036

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Red Larch Adventure.

The 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 #036 Wednesday 1st June 2016
The Believers & Tricklerock.

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

Christer who plays Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 5 is away this evening, it sounds like chaos at his house. As always the glorious Simon is botting the missing member of the Union.

A fantastic session, although Zyler’s shouts of “TEMPUS!” were sorely missed.

Enjoy.

The Action-

1) The Believers Explained.

The guys are victorious having beaten down Larrakh and his Stone Guards, a bunch of Cultists, a trio of Dust Mephits (one fled), and finally a pair of Ankhegs. All of the adventurers are pretty beat up- and yet the investigation continues, first up the Temple of Moving Stones is given a thorough search- while the the Cultist (mooks) prisoners are tied up.

ToMS.jpgThe Temple of Moving Stones.

The search of the Temple reveals-

a) The bodies of Larrakh (the Stone Priest) and his Stone Guards all turned to stone when they died- over the course of the next minute or so each stone body cracks and then crumbles, until eventually turning into dust. There’s nothing left of any of the trio, or their equipment- all is dust, except for the one page coded note (see later), therefore there’s not much the guys can learn from the trio, Zalt is however convinced that these guys are the ‘real’ Cultists- the Warlock also points out the similarity between the deaths of the Pale Gnolls, which the guys fought in the attack on the Rusty Gorgon, and the guys in the Temple.

When the Gnolls were killed their eyes burned away and there head (briefly) set on fire… not nice.

“Demons!” Zalt pronounces, by-way of an explanation.

Moving_Stones_6.jpgThe Believer’s Secret Temple.

b) The Temple itself is a bit of a con, Ken Lee figures- the Moving Stones each has a permanent Levitation spell cast upon them- they can be moved around, to make it appear that the stones move of their own accord- directed by the Gods. The Temple construction is ancient, and Dwarven- easily over a 1000 years old.

c) There are six bodies- the skeletal remains of Dwarves, on stone biers around the edge of the Temple- all six Dwarves look to have been miners, all six were have crushed skulls- further Investigation leads the guys to believe that the Dwarven miners died in a collapse- they were not killed by weapons. A little later the guys learn that the Dwarves, or as they are known ‘the Delvers’, are ‘adored’ by the Believers- for their steadfastness and the sacrifices they made for the good of their community.

d) The stone plinths the Dwarven bodies are laid upon turn out to be hollow, what’s more one of them contains a sackful of treasure- plenty of gems and a few coins, also a beautiful (and magical) longbow- this is Reszur, an Elven weapon, grabbed by Goren- and attuned later.

e) A short walk reveals the formerly secret tunnel to the south of the Temple leads all the way to Dornen Finestone, the quarry of Elak Dornen- which the guys investigated (a little) earlier. Elak has already been arrested- having been implicated in the deaths of the three poor fellows found earlier by the guys, which leads us nicely to…

Eventually the guys wander back into the first cavern chamber- the site of the original collapse, Constable Harburk is in situ with a couple of his Deputies, also present are a bunch of guilty (and perhaps not so guilty) parties. They are Albaeri Mellikho & Ilmeth Waevlur- both rich men, now somewhat brought low by events- they have been found out. Also present is Grund- a Half-Orc Thug who is singing like a canary; Baragustas- the unofficial ‘secretary’ of the Believers, he too has plenty to say; Braelen- Ilmeth’s young son, rescued from the Temple complex- the young lad is traumatised; and lastly a trio of Cultist mooks.

The guys interrogate and investigate- they conduct further interviews with almost all of their prisoners, piecing together the story, which they later reveal to Harburk-

The Believers started ages ago (perhaps a 100 years ago)- when the Temple of Moving Stones and the tunnels were found beneath Red Larch. The Believers are (or perhaps, were) a secret society bound to do good for Red Larch- most members of the society are from the ‘elder’ families of the town. And thus the Believers continued for ages, that is until the arrival of Larrakh- the Priest and his cronies, soon after several of the more influential members of the cult were pressed by Larrakh into ‘darker’ deeds- including the slaying of the three citizens. Larrakh made all the usual promises- power, influence etc. Albaeri, Ilmeth and Elak succumbed and turned to the dark-side. That’s about it…

Harburk is impressed- particularly as there are witnesses who are willing to tell all, as am I… the guys are less impressed, as Zalt put it- “that tells us nothing, not really- were still left wondering who Larrakh was, what Cult does he belong to, and why did he come here? Did he want to ‘take’ Red Larch, or was there some other sinister reason?”

The guys have questions, which accounts for the next burst of activity, although first- at last, to sleep; it’s 4 AM when the guys get back to the Swinging Sword Inn.

2) Further Investigations in Red Larch.

The next day-and-a-half are spent in mostly leisurely investigations, the guys basically take an hour or so on FG to talk through what they know and figure out who in town can maybe help them to get a better grip on events. A summary of their findings follows-

a) Gaelkur, the local Fence, has done a runner- his place is empty, all of his Thugs have gone with him, or so it seems.

b) None of Harburk’s Cultist prisoners has any idea what the coded note that Larrakh dropped is about, they’ve never seen anything like it before. The note is a complete mystery-

Larrakh_Note.pngThe Code.

The guys have set up a spreadsheet which allows them to try letters etc. they’ve not got anywhere with it however.

c) Ken Lee is getting annoyed about the continuing very pleasant weather- he confers with any and all of the older citizens of Red Larch- this has never happened before- today’s date is the 22nd of Nightal, it should be midwinter- the temperature today is a balmy 12C, this isn’t winter at all. The temperature has not dropped below 0C since the guys entered the Dessarin Valley. The Wizard eventually gets together a list of ‘wise’ people in the Valley, people that may know more about this kind of phenomena, of particular interest to him are Sertanien, a Halfling Wizard who retired to Womford; and Avarthel, a Druid who also lives close to Womford.

d) Which leads us nicely to the fact that the guys cannot find anymore information about the Vraath family, Imdarr- the Priest of Tempus at Allfaith’s Shrine (who has a broken leg after the collapse) informs the guys that the Church at Womford will have much older records. Womford it turns out is a much older settlement.

e) Which also leads us to the ‘Ironwrought; the ’Ironwrought’ it seems is some sort of competition held annually at Bargewright (starting on the 28th of Nightal), no amount of buying drinks and chatter reveals what the competition entails, locals come up with all manner of wild tales, all of them sound like wild speculation- in truth very few (if any) people in Red Larch have made the dangerous journey to Bargewright (in Winter) to see the ‘Ironwrought’ event.

f) Lastly, the guys discuss the fact that they were followed for a good few hours on their journey to Red Larch by a bunch of flying creatures- Harburk is asked for his opinion, the Constable states that he once saw a man (or else a humanoid of some sort) mounted on a Giant Owl. This event he explains took place on the Long Road north of Red Larch, maybe four years past- the guys are intrigued. The guys however are getting even more frustrated (not in a bad way- yet)- in a fit of pique, and with help from Constable Harburk, they buy horses. They’re going to head for Womford… only- in the end, they don’t.

“What about Tricklerock Cavern?” Grimm asks, “do we investigate it?”

The guys were told about Tricklerock Cavern by Elak Dornen (now spending time in a cell), the place is supposed to be home to a huge quartz deposit- basically more treasure. The downside is Elak was going to pay them to check the place out- so no payday, also was Elak lying to them- is this a trap? A vote is taken- Tricklerock it is, although not until the morning.

Just a note to say the guys are still, of course, waiting for Strom Halifax to turn up to identify the cart full of Pitchblende that is in Bethendur’s Storage. Strom, they were told has said that he will arrive anytime between the 21st of Nightal, and the 1st of the Hammer- the new year. Gundren, their patron, however counseled the fellows that Strom is notorious for turning up late…

The guys are hanging about Red Larch on the off chance Strom turns up, they’re loathe to cut the chord.

3) Bird Sightings and Exploring Tricklerock.

The next morning (23rd Nightal) the guys head to Tricklerock, using the rough map that Elak Dornen provided them with, they find the place easily- although the going in the last thirty minutes of the journey is rough, they’re off road and getting used to their new mounts, only Ken Lee and Grimm actually know how to ride.

Tricklerock_Entrance.jpgTricklerock Cavern.

The first discovery the guys make is however nothing to do with the cave- Tempest, Zalt’s newly re-summoned familiar, squawks a warning- there are several (maybe four) large birds (or bird-shaped creatures) circling high overhead. It’s Grimm’s turn to get frustrated- things are happening to them, he doesn’t like that- he prefers it when the guys are ‘happening’ to other people- preferably bad people.

The adventurers debate plans- try to figure ways to lure their watchers down, they have a few ideas but nothing solid- time to head into the cavern.

Tricklerock proves to be a natural cavern, thirty minutes after entering the guys are still cautiously spelunking their way around the various chambers- all they have discovered so far is lots of crystal clear fresh water and a series of natural caves, they have encountered a few (noncombatant) cave rats and bats but nothing else of interest.

The lack of encounters comes as an almost pleasant surprise.

untitled_by_madcowchef-d7bldr8a.jpgTricklerock Cavern.

The guys head through the chambers following Zalt’s Law of Left- which is simply, follow the left hand wall- always. The adventurers, lead by Goren, discover the source of the stream and then a little later a cavern full of beautiful crystals.

Crystal_Cave.jpgIt’s beautiful…

4) Mining for Quartz in Tricklerock.

There follows a mini-game in which each of the guys attempts to cautiously remove a series of crystals (with increasingly difficult DCs to do so) from the walls- the first crystal they each attempt to remove is worth 5gp, the second 10gp and on it goes, as the DCs get higher the crystals increase in value. A PC can only fail one check- a second failure and their hands are too shaky to attempt further checks- the guys go mining.

The result of which is Goren, and then Zalt, and then Ken Lee make a good amount of (potential) cash- Grimm however fails to remove even one of the precious stones from the wall- the Paladin is beginning to boil again, as he watches his much more dexterous colleagues whoop with joy.

The guys are pretty amazed- Elak Dornen was telling the truth after all, there are no enemies here … at least that’s what they think until they wander into the much larger cavern (following Zalt’s Left Rule)- a clutch of the adventurer’s mortal enemies- Stirges, flutter down from the ceiling to alight upon them.

It, at last (for Grimm), gets to fighting.

5) STIRGES!

The fight starts at 10:59 PM we usually finish playing at 11:15 PM.

The first four Stirges don’t last long once the guys get into action, the second four Stirges flutter down from the ceiling and meet similar fates- the third four, pretty much the same. The guys are kicking ass, that is until twenty-eight more Stirges suddenly come swooping.

Stirge.jpgStirges.

I shouldn’t have bothered- Ken Lee is ready with his Fireball, less than two seconds later all twenty-eight Stirges are destroyed in the brief conflagration, the chamber they were exiting from collapses.

The fight is won.

ENCOUNTER #57
PCs 5 x Level 5
Monsters 40 Stirges 25 XP each
XP 1000 Adjusted 4000 CR 8
Hard

Just a note to say that the guys hate Stirges- this was a kill or cure remedy courtesy of your kindly DM, the fight finished with much giggling- the guys are cured.

However that’s the end of the session.

Session #036 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 #5 Investigate Tricklerock Cave- almost 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- 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 & Ghilee (Owner, and Serving Wench, at the Swinging Sword), Gaelkur (Fence- buys gems etc.), Minne & Pell Mhandyver (Poultry & Ghost Stories)- kindly old lady and her granddaughter. Elak Dornen (Quarry owner). Ilmeth Waevlur & Albaeri Mellikho (Rich men in Red Larch), also Baragustas (mad Old Guy), Braelen (Ilmeth’s son) & Grund (Pickle selling Thug).

Enemies of note- Gnolls, including (odd-looking) hard-to-kill pale Gnolls. Goren has enemies- the Greymen. Oreioth the Necromancer & his undead- DEAD. The Necromancer of Lance Rock’s “Great Eye”? Goblins? Ilmeth Waevlur & Albaeri Mellikho (Rich men in Red Larch), also Baragustas (mad Old Guy), Braelen (Ilmeth’s son) & Grund (Pickle-selling Thug), and the bad men in the Temple of the Moving Stones, including Larrakh- mostly all dead.

New Info- The guys gather enough info to convict several of the ‘Believers’, they are however unsure of who sent Larrakh to stir up trouble. The guys have lots of loose threads still to investigate, and no amount of chatter in Red Larch is getting them anywhere close to the answers. The guys buy horses, delaying in Red Larch only to check out Tricklerock cavern first- they strike Quartz, and then lots of Stirges.

XP Awarded-
500 Section 1) The Believers Explained
500 Section 2) Further Investigations in Red Larch
125 Section 3) Bird Sightings and Exploring Tricklerock
250 Section 4) Mining for Quartz in Tricklerock
1000 Section 5) STIRGES!
2375 XP Total

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