026

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.

And so-

Session #026 Wednesday 23rd March 2016
Rescue Gordo.

Starring-
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

The Action-

1) And so to get back to the fight…

Dessarin-_Triboar_a.jpgThe Journey so far.

And so to back to the fight… but just to recap, briefly, the guys are en route to Red Larch, in the Dessarin Valley, with a wagon full of a mineral called Pitchblende (apparently the stuff is rare)- they’re to meet a Dwarf called Strom Halifax there who will ‘check out’ the Pitchblende, if it’s the real deal he’ll probably want to buy it from the guys. Which is a good thing because the money is to be used to get Wave Echo Cave fully explored (and up and running), and also help with the defence of Phandalin. At present the guys are about halfway to Red Larch, they’ve just entered the Dessarin Valley, across the Black Maw Bog Bridge, alas their first night in the vale, at the Rusty Gorgon Inn, is interrupted by a Gnoll attack…

And so to get back to the fight…

Ken Lee’s Lightning Bolt and accompanying flailing from all of the guys, and also awoken members of the Popper family, has thinned out the Gnoll herd- there are only a pair of Gnolls and three, much more terrifying, pale Gnolls still standing in the taproom of the Inn- another pair of Gnolls and half-a-dozen Hyena’s lay dead already.

The pale Gnolls are, well… odd.

Gnoll_Necromancer_by_velinov.jpgOdd Gnolls.

They don’t bark, yelp or scream- their moves are slow and deliberate, furthermore the creature’s fur and skin are extremely pale and, in places, mottled and rubbed raw, or else decrepit- the guys are keen to find out what’s going with these monstrous humanoids- Arcane, Religion and Nature checks have been employed; the results so far unsatisfactory.

The pale Gnolls are also very hard to kill, as in 100+ hit points each.

And so to get back to the fight…

Zyler has taken multiple hits, the Priest is blowing hard, he resorts to his Spirit Guardians- spectral Valkyrie that swirl about him slashing at the Gnolls within the power. Grimm is also pretty beat up- the guys are fretting a little, the Paladin continues to slash and cut at the pale Gnolls.

Ken Lee pulls the trigger- the nuclear option- “FIREBALL”, and a 20-30 foot section of the Inn explodes and then burns (that’s an insurance job), and still two of the three pale Gnolls are left standing- the Popper family are however screaming at this point, the Rusty Gorgon is on fire.

The fight continues, the guys hacking away at the two almost silent Gnolls- Ken Lee fires his last remaining third level spell into the mix- another Lightning Bolt, and still the two pale Gnolls fight on, although both are close to broken now.

Grimm decapitates one of them, Ken Lee fires five Magic Missiles (from his wand) into the last.

The fight is over, at long last.

ENCOUNTER #41
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 6 Hyenas 10 XP each, 4 Gnolls 100 XP each & 3 Pale Gnolls 700 XP each.
XP 2560 Adjusted 7680 CR 11
Deadly

The fires in the Inn are quickly put out.

Seconds later the guys watch in horror as the three corpses of the odd looking Gnolls begin to dance and quiver on the floor- fitting and spasming- Ken Lee and Zyler are quick to check, the Gnolls are quite definitely dead (and also not undead). A moment later the guys recoil in terror as the pale Gnoll’s eyeballs boil and then burn away to leave charred black sunken pits.

The moment stretches- “What the… ?” is the consensus.

2) Jaume!

Thirty seconds later Grimm and Goren race out of the back door of the Inn and into the courtyard, heading towards the stables- the pair are keen to make sure their load (the Pitchblende) is safe and well- Grimm’s also worried about his warhorse- Atlas.

The pair come to a dead stop- standing in the courtyard is an old man wearing unadorned robes and leaning heavily on a gnarled and ancient looking staff.

“I am Jaume” says Jaume.
“Yes you are.” States Grimm, and then mutters to Goren- “but that doesn’t tell us anything.”

Jaume.jpgJaume.

A short while later Grimm and Goren reassure themselves that the Pitchblende is still intact, as is Atlas- they do however make another, more grisly, discovery in the stables.

But first let’s take a moment to discover what the collected genius of Zyler, Ken Lee and Zalt have found out about the strange pale Gnolls with the burning eyes, the three take a moment to examine the corpses-

“They’re not undead.” Zyler states, to nods from his colleagues, “and yet they seem to share many of the traits, and the discolouring, and some of the mannerisms, of the undead.” The Priest finishes to more nods. Zalt makes the same statement- only substituting magical for undead, Ken Lee adds that he believes the creatures have been subject to some form of ritual… and that’s about as close as they get to the truth.

And now back outside, to Grimm and Goren- but before we get to Jaume, their grisly discovery.

Inn_Country__1_Paizo_Flip_Mata.jpgThe Rusty Gorgon.

The forge, to the north of the stables, is slicked with blood- and the dead bodies of a pair of Gnolls and an equal number of Hyenas; the rest of the guys are called for- swift investigation reveals that Gordo, the Inn’s Dwarven smith is missing, a bloody trail exits the courtyard, the Gnolls took him.

The Popper’s are distraught, Gordo is a member of the family in everything but name, the damage done to their Inn- a sore point in the verbal exchanges since the fighting finished, is now forgotten- the adventurers must (MUST!) get Gordo back- safe and well.

The guys are, of course, on it- in fact Ken Lee and Grimm are the first to suggest it as an immediate course of action.

But before the guys depart let’s skip back and deal with Jaume, where were we…

“I am Jaume” says Jaume.
“Yes you are.” States Grimm, and then mutters to Goren- “but that doesn’t tell us anything.”

Jaume.jpgJaume.

That’s right- back in the courtyard.

It starts with suspicion, the guys quickly convene to face Jaume- Ken Lee’s really not sold on the old guy just turning up in the dark and the rain, the Popper family have to come out of the Inn and vouch for the old man, the family have known Jaume for years.

“He’s a Druid.” Alvo Popper, the head of the family, states.
“He’s as mad as a box of frogs” adds Yollo Popper, the Innkeeper’s eldest son.

After a brief introduction Jaume gets ‘trippy’ with the guys- the ‘Druid of the earth, and the stone, and the land’ goes into a momentary trance, in a deep voice he states-

“By the Eyes that See!
And the Stones that Move!
Comes the Hand that Reaches!
Ware the Deceiver!”

The final line is hissed at the assembled adventurers, who gawp back at the Druid.

Zalt is particularly interested in the ‘Stones that Move’, but what’s it all about- Jaume explains that he is only a conduit, he doesn’t understand everything ‘the bones of the earth’ tell him, or say through him.

Jaume does however know where the Gnolls are hiding out, although this information is surplus to the guy’s requirements- Tempest, Zalt’s familiar- an owl-like creature, has been tracking the fleeing Gnolls back to their lair.

The adventurers cast a few spells (mostly healing) and then get on- they’ve a Dwarven smith to rescue.

Jaume, it is safe to say, is going on their ‘watch’ list.

3) Into the Gnoll’s Lair.

The guys, feeling tired now- it’s still the middle of the night, follow the Gnoll’s bloody trail- with a little help from Tempest, for about 20-30 minutes- all the way to the lair of the bloody fiends.

And what a lair!

Gnoll_Cave_1.jpgNice colouring in!

The entrance to the cavern is via the leering maw of a huge Dragon’s skull- the jaws wide open; the guys hunker down behind a bone pile to check out the lay of the land- there seem to be no guards, Goren is sent in to take a look.

The Thief is as silent as the grave- an expert sneak, although he does however forget to check for traps, and so when a secondary set of steel jaws (within the Dragon’s Maw) snap shut on him he’s more than a little surprised- he yelps in pain, although the hit turns out to be not too severe (I rolled ‘1’ & ‘1’ on 2d10). The element of surprise is gone- the other guys move up quickly and the quintet head inside, after first quickly reassuring themselves that there are no other traps present.

4) The Filth Pit.

Gnoll_Cave_2.jpgThe Filth Pit.

The entrance cavern quickly opens into a triangular shaped chamber, in the center of which- illuminated by flickering torches, is a pit full of rusty broken weapons, torn and filthy clothing, the remains of the Gnoll’s many victims, and the tribes collected filth- flies buzz.

Of more concern are the half-a-dozen or so Gnolls gathered around the passage to the west, the guys have been spotted.

Alas, for the Gnolls, Ken Lee is quickest on the draw- a Shatter spell thunders and almost brings the roof down- four of the Gnolls are caught in the spells compass, three of them are left bloodied and the fight has barely begun. Seconds later Grimm takes an arrow to the chest (a Critical Hit), the Paladin grimaces in pain.

Gnoll.JPGGnoll.

Another second later and the western passage is clogged with a great wall of sticky threads- Zalt’s Web spell fired from his Drow made Spider Staff. The spell almost all of the Gnolls in its range, Zyler’s Guiding Bolt ends the closest enemy in a radiant flash, Goren’s shortbow accounts for a second. Of the three Gnolls still standing- two flee back the way they came- wrestling free of the magical Webs they head west screaming and yelping; the third Gnoll is cut off by the sticky strands- it flees east at top speed, screaming an alarm.

Grimm races over to cut the fleeing Gnoll off, alas the Paladin strays too close to the edge of the stinky pit and plunges in, actually what happened here is this-

DM- You’re fine around the edge of the pit, as long as you don’t roll a ‘1’.
Zoki (playing Grimm)- Oh you shouldn’t have said that.
DM- What?
Zoki- You shouldn’t have said that I was fine as long as I don’t roll a ‘1’.
DM- Oh. Okay roll it.

Zoki rolls a ‘1’.

Grimm plunges into the stinky pit- the Paladin is slashed, pierced- and Poisoned. It’s not his day.

The fleeing Gnoll is hit by three Magic Missiles courtesy of Ken Lee, followed by a pair of Eldritch Blasts from Zalt- it expires, just as Grimm manages to drag himself out of the pit.

Zyler meanwhile leads the charge westwards as Zalt dismisses the Webs, the Priest of Tempus fails however to land an attack (a reoccurring issue this session for the Cleric, and others).

All of the guys head west, Grimm having first used up all of his Lay on Hands- following Zyler into the passage, after the escaping Gnolls; en route Goren begins to make out a terrible low sound, the sound he thinks of Gordo suffering and in pain- the Dwarf is, he is certain, in this direction.

Gnoll_Cave_3.jpgGordo!

The guys have found him, although… Gordo is attached to a spit and being roasted over a great bonfire, the Dwarf smith moans, barely conscious, as his flesh bubbles, blackens and burns.

Gordo.jpgGordo.

There are at least another eight Gnolls in the low-ceilinged cavern the chamber, including another of the pale Gnolls the guys fought at the Inn- Ken Lee’s second Shatter spell catches five of the creatures in its thunderous burst- one of the Gnolls falls. Zalt is next into action- the Warlock’s Hypnotic Pattern causes three of the Gnolls to stop what they are doing and stare at the twinkling lights up above on the ceiling of the chamber- “oh… pretty”.

Goren takes down another Gnoll with his bow (and a Critical Hit (with Sneak Attack)), the Rogue is situated permanently in the shadows.

Less than ten seconds later Ken Lee’s third (and final) Shatter spell sends another two Gnolls falling to the earth, never to rise again- there are only five enemies left in the fight, including the aforementioned pale Gnoll.

At some time around about this point the kindly DM notices the following facts-

a) Zyler’s last five (unadjusted) attacks have been- ‘1’ followed by ‘3’, then ‘2’ followed by ‘4’, and finally ‘5’- all misses.

b) Zalt’s last five (unadjusted) attacks have been- ‘3’, all of them- 5 x ‘3’ in a row.

Also Grimm isn’t hitting either.

Thank heavens for Ken Lee and his spells.

The guys however are getting desperate, and in particular Grimm- Zoki, who plays Grimm, tends to get a little shouty (and sweary) when the dice fail to make the grade.

And so Grimm, the Paladin of Tymora, whispers a secret prayer to Tempus (the God of Battle)- and then swings heartily and decapitates the Gnoll facing him. Damn! Grimm worries he has picked the wrong deity to worship, the Paladin however has a solution- he screams “For Tymorus” (Tymora & Tempus- combined).

He rushes forward and attacks again- decapitating a second Gnoll; and then again- with the same result, the third Gnoll falls- now there are only two Gnolls left standing, one being the much tougher pale Gnoll, the other has seen enough- it flees to the north west.

Grimm meanwhile continues to have doubts about his chosen deity.

And Gordo continues to scream and burn on the spit, the Dwarf has less than 10 hit points left.

Ken Lee fires three Magic Missiles into the fleeing Gnoll, Zalt hits it with an Eldritch Blast, while Zyler buys Gordo some time with a Healing Word and then thumps ‘Painbringer’, his magical warhammer, into the pale Gnoll twice. The Priest has to use his Luck to avoid taking a Critical Hit from the odd creature in reply, Goren is less fortunate (he doesn’t have the ‘Luck’ Feat)- the Rogue is cut badly.

Ken Lee has to hot foot it across the chamber, after the fleeing Gnoll, the Wizard makes it in time and ends the creature with three more Magic Missiles in the back.

Grimm and Goren, soon after, spot that Gordo is once again close to dying- the pair forego combat and combine to lift the spit off the fire, actually it’s Grimm that saves the day by diving through the conflagration and grabbing Gordo en route.

Meantime the guys continue to go to work on the last Gnoll standing- the pale Gnoll, eventually they cut the creature down but not before it has sliced and bled several of the adventurers some more.

The fight however is won, and Gordo is saved, or at least he will be once the guys get him back to the Rusty Gorgon.

ENCOUNTER #42
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters Fire Pit 50 XP, Filth Pit 100 XP, 12 Gnolls 100 XP each & Pale Gnolls 700 XP.
XP 2050 Adjusted 8200 CR 11
Deadly

That was titanic, and the guys are low on everything- Zyler and Ken Lee are out of spells, save for Cantrips. They’re all wounded, some more than others, and have no healing left save for a clutch of Potions and their HD should they get the chance to take a short rest.

And with that the session ends.

Session #026 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. Quest #2 Rescue Gordo the smith from the Gnolls- nearly COMPLETE.

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). 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.

Enemies of note- Gnolls, including (odd-looking) hard-to-kill pale Gnolls.

New Info- The Popper family in the Rusty Gorgon Inn are saved, although the guys do quite a lot of damage to the taproom. Jaume, a Druid turns up and starts babbling about the ‘earth and stones’ being unhappy. Gordo, the smith, is missing from the Inn- taken by the Gnolls, the guys follow after to rescue the Dwarf. The adventurers battle their way into the Gnoll’s lair and manage to locate and free Gordo- he is however in a bad way, as are many of the guys.

XP Awarded-
2560 Section 1) Gnoll attack on the Rusty Gorgon
250 Section 2) Rescue Gordo & meet Jaume
100 Section 3) Failure to find the Trap
2050 Section 4) The Gnoll Massacre.
300 Section 4) Gordo is rescued
5260 XP Total

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