012

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
Lost Mine of Phandelver with the European Union

The European Union consists of-
Bob (Serbia & the world) playing Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero)
Christer (Sweden) playing Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit)
Pedja (Serbia & Germany) playing Hellwhip, Male Human (Variant) Ranger (Pirate)
Simon (UK) playing Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor)
Zoki (Serbia) playing Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor)
&
Me- Goonalan (UK) playing everyone else (DM)

We play using Fantasy grounds and Skype, usually once per week, for 3-4 hours.

And so-

Session #012 Wednesday 4th November 2015
Ongoing Investigations AKA WTF?

Starring-
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 3
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 3
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 3
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 3

Alas Pedja who plays Hellwhip, Male Human (Variant) Ranger (Pirate) Level 3 was unable to join us this evening, it seems Germany is on dial up.

The Action-

This one goes on for quite a while, so settle in.

1) The Orc (and Ogre) Lair.

Cavern_B_W_a.pngThe ex-Orc Cavern

There’s something odd here, something not right about the Orc’s cavern, or at least… Grimm scratches his head, as do all of the other adventurers.

Except Zalt of course.

“There are two big beds, I mean sleeping places. Ergo, two Ogres- we only killed one.” The warlock plainly states.
Ken Lee goes to open his mouth.
Zalt cuts him off- “There are also an extra half-dozen sleeping places, more Orcs- we didn’t kill all of them.” He concludes.
“That was what I was thinking.” Zyler states.
Hellwhip, Grimm and Ken Lee nod along.

The guys are missing half their enemies, they ransack the lair- discover a bunch of coin, mostly coppers and a clutch of perfume bottles- all full, and classy stuff.

The other oddity comes when Zalt searches the final cave in the lair, a natural grotto complete with water pool and blind fish- the warlock tries to extend his mind, to sense anything within the pool.

BOOM!

The sound is in Zalt’s head- no-one else hears it, although Grimm who is standing next to the warlock notices that the surface of the water in the pool suddenly ripples and dances.

Although only for a second.

That’s odd.

And let me just take a moment to say, speaking as a DM, I love odd.

A mystery then.

The guys extend their search to the exterior of the cavern, there is however only one trail down from Wyvern Tor- no other obvious tracks or paths, a brief vote and the guys are heading back down the hill- in search of the remaining inhabitants of the lair- another Ogre and at least five more Orcs they reckon.

They’re a conscientious bunch.

Damn them.

2) On the Enemies Trail.

At the bottom of the Tor, and after another hour or two spent searching, the guys are now certain that there’s a main trail which heads north towards Old Owl Well, and also a less obvious track that skirts the hills and heads west, towards Phandalin.

Wyvern_Trail.jpgOn the Orc’s Trail

The adventurers chose the path less travelled by, Hamun Khost- the Red Wizard, is still with them of course, although he’s a little unsure about where the guys are heading- he thought they were all going to Phandalin. Khost decides to keep his mouth shut (for the moment), he’s got to ride this wave- see where it will take him; the adventurers are in control of the situation.

Phaia.jpgHamun Khost.

Five or so hours further along the trail and Hellwhip is now certain that they are on the path of a half-dozen Orcs and an Ogre, the disconcerting news is however that their tracks are at least three days old, possibly even older.

The adventurers spend another night in the wilds.

And then another day on the trail, yep you read that right; the adventurers plod on through the hilly wilds following the trail as best they can, no encounters and nothing untoward happens.

I obviously do my best to fill in the blanks, describe the hills and valleys, a bit of nature here and there- but nothing to excite a bunch of violent adventurers.

The only event of note occurs just before the evening meal, Ken Lee goes out hunting- Hellwhip smirks at the thought, the wizard however returns less than thirty minutes later with a mountain goat slung over his shoulder. The creature, it seems, has been feasting on wild herbs- garlic, rosemary and thyme, it comes pre-marinated. In case you’re wondering that’s what happens when your bow is a Magic Missile (or three) and your Survival check is a natural ‘20’.

Made me laugh, and it would have pissed the ranger (Hellwhip) off, if he was here.

The next day, their third on the trail, and a little before midday the guys come across a body, Zalt spots it about fifty feet further along the path.

3) A Miner Incident.

The body turns out to be a dead human, head caved in- a miner, the adventurers can tell by the worn pick-axe on his belt. They Investigate the area thoroughly and discover that the miner was killed, most likely, by a large blunt weapon- a club or hammer wielded with great force. Consensus is the Ogre done it, the miner has no possessions (save his pick), the guys figure he has been robbed. The fight itself looks to have been very short and bloody, there are signs of predation on the body but nothing major has tried to feast on the remains- yet, the adventurers cover the corpse over with rocks, a cairn, and then head on.

They figure the Ogre and the Orcs are still three days, at least, ahead of them.

They’re starting to have doubts and Hamun is now asking questions.

They settle down for yet another night in the wilds.

On last watch, early the following morning- Ken Lee spots a torch wielding human approaching, the other adventurers are quickly awakened. The approaching human turns out to be another miner, name of Travis- searching desperately for his missing brother Davis. Travis describes his brother- the guys deliver the bad news, a bunch more miners drift into the adventurer’s camp- the search party.

The mystery is over for them, now the misery begins.

There’s nothing to be done, Davis’ body is half-a-day away, at least, and already buried in the hills- the same place he spent much of his adult life. Travis and the other miners decide to head back into Phandalin, to drink themselves into oblivion for a while- the adventurers join the group on the trail, at least for an hour or three.

En route the miners tell the guys a terrible tale, about recent events in Phandalin- it seems a Hill Giant was captured a few weeks back, the creature (called Grimm- one of the miner’s explains) was put in the cells beneath the Town Hall. The adventurers have seen the cells beneath the Town Hall- a Hill Giant would not be able to fit into one of them, they however decide to play dumb for a while- to see where the story is going. The Hill Giant, as it turns out, was captured by a group of brave adventuring lords, lead by a great warrior, or else a paladin called Klarg.

The adventurers take a while to get their head around the story.

The finale of the narrative is the Hill Giant has escaped.

The guys translate- they are the adventuring lords, Grimm is the paladin (and not a Hill Giant, or a lord), the Hill Giant is not a Hill Giant- it is a Bugbear they captured, called Klarg; and in conclusion- Klarg has escaped, maybe.

Bugbear_Klarg.jpgBugbear- Klarg.

At least that’s one version- the miner’s are passing around flasks of brandy, they don’t shy away from the bottle.

Hellwhip is still trailing the Orcs and Ogre remember, their enemies path however turns away from Phandalin, south towards the mountains, the guys wave goodbye to the miners, and then head a good way along the new found trail. In truth the adventurers are beginning to lose the will to continue the hunt. Their quarry, it seems, has headed into the peaks- there’s little point going on. The guys agree that they will need to resupply, and possibly find a guide if they’re going to attempt the icy peaks ahead.

Wyvern_Trail_a.jpgThe Long Walk

However, if they hustle they can still make it back to Phandalin today.

They hustle.

Final note about section 1), 2) & 3) above- I, your beneficent DM, decided that I would throw a few more Orcs and another Ogre at the guys a little later on in the adventure, therefore I made it clear that there were more of them in game, a bit of foreshadowing. How was I to know that the guys would then do all they could to track down the fellows- yeah, you’re right- I should have guessed. So for three or four in-game days the PCs wandered the hills. The kindly DM not wanting to play my Ogre/Orc encounter card, and the guys not willing to give up the chase- even when I told them that the trail was at least three days old. I threw the miner’s in to try and get them back to Phandalin; before that I had Hamun Khost, the Red Wizard, ask them where they were going, and to say again “I thought we were heading for Phandalin”. It’s hard to read facial expressions over Skype it seems.

Still I got them out of the hills eventually.

And yeah I could have sandboxed it but were on Fantasy Grounds and I wanted to get back to the adventure…

If you’re one of my players- you know who you are, then having read the above you will now know that you’re not getting another Orc & Ogre encounter, that’s a given. I’m not pandering to your infantile wants and needs- players, the game would be oh so much better without them, they’re particularly troublesome when they don’t do what you expect them to.

Kidding- love you lots.

I’ll make it up to you next session- Inspiration for all!

4) Phandalin Again.

The adventurers make it into town, and to the Stonehill Inn with only thirty minutes to spare before last orders- Sildar is pleased to see them, although he looks a little downcast- worried perhaps, he has much to tell them, or else to show them. The guys get a quick drink and something to eat and then follow Sildar out of the Inn, first stop the Town Hall.

Sildar_Hallwinter.pngSildar Hallwinter.

Down into the cells, through a recently repaired door.

Sildar tells his tale, which is that about a week ago, the day after the guys left Phandalin, he arrived at the Town Hall to discover the guard (a fifty-something year old clerk with a sense of civic pride) unconscious on the floor and one of the cells busted open.

Sildar shows the guys- Klarg used the bench in his cell as a lever to lift the reinforced door off its hinges, Sildar presumes that the Bugbear then bashed the guard/clerk over the head and then took off to Tymora knows where.

The guys are left scratching their heads- this will become a motif, read on.

Worse still Klarg has left a message, smeared in excrement (his, one hopes) on the back wall of his former cell, the message reads-

“I STUPID HAM NOT!”

He’s long gone.

But that’s not all.

5YAQY_smalla.jpgYou remember Phandalin?

5) Sister Garaele.

Sildar continues-

“I needed to get the priestess- Sister Garaele, the clerk was unconscious and badly injured; so I sent some men to the shrine of Tymora, they came back looking worried.”

Sildar walks the guys over to the shrine- it has been smashed up a little, not wrecked or ruined but rather someone has taken five minutes to make the place a mess.

The guys get back to scratching their heads.

Next Sildar leads them on to Sister Garaele’s cottage, and inside- the place has been trashed, every drawer, box or container smashed or ripped open- their contents strewn about.

Some effort has gone into producing the chaos that surrounds the adventurers.

Sildar has worse news-

“Mirna, the woman you rescued from the Redbrands- she lost her husband to the bandits remember, she was here for all of it- with her kids. She saw it happen, I’m certain.” Sildar finishes, hands on hips, he looks exhausted.
“What has she said?” Zalt asks.
“Who was it?” Grimm growls at the same time.
“She’s not said a word- no-one can get her to speak. Oh, except she keeps asking for you guys- ‘her saviours’, she calls you.” Sildar replies.

It’s much too late to visit Mirna- its gone midnight, she and her kids are staying at the Alderleaf farm at present; Sildar will accompany them there in the morning, the guys have no objections to the plan.

They do however want to take an hour or so to search Sister Garaele’s place, they use Dawn Guard- Ken Lee’s magic staff, to light the way. They Investigate the cottage, certain when they have finished of only one thing- whoever did this, and it looks to be the work of just one individual, wasn’t looking for something- they were faking it, making it look like they were searching…

The guys arrive at this conclusion via an adjusted (obviously) Investigation check of ‘28’, just to say in Fantasy Grounds the guys rolls are secret- only I can see the results.

“Someone wants us to think they were searching for something.” Zalt, roller of the ‘28’, neatly concludes.

Time for bed for the PCs, although OOC the guys are back and forth with suggestions and scenarios, except for Zyler of course, the priest of Tempus sums his position up succinctly.
“I don’t know what is happening- I just want to hit things.” Try saying it with a thick Swedish accent for the full effect.
Then shout “TEMPUS!” and you’re in the moment.

6) The Morning after the Day Before.

The next morning, over breakfast the guys work through a few outstanding issues, I’m feeling the need to clear the decks before we get on with the visit to Mirna and more intrigue starring Sister Garaele.

First up Sildar informs them that he is awaiting the arrival of guards from Neverwinter, trusted men- replacements for the Redbrands, they will be employed to protect the town- paid for, of course, by the Lords’ Alliance. Sildar has further news, he grabs out a scribbled note and shows the guys, he explains that about three days ago he felt compelled to write down this message- he was aware that some external force was sending instructions to him. The note says-

“Increase reward for Gundren- 500gp, priority one.”

The note is signed ‘Marius’, Sildar explains that Marius is his master- he is convinced the note is genuine- few people know of his connection to Marius, and while he has never been subject to this form of sending magic previously he believes that his master would be capable of such a thing.

Sildar makes it clear, he wishes the guys to put all their efforts into finding Gundren Rockseeker, Wave Echo Cave must be secured. This is Quest #9 Find Gundren & Wave Echo Cave, and it has a hefty reward.

The guys start the day with a good head scratch.

Harbin.jpgHarbin Wester.

A short while later Harbin, the Town Master, visits them at their table, he listens to the adventurers tail of the Orcs and Ogre, they’ve done enough the Town Master decides, he hands over 100 gold coins, reward for seeing off the nasty humanoids. That’s Quest #6 Destroy the Orcs taken care of.

Hamun Khost is also staying at the Inn, and dining with the fellows, next Zalt opens negotiations for the magical stone ring the Red Wizard found in Old Owl Well, Khost has offered to sell it to the adventurers for 500gp. It takes a little while for Zalt to raise the cash- he has to convince all of his colleagues to chip in, eventually the deal is done- and the ring, funnily enough, chooses him.

WHM-1992-13-74-1_a.jpgTorg.

As Zalt takes possession of the device he hears a loud-

BOOM!

The sound is clearer now, a subterranean boom perhaps, or else the sound of air being sucked out and then forced back into an enclosed space- a hollow foreboding noise that makes him shiver.

His companions and the other residents in the bar are aware that something has happened, for a brief moment every liquid in the place ripples and shimmies, Toblen the Innkeep drops the glass he is polishing and looks around, disturbed but unable to fathom what just happened.

Toblen_Stonehill.jpgToblen Stonehill.

The magical ring is Zalt’s.

Simon, who plays Zalt, will learn more via the magic of e-mail. I think I’ve said before in this write up, magical items all come with a story, a series of flashbacks- hidden depths. Torg, the stone ring- which shrinks to fit the warlock’s finger, is no exception.

Breakfast done the guys decamp to visit Mirna, Sildar leading the way- en route they meet Daran Edermath, the ex-adventurer that set them on the track to Old Owl Well. The guys tell their story- the zombies there are destroyed, they also introduce Hamun Khost to Daran, the half-elf is pleased to make the Red Wizard’s acquaintance, he has further questions however. Daran pays the guys and heads of with Hamun to ‘help’ the wizard get settled and find what he needs in the town, and also to do a little investigating of his own. This is the end of Quest #8 Check out Old Owl Well.

Soon after the guys arrive at the Alderleaf farm, they’re welcomed in by Qelline Alderleaf and quickly ushered into the sitting room, home at present to Mirna and her two children, the poor woman is a nervous wreck.

Qelline___Carp.jpgQelline & Carp Alderleaf.

7) Making Sense of it all.

The change in Mirna’s demeanor with the arrival of the adventurers is incredible, still weepy she is now however animated, and talkative- begging the guys to sit down, to take tea, to let her thank them (again and again) for saving her and her children from the Redbrands. Mirna is the guys number one fan- it is heartbreaking to witness, particularly up-close- the guys have a front row seat and they’re finding it difficult to keep watching.

Mirna.jpgMirna.

All four of them get into the chatter, they convince Mirna that they need to know what she saw within Sister Garaele’s cottage, they need to know what happened there- who wrecked the place? Where is the priestess?

Mirna will do anything to help, she tells her tale.

The guys run through the story twice with Mirna, the first time asking questions; the second time Zalt uses his Detect Thoughts spell to see through Mirna’s eyes, this is what they learn-

a) Mirna’s story starts early on the morning the guys left Phandalin (actually several hours before they left). She awoke to hear loud noises in the cottage kitchen, the sounds of violence, or else the sounds of things being broken open and smashed.

b) She dragged her children beneath the table and hid them there, and then cautiously moved towards the door to the kitchen. Half way there Sister Garaele flung the door ahead open and strode into the room.

c) Sister Garaele looked, angry… no, not angry but something less demonstrative, a seething malice- a cold hatred. Mirna fled beneath the table to protect her children while Sister Garaele set about ransacking her own home. There followed five or so minutes of systematic destruction; now and then- from beneath the table, Mirna swears she saw Sister Garaele smile, she was enjoying herself.

Sister_Garaele.jpgSister Garaele.

d) Mirna tried to speak with Sister Garaele, to ask her what was wrong- to try to calm her; Sister Garaele however ignored her, although at one point she moved quickly towards the cowering trio, raising her hand en route- as if to strike Mirna. The moment passed, Sister Garaele went back to ignoring Mirna and her kids, and smashing up the cottage and its contents.

e) When everything that could be broken was broken, she left- Sister Garaele walked into the kitchen, and then straight out of the back door of the house. Mirna followed after when she heard the exterior door open, she watched Garaele head between the houses to the north, pass through the broken town wall and continue on, till she was gone from sight.

f) Mirna went back to her children hiding under the table, and there all three of them stayed, until Sildar and the others burst in a day or so later.

With the help of Zalt’s Detect Thoughts spell the guys learn some additional information-

g) Mirna’s last memory of Sister Garaele, on the evening prior to all of the violence described above, even then there was a glimmer of malice in the priestesses’ countenance, it seems Sister Garaele has been unwell for some time.

h) When Sister Garaele strode off to the north something strange happened, her walk altered, her body-shape changed- she became taller, more thick-set; physically changed. Replaying this memory again and again Zalt is able to guess the nature of the creature he is seeing- a Hobgoblin, Sister Garaele transformed into a hefty male Hobgoblin as she walked away from the fury and chaos she had wrought.

Hobgoblin-_Targor_1.jpgHobgoblin?

The guys are in a state- that’s a lot to take in, and a lot of gaps that need filling.

Mirna however has an explanation, it goes a little like this-

She, and her family, are cursed!

It takes a while but eventually the adventurers make sense of Mirna’s words- her family fled from a small town called Thundertree two decades past. Thundertree, at that time, was subject to two great events- the eruption of Mount Hotenow covering the entire area in ash, and soon after a zombie invasion. Those that did not flee Thundertree were killed, and in the rush to evacuate the place Mirna’s father left behind a family heirloom. The item, a necklace was buried in a chest beneath the floor of their shop- her father was a herbalist. The necklace, passed from generation to generation, was the source- Mirna believes of the families joy- the safety of knowing that the valuable heirloom would save them from poverty should things go awry.

By the time her father realised that their treasure had been left behind it was too late, the zombies were everywhere, and her family condemned to poverty and misery. This is the curse she suffers under, she begs the adventurers for one last favour- to recover the necklace from Thundertree, to lift the curse. This is Quest #10 Find Mirna’s Heirloom.

The_Big_Picture_small.jpgThe Big Picture

We’re towards the end of the session now, and still no dice have been rolled in anger, no fighting this session only a big bunch of investigation.

There follows an OOC debate, which leads to several more actions, all completed at pace- the guys are charged, they want answers.

8) Help is Available.

First up however is Qelline Alderleaf, the female halfling farmer; she has some advice for our guys-

“I don’t know what is happening here, in Phandalin and beyond”, the halfling begins, “but I know a man that can help you, his name is Reidoth the Brown, he’s a druid- he was born, I think, in Thundertree. He still lives there, at least some of the time- if you need help finding somewhere then he’s your man, he knows the area like the back of his hand. And he’s a good man- he taught me everything I know about animal husbandry, herbalism, about growing crops and caring for the land. As I say, he’s a very good man- I’d trust him with my life, and I’d trust him to help you.”

The guys nod their thanks, certain now that Thundertree is on the list of places they need to visit.

This is Quest #11 Visit Reidoth the Druid.

9) Revisiting the Redbrands.

The guys depart, trying to get as much done as they can- quickly before the end of the session; they want some more clues to chew on before their next appointment on Fantasy Grounds.

First stop the guys head back into the Redbrand hideout, they’re best guess is there are some of these bad guys left in play, someone they missed or else they have forgotten- someone in the background somewhere. As likely, or else another version of this same story is that Phandalin has a spy- someone is pulling the strings here in the town, stirring up trouble, or… straws are clutched at, but I would say that- I want to keep them guessing. The adventurers are trying desperately to see the answer, to fathom what is going on here.

Back to the here and now, the Redbrand hideout, and guess what- someone has been here; the place has been searched and thoroughly looted, Glasstaff’s alchemy lab is a wreck of glass and paper. The adventurers rush from room to room making new discoveries- all of it however leads to nothing. The investigation takes the rest of the morning , but at the end of it they think they have their answer- the Redbrand hideout has indeed been looted, best guess is a bunch of miners have been here, the guys find clues. A red herring, the place has merely been robbed.

10) Questions.

Next stop is back to Phandalin and around town for the guys, asking questions; has anybody seen anything strange- in particular in the recent behavior of Sister Garaele.

Breakthrough- several locals report that of late, at least before she disappeared, the priestess of Tymora had taken to going for walks in the countryside- remember this is the wild lands, walking for pleasure is not recommended. Her walks seem to have been concentrated to the north of Phandalin, she always headed off in that direction.

Gundren_Rockseeker.jpgGundren- Still Missing.

That’s about it for this session, just a short time left for the guys to discuss OOC what lies ahead- consensus is a visit (and Q&A session) with Agatha the Banshee, the best question they can come up for her is “Where is Gundren?” Wave Echo Cave is still their priority- find Gundren find Wave Echo Cave is their thinking, although several of the adventurers would perhaps prefer to ask the terrifying undead diviner “Where is Sister Garaele?”

They have some hard choices to make.

Session #012 Ends.

Ongoing Quests- Quest #9 Find Gundren & Wave Echo Cave, Quest #10 Find Mirna’s Heirloom & Quest #11 Visit Reidoth the Druid.

NPCs of note- Gundren Rockseeker (Patron)- MISSING- TAKEN TO KING GROL, Sildar Hallwinter (Lord’s Alliance), Elmar Barthen (Barthen’s Provisions), Toblen Stonehill (Stonehill Inn), Tilena Stonehill (Toblen’s wife), Pip Stonehill (Toblen & Trilena’s young son), Linene Graywind (Lionshield Coster), Sister Garaele (Shrine of Tymora)- WHERE IS SHE?, Harbin Wester (Townmaster), Daran Edermath (ex-Adventurer), Halia Thornton (Phandalin Miner’s Exchange), Qelline & Pip Alderleaf (Halfling female Farmer and her son), Iarno Aldbrek aka Glasstaff (the leader of the Redbrands)- DECEASED. Mirna and her kids (the dead woodcarver’s family), Agatha the Banshee & Hamun Khost, the Red Wizard of Thay. Reidoth the Brown- Druid in Thundertree.

Enemies of note- Klarg (Bugbear Chief)- captured ESCAPED; Hobgoblins lead by Targor Bloodseeker (took Gundren); King Grol? (Cragmaw Goblin leader) & the Black Spider? Glasstaff (Iarno Aldbrek) & the Redbrands- DECEASED. Orcs in the hills- Wyvern Tor- DECEASED OR FLED.

New Info- The Orcs of Wyvern Tor have either been killed or else have left the region. Klarg, the Bugbear, has escaped. Sister Garaele has been acting strangely- is she even Sister Garaele anymore? Where is the real Sister Garaele? Gundren Rockseeker needs to be found, as does Wave Echo Cave- PRIORITY ONE say the Lords’ Alliance. Go to Thundertree- Reidoth the Brown (Druid) knows the area well, also recover Mirna’s lost heirloom.

There’s lots going on.

XP Awarded-
50 Section 1), 2) & 3) Trailing the Orcs & the Ogre.
50 Section 3) Dealing with the Miners.
100 Section 6) Quest #6 Award- Destroy the Orcs at Wyvern’s Tor for Harbin.
100 Section 6) Quest #8 Award- Investigate Old Owl Well for Daran.
200 Section 7) Help Mirna to remember.
50 Section 9) & 10) Further Investigations in the Phandalin & the Redbrand hideout.
550 XP Total

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