052

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.

And so-

Session #052 Wednesday 12th October 2016
The Ironwrought Finale Part Two.

Starring-
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 6
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) 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.

Note Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 6 is on his holidays, Gunnlaugur has stepped in to fill the spot- top feller.

We had a blast with this one, oh and get a drink- there’s a lot to get through.

The Action-

1) The Fight OFF Finale!

Bargewright.jpgBargewright.

Bargewright and the Ironwrought competition- the last event, the finale.. Fight OFF!.

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Three of the guys are out of the competition- Ken Lee got smushed by a massive Orc Chieftain- Bloodletter (the second favourite to win the competition); Zyler (the favourite) had a mare and was beaten black and blue by one of the Union’s previous acquaintances- Lord Klarg, the Bugbear- that didn’t go down well with the guys. While Zalt exited in the only Quarter Final fight that has taken place so far- stabbed up by a tough called Red Malik.

And so we continue with the Fight OFF!

Fight #2.2

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Baron Ballbag, the alcoholic and penniless Goblin Boss.

Vs.

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Lord Klarg- the Bugbear bastard.

The fracas is short and nasty, particularly if you are called Ballbag- the Goblin gets in the first hit on the Bugbear but only with the flat of his blade; Klarg responds in (un)kind- slamming his Morningstar into the Goblin’s face- bloodied in an instant.

Moments later Klarg finishes Ballbag off with two more hefty attacks- the second splitting the Goblin’s skull- the Baron is dying.

Zyler leaps into the fighting ring- ever the saviour, all the while Lord Klarg promenades and milks the audience. Alas Zyler’s dice are broken (I think I’ve said that before), his Medicine Skill Check is a… wait for it… a ‘1’. The War Priest slips forward as he crouches down to get into his paramedic act, alas the haft of Painbringer (his Goblinbane magical Warhammer) crunches down into Ballbag’s broken skull and jabs hard into the little guy’s brain.

Ballbag completes a short but very enthusiastic dance routine to a tune only he can hear- with his tight-eyes closed and while still on the ground, and then expires- the crowd go crazy. Zyler has to duck and dodge as rotten fruit (and a table) are slung at the Priest’s head, Lord Thaelond has to rush into the ring to save the one time crowd favourite. Alas the owner of Bargewright’s honeyed words also do not go down well- soon after he too is dodging tables. The pair get out of the ring and to relative safety, as quickly as they can.

Still, that’s first creature Zyler has killed for yonks.

Fight #2.3

Next in the ring is the new favourite-

Comp_Bloodletter.jpg

A very large slice of Orc Chieftain.

Vs.

Lord_Thaelond.jpg

Our very own Lord Thaelond.

The fight is a classic, or else Lord Thaelond who is very much outmatched in the big hits department, manages to run Bloodletter to the wire. It helps of course that the Lord is much faster than his opponent, and with his Sneak Attack in the opening exchange Bloodletter is very quickly gasping and bleeding. Unfortunately as is Lord Thaelond after the Orc connects twice with his greataxe.

Thaelond is forced to try different tactics, dodging the Orc, downing Greater Healing Potions, making excellent use of a large bag of ball bearings, and in extremis towards the end of the fight smashing the shaft of Bloodletter’s greataxe. During the fight Bloodletter makes an arse of himself repeatedly, slipping and sliding like Bambi on ice, thanks to the ball bearings- Thaelond even gets in another Sneak Attack or two. As I said at the outset it goes down to the wire- Bloodletter has only 5 hit points left when he manages to spear Lord Thaelond and send the owner of Bargewright tumbling. It’s worth noting that the Orc was still sprawled on the floor when he delivered his winning attack.

Note Ken Lee, from the stands in the midst of the fracas, also tries to help Lord Thaelond out with a Suggestion spell on the Orc Chieftain, Bloodletter doesn’t bat an eyelid, he repulses the charm easily.

Just to piss Pedja off a little bit more I’ll mention that Bloodletter had 157 hit points at max, but began the fight with only 125 (due to previous injuries), Lord T. dished up 120 points of damage. Good work, but no cigar.

That means there’s only Grimm left in the competition representing the Union.

And so for the last of the Quarter Finals.

Fight #2.4

Grimm, the Paladin of Tymora- the thinking woman’s draft excluder.

Vs.

Comp_Staunch.jpg

Staunch- a fat bloke with a mean streak and a good longsword/shortsword combo.

The fight is… terrifying, if you’re Staunch.

Grimm rushes the fat bloke- with ‘Rusty’ (the guys much used and abused ‘Bear Trap’ in hand), the Paladin is looking to nullify Staunch’s dual-wielding attacks. He does so, managing to snap shut Rusty on Staunch’s right arm and head (yeah, it was a very good roll). The fat bloke is screaming, moments later he is also disarmed as the Paladin makes very good use of the Haste spell that Ken Lee has cast upon him (and the Bless from Zyler), so far he’s attack rolls are averaging ‘31’, which is quite high.

Imagine that Zyler- an attack roll of ‘31’ in total, the thought of it Christer, I bet that gives you a tingle.

Staunch is not however done, the fat bloke survives, at least for a short while- freeing himself from Rusty and then punching Grimm twice in the face- the Paladin doesn’t get it all his own way, at which point of course he does. Less than ten seconds later, after some hefty hits- Great Weapon Master & Divine Smite (with a little Enmity thrown in), Staunch is on his knees and begging for surrender.

Grimm makes it to the Semi Finals.

Which kick off an hour later…

Fight #3.1

The first Semi-Final is…

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Red Malik, the barroom tough.

Vs.

Bloodletter, the Orc Chieftain (and now favourite) is back in action.

The fight is a monster, Red Malik hits almost every time but all of the wounds he inflicts are minor- Bloodletter hits much less often, but when he does it hurts hard- particularly when he lands a critical. If it was on points then Malik would be ahead by streets at the end, it’s not on points- Bloodletter unleashes hell and Malik ends the melee on his knees and begging for mercy.

Even Grimm is beginning to fret, and looking for ways to save his resources for when he gets into the final with Bloodletter (he’s going to rip the crap out of Lord Klarg apparently- confidence is a factor).

The Orc has a shit-ton of hit points, and his attacks average 14 damage apiece (two per round), and every now and then Bloodletter is able to call upon his fury to inflict even more damage. It’s a little scary…

Which brings us to the second Semi-Final-

Fight #3.2

Lord Klarg, the Bugbear bastard.

Vs.

Grimm, who is not looking to go easy on Klarg.

Just to remind the reader the Union guys captured Klarg (and killed his Goblin Bandit followers) in Session #003 of their adventures. Klarg escaped from jail a little later, he’s a reformed Bugbear- so he says, the guys however are not buying it.

And so- Grimm vs Klarg, look away now.

It goes a little like this- there’s a lot of trash talk before hand, culminating in Grimm asking Lord Klarg to make this a fight to the death. At which point Klarg immediately starts backtracking, while continuing to bad mouth Grimm and the guys. The Paladin however has had enough chatter- declaring Klarg ultimately to be ‘yella’.

The bell sounds and Klarg comes rushing, and good on him batters the Paladin around the head- a big hit, and then another- Grimm is bloodied, and fuming. At which point resource management goes out the window- Grimm piles on the agony (Haste, Bless, Vow of Enmity, Divine Smite and Greater Weapon), the Paladin beasts the Bugbear…

Klarg survives for another ten seconds, he fails to land another attack however, Grimm doesn’t miss- moments later the big mouth Bugbear is reduced to sprawling on the floor and begging to be allowed to surrender.

Grimm is for the final.

The Final

Grimm vs Bloodletter.

It’s nasty from the off- Bloodletter screams out his battle cry (Advantage on all attacks this turn) and then hits Grimm twice with all he has got, the Paladin only just survives the onslaught (if one of the hits had been a crit… Grimm would have been down), he has to spend Actions to heal himself and stay in the fight. The Paladin unleashes everything he has got left… and soon after Bloodletter is bloodied, and looking more than a little concerned- Grimm has also taken a beating.

The pair go at it again- and again Grimm comes out grinning (just), keeping out of the way of the Orc Chieftain’s attacks and inflicting a crap load of damage on the ferocious humanoid.

For a third time the pair circle and then clash… Bloodletter gets another massive attack in, and Grimm is left staggering- but it’s not enough, particularly as Grimm’s final attack is a crit.

Bloodletter drops- the Orc is dying…

The crowd go wild!

Nobody climbs into the ring to save Bloodletter, so Grimm does it himself- in the midst of victory the Paladin takes a knee and pours his holy healing into the Orc Chieftain, saving the creature’s life. He even has time to thank Bloodletter for a titanic and fair fought fight, this action makes all the difference in the end (see later).

The ring is invaded- Grimm is hoisted into the air and paraded for all to admire.

A little later there’s a short ceremony, hosted by Lord Thaelond in which all of the competitors who made it to the Semi-Finals and beyond receive their accolades, and financial rewards.

Soon after a second ceremony follows…

2) Ironwrought Champions.

The final scores on the doors are as follows-

39pts. Grimm
30pts. Lord Thaelond
26pts. Zyler
20pts. Kal’Zerth
19pts. Red Malik
18pts. Killshot
15pts. Lord Klarg
15pts. Bloodletter
11pts. Gershwin Chimbly
10pts. Zalt
9pts. Baron Ballbag (RIP)
9pts. Captain Hargas
9pts. Lord Slather
8pts. Carl Drogo
7pts. Vran Diddly
5pts. Ken Lee
4pts. Staunch
1pt. Mr. Bananas
1pt. Reg Pork
0pts. Foo Yung (RIP) & alas Lady Lara.

More financial rewards are given- followed by speeches by Grimm (basically a recruitment drive for the Order of the Gauntlet), then Lord Thaelond (in praise of peace (his profits) and co-operation between the races), and lastly Zyler (a promise to be back next year).

The crowd go wild some more and the guys are in demand here, there and everywhere…

The events in the next two sections happen during the continuing celebrations.

3) Chatting with the Orcs.

Grimm and Zyler (as wing man) go over to talk to Bloodletter and the dozen Orcs that accompany him (the pair come armed with beer) and are eventually made to feel welcome. The Paladin and the Orc Chieftain pass the time with a little mutual appreciation- Grimm knows that he was a hit away (more than once) from taking a dirt nap, Bloodletter for his part has probably never been hit so hard and so often (ever).

Eventually the pair work out some sort of warrior’s agreement. Bloodletter it seems is very thankful that Grimm cured him at the last and saved his life. A little while later Grimm goes for a wander to discuss events in the Dessarin Valley in a quieter location with Bloodletter, while Zyler goes for a chat with an amorous Orc Subchief whose name is so dirty and rude it cannot be written here (Fuck Buddy).

Zyler, the Priest of Tempus, is told a tall tale about Klarg (who beat Zyler in the first round, and was beaten down by Grimm in the Semi-Final), according to FB Klarg is working for some ‘bad men’, and was sent to the Ironwrought to keep an eye on the guys… Zyler tries hard to figure out who the ‘bad men’ are but the pair have little in the way of a mutual language- broken common (both of them). The best he can tell the ‘bad men’ lair somewhere on the Dessarin River, north of Womford? Who they are, and what they are after however- that remains a mystery.

Grimm meantime is quizzing Bloodletter about flying creatures in the Valley, the Orc is happy to tell what he knows, to wit-

a) Gargoyles delivering messages, plenty of them, mostly moving back and forth to the hills and high points a good way out from Womford, on the east side of the river.

b) Men dressed in black riding on Giant Birds- Grimm has also heard of these guys, Bloodletter has only seen them once- on the west side of the river, up towards the Sumber Hills, alas the Orc has no idea who they are.

And lastly,

c) A Black Dragon- it flew over Bargewright two nights previously.

Flying_Things.jpg

This last piece of information proves to be a WTF moment.

Bloodletter goes on to explain that there is a Black Dragon laired somewhere in the Dessarin Valley, somewhere to the south he thinks. He has seen the creature a dozen or so times in all of his years, but that he thought the beast had been killed. He has not seen the Dragon for at least a year prior to two evenings past.

Grimm is starting to think that Bloodletter is making stories up, but all of his senses are telling him that the Orc is telling the truth. The creature goes on to confirm that there is a Bugbaer Lord (K) also visiting humanoid tribes in the Valley, he’s hiring- and trying to convert the humanoids to Tiamat’s cause. It seems Lord K is of the opinion that Tiamat will be returning…

It’s a lot to take in. Grimm and Bloodletter continue to chatter, the Paladin eventually persuading the Orc Chieftain to allow him to call upon Bloodletter again in the future. Bloodletter eventually relents, Grimm may do so- but only once, the Chieftain will also provide the means to do so (later).

Note while all of the above is going between Bloodletter and Grimm, an invisible Ken Lee is silently patrolling the area combing eavesdropping with providing protection (like he needs it) for his Paladin friend.

4) Ken Lee’s Invisible Investigations et al.

As stated above, while all of the above is going on the other guys are also busy with a little more information gathering.

Zalt and his magical not-Owl, Tempest, decide to follow a few familiar faces, the first is Gaelkur- a fence from Red Larch who fled the town with his men when the guys dug up the dirt on the Cult of the Believers. Gaelkur, it seems, was in the crowd watching proceedings in the final of the Fight OFF.

Gaelkur.jpg

Gaelkur- Wanted, probably.

The fence and his men, observed by Tempest, head out of Bargewright bound for Womford- interesting.

A little while later an Invisible Ken Lee, having finished escort duty for Grimm, overhears a bunch of Thugs talking about the fact that Gaelkur is hiring- looking for muscle. The Thugs however are not certain they want to move onto Gaelkur’s roster, rumour is the fence’s empire is crumbling. Very interesting.

Zalt and Tempest also spend a little time mooching in the shadows and tracking the whereabouts of Lord Klarg, the adventurer’s Bugbear friend (not!), as it turns out Klarg also departs Bargewright at speed- accompanied by another five of his kind, the group head for the Dessarin River.

Lastly Lord Thaelond receives some bad news, or at least that’s the message his face is broadcasting. The owner of Bargewright takes an emergency meeting with a very odd looking fellow.

Telos_the_Wizard.jpg

Telos (he’s a Wizard- did you guess?)

It seems something has gone very wrong, which leads us nicely into…

5) Rescue Goren or to the Door at the End?

The next morning, at breakfast in the Bargewright Inn, even as the masses that came for the Ironwrought are departing- the humanoid tribes have to be gone by midday, at which time the truce ends. The guys spend a good while soaking in the glory, and generally getting everyone up to speed with all the new info.

The strangest story, by far, comes from Lord Thaelond, here goes-

Goren is missing, Goren (the Union Rogue, played by Pedja) departed the Ironwrought before the competition started- Pedja has been playing Lord Thaelond in-game, ever since. It appears Lord Thaelond and Goren are business partners, Goren had a little job to do- but he was supposed to be back at Bargewright for the finale of the Ironwrought. He’s missing- Lord Thaelond is obviously very concerned, and wants to accompany the guys to Womford- to find the missing Rogue.

Grimm however is keen to get on- there’s the mines beneath Bargewright to explore, the Door at the End- Dhol Kuldhir, the Bronzehammer’s pestilent secret.

And so over the course of the next half hour (real time) the guys take it in turns to argue their version of events, and also to extract more information from Lord Thaelond. The owner of Bargewright is not telling all he knows the guys fear.

Zyler is particularly zealous, his booming voice demanding the truth… to no avail, it seems Lord Thaelond and Goren’s business is a secret- all he will say is that Goren has something of his that he wants back, and that he has something of Goren’s that the Rogue undoubtedly would want to recover.

It goes back and forth for a good while, until the guys finally decide that the Drow can carry on guarding the way down to Bronzehammer Dwarf’s secrets, they’re going to Womford to find Goren. Ken Lee writes a letter for Kal’Zerth, the Drow Commander, explaining they’ll be back in a couple of days.

As Ken Lee puts it, we must rescue Goren, even if he is only a Woodpecker Elf.

At which point, in a touching moment, and having chosen their friend Goren over the plot of the adventure, Lord Thaelond- at last, tells all.

5) Goren’s Confession.

Goren is Lord Thaelond.

I mean…

Lord Thaelond is Goren.

The two have exchanged appearances, thanks to some half-arsed ritual perfected (not) by Telos the Wizard, one of Lord Thaelond’s hires. Alas the ritual can only be reversed if both Lord Thaelond and Goren are present. Otherwise the magic will wear off in a little while… anything up to thirty days.

Goren (who looks like Lord Thaelond) was supposed to win the Ironwrought- or at least finish in a respectable position, he came second- job done. At which point Telos was supposed to reverse the ritual so that the pair would take on their original appearances, and Goren would get paid while Lord Thaelond would take the plaudits.

However, Goren, who looks a lot like Lord Thaelond at present, has also figured out that Lord Thaelond (who looks a lot like Goren at the moment) may be languishing tied to a chair in someone’s basement, there is after all a hefty reward out on him at the moment.

It’s a shame he never thought of that before he played swapsies with Lord Thaelond’s face.

Or perhaps he did…

A short while after Goren also realises that if Lord Thaelond (who looks like Goren) were to disappear that would give him about a month to extract every penny out of Bargewright- which is obviously of no concern to him.

The guys are shocked by the Scooby Doo reveal.

A short while later they clear out of Bargewright- heading for Womford.

It’s the first day of Hammer, the first day of the new year, and- odd, it’s snowing, perhaps winter has at last arrived in the Dessarin Valley.


Session #052 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 Explore Dhol Kuldhir- find the ‘door at the end’. Quest #3 Find Savra, Lady Lara’s Sister- with the Flying Knights. Quest #4 Find Goren (who is Lord Thaelond really)

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). Bloodletter (Orc Chieftain), Telos (crap Wizard- with face exchanging ritual).

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- Grimm wins the final event of Bargewright- the Fight OFF, and also wins the Ironwrought Competition- he is champion for the year. Lord Thaelond comes second, while Zyler hangs on for third. Lord Klarg is working for some bad men on the river, and keeping an eye on the guys. Bloodletter (Orc Chieftain saved by Grimm) knows all about flying creatures. Gaelkur (the fence fleeing Red Larch) is about in Womford. Lastly Goren is Lord Thaelond, obviously- and Lord Thaelond (who is Goren) is missing.

XP Awarded-
1250 Section 1) The Fight OFF Finale!
1500 Section 2) Ironwrought Champions.
450 Section 3) Chatting with the Orcs.
200 Section 4) Ken Lee’s Invisible Investigations et al.
200 Section 5) Rescue Goren or to the Door at the End?
200 Section 6) Goren’s Confession.
3800 XP Total

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