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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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S40: The Wrath of Talos

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The last three Orcs attacked, injuring Ramond and missed Karson and a wolf.  Hearing all the excitement at the arrival of Gorthok, Araloth rallied from his illness and ran out from the treeline and killed the nearest Orc as Thorivor killed Ramond’s attacker.  Gorthok kicked the Half-Orc priest with his Thunder Hooves.  Melandrach killed two nearby Twig Blights and an Orc and moved to flank the remaining Twig Blights with Karson.  Ramond ran south towards the party, chased by twig blights and shouting out for everyone to get ready for a hard fight and to be prepared to die.  Gorthok gored the Priest with his tusks again as other Twig Blights fought their wolves.  The gored priest shouted towards the sky, “I can still be useful!  I’ve been loyal!  I can turn this around.  Please don’t, Talos!  Please!” as he defended himself against the Boar, lightly injuring it.  Talindra cleared two of the Blights away from Ramond with Eldritch blasts, saying, “We need to end this here.  We can’t let it get back to town!”  Karson Marked the boar and killed a Blight.  Bilba cleared off another of Ramond’s pursuers and backed up as Reidoth’s familiar delivered a heal to Ramond.  Gorthok landed two attacks in to the Talossan priest, bringing him near to death.

S40: The Wrath of Talos

The wolves continued to follow their instructions.  Four held a defensive line as the others dealt with the lesser threats.  Araloth killed the last nearby enemy and headed towards Ramond.  Thorivor put two arrows in to Gorthok as Melandrach advanced to behind a standing stone and threw sunbolts at him too.  Ramond Layed On Hands on himself and ran towards the Boar, shouting out for the wolf defensive line to advance and for everyone to focus their ranged attacks on Gorthok.  The blights chasing him switched their attacks to the Wolf that was now in their face.  The High Priest got gored again and called out, “I have been faithful.  I will continue to serve!  Please stop this!  I can still do your bidding!” and continued to try and defend himself from Gorthok.  Talindra moved up and cast web so as to hinder the boar should he head their way.  Karson cast Longstrider on himself and Ramond, and advanced as Bilba put an arrow in to the Boar.  Gorthok then kicked the Priest in to unconsciousness.  Reidoth ordered his summoned wolves to advance and protect their allies and cast Cure Wounds on Ramond.

S40: The Wrath of Talos

Gorthok Trampled over the body of the Priest before goring him with his tusks.  He tossed him in the air and caught him in his mouth.  He shook him around, caught between his teeth and the body came apart in two (big and a few smaller) parts.  He then turned to face the party and stared at them as the storm light up behind him.  A bolt of lightning came down from above and hit him and he vanished.  They made short work of the remaining Twig Blights and Ramond opted to knock out the last dazed Priest after the other put a few hits in to him.  They left Melandrach to fetch some rope from Ramond’s saddle while they took the wolves to go explore the three entrances in to the hill.  Talindra started searching the bodies and Melandrach helped out when he was done.

Each led in to a simple short tunnel with different arrangements of the same basic rooms.  Each had a pen containing a Boar they were cautious about.  Each ended in a ladder rising up to a hatch that opened up near the stone circle.  Each had an empty cell that had evidence of recent animals inside.  Each had one larger chamber lined with shelves containing pots, boxes, stick figures etc.  They had the wolves attack the stick figures, expecting Twig Blights, but not getting them.  They searched all three rooms and found items buried in two of them: A potion and a golden shield with an embossed griffon on it.  With no immediate threat, Karson cast Speak with Animals and went and spoke to each of the Boars.  Convinced that they were just animals and didn’t have any information, he set them free and they ran off.

Talindra and Melandrach had gathered together all the loot from the bodies and the prisoner; A bunch of non-magical weapons and armour, but a few gold and one letter from the body of the high priest.  It was rain soaked and the bottom of the page had been soggy-torn off at some point.

“Gramrak,

Talos has bestowed a gift upon you.  He will lend you the might of Gorthok the Thunder Boar.  Use him to crush that hunter who kills our followers.  Once that is done, gather your forces behind Gorthok, and show those in Phandalin Talos’s might.  Bring the storm down upon them.  Those who survive will not doubt his might and will join his worship, or die.  They are still weak, but have begun to build defences.  You should move quickly.

Do not disappoint him and you will become a key part in his future plans, but remember that he is quick to anger and does not tolerate failure.

Stormherald K…”

As they gathered in one of the barrows for Talindra to ritually Identify this new shield, which seemed to be cleaning itself of the mud and grime it had been buried in Karson asked if they had the magic to topple these stones.  Reidoth said it should be doable, but they remembered that Falcon told them this was a place of nature worship.  The boar skulls, vines and muddy graffiti over everything was a more recent addition, and had likely been used to corrupt the place to Talos.  Reidoth concluded that destroying the place was unnecessary and it would take him time and effort to cleanse the place later.  Talindra revealed that the shield had basic magical defensive enhancements but had extra magic placed there by someone vain.  The shield would keep its bearer clean and well groomed at all times (DM: more details below).

They shared the letter around and discussed it, concluding that Talos or Gorthok were angry with the High priest for his failure, and that there are greater threats from the Cult of Talos out there than they had previously encountered.  With the Identify complete, they walked up the hill discussing who should get the shield (Ramond).  While this was happening, Reidoth had run off from the main group and was frantically checking out the faces of each of the dead Orcs.  Melandrach asked him what was up.  Reidoth revealed he recognised the name the letter was addressed to.  He had led the massacre on his home in the High Forrest.  He went to check the faces of the Half-Orc priests.  He recognised the High priest as Gramrak, and thought perhaps the others might be familiar but wasn’t sure.  Reidoth asked for the Clawed Gauntlets that had been taken from Gramrak’s body and kept them for a ritual later.  He then took an Axe out of the loot pile and severed Gramrak’s head from what remained of his torso.  He then used Shape Water to freeze it in ice and stored it for later.  They all took a moment to regain their composure before continuing.

The party then gathered at the top of the hill to interrogate their prisoner, noticing that the storm seemed to be starting to ease off a little.  Melandrach decided to patrol around the base of the hill in case of attack, but probably just to separate himself from an expected execution.  Reidoth stood behind the priest, with a Detect Thoughts spell ready (DM: He cast this twice this going forward and relayed his findings telepathically to Ramond).  Melandrach and Ramond checked his bonds, then Ramond shook him awake.  His eyes opened and he looked up.  He took in his situation and tried to move back, but his arms were tied and he could barely wriggle.  “You have a few moments to choose either a death that pleases or Displeases Talos.  WHERE IS THE STORMHERALD?” demanded Ramond.  The priest took a moment to look around him and gather his thoughts.  Ramond pulled him close and gave him a violet shake as Talindra used magic to make lighting spark around his eyes.  “Where is the Stormherald?  Do you want to die like a dog?” “I I I don’t know” he replied.  “She only ever met with Gramrak.”  “She?” asked Ramond.  “I think she.  I only ever saw her at a distance and she was always cloaked.”  “What race?  What name?”  “Humanoid I think.  I never got a good look at her.  She only ever visited Gramrak”

Ramond dropped him to the ground at this point.  Karson stepped forward and asked, “Where did your camp is as you clearly aren’t based here.”  “I live in the tunnels under this hill”, he replied.  “There were far more Orcs that can fit down there.”  “The tunnels are for the priests.  The Orcs came to us for aid and worship Talos for his guidance and help.  They live all around Neverwinter Wood.”

Reidoth asked if summoning the Thunderboar was the culmination of their plans, or was there more?  “We followed Gramraks plan.  He didn’t tell us it all, and he followed the Stormheralds orders.  We all follow Talos’s will.”  The priest appeared to rally a little as he said this.  Talindra spoke up, “Obviously not any more.  You have angered Talos in your failure”.  The priest replied, “This was your doing. Talos will have you.  His servants are everywhere.  He brings destruction.  You should let me go before he comes.  The rain is still here.  Talos is all around us.  He has not abandoned me yet”  “The rain is Eldaths blessing.  She cries upon the violence she has seen here”, offered up Reidoth, “Now she heals the land that is stained with the blood of the fallen.  Are there any others of yours within Neverwinter Wood?”  “The prisoner replied, “We are everywhere.  You will not be rid of us.  You can kill me if you want but my soul will continue to serve Talos.  Others will come” Reidoth smiled back at him and said, “You and I both know the lie of those words”.   He turned to the others and said, “I believe we are done here”.

Talindra said, “If we are done here I have one more thing to do before we are finished.”  She cast Suggestion on the prisoner and advised him to renounce his faith in Talos immediately.  He met her eyes and spat at her feet as a flash of lighting came down behind Talindra.  Talindra reacted with two Eldritch Blasts, killing the bound prisoner.  Reidoth winced as he was still reading the priests mind at the time.  Ramond turned to Talindra, “I’d have at least given him a sporting chance, but I can’t criticise”.  “After what he planned to do to Phandalin, I think he deserved this.  Let’s be honest, setting that Boar on Phandalin, there wouldn’t have been a town left.” “That’s true.”  Reidoth offered up, “I’m not in a position to judge.  I need to pray on my own actions here, later.”  Talindra said she would not have felt safe transporting him back to Phandalin and everyone agreed the town was not set up to contain him anyway.

They gathered themselves together and began the walk back to Falcons Lodge through the rain while the storm continued to ease up slowly.

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