Goonalan's D&D 5th Edition Campaigns
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Red Larch Adventure.
The Union consists of-
Bob (Serbia & the world) playing Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard
Christer (Sweden) playing Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus
Pedja (Serbia & Germany) playing Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue
Simon (UK) playing Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock
Zoki (Serbia) playing Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora
Me- Goonalan (UK) playing everyone else (DM)
And starring this weeks special guest-
Pedja playing Lord Thaelond of Bargewright.
We play using Fantasy Grounds and Skype, usually once a week for approx. 3 hours.
Session #049 Wednesday 21st September 2016
The Bronzehammer & the Drow.
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 6
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 6
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 6
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 6
Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue (Criminal) Level 6 is missing- Pedja is playing Lord Thaelond, the ruler of Bargewright, who is also taking part in the competition.
All present and correct tonight, although Pedja’s internet connection (he’s moved to Germany) is rubbish- when he’s on Skype he’s not in Fantasy Grounds, and when he’s in Fantasy Grounds he’s not in Skype. You can tell when it’s Lord Thaelond’s turn in the initiative tracker- it says ‘pedjaster disconnected’, on screen. Frustrating, a shout out to Pedja for keeping going with it as long as he did.
1) Brief Recap.
The guys are delving in an ancient Dwarven mine beneath Bargewright, Lord Thaelond (the owner of the Inn and town) has no knowledge of this place. They have fought sickly Kobolds and managed to collapse several mine tunnels on their heads (the Kobolds and themselves)- Ken Lee loves a Fireball. Along the way they have picked up a little treasure, and disarmed a few ancient traps.
2) The worst Kobold Trap ever.
The adventurers are figuring out a way to get around a large pit trap that has opened before them, or else are making ready to explore a chamber with a pool within, when… Ken Lee gets attacked- or else the Wizard watches with amusement as another pair of the sickly Kobolds take pot shots at him with their slings.
The guys abandon their contemplations for attack- the Kobolds do two things well- they die, and give ground- luring the adventurers further into their tunnels.
The events that follow, in the film version of this text, should be accompanied throughout by the Benny Hill Theme music (go look it up). The guys dash after the Kobolds, the ridiculous creatures- who are acting very oddly (a little zombie-like) either stand and fight, or else fall back (they act almost at random). It doesn’t help that the little buggers keep climbing into narrow tunnels concealed in the walls of the cavern passage.
Eventually the guys spot a barrel in the middle of the passage ahead, Zyler also spots something on the ceiling above him- the guys hold station and kill Kobolds as and when they appear with their missile weapons and spells. Zyler is telling everyone that it is a trap ahead- that the barrel is full of oil- probably.
While the missile salvos continues Grimm grabs up a large rock and shot-puts it at the barrel- a direct hit, smashing the ancient container- a clear liquid pours out. There are however fewer targets now, and Zyler’s god (Tempus, the one that likes a punch-up) nudges the Priest into action.
Zyler runs into the trap- yep, you read that right. The barrel contains alcohol (flammable), two portcullis’ crash down trapping the Priest, what’s worse Zyler can see a Kobold rushing forward with a flaring torch in hand. The rest of the adventurers swing into action, as Zyler attempts to smash his way through the portcullis separating him from his enemies.
Zalt webs the Kobolds- good shot, the torch bearing creature is momentarily stopped in his tracks. At which point Ken Lee works his usual magic- he hits the area with a Shatter spell (some people never learn). The furthest part of the tunnel, containing the few remaining (and mostly Webbed) Kobolds collapses entirely- killing them all in an instant. The ceiling above the adventurers begins to splinter and crack, we turn the Benny Hill Theme music up to volume eleven as the guys turn tail and flee screaming back down the passage- back the way they came, trying to avoid rock falls and undulating cavern floors- the tunnel is collapsing.
Just a note to say that at this point the guys were not screaming in terror, they were in fact screaming very rude things at the Wizard- Ken Lee, Lord Thaelond is keen to remind him that his Inn, and the town of Bargewright, are just above their heads.
The guys make it to freedom- several of them bloody and wounded. The encounter is over…
PCs 5 x Level 6
Monsters 16 Kobolds 25 XP each & Collapsing Ceiling Trap 200 XP
XP 600 Adjusted 2400 CR 6
Ken Lee is on his best behaviour for the rest of the session.
3) The Double Ambush.
After time for brief but vocal recriminations the guys decide to check out the cavern they spotted with a pool within, Lord Thaelond heads in to scout the place.
The natural cavern contains a crystal clear pool fed from above, washed up at the edge of the water is a battered chest- half-smashed, it contents on display- silver and gold. Lord Thaelond spies the prize, while his companions worry that they are walking into yet another trap, they’re right of course. Forty percent of the party are expecting a creature to leap out of the pool, forty percent think that the chest is a creature- Lord Thaelond (the other twenty percent of the party) is reliving his youth however, and keen to find out.
It’s only when he realises that he cannot move- his feet are stuck to the floor- this while he is bending down to examine the chest, that he realises that fourty percent of the party were right. The Mimic wraps its great tongue around the Lord, grapple’s him and bites him, it’s not pleasant at all, he’s being eaten.
The rest of the guys come rushing to the rescue, Zalt gives thanks that the creature they are facing is only a Mimic, and not some terrible Water Elemental. The tug of war for Lord Thaelond goes on for a little while, at which time the angry Water Elemental- actually Water Weird, lashes out- grabs Grimm and clamps it’s watery form over the Paladin’s mouth. Grimm manages to get a gasp of air- the guys have only a few rounds to rescue him before he starts to drown.
As it turns out eighty percent of the party were right.
Give us a Kiss!
It gets frenzied, although Ken Lee is remarkably restrained- casting Magic Missiles from his wand and attempting to help Grimm with a Haste spell- it’s almost like he feels shame (nah!).
The fight is fast and furious, particularly as Grimm front loads all of his attacks for maximum impact, the Water Weird survives for perhaps ten seconds, the Mimic a little longer (although it git into the action much earlier in the fight).
The guys win through- and discover that the Mimic does indeed have a little treasure, a number of the adventurers are however very badly beaten- particularly Grimm and Lord Thaelond.
PCs 5 x Level 6
Monsters Mimic 450 XP & Water Weird 700 XP
XP 1150 Adjusted 1725 CR 4
The guys take a well-earned break, spending a little time healing and looking at any and all of the treasure they have found so far, all minor worth items but developing a common theme- Dwarves lived here.
Rest over the adventurers head out again- Lord Thaelond leading the way.
4) Lord Thaelond the Explorer.
Lord Thaelond checks the way ahead and sneaks into a massive central chamber- in the middle of the chamber is a pile of rubble, around the outside ancient racks holding equally ancient mining gear. The Lord of Bargewright also discovers a eight foot tall blockade of crates and barrels, almost entirely sealing off one of the northern passages from the chamber. Also a pair of great metal doors that seem to depict a pair of hefty Dwarven miners wielding massive gold-coloured hammers.
The rest of the guys filter into the area, start their own searches- that is until Zyler and Grimm wander off down one of the passages, and then call their colleagues over- there’s a sign down the passage, written in Dwarven, Zalt knows the tongue. The chamber beyond the sign looks intriguing.
Zalt rushes over, and then translates- ‘No armor or weapons beyond this point’, is what the sign says.
5) Meet Wodger.
A short debate ensues, eventually the less well-armed and mostly unarmoured pair- Zalt and Ken Lee, are sent in to have a look around the chamber.
The intrepid pair discover the following in no particular order-
a) The table has lots of odds and ends on it- geodes, crystals, rocks, copper wire and a few rusty tools.
b) The pair of stalagmites are over nine feet tall, both are crowned by fat circles of copper wire, between the standing stones is a pile of rubble and dirt, the right stalagmite has a crank handle sticking out of it, the handle is padded with thick (but ancient) cloth.
c) Zalt investigates and then reads the book on the desk, the last words of the short diary are-
“If any read this, know that Oldar Bronzehammer died with an axe in his hand, and his feet upon the stone.”
It seems to record the last days, or else hours, of the Bronzehammer Dwarves who sealed the mine to prevent the ‘creatures’ present here- and in the process of slaughtering them, from escaping the place and reaching the surface. The diary also mentions a place called ‘Thunderhome’, clearly the name of another (larger, perhaps) Bronzehammer hold.
There follows a good amount of chatter- even Grimm is encouraged to take his armour off and leave his sword behind so that he too can come in and examine things within the chamber.
The guys also remember that the Kobolds they killed previously in Cairn Woods were laired in a Bronzehammer Dwarven temple, and that the ruins beneath Red Larch- home to the cultists, was also of Dwarven construction. It seems the Bronzehammers were busy in this part of the valley- at some time in the distant past.
Which just leaves the mystery of the stalagmites and the crank handle, Zalt has to warn Grimm off- the Paladin is trying to rip the copper wire from atop the stalagmites (the Paladin thinks it’s gold), the Warlock mutters the immortal words-
“Don’t destroy the ancient artefact, please Grimm.”
The Paladin retires a suitable distance, like a naughty schoolboy, while Zalt and Ken Lee finally pluck up the courage to turn the crank. It takes them a couple of goes to get it going- but soon enough the entire chamber is filled with the sound of a low hum- all of the adventurers can feel the hairs on their arms and necks beginning to prick and rise, the air is charged.
And still the pair turn the crank, gathering speed all the while- the stone and rock pile between the stalagmites slowly untangles, skitters and dances, and eventually takes to the air- knitting itself back together to form two small columns, it quickly becomes obvious that the columns are a pair of thickly muscled legs.
The pair spin the crank faster still, a stone Dwarf is being constructed from the shattered stone that was formerly piled between the stalagmites, and then…
The machine (or magic) breaks, lightning lances out and remarkably fails to frazzle either Zalt or Ken Lee, the only adventurers in the chamber.
The smoke clears and standing between the pillars is a Stone Dwarf.
The creature lurches into life and then lunges at Ken Lee, the first thing that it sees… Zalt screams in Dwarven commanding it to stop, and remarkably the creature does, and then turns to Zalt and bows. It even takes a moment to introduce itself (in Dwarven, of course).
“I am Wodger, marthter.”
The Golem (of sorts) has a speech impediment.
When Zalt has stopped laughing he shares the news.
Alas Wodger turns out to be not too bright (he’s made of stone- go figure), best guess the creature is some form of magical stone automaton, one of many perhaps, employed by the Bronzehammers. It further transpires that Wodger is obeying Zalt because he is the “wing bearer”, or rather the ‘ring bearer’; Zalt wears Torg- an ancient Ring of Protection said to have been constructed by some great Earth Elemental Lord.
Which is fortunate indeed- and not at all a plot point the DM has waited for nearly a year to pay off.
There is a little else to discover in the chamber, and as stated above Wodger is not blessed with brains- the creature is however ideally suited to lifting, shifting and fighting.
Which reminds Zyler about the great metal doors they spotted earlier, which turns out to be the next stop on their adventure.
6) Kal’Zerth’s Offer.
The guys push open the great doors- as it turns they are unlocked, untrapped, and remarkably well made.
The chamber within is spectacular, a pair of stone ledges divided and joined by a crumbling stone bridge- below the nothingness of darkness- it feels like it could be a long way down. On the bridge and the far ledge are half-a-dozen Drow. It gets tense…
Moments later Kal’Zerth is hoisted up from the depths and onto the bridge- there’s much muttering from the Union, particularly as the newly arrived Drow has invoked the Ironwrought Pact- there’s to be no fighting it seems.
Just to remind you dear reader, Zyler’s Ma was slaughtered by the Drow, he’s a bit racialist when it comes to the Dark Elves.
Kal’Zerth, as it turns out, has a story to tell- and he’s done enough investigating of his own (during the Ironwrought) to work out that the guys are pretty much his target audience. There’s a little more moaning and cursing in the ranks but the guys are keen to hear Kal’s story- they can smell the plot already.
And so Kal’Zerth wends his tale, in no particular order the Union learns the following-
a) Kal’Zerth has been alive a very long time, he’s 1483 years young, venerable even for his ancient race- he must have something about him to stay alive that long, particularly in Drow society. He has lived in this region for most, if not all, of his life- these facts become important later.
b) This place is called Dhol Kuldhir, in translation from Davek (the Dwarvern tongue)- ‘the door at the end’, or else, ‘the last door’. The guys are intrigued- which is good. Dhol Kuldhir was built and inhabited by the Bronzehammers, Kal’s neighbours in ages past- the Dwarves were isolationist (having fled from the north), violent and far too clever.
c) Kal’Zerth and the Drow slaughtered what was left of the Bronzehammers a millennia past, this because the Dwarves had unleashed a pestilence in the depths (the Underdark) that almost wiped out the Drow. The disease was born into the dark on an infected creature (more of this later), the disease that ravaged the Drow is still present to this day- many Drow mothers bare stillborn, or else massively disfigured babies. The Drow’s hatred for the Bronzehammers is strong- even after all the years. Kal’Zerth hints that the Bronzehammer Dwarves, when they were slain by the Drow, were feral (and dark) creatures- they had forever changed- they were reduced to savages.
d) However just three months past a second creature descended into the Underdark- taking the same route, down the shaft below the adventurer’s feet. The creature was also tainted- the Drow however still guarded the way, the creature was slain and its disease identified and quickly neutralised.
Zalt and Ken Lee temporarily halt Kal’s story- they have questions about the disease- Kal’Zerth reassures them that the affliction is slow acting- not a toxin that poisons the individual, rather it seeps into the food and water supply and over months and years spreads its sickness.
e) Kal’Zerth goes on to state that he has been chosen by his people, having been here before, to once again venture into Dhol Kuldhir- however, he is reluctant to do so- he has been here before, he remarks with a shiver. He’s also getting on in years and could do without the hassle- you know where this is leading.
Kal’Zerth asks if the guys will enter the Bronzehammer hold, which he states is down the stairs in the chamber beyond, and discover what stirs down there. He also continues to hint at the terrors he saw while he was last in the Bronzehammer’s lair.
The guys are torn- Kal’Zerth is a Drow (and therefore not to be trusted- in fact we should be slaughtering him and his friends right now, is the consensus), but the Union are also keen to do a little more exploring- they figure more of the plot lies down the great stair.
How right they are.
Kal’Zerth ups the ante, he states that the creatures that spread the malaise a thousand years past, and that descended from this place three months ago, were both of the same race- both were Gargoyles, both infected with some type of fungal poison (see above). The guys are very interested now- they’re searching for the source of the Gargoyle problem on the surface at present- could this be connected?
After a brief chat the guys do a deal- they’ll venture down the stair in a day or so, Kal’Zerth will withdraw from the Ironwrought and hold this station with his guards- nothing the Drow guarantees will come up from the depths, or else be allowed to descend there, until the guys return. The plan is the Union will return here just as soon as one of them wins the Ironwrought competition.
The ancient Drow even offers gifts to the guys- half-a-dozen platinum coins, a Potion of Greater Healing and a book on Ballroom Dancing for Gentle Gnomes, a tribute to Ken Lee the Wizard (weird), a signal of the ‘contract’ that now exists between the two groups- the guys, after much muttering, agree to accept the ‘payment’.
At which point Kal’Zerth reveals his final twist- he saw something terrible down in Dhol Kuldhir, a millennia past, he states-
“I have nightmares still- not about the pestilence and the dying of my people, and my family; not about the grimacing ghouls that passed for Dwarves that I had to slaughter here all those years ago. These things, like many other terrors, I have come to accept.
My nightmares are about the door at the end, and what lies behind it.
I fear my people, and perhaps this land, has only glimpsed a tiny portion of the terrors that the Bronzehammer’s wrought".
And with that the 49th session comes to an end, having overrun by nearly an hour.
Session #049 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. WIN THE IRONWROUGHT. Quest #2 Explore Dhol Kuldhir- find the ‘door at the end’.
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! Avarthel- Druid of the Land, southern Dessarin.
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.), Minnie & 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). Larmon (Shepherd- saved his life).
NPCs of note in Womford- Tharrma (Proprietor of the Green Apple Inn), Morlin Coalhewer (of Morlin’s Smithy), Brother Derny (Shrine of Lathander), Sertiernen the Wise (Harper & Wizard), Captain Soranna Anitah (leader Womford Watch), Kellin Shadowbanks (proprietor of The Old Bridge Inn), Jarett North (of Jarett’s Sundries), Drathgur (Ferryman), Sterrel (of Sterrel’s Provisioners), Avarthel the Druid & Squire Welch aka Sqwelch- Protectors of the Land!
NPCs of note in Bargewright- Lord Thaelond (Ruler), Lady Lara (nice Horse- looking for her sister, Lady Savra), Foo Yung (with stone mask)- RIP, Staunch (fat bloke), Lord Slather (furious Gnoll), Captain Hargas (older Hobgoblin), Carl Drogo (thick-set Barbarian), Baron Ballbag (drunk Goblin), Killshot (dextrous Halfling), Kal’Zerth (mysterious Drow- with a history, see session #49), Lord Klarg (Familiar Bugbear- see previous adventure in Phandalin), Gershwin Chimbly (contract Assassin?), Red Malik (tough guy), Vran Diddly (jokey & drunk Duergar).
COOL Sidekicks- Wodger, the Stone Dwarf.
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. VERY BAD Tiamat worshipping Kobolds- strange Hobgoblins, a Bugbear Lord (Wizard?). Gargoyles? Ankhegs- BASTARDS! More Goblins.
COOL Enemies of Note- Trimat, the Chimera & Dick and Dom, the Ettin.
New Info- Still another event to go in the Ironwrought, but the PCs still have other business to attend to- the tunnels beneath Bargewright, an old Dwarven Mine- Dhol Kuldhir, inhabited by sickly looking Kobolds. The place is a death trap, and seemingly with a lower level that contains even more terrors- including the ‘last door’. The guys make a new friend- Wodger (or else Zalt does), collapse a few more ceilings and generally get into plenty of bother.
600 Section 2) The worst Kobold Trap ever.
1150 Section 3) The Double Ambush.
200 Section 4) Lord Thaelond the Explorer.
700 Section 5) Meet Wodger.
450 Section 6) Kal’Zerth’s Offer.
3100 XP Total