076

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Red Larch Adventure.

The Union consists of-
Bob (Now Sweden & the world) playing Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard
Christer (Sweden) playing Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus
Pedja (Germany) playing Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue aka (atm) Lord T.
Simon (UK) playing Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock
Zoki (Serbia) playing Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora
&
Me- Goonalan (UK) playing everyone else (DM)

We play using Fantasy Grounds and Google Hangouts, usually once a week for approx. 3 hours.

And so-

Session #076 Wednesday 12th April 2017
We Are Sailing.

Starring-
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 8
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 8
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 8,
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 8

Alas Pedja who plays Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue (Criminal) Level 8 who looks a lot like Lord Thaelond, the ruler of Bargewright, cannot be with us this evening- he’s at the airport set to jet off on his hols, he’ll be absent for a few weeks. Bob, who plays the fiery Wizard- Ken Lee, took charge of the Rogue.

Lots more roleplay this evening- all great, and none of it plot related, so the guys had fun with it.

Happy Face.

The Action-

1) Recap in Brief.

The Union have switched track, that is to say they have decided that the time is right to attempt to rescue Lord Thaelond from the clutches of some nasty river Pirates/Bandits- some of whom are said to have magical powers. The Pirates/Bandits (Cultists?) are laired in an old fortified Vraath manor house called Rivergard, maybe a tenday up the Dessarin River.

The Union’s journey, so far, has come courtesy of Gaelkur and his men- the Wharf Rats (petty thieves and smugglers from Womford), and their ship The Auspice. Gaelkur was set to deliver the guys to a riverside settlement called Pike’s Landing, lair of the aforementioned ‘Pike’, a smuggler. However things took a turn for the worse when Pike’s Landing turned out to be the scene of a massacre, and also inhabited by Ghouls. Things got even worse when a contingent of Ghouls climbed up onto the Auspice and started to make meals of Gaelkur and his crew. The Union however were to the rescue- the ship, Gaelkur, and all of his crew are saved.

Just to remind you the Union’s motivation for their present rescue mission is simply this- Lord Thaelond, when kidnapped by the Pirates/Bandits had exchanged appearances with Goren, i.e. the bad guys thought they were kidnapping Goren. The spell that has swapped Lord Thaelond and Goren’s outward appearance will fade before the end of the month. At which point Goren will have to go back to being Goren… and will therefore no longer be the Lord of Bargewright, as he will when (or if) he rescues Lord Thaelond. It’s lose/lose for the Rogue, who has not been having a great time of it this year- what with bumping into his dead brother only four days past, and also learning that the rest of his family are also dead.

Still, chin up, it’ll probably get better (probably).

And so with Ghouls fled or dead, the guys get to nose around a bunch of stinking corpses- see, things are looking up already… Now read on.

2) Investigate Pike’s Landing.

River_Jetty_1.jpg

It’s a massacre, it seems every inhabitant of Pike’s Landing (approx. twenty adults and half as many kids) are all dead- slaughtered. The Union get to work investigating the tragedy, trying to learn what they can about the attack.

A little while later Gaelkur and his crew, when they are a little refreshed, also row over to the settlement- many of the Wharf Rats, including Gaelkur, are extremely upset (and outraged). In truth they are also more than a little terrified- they’re out of their depths. The crew help out where they, particularly preparing a pyre- the bodies are to be burnt.

In the meantime the Union nose around, they learn-

a) The settlement was attacked at night, by Ghouls- best guess, although it a takes a considerable while to figure out that…

b) The Ghouls came from the water, and not the land, the undead have gills- they are the aquatic variant of their kind.

c) Their seems to be no discernible reason for the attack- save to say that Pike’s Landing was here. Perhaps the inhabitants were just unfortunate, this explanation (or the lack of one) disturbs the guys.

Lastly, and suspiciously, one of the Ghouls was perhaps a Drow (or else an Elf, difficult to tell with the undead’s transformation), more likely a Drow for the Ghoul still wears an ancient necklace with spider-motif. The guys file this information away for later consideration, after first checking to see if the necklace is magical- it isn’t.

A while later Ken Lee makes use of his Identifty spell on the necklace and watches in horror- from the Ghoul’s POV, the attack on Pike’s Landing. There was indeed a pack of Ghouls, and the lone human sentry was easily and quietly overcome; the rest of the inhabitants didn’t stand a chance.

The investigations are drawing to a conclusion when out of the mist of the mighty Dessarin River comes another boat, the Rivermaid.

“Hulloooo there.” Shaolar has arrived.

Shoalar.jpg

3) Meeting Shoalar.

After a shouted conversation and another hour or so for a short ceremony, and the lighting of the funeral pyre, the Union eventually say their goodbyes to Gaelkur and his crew- who are keen to leave, but after first doing a deal with Shaolar to take them on to Rivergard.

Shoalar, and the crew of the Rivermaid, are equally upset (and furious) about the massacre at Pike’s Landing, in conversation Shoalar states that the Bandits that occupy Rivergard have, it is rumoured on the river, done deals with Ghouls. Shoalar is very angry indeed- and therefore keen to get the Union safely and secretly to their destination, and back again.

The rest of the crew are introduced, including the Black Duck- the Halfling First Mate and the rest of the swabbies. The Union have plenty of questions, and in particular with regard to what lies ahead. Over the course of the first day of travel the adventurers either individually or in pairs do what they can to illicit information. They learn-

a) What Rivergard looks like, Zalt completes a simple charcoal sketch-

Rivergard.jpg

As I say, just a five minute doodle.

b) They also learn that Rivergard has been repaired by its present inhabitants, and occupied now for perhaps a year or more.

c) That it seems to be guarded- with watchers on the walls, at all hours, and its harbour chained to prevent boats from docking.

d) That the inhabitants mostly keep to themselves, Shoalar is of the opinion that they mostly head up river (they have a boat), very probably to Yartar.

Lastly,

e) That the Lord of Rivergard is an old pirate called Grimmjaw.

There’s nothing supernatural or cultish that Shoalar, or any of the crew of the Rivermaid have seen or heard about the place- Shoalar is of the opinion that the inhabitants are just a bunch of River Pirates, and probably smugglers of course. That said he avoids Rivergard like the plague, his work often requires that he and his boat go places without being seen (he’s a smuggler too).

The Union start planning, although in the mean time…

4) Shoalar’s Challenges & Helping out on the Rivermaid.

The Union has a long journey ahead of them, perhaps even a tenday- depending on the wind, the weather and the flow of the river; and anything else that could get in the Rivermaid’s way or else slow it down. Therefore the kindly DM, in the guise of Shoalar, has designed a trio of challenges for the guys- time to practice the skills they will need on board ship.

Note these challenges were mixed in with the players own stories (and roleplay) as explained later on in this section.

And so, three challenges, and remember that both Grimm and Zalt are ex-Sailors, they have a distinct advantage, or at least you would think.

The first takes place on the very first full day on the river-

13th Hammer 1491.

Challenge #1 The Sail Drill.

Each of the guys has to shimmy up the main mast and unfurl the main sail- easy as, made all the easier for Ken Lee and Zalt by the fact that the pair cast Spider Climb on themselves even before the challenge begins. There’s also 1gp from each PC in the pot to be won, so the dice-rolling very quickly gets serious. For these guys there’s only one thing more exciting than combat, that’s the opportunity to get one over their fellow adventurers.

Zalt wins the challenge with ease, the Warlock never puts a foot wrong (although he pretty much can’t fall off, and is of course an ex-sailor), the surprise then is that Ken Lee (or Grimm, the other ex-sailor) does not come second, the Wizard is pushed into joint third with Lord Thaelond. The surprise package is Zyler, the landlubber sans magical enhancement is like greased lightening and gets the job done quickly and with style- singing sea shanties and shouting prayers to Tempus as he goes about his business.

Grimm gets in a sulk (mostly courtesy of some terrible dice rolls- in the session he manages five ’1’s, three alone in this challenge). The Paladin of Tymora abandons the test and then skulks off not wanting to be part of the celebrations, or have to listen to more of Zyler’s singing.

And so the other thing the guys have to do every day on the boat is help out in some way, shape or form- a little light roleplaying; repeated successes (adjusted rolls over 20) will result in the journey time Rivergard decreasing. I explain to the guys that I don’t want complicated operations, and that Shoalar and the crew will not take kindly to the guys attempting to take over. They each need to come up with something minor they can do to help the time pass more quickly.

I’ll not go through every activity for every PC, just make mention of the highlights as we go along.

Zyler tops a magnificent showing in the first challenge by catching a seven foot River Sturgeon with his first cast, the Priest of Tempus can do no wrong, particularly when Zalt also makes good use of his cantrips and helps out the crew with all manner of mundane activities. Lord T alas gets a telling off much later by Shoalar after being found asleep when he should have been on watch.

14th Hammer 1491.

Lord T makes up for getting caught snoozing while on watch, the Rogue spots a trio of flying creatures, at altitude, that seem to be keeping pace with the boat. Ken Lee has the smarts to ask Shoalar if he has a spyglass, sure enough- up close the Wizard confirms that the creatures are Aarakocra, the Wizard is well versed in the humanoids, he enlightens the rest of the Union. Odd that the flying trio seem to be shadowing the movements of the boat, but Ken Lee reassures the guys Aarakocra are not known for their attacks.

Monster-Manual-Aarakocra.jpg

Aarakocra.

Zalt continues to help out with his magic, Ken Lee also tries his hand. Zyler takes to singing at the crew- uit goes less well than previously, while Grimm continues to mutter (and sulk a little) in the background.

15th Hammer 1491.

Challenge #2 Launch and Haul-in the Jolly Boat.

The second challenge involves two teams of PCs that must learn to work together- the ex-sailors, Grimm and Zyler versus the rest. The complicated bit comes at the start when the boat has to be untied and made ready to launch- the rest of the challenge is about pure muscle, and a tiny bit of skill.

The challenge once again has money riding on it, and so is taken very seriously by the guys.

The results, as previously, go against the favourites- Zalt gets himself tangled in the ropes (as does Lord Thaelond for the landlubbers- but LT extricates himself quickly) and then struggles for a while to get himself free. The rest is the launch and then hauling the jolly back in- muscle power, and Zyler and the other landlubbers never miss a beat.

Zyler makes even more of a name for himself by belting out Tempus flavoured sea shanties as he works, and with the voice of a very gruff angel- he’s an honorary member of the crew by the end of the day.

Grimm, a little fed up with Zyler’s popularity, amazes the crew later by conjuring Atlas, his holy warhorse, and then showing off a little- Shoalar is much less impressed, particularly when Atlas starts leaving piles of his ‘doings’ on the deck.

16th Hammer 1491.

Yet another day on the river, and again Zyler and Zalt make friends helping out- Ken Lee attempts all manner of mighty magic just to impress the crew Dimension Dooring into the crow’s nest, Spider Climbing hither and yon, using Invisibility to appear at odd times in strange places. The crew are initially amazed although the emotion soon changes, by the end of the day several of the crew take to crossing themselves when they spy the mage.

His magical powers are a little too scary it seems.

17th Hammer 1491.

Challenge #3 Kedging the Anchor.

And again this challenge involves a bit of delicate work at the start to set the anchor and the tie-rope up, followed by sheer muscle power and the constitution of an ox to make the whole proceeding work.

Alas the challenge proves too tough for three of the guys- Zalt and Lord T foul their prep and are both momentarily crushed against the capstan; soon after the pair have to give up the challenge. Ken Lee swiftly sets up the task but then fails repeatedly to get the capstan moving- he too has to drop out.

Which just leaves the muscle men- Grimm versus Zyler, and again it is Zyler that comes out ahead, both complete the task but the non-sailor is quicker at the task. Grimm is gutted- again.

Zyler is hoisted onto the crews shoulders and paraded around the ship, much to the Priest’s secret delight.

River_Gorge_1.jpg

A little while later the Rivermaid enters the Sumber Hills, the ship is only a day or two away from their destination; and the guys with their repeated efforts have managed to knock over two days off their journey so far.

18th Hammer 1491.

Another undisturbed day on the Dessarin River, all is going well- with the guys again helping out where they can, and starting now to develop their plans for the attack on Rivergard. The day passes swiftly, it’s during the night that bad things happen…

5) Screams in the Night.

The Union are awoken by screams on deck, they rush to check things out- Ken Lee is just in time to see one of the Rivermaid’s crew be fatally cut down, their are half-a-dozen River Pirates either already on the ship or else firing crossbows from their vessel which has pulled alongside.

The rest of the Union rush into a rain of crossbow bolts, several guys take hits, thereafter however the tide very quickly turns- Ken Lee gets cover and then hits the Pirate’s ship with a Fireball- killing several of the crew instantly in the blast. Grimm takes another down with his Javelin and then gets in a tangle with the Pirate Captain who boards the Rivermaid in style.

Zyler is about his business, concentrating his efforts also on the Pirate Captain, who is very quickly bloodied and beyond- particularly when Grimm starts hitting. Lord T remains concealed throughout the operation, picking Pirates off with his magical longbow.

A little while later Zalt manages to mesmerise all of the crew left on the Pirate vessel with his Hypnotic Pattern, the bad guys are taking a beating, those on the Rivermaid are fleeing back to their own ship, save the Captain who is still locked in battle with Grimm and Zyler.

Moments later Ken Lee Shatters the Pirate boat (causing several spars from the main sail to come crashing down), and the retreat fast becomes a rout, with Pirates leaping into the water to escape the Union.

At which point however, with all of the Pirates in retreat, but the Pirate Captain still in action, the session comes to a close- we’ve already played an extra forty minutes more than usual.

The combat will be concluded at the start of the next session.


Session #076 Ends.

Ongoing Quests- Quest #1 Get the Pitchblende safely & secretly to Red Larch (COMPLETE), then meet up with Strom Halifax- get it authenticated, sell it and then return home- easy job. Quest #3 Find Savra, Lady Lara’s Sister- with the Flying Knights. Quest #4 Find Goren (who is Lord Thaelond really), Quest #6 Investigate Castle Overlook- What happened to Cadoc Vraath?

NPCs of note- Gundren & Nundro Rockseeker (Patron, again), Sildar Hallwinter (Lord’s Alliance), Sister Garaele (Shrine of Tymora)- GRIMM’S SQUEEZE, Halia Thornton (Town Master & Phandalin Miner’s Exchange- ZHENT?). Mags O’Mara (Triboar), Oggnog the Smith (Triboar) & Gable, of Gable’s Stables (Triboar). Sgt. Beavis & his men at Black Maw Bog Bridge. The Popper family & Gordo at the Rusty Gorgon. Sister Gallafrey (& the Pilgrims of Chauntea). The Village of Westbridge= More Owlman! Avarthel- Druid of the Land, southern Dessarin.

NPCs of note in Red Larch- Phaendra Chansyrl (Curvy in leather), Imdarr (Priest of Tempus & Gauntlet), Endrith Vallivoe (Junk shop owner & Harper), Mangobarl Lorren (Baker), Ghilee (Serving wench at the Swinging Sword), Constable Harburk (the Butcher, and the law), Ironhead (Ironhead Arms), Kayleesa & Ghilee (Owner, and Serving Wench, at the Swinging Sword), Gaelkur (Fence- buys gems etc.), Minnie & Pell Mhandyver (Poultry & Ghost Stories)- kindly old lady and her granddaughter. Elak Dornen (Quarry owner). Ilmeth Waevlur & Albaeri Mellikho (Rich men in Red Larch), also Baragustas (mad Old Guy), Braelen (Ilmeth’s son) & Grund (Pickle selling Thug). Larmon (Shepherd- saved his life).

NPCs of note in Womford- Tharrma (Proprietor of the Green Apple Inn), Morlin Coalhewer (of Morlin’s Smithy), Brother Derny (Shrine of Lathander), Sertiernen the Wise (Harper & Wizard), Captain Soranna Anitah (leader Womford Watch), Kellin Shadowbanks (proprietor of The Old Bridge Inn), Jarett North (of Jarett’s Sundries), Drathgur (Ferryman), Sterrel (of Sterrel’s Provisioners), Avarthel the Druid & Squire Welch aka Sqwelch- Protectors of the Land! Speaker Westron- Mayor, of sorts, of Womford. High True Trader Denaris, of the Church of Waukeen (Patron for Quest #5 find Sir Gustav). Sir Gustav (Paladin of Waukeen), Squire Conrad, and his groupies- Galder (RIP), Ren (RIP), Bryn (RIP) & Cora (RIP), Kessa Landau, Eshala (RIP), Ulf (RIP), and Rowan..

NPCs of note in Bargewright- Lord Thaelond (Ruler), Lady Lara (nice Horse- looking for her sister, Lady Savra), Foo Yung (with stone mask)- RIP, Staunch (fat bloke), Lord Slather (furious Gnoll), Captain Hargas (older Hobgoblin), Carl Drogo (thick-set Barbarian), Baron Ballbag (drunk Goblin), Killshot (dextrous Halfling), Kal’Zerth (mysterious Drow- with a history, see session #49), Lord Klarg (Familiar Bugbear- see previous adventure in Phandalin), Gershwin Chimbly (contract Assassin?), Red Malik (tough guy), Vran Diddly (jokey & drunk Duergar). Bloodletter (Orc Chieftain), Telos (crap Wizard- with face exchanging ritual).

COOL Sidekicks- Wodger, the Stone Dwarf.

Enemies of note- Gnolls, including (odd-looking) hard-to-kill pale Gnolls. Goren has enemies- the Greymen. Oreioth the Necromancer & his undead- DEAD. The Necromancer of Lance Rock’s “Great Eye”? Goblins? Ilmeth Waevlur & Albaeri Mellikho (Rich men in Red Larch), also Baragustas (mad Old Guy), Braelen (Ilmeth’s son) & Grund (Pickle-selling Thug), and the bad men in the Temple of the Moving Stones, including Larrakh- mostly all dead. VERY BAD Tiamat worshipping Kobolds- strange Hobgoblins, a Bugbear Lord (Wizard?). Gargoyles? High Priestess Sha-Ron blessed of Tiamat!

COOL Enemies of Note- Trimat, the Chimera & Dick and Dom, the Ettin.

XP Awarded-
200 Section 2) Investigate Pike’s Landing.
200 Section 3) Meeting Shoalar.
1100 Section 4) Shoalar’s Challenges.
700 Section 4) Helping out on the Rivermaid.
200 Section 5) Screams in the Night.
2400 XP Total

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