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

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

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Project Blog by lawnor Cult of Games Member

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

S14: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker Part 2: Enhanced Interrogation

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After their short rest, the party decided to question their prisoners, starting with the doppelganger.  Talindra asked who they are, who sent them, why are they here.  She refused to talk, so Ramond picked up and chair and sat on it in front of her.  He rested his greatsword across his lap and started unwinding the remains of an old banner from its grip.  He leaned in and said, “Your face changes, eyes?  Will it change when I hold it to the fire?  I think it’s time for you to start talking.  The Black Spider might get us, but we have you now.  Tell us what we want to know”.

“Go on.  Do it!  End it!” She replied.  Ramond waked over and picked her up and as he dragged her over to the brazier she shifted to look exactly like him.  He didn’t flinch and pushed her face in to the hot coals and held her there as she screamed; just long enough for to burn until she passed out (0hp).  He pulled her out and healed her for 1hp.  As she came to, Talindra asked her if she was going to be more reasonable and start talking.  Shaken and suffering, she demanding they kill her.  She would not speak.  “The fire is where I started.  How far do you think I’m willing to go?” threatened Ramond.  Disturbed by events, Devere cleared a path to the door and went for a walk away from the horror.  The Doppelganger just sat there staring at Ramond, breathing heavy from the pain.  Ramond pulled out a shortsword and held it to her throat, and after giving her a moment, he slit her throat.  A look of both fear and relief passed over her as her blood began to spray over the room.

S14: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker Part 2: Enhanced Interrogation

As the blood began to spray, Talindra turned to their other prisoner, King Grol and said, “I hope you’re more talkative than she was”.  He replied, “What do you want to know?” ”Who is the Black Spider?  What is he after?  Where is he from?  Tell us what you think we need to know”, asked Talindra.  “He’s a Drow.  He came to me a while back with a couple of his friends and said if I got my men to plunder the roads, cause some chaos and keep an eye out for a dwarf with a map he would reward me and pay me well.  I’m just in it for the money.  I’m not one of his men.”

Ramond spoke up, “For you I have a different offer.  We can let you leave here.  All you need to do is go out and tell the rest of your people that you are defeated and it is time to leave.  Lay down your armour, all of you, and you can walk out of here with your weapons, but everything else is ours.  Ten you go as far as you possibly can from here, as you won’t just have the Black Spider to deal with, you’ll have us as well.”

The aged bugbear let out a little chuckle before responding, “If I go out there and announce I’m defeated, I’m not in charge anymore.  They won’t listen to me.  They won’t care”.  Pointing to Ramond, Talindra asked, “Does that mean he’s in charge now?”  “You can try”, Grol said, shaking his head a little.

Talindra asked Ramond if they were repeating the Glasstaff Strategy here.  Ramond said, “Not for this one.  Grol at least fought us.  He stood up, swung his sword and fought us.  That thing ran around gathering its possessions and tried to kill someone defenceless.  Grol at least I respect a little”.  Hearing this, Grol spoke, “I’ll do as you say.  I’ll take my armour off and walk out of here.”  With the screaming stopped, Devere entered the room again, looking disgusted at the fresh blood on the floor.

S14: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker Part 2: Enhanced Interrogation

Ramond picked up Grols magic greatsword and began tying the strip of banner around its grip and then laid his greatsword on the floor next to Grol.  “When you’re untied, take off your armour, then you can take that sword and leave”.  Grol though on this for a moment (DM: I’ve seen too many westerns apparently.  Pick up the gun and get shot).  They untied him and he stood there until Ramond offered him the sword again.  He took it cautiously, awaiting a reaction.  None came.  “You fought well”, he said to Ramond, who responded, “And so did you”.  Grol slowly walked out the room.  As he passed through the doorway unmolested, he stopped and tuned back, “He doesn’t need the map.  The Black Spider has already found the mine.  He’s already in there.  He’s waiting”.  They watched him head down the corridor and turn towards the entrance they had come in through.

“There was some discussion on how to proceed.  To stay or go.  What to do with Gundren, who is drifting in and out of consciousness.  Talindra said she would be uncomfortable leaving the other goblinoids here as they have been terrorising the local communities.  The group agreed and decided to stash Gundren in the bath in side room.  As they moved him, he demanded they find his map.  When Araloth showed it to him, he took it back for himself and settled down in the old, dirty bath tub. (DM: cue many jokes about scented candles etc)

They then headed out to deal with the goblinoid menace, and basically chain pulled the rest of the dungeon (all grunts), avoiding the one door that was hastily barred that they could hear heavy deep rhythmic breathing from the other side.  The party wants to leave that door alone, but Araloth wonders if someone is being held prisoner there.  The party has not looted anything yet as they wanted to make the area safe and then explore and loot at their leisure.  With the last of the rooms cleared, Talindra sent her owl to spy in through thee arrow slots of the tower with the barred door, but someone has put shutters over them.

DM: Play started later than usual due to Christmas driving people’s kids a little hyper, and at this point people wanted to leave as it was late and we still have work.  Looting will continue next week, or after Christmas.  We are still working out when the next session will be as who knows what Christmas even is this year?

As a result of conversations with Ramonds player the next day some googling was done and it appears Tempus (Ramonds god) does not approve of torture at all, although getting a clear answer on that from official books proved difficult.  We are looking in to ways to resolve this, as he says he had checked beforehand and it didn’t seem to be forbidden.  I’m reluctant to punish his character for books not being specific.

S13: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker

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After a good night’s rest at the inn the party headed north through the rain and camped on the outskirts of Neverwinter Wood, and the next morning headed in to the woods.  About five miles in the woods thinned out in to a clearing 30-40 feet around a ruined castle, comprised of seven towers, which had all collapsed down,.  Talindra had her owl familiar fly around to inspect the castle closer, given no one could see any patrols.  The front doors were knocked in and lying on the floor, but there were some stairs around the southern side he couldn’t see where they lead.  To the north he noticed a section of wall and rubble that seemed to billow in the wind.  From on high he could see that the building mostly appeared to be a single story structure now, with no holes he could see through.

The party concluded the open front door would likely be the most dangerous and opted to go for the billowing section.  The gathered in the woods opposite and ran across in pairs, Melandrach and Ramond first.  The pegged it across the open space, pulled back the painted canvas and showed those behind them an opening and then ducked inside.  The others followed immediately without incident.  The light inside was poor (Talindra cast light on a pebble and handed it to Ramond), but they found themselves in an old storeroom, filled with decaying crates and barrels that crumbled when touched.  Given a curtained doorway to the south and a door to the east, Karson listened at the door before opening it in to a short empty corridor section.  There was another door in front of him, and another curtain to the south.  As they advanced in, Melandrach thanked Araoth for not messing with the crates he was investigating while the group moving on.  Araloth went to investigate the curtain while Karson listened at the new door and checked for traps.  When Araloth reached out to pull the curtain aside, a hand from the other side was doing the same thing and they touched.  Araloth flinched his hand back and ducked down low, tapping Melandrach behind him as a warning.

Cragmaw Castle: A fixer upperCragmaw Castle: A fixer upper

The curtain was pulled back to reveal a pair of Hobgoblins in a bed chamber.  Not aware what had just happened, Karson opened his door in to a room with 3 bugbears (one wearing a rusted iron crown), a Drow, and a resting armoured bear.  In the corner was the tied up, tortured and beaten body of Gundren Rockseeker. (DM: That’s right.  They just bypassed the whole dungeon and strolled in to the boss encounter) They were taken by surprise, and karson ran in and attacked King Groll.  Araloth stabbed at the hobgoblin in front of him and then retreated in to the king’s chamber.  Thorovir put an arrow in to the king, and Bilba stepped in to the doorway and did the same, before advancing deep in to the room, behind Karson and near Gundren.  Holding back, Talindra cast Sacred Flame at the King, singing his fur.  The hobgoblins stepped up and one hit Melandrach with his sword, and the other shot an arrow at him, but missed.  Devere blasted Groll with a Guiding Bolt.  Ramond ran in, throwing the Light stone towards the Drow, called out, “Tempest thanks you”, and swung his greatsword at King Groll, smiting him in the process and channelling divinity in to some bonus HP.  Melandrach made short work of the hobgoblin in front of him and attacked the archer behind him.

Karson took two swings at the king, missing both times.  King Groll drew his greatsword, Shouting, “Get the intruders!” and make two failed attacks against Ramond.  Araloth attacked the nearby guard and Thorovir fired two seeking arrows in to King Groll, leaving him bloody, but still standing.  Securing her reputation as the kill stealer of the group, Bilba popped out from behind Karson and bounced a shot in to Groll off the nearby brazier.  As he fell, they could see the flights had caught fire and the arrow was slowly burning down towards his chest.  Talindra moved to the doorway and Eldritch blasted the drow, who then ran over to the bed in the corner and extracted a leather pouch from under the mattress and moved towards Gundren with her weapon readied.  The remaining hobgoblin dropped his bow and slashed at Melandrach with his longsword.  Seeing his master drop, the bear got up with a loud roar and charged Ramond, biting him on the shoulder.  One guard attacked Ramond, and the other downed Bilba in two hits, celebrating with a Sandperson cheer with his weapon raised over his head.  Devere summoned a Spiritual weapon to attack the Drow, and then channelled divinity in to a blinding Radiance, damaging every enemy in sight (all of them), and killing the last hobgoblin.  Ramond thrust his greatsword at the bear, burning his inspiration token to ensure success, but just grazed its leather armour instead, while calling out, “Protect Gundren!”  With the hobgoblins dead, Melandrach ran in to the room and stood between the two guards and attacked the Drow, landing three solid hits.

When I revealed the busy room there was lots of swearing!When I revealed the busy room there was lots of swearing!

Karsons sword turned in to a hawk and flew out to attack the Drow, and provide flanking for Araloth, reducing her to near death.  Thorovir put a shot in to the bear from outside of the room while Talindra Blasted the last breath out of the Drow, who slumped to the floor where her appearance changed.  Her elven appearance faded and she became something of a blank slate, devoid of any defining features.  Talindra then cast a minor heal on to Bilba, causing her to snap awake.  The not-drow rolled a natural 20 on her death saves and woke up and got to her feet.  The bear slashed and bit at Ramond, removing all his temporary hit points and then some.  Devere entered the room and Guiding Bolted the guard attacking Araloth, but missed.  His spiritual weapon was equally ineffective.  Ramond lashed out at the bear with a mighty blow.  The guards battered Araloth and Melandrach, but both held strong.  Melandrach attacked his guard twice and the ex-Drow once, but missed the Drow.

Karson changed target and critted the bear, killing it (DM: There was a brief chat about knocking it out to interrogate it later.  It might be the mastermind).  King Grol then natural 20’d his death saves (DM: WTF??  Twice?), stood up and swung at Karson, hurting him.  Araloth knocked out the ex-Drow.  Thorovir slung his bow over his shoulder, drew his rapier and entered the room.  He stabbed at King Groll, but he easily deflected the blow.  Bilba stabbed the guard that had hurt her.  Talindra empowered her staff with Eldritch Might and hit Araloth’s guard.  Devere healed Ramond for 3hp, and then Melandrach for 4hp.  Ramond then turned towards King Groll, said, “You again?” and knocked him out (DM: Successfully kill stealing back Bilbas kill steal).  Araloths guard battered both Araloth and Melandrach, and left them both dying on the floor.  The other guard attacked Devere, but missed.

S13: The Rescue of Gundren Rockseeker

Karson hit the nearby guard, as did Thorovir.  Bilba struck her guard with her offhand dagger, missing with her shortsword.  Talindra swung at but missed Araloth’s guard and healed Araloth (DM: Who had rolled a natural 1 on his death save).  Devere Spared the Dying on Melandrach so he could not die, while his Spiritual Weapon killed Araloth’s guard.  Ramond stabbed the last bugbear (DM: And I added the damage to Ramond not the bugbear.  Oops!  Confused everyone).  The guard continued attacking Devere, hitting with the first swing, but missing with the second, before Karson could deal the killing blow.

With the room now cleared Ramond tied up King Groll, and picked up his particularly shiny greatsword.  Karson fed Melandrach and Gundren a goodberry each.  Talindra searched the room while Araloth searched the doppelganger, claiming the bag she had taken from under the mattress (Money, 3 heal potions and Gundrens map).  Thorovir went black to check the hobgoblins room, but found nothing of interest.  Ramond proceeded to tie up the doppelganger.  Talindra cast detect magic (the sword showed up) and Identify (see below) They have gathered back in the kings chamber and stacked the bodies against the door while they take a short rest.

DM: They have forgotten the other two bodies outside the room.  Will they be discovered?  Next week we talk to Gundren, interrogate the prisoners and see if they explore the rest of the keep, or return to town.

 

 

Sword of Command

+1 Greatsword

The blade of this greatsword is engraved with pictures of a band of heroes charging in to battle together, heading towards its point.  As the blade moves the image shifts between two images in different layers of the metal, giving the impression of movement.

Once per day, this sword grants its wielder the ability to use their words and actions to inspire an ally (not self) within 60 feet, granting them advantage on their next roll.  This can also be used as a reaction to an ally making a saving throw, a skill or ability check, or an attack roll.  The player is encouraged to say something inspiring when using this power.

S12: A Difficult Day for the Dwarven Duo

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(DM: Araloth and Devere missed the start of this session otherwise there would have been some RP shouting at Araloth for what happened at the end of last session.  Thorovir couldn’t make it this week)

With the Jellies defeated, the party retreated back a few rooms and got a long rest in, while Dazlin and Norbus stood watch.  When they woke up the two dwarves had prepared a hot evening meal to share as it was gone 10pm.  They then went and explored the rest of the ruins.  The main pillar chamber appears to have been some sort of temple a long time ago and a thorough search revealed lots of secret doors, and a secret chamber in one of the pillars containing lots of dwarf skulls at 10 gems.  They party had a discussion about what to do with the gems and decided they’d tell the dwarves it contained 3 gems and they’d keep the rest.  They carried on exploring and found lots of secret doors and lots of collapsed corridors.  In one of the piles of rubble they found a skeleton wearing a chain with an ornamental jewelled dagger with the words, “Greed is good” engraved in to it in Dwarven.

At the back of the complex they could make out a green glow emanating through the rubble blocking the final corridor.  They decided to clear it to investigate.  After 2 hours heavy labour they went back to camp and got the two dwarves and Devere and Araloth to help with the work.  Another hour and a half later and they broke through in to a chamber with a ruined statue in the south and in the north a statue of a dwarf looking greedily at a glowing green gem in its hands.  Melandrach gave the room a quick look around, Ramond used his Divine Sense to check for good or evil, and Talindra detected for magic, revealing a mild glow under the gem.  The party considered this a cleared dungeon and called in the dwarves and offered them the green gem (no mention of the earlier gems).  The dwarves asked if t was safe and the party said it was before leaving the room.  As they reached the end of the corridor they heard a loud bang behind them (DM: And I heard the sound of the players all laugh).

The Dwarven ExpeditionThe Dwarven Expedition

They returned to the gem room (Ramonds player: “There might be something valuable in the rubble”.  More laughter from the players) to find the statue had exploded covering the room in shrapnel, reducing both the dwarves to below 0hp.  The now not glowing green gem was lying on the floor near Norbus’ lifeless hand.  Little bits of glowing shrapnel were in his chest.  Devere and Talindra went in and stabilised them and Ramond laid on his hands to heal them 1hp each.  The dwarves woke up shaken and a little confused.  They were cautious of touching them gem, poking it with a pick axe before doing so.  The party suggested the dwarves should probably come back to town now as this place is clearly dangerous and there’s a dragon out there, but they insisted they wanted to stay and see what else they could find here.

Everyone retreated back to the camp area and had a short rest (They’d had an encounter with another Jelly) before heading out around midnight.  The dwarves followed them out to wave them off on their way to Phandalin.  As they left the ruins they noticed it was unusually cold tonight and headed down the road with Dazlin and Norbus watching them go.  With over 200 feet between the two groups they noticed a change in air pressure and the loud sound of flapping wings behind them.  They turned around to see a huge white dragon descending from above the canyon they just left, diving towards the two dwarves. (DM: They’re still level 3.  This is very much not a baby dragon!  One of the perks of playing remotely is you’re never too far away from some clean underwear)

S12: A Difficult Day for the Dwarven Duo

The ranged characters began unleashing everything in to it as it breathed cold all over Dazlin, coating him in several inches of solid ice.  Norbus saw this and ran terrified towards the party at full speed.  The party’s shots were mostly ineffective as the melee members spread out (Under Ramonds insistence) and ran towards it.  It picked up the frozen dwarf and flew full speed towards Araloth, the nearest threat and picked him up in his free hand.  Another volley of fire mostly plinked off it, but was slowly chipping down its health bar (DM: The players can see the bar but not the numbers.  There was swearing when they saw how little it moved after the first hit).  There was another volley of fire and Ramond charged in to Melee with his greatsword drawn and gave it his all.  Araloth tried to break free but failed so went for a bonus action offhand stab but couldn’t move enough for a good attack.  The dragon flew straight up to a height of 90 feet and dropped Araloth on to Ramond.  Ramond got out of the way, but the fall was too much for Araloth who dropped straight to death saves.  As they took another round of ranged attacks against the dragon I remembered his fear attack he should have used at the start so I sued this at the start of his next round and most of the party failed.  He then flew off with his dwarf popsicle prize back over the cavern they had just left.  With the dragon gone, Karson suggested Norbus return to town with them.  He was super keen now and asked if they could come with him while he gathered his stuff.  They then headed north to town, with a quick stop off at Umbridge Hill at Talindras request.

Umbardge Hill's WindmillUmbardge Hill's Windmill

They arrived at the Windmill around 7.30am and Talindra went to check on the Manticore corpse.  It was still there and had evidence that animals had been gnawing at it.  She pulled out a knife and set about extracting a large bone from its forearm.  The rest of the party decided to check in on Adabra Gwynn and buy some more healing potions from her.  Melandrach told her of their encounter with the dragon and tried to persuade her to move to town for a while but she is surprisingly stubborn.  Karson persuaded Norbus to tell her his tale and he became a gibbering wreck unable to talk in complete sentences.  She sat him down and made him a brew, trying to calm him down, but dismissed his concerns as little more than panic.  She is not moving for any man, dwarf or dragon apparently.

The party said their goodbyes and headed back to town, arriving around 8.30am and Norbus headed straight for the inn, relaxing visibly now he’s “safe” in a town. (DM: Safe?  Mwah ha ha ha!)  They stopped by the Townmaster house to cash in their quests and collect their rewards and woke him up in the process.  They then went about selling their finds and stocking up on equipment for the assault on Cragmaw Castle.  With their sleep patterns now a mess and a challenging fight ahead of them, they have decided to spend tonight in town and head out refreshed in the morning.  They have each taken the day to do their own thing (DM: Being handled over discord across the week.  Some are researching, some are training, some are likely to be brewing a potion) and are gathering at the Stonehill Inn in the evening.

After finishing dinner, Sildhar walked in to the inn, having just that moment returned to town after escorting the prisoners to Neverwinter to receive justice.  He approached the table, greeted everyone and made them an offer.  Before heading out, he had done a deal with Townmaster Harbin and taken over the Manor the redbrands had been hiding under.  He is having it rebuilt and turned in to a local branch of the Lords Alliance to help bring law to the area.  He wanted the party to join the Lords Alliance and work as free agents to protect the area.  They’d get a monthly wage and free access to the Manor, the basement of which is already liveable.  They should carry on doing what they have been doing, but with the official aid and support of the Lords Alliance.  He’d be hiring some more people soon to act as guards within the town.  The party weren’t sure if this meant they had to follow order or not.  Sildhar said they would mostly be free to do what they wanted for the good of the area, but there may be rare moments when they get given orders and would be expected to comply.  Araloth was able to convince Sildhar to offer the wages up front each month.  Sildar walked away to buy a round for everyone so they could have some time to discuss this.

Sildar Hallwinter, although his current armour isn't as impressive now, as his got stolen by goblins when he got captured.Sildar Hallwinter, although his current armour isn't as impressive now, as his got stolen by goblins when he got captured.

They took some time to discuss this, expressing concerns about whether or not the Lords Alliance could be trusted.  After all, Glasstaff had been a member and he was up to no good.  They expressed concerns about constantly being given orders they didn’t like.  They liked that it was free money and they’d get access to the alchemy lab in the manor.  They joked that they weren’t actually helping the area as since they’ve arrived the threats have only escalated.  Ramond pointed out joining would be a good thing as it would give them access to resources, contact and trainers they wouldn’t get otherwise, and give them a chance to clime the ranks.  Ramond also pointed out that taking free food and lodging from the inn is as a reward is probably something they should stop exploiting soon anyway.  Talindra mentioned the hidden difficulty of this: They would actually have to come up with a name for their adventuring company.  (DM: I thought this would be a 30 second chat and they’d just jump at free money and a free manor, but they actually spent a long time having an in character chat about this.  Much longer than they do about deciding to kill people or not!).

The offer of free money was enough to persuade them and they accepted Sildars offer.  He handed them some keys to the Manor, their first months wages, and gave each of them a signet ring bearing the emblem of the Lords Alliance, calling it their badge of office.  Sildar then left them to their drinks and got a meal, before heading up to the manor for the night.

S11: Goblins and the Dwarven Expedition

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
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Two miles outside of Gnomengarde the party made camp for the night and finally had some in character introductions lead by Talindra, which was long overdue, and a little awkward, but everyone made the effort.  They followed this up with a chat about events, feeling they were being distracted by lots of jobs that weren’t helping them find Gundren, but admitted they had nothing else to go on yet.  Their current plan is to follow the path of quests on the way to Thundertree (Dwarven Expedition, to the Lighthouse, then north to Thundertree) to see if the Druid there can help.

They headed to bed and then I had to ask lots of pointed questions about watches, and who sleeps in what tent which totally didn’t give away that they were about to be attacked.  They stuck with the established watch order and I made them declare what they do during their watches.  I rolled a dice to see which watch would get attacked and made each watch play out in turn for a minute or two.  During the final watch (Melandrach and Talindra, but Thorovir had also finished his 4 hours of trance and was sat by a bush relaxing) they camp was attacked by a band of eight Goblins coming from the north.  Talindra, Melandrach and Thorovir moved to intercept them, alerting Devere and Ramond along the way, but the goblins charged in.  A fight broke out, waking everyone up over the next couple of rounds.  Due to a series of morning pranks, Araloth decided this was all an illusion at first and went back to sleep.  He eventually concluded this was real, but he was going to ignore it as he was fed up of being picked on.  Melandrach had wedged his staff between the spokes of the wagon Araloth was sleeping under so he would bang his head on it when he wakes up.  On the final round of combat Araloth shoved this staff through as a missile attack against a goblin.  Melandrach was able to knock out a few Goblins and the party killed the rest.

S11: Goblins and the Dwarven Expedition

Ramond grabbed Karson (he speaks goblin), and the two went to interrogate the prisoners.  Ramond grabbed the nearest goblin, shook him awake, and screamed, “Where is Cragmaw?!”  The terrified goblin took in his situation and replied, “We are the Cragmaw”.  “Then where are you based?” replied Ramond and began smacking him in to the ground.  While this was happening Karson leaned over the other Goblin, woke him up, shoved a map in his face and demanded he show them where their castle is.  He saw the goblin being abused by Ramond and franticly started stabbing the map with his finger and blurting out confused directions.  They had Ramond’s goblin confirm this location then the group made a decision about what to do with the characters.  Thorovir went away to look up his alignment to see if he was allowed to make cruel suggestions.  Talindra weaved some illusions in to sickly green lights dancing around the Goblins while spouting gibberish in celestial, and told them they had just been cursed.  “You must leave these lands forever.  If you remain your flesh will rot from your bones.  You cannot return to your castle.  If you return, your fate will be worse than death.  Now go.”  Ramond was still holding one, which he put down, and backed away looking scared of being cursed himself.  The goblins looked around, and then ran directly away from the camp as far as they could.  Thorovir fired an arrow over their heads as they ran, and Thorovir had his owl familiar follow them for a while.

Karson didn't actually hang him upside down, but hey, its a pictureKarson didn't actually hang him upside down, but hey, its a picture

The party, now all awake, but tired after an interrupted night’s sleep (Con saves vs exhaustion and no benefit from a long rest) gathered for a chat about what to do.  Only half a day away from the dwarves, they felt it best to warn them about the dragon, and then head north to Cragmaw Castle, forgetting the other stops they had planned.  They packed up camp and headed west along the base of the mountains until early afternoon when they came to a small canyon.  At the end of the canyon, a twenty-foot-high wall of black stone had a broken gate carved into it, with one stone door hanging precariously by a hinge and the other door missing. Beyond the open gate, in the shadow of a great mountain to the east, a ruined settlement could be made out in the darkness.  All was quiet.

They moved carefully though the dark ruins and encountered a couple of friendly dwarves having their lunch behind a pile of rubble, just in front of a thirty foot high temple facade. Cut in to this facade was a ten foot high open doorway flanked by crumbling, life-sized granite statues of cloaked dwarves. Evil grins could be seen on their weatherworn faces.  The dwarves introduced themselves as Dazlyn and Norbus, and enquired why they were there.  The party relayed the warning and offered to take them back to town.  The dwarves explained that they had uncovered these ruins and been excavating them in hopes of uncovering their origin and hopefully some artefacts or treasure and they didn’t really want to leave until they had explored the place.  They had a problem though.  That mornings dig has revealed a slime monster and they had ran away to decide what to do about it while they ate lunch.  They asked the party to help.

S11: Goblins and the Dwarven Expedition

The party were exhausted and had not recovered spells or hit points last night and were keen to go rescue Gundren so they discussed how to proceed.  They agreed that if they took a long rest now and then dealt with this it and then took the dwarves back to town, it shouldn’t slow them down much overall.  Dazlyn and Norbus agreed to watch them while they rested, but Araloth decided it best to scout a little further ahead, so they could be better prepared in the morning.  Unfortunately, he entered a large room with an altar and 4 columns and a large Ochre Jelly dropped off the ceiling in front of him.  He ran away and started closing the heavy stone doors behind him.  As he did that Thorovir shot an arrow enchanted with Grasping Vines at the Jelly to slow it down.  Araloth closed the double doors, which had small gaps between them, and the party readied their actions to attack anything, should it breech the doors.  Three rounds later four small oozes followed by two large ones slimed through the gaps in the door, one by one.  With actions readied, and Jellies being slow, they were able to kill three of them before they could reach the party and beat down the rest only taking three slimy acidic hits in the process.

With the party battered, beaten and exhausted, giving dirty looks to Araloth, they retreated away from the doors to make camp both in and out of the game.

Like this, but with a little more clothing and success.Like this, but with a little more clothing and success.

S10: Gnomegarde

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Skill 4
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(DM: The Gnomengarde quest was to head to this Gnome settlement and ask if they have any inventions or magical items that might help deal with a dragon.  The characters should be expecting a town encounter)

 

Late in the afternoon the party found themselves following a stream uphill to the base of the mountain, where waterfall erosion had carved out a natural concavity. The roaring waterfall created a cloud of mist as it plunged loudly into a shallow pool of water, within which rose two small islands covered with two-foot-tall red, green, and purple mushrooms. Several cave openings overlooked the pool from rocky ledges twenty to thirty feet above. The mountain blocked any sunlight from reaching this place.  As the approached, they called out but got no response.  The sound of the waterfall was loud enough to drown muffle their call, forcing them to shout to be heard when talking to each other.  Of the five visible entrances only one was accessible from ground level, and that was on the other side of the 10 foot wide stream, which had no bridge at ground level.  They spent some time discussing whether to climb up to an entrance on this side, or cross the stream.  Karson got bored and jumped over and the others decided to follow.  Everyone was able to make the jump except for Talindra, who bundled up her possessions and threw them over and then waded through the 3-4 feet deep stream.

As they walk down the entrance corridor, calling out as they go, they see it branch off in three places.  At the end they hear a series of started gnomish yelps from their right.  They turn to see a female gnome sat in a chair above a complicated machine built out of many gears and chains and four giant crossbows.  As the gnome starts pulling on levers the machine comes noisily to life.  As the machine draws aim on the party, Devere shouts out, “We mean you no harm.  We are not here to fight”.  The machine lines up on Devere and she raised her hand ready to slam it down what is likely the fire button and she looks him in the eye and pauses.

Gnome: “Who are you?  What do you want?  Are you the thing?”

Devere: “The thing?  What thing?”

Gnome: “The weird thing.  The thing that attacked me.”

D: “No that’s not us.  We just got here.”

G: “How do I know you’re not a monster?”

Talindra: “Well, we’re not attacking you, so wouldn’t a monster attack you?”

D: We’ll sheathe our weapons and come out with our hands up.  Please don’t shoot us.  We come in peace”

G: “Go on then.  You come out in the open, but you keep your distance.  Prove to me you’re not the thing. That you are who you say you are.  What you say you are.  So what are you” The rest of the group them stepped out in to sight.

Melandrach: “I am an Elf”

D: “I am an Aasimar”

G: “Can you prove it?”

D: “What?”  He thought for a moment, and then his eyes light up with golden light and a pair of incorporeal radiant wings grew out behind him

G: “Oh wow.  That’s… That’s… That’s certainly something.  Erm…”  She manages to say, while looking visibly stunned.

D: “So you see we are not… So what is this thing that’s been attacking you?”

For some reason I can't find any artwork of a gnome driven automatic siege quad crossbow turretFor some reason I can't find any artwork of a gnome driven automatic siege quad crossbow turret

She went on to relay a story about how she had been working on her machine and a part of it came to life, grew weird tentacle things, and tried to attack her.  She was able to chase it off, but she’s been on edge ever since, jumping at shadows.  She told them that their mad king had also been telling stories about being attacked by a carpet.  No one had really believed him, but now she thinks he might be right.  The king has since locked himself in his chamber with his husband and won’t come out.  The party offered to help with this problem and asked her name. Facktoré relaxed a little and allowed them to pass.  Having said she saw the thing head south, that’s where the party headed.  The kings chamber was also revealed to be on the other side of the river (Talindra started giving the group a dead stare when this came up), accessible via bridge to the south.  They were advised to seek out the chief engineers Flibblestib and Dabbledob to see how they could help out.

As they headed south the encountered two gnome guards in a raised alcove who demanded the party prove they weren’t shapeshifters.  Ramond introduced them as friends of Facktoré.  Talindra wasn’t sure how they prove a negative.  Devere suggested he could prove it by not shapeshifting?  Talindra explained why they had come.  Devere asked f they were Flibblestib and Dabbledob, but the guards introduced themselves and Pog and Ulla.  Devere asked how they could prove they weren’t shapeshifters.  Ulla suggested they prove they are who they say they are.  The party talked amongst themselves about this briefly.  Talindra asked what a shapeshifter wouldn’t be able to do.  Gesturing towards Talindra, Karson said, “You would think they’d pick forms that wouldn’t fall in the river, unlike my friend here who is wet.”  Devere chuckled.  Talindra apologised for dripping water everywhere.  Pog spoke up, “You fell in the river?  Well I suppose if I could shape shift I’d pick something that could fly over the river, or float in it.  I wouldn’t just fall in it.”  They lowered their weapons.  The party asked for more information about the shapeshifter, and got the kings story relayed to them again.  Ulla and Pog seemed less convinced that it was real.  They gestured the party to move along, but kept one eye on them.

Gnome guard UllaGnome guard Ulla

They moved across a rickety rope bridge and found the entrance chamber filled with floor to ceiling spinning bladed.  Araloth took on the impossible mission of ducking and weaving through the room to reach the off switch on the other side, taking minimal damage on his way.  They turned the blades back on when they were all through.  They followed the corridor around and entered in to what appeared to be a tinkerers workshop containing two gnomes mid debate.

“I still tell you, the solution to this is a sanity ray.  We need to invent a sanity ray.  That will help.”

“We don’t know how to do that.  The simple solution for now is to invent a strait jacket.  We build a strait jacket he’ll be contained and we can help him.”

Talindra interrupted them with a loud and jovial “Hello there!”  The party was invited in and the gnomes enquired who they are and what they are up to.  Talindra explained their quest and offered the groups assistance.  These gnomes dismissed the talk of shapeshifters as the king’s madness, but Thorovir told them of Facktoré’s encounter to show it’s not just the king that’s seen this thing.  The gnomes debated the possibility that the madness was contagious, which just increased the urgency of inventing a sanity ray to protect the town.   Thorvir tried to argue that they don’t know for sure that this is madness and that they needed to also prepare for the possibility that there is a monster.  The gnome pointed out that between someone not thinking clearly and carpets coming to life and attacking people that the carpet story is far less likely.  He told them about a gnome he used to know called Occam who always used to say that the simplest solution is usually the right one.  They’d never seen a shape shifter in all their years here so it wasn’t very likely.  Karson said they’d fought a Manticore in the morning and there hadn’t been one around before and now there’s a lot of talk about dragons, so why not a shape shifter.  One of the two said they didn’t know anything about a Manticore, but a dragon attacked here a few days ago.  It just swopped down and froze poor shmebulock with its breath, and carried him away.  Melandrach caused a little panic by suggesting it might be a shapeshifting dragon.  Talindra asked about speaking to the king, and they said she’s welcome to try.  Perhaps she can get him to open the door.  King Korboz has his husband, King Gnerkli held prisoner in there and no one’s been allowed in to check on him for a while now.

Dabbledob in the WorkshopDabbledob in the Workshop

They headed along the corridor towards the kings’ chambers and Talindra knocked on the door.

“Go away”!

Talindra: “Is that the king?” Knock knock knock

Korboz: “Yeah.  What are you?”

T: “We’re adventurers here from Phandalin.  We’re here to help”

Devere: “Are you ok?”

K: “You’re the monster, aren’t you?  Go away”

T: “Did the monster try and talk to you before?”

K: “It was disguised as a carpet and carpets can’t talk. Don’t be stupid.  That’s madness”

T: “Well, do you think there would be 8 of us?  It seems unlikely the monster would come back as 8 separate people and then want to try and talk to you.  We just want to try and help.”

K: “You say there’s 8 of you.  All I can see is a door.”

T: “Well I know.  That’s because you won’t open the door”

K: “ That’s because I’m not letting you, the monster, in to come and eat me.  I’m not an idiot.”

T: “I’m not asking you to.  Just tell us where the monster was, where it went to and we can put an end to the terror it us wracking upon your people.”

K: “Well if you are really 8 brave adventurers come to end the terror, go and end it.  It was in the throne room and fled out the door as I ran away.

T: “Where is the throne room?”

K: “Over there” he says pointing from the other side of a locked door.

Ramond: “We can’t see wherever you’re gesturing, please”

K: “Oh yeah yeah yeah.  It’s a chamber just west of here”

Devere: “We’ll be back.  We’ll take care of this”

T: “Is your husband OK?”

The distant voice of King Gnerkli can he heard from the background, “I’m OK.  He’s just not thinking too clearly.  We’ve been here for a good few days now.  If you can calm him down and get us some food that’d be nice.”

T: “Okay, we’ll try”

Karson stepped forward and put a handful of Goodberries under the door for them to eat.  King Korboz screamed out and started stamping on the evil shapeshifting berry monsters coming to get him.

Karson: “Ah well.  I tried”

Korboz: “You can’t fool me!  Get out of here, you shape shifting monsters!”

Karson: “Don’t go anywhere.  We’ll be back”

As the party headed back down the corridor they said a sanity ray was sounding pretty good right now, but it wouldn’t get through a door.  What they needed was a sanity gas.

When they got to the throne room Araloth tested the carpet with his sword.  It did not react.  Devere took 10 minutes to ritually cast Detect Magic.  While he was casting Talindra searched the room and found a secret door behind the thrones.  She opened it and revealed a short corridor with another door at the end.  Ramond, Araloth and Talindra went to this door and Talindra opened it in to the kings’ bedchambers, containing Korboz, and Gnerkli, currently restrained to a chair without the use of ropes.  Talindra said hello, and King Korboz yelped, “Ah!  Get out!  Leave me alone!” and started backing away from the obvious threat.  Talindra offered them some food.

K: “I don’t want none of your trick.  You’re the one from the other side of the door, aren’t you?”

T: “I am indeed.  I didn’t realise this door came this way.  Sorry.”

K: ”Leave us alone.  We’re just trying to survive.  We don’t want to be eaten by you.”

T: “That’s entirely fair.  I’m just asking if you want some food or water.  I can leave you some rations and water right here and then I’ll go away.”

Gnerkli: “He means no harm.  He’s just trying to keep me safe.  Please leave some food and water.  I’ll get him to have some”

Talindra left some supplies by the door and closed it behind him and left.  As she retreated Korboz picked up a chair and chased her out of the room, while clearly staying as far away from her as he could.  They could hear the sound of the door being barricaded from the other side of the door after they left.

After waiting a few minutes for Devere’s spell to complete, he revealed that nothing in the room was showing up as magical.

Devere: “What?  What are you all looking at me like that for?”

Thorovir: “Why is your skin blue?”

Devere raised his now vibrant blue hands in front of him to look at them.  “Oh my god.  What the…?  Well, this hasn’t happened before (DM: Smurf jokes were made involving illusion spells, but let’s just assume that was all OOC as I don’t think Forgotten Realms has Smurfs)

Thorvir drew his bow and pointed it in the general direction of Devere.  “If there’s a shapeshifter around and this is new, why should we be trusting that you are you?”

Talindra: “Because he’s just stood there and cast a spell for the last 10 minutes”.  The party took a few minutes to work out if Devere had ever been left alone at any point and decided that no one had ever been alone since they arrived.  They also went through the day’s events looking at anything magical they had done or encountered

Melandrach: “Why are you blue?”

Devere: “That’s a very good question.  I have no idea.  OK guys something is very odd here.”  After further discussion and debate, Devere asked Talindra if this was an illusion she had cast on the sly.  Talindra denied it, saying her illusions are fixed in space and the blue moves with Devere.  Devere said they should all move along, but he would be reluctant to cast any more spells any time soon.  The group agreed to proceed and headed to a nearby chamber to the immediate south.

The only picture of a scrap metal throne on the internet that is not made of swords.The only picture of a scrap metal throne on the internet that is not made of swords.

Bilba checked at the door and thought she could hear some ticking from the other side, but the door was locked.  They decided to go and speak to the engineers in the workshop about a key.  Talindra and Araloth went back and asked what was through the door, interrupting a deep conversation about the very nature of sanity.  They were told the room is their treasury.  It holds all their great inventions.  They agreed to let them in to search for monsters and Dabbledob went over and unlocked the door for them and stepped back.  Talindra advised them that the solution to defining and measuring sanity would be questionnaires.  They are always the answer.  Dabbledob loved this and started talking about conducting a large survey.  The whole group went off on one and invented the science of Psychology.  Melandrach asked if they could work on a sanity gas instead of a sanity ray.  Dabbledob insisted sanity gas was nonsense.  A sanity ray is reasonable.  Sanity gas is implausible madness.

Bilba opened the door and revealed a scene from the Engineers special episode of Hoarders.  Gadgets, gizmos and doohickies were piled up everyone, with barely a place to stand in the room, and most of it had no apparent function or purpose.  Devere’s detect magic was still active and revealed a magic stick and amulet, which he subtly alerted the group to.  He then went out of the room to engage Dabbledob in distracting conversation while the party searched the room for monsters and Bilba subtly pocketed the two items.  Nothing else of interest was found in the treasury after spending a few minutes poking around.

With one last chamber to check in this area, they asked Dabbledob to escort them.  She explained it was a sleeping chamber and they should keep the noise down.  They looked around and let everyone sleep and moved on back over the bridge to the eastern complex.  Once across the bridge they asked Ulla and Pog where the other passage went and they explained it was just a curved corridor to cope up to the raised alcove they were guarding from.

The party then moved in to the next unexplored room, some sort of storehouse full of barrels.  With paranoia and suspicion running rampant, the group took up positions ready for action, and then Talindra used an unseen servant to start checking the barrels starting at the north while Ramond checked starting from the south.  As Ramond hid the final barrel with his greatsword the weapon became stuck as if glued to it.  The barrel then opened a previously unseen mouth with huge teeth and everyone sprung in to action.

The MimicThe Mimic

Devere charged in and hit the living barrel with his mace, which also became stuck.  Melandrach and Araloth decided not to attack it in melee and held back for now.  Bilba, Talindra and Thorovir attacked it at range.  Karson moved forwards, cast his hunter mark on to it and then found himself teleported back around the corner to near Ulla and Pog.  He was able to move back up to the corner and fire an arrow at the thing.  The mimic lashed out with pseudopods at Ramond and Devere, missing Devere, bit grappling Ramond, who it then bit in to, its acidic drool doing further damage.  To everyone’s surprise three small rocks dropped off the ceiling on to Karson, Bilba and Thorovir.  These rocks sprouted mouths and feet and tried to bite them and run around on them.  Ramond channelled divinity in to his body and tried to break free, but the mimic is not just grabbing, but extremely sticky, making it too hard for him.  Devere pulled out his holy symbol and a blast of radiant energy went out flooding the room, frying the small mimic attacking Bilba and burning up some of the larger mimic.  He then cast Shield of Faith on Ramond, upping his defences with no side effects.

Across the ceiling lots of little mouths appeared and started to drip and drool acidic saliva on to the group.  Karson, Talindra and Devere got badly burned by this.  Bilba shot at the Mimic, and Araloth stepped up to attack the small one on Karsons back, killing it and luckily not hurting him.  Melandrach rapid fired three Radiant Sun Bolts in to the big guy.  Talindra eldritch blasted it.  Thorvir ignored the small one on him and shot the main target, followed up by a similar shot from Karson.

The mimic lashed out at Devere, whose now unconscious body was also glued to the mimic.  It then hit and bit at Ramond and three more mini-mimics dropped from the ceiling going for Araloth, Melandrach, and Talindra Familiar owl.  Ramond drew his shortsword and channelled all his strength and holy might in to what would likely be his final action and screaming defiance, thrust it furiously at the monster again and again.  As he drew blood he went in to a frenzy and started screaming and stabbing, throwing blood, slime, acid and bits of flesh everywhere, coating himself and Devere thoroughly, leaving nothing but an unrecognisable mess behind where a barrel mimic had once been.  As Ramond carried on stabbing Talindra healed Devere and the party made short work of the remaining junior mimics.

With combat over, and everyone having got their breath back they fetched Facktoré through to show her the threat was ended.  She lost her lunch at the sight of what Ramond had done to the already horrific creature, but was relieved to know it was all over.  They scooped up a mostly intact juvenile mimic and took it over to the King’s chamber.  They were able to talk their way in to the room with promises of having defeated the monster.  After poking the corps a few times Korboz accepted the threat was ended and pulled out a bottle of solvent and dissolved the glue holding his husband to the chair.  With everyone more relaxed, the party explained why they were originally at Gnomegarde and the two kings each produced an item and offered them.  They received a Wand of Pyrotechnics and a Dark Shard Amulet.  Before leaving town the kings also gave them a hamper of supplies as an extra thank you, containing a few days’ worth of green mushroom bread and purple mushroom wine.

The party headed in the direction of the Dwarven Excavation to the west for about an hour before the sun set and they established camp for the night.  Talindra identified the two items Bilba had pocketed as a Pole of Collapsing and Clockwork Amulet.  Devere had returned to his usual colour.  Everyone healed up and got ready for bed.

S9: Agatha and Umbrage Hill

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With the sun setting on them and their destination still a good few miles away they set up camp and had a chat about things.  Ramond expressed concerns that he had expected King Groll to be at Wyvern Tor, but it was just a small group of Orcs.  He was reminded that this was just a bounty from a jobs board.  He said he expected that camp to be the tip of the iceberg, and there would be far more connected to it.  They then discussed their plans for the next few days, and what to do with the Orc child, Grilda.  They decided to head back to town after Agatha’s lair to drop off the child, rather than head straight to the lighthouse, although they expressed concerns that she won’t “do well” in town.  Grilda spent the night in an improvised bed in a chest inside the luxury tent.  Talindra keyed her Alarm spell to wake her if the toddler tried to leave the tent in the night.

The next morning Araloth woke up expecting to be under the wagon, only to find the wagon gone and the campsite empty.  He shot out of bed and banged his head on the unseen wagon, discovering his head was encased in a very small illusion and outside it Talindra and Melandrach were falling over themselves laughing at him.

They then headed to Agatha and when they found her home they split in two.  All the more charismatic characters ventured inside, while the rest held back with the child.  They left their obvious weapons behind too.  Talindra took the lead on the talking to her and quickly persuaded her to answer their question (DM: Although unfortunately we didn’t go full RP here.  I’m hoping we can get more in to that as time goes by).  They found out what happened to Bowgentles spell book.  It was given to a necromancer 5000 miles away 100 years ago.  They made their notes and the politely but quickly backed out and ran away as quick as they could, and spent the next 2 days heading to town.

S9: Agatha and Umbrage Hill

When they arrived in town Ramond went to the inn and booked them all 6 rooms between them and the Innkeeper said they could stay for free after helping them with the Redbrands.  Talindra and Karson took Grilda over to Garaele at the Shrine of Luck and asked her to find the child a home (DM: Talindra’s player has told me one of her goals in life is to start an orphanage and she gets rid of the first orphan she finds???  Why do I bother?).  They also relayed the information she had requested from Agatha.  Araloth headed over to the farm he had stayed at last time to see if he could stay there again.  Quelline Alderleaf was happy to see him and have him stay again.  She made him some lunch, and asked him a favour.  A friend of hers was due in town about a week ago but hadn’t arrived.  Reidoth is a local druid who travels around the area often.  He was last headed to Thundertree and Quelline was hoping Araloth could check in on him if he found himself in the area.

Talindra and Karson went to the Townmasters hall to get paid for Wyvern Tor, but the clerk inside told them that the Townmaster was working from home and they should head over there if they wanted to speak to him.  On their way in the noticed the jobs board had 3 more jobs on it:

Dwarven Excavation Quest.

Dwarf prospectors found ancient dwarven ruins in the mountains southwest of here, and have been working an archaeological dig seeking treasure and relics. They need to be warned that a white dragon has moved into the area. Take the warning to them, then return to Townmaster Harbin Wester to collect a reward of 50gp.

Gnomengarde Quest.

A clan of reclusive rock gnomes resides in a small network of caves in the mountains to the southeast. The gnomes of Gnomengarde are known for their magical inventions, and they might have something with which to defeat the dragon. Get whatever you can from them. If you bring back something useful and don’t want to keep it for yourselves, Townmaster Harbin Wester will pay you 50gp for it.

Umbrage Hill Quest.

The local midwife, an acolyte of Chauntea named Adabra Gwynn lives by herself in a stone windmill on the side of a hill a few miles south of Phandalin. With dragon sightings becoming more common, it’s not safe for her to be alone. Urge Adabra to return to Phandalin. Once she’s safe, visit Townmaster Harbin Wester to claim a reward of 25gp.”

S9: Agatha and Umbrage Hill

They headed over to Townmaster Harbin Wester’s home and knocked on his door.  When he eventually answered he refused to open his door at any point as he is terrified by the rumours of a white dragon in the area.  They introduced themselves and asked for payment for the bounty.  Talindra relayed a greatly exaggerated tale of what had happened.  Harbin shoved a small pouch of money under the door as payment.  Talindra pointed out that an Ogre had not been part of the bounty and surely they deserved more and he agreed to give them a further 20gp, again shoved under the door.  The tale had been very convincing and he does want them to deal with the dragon.  They asked him where these stories of dragons had come from and he said some miner had wandered in to town and told him.  He didn’t get his name though.  Harbin is a well to do sort, and people like that are generally beneath his station.  They asked where Sildhar was, and found out he was still escorting the prisoners back to Neverwinter.  They enquired if there was anyone who knew the surrounding countryside well who could answer some questions for them and Harbin suggested to go speak to “that wandering druid” who stops by town now and again, but he had no idea where he would be now.

With the bounty paid, they did some trading, and ran in to Araloth in the Miners Exchange when they were selling along their gems.  He was asking for any further information about the Lighthouse.  With everything done the party gathered back at the Inn.  Thorovir locked himself in his room to study Glasstaff’s research on crafting Invisibility Potions, and the others gathered to discuss their plans for the next day.  Talindra spent the afternoon scribing spells in to her tome while joining the chat.  Once crowds had gathered in the inn for the evening meal Ramond took joy in loudly regaling the room with tales of their adventures and his bravery.  They had a good night’s rest, and then headed out towards Umbrage Hill the next morning.

S9: Agatha and Umbrage Hill

As they approached the windmill on top of the hill a shape came flying out from behind it.  A winged lion with a barbed tale was attacking the windmill.  Sadly due to the long distances the ranged character were able to dispatch it before the melee characters could do much, but not until it had almost one rounded Karson with its tale spikes.  Under a close inspection of the corpse, Talindra found evidence of frostbite along the beast’s rump.  Adabra was grateful for the rescue and gave Karson one of her healing potions to drink.  They tried to persuade her to move back to town but she said she’d been out here for years and was always perfectly safe and had no intention of giving up her home now.  They were able to persuade her to head back to town today to check in and look in to setup up a signal to she could contact the town or town could contact her in an emergency.  Those who did not want a short rest after the fight escorted her back to town while the others healed up.  They then made their way as a group to Gnomengarde.

S9: Agatha and Umbrage Hill

DM: Thats right.  A white Dragon and all these quests in Phandalin, but those aren’t in the Lost Mines module .  I’m also putting everyone through the Dragon of Icespire Peak from the Essentials set.  They’re in the same town, for similar level characters.  No reason they can’t be at the same time.  DOIP ends at a higher level, and leads in to a series of modules that’ll take them up even further.  The party don’t know this yet though, although those who know of this module might now have figured this out.

S8: Wyvern Tor

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As the party headed back down the hill from Old Owl Well they saw Melandrach fending off some wolves, and arrived just in time to stop him getting overwhelmed, making short work of them.  Ramond threw their bodies on the wagon to skin later.

They rode the wagon to the outskirts of Wyvern Tor and set up camp an hour or so before sunset.  Talindra sent her owl familiar to scout the area while everyone set up tents, and then Araloth and Karson went out to see if they could locate the Orcs.  With the tents set up, Bilba and Talindra got straight in the new luxury tent and made it their own before any conversation could be had over who would get the comfy bed.

Karson quickly located some orcish footprints and they followed them as far as they dared.  Once they got too busy they headed back to camp, figuring they were close to the orcish base.  They arrived back at camp as the sun was starting to set to find Ramond had skinned the wolves, dinner ready to eat, and Melandrach studying a book on Herbalism.  The group got a good night’s rest, the two women sharing the good tent, and Araloth choosing to sleep under the wagon as he’s used to roughing it.  The next morning Araloth was woken by Talindra banging some pots together by the wagon trying to make him bang his head on the wagon.  Araloth shot awake but managed to avoid his low ceiling.

The campsiteThe campsite

With the party breakfasted, they made their way to where Karson had explored yesterday.  Thorovir had decided to stay back at camp and guard everything so as not to bring the wagon to the Orcs.  The stealthy characters went ahead, with the Owl scouting from above and they discovered a cave entrance, with two Orcs stood outside by a campfire and a third orc closer, standing watch behind a large rock.

Araloth and Talindra tried to use the terrain to sneak around the west while Bilba headed east.  Karson cast Alter Self and made himself look like an Orc.  He then headed down the worn path straight towards the cave, calling out a hello as he got closer, and offering a “suitably orcish greeting” (DM: None of us knew what that would be).  As he approached the two campfire orcs noticed him and turned to watch him approach.  Before he could reach them, the guard spotted Talindra sneaking up from the side and moved back to the camp.  In orcish, she said, “there’s someone sneaking up around the corner.  I don’t think he’s a friend”.

As Karson drew close he overheard this and shouted, “There’s a half elf over there.  They’re coming to attack you!  I am Garthok.  I’ve been sent by your boss with a warning”.  The orcs did not look convinced, and as they drew their weapons, so did Karson.  He held out his sword and let go as it turned in to a black hawk and flew forwards.  It made two attacks against the guard and tore out their throat.  Moments later Bilba unleashed an arrow from some nearby bushes killing another nearby orc.  As the party started advancing towards the cave with weapons ready, the last remaining orc retreated in to the cave.

Karson and Araloth moved to one side of the entrance while everyone else drew up from the distant rear.  Melandrach moved up to opposite the entrance to get a look inside, revealing a tunnel, but no visible Orcs.  Karson went in far enough to reveal that the Orcs were not alone.  He discovered an Ogre and a Mountain Wolf, along with more Orcs.  He stepped back in to an alcove inside the cave.  Araloth moved up to join him.  Allerted, the wolf moved up and attacked Karson.  Devere stepped up to the cave entrance and summoned a Spiritual Weapon to attack the wolf.  Ramond ran up to in front of the entrance and shouted, “Draw them out!”

S8: Wyvern Tor

Bilba moved up and fired at the wolf, before ducking back in to cover.  The Orcs then tried the same tactic, jumping out and throwing javelins at Ramond and Karson, before jumping back around a corner.  One stayed out in the open.  Melandrach stepped forward and rapid fired three Sunbolts Street Fighter style into that orc, dropping him to the floor.  Talindra finally moved far enough forward to see in to the cave and hexed and Eldritch Blasted the wolf, using her Owl to assist in all attacks.  The ogre couldn’t hold his ground any longer and stepped forward to meet his enemy, taking an attack from Araloth.  The Ogre then swung back with his club and missed (DM: Spoiler alert.  The useless Ogre misses every attack he makes!).   Karson and Araloth both stabbed the massive target in their faces, chipping away at him.  Araloth dodged out of the cave and out of his melee range.

The wolf, having been ignored, bit Karson, wounding him.  Devere cast a guiding bolt in to the ogre, and hit the wolf with his Spiritual Weapon.  Ramond put himself in the ogres face, called out, “I’ll probably need healing” and swung at him, putting all his divine energy in to the attack for a might blow while giving himself some temporary hit points.  With the party in close, the orcs charged around the corner throwing javelins and swinging axes.  The Warlock Blasted the ogre, almost ending him, but he got to swing hisclub ineffectually once more before Karson dealt the killing blow.

With the orcs bunched up in a narrow tunnel, Dever cast a Flaming Sphere behind them to act as the anvil to the party’s hammer and hit the closest with his floating flail.  Ramond dropped his greatsword and pulled out a shield and short sword, shouting, “If they’re trapped, then push”, then climbed over the ogre corpse and swinging at the same orc, which Bilba then killed with her bow.

The (?) is the flaming sphereThe (?) is the flaming sphere

Feeling trapped, the remaining two Orc’s disengaged and ran around the Flaming Sphere out of its reach.  Devere dropped the sphere and the party followed up, chipping away at them.  Talidra ran deep in to the chamber to attack them from behind, but revealed a particularly big and nasty Mountain Wolf at the back of the cave, who she preceded to Eldrich blast.  The Orcs did not last long, but the wolf put up a strong fight.  Everyone got a swing in, but Bilba shot an arrow straight down its throat while it was roaring, causing it to choke and cough blood over everyone, until the damage caused him to collapse dead.

S8: Wyvern Tor

Devere and Ramond advanced to explore the final chamber as everyone started looking for loot and noticed movement under some wolf pelts behind a pillar.  As Devere moved closer, asking, “Hello?  Is somebody back there?” a scared orc toddler crawled out and backed away from the group, earning an “awww” from the cleric.  Ramond instantly lost interest and wandered off to recover his greatsword.  Devere beckoned Karson over as he speaks orcish and currently is disguised as one.  They all backed off and let Karson try to talk to her, insisting they can’t just leave it.  That would be a death sentence.  Karson asked it if there were any more of its kind around here, before realising just how young the child was, realising she probably doesn’t have the words to answer.  He then asked her its name and offered her a biscuit.  She responded with “Grilda”, grabbed the biscuit and retreated away to eat it.

They spent some time trying to decide what to do with the child, while some of them searched the lair and the corpses for treasure and any signs they were connected to The Black Spider or King Groll.  Ramond thought this would be King Grolls lair, and Karson thought they were working for The Black Spider.  They found a small chest with some coins and perfume in, but nothing more.  Grilda got brave and approached Karson again, tugging on his trousers to get his attention to ask for another biscuit, which she received.  He tried to ask Grilda if she knew the name King Groll, but she just stared blankly at him.

GrildaGrilda

The group said they had three options.  Leave the kid here alone, kill the kid, or take her with them.  The first two were not an option for anyone.  Talinda suggested the priestess at the shrine in Phandalin might be able to find her a home.  Melandrach suggested they find some less bad orcs to raise here.  Karson responded that they had no proof there were bad orcs, now that he thinks about it. They were just acting on the word of the townsfolk.  There were a couple of human bodies outside though.  Karson spent a short while investigating the nearby tracks and thinks all the footprints were likely made by everyone here so there was no Orcs they could take the child to.

Karson bribed the child with food and then wrapped her in a wolf pelt and picked her up, while Talindra looked for any clothes and baby supplies nearby.  They then headed back to camp for a good night’s rest before spending the next day travelling towards Agatha’s lair, which they then camped around 5 miles away from, as the sun was setting.

S7 Old Owl Well

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DM: Not much to say this week, I’m afraid.  They had one big slow fight which wasn’t particularly interesting to watch, but was hopefully more tense for the people having their faces chewed off by zombies who didn’t always die when they hit 0hp.

 

They parked the Wagon at the foot of the hill and Melandrach stayed behind to guard it (DM: The player couldn’t make it).  Talindra’s new owl Familiar went ahead and did a flyby of the ruins and reported bask, seeing just a ruined tower and a red tent in a ruined courtyard, nothing else.  Karson and Bilba scouted round the southern edge of the ruins while Talindra and Araloth approached the north-east corner while the others stayed further back.  As the approached they noticed a growing smell of death coming from the area.  The Owl flew over the tower but enough of the floors remained to block any view down to ground level.  The owl then flew back and forth past the door, trying to peek in to the darkness inside.  It was too dark to see anything, but shortly afterwards zombies started to spill out of the tower!

 

(DM: I’ve been having issues interpreting Dark Vision.  I keep assuming that if you’re in a well-lit area looking in to a dark area then your dark vision is not active, much like my “night vision” stops working when I walk out of a dark room and look back in to it from a well lit room.  My players keep reminding me this is not the case and I’ve never been quite sure.  The wording is not clear on this.  However I saw a discussion earlier saying previous editions had dark vision and low light vision.  Low light worked like my vision and dark vision did not so absence of wording suggests absence of that rule?  Anyway, I probably pooched the rules for it during this and previous encounter, preventing them from seeing in to dark areas they probably could have)

You think it would be easy to google for pics of zombies coming out of ruins, but apparently notYou think it would be easy to google for pics of zombies coming out of ruins, but apparently not

Seeing assailants coming from two directions, the zombies spread out randomly and headed towards the two groups.  Araloth got in to position and readied for a counterattack while Talindra, Bilba and Karson attacked at range as the zombies ran towards them for a couple of rounds.  Ramond, Thorovir and Devere ran up the hill.  Ramond ran to intercept the Zombies heading towards Araloth and Talindra and Devere moved ready to assist with the other group.  Thorovir stayed back and fired an arrow in to an unlucky zombie.  Ramond pocketed his bow, drew his blades and charged forward to meet the oncoming threat, trying to keep them off the archer behind him.  The zombies met him in combat, surrounding him, while the northern group rolled mostly 17s against Ramond, making things look quite desperate.  Then, a pale looking man in red robes and a tattoo on his head emerged from the tent, looked around and demanded, “What is the meaning of this?”

Devere Moved forward and summoned a spiritual weapon to aid Karson, who was now facing 6 zombies.  For whatever reason he summoned a flair whose heads were in the shape of grumpy looking cat heads (DM: I’m gonna need artwork for this roll20!  Help?) and swung it at the nearest zombie.  Ramond then threateningly shouted out, “We have been attacked by these creatures.  If you are responsible we are ready to be tested against you!” and attacked the zombies, then cast Shield of Faith on himself, which did not last the round, but Devere replaced it for him on his next action.  Thorvir stepped up and fired his bow at the necromancer and then backed down, trying to use the hill and the well to break line of sight for any retaliation.  The shot was deflected at the last second by a shield spell, frustrating the party.  The wizard in red advanced and fired a Lightning bolt at him anyway, lightly charring him.  Ramond shouted out, “Get the necromancer first!”

The Red WizardThe Red Wizard

The party whittled away at the Zombies slowly, while Bilba and Thorovir kept taking pot shots from cover.  With Thorovir too far down the hill for line of sight, the wizard in red lightning bolted the only target he could get that wouldn’t also fry a zombie: Araloth. Seeing that the Shield spell had a verbal component, Devere centred a Silence spell on him, which shut down all his spell casting abilities.  Bilba snuck around the back of the tent and put an arrow in to his back.  He tried to cast shield, but no words came out.  Devere then moved up to engage him in melee, preventing him from leaving the spell and casting a spell this turn.  An Eldritch blast landed on him, weakening him further.

As the zombies number slowly dwindled, the mage disengaged from Karson and moved as far away from everyone as he could (and outside of the silence spell), before casting Misty Step and appearing a further 30 feet away.  Bilba had a clear shot from her hiding place, and put an arrow straight through his eye before he could move any further, before ducking in to the tent to hide.  The inside of the tent was surprisingly lush, decorated with fine ornate heavy wooden furniture, and a nice thick rug on the floor.

The yellow is the silence spell area.  There are more zombies to the south of the picThe yellow is the silence spell area. There are more zombies to the south of the pic

The zombies attacked again and Karson went down, but the heroes soon finished of the last of them.  Devere and Talindra went over to heal Karson while Thorovir went to loot the corpse.  Araloth stuck his head in the tower to ensure there was nothing of interest there and then went to inspect the corpse too.  Talindra spent a little longer inside the tower and concluded it was much older than the other ruins in the area, and that it looked like digging had been occurring here, but without tool.  There were hand marks clawing through the ground.  Thorovir took a ring, staff and red robes off the corpse and headed back to the group.  Bilba explored the tent and found some money, clothes, a potion and scroll inside a chest, and got herself a nice cup of spiced tea from an urn she saw.

Talindra had everyone gather everything inside the tent and cast detect magic and identify, to reveal that the ring and the tent were magical.  Ramond took the Ring of Protection, and a Travelling Tent (sets up and packs itself up, furniture and all with a simple action) was added to the party supplies. (DM: I await the arguments tonight when they have to decide who sleeps in a regular tent on the floor, and who gets the comfy mattress).

S7 Old Owl Well

After a short rest, and eating many Goodberries they had a chat about where to head next.  Araloth mentioned he’d heard about ships going missing near the lighthouse and said they should probably investigate, but the group decided Wyvern Tor should be their next destination.They returned down the hill to find Melandrach holding off a group of wolves who were surrounding the wagon.

 

It was here we had to call the session, unfortunately.

S7 Old Owl Well

S6: The Obligatory Shopping Session

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With the last of the Redbrands now captured, the party took the time to revisit the alchemical workshop they had rushed through.  They found many books on the shelves, instructing on learning herbalism and alchemy, and on deeper principles and learning that would aid someone in researching new recipes.  They also found a handwritten journal in dwarven from an adventurer called Urmon.  Skipping to the last few pages, it appears he was in the Phandelver mine while it was active, around 500 years ago.  In the last few pages he mentions a commission from the priests of Lathander.  They had asked the wizards of the mine to craft a magical mace they were calling Lightbringer, but no further information was recorded.  Maledrach has taken this journal and is reading it in the evenings, as he was the only one to speak up and say he can read dwarven.

Searching the workbench revealed bubbling apparatus, and some hand written notes.  It appears Glasstaff was working on two creations.  He had tried and failed three times to make Invisibility potions.  He had also done some research on the chasm and found its magical cold staved off decay.  He had drawn up plans for a metal lined box that he would place a stone from the rift in, believing that it could be used to store organic alchemical components and extend their lifespan, although no such box could be seen so we do not know if it would work.

With the sun sitting low in the sky, the party took their prisoners out of the cellar the way they had entered and escorted them through town to the Townmasters hall, believing there to be a small jail there.  When they entered the building they were confronted by Sildhar, wearing ill-fitting rural attire he had gotten from somewhere, and a nervous looking portly older gentleman, presumably the Townmaster judging by his clothing and location (DM: although no one bothered to ask or even get his name).

Townmaster Harbin WesterTownmaster Harbin Wester

A conversation ensued in which Sildhar asked how it had gone.  The party, still covered in blood from the messy beheading, said it had gone well and the Redbrands wouldn’t be a problem.  The Townmaster asked repeatedly if they were sure, and seemed to relax a little with their reassurance.  Talindra crafted an illusion of the body they had found in the rift and asked if they recognised it.  The Townmaster confirmed it was the body of the murdered woodworker, and needed further reassurance after being told the Redbrands were feeding people to a monster.  After agreeing the four new prisoners could be kept briefly in the two jail cells in town, the Townmaster headed out the door.  Sildhar said he would escort the prisoners to Neverwinter to receive justice in a day or two he asked the party for two favours while he is gone.  Could they continue to look for Cragmaw Castle and recover Gundren.  He also asked them to look for someone.

He explained that he is a member of the Lords Alliance and that they had sent an agent here a few months ago to set up a local constabulary, but he had not checked in.  From what Sildhar could tell, no one in town could recall anyone matching his description.  He said his name was Iarno Albrek and gave a description that matched that of Glasstaff.  Talindra called up a fresh illusion and confirmed that Iarno was Glasstaff and had gone rogue.  Sildhar did not recognise the name The Black Spider.  With a little prompting from Talindra, Sildhar offered them a 200gp reward for dealing with the Redbrands, and paid them the promised 50Gp for escorting him safely to town.  The nine of them escorted the prisoners to the now very cramped cells and locked them up for the night.

The Lords AllianceThe Lords Alliance

With nothing more pressing, and the sun slowly setting, the party returned to the manor and recovered all the barrels of ale and took them to the Sleeping Giant Tap Room.  Grista was very happy to see what she believed to be her stolen wares returned to her, and even happier to see that they had removed the Redbrand problem and offered drinks on the house.  She poured everyone a round, and once they sat down she set about trying to clean and tidy the place, ready for some actual paying customers at last.  In the privacy of this otherwise empty establishment, they sorted through their loot and Araloth, their only skilled jeweller appraised their gems and jewels ready for trading the next day.  After they did this and discussed plans for the next day, Ramond headed back to the Stonehill Inn while they enjoyed another drink or two.

When he entered the bar everyone turned towards him and then raised their drinks with a loud cheer.  Ramond, clearly enjoying the attention, swaggered over to the bar and announced loudly that he and his friends will need some baths drawing up as they appear to have “gotten themselves a little messy”.  As the Innkeepers wife, Trilena, sets about filling their single bath with piping hot water, Ramond turned to the room and asked who would like to hear a story?  A few shouts from the crow encouraged him to continue and he told an epic tale of their encounter under the Manor (DM: Nat 20 performance check!), leaving out the unpleasantness with the eye creature, and stressing his own personal heroism in putting down Glasstaff, showing off his still bloody blade to the room as he did so.  While the whole crowd loved this, he drew the particular attention of the Barkeepers son, Pip.  Pip spent the rest of the evening taking every opportunity to ask him questions like, “Were you scared?”, “How did you learn to fight?”, “Where did you get your sword?”.  Toblen announced that Ramond and the party’s rooms, bath and drinks were on the house.  Ramond enjoyed the attention, until his bath was ready for him.

Araloth returned to the Alderleaf farm and checked in on Qelline to ensure she was OK.  Having heard what had happened she gave him a big hug when she saw he was OK and said she’d cook him a big breakfast when he gets up in the morning. Heading out to his hayloft bed, he found a large slice of fresh fruit pie waiting for him under a cloth.  The rest of the party drifted back to the Stonehill Inn and enjoyed their baths one by one and had a good night’s rest.

Stonehill InnStonehill Inn

The next day the party gathered for breakfast in the Inn and discussed their shopping plans.  Araloth had eaten a fresh home cooked farm breakfast before heading over, and was prepared a nice packed lunch too.  They had a nice selection of gems and jewels and tried to trade them for equipment, but the local shopkeepers said there isn’t much call for gems in such a small town, but the miners exchange should be able to sell them along as buying and selling ores and gems is what they do.  They bought what equipment they could and headed over to the Miners Exchange.

While the party traded in their Gems to the lady behind the counter Araloth’s eye was caught by a rare bottle behind the counter: A half empty bottle of Drow alcohol.  He tried to ask her how she got it, asking if she was friends with any Drow.  She casually dismissed his query, insisting a merchant threw it in as part of a trade to sweeten the deal.  Araloth doesn’t think that’s the whole truth, but has let the matter drop for now.  With the Gems cashed in, they bought the rest of their supplies and picked up a horse and cart too.  Bilba and Karson then went out to investigate the Miners Trail, looking for evidence of green skins, while Talindra has headed back to the inn to start scribing spells in to her new spellbook.  Everyone else headed over to the Edermath Orchard.

Halia Thornton at the Miners ExchangeHalia Thornton at the Miners Exchange

The party had heard that Daran Edermath used to be an adventurer and they wanted to ask him if he knew of anywhere that could be Cragmaw Castle.  Unfortunately his adventuring days were in the Dragon Coast and he doesn’t know this area all that well.  He did suggest the closest to a keep would be the ruined tower at Old Owl Well.  He’s heard a rumour from a miner that some undead had been seen out there and asked if the party might investigate, saying he’d be out there like a shot but his adventuring days are behind him.  The party agreed and Devere was able use their new found fame and glory to talk him out of not only a bag of apples, but a small barrel of his own personal supply of home-made scrumpy.

The party gathered back at the Inn and discussed what to do next.  Studying the map the think there might be a valley between the hills around the Old Owl Well and Wyvern Tor.  They pack up their stuff and headed out down the Triboar Trail and have taken their wagon along this valley.  A couple of days later they find themselves close to Old Owl Well.  Half the party have gone to scout ahead, while the rest hold back and keep an eye on the wagon.

DM: It was here we ended the session.  Next week we have some actual content!

S6: The Obligatory Shopping Session

S5: Glasstaff

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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With the eye creature dead and the party scattered around the chasm chamber, they wasted little time debating the rights and wrongs of their actions.  There was some upset, but Talindra defended herself, insisting that it was eating people and it was therefore a threat.  People said they had no reason to think it was killing them, but Talindra countered by pointing out that they had no reason to think it wasn’t killing people.  She was also of the opinion that the Redbrands were feeding the townsfolk to it.  Talindra insisted they didn’t stop to argue as they are deep in enemy territoy and should keep moving, and try not to draw attention to themselves.  The group spread out to explore.

Melandrach had noticed a glint of metal in the rubble in the rift and found a small box, containing a fine short bow, 2 potions, a scroll and some coin.  Araloth investigated the corpse and the rift.  He can’t be sure, but he thinks the corpse might be the woodworker who was murdered a week a ago, although the body looks like a  much fresher kill.  He suspects the unnatural cold experienced in the chasm may be preserving the body.

Devere took 10 minutes to ritually cast Detect Magic and the rift glowed with a faint aura of Necromancy.  Melandrach waved his new bow in front of him and that also glowed.  Talindra and Thorovir covered the northern end of the camber, without exploring much futher, and Karson listened at the southern door of the two he had recently discovered.  He could hear some gruff voices speaking in Goblin, saying things like, “Bark like a dog.  Hur Hur Hur.  Now lick the floor you stupid gobo. Ha Ha”.  The party decided it best to open this door next.

S5: Glasstaff

They lined up down the corridor outside, and Devere quietly opened the door to see three Bugbears with their backs to the door.  They semed to be picking on a goblin, who was currently preoccupied doing something on the floor. Cathing them by surprise, they charged in and attacked the unprepared Hoibgoblins.  Karson went for the furthest, swung both his blades and missed, but caught the eyes of the goblin who was picking himself up.  Their eyes met and the goblin let out a surprised yelp, and feinted.  Everyone else focused fire on the nearest Bugbear and wore him down, but not before he landed a mighty blow on Melandrach, knocking him out and almost killing him outright (DM: 1 more damage and he’d have been rolling a new character.  Oops!).  Devere stabilised Melandrach while the others wore down the remaining Bugbears, who chipped away more at their health pool.  With the Bugbears dead, Talindra stepped in and healed Melandrach.

Standing over three dead bugbears and an unconsious goblin, the party decided now was the time to figure out what their potions did and spent the next few minute going through their stuff and tasting strange liquids they had found lying around.  They were now in possession of 4 healing potions and a potion of invisibility.  They handed round the heal pots as the goblin came to.

As the goblin opened his eyes and looked around him, and up at the Paladin stood directly over him, he screached loudly and pushed himself back away from the others and up against a corner made by the wall and the foot of a bed.  “Please don’t kill Droop.  Droop a good goblin.  Droop friendly”, he said in room barely big enough to hold 4 people and currently stuffed with 1 goblin and 7 bloody adventurers.  The party asked him some questions and Droop did his best to answer, but he repeatedly mentioned his memory isn’t too good anymore as he’s been hit in the head too many times by mean bugbears.  They found out that king Groll of Cragmaw Castle recently sent Mosk at the other two Bugbears here to help Glasstaff, and Mosk dragged Droop along for entertainment.  They’ve not been here long so Droop doesn’t know much and he cannot remember the way back to the castle.  Its somewhere north of here?  he has seen Glasstaff and thinks he’s usually found in a room north of this one.  The part offered to set him free if he promised to vanish and forget he ever saw them.  He was supremely grateful, and Ramond and Devere escorted him out through the way they had entered.

S5: Glasstaff

While the chat was going on, Karson looted the bodies and found one of the bugbears was wearing a jeweled eyepatch, which he took.  He also found a few silver and an Iron key. Araloth listened at the door to the immediate north and could hear the sounds of people chatting, gambling, and dice rolling, with the occasional cheer and groan.  He covered this door, listening out for signs they had been detected.  Talindra went back to exploring the north end of the chasm room with Thorovir covering him.  The far room contained some unused barrels and crates, like this was a packing and shipping warehouse, along with 30 beaver pelts, which she asked Thorovir to carry.  She also detected a secret door in the west wall.  The two also discovered a set of stairs leading down from the chasm chamber.

The party gathered and discussed where to head next.  Given the choice between a secret door, a normal door, or a flight of stairs the lure of a secret door wins 9 times out of 10.  The party argued they might be expected through any other entrance, but they should have the elemnt of surprise through a secret door.

Araloth remained listening to the gamblers and Thorovir covered the unexplored stairway while the party lined up behind Karson at the secret door.  They discussed the plan of action and agreed that if they see anyone they charge in and take them by surprise.  Karson listend and heard nothing and then popped the door open on to a stairway leading down to a dead end.  A quick check revealed another secret door, made obvious by the stairs pointing towards it.  Hearing nothing on the other side, Karson opened this door and saw two people.  A bearded human in robes sat at a desk  with a glass staff leaning against his chair, and another redbrand in finer armour stood at his side.  They looked up as the door opened and looked taken aback, but as Karson alerted the group and everyone madr to charge in, the two prepared for combat.

Melandrach downed a healing potion as he ran in and tried to grab the staff before his enemy could, but wasn’t fast enough, so he redirected his energy in to an attack.  He swung his staff and just as it made contact there was a flash of energy and a forcefield errupted deflecting the blow.  His opponent then countered by summoning three magic missles and blasting them in to him, which would have taken melandrach down for a third time, had he not drank the potion.  The wizard then backed up towards the far door.

S5: Glasstaff

Bilba crept in to the room and positioned herself so melandrach was between her and the wizard and tried to hide from him.  She got lucky as the sheets on the bed were a perfect match for her outfit which helped conceal her from him.  Hearing the shouts Thorovir decided to join the group and moved up, having explored down the stairs already and revealed a dead end with two doors.

Ramond made it down the secret stairs and surveyed the room.  He shouted out “Kill the mage first!”, raised his greatsword and charged at him, bringing it down in his enemy with another flash of a forcefield, catching the blow.  Ramond was too strong though and the blade went through the shield spell.  As the shield gave, Ramond put all his holy energy in to the attack and drove the blade in to his enemies shoulder, through his torso and almost out between his legs.  Had the blade supporting him not been caught in the door behind him, he would have collapsed in one strike.

As half the mage started to peel away like a banana skin, Talindra entered the room and Blasted the Rebrand.  Karson moved to the far side of him and swung his blade, drawing blood.  Devere ran in and jumped up on the desk for a flanking position and golf swung his mace, ringing the bell of the now surrounded enemy.  The redbrand swung twice at Karson, injuring him, before Melandrach jabbed him in the gut whith his staff.  As he followed this up with a kick to his knees his enemy went limp and lifeless and fell forward, landing on his feet.

The party searched the room and looted the bodies.  Talindra took the glass staff.  Karson noticed the Redbrands shortsword was particularly fancy, with its hawk styled hilt design and took it for himself.  The chest by the deck contained some coins and gems, and scrolls of fireball and charm person, and a spellbook.  In the desk they found a letter from someone called “The Black Spider”.

S5: Glasstaff

With the looting completed and the letter read, Ramond pulled out a hand axe and moved over to Glasstaffs corpse.  He picked it up by the hair and started hacking at the neck, but could not brace it for a good cut.  It took many wet bloody swings to sever the head, by which time a good amount of splatter had coated everyone in the room.

(DM: It was getting late and one of our players needed to go as he had an early start.  he was persuaded to stay for another half hour so we could finish off this dungeon so from here things might be a little more rushed than they otherwise would have been)

As the party debated who was going to listen at the next door, Devere stated that if anyone was in there Glasstaff would have called them for help when he got to the door, and just opened it and walked in without stopping to assess the danger.  The room appeared to be an alchemy lab, festooned with books and papers, vials, flasks and jars, and a smoking bubbling apparatus on a table in the middle of the room.  Nothing of immediate interest to anyone so they headed out of the opposite door without looking around, and Karson listened at the last remaining door, hearing nothing but the sounds of the people behind him, and the drip drip drip from the severed head Ramond was carying.

Karson pushed open the door on to a room with four Redbrands gambling at a table.  Ramond stepped straight past him and threw the head on to the pile of money in the middle of the table and bellowed, “We have killed your master.  Surrender now, or we will do the same to you.”  Hearing Ramonds voice, Araloth opened the door from the other side in time to see them look at each other in drunken panic, and rapidly sober up.  Three of them dropped their weapons and drop to their knees.  The fourth, still drunk enough to be stupid, tried to sweep up his winnings before fully absorbing the situation and following suit.  The redbrands were tied up and their money was taken.  Looking around the room they have found several barrels of beer, some of which have been tapped.  Believeing the dungen clear, the party took a minute to get their breath back and are talking about taking the beer back to town for everyone to celebrate.  Devere suggested giving it to the Sleeping Giant Tap House to help recoup her losses.

DM: We called the sesion here.  As they would level up to third when they get back to town and “hand in” this quest I asked them to take care of this between sessions.

S5: Glasstaff

S4: In To The Redbrands Hideout

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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Wary of being watched, the party go on full alert as they ascend the hill towards the ruined manor.  The split in two and encircled the manor, heading towards the back where they had been told the entrance to the cellar will be.  Talindra took a short detour in to the main building to see if another way down would be apparent, with nothing grabbing her attention.

They descended down the stairs and found an unlocked door which opened in to a dark room with more stairs down, and a large cistern and a door on the opposite wall, and another door under the stairs under them which they did not notice at first (Because it was hiding under a character on roll20).  There were some crates and barrels stacked up in the corner of the room, near the opposite door.

The group spread out around the room, with Bilba and Thorovir covering them from the internal stairs.  Araloth investigated the cistern, and noticed a cord running in to the tank on the other side.  He gestured over to Devere who pulled the rope up and found a waterproof leather satchel containing some coins, clothes and two vials of unlabelled liquids.

As Karson prepared to open the door by the Cistern, Talindra stays back and uses an illusion to turn herself in to a barrel.  They kick open the door and surprise 3 resting bandits in a cramped room with double bunkbeds and more barrels and crates.  Karson and Araloth burst in and beat up one of the bandits.  Araloth ends up climbing on some crates to make room for more people to enter the room.  While party overwhelmed the bandits, Bilba noticed the other door and opened it in to a corridor lined with decorative pillars, and rusted copper plate double doors, emblazoned with the image of a mighty oak tree.  Bilba remained in the doorway until the party rejoined her.

S4: In To The Redbrands Hideout

While Araloth remained to loot the bodies and search the room, the party moved in to the new corridor and Karson went ahead to check the door, but as he stepped forward the ground gave way beneath his feet.  With quick reflexes he as able to grab a ledge and pull himself up on to the other side.  Seems someone had dug a 20 feet deep pit trap with a narrow ledge down each side.  They spent a while working out who to safely get everyone over the trap and Devere decided to cast Guidance on everyone as they went across the narrow ledges.  One by one, they went over, and most people could not maintain their balance, but always just managed to grab the ledge in time to avoid damage.  When the armoured paladin with minimal dexterity came to cross the ledge (DM: While his player was AFK) they tied a rope around his waste as a back up, and Melandrach held the other end.  Ramond dropped straight in the pit and missed the ledge.  The rope as the only thing that saved him.

(DM Note: This pit trap proved to be a huge obstacle.  Almost everyone failed their check to walk along the narrow ledge even with Guidance but thankfully no one took falling damage.  It was really painful to watch them fail DC10 acrobatics checks)

There was only room for 4 people across the trap, so Ramond, Karson, Melandrach and Araloth opened the doors and entered the next room to allow the others to cross.  They discovered a crypt, with 3 stone sarcophagi and a skeleton slumped lifeless up against each of them.  There were 2 doors at the north end of the room.  As people stared crossing the pit, Ramond detected the room for evil and announced that the 3 bodies are undead.

Melandrach sprang to life and started beating up the nearest skeleton, who did not react, except to crumble apart after a couple of blows.  Ramond engaged the one in the north and Araloth jumped up on a sarcophagus to attack the third.  As he jumped up, the remining two came to life and started attacking the intruders, but they had already taken blows and did not last long.  Araloth and Karson listened at the doors, hearing nothing.  Karson opened the north door and found a short corridor with a locked door at its end.

Araloth stepped out of the way and let Melandrach open his door.  As he stepped in he saw a Redbrand standing to his right.  As he turned to attack him, a second Redbrand brought his sword down hard on his back (DM: Natural 20 on a surprise attack), downing him in a single blow.  As he celebrated his mighty kill, multiple arrows came through the doorway, followed by deadly swords.  Talindra healed Melandrach back up, and the party made short work of the enemy, and found themselves in a jail with 3 prisoners.

Have you tried googling for Have you tried googling for "Women prison fantasy". Lets see what images you can find that's not sexualised or too modern.

The prisoners appeared to be the dead woodworkers (Thel Dendrar) wife and teenage children, dressed in sack cloth.  Clothes from 15-20 people were piled up against a wall.  They are clearly not their first prisoners.  They picked the locks and escorted them back to the pit trap, before realising that if mighty adventurers cant cross it, three exhausted commoners will die.  They figured out how to set up a hand rail using rope and pitons (DM: Finally!), and Talindra escorted them to the exit.  On her way out, Mirna Dendrar thanked her rescuers and wished she could offer them a reward.  She paused for a moment and said that when she was a child she used to live in the town of Thundertree but her family had to flee due to the eruption of Mount Hotenow and the related zombie problem.  They had to flee in a hurry and left behind a jewelled necklace in a box under the counter in the family’s Alchemy and Herbalism shop.  If the heroes are ever in the area they are welcome to take it, if its even still there.

Dungeon cleared?  They were expecting around 20 Redbrands, possibly including those outside (Assuming their prisoner can count)Dungeon cleared? They were expecting around 20 Redbrands, possibly including those outside (Assuming their prisoner can count)

Talindra returned to the party as they were opening the remaining locked door, to find a small storehouse of basic weapons.  Reviewing the map, they realised there were no more doors and there had to be more.  They spread out around the dungeon and started searching for secret doors.  Melandrach found one in the entrance room, by the cistern.  The party gathered up behind the scouts, and Karson opened this new door to reveal a large room with a 20 foot deep chasm running its length.

The party spread out in to the room (DM: A chaotic mess I had difficulty keeping track of.  We are discussing better ways to handle this over Roll20 and voice chat.  I don’t want to have to roll initiative every time they open a door) and as Karson crossed the southern bridge he noticed creature trying to hide behind one of the two main pillars holding up the ceiling.  As Karson approached this creature clung to the pillar and tried to stay out of site, until it realised it had been spotted.

This weird hunched over, almost lizard-like creature had claws on its hands, irregular spikes down its back, no lips but razor sharp teeth, and one huge central eyeball.  No one had any idea what it was.  As the party filled in to the room, Karson could hear its words as a whisper in his mind.  It asked him what he was doing there.  As Karson responded, the others filed over, at first unknowingly surrounding the creature, and asking Karson who he was speaking to, until they got close enough to see the eye monster (EM).  The party (P) joined in the chat, asking questions, all the while the eye monsters was looking around the group.(DM:   I think there as more chat, but I can’t remember it all):

P: Are you with the redbrands

EM: Sometimes

P: What do you want

EM: got any food

P: You won’t like what I have.  All I have is rations.

EM: I like meat.  Got any fresh meat?  Mine’s getting a little old

(He casually gestures over to the rift, where people can make out a humanoid shape in the shadows at the bottom)

Talindra: I cast Eldritch Blast!

Such a happy looking eye monster.  Who would want to hurt him?Such a happy looking eye monster. Who would want to hurt him?

The eye monster was not entirely taken by surprise by this, and as it weathered the blast, it furrowed its brow and glared at Talindra, who became visibly weaker and sickened, her skin going pale and clammy (Necromantic damage).  The party then got in battle stances (rolled initiative).

The party had positioned themselves to box the eye monster in, and it was visibly looking around for an exit where it wouldn’t suffer lots of free strikes.  Seeing no other options, it made a bolt past two people, taking hits as it went, and got down in to the chasm, below reach of the party.  It glared at someone before running, hoping to remove them from the fight before they could swing.  Talindra retreated to behind the north pillar, visibly shaken by what had happened.  Melandrach chased after it into the rift, and attacked it as it ran, noticing something shiny in the rubble as he ran.

Araloth moved to cut off its exit to the east, and make an attack, while Bilba and Devere blocked its southern exit.  Bilba tried to engage it in conversation, asking it to surrender, but the monster only replied, “Surrender?  We were having a conversation and you attacked me!”.  Devere just stood there, looking deep in thought, uncertain about what was happening.  Ramond held his action, ready to act only if an ally fell.  Thorovir tried to fire an arrow down to the beast, but it sunk in to the southern bridge, and Karson went off to explore a new corridor to the west.

Finding himself boxed in again, the monster tried unsuccessfully to clear a path behind him by glaring at Melandrach, and took a new round of attacks from Mel and Araloth, while Talindra healed herself up.  Healed, she stepped out from behind the pillar on to the north bridge, ready to fire and the bridge collapsed, dropping her 20 feet on to the floor of the rift.  the creature then glared at Araloth for no effect, and stepped through the gap between him and Melandrach, making a final break for freedom, but they both landed blows, and as he ran out of their reach he slowly lost momentum, and his body fell backwards and slid back down the sloped sides of the chasm.

End of Session 4End of Session 4

DM: With adrenaline high, the monsters last heartbeat ended at the feet of his killers and we had to call the end of the session.  The party clearly has mixed feelings about what just happened.  Only half of them attacked it, the others did nothing, walked away, or tried to talk to it.  I hope we can get everyone back in this mindset at the start of next week.

I know I dropped the ball on this encounter.  It’s a really interesting creature and potentially a really cool social encounter, but its a hell of a lot to drop on an inexperienced DM with a party that probably don’t have detailed back stories, and haven’t had time to have done much in game.  He shouldn’t be in a starter set adventure, at least without better guidance, and should probably be scaled for higher levels to give people a chance to have a history.  He’s really cool and a better DM than me could do so much more with him)

They have started asking about future down time, specifically item creation as per Xanathars Guide to Everything.  I think I’m OK with that, but it lacks actual recipes.  I don’t want to be overly harsh or generous, so I’d love to see any links people have to what people have used in the past.  You’d think they’d at least make a suggestion for basic +1 weapons or armour.  I think I only really have to worry about basic potions and perhaps scrolls at most for a while anyway.

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Gerry / OTT: Any chance we could get the option for spoiler text that stays hidden unless someone clicks on it?  This could be useful in all chat areas, not just projects.  I’d like to reveal what the monster is and have a better conversation about it, but I don’t want anything my players can casually see, just in case they see this.

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I’m having a hard time remembering the dialogue after the fact.  Anyone got any advice on recording the audio for personal use only?  We chat through Discord and my computer is old (8ish years?), but doing well, and running Windows 7.  Drive space might be an issue, so raw audio of 4 hour long files might be a problem.  This won’t b a podcast, I just want to refresh my memory on some points for this project.  Maybe an option to stop an start recording as we hit chat sections, that doesn’t require me to set up new files as we go.  Convenience and speed are key.

S3: A Town in Trouble

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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With the wagons loaded up with the recovered Lionshield Coster crates and a short rest completed, Silda Hallwinter regained consciousness.  He picked himself up and stretched, revealing himself to be stiff and sore as well as bloody, beaten and stripped to his underwear.  Ramond walked over and Laid on Hands, restoring a little vitality, but it doesn’t do much more to help.

They had a little chat and once they had assured Sildar that they had killed all the goblins, preventing future banditry from them, he offered them 50gp to escort him to Phandalin.  He revealed that the goblins had been tipped off about his and Gundren’s journey and were out in force to ambush them.  The goblins took Gundren and all their stuff including a map to a place called Cragmaw Castle.  Wherever it is, it won’t appear on any map by that name.  The Cragmaws are the local goblinoid tribes so its unlikely humans would know it by that name.  He encouraged the party to rescue Gundren and recover the map is it reveals the location to a long lost mine that not only houses great mineral wealth, but a magical forge that creates magic items.  He fears what could happens if the forge fell in to the wrong hands.

Gundren walked over to one of the two fallen goblins outside the cave and picked up a short sword and shield, a little too small for him but good enough.  He then climbed up on a wagon, showing off how sore he really is, despite trying to mask it, and the party set off towards town once more.

Phandalin, as seen when approaching from the Triboar TrailPhandalin, as seen when approaching from the Triboar Trail

The next day the party arrived in Phandalin, a little after midday.  Phandalin is an odd mix of the old and the new.  There are ancient ruined houses scattered around the town, and brand new buildings of wood and stone, and some new buildings are built using the ruins as a starting point.  Up on the hill to the east a large ruined manor house can be seen.  An orchard to the west, and farms can be made out to the south.

The carts ride through to the town square, a few doors past Barthens Provisions, their destination, and pull up outside what the sign says is the Stonehill Inn.  A few door down can be seen a building bearing the symbol found on the crates from the cave, that of the Lionshield Coster.

Sildar speaks up, “Well, my friends, I don’t know about you but I could really use a hot bath, some good food and a soft be right about now.  I’ve hear the local Inn is good.  I’m going to get a room there.  If you come and see me tomorrow at the Townmasters Hall I’ll pay you what I promised.”  With this, he lowers himself off the wagon, still noticeably suffering for his experiences, and heads inside.

Devere and Talindra decide to go book some rooms for the party while everyone else heads to the Lionshield Coster.  They find out there are only 5 rooms available, but the local farms have been known to put up travellers.  They book up all 5 rooms and decide to discuss options with the party.

PhandalinPhandalin

They deliver the goods to the Coster and introduce themselves to Linene Greywind, the shopkeeper.  She explains she’s not veen able to get a restock from the cities for a few months now as deliveries just go missing.  She thanks the party and offers them 50gp for a reward.  They help her onload around the back and discover she has a back room of weapons and armour, separate from the day to day stock out front.  She says she only sells to trusted customers.  She wouldn’t want her weapons to be used to cause trouble.  She will of course sell to the people who saved her stock (Melandrach buys a quarterstaff).  The party also enquires if she is aware of any nearby keeps or castles, but all she can think of is an old ruined tower up at Old Owl Well.

On their way out, Lenine looks up from unpacking and warns them to look out for anyone wearing a red cloak.  The redbrands are bullies and like to make life hard for everyone in town, so its best to avoid them if you can. When questioned, she says they pick on people, cause trouble, and demand protection money from the local stores, when they take more and do more damage than any local trouble previously.

On their way over to Barthens to complete their original job, they meet up with Devere and Talindra coming out of the inn.  In Barthens they have a similar experience.  They also mention, than Gundren has gone missing and Barthen expresses his concern, although he claims to not have met Sildar before.  He wonders if Gundrens brother Nundro and Tharden are OK.  They have been camping outside of town somewhere and are due to visit for supplies any day now.

Job complete, the party now splits in three.  Araloth and Karson go for a walk around town.  Araloth wants to ask about staying at a farm.  Talindra, Ramond and Devere decide to check out the shrine opposite the inn.

Shrine of luck and Sister GaraeleShrine of luck and Sister Garaele

The shrine is a small, simple affair, built in the last few years out of stones taken from the ruins of old Phandalin, and is staffed by a female elf who introduces herself as Sister Garaele.  Talindra asks for some advice from Sister Garaele.  She has a dream she wants to understand.  First she offers up her staff, saying she was recently given it.  It is covered in symbols of luck, and has the symbol of Tymora encased inside a pentagram upon it.  Sister Garaele recognises these symbols as such, but has not seen them displayed with the pentagram before.

Talindra then goes on to talk about a dream she had.  She says she saw this shrine encased in ice and then a town swallowed by the ice from the shrine.  Then a storm came and lightning struck the shrine and everything crumbled.  Then they world rotated to show the other side of the coin.  The shrine and the town on a calm summers day, and spin and spin.  Talindra doesn’t know what it means.  Sister Garaele says that sometimes a dream is just a dream, but the gods have been known to communicate through dreams and rarely make themselves clear when they do.  She cannot bring any significance to any of it, but dreams are often deeply personal so mabye its meaning will reveal itself?

They also ask about local castless but Sister Garaele cannot shed any new light.  Having seen them pull up in the wagons, and looking at their weapons she asks them for a favour.  She needs to ask someone a question, but they won’t speak to her and hopes that if they heroes feed her vanity and offer her a gift she has prepared they may be able to get Agatha to reveal what happpened to a long lost spellbook that belonged to a mage called Bowgentle.  Agatha lives to the east, north west of Conyberry.  The dangerous part is that Agatha is a banshee.  They agree to try, and are handed a gem encrusted silver comb to offer up.

They then head in to the inn and join their friends for a few drinks and a snack.  They share a tale Elsa the barmaid imparted about the Redbrands.  They recently killed a man in the street in front of the whole town.  Thel Dendrar, the local woodcutter stood up to a group of them after they had been being inapropriate with his wife and they just cut him down in front of everyone.  A few days later his wife and kids just dissapear.  No one knows what happened to them, but Elsa blames the Redbrands.

Karson and Araloth went for a walk around town to see whats there, and to find a friendly farmer to put up Araloth.  Given the choice between the orchard and the farm, they headed to the farm and met Qelline Alderleaf, a kindly female halfling in her mid 40s.  She said she would be happy to put them both up in her hayloft.  She would be grateful to have someone around who knows how to handle themself.  Times had been hard recently.  She doesn’t like it when the Redbrands come around.  She sent her son Carp to fetch a few blankets and a jug of water out to the hayloft.

After leaving the farm they decided to check out the Sleeping Giant tap house, having heard thats where the Redbrands like to hang out.  As the aproached they saw four men in red cloaks on the porch outside.  They blocked their entry and made it clear they weren’t welcome.  When hands started to settle on hilts, Karson and Araloth decided it was time to leave and went back to the Stonehill Inn.  After a long chat, the group decided the best thing they could do would be to deal with the redbrands and came up with a plan.

Assault on the Sleeping Giant Tap HouseAssault on the Sleeping Giant Tap House

The plan they decided on was simple.  Araloth would had north and sneak around to the far side of the tavern, staying out of site.  Bilba nad Karson would head south towards the Alderleaf farm and then cut north, and hide in the bushed opposite with their bows ready.  Then the others would split in to pairs, and head down the street acting loud and drunk (the characters had consumed a few drinks by this stage, so bonus points for method acting).  Ramond and Melandrach went first, followed up by Talindra and Devere.

Ramond set one foot on the short steps up to the porch and found a redbrand holding the posts either side blocking his way.  He told Ramond he shouldn’t be here.  Outsiders aren’t welcome.  They should leave.  Ramond played drunk and said he just wanted to see if the beer was better here.  The other three redbrands stood up from their resting slouches.  Steps Redbrand insisted they should get out of here they ain’t welcome here.  Ramond said he only wanted a beer.  Three sets of hands started to rest on hilts, and steps Redbrand pushed Ramond in the chest, moving him down off his step.  Everyone drew weapons at this point.

Steps Redbrand stepped down to fill the gap Ramond had just vacated and as he did Ramond drew his weapon from its scabbard and straight up across his face.  His enemy was barely able to swing his weapon before Ramond shoulted out, “Surrender!” as his greatsword came down hard on his enemies shoulder, its weight drawing it down in to his chest, requiring a solid tug to remove it from his corpse.  Araloth came from around the corner and tried to vault on to the porch, but misjudged its height, getting up there but not enough to clear the railings.  Finding himself off balance and the primary target of two armed men he dropped back down to the ground and returned to around the corner.

As he dropped, an two arrows came flying from across the street.  One hit the railing right where araloth has been, and the other hit one of the porch redbrands.  One headed down the steps and the other two tried to jump off the porch.  One of them lost his footing and slipped, knocking the wind out of his chest, remaining folded over trying to get his beath back.  Purple fire cam up the street from the west, and hit the side of a redbrand.  Close behind hit came Devere who jumped up on to the side of the porch, said a blessing to Lathander and then laid both his hands on to the back of the prone redbrand.  As Devere closed his eyes, the redbrands skin went pale, and became sunken, he started to inhale and judder, and then his breath stopped and he fell limp, a life less husk.  Everyone froze for two heartbeats and took in what had just happened.  Devere stood there, a look of shock on his face as he stared at his hands.  “I …I’ve never cast that before” was all he could mutter.

The pause ended as Karson came running across the street with his swords ready.  As he swung  at one redbrand, another went for him but was cut short as an arrow tousled Karsons hair and went straight in his attackers eye.  As his face hit the ground the arrow was forced out through the back of his skull.  As karson was running, two more Redbrands exited the tavern and went to street level, ready for a fight.  Araloth came back from around the corner and jumped up on the porch as they were coming down.  With no enemies to hand, he readied himself by the door in case anyone else came out to attack his allies.

Our party made quick work of the remaining redbrands, until they found themselves surrounding just one, who was backed against the tavern, with nowhere to go.  Devere tried to knock him out with the butt of his mace, but must have been pulling his punches, still shocked by what he had done.  The guy dropped his blade, and a little urine escaped down his trouser and he accepted whatever happened next, but death did not come.  As the party demanded answers, he dropped to his knees and was tied up.  He revealed they were based up at the manor on the hill, there were around 20 of them, and they were lead by a wizard names “Glasstaff”, but other than that all they got was pleads for their captives life.

As the questioning started, Araltoh and Devere, already on the porch, went in to the tavern.  The Sleeping Giant was empty, dirty, and in a state of disrepair.  It had clearly seen its share of bar fights.  Araloth headed over to the bar to help himself to a drink, but found a female dwarf hiding behind the bar.  As the spoke, they found out she was the barkeep, and unwilling servant / hostage of the Redbrands. Once she found out they were enemies of the redbrands she offered them free drinks.  Devere offered her 5gp to help undoing the damages caused by the redbrands.

Tune in next week as our hobos assault the old manor on the hillTune in next week as our hobos assault the old manor on the hill

The party gathered outside the inn in the mid afternoon sun and discussed what to do next.  Deciding that if they rested before acting, the redbrands would come for them in their sleep and be better defended by morning, they agree to head up the hill to deal with them today.  Despite being terrified of the repercussions, they manage to persuade the barkeep to escort the prisoner to one of the two jail cells the town has.  before she leads her prisoner off using his own weapon she advises the party that she has head drunken redbreds let slip that their hideout is actually beneath the manor in its cellar.  There should be an entrance in the side of the building near where the kitchen would have been hidden by some bushes.

As she turns to leave, the party heads off to the east, up the hill to Tresendar Manor.

 

S2: Cragmaw Hideout

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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We were two players down this session.  Ramond and Thorivor couldn’t make it

Melandrach and Araloth returned to the group and told them what they had found and the group decided to investigate that light.  Concerned about the entrance and the unexplored natural chimney, Ramond and Thorovir decided to stand between the cave entrance and the entrance to the wolves chamber to cover the rear.

As they went up rising side passageway the scounts went full stealth and the party got the drop on five goblins working around a cauldron over a cooking fire.  With everyone focused and the advantage of a surprise round they were able to wipe out most of the goblins before they could react.  As the felled the last goblin, another appeared on a ledge overlooking the cooking chamber.  He had a beaten and bloody man stripped down to his underwear, tied up and balanced on his knees over the ledge.  The party recognised this man as Sildar Hallwinter.  As he demanded they stop fighting or his prisoner would fall to his death, Melandrach tried to scale the ledge and tripped over Bilba, landing on his rear instead.

Devere tried to engage him in conversation as everyone held their action.  The Goblin wanted them to kill a bugbear names Klarg who had taken over the cave and was bullying everyone.  If they killed Klarg he would let his prisone rlive and everyone could leave.  While he was distracted by this, Araloth snuck up behind him (Passed a stealth check with disadvantage) and was able to one hit kill him.  He tried to grab Sildar before he could fall but fumbled, bumbing in to him.  As Sildar fell, Melandrach, now back on his feet, tried to catch him.  he didnt quite react in time (Fluffed Athletics check) and Sildar fell on to him, hurting both of them.  Despite his soft landing, the 10 foot drop was enough to reduce Sildar to 0hp.

A quick heal check later and he was stable.  With more to explore the party chose not to use their limited supplies of magical healing on him and took him outside for Ramond to tend to, after quick bit of scouting around.  With most of the cave mapped out, they formulated a good plan to attack the remaining area from 3 sides: Along the bridge, along the river, and up the natural chimney.

No one tried the goblins stew.

Sildar is unconscious, but alive and outside the cave.  Ramond is tending his wounds while the party searches the last few rooms for GundrenSildar is unconscious, but alive and outside the cave. Ramond is tending his wounds while the party searches the last few rooms for Gundren

 

The plan of attack:

Karson would climb up the chimney, with a light stone in his hand.  It was only wide enough for one person at a time and would take three rounds and three athletcics checks toclimb.  Thorovir would stand guard at the entrance to that room and help coordintae his actions with the others

Bilba and Talindra would hold their actions between the wolf cave and the bridge awaiting a flash of light from the others, and would then follow the river around.

The others would cross the bridge, with Araloth and Melandrach in the lead, everyone trying to be stealthy.  They had spotted a goblin hiding on the bridge watching the area below before making the plan and were able to sneak up on him from across the bridge, kill him on one shot and throw his body over the edge.  Araloth then pulled a hand-cupped light stone out of his pocket and exposed it to the others as a sign.  Karson started climbing, the ground party started working their way around the cave with the aid of a light stone they had hidden in their pockets, and the bridge crew proceeded in to the next room where they found a waterfall, two shallow pools, and three more goblins waiting.

They got the drop on the first goblin by the entrance, but were not able to kill him in the suprise round.  Alerted, the furthest goblin ran in to the next room and the other two started to fight.  As araloth and Melandrach killed their gooblin, Bilba and Talindra followed the cave around and snuck up behind the now distracted goblin archer and with arrow and eldritch blast, dropped him.

Meanwhile, Karson had successfully made not only 3 climb checks (with a natural 20!) but also passed 3 stealth checks to climb up unnoticed and in record time.  As his head pocked out the top he was able to see a Bugbear and a wolf running towards and then past him to hide in the corner of their cavern behind a stalagmite.  Karson chose to wait for Klarg to stop running and turn his back to him before climbing out of the shute and attacking him from behind, even though he could not see his allies.  He got in one good solid hit and then was appauled at how little Klargs health bar moved.  Klarg screamed out, “Who dares defy Klarg!, swung his morningstar at karson, and downed him with a single swing (Chip damage from previous fights had occurred to most people by now).

Klarg the Mighty!  He will destroy you!  Smaaaashhh!Klarg the Mighty! He will destroy you! Smaaaashhh!

Klarg went back in to hiding as the party started to enter the room.  As the first person entered they were suprised by a volley of arrows coming from two goblins hiding behind some crates along the southern wall, but took some shot at a third gonlin still getting in to position.  The party advanced in and engaged the archers and Klarg came out to face them, having discovered that his module prescribed ambush point just served to box in him and his wolf, Ripper.

Klarg continues to provide both smack downs and big threats as the party takes its time dispatching the goblins.  Devere takes a moment to decide if its better to heal Karson or attack the Bugbear.  Deciding its better to prevent more damage than take more and resolve whats already been done he takes a swing at Klarg, hurting him and becoming the new centre of his attention.  Bilba comes in and throws two daggers at the wolf, reducing him to deaths door.  Talindra (I think) threw a ranged heal at Karson (Warlocks are arcane casters who can have heal spells apparently?) who got up, and took two swings at the new distracted bugbear stood over his recently prone body, landing one good blow. Finding himself now in flanking position, Devere went in for it, he swung his mace at Klargs knee causing it to buckle and then brought it back up and hit him on the other side of his head, landing the killing blow and knocking him over, head first in to the chute right behind him.  With Klargs corpse stuck are upwards the part quickly finished off the wolf.

 

With Klarg dead, the party steals his stuff, oh and checks on the rescued prisoner on 0HP.With Klarg dead, the party steals his stuff, oh and checks on the rescued prisoner on 0HP.

With murdering complete and the cave seemingly empty, the party moved on the take its stuff stage of the “Kill it and take its stuff” procedure.  The found several crates and bags with a blue lions head, some were able to recognise as the symbol of the Lionshield Coster, a trade consortium from the east who has been setting up chain stores spreading in to the sword coast over recent years, some silver, a statuette of a gold frog (They check for magic and found none), and two unlabelled magical potions they have yet to taste.

The party has decided to head outside for a short rest, while those who are able to carry the crates and sacks out of the cave to take to town with them.  It was getting late real world time (1-2pm game time) so we decided to call it there.  As everyone would level up next time they camp I have asked them to level up between sessions to avoid losing play time later.  They are about a days travel from town, and after the short rest Sildar should regain consciousness.

We play again in two days.

S1: The Road to Phandalin

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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The newly assembled group of strangers follow the road south from Neverwinter for two uneventful days and nights.  On the third day they head east on to the Triboar Trail.  10-15 miles later they encounter two dead horses lying in a bottleneck in the road (*cough*obviousambush*cough*).

The BottleneckThe Bottleneck

Being suspicious people, they stop the wagons and head out to investigate the surrounding bushes rather than the horses and encounter two goblins hiding either side of the road.  The two farthest goblins start pelting the approaching characters with arrows while the other two draw their swords.  The Hobos make quick work of the first three goblins.  The fourth and a hidden fifth try to bolt to the north west.  One doesn’t make it a few steps, the other at least requires a bow to take down.

While fulfilling their murder hobo duty of looting all the the corpses (A few arrows to replace those used) they discover a worn trail behind the northern bush leading north west.  The ranger spent a few minutes studying the trail and said it looks like goblins have been back and forth down here and lurking in the bushes on a regular basis.  There is also evidence of two human-like creatures being dragged along the trail in the last few days.

Inspection of the horses revealed them to belong to Gundren and Sildar (Those who know Gundren of old recognised his horse, and there were a few scraps of paper with names, familiar handwriting and other identifying marks.  The module wasn’t clear on how the party are supposed to identify the horses, just that the were supposed to).

They party spent a few minutes trying to decide whether they should give chase, or deliver the goods and come back later (While the monk tried to fix his internet, which his cat had just disabled) and thought it best to recover Gundren and Sildar.  They followed the footprints north west for around 10 miles, avoiding a few goblin traps along the way and found a cave entrance in the side of a hill, with a small river running out of it.

Cave EntanceCave Entance

The decided to hide the wagons amongst some trees away from the trail and return to the cave.  Being a newly formed group who had just destroyed their only encounter they were overconfident and disorganised and everyone did their own thing, which drew fire from two more goblins hiding off to one side of the entrance.  Arrows came flying, taking the group by surprise and hurting them, but two goblins do not last long against eight murder hobos.

Then came the real threat.  The cave was in darkness and three of the party would need a light source.  The paladin sparked up a torch and started to walk towards the cave.  I then enabled an aura of light in Roll20 and they could see how far the light went and just how big a problem that would become.  The torch was thrown on the floor outside and the party braved the darkness while trying to figure out what to do once they left its light behind.  As the entered they found the sounds of the river increased, echoing around the cave enough to hide their novice fumblings.

As the scouts entered the cave the found a small set of stairs leading to a side chamber to the right of the main passage.  Two wolves could be seen inside.  Araloth, the thief (I think.  I should write these sooner in the future), decided to try and befriend the creatures, but they were suspicious of strangers (Failed animal handling check) and they got aggressive.  A third wolf appeared from behind a rock as the rest of the party came to his aid.  The doorway was narrow and the room was small so people remained in the passageway, moving in and out to attack as opportunity presented itself.

While fighting the wolves there was a surge in the river and the passageway filled with water, washing 2 hobos out the cave, a third being lucky enough to get out of the way in time.  The picked themselves up and went to rejoin their allies in time to end the wolves.  At this time Talindra the warlock cast light on a couple of stones and handed them out, as fighting in the darkness was showing its challenges.  This revealed a natural chimney at the back of the wolves chamber, leading upwards about 30 feet.

While Karson went on to investigate this, a few of the party went out to scout the main passageway.  As they spread out another wave made its way through, but thankfully everyone was able to move out of the way in time, or were strong enough to brace against the waters.

Melandrach and Araloth stealthed ahead and found another side passage rising up they could see light coming along.  They paused to deicde how to proceed.  As our hobos dried themselves off our players realised it was gone 11pm on Sunday night and we all had work in the morning so we saved our progress and called it a night.

Map of progressMap of progress

A Gathering of Hobos

Tutoring 5
Skill 5
Idea 6
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A Gathering of Hobos
A dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker is looking for help.A dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker is looking for help.

A dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker visiting Neverwinter has contacted some old friends and put out the call for swords for hire to escort some wagons of supplies to the town of Phandalin 3 days travel to the south. He promises more work once everyone gets there, but refuses to explain further. He does seem excited about whatever he is keeping secret though. While meeting the potential party he is often accompanied by an older gentleman dressed in a cloak with a Griffon symbol on the back, names Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar is just past his prime, but his attitude and bearing say he’s not letting this slow him down yet.

Gundren insists that he and Sildar need to head right away, but the supplies wont be ready for another couple of days.  The wagons will be waiting at the Southern Gatehouse on 15th Mirtul 1491 around 9am (Early spring).  They will be paid 10GP each for their time, and are promised more earnings and excitement to come.

Map of the region.  A part of adventurers with or without an Ox Cart can travel about 24 miles a day and still get full meals and rest.Map of the region. A part of adventurers with or without an Ox Cart can travel about 24 miles a day and still get full meals and rest.

DM Note: On our first session no one actually introduced themselves, they just got on the carts and headed out.  Between the first two sessions they went back and some of them wrote a brief intro in hopes of generating some dialogue over Discord.  Chat hasn’t happened yet, but here we find their text, slightly tweaked by me for viewpoints/tense etc.

An elf approaches the lone stable hand standing over the carts by the gatehouse. He seems uncomfortable in his surroundings, but introduces himself as Thorvir, a member of the Gundren party here for the wagons.  Thorovir Holimion, Male human fighter)

When he gets to the caravan he almost misses seeing an aging half-elf sitting on the barrels in one wagon minding his own business. His hair is dark with a few silver strands with dark brown eyes that seem to appraise your worth, two short swords sitting near him looking like they have been well used, you immediately feel like checking your purse just to be sure it’s still there. (Araloth, Male half-elf Rogue)

A young-looking man with white-grey hair quietly approaches the carts but something about him seems at odds. His clothes have definitely seen better days – under the dirt on his surcoat an emblem can be made out that, if you squint, resembles a sunrise. As he turns to return a passing greeting to a beaming man in rags, you see on his back a well-worn shield with a similar design. He walks towards the cart slightly nervously – he’s not really used to approaching groups of strangers, it seems. He glances over the carts as he introduces himself, Devere, formerly from a church of Lathander. Every now & again his eyes seem to glow which is… unsettling (Devere, Male Aasimar Cleric)

As 9 am approaches a tall elf with silver braided hair and blue eyes is sitting in green patch of land near the wagons, seemingly meditating. The elf is wearing blue and white robes with silvered trim and a simple looking bed pack with a quiver of bolts and a cross bow and a boomerang piled up near by. At 9 am the elf deftly leaps up and gathers there belongings up and leaps on to the leading cart. (Melandrach presreal, Elven Monk)

After feeling like someone was watching the group for a while you become aware that a halfling has appeared from the surroundings. She has long brown hair, brown eyes, and has a short sword and two daggers on her belt. After introducing herself as Bilba Blackcube she climbs up on the wagon, puts her pack down and begins absentmindedly shuffling a deck of cards. (Bilba Blackcube, Female Halfling Rogue)

A male human joins the caravan a few moments before it is due to depart. He is well built and sturdy looking with very ordinary brown hair and eyes. His clothes are worn but well maintained, mostly in reds and browns, while his wargear is exceptionally well cared for. He is comfortable with the business of the caravan, giving the impression he has done this many times before. In the evenings he is quick to shrug off his chain and settle round the fire, talking with an accent from the dalelands. (Ramond, Male Human Paladin)

The GatehouseThe Gatehouse

The stable hand says that he was expecting two more, but if they want to avoid spending an extra night out in the wilderness they really need to be heading out.  He will hang around and send along anyone else who turns up.

As the carts begins to pull off, a young female half elf runs up to the cart. She has wild auburn hair which is barely contained by a simple leather strap and her eyes are of different colours. Her right eye is hazel and the other is a bright gleaming topaz. She is dressed in coarse spun tunic and trousers, and has a set of leather armour and a crossbow bundled in her arms, along with an ornate intricately carved staff. The staff looks oddly out of place to the rest of her attire. She jumps on to the back of the first cart, loudly apologising for being so late, but she needed to pick up some supplies first. Turning to Bilba, she asks her to hold Mr. Squeaks, who is a small piebald rat, whilst she puts on her armour. Once fully attired she takes the rat back, and puts him in a pocket of her backpack with some crumbled crackers. She turns to the rest of you, with a look of relief, before introducing herself as Talindra. (Talindra Tybalt, Female Half Elf Warlock)

As the wagon trundles through the gates of the city of Neverwinter, a ranger ambles up from the nearby trees, offers a grunt of greeting, and says that he’s Karson Orangorn and has been hired on by Rockseeker as part of the party guarding the wagons. He has dark hair and grey eyes. His travellers clothes look well worn, but his bow and sword look lovingly maintained. You think maybe you remember seeing him sitting in the Tavern where you initially met Rockseeker, drinking an ale and quietly studying all that was going on. He grumbles something about getting on with this and starts to walk, moving to be a distance ahead of the wagon and off of the road to one side. (Karson Orangorn, Male Human Ranger)

The two wagons and their disinterested Oxen depart the city and head south on this pleasant spring morning.

This pic was taken after the first session while people were levelling up, so ignore their levels.This pic was taken after the first session while people were levelling up, so ignore their levels.

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