055

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 #055 Wednesday 2nd November 2016
Zyler, Destroyer of Worlds.

Note actual destruction of Worlds not guaranteed- no money back.

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
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 6

Mindless violence aplenty this session.

The Action-

1) Recap in Brief.

The guys suddenly have time to kill- their contact Strom Halifax (see Main Plot) will not be in Womford until (the High True-Trader says) the 19th of Hammer 1491, today’s date is the 2nd Hammer 1491. Actually the True Trader was happy to wager that Strom would not put in appearance until Midwinter- that’s 29 days from today… The guys, as stated above, are at a loose end- but with plenty to do.

First job then is to head up the Iron Road to find out what has happened to Sir Gustav, a Knight from Waterdeep (via Triboar) that travelled with the True Trader to Womford, and then went off into the wilds looking for the Halls of the Hunting Axe. The Halls are a long lost Dwarven hold said to contain both the secrets and the treasures of an ancient Dwarven clan. Ken Lee is particularly interested in finding the Halls, for which read the Harpers are very interested.

The guys head down the Iron Road to Sir Gustav’s camp- they arrive just as the camp is attacked by a Pale Gnoll leading a pack of Gnolls, and three tough Stone Guards leading a group of Bandits. The fight is furious and bloody (and fiery and spooky- see Hunger of Hadar spell). The bad guys are mostly destroyed- save for two Bandits that fled, and a Gnoll that is incapacitated, courtesy of a Hold Person spell from Ken Lee. The camp followers however take a real beating- five of the eight Guards are dead, two of those still standing are critically wounded. Two of the four Commoners are dead, the Master of Hounds and his mutts are all dead or else fled, and Squire Conrad is barely able to stand…

The guys set about clearing up the mess.

2) After the Fracas.

Squire_Conrad.jpg

Squire Conrad- seen in better times.

First up Squire Conrad, an earnest young man who is a little out of his depth, the guys start off by dishing out the healing, putting the fires out (after Ken Lee’s Fireball burnt at least one tent- and all its contents, to the ground), and hogtying the Gnoll. That done there follows much chatter with Squire Conrad, the Union are wondering where Sir Gustav is, here’s the low down-

a) Sir Gustav headed into the ruined hold on the 26th of Nightal 1490, that’s a week ago- he said he would be back on the 28th so that they could break camp and head back to Womford and then on to the Ironwrought competition. Worst case scenario Sir Gustav said he would be back on the 28th, so that he could see the finale of the Ironwrought.

b) When Sir Gustav failed to return Squire Conrad and a bunch of Guards entered to search for him- they were attacked by lots of Dwarf Zombies- there were casualties, they fled.

c) The second attempt to find Sir Gustav also went badly, the group were attacked by some sort of shadowy spirit- there were more casualties, the group fled back to the surface.

d) The third attempt to find Sir Gustav, attempted earlier today, resulted in Squire Conrad and the Guards getting lost for an hour or so, panicking, and then fleeing back to the surface (eventually). The camp was attacked an hour or so later, just as the guys turned up.

e) Sir Gustav has a number of companions with him, namely-

Galder, a female Human Priest of Tempus,
Ren, a female Halfling sneak Thief,
Bryn & Cora, very cute twin female Wood Elf Rangers,
Kessa Landau, a beautiful female Half-Elven Wizard,
Eshala, a stunningly beautiful female Human Fighter,
Ulf, a female Dwarven Paladin of Kelemvor (the God of the Dead), and
Rowan, a beautiful female Elven Fighter.

Sir Gustav is described as a burly male Human Paladin of Waukeen.

The guys immediately begin referring to Sir Gustav’s companions as the ‘groupies’, Grimm nods sagely, he understands the burden that comes with being supremely good, physically beautiful and incredibly charismatic- Paladin’s have it tough.

f) Squire Conrad pleads with the guys to rescue Sir Gustav, the Union are already sold- of course they’re heading in there, they want to find the Halls of the Hunting Axe after all. The Squire hints heavily that Sir Gustav would be very generous with his reward, should it transpire he needs rescuing… Sold.

Next up- the Gnoll.

Gnoll.JPG

The creature, initially, isn’t very helpful- part of the problem being it doesn’t understand the common tongue- that is until Zalt starts ‘talking’ to the creature telepathically. The ferocious humanoid is somewhat awed when voices start sounding in his head. The guys however learn very little- except to say that the Gnolls are lead by the ‘Lord of War’, and that there are thousands of them- set to destroy pretty much everywhere. They also discover that the Pale Gnolls are called the ‘Warborn’, and that they are the chosen of the ‘Lord of War’.

Gnoll_Necromancer_by_velinov.jpg

Pale Gnoll = Warborn.

The number of questions the Gnoll fails to answer, discounting naughty swear words and threats, begin to stack up- the guys, in short, have to resort to plan B. Plan A being to repeatedly threaten to kill the Gnoll- bring it on is the creature’s reply, although often more colourfully expressed.

The charm offensive- the central idea of which is the guys are going to somehow work to set the Gnoll up as a leader of its kind… fails, repeatedly. Zalt eventually ends the thing- displaying a mean streak a mile wide. The snarling humanoid attempts to escape from its bonds after the first blow lands but the Warlock means business- he smashes the Gnoll’s skull with his Spider Staff.

3) Tracking Sir Gustav.

After a little R&R the guys descend into the, very obviously, ruined Dwarven hold; Squire Conrad in the meantime is abandoning camp- he and the remaining crew (with the guy’s horses) are heading back to Womford- there’s no way they can defend their position in the wilds.

The guys are in a mini-game (sorta) with regard to the moving through the dungeon- they make checks at each ‘junction’ to see if they can fathom which way Sir Gustav and his groupies went. Each check takes five minutes (cumulative), moving between ‘junctions’ takes 5 to 30 minutes, also if the guys get lost it takes another 5 to 30 minutes to realise this, and then they have to make a Survival check (each check takes a further 5 minutes) to get back to the last ‘junction’ they were at. If the guys wish to return to the surface at any point they can do so but it takes them half their total travelling time. So, if it takes 5 hours travelling time to find Sir Gustav, it will take 2.5 hours to get back to the surface.

There are obviously other events and encounters to be had within the labyrinth of chambers that is the ruined Dwarven hold.

And so…

HeroicMaps_Abandoned_Dwarven_Mine_Tunnels52_Small.jpg

The first ‘junction’, and with four possible exits- and the place is a mess of tracks, many of which obviously belong to Squire Conrad and the Guards… The guys stumble, for a bit, at the first hurdle- after much consideration (and bad dice rolls- Ken Lee with advantage rolls ‘1’ & ‘2’, followed by Zalt with advantage rolling ‘4’ & ‘4’- oh how we laughed) they have no idea which direction they should be heading. Lord T finally figures it out- north, up the larger of the two corridors, and twenty minutes later into…

HeroicMaps_Abandoned_Dwarven_Hold_Corridors44_Small.jpg

The second ‘junction’ with five possible exits, and a body… the guys discover the remains of what must be Eshala, the stunningly beautiful female Human Fighter. Several checks later the guys have pocketed what coin they can find on the deceased, discovered that she was killed by two massive puncture wounds (the suggestion is they were delivered by a horned creature- Minotaur, the guys all shout at once), and that the body is very cold- best guess Eshala died on the 26th…

There follows a brief chat, followed by a consensus- the Union are certain that Sir Gustav and his groupies headed north again.

At which point a dozen Skeletons, the floors of the passages are dotted with the remains of the fallen, rise up to prevent the guys from leaving.

4) Raging Skeleton Bulls.

A pair of Skeletons invade the chamber from every possible entrance, the guys are very quickly in the thick of it- surprise, surprise- soon after Zyler is taking a beating (AC 21- best in the party by 4) and swinging and missing; Grimm of course is doing exactly the opposite. The Paladin of Tymora takes down half of the Skeletons in a little over ten seconds with Stirgeswatter (his Masterwork Maul). Normal service is resumed.

But what’s this- Zyler starts getting mouthy, complaining that Tymora has infected him- wearing away at his luck. The Priest of Tempus decides in a daring new strategy to try shouting “Tempus” even more loudly than before, and interspersing his voluble epithets with a smattering of hardcore potty mouth. Prayers to the God of Battle are now quite liberally sprinkled with the magic ‘F’ word, a daring new approach.

Bugger me but it works…

Over the next four rounds of attacks Zyler hits every time, Grimm on the other hand rolls four ’1’s and a number of ’3’s and ’4’s. The downside to this strategy is of course that Zyler’s hits deliver 12-20 damage each time (Vulnerable Bludgeoning vs Warhammer), while Grimm’s hits with Great Weapon Master (et al) deliver a shit ton of damage.

The Skeletons survive for a little while longer…

Minotaur_Skeleton.jpg

Back to the narrative- suddenly a Minotaur Skeleton comes charging down the northern corridor- it smashes Ken Lee down, bloodying the Wizard in an instant. Ten seconds later a second Minotaur Skeleton dashes up the southern corridor (from whence the guys came), and smashes into… Ken Lee again, the Wizard retreated to the back of the party just in time to take the second hit. Nice..

Lord T stays out of trouble, the Rogue takes to the shadows and peppers combat with arrows- he never misses.

The fracas is furious, the result however is inevitable, although it is heartening to see both Zalt and Ken Lee, magical staves in hand, taking on the second Minotaur Skeleton, the pair even manage to work up a sweat. Zalt remarks after the last Skeleton has fallen-

“It’s surprisingly invigorating this hitting things with sticks.” Ken Lee concurs.

Much healing is needed.

The fight however is won.

ENCOUNTER #76
PCs 5 x Level 6
Monsters 12 Skeletons 50 XP each & 2 Minotaur Skeletons 450 XP
XP 1500 Adjusted 4500 CR 8
Hard

Further checks and Ken Lee is convinced that this Dwarven hold was once home to the Bronzehammers (a theme seems to be developing)… and with that being the case Zalt summons his good friend Wodger.

stone-dwarf1.jpg

Wodger!

The Warlock is guarded.

The Union heads on- north again.

5) Ulf & the Wraith.

Twenty minutes later the Union is stopped in their tracks by an odd sound coming from the last alcove ahead-

HeroicMaps_Abandoned_Dwarven_Hold_Corridors50_Small.jpg

Zalt and Ken Lee are sent to investigate, Lord T is having nothing to do with it- the pair discover a heavily armoured female Dwarf hanging from a rope attached to the ceiling within the last alcove. After discussion the guys concur that this must be Ulf, a female Dwarven Paladin of Kelemvor (the God of the Dead), another one of Sir Gustav’s groupies. Investigations are made, with extreme caution, however there’s nothing much to be found, at least not that they can discern.

Mormesk.jpg

Ken Lee draws the short straw and attempts to wrestle the body down- at which point of course the Wraith suddenly launches itself out of Ulf’s corpse and begins throttling the now terrified Wizard, Zalt reacts quickly and fires a pair of Eldricth Blasts into the undead terror. The Wraith quickly retreats, disappearing through the wall of the passage.

Ken Lee is broken- bloodied (from full to 13 hit points in the blink of an eye), what’s more the Wraith’s touch has drained the very life force from the Elf (13 hit points is now the Wizard’s maximum hit points- sucks to be him). While the warriors guard against further attack Zyler attempts to make good the Elf, alas there’s nothing the power of prayer can do.

Ken Lee is not happy, although he’s stoic.

The Wraith doesn’t come back- the Union ventures on, after emptying Ulf’s pockets, northwards.

6) Traps & a dead Elf.

Twenty minutes later they arrive in another ‘junction’, although there’s only one exit to the north… the Union are wary, which is fortunate- by committee they discover the outline of a pit trap and a pressure plate…

HeroicMaps_Abandoned_Dwarven_Hold_Corridors64_Small_text.jpg

Lord T is sent to the front of the queue, the Rogue soon has the pit open, it’s twenty feet deep and lined with spikes- nasty, also there’s another body in it. The pressure plate alas is a mystery- best guess it triggers something, no shit Sherlock (note- not all rolls are high). The body in the pit turns out to be either Bryn or Cora, one of the very cute twin female Wood Elf Rangers that Sir Gustav had for (ahem) company.

Lord T skilfully descends to recover the body, the Rogue is midway through this process when the Wraith floats through one of the walls of the chamber and begins to throttle Zalt… remarkably the Warlock staves off the undead creature’s life draining effect.

7) Return of the Wraith.

The guys go hog crazy on the Wraith (who rolls a bloody ‘1’ on its Initiative), the Union unleash all they have got- the highlight of this event is Zyler, again swinging furiously and swearily screaming Tempus’ name- the Priest of Battle never misses, and even rolls high for damage (unheard of).

Alas during the fracas Lord Thaelond has to quickly manoeuvre, he treads on what turns out to be another pressure plate- Indiana Jones style darts are fired into the central section of the chamber from both sides, several of the Union take hits (only piddling damage). The guys are however on a mission, Grimm combines Great Weapon Fighter with Divine Smite (although he’s still rolling lowish), and with the last hit- just before the undead ambusher gets a chance to depart again, Zalt finally finishes the Wraith…

The fight is won.

ENCOUNTER #77
PCs 5 x Level 6
Monsters Wraith 1800 XP
XP 1800 Adjusted 1800 CR 5
Easy

That however is the end of the session.

The guys have spent 90 minutes so far travelling, should they wish to return to the surface from here it will take them 45 minutes. They have found three of Sir Gustav’s groupies already- all, alas, dead.


Session #055 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). Sir Gustav (Paladin of Waukeen), Squire Conrad, and his groupies- Galder, Ren, Bryn (RIP possibly) & Cora (RIP possibly), Kessa Landau, Eshala (RIP), Ulf (RIP), and Rown..

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- After the fight- Sir Gustav is missing, the Gnoll prisoner has little to say- except about the Lord of War. Into the ancient (Bronzehammer) Dwarven hold- in search of the missing Paladin, his eight groupies, and the entrance to the Halls of the Hunting Axe. Undead- Skeletons and then a Wraith- an hour and a half in and the all the guys have to show for it are cuts and bruises, and the dead bodies of three of the missing Paladin’s beautiful female companions.

XP Awarded-
100 Section 2) After the Fracas- Squire Conrad.
200 Section 2) After the Fracas- Interrogate the Gnoll.
100 Section 3) Tracking Sir Gustav- Entrance Chamber.
100 Section 3) Tracking Sir Gustav- Eshala at Sixways.
1500 Section 4) Raging Skeleton Bulls.
200 Section 5) Ulf & the Wraith.
200 Section 6) Traps & a dead Elf.
1800 Section 7) Return of the Wraith.
4200 XP Total

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055

Goonalan's D&D 5th Edition Campaigns goonalan