her down, but had uncovered something concerning.  No one had seen her for a few weeks, and the last time she was seen, she was being chased by a band of local small time pickpockets calling themselves The Reavers.  Her friend Talindra was also being chased and she hasn’t been seen since either.  It appears the Reavers caught up to Miri, but Andrakas gets the impression that Talidra may have gotten away.  (DM: heavy wink to the camera.  Talindra refused to break her characters character) Talindra slipped him 5gp and thanked him for his help, before requesting that this stay between them.  She then returned to the inn, and messaged Bilba on the sending stones to come back for a chat.

On the second day, Karson, Reidoth, Thorivor and Talindra began the three day walk back to Phandalin.  Talindra vanished off to the mine to continue her work, and now has a homemade Rod of the Pact +1, and knows how to enchant Cloaks of Protection, +1.  Thorivor lost himself in research and now knows how to make Bracers of Archery.  Karson and Reidoth went off in to the woods together to seek out any further activity from Cultists of Talos for the remainder of this downtime.

Bilba had decided to use this time in town to relax and had gone off to a casino.  When she got the call she returned and Talindra asked for her help in finding out what had happened.  (We are gonna see the sending stones used a lot this session.  It’s interesting.  Even when someone has their camera off you can still actually hear them counting to the 25 word limit on their fingers while they talk).  Talindra explained that she had a friend who was missing and was last seen being chased by a gang based in the docks.  He gave her Miri’s name, and showed an illusion of what she looks like, and asked her to look in to this for her.  He said they were chasing her because they didn’t like her pickpocketing on their turf but she had refused to work for them.  (With this sudden unexpected workload dumped on an unprepared player I skipped to someone else for a little to give her a chance to plan)

Ramond headed off to find a temple to Tempus and quickly found there wasn’t one in the city, but there was a shrine a few miles South East of town, called the Shrine of Swords.  He mounted up and headed out and eventually stumbled upon a building shaped like a giant gauntlet stood on its finger tips.  The entrance was between the thumb and forefinger.  The building was constructed out of a metal mesh made from spears and polearms and coated in shields and sections of armour.  Two guards stood in the doorway wearing the symbol of Tempus and a priest could be seen near an altar inside, under the palm.  Ramond greeted the guards and approached the priest, who introduced himself as Rauthat Jhuth Straug (Rauthat is a rank within the church.  It’s one of the higher ranks).  Ramond said he’d been adventuring in the area and would like to spend some time here reaffirming his faith and providing religious service for the shrine.  He wanted to prove himself worthy to be considered for membership with the Order of the Steel Fang, should there be a local chapter.

The Shrine of SwordsThe Shrine of Swords

He was invited in to the shrine and advised that those looking to enter and benefit from their services traditionally donate a weapon to the shrine.  Ramond pulled out a warhammer and offered that up.  Rauthat Straug placed this upon the altar and an illusion formed over it displaying its last battle against some undead.  Rauthat Straug praised Ramond’s technique, then took the weapon and added it to a nearby rack.  He then asked what Ramond had done that would earn him consideration for membership in the Order.  Ramond briefly listed his achievements, mentioning most of their adventures so far, including taking his Greatsword from an enemy whose life he had spared.  When Ramond was done, the priest asked to look at the sword.  He placed it on the alter and got a replay of the battles at Thundertree, especially against the dragon.  When the illusion faded, he picked up the sword and told Ramond that his deeds were great and he was certainly a mighty warrior.  However, it takes more than strength and ability to join the Steel Fangs.  It also takes bravery.  Venomfang had been a powerful foe, but he had been greatly outclassed by Ramond and his allies.  Ramond needed to go out and face a foe that scares him, who could defeat him.  Fight this foe on honorable battle and then return with their blood still on his weapon.  Only then he would be considered for membership.

Ramond thanked him for this opportunity, and requested to be of service to the shrine.  He was asked to clean and sharpen all the weapons and armour here.  He looked around and there were many.  He spent the next two days with a whetstone, a bottle of Brasso, and a selection of dusters and shammies.  When he was done he proudly approached the priest, who said he meant ALL the weapons and around and gestured to the building itself and handed Ramond a safety harness. (DM: all in, this was 10 days scrubbing, which Ramond was portrayed as loving.  He also stank of metal polish the whole week.  He seemed to enjoy messing about hanging from the ceiling and spent a little while pretending to fly before getting back to work).

Bilba decided she was going to head back to the casino for a few days and try and win big to see whose attention that might draw, either pickpockets who might be Reavers, or the Pit boss who might think she’s scamming them.  She won on the first day, but things didn’t go her way for the next few days.  On the sixth day she decided to try a little sleight of hand to boost her odds.  She has a magic bow that allows her to gain advantage on one dex check a day.  I gave her the opportunity to pick which dice she rolled.  Either take the better dice and try and win, or take the worse dice and try and get caught cheating.  She got a 10 and a 22 and took a moment to think and opted to have the dealer see the extra card she had up her sleeve for a moment, rather than try for the winnings.  The dealer called over a bouncer and explained what had happened and he escorted her to a back room.  She was made to wait for a moment before they were called in.  The man behind the desk asked for an explanation and Bilba said she was looking for an introduction to the Thieves Guild and this seemed like a good way to get the attention of someone who may have contacts.  There was a discussion and he asked for every penny back she had won, which she offered up before he became more insistent.  He wrote an address on a piece of paper and folded it in half.  He slid it across the desk, but kept his hand on it.  He said she was never to return to his casino ever again.  She agreed, took the paper and left.

Bilba followed the directions to a back alley and knocked on the door.  A slit opened and she explained that she’d been given their location by a mutual friend and showed the piece of paper.  The guard grudgingly opened the door and told her she would be watched closely.  She found herself in a repurposed dark warehouse holding a pop up community. A black market, some bars, some games of chance, all being run from temporary structures within.  She spent some time mingling and getting to know the set up.  She introduced herself to the Thieves Guild and found out what she needed to do to pay her respects and not get lynched by them and become a member.  She asked about doing a job for them so she could prove herself, and got a place on a robbery the next day.  A well to do house in town.  A simple mission we just skipped to the end of and she made back a little of the money she had lost at the casino.  She then milled about the guild and its bar, and started asking if anyone knew anything about Miri.  Unfortunately no one seemed to recognise her description. (DM: I was trying to work with her, but she rolled really badly on Investigation)

That evening Araloth arrived back at the inn and met up with Melandrach, Bilba and Ramond.  There was a long and frustrating (DM: Frustrating in character.  Fun for the players though) conversation about money and profit and who gets what magic items, and what happens if people sell their items.  Also a chat about trust and openness.  (DM: Interesting, but I didn’t take full notes on it all).  Generally, Araloth just being his usual skinflint penny pinching self.

Next morning, Bilba returned to the guild and tried a different approach.  She tried to vanish in to the background of the bar, not draw attention to herself, and nurse a drink all day, listening in to conversations around her.  She heard about a group of petty thieves and pickpockets operating around the docks.  They’re not really part of the thieves guild, but pay them just enough respect and profit share to not have the Guild come down hard on them.  They call themselves The Reavers, and they’ve recently escalated to kidnapping people and there’s some concern that the guild will be associated with this behaviour.  That’s all she could catch before they drifted too far to hear.

She returned to their Inn and used the sending stones to update Talindra and ask if she knows anything about The Reavers.  Talindra revealed she knew they are led by a half elf called Gadrille Refverdt.  They operate from the docks and think they are better than just a gang of pickpockets.  Talindra then fired up her Sending Stone to continue.  She didn’t know if they were connected to any other gangs in town.  They don’t like other pickpockets working at the docks.  Bilba shared her information with the others over breakfast in the morning.  Araloth suggested they head to the docks and investigate.  Melandrach suggested staging a fake pickpocketing of him there to try and draw the Reavers attention.  Ramond suggested using that as a backup plan, but going and looking for anyone pickpocketing they could question first.

S33: The Search for Miri

Araloth and Bilba headed to the docks and nonchalantly watched life go by, looking for pickpockets.  They saw a little boy go running down the street, being chased by a girl.  She bumped in to a man unloading the morning catch, who dropped a couple of fish.  She lifted something from his pocket, called out, “sorry mister!” and continued chasing the boy.  They both vanished around the corner of a building laughing and shouting at each other. The crept up on them and watched from a distance as they shared the few copper they had gained.  Bilba and Araloth chose not to intervene and watched them from a distance for a while longer, looking out for other more interesting targets.  The kid repeated variations on the same trick a few more times, and around lunchtime they headed to a tavern called The Cauldron.  They chose to follow them in and saw them handing over coppers at the bar, ordering the cheapest meal on the menu.  Once the kids had sat down at a secluded table, they approached the bar, ordered meals and rinks, and ordered better food for the kids.  They asked the barman not to reveal who had proved the food, unless the kids were insistent.  When he served the kids they saw an exchange between them and eventually the barman pointed their way.  They gave the kids a wave and got a nervous smile in exchange.  Everyone ate up, and when the kids got up to leave Bilba got their attention and beckoned them over.  They had a chat and found out the Reavers used to dominate this area, and used to use this inn as something of a base of operations, but they’re all gone now.  About a week ago they just left.  No one’s seen them since.  They used to scare the kids, but now they’re gone they can operate in the docks.  Araloth offered to get them an introduction with the Thieves Guild so they could have some training and protection, but the kids insisted they just wanted to be left alone and they wouldn’t steal enough to get the Guilds attention, just enough to eat and live.  They let the kids go and stayed in the bar for a while, watching the barman, and people come and go.

Over breakfast the next monring they discussed events with the others and asked Ramond to come with them to intimidate the barman for more information.  They assumed he bust have been working with the Reavers.  They were also contacted by Talindra via Sending Stones.  Talindra had had a job offer for the group to escort supplies from Phandalin to a loggers camp in Neverwinter Wood.  It needed to head out in a few days’ time so everyone should start heading to town if they want the work.  Ramond put on all his weapons and armour, but left off any emblems of Tempus and they returned to The Cauldron.  He approached the barman and acted loud, big, and scary (DM: and aced an intimidation roll) and the barman kinda crumbled.  He revealed that he didn’t work for the Reavers.  He just runs the bar and a long while ago they just turned up and made it their place.  They bullied the staff and scared off the other patrons.  He knew they were bad news and made it a point to stay as uninvolved as he could be.  He heard nothing and asked no questions, all trying to stay safe.  He confirmed what the kids had said and just wanted to be left alone to get on with his life now the Reavers weren’t ruining it.  Disappointed, Ramond turned around and saw someone collecting plates from tables.  He pointed at them and, already talking loudly, called out, “You!  What do you know!”  The server almost dropped all the plates they were carrying, and tried to avoid eye contact and vanish out back to the kitchens, but Ramond blocked their path.  He got more of the same information out of the server, but they did reveal that their attitudes had changed recently.  They seemed more focused, like they were working towards something.  They also said they’d long had a suspicion there was more to them than just thievery.  Terrified, Ramond eventually let them go.  They vanished out back and just dumped all the plates loudly in to the sink.  Ramond gave the barman one gold to cover any broken crockery and they left.  Ramond returned to the shrine to finish his final (10th) day of polishing and sharpening.

It was near midnight so we called it there.  I was really hoping to get them out of Neverwinter before the session ended, but people needed to sleep.  I really thought that they’d be done with downtime within an hour, two at most.  This was 4+ hours and we’re still not done and most of it was made up on the fly as we reacted to each other, even if I did already know what’s what plotwise.  It was intimidating, but I think we all had fun.  There was definitely lots of laughter.

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