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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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S45 Haunt 2: Escape

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No Melandrach or Thorivor tonight so Mel is holding back for fear of being a liability due to his laughter fits, and Thorivor is guarding him.

 

After everyone calmed down, they headed back in to the blood soaked corridor in dribs and drabs.  Karson and Araloth led the way north with the others following up.  As they headed north a hand came out of the blood and grabbed Karson’s leg.  A bloated disfigured toddler with black eyes and needles for teeth rose up behind the hand.   Karson and Araloth fought back and found that every time they hit it there was a sharp stabbing pain in their heads.  Before anyone else could move up to assist the Evil Doll jumped out of the shadows and landed in the blood down the southern end of the corridor.  She shouted out, “I saw them first!  They’re mine!” and charged Talindra, the nearest person.  She hit her with her clawed hand and Talindra burst out laughing so hard she curled up on the floor in the ankle deep blood.  The knife was enough to end the laughing and bring Talindra to Death Saving throws. (DM: It was then Talindra turn who rolled a 1 on her death saves causing 2 out of 3 failures needed to kill her)  Ramond moved up to hit the doll, and taunted her about burning her drawings as Reidoth healed Talindra while throwing fire at the Doll.  Karson and Araloth wailed on the child while continued to take psychic damage in response while the others fought the doll.  Health was low.  Karson had drunk a potion and Araloth had got his second wind before they finally killed the child.  The doll saw this and called out, “Nooo!  What have you done to my brother?!” She then ran towards him straight in to Araloth.  Before reaching Araloth she took a dive in to the blood and vanished from sight.

S45 Haunt 2: Escape

The party checked the room and Karson scouted in to the reception area quickly.  Around the corner he could see the room looked the same as when they had arrived, except now a skeleton was sat at the desk.  He avoided its sight and the regrouped.  Reidoth took a minute to heal everyone back up after that tough fight.

Araloth and Ramond stepped around the corner to see the Skeleton and Ramond used Divine Sense to reveal it as Undead.  The skeleton called them losers and said, “You’re all going to die down here.  You’re doomed!”  Ramond challenged him and the skeleton went on repeatedly telling them they didn’t stand a chance and they’d all die.  The party tried to ignore it and have a chat about how to proceed but it continued to tell them about how they’d fail and die.  Karson had a little look up the stairs and a normal room could be seen.  Talindra got a little fed up with this and went over and hit the sitting skeleton with her staff.  It was unarmed and only wearing a few tatters left over from a nurses uniform.  The skeleton took the damage and did not retaliate.  “You think a stick will get you out of here alive?  You’re gonna end up worse than me” Talindra took a second swing, but missed.  Karson followed Talindra in to the room and attacked the desk with his magic axe, Hew.  With a single swing the desk broke in two, most of it crumbling from rot, scattering the draws out from under it.  The skeleton stood up out of its chair and swung its fist and Talindra.  As the fist connected, the giggles overtook Talindra once more.  Seeing the attack, Ramond walked over and killed the skeleton with his greatsword.

S45 Haunt 2: Escape

They took a moment to take in their surroundings, not really having given this room more than a glance before.  There were rows of chairs lining the walls, a broken desk and chair, a dead skeleton and a large portrait of a woman in armour behind the desk.  Ramond checked for a plaque for the painting and read, “Lady Margery Greycastle, Founder”.  They’d seen her image upstairs in multiple tapestries.  Reidoth checked the skeleton which had no possessions, and the broken draws.  In the draws he found a small hinged box, and a folded piece of paper with crayon on it.  They debated who should look at it and Reidoth Volunteered.

S45 Haunt 2: Escape

His vision began to blur and everything felt both immediate and far away as he become aware of a horrific wailing, like the pained cries of childbirth. As he looked around, his surroundings began crumbling to ash, the ashes were pulled up into the sky and revealed a young, blonde girl walking hand in hand with an older, yet beautiful woman. The girl looked troubled as she glances up at the woman.

“Why do we have to go to the hospital, Gertrude?” She asked.

“Your mother,” the elder woman answered. “She’s going to give us a present today.”

“I don’t like the hospital,” the young girl said.  “But I do like presents.”

The woman paused and crouched to look at the young girl in the eyes.

“I know,” the older woman said. “How about I give you a special present today?”

The young girl nodded. Gertrude smiled, her face warping momentarily to take on deep wrinkles, sharp teeth, and evil eyes before then returning to normal. Gertrude stood, and the pair resumed their walk.  Reidoth’s vision blurred and filled with a blood-red light, rendering him blinded temporarily, before his sight returned to normal and he found himself back in the room with his allies.

Ramond offered Reidoth a drink once he had recovered and revealed what he had experienced.  Reidoth then burnt the drawing.  They said this felt like the completion of the story.  Reidoth was concerned that the hag was somehow going to return, but Ramond insisted that they’d killed her and it wasn’t her here.  As they were having this chat they became aware of a low rumbling.  The kind of noise that creeps up on you and you don’t realise you’re hearing it a first.  A little like a large truck driving up the road past your house.  The ground began to shake a little.  They decided they needed to get up stairs quickly.  As they ran up the stairs the noise and tremor got worse, and they could hear the distant sounds of banging.  The sounds appeared to be coming from every direction.  Up the stairs they started to cross the sitting room, and a small tornado burst through the far wall.  Everything it touched came apart and turned to ash and got caught up within it.  Another one appeared through the opposite wall.  The continued to run, heading south through the ground floor of a building that hadn’t been there a day before.  More tornadoes appeared and more debris went airborne and the noise became deafening.  Some people got his by debris and got knocked prone as it all became too much.  No one could see or hear anything except the storm.

When everything subsided, they were back outside and around 30 foot south of the entrance to the basement.  Everything looked the same as before they had gone in.  It was night, but a few people could be seen watching on, including two of the junior guards that Sildhar had hired, Private Norwood Tarrenfall, and Private Merric Alderleaf.  Melandrach and Thorivor appeared to be trapped under some rubble, but everyone else appeared to be fine enough.  Ramond called out to his horse telepathically to ask id it was dark there and to call him over.  The horse responded like he’d just been woken up and agreed it was dark as it’s the middle of the night.  Before anyone could stand up, there was a shower of rubble as something burst up from the ground.  Before them, the Evil Doll could be seen. Battered and damaged, covered in wounds and dust.  The blood soaked corridor fight had left its mark on her, having stained the exposed rough ceramic within the spider web cracks of her face, from when they had killed her before.  “You ruined this!  You ruin everything!  This was my home!  You destroyed my last one and you destroyed this one!  I will destroy you!”

DM: My intention across this fight was to have the guards corral the crowd for a couple of turns and then start firing their crossbows in to help out.  Every turn I’d think I must remember to do that and didn’t until right at the end.  I’m telling you what I told my party: Pretend that happened.

Bilba unleashed an arrow in to the doll before a geyser of rubble burst through the ground under her, battering and slicing her on the shrapnel.  Reidoth stood up and stepped over to Ramond, saying, “Unleash death”, and cast Haste on to him.  Four deformed black eyed children pulled themselves out from the rubble from all around them and moved in to the group.  Reidtoh, Araloth and Ramond were attacked, and Reidoth lost his concentration on the Haste Spell.  The Doll ran up to Ramond and cut him with her knife.  Araloth attacked the child to his left before backing up and attacking the other.  The laughter overtook Talindra once again.  Ramond was overcome with exhaustion as the Haste spell collapsed and needed to get his breath back.  Karson moved away from the doll and killed both the children Araloth had damaged.

The building isn't there anymore.  The map was just there as an aid to getting everyone in the right place.  The stairs down are there, and the green lines are the only sections of wall standing enough to block line of sight.  otherwise, everything is gone and it's just ruins, same as before they entered.The building isn't there anymore. The map was just there as an aid to getting everyone in the right place. The stairs down are there, and the green lines are the only sections of wall standing enough to block line of sight. otherwise, everything is gone and it's just ruins, same as before they entered.

Bilba put another arrow in the doll as the area began to shake enough to make the ground unstable.  Bilba was knocked prone, and the area became rough terrain for the next round.  Panicking, Reidoth raised his Staff of Birdcalls above his head in both hands and brought it down hard on the child’s head.  There was a loud goose “Hooooonk!”, and the child died.  He then threw a quick heal Ramond’s way.  The last surviving child missed an attack on Ramond as two more children pulled themselves up out of the rubble.  One hit Bilba, while the other ran to close the distance.  The Evil Doll hit Ramond with both her clawed hand and her knife as Araloth circled around Bilbas opponent and killed it.  Reenergized, Ramond stepped to one side and Smote the doll with his Greatsword, and hit her a second time, sending stuffing and splinters of ceramic flying all around.  The doll slashed out with her clawed hand in response, but missed.  Karson ran up to flank the doll and critted with his axe.  Bilba stood up and shot the doll before another rubble geyser burst up under her, knocking her unconscious.  Reidoth healed her and swung his staff wildly at the doll.  Another child rose out of the rubble and double moved to engage Bilba as the doll hit with her clawed hand and critted with the knife, downing Ramond.  Araloth intercepted Bilba’s attacker and killed that child.  Karson drew a wile free strike as he stepped away from a child and attacked the doll, flanking with Reidoth and landing two blows.  Stuffing when flying, and a few bits of it seemed to be damp with blood.

As Bilba got up and put another arrow in to the doll, the doll caught a glimpse of Araloth, “You!  You killed me! You stabbed me a thousand times as I lay dying.  Suffer!”  The earth around Araloth moved and took the form of a giant stone hand, crushing him.  He fought back and was able to break the hand, which crumbled back to mud and rubble.  Reidoth shouted a Healing Word at Ramond and swung his staff at the doll.  The children missed their attacks against Araloth and Ramond as another pulled itself free of the ground and ran at Araloth.  Considering Ramond to be down, the doll turned on Karson and hit him with the claw, missing with her knife.  Araloth attacked each of the children around him while moving closer to the doll as Talindra overcame the cackling laughter and got to her feet and hit a child with her staff.  Ramond slashed at the doll twice, sending sprays of stuffing and some blood spatter flying.  Karson’s axe did further damage, cracking her porcelain face further and causing it to bleed a little.  She lashed out her clawed hand and critically hit Karson.

Bilba killed one of the evil children as an eruption of flying rubble appeared under Araloth, battering him.  Reidoth cast Misty Step to appear behind Ramond and the doll and threw some fire at the doll, but missed.  The two children missed as a third appeared and ran towards the fight.  The doll lashed out but missed Karson while Araloth killed his injured child and hurt the newcomer before moving closer to Talindra and Bilba.  Talindra backed away from him and Eldritch Blasted the doll twice.  The doll lashed out at Karson and raked her clawed hand down him.  Ramond hit the doll twice, landing one Smite in the process.  As the doll burned in holy radiance some of her filthy matted black hair burned away and some blonde hair could be seen through the patch.  The doll tried to retaliate but Ramond was ready and deflected the attack.

Bilba shot the doll again, who was still glaring death at Araloth.  The doll summoned another earthen hand to crush him, but he was ready and braced against it, defeating it.  Reidoth summoned the voice of Eldath and Commanded the doll to Grovel.  The children missed their attacks and a new one arose and charged towards Talindra, missing its attack.  The doll dropped to her knees to grovel and Reidoth let out a cheer.  Araloth killed the nearest child and attacked the one attacking Ramond.  The Evil Doll started to sing a creepy lullaby whole on her knees, which freaked everyone out (DM: except for Talindra who failed her save and would have triggered the laugh and some psychic damage that would have killed her.  Then I realises she was out of range and we did a quick rewind.  Every saved against the fear except Araloth)  Talindra smacked her new attacker with her staff as the guards advanced and fired two crossbow bolts at the other child landing one hit.  Ramond then critically hit the doll with a Smite.  As he pulled his blade out of her it was soaked in blood.  He swung again, critting once more.  He leaned in and shoved his blade through her neck, bending her over backwards.  He unleashed a holy smite through the blade, burning the evil within her.  With his face close to hers there was a look of fear in her glass eyes.  She blinked and just for a moment Ramond thought one eye looked human, but she blinked again and they were both glass.  Then, the head fell from its body and rolled along the floor. (DM: 82 points of damage in two swings!  Well done, Ramond!)  He then collapsed in an exhausted heap.  They made short work of the last two children and no more spawned.

DM: It is 1.30am-ish in the game and almost midnight IRL so we ended it there, tired and exhausted both in and out of the game.  We talked toot for a little bit then headed to bed.  I’ve messaged Reidoth with a mod for his Staff of Birdcalls.  He can always spend a charge to trigger it when it hits and it’ll go off for free on a crit, because why not?  It’s more fun that way.

There’s no session next week as Karson and I are away at a Warmachine tournament.  This’ll be my first game in 20 months.  I don’t remember how to play.  Hopefully we will be back the week afterwards.

S45 Haunt 2: A Bad Day for Carol Anne

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Gerry, in the uHH you said you thought I’d already had a Golden Button for this project.  I haven’t.  Do with that information what you will….

No Melandrach this week so his character is busy dealing with laughing fits and is keeping away from the party while he does so.  Everyone else turned up though, even if that was an hour late in some cases.  Grrr!

They headed towards the last unopened door in the sub-basement and explained the plan to Araloth, who they had pick the lock and open the door.  Once he opened it he shouted out that he could see enemies inside and Talindra cast Web over the doorway and in to the room with her readied action.  Inside the room there were about a dozen people in loose fitting straitjackets with their hands unavailable (DM: Maniacs according to the module).  Their hair was wild, they were filthy, and they had no shoes on.  Towards the back of the room was another nurse, stood still.  When the door opened all every Maniac eye in the room snapped to attention on Araloth, before he backed out of the way of the incoming web.  They then executed their plan masterfully.  As the Maniacs struggled with the web everyone held back and only attacked what they could reach without going in to the room.  One Maniac made it as far as attacking Thorivor once.  He threw himself at him and managed to hook his arm loop around him so he could hang on.  He then proceeded to bite him until Talindra pumped two Eldritch Blasts in to it.  With the Maniacs all dead, the web dropped and they pelted the Nurse with ranged attacks and readied attacks when she drew near.  She didn’t get an attack in. (DM: It’s taken 44 sessions but they’ve finally come up with an excellent plan and executed it properly.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.  I am regretting giving them that Spider Staff a little)

With the room cleared, they had a look around inside.  What furniture had been in here had been mostly destroyed and the parts were scattered around this filthy room.  Amongst the dirt Karson caught a glimpse of a corner of paper with some crayon on it.  He called over Ramond who pulled it free, shook the dirt off and carefully looked at it, before spacing out and going limp briefly.

Please remember that when they have a vision I do not read this to the group.  I Send it as a private messaeg to the playe and as him to retell it in his own words in character and Ramond ebraces this like a champ.  He hams up the pain and disorientation and embraces the horror of the retelling.  This is an amazing improvement on 10+ years ago.Please remember that when they have a vision I do not read this to the group. I Send it as a private messaeg to the playe and as him to retell it in his own words in character and Ramond ebraces this like a champ. He hams up the pain and disorientation and embraces the horror of the retelling. This is an amazing improvement on 10+ years ago.

His vision began to blur and everything felt both immediate and far away as he become aware of a horrific wailing, like the pained cries of childbirth. As he looked around, his surroundings began crumbling to ash, the ashes were pulled up into the sky and revealed Carol Anne strapped to a bed in the Sanitarium, her crystal blue eyes wide in pain.  A nurse stood on either side of her, shoving various medical implements and arcane devices into her arms, legs, and chest.  Gertrude stepped up to the foot of the bed, carrying the lifeless and limp Evil Doll.

“Don’t struggle, Carol Anne,” Gertrude whispered. “This is for the best. You like to play, yes? This will let us play together forever! Don’t you want to play with us… forever?”

As she finished the last sentence, Gertrude’s attractive face melted away, revealing her true form, that of a twisted hag.

Carol Anne’s face turned motionless as she stopped struggling.

“Now you can play forever … in your new body” the hag cackled.

The doll in Gertrude’s arms slowly began to move as its head swivelled around to look directly at Ramond with cold crystal blue eyes. A murderous and evil grin adorned her face as she began to sing a haunting lullaby before Raymond’s vision blurred and filled with a blood-red light, rendering him blinded temporarily, before his sight returned to normal and he find yourself back in the room with his allies.

The party discussed this and the other visions and felt like they had the whole story now.  Carol Anne Montarthas is the Evil Doll, although they’ve no clue how that information might be useful.  While Ramond regained his composure, Karson went to check out the previous Nurses room to make sure all was still quite.  As he wandered in to the corridor he noticed the stars had changed.  The stairs had flattened, becoming a very steep ramp. Ectoplasm and blood were flowing down the ramp, pooling on the floor.

I think of this scene from the sewers of Ghostbusters 2 when I think of these stairs. While I can upload Gif's they don't play until you click on them :(I think of this scene from the sewers of Ghostbusters 2 when I think of these stairs. While I can upload Gif's they don't play until you click on them :(

He went back in to the room and told the others.  They had a chat about how to proceed, given the hospital appeared to be changing.  They needed to go back upstairs, but couldn’t guarantee anything was safe up there anymore.  Everyone was running low on resources and exhausted, even though it was only nearing 4pm.  They could go upstairs and find any more drawings in the areas they didn’t search and then rest to recover after but risk facing a fight they aren’t ready for, or sleep first but then not be at full strength when they deal with whatever force is behind events.

Reidoth summoned his familiar as an owl and had her fly up the stairs.  He has not been upstairs yet so doesn’t know what to expect.  He looked through the owl’s eyes and relayed everything to the others.  The blood and slime appeared to be oozing out of the flagstone sat the top of the stairs but didn’t spread much further.  The room with the 6 beds that had the limbless zombie-thing in it remained unchanged.  The corridor towards the main entrance was a different story though.  Thick blood was seeping out of the walls and soaked the floor.  The walls seemed to have a slow rhythmic pulse to them too, and as Reidoth looked on he found his breathing synced up with this pulse, as if the walls were breathing too.  It was very disturbing, but his resolve held.  He did not send the owl down that was but through the other side door through the room with the baths and in to the room where the mutant baby things had attacked.  They were as they’d been left.  He had the owl hop down through the hole in the floor to look at himself and the others.

It’s at this point that Araloth remembered he was wearing Boots of Spider Climbing and decided he was going to walk up the walls and along the ceiling to the hole and try and pass a rope through.  He was a little careless, and the damage was less evident on this side.  He put his full weight on the rotten part of the ceiling and with nothing to grab on to, fell, taking damage and widening the hole above.

The party decided to rest the night in the Nurses room.  They had a restless night and woke up a little after midnight.  With no means to forage, they were dependant on their rations and water skins, and some Goodberries from Karson for their breakfast.  Araloth ran in to a problem here.  He’d emptied out his waterskin and filled it with rusty water yesterday.  He had nothing to drink and no one had a spare waterskin.  After some discussion, Reidoth came up with a plan and said he’d take care of him later.  Whole everyone else ate some breakfast and got ready for the day, Araloth went out to the stairs.  Using his Slippers he walked up the walls and put a few pitons in to the walls and fed a rope through so everyone else could pull themselves up.  When they were ready Karson was the one brave enough to go first.  The blood and slime soaked up to his ankles as he climbed up the slope, but with the rope in place he made it up fine.  Everyone else followed after and now everyone has gore soaked in to their shoes and socks and is leaving bloody footprints.  Karson lead the search as they went through each room, looking for anything they’d missed.  Their original plan was to clear the place and then do the looting and investigating later, and later has arrived.  They avoided the bloody corridor and checked everyone this side of it first.  They didn’t find new, although most of this was new to Karson, Bilba, and Reidoth as they had been missing when the party came here last.  In the evil mutant baby room, Araloth noticed that there was a body missing.  The first baby, the one that had screamed calling the others, was no longer there.  Reidoth ritually cast Purify Water on the copper bath and Araloth filled his waterskin (DM: And I assume everyone else topped up theirs although no one said it.  People gonna get thirsty soon otherwise!)  They then opened the door from the bath room in to the newly bloody corridor.  As they stepped out, half the party freaked out and had full blown panic attacks.  This was too much for them.  Talindra, who was looking a little tired and clammy this morning, burst out laughing and just stood there in the blood until she could bring herself to move again. Melandrach had a case of the chuckles but kept it together enough to back out of the hallway.  They all backed up in to the bath room, and after about a minute they regained their composure and were ready to face the horror.

DM: It was about 11.30pm so we ended it there, ankle deep in thick blood.

S44 Haunt 2: Old Friends Return

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We had everyone but Araloth in attendance this week, which is great.  His character is hanging around and just being ignored by the world until the player turns up.

They came up with a plan to open the North eastern doors of the sub-basement with Talindra throwing in a web immediately before anything could act.  They headed down there, everyone took up positions reading attack actions.  Talindra was ready to cast Web the moment Melandrach called out.  Mel tried to open the doors, but they were locked, and appeared to be reinforced extra strength doors.  They decided to open the only other doors down here first instead of try and pick the lock or beat down the doors.

They took up similar positions around the North Western doors, and Melandrach swung them both open.  Inside, the room was filled with dry rotted wooden furniture, rusty medical equipment, and filthy, desecrated texts.  A few old rotten trolley beds were pressed up against the walls.  On two of these beds they could see people strapped down and unconscious.  This was Bilba and Reidoth!  There were four other stationary figures around the room, dressed in old nurse uniforms, heads hung low, with their hands rested inside the opposite sleeves.  They did not react in any way to the intrusion and remained motionless, like statues.  Melandrach told the group what he could see.  Ramond pointed out that they had seen evidence that people tied to beds round here got tortured so they needed to go get their friends now.

Ramond went in to the room first and disturbed a rat near the doorway.  It ran towards the back of the room past one of the motionless nurse figures.  There was a flash of movement and the rat was diced and cubed in a splash of blood.  The nurse’s head was raised revealing pupil-less milky white eyes, and her hands were out, revealing elongated figures with long razor sharp claws.  After a moment she slowly reverted to her resting pose, not reacting to anyone else.  Ramond moved towards the nurse and attacked her with his spear.  Talindra stepped in to the doorway and took in the scene.  She cast Hypnotic Pattern covering the other three nurses, Bilba and Reidoth, but could feel no feedback through the upkeep of the concentration spell. (DM: We couldn’t tell if the caster knows if the spell has worked or not but its concentration so she’s still connected to it.  We made a call) She backed up saying her spell was useless.  The shouting appeared to wake Bilba, who looked around her and tried to reach for a dagger from her belt to cut herself loose from the old leather restraints.  The Nurse lashed out at Ramond, but he got his shield up in time.  The others remained at rest for now.  Thorivor put four arrows in to it over his shoulders.  Seeing this, Melandrach couldn’t control himself.  Laughter rose up through him, making him incapable of doing anything else.  Karson ran in to beside Ramond and attacked the same nurse.  The nurse behind him sprang to life and dragged her claws down his back so hard there was a shower of blood and he continued to bleed badly.

Ramond hit and Smote his nurse twice and then Talindra threw an Eldritch blast at each active nurse, killing Ramonds target.  Bilba was able to reach her dagger and started to cut on her straps.  The nurse took another swing at Karson and left him bleeding out on the floor.

S44 Haunt 2: Old Friends Return

Thorivor moved behind Talindra and put two arrows in to the active nurse while Melandrach continued to laugh uncontrollably nearby.  Ramond dragged the unconscious Karson out of the room, dropping him in the corridor behind the laughing Melandrach.  He then called out to see if the enemy reacted to purely ranged attacks as there had been some chat about this.  Talindra cast mage Hand and sent it to undo the buckles holding Bilba in place.  She jumped out of the bed and tried to Disengage from the nurse to join the others, but it lashed out anyway, missing her.  Bilba put an arrow in to the nurse on her way out of the room.  Talindra also put a minor heal in to Karson as this happened.  The injured nurse ran forwards and attacked Bilba, ignoring the more accessible target in front of her.  Her claws cut so hard blood spurted out of her, the blood loss doing more damage and she continued to bleed.  The other nurses moved 20 feet towards Bilba before stopping and seeming to eyelessly study the room around them.  Thorivor put two arrows in to this Nurse.  With all the shouting and screaming Reidoth finally woke up, took one long around him and Wildshaped in to a small spider.  He ran up the wall, along the celling and then Misty Stepped to behind the party.

Karson drank a healing potion as Ramond stabbed the nurse twice.  Talindra was now face to face with the nurse and was realising that it seemed to be completely focused on Bilba and possibly ignoring everyone else, and the others seemed to have been chasing her.  She took her chances and Blasted her, hitting with one and missing with the other.  She reacted to the impact and turned to face towards Talindra.  Her milky white eyes appeared to be looking over her left ear, but were hard to read precisely.  Bilba tried to back up while aiming her bow, but the nurse lashed out and left her unconscious and bleeding on the floor.  The two nurses in the room moved to where spider-Reidoth had last been and made attacks towards the ceiling.  The other one tried to head towards Bilba, but bumped in to the wall and Talindra and slashed out at the wall, leaving marks in the stone.  Thorivor put two arrows in to the confused nurse, as Melandrach, composure regained, killed her with a borrowed Longsword.  He then stepped over her corpse to defend the doorway.  Reidoth leant over and healed Bilba, as Karson readied his bow to shoot any nurse that advances towards an ally.

I know this is a badly editid evil nun, but I can't use photoshop and you get the idea.  pretend she's a nurse.  I'd imagine the line between nurse and nun was blurred here anywayI know this is a badly editid evil nun, but I can't use photoshop and you get the idea. pretend she's a nurse. I'd imagine the line between nurse and nun was blurred here anyway

“We cannot rest while they remain to threaten us”, said Ramond as he ran in to attack a Nurse who was busy attacking where Reidoth had teleported from.  As he drew near, both nurses’ heads snapped to focus on him.  Talindra spoke up, “I think they’re drawn to movement”.  Talindra joined the fight with a couple of Eldritch Blasts and Bilba got up of the floor at shot Ramond’s nurse too.  The injured nurse swung at Ramond but missed.  The other stepped up and Karson shot at her, but it went wide.  She also swung and missed Ramond.  Thorivor put two more arrows in to the hurt nurse as Melandrach threw four Sunbolts in to the room, missing three times but hurting the nurse once.  He moved in to engage the uninjured nurse, ready to provide flanking later.  Reidoth moved over to heal Karson, who thanked him saying he was getting ready to “commit stupid”, and Reidoth begged him not to.  Karson walked in to engage the nearest nurse and sent out his sword Talon to provide flanking against both nurses in its Hawk form.  He swung his axe at the uninjured nurse and had Talon attack the other.  He injured both, but then the healthier nurse spun around and killed Talon, who quickly reappeared as a sword in Karson’s hand.

Ramond killed his nurse and the other one swung at him, missing again (DM Ramond has got lucky a lot today).  He stepped over to flank the final nurse, making his five foot step as over pronounced as possible, trying to draw its attention.  Talindra double Blasted the nurse and Bilba sunk an arrow in to it.  The nurse slashed out at Karson, but he was just out of reach.  Thorivor shot her and Melandrach stabbed her and then “engaged dancing steps” and took the long way around the room to flank her from the other side.  Half way around her head snapped to them and she seemed to focus on him.  Reidoth stepped in to the room and threw a flame at her, but missed.  Karson raised his axe high and brought it town in to her head, splitting the skull open.  She fell to her knees and then flopped on to her face, lifeless on the floor.

(DM: My party the surprised me by going heavy in to IC chat once again.)  They had a catch up, telling Reidoth and Bilba what had happened.  They tried to work out what was wrong with Melandrach causing him to break down laughing.  They wondered if it was a curse, perhaps.  Ramond was convinced he’d seen reference to the god Loviatar, the Maiden of pain earlier in the chapel, and tried to wrack his memory for any curses or anything they are known for that might do this.  He realised the chapel had no icons to Loviatar in it, but couldn’t work out where he’d got that idea (DM: He’d had a short lived memory drain effect last session that the short rest had cleared, but he was RPing up residual effect every chance he got).  Reidoth gave Melandrach a check over, making Religion and perception checks, but could only conclude that he looked tired, sweaty and unwell.  They asked Talindra to ritually cast Detect Magic to see if they could pick up anything on Melandrach.  While he was casting this Karson and Bilba searched the room.  It was full of old medical texts books and journals.  They found one that would work as a Dummies Guide to Medicine (DM: It’s basically a portable trainer.  Sink in a month of downtime or 20 mandays of reading and gain the proficiency), which someone had scribbled in the margins of with suggestions of how to inflict the maximum pain for the minimum damage and other creepy nastiness.  Karson took that for later.  With everyone moving around the room generating an occasional draft, he also noticed a piece of paper on the floor billowing enough to reveal colour crayon on the other side.  He carefully picked it up so as not to look at it, and put it in Thorivor’s Bag of holding.  Talindra’s Detect magic didn’t reveal anything and she huffed out of the room announcing that was a complete waste of her time.  Melandrach went after her to try and raise her spirits.  As a group they explained to Reidoth about Montarthas Manor, as he hadn’t been with them at the time.  Ramond took the lead on some of this and seemed to have some details muddled.  They explained about Gertrude the Hag, the Evil Doll, and about the Montarthas family, all of which they’d seen reference to here.

DM: They spent a long time doing a lot of cracking IC RP here and I can’t remember it all.  They really impressed me today and do so again later after the next scene.

When they were ready, they headed back to the locked door and got ready to do their readied web SWAT breaching technique.  As Bilba was pulling out her lockpicks Thorivor, far up the back, let out a whelp and a scream as something had landed on him from above and was trying to attack him.  As they spun around they could make out a roughly cat sized shape moving around on his back that they couldn’t get a clear look at.  The shape continued grab hold of him and move around as he tried to grab it.  They heard a small, but angry and ragged voice call out, “Give me back my drawings!  You can’t have them!”  As it ran around on his back slashing and punching, but missing, parts of it came in to view.  They could make out a mess of matted hair, and a porcelain face with multiple spiderweb fractures all over it.  Some of the cracks seemed almost melted like heat had been used to try and fuse them back together.  The evil doll had survived!

S44 Haunt 2: Old Friends Return

Reidoth commanded the doll to Grovel, but she did not react.  He shouted out, “Evil Doll on his back!”  Melandrach took one look at this and burst out in cackling laughter once again.  Realising he couldn’t get a good reach to grab a small moving target from his back, decided to throw himself backwards on the floor and pin her under his weight, which succeeded.  With the doll partially visible from under Thorivor.  The party moved up and began stabbing at her while she continued to demand the return of her drawings.  Ramond pulled his drawing out of a pocket and held it out, still folded.  He offered it to her if she stopped fighting.  She continued to shout out and try and wriggle free.  Bilba and Talindra attacked her again before she could wriggle enough to gain movement.  She stabbed at Thorivor once and vanished entirely under him.  A moment later the lump in his back vanished and he fell to the floor.  The doll had vanished.  Thorivor picked himself up and Ramond asked for the drawing from his Bag of Holding.  They needed more information and he was going to chance a vision.  Karson was behind Thorivor and found the doll had left behind a third drawing under him when she had vanished.

Ramond looked at the drawings one at a time and relayed his experiences to the group.  After each vision he tore the drawing in half, and then Melandrach burned it.  They also did this with the first drawing they’d already “used”.

S44 Haunt 2: Old Friends Return

Nurses Drawing:

Your vision begins to blur and everything feels both immediate and far away as you become aware of a horrific wailing, like the pained cries of childbirth. As you look around, your surroundings begin crumbling to ash, the ashes being pulled up into the sky and revealing the young, blond girl running down a hallway towards closed doors. Screaming can be heard from behind the door. She presses her way through the door, to see a bloody woman lying on the delivery bed, weeping uncontrollably. Two nurses stand at the foot of the bed, one holding the stillborn child.

Gertrude stands next to General Montarthas, who sits in a chair, weeping.  Seeing the girl run into the room, Gertrude steps toward her.

“Carol Anne,” Gertrude says. “You needn’t be in here child. Come. Let’s go.”

Gertrude takes Carol Anne by the hand and begins to lead her out of the room. Carol Anne looks over her shoulder and sees the nurses pass the baby between each other. The baby’s face is a twisted mask of pain and agony, with bulbous black eyes and a smile filled with clusters of needle-like teeth.

Your vision blurs and fills with a blood-red light, rendering you blinded temporarily, before your sight returns to normal and you find yourself back in the room with your allies.

S44 Haunt 2: Old Friends Return

Doll’s Drawing:

Your vision begins to blur and everything feels both immediate and far away as you become aware of a horrific wailing, like the pained cries of childbirth. As you look around, your surroundings begin crumbling to ash, the ashes being pulled up into the sky and revealing Carol Anne playing with the lifeless, inert Evil Doll on the floor of the hallway outside the Sanitarium. Gertrude walks up, carrying a swaddled child. Carol Anne looks at Gertrude with tears in her eyes and asks, “Is that my brother?”

“It is,” Gertrude replies. “He did not survive the birth, but I have ways of fixing such problems.”

With that, Gertrude leans down and lays the blanket on the floor, revealing a baby with empty black eyes and a needle-like sharptoothed grin.

“I promised you a present, didn’t I,” Gertrude asks as she stands up.

Overcome with joy, Carol Anne leans forward and hugs the demon-infant. She then introduces her dolly to the deformed baby while Gertrude watches with a perverse, evil grin.

Your vision blurs and fills with a blood-red light, rendering you blinded temporarily, before your sight returns to normal and you find yourself back in the room with your allies.

 

Ramond relayed the vision in his own words and they had another long IC chat about what they could mean and how their tied in to their past experiences both here and at Montarthas manor.  Again, Ramond played with the failing memory part and got some older details a little wrong.  Everyone did a cracking job and embraced the spirit of what was going on.  Reidoth asked if they were sure if The Hag Gertrude was definitely dead.

It was late and opening another door would trigger a long scene so everyone agreed to call it for the week.

S43 The Haunt 2: Below the Basement

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Araloth was a maybe this week so I kept thinking he could turn up mid-session, but he never did, so we just kinda ignore his existence this week.  Reidoth and Bilba had to back out at short notice too, so once again, they have no dedicated healer.

There are some effects that can happen that trigger mechanical and RP changes that I don’t want the players knowing about until any advance warning can’t affect their behaviour.  There are times I’m rolling saves for them and not telling them.  There are times I’m tracking effects and not telling them.  There are times I’m whispering individuals with partial information about what their character is aware of and asking them to RP it as they see fit and apply any rules without tipping off the others so they have to figure stuff out in character.  When the visions happen, I sent them and the pics to only the relevant player and asked them to not share the text, but feel free to relay it in their own words.  The character wouldn’t have it written down, after all.

With the Brown mould moved out of the way the party went back down to the sub-basement and met back up with Melandrach.  They discussed which way to go, reasoning the northern doors at the far end of the corridor likely opened in to the room Melandrach almost fell in to before.  They know this room contains lots of enemies so they chose to ignore it for now and focus on the open corridor ahead first.  Around the corner there appeared to be an oil stain on the floor.  The corner beyond that seemed to be getting darker still, despite night vision.  Melandrach and Ramond advanced cautiously towards the stain as the others gathered at the corner.  Ramond went to poke it with his spear.  As he reached out it rose up and started to take form and grow.  As it did so, its colour faded from oily black to a grey.  A short fight ensued as it tried to lash out with pseudopods and psychic attacks with little effect.  Melandrach attacked it with his longsword, which is now showing evidence of corrosion.  No other weapons show damage.

Grey OozeGrey Ooze

As the oil creature dissolved and evaporated, a single piece of folded paper appeared out of its remains.  Ramond unfolded it and looked at it.  The life appeared to leave him as his eyes went blank and his body went limp, but didn’t fall.  Melandrach went over, took the paper from his hand and asked him if he was OK, getting no answer right away.  After a few moments, Ramond appeared to wake up, but couldn’t see at first.  When he recovered he relayed what had happened:

His vision had blurred and everything felt both immediate and far away as he become aware of a horrific wailing, like the pained cries of childbirth. As he look around, his surroundings begin crumbling to ash, the ashes being pulled up into the sky and revealing Carol Anne, the girl from Montartha Manor who had been killed by the Evil Doll.  She was playing with the lifeless, limp doll in the main hall of Montarthas Manor. Hearing the sound of splashing water come from the second floor, Carol Anne picked up the doll and slowly crept up the stairs, towards the Guest Wash Room. As she crept toward the slightly ajar door, the only sounds were her tiny footfalls and her increasingly deep breathing.

When she reached the door, Carol Anne paused in fear, hugging the Evil Doll close for comfort. After a beat, she pushed the door open, revealing her mother, the woman from the delivery room, lying in a bloody bathtub with slashed wrists. Her eyes, now drained of life, coldly stare back at Ramond.

His vision had blurred and filled with a blood-red light, rendering him blinded temporarily, before his sight returned to normal and he found himself back in the room with his allies.  (DM: He took some psychic damage too)

No one else inspected the page, but Melandrach kept hold of it.

The drawingThe drawing

With the oil monster defeated and Ramond recovered, they carried on down the corridor.  Around this new corner everything grew darker.  Even Darkvision and magical light sources seemed to be affected, like something was sucking the light out of the room.  In the darkness they could see half a dozen cat sized maggots with human faces that seemed to be sliming their way over a prone figure.  They reacted to the new people and most of them hungrily started to inch their way towards the new food.  Once again, Ramond and Melandrach blocked the corridor and led the fight.  Before the maggots could get close, Melandrach blasted one with four Sunbolts, nearly killing it, and called out a battle cry.  This seemed to wake the prone figure at the back.  As it started to move and most of the Maggots got off of it, they recognised it as Karson.  He picked himself up slowly, a little confused, and between the group they killed the maggots in a couple of rounds, taking a some damage between them.  With everyone wounded and sore and no sign of their missing healer, they decided to retreat back to the ground floor room with the couches and take a short rest.  Besides, this corridor was making them feel uneasy.  The darkness seemed to be sucking their motivation along with the light.

MaggotsMaggots

They went upstairs and Talindra cast Leomund’s Tiny Hut to keep everyone safe.  Karson revealed he had no memory of what had happened to him since they last saw him.  They had a long chat about how to proceed and what they thought might be going on, referencing Montarthas manor.  They agreed that a greater presence must be in the place somewhere, that had yet to reveal itself and they needed to be prepared to deal with whatever appeared.  Melandrach produced the child’s drawing and had a look at it.  He had a similar experience to Ramonds, and they all agreed not to look at it again, instead of passing it around as they were about to.

With the rest over, they went back down to the area of darkness and headed towards the double doors at the end of the corridor.  Ramond tried to open them but they were locked.  Karson told him to stand aside, and two good swings from his magical axe, Hew, had the doors open.  Inside the room, it was immediately obvious this was once a beautiful chapel. Now, however, the room contained broken pews and shreds of rotten tapestries were scattered across the floor. At the southern end of the old chapel sat a broken altar. In front of the altar were shattered holy symbols and tools of divine ritual splayed out across the floor. Sat in the centre of the shattered altar was a badly beaten and bloodied humanoid winged creature.

The group held back in the doorway and Ramond approached.  The figure appeared to be breathing, but otherwise not aware of his surroundings.  Ramond cast Divine Sense, but it didn’t register anything beyond the latent background evil of this place.  No celestial presence, which it should have registered.  The angel turned to face him while Ramond processed this.  It reached out its hand slowly towards him.  The hand morphed it to a slick red cudgel and hit him.

Red cloning slime thingRed cloning slime thing

Karson ran in to flank the false angel and laid in to it.  It lashed out at him, but then something red began to rise and bubble up through the pew near the door.  A big red slime like creature engulfed the pew and attacked Melandrach.  One swipe from a gloopy limb, hit hard and his response was to fall over maniacally laughing.  The creature also lashed out psychically, hurting him further, and then split itself in two, with its new self becoming a perfect replica of Melandrach.  The Angel did not appear to be taking any damage so Ramond moved over to attack the red blob, taking a free strike in the process.  Talindra took one look at what was going on and panicked.  She backed slowly away from the combat doing nothing, mumbling about how it was all hopeless and they needed to get out.  Everyone took their shots at the red blob, and it attacked Ramond, also cloning him.  The Angel hit at Karson and the Melandrach clone attacked Ramond too, having taken a few swing at the retreating Talindra.  Shortly after Ramond was able to Smite the blob to death, and its clones dissolved in to little red pools.

Melandrach and Talindra regained their composure and rejoined the group .  They were badly hurt so she summoned the Tiny Hut and they had a rest here.  While she was casting Karson had a good look around the room.  The holy symbols appeared to have been broken intentionally and seemed to relate to Ilmater.  The other doors would lead back to near the stairs.  They were broken though.  They had fallen on their hinges and were likely wedged in place, but had created a small gap at their bottom through which someone could crawl.  They had a short rest and discussed all the information they had.  They decided that something bad had happened to the Montarthas family, and that this had once been a hospital and that someone had abused it to cause as much pain and suffering as possible.  They also decided that they wanted to deal with the room Melandrach almost fell in to next and expected a big fight.  Talindra was creeped out by the stationary nurse figure in there and expected bad things to come.

Holy symbol of IlmaterHoly symbol of Ilmater

DM: They reasoned it’d be a long fight next and we were looking at the clock.  It wasn’t too late just yet but it would be after a long fight so we ended things there.  Hopefully next week we’ll at least have out healer back.  They’ve used up all their hit dice for healing and what little they have left they’d rather save for bringing people back from death saves rather than combat healing.

S42 The Haunt 2: In to the Basement

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Skill 2
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SPOILER WARNING: This week are playing through the DMs Guild module “The Haunt 2”.  If you think you might end up playing it please stop reading and skip this and the next session or two.  We played through the first module months ago, back in S15-17.  The party have no idea this isn’t part of the main adventure, and may not even know The Haunt is a small series.

Karson, Bilba and Reidoth couldn’t make it this week.  The party has no dedicated healer, which makes this interesting/challenging. 

We are playing this map with Dynamic Lighting enabled again, meaning people can’t see through walls or without a light source or Darkvision.  This restricts what the player can see to what the characters can see, which is great if it works properly.

Roll20 assigns everyone a colour when they log in so when anyone draws on the map you can tell who drew what.  I’ve realised it assigns the same colours to the same people week after week, so I’ve colour coded everyone’s tokens so they are easier to identify at a glance.

 

Looking down in to the uncovered basement, Karson cast Aid on himself, Ramond, and Melandrach.  Then, Araloth, Melandrach and Karson went to scout ahead down the stairs.  The only light down there came from behind them, but they all had Darkvision.  The stairs led down into a 10-foot-wide hallway. Double doors led to the south, while a chamber appears to open to the east.  Moving past the double doors, and into the chamber to the east, the corridor opened around a corner to the south, revealing a rectangular area. Rotten wooden chairs orderly lined the walls, as if waiting for someone long gone to sit in them.  At the southern end of the room sat the broken remnants of a desk with a hole about a foot wide visible in the back. A similar chair, in similar condition, sat behind the desk.

They held back from exploring and ushered the rest of the party down quietly.  With no immediate danger they decided to open the doors before searching the room.  The doors opened in to a long crossroads corridor with more double doors opposite.  Araloth and Melandrach explored ahead while Karson kept an eye on the waiting room and entrance, revealing the full cross junction.  The opted to explore west, reasoning it was probably a dead end.  The party moved up while the scouts checked the door, finding only a horrible smell.  Ramond opened it, revealing a room holding eight beds. Despite decades of disuse, the room is still home to four desiccated corpses, which lie in the beds where they likely died.  Four large pools of old vomit remained on the floor.  As the doors opened they were hit by the bottled up foul stench finally being released.

Vomit SpawnVomit Spawn

As Ramond cautiously edged in, Aaloth found a tiny fleck of stone and threw it at the nearest vomit pool, and it stuck and slowly sank in.  When Ramond drew adjacent, a jet of vomit rose up and launched itself straight at Ramonds face.  Little bits of vomit got in his mouth and seemed to move around in there.  He spat it out and the little bits reformed with the larger spout, now formed up like a serpent.  Melandrach hit it with a Sunbolt, then ran in to punch and flank it from between two beds.  Thorivor hit it with two arrows as Araloth stepped up and cut it down.  He then asked where Ramond wants him to stand, expecting more vomit monsters from the other pools.  (DM: Last session during the long chat there had been a chat about Araloth’s fighting style being very unhelpful as he always jumps out after each attack.)  Ramond said there were no good places.  The others outside the room moved up as best they could.  Talindra stood in the doorway and readied a Sacred Flame.  When the other pools also rose up Talinda scorched one with that spell.  They then moved up.  Two attacked and badly hurt Araloth, and the third hit Ramond.  All attacks seemed to be aimed for the mouths, like the vomit was trying to get back inside.  Ramond moved over and focussed two attacks one of the vomit monsters ganging up on Ramond, and cast Shield of Faith on himself.  His piercing spear didn’t seem to be being as effective as he would expect.  Melandrach hit Ramonds attacker with his longsword twice and a solid kick, but couldn’t quite finish it off.  Thankfully, one of Thorivor’s arrows did the job and a second nearly killed the other.  Araloth killed his injured attacker and stabbed the last one.  Near death, he then chose to back away.  Talindra stepped in to the doorway and double Blasted the last Spawn, but it wasn’t enough.  The spawn moved over and attacked Ramond, but he got his shield in front of his face in time.  Ramond then struck it down with two swings of his spear.

(DM: They had to make regular con saves to avoid being poisoned by the foul smell during this fight. None of them could make a save.  This becomes a running theme for the whole session)

With the threats dead, and the smell slightly less dreadful, Araloth took a swig of his magical rum flask to remove the taste of stale vomit from his mouth, and got his second wind.  He asked where Reidoth was when he needs healing, while eyeing Talindra and Ramond.  They quickly discussed if they wanted to explore the room, or keep pushing forwards and chose to keep moving whole Ramond’s spell is active.  They ensured the desiccated bodies were definitely dead, and headed towards the doors to the east. (DM: Bilba, Karson and Reidoth never made it in to the fight.  As they move across the corridor to the other doors no one lays eyes on those three.  Mostly, no one comments on this IC.  I’m giving them a half-pass on this as they must know I’m just getting them out of the way as their players are AWOL, but a reaction would have been nice at some point)

Melandrach listened at the new door and heard a low buzzing / droning noise on the other side.  Ramond opened the door.  Three tubs filled with rusty stagnant water lined the western wall, two were made of iron, the third was constructed of tarnished copper.  Small braziers beneath each tub, once used to heat this water, now sat filled with only ashes and rust. A swarm of mosquitos buzzed menacingly about the area. The buzzing of these creatures was extremely disconcerting as it sounded like a blending mix of flying insects and the cries of infant children. Blood splattered curtains separated this area from the eastern area beyond.  Ramond used his Divine Sense, and registered only a low level latent evil in the air all around, but nothing in particular beyond that.  As they advanced in the swarm started to try and snack on everyone.  As they flew in to his face and tried to drink him, it became too much for Melandrach and he became scared by it all.  The party defended themselves and quickly made short work of the swarm.

I couldn't find a suitable picture of a spooky ro filthy bath.  I did find out theres a death metal band called I couldn't find a suitable picture of a spooky ro filthy bath. I did find out theres a death metal band called "Ghost Bath" though so I guess all the good names were already taken?

Melandrach regained his composure and went to listen and the filthy curtain, and said he could hear a child crying.  He pushed through the curtain in to the next room, and Ramond did the same.  Talindra then used prestidigitation to draw the curtain fully to one side before anyone else could walk through.  This revealed a long room with floor tiles missing, exposing ancient floorboards.  A series of beds and bassinettes lined the opposite wall.  The bed in the northeast corner was splattered with fresh, wet blood. The faint sound of a baby crying could be heard from the bloodied bassinet next to this bed.  Melandrach made to head towards the baby, but Ramond asked him to stop, pointing out it isn’t in any immediate danger.  Ramond cast Divine Sense and picked up a faint red fiendish glow from each of the bassinettes, and a stronger one from the one with the baby in it.  Melandrach surveyed the room, and then walked slowly towards the baby.  As he was walking over the exposed floorboards, the wood gave way under him and he began to fall.  He reacted quickly and was able to grab hold of the tiled floor before he could fall much past his waste.  He could feel his legs moving freely in an open space below.  Ramond inspected the exposed floorboards and discovered they were all rotten and weak, while Melandrach pulled himself up with the aid of a rope from Talindra.  Talindra sent her Familiar in to the narrow hole to inspect below, and looked through the owls eyes.  Below was a dark room, with many humanoid shapes within.  There were lots of people with loose fitted straightjackets running around excitedly, trying to jump up towards the hole, way beyond their reach.  In the midst of them was one stationary figure.  A woman in an old nurse’s uniform, her head bowed, hair over her face, and her hands tucked in the opposite sleeves.  She did not move or react at all, and she creeped out Talindra.  None of the people looked quite right, or healthy.

Ramond went to look inside the nearest bassinette.  It was empty, but filthy.  Araloth went back to the previous room, emptied his cantina, and filled it from one of the filthy tubs.  He then poured it in to the bassinette just north of Ramond’s one to see what would happen, but nothing interesting occurred.  Talindra cast Light on a bit of timber that had fallen off of Melandrach and gave it to his owl.  She then took possession of her familiar again, used it to drop the Light off towards the north, and then flew it over at ceiling height to peer in to the crying bassinette.  Ramond advised everyone to be ready to shoot whatever rose up in response.  As she drew near she could see a baby curled up with its back towards the room, except it looked a little big to be a baby.  More toddler or young child sized, but with the chubby proportions of a baby, almost swollen.  It was crying and wailing, and it turned over to look towards the owl.  Its eyes were big and black.  As it stood up in the bassinette its mouth began to open revealing needle like teeth and a grin that reach almost to the ears; far too far to be human.  Its mouth opened wide, possibly dislocating its own jaw, and unleashed a bloodcurdling scream that hurt everyone’s ears, and killed the familiar, who vanished from reality.  The previously empty bassinettes then began to slowly fill with bubbling blood.

Fiendish ChildrenFiendish Children

Dodging the faulty floorboards, Melandrach took a few steps towards the evil baby and threw four Sunbolts at it, hitting three times.  Thorivor critically hit it with a thunder arrow, enough to kill it.  As the arrow boomed, the blast knocked it backwards and the body fell down out of sight, between the bassinette and the bed.  Then, out of the bumbling bloody bassinettes, five more evil babies arose and attacked the nearest enemy, biting Araloth and Melandrach.  The party coordinated and defended each other, and were able to cut down the toddlers before they could act again.  As they died, the blood stopped bubbling and the room went calm again.

They had a long chat about what to do next.  Talindra proposed clearing the below room from up here.  They could make the hole bigger and pepper them with arrows, or drop down oil and ignite it.  They agreed fire could be dangerous to everyone.  While they liked the plan of attacking from safety, the decided to explore and see if they could find the way down to that room so they could potentially attack from two angles when the time comes.  They decided to head through the south exit of the mosquito room for now.  Melandrach listened at the door, but didn’t hear anything from the other side.  While he was doing this they all heard a scream from behind them, in the general direction of the entrance.

They headed back the way they had come looking for the source of the scream and arrived at the stairs out without seeing anyone.  They noticed that they could no longer see the sky or sunlight from up the stairs.  There appeared to be a dimly lit room up there now, where before there had been their entrance.  They also realised they should have passed Karson, Bilba, and Reidoth but there had been no sign of them for a while now.  Melandrach, Ramond and Araloth went up the stairs to explore while Talindra and Thorovir covered the rear.  They found themselves in a large chamber containing three overstuffed couches of fine make, but in ill repair. Tapestries depicting the heroic works of a lady in armour adorned the walls, but had long faded and were thick with dust and dirt.  The room was evident with faded, rotten luxury.  There were two large windows that were too dirty to see through but allowed some dim light in.  Ramond beckoned the others to come up.  He then tried to clean a window to see out, but whatever was blocking vision must have been on both sides of the glass.  He grabbed his spear and tried to smash the glass, but it just bounced off, not even chipping it.  Melandrach listened at the western door, but heard nothing.  He then tried to open the door, but for whatever reason he couldn’t grab the handle.  Either he hand was passing through it, or it was just sliding straight off.  He couldn’t quite decide.  Meanwhile, Talindra tried to use prestidigitation to clean both sides of a window, but couldn’t improve the visibility.  Talindra announced that she thinks they’re in a pocket dimension.  Araloth listened at the southern double doors, but heard nothing.  He tried the handle and could get a grip, but he didn’t open it yet though.  Ramond tried the eastern door and had the same experience as Melandrach.

The got in position, and Ramond opened the southern door, into another crossroads corridor. Oil paintings depicting a girl, two women, a man in military uniform, a nurse, and an infant hung on the walls in this hallway. The oil paintings hurled insults, taunts, and dark prophecies as they passed down the corridor.  They realised they recognised some of these figures.  The beautiful woman was the dark adviser Gertrude, who had turned out to be a hag living in a seemingly abandoned house in Neverwinter Wood.  They had stopped there to avoid a storm a month ago.  They had seen the ghost of a little girl get murdered by an evil doll there.  She was in one of these painting too.  Her father, General Montarthas was the military man.

They headed down the western branch and Melandrach listened at the doors.  He then tried the handle.  The latch released, but the door wouldn’t open, like it was blocked from the other side.  They tried the other two doors with the same result.  The debated forcing a door, but Talindra said she thought this would be like at the manor.  They’d need to do things elsewhere in the house to open these doors.  They headed back down the stairs, to the mosquito room door they were going to try earlier.

Ramond opened the door in to a large room.  Six beds lined the eastern and western walls. Next to each bed was a small table covered with bizarre, rusted medical equipment.  In the south western most bed a shape could be seen; a man without arms and legs.  He reacted to the newcomers and called out for help.  He tried to sit himself up but couldn’t.  He said he was in a lot of pain.  The party entered the room but kept well away from him.  He kept calling out for aid.  Ramond cast Divine Sense and could tell he was undead.  They asked him what had happened to him, and he said the people who run the place had taken his limbs and it hurt bad.  It hurt to shout too.  Could they come closer and he’d tell them more.  No one was buying it.  They cautiously advanced and Ramond got his spear ready to use its Entangle power on him.  As he got adjacent, the body made a poor attempt at a lunge to bite Ramond, so he ran him through with his spear and a Divine Smite, killing him.  Talindra inspected a tray of rusty tools and concluded they were designed to inflict pain, rather than for medicinal purposes.

They explored through the last door from this room and found a set of stairs leading down.  As they approached the bottom the temperature went through a sharp drop, and there was a large patch of mould at the bottom which caused them concern.  Rather than walk through it, the party held back as Melandrach took a running jump over it.  As he passed nearby the cold became painful and damaged him.  When he landed he had frost formed on his face and hair.

Araloth tried to cover the mould with his cloak to see if that blocked off the cold effect, but it didn’t.  Talindra took a good look at the mould and realises she had seen something like this once before.  It is Brown Mould.  It feeds on heat, sucking it out of everything around it.  It is killed by cold.  They didn’t have access to any cold magic so they thought on this for a while and came up with a plan.  They tore up some mattresses from the previous room and made a series of small pre-bonfires leading up the stairs and in to a corner of the previous room.  Everyone got out of the way and Talinda used magic to ignite the fires one by one.  The mould grew to expand over and consume the new fire, and then died off where it had been before once the new heat could not sustain its new size.  She did this again and again, until it was out of their way.

DM: it was very late and so very very hot.  We ended the session there, with the party trapped in a weird house and three of their numbers missing.

Basement 1 (Entrance level) (The printed letters are room identifiers.  The scribbled letters are GM notes the players couldn't see.)Basement 1 (Entrance level) (The printed letters are room identifiers. The scribbled letters are GM notes the players couldn't see.)
Sub BasementSub Basement
Reformed Ground levelReformed Ground level
Player coloursPlayer colours

S41 Coffee Catchup

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
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The storm had died down to a light persistent drizzle by the time they saw Falcon and Tiber working to repair the ruined fencing around the hunting lodge.  Falcon downed tools and greeted the party and let Tiber go off for a drink.  The party caught Falcon up with what had happened and asked if he knew of any more cultist or suspicious activity in the area.  They also showed him the letter and asked if he knew who the Stormherald could be.  He didn’t know anything new.  He agreed to keep an eye on the stone circle until Reidoth could come back and cleanse it, and to get word to the party if he learned anything.  They decided they needed a good long chat so he showed them in to his kitchen, made a brew for everyone, got out some leftovers for them, and got back to work on his fence.

They then surprised me by spending the best part of two hours IRL talking IC between themselves.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them do this before.  I was very happy, even if my full afternoon of prep now seemed wasted!  I can’t remember everything that was said, and it’d be a many, many page script if I did write it all out so here’s a few key points. (DM: My computer froze for a few minutes and when it came back up my video was broken for the rest of the session.  This broke my focus as I was distracted trying to fix it for a while.  I probably missed some stuff and can’t remember it all)

  • Ramond wants them to split up the party kitty so he can buy horse barding as he sees that as the way he wants to progress
  • Ramond feels he needs to retrain to be more sword and board
  • They have been a disorganised mess in combat so far, which has created unnecessary risks to themselves
  • They discussed the need to be open about your abilities so they can plan better and there are fewer surprises in combat
  • They actually questioned each other about their backstories a little (Causing a few “Erm I haven’t written that yet’s)
  • They discussed everyone’s best combat role and what they could do going forward to maximise their usefulness. No one really seemed to know what to do for Araloth.  Not even Araloth
  • They liked the idea of a “Combat Captain”. Someone who takes charge in combat and gives orders, but otherwise isn’t their leader.  This way people aren’t doing their own thing, and aren’t arguing over best tactic.
  • They want someone to scry the letter from the Stormherald to work out who and where they are, as they still fear Cultists are a nearby threat.
  • They discussed where to go next. Loot the lighthouse leftovers, deliver Tiber back to town, head to Neverwinter and find a Diviner, possibly through The Lords Alliance, or head back to the Woodland Manse and give it another look over for clues.
  • More I’m forgetting, I’m sure.

They spent the night at the Lodge and headed towards Phandalin the next morning.  After two nights in the wilds the arrived back in town midmorning.  As they drew near to town they could see the scaffolding had been removed from their Manor up on the hill.  Tibor got off the wagon, thanked them, and went to the inn.  The party went to Barthen’s provisions to get paid for deliver the supplies and updated Barthen on the state of the logging camp.  They then split the party kitty between them.  Reidoth and Ramond went off together to find the blacksmiths while Talidra went to check the job board.  Ramond commissioned some chainmail barding for his horse which should take 6 days to make, and he overpaid by 100gp.  Reidoth pulled a couple of Ankheg shells from his bag (DM: That’s a big bag!) and asked if she could turn them in to a breast plate for him.  She said it’d been a while since she’d made weapons or armour but she’d give it a go.  It’d cost 600gp and would take 12 days.  She’d be happy to take half up front and pay the rest later.  Reidoth didn’t have the money, but someone gave him a loan.  They asked her to prioritise the barding first.

They party met up and Talidra shared what she’d taken off the jobs board:

Mountain’s Toe Mine

The Mountain’s Toe Gold Mine lies fifteen miles northeast of Phandalin. The new overseer is making the trip from Neverwinter to Phandalin and needs to be escorted to the mine. There’s no telling what dangers lie between here and there.  We are looking for guards to escort and aid him.  Please speak to Halia Thornton for more information.

Infested Ruins

Redevelopment of Phandalin has run in to troubles recently.  While pulling down a ruined hospital to make way for new buildings an old cellar was uncovered.  Strange sounds from below suggest wild, potentially dangerous animals have taken up residence.  We need some brave people to explore these ruins.  If any threat is present, please remove it so construction can begin.  It may also pose a danger to the locals.  Speak to Foreman Theobald Bristol for more information.  200gp reward.

Deal with the dragon

2000GP reward to anyone who can bring back proof of Cryovain’s demise.  Speak to Townmaster Harbin Wester to collect the reward

 

They then headed over to the Shrine of Luck to have a chat with Sister Garaele, who had a familiar Orc toddler with her.  They updated her on their findings and asked if she had any ability to scry the letter.  She said no, but there were people back at her order who might.  She could get the letter to them to scry on if the party wanted.  They didn’t have a better idea so they agreed.  Garaele asked them to write a letter to go with it saying what they wanted and she’d get it taken care of.  Once she had the letter and the party started to walk away, she finished up what she was doing, picked up the child, and left.

They had a chat about what to do next and headed off to the nearby sounds of construction to look for Foreman Bristol.  He explained that they’d been clearing out some ruins ready for construction and some of his men had found an opening in to an old basement.  They said they’d heard noises coming from down below and got scared.  The men don’t want to work there until it’s been made safe.  This sort of thing happens now and again and its usually just rats or the wind.  Sometimes it’s wolves that found another way in or perhaps badgers that have tunnelled up.  There was that one time some Ankhegs had made a nest in a cellar, but that sort of thing almost never happens.  It’s definitely never ghosts.  Any time there’s unexpected noises at a ruins some idiot always says it must be ghosts and they’re always wrong.  Anyway, if they go in and its rats or its nothing, he’ll give them 2gp a piece for five minutes works.  It’ll be the easiest money they ever make.  If it’s more and they make the place safe he’ll give them 200gp for what’ll still likely be a quick job.  They decided thy had nothing more immediate to do, so Foreman Bristol lead them over to the ruins and the cellar opening.

DM: And that’s where we ended things.  Next week they head down to deal with a couple of rats.  It’s totally not ghosts.  Never ghosts. No sirree!

S41 Coffee Catchup

S40: The Wrath of Talos

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
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The last three Orcs attacked, injuring Ramond and missed Karson and a wolf.  Hearing all the excitement at the arrival of Gorthok, Araloth rallied from his illness and ran out from the treeline and killed the nearest Orc as Thorivor killed Ramond’s attacker.  Gorthok kicked the Half-Orc priest with his Thunder Hooves.  Melandrach killed two nearby Twig Blights and an Orc and moved to flank the remaining Twig Blights with Karson.  Ramond ran south towards the party, chased by twig blights and shouting out for everyone to get ready for a hard fight and to be prepared to die.  Gorthok gored the Priest with his tusks again as other Twig Blights fought their wolves.  The gored priest shouted towards the sky, “I can still be useful!  I’ve been loyal!  I can turn this around.  Please don’t, Talos!  Please!” as he defended himself against the Boar, lightly injuring it.  Talindra cleared two of the Blights away from Ramond with Eldritch blasts, saying, “We need to end this here.  We can’t let it get back to town!”  Karson Marked the boar and killed a Blight.  Bilba cleared off another of Ramond’s pursuers and backed up as Reidoth’s familiar delivered a heal to Ramond.  Gorthok landed two attacks in to the Talossan priest, bringing him near to death.

S40: The Wrath of Talos

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

S40: The Wrath of Talos

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

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

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

“Gramrak,

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

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

Stormherald K…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S39: The Circle of Thunder

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
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With the fight over, they all took a moment to get their breath back and discuss what had just happened.  They suggested they’d angered the cult and were being attacked as a result.  Reidoth thought on what had just happened and concluded this Boar was a servant of Talos he’d heard mention of before.  A lesser avatar of sorts, worshiped by his wilder followers.  They ran around the compound and checked on the others and checked on the damage to the palisades and doors.  Falcon barricaded the broken southern door until he had time to fix it while the party searched through the corpses and started burning them outside.  They had a short rest and then Karson and Melandrach joined Falcon as he went to chop more wood to repair the palisades.  The party helped out with this for the rest of the day, and stopped for a good night’s rest.

Over dinner they had a long chat about what had happened and what their plans are for the Circle of Thunder.  Talindra spoke up to reveal a secret.  She confessed that she wasn’t supposed to be there.  She had never been hired by Gundren, she just hid in the group to get out of town and escape those chasing her.  A local gang of thieves were after her for stealing on their patch.  Her and her friend Miri had been stealing just enough to survive.  It was Miri he’d asked Bilba to look for when they were in Neverwinter.  The gang had got her, and had now seemingly left town.  The party seemed to be understanding and accepting.  Reidoth admitted it was unusual for him to be there too.  The church of Eldath is usually pacifistic.  His community had suffered a seemingly organised and prepared attack by followers of Talos.  Almost everyone had died, but he was one of the few that got away.  It has made him more willing to fight, and he has a personal grudge against Talosians, and may be a little concerned it will cause him to lose his way.  They ate well, got a good night’s rest, and got up with the sunrise to head towards the Circle of Thunder, with the storm still beating down upon them.

When they were half a mile out they stopped and sent Bilba, Karson, and Melandrach ahead to scout.  The scouts came to a large hill in a clearing with a stone circle at the top.  Four  Half-Orc Anchorites of Talos appeared to be performing a ritual, guarded by Twig Blights and watched by Orcs.  Bilba used the sending stones to call the other up urgently.  As the main party drew near, the scouts circled around to the east a little, found hiding spots and acted once they thought the others were close enough.

S39: The Circle of Thunder

Bilba used her Wand of pyrotechnics to set off fireworks over the hill, drawing their attention.  Melandrach put a couple of arrows in to the nearest priest and Karson killed the nearest Orc, and they all dove for cover.  Meanwhile, Ramond cast bless and Reidoth summoned some wolves.  The Orcs advanced forwards, but didn’t really know where the arrows had come from.  Thorivor stepped up to the tree line and put four shots in to the nearest Priest, and Melandrach fired two more arrows at him, but missed one.  Mounted on Thunderer, Ramond galloped in to the nearest orc with a cry to Tempus, and killed him with the Serpent Spear, before galloping further to the North West, trying to draw away a large force.  The Twig Blights ran towards the nearest attackers.  As the Priests chanting drew momentarily louder, there was a flash of lightning and the ground quaked briefly.  Talindra Hexxed and Blasted the injured priest, hitting him in the back full of arrows, pushing them through the rest of the way.  There was a spray of blood and he went limp.  He fired his second blast at another Priest but it went wild.  Karson stepped out of his hiding spot in the tunnel entrance, downed an Orc with one swing of his axe, stepped forward and swung at but missed a Twig Blight.  Bilba shot and killed the nearest orc and went back to hiding in the bushes.  Reidoth advanced and summoned some flame and threw it at an orc.  He shouted for his wolves to work in pairs, protect the party and attack the enemy.  His wolves ran forwards and tore in to the Orcs and blights.

S39: The Circle of Thunder

The Orcs charged their nearest threats, doing what damage they could, and surrounding and hurting Karson and Ramond.  Thorivor put two more shots in to the closest Priest.  Melandrach ran to Karson’s aid and started clearing enemies off of him.  Ramond stabbed an Orc and then disengaged, galloping past them, to the north.  The Twig Blights attacked and chased, largely ineffectually.  The Priests’ chanting rose again and a couple of lightning bolts struck the standing stones, which glowed briefly.  Talindra Hexed the damaged Priest and put two more Blasts in to him.  As Karson continued to clear enemies off of himself, Bilba put an arrow in to a Priest further back.  Reidoth threw fire at another Twig Blight as his wolves continued to chew up the enemy and hold them in place.

S39: The Circle of Thunder

The Orcs attacked who they could and continued to chase Ramond around the hill as Thorivor put another arrow in to his Priest.  Melandrach continued to thin the pack around him and Karson as Ramond Smote an Orc gaining bonus HP, attacked another, and galloped further east around the hill.  The Twig Blights attacked as best they could as lightning struck the standing stones again.  The stones held the storm, and lightning started arcing between the stones around the circle, occasionally jumping out in to the middle.  Talindra double blasted the Hexed priest, nearly killing him, and threw a heal at Karson, who was close to death.  Karson turned his sword in to a Hawk and sent it to attack and kill the Priest, while murdering an Orc with his axe.  Bilba put another arrow in to her target Priest, while Reidtoh healed Karson through his Owl Familiar, and moved east, never leaving the trees.  His remaining wolves did what they could to help.

S39: The Circle of Thunder

The Orcs continued their assault, finishing off the last of the wolves and hurting Ramond.  As some of them chased Ramond through the circle they caught stray sparks of lightning coming from the stones.  Thorivor put two shots in to Bilba’s target Priest, including his final Grasping Vine.  Melandrach attacked an Orc four times, and only hit it once.  The Orc was quite surprised.  Ramond stabbed one orc and Smote a second feeling the pressure that something bigger was about to happen.  He then galloped as fast as he could to the east.  As the Twig Blights continued to give chase, the ritual came to a head.  All the stones starting sparking in to the middle, and a single bolt of lightning struck the ground.  A new, huge from had arrived in the middle of the stones.  Gorthok the Thunder Boar had returned! (DM: And everyone needed a change of underwear and was suddenly very unhappy with my choices)  The head Priest turned to the attackers and loudly said, “Now you shall pay the price!  Talos shall have you!  Gorthok, kill the intruders!”  He then walked over to the edge of the now dormant stone circle and threw a lightning bolt and Ramond and Thunderer.  Thunderer vanished, but Ramond was able to land on his feet, next to the saddle.  The other priest, wrapped in Grasping Vines, held his ground and fired a Lightning Bolt at Thorivor at the edge of his range, frying Talon (Karson’s bird/sword) in the process.  Feeling overwhelmed, Talindra cast Hypnotic Pattern over the Gorthok and the two priests.  The head Priest passed his save and Gorthok used a Legendary Save.  Karson and Bilba tried to clear up the nearby group of Orcs and Blights as Reidoth summoned a fresh pack of Wolves, instructing some to deal with the smaller enemies, and some to hold the line between the party and Gorthok, and sent his familiar towards Ramond, ready to help later.  Gorthok took in his surroundings, staring at the party, growling menacingly.  He then slowly turned his head to the left, towards his summoner.  He let out a loud deep “Squeeeee” and charged the High Priest, goring and trampling him.  He turned around to face the boar with a look of horror on his face, and tried to back up slowly.  The Wolves then tore in to their targets and held the line.

DM: it was very late and everyone was sure this was not going to be over quickly so we called it for the night between rounds.

S39: The Circle of Thunder

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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We had difficulties this week.  Talindra didn’t have his computer so was on coms but couldn’t see the game or her character sheet and I kept forgetting this.  Everyone had had a busy day and we started an hour late.  We are still figuring out Dynamic Lighting (I think this is our third map using it) and I never know for sure what the players can and can’t see.  I kept forgetting Legendary Actions.  An 8 man party so heavily skews any encounter that Gorthok has 75hp in the module and I had to crank him up to 400hp here and give him new toys.  The map quite often didn’t make sense.  We all made the best of it.

As for the maps below, if it’s greyed out, they shouldn’t be able to see it.  They can only see each other’s HP values, but can see enemy HP bars.  Bilba, Falcon, and Talindra are at the top of the tower, but needed to be hanging over the edge so their tokens could see beyond the walls there.  They are taken from my screen and I can see everything, including each individual light source and all the hidden stuff.

 

A huge boar with glowing blue-white eyes and lighting crackling all over its body ran out of the woods from the north-east, surrounded by maybe two dozen Orcs, with great axes raised.  As they ran across the clearing they shouted out, “Gorthok!”  From on top of the tower Bilba shot the boar, while Falcon tried to thin the herd.  Talindra cast a Web to try and trap the boar and as many Orcs as she could.  Ramond and Karson moved to flank the northern door and braced for attack.  Ramond telepathically called for Thunderer, his warhorse, to come and aid them.

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

The sounds of shouting outside woke up Melandrach, who’s fever had broken at last.  He got out of bed, grabbed his longsword and went outside to see what was going on. The Boar continued its charge, ignoring the web, and rammed in to the palisades, ramming a big hole through them.  Karson jumped out of the way of falling timbers, but one caught Ramond around the head, knocking him prone.  Karson and Ramond took their readied attacks on Gorthok as best they could.  As Karson’s blade cut the Boar a spark of lightning jumped off of it has zapped Karson.  Ramond also got shocked in return for his Smite, but his magic armour makes him resistant to lightning damage.  As the timbers fell, Gorthok let out a loud squeal, and Araloth woke up, feeling rough but capable of acting.  He grabbed his sword and shield and headed outside.  Reidoth cast haste on Ramond and then hid around the corner.  Bilba put another arrow in his hide as Ramond picked himself up, cast Shield of Faith on himself, and Smote Gorthok twice, getting zapped each time, while shouting, “The Boar must die!” (DM: I finally remember he has legendary action at this point, but repeatedly forget during this combat.  I’m still new to 5E.) The boar counterattacked Ramond with his hooves, doing bludgeoning and thunder damage.  Karson Marked the boar and then landed a critical hit with his axe, while getting shocked back.  From the top of the tower, Talindra hexed and Eldritch Blasted Gorthok.  The Orcs ran forward and tried to flood the breech, but mostly found their path blocked.  Some followed the path south.  The Orcs that could, attacked Karson and Ramond.  Falcon took shots at the southern Orcs as they ran by.

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

Melandrach crossed the courtyard and killed two of the Orcs attacking Ramond, and stepped in to the gap, blocking the hole in the fence.  Gorthok reacted to this by continuing his attack on Ramond, but missed with his tusks.  He then used his turn to hot Ramond with his hooves but miss with his tusks.  Reidoth’s owl familiar flew down and conveyed a Cure Wounds to him.  Araloth left the guest quarter, asking what was going on.  Falcon shouted out that the Orcs were circling round to the south.   Araloth ran over and killed the last orc trying to attack Ramond.  He then backed up a bit, still confused by events.  Bilba put another arrow in to Gorthoks hide as Ramond Smote it three times, getting zapped for each.  Gorthok attacked him back with his Lightning Tusks.  Ramond continued to chant out praise to Tempus throughout as he held his ground.  Karson cut the boar twice, getting shocked each time.  Gorthok rose up and trampled Ramond into unconsciousness with his Thunder Hooves as Talindra Blasted the Boar from above.  She then used her magics to heal Ramond back to consciousness as she sent her familiar south to see what those Orcs are up to.  The Orcs around the Boar started helping each other over the Palisades, ready to attack the party from behind.  Falcon shot at the Orcs to the south, killing one.  He shouted out, “They’re at the south gate”.

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

Melandrach landed two attacks and got shocked twice.  Gorthok reacted by trying to gore Ramond, but missing.  He then trampled Ramond unconscious again and then gored Karson with his tucks.  Reidoth healed Ramond using his owl again as Araloth ran in and stabbed the Boar, getting zapped, before backing up.  Gorthok reacted by failing to trample Karson.  Bilba hit the boar from above again, as Ramond picked himself up and Smote the boar once more.  He called his mount, Thunderer, over to help deal with the Orcs at their backs.  Gorthok kicked Karson in to unconsciousness.    Thunderer charged the nearest Orc and trampled it to the ground and then kicked it to death, before backing away.  Gorthok kicked Ramond again, knocking him out.  Talindra healed Ramond, and threw a web at the Boar and the cluster of Orcs, allowing the old web to expire.  The two Orcs that could, moved up and attacked Melandrach.  One ran over to attack the horse as those outside struggled with the web and tried to scale the walls.  Falcon killed one of the Orcs flanking Melandrach.

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

Melandrach swung his blade at the Boar, missing twice, but punched and kicked the nearby Orc to death.  Gorthok gored Melandrach to unconsciousness, and ran out of the webbing, stepping over Ramond, Karson, and an Orc, failing to trample Ramond on the way.  Reidoth used his familiar to heal Karson, and advanced towards his fallen friends.  Araloth took a wild swing at Gorthok and held his ground.  Bilba leant over the edge of the tower and put an arrow in to the rump of the Boar.  Ramond stood up, screamed defiance towards the Boar, and hit it with a mighty swing.  He got zapped in return.  Both of them are on their last few hit points.  He swung again, and missed.  His third blow landed, hitting hard enough to kill it, but as the light in its eyes faded, the spark in its soul reignited.  Weak on its legs its eyes were brighter than ever and the lighting arcing over it became erratic.  Ramond survived the return shock.  Karson got up, turned his sword in to a metal bird and set it on the Boar.  It landed an attack, and got shocked in return.  The bird vanished and the sword reappeared in Karson’s hand.  A bolt of lightning hit the boar from above.  There was a bright flash of light, and the Boar vanished, leaving onl a large circle of charred ground where it had been.  He then chased after an Orc to the east.  Thunderer tried to attack one of the Orcs on him, but missed.  Talindra tried to look south, but couldn’t see any of the Orcs, so she Blasted the Orc attacking Melandrach, and also another in the web, killing both.  She sent her familiar to look for the southern Orcs and could see them working their way around the building, bunching up by a door.  One of them was dead with an arrow in it.  From his vantage point by the open door to the dining room, Reidoth saw those Orcs open their door and run through the dining room, heading for the stairs.  Two of the Orcs outside hurt Thunderer while the others struggled with the web.  Falcon killed one of the webbed Orcs with his longbow.

S38: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

Reidoth moved to see Melandrach and used his familiar to heal him.  He alerted the others to the Orcs inside.  Araloth moved over and attacked one of the Orcs attacking Thunderer, who Bilba then finished off.  Ramond killed the other Orc, drank a healing potion, and then mounted Thunderer.  He then rode around the building in search of Orcs.  As he circled around, Corwin poked his head out of a window over the stables and said the Orcs had gone in the doorway opposite.  Karson went after the two remaining Orcs from the cluster, killing one.   With no viable targets and the courtyard mostly clean, Talindra made her way down the stairs.  She could hear footsteps in the next room, so she remained in the stairway with a readied Eldritch blast.  The Orcs continued their way up the stairs and around the halls mezzanine balcony.  The last Orc outside broke free of the web and then bolted for the trees.  Falcon tried to shoot it, but missed.

End Turn 6

Melandrach ran in to the building and up the stairs and fired two Sunbolts at the trailing Orc, but missed.  Reidoth entered the dining hall, and could see the Orcs running around the balcony level above.  He produced a flame and threw it at one of them.  He shouted to alert the others he’d found more Orcs.  Araloth entered and chased up the stairs.  Bilba made her way down the stairs and on to the landing.  Ramond rode over to the door, dismounted and ran through the door, up the stairs, killed the trailing Orc, pushing him over the edge, and moved on to injure another.  Karson gave chase to the fleeing Orc outside, as Talindra stepped out through the doorway and Eldritch blasted the closest Orc.  The inside Orcs took stock of their situation, considered jumping down, but decided to go down swinging.  Ramond got beaten to unconsciousness again (DM: I really need more ways of saying this), but Talindra was lucky enough to dodge a charge.

End Turn 7

Melandrach Sunbolted both Orcs, killing them both.  Karson finished off the one outside.  Reidoth ran up the stairs and healed Ramond.

DM: It was late and we’d had a long hard fight so we called it and will start here next session

S37: Return to the Lodge

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 4
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Rain crept in as the party headed back from the woodland manse.  When Falcon’s lodge was within sight they relaxed a little, until they saw Falcon come running out of the northern treeline.  He stopped, took a look at them, and shouted, “We got incoming!  There’s a dragon behind me!”  He turned around and fired two arrows in to the darkness.  Then from out of the trees ran Cryovain, chasing him!

S37: Return to the Lodge

Thorivor took a few steps forward and fired his bow four times, but only hit once with a Grasping Arrow, causing brambles to grow around his legs.  Ramond walked forward, used his Pearl of power, cast Shield of Faith on himself and called out, “Spread out!  Don’t give him an easy target!”  Reidoth walked forward and cast haste on Ramond.  Falcon fired two more shots at the dragon, and backed up further, as Karson stepped up and fired three shots at Cryovain.  Cryovain took flight towards Falcon, taking Grapsing Arrow damage, and unleashed his Frightful Presence frightening Melandrach, Falcon, Talindra, Thorivor and Bilba.  He then slashed and bit at Falcon, hurting him badly.  Bilba steadied her nerves and her bow and put an arrow in to him, as Talindra Hexed him (Disadvantage to Strength), and Eldritch Blasted it before backing up behind the palisades.  Araloth ran forwards towards the compound and threw a Javelin, but it fell short.

S37: Return to the Lodge

Melandrach unleashed a series of Radiant Sunbolts at the dragon from his hiding position behind the tower as Thorivor fired two more shots at Cryovain.  The Hasted Ramond ran behind the dragon and Smote it with his sword.  The dragon flapped its wings, driving air downwards with force, knocking both Ramond and Falcon prone and knocking Falcon unconscious.  Cryovain then flew back towards the trees.  Reidoth moved towards Falcon and cast a Healing Word in to him.  Flacon picked himself up and shot at the dragon again, before backing up a little.  Karsons arrows went wide of Cryovain who tried to break free of the Grasping Vines which were hurting him for every move, but he failed.  He then flew back and up further away from the group.  (DM: At this point with the dragon being 70-80 foot above the ground all the ranged characters started doing trig before declaring their actions)  Bilba sunk an arrow in to him, and Talindra remained hiding behind the far walls, too scared to come out.  Araloth ran up the side of the tower and called his Javelin back to his hand.

S37: Return to the Lodge

Ramond hit the dragon with a Guiding Bolt and then ran past it.  (DM: He did maths.  Turns out that with all the effects in play Ramond can currently outrun the flying dragon every turn!)  Reidoth got his sling out and made a disappointing shot.  Falcon and Karson took more shots too.  The dragon then flew low over the forest at full speed, using the trees to break line of sight.  This didn’t stop Thorivor who fired a Seeking arrow in to him, and the vines from his Grasping Shot continued to bite in to the dragon.  Ramond gave chase through the wood keeping pace for the next seven turns.  The dragon flew north and then took a wide turn, east then south, around the Lodge.  As Ramond’s Haste wore off he pulled himself up a nearby tree with ease and watched the dragon fly South until he faded from view.  He then climbed down and returned to the party.

S37: Return to the Lodge

Reidoth healed Falcon a little more and Karson handed him 30 Goodberries.  They then all had a chat about what had happened.  Falcon said he had been out hunting and the dragon had just swooped down and attacked him.  He’d got lucky and avoided his icy breath and ran for home while taking pot shots.  He’d seen the dragon out hunting a couple of times before over recent weeks, but had always been safe.  The party thought about the last time they’d chased him off.  Then and now, he had retreated in the direction of the Sword Mountains.  Falcon agreed that their snowy peaks would make a suitable home for a White Dragon.  He would want somewhere cold, and his presence would only make conditions worse.  A white dragon would warp nature around its lair, eventually spreading extreme cold and ice for miles around it.  The party decided that wandering aimlessly through the mountains looking for a lair is an option, but a very poor one.  They should continue to see if they can find more information before heading out, and do more to prepare.  Too many of them fell afoul of Cryvain’s Frightful Presence, and his breath weapon scares them.

Falcon thanked them again for saving his life and invited them inside for dinner and lodgings.  Over dinner they discussed events at the Manse and he encouraged them to clear out any further Orcs or Talosans at the Circle of Thunder.  He said it was an ancient stone circle built by druids or something centuries ago.  It was a place of worship to nature, or a nature god or something, but had been unused for a very long time.  He didn’t really have anything further to offer them as a reward, but said they are forever welcome to stop by for room and board whenever they are nearby.  When he went to get them the reward for their time at the Manse they discussed who would get the Boots of Elvenkind and decided the Paladin had a weakness in this area so he should get them.  Falcon returned and offered them the boots, and also threw in a small pouch of coin as an extra thank you.  Around this point they noticed that Thorivor, Melandrach and Araloth were not looking good.  Reidoth and Falcon checked them out and they had swollen and itchy insect bites.  Falcon said he’s seen this before.  The bugs and vermin in the woods carry an infection called Afkitus.  Most of the time people are immune, but every now and then it gets through their defences.  They’re in for a rough night and won’t be much use for anything until they’ve had at least a good night’s rest, perhaps more. (DM: Their players were missing and they’ve said in the past that we are uncomfortable risking PC lives when their players aren’t around so it’s an IC reason not to include them in what I know is coming up next).  Everyone left the dining hall and crossed the courtyard back to the guest quarters.  The rain outside had gotten worse and thunder could be heard in the distance.  They got a good night’s sleep, although fever and illness clearly got the better of those infected.

In the early hours of the morning Reidoth and Bilba were woken up by a sound they realised wasn’t part of the storm, which was now directly overhead.  There was a bell ringing.  Someone was sounding an alarm.  They ran round and woke the others, although the sick were unresponsive.  If they did get them to wake they were clearly delusional, responding to things no one else could see.  As people pulled themselves out of bed, Reidoth went outside in to the rain.  Falcon was on top of the eastern tower and shouted down to him that he could see something big moving through the woods heading their way.  They had five, perhaps ten minutes before it arrived.  People grabbed their armour and ran up the tower to look as they got equipped.  By the movement in the trees it appeared that a large force accompanied by something large was moving with purpose towards the lodge.  They quickly formulated a plan and got in to position.  Talindra, Bilba, Falcon, and Reidoth and Talindras owl Familiars at the top of the tower, with everyone else in the courtyard, ready to deal with anyone who breeches the palisades.  As the force drew near the treeline they could make out the occasional blue-white flash, and then a blue-white glow started to emerge as the treeline itself began to tremble.

DM: It was approaching 11pm and I pointed out this was not going to be a quick fight.  Some of us were OK with going on, but people needed sleep so we called it.  We will hopefully have some of the missing people back next week in time to deal with this new threat.

S36: Never Split the Party

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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Melandrach killed the only undazed orc and punched a nearby Vine Blight, while outside Bilba killed the final shapeshifter and ran in to the house.  In a pumpkin patch Araloth took a moment to get his Second Wind and then followed Bilba.  Karson moved to flank a Vine Blight and beat it almost to death while the two Orcs at the back tried to shake their friends awake.  Ramond murdered one of the Orcs and shouted out for everyone to back up through toe door and retreated towards it.  Thorivor stepped inside and killed an Orc at the back with two arrows.  Reidoth ran inside and healed Araloth while Talindra used her Rod of the Pact to recharge a spell slot.  The two vine blights sunk their fists in to the floor and a mess of vines and roots grew out around them, turning the ground in to rough terrain and Restraining Melandrach, Araloth and Talindra.

End round 5End round 5

Not distracted by the roots binding him, Melandrach finished off one of the Blights and damaged the other.  Bilba sunk an arrow in to it too, nearly killing it.  Araloth tore the vines and roots from his body and baked up towards the entrance, walking along the walls and ceiling.  Karson moved deeper in to the room to flank and kill the Vine Blight.  Two Orcs moved out of the southern room to flank and attack Karson, but missed.  Ramond moved up then smote and killed one of these Orcs before stepping back.  Re shouted again for everyone to back up.  Thorivor put two arrows in to the other Orc, dropping it while Reidoth Healed Bilba.  Talindra sent her familiar to watch to back of the house for anyone escaping and then used the staff to cast Web, covering the floor and sinking down in to the well for 20 feet, where the vine blights had come from.  An upstairs window on the south west corner of the courtyard opened and a Half Orc appeared.  He thrust his hands forward as Talindra reacted to Counterspell and nothing happened.

End Round 6End Round 6

While Melandrach struggled unsuccessfully against the roots grappling him, Bilba killed the nearest dazed Orc.  Araloth ran along the walls in to the room, avoiding the roots and the webbing, and attacked an orc at the back, who resisted the webbing, returning the attack, before backing out of the webbing through the doorway.  Karson looked up at the window and unleashes his sword Talon as a hawk to attack him.  Ramond moved around and tore the roots away from Melandrach before stepping back to the door and shouting through it, “You three go flush out the Priest from upstairs!”  Thorivor tipped him the nod and ran up the stairs but the upper steps collapsed under him.  He fell and landed on some crude spikes.  He picked himself up and walked out from under and looked in to the room to the east, which was covered in graffiti painted in blood of boars chasing stick men.  There were also 8 basic stick figure dolls around the room.  Individually they looked pretty crude, but collectively they looked familiar.  One was holding a stick in two hands, another was holding a stick cycle, and a third had a small stick bow.  They seemed to be representative of the party.  He spun around and fired his heat seeking arrow to finish off the Orc fighting Araloth.  Reidoth healed Thorivor, and then went up the stairs, carefully stepping over the new hole.  An open set of doors at the east end drew his attention and he cautiously advanced towards the.  He peeked through the doors and could see the Half Orc looking through a window in to the courtyard.  Reidoth backed towards the stairs a bit and called out, “He’s up here!”  Talindra cast Sacred Flame at the target in the window, who attacked and killed Talon before retreating south through the double doors.

End of Turn 7 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)End of Turn 7 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)

Melandrach and Bilba ran up the stairs and followed Reidoth’s pointing to give chase after the Priest. (DM: It was at this point they started discussing taking the house for themselves and fixing it up.  This conversation continued for the rest of the session) Araloth ran along the walls and climbed in through the window the priest had tried to cast through.  He ran in to the room to the south and attacked the Priest.  Karson freed Talindra from the roots while Ramond backed up through the door, braced for attack and shouted for Karson and Talindra to get behind him.  Thorivor stood behind Ramond and readied a reactionary shot with his bow.  Reidoth charged in to the room with the Priest and healed Araloth, while downstairs Talindra Eldritch blasted an Orc to death.  The Priest backed up behind Araloth and unleashed a Thunderwave at him, pushing him back.

End of Turn 8 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)End of Turn 8 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)

Melandrach ran behind the Priest and attacked him, while Bilba ran behind Reidoth and shot the Priest.  Araloth flanked the Priest with Melandrach and attacked him.  Karson backed up behind Ramond and cast Aid on Ramond, Thorivor and himself.  Thorivor killed one more Orc with his bow and injured the other, while upstairs Reidoth healed Araloth again, before “Commanding” the Priest to Grovel.  Talindra finished off the last Orc with an Eldritch Blast.  The priest stepped towards the hole in the floor, cast Thunderwave at Araloth and Melandrach, pushing Araloth away.  He then jumped down the hole, taking a free strike from Melandrach, and landing on his bum.  He picked himself up and tried to step out of line of site of those in the courtyard.

End of Turn 9 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)End of Turn 9 (Faded stuff isn't visible to the party)

Melandrach dove down the hole and performed an effortless super hero landing, before attacking the Priest with his Longsword.  His second blow caught the bottom of his armour, lifting it.  The tip of his blade cut his stomach and he seemed fine at first, but then the wound opened and spilled his guts on the floor.  He collapsed a moment later, dead.  Melandrach then ran out the other door in to the courtyard.  Every known enemy was dead, but there were still sounds of struggling from down in the well where the Vine blights had come out of.  The party were cautious of this and spent the next few rounds with most of them watching the well and dealing with the last 3 Blights as they came out.  Thorivor set fire the web which burned away slowly for three turns before Talindra dismissed it.  While this was going on Araloth explored upstairs and disturbed a Stirge nest.  He ran away from them, straight down the stairs and told the others.  Karson went up to investigate and got swarmed.  Six of the eleven Stirges latched on to him and drained most of his blood.  A few people went up and cleared off what they could, and Ramond used his Wand of Magic Missiles to put two shots in to each of the remaining three on Karson.

When there were no more evident threats they took their time exploring the house and looting the bodies.  Ramond burned all the Blight bodies and dragged all the other corpses outside.  The Priest had a fragment of a leather map with the Manse and Falcons Hunting lodge marked on it, along with a third new location: The Circle of Thunder, a little to the north.  In a large bedroom upstairs they found a secret compartment in the mantelpiece which contained a Staff.  There was also a secret door to a small chamber containing a cloak and a magically locked chest.  Reidoth dispelled it and they found a rod inside.  A Detect Magic spell revealed all three items to be magical.  While Talindra sat on the bed to identify them Karson and Reidoth went back to the courtyard to deal with the tree growing out of the well.  As they hacked and burnt at it, it began to leak what looked like blood, instead of sap.  They chopped down what they could, but it had roots deep in the well.  They considered spending the night here, but opted to take a short rest and then head back to Falcons Lodge for the night.

Magic items:

Cloak of Billowing, given to Araloth

Staff of Birdcalls, given to Reidoth

Immovable Rod, given to Bilba

We ended the session as the party pulls up outside Falcon’s lodge at about 6-7pm, but it was midnight IRL so we called it there.  Somehow, nobody died.

S35: The Woodland Manse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

End of round 4End of round 4

S34: The road to the Logger's Camp

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 3
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Before leaving town Melandrach asked Araloth to use his contacts to sell along his Staff of Defence.  The spells in it were not getting used and he wanted to have a Cloak of Protection made and get a magic weapon that enhanced his offensive power.  They agreed to sell it now for 4,000gp, rather than auction it and probably get more, but have to wait for the money.  The party finished up their business in Neverwinter and early on the 11th day there (Conveniently the 11th Flamerule, 1491), and they headed back towards Phandalin, arriving late on the 13th.  They headed towards the Manor for a rest only to discover they had gained a water feature outside.  Reidoth and Karson had recently returned from scouting around Neverwinter Wood and Reidoth had spent the last few days magically sculpting a pond as a shrine to his god, Eldath.  They went inside and met up, but there was no sign of Talindra or Thorivor, who were still at the Mine.  They spent the next couple of days relaxing, while waiting for them to return.

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

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

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

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

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

Falcon the HunterFalcon the Hunter

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

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

A wild boarA wild boar

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

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

The logger's campsiteThe logger's campsite

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

 

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

S33: The Search for Miri

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 4
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Welcome to the Downtimeisode where everyone does whatever they want with no module to hold their hands.  The safety is off on this one folks!  Send help!

 

Over dinner, the party discussed their plans for the next few days.  Some wanted to head back to Phandalin and some had business in town.  Talindra had taken a few requests for magic items to create and asked the group if she should focus her time on Sending Stones, Pearls of Power, or Cloaks of Protection.  The group agreed that while they all would be good, the cloak would never not be useful to everyone.  Reidoth cast Continual Flame on Ramond’s pommel and a coin for Bilba.  Over breakfast the next day he also cast it on a dragons tooth for Melandrach.  After breakfast, they all went their separate ways.

Karson and Thorivor hung out at the bar, waiting for Reidoth and Talindra so they could head back to town together.  Thorivor pulled out a notebook and started assembling his ideas towards crafting a set of magic bracers to aid his archery.  Araloth said he had run in to an old friend and he’d be gone for maybe a week helping them out with something.  He’d catch up with them later, either here or in Phandalin.

 

Melandrach asked around for craftsmen and found someone to turn one dragon’s wing in to a cloak for him, and a jeweller to affix his flaming dragon tooth to a silver chain.  When he wears it he now has flames rising up under his chin.  He also found a weapon smith to turn three dragon bones in to an iron capped three section chain staff that can also be used as a regular staff.  He then spent the remainder of the day and the next day wondering around the temples asking if anyone knew anything about an ancient elven temple in the Mere of Dead Men.  Nobody really did, but while in the temple of Denier (Lesser god of art) he saw an old painting.  This painting was of five trees that grew together to form one vast tree above head height.  This matched one of the markers to find his temple, as described in the journal pages they recovered from the mine recently.  He figured that if he took it to the Mere he could line up the mountains in the background and the sun and shadows and find where it was painted.  He asked the priest, who said it was called “The Midday Meeting of the Council of Elders”, but he could not take it.  He was advised to check art galleries and bookshops to see if he could find a copy.  He then spent the next seven days checking everywhere he could think of, before successfully picking up an old copy.  Whatever time is left he plans on continuing teaching himself Herbalism from a manual he found a while back.

S33: The Search for Miri

Reidoth went to speak to speak to his contact in the Emerald Enclave and report recent events and his plans and concerns.  Realising he had spent many months in the wilderness and was catching some attention in the streets, he also stopped off for a wash, shave, and haircut.  He then returned to the inn to wait for the others heading to Phandalin.

Talindra returned to the Component Companion and sold off the unwanted dragon parts and then returned to the inn to transcribe the scrolls in to her spellbook.  When her lunch was served she was also handed a short note that someone had dropped off for her.  After reading it and finishing her meal she touched up her disguise and left the inn.  She ducked down some back alleys and knocked on a door and Andrakas Zherichar, a Blue Tiefling male answered. “Darri, wasn’t it?  I’m sorry I couldn’t find your friend.  Perhaps you should come in?”  She entered and he offered Darri Talindra’s favourite brew, which she declined.  They had a short chat.  In the guise of Darri, Talindra had asked him the night before to get an offer of employment to a street urchin halfing girl called Miri Zithak.  He’d been unable to track her down, but had uncovered something concerning.  No one had seen her for a few weeks, and the last time she was seen, she was being chased by a band of local small time pickpockets calling themselves The Reavers.  Her friend Talindra was also being chased and she hasn’t been seen since either.  It appears the Reavers caught up to Miri, but Andrakas gets the impression that Talidra may have gotten away.  (DM: heavy wink to the camera.  Talindra refused to break her characters character) Talindra slipped him 5gp and thanked him for his help, before requesting that this stay between them.  She then returned to the inn, and messaged Bilba on the sending stones to come back for a chat.

On the second day, Karson, Reidoth, Thorivor and Talindra began the three day walk back to Phandalin.  Talindra vanished off to the mine to continue her work, and now has a homemade Rod of the Pact +1, and knows how to enchant Cloaks of Protection, +1.  Thorivor lost himself in research and now knows how to make Bracers of Archery.  Karson and Reidoth went off in to the woods together to seek out any further activity from Cultists of Talos for the remainder of this downtime.

Bilba had decided to use this time in town to relax and had gone off to a casino.  When she got the call she returned and Talindra asked for her help in finding out what had happened.  (We are gonna see the sending stones used a lot this session.  It’s interesting.  Even when someone has their camera off you can still actually hear them counting to the 25 word limit on their fingers while they talk).  Talindra explained that she had a friend who was missing and was last seen being chased by a gang based in the docks.  He gave her Miri’s name, and showed an illusion of what she looks like, and asked her to look in to this for her.  He said they were chasing her because they didn’t like her pickpocketing on their turf but she had refused to work for them.  (With this sudden unexpected workload dumped on an unprepared player I skipped to someone else for a little to give her a chance to plan)

Ramond headed off to find a temple to Tempus and quickly found there wasn’t one in the city, but there was a shrine a few miles South East of town, called the Shrine of Swords.  He mounted up and headed out and eventually stumbled upon a building shaped like a giant gauntlet stood on its finger tips.  The entrance was between the thumb and forefinger.  The building was constructed out of a metal mesh made from spears and polearms and coated in shields and sections of armour.  Two guards stood in the doorway wearing the symbol of Tempus and a priest could be seen near an altar inside, under the palm.  Ramond greeted the guards and approached the priest, who introduced himself as Rauthat Jhuth Straug (Rauthat is a rank within the church.  It’s one of the higher ranks).  Ramond said he’d been adventuring in the area and would like to spend some time here reaffirming his faith and providing religious service for the shrine.  He wanted to prove himself worthy to be considered for membership with the Order of the Steel Fang, should there be a local chapter.

The Shrine of SwordsThe Shrine of Swords

He was invited in to the shrine and advised that those looking to enter and benefit from their services traditionally donate a weapon to the shrine.  Ramond pulled out a warhammer and offered that up.  Rauthat Straug placed this upon the altar and an illusion formed over it displaying its last battle against some undead.  Rauthat Straug praised Ramond’s technique, then took the weapon and added it to a nearby rack.  He then asked what Ramond had done that would earn him consideration for membership in the Order.  Ramond briefly listed his achievements, mentioning most of their adventures so far, including taking his Greatsword from an enemy whose life he had spared.  When Ramond was done, the priest asked to look at the sword.  He placed it on the alter and got a replay of the battles at Thundertree, especially against the dragon.  When the illusion faded, he picked up the sword and told Ramond that his deeds were great and he was certainly a mighty warrior.  However, it takes more than strength and ability to join the Steel Fangs.  It also takes bravery.  Venomfang had been a powerful foe, but he had been greatly outclassed by Ramond and his allies.  Ramond needed to go out and face a foe that scares him, who could defeat him.  Fight this foe on honorable battle and then return with their blood still on his weapon.  Only then he would be considered for membership.

Ramond thanked him for this opportunity, and requested to be of service to the shrine.  He was asked to clean and sharpen all the weapons and armour here.  He looked around and there were many.  He spent the next two days with a whetstone, a bottle of Brasso, and a selection of dusters and shammies.  When he was done he proudly approached the priest, who said he meant ALL the weapons and around and gestured to the building itself and handed Ramond a safety harness. (DM: all in, this was 10 days scrubbing, which Ramond was portrayed as loving.  He also stank of metal polish the whole week.  He seemed to enjoy messing about hanging from the ceiling and spent a little while pretending to fly before getting back to work).

Bilba decided she was going to head back to the casino for a few days and try and win big to see whose attention that might draw, either pickpockets who might be Reavers, or the Pit boss who might think she’s scamming them.  She won on the first day, but things didn’t go her way for the next few days.  On the sixth day she decided to try a little sleight of hand to boost her odds.  She has a magic bow that allows her to gain advantage on one dex check a day.  I gave her the opportunity to pick which dice she rolled.  Either take the better dice and try and win, or take the worse dice and try and get caught cheating.  She got a 10 and a 22 and took a moment to think and opted to have the dealer see the extra card she had up her sleeve for a moment, rather than try for the winnings.  The dealer called over a bouncer and explained what had happened and he escorted her to a back room.  She was made to wait for a moment before they were called in.  The man behind the desk asked for an explanation and Bilba said she was looking for an introduction to the Thieves Guild and this seemed like a good way to get the attention of someone who may have contacts.  There was a discussion and he asked for every penny back she had won, which she offered up before he became more insistent.  He wrote an address on a piece of paper and folded it in half.  He slid it across the desk, but kept his hand on it.  He said she was never to return to his casino ever again.  She agreed, took the paper and left.

Bilba followed the directions to a back alley and knocked on the door.  A slit opened and she explained that she’d been given their location by a mutual friend and showed the piece of paper.  The guard grudgingly opened the door and told her she would be watched closely.  She found herself in a repurposed dark warehouse holding a pop up community. A black market, some bars, some games of chance, all being run from temporary structures within.  She spent some time mingling and getting to know the set up.  She introduced herself to the Thieves Guild and found out what she needed to do to pay her respects and not get lynched by them and become a member.  She asked about doing a job for them so she could prove herself, and got a place on a robbery the next day.  A well to do house in town.  A simple mission we just skipped to the end of and she made back a little of the money she had lost at the casino.  She then milled about the guild and its bar, and started asking if anyone knew anything about Miri.  Unfortunately no one seemed to recognise her description. (DM: I was trying to work with her, but she rolled really badly on Investigation)

That evening Araloth arrived back at the inn and met up with Melandrach, Bilba and Ramond.  There was a long and frustrating (DM: Frustrating in character.  Fun for the players though) conversation about money and profit and who gets what magic items, and what happens if people sell their items.  Also a chat about trust and openness.  (DM: Interesting, but I didn’t take full notes on it all).  Generally, Araloth just being his usual skinflint penny pinching self.

Next morning, Bilba returned to the guild and tried a different approach.  She tried to vanish in to the background of the bar, not draw attention to herself, and nurse a drink all day, listening in to conversations around her.  She heard about a group of petty thieves and pickpockets operating around the docks.  They’re not really part of the thieves guild, but pay them just enough respect and profit share to not have the Guild come down hard on them.  They call themselves The Reavers, and they’ve recently escalated to kidnapping people and there’s some concern that the guild will be associated with this behaviour.  That’s all she could catch before they drifted too far to hear.

She returned to their Inn and used the sending stones to update Talindra and ask if she knows anything about The Reavers.  Talindra revealed she knew they are led by a half elf called Gadrille Refverdt.  They operate from the docks and think they are better than just a gang of pickpockets.  Talindra then fired up her Sending Stone to continue.  She didn’t know if they were connected to any other gangs in town.  They don’t like other pickpockets working at the docks.  Bilba shared her information with the others over breakfast in the morning.  Araloth suggested they head to the docks and investigate.  Melandrach suggested staging a fake pickpocketing of him there to try and draw the Reavers attention.  Ramond suggested using that as a backup plan, but going and looking for anyone pickpocketing they could question first.

S33: The Search for Miri

Araloth and Bilba headed to the docks and nonchalantly watched life go by, looking for pickpockets.  They saw a little boy go running down the street, being chased by a girl.  She bumped in to a man unloading the morning catch, who dropped a couple of fish.  She lifted something from his pocket, called out, “sorry mister!” and continued chasing the boy.  They both vanished around the corner of a building laughing and shouting at each other. The crept up on them and watched from a distance as they shared the few copper they had gained.  Bilba and Araloth chose not to intervene and watched them from a distance for a while longer, looking out for other more interesting targets.  The kid repeated variations on the same trick a few more times, and around lunchtime they headed to a tavern called The Cauldron.  They chose to follow them in and saw them handing over coppers at the bar, ordering the cheapest meal on the menu.  Once the kids had sat down at a secluded table, they approached the bar, ordered meals and rinks, and ordered better food for the kids.  They asked the barman not to reveal who had proved the food, unless the kids were insistent.  When he served the kids they saw an exchange between them and eventually the barman pointed their way.  They gave the kids a wave and got a nervous smile in exchange.  Everyone ate up, and when the kids got up to leave Bilba got their attention and beckoned them over.  They had a chat and found out the Reavers used to dominate this area, and used to use this inn as something of a base of operations, but they’re all gone now.  About a week ago they just left.  No one’s seen them since.  They used to scare the kids, but now they’re gone they can operate in the docks.  Araloth offered to get them an introduction with the Thieves Guild so they could have some training and protection, but the kids insisted they just wanted to be left alone and they wouldn’t steal enough to get the Guilds attention, just enough to eat and live.  They let the kids go and stayed in the bar for a while, watching the barman, and people come and go.

Over breakfast the next monring they discussed events with the others and asked Ramond to come with them to intimidate the barman for more information.  They assumed he bust have been working with the Reavers.  They were also contacted by Talindra via Sending Stones.  Talindra had had a job offer for the group to escort supplies from Phandalin to a loggers camp in Neverwinter Wood.  It needed to head out in a few days’ time so everyone should start heading to town if they want the work.  Ramond put on all his weapons and armour, but left off any emblems of Tempus and they returned to The Cauldron.  He approached the barman and acted loud, big, and scary (DM: and aced an intimidation roll) and the barman kinda crumbled.  He revealed that he didn’t work for the Reavers.  He just runs the bar and a long while ago they just turned up and made it their place.  They bullied the staff and scared off the other patrons.  He knew they were bad news and made it a point to stay as uninvolved as he could be.  He heard nothing and asked no questions, all trying to stay safe.  He confirmed what the kids had said and just wanted to be left alone to get on with his life now the Reavers weren’t ruining it.  Disappointed, Ramond turned around and saw someone collecting plates from tables.  He pointed at them and, already talking loudly, called out, “You!  What do you know!”  The server almost dropped all the plates they were carrying, and tried to avoid eye contact and vanish out back to the kitchens, but Ramond blocked their path.  He got more of the same information out of the server, but they did reveal that their attitudes had changed recently.  They seemed more focused, like they were working towards something.  They also said they’d long had a suspicion there was more to them than just thievery.  Terrified, Ramond eventually let them go.  They vanished out back and just dumped all the plates loudly in to the sink.  Ramond gave the barman one gold to cover any broken crockery and they left.  Ramond returned to the shrine to finish his final (10th) day of polishing and sharpening.

It was near midnight so we called it there.  I was really hoping to get them out of Neverwinter before the session ended, but people needed to sleep.  I really thought that they’d be done with downtime within an hour, two at most.  This was 4+ hours and we’re still not done and most of it was made up on the fly as we reacted to each other, even if I did already know what’s what plotwise.  It was intimidating, but I think we all had fun.  There was definitely lots of laughter.

S32: Neverwinter

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Skill 2
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The party cleared out the last two buildings, which contained Zombies coated in ash.  When struck they unleashed a small cloud of ash, causing those nearby to cough and choke for a short while.  They posed little challenge though and it was short work.  They pile dup the zombie bodies after and burnt them to ensure they couldn’t come back.  While that was going on they butchered the dragon and took any parts they thought might have value or be of use.  They skinned the scales, took the wing membranes, recovered the poison gland (and filled two vials with poison for use later), extracted the liver, but made a mess of the heart.  They pulled out all the teeth and claws, and then decided to just take the whole head anyway as it had been decapitated.  Melandrach decided he might try to make some weapons from the leg bones (Chat on paired batons, or making a nun chuck) so they extracted two good sized bones from each leg.  When they were done Reidoth used Move Earth to bury the remains, and then do the same with the zombies once the fire was done.

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

S32: Neverwinter

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

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

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

S31: Venomfang

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

VenomfangVenomfang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start of Round 1Start of Round 1

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

Start of Round 2Start of Round 2

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

Start of Round 3Start of Round 3

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

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

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

 

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

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

S30: Reidoth

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

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

Reidoth the DruidReidoth the Druid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S29: The Mine Reclaimed

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

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

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

The Starry CavernThe Starry Cavern

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

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

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

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

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

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

The WraithThe Wraith

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

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

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

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

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

LightbringerLightbringer

Lightbringer, +1 Mace

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

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

Gauntlets of Ogre Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S28: Flameskull

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
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DM: Thorivor sadly couldn’t make this session and due to an easter induced unexpected napping related incident Ramond missed all the combats but arrived in time to help decide what to do after.

 

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

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

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

S28: Flameskull

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

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

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

S28: Flameskull

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

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

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

Myaahahahahaha!Myaahahahahaha!

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

S27: The Spider Defeated

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
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The party made short work of the rest of The Black Spiders minions with the exception of the Drow crossbowman on the ceiling.  As his allies were killed off and Ramond was shouting out for a light source, he ran across the ceiling, down the wall and out through the southern doorway.  Continuing along the ceiling he ran down the corridors heading south along the western edge of the mine.  The party gave chase as best they could.  The Drow was double moving and they were trying to run and shoot so he was mostly outpacing them.  The melee characters decided it was their job to carry a lantern and double move so the archers could still see him from a distance.  The rogues seemed to be able to double move and still take a shot, but quite often Bilba ran forwards in to darkness and readied a shot until someone else brought some light up.  They’d chip away at him and then he’d run a little further and the gap would grow.  As he was about to move out of the lake room and potentially turn a corner breaking line of sight forever, Bilba was able to get the final shot in to him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The party returned from the eastThe party returned from the east

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

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

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

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

Loot:

Serpent Spear

+1 spear, Uncommon

Simple Melee

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

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

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

Constrict.

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

Black Spider Staff

Staff, +1

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

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

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

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

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

Slippers of Spider Climbing

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

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