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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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S35: The Woodland Manse

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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With the second wave of giant bugs dead the party took a moment to get their breath back and discuss things.  They looked around themselves and decided that if there were any survivors here, they would be in the only building standing.  Reidoth and Melandrach lead the way, with the rest of the party following behind, close enough to react but far enough back to avoid any surprises.

They cut through the ruins in the middle of the camp on their way.  Reidoth had a cursory look around.  Evidence of rotten wood where the walls had been suggested this wooden building had decayed and the remains had been cleared away, leaving only a damaged fireplace and chimney behind, possibly as the basis for a rebuild.  He also noted that the ground seemed harder under foot and was probably stone.  He told the others they were probably safer here as a result.

Reidoth and Melandrach lead the party further west towards the log cabin, but Talindra stopped at the ruined fireplace to have a better look to see if she could understand what had happened to the building or if it was being rebuilt.  Something in the fireplace caught her attention and she shifted a few stones and found something.  A bundle of sticks tied together that looked too fresh for their surroundings.  She dug them out and pulled them free and gave them a closer look.  They looked like little man made stick figures.  She called the others back to investigate as she untied them.  Thirteen figures in total, all covered in some dried up thick red-brown liquid and inscribed with a tiny lightning bolt symbol.  Ramond asked for a closer look and concluded that this was a magic totem and its purpose is to bring ill fortune to all near it.  It wasn’t a magic item, but it held magic.  It anchored a spell in place.  He reasoned that destroying it should end its magic and began snapping the twigs and throwing them on the floor, where Talindra used her magic to burn them.  Everyone held their breath for a moment as they waited for something bad to happen, but all stayed eerily quiet.

Tibor Wester, Foreman of the loggers camp, andhalf-brother to Townmaster Harbin WesterTibor Wester, Foreman of the loggers camp, andhalf-brother to Townmaster Harbin Wester

They carefully made their way over to the only building.  Reidoth heard nothing at the door so entered.  The large room was lined with all manner of logging tools and equipment, and a door could be seen to the north.  As the party moved up he pressed his ear to the door and heard something pressed up against it move away from it as he did.  Meladrach tried to speak to them and ask if they’re OK.  They found out this was Tibor Wester, the camp foreman and the person they are making the delivery to.  He is scared and alone and has been barricaded in this room for a couple of days.  He eventually let them in and they had a full chat.  A couple of days ago these giant bugs just attacked the camp out of nowhere.  They burst out of the ground and dragged unsuspecting people below.  Tibor ran for his life and hid and doesn’t know what happened after.  He hadn’t seen anyone new around camp.  They didn’t have any enemies that he could think of.  Brian, a logger, had said he’d seen an orc a week or two back, but so what?  Orcs are everywhere and live in the area.  Nothing came of it.  The druid asked if they were replanting as fast as they were logging, and Tibor said no.  There’s no profit in that.  Reidoth pointed out that forest creatures and those who defend nature would not like that and might be looking to stop the logging.  There’s profit in survival and he should think about that.  They mentioned the stick figures and suggested that followers of Talos may have done this as their way of protecting nature.  Talos is a god of nature, after all, even if he has an extreme attitude towards it.  Tibor asked them if the stick figures were magic and the cause of all this and confirmed that they believed they had ended the spell.  He asked them to escort him safely back to town and they agreed to, once they’d ensured there was no further danger here.  He locked himself back in the cabin as they wandered around camp and encountered no further danger.

The party took Tibor back to Falcon’s lodge for the night, arriving a while after sundown.  Corwin let them in and said Falcon was happy for them to use the guest quarters while they’re dealing with the Orc problem and they could look after Tibor while they did this.  He brought them some leftovers a little while later.  They next morning they left from the south east entrance and headed towards the Woodland Manse where the Orcs had been gathering.

After a four hour hike through the woods, the trees began to thin and they came upon a foggy clearing, in the midst of which stood a crumbling two story manse all but hidden beneath thorny ivy. The large house was set atop a six-foot-high stone foundation, and the main entrance had a balcony above it. Pumpkins grew wild in patches around the manse, with several wild boars feeding among them. The boars snorted with contempt when anyone drew near.

As initiatives were rolled.  Remember, the party cannot see monster HP values, but can see their HP bar.As initiatives were rolled. Remember, the party cannot see monster HP values, but can see their HP bar.

As the party drifted slowly towards the door, which had a board head scratched in to it, Reidoth decided to cast Detect Thoughts and approached the nearest boar.  The boar was hungry and was looking for nibbles amongst the pumpkin patch.  It could remember having found a tasty truffle a week ago and was hopeful of finding another.  Satisfied that this was just an ordinary boar he turned to the party and shared this with them and went to join them.  Talindra pointed out that a devious person might hide fake boars amongst real ones.  Just because one is real that doesn’t mean they all are.  Reidoth turned back and approached another boar.  As he got closer to the first it ran off in to the trees.  This second boars surface thoughts were a little different, “Boar.  Boar.  I’m a boar looking for food.  I hope there’s something tasty.  What are they looking at?  Are they looking at me?”

Reidoth used his latent telepathy to inform the others, one by one, that this is not a real boar and something was up.  As he was doing this, the boar decided to investigate a pumpkin patch a little further away, putting the building between it and half the party, while trying to act innocent.  The party readied weapons and initiative was rolled. (DM: They also had a chat I’m not entirely sure was in or out of character discussing their plan of attack.  Either way, they all agreed on what they were about to do.  What’s rule 1 of D&D?  Don’t split the party.  What did they decide to do?)

Bilba unleashed an arrow into the suspect boar (DM: Critting for 46 points of damage), hitting it hard enough to kill a real boar, but it refused to die.  It let out a screeching roar.  Karson opened the front door and ran through the building, passing through four rooms and having a distant glance in to a fifth.  The first two rooms were empty, save for a set of stairs leading up.  The third room was a flagstoned courtyard that has a pillared arcade to the east. Seven windows on the upper level overlooked the courtyard, in the middle of which was a five foot wide stone well with thick vines erupting from it.  He concluded this did not look good.  Guttural snorts and yells erupting from the upper southeast corner of the manse signalled the presence of Orcs nearby.

He ran across the courtyard to the opposite doorway.  While the building was well enough lit by windows and holes, this room was plunged in dim light, making it hard to see well within.  However a group of twig blights inside blocked his entrance.  He quickly backed up in to the entrance lobby.  Ramond dashed through the building and past Karson in to the courtyard and cast Shield of Faith.  Talindra followed up behind, ending up in the foyer. Back outside, Thorivor put two arrows in to the suspect boar, which cried out and died.  As he hit the floor his form changed in to that of a Half-Orc.

The boars outside all began making their way towards the screeching.  As one approached Reidoth he Produced Flame at it, singeing it.  Thorivor got attacked by another and Bilba was engaged by one more.

(DM: That’s the end of round 1.  For those playing along at home we now have 2 fights on the go at the same time.  Inside we have Talindra, Ramond, Karson and Melandrach facing Twig Blights.  Outside we have Bilba, Thorivor, Reidoth and Araloth facing Boars and not-boars.  The party have definitely split themselves.  What could possibly go wrong?  Oh if they could see the hidden tokens I can see)

End of round 1 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine,  are not visible to the party yet)End of round 1 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine, are not visible to the party yet)

Melandrach went in to the courtyard and began Radiant Sunbolting Twig Blights, killing two before backing up.  Bilba drew hew sword and injured her boar.  Araloth ran over and finished it off.  Karson advanced up to beside the Twig Blights doorway and readied an attack.  Ramond stepped through that doorway and took in his surroundings, lit up by the flames from his sword. What used to be some sort of laboratory lay in ruins, its furnishings broken and heaped against the walls. In the middle of the room, painted on the floor with mud, was a ten-foot-wide symbol depicting three lightning bolts joined at their tips.  Where the lightning bolts converged, a Half-Orc wearing hide armour was performing an eerie dance while consuming the entrails of a dead possum. Surrounding the Half-Orc were several small twig figures, watching on.  Ramond shouted out that there’s load of Twig Blights and a ritual that must be stopped.  He then cast Command on the Half-Orc, ordering it to approach.

Thorivor dropped his bow and drew his Rapier, and moved to flank.  He killed his boar and moved back towards his bow.  Reidoth Misty Stepped away from his boar back to behind Araloth and threw more produced flame at it.  From within the building, Talindra turned around and Eldritch Blasted to death a boar as it ran by outside.  She then moved in to the courtyard.  The Twig Blights advanced around Ramond, who was blocking the door. Three attacked but he blocked them all.  The Half Orc behind them stopped what he was doing and cast a spell.  Lighting briefly crackled over him and faded.  The boars moved up and attacked, hurting Araloth.  One ran in to the bushes, transformed in to a Half-orc and Lightning Bolted Araloth and Bilba.

End of round 2 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine,  are not visible to the party yet)End of round 2 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine, are not visible to the party yet)

Melandrach moved to behind Ramond and Sunbolted two Twig Blights.  He stepped in to the newly vacant space and threw out two punches killing a third Blight.  Bilba sheathed her sword, stepped back, and shot the Half-Orc in the bushes.  Araloth killed the two boars engaging him. Before heading towards the entrance.  Karson stepped over Mel’s dead blights and let his new axe, Hew, taste Twig Blight, killing two, and a third with Talon in his offhand.  Another door in the courtyard 10 foot from the blights swung open and a group of Orcs began rushing out.  Talindra found herself surrounded (DM: Underwear was audibly soiled IRL at this point).  Two made attacks, but luck was on Talindra’s side.  One hit Ramond though.  Ramond smote that Orc, who barely survived the strike, but died to Ramonds second.  Outside, Thorivor sunk four arrows in to that Half-orc, finally killing it, before advancing towards the building.  Reidoth followed him and threw some more flame at the nearby boar.  He soaked the damage, suggesting he was not really a boar.  He also Healing Worded Araloth, who needed the help.

Back inside, Talindra cast Hypnotic Pattern on the Orcs and Twig Blights.  She tried to angle it as best she could, but caught Ramond in the effect.  Most of the enemy were left in a daze.  Unfortunately, so was Ramond.  Talindra stepped away and an orc swung but missed her.  She then moved in to the Blight room and cast shillelagh on her staff.  The Twig Blights moved up towards the party, attacking who they could, but did no damage.  The Half-Orc behind them ran away through a door and vanished.  One of the boars turned in to a Half-orc and threw a lightning bolt through Araloth and Bilba and headed towards the doors, as the last remaining boar engaged Araloth.

End of round 3 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine,  are not visible to the party yet)End of round 3 (Faded tokens, like those near the vine, are not visible to the party yet)

Melandrach drew his longsword and killed two more Blights.  He called out, “Backing up!”, and retreated towards the foyer, engaging the unfazed orc in the courtyard.  Bilba (2hP!) moved to beside the healer and killed the last boar beside Araloth.  Araloth chased after the outside Half-Orc, swinging and missing twice.  Karson killed two more Blights and backed up in to the courtyard.  Most of the Orcs were dazed, but two were awake.  One swung at but missed Melandrach.  The other at the back shook his nearby friend awake.  Thorivor moved closer to the building and put two arrows in to the Half-Orc outside.  Reidoth cast his Aura of Vitality and then used it to heal Bilba.  Talindra called her familiar down from the roof to shake Ramond awake.  She then stepped in to the Blight room and cast Shatter, killing the last of the Twig Blights, before retreating.  From above the courtyard they could hear someone banging on a window and shouting out, “Wake up you lazy Vine Blights and defend this place!”  The outside Half-Orc stepped between Araloth and Thorivor and cast Thunderwave, pushing Araloth back and almost killing him, but only hurting Thorivor.  Then, from out of the well the mutant vine was growing from, two new creatures appeared.  Man shaped figures made of vines.  They stepped up to Melandrach and attacked, but he dodged both their blows.

It was gone midnight and two of our players had already gone to bed.  This wasn’t gonna end quickly, so we’ve called it there.  We will be down at least 3 players next week and I’m not having a TPK with that many missing so we are taking the week off.  The party is still split.  Four are outside.  Inside, three could escape, but Ramond is mostly boxed in.  Thankfully, most enemies are still dazed by Hypnotic Pattern.  It’s the main reason anyone is still alive.

End of round 4End of round 4

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