Skip to toolbar
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!)

Supported by (Turn Off)

Project Blog by lawnor Cult of Games Member

Recommendations: 199

About the Project

I'm getting back in to roleplay after 10+ years and I'm DMing because I'm mad or something. I'm DMing a system I do not know using programs I do not know, and over the internet for the first time. What could possibly go wrong?. I thought I might spend a little time between sessions writing things up and see if it actually of interest to anyone. I'll only be sharing information the players already have as I don't know if any if them will see this. Do not look at this if you think you might play through the module at any time. If you are in my campaign and you see this please let me know. Your input is welcome.

This Project is Active

Accidental double post

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

I checked to see if this post had gone through before posting again.  Grrrr!

S32: Neverwinter

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

The party cleared out the last two buildings, which contained Zombies coated in ash.  When struck they unleashed a small cloud of ash, causing those nearby to cough and choke for a short while.  They posed little challenge though and it was short work.  They pile dup the zombie bodies after and burnt them to ensure they couldn’t come back.  While that was going on they butchered the dragon and took any parts they thought might have value or be of use.  They skinned the scales, took the wing membranes, recovered the poison gland (and filled two vials with poison for use later), extracted the liver, but made a mess of the heart.  They pulled out all the teeth and claws, and then decided to just take the whole head anyway as it had been decapitated.  Melandrach decided he might try to make some weapons from the leg bones (Chat on paired batons, or making a nun chuck) so they extracted two good sized bones from each leg.  When they were done Reidoth used Move Earth to bury the remains, and then do the same with the zombies once the fire was done.

When they were done the brought the wagon in to town and loaded it up and then set off for a few hours before camping for the night.  While sat around the campfire Talindra spoke to Reidoth and asked him if he knew anything about the Cult of Talos.  He told them about their experiences and revealed that she’d been given a vision of lighting destroying the Shrine of Tymora in Phandalin.  Reidoth revealed he was familiar with the cult in general, but not locally.  His community had previously been attacked by cultists a long time ago and barely survived.  This vision could be a warning.  Reidoth and Talindra are concerned.  Reidoth also thanked Talindra for finding a non-violent way of dealing with the cultists at Thundertree.  As dinner was being eaten after, Talindra was going through her backpack and her face dropped and she ran off, upset, in to the woods.  Reidoth followed, trying to stay out of site.  When she stopped, he watched her cry a little while burying a small rat.  Reidoth decided to give her some privacy and returned to camp and Talindra followed shortly after.

S32: Neverwinter

The next morning they set out for Neverwinter, and arrived late in the afternoon.  They booked rooms at an inn and set out to do a little trading.  Araloth went out alone with a handful of damaged claws, teeth and loose scales to have a chat with a private contact.  Talindra led the rest of the party to a shop she’d previously sold some old spellbooks to.  The Component Companion is a magical supplies shop in the nicer part of town selling spell components, arcane, alchemical and herbalist supplies, and a selection a mage friendly weapons and garments (often more decorative than practical).  Behind the counter is a male gnome dressed in blue and purple robes that Talindra recognises and greets as Sliknap Bimbleskoot.  They ask about buying some powdered rubies for components and get what they need.  They pick up a couple of flasks of Holy Water, and Talindra asks about scrolls of Tensors Floating Disk, Water breathing and Leomunds Tiny Hut.  Reidoth points out that he can cast Water Breathing so Talindra only buys the other two scrolls.

They then ask about how much he’d pay for various dragon parts.  They offer up most of everything, except the scales, wings, and 3 leg bones.  He appraises everything individually (DM: and I pull values out of thin air.  Who knows what any of that stuff is worth or if it even has use?) and they decide to think on it overnight.  When they pull money out of their smelly bag of holding and he recoils at the stench they suggest he’d have less smell to contend with if he offered them a better price on the parts and took that instead.  He says if they want to exchange then he’ll up his offer a bit (DM: about 20% extra), but they aren’t interested.  They buy their wares and head back to the inn.  Talindra says she has something to take care of and goes elsewhere.  Being much more familiar with the back alleys and the city in general she arrives back at the inn only a little after the others, and shortly after Araloth returned.

DM: Its then we ended things.  It was getting late, and I needed to handle Araloth’s side trek in private.  The group is planning to spend a little time doing their own thing before getting back to tracking down Cryovain around Phandalin.  I’ve asked them to send me a list of their immediate plans and I’ve already spent 2-3 hours today responding and planning stuff.  I expect to be doing this on and off across the week and then we can process the results next session.  Hopefully I’ll have enough time to figure out what they want, what I think is reasonable, and how to deal with that in that time.  This will be interesting.  I’ll be DMing without any kind of module as backup.  Not sure I’ve ever really done this for more than a scene or two before.  Watch me crash and burn and take the campaign with me!

S31: Venomfang

Tutoring 1
Skill 2
Idea 1
No Comments

DM: We had some mild technical difficulties tonight.  Discord chat kept freezing so we set up a google meeting.  It worked well, but had an unexpected feature: Real time subtitles.  This lead to hilarity and the occasional breakdown in events as we stopped to laugh and make fun of the subtitles.

Reidoth and I had spent the day over text roleplaying through his last week or two at Thundertree as the dragon arrived and their pregame encounters.

 

The party decided to investigate the Dragon Cultists before approaching the dragon.  They didn’t want any surprises during that fight.  They walked around the outside of town and split up as the headed towards the Cultists.  Thorivor got a sniper perch on a nearby building, Araloth and Bilba hid in some nearby ruins and everyone else hid behind their building while Ramond, Reidoth and Talindra knocked on the front door.  A face appeared through the shutters on the nearby window asking who was there.  They introduced themselves and said they’d just had a chat with the lovely dragon Venomfang and they thought they’d come over and introduce themselves.  The guard said he thought Favric would like that and let them in and showed them down the hall.  He introduced them to Favric relaying what they had said and went back to his post.

A conversation with Favric ensued where the party figured out the Cultists didn’t actually know much about the dragon and hadn’t actually met her yet, although they wanted to meet her and possibly serve her.  The party played friendly and acted like they wanted to protect Venomfang too, even saying they wanted her to move along as there were threats to her nearby.  Reidoth revealed that he knew Venomfang had been attacked by a much larger dragon before heading here and suggested that they would be wiser to seek out and serve that dragon instead.  Talindra uses Suggestion to motivate Favric to go and seek him out.  Favric asked about any leads to track down this dragon and Reidoth pointed them towards a Sage in the Icewind Dale amongst the ten towns called Gelan Brightleaf, saying they had more information. (DM: They’re a member of the Emerald Enclave Reidoth knows about.  He’s setting them up to get captured)  Favric thanked them and said this seemed like the best plan.  The party left and 10 minutes later the cultists walked out and headed off with their bags on the backs.

They party had an unsuccessful search of the building and then swept through the buildings one by one heading west and then north from there without much difficulty.  They ran in to a few Twig Blights and a couple of Giant Spiders but they posed little resistance.  Reidoth pointed them towards the old Herbalists shop they were asking about and they recovered the treasure Mirna Dendrar had offered them as thanks for rescuing her (An emerald necklace hidden under a counter).  After a short rest in Reidoth’s holdout they decided it was time to face the dragon.

They opted for the stealthy approach at first.  Reidoth cast Pass Without Trace and they moved up the winding path or through the woods staying out of site of the tower.  On their way up Talindra sent her familiar up at a great height to see if the Dragon could be spotted in the tower through the hole in the roof while staying out of sight.  The dragon’s presence was confirmed and the Owl was sent away to safety.  As they turned the final corner, exposing themselves to the tower, an unseen voice spoke up from within.

VenomfangVenomfang

Venomfang: “You have returned.  I see you brought friends.  Am I to assume our deal does not stand?”

Reidoth: “Our deal stands.  However the deal was that once you have returned to heal you would leave.”

V: “I said I would leave when I was healed and ready.  I am not fully healed and I am not ready.”

Re: “You’ve been hunting for yourself well enough.  There are powers taking in interest in your presence and it would be in your best interest to move on.”

V: “I am not ready to go and as you pointed out I am a capable hunter.  Think on that.“  They could hear the sounds of stone scraping on stone from within the tower.

Talindra: “But while you are out hunting you are likely to draw the attention of the other local dragons.  Do you really want to fight Cryovain or Claugiyliamatar?  You should move along to avoid that”

(DM: Talindra tried to cast Suggestion on the dragon, but couldn’t get line of sight from where she stood)

V: “I don’t know this Cryovain and Claugiyliamatar has little interests this far north.  I’ll leave when I’m ready.  I still need to finish healing.”

Ramond: “You would do well to listen to us.  If we have heard of you so have others.  More threats will come.”

Re: “I have not broken your trust.  Have I not healed you              ?  Have I not brought you food when you were unable to hunt?  I am servant of the balance and the balance has tipped.  It is not safe for you here anymore.”

V: “You have taken care of me and that is appreciated.  I have no desire to hurt you, but here you come having brought mercenaries with you.  You bring threat, look at you.  You’ve stormed through this place killing everything.”

Re: “I did say before there were numerous threats in the town.  We did have to make our way through.”

V: “You have the right to defend yourselves, as do I.”

Ra: “So have you chosen the path where we must drive you away?”

V: “This is my home for now and I have no desire to leave.  You’re the ones that come here bearing weapons.  You’re the ones threatening me, all because that old man asks you to.

Talindra took a few careful steps away from the group, worrying about breath weapons.

Re: “You refer to this as your home.  I believe the terms of our deal were that this was in my ward.  I protect it in the service to the gods.  Do you now claim it as your land?”  He cast detect thoughts and only used it to read the surface, not pushing deeper.   He then relayed his findings to Ramond and Talindra telepathically, telling them, “She doesn’t intend to leave.  She is healthier than she appears”

Ra: “You have chosen your path.  We resign ourselves to the gods.  May Tempus smile upon us at the end of this day.” He started walking towards the tower and Araloth stepped out of the bushes around the western side of the tower.

V: “Very well.  You have chosen your path.  Those who leave shall be spared.  Come at me and I will defend myself.”  Then there was more scraping and banging from within and we rolled initiatives.

Start of Round 1Start of Round 1

Bilba and Thorivor ran in to the bushes and readied an arrow for the enemy to appear.  Melandrach ran up to the cottage door as Araloth ran up the side of it and on to its roof and drank his Antitoxin potion (Everyone else drank theirs before heading up this path).  Ramond double moved in through the cottage door and in to the tower and engaged the dragon and cast Shield of Faith.  Talindra ran up to the nearest arrow slit and cast Web through it filling a 20ft cube binding the dragon, but missing the Ramond.  Karson moved up to an arrow slit and turned his sword in to a hawk, which attacked the dragon for him with the full strength of the sword, landing two of three attacks.  Venomfang considered staying put but chose to break free of the webs by flying upwards, taking hits from Ramond and Talon (The sword/hawk).  Forty feet in the air, she dropped two large chunks of masonry she was holding in Ramond’s general direction.  He got out of the way of one, but the other hit him.  As she rose up through the roof Bilba and Throivor unleashed their readied arrows, but the tower provided too much concealment at this angle.  Reidoth moved up and peeking over Karson’s shoulder through the arrow slits and past all the web, he was able to cast Haste on to Ramond.  As the wave of energy rushed through his system Ramond (DM: and his player) were overjoyed and let out a cry of delight.

Start of Round 2Start of Round 2

Bilba shot at but missed the dragon, but Thorivor made up for this, landing three of his four Action Surge hits.  Melandrach ran through the cottage dropping his staff and drew his bow, landing two arrows before retreating back inside.  Araloth ran up the side of the tower and stood on the remaining walls and ledges.  He watched Ramond below run back through the cottage and draw his wand and unleash eight Magic Missiles in to the Dragon and then fire a Guiding Bolt at it.  Talindra walked east and cast Web at the Dragon in the air before backing up a bit.  Karson moved past her and shot Venomfang with his longbow.  Venomfang flew east through the web unhindered as it fell to the floor.  “Very well, keep your tower, but you’re paying a price.”  She then unleashed her poisonous breath over Karson and Talindra.  Karson fell unconscious and Talindra was left weakened.  Venomfang then continued flying east and lower to the ground, trying to get cover from a nearby building.  Reidoth quickly ran to heal Karson back to consciousness while Araloth walked down in to the tower and began the looting.

Start of Round 3Start of Round 3

Bilba and Thorivor landed two more arrows in to her hide as Melandrach and Ramond gave chase.  Melandrach dropped his bow and scooped up his staff and ran full pelt towards the dragon.  He ran 40 feet up to the dense bushes, spent Ki to dash and long jumped over 20 foot of bushes before running his remaining 20 feet to end up just over 10 feet from the dragon.  He fired two Radiant Sunbolts in to the dragon, almost downing her.  Right behind him Ramond did similar.  He Channelled Divinity to make himself a hasted Peerless Athlete and jumped over thirty feet of bushes and was actually able to run past Melandrach and get toe to toe with Venomfang.  He swung his greatsword with all his momentum, but missed.  He landed his second attack and Divinely Smote the dragon with all he had.  He scramed out, “This is the path you chose!” and ran the greatsword through her neck.  Radiant light from the smite burst forth and the sounds of armies clashing could be heard.  The dragons momentum carried it forwards and she crashed in to the ground, tumbled and lay motionless and dead.

With the dragon dead the party joined Araloth in the looting as they got the breath back and discussed what dragon parts could be useful.  Along with cash and gems they found a scroll of misty step, and a scroll of lightning bolt.  Beneath the coins is a rusty old woodcutting axe of dwarven manufacture. Runes in Dwarvish on the axe head read, “Hew”.  Talindra ritually identified the axe:

Hew is a +1 battleaxe that deals maximum damage when the wielder hits a plant creature or an object made of wood. The axe’s creator was a dwarf smith who feuded with the dryads of a forest where he cut firewood.

 

DM: It was gone midnight, everyone was happy and laughing.  We called the game, discussed things and chuckled and went to our beds.

This has been a worthy experiment.  I definitely need to buff Cryvain and some other stuff from what the module suggests.  Eight players really skew the challenge needed.

S30: Reidoth

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

The party spent 3 days in the mine doing occasional guard duty as old shafts were reopened.  Occasionally a rat swarm, a jelly, or a skeleton would be revealed and dealt with, but mostly the party got some down time to do with as they wanted.  Devere announced that he wants to stay and protect the mine for now and returned some of his magic items to the party, but kept his new mace. (DM: Real life is clashing right now.  We hope to see him return later).  They party made plans for the next week or two.  Talindra wanted to stay here for a few more days and finish a project she had been working on in the Spellforge.  Thorivor wanted to return to town and develop his potion crafting.  Ramond wanted to head to Neverwinter to do the kind of serious trading that can’t be done in the backwater town of Phandalin.

They headed back to town, leaving Talindra and Devere behind.  When they got there Ramond went off to buy a saddle and barding for his new summonable horse while the others parked the horse and cart.  As he returned to the group they were greeted by an older looking Druid who introduced himself as Reidoth (DM: They have a quest to find this missing druid.  It took a few minutes for them to put two and two together, at least out loud for me to hear).  He said he needed some help with a threat and the animals he’d been speaking to had suggested them.  The animals had told him about their adventures in Neverwinter Wood dealing with goblinoids at Cragmaw Castle.  (DM: The druid was supposed to be an NPC who didn’t leave Thundertree but when Devere said he was leaving over Discord in the morning I had another friend offer to sign up with a healer and I suggested he rewrite this character and make it his own.  Had he not I think they’d have spent a week in Neverwinter shopping before going to Thundertree and I’d have had Reidoth be a dragon’s lunch by then)

Reidoth the DruidReidoth the Druid

He’d been checking up on the ruins of Thundertree a few weeks back and an injured young green dragon had crash landed there and taken residence in an abandoned tower.  He’d had a conversation with this Venomfang to ask her to move along.  She’s said she was too injured (big visible wound across left side of neck and in to the wing a little) and just needed a place to heal up and would leave when she was strong enough.  An injured dragon was still too much for Reidoth so he didn’t push the issue and chose to watch events from a safe distance.  It’s been a couple of weeks and the dragon has shown no signs of moving on and just seems to be getting more comfortable, and now some dodgy folks in robes and masks have moved in to town too.  This is far too close to Neverwinter for such a threat to get a stronghold and so Reidoth has come looking for aid in removing that threat, one way or another.  The party agreed to help and used the Sending Stones to call Talindra to town.  They ate lunch and got to know each other and then headed towards Tresendar Manor to speak to Sildar Hallwinter.

At the top of the hill they can see that the ground floor is ready for use, but the upstairs is still being worked on.  When they enter they are greeted by Sildar who calls four soldiers to attention behind him.  There’s a chat about how things have gone and Sildar congratulates them.  He then says his work in town is done.  He came here to find Iarno and make sure his mission is a success.  Iarno was sent to town to establish a constabulary to guard Phandalin and now Sildar has the manor ready for use for that and some special agents (the party) protecting town.  He’s had four junior members of The Lords Alliance stationed at the manor and it’ll be their job to act as town guard, under the leadership of the party.  He had one last request of the party.  If this mission is to be a lasting success then there needs to be some locals in the constabulary, not just Lords Alliance soldiers.  If it’s just outsiders then sooner or later the townsfolk will see them as such, and treat them as invaders.  The constabulary needs to be seen as part of the town so needs to have members of the town within its ranks.  The party have been asked to keep an eye out for suitable people to recruit and perhaps train.  Sildar said he’d be heading off to Neverwinter in the morning to get his next assignment.  The party said they were heading that way too and Sildar asked to join them on the road.

Venomfang, the young Green Dragon of ThundertreeVenomfang, the young Green Dragon of Thundertree

They rested up and the journey to Neverwinter was uneventful.  They arrived late on the third day and got rooms at an inn.  They spent the next day selling off their gems, trinkets, and second hand weapons and armour without going overboard looking for the best price.  They stayed a second night and headed towards Thundertree.  They got within sight of two with an hour or two before sunset so while most made camp, Araloth, Karson and Reidoth (in the form of a giant spider) went for a quick look around town.  They skirted around the outside at first and then crept in to town when they couldn’t see any threats.  Araloth climbed up a building for a better view as Karson went ahead.  As he was sneaking through some bushes under cover of twilight a twig snapped underfoot and it let out a grating chirrup.  All the bushes around him started to shake and chirrup and tried to attack him.  He was surrounded by Twig Blights!  A short and easy combat ensued as twig blights are weak and Karson gets 5 attacks on round one now so killed 5 of them before anyone could act.

Thundertree.  Some buildings are still intact, but most are in ruin.  There is supposed to be a dragon in the tower to the north.Thundertree. Some buildings are still intact, but most are in ruin. There is supposed to be a dragon in the tower to the north.

Once the Twig Blights were dead, they got a little more cautious.  They climbed up a building for a better view and Reidoth pointed towards where the shifty men in cloaks had been seen.  They sat around and watched for half an hour and eventually one of them came out for a smoke.  They’d seen masks and cloaks like this before when they’d been sent to deal with Claugiyliamatar’s hobgoblin army.  These were more dragon cultists!  They crept back to camp and discussed what they’d seen.  Thorivor (DM: After I’d given him a swift kick under the virtual table to look at his backstory) revealed that this was his home town and he’d seen the recent state of it before.  He shared what information he had on the local monsters.  Twig Blights, Giant Spiders, and Ash Zombies (Zombies somehow infused with ash from the eruption decades ago).  All things that Reidoth had already mentioned, but this reinforced everything).  They got a good night’s rest and prepared to head out the next day to meet Venomfang.

It was about 11pm and doing anything would have kept us there for a long time so we called the session for the week.

S29: The Mine Reclaimed

Tutoring 1
Skill 2
Idea 1
No Comments

During their short rest they discussed where to go next.  Head north through the Blast Furnace chamber, head south east to the fungal room, explore the nearby side chamber, or go and try to talk with the trapped Flameskull with no way to perma-kill it yet.  They opted to head north for now.

The furnace room had an exit to the west to the door barricaded from the other side which they had already explored, and an exit to the north which they confirmed connects to the crevasse they found two bugbears digging in.  The crafted gulley that previously powered the water wheel also went out under the wall to the east, from which the sound of water and the periodic tremor grew louder.  There was also a corridor near this heading east, which is the path they chose.

Karson went ahead and found the short corridor quickly opened up in to a vast chamber, larger than his Darkvision could reveal to him.  There was open darkness to the south, and a corridor heading north down some steps and out of site.  In front of him he saw a building with two entrances.  He listened carefully at both doors and didn’t hear much, but light could be seen from the cracks in the double doors.  He went back to the party and they got in position ready for the double doors to be opened.  As they entered the large cavern some element in the walls and ceiling picked up the light they were carrying and bounced it around the cavern.  Every surface looked like it was covered in little stars, providing dim illumination throughout.  A second building could be seen further south.  Karson snuck in through the side door and found a simple damaged workshop showing signs of an ancient battle.  Another door could be seen in front of him, with light escaping from under it.  He waited by this door for signs to act while the others opened the double doors.  Melandrach gave a quick listen at the double doors and could hear what sounded like a small fire crackling on the other side.  He gave the group a nod and opened them.

The Starry CavernThe Starry Cavern

The doors opened in to a large workshop which was badly damaged by the ancient spell battle that had laid waste to the mine. Worktables taking up two corners of the room were scorched, and the plaster has been burned off the masonry walls. In the middle of the room, a stone pedestal held a small brazier in which an eerie green flame danced and crackled. The brazier and its pedestal appeared to have been untouched by the forces that destroyed this area.

Behind the brazier of green flame floated a spherical creature measuring roughly four feet in diameter. Four eyestalks protrude from its central mass, two on each side. In the centre of the body was a large eye that stared at them. “Hello,” said a thick, burbling voice inside the heads of all who could see it.

Netyrk, the Beholder (a Spectator)Netyrk, the Beholder (a Spectator)

The green beholder seemed polite and pleased to see them and they had a conversation.  The beholder revealed his name is Netyrk and that he was guarding the Spellforge and the items created from it, gesturing to the only two clean items in the room, a mace and a set of half plate.  The party tried to tell him that the mine had fallen and everyone was dead, but Netyrk insisted it was a fully operational mine and he’d spoken to the miners recently.  When asked what he could see in the room he greatly downplayed the damage, insisting it just needed a good clean and wasn’t largely destroyed.  They asked if they could enter the room and he asked what they were doing there.  They said that the mine had been attacked and they had been called in to check the threat had been fully removed and it was safe again.  Netyrk remembered the battle and insisted it was recent, when it had been 500 years ago.  He was happy to see them and let them enter, but asked them to not touch anything they shouldn’t.  They had a look around the room and let Karson in from the side door.  The breastplate had a gold dragon motif worked into its design, and the head of the mace was shaped like a sunburst and made of solid brass.  This was presumably Lightbringer, the mace they had read about long ago, commissioned by the church of Lathander.  They asked who his boss was and who had created the items.  Foreman Grindle Rezinbakker was the name they were given and they were pointed towards him for more answers.  Netyrk continued to act like all was well in the mine and he’d spoken to Grindle only a few days ago at most, although one day is pretty much the same as the next when you don’t leave this room.

They said they needed to keep securing the mine but they’d be back later and headed to the southern building.  They listened at the door and heard nothing before opening the door.  Dust, ash, walls blackened by fire, and heaps of debris beneath the sagging ceiling showed that this room was damaged by a destructive blast. The furnishings-tables, chairs, bookshelves, beds-were charred or splintered, but otherwise well preserved. A scorched iron chest stood near the foot of one of the beds.

They filed in to the room and began looking around.  As Devere approached the chest and started talking about opening it, a smoky shadowy mass began rising out of the floor, and took on a human form.  “Your presence is offensive to me, your life forfeit. My treasures are mine alone, not yours to plunder!”  He looked about the group, in particular towards Devere.  Devere asked if he was the offensive one.  The apparition responded that this was his home and they should get out.  Devere looked around at the group for help and they shrugged and gestured for him to take the lead.  Devere said they’d leave.  They carefully backed out, covering their rears, and closed the doors behind them.

The WraithThe Wraith

They backed off a bit and had a chat about what to do next.  They considered asking Netyrk about who this spirit is, but decided that was pointless as he still thinks it’s 500 years ago.  They knew they couldn’t leave it here as they were hired to clear the mine and this would not be safe for Gundren.  The beholder might be safe to leave here as he appears to be one of the original employees and they might be able to convince it to accept new management.  They agreed to head back in and kill the spirit.  Araloth said he was sure it is a Wraith.  An evil spirit of malice infused with negative energies.  It was likely once a living human a long time ago.  They got in position and Devere kicked open the door, shouting, “By the light of Lathander, your presence in this realm is anathema to every living thing!  We will quench your fire and send you to the pits where you belong!”

Karson charged past him, but the wraith was waiting behind the door expecting this.  It attacked Karson, sucking the life from his bones (DM: and reducing his max HP).  Karson countered, attacking with both his weapons.  Araloth ran down from the roof, through the doorway and along the inside wall to slash at him, before backing up to stand upside down on the ceiling.  The Wraith lashed out at the only target in range, but missed Karson.  Bilba crept in and put an arrow into the Wraith and Ramond moved to flank it, hitting with a Divine Smite.  It lashed out at him feasting on his life force, rejuvenating itself partially.  Melandrach ran in and beat it with his stick and then punched it to death with a Flurry of Blows.  They then looted the room, pulling some trinkets out of the chest.  The books on the shelves seemed to be a mix of history texts and guides and notes on magical item creation.  One of the books had a few pages stuck inside that did not match the rest of the book.  They were handwritten in dwarven, but had a drawing of an elven plaque that had been badly copied.  The pages appear to be torn from of a larger text and start mid-sentence.  They detail the authors stay overnight in a ruined elven temple he was hiding in after some unspecified incident.  He made drawings of what he saw and the next day kept notes on his attempts to find his way back to civilisation as he was apparently lost deep within the Mere of Dead Men.  The elven plaque was hard to read as it was such a bad copy, but it suggested Sehannine Moonbow had once visited the temple and left an artefact behind which the temple had dedicated itself to guarding.

They concocted a plan to get Lightbringer from the beholder so headed back to the northern building.  They popped inside and said some of them were representatives of the Church of Lathander (Gesturing towards Devere, the cleric of Lathander) and they were here to collect their commission, the mace Lightbringer.  This worked and Devere was able to take the mace.  He tried to collect the plate too, but Netyrk asked him to stop.  They tried to pump Netyrk for information on who that commission was for, but he would not tell them, siting Client Confidentiality.  They eventually gave up trying and headed north.

The northern passageway took them to a vast underground lake.  Every two minutes something would bumble up under the water and burst forward.  Water would slam against the banks and the water level would raise almost enough to flood the land around it.  This seemed to be the source of the periodic tremors, although they could not work out what the source of this activity was.  The followed the path around and it lead them back to the crevasse the Hobgoblins had been digging in.  They then spent 20 minutes trying to work out the original water network in this cavern, eventually concluding water flowed from the west to the east favouring the manmade canals and terminating in the north eastern lake.  An earthquake had created a new exit in the crevasse and had redirected the water away from the water wheel.  They stopped to dig for a few hours to find whatever the Black Spider had been looking for and pulled out some magic gauntlets.  They decided to head back to camp and see if Gundren knew anything about the Beholder, the Flameskull,  or the original defences of the mine.

They got back to camp and had a check with Gundren who didn’t know anything he hadn’t already told them.  He had packed a selection of tools for mining and metalworking which the group borrowed to spend 8 man hours filing down silver coins.  Talindra also identified the Mace and the Gauntlets.

LightbringerLightbringer

Lightbringer, +1 Mace

This +1 mace was made for a cleric of Lathander, the god of dawn. The head of the mace is shaped like a sunburst and made of solid brass. It was possibly the last item made in the Spellforge at Wave Echo Cave before the mine was lost centuries ago and has never been used before.

When attuned to by a follower of Lathander, this weapon can glow up to as bright as a torch when its wielder commands.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power

Your Strength score is 19 while you wear these gauntlets. They have no effect on you if your Strength is 19 or higher without them.

Devere took the mace and the party decided that Karson was the best fit for the Gauntlets.  They rested in camp overnight so Devere could craft some Holy Water in the morning.  The night passed by uneventfully, but when Devere got up to pray during the sunrise something unexpected happened.  As the first rays of sunrise hit his new mace it began to vibrate and it lit up by itself.  There was a flash of power within it, echoed within Devere and he became aware of a new power within the mace: While at full brightness, its wielder gains a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throw DCs of their divine spells. (DM: He didn’t notice this new line at first and said, “oh great.  It’s a torch”.  3-4 seconds of silence before there was a more excited “Oh!”).

The party got themselves ready and went back to the mine and decided to speak to Netyrk again.  They tried to convince him that he’d been in the mine longer than he realised.  They showed him Urmon’s journal (DM: They found this with Glasstaff’s stuff.  It was written 500 years ago by a dwarf who had been at the mine when Lightbringer was being worked on).  They showed him the dates on the entries and how old the book was.  He wasn’t ready to believe them, but he was listening.  Melandrach also realised that this handwriting matched the pages they had found yesterday.

They told Netyrk the truth as best they could.  They persuaded him to look outside this chamber.  He wouldn’t leave, but he stood in the doorway as they pointed towards the dead bodies scattered around.  He insisted they were just resting.  Weren’t they?  They picked one up and brought it over.  Bits fell off on the way.  Under close inspection, reinforced with their persuasion, they convinced Netyrk that it had been 500 years, not only a few years.  Netyrk took a moment to absorb this, and then said his contract had expired.  A portal opened behind him, and as he disappeared through it, he thanks the group.  They looted the half plate and headed south to deal with the Flameskull.

They tried to talk to it through the door, but all they got was death threats and maniacal laughter.  They quickly realised talking wouldn’t get them anywhere so they came up with a plan, took up positions and opened the door.  3 Zombies came pouring out.  This fight didn’t last long and the party downed the zombies and the Flameskull with much more ease than last time (DM: it was about midnight and we were all making mistakes.  I forgot his Blur and Shield spells until it was too late to make much difference.  Devere attacked the burning skull with fire at one point!).  Devere poured the Holy Water over it, and it fizzed and bubbled like it was acid.  It melted away like a cheap plastic toy in an oven.

They debated leaving the fungus for Gundren to deal with, but decided best not to.  There could be something hostile living in there.  Talindra sent her Owl familiar to scout through the room.  As it flapped about the fungus unleashed a thick cloud of spores and the Owl choked and died before it could escape.  The spore cloud added away and Devere sent in a Flaming Sphere to burn the fungus.  This seemed to work well, so he sent in another and then they went in after with other fire spells and cleared the room up.

With the fungus gone, the noticed a circle of runes carved in to the floor where the fungus had been.  An earthquake had broken the ground here allowing the original fungus entry and had put a crack through the runes.  Fungus grew out of that crack and had lifted up a section of rock over the years.  Talindra tried to read the runes and concluded they were magic in origin, but she couldn’t read most of them.  The one she thought she knew was something to do with transportation or teleportation.

The full mine (minus my decorative extras)The full mine (minus my decorative extras)

With the mine now cleared they called Gundren over to join them.  They took him and the miners on a tour telling them what they had encountered and what the risks and challenges might be going forwards.  Gundren asked them to hang around for a few days and guard them until they were sure it was safe.  They were going to have to reopen some collapsed shafts and didn’t know if anything might be living in those areas.

(DM: The party have agreed and Gundren will hold them here for 3 more days before allowing them to leave.  They will be kept busy the first day, but as the miners get used to the place they’ll have a lot more free time, basically finding themselves “on call”.  This gives them some free time in the mine to do as they see fit.  Gundren has asked that anyone magically inclined take a look at the Spellforge and figure out how it works.  We called the session and I’m hoping to deal with this time across the week over Discord.  They now own 10% of a mine and will get 10% of the profits, once it’s up and running.  They also have access to the mythical Spellforge.  This was used to make magic items with much more ease than normal, long long ago.)

S28: Flameskull

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

DM: Thorivor sadly couldn’t make this session and due to an easter induced unexpected napping related incident Ramond missed all the combats but arrived in time to help decide what to do after.

 

The party decided to begin exploring the mine today starting with the large central room they had not been to, but was revealed on The Black Spider’s map and head up towards the room labelled, “Dangerous undead!  Flying Skull”.  They headed north from the entrance towards the stairs to that room a mess of Ghouls had swarmed them from.  Scouting ahead, Karson spotted some Stirges feasting on the ghoul bodies.  Behind him, Melandrach tripped and accidentally revealed his hidden Light Stone, outlining Karson for the Stirges who looked up and chased the fresh meal.  They drank well from Karson, but with them all bunched up to eat him, Devere unleashed a cone of Burning Hands and friend them all while only mildly singing Karson.

They edged their way up the stairs in to the big room and then cautiously and slowly explored the room and came up with a plan to draw the enemy back in to a defensive position.  Everyone would form up around the top of the western stairs and the enemy would be baited to follow someone through the north eastern entrance towards them.  Archers could pelt them for a few rounds and the melee could deal with them once they got too close.  They wanted some light in the area (DM: The dynamic lighting feature already influencing everything they do.  Worth having, if you can get it to work without creating too many issues) so they broke up some of the tables for fuel and lit the two braziers in the room.  They then got in position and Karson crept in to the next room with Araloth nearby as backup, walking on the ceiling with his new Slippers of Spider Climbing (DM: Which presumably also do something to stop you suffering from all the blood rushing to your head even though that’s not mentioned).

As Karson headed up the path he became aware of a light source ahead and it appeared to be moving.  He eventually caught sight of a floating skull wrapped in green flames slowly moving about the room.  As he was considering shooting it, it disappeared behind a blast furnace.  He held his action and waiting for a clear line of sight.  When it reappeared he suddenly wondered if he was within the light of its glow and not stealthed (DM: it was close, but he was safe), and he unleashed his arrow (DM: And initiatives were rolled).  The Flameskull advanced towards where the arrow had come from and shot two Fire Rays from its eyes at the intruder, nearly killing him.  Karson ran away as fast as he could, while shouldering his bow.  Araloth shortly followed suite while shouting out a warning that the flying skull was approaching and some Zombies were following it.

S28: Flameskull

The light of the Flameskull could be seen moving down the corridor but he did not reveal himself to the room.  Karson drew his swords and ran around the room looking for somewhere he could stand that was in complete darkness, but the braziers prevented this.  Devere Blessed Melandrach Ramond and Thorivor as everyone continued to hold their shots.  Then the first of the Zombies came running out of the corridor, drawing fire from Melandrach, Bilba, and Thorivor.  A surprise zombie appeared from the other entrance in to the big chamber, much closer to the party, behind Araloth and Karson.  Araloth turned around and went for him, attacking from above, stood on the wall.

The now Blurred Flameskull entered the main room and Talindra hit it with a readied Eldritch Blast, and Ramond fired his Wand of Magic Missiles at it (DM: 3 charges, leaving 1 remaining), which was countered with a Shield spell.  The Flameskull unleashed three Magic Missiles and Karson, knocking him unconscious, before retreating back up the corridor.  As the zombies approached the party pelted them with arrows, holding formation, and slowly whittling them down while Talindra healed Karson.  Devere spoke up, saying he’d noticed something behind them down the stairs.  (DM: He had a sliver of light showing him part of a token down the stairs behind them.  He couldn’t make out what the token was, but it was big.  An Ochre Jelly had been following them for a while hoping to sneak up on a lone victim at the back of the party.  At this point it thinks it is hidden, just as I thought!)  Devere then Sorching Ray’ed two zombies and the big thing behind him.  Still walking on the wall, Araloth killed his zombie, but another appeared at the top of the stairs nearby.

The light of the Flameskull faded from the far corridor.  Realising he had been spotted, the Ochre jelly advanced slowly up the stairs.  Talindra used her new staff to trap the jelly in webs, restraining it successfully, and then cast Shillelagh on her staff just in case.  Devere summoned a Spiritual Weapon to attack the jelly for the next few rounds.  Melandrach backed up and put an arrow in it too while the others continued to work on the Zombies, killing some before they could make it half way across.

S28: Flameskull

The Flameskull appeared atop the stairs where Araloth was fighting and hit him with both his Fire Ray eye shots, hurting him badly, before ducking back around the corner.   Ramond threw a javelin at the Jelly and got back in formation.  Karson turned his sword in to a bird and had it attack the Jelly and block its path.  Talindra joined in, Hexing its Strength checks and Eldritch Blasting it, and Melandrach shot it then drew his Staff.  The first of the Zombies finally made it to their defensive position as the last of the Zombies revealed itself.  Araloth got his Second Wind (DM: healing) and ran up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the wall on the other side, trying to get to cover (DM: Slippers of Spider Climb means tracking full 3D movement and mapping.  This is gonna get interesting / frustrating).

The Flameskull ventured down the corridor and shot both rays at Araloth but went wide, and didn’t have time to retreat to cover.  The Jelly advanced 5 foot through the webbing, squeezing next to Talon and through the Spiritual Weapon.  Ramond stepped forward, eager for a melee opponent, and cut deep in to the Zombie in front of him.  Karson stepped down to help, but the Zombie somehow survived.  Karson retreated and dodged a free strike.  Talindra Eldritch blasted the Flameskull as Devere’s Spiritual Weapon smooshed the Jelly.  The lines met, Melandrach took his staff to the nearest zombie as others shot arrows in to the remaining nearby horde (DM: 3 left at this point).  Melandrach took a hit in retaliation.  Araloth wall walked to attack the Flameskull before retreating again.

The Flameskull advanced forward, rising as he went, and then spat out a Fireball behind the group, getting everyone except for Talindra and Araloth, even killing a zombie.  (DM: He rolled 33 damage and scared everyone badly.  They don’t know how often he can do that).  Melandrach and Karson dropped and everyone else was looking bad.  The Flameskull took what little cover it could.  Ramond smote the nearby zombie and gained some temporary hit points to keep himself alive as he tried to make himself a tempting target to the last zombie.  Talindra healed Karson and Blasted the last Zombie.  Devere ran down the stairs and healed Melandrach as Thorivor gained his Second Wind and put two arrows in to the Flameskull.  Melandrach threw a Radiant Sunbolt at the skull and ran for cover away from the others.  The last zombie fluffed its attack on Ramond.  Araloth ran along the walls around the corner to the Flameskull and sunk his blade deep in an eye socket, gained leverage on it and swung it around.  It flew off the blade, hit the wall and bounced around before landing motionless and extinguished on the floor.  Arlaoth then stood over it to ensure it didn’t get back up again while Ramond finished off the final Zombie.

Myaahahahahaha!Myaahahahahaha!

With the enemies dead, the party investigated the skull and asked if anyone had any clue what it was, while Devere prepared a healing prayer circle.  Melandrach said he had read something about this a long time ago.  He told the group that they were made from dead wizards and were usually created to guard something or to complete a specific task.  They also self-resurrect after a short time, although he wasn’t sure how long it took.  They then spent 30-45 minutes (DM: in real time) discussing what to do to stop it getting back up, along with having a quick wonder round the Blast Furnace room.  Their final solution was to lock it in a room until they could make or buy some Holy Water and hope that killed it for good.  Any cleric or paladin can spend an hour and a 1st level spell slot to turn a flask of water and 25gp of silver dust in to a flask of holy water.  If they can find some tools they can spend a while filing down 250 silver coins and make a flask themselves.  They took the skull back to the most southern rooms and threw it in the eastern one.  They closed the door and used pitons to wedge it shut.  They went back to the small central room with 2 doors and beds and had a short rest.

S27: The Spider Defeated

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

The party made short work of the rest of The Black Spiders minions with the exception of the Drow crossbowman on the ceiling.  As his allies were killed off and Ramond was shouting out for a light source, he ran across the ceiling, down the wall and out through the southern doorway.  Continuing along the ceiling he ran down the corridors heading south along the western edge of the mine.  The party gave chase as best they could.  The Drow was double moving and they were trying to run and shoot so he was mostly outpacing them.  The melee characters decided it was their job to carry a lantern and double move so the archers could still see him from a distance.  The rogues seemed to be able to double move and still take a shot, but quite often Bilba ran forwards in to darkness and readied a shot until someone else brought some light up.  They’d chip away at him and then he’d run a little further and the gap would grow.  As he was about to move out of the lake room and potentially turn a corner breaking line of sight forever, Bilba was able to get the final shot in to him.

His corpse clung to the ceiling for a round or two as people continued to shoot at him and then he dropped.  They grabbed the body and went back to the Black Spiders room and searched everything while Talindra ritually cast Detect magic.  By the time they were done they’d found a magic spear, magic slippers, a magic staff with a spider sculpted on its tip, and what they’re assuming is a healing potion (DM: See below for stats).  They also found some money and a hand drawn map of the cavern showing only what they’d already explored, but with two written notes.

One note was on the fungal cavern, saying, “Dangerous spores?  Avoid?”.  The other was on the other side of the barricade and said, “Dangerous undead.  Flying skull.”  As the room was being looted Devere’s attention was drawn to the giant statue of a dwarf with emeralds for eyes at the back of the room.  Having seen a similar trap before he got super cautions and checked the statue thoroughly for traps.  It appeared there was an in built structural weakness and that the emeralds supported a small but important amount of weight and if they were removed it could trigger a chain reaction.  While he was up there he realised the emeralds looked off.  He called over Araloth who confirmed his suspicions.  They were just coloured glass and not worth the trouble.

Hand drawn map found on the table in the room with NezznarHand drawn map found on the table in the room with Nezznar

Karson investigated the side room and found a battered dwarf tied up and unconscious.  He lit a brazier and untied him and let him come to on his own.  The dwarf looked scared and started to scooch away from Karson, who offered him some Goodberries and tried to be reassuring.  He eventually took some and relaxed and they had a chat.  The dwarf was Nundro Rockseeker, Gundrens other brother.  They updated each other on what they knew and Karson offered to escort him to safety.  Nundro asked for a spare weapon just in case and took a morningstar and shield from a dead bugbear, but couldn’t face putting on armour over his beaten and sore body.

Talindra had a quick look in Nundros room and down at the dig site for anything that might show up to his Detect Magic and didn’t immediately spot anything. The group discussed digging up whatever the bugbears had been looking for.  Nundro said he’s heard Nezznar (The black Spider) say he’d divined that some magic was buried there but didn’t know any more.  Devere, Araloth and Talindra were tempted to dig further, but Ramond pointed out this was unwise right now and anything buried would likely still be there after a nights rest.

The group carefully left the mine and headed back to camp.  As they got a few minutes away from the campsite Devere heard Gundrens voice in his head, “Hello?  We need a little help here!  Ah!  Go away!  Get off me!  There’s some…leave me alone!  My ankle! They’re in the camp.  We’re under…”  He informed the party and they picked up the pace.  As they drew near they ran in to one of Gundrens hired miners, Turval Heruca, running the other way.  He said Owlbears were attacking the camp and he’d run for his life.  The others were in danger.  They drew weapons and advanced and quickly saw the camp.  One Owlbear was on its hind legs swiping up a tree.  In the tree was another miner (Selwart Peters) throwing sticks and pinecones at the Owlbear while shouting at it to go away.  The other Owlbear was walking through the camp, clipping tents with its rear and sniffing at a cooking fire.

The party returned from the eastThe party returned from the east

With no one in immediate danger the party held back, behind some tent sand the wagons.  Devere made the ground shake a little while Talindra replicated the sound of the dragons roar overhead.  They stopped what they were doing and looked up and around.  The tree Owlbear gave up on his quarry and headed to the other campfire, ignoring further thrown sticks.  Devere created the sound of thunder as the other Owlbear started trying to pull dinner of the campfire without burning itself.  The party started firing warning shot at the Owlbears or running in trying to look big and menacing and eventually chased them off, only losing one of the two campfires worth of food.

Gundren and Nundro were reunited and had a catch up and everyone rebuilt and repaired the tents.  Talindra identified their magic items and they discussed plans for the next day.  They check if Gundren and Nundro had any further information about what was in the mine and discovered that Nezznar hadn’t found the Spellforge yet as some undead were in his way.  Nundro didn’t know more than that.

The next morning they got up and went to back the mine and had a long chat about who would carry what light source and ensured backups were to hand and went back in to the darkness.

DM: We called it there.  It was getting late and any encounter would have us ending very late

Loot:

Serpent Spear

+1 spear, Uncommon

Simple Melee

1d6 + 1 piercing, Thrown (range 20/60), versatile (1d8+1)

This simple bronze spear will turn in to a snake at its bearers request and wind itself around their arm.  Upon command it will slither in to their grip and turn in to a spear.  Once per short rest this spear can be commanded to turn back to a snake and attempt to grapple a large or smaller creature when it hits it.  The bearer must let go of the spear when this happens.  Once the grapple ends or fails, the spear will try to slither back to its master and up their leg to return to their arm.

Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft. STR 15 (+2, DEX 14 (+2)

Constrict.

Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage. The target is grappled (escape dc 15) Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the snake can’t constrict another target.

Black Spider Staff

Staff, +1

The top of this black, adamantine staff is shaped like a spider. The staff weighs 6 pounds. You must be attuned to the staff to gain its benefits and cast its spells.

The staff can be wielded as a quarterstaff. It deals 1d6 extra poison damage on a hit when used to make a weapon attack.

The staff has 10 charges, which are used to fuel the spells within it. With the staff in hand, you can use your action to cast one of the following spells from the staff if you have levels as an arcane caster: spider climb (1 charge) or web (2 charges, spell save DC 15). No components are required.

Additionally, one spell cast from this staff can be concentrated on and not prevent the caster from concentrating on another spell cast by other means.

The staff regains 1d6 + 4 expended charges each day at dusk. If you expend the staff’s last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the staff crumbles to dust and is destroyed.

Slippers of Spider Climbing

While you wear these light shoes, you can move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside down along ceilings, while leaving your hands free. You have a climbing speed equal to your walking speed. However, the slippers don’t allow you to move this way on a slippery surface, such as one covered by ice or oil.

S26a: The lighting issues

Tutoring 2
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

So the dynamic lighting worked well, in terms of little to no lag and walking down corridors was cool.  However, this fight highlighted how lack of LoS, or losing your light source could make the game incredibly boring and frustrating.  Here are two pics of the same situation taken at the same time from two different points of view.  Ramond tells me that most of the session was spent with a cview like this, which he took in good spirits for most of the game but was understandably frustrated after four hours of play.  I’m not going to let this happen again.  I wish I’d been fully aware of this sooner as I’d have fixed the issue even if it meant ditching the Dynamic Lighting completely.  As I could not see his view I didn’t understand how little he could see and how detatched he felt from events.

S26a: The lighting issues

My current plan of things to test before next session is:

1: I drop a bright OOC light source in the room any time theres a fight going on and we can move it out of the way briefly when we want to tell who can see what IC

2: Try “Daylight mode” in Roll20. Not sure what this does yet but I’m thinking it provides illumination everywhere at all times, but still allows for walls to block LoS. I need to play with this feature to see how it works, and if I can turn it off and on mid-session without dumping load times on everyone or creating other issues

3: If those options don’t seem to work or any one player doesn’t want to deal with Dynamic Lighting again then I switch back to the old reliable manual FoW system

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

DM: Dynamic lighting.  I’d spent the week trying things to get it working and thanks to some pointers from another DM using Roll20 we got it up and running well enough to use for the first time.  By the end of the session we’d had a human player without a light source in complete darkness for a few hours and they’d have a miserable time.  They couldn’t plan their turns, or even tell what everyone else was talking about during their turns.  They called it “the worst radio play ever”.  I didn’t understand how bad they had it until after we’d called the session. This cannot be allowed to happen again.  I’m either ditching Dynamic Lighting or dropping an OOC light source in to fights so everyone can watch and I can remove to determine IC sight when it matters.

 

After Talindra was done exploring and identifying they sat around in the Bugbear barracks for another half hour so the others could complete a short rest before heading out to deal with the enemies that Araloth had scouted out at the end of last session.  The quietly made their way down the corridor with the archers up front with the plan that the archers would focus fire the Drow down and Karson would tank the Bugbear.  As they were getting in to position, they heard the Bugbear say he had heard something and peaking around the corner they could see he and the Drow had turned their way.

Karson ran around the corner and killed the bugbear in one round.  Bilba stepped out, rolled her Light stone down the stairs and Crit shot the Drow as two more bugbears climbed up out of the trench, drew weapons and moved towards Karson.  The Drow fired his crossbow at Bilba, poisoning her before he backed up over the stream.  Devere ran to engage the Drow while Melandrach Sun Bolted him.  Thorivor shot the Drow with a Grasping Arrow (Damage if he tries to move) and Talindra followed that up with a Hexed Eldritch Blast as Ramond ran full pelt to engage him.  Araloth missed his attack on the Drow while Karson beat up the closest Bugbear.  The two bugbears beat in to Karson while the Drow disengaged from the surrounding enemies, taking Grasping Arrow damage as a result, but not quite making it to cover.  Devere overtook the Drow and hit him with his mace and Melandrach finished the job.  The eight of them then made short work of the two Bugbears who had nowhere to run before looting the corpses.

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

They took everyone’s weapons and armour and put it in the Bag of Holding and discovered that the Drow was actually another Doppelganger.  Araloth dropped in to the canyon and had a look around where the Bugbears had been digging.  It looked like they had been at it for a while.  He removed a few rocks quickly and discovered nothing more interesting than a bone before deciding to leave this for now.  Ramond healed Bilba’s poison by Laying on Hands.

They noticed that the tunnel behind them and the pathways the Drow was heading towards were both filled with more cobwebs than the rest of the mine and possibly connected.  They split the party in two and headed down both pathways at once, coordinating via Talindra’s Sending cantrip.  Devere passed by a side door he listed and could hear laboured breathing behind, although he chose to ignore it for now.  Karson, Devere and Melandrach took the northern corridor and everyone else took the southern pathway.  When they were in position Araloth opened one of the double doors and took two crossbow bolts to the chest from readied actions.  The first poisoned him and knocked him out, but the second woke him back up again.  Before he went down he saw

Six cracked marble pillars lining the walls of this hall, at the north end of which stood a nine-foot-tall statue of a dwarf seated on a throne, a mighty stone warhammer across his lap. Large emeralds gleamed in the statue’s eyes.  The dust and debris covering the floor had been swept to one side, and a campsite of sorts spread in front of the statue. Half a dozen bedrolls and packs were neatly arranged around a rough-built fire pit. A wooden table stood on the west side of the room between two pillars.  A spider could be seen behind the far pillar, failing to hide.  Gathered in that corner were two bugbears with Morningstars’ drawn, and a Drow with a hand crossbow.  A second Drow with a hand crossbow could be seen on the other side of the statue, stood upside down on the ceiling.  Everyone was ready and waiting for the intruders.  A disembodies voice could be heard, “It seems that I must deal with you myself. A pity it must end this way.”

(DM: Bear with me.  This is a loooong fight and as I type this, it’s still not over)

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

Thorivor stepped up, shot the grounded Drow twice and backed away, narrowly dodging a bolt from the Drow on the ceiling.  Ramond ran in to the room, pointed his Wand of Magic Milles and fired 6 charges at the same Drow, hitting it with 8 missiles, nearly killing it.  Talindra fired an Eldritch Blast at him, but it went wide.  One bugbear double moved towards each group, engaging Karson and Ramond, as the damaged Drow ran for cover behind the table and missed a shot at Ramond.  The disembodied voice spoke up again, “We don’t have to be enemies you know.  Work for me and we can share the spoils of the mine.  You know what the Spellforge can do.  It can be ours.”  The visible spider moved forward and spat some webbing at Ramond, restraining him where he stood.  Another spider appeared from behind the central western pillar, moved forward and spat web all over Melandrach.  Araloth picked himself up off the floor and moved to flank Ramond’s Bugbear, landing a blow in its back, before retreating to behind a pillar.  Bilba moved up and hid behind Ramond, and shot his target.  Devere Blessed himself, Ramond, Melandrach and Karson and moved to flank with Karson.  Karson Hunters Marked and attacked the flanked Bugbear as Melandrach tore himself free of the webbing and moved forward.

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

The Drow on the ceiling began to chant and the area around the southern doorway was plunged in to magical darkness, dispelling their only two sources of light before backing up behind the corner pillar (DM: And pooping on the enjoyment of the HUMAN paladin player for the rest of the session.  The Halfling shares a screen with Karson, who has Darkvision so it’s less of an issue there).  Despite being trapped with the darkness, Thorivor was able to fire off a Seeking Arrow and almost finish off the damaged Drow.  Ramond Tore the webbing off himself and stepped to the side while Talinda waded across the darkness and Eldritch Blasted the damaged Drow to death and Hexed the guy on the ceiling and stepped back in to the darkness (DM: They quickly worked out how to use the Darkness to their advantage) .  Karsons bugbear smacked him hard with its Morningstar while the other backed out of the Darkness and hit Araloth.  The voice could be heard again, “You work for that dwarf, don’t you?  He’s got no greater claim on this abandoned mine than I do.  I found it first.  I have salvage rights to this place.”  Lightning fired along the eastern wall of the room, electrifying Devere and Melandrach, and then a new Drow could be seen in the corner, wearing black clothing and holding a black staff with a spider crafted on it top.  The spiders stepped up and bit at Devere, and downed Melandrach.  A third spider appeared from behind the pillar over Araloth and missed an attack against him.  Araloth missed two attacks against his Bugbear before hiding back in the Darkness.  Bilba rested one hand on the wall and followed it around in to the room.  The only thing she could see was The Black Spider (The new Drow) illuminated by the fire pit.  She gave it her all and critted him badly.  Devere healed Melandrach and channelled his divinity to restore a spell slot while Karson and Melandrach beat up their Bugbear.

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

The ceiling Drow hit Devere with a poisoned bolt, but he resisted as Thorivor stepped out and back in to the Darkness and piercing the Black Spider with an arrow.  Ramoned channelled divinity to restore a spell slot and ran out of the Darkness towards the fire, drew his shield and engaged The Black Spider.  Talindra supported this by Eldritch blasting him before backing in to the darkness again.  One bugbear missed Karson and the other moved up around the Darkness.  The Black Spider looked shaken and bloody, mumbled a few words and vanished from sight.  The three spiders made their attacks and a fourth appeared from behind the central eastern pillar, spitting web at and missing Bilba.  Araloth got his Second Wind (healing for 11), kicked open the second of the double doors, and moved and stabbed the spider that was behind Bilba.  Bilba drew her sword and stabbed at the same spider before disengaging in to the Darkness.  Devere channelled the storm within and fired a lightning bolt through two spiders to where The Black Spider had last been seen.  This killed one spider and badly burning the other, and then he summoned a Spiritual Weapon to attack the closest Bugbear, which Karson then finished off before backing up for safety.  Melandrach then unleashed a flurry of blows on the closest spider, who survived.

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

The upside down Drow ended his Darkness spell and moved south to the next pillar and missing a shot at Thorivor.  Thorivor recovered one of his magical shots and fired a Seeking Arrow at the vanished Black Spider, hurting him badly and revealing him to be invisible and about 5 foot north of Melandrach.  His target gone, Ramond turned around and missed an attack on the nearest Bugbear.  Talindra fired an Eldritch blast where the arrow had hit, but it didn’t connect with anything.  The last Bugbear hit Ramond and the spiders attacked their nearest targets.  Araloth missed both attacks against his spider and then followed the wall out of the room.  As he hit the door he bumped in to something invisible and shouted to the group to alert them that he’d found their target.  In complete darkness, guided purely by Araloth’s voice Bilba aimed (While essentially blind???) a shot at the invisible Black Spider and a moment later his invisible corpse slumped in to Araloth before fading back in to site.  Devere and his spiritual weapon ganged up on the nearest spider while Karson drank a healing potion and advanced.  Melandrach killed his spider and moved over to hit the final Bugbear.

 

DM: We called the session there.  Midnight was aproaching and even then we discussed the lighting issues until near 1am.  The Black Spider is dead, and they’ve killed some of the trash.  Most of whats left is almost dead, but the party are out of resources and low on health.  They should be able to outlast whats left, but dice happen and Ceiling Drow is still on full health and out of reach of melee attacks.

S26: The Black Spider's Lair

S25: Delving Deeper in to The Lost Mine

Tutoring 1
Skill 2
Idea 1
2 Comments

DM: One of my players gifted me a year’s subscription to Roll20 so I spent a few hours adding dynamic lighting to the mine.  It worked well when it was just me running around, but once all the players logged in it ran so slow and sluggish and we gave up and switched back to the non dynamic version.  Anyone have any experience with this and knows what the issue is?  Is it just a thing where the more players it has to light for the exponentially slower it gets (There were 8 accounts logged in)?  Is the issue server/software side, or can one player having issues slow it down for the rest?

 

With their short rest over, the party headed out (DM: They were heading east last week and talking about heading further east, so I did my prep assuming they would keep heading east.  Guess where they went?  North West!) to the door to their immediate north.  They said they wanted to explore the worked stone areas and not the raw stone as the raw was most likely mine shafts and the living areas most likely contained more immediate threats.  Karson listened at the door and could hear some gnawing and scratching noises.  The party readied for a fight, kicked in the door and made short work of 4 emaciated Ghouls sucking what marrow they could from the bones of a skeleton in the middle of the room.  Karson listened at the next door and didn’t hear anything at first, but could hear the clank of heavy armour approaching, so they opened the door and sent out Ramond with sword and board to encounter any threat there.  He saw Devere who had got bored and gone the long way around while they were looting and listening.  Ramond gave him a stern telling off about ignoring party tactics and plans, and endangering everyone.  Devere went back with his head hung low.

S25: Delving Deeper in to The Lost Mine

Karson and Araloth went out scouting to the west, with the group staying just far enough behind them to keep in line of sight.  This section appeared to be a mass of interconnected corridors forming something of a simple maze.  They’d scoot forward 30 foot, with Karson in the lead and Araloth 10 foot behind him, and the rest keeping Araloth at the edges of their light/darkvision.  When Karson was 90ish feet down the corridor he turned around as he could hear angry scrams and the sounds of bare flesh slapping on stone behind him.  He could see the group bracing themselves against a charge from a large number of Ghouls coming down some stairs.  Seems that while the scouts could not see what was up the stairs, the ghouls could see the passing light from the party and wanted lunch.  The corridors created a bottleneck for the ghouls that the party had already filled meaning that only three ghouls at a time could engage the party, but there were a lot of them.  They ended up using a few AoE powers to burn them down so they kept the situation under control and the fight was over after three rounds.  They chose not to explore up the stairs for the moment, opting to stick to one level at a time.

S25: Delving Deeper in to The Lost Mine

They scouted through most of the mini maze and followed the corridors north through an unworked section to discover a still pool filling much of a cavern. The water was dark, revealing little of what might lie within. The shore of the pool consisted of a thin layer of broken shells from strange, pale mussels, and a fishy odour hung in the air. A set of steps climbed up to the east and a sluggish stream flowed out of the cave to the northeast through a low tunnel through the wall.  Karson slowly edged in to this room, staying cautiously away from the waters, afraid of what might lurk within.  They remembered an undead beholder rising out of the last dirty body of water they saw.  As he explored he remained unmolested so the group advanced up and headed towards the stairs.  Talindra had her owl familiar explore the watery tunnel.  There was only a 3 foot gap between the water and its roof so Nezhar wasn’t happy about this so she wouldn’t really go in there and Talindra didn’t force the issue.  She could see that the tunnel opened up after about 10 feet and the stream curved around out of sight to the east shortly after.

At the top of the stairs the corridor went north but there was a more interesting door immediately in front of them which they chose to investigate.  Karson listened closely and could hear some grumbles in what sounded like deep voiced goblinoid, although he couldn’t make out what they were saying through the door.  They lined up in formation and opened the door.  Old stone bunks lined the walls of this barracks, which was lit and heated by a glowing iron brazier in the middle of the room.   Across the room was another door, this one blocked by a barricade made from the remains of a wooden table.  Five Bugbears were sat around and surprised by the intrusion.  As the party ran in to engage Ramond shouted out, “Why on earth to they need a barricade?”  The bugbears were wearing good armour and their Morningstar’s hit hard so Devere put up a Bless spell.    Devere lined up with two Bugbears and unleashed his second Lightning Bolt from whatever power had entered him at the Lighthouse, hurting but not killing them (DM: I rolled nat 20 for both their saves!).  It was a slow and hard fight, with the Bugbears dealing their share of the damage and some poor rolls early on from the party, but they prevailed after a few rounds.

S25: Delving Deeper in to The Lost Mine

They looted the room, took stock of their wounds and did some healing, and decided the barricade should stay in place for now while they explored elsewhere.  They didn’t know if whatever was threatening the Bugbears would threaten them, or become an ally.  Having run in to a “dead end” (DM: And it getting late enough that they didn’t want to get locked in to a long encounter) they decided now was a good time to do a more thorough search of the areas they had passed through.  Talindra ritually cast Detect magic and did a run around with the group.  Something in the lake caught her eye.  She summoned an Unseen Servant and commanded it to bring up anything it could find while pointing towards the glow.  Over many trips it brought back shells, bones, shells, two platinum rings, stones, shells, more bones, stones, a magic wand, shells, stones, some muck, stones, stones, bones, stones, and Talindra dismissed her servant.

They went back in to the Bugbear Barracks and discussed having a short rest and taking the time to ritually identify the wand.  Araloth went up the northern corridor to stealthily peek around for any threats.  To the east of the end he could see a Bugbear and a Drow with their backs to him, with the sounds of stones being shifted within a crevasse in front of them.  He carefully retreated and informed the party.  They took their chances on a ritual identify but opted against a short rest at this time.  It was a Wand of Magic Missiles.  After a short discussion it was agreed that Ramond the Paladin should have it for all those annoying times when he finds himself spending 2+ rounds just running close enough to hit things with his sword.  He felt a little bad as he is already covered in magic items, but this does seem like the best use of the item.

Throughout all of this exploration they slowly noticed that as they head north, the regular tremors were getting slowly louder.  They could hear and feel them a little more, once every two minutes.

DM: We called it a night here.  It was approaching 11pm at this point and one of our players has an early start and two more had their internet go out.

The total exposed map so farThe total exposed map so far

S24: The Lost Mine

Tutoring 1
Skill 2
Idea 1
2 Comments

On the wagon back to town Talindra started asking questions about what they had all just seen.  The converging triple lightning bolt symbols the Half-Orcs were wearing had jogged a memory loose.  She revealed that upon originally arriving in Phandalin she had been given a vision.  The shrine in town was under assault by ice and lightning.  It struck the shrine and destroyed the whole area.  She suspected these guys are related.  Ramond said he heard the heartless guy call out to Talos, who would be the angry evil god of storms and destruction.  Worship of Talos is illegal in most places.  He is not part of the main pantheon so is not as well-known as some other gods.  Araloth wondered what they were doing there.  Turning the light off so ships would crash?  Devere said the green light was probably drawing the ships on to the rocks.  Ramond said the green light wasn’t bright enough so ships couldn’t see the rocks in time.  Talindra suggested that the destruction could be an offering to Talos.  Devere was concerned that his new sparking eyes might mark him as a worshiper of Talos and that might get him arrested.  Araloth suggested he discharge himself, but he opted not to for now.  Using the Sending Stones Devere told Gundren they were on their way back and would be ready to go after lunch tomorrow.  Gundren responded, saying he would be ready but he was worried about his brothers as they had not come for a resupply, but ran out of words before he could explain.

The journey back was uneventful and when they arrived in town they went straight for a hot meal at the Stonehill Inn, where they saw Gundren already eating.  They joined him and ordered food and exchanged pleasantries.  Gundren explained he had spent the last few days getting supplies together ready for the mine.  Along the way he had been asking about and his brothers hadn’t been seen.  They should have come back to town a couple of weeks ago to resupply on the essentials but they had not.  Gundren was worried if something had happened to them as was keen to get moving to check on them.  They had been camping a short walk from the mine entrance.  The party agreed to head out after lunch and a chance to plan and shop.

While the party did some shopping (DM: Lots of private messages while people were talking.  Got a little confusing),Talindra went to speak to Townmaster Harbin Wester who once again refused to open his front door.  She told him what they had found at the lighthouse and that it needed restaffing.    He said it was managed by Neverwinter, but he would send them a letter to inform them.  Talindra also asked about any possible reward for the job, but Harbin said the town didn’t really have the money to spare for that but he was grateful for their efforts.

Symbol of TalosSymbol of Talos

They spent a while shopping, arguing about money (DM: They party has decided that Araloth is a penny pincher and it’s definitely Araloth and not his player.  This is becoming a focal point for RP), and planning for the future.  Talindra has a project she wants to work on and Thorivor wants to spend some time brewing healing potions before they face the dragon.  Ramond doesn’t like just walking around town with 600gp in his pockets and wants something better to do with it.

When they were done they met up with Gundren outside the Inn.  Gundren had gathered together his own wagon filled with supplies and had hired four people to help get the mine up and running, once the party had cleared it for them.  Following Gundren’s directions they all headed east out of town and arrived at the Rockseeker campsite with around an hour of daylight left.  The place looked clear and unused.  Hunting around they found an old campfire that had been buried and covered, and a few prints.  They place didn’t looked like it had been used for a week, perhaps two.  Gundren’s plan was to camp here while the mine was being cleared but people didn’t feel safe here, knowing something may have happened to Nundro and Tharden.  Gundren didn’t know if they had abandoned the camp for some reason, or if the Black Spider had found them.  They hunted around and found a suitable new site nearby.

While everyone set up the new camp, Karson, Bilba and Araloth had Gundren lead them to the mines entrance to scout it out.  Ten-ish minutes later he pointed them to a gap in some rocks hidden from the surrounding area by the terrain.  The gap was just about big enough for a person to squeeze through and had evidence of being man made.  Gundren said he had dug through the rock here to reach a natural tunnel shortly behind it that leads directly to the mine.  They looked around while never entering and found old footprints that looked around two week sold entering but not leaving the cave.  They retreated a safe distance and watched the area for 20 minutes but didn’t see anything of interest.  Karson hid a bear trap by the entrance and they went back to camp and everyone got a good night’s rest.

The next morning they left Gundren and his miners behind and returned to the cave entrance.  The bear trap remained set so Karson disarmed it with a long stick and put it back in his bag.  Bilba and Ramond had Light spells cast on a stone for each of them and they all squeezed in to the cave one by one.  The cave soon opened up in to a wider tunnel and Talindra summoned her owl familiar and sent him ahead to scout revealing a room ahead.  The entrance tunnel lead into a large-cavern supported by a natural pillar of rock and containing three stalagmites. In the western part of the cave, behind the column of rock, were two bedrolls and a heap of ordinary supplies-sacks of flour, bags of salt, casks of salted meat, lanterns, flasks of lamp oil, pickaxes, shovels, and other gear. Amid the supplies, the body of a dwarf miner could be seen, dead for at least a week. The north-eastern section of the cavern had collapsed, forming a ten-foot-wide, twenty-foot-deep pit. A sturdy hemp rope was tied off around a nearby stalagmite and dangled down the side of the pit, at the bottom of which was a rough-hewn tunnel heading northwest and east.

Map 1Map 1

Araloth went to check out the rope and the trench.  The rope looked securely tied around a stalagmite with nothing at its other end and no one could be seen in the trench.  Araloth stood guard while the others explored the chamber.  Devere inspected the corpse for time and cause of death and found some old bruises and a few cuts, but the final would appeared to be a series of around 5 small sharp bruises in a grouping to centre mass, like someone had repeatedly poked him to death with a stick.  Araloth said this looked like it was done by a person and not an animal.  Melandrach said it sounded like Magic Missile.  They had been blasted with Magic Missile before and it did match their old wounds.  Upon close inspection Meladrach said that this was Tharden’s body.  He had met Nundro and Tharden before and was the only one in the group who had (DM: backstories finally being relevant and looked at!  Yay!  It did take a prompt from me for everyone to check though).  Devere finished searching Tharden and concluded that someone else had already stripped him of everything of interest, but that his boots looked unusually clean, new and high quality and didn’t match the wear on the rest of his outfit, so they took them.

After checking the crates (Just mining and camping supplies) they descended the rope in to the trench, except for Melandrach who showed off by jumping safely down the 20 foot drop (DM: Bloody Monks!).  Talindra sent her owl for a quick scout through both exits, revealing something of a maze to the north west and some branching tunnels with a distant light at the far end to the east.  They had a discussion about which way to go and chose to head towards the light as that might be a sign of a surviving dwarf.  Bilba and Ramond shielded their lights.  Araloth and Karson went ahead to scout while the others gathered ready to react.  As the paths forked they split up, while staying nearby and the party advanced up behind them.  Araloth found his pathway widening to become a larger chamber.  Many tunnels intersected at this natural, thirty-foot-high cavern.  The walls were carved with simple reliefs showing dwarf and gnome miners hard at work. Below them, nearly two dozen skeletons in rusted scraps of armour were scattered across the cavern floor. Some were dwarf skeletons, while others were orc remains. Half a dozen large brass lanterns stood in niches or on ledges around the cavern, but none were lit.  Araloth went to see if there was any oil in the lanterns, but anything that had been there had long since dried up.  While he was doing this the sound of flapping and chirruping could be heard from above as ten flying insects dropped off the ceiling and came to attack him.

Stirge AttackStirge Attack

He stabbed the nearest and ran back to the group as arrows flew over him and Devere Blessed his allies.  Karson moved in to attack another as the Stirges flew in to the front lines and attached themselves to Araloth and Melandrach, drinking their blood.  Talindra stepped forward and unleashed a Shattering wave in the midst of the bugs, hurting his allies, but killing all the bugs.  With Bless active, the party decided to get productive and explored to the east, revealing a glowing cavern.  Dense carpets of weird fungi covered large sections of the floor in this cavern. The growth included puffballs a foot across, weird shelf fungus grown on stalagmites, and large stalks and caps a good five feet tall. Some of the puffballs glowed with an eerie green phosphorescence.  They turned around to explore the last corridor behind them in the hopes of preventing any surprises creeping up on them later.

StirgeStirge

Melandrach listened to the eastern door, but heard nothing from within.  While he had his ear pressed up against the door, he felt more than heard a sound.  A single low deep thrum and tremble, like a large heavy pounding sound a long way off, carried through the rock.  Araloth listened at the other door but heard nothing.  Araloth opened his door and revealed splintered stone benches and heaps of rubble from a partially collapsed ceiling filling this room. Amid ruined stone bunks and toppled weapon racks were the bones of several dwarves and orcs.  Melandrach opened his door.  This chamber was once an office or storeroom of some kind. A large stone counter bisected the room, set with three dusty balance scales made of iron. Cubbyholes carved into the north wall were stuffed with dusty paper scraps. Several long dead corpses – gnomes and orcs by their look – were sprawled across the floor.

Two RoomsTwo Rooms

As the group discussed the possibility of using these rooms for resting later and Ramond said they should fully search these rooms now rather than later as they should never plan on returning anywhere, Araloth and Devere entered the west room to look around.  As the group continued talking the bodies on the floor surrounding him pulled themselves together and the dead rose around them and nine skeletons attacked!  Two rounds of combat later the skeletons were dead and Melandrach had needed a heal spell.  They searched the room and found nothing of interest.  Expecting the same in the other room, they moved over and prepared for an attack, but nothing happened.  Araloth went to the cubby holes and started looking at papers.  They crumbled at his touch so he tried to read some where they sat.  The ink was faded to almost nothing, but he could make out some dwarven writing.  This looked like records of weigh-ins and disbursements from the mine.  Ramond checked behind the counter and found a rusted but study lockbox.  Araloth gave it his all but couldn’t pick the lock.  Bilba gave it a try and almost had it, but failed.  Talindra saw no harm in trying and effortlessly popped the lock to find it stuffed with coin.

By this time a few people were interested in a short rest as spells were running low and some needed healing.  They also wanted to Identify those boots they thought would be magic.  Talindra identified them (DM: Boots of Striding and Springing, which Bilba put on) and they had a rest while the Owl kept an eye out at the junction. As they sat around resting they all slowly noticed a tremor through the ground.  A short shake.   A dull thud only felt at first, but once they knew it was there they could just about here it.  About once every two minutes a single quake happened, like something heavy but far away.

 

DM: It was about 11pm on a Sunday so we called it there as any encounter could go on for a long while.  They are maybe two hours in to their adventuring day and on the final stage of the first major story arc at last!

Map so farMap so far

S23: The Tower of Storms

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

With bless cast on Araloth, Karson and Bilba the party moved quickly across the narrow causeway, hoping to get past the Harpies before it ran out.  As they headed out the Harpies on the southern platform soon noticed them and started to sing, entrancing some of them.  Araloth and Bilba were able to put a couple of shots in to the one that could be seen while everyone else tried to advance.  Ramond, Talindra, and Melandrach were charmed and tried a few times to climb the cliffs, with a lot of slips and falls.  Araloth focused on running up the path as fast as possible and made it to the tower ahead of everyone.  Thorivor was charmed at first but quickly resisted and put a couple of seeking arrows in to the wounded harpy who had retreated out of sight, killing it.  Melandrach made the climb as he reached the wall around the harpy nests and two harpies advanced to attack him.  He tried to skirt around the Harpies before vaulting the wall, but lost his grip and fell back down, narrowly missing the climbing Talindra.  He picked himself up, dusted himself of, and ran up the path, overtaking Devere.  Araloth pushed up the front door and found himself in a large empty foyer and just ran for the door in the direction of the Harpies.  He rushed straight through a room with an altar and frescoes on the walls, not stopping to look around, busting open the next door.  Stopping in the doorway he attacked the closet Harpy before retreating through the door.  Ramond channelled his divinity to turn himself in to a Peerless Athlete and then ran up the steep incline, no longer charmed.  Talindra had finally made her save so cast Shatter at the Harpies, killing another and wounding the third, before heading along the winding path.  Melandrach made it up the path and entered the Lighthouse just as the final Harpy decided this was too much and flew around behind the tower out of sight.  Araloth ran outside and saw the Harpy was gone and shouted out to the group.  He then began searching the nests.  Devere entered the building and ran towards where he had last seen the Harpies.  Meanwhile, Melandrach entered the altar room and looked out the window.  He could see the harpy so opened the window and tried to fire his bow at it, but missed.  The Harpy just flew further out to sea as fast as she could.

S23: The Tower of Storms

With the fight over for now Devere took a moment to look around the Altar room as the others came up the path.  The walls of the fifteen foot-high room were adorned with frescoes that depicted ships being tossed on stormy seas, with a dark and terrible god looming above them and smiling. Set into the west wall was a dirty, salt-encrusted window.  A stone altar with lightning bolts carved into it stood against the south wall. A metal rod descended from the ceiling above the altar, splitting in two before it embedded itself into the stone altar.  Devere tried to search the altar, but got a short sharp shock from it and then he heard a pronounced silence as a dull humming noise stopped that he didn’t even realise he had been hearing.  He said he felt a bit funny.  Melandrach turned to look at him and the occasional small spark of electricity could be seen sparking around his eyes.  Karson stood guard over the other doors in the foyer.  Having finished the climb and seen the bodies, Ramond ran through the room towards the foyer.  As the group started to gather around the lighthouse Araloth ran through and opened the double doors in the foyer, revealing a spiral staircase and another ground level door, which he immediately opened.

This 15 -foot-high room has two north-facing windows. A barnacle-encrusted chair stands against the south wall. Sitting in the chair is the Half-Orc Moesko, clad in Splint Mail armour made from metal plates over reddish-purple giant octopus hide. Resting in his lap is an opalescent conch he took from Miraal the sea elf.  Either side of the door stands two Half-Orc guards, wearing hide.  They all have unusual clawed gauntlets on.  They are styled after boars and the rusks come out in to sharp blades which could be used as weapons.  He shouted out what he had seen and then retreated to the foyer.

S23: The Tower of Storms

Karson ran through and landed a couple of blows on a guard.  Devere stepped in to the stairwell and Guiding Bolted the same guard before backing up.  Ramond moved in between the guards and Smote the same one, almost killing him, allowing Thorivor to finish him off.  Talindra scouted around the outside of the tower and peeked in through the window.  The surviving guard moved, chanted and cast Lightning Bolt through Ramond and Karson.  Karson survived purely because Bless was still active.  Moeska stayed sat in his seat and also chanted, casting Lightning Bolt at Ramond (DM: Both bolts rolled noticeable above average.  It was getting scary in there.  Ramond was on 1hp at this stage.  A full Bolt could perma-kill him at this stage).  Melandrach stepped over the guard’s corpse and flurried radiant sun bolts at the other guard while hurling insults at him. Bilba put an arrow in the guard while hiding at the back.  Araloth ran in to flank the guard with Ramond and stabbed him up.  Karson moved in and also cut him.

Having seen the lighting flying from a distance, Devere came to an understanding.  He moved in to the room and without casting a spell, fired a Lightning Bolt from his hands at Moeska.  Ramond took this opportunity to touch himself with a Lay on Hands. (DM: There were a lot of jokes about how the cleric never does any healing and the Paladin is the only one casting classic cleric spells).  Thorivor finished off the guard as Talindra peeked through the window and cast Shatter at Moeska, avoiding his allies.  Moeska stood up from his seat, putting down the conch shell and picking up his trident.  As he walked forward he shouted out, “How dare you burst in to my throne room.  Talos shall have you!”   Without casting, he then threw a Lightning Bolt through Devere, Ramon and Melandrach who were conveniently all lined up nicely (and already OOC making jokes about their bad positioning), downing Ramond and Devere.  Melandrach moved up to apply a flurry of blows to Moeska while Bilba put an arrow in to him.  Araloth and Karson stabbed him and then Thorivor killed him with one last arrow.  The group then quickly scrambled to heal Ramond and Devere.

The party gathered together in to the throne room and searched the bodies while Taildra did a Detect magic ritual.  Araloth revealed he had found a potion in the Harpy nests.  The potion, Splint Mail, Moeska’s bracelet and a ring on his trident were magical.  Araloth tasted the potion (Water Breathing) while Talindra ritually identified the rest (Splint mail of Lightning Resistance, and the ring and bracelet are paired items that let the bracelet’s wearer call to his hand whatever weapon the ring is placed around).  Melandrach picked up the Conch shell and they couldn’t help but notice that it was exceptional.  Whatever conch had grown this had apparently been dieting on some interesting materials as it had opal material built in to it.  It would likely be worth quite a bit.  Araloth wanted to appraise it, but Melandrach and the others wouldn’t let him as they were going to give it back to the Banshee.

S23: The Tower of Storms

While all this was going on the group discussed throwing Moeska’s body out of the window, but Devere wanted to inspect it further.  When they removed its armour they noticed his heart was missing and there was a hole in his chest.  Devere was concerned this was a consequence of the charge currently still coursing through him.  Devere had no idea what he was looking at though.  Ramond took a look and came to the conclusion that ribs had been broken and healed and any other damage had had plenty of time to heal over.  He decided the heart had been carefully removed on purpose, possibly as a means of controlling them.  They left the body where it was and Ramond put on the armour and they took a short rest.

Half way through their short rest they could hear footsteps coming down the stairs.  Talindra quickly cast an illusion of the door over the closed door and everyone upped weapons and got ready to defend themselves.  Karson popped open the door and peeked through the illusion and could see a naked half orc coming down the stairs with a hole where his heart should be.  He stepped through the illusory closed door and stabbed the half orc before retreating and dodging his free strike.  Araloth did his usual drive by attack, ending up in the altar room to avoid lightning.  Devere had a look up the stairs and then backed up in to the room to inform the others and to see if the new guy looked like the dead guy, but really couldn’t tell.  Meladrach flurried him and Thorivor put an arrow through him, but he unleashed a Lightning Bolt through Melandrach and Karson, almost downing Melandrach.  Ramond beat him to within an inch of his life but Bilba landed the killing blow.

Deciding resting had proven to be an unworkable idea, the group gathered themselves and head up the stairs.  The next floor up proved to be just the open flat roof, with a lightning rod reaching high in the sky above the altar room.  Further up the stairs, the pinnacle of the lighthouse beacon was partly open to the elements and surrounded by a narrow walkway topped by an iron railing. Three open archways allowed the beacon’s pulsating green light to spill westward over the sea. This light was so bright that it hurt the eyes of anyone trying to look at it.  While they couldn’t look directly at the source of the light, they noticed it looked like a heart, but ten times larger than usual and it was just floating in the air.  Araloth tried to search it for traps, but with the light in his eyes he wasn’t able to find anything with his disadvantaged check.  Talindra tried to see if she had any understanding of the magic at play here but came up blank.  While Talindra cast Sacred Flame at the heart, Araloth fished through his bag and threw a coat over the heart to partially mask the light.  Now they could look more at it Talindra cast Eldritch Blast at it.  It rattled and shook, crumpled in on itself and then dropped to the floor.  Araloth picked up his coat and the large heart was now like a shrivelled up blackened walnut on the floor.  Araloth poked it with his sword a little to no effect.  There was some talk about relighting the lighthouse at around 10.30am and about getting someone to man the lighthouse (The banshee?  The crab?  Someone from town?) but they let it drop for now and went to return the shell.

The banshee Miraal drifted out of the rocks as they approached and asked if they were done and had her shell.  They offered it up to her and she took it gratefully, visibly calming as she did.  They asked if she knew anything about Moeska missing his heart or what was going on up there.  She was none the wiser.  She thanked them and slowly faded away.  As she vanished, the conch shell dropped to the floor and the quickly scooped it up to sell later.

They then headed over to Mur’raih the Giant Crab and told him his mistress was at rest.  He had a quick look for her and then said he’d go and get them a piece of treasure from the sunken ships.  They asked if he could check the rest, but he said that if anyone hangs around the ships for too long the sharks come for them and he didn’t want to get eaten.  While he was away they discussed drinking the potion of water breathing and going themselves, but decided to leave that for another day when they could send more than one person to face the sharks.  When Mur’raih returned he was carrying a cutlass in its belted scabbard, with a small pouch still attached to the belt.  They thanked him and said their goodbyes and headed back towards town.  While sat on their wagon Talindra identified the new weapon and pulled 3 small diamonds from the pouch.

 

 

Split Armour of Lightning Resistance

Rare, Requires attunement

This split mail is made of rows of blackened metal plates attached to an unusual mottled reddish purple leather, apparently made out of Octopus Hide.  It is both tough and rubbery.  This armour bestows resistance to Lightning damage to its wearer.

 

Bands of Returning

This clasped metal band and bracelet are paired magic items.  The ring is placed round the grip of a weapon and the bracelet is worn by its user.  As a bonus action the wearer can command the weapon to return to their hand, passing through the intermediate space.  If the weapon is being held or restrained, treat the weapon as having a Strength of 26 (+8) and a Dexterity of 10 (+0) for the purposes of any checks.

The band can be attached to any weapon and can be adjusted to fit.

 

Sea Captains Cutlass

+1 Shortsword

This fine cutlass has a pocket on its scabbard containing a matching flask.  Every day at dawn the flask refills with Rum.  The scimitar grants its wielder immunity to the effects of the poisoned condition while they are touching the hilt.  On a critical hit this weapon bestows the poisoned condition to its target who becomes drunk.  They can make a Con save DC 14 at the end of each of their activations to resist this.

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

Talindra is still DMing for the first part here.  I take over again as they arrive back at town.

The party woke up the next day in the army camp and gathered from breakfast while the army dismantled the Hobgoblin fort around them.  They discussed their plans for the day and while the group needed to return to deal with unfinished business in Phandalin, Reginald wanted to stay with the army to see what happened next and gather some accounts from soldiers on the other battles involved in this victory.  He broached the subject of splitting the loot and said he had an interest in the golden jewelled holy symbol of Tiamat they had taken off the cultists’ leader.  He said he wondered if it had a greater significance and wasn’t purely decorative.  The party were more than OK with this and he waved them off on their way, saying he might stop by Phandalin at a later date for a visit.  Ramond also warned them that Claugiyliamatar had been scrying on them so they should take care.  Who knows how much she knows about them, or if she will continue to take an interest and come seeking revenge at any time.

As the party headed out along the road out of Kryptgarden Ramond spoke up.  He thought the party needed a name, otherwise how are people like Reginald, or the soldiers of the army supposed to ask for them? (DM: They’d said they were going to pick a name a month or so back when they were offered positions within the Lords Alliance, but they never did)  They bandied around a few names (DM: And spent some time on random party name generators laughing at silly suggestions) and have settled on “The Fellowship of Phandalin” (FoP) for now, with the possibility of changing it should they have a better idea.

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

Two nights out of Kryptgarden they camped about a mile away from the Mere of Dead Men, and during the first watch some Ghouls from the swamp wondered out from the trees and disturbed their rest.  It was a cloudy night so a short battle occurred in pitch darkness.  The Fellowship (DM: That name already belongs to another group, but what am I supposed to do?) dispatched them without too much difficulty (DM: Karson did get paralysed after charging in), but despite having time to pelt them with ranged attacks before they could become a threat, and few people ran in to melee without thought.  Ramond complained about this after the battle, insisting once again that they need to learn to think tactically and work better as a team so as not to put themselves in unnecessary risks.  They’d done this in the final battle in Kryptgarden and it had made things harder than needed.  They were too spread out and over exposed then, and they shouldn’t have been.

About ten miles outside of town as they were cutting across the plains, they encountered two Ogres arguing in Giant, which none of them understood.  The party discussed this at a distance and spread out in to a defensive formation (two spread out lines perpendicular to the path) and slowly approached the Ogres.  As they drew closer the Ogres noticed them and approached.  The party tried to look like they weren’t on the attack, while still being ready to defend themselves.  Ramond drew his sword.  The ogres demanded the Fellowship give them some food.  Ramond refused, asking why they are even here, this close to town.  They said there was a big white dragon up in the mountains near their home killing everything so they’d had to leave.  Devere said they were hunting a white dragon.  The Ogre said, “Well it’s over in the mountains.  Now give us some food”.  Ramond relaxed and went over to the wagon to look at the Fellowships supply of rations.  Devere tried to see what the Ogres had to trade for the food.  The Ogre offered not to put his club through his face in exchange.  Everyone agreed this was a good deal.  Ramond put ten days of rations in the road half way between both groups and told them to take it and move along.  He said if he heard about them causing trouble for anyone they were going to come back and deal with them.  The ogres acted unbothered and began stuffing their faces as the party gave them a wide berth and continued on their way to town.

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

DM: We switched DMs at this point.  I’m back in charge from now.

As the group walked back in to Phandalin around midday they could see the redevelopment had progressed in their absence.  A few building projects had finished and some new ones had started. Work up at the Manor still continued.   The sound of construction had always been there, but this is the longest they had been out of town so this is the first time they’ve really noticed any changes.

They headed straight to the Stonehill Inn for lunch and to work out what to do next.  Ramond ordered them all lunch and enquired after Gundren.  Toblen, the Innkeeper, said he was doing well.  He’d been sleeping a lot but looking healthier every day.  He should be up and about any day now.  He said he’s let him know they were back in town when he brings him some food.

The party discussed option.

  • Let the Townmaster know that monsters were being chased towards town by the Dragon. They feared he would just panic even more and for no good.
  • They still need to find this missing druid around Thundertree
  • They still have the Lighthouse to investigate
  • They thought the monsters chased out by the dragon may be a higher priority than the mine if Ogres etc are coming near town (DM: Ramond spent a fair chunk of the rest of the session pricing up the funding of a small militia in town and OOC  constantly complaining about the stupidity of PHB prices.  “10gp for a shield?  It’s a bit of wood!”  How much for a pointed stick???)
  • They wanted to talk to Gundren for more information on the mine, to see why it might be a bigger concern. Just what kind of magic items can the Spellforge there create?  Useful dragon fighting stuff?  Siege weapons that could be used against Phandalin?
  • They considered checking in with Sildhar

Talindra walked in to the inn and joined them for lunch.  She asked them where’re they’ve been and they all had a bit of a catch up.  Talinda told them all she had been to Neverwinter to sell off some of their rarer items (DM: Their captured spellbooks etc) and gave them their cut of the gold.  Talindra also handed Araloth a parcel, saying the mail had come while they were away.  It was a small box wrapped in paper, bound in string, with a red seal over the string.  Talindra apologised as she had had an accident and spilled candle wax all over the package.  It was a mess.  Half the seal wasn’t visible and wax was everywhere.  Araloth just accepted it and put off opening the package until he was alone later.

She then mentioned that she had recouped her expenses from learning new spells before splitting the profits.  Most of the group were OK with this, but Araloth disagreed.  An argument happened and Araloth is currently biting his tongue on this issue as he doesn’t see why he should have to pay towards someone else learning spells.

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

They ate their lunch in an awkward silence for a while until Gundren came down the stairs and joined them.  His movement looked uncomfortable, and he was using a cane, but he looked better.  He greeted the group and offered them a reward for rescuing him (DM: The module has him offer them 20gp when they first rescue him.  So where was he supposed to be hiding all those coins if he’s been a prisoner for a week or two and has been searched and tortured?  Does he jingle as he parps?)  They asked him about the mine and what it could make.  He said the Spellforge there could make any magic item.  Legend says it could be used to make enchanting items a while lot easier and simples and could theoretically be used to mass produce magic items.  In the wrong hands you could easily equip an army with magic weapons.  If they mine is in the hands of the Drow this is very worrying.  They asked what they might find there.  Gundren said he didn’t explore it much, but as its been abandoned for hundreds of years they should expect wild creatures and monsters to have moved in.  The Black Spider appears to be a dark elf with goblinoids under his control so it’s likely there will be some of them down there.  Beyond that he could only guess.  The mine entrance is only around 10 miles outside of town at the foot of the Sword Mountains, but is hidden.  Gundren and his brothers had to tunnel part of the way in.

Gundren is keen to get out there and meet up with his brothers.  They were camping about a mile away from the entrance and he wants to make sure they’re safe, and warn them about the Black Spider.  However, Gundren isn’t quite ready to travel.  He needs to heal up a little more and he has preparations to make.  He advised the party take a few days to prepare or take care of any unfinished business.  They discussed their options.  They weren’t going to find and deal with the dragon in this time, and Thundertree is at least a 6 day round trip, with more time potentially spent exploring.  They figured the Lighthouse was a day and a half away so would be a reasonable task to fill the time.  The party agreed the mine needs to be their main priority for now.  They wondered if the dragon had been drawn to the mine, or if it would want it should it find out about it.

After lunch the split up and did a little shopping, selling off loot and restocking consumables.  Talindra had an unusual request of Devere.  She said she had been studying up on a magic item that would help her and it needed a particular component, linked to a Celestial nature.  She needs some of his blood.  (DM: The party OOC went on comments about this for a while.  Jokes about demon worship, necromancy, selling of souls, possession, etc).  Talindra got out an intricately carved rod she had made from the Manticores thigh bone.  Devere was most agreeable, even when he found out it would be a pint and not a small vial needed.  They went somewhere private and Devere donated with the aid of a knife, and then Talindra healed him up after.  Talindra stored this sample in the rift up at the Manor (DM: It’s magical and cold.  It greatly slows down the decay of any organic matter within it)

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

Early afternoon they hit the road and headed towards the coast.  They drew near the lighthouse late on the next day.  A storm was brewing out at sea. They chose to camp before entering, rather than head in with the sun starting to go down.  Overnight the storm drew closer and hung heavy over them.  They could hear the rumble of thunder in the clouds overhead, and while it started to rain, the storm didn’t kick in.  Overnight, they got a close up view of the light from the lighthouse.  It appeared to have a green tinge to it, easy to miss or dismiss at a distance, but much more apparent now.  They woke up the next morning with the clouds hanging dark and threatening in the sky above them and headed towards the cliffs.

Below the high cliff that hugged the coastline, an outcropping of rock was nearly surrounded by water, with only a narrow causeway connecting it to the beach below. Atop this outcropping was a stone building surmounted by a lighthouse tower. An eerie green light pulsed from its beacon, shining westward out to sea. With each green pulse of light, they could hear the thump of a slow-beating heart.  They could see a giant crab on the shore far below them.

S22: Leaving Kryptgarden

As they walked down the narrow stairs to the beech the crab approached them, claws waiving in the air overhead.  As people were debating Calm Animal and Speak With Animal spells, it greeted them in Common and asked what they were up to.  They said there was a problem with the lighthouse and they’d come to investigate.  The crab agreed there were problems.  He introduced himself as Mur’raih and the party introduced themselves.  Devere asked if giant crabs usually talk. Mur’raih said he was special.  He had a friend who gave him the ability to talk; a clever Sea Elf named Miraal.  He asked if they could help Miraal if they were already heading in to the lighthouse anyway.  She used to live near here, until she was killed recently by the Half Orc that has taken over the lighthouse.  She’s become a restless spirit ever since and haunts the cave on the way to the lighthouse.  She’s become much angrier and scarier since.  It’s warping her spirit and changing her.  Mur’raih asked the party to help her find peace.  In exchange he would go down to one of the shipwrecks and fetch them a bit of treasure.  They shouldn’t go diving down there themselves.  There’s sharks.  One mean shark in particular called Daggermaw enjoys making people suffer when she eats them slowly.  Talindra said it was a good deal and they shook hands/claws.  Mur’raih pointed them towards his mistress’s cave and they headed off.  As they left, he shouted out a warning about Harpies nesting up by the lighthouse and they should watch out for their beguiling songs.

Talindra and Ramond went to talk to the Banshee Miraal.  As they entered the narrow cave on the tight outcropping a ghostly female elven spirit drifted out of the rocks, her hair seemingly drifting on watery currents they could not see.  Talindra called out, “Miraal, is that you?”  “I am Miraal.  Have you come here to do more harm?”  Talindra said they had come to deal with whatever at the lighthouse has been causing ships to crash.  She said they had come to kill him then.  The man who had killed her.  Please go in there and fetch back my treasure.  He took it from me when he killed me.  My opalescent conch shell.  It’s not much, but its precious to me.  His name is Moeska.  He’s a half orc.  Talindra said they had spoken to Mur’raih and already agreed to help her so they would do their best.  She let them past and drifted off back in to the rocks.

The beckoned up the others and had a discussion about how to resist the harpy songs.  They discussed the pros and cons of a Silence spell, but opted for Ramond to cast Bless on Araloth, Carson and Bilba and let the others rely on saves and elven resistances to Charms while they spend a few rounds running up the walkway.

 It was getting late and doing anything would have triggered a time consuming encounter so e called it there for the week.

S21: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 4: The Showdown

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

I have spent 5 days last week adding the rest of the campaign to Roll20.  For anyone else looking to run DoIP and the Beyond modules for it I would definitely recommend reading everything before you begin.  You can get away with not reading the Beyond modules until after DoIP, but the Beyonds are not written clearly.  There’s stuff in modules 2 and 3 that you could really do with knowing at the start of the first.  Some of the encounters are not written very clearly either.  There is some very cool stuff in there though and I’m super keen to run my players through it.

Do not click the above link if you hope to play as it contains teasers and probable spoilers.

 

Anyway, back to this session.  Remember, Talindra is still currently guest DMing for us and I am playing Reginald the Bard. This is an Adventurers League module so this fight plays out as if there are multiple other player groups in the background doing things that affect our fight and vice versa.  This explains a few things that happen (IE the zombies and the healing wind stuff)

 

Having signalled our army and blocked the barracks we ran towards the leaders of the Cult and the Hobgoblins to prevent a permanent alliance being formed.  With the sounds of battle rising behind us they were on alert and we drew weapons and charged straight in.  Melandrach punched a nearby Cultist while Devere stepped forward and blasted the area with channelled his gods divinity in to the Radiance of the Dawn, burning every enemy nearby that could see him, killing two cultists.  He then summoned his Spiritual Weapon to attack the Hobgoblin Captain, but missed.  The Captain then called out in goblin, “Get that f*£$!ing cleric!”, sunk an enchanted thunderous arrow in to Devere, and then backed off around a corner.  Hiding behind Karson, Bilba shot and killed the Hobgoblin archer in the bridge in front of the group.  The Fanatic summoned her Spiritual Weapon to attack Melandrach, and then prayed to Tiamat who blasted Melandrach with Sacred Flame before retreating behind the tower.  Karson ran towards the Captain, Hunter Marking him and Swinging at him ineffectually with both attacks.  The two Hobgoblins shot at Devere and Karson, nearly killing Devere.  Reginald stepped forward, casting Heat Metal on the Captain and then Inspired Devere to better defend himself.  One of the Cultists stabbed Reginald and the other flanked Karson, swinging and missing.  Araloth attacked the flanking Cultist and then moved to flank against the Captain with Karson.  Thorivor moved in to the open and shot at but missed the Hobgoblin above Devere.  He gritted his teeth and fired again, hitting but nor killing, before ducking behind the tree.  Ramond ran forwards, effortlessly cutting down the Cultist on Reginald on his way past.  Then, to our horror, the three dead Cultists arose as Zombies and joined the fight, attacking Reginald, Ramond and Melandrach!

S21: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 4: The Showdown

Melandrach unleashed a flurry of blows on his Zombie and then chased after the Fanatic.  Devere healed himself, adding the Bardic Inspiration to it.  His Spiritual Weapon hit the Captain, who dropped his bow, drew a Greatsword and missed one swing on Karson, but hit with his second.  Bilba sunk an arrow in to the Zombie by Ramond while the Fanatic cast Hold Person on Araloth (Natural 1 on his save.  Araloth is definitely the king of failing saves).  Her dagger missed its attack on Melandrach.  Karson missed the Captain, but killed the Cultist with his offhand.  The Hobgoblins shot at Devere (Reg tried to help but failed) and Ramond.  Then a new Hobgoblin appeared on the northern bridge and shot at Melandrach who deflected part of the impact.   Reginald’s heat metal burned the captain again while he Viciously Mocked the Hobgoblin above him.  Two new cultists appeared from the West and attacked Ramond.  Thorivor missed a shot at Reginald’s Hobgoblin and Ramon Smote his Zombie, giving himself temporary hit points.  The Zombies laid in to Reginald who took the blows, failing his concentration save.  The dead cultist by Karson then rose up as a Zombie.

S21: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 4: The Showdown

Melandrach beat the Fanatic with his staff and then unleashed a Flurry of Blows on her, almost killing her, and then moved around the corner away from the Spiritual Weapon.  Devere healed Karson, then stepped up to flank and smack a zombie.  The Captain took a critical hit against the Held Araloth, and then swung at Karson, but Reginald was able to distract him.  Bilba shot at a nearby zombie while the Fanatic reached out and drained the life out of Melandrach, dropping him to the ground.  She then moved up and sent her Spiritual Weapon after Reginald.  Karson critted the Captain and shoved his short sword straight through his eye and out the back, while hitting a zombie with his other weapon and taking an arrow from a Hobgoblin.  Reginald took two arrows, and Ramond took one.  A new Hobgoblin stepped out from the west and shot Thorivor twice.  Reginald hurled damaging insults at the Hobgoblin above him, then squeezed between the zombies and healed Melandrach.  The Cultists attacked Ramond.  With benefit from Ramond’s inspiring words (He has a once per day power on his sword), Araloth was finally able to overcome the Hold Person spell.  Thorivor put a Seeking Arrow in to the Fanatic and backed up down the side alley.  Ramond smote a cultist to death as the Zombies lashed out at Devere (Warding Flare for defence), Reginald, and Karson.  The sense of dread that had hung over the camp faded, and a wave of hope and optimism washed over us all.  (With this second wave coursing through us we gained the ability to use a bonus action to spend hit dice to heal just the once during this encounter.  I assume the DM thought we were in serious trouble!)

Then Claugiyliamatar swooped across the battlefield, with a deafening roar and the beat of massive leathery wings, shaking us to the core as the wind reached staggering speeds; scattering debris and bodies like trash on the wind.  “Behold, wretched ones!”  Claugiyliamatar roared with fury, “The price of your hubris is at hand!”  She then flew overhead and attacked a nearby tower with a large ballista being requisitioned by human soldiers.  The tower vanished with a cloud of her poisonous breath and none survived.

S21: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 4: The Showdown

Melandrach picked himself up and chased after the Fanatic and brought his staff around the side of her head from behind, causing her neck to break, and she fell to the floor, while he healed up before stepping over her corpse.  Devere moved to flank a zombie and hit it hard, before healing himself.  Bilba killed a zombie while Claugiyliamatar could be heard tearing apart nearby soldiers.  The hobgoblins shot at Thorivor, Melandrach, Bilba, and downed Karson.  Reginald’s insults finally became too much for the Hobgoblin above him, who died as Reg healed Karson.  He then called out, “Guys, we did what we came for.  We can leave now”.  The last Cultist swung at and missed Ramond.  Araloth made a run for a ladder up the central tower while healing up.  Thorivor shot a zombie who weathered the blow while Ramond whiffed his swing against the last cultist and healed up.  The zombies went for Devere and Karson, who fell unconscious once again.  Melandrach ran to his aid and wailed on his zombie.  Devere hot his zombie and weapon hit Karson’s, but both just absorbed the blows.  Then the dragon retuned, swooping down to claw at Araloth.  Reginald tried to distract her, but she was too enraged. (The dragon was clearly being nerfed by the module, thank god!)  She flew off to murder more of the army right after as Bilba sunk an arrow in to a Hobgoblin.  The Hobgoblins fired ineffectually as Reginald healed up and insulted a zombie.  The last cultist hit Ramond as Araloth tried to attack a Hobgoblin and tried to take cover from the skies.  His Hobgoblin then died to an arrow from Thorivor as Ramond killed his Cultist and moved up.

Melandrach hit a zombie who just took it, and then Radiant Sunbolted both Zombies, finally killing them.  Devere moved up and healed Karson and then sent his Spiritual Weapon to attack a Hobgoblin.  The dragon swooped overhead but ignored us for now.  Bilba ran to the east and murdered the Hobgoblin over there.  Karson stood up and healed himself, before grabbing the Captains fancy bow from the floor.  He then used it to take a shot at the Hobgoblin, but missed.  Outgunned and outnumbered, the Hobgoblin ran away.  We then looted the bodies we could, and Ramond just grabbed the captain’s body, and we ran back towards the gates where our army could be heard.  On our way out Claugiyliamatar returned, diving down at us readying a deep breath.  As it exhaled a spectral fey creature appeared and sucked all the poisonous gas into itself and vanished in a blinding flash of light.  Claugiyliamatar roared in frustration.  Bilba plinked a shot at her before running out with the rest of us.  Once we made it to safety we shoved everything in the Bag of Holding to sort out later.

S21: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 4: The Showdown

Once the battle was over and we were walking back to camp with the army, Valero came over to talk.  She thanked us for our efforts on behalf of The lords Alliance, and handed us a pouch of 200 gold as a reward.  She said the order of the Gauntlet would be happy to cast some spells for us for a Token fee, such as Identify.  Later in the day we took them up on that offer (Items below) and had a long chat about who gets what magic item.  We then camped for the night as it had been a long day.  In the monring we will likely leave camp and head back to Phandalin.

 

Loot

Non-Magical Half Plate – Taken by Devere

Non-Magical gemmed golden pendant of a 5 headed dragon (300gp)

Periapt of Wound Closure – Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires attunement) – Taken by melandrach

  • While you wear this pendant, you stabilize whenever you are dying at the start of your turn. In addition, whenever you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, double the number of hit points it restores.

Pearl of Power – Wondrous Item, uncommon (requires attunement by a Spellcaster) – Taken by Ramond

  • While this pearl is on your person, you can use an action to speak its command word and regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot was of 4th level or higher, the new slot is 3rd level. Once you use the pearl, it can’t be used again until the next dawn.

Thundercloud Longbow – Weapon (longbow), rare (requires attunement) – Taken by Thorivor

  • You have a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
  • If attuned this longbow empowers each shot with a thunderous strike, adding 1d4 thunder damage to each shot.
  • In addition if attuned by an arcane archer it allows the user to regain a use of their arcane shot once per day as a bonus action and improves the save DC for arcane shots by +1.

S20: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 3: Infiltration

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

(Talindra is still currently guest DMing for us and I am playing Reginald the Bard)

 

With our short rest over, we had a quick chat about the trinkets on the wagons.  Apparently the mercenaries had been told they could keep such things as part of their payment, as the Stronghold was only interested in the supplies so we took the loot.  Karson and Ramond took a heal potion each, meaning everyone has one each and the front line melee characters mostly have two.

We got back on the road and a while later we passed a ruined guard tower.  We could see two Hobgoblins and a large horn on the top.  We acted casual and 10 minutes up the road we ducked in to the woods, ditched the wagons and doubled back.  A few archers stayed at ground level ready to fire while everyone else stealthed up the 100 foot tower.  The two goblins died quite easily and didn’t get the chance to sound the alarm and I learned to ask what armour the enemy is wearing instead of assuming Hobgoblins would be easy to hit.  Chainmail with shields with partial cover means I wasn’t going to shoot them from ground level and should never have tried!  As the last Hobgoblin fell some sort of black slime creature oozed out of the cracks and attacked, but Araloth landed a critical blow early on and the creature wasn’t able to pose any kind of threat.

S20: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 3: Infiltration

We took the enemies chainmail to sell later and propped them up to look like they might be alive and lazy from ground level and smashed the mouthpiece of the horn so it would be useless but look fine to those below, and then got on our way back to the wagon.

15 minutes after we got back on the wagons we arrived at the gateway to the Stronghold.  As we saw this we had a brief chat about what we were actually going to do inside.  We discussed starting a fire but we were afraid of it catching the trees alight.  Some nature etc checks revealed that the corruption had made the forest dryer and more flammable than usual and it wouldn’t take much for things to go very wrong.   Hobgoblin archers on the walls had the gates opened for us as we drew near, and we nonchalantly rolled in.   One of the Hobgoblins had us stop before we entered.  He asked how the raid went and Reginald said, “It went like a charm.  You know these villager types.  They’ve no real fight in ‘em.”  He said he wished he could see some action too and ushered us through.

S20: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 3: Infiltration

As we rolled inside we were approached by a Hobgoblin we would soon discover was the Quartermaster.  He was looking for a spy amongst our numbers he had been told about.  Reginald quickly spoke up and insisted they had killed him in the woods earlier that day when he tried to run away with our loot.  He thanked us and let us park properly before having his men unload the wagons.  As we pulled up I noticed the same golden orb I had seen before floating in the air above us.  It instantly vanished and I failed my roll to work out what it was.  I chose not to react as we were being supervised by the enemy at this point.

As we looked around we could see that this Stronghold was still heavily under construction.  Near the unloading area we could see a large domed building that looked recently completed.  It had no windows but inside we could hear sounds of Hobgoblin revelry.  This was apparently some kind of barracks/bar/recreation area and a large source of reinforcements for the gate.  One of our primary goals would be to delay their response to any invasion.

We slunk off to a corner to talk in private and survey our surroundings.  Over time it became apparent that only Hobgoblins entered the domed building so human infiltration might be difficult.  Hobgoblins would come and go through the area occasionally (10-15 in the area at any given time) and the tents around the gate all appeared to contain more Hobgoblins.  We have a hand drawn map of the area that the spy Yalek gave us earlier.  It pointed us towards the area the leadership would be gathering in.  We went around and had a casual look.  It was a small courtyard with a central tower with raised rope bridges 20 feet in the air.  We also saw our first full fledges cultists in the area.  We were not going to get much of a look around without risking triggering a fight or getting caught so we backed out to discuss our plans.  After a good long chat discussing infiltrating the barracks, nailing that door shut, and trying to trigger fights between groups of mercenaries we settled on our plan and used the sending stones to call the army, who would arrive around an hour later.

55 minutes later we approached the Quartermaster to ask for our wagons back as we wanted to go on another raid.  He got grumpy because nothing was planned and told us to get them ourselves.  We parked the wagon in the courtyard and loaded it up with lots of empty boxes to put captured goods in and a barrel or two of nails from the nearby construction supplies.  We hitched up the horses badly at the front.  When we could hear the army nearby Ramond freed the horses and him and Thorovir pushed the wagon straight through the doors to the barracks, wedging them in the middle.  The rest of us then smashed in the wheels so it would not move.  We hoped that the barrels of nails would break on impact making it harder for people to climb through without getting hurt.  We then ran towards the leadership to end any chance of an alliance there.

The hobgoblins are on raised rope and plank bridges 10 feet above the ground.  Everyone else is on the ground.The hobgoblins are on raised rope and plank bridges 10 feet above the ground. Everyone else is on the ground.

Thorivor had an early start and Devere had been unavailable tonight and this was going to be a long fight so we called it there.  This should be the final combat before we return to camp and end this adventure, but we will see.

S19: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 2: The Approach

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
3 Comments

(Talindra is still currently guest DMing for us and I am playing Reginald the Bard)

We slept the night at the camp and then headed out the next morning to intercept the people who had just raided Westbridge on their way back to the Hobgoblin stronghold through Kryptgarden forest.  Early in the day we encountered a clearing with an engraved obelisk in the middle.  Melandrach scouted south around the clearing while Karson scouted north.  Melandrach found some fresh Worg prints and Karson ran in to a particularly corrupted tree, riddled with diseased vines.  When they told us there was no noticeable immediate threat Devere and Ramond approached the stone to investigate.  The runes were too weathered to read, but appeared to be an ancient form of elven we could not make out.  Then Melandrach spotted four Worgs sneaking up on him through the woods, so he and Karson moved towards the middle of the clearing.  The Worgs looked wrong, like the forest had corrupted their form and started growing over them.

Karson and Bilba shot at the Worgs as Araloth approached and braced for attack.  Then, Karsons diseased tree upped root and started walking towards the group, apparently a Treant.  As it approached it tore a large chunk of rock and dirt out of the ground and threw it.  It hit the monolith just above Reginald’s head, shattering to dust and shards.  Ramond shouted out for Melandrach and Devere to follow him and hold off the Treant and then ran towards it.  Melandrach followed the advice and ran at the Treant and tried to use his staff to smash off some of the corrupting vines, with little success.  Two of the Worgs charged at Araloth who cut one of them down, but the other hurt him badly and knocked him to the floor.  The others ran towards Karson and Devere.  Thorovir shot at Araloth’s Worg twice while Reginald Viciously Mocked Karson’s worg to throw off its attack, and then healed Araloth.  He then shouted out that there seemed to be small black blighted plant creatures up in the branches of the Treant.  Devere summoned a Spiritual Weapon to attack Karson’s Worg, and then uttered a Word of Radiance, hurting both Worgs.  Three of the Twig Blights in the Treant jumped down to attack Melandrach while the other three threw spines and darts at Ramond.  Karson and Araloth both attacked their Worgs then Araloth backed away towards Bilba while she was shooting at Devere’s Worg.  The Treant backhanded the Melandrach, leaving him bloody and sore.  Ramond moved up and joined the fight against the Twig Blights.  In a flurry of blows, Melandrach then killed one Twig Blight and beat up a second.

S19: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 2: The Approach

One of the Worgs charged at Araloth, who dodged out of the way, while the other two attacked Devere who distracted them with a Warding Flare.  Thorovir dropped his bow and attacked Araloth’s Worg with his rapier.  Reginald started insulting the Twig Blights in the branches and moved up to provide better assistance in that melee, and Devere followed him, dodging the blows from the Worgs and attacking one with his spiritual weapon.  The twig blights attacked everyone nearby with punches and darts.  Araloth killed his Worg and Karson tried to do the same but missed twice.  Bilba managed to shoot and kill the Worg that had been focusing on Devere.  The Treant lashed out at Ramond, who got out of the way and killed another Twig Blight, as did Melandrach.  The Worg jumped for and missed Karson.  Thorvir dropped his rapier and picked up his bow, shooting at the nearest aerial Twig Blights.  Ramond insulted a Twig Blight and held his ground.  Devere’s Spiritual Weapon hit the last Worg while he cast Cure Wounds on Melandrach.  The twig blights all threw darts at Devere in response.  Karson finally managed to kill his Worg and moved towards the Treant.  As Araloth ran towards the Treant, Bilba stepped out of her hiding spot and killed a Twig Blight with an arrow.  As Ramond dodged another Treant attack he jumped up and swung his blade at a Twig Blight 15 foot up in the air, killing it.  Melandrach fired Radiant Sunbolts to kill the last Twig Blight, and to attempt to burn off more corrupting vines, hurting the Treant in the process.  The party then spent some time trying to cut, smash and shoot the vines off of the Treant, with limited success, always hurting it in the process.  There was a brief chat about running away and trusting it would recover once the dragon is dead, until Ramond and Devere started grabbing fistfuls of corrupted vines and tearing them off.  With enough removed he calmed down and started talking instead of fighting.

S19: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 2: The Approach

It tore off the remaining vines from itself and removed the dead Twig Blights from his canopy.  It turned to Ramond and thanked him for his aid.  As it spoke some berries sprouted on him, which it removed and offered as assistance (Goodberries).  It said it was off to see the King about this and wandered off in to the forest.  The group handed out the berries and healed up before heading back on their path.

A while later we happened upon the path we were looking for and could hear a creaky wagon approaching.  We spread out and hid in the bushes as best we could (Not very well at all!) and waiting for the wagon to be in the middle of us.  When they came in to sight two wagons could be seen escorted by 6 human guards and an Ogre at the rear.  As they drew near the leading edge of the ambush, the two wagons scouts shouted out, “Who’s there?” and started firing their bows towards Araloth and Karson.  We all advanced and attacked the enemies leading the caravan and on the front wagon.  Expecting hobgoblins and finding humans, Reginald assumed these would be the mercenaries the spy we are looking for has infiltrated, and began looking for the tell-tale scar.  The man on the rear wagon shoved the woman next to him off the wagon and began running south in to the woods.  When she got up she shouted out, “Get the traitor!” and unloaded two hand crossbows in to his back.  Thorovir fired a Grasping Arrow in to the Ogre who chose to ignore its by walking slowly around the caravan, taking extra damage and swinging for Melandrach.  While the party worked on the mercenaries Reginald ran around behind them to try and distract the woman from killing our spy.  Araloth was faster though and ran around everyone and attacked her.  Our spy turned around and finished her off with his crossbow, before running west away from everything.  Ramond ran up to engage the ogre, finally making it in to combat from the back of the ambush.  Devere ran towards our potential spy, saw the v shaped scar, and called out, “Wait!  We are friends.  We’re here to help.”  The ogre swung and missed Ramond and the remaining two guards attacked us.  Karson knocked out one of the guards and moved up on to the wagon next to the other and the ogre.  Araloth stepped over the woman’s body to backstab the ogre and noticed her wounds had healed.  Araloth hit it with an arrow, and then Melandrach beat it down with his staff.

An attempted ambush.  We are not stealthyAn attempted ambush. We are not stealthy

With all the enemies defeated, Araloth and Reginald tied up the survivors.  They were all wearing black sashes with a simple five headed dragon drawn on them.  We have taken all six of these as a disguise to infiltrate the stronghold.  Araloth looted a heart shaped ruby pendant from the woman and we found some gems and trinkets we can sell later, along with a couple of healing potions.  The rest we left on the wagons.  The horses looked emaciated so Reginald tried to offer them some rations.  They did not respond.  They appear to be on the brink of death, but held alive by some magic.  We need them for now, but they should probably be either saved or freed from this when we are done.

While this was happening, Devere and Melandrach went to talk to Yalek.  He was grateful for the rescue.  He thought his boss was getting suspicious and was looking for a way to make a run for it.  Devere explained we had been sent by Lillith of the Zhentarim to find him.  He had to get back to camp to tell them where the Red Wizards are.  We pumped him for information and then asked him to take the prisoners back with him.  The sashes should be enough to fool any hobgoblin guards as they don’t pay enough attention to who the humans are.  He gave us a basic map of the enemy encampment, showing where we can find the leaders of the Zartruss clan.  We had a discussion on distances and we decided if we took a short rest and then headed out he would arrive back at camp around the same time we started infiltrating the enemy stronghold so assaults would align.  While we were chatting, Reginald thought he saw a shimmering fist sized orb in the air for just a moment, but it vanished as her turned to look at it.  Probably nothing (poor roll to see/ID it).  We rested up and got back on the road.

It was getting late so we called it a night ready for the main assault next week.

S18: Corruption in Kryptgarden Part 1

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

The party set up camp half an hour away from the collapsed house and took the afternoon and night to fully recover from what had happened.  The next morning, still raining, Talindra sent her owl up above the tree line to get an idea where they were and then the group headed towards the nearest edge of the forest, to the south east.  Once clear of the trees, the group discussed what to do with their new treasure.  Araloth took the sabre, and the group agreed the Soul Bag and Leachers Gem should be kept safe until they could find a way to destroy them.  They put them inside the Bag of holding, which Thorovir will be holding on to for now.

After two days on the road they arrived back in Phandalin, late in the afternoon.  As they pulled up in the Town Square Talindra used Message to tell Sildhar that they were back and had Gundren.  He asked them to take him to the Inn and he’d be over soon.  They went to the inn and all settled at a table with drinks and meals ordered.  Sildhar arrived shortly after and arranged a room and care for Gundren.  He got an update on the situation and Talindra returned his stolen sword and armour to him.  Gundren said he needed some time to recover before he would be ready to travel so they should take the time to prepare ready to take the mine from the Black Spider.  He offered them a 10% stake in the mine if they cleared it out and made it safe for him, and agreed to be on call should more threats be revealed.  He hungrily wolfed down his hot meal before Sildhar and Trilena, the Innkeepers wife, helped him up the stairs for a hot bath.  Talindra asked around and found out about a trade caravan heading to Neverwinter in the morning and asked to join them as she has some looted spell books she wants to sell on.  With rooms in the inn running short, the party decided to sleep up at Tresendar Manor tonight (DM: Sildhar and the Lords Alliance had taken over the property and are converting it in to a new base of operations.  The party have been given keys and access while repairs continue and saw that the basement had been renovated and works continued on the upper floors.  More secure doors had been added to the main and side entrance to the basement and the area was more habitable.

Tresendar BasementTresendar Basement

(DM: A while back I noticed this campaign was very episodic and made an offer to my group.  If anyone wanted to try their hands at DMing or DMing through Roll20 but didn’t want to commit to a whole campaign they could pick a short adventure and they could insert it and take over for a few session.  Talindra has taken me up on this and will be running the D&D Adventurers League module “Corruption in Kryptgarden”(CiK) for the next few sessions while I step in with a guest character Bard called Reginald Arthur Tremblay.  If you think you might play through CiK you should skip the next few entires)

 

The next morning Talindra left town early with the trade caravan before the others awoke.  While they were finishing of their breakfast at the Stonehill Inn a messenger in the livery of Lord Silmerhelve of Waterdeep with two guards and a minstrel entered the inn and asked for Sildhar.  Sildhar comes down from his room and has a chat with them and they head over to the party after he gestured towards them.  The messenger came over and said he has a message from the Lords Alliance and they are needed in Kryptgarden for an important matter of great significance to the Sword Coast.  Lord Olranth Silmerhelve has heard of their deeds from Sildhar and has requested their help.  There is a malevolent entity in the area endangering trade and local settlements.  They tried to get more information, but the messenger said he had told them all he could.  When they pushed, the bard stepped forward, introduced himself, and said he had been travelling with him for a few days and had been trying to get more information.  The messenger didn’t have anything more to tell.  Given they had some time on their hands, and are members of the Lords Alliance they agreed to help.  The bard ordered some breakfast and a round of drinks and sat down to get to know his new travelling companions while the Messenger and his guards prepared to get back on the road.

They spent five days on the road to Kryptgarden, chasing off a pack of hungry wolves one night, and avoiding a pack of orc hunters one day.  When they approached the forest early on the fifth day, they could clearly see something wrong.  The forest had an ominous air, and a sickly aura to it.  It did not appear healthy, or a safe place to be.  They were lead around it for half a day to a military encampment of several hundred soldiers with banners of both Waterdeep and Neverwinter.  There were also banners they were able to identify as from the Emerald Enclave, the Zhentarim, and the Order of the Gauntlet.  They were lead through to the command tent, and were announced by the messenger.  They were greeted by Lord Valero Brokengulf and Lady Dalia Simerhelve.  Lord Valero explained that his family has kept watch over Kryptgarden for generations as it contains an ancient green dragon, Claugiyliamatar (AKA Old Gnawbones).  She has recently gained the aid of the Zartruss clan of hobgoblins and is talking with the Cult of Dragons.  Recently trade caravan attacks in the area have risen dramatically.  The fear is the Hobgoblins are taking supplies to reinforce and develop their fortress and become a much larger threat to the Sword Coast under the control of Claugiyliamatar.

Map of the regionMap of the region

The party is being asked to intercept the stolen supplies and infiltrate the fortress so they can open it up for an attack from their main force.  Once inside we need to find a way to delay their forces from reacting to an attack, keeping them away from the walls while the main assault happens.  During the assault we need to find the leaders of the tribe and the Cult of Dragons, and disrupt their new alliance.  The last caravan assault was at the village of Westbridge, who have had many caravans ambushed.  All the good should be at the stronghold and we should aid in its return.  They are currently awaiting a Zhentarim agent’s imminent return, who should have more information.  Lady Dalia gave us a Sending Stone to communicate with the main force during our mission.

A harper agent called Windle was introduced to the group and asked to introduce us to the other factions aiding in this mission.  She escorted us out of the tent and took us to a prearranged camp we can use.  She then took us round the allied factions’ camps, starting with the Emerald Enclave, where we met a scarred older man called Hendle.  He informed us that the local fey had been corrupted by the dragon and would likely be hostile.  We should do our best to avoid conflict and where not possible, we should try not to do any more harm or damage than necessary.  They will return to normal once the dragon is removed.  Fey creatures can often be won over with gifts and flattery, and have a weakness for shiny things. They can be won over to aid against the dragon.  He advised that we do not trust the forest.  Wendle advised there have been rumours of a dark Fey lord called King Witchthorne.  Gaining his favour could be key to winning this battle.

Next we met a Dwarf Paladin of Helm, called Drom, Master of the forces of the Order of the Gauntlet.  He told us about the hobgoblin prisoners they had captured and interrogated.  There are likely to be a system of alarms and guard posts in place to warn of enemies approaching the hobgoblin stronghold.  We will need to be careful to avoid them and silence them before they can alert others.

We then were introduced to the Halfling leader of the Zhentarim, Lilith.  She told us about Yalek Snurd, her spy who has integrated himself with a band of mercenaries the Cultists have hired to attack the caravans to present as tribute to the Dragon.  He has information essential to the assault and we should find and extract him.  Red Wizards of Thay have been seen with the Cultists, and should be prevented from interfering with the assault. The Zhentarim are ready to intercept them at short notice, if given the chance.

Windle was asked what the Harpers involvement was.  They are providing information and magical aid.  Harper agents have warded the camp from scrying as the dragon is particularly skilled with divination magics.

 

We called it a night there as it was getting late and the DM said it was a suitable break point.

S17: The Haunt Part 2: Don't Split the Party

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

With the door slammed shut behind them, separating them from their allies, Ramond picked himself up off the floor and advanced to the body in the chair.  As he got closer the body snapped its head back from over the chair and back into position. He recognised her from the apparitions of the manor. It was the dark advisor Gertrude. She grinned wide and evil, then cackled a haunting laugh as her features grew long and haggard. Her skin turned midnight blue and her pupils turn the red of the 9 hells.  She was mumbling under her breath and Ramond was now close enough to hear it.  As her speech reached its crescendo she raised her arms in the air.  As Ramond brought his greatsword down to Smite her, three Ghouls rose out of the piles of corpses and she called out, “Attack them!”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the door, Bilba tried to open it, but it wouldn’t budge.  It didn’t appear to be locked either.  It just didn’t want to open.  Karson decided to ram it down with his shoulder.  The door didn’t move, as if held in place by something more than hinges and a frame.  The wood was old a rotten and weak, and had given partially where he had impacted.  A small dent had formed, and along the cracks at its edges small beads of a black liquid were starting to ooze out, as if the door was bleeding from its wound.  Talindra sent her familiar to watch over the wounded and weak Gundren, and followed Karsons example and Eldritch blasted the door.  Wood splintered, but the door held.

Araloth remained on the floor panicking.  This whole experience was too much for him (DM: He failed his fear save like 6 times, even with advantage once). Devere cast Silence to prevent more summoning, covering most of the room and silencing Araloth’s screams.  Melandrach picked himself up and attacked the nearest ghoul.  The ghouls then lashed out at Ramond, and Melandrach.  Ramond swung at Gertrude and missed.  She tried to cast a spell but the Silence stopped her so she moved to flank and dragged her claws across his chest.

Gertrude, the Night HagGertrude, the Night Hag

Outside, Thorovir stepped forward and used Druidcraft to ignite the door.  Gundren moved slowly forward towards the party and Bilba threw a flask of oil at the burning door and the small flame engulfed the whole door.  Karson smashed at the door with his sword, but got his sword briefly stuck between the doors.  Talindra showed him how it was done with a second Eldritch Blast, and a large panel gave way.  For a moment they could see inside the room, but then black goo from inside the woodwork grew out and formed back over the hole.

Devere stepped out of his Silence, climbing on to the desk in to the North East corner, and cast a heal spell at Ramond, who was close to death.  Melandrach moved out from between two Ghouls and continued to lay in to his target.  The Ghouls lashed out at their nearest targets, hurting Ramond badly. Gertude finished him off (DM: with a scary crit.  When I rolled the damage everyone laughed when they saw the look on my face).  With no one threating her she followed Devere’s example and backed up in to the South East corner until she could hear herself again.

The fire finally consumed the door and it fell to the ground.  Thorovir took the opportunity to fire an arrow in to Melandrachs target, felling it.  Bilba stepped in to the doorway, Fired at Gertrude but missed, before retreating back to cover.  On the floor, still cowering in terror, Araloth became aware of a dark shape under the bed.  It took shape as he noticed its head slowly turning to look at him with an evil grin on its face.  The doll got to her feet and ran straight to him, attacking with its clawed hand and its wicked knife.  He lost consciousness and lay there, bleeding out where so many others had before.   Seeing this, Karson ran in to the room and attacked the doll (DM: He hit and everyone was horrified how little her health bar moved).  Talindra poured his Healing Light in to Ramond, waking him back up, and fired an Eldritch blast in to the doll.

S17: The Haunt Part 2: Don't Split the Party

Devere let the Silence end and called out, “By the light of Lathander I will end you!” and summoned a Spiritual Flaming Mace to attack Gertrude, which hit her hard as he launched himself off the end of the corner desk, bringing his mace down on her head.  Melandrach beat in to the nearest Ghoul and shouted insults at the other, trying to bait it.  The Ghouls attacked Melandrach and Karson to no effect.  Ramond picked himself up off the floor and drank a healing potion and then got up on the other desk to engage Gertrude, boxing her in to the corner.  As he approached, she chanted and three Magic Missiles flew out of her finger and damaged Devere, Ramond, and Melandrach.  Thorovir missed his shot at Melandrachs Ghoul as Gundren made himself comfortable at the skeleton clerks desk.  As the fire in the doorway went out, Bilba put an arrow through the Doll.   The doll scratched Karson, but missed with her knife.

Finding himself between two Ghouls and the Doll, Karson killed the weakened Ghoul, and missed an attack on the Doll.  Talindras Endritch Blast thudded in to the Doll as she used golden radiant light to bring Araloth back to consciousness.  Araloth came to his senses, jumped up, moved to flank the doll and missed with his shortsword but hit with his dagger.

“I do not believe you heard me, foul wench.  I will end you!” Devere said, as he burst in to golden light, illuminating the dim room for a moment.  As the light subsided he had golden glowing eyes and wings made out of light.  He smacked at her with his Spiritual Weapon, but missed.  Melandrach flanked the remaining Ghoul and wailed on it hard.  The Ghoul tried to retaliate without success.  Ramond swing his blade at Gertrude, but missed, sinking it in to the desk he was stood on.  She responded by raising three more Ghouls.  She turned to face the Celestial threat and said to him, “I’ll swallow your soul!”.  The green glow tethering her to the mass of tendrils on the ceiling began to pulse and she appeared revitalised and healed somewhat (DM: Regained 3d6HP).

S17: The Haunt Part 2: Don't Split the Party

Thorovir finished off the damaged Ghoul as Bilba fired at one of the new ones near Devere.  The doll stabbed Karson almost to death.  Karson retaliated, hitting with his main hand only.  Talindra hexed the doll, shouting out, “No one else is allowed to die.  I’ve run out of healing!” before critically Blasting her.  Araloth stabbed at the doll, and figured out his non magical weapons were not being as effective as he would expect, before retreating from the room.  Devere killed the Ghoul behind him as he brought his Spiritual Weapon to bear on Gertrude.  The blow sparked with a divine glow.  Melandrach almost killed one of the two remaining Ghouls, who then both flailed ineffectually.

Ramond swung at Gertrude who effortlessly deflected his blow, before lunging for Devere.  However, she was thrown off by a blinding flash of light and missed.  Thorovir tried to kill the ghoul behind Ramond, but fumbled his shot, landing his arrow harmlessly in to Ramond armour.  Bilba put an arrow in to Gertrude, who glared menacingly at her in return.  The doll critically wounded the already battered Karson, who now lay bleeding out on the floor.  She then moved to attack Melandrach, nearly downing him too.  Talindra blasted the doll again and cast shillelagh on his staff.   Araloth ran back in to the room and slashed and stabbed at the Doll, before moving back out again.  Devere side stepped to finish off a Ghoul while his Spiritual Weapon hit the Night Hag.

Melandrach shouted out, “I’ve got healing potions on me.  Can someone give me one when this goes wrong” and whacked at the Doll and missed with his staff, but landed a solid kick.  The remaining Ghoul hit Ramond, who became paralyzed as a result, but shrugged it off at the end of his turn.  Gertrude lashed out at Devere and once again was distracted by a blinding flash of light.  Once again, the green beam started the pulse and she looked refreshed and healed.  Thorovir moved up to the end of the bed and shot a Grasping Vine arrow in to the doll.  Bilba fired at the Doll, but missed.  The doll slashed twice and Melandrach and to everyone’s surprise missed.  The doll then turned around and vanished under Karsons unconscious body.  Readying her staff, Talindra rolled over the body to look for the doll, but could not find her.  Araloth pulled a potion out of his pocket and ran over to heal Karson.  Devere hit Gertrude with both his mace and his Spiritual Weapon.  Melandrach moved to flank the last Ghoul and hit it twice.  The ghoul retaliated but missed.  Ramond missed another swing at the Night Hag, and despite another Warding Flare, she slashed her claws across Devere.  Thorovir put an arrow in to the last Ghoul, nailing its dead body to the open window frame.

Bilba also fired her bow, landing a critical wound on Gertrude.  She was then surprised by a sharp pain in her ankles and looked down to see the Doll stabbing her from under the desk she was pressed up against.    Karson stood up and knew he couldn’t reach Gertrude so he turned his sword in to a hawk and had it attack her from a flanking position behind her.  She turned around to defend herself, but it was already too late.  The hawk was in her face, and scratched a claw straight through one eye, pulling it out. The pain and the blood loss was too much and she fell to the floor, while the bird pecked out the other eyeball.  After a moment, her body dissolved in to black gloop, soaking through the pile of her clothes in to the wooden floor.  Talindra stepped up real close and Blasted the doll in the face.  Araloth ran back in to the room, ducked down low and shoved his shortsword straight in to and through the dolls face, pinning her to the back of the desk.  He then spent the next few rounds pulling her apart to make sure she should not get back up again.

S17: The Haunt Part 2: Don't Split the Party

As he looked around for the next threat he noticed the vines release the emaciated victim on the ceiling.  He fell heavily to the floor, landing on his back with an ‘oof’. He breathed shallowly and they looked over him he smiled, and whispers ‘thank you’ before breathing his last breath. The emerald in his chest lost its glow as he passed away.  Ramond investigated the Night Hags remains and found a small pouch, a curved jewelled dagger and a black stone pendant.  Talindra investigated the body from the ceiling and looked at the gem, but didn’t touch it.  Instead, she started ritually casting Detect magic while Karson created some Goodberries and handed them round to everyone patching up their wounds.  Araloth tore the doll to pieces and pocketed her knife as Gundren entered the room and sat on the bed.  Melandrach started to do a thorough search of the room, but was interrupted when all of a sudden the room started to rumble, as dust fell through the cracks and holes in the ceiling. Then, suddenly, the entire manor began to shake, as the walls started to decay and erode.  The manor, it seemed, was caving in on itself, and would likely be nothing but a pile of rubble before long.  They had put everything in a pile ready for the detect magic, so all took a moment to pick this back up again, but then debated who would grab the emerald from the man’s chest.  Karson headed over to assist Gundren.  Debris started falling in larger chunks from the ceiling, hitting Mellandrach, Ramond, Devere for 1d10 damage.  Devere and Araloth said they were going out over the balcony, noticing that the hail storm had relaxed in to regular rain during the fight.

Araloth lowered himself over the balcony safely and Karson was able to lower Gundren down to be caught by him.  Ramond pulled the gem from the chest, removing some flesh with it as everyone lowered themselves off the balcony.  Melandrach stayed behind to ensure everyone else made it safely and caught a bit of falling lumber as he jumped, knocking him out.  The dragged him to safety and patched up his wounds with a med kit back at the horse as the building collapsed.  Exhausted and all near death, the party was keen for a rest.  They put some distance between them and the house just in case and set up camp for a short rest and a round of Detect Magic and Identify rituals. (DM: details at end of section)  Mr Clipperty, their horse, also needed healing.  He had suffered multiple wounds from the hail stones.  After setting up his tent and before adding his loot to the Detect magic pile Ramond opened the Night Hags pouch to see if it was worth identifying.  A small black cloud puffed out of it, and he coughed and went a little bit dizzy, a little feint for a moment.  The pouch appeared to be empty after.  He added it to the detection pile anyway.

Exhausted and on single figures, the party has decided to stay here for the night.  Its early afternoon and it is still raining, although the weather has definitely eased up.  They have the afternoon to themselves and will have a long rest overnight before working out how to get back to town.

S17: The Haunt Part 2: Don't Split the Party

Curved jeweled dagger is not magic.  Araloth priced it up for around 500gp

Doll dagger is not magic

Cavalrymans Sabre, +1

3 times per day: Can gain advantage on an attack if you have moved at least 25 feet under your own control that round immediately before attacking.  This does not count against daily total if performed on horseback.  Such attacks gain an extra dice of slashing damage.

Heartstone Amulet (Necromantic magic)

This lustrous black gem allows a night hag to become ethereal while it is in her possession. The touch of a heartstone also cures any disease.  3 charges only.  Does not recharge.

Skin bag = Bag of holding but stinks of rotting meat inside

Soul bag (Necromantic magic).  This pouch made of human flesh is made and used by Night Hags to store captured souls in.

Sun Elf Statuette (From Cragmaw Keep) (Divination magic)

Any non-evil creature grasping the statue can ask it a question and receive a telepathic response, as though it had cast augury (see the rulebook for a description of this spell). Once a creature has asked its question and received a response, it can never activate the statuette again.

The Leacher’s Emerald (Strong Necromantic magic)

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

This green emerald is an ancient relic imbued with necrotic energies by an evil necromancer long ago. Its master and wielder, once attuned, can attempt to magically implant the emerald into the chest of any living creature. The creature must successfully win a Grappling (PHB, pg. 195) contest to be able to resist the attempt.

As a bonus action the emerald’s master can use it to transfer 3d6 Hit Points from the victim to them-self if it is within 60 ft. The emerald has two charges per day and regains all of its charges at dawn.

The gem exerts no control over the victim otherwise, but the master of the emerald knows it’s direction and distance at all times. If the emerald crosses into another plane, the owner knows which one.

Extraction. A skilled physician can remove the gem on a successful DC 17 Intelligence (Medicine) check, but the patient suffers 4d10 piercing damage on every attempt. A greater restoration spell can be used to eject the gem. The emerald radiates evil.

S16: The Haunt

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

The hail outside was proving too much for the trees to shelter Thorovir and Gundren (DM: Plus Thorovir’s player had turned up this week.  We had an unexpected full house) so they entered the house with the others as they explored the stairway room, and sat Gundren on the sofa.  They looked around themselves and saw a spiral stairway leading up and down, with both routes blocked by immovable gates.  Beside the stairs was a statue of a griffon with one arm raised.  Ahead they could see an abandoned tea room, with three small sets of tables and chairs, all covered in dust.  On the sofa besides Gundren was a dirty old doll that Devere stopped to investigate as the party explored further.

The party entered the Tea Room and looked around.  Through the next doorway they could see an old empty dinner table, covered in dust and cobwebs.  Melandrach went ahead while the party watched from the tea room.  As he stepped up into the dining room from the sunken tea room, the air grew warm. Suddenly the room came to life, as ghostly apparitions appeared seated at the once empty table. A large dinner party was being held it seemed, as a roasted hog materialised, along with plates of all varieties of food. Jugs of foaming ale were being shared between ghostly companions. A large spectral human man stood at the head of the table, saying nothing, a serious scowl and frown is cemented over his face as he overlooked his guests who seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Melandrach called out from near the doorway, but got no response.

Devere caught up with the group, showing them the doll he had found, explaining his concerns that its eyes, though dull and lifeless, were a similar blue to the eyes they had briefly seen from outside the building.  Ramond used his Divine Senses to check the doll and the area for evil and while the Doll registered, he was surprised to find that the whole area was evil.  The walls were infused with evil.  Even the air itself carried evil floating within it.  The party had a discussion about what to do with the doll, fearing what it could be.  Could it be watching or listening to them?  Could it be an evil totem?  Should the burn it (They checked the fireplace.  It had no wood).  Devere handed the doll to Melandrach, who tied it in to a sack, and eventually left it on the dining table, once the party was over.

As the explored the dining room they tried to listed to the voices.  While they could hear chatter, they could not make out words.  Perhaps they were not speaking common, or perhaps the voices were coming through the veil and losing something on the way? (DM: Or perhaps the module didn’t cover this and I didn’t want to make up a dozen dinner party conversations)  Ramond advanced to get a much closer look at the standing man at the head of the table.  The room abruptly became quiet, all talking and laughter ceased. Every ghost in the room turned to face Ramond when the man at the head of the table rushed toward him, floating right through the hard wooden dining table. “You should not be here! LEAVE THIS PLACE!!!!” He screamed as he rushes closer. Then as quick as the party had started, the room was empty, dark and cold again. The ghosts were nowhere to be seen.

This is the only ghostly dinner party image I can find.  I thought there'd be plentyThis is the only ghostly dinner party image I can find. I thought there'd be plenty

Araloth brought Gundren up to the now empty Dining Room, as the party decided it best to keep him one room behind them at all times.  Gundren is barely mobile right now, only capable of walking slowly with aid.  As the party moved towards the double doors in front of them there came a loud crashing sound from behind them.  When they turned around they could see Talindra stepping out of the Tea Room, having narrowly avoided the chandelier that had dropped right where she had just stepped.  Upon inspection, it seemed to have been held up by a chain used to raise and lower it so the oil lamps could be refilled.  The chain was undamaged so it had somehow come away from its anchor.

They opened the double doors ahead of them, and a large room opened before them. A large chandelier hung from the high ceiling, and an old dance floor stretched before them. A large glass folding door opened onto an alfresco area on the east wall. Materializing from thin air they saw the man who had rushed at Ramond, ending the ghostly dinner party in the dining room. He seemed younger somehow, as if this is a vision into an earlier time in his life.

A beautiful woman entered from nothingness, dressed in a flowing black gown, her eyes dark and dangerous. He held her and looked into those eyes, and she looked back into his.

“We will disappear, just the two of us, my love” the man said dreamily.

“Oh, General Montharthas, but what of your wife? And we have work to do.” She reminded him.

“Never mind her, she will cope. And your army of undead… Let us not talk of this tonight” he replied as their apparitions faded and the room was once again empty.

S16: The Haunt

They recognised that name.  Melandrach had been reading a 500 year old Journal he found in Glasstaff’s lab and one of the later entries had mentioned General Montarthas as being the man in charge of the defence of the area around the time of the fall of the Mine and Phandalin.  He had been a good leader, but he had become distant, and often absent.  No one knew where he had been disappearing to, and without a reliable leader, morale and discipline had been dropping within the ranks.  (DM: I’m impressed they remembered this.  I’d dropped this nugget weeks ago and they’d made no mention of this in their quest notes on Discord.  I’m really glad Melandrach read that book.  There’s almost no information on what’s in it, but it’s let me drop all sorts of tidbits and tease future stuff.)

They had a look around the ballroom, and Melandrach peered out through the dirty rain soaked patio doors.  He could see a murky swimming pool, overrun with algae, and 3 old wooden sun loungers all being battered by the rain and hail.  As he was about to turn away from the walled garden he noticed the glint of metal on the far side of the pool.  They decided to investigate the pool area and had Gundren move up to the entry to the ballroom.  Melandrach and Devere stepped in to the garden as the others filed in to the ballroom.  As they moved around the pool, the water started to bubble and something huge rose out of the depths.  As the waters were disturbed, and awful smell of damp rot arose from it.  Wrapped in sheets of algae it was hard to identify but as sections of it slopped off back in to the waters, four eye stalks popped up, and one big dead white eye could be seen in the centre of its mass.

Araloth stayed with Gundren initially, as Talindra stepped forward and blasted it from within the ballroom.  Karson and Ramond stepped forward to attack it with their swords.  Thorovir fired over their heads.  Devere shot three scorching rays in to it, which only added to the foul smell as its damp rotting flesh got charred.  Bilba sunk an arrow in to it from the ballroom, as Melandrach attacked it from the other side of the pool.  Three zombies pulled themselves out of the pool as the floating beast focused its attention on Karson, sending a single beam of green light from an eyestalk at him (DM: Should have reduced him to 0hp in one hit, but he’d forgotten to update his HP in roll20.  I got a little worried there.  The black ray was much worse though.  Ray 4 had given me sleepless nights up to this point.  It can insta-kill with no chance of resurrection).  The zombies attacked Melandrach, Karson and Devere.  Araloth stepped up, stabbed the nearest zombie and retreated back in to the ballroom.  Talindra channelled a healing spell through his familiar to help out Karson, who was close to death, and also landed a critical hit with an eldritch blast.  Karson then pulled out and chugged a healing potion.  Ramond stepped around the zombie and swung at the Beholder, but missed.  Thorovir fired an arrow over his head straight in to the Zombie Beholders main eye.  It held its ground, gritted its teeth and started to growl, but then its eye popped, and it fell, lifeless back in to the filthy water, splashing everyone out there (Karson, Devere, Melandrach and Ramond) with slime and sludge, and most importantly, that god awful smell.  With the beholder dead, the party made short work of the remaining zombies.

Melandrach then investigated the shiny and found a Sabre that the plants had mostly swallowed up.  The party were curious what else could be hiding in the pool and discussed who would be going in to check the bottom.  As they were tying a rope around Talindra to lower her in, she remembered she could use a ritual to summon an unseen servant to do it for her.  While she was doing that, they checked the ballroom for secret doors (nothing) and investigated the side door from the dining room, while Gundren rested in the chair at the dinner table.  It went in to a small serving area with a ruined dumb waiter leading to the floor above.  They decided against climbing up it.  Once Talindra had set her Servant to spend the next 55 minutes checking the pool before bringing any finds back to her.

S16: The Haunt

They party gathered at the foot of the stairs after deciding there must be some secret doors they had missed, noticing that the gateway down was now open.   They went down the stairs and found themselves entering a small room.  Suddenly the door slammed shut behind them. A locking mechanism with a 4 digit code blocked the door and green noxious gas began to fill the room.  In the room they could see a half made flesh golem lying on an operating table.  It was missing only hands, feet and a brain. A large mechanism with a crank and coils sat behind it with rods connected to each of the golem’s temples.  To the left of the golem were three large buckets holding many feet, hands, and brains. Some rusty operating tools and a needle and thread sat on the table next to it. To the right of the golem sat a desk with a waxed scrap of paper that looks to be a diagram of a humanoid body. It had notes scribbled all over it.

DM: I explained to the group that they were on a real world time limit and needed to work together to escape the room.  I shared the handout over discord so everyone could see it and every so often mentioned how high the green gas had risen from the floor.  They successfully identified all three body parts with only 2 failures (I had them try to sew them on to eat up time, but they didn’t quite fit).  Devere sewed on the parts with an assist from Thorovir, while Talindra cast Guidance on him repeatedly. With 4 minutes left on the 20 minute clock they could not see, and the green gas causing them to cough as it rose above chest height, they finally flicked the switch.

As the air energized and they could feel static energy tingle around the room, the now completed golem began to move. It awakened, straight away sniffing the air. It moved quicker than expected and rushed towards the locking mechanism on the door. Pushing 4 digits, the door opened and the gas cleared.  Araloth wedged the door open with a piton, just in case.  They decided to investigate this workshop/operating room before leaving, while the golem stood there silently.  Karson found a draw filled with interesting parts for unknown machines.  Lots of doohickies and whatsits and thingummies.  All deeply interesting and must serve a purpose.  He became focused on this draw and spent some time going through it (DM: Natural 1 on perception so he stumbled on the mad scientist equivalent of that one box or draw we all have full of “useful” things we don’t need any more but the moment we through them out we will and won’t be able to replace).  The others found a freshly made bag on the table which had been hidden by the Golem.  It was made patches of strange leather.  The different shades and the stitching put everyone in mind of the Golem.  Devere picked it up, despite the suspicion that it’s made of human flesh.

S16: The Haunt

They all went back up the stairs to join Gundren on his sofa, except for Karson who was still going through his draw. (DM: And Thorovir left the game for the night as he has an early start)  They discovered the way up was no longer blocked.  Talindra did a thorough search of the Gargoyle room, hoping to find a secret door, but did not.  He then set about ritually casting Detect magic.  Devere opened his new bag and looked inside.  Upon opening, the smell of rotten meat escaped.  When Devere looked inside all he could see was darkness.  Even his Darkvision could not reveal more.  Araloth went back down to talk to the golem, but despite his best attempts he got no reaction.  While down there he did see Karson surrounded by the unpacked draw contents and persuaded him to come upstairs.  On their way back up Araloth closed and secured the gate to the stairs down using a strip of “leather” he had found downstairs to tie it closed.  Talindras detect magic revealed that the skin bag, the sabre from the garden, and the statuette from Cragmaw Castle were magic.  The party debated ritually identifying these items, but it would take a long time and no one felt entirely comfortable resting here, especially near the unexplored stairs up.  They decided to proceed up the stairs.

Once up the stairs, the hallways had a soft green glow to them, although no source of the light was evident.  Confronted with a crossroads, the party did the one thing you never do, especially in a horror setting: They split up.  Melandrach went north, while Araloth and Karson explored the door to the west.  They opened their door and found a seemingly abandoned bedroom, which they searched, finding nothing, but rotted linen in an old ottoman.  Araloth did a Scooby doo ghost impersonation with a sheet that collapsed before he could even raise it, leaving little more than a napkin for him to hide behind.  Meanwhile, Melandrach headed down his corridor, and was joined by Ramond, while the others waited near the stairs.

As Melandrach enter the room he noticed something that seems very unnatural, though not unexpected in a place such as this. It was a skeleton busy at work behind a writing desk, frantically writing notes in a translucent ethereal ledger book. It looked up at him with empty eye sockets, its jaw started to move as a hauntingly high pitched voice said “ahh, you are here! He has been waiting for you!… You may proceed Advisor Gertrude!”

From behind, Melandrach felt something evil and dark trespass through his body, as the aspect of a dangerously beautiful woman with dark and deadly eyes walked straight through him a smirk on her ghostly smile. She walked straight through the closed door opposite, and disappeared, whilst the skeleton clerk went back to his duties, ignoring the two intruders.  Those chose to ignore the busy skeleton and investigate the next room.  Meanwhile, Talindra moved up to watch them from the doorway behind them.  At this point I added an extra sound to the haunted house music already playing:  A creepy child laughing and running.  Someone asked it that had always been there or if it was new and their characters could hear it.  This was followed by a cry of, “Oh great.  Now everything’s haunted!”  From this point on I was dropping this sound file in now and again throughout the evening.

Devere and Bilba moved up to the crossroads to watch Araloth and Karson move south to the nearest door.  They opened the door to find a ghostly figure inside doing laundry.  Araloth offered to help her with the washing, and she looked up at him and faded away in to nothing, as did her laundry.  Meanwhile Ramond had come back to get Devere and Bilba to come join him.  Araloth and Karson saw this and went to see what was happening.  Thorovir stayed back with Gundren.

With the party mostly gathered by the skeletal clerk, Melandrach opened the door.   As they looked around the room, it appeared empty at first, but within the blink of an eye, a small pretty girl, no more than 5 or 6, was suddenly sitting on the long bench that stretched the northern wall. She seemed to be waiting patiently. The dark and deadly looking woman appeared in the room, smiled at the child, and offered her a children’s doll. The girl smiled with joy as the woman evaporated. The child’s smile turned to pain and anguish as blood soaked stab wounds began to appear on her silky white dress. She fell limp and tumbled to the floor before disappearing. They noticed that the doll was left lying on the bench, a knife in its hand and a grin on its face.

S16: The Haunt

They chose to ignore the doll, and get ready to open the next door.  As they listened at the door, they could hear the storm raging a little clearer than usual from beyond it, and they slowly became aware of a child’s voice singing a creepy nursery rhyme from behind them. (DM: I’ve never seen so many people fail a fear save before!  Everyone started insisting that the evil doll was tied up down stairs.  It was, yes.) As they turn around to see the source of the song, the doll launched itself through the air at Ramond, dragging its empty doll hand down his face, drawing blood like its fingers had been sharpened to points.  Ramond brought his greatsword down towards the doll, but missed, hitting the bench and sending a puff of stuffing and dust in to the air.  Bilba retreated from the doll, and put an arrow in the skeleton, who crumbled to dust.  Fear overcame her and she stood paralysed in the corner.  The doll slashed at Ramond with its knife and its clawed hand, drawing blood with both.  She then rolled backwards and vanished behind and under the bench.  Karson looked for her but could not see her.  He held his weapon ready to strike when she reappears.  Melandrach, Araloth and Talindra did the same, until Talindra and Melandrach became paralysed with fear.  Devere healed up Ramond, who then inspired Talindra with Heroism.  As the dolls initiative slot came and went, they decided it was time to move forward and those who could, gathered around the double doors.

Devere announce, “Right, I ain’t sticking around here” and opened the door.  The moment he turned the door handle, the doors slammed open and everyone nearby felt an overwhelming force pulling them in to the room(DM: Strength checks all round to resist).  Devere, Araloth, Ramond and Melandrach found themselves sucked in to the room, falling flat on their faces, before rising to their knees or rolling on to their backs.  They heard the doors slam shut behind them, cutting them off from their allies.  A great gust of wind blasted the room around them, sending dust, paper and curtains flying around the room. Piles of rotting corpses littered the creaky wooden floor. Then they saw him, on the ceiling, a shell of a man, shrivelled, tortured and used. His body and arms semi moulded into the blackened muck that replicated a ceiling. Slimy black vines crept through his flesh pinning him to the ceiling, as the ends of the vines expanded into drooling suckers that fed from his life force. A glow of green hue emanated from his chest where a green emerald spewed out evil energies into the mansion distributing the feed to all areas of the living building. The most potent looking of these green energies flowed directly into a lifeless body slumped with its head flung back over a wooden chair.

 

DM: it was 11 at night with tomorrow being the first day back at work after Christmas.  We all really wanted to continue but there’s no way this encounter resolves quickly.  So this week we end with the party split in half, with an evil doll on the loose nearby, and half the party prone in a pile of corpses under a mass of black life sucking tendrils lit up by a glowing green gem embedded in someone’s chest while they are hentai glued to the ceiling.  Unsurprisingly, I don’t think I got any sleep last night after that.  My mind was buzzing. 

S15: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker Part 3: The Barred Tower

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 2
No Comments

With all the goblinoids already defeated, the party split up in to groups and searched the castle, finding a few minor sellable art items, a cookbook in goblinoid with a tin marked “Yeggs Magic Spice”, a barrel of quality Brandy, Sildars lost armour, and a small weapons stash (Araloth took a shield for himself, and Karson took a longsword).  This just left the south east tower with its barred door and the sound of deep heavy rhythmic breathing inside.  They decided to investigate as they did not like the idea of leaving anything, man or monster, to just starve to death in a locked room.

Not sure what to expect, the party decided to be ready to run once the door was opened.  Talindra, Ramond, Devere and Bilba went off to get the wagon while the others had a short rest with Gundren, so they could load it up and have Gundren on board before setting the beat loose.  Devere noticed that their stuff had been tampered with.  Everything appeared to be there, but things weren’t quite as they had been left.  Ramond was able to find some footprints heading east.  They were most likely elven.  They did wonder if they were from the druid they had been asked to look for.  They decided it was best not to investigate yet as they didn’t want to get separated from the others.

When they returned to the castle they loaded up their loot and Gundren and told the others.  They then opened doors and removed curtains to create an open pathway from the barred door to the nearest exit, just in case.  Ramond, Thorovir, Talinda and Devere stayed with Gundren at the wagon as it gently started to rain, and the others got in position around the barred door.

Melandrach banged loudly on the door and called out a hello after Karson cast Speak With Animals on himself.  He was answered with a strange loud roar he and Karson could not identify.  There was some debate over how to proceed, but they were brought back to focus when something large started ramming in to the door from the other side.  Melandrach worked the improvised bar loose, then swung the door open and ran away as it opened without looking inside.

S15: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker Part 3: The Barred Tower

As the door crept open, Karson and Bilba could see an irate malnourished Owlbear inside.  The room looked wrecked, as you would expect from a small space with a large animal trapped in it.  Karson threw down some rations and backed up a little.  Everyone held their actions waiting to see what would happen as the Owlbear crept forward, sniffed the rations and carefully ate them, keeping an eye on everyone.  Melandrach ran to an arrow slit and told the others outside what they had found before returning.  Karson threw down another ration pack and backed up, and Melandrach followed his example.  Bilba left through the side door, closing it behind her.  Emboldened, the Owlbear swept up Karsons rations in one bite, and moved forward to eat Melandrachs, along with chunks of the dead Hobgoblin they had landed on.  Comfortable that the Owlbear had a way out and wasn’t going to attack them, the party left the castle without investigating the room behind it.

The party went in to the woods to follow the footprints they had found earlier.  Karson was able to track them a few miles easterly.  As they followed them, the rain worsened, and they discussed who it could be.  Redoith the druid was mentioned.  Araloth also mentioned that he had heard about a Hunter called Falcon who lived in the woods and would help people out.  He’d put you up for free, if you offered him a good bottle of wine.  However, he lived much further north east so this probably wasn’t him.

With the sun setting and the rain really coming down now, the party decided it best to leave the woods so headed south.  By around 8ish they decided to set up camp for the night and continue back to town in the morning.  During a lull in the weather the party gathered for dinner and a chat around the camp fire.

I upgraded our campifre screen so it is now fully customisable, ready for when they gain more tatI upgraded our campifre screen so it is now fully customisable, ready for when they gain more tat

(DM: Ramond and I had a chat between sessions.  We discovered after last session that his god, Tempus, does not tolerate torture at all.  This isn’t made clear in a lot of the books, but it is stated in one or two sources.  As such, we have a little course correcting to do after last week.  I don’t want to punish him because the books he saw weren’t clear, so let’s handle this in character for now, rather than strip away his paladin powers.  Yet.)

 

Ramond: “I did something very wrong today, very wrong indeed.  I will need to master my rage.  It’s not right that I am this way.  Tempus would not have smiled on what I did today.”

Talindra: “What did you do wrong?”

Ramond: “Torturing and killing that creature was not right.  It brings no glory.  There isn’t any honour in it.  You should treat your enemies with respect.”

Araloth: “Well, I for one think a Doppelganger out of the way is a good thing.”

Ramond: “That is no matter.  Only fate has the right to take life”.  Araloth rolled his eyes and got up to head to his tent

Ramond: “You were all unmoved by this”

Talindra: “No it was disturbing to view but we need information about who this Black Spider is that seems to be hunting us, because of our association with Gundren.”

Karson: “It was a worthy attempt to get the information we needed.  It’s not your fault it didn’t work.”

Melandrach: ”You went too far”

Ramond: “It’s not worthy at all.  No, it was too far.  It will not happen again.  That you can all justify it is for you to decide on, but I will not be doing that again.  The king I treated correctly.  He fought with honour, and I treated him well.  The Doppelganger, for all I hate the deception, and there’s a great deal of deception going on here, and its driving me to rage, I cannot let that rage overtake me.  I cannot follow this god and do these things.”

Bilba: “You should have some brandy, Ramond.  I hear its rather good.  It’ll lift your spirits up”.  Ramond accepts a cup”

Karson: “As a wise man once said, if you do not master your rage, your rage will become your master” (DM: Laughs all round as we all loved Mystery Men)

Ramond: “We got much more information from the king for my treatment of him.”

Karson: “On the other hand, I don’t know that we should have let him go. Goblins like that cannot be trusted.”

Ramond: “My god calls me to battle.  Once it’s over, that is all.  Everything is decided.”

Araloth: “Speculate to accumulate with the goblin king.  We let him go.  Maybe in the future he will help us.  The Doppelganger?  Killing her helped us with the king.  You win some, you lose some.  Maybe the king we’ll never see again, maybe he’ll come back as an enemy, maybe he’ll end up our best help?  We’ll see in the long run.”

Karson: “We could not have let the Doppelganger go because it could have hidden anywhere and come back at any time as one of us.  It would have imitated us and it could have infiltrated the party.  There was no way you could have let it go.”

Araloth: “And it was imitating a Drow, so you know.  It should be killed anyway.”

Ramond: “Who have the imitated before?  The Black Spider knows we are coming.  How does it know?  We can’t believe those goblins we let go have run all the way to him, after the terror we put in to them.  Something else is going on here

Araloth: “Would Detect Evil pick them up?  Is there a way of detecting them?”

Karson: “We don’t know”

Talindra: “Let’s not forget that that thing was trying to escape with the information we needed, and tried to end the life of our employer whilst he was unconscious and bound.  Ending it was a good thing.  But, the treatment it received up to that point, I can agree with you.  I can understand your point.  If you want, I’m sure all of us here will help point out if you seem to be straying down that path again.”

Ramond: “I think that is important.  Torture is not to be condoned and it will absolutely not happen again.  What happens when we capture enemies, well, I will need to think on it more.  Thank you.”  Ramond then took a big swig of his brandy.

Karson: “Make what amends you need with your god when we get back to town, but for now it’s time for us to get some sleep.” And with that they all drifted off to sleep, or take there turns in the watch on this rain soaked night.

Actual photo of a hailstorm in Neverwinter WoodActual photo of a hailstorm in Neverwinter Wood

(DM: When they rested everyone levelled up.  They are now level 4.  Despite me warning them this would happen a week ago, no one was prepared for this and two players are going to level up between sessions)

As they awoke the next morning they discovered the rain had not eased off.  They sky was black with storm clouds and all was dark.  Their tents and wagon had sunk a few inches in to the mud.  The fire was out and refused to light up again.  Damp and cold, everyone had breakfast and headed out through the woods towards town.  However the magic of Neverwinter Woods got the better of their navigator (DM: Natural 1 on survival and exactly when I needed it!  Thank you, Dice Gods!) , and as the rain turned to hail, stinging their flesh, they found themselves many miles off course and lost deeper within the woods.  With the hail seemingly getting worse, they decided to find a suitable spot to set up camp again and wait it out.  They found an area of the woods where the trees seemed to thin out a bit and went there to camp, but found a path, which lead up towards an old isolated house the wood seemed to be encroaching on.  They parked the horse under a large tree to provide it what shelter they could from the growing hail (DM: I was warning them that if they stayed outside much longer they were going to start taking damage as the hail stones were getting bigger.  Thorovir couldn’t make it this week).  Thorovir stayed with Gundren and the horse for now while the others approached the front door.

 

DM: SPOILER ALERT!: From this point we are entering the standalone DMs Guild module, “The Haunt”.  If you think you might ever want to play through this, you should probably skip my next session or two.  One of my players has been asking after Curse of Strahd next and always used to ask about Ravenloft back in the day so I thought I’d try a short horror module to see if I can work well with it and see how everyone feels about it.  The Haunt is supposed to be good so I’ve inserted it here and done my best to work it in to events.  I even started mentioning aspects of it a few sessions back.  We will see if they took notes or not.

The lonely house in the woodsThe lonely house in the woods

Melandrach used the heavy iron knocker and as they waited for a response, a pair of crystal blue eyes could be seen for a moment through the dirty old tinted window beside the door.   There was no response.  He knocked again, and Talindra used Minor Illusion to call out a hello just inside the door.  With the hail hurting, and patience wearing thin, the party started looking for other ways out of the rain; window, other doors, the 10 foot wall behind them (DM: They party kept saying they can do a standing jump over a 10 foot wall and wouldn’t even need to climb.  Thanks, D&D.  What were you thinking?).  Behind them they heard a click, and a slow creak as the door slowly swung open, seemingly by itself.

As they stepped out of the hail they found themselves in a large open foyer area with a demonic looking statue to either side of them.  As they shook themselves dry, Ramond had Talindra cast Light on his Greatsword, and moved to peek in to the next room.  As he stepped past one of the statues, they both started to move and went for an attack.  The group found themselves engaged by two Gargoyles, and without a full set of magic weapons they took longer to defeat than they should have.

 

DM: With the Gargoyles dispatched and the clock running late, we decided to call it a night here.  It’s New Year’s weekend next session.  I’ve no idea how many players I’ll have.  I’ve got 4 yesses so far but we will see.  There were originally only 4 players for this Christmas session, but I ended up with 7 for most of it.

Supported by (Turn Off)