030

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 #030 Wednesday 20th April 2016
The Union.

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

This was a fantastic session- and the guys got a ton of stuff done, and had fun doing it- as did I.

The Action-

1) The Bandit Brawl.

We join the guys mid fracas in the Bandit’s cavern lair.

Bandit_Cave_2.jpgIn Action.

Grimm is in the thick of it, the Paladin of Tymora is fighting the Bandit Captain- Lurkio, who is backed up by Maletta (Spy) and Karlos (Scout)- both are however critically wounded. It’s going to get worse before it gets better for Grimm- rushing to join the fight are Reckless Eric (Berserker) and Fat Burt (Thug). The Paladin is about to get swamped, the bad guys however don’t have it all their own way.

Bandit_Captain.jpgLurkio.

Also defending the lair is the last remaining Bandit, and Lurkio’s pet Hell Hound- Flame, this pair are both already badly beaten.

Reckless_Eric.jpgReckless Eric.

The guys have taken an few hits- but no major damage so far- that’s about to change.

Fat_Burt.jpgFat Burt.

And so, here we go-

Ken Lee is the first in action- the Wizard drops a Shatter spell into the scrum- shaping the magic around Grimm- the effect is devastating, Maletta & Karlos are beaten and broken, bones snapped and bodies twisted they fall.

Lurkio screams- “Eric! Burt! Get the Paladin! Get the Paladin!”

The pair (see images above) come running- seconds later Grimm is only just hanging onto life (down to 2 hit points).

Goren, still mooching around the shadowy sections of the cavern- out of sight of the enmies, fires an arrow into Reckless Eric’s back- the Raging Berserker barely notices.

Flame- the Hell Hound, meantime savages and burns Zyler- the Battle Priest is shaken (and down to 10 hit points), he fights back and almost (but not quite) ends the beast. Zalt follows up with a pair of Eldritch Blasts- the first ends Flame, the second hits Reckless Eric, again the Berserker shrugs it off.

Grimm meanwhile is still fighting for his life- cutting repeatedly at Lurkio, it seems the Bandit Captain is also pretty tough, the Paladin is making a little headway but… he’s almost spent, desperately in need of healing.

Ken Lee fires another Shatter into the mix, all three of the named enemies- Lurkio, Eric & Burt, are caught within the blast, all three however emerge from the choking dust generated by the explosion still standing, and even more determined to take down Grimm.

Goren hits again, and Reckless Eric is starting to feel the pain.

Zyler, now free of Flame the Hell Hound runs forward to his brother in arms (and fellow Gauntlet member), and fires a Healing Word into Grimm, just in time as Lurkio cuts again (actually twice more- the last a critical hit for ‘1’ + ‘1’ damage), the Paladin survives but only just.

Just as Zalt fires two more Eldritch Blasts into Reckless Eric- the Berserker falls, and in doing so signals the end of the fight- Lurkio and Fat Burt spill their weapons and rush to the aid of their dying comrade, the guys watch on as Reckless Eric passes beyond.

The distraught Bandits surrender.

ENCOUNTER #45
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 10 Bandits 25 XP each, Scout (Karlos), Thug (Fat Burt) 100 XP, Spy (Maletta) 200 XP, Berserker (Reckless Eric) 450 XP, Bandit Captain (Lurkio) 450 XP & Hell Hound (Flame) 700 XP
XP 2250 Adjusted 9000 CR 12
Deadly

2) Lurkio Speaks.

Soon after Grimm, Ken Lee & Zyler have Lurkio singing like a canary, the forlorn Bandit Captain tells his story- he and his gang were recruited in Waterdeep, given a little coin and told to report to the ‘Greymen’ in Triboar, there contact in the town is someone called Denzel, they’re to ask for the fellow in Madame Lulu’s- a house of ill repute situated in the slum district known as the Nest.

The guys file away this info for later use- although they’re obviously intrigued by the ‘Greymen’- Lurkio has little to add, the Bandit Leader is unsure who or what the organisation are, he’s certain however they pay well; and they’re likely to be very much on the wrong side of the law.

And then Goren steps into the conversation.

Lurkio stammers and stutters, doesn’t quite know what to say for a while- the guys pick up on the change and pile on the pressure again, the Bandit Captain caves, fishes in his pocket- he grabs out and then hands over a piece of paper.

Goren.jpgThe Resemblance is Uncanny.

This new information stops the clock a little, the guys (between squeaks of laughter- the last guy to download the image in Fantasy Grounds was Pedja, who plays Goren- he was not that impressed) turn to their Rogue friend- it seems he has some explaining to do.

3) Interrogating Goren.

The DM takes a back seat as the guys turn on Goren, although ‘turn on’ is maybe a little harsh- they are however keen to get some answers. In the next half hour the guys demonstrate a marvelous turn of role-play, slowly squeezing Goren into telling them his story, the following info comes in drips.

a) Goren is on the run, he got involved in something bad in Waterdeep- he doesn’t know who is after him (although he may have a few ideas), he is however keen to stay ahead of those on his trail.

And then a little more pressure.

b) When he was in Triboar Goren got word that someone in the Nest had been asking after him, specifically whoever it was wanted to know the moment Goren arrived in the town- in game at this point Goren retreated to the Long Road Inn and stayed in his room for the rest of his stay in Triboar.

And a little more…

c) Goren doesn’t know who the Greymen are, although he’s fairly certain the outfit are very bad people that mean him harm.

And… eventually it all comes out.

d) Goren is an ex-Zhent, on the run from the organisation; he did some bad things back in Waterdeep, he didn’t however know that he was working for the Black Network. When he found this out he did the right thing- he ran.

The guys are aghast.

Except for Zalt.

The Warlock has a question- “Why, if Goren’s on the run from the Zhent, was he staying with Halia Thornton, the now Mayor of Phandalin?”

One of the other guys works out what Zalt is saying, which is- Halia Thornton is a Zhent!

Halia.jpgHalia Thornton, Town Master of Phandalin- and Zhent?

Before Goren can answer several of the other guys follow the same train of thought and are now eager to question Zalt.

“How the seven Hells do you know that Halia Thornton is a member of the Zhent?” Grimm and Ken Lee inquire in chorus.

It’s Zalt’s turn to spill- the Warlock explains that Halia attempted to recruit him back in Phandalin.

We break for a short, and somewhat grumpy, discussion- in character; the players are laughing- and lapping this up.

Eventually Goren is made to answer the original question- the Black Network, the Rogue explains, is a little more complicated, there are factions within the faction. OOC he explains that the Zhent are like the modern day Mafia- there are turf wars aplenty, and promotion is more easily achieved at the point of a sword.

The guys, after a few more queries, are content for now.

Zyler however reminds his fellows that they’re all friends together, and that they shouldn’t keep secrets- any new information should be shared.

Goren pointedly states that he’s not the ‘friend’ of anyone present, he has been employed to see a job done- the Pitchblende taken to Red Larch, identified, etc.

After a little more grumbling Zalt declares he has found three chests tucked away in a small side room. The chatter stops- treasure.

4) The Treasure Chests.

All three chests are locked, and after a short inspection Goren declares that one of them is trapped- he disarms it, and then sets about unlocking all three.

The first chest contains coppers, the second silver and gold- the third turns out to be trapped (he missed it), moments later Goren is holding his finger (it has a needle in it) and swaying dizzily from side to side- shortly after he begins to yak (be sick) all down himself. Its not pleasant.

A Lesser Restoration spell (thanks to Zyler), and a Prestidigitation spell (thanks to Ken Lee) later and the Rogue is almost as good as new, the Prestidigitation spell was employed to clean the spew off Goren.

The third chest contains-

Goggles_Night.jpgGoggles of Night.

A short while later, after an Identify spell from Ken Lee, the lenses are passed over to Zyler, the Priest of Tempus is now blessed with Darkvision.

Five minutes later the guys find the three keys to the chest on Lurkio, the Bandit Captain.

Just as an aside, because I know some of the guys will get around to reading this, for info you have missed treasure on several occasions on your journey to Red Larch- mostly hidden in the pockets of the enemies you have slain. When did you stop checking the bad guy’s pockets?

5) Red Larch.

That done the guys frog march their prisoners back to Red Larch, they’re back in town for midday, that’s what comes of getting up early.

RedLarch_Digital_small.jpgRed Larch.

First stop Constable Harburk- the adventurers hand over their prisoners, and a bunch of merchants goods they rescued from the Bandit’s lair- the rightful owners should be found, or else the stuff should be distributed to the townsfolk- very generous.

Harburk is impressed, he sends one of his deputies to the Inn, the Swinging Sword- tells Kayleesa (the owner) that the guy’s drinks, meals and rooms and are on Harburk for the next day or two, as reward for their efforts.

Next stop for the guys is in fact the Swinging Sword Inn- food and a pint, and a hearty pat on the back from Kayleesa, the fellows are clearly in the Inn owners good books- anyone who makes the Long Road safer is alright with Kayleesa- more traffic equals more money.

Then after a lunch a trip, en masse, to see Gaelkur in his rundown shop- pawn shop, tool store, barbers and makeshift tavern- the guys put the hard word on the disheveled fellow and sell up- everything they’ve found so far on their journey. It turns out they’re pretty much loaded (about 100gp each- wow).

Gaelkur.jpgGaelkur.

What now?

6) Pell Mhandyver’s Ghost Story.

Next up the guys head out to see Minnie Mhandyver at her Poulty Shop- after introducing themselves (very politely- Minnie is a nice little old lady) they question her about reports of a Ghost in the hills just out of town. The guys had heard rumours about this event from several of their contacts. Minnie, cautiously at first, tells the guys what she knows, and then fetches her granddaughter Pell, it was her that saw the spectral figure.

Pell tells her story, out ‘adventuring’ in the lower reaches of the Sumber Hills, tagging along with a group of quarry men, she discovered a wooded dell with a beautiful cool fresh stream- she played for a while, and then spotted hidden within the trees what looked to be the entrance to a tomb… and in the entrance a ghostly figure- an older man, well-dressed, looking straight at her.

She ran- screaming.

The guys have supplementary questions, alas that’s all that Pell knows.

The adventurers state that they will check the place out, just to be sure- Minnie is impressed, the adventurers offer thanks and then depart, except for Goren who hangs back a while and then puts the ‘hard word’ on the lovely old woman- Minnie is a little distraught, but has nothing to add to her, or Pell’s, story.

Goren catches up with his colleagues, and before they know it the guys are planning to head out to investigate the tomb after a short rest.

And so it proves.

7) The Tomb & the Jigsaw Door.

An hour or so later, with little difficulty- after following Pell’s directions to the letter, the adventurers are in the lower reaches of the Sumber Hills and very soon after at the entrance to the ancient tomb.

Essential_Fantasy_Geography_Vol_3-_05_Crypt_Entrance_Picture_Small.pngThe Tomb.

The doors to the tomb lie scattered in rough fragments before the entrance, the guys go at the place cautiously- Goren sneaks around and checks it out- no traps, and no-one about.

Before entering Zyler and Zalt (and Ken Lee) are intrigued by the myriad symbols and images on the edifice, much of it however has faded beyond recognition. That’s when they notice that there seem to be words, or else fragments of words, written in an ancient version of the common script on the shattered remnants of the tomb’s doors.

There follows twenty or so minutes reassembling on the ground before the tomb the smashed portals- and then translating the text written there, two sentences as it turns out, possibly warnings-

“We serve our Lord even unto Death.”

And…

“Only the one that rules us may dismiss us.”

After a short chat the guys head in- time to investigate, as always Goren silently leads the way.

8) The Tomb.

Essential_Fantasy_Geography_Vol_3-_05_Crypt_Map_Small.jpgThe Tomb.

Goren leads the guys in- sneaking a little ahead and scoping the place out, a rough passage heads down into a much larger chamber with six sarcophagi embedded in the floor of the room, only their lids proud of the surface. Five have carved images of supine knights, the sixth has lost its lid and gapes wide- a hollow tomb-like space within- empty, save for dust and broken rock.

At the far end of the chamber is a stone carved throne, unadorned, sat squat upon a dais. To the west a semicircular vaulted area with three alcoves- the one in the center home to a stone carved statue of another knight. A passage to the east leads down half-a-dozen steps into a second smaller vault, home to two more, much more elaborate, sarcophagi and another statue, just the same as the last.

The adventurers discover all of the above cautiously, and in slow stages.

Zyler discovers the ceiling and floor in the western alcove is a more than a little unsafe, the Priest is caught in a minor rockfall as the floor subsides and sinks at his tread, the Cleric looks apologetic- having startled his companions from their searching.

Nothing happens for a while.

That is until the guys start prodding and poking, at which point in the space of six or so seconds, six shortsword wielding Skeletons seem to just appear from thin air in the gaping sarcophagus- the undead leap out of the tomb and surprise a number of the adventurers- Goren takes several hits before he gets his defences up.

The fight however is very one-sided, the guys smash the Skeletons down, save for the last one- which is still clambering out of the sunken sarcophagus when Grimm nudges Zyler into action- the pair grab one of the other stone lids- wrench it up and then drop it in to place on the Skeleton spawning tomb- sealing it.

Job done- encounter over.

ENCOUNTER #46
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 6 Skeletons 50 XP each
XP 300 Adjusted 600 CR 2
Trivial

Or, at least, that should be encounter over.

A moment later, as the guys are growing bored of the sound of the lone Skeleton hammering on the lid of its new resting place- the staccato rhythm within the tomb suddenly becomes a drum roll…

It seems the sarcophagus is filling up- more Skeletons are being summoned into the cramped space below, and they’re all trying desperately to get out- the lid is wrestled and jostled, banged and shaken. The adventurers are eventually forced into action again, grabbing up another of the lids they settle the second slab in place, on top of the first.

It holds.

For about five or so minutes, as the guys continue their search of the area.

The lower sarcophagi lid, the one closest to the Skeletons, is shattered and broken from within- it seems there are now officially a lot of Skeletons within, and they’re trying very hard to get at the guys- no rest for the very wicked (and dead).

The guys switch to panic mode- they calculate they’re going to run out of ‘lids’ to put on the sarcophagi in another 15-20 minutes at the present rate, they’re also conscious of the fact that they’ve not found anything yet of interest within the tomb so far- do they get out of the place and hope the undead don’t follow them?

Then Zyler spots it- a plain wooden crown perched on the head of the statue in the western alcove, the Priest of Tempus points it out- Zalt says out loud what everyone is thinking.

“We serve our Lord even unto Death.”

And…

“Only the one that rules us may dismiss us.”

As written on the shards of the broken doors to the tomb.

Ken Lee’s Mage Hand flutters into being, fetches the crown safely down, and then places it on Zalt’s head, the Warlock sits on the throne and… suddenly the second lid is shattered from within- revealing more than a dozen Skeletons within the space below, the undead surge out, just as Zalt dismisses them.

The Skeletons explode in a cloying cloud of bone dust.

Five minutes of coughing follow for the guys- the test however has been passed, it must be time for another.

9) The Second Test.

A voice rings out-

“You have passed the first test, mayhap your purpose is blessed. I set these tests so that only those that are worthy of my treasure may attain it. However if your purpose is foul, or your thoughts sullied, then even though you have passed my test- I curse you and swear by all the gods that you will never enjoy my wealth or reward.”

The guys look around, bemused- unsure exactly who is talking to them, and how.

The steady, middle-aged, male voice continues.

“If however your purpose is true then swear before you go on that anything of worth that you find here will be shared with those that deserve just cause. You have but a short time to make up your mind- swear this, or leave now, or else face the consequence.”

The guys, one-by-one (some with much less fervor than others) swear that they will ‘share’ whatever prize is at stake.

At which point four suits of Animated Armor appear- three in the eastern crypt, the last stepping out of the statue in the western alcove- soon after the fighting starts.

animatedArmor.jpgAnimated Armour.

Zalt fires a Web spell into the passage to the east, sealing the entrance to the central chamber- the three suits of Animated Armor attempt to fight their way through to the guys- they fail badly, soon after all three are caught in the Webs.

Meantime the rest of the guys lurch into action and start to the beat the remaining enemy down, Zyler is taking hits- the Animated monster is fighting with a pair of longswords, eventually it falls- nothing much (as of yet) can stand up to Grimm and his magical greatsword ‘Hewer’.

The guys turn their attention to blasting their enemies still stuck in the Webs, fish in a barrel time.

That is until the pair of longswords, that the broken set of Animated Armour dropped, rise up and set about Goren- the Rogue takes more hits, he’s quickly bloodied.

Flying_Sword.pngFlying Sword.

The guys switch targets, just as a grinning Specter appears seated on the throne ahead, and then grinning reaches out to Drain the Life from Ken Lee, the Wizard’s Shield spell shimmers and deflects the attack.

The ghostly figure is that of a middle-aged, well dressed human male- the man’s fine leather ware adorned with a stylized “V” at the breast pocket.

Specter.jpgThe Specter.

It’s getting busy in the tomb- the three suits of Animated Armour are now making there way through the Webs, and again the guys are looking for a way out- they’ve also figured out that all three of the Animated suits of Armour are also armed with a pair of longswords. In short it is going to get busier- even when they drop the Armour they have another six Flying Swords to contend with.

Ken Lee scurries to safety and starts blasting with his Wand of Phandelver (Wand of Magic Missiles).

“It’s a test. Kill the Ghost!” Zyler cries out.

A second or two later Grimm complies, with a Divine Smite and a follow up hit (for max. damage the lucky bastard), the Specter fades, and in the same instance the adventurers animated foes cease their struggle and drop, inert, to the floor of the tomb.

The fight is won, the second test bested- is it the last?

ENCOUNTER #47
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 2 Flying Swords 50 XP each, 4 Suits of Animated Armour 200 XP each & Specter 200 XP
XP 1100 Adjusted 2750 CR 6
Medium

Just in time for the end of the session.

Session #030 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 #2 Take care of the Bandits- COMPLETE. Quest #3- Investigate Minnie’s Ghost Story- Ongoing.

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!

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 (Owner of the Swinging Sword), Gaelkur (Fence- buys gems etc.), Minne & Pell Mhandyver (Poultry & Ghost Stories)- kindly old lady and her granddaughter.

Enemies of note- Gnolls, including (odd-looking) hard-to-kill pale Gnolls, Bandits- DONE. Goren has enemies- the Greymen. The Undead in the Tomb?

New Info- The Bandits are routed (or killed)- Harburk and Kayleesa (Swinging Sword) are happy. Minnie Mhandyver’s Ghost Story is being investigated- the tomb has many tests.

XP Awarded-
2250 Section 1) The Bandit Brawl
200 Section 2) Lurkio Speaks
250 Section 3) Interrogating Goren
100 Section 4) Open the Chests
50 Section 5) Fencing the Goods
50 Section 6) Pell Mhandyver’s Ghost Story
200 Section 7) The Tomb and the Jigsaw Door
300 Section 8) Skeletons!
100 Section 8) Seal the Sarcophagus
100 Section 8) Lord Zalt dismisses the Undead
1100 Section 9) The Second Test
4700 XP Total

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