054

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)

We play using Fantasy Grounds and Skype, usually once a week for approx. 3 hours.

And so-

Session #054 Wednesday 26th October 2016
Rescue Sir Gustav.

Starring-
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 6
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 6
Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue (Criminal) Level 6 looks a lot like Lord Thaelond, the ruler of Bargewright, at the moment- which is no bad thing.
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 6 back from his holidays.

Alas Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 6, or as he’s known to his friends- Christer, cannot be with us tonight because someone pulled the plug out of his laptop at work (or some other IT related end-of-world scenario). Zyler is therefore being botted by Zoki, who plays Grimm- the brothers in arms are together at last. Note Zoki even managed to recreate Christer’s dice rolling skills, his performance was nailed on- when it mattered he produced the goods = ‘1’.

Mindless violence, as promised, towards the end of the session.

The Action-

1) Recap in Brief.

Womford_Small.jpg

The guys are in Womford.

Very brief recap after the last two weeks of solid chatter, there’s plenty of projects that are ongoing-

a) Find Goren (actually Lord Thaelond)- next stop the Wharf Rats, a bunch of ‘bad men’ lead by Gaelkur who, according to popular opinion (Jarett’s), have got hold of the missing Lord of Bargewright.

b) Talk to High True Trader Denaris- will the guys go after the missing Knight, Sir Gustav? They also need to talk to the Priest about Strom Halifax, the Dwarf the guys are waiting for (to identify the Pitchblende- see Main Quest), apparently the High True Trader met with Strom in Triboar. The guys told Denaris they would be back with an answer for him this evening.

c) Sqwelch & the Gargoyles, the guy’s favourite Lizardman is out in the wilds trying to find the lair of the Gargoyles, he’s been gone since the 27th of Nightal. When he gets back the guys have said they will take action.

d) Drow & the Bronzehammer- a bunch of Drow, lead by Kal’Zerth, are guarding the way in to the Bronzehammer depths, Dhol Kuldhir- ‘the door at the end’. The guys have told Kal’Zerth they will investigate (that was the 29th of Nightal, they said they’d be back the next day… they’re late).

For info today is the 1st of Hammer, 1491- the Year of the Scarlet Witch.

2) Finding Goren- Gaelkur & the Wharf Rats.

The guys head to the docks, home they have been told to the Wharf Rats, a criminal gang lead by Gaelkur (who they know from Red Larch). It’s early evening and cold outside, every now and then there’s a flurry of snow- and some of it seems to be sticking around. Winter is here at last.

Lord Thaelond, with a little help from Zalt and his pet not-Owl- Tempest, gets close enough to spot a bunch of guys loading a row boat with kegs, while a trio of chunkier looking fellows keep watch. The guys didn’t have to look hard to find the Wharf Rats then.

Trade_Port_Small_LT.jpg

Lord T swings into action, striding onto the docks- and scaring the crap out of a couple of the heavies; his silver tongue alas fails him as he casually asks after Gaelkur and his missing shipment of salmon (and then rolls a ‘2’, and then when hard pressed a ‘4’ on his Deception checks, which even with adjustments for good role-play are just not enough). The heavies want rid of him fast, although they recognise that he is the Lord of Bargewright, and so they’re surprisingly polite but very insistent (and with crossbows). Lord T goes for the big guns- he bribes two of the heavies at a cost of 15gp each (I had 1gp each written in my notes as a potential bribe- Lord T just went supernova). The heavies are soon fawning over our guy, a Wharf Rat is sent to fetch ‘the boss’, Gaelkur; while Lord T has a snoop around the docks, looking for a Goren-sized container.

Gaelkur.jpg

Gaelkur- Wanted, probably.

Gaelkur turns up, he’s not that happy to see Lord T but he’s very polite, the two chat a while- Lord T explains that he is very keen to get his hands on a miscreant that stole money from him, a fellow by the name of Goren, so keen is he that he will pay 350gp to anyone that can deliver the troublesome Elf to him…

Obviously the guys know that the Wharf Rats have got Goren, they were told this by Jarett last session.

Only that’s not true- the Wharf Rats have not got Goren, some very ‘bad men’ have- the Wharf Rats, as Gaelkur explains at one point are not the ‘fookin’ Zhent, we’re jus’ small time crooks…’

Gaelkur would be happy to tell what he knows for a little immunity from the local law, and the price of a drink or two. That was until Lord T offered him 350 gold coins- that’s a lot (a lot) of money.

The conversation gets fractious, Gaelkur wants to get paid (big time now)- although he’s happy at the outset to concede that he doesn’t have Goren but he knows where he is, and who he’s with (and also how to get there). Lord T, for some unknown reason, feels he’s getting tricked. I think all the guys figured that the Wharf Rats had Goren, they were just going to rough them up and then get the fellow back- they’re not happy.

Gaelkur gets fed up with Lord T’s whining, he shrugs and goes to depart the scene- there follow raised voices and threats, until eventually Lord T sees sense and offers 150gp for the now much needed info. The rest of the guys have turned up on the docks at this point, and joined in the multiway shoutathon that passes for negotiations. It doesn’t help the situation that the guys were the people that (in a round-about way) put Gaelkur out of business back in Red Larch.

And so after a vigorous debate Gaelkur gets to tell his story (at the end of which he also gets paid), here goes-

A month or so ago a pair of tough guys (one a young thin fellow- as per the description of the guy Goren met in the Green Apple last session, the other was a fat Pirate) turned up Womford and told Gaelkur, and his crew, that they were the new power on the River. Gaelkur begged to differ, at which point the fat Pirate turned into a twelve foot long snake made entirely of water, the creature picked up and then crushed (and froze) one of the Wharf Rats. Gaelkur backed down, and got robbed a little.

The bad guys tell Gaelkur to keep them informed of events in Womford, the Wharf Rats contact is to be a guy called Pike, who runs a very small community (approx. 20 individuals) that live a shady life in a cluster of huts just a little up-river. Gaelkur knows Pike of old, he’s a good guy just a bit crazy.

The Wharf Rats discover that a bunch of these new River Pirates are staying with Pike, although Pike doesn’t seem to have had a say in the matter- the bad guys are very bad indeed- they pulled the same trick with the snake made of water, and killed one of Pike’s guys too.

The bad guys have a boat docked at Pike’s Landing, Pike says the boat is fast- very fast, incredibly fast. Pike is very wary of these new bad guys- he tells Gaelkur he’s terrified of them.

A tenday ago the two bad guys turn up again in Womford and tell Gaelkur to be on the look out for… well, our guys- the Union, they even have a Wanted poster for Goren-

Goren.jpg

The Wharf Rats are to keep an eye out for our guys, and get a message to the River Pirates as soon as the Union are spotted.

The Union arrives in Womford late on the 26th of Nightal, the Wharf Rats only learn this fact the morning after- and send a boat to Pike’s place to inform the bad men.

The bad men turn up mid-afternoon on the 27th, at which point the guys have already departed Womford with their new found friend Sqwelch, bound for the Goblin’s Tower. The bad men are not very happy at all, they issue threats and head back to Pike’s Landing.

The Union arrives back in Womford very early on the morning of the 28th, the Wharf Rats discover this fact only a few hours later and send for the bad men again.

The bad men arrive just in time to discover the guys have headed off to the Ironwrought competition. They are really not very happy- Gaelkur thinks they are going to kill him, and then…

Miracle of miracles, Jarett turns up to say that one of the Union- Goren, has just ventured back into town- the bad guys spare Gaelkur (and tell him to keep an eye out for the rest of the Union) and then head off to conduct their dark business.

That night Goren is taken from the Green Apple.

Gaelkur thinks that the bad men departed, back to Pike’s Landing, on the night of the 28th.

They are however headed for a place called Rivergard, an ancient river-side keep in the Sumber Hills, another Vraath ruin. Gaelkur has seen the place, and is happy to draw a map, the keep sits on the river with its own private dock. Gaelkur does not know the way to the fortress from the landward side, nor would he like to guess- the Sumber Hills are a dangerous (there be monsters) collection of scarps, screes and teetering pathways that snake and slither- sometimes to nowhere. A traveller could get lost, and eaten, very easily in the Sumber Hills.

In other words the river is the only safe way in- Gaelkur would be happy to take the guys to Pike’s Landing, and also happy to recommend an old smuggler- Shoalar, to take the guys all the way to Rivergard. He advises the Union that it will take him a couple of days to find Shoalar however…

Some of this info is plainly stated, other parts are weaselled out of the Wharf Rat’s boss.

The guys are having to think long and hard about what comes next, particularly because the journey upriver to Rivergard is going to take at least seven days… that’s a chunk of time that they can ill afford right now. More strategies and means of getting to Rivergard are explored- buying their own Keelboat (several of the guys have the Sailor background), or else heading to Rivergard on horseback- difficult because of the nature of the Sumber Hills (see above). Eventually the guys ask a bunch more questions of Gaelkur- in particular about the merits of Shoalar, the old smuggler.

By the end of the conversation they’re convinced that while the operation has merit it has just got pushed to the back of the queue because it’s going to take them well over a tenday to get there and back- not including time set aside for the invasion of Rivergard and the recovery of Goren (Lord Thaelond really). Bummer!

The guys tell Gaelkur they’ll be back, and then head off to see the High True Trader.

3) An Answer for the High True Trader.

Back at the Old Bridge Inn the guys get a second meeting with High True Trader Denaris.

High_True-Trader_Denaris.jpg

First up they accept Denaris’ job offer, they will be happy to go and check on the whereabouts of Sir Gustav on the morrow. Denaris is, of course, delighted- he pays for any expenses the adventurers may have up front.

Next up the guys ask the True Trader about a Dwarf called Strom Halifax, the fellow they are waiting for to value the cart full of Pitchblende they have stored in Red Larch (see the Main Plot).

Denaris knows of the Dwarf, it seems Strom is travelling with a large delegation of his fellows (and other races)- they departed Mirabar sometime ago but were caught in a terrible storm on the Long Road before they hit Longsaddle, the group were snowed in for at least a tenday. Travel outside of the Dessarin Valley, the True Trader states, is a very hazardous occupation, almost impossible in places- such is the snow, and the driving blizzards.

Denaris confirms that he saw Strom and the delegation arrive in Triboar on the 16th of Nightal, alas he set out for Womford on the same day. He is however certain that the delegation had many other tasks to complete but would eventually be heading this way- to Womford. After a rambling discussion the guys, with help from the True Trader, figure that the earliest Strom will arrive in Womford will be on the 19th of Hammer (in 18 days time). The High True Trader is however prepared to wager that Strom will not arrive in the town until Midwinter (in 30 days time).

In other words the guys have suddenly got time on their hands, and lots of things to do.

They exit the meeting with Denaris grinning- everyone is happy again.

4) Things to do.

The next morning in the Green Apple, over breakfast, the guys figure out their plan, here it is-

a) Go find Sir Gustav.

b) Back to Womford- is Sqwelch back with news of Gargoyles (if yes re-evaluate all below).

c) Check out Dhol Kuldhir- ‘the door at the end’, beneath Bargewright.

d) Back to Womford- is Sqwelch back with news of Gargoyles (if yes re-evaluate all below).

e) Go after Goren- to Rivergard.

f) Back to Womford- is Sqwelch back with news of Gargoyles (if yes re-evaluate all below).

That kind of thing, only with an interrupt button if and when Strom Halifax turns up.

With that in mind the guys visit with their Faction friends and spread the word, to Captain Soranna particularly, if Strom Halifax wanders into Womford then detain him (nicely) and explain that the guys are looking for him and that they will be back, basically keep him around until they return.

Ken Lee also has another task for Sertiernen, his Harper friend- he tells the Halfling Wizard all about Kal’Zerth, the Drow entrant to the Ironwrought that was later encountered in the Dwarven mines beneath the Bargewright, and that even now is guarding the way down to Dhol Kuldhir… and the question is- is Kal’Zerth a member of the Harpers? Because he says he is.

Sertieren.jpg

Sertiernen, the Halfling Wizard, friend of the Union.

Ken Lee is having a hard time taking this fact in. Sertiernen does not know the answer to Ken Lee’s question- certainly he has never heard of the Drow, although he has heard it said that there have been Drow members of the Harpers in the past (and possibly in the present). The Halfling Wizard will attempt to use his contacts to find out what he can.

Chatter done the guys get their kit together, saddle up, and hit the road.

5) Attack on Sir Gustav’s Camp.

They arrive at what looks to be Sir Gustav’s camp (exactly as directed by High True Trader Denaris) on the Iron Road in the early afternoon, the weather is cold and fresh with stinging gusts of snow every now and then, and now with a thin crust of snow on exposed ground.

Alas the Union are still a way out from the camp when they hear the sound of screaming, suddenly the men and women ahead of them are rushing about in a fury- there are more cries and shouts, the place is under attack. Alas the guys cannot see the attackers from their position on the road, nor they can help immediately- they’re too far away.

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Attack on the Camp.

The opening moments are painful for the guys (thanks to the cruel DM), the adventurers are too far away (and without line of sight), all they can see is a whole host of attack rolls in the Chat Window of Fantasy Grounds. The DM delights in describing the screams of the dying- at which point I tell the guys that they will receive bonus XP for keeping the remaining members of the camp alive, which is already too late for at least three of Sir Gustav’s men.

The camp initially consisted of eight Guards and four Commoners, a Master of Hounds- and his three Mastiffs, and lastly Squire Conrad- no Sir Gustav the guys note.

The Union race over on horseback still, several dismounting at the end of their charge- they get busy with it, the initial attack on the camp seems to be being lead by a Pale Gnoll, they’ve fought one of these bastards before but that was a good while ago. The Pale Gnoll is accompanied by a pack of Gnolls, and a clutch of rough-looking men, Bandits.

Gnoll_Necromancer_by_velinov.jpg

Pale Gnoll.

Zalt manages to quickly (and very effectively) break up the attack by planting a Hunger of Hadar spell in the entrance to the ruins (encompassing a clutch of Gnolls and Bandits). In the process halting three more enemies- preventing them from getting any closer to the action- the way is suddenly blocked by the shivering inky blackness of the spell. Ken Lee follows up with his traditional party starter- Fireball; the Gnolls and the Bandits suffer. The guys think they have a handle on the situation.

That is until a trio of Stone Guards- these guys are much much tougher, suddenly make their appearance- more camp followers meet their maker. I went back and reread, and then counted through, the Chat Text from this session- my dice were on fire, I managed nine ’20’s for my bad guys- rolling two in a row on two separate occasions.

Stone_Guard.jpg

Stone Guards- Tough and Badass, a fateful combination.

The first Stone Guard into action manages to smash down two of Sir Gustav’s Guards in its first two attacks (yeah both Crits). The guys around the table are really not enjoying this, they get very frustrated when the people they are supposed to be saving start taking a beating. I think they almost prefer it when it’s there guys getting hit.

Ken Lee, the Wizard, stays on his warhorse throughout the battle- riding in to rescue the camp followers from the attackers- putting himself and his mount in danger in order to save the Guards and Commoners. He’s a hero of the common man…

Meantime Grimm and Zyler (with Squire Conrad and the few Guards left) are going toe-to-toe with the Stone Guards- more Guards fall, the Order of the Gauntlet duo- with help from a screaming Ken Lee eventually convince Sir Conrad (soon critically wounded) and the remainder of the Guards to get the hell out of combat.

All the while Lord Thaelond (Goren) stays hidden as he mooches from shadow to shadow, firing deadly accurate arrows (with Sneak Attack) into the melee. Zalt concentrates his fire on the Gnolls and the Pale Gnoll in particular, these creatures are ferocious- charging around in a pack, tearing at any creature they catch.

Ken Lee manages to ride through the battle field in an effort to locate the Master of Hounds and his dogs, and come to his rescue- the guys can hear the poor fellow screaming for assistance. Alas the Wizard arrives just to late, or at least just in time to fire the last Gnoll full of Magic Missiles. The Master of Hounds however is dead, as is one of his Mastiffs, the other two moments later also flee the scene.

The last enemies to fall are, of course, the three Stone Guards (they’re very tough)- Zyler gets hurt but Grimm takes a beating- soaking up at least two critical hits in the melee, he’s on eight hit points when the fight finally comes to an end.

Oh at this point it’s also worth mentioning that Zyler (botted by Zoki) continued with the PCs traditional excellent dice rolling- at least at the start of the melee, in his first four attacks for Zyler he rolled- ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘4’ & ‘1’. If it wasn’t for the Luck points that Zoki was spending the Priest of Battle would not have made any impression on his enemies. As it happened the Luck rolls turned out to be, well… lucky- two hits one a critical, by the end of the melee Zyler was hitting pretty much every time he attacked (and he was attacking the Stone Guards- very high AC).

At least one Gnoll and a pair of Bandits manage to flee with their lives, of the camp members the survivors now resemble a somewhat forlorn looking company- five of the eight Guards are dead, two of those still standing are critically wounded. Two of the Commoners are dead, the Master of Hounds and his mutts are all dead or else fled, and Squire Conrad is barely able to stand…

Victory, but at a price.

ENCOUNTER #75
PCs 5 x Level 6
Monsters 3 Bandits 25 XP each, 3 Gnolls 100 XP each, 3 Stone Guards 575 XP each & Pale Gnoll 700 XP
XP 2800 Adjusted 7000 CR 10
Deadly

That however is the end of the session.


Session #054 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) Quest #5 Go find Sir Gustav and the entrance to the Halls of the Hunting Axe.

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! Speaker Westron- Mayor, of sorts, of Womford. High True Trader Denaris, of the Church of Waukeen (Patron for Quest #5 find Sir Gustav).

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- Goren (Lord Thaelond) has been grabbed by some very bad guys that live in a place called Rivergard (an old Vraath place) a way upriver. Strom Halifax is going to be very late, although plenty of people are now looking out for him. The guys set off to rescue Sir Gustav, and arrive just in time to defend the camp from attack from some rather nasty foes.

XP Awarded-
700 Section 2) Finding Goren- Gaelkur & the Wharf Rats.
450 Section 3) An Answer for the High True Trader.
2800 Section 5) Attack on Sir Gustav’s Camp.
200 Section 5) Saving Squire Conrad.
4150 XP Total

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