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Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
Bandit’s Nest with the NOOB B TEAM

The Noob B Team are-
Tyron playing Elvis, Male Tiefling Bard (Charlatan)
Al playing Ignatius, Male Human (Variant) Sorcerer (Hermit)
Rez playing Sgt. Gank, Male Dragonborn Fighter (Soldier)
Colin playing Trotter, Male Halfling Rogue (Criminal)
Raych playing Grace, Female Human (Variant) Cleric of Helm (Noble Knight)
&
Me- Goonalan playing everyone else (DM)

All PCs begin at first level.

We’re playing around the table, in the real world- as opposed to in cyberspace like my main game.

The guys are all degree level students, I’m a lecturer- although I don’t teach any of them.

The deal is the Noobs are playing their way through Lost Mines of Phandelver (see elsewhere on this site for the action), anyway- several of the guys went home or other places for reading week- two of the guys however stayed on campus and wanted to game, as did several of their friends.

Word has got around.

So we’re playing Bandit’s Nest, a level 1-2 scenario from Dungeons on Demand (highly recommended), and written by Dan Coleman. You can check it out (and then buy it) here-

Bandit’s Nest

And so back to the Noob B Team-

Session #001 Thursday 29th October 2015
Polly Want a Cracker!

Starring-
Elvis, Male Tiefling Bard (Charlatan) Level 1
Ignatius, Male Human (Variant) Sorcerer (Hermit) Level 1
Sgt. Gank, Male Dragonborn Fighter (Soldier) Level 1
Trotter, Male Halfling Rogue (Criminal) Level 1
Grace, Female Human (Variant) Cleric of Helm (Noble Knight) Level 1

The Action-

1) Looking to get Ambushed.

This is the deal, and we’re getting into the action quickly here, the guys don’t know each other prior to this venture, they’ve been hired by one of the elders at Helm’s Hold, an abbey and religious community situated a little way down the High Road, south of Neverwinter.

Four days ago a lone rider (foolishly) set out on horse, Lilya Haldenfrond was fleeing to Phandalin after an argument with her father- a senior council member in the city of Neverwinter, the pair were visiting Helm’s Hold. Lilya was running away to Phandalin to stay with her uncle there- alas she never arrived.

Lilya.jpgLilya.

Worse still a contingent of Roadwardens, sent after Lilya when it was discovered she had gone, found only the remains of her dead horse on the trail- the animal had been butchered.

The guys in search of adventuring work- or indeed any work (for a variety of reasons), are hired to investigate. Best guess the Roadwardens think that Lilya has been abducted by bandits, the adventurers have therefore been given the use of a cart- seemingly piled high with trade goods, actually empty crates and boxes. They are to make their way down the High Road and then along the Triboar Trail to Phandalin- slowly, one of them (Trotter) driving the wagon, the other four hidden in the back.

To ambush the ambushers- that’s sneaky.

A tempting sight for any bandits, a lone Halfling with a wagon piled high with trade goods.

The guys are being paid 10gp each for their efforts, with an extra 100gp on top if Lilya is found alive and returned- this is Quest #1 Rescue Lilya.

Noob_B_Helm_s_Hold.pngThe Lay of the Land

2) Success- Ambushed!

Only a day and a bit into their venture, the guys are ambushed, or else… something strange happens.

Trotter, driving the cart, hears an odd sound- a baby crying, he stops the wagon and stands up on his seat to investigate, forgetting for a second his business on the road.

At which point several cloaked figures, humanoids with huge noses, step out of the forest and indicate through a mixture of sign language, sqwarking and the odd chirrup, that they mean trouble.

Trotter remembers himself and orders the attack.

It gets crazy for a bit.

Noob_B_Ambush_Smalla.jpgAmbush- Exactly as Planned

The creatures with big noses are Kenku- three of them, but the guys have no idea what to make of them, particularly when the fight gets going and the birdmen start mimicking things they have heard, or the guys have said.

Kenku.pngKenku.

Trotter is first into action, and ideally placed, the Halfling grabs up his shortbow- in easy reach, notches an arrow and lets fly, the first Kenku is hit, the missile wedging in the birdman’s neck. It gurgles and staggers backwards a little way. The creature manages however to grab out its own shortbow and return fire- Trotter’s right arm is pinned.

A moment later Ignatius bobs up from the back of the wagon and fires a Ray of Frost into another of the bandits.

Sgt. Gank is out of the cart and rushing at the two closest Kenku, the Dragonborn gobs out a stream of acid- killing one of the creature’s instantly. The second is only slightly scalded, and closes in on the soldier and cuts him with its shortsword.

Oddly the dying birdman’s last words are all the clues the guys, and in particular, Grace need-

“Unhand me you beasts! Do you know who my father is?” The mortally wounded Kenku croaks with all the elan of a B-Movie heroine, and then expires.
“That was Lilya’s voice.” Grace shouts, she knows the missing girl- their fathers inhabit the same social circles.

The noble Cleric of Helm clambers out of the wagon and flings a javelin at one of the two Kenku left standing, she wings it- if you’ll pardon the pun (there isn’t one of course, Kenku don’t have wings).

At which point dashing out of the bush ahead comes a massive and incredibly vicious looking turkey; actually an Axe Beak- a cross between a very moody ostrich and a velociraptor.

Axe_Beak.gifAxe Beak.

The giant bird rushes straight at Grace and slams its beak into her- the Cleric is unconscious before she hits the floor.

And back in the real world, around the gaming table, the expletives fly.

Trotter scrambles down from his perch and rushes to help Sgt. Gank- cutting the bandit attacking the fighter, a moment later Ignatius follows up with another Ray of Frost, and the second Kenku is down.

And the third however is running as fast as his little legs can carry him, back into the woods.

Elvis unleashes a barrage of insults in the direction of the Axe Beak, some rough stuff about it’s mama and its scuzzy plumage, the bird is wounded by the Bard’s Vicious Mockery. Sgt. Gank moves to keep the great beast at bay- dodging its vicious beak and carving into the avian with his longsword, the fighter also gets his Second Wind.

Grace on the other hand is dying, lying still on the floor- blood pouring from the wound (she fails her first Death Save).

Cue more swearing.

Trotter rushes into the melee and stabs up and skewers the Axe Beak (a Critical Hit), the Halfling dodges back just in time as the great bird collapses- dead.

“After the runner” Trotter shouts, and then points at the fleeing Kenku.

Ignatius’ Fire Bolt fails to find its mark.

The guys are off and racing, all apart from Grace who eventually blinks open her eyes thanks to Elvis’ Cure Wounds- that was a close one.

The three other adventurers chase through the woods, remarkably Ignatius stays on the fleeing Kenku’s trail and finds a good spot for one last shot- his Fire Bolt is deadly accurate, the last Kenku dies with its head swathed in flames.

ENCOUNTER #01
PCs 5 x Level 1
Monsters 3 Kenku 50 XP each & Axe Beak 50 XP
XP 200 Adjusted 400 CR 1
Hard

The adventurers gather spent ammunition, check the Kenku bandits and try to make sense of the ambush, and their ambushers. The guys take a good five minutes to poke and prod the corpses, and understand the enemy they are facing (via Monster Knowledge checks), they’re intrigued by the birdmen- and a little disgusted too.

They are however relieved to discover an easy to find trail, very recently traversed, heading deeper into the Neverwinter Woods.

3) To the Bandit’s Nest.

After a short rest the guys do their best to hide the wagon and team, and then head off along the trail and into the woods, a little more than an hour later and they can see a clearing ahead.

What’s more Trotter spots a crude pit trap on the trail perhaps ten feet before him.

A moment later a baby starts crying.

Trotter shoots it.

He’s not falling for that one again.

Remarkably the Kenku watcher chooses that exact moment to pop its head up to see what’s going on. The Halfling rogue’s arrow enters through the birdman’s left eye and emerges through the back of its skull (yep, another Critical Hit). The Kenku scout slumps to the forest floor dead.

Noob_2_V1L1_-_A_-_PS_a_.jpgTowards the Clearing

ENCOUNTER #02
PCs 5 x Level 1
Monsters Kenku 50 XP & Pit Trap 25 XP
XP 75 Adjusted 112.5 CR 1/2
Trivial

The dead Kenku is searched, for which read- robbed, and then dragged deeper into the undergrowth.

4) Birds of a Feather.

Trotter heads a little way along the trail, there’s a clearing remember, to see what he can see-see-see.

Noob_2_V1L1_-_B_-_PS_a.jpgThe Clearing

A bunch of ancient statues circle a well, around the outside of the clearing are at least a half-dozen ruined buildings, each swathed and overgrown by tangling bushes and creepers. The Halfling wonders what this place is, or rather was.

Kenku_Crowspeaker.jpgKenku Crowspeaker.

He also spots another three Kenku, one of which looks a little different than the others, to begin with it has a quarterstaff which it leans on heavily to get around. Trotter reports back, the guys enter the tactical phase and decide to head off the path and into the woods- the nearest ruined building is to the west of the trail, they’re going to try to get into it and use it for cover to launch their attack.

Obviously that doesn’t happen.

5) Song, Song Blue.

Up close the ruin is massive- the remnants of high walls and within a sculpted vaulted ceiling, but that must have been centuries ago; Trotter checks out the way and then signals his buddies over. The guys creep into the ruin through a twenty foot wide hole punched in the wall, there are full-grown trees and masses of shrubs within, so large is the space.

Noob_2_V1L1_-_E_-_PS_a.jpg

Alas for the guys they are not alone.

Although the dice gods are agin me- several of the PCs want to make active Perception checks, I roll Stealth for the area’s sole inhabitant (with Advantage), a ‘4’ and a ‘1’. All of the guys, in unison, grab for their weapons and whisper warnings.

“Harpy!” Elvis hisses, and sure enough there’s a Harpy around forty feet up perched on the top of a weathered crumbling buttress.

Harpy.jpgHarpy.

The Tiefling curses and badmouths the birdwoman, more of the Bard’s Vicious Mockery, the Harpy squawks in frustration and anger, and then takes flight. A moment later Grace- now fully-recovered, rushes into the open and flings her javelin, skewering the creature.

The Harpy has only one recourse, it sings- alas all of the adventurers, save Elvis (the Bard, of course), are deaf to the terror’s sonorous charms.

Trotter fires an arrow into the creature, as it descends and begins to claw and flail with its club at Sgt. Gank- the Dragonborn avoids the attacks and slices back with his longsword, almost severing one of the fiendish avian’s wings (a Critical Hit). A second later Ignatius hits with his Ray of Frost, and the Harpy is having real trouble getting airborne again.

Elvis in the meantime rushes to a spot beneath the awkwardly flapping creature and pleads for the filthy female monstrous avian to take him with her for some “sweet, sweet loving”. The Harpy descends again- feeling more than a little peckish, ravenous perhaps- at which point Grace charges out of the foliage and cuts the creature dead.

Moments later Elvis is slapped back to his senses.

ENCOUNTER #03
PCs 5 x Level 1
Monsters Harpy 200 XP
XP 200 Adjusted 200 CR 1
Easy

Just in time.

6) The Wingmen.

The guys are just getting organised again when Trotter hisses his companions into silence.

“More of them…” The Halfling warns and then ducks into cover, alas he’s the only one of the adventurers to get into hiding, the Kenku from the clearing have heard the Harpy’s song, they’re creeping closer to see what’s going on.

Noob_2_V1L1_-_E_-_PS_b.jpgKenku- they make great Coffee

Trotter, as already stated is ideally positioned, the Halfling leaps out of hiding and buries his shortsword in a Kenku’s back, and then stabs the fellow again for good measure- the avian bandit is almost spent. It squawks an alarm and attempts to flee back the way it came, Trotter cuts for a third time and ends the beast.

At which point the vegetation suddenly takes on a life of its own, grabbing for the arms and legs of the adventurers- courtesy of the Kenku Crowspeaker’s Entangle spell, Grace and Elvis are both Restrained. At the same moment a swirling Swarm of Ravens swoops into the building and descends en masse on Sgt. Gank, the Dragonborn is pecked, bitten and clawed- almost into submission (he’s on 2 hit points). Grace’s Healing Word saves the Fighter, just in the nick of time.

Raven.jpgRaven.

Another Kenku fires an arrow into Elvis, the Bard is also in trouble (on 2 hit points also).

Trotter rushes to Sgt. Gank’s side and swats repeatedly at the Raven Swarm, killing half-a-dozen of the screeching birds, the Dragonborn coughs and spits again- another stream of acid, the fizzing globules cut through the avians, while Ignatius’ Chromatic Orb explodes incinerating many many more. What’s left of the Swarm is barely worthy of the name.

Elvis uses a little of his Bardic Inspiration to boost his attempt to break free of the grasping foliage, the Tiefling escapes his bonds.

The Crowspeaker launches a Thorn Whip and lashes Trotter terribly (a Critical Hit), the Rogue is only just able to stand (on 1 hit point). The Kenku spellcaster gives ground quickly, calling out in its strange tongue, it falls back into the clearing.

The bow-wielding Kenku fires another arrow into the mix, and Trotter is down (another Critical Hit), ably covering the Crowspeaker’s retreat.

Sgt. Gank cuts the last of the Raven Swarm down, and then rushes forward in pursuit of the Kenku spellcaster.

Grace, in the meantime, also breaks free of the scenery- the Cleric of Helm rushes forward and slices the Kenku with the bow, for good measure she also uses her Healing Word spell en route to wake Trotter from his slumber. The Kenku artillerist spills its bow, grabs out its shortsword, and stabs back at the Cleric (and now Grace is on 2 hit points).

The Halfling Rogue is quickly back to his feet, he charges forward and skewers the Kenku- dead.

Only the Crowspeaker is left standing, and still in retreat- now two thirds of the way through the clearing, heading for the immense ruin ahead.

Noob_2_V1L1_-_B_-_PS_b.jpgRetreat!

The adventurers are in hot pursuit.

Elvis shouts abuse, more Vicious Mockery, and the Crowspeaker falters- Grace flings a javelin and spears the terror, while Trotter finishes the creature off with an arrow in the back.

Fight over.

ENCOUNTER #04
PCs 5 x Level 1
Monsters 2 Kenku 50 XP each, Swarm of Ravens 50 XP & Kenku Crowspeaker 100 XP
XP 250 Adjusted 500 CR 2
Deadly

7) Quick Thinking.

The adventurers arrive on the scene, at the fallen body of the Crowspeaker, just as yet another Kenku exits the ruined building to the north. Elvis grabs the Crowspeaker’s dead body and drags it out of sight, behind one of the statues- which seem to depict human soldiers, or else knights. The other adventurers fling themselves behind cover.

The bird-like humanoid stands a watches, at the top of the steps leading into the ruin ahead, staring intently into the clearing, wondering where the Crowspeaker and the other guards have gone.

Elvis saves the day, the Tiefling rips the Crowspeaker’s hooded cloak off, grabs its quarterstaff and stiffly stands, moving from behind one of the statues, very slowly, and all the while leaning heavily on his stick.

“Polly want a cracker!” The Bard mimics and chirrups.

With a Performance check of 19.

The Kenku guard shrugs, satisfied, and heads back into the ruins.

At which point we end the first session.

Session #001 Ends.

Ongoing Quests- Quest #1 Rescue Lilya.

NPCs of note- Lilya Haldenfrond- MISSING presumed CAPTURED.

Enemies of note- Kenku and friends.

New Info- The Kenku have Lilya- probably.

XP Awarded-
200 Section 2) The Kenku & Axe Beak Ambush.
75 Section 3) The Kenku & the Pit Trap.
200 Section 5) The Harpy’s Song.
250 Section 6) The Kenku Crowspeaker and Friends.
50 Section 7) Elvis Mimics the Crowspeaker.
775 XP Total

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