060

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
The Red Larch Adventure.

The Union consists of-
Bob (Now Sweden & the world) playing Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard
Christer (Sweden) playing Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus
Pedja (Germany) playing Goren Naeris, Male Wood Elf Rogue aka (atm) Lord T.
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 Google Hangouts, usually once a week for approx. 3 hours.

And so-

Session #060 Thursday 8th December 2016
The Cursed Bronzehammers.

Starring-
Zalt, Male Half-Elf Warlock (Sailor) Level 7
Grimm, Male Human (Variant) Paladin of Tymora (Sailor) Level 7
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.
Zyler, Male Human (Variant) Cleric of Tempus (Hermit) Level 7
Ken Lee, Male High Elf Wizard (Folk Hero) Level 7

A great session, the fact that the guys had not taken a short rest prior to the start of the next encounter really shook things up, there were ragged cheers for Lord Thaelond (actually Goren) played by Pedja when he spent his Inspiration Point and rolled up another ‘20’, his third (effectively) in a row. After the big fight there was a great deal of chatter about just how close the guys had come to a PC death, or perhaps even a TPK.

The Action-

0) Here’s the PLOT.

Go here (actually just over there, to the right) for the PLOT page, this is the place that records all the events and info that has been accumulated regarding a variety of plot (maybe) points. Updated weekly- from now.

Also each week the guys will be summarising, deleting, joining together, or else adding to this list.

Oh, and yes there’s plenty going on but that’s because we’re at the start (still-ish), there’s a lot more to come which may bring some of these points together, and some of this info is just, well… info, not really plot at all.

The summaries are going to help a lot (I hope), as the guys are doing them, they will also give me the opportunity to see what they are thinking…

1) Recap in Brief.

In (very) short- Bronzehammer ruins, after Sir Gustav and his groupies (and the entrance to Halls of the Hunting Axe). The guys have spent the last Tempus knows how many sessions in the dungeon so far, apart from enemies and traps the only other thing they have encountered are the dead bodies of a number of Sir Gustav’s companions-

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

One of Sir Gustav’s groupies split off from the main party and headed out on their own, why they did this is unknown.

Which just leaves Sir Gustav and one other, and one of the pair is bleeding badly.

Last session the guys descended into the Underdark™ and smashed their way through a clutch of bloody (bleeding from their ears, mouth, eyes- urgghhh, weird) Troglodytes, and then rushed on towards the sound of more fighting. In a large cavern corridor like chamber they encountered a bunch of stone masked Monks fighting a bunch of Drow, the Drow seem to have captured Sir Gustav.

Several hours (about 6 rounds in-game) later the guys have figured out that the Drow are the same Dark Elves they encountered in the Bronzehammer ruins beneath Bargewright (lead by Kal’Zerth), and that stone masked Monks are the bad guys. Slightly disappointing because the guys tried initially to side with the Monks against the Drow.

Also of note is the fact that the Drow are also bloodied about the face- specifically around their ears, noses, mouths and eyes… there’s something very strange going on here.

Comp_Kal_Zerth.jpg

Kal’Zerth- remember him?

The last two Monks are cut down (by Grimm) just as the previous session draws to a close.

At which point the guys collectively breath a sigh of relief, they’re all slightly wounded (or worse) at the end of the fracas, and they’re all either out of spell slots or very (very) low, from memory I think Zyler had 2 spell slots left, Ken Lee maybe one, Zalt and Grimm- nada.

2) Rock Hard.

And so…

Forgive me if I take a moment to explain what happens next.

The guys are about to extract information from the Drow (and Kal’Zerth) when the narrow passage they are in suddenly shudders, stone and dust rains down from the ceiling- the area is clearly unsafe (although no injuries to report). The quake however does not subside- it rumbles on (necessitating repeated Dex checks for the guys to keep on their feet), a second later a Drow rushes into sight and screams at Kal’Zerth, Zalt & Ken Lee translate- apparently something very strange is happening in the next chamber.

Kal’Zerth hot foots it off- the guys scream questions at the fleeing Drow- what lies ahead, “the Curse of the Bronzehammer’s”, and, “the Stone! It MOVES!” are Kal’Zerth’s mysterious replies, only without the swearing. Some of the guys are reluctant to head on- they’re wounded, out of spells, and certainly don’t trust the Drow; Zyler however is in shouty mode. The Priest of Tempus screams loudly and rushes off to render assistance (or at least find out wtf is going on). The rest of the guys, eventually head forward.

Here’s the first picture.

Underdark_Obelisk.jpg

Right then, here goes- the cavern is massive, the ceiling lost mostly to the darkness, only ‘mostly’ because from around twenty feet up the entire chamber is seemingly filled with floating circular balls of light- the largest maybe six inches in diameter (and there are hundreds of them), all colours, just… floating in the air. In the centre of the clearing is a ramped depression, spiralling down to a circular stone block mounted on which is a ten foot tall stone column or obelisk (plain to look at- five sided). Oddly the obelisk is not actually connected to its mounting, it hovers a few feet above it, and is rotating. As the guys rush into the chamber the stone monolith begins to spin a little faster. But that’s not all, the entire centre section is contained within a shimmering (but transparent) force-field (or similar), the projected field is inscribed with a massive hammer coloured gold, or else bronze (that’s the Bronzehammers then).

En route to this chamber the guys have also encountered the (very) dead body of Kessa Landau (they presume), the Half-Elf Wizard that accompanied Sir Gustav on his venture, during the action that follows both Ken Lee and Zalt take a moment to rifle the dead Mage in search of anything they can use. There’s just no respect anymore…

Also in the chamber is the unconscious (and worse- poisoned & incapacitated) body of Sir Gustav (the guys think- and they’d be right to).

The Union gawps a bit at the new (although probably ancient) Bronzehammer device.

Stone_Guard.jpg

At which point a section of the cavern is torn asunder and a quartet of bad guys emerge from the newly created rift, two more of the Stone Guards clutching to the flank of the burrowing beast that brought them here, while on the back of the beast is a heavily armoured Knight, the beast in question is a Bulette.

Burrowshark.jpg

Here comes trouble- is the consensus of the guys.

The Knight on the Bulette yells for parley and then swiftly issues his demands, while pointing with his spear at the fallen Sir Gustav, he lays claim to the Paladin- ‘the one they call Grimm’, is how he puts it. Hand the Paladin “Grimm” over and the rest of the guys can flee this place with their lives. That’s the deal…

Ken Lee clarifies things, “So, you want Grimm”, he states- pointedly pointing at Sir Gustav, “and then we can clear off?” The second case of mistaken identity after the capture of Goren/Lord Thaelond- and clearly someone is after the guys.

The Union are not keen on fighting (they have very little in the way of resources remember, and the last time they fought Stone Guards they proved to be tough, and they figure the Bulette and the Knight are going to prove to be at least as dangerous), there’s a babble of chatter. Eventually Ken Lee takes matters into his hands- the guys are also conscious of the fact that their buffs are running down, the Wizard slams a Firebolt into the nearest Stone Guard (he hasn’t got much of anything else left).

For good measure, having started the fight, the Mage retreats back into the corridor and robs the dead Half-Elf Wizard there, only to discover that Zalt has already nicked the spellbook (the bastard), Ken Lee grabs a Potion flask.

Obelisk_Detail.jpg

The Obelisk in Action.

The fight kicks off, although the first thing that happens is there’s a sudden burst of ear-splitting noise from the rapidly spinning obelisk which also changes form for an instant (see image above). The sonic wave causes all of those within the chamber to begin to bleed from their ears. Ah- that explains the Trogs, and the Drow.

It gets nasty very quickly- the guys have Kal’Zerth and four Drow with them, in the opening moments two of the Drow are cut down and Kal’Zerth takes an absolute beating- moments later Grimm suffers a similar fate. The Knight dismounts his Bulette and sets about the guys accompanied by the two Stone Guards, the Knight’s attacks are terrifying (or else they would be if I didn’t roll so low- one round I managed to ’1’s in a row). The spear this guy is wielding hits hard and also delivers added Thunder damage, as do the great stone clubs of the Stone Guards.

Lord Thaelond sinks an arrow into one of the Stone Guards (natural ‘20’) and then gets the hell out of dodge, the Rogue is a big advocate of the retreat, he grabs Sir Gustav’s fallen body and legs it. A second or so later the Bulette burrows into the ground, at the Knight’s signal- “Fetch!”.

It doesn’t help things in the opening moments that all of the guys (pretty much) miss with pretty much all of their attacks. Thanks be to Tempus however because Zyler’s Spirit Guardians are still swirling around the Priest and kicking arse (they’re the biggest hitters for the first few rounds). Zyler is reduced to using his last few Healing Words, handing out Potions of Greater Healing, and providing moral support.

Over the course of the next few rounds the obelisk continues to spin even faster, and the bursts of ear shattering sound keep coming, and they’re getting worse (starts 1d4 Thunder damage, failed save for half- then 1d6, then 1d8, all the way to 1d20 in the last round of the fight). The guys are terrified every round as just after Ken Lee in the intitiative order is the obelisk- and it really hurts.

The Union go through their Healing Potions remarkably quickly.

In the meantime Ken Lee and Lord Thaelond (with the body of Sir Gustav) are still keen on retreating (actually Ken Lee is running to save his life)- that is until the Bulette catches up with the pair, rips through stony ground of the passage and leaps onto them. Ken Lee makes his save and survives (on something like 2 hit points), Lord T survives courtesy of his Uncanny Dodge, the pair flee- Ken Lee away from the fight (he’s on the wrong side of the Bulette and can’t get past it), while the only way Lord T can go is back into the chamber and the fracas.

A second or so later, after Lord T’s second ‘20’, the first Stone Guard falls- for the first time in perhaps forever the guys are really concentrating fire- and offering plenty of advice to each other, the air waves are filled with chatter- mostly one or three of them shouting “HIT IT! HIT IT!” The cheer that greeted the second ‘20’ from Lord T was titanic.

Zyler is continuing to keep Grimm on his feet (although he’s soon completely out of spells), Grimm is hanging in there (seemingly permanently swinging between around 18 hit points and 3 hit points- healed, gets beaten down, healed again, beaten down again, etc.). Zalt is mostly missing, and failing all of his saves against the ear-splitting shrieks, the Warlock is soon down to single figure hit points. Ken Lee is a broken Wizard- he cowers well away from the action and glugs down Potions of Healing while trying to jam bits of rag and cloth into his ears. Lord T is likewise failing saves, he however is smart enough to keep away from the fight- and he’s rolling high to hit and on his saves. Soon after the second Stone Guard falls, taken down by one of Zalt’s Eldritch Blasts- the Warlock prior to this attempts to push the Knight back into the force-field, alas the stone man is immovable.

The guys start hitting (the Knight), while I start rolling ’1’s and ’3’s- bastard. The Knight calls his Bulette to him, the great beast burrows up into the cavern, which turns out to be a cue for Grimm to abandoned his magic two-handed sword “Hewer”, and to just grab onto and grapple the Knight (with a ‘20’, double bastard).

Compounding my misery Lord T rolls his third consecutive ‘20’, although this time after spending an Inspiration Point, the bastard rolls high for lots of damage (2d8 plus 6d6 for 42 damage), the Knight is almost sunk- and desperate to get away (but fails to escape Grimm’s clutches).

The stone obelisk emits yet another terrifying noise- and the Knight is down, and all of the guys (save Ken Lee who is nearly on another map) are almost broken too, Zalt is healthiest with maybe 8 hit points.

The last two Drow also fall, while Kal’Zerth (on 5 hit points) is now also retreating rapidly.

The Bulette watches its master fall and then choses a target at random, there are four of the guys clustered around the now deceased Knight and its emerging mount- the DM rolls, and attacks Wodger… and rolls a ‘20’ (for 8d12+4 piercing damage = 64 damage), that attack would have killed outright any one of the other guys (Zalt, Grimm or Zyler). Wodger is however immune to non-magical weapon attacks- the Stone Guardian is briefly swallowed by the beast, a second later Wodger beats his way back out of the creature- much to the Bulette’s chagrin.

stone-dwarf1.jpg

Wodger- Zalt’s BF.

The guys figure they have until the next sonic burst to either flee, beat down the Bulette (then flee), and/or to stop the obelisk from emitting another one of its shocking bursts. For info the Bulette has maybe 40 hit points left- Zyler’s Spirit Guardians slash and claw at it, while the Priest of War is as accurate as ever with “Sprainbringer”- his magical warhammer (he misses), Grimm however doesn’t miss- and for his last attack he adds in a little Great Weapon Master bonus damage (-5 to hit, +10 damage)…

He connects and the Bulette falls.

At which point there’s only Zalt (and Ken Lee, but he’s at least two full rounds Dash away from the action) between the guys and the next sonic burst- and (unless I roll particularly low) unconsciousness.

Zalt goes for it, the Warlock issues mental commands (telepathically) to the stone column and leaps into the force-field, miraculously he doesn’t fall, he floats- directly to the spinning stone column. The Warlock, again telepathically, orders the stone to cease, to shut down…

He hears the following, all delivered in Dwarvish, although in a slow stilted voice.

Power sequence initiated
Power sequence reversing
Power down
Stabilising
Mission one, Test one- complete
Check run complete
Status: normal

Most odd- and yet the massive stone obelisk over the course of the next few seconds slows down and then stops spinning, it descends into the coupling beneath it.

At the same time Zalt slowly floats back down to the cavern floor.

The terror is over.

ENCOUNTER #85
PCs 4 x Level 7 & 1 x Level 6
Monsters 2 Stone Guards 575 XP each, Dark Stone Knight 1450 XP & Bulette 1800 XP
XP 4400 Adjusted 8800 CR 12
Deadly

3) Stories of the Lost & Found.

And rest… at last.

The guys give the entire area a thorough examination, there’s little of interest to find here- the force-field surrounding the obelisk is still in place, although the hundreds of myriad glowing spheres of light have since winked out of existence.

The bodies of the Stone Guards and Knight (and the Stone Fist Monks from last session) have all hardened and turned to rock, they have been reduced to crumbling brittle statues, the guys have witnessed this phenomena before. There’s a little treasure to be found, although nothing of great worth (save for a few more Potions of Healing on the dead Wizard).

The chamber is searched, thoroughly, there’s nothing odd or interesting to be found, and so it’s time for those that were lost to tell their stories, Sir Gustav- now revived, is first up.

Sir Gustav is indeed a Knight, and from Waterdeep- his family home, he has been interested in the Dessarin Valley for many years, and in particular has studied long and hard to discover the location of the Halls of the Hunting Axe, an ancient treasury of the Bronzehammer Dwarves, and the subject of his present quest. Although the Paladin of Waukeen now severely doubts his findings, and his desire to continue adventuring.

Sir Gustav tells the terrible tale of his time in the Bronzehammer ruins, he blames himself (and is distraught) for the misfortunes that befell his group. It seems Sir Gustav’s gang were attacked on the very first level of the dungeon by the Wraith, this after one of their number was killed by Minotaur Skeletons. The Wraith also accounted for another of the party, while fleeing from the terrible undead another two members of the group met their end in a chamber filled with traps. The adventurers were forced to descend into the depths, this after Sir Gustav’s bride to be (Rowan) was separated from the group (or what was left of it), again by the Wraith- which haunted them still.

In the mines the remaining adventurers (Sir Gustav +3 others) were attacked by the Ghouls and Ghasts (as the guys were), two more of the group were killed by the undead terrors, only Sir Gustav and the Half-Elf Wizard, Kessa Landau, survived.

The pair were forced down again- they were being pursued (by the Stone Fist Monks this time, the guys found this mob’s tracks earlier), into the Underdark. Very soon after the surviving pair ran into the Drow lead by Kal’Zerth. the Dark Elves had barely time to react when the Monks attacked (everyone), Kessa was slain and Sir Gustav beaten unconscious (both were already very badly injured and suffering from the Ghoul and Ghast attacks).

At which point the guys turned up and saved the day.

The guys have lots of questions- Sir Gustav does what he can to answer them, the Paladin’s story rings true- it makes sense. Sir Gustav is of course overjoyed at being rescued, although massively distraught about the present situation, there will be more chatter in the next section about what comes next with regard to Sir Gustav. For now he informs Kal’Zerth and the Union that his family is wealthy and he will reward all those that fought to keep his life.

Which brings us nicely to Kal’Zerth, the guys want to hear the Drow’s story- how is it that he is here? The last time they spoke to the Drow he was guarding the way down to Dhol Kuldhir (‘the door at the end’, beneath Bargewright), and awaiting the Union’s return…

Kal’Zerth, it seems, is the go to guy for Underdark exploration in this region (he’s very experienced), and so he was pulled off his job in the Bronzehammer mines and sent to this place, strange noises (the sound of the obelisk and its ear-splitting shrieking) were echoing through the deeps. Kal’Zerth therefore left a guard on the way down into the Bronzehammer holds beneath Bargewright, and then journeyed here to investigate. The group had been at the location for a day when the obelisk came to life (and started spinning and screeching), thus accounting for the fact that all the Drow had clearly been bleeding from their ears, mouths etc. (as had the Troglodytes, remember). They were fleeing the obelisk when they ran into a strange (and bloody) warrior, and an almost dead Half-Elf Wizard… See Sir Gustav’s story for the rest.

And once again the guys have plenty more questions to ask, but there’s more to be said about all of this next session, particularly as Ken Lee is preparing to cast an Identify spell on the stone obelisk, and interrogate Kal’Zerth further. Best to save the rest of the chatter for next time…

That’s all we have time for at present.

The guys have spent seven hours and twenty minutes travelling the tunnels- they have reached their final destination. Should they wish to return to the surface from here it will take them three hours and forty minutes to do so. They have found all but one of Sir Gustav’s groupies- all, alas, dead. Rowan, Sir Gustav’s bride to be, is possibly still out there in the dungeon, she split from the Paladin’s group much earlier in their journey. Sir Gustav is alive, and (fairly) well.


Session #060 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 (COMPLETE (NEARLY)).

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 (RIP), Ren (RIP), Bryn (RIP) & Cora (RIP), Kessa Landau, Eshala (RIP), Ulf (RIP), and Rowan..

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. GHOULS & GHASTS- BASTARDS!

COOL Enemies of Note- Trimat, the Chimera & Dick and Dom, the Ettin.

New Info- A spinning massive stone obelisk that unleashes bursts of sonic terror, a stand-up fight with more stone-orientated bad guys (and a Bulette), it goes down to the wire but the guys win through. Then much chatter with the rescued (nearly) Sir Gustav, and one of his saviours- the last remaining Drow- Kal’Zerth.

XP Awarded-
4400 Section 2) Rock Hard.
700 Section 3) Stories of the Lost & Found.
5100 XP Total

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060

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