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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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S34: The road to the Logger's Camp

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Before leaving town Melandrach asked Araloth to use his contacts to sell along his Staff of Defence.  The spells in it were not getting used and he wanted to have a Cloak of Protection made and get a magic weapon that enhanced his offensive power.  They agreed to sell it now for 4,000gp, rather than auction it and probably get more, but have to wait for the money.  The party finished up their business in Neverwinter and early on the 11th day there (Conveniently the 11th Flamerule, 1491), and they headed back towards Phandalin, arriving late on the 13th.  They headed towards the Manor for a rest only to discover they had gained a water feature outside.  Reidoth and Karson had recently returned from scouting around Neverwinter Wood and Reidoth had spent the last few days magically sculpting a pond as a shrine to his god, Eldath.  They went inside and met up, but there was no sign of Talindra or Thorivor, who were still at the Mine.  They spent the next couple of days relaxing, while waiting for them to return.

A little before lunch on the 15th Flamerule, Talindra and Thorivor entered the Manor.  The group had a long chat about what they’d been up to.  Talindra revealed she could now make cloaks of protection, given time and money.  The dragon wings would be the basis for two.  She had also finished work on a Rod of the Pact, +1, which she had been working on for a long time now.  Thorivor had completed Glasstaff’s research in to crafting Potions of Invisibility.  He’d also gone through the library at the mine trying to research how to make Bracers of Archery.  While completing that research (Which needs components they don’t yet know how to get) he had found the recipe for Greater Potions of Healing so he could also make them, given time.

The new shrine to Eldath at Tresendar ManorThe new shrine to Eldath at Tresendar Manor

They headed over to burthens Provisions to start the mission.  He loaded two large crates on to their wagon, and handed them an inventory which needed to be signed by Tibor Westor, the Townmasters half-brother, and returned for payment.  They followed the road around Neverwinter Wood while deciding if they wanted to go straight there, or swing by Falcon’s Hunting Lodge.  Rumour has it he will put up anyone, so long as they bring a quality bottle of wine.  They followed the road east, avoiding entering the woods at first, then cut north directly towards the Lodge, eventually coming across a fortified compound standing in a clearing on the east side of a narrow river. A ten-foot high log palisade surrounded the compound, whose main building was a two -story stone-and-wood affair with a high-pitched roof, gables, window shutters, and a stone chimney. Attached to the main building was a blocky tower of grey stone, its high roof lined with battlements. Other structures included a two-story stable house and a gatehouse whose flat roof was enclosed by iron railings. A stone bridge spanned the river, ending before an oaken door set into the gatehouse’s outer wall. Mounted next to the door was a bell with a short rope hanging from its clapper.

They spread out on the near side of the bridge and Araloth crossed it and rang the bell.  A few minutes later the door was opened by an older gentleman dressed in an apron.  Araloth greeted him and asked for the Falcon.  The man asked if they were from Neverwinter looking to be taken out on a hunting expedition.  Araloth said they were delivering some supplies and were hoping to stay here for the night, and maybe share some stories.  He flashed an expensive bottle of wine, which he didn’t part with.  The man introduced himself as Corwin and welcomed them in.  He showed them to the guest quarters, a basic, large dormitory and said he would inform the master that he has guests.  He would call them for dinner in the main building in around an hour and a half.  When asked, Reidoth explained he is a vegetarian.  Corwin wandered off and left them to get settled in.

A while later Corwin retuned and led them over to a large dining room in the main building.  There was a large oak dining table surrounded by many high backed chairs.  A set of stairs to one side led up to a balcony encircling the room.  As their eyes rose up they noticed a series of trophies looking down on the room.  There were many heads mounted on plaques; deer, board, some larger game, and quite a few orc heads.  They spoke amongst themselves about this until Falcon entered.  He was wearing a fur-lined cloak over his studded leather armour. He stood 6 feet, 6 inches tall, and had black hair and broad shoulders. His eyes were as blue, cold, and sharp as ice, and he sported a neatly trimmed beard. Falcon moved with the casual confidence of one who fears nothing.

Falcon the HunterFalcon the Hunter

He greeted his guests and welcomed them to his home.  Arlaoth stepped forward and offered up his bottle.  Falcon called out for glasses and Corwin returned with a tray with glasses and more wine, which Falcon served up and shared around as everyone got comfy.  Shortly afterwards Corwin returned with a roast for everyone.  Reidoths meal was sufficient but uninspiring.  Mainly just roasted vegetables, probably roasted in the juices of the boar, but Reidoth chose not to pursue that line of thought.  Falcon enquired if they were looking to do some hunting.  Talindra explained they were on a delivery run from Phandalin, but they had also heard about Orcs in the woods causing trouble and might be looking to deal with them, if Falcon knows anything about that.  She gestured up towards the trophies.  Falcon explained that there always been a small tribe of Orcs around.  They’ve always been a blight he’d rather be without, but more recently they’ve allied themselves with some half orcs and some spellcasters / sorcerers and they’ve become a much bigger problem.  They seem more motivated and much more active.  He’s been doing his part to keep their numbers down.  He really doesn’t like Orcs at all.  They’ve also got these stick creatures that seem to do their bidding.  They seem to be based out of an old house south and east of here.  He’s been doing his part to thin the herd.  He asks the party to head out to the house and kill them all.  If they do, he’ll give them some Boots of Elvenkind.  The party agreed and debated what to do next.  They decided taking the package in to battle was not a smart play, so said they’d complete the delivery first.  Falcon understood and said he’d keep killing off any he could in the meantime.

They enjoyed their meals and went back to their room.  The next morning they headed towards the loggers camp.  A couple of hours in to their journey as they entered a small clearing they could head something moving with speed through the bushes ahead.  They stopped and spread out a little, and a boar ran out ahead, and stopped, staring straight at them like a deer caught in the headlights.  A growing buzzing could be heard behind it.  Everyone waited to see what would happen next, except for Reidoth who cast Speak with Animals and Talindra who sent her owl ahead to scout.  Reidoth stepped forward and as a series of grunts and snorts, tried to tell the board that they are friendly.  The boar looked at him and backed up a smidge, but when the buzzing drew closer it moved away from them, towards the tree line to one side.  Four Stirges became visible from within the tree line, heading towards the Boar.

A wild boarA wild boar

The party made short work of the Stirges, including the eight more that followed right behind.  Reidith continued trying to talk to the boar, who had defended himself badly, while trying to get away.  With the threat dead, Reidoth said that they’d saved the boar and he was free to go, and enquired about any other threats they should know about.  The boar explained that the woods are a dangerous place.  There’s a scary man to the east who likes to kill creatures.  There’s a green dragon to the west.  Reidoth told him the dragon is gone, but other lesser threats remain.  The boar explained there are stick creatures about.  The boar asked what they are up to.  Reidoth said they are passing through the woods and would not hunt him.  He asked where they were going.  Reidoth insisted they were just passing through.  The boar asked if he could go, and Reidoth watched him back off and leave with caution and suspicion.  Reidoth shared his information, and the party headed back on their path.

A couple of hours later they found the logging camp spread along the south shore of the river, where a dozen tents were arranged on a sandy beach. Near a dock stood a cabin with logs stacked under an awning. Older cabins close by had been torn down to leave only stone chimneys and foundations. A grim silence hung over the camp, and they could see no one around.  Something felt very wrong.  Ramond held back to guard the wagon and the others slowly spread out and approached the closest group of tents.  As they drew near the ground began to shake and two giant bug creatures burst forth and vomited acid over Karson and Melandrach.  A third bug joined the fight soon after.  The party fought hard, but the bugs did a lot of damage before they could get events under control.  Melandrach got badly wounded and got trapped under a heavy bug corpse briefly.  Karson got grappled and dragged partially underground before his opponent died.  The group retreated to a safe distance to take a short rest before continuing to investigate.  Reidoth checked the pathway for footprints.  While the party had made a mess of things, he did find one or two to suggest someone had left camp recently.

The logger's campsiteThe logger's campsite

They returned to the southern camp and cautiously looked around the closest tents and checked the campfire. The fire was cold, and the tents showed evidence of acid damage.  Looking inside suggested that if anyone had left they had not stopped to pack.  Melandrach and Karson ventured towards the northern tents, where Melandrach could make out evidence of a struggle, and drag marks in the ground that stopped in areas of freshly dug ground.  His investigation was cut short when three more bugs ripped out of the ground back at the other tents and attacked Araloth, Reidoth and Bilba.  Talindra quickly cast Hypnotic Pattern on them making this fight a cakewalk, even after a fourth joined in and almost dragged Araloth underground.


It was getting late and we’d lost two players, and a third couldn’t join this week so we called it there.  Will the party figure out what happened here?  Will someone get dragged underground never to be seen again?  Will this be a series of single encounters followed by short rests?  Tune in next week.  Same bug time.  Same bug channel.

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