Goonalan's D&D 5th Edition Campaigns
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Red Larch Adventure.
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 Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue (Criminal)
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 a week for approx. 3 hours.
Session #024 Thursday 10th March 2016
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 5
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 5
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 5
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 5
Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue (Criminal) Level 5
1) About the Game.
We’ve made some changes, and I’m not just referring to Pedja’s new PC- Goren.
I’ve decided to instigate a new era, there are two significant changes-
a) Lots more description, in the past playing on Fantasy Grounds (& Skype), I (we?) have failed at times to provide the correct scene and setting for the action, scant description- an over reliance on the players ability to fill in the gaps, or else letting the on-screen images do the work. Either way by the end of Lost Mine we were just rolling dice (electronically, of course) a lot of the time.
That has to stop (and mostly the ball is in my court), and so prior to this adventure I have typed a lot more text into Fantasy Grounds, and prepared cue cards with more details for every encounter, NPCs and… well, everything. This isn’t particularly an issue for me, I’m a lecturer by trade and so already spend around 50% of my waking hours making notes and structuring narratives.
More of the same then, only my enthusiasm for the job is much greater.
The guys have also been encouraged to do their bit- no more just rolling the dice in Fantasy Grounds, me spotting the skill being employed and barely commenting upon the actual actions used to accomplish whatever task is being undertaken.
The other change-
b) Verisimilitude, it’s a dirty word but someone had to say it. There was a point in Lost Mines when one of the PCs said something like- “I get on my horse and ride out to Conyberry, check out Agatha the Banshees tree-house abode, and then head on home to Phandalin”; the worst part about it was I let him- with just one dice roll. And it was winter, and he had no cold weather gear.
The reason I let him was because it was getting late, I was tired, and the adventure was already done- the event happened in the midst of the adventurers Downtime Activities, discussed in Session #23a.
So, more reality- in future a ride out to Conyberry is going to be fraught with danger- and not just random encounters (the flora & the fauna) but also because of the elements, particularly when the PC is not wearing cold weather gear (in winter). It’s going to get tougher, more real.
And so I didn’t get the balance quite right this session- there was a lot of description, a lot of activity- even though the road to Triboar proved to be almost deserted, the six days travel to get to the city took us maybe 90 minutes to play out, and with only one encounter en route. We also spent 45 minutes discussing all of the above at the start of the session- in summary we didn’t get a whole lot done.
It must be said however, I certainly enjoyed it more than usual.
My point- we’re traveling slow right now, I’m aware of this- things will speed up- particularly when the guys get off the road and into a town, or city, or a dungeon.
Bare with us then until we get the pacing right.
2) Leaving Phandalin.
For most of the guys, after purchasing cold weather gear and more rations, the leaving of Phandalin is a simple affair- there’s only Sildar and the Rockseeker brothers to see them off. For Grimm, and Ken Lee- to a lesser extent, things are a little more complex.
Grimm has spent the last three months living with Sister Garaele, so when he gets up one shivery morning and tells her he’s off… well, it doesn’t go down well. It’s the only time in-game I’ve ever seen the Paladin retreat.
Ken Lee’s problems are doubled, the Wizard has been ‘spending time’ with both of the barmaids in the Stonehill Tavern, both party members therefore duck out of town as quickly, and quietly, as possible.
3) The Road to Triboar.
Proves to be both long and cold, for each day’s travel I describe the freezing weather and the terrain, the guys take over- the first PC attempts some action, and describes the event- scouting ahead, foraging, looking for higher ground, using knowledge checks about weather and terrain- keeping the Ox and cart in full working order, and a myriad other things. One/PC per day- with accompanying skill check; I describe their victories and their failures.
The Triboar Trail.
I also describe more weather and terrain as the day wears on.
The relative successes or failures of the adventurers endeavors increase or decrease the distance covered for the day.
Then some more chatter about activities in the evening, and any specifics for each adventurer while on their watch each night.
As I stated at the start all of the above takes a while to play out, but by doing so it also gives shape to the in-game day- and the journey as a whole. And so… the guys manage to drive the wagon off the trail- Zyler’s quick intervention gets the vehicle back on the road just in the nick of time. A little later Ken Lee demonstrates his foraging skills by running headlong into a tree while chasing a rabbit, and one day of the journey is cut short as a snowstorm causes the guys to abandon travel early and find somewhere safe, and out of the wind, to rest up for the night. The temperature drops to -12 degrees during the night and the guys are forced to get their mounts closer to the fire.
For six days and five nights the guys struggle on through the snow.
It’s certainly much more realistic.
And so it goes… and so it goes, all the way to Triboar, with only one interruption en route.
4) Ghoul Attack.
On the fourth night out of Phandalin, with Zalt on watch- with his new familiar- Tempest for company, the Warlock quickly becomes aware that he has company- a Ghoul, spotted creeping closer. and then another coming from the opposite direction
Camping it up.
The fight that follows is short and terrifying (for me as a DM), there’s certainly a lot more in the way of pyrotechnics and slick moves now that the guys are level 5. I knew I was in a fight when Grimm the Paladin jumped to his feet and grabbed his magical greatsword, Misty Stepped behind a Ghoul and almost took it down with two hefty swipes.
The comedy moment was supplied by Zyler, Priest of Tempus (War Priest), he slept through the first few rounds of action- only waking when the fourth hidden Ghoul crept out of the dense foliage and took a great big bite (a critical hit) out of the sleeping Priest- he woke up screaming.
A Lightning Bolt and more Eldritch Blasts than is strictly necessary later and the Ghouls are destroyed.
The guys moan at Zalt for a while, the Warlock stole three kills with his aforementioned Eldritch Blasts, the fight is over.
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 4 Ghouls 200 XP each.
XP 800 Adjusted 1600 CR 4
Eventually, after a bunch more checks to ensure they’re still safe, the guys finish their long rest.
The fortified town is surrounded by dozens of corrals and pens, even in the winter livestock are being bought and sold, the adventurers however are looking for somewhere warm to rest their weary heads and so press on into the city itself
A brief moment of panic ensues when the guys stumble for a while to come up with a good reason for transporting a wagon full of what looks to be coal, six days through the snow. The Pitchblende (maybe) is passed off as stone used for intricate carvings- while the four honest folk- Zalt, Zyler, Grimm and Ken Lee fluff and stutter their half-truths, Goren (a consummate liar) claims to be a master sculptor, the guards are left slightly in awe. They also, of course, let the adventurers in to the town- after the guys have paid their taxes, only admonishing Grimm slightly for the Paladin’s surly behavior.
Triboar- and not Winterhaven, honest.
The guys get their ox (Oxley) stabled, along with Grimm’s horse “Atlas”, and find a secure berth for the cart and its precious cargo.
Atlas, Grimm’s Warhorse (and latest ride).
That done the adventurers cross back over the square to the Long Road Inn, all except for Goren who has other fish to fry, the guys get seated- get fed, get watered, and in Ken Lee’s case sample other local delights.
And that’s where we leave them, contemplating an evening in town- in the warm and welcoming arms of Triboar.
Session #024 Ends.
Ongoing Quests- Quest #1 Get the Pitchblende (maybe) safely & secretly to Red Larch, then meet up with Strom Halifax- get it authenticated, sell it and then return home- easy job.
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).
Enemies of note- None- that wont last long.
New Info- Wave Echo Cave is a bust, all the good work in Phandalin will go to naught if the Forge of Spells isn’t made to work again, that is unless the stuff in the cart turns out to be Pitchblende. Find out if it is Picthblende, see Strom Halifax in Red Larch.
250 Section 3) Getting to Triboar
800 Section 4) Ghoul Attack.
100 Section 5) In Triboar.
1150 XP Total