The Ongoing Story
Last week's adventure was a grind to get to the cave. But finally the party is standing outside of the den of iniquity known as the Goblin Hideout.
- Sidwin the Sharp (Tim) - a native of the City-State, the human rogue senses opportunity in Phandelver and positioned himself to be hired as one of the caravan guards.
- Squirrel (Josh) - by all appearance a no-account street rat, but his cunning intelligence and a chance encounter with the possessions of a unlucky mage has allowed him to master arcane powers.
- Vognur (Chris) - a warrior armed and ready to take his place in the world and to pursue the mystery of the box left to him by his family.
The Majestic Wilderlands
I elected to set the game within my Majestic Wilderlands. I am more familiar with the setting and by taking the original adventure apart and reassembling allows me to master the adventure better. On the map below each small hex is one league and takes one hour to walk. Each large hex is 5 leagues.
The GameWhen we left the party they were standing outside of the Goblin Hideout having killed two sentries.
Having captured a goblin patrol in the previous session they knew that there was sentry over a bridge. That if the sentry raised an alarm a dam would be busted and the resulting deluge sweeping any invaders out of the cavern.
Electing to enter the cavern without any torchlight, Vognur and Sidwin relied on their own limited vision while Squirrel used his superior Elven vision to guide them. At first startled by snarling wolves they soon saw that they were chained. Sidwin quickly threw in two days worth of rations to quite them. Apparently goblins were used to the noise of the wolves as they did nothing but shouted for the wolves to quit down.
With Vognur hanging back the party spotted the bridge. Squirrel attempted to carefully climb up the wall but failed to find any handholds. The resulting noise alerted the goblin sentry on top of the bridge. Luckily Vognur heard the goblin moving out onto the bridge and drawing his bow. He rushed forward and in the dim light could see enough of the goblin to throw a hand axe. His hit staggered the foul creature leaving him bloodied. Reacting quickly Squirrel turned around and with arcane syllables and mystic gestures a icy ray of frost enveloped the goblin. Overcome with cold he fell to the bridge. The bow falling into the stream 20 feet below.
Just as the party finished climbing up to the bridge a goblin from the upper cave pools arrived at the bridge to investigate. Squirrel reacted quickly and with a pinch of fine sand and single breath put the goblin to sleep. The goblins throat was slit as the group proceeded into the upper cave.
Thankfully a single torch burned on the cave wall. Making the place bright enough to reveal two pools of water that were clearly the result of a dammed up stream. Also more light spilled from a southern entrance where the sound of an orc, his pet wolf and several goblins could be heard eating and talking.
Note: That in the Majestic Wilderlands I don't have a multitude of humanoids races. I pretty much used only orcs and goblins. In this case the orc had the same stat as the original bugbear.Quickly a plan was devised. Squirrel waded out into the pool and jammed the mechanism to break the dam and release the deluge. On his return, Sidwin poured oil all over the steps leading up to the southern entrance. Then with everybody in position he scattered ball bearings across the steps.
The noise of dozens of tiny metal balls attracted the attention of the orc and goblins. One of the goblins rose to investigate. Not noticing the oil and bearing he stepped on the stairs and immediately began to slip and slide. Luckily he managed to recover from falling when he reached the bottom of the stairs. Unluckily when he lifted up his head to look around he promptly met the edge of Vognur's blade. His head half severed the goblin fell to the ground dead.
Following up on their surprise attack, the group seized the initiative and positioned themselves before the southern entrances. Sidwin made an amazing shot with his bow burying his arrow into the orc's vitals. Vognur's follow up show did not help the orc chief's cause with burying an axe into the orc's thigh. Squirrel quipped
Boy Vognur you really wanted to axe that Orc a question.Then promptly followed up with a Ray of Frost that left the chief rimed in frost.
Staggered the Orc chief yelled for his pet wolf to attack as he staggered out of the party's view. Squirrel looked puzzled. He was the only party member to understand goblin,
Seriously you named your wolf, Fido?Despite the unfortunate name, the wolf did his master proud and lept onto Vognur. The beast's teeth ripping ragged wounds across the warrior's body. (A natural 20 for the wolf). The ferocity of the wolf's attack did not unnerve Squirrel as the elven wizard enveloped the wolf with his Ray of Frost spell. Unfortunately Sidwin subsequent rapier attack did not found its mark. Desperate Vognur hacked away at the beast and scored the hit that brought it low.
With the party exhausted from the battle, Squirrel extinguished the campfire in the orc chief's cave with a gesture. From behind him he heard Sidwin's voice.
Great like we can see well to begin with.Luckily a single torch still burned in the upper cave. Resolved not to be without light, Vognur put away his shield and grabbed the torch. Sidwin crouched in a alcove in the cave wall and drunk a potion of healing.
Suddenly was the sounds of a pack of wolves let lose and the orc chief's booming voice raising a hue and a cry calling the rest of the goblin to attack!
From one of the entrances burst out the wolf pack. Thinking on his feet, Squirrel distracted two of the three wolf with the sounds of a angry bear behind them. However the wolf he didn't distract was the one closest to him. Scrambling out the way, the wolf clawed the Wizard and knocked the elf to the ground unconscious. Vognur with sword and torch in hand attacked and left gash across the wolf's flank. In vain the wolf tried to bite Vognur. Sidwin's rapier slew the leading wolf. Vognur's followed up a with gash that nearly killed one of the remaining two wolves.
However no longer distracted by the sound of a bear attack the remaining two wolves flanked Vognur. In a full display of their age old command of pack tactics, the two wolves maneuvered Vognur badly out of position. In two lightning swift attacks the braved warrior lost his cod piece and fell to the ground dying. Sidwin stood alone.
Behind the wolves the remaining goblins of the hideout rushed into the upper cave with their bows drawn. Summing up his last reserves, Sidwin shouted.
Wait! Wait! Don't do this, Klarg will be pissed as I brought the beer.Immediately sheathing his weapons, Sidwin carefully explained in halting common and goblin that he brought beer for Klarg and has no idea of what the hell is going on. The goblin leader sent back a runner to get Klarg. Apparently the orc leader escaped through the fissure in the back of his room, released the wolves, and sent the remaining goblins in to attack the party.
Note: Tim rolled only a 14 for Sidwin's persuasion, but I rolled really bad for the goblin's gullibility (a 2 -1 = 1). This part was memorable because I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy. For a second I had an intense desire to hear Tim say "I am Star Lord" after the goblin asked him What?.While this was going Squirrel's bleeding slowed and stopped. Then in a miracle, Vognur's eyes fluttered open. After taking note of the goblin and two wolves nearest him, he gathered in his reserves for a second wind. With a shout, he stood up and downed the injured wolf, surprising everybody.
This sudden onslaught broke the morale of the goblins as Sidwin and Vognur pressed the battle. Not the last remaining wolf raking Vognur's arms could stop the slaughter. The goblin's doom was sealed when Sidwin managed to revive Squirrel with the last remaining healing potion. Unleashed the fury of Burning Hands the last of the goblin died in magefire.
Hearing a human crying out in pain, the group rushes the last unexplored room. There they found a goblin holding a human prisoner hostage. However a display of the party magical power broke the creature's morale. He pushed the human down the ledge and tried to run. Once again with a pinch of fine sand and a breathe Squirrel ended ... everything.
A minute later everybody started to wake up from the close range sleep spell. Luckily Vognur woke first and killed the groggy goblin. Luckily the human didn't die from the shock of the fall and was stable.
The party looted the complex finding two more healing potion, some coin, and a strange statuette of a frog worth 400d (sp). After a hour long rest, the prisoner woke up. As it turns out he was Sildar Hallwinter on his way with Gundren Rockseer to Phandalin. Silder was to take service with Iarno Albek the recently appointed baliff of the town. On the way there, they were captured by goblins. Gundren was sent to the chief of the Troll Skull tribe along with all their gear and possessions. Including a map of to the Rockseer's mine at Wind Echo Cave.
After the rest, the party released they did not find Klarg's body. Searching the immediate area they found a bloody trail leading into the surrounding woodlands. They left Sildar with Lanar and Matilda and went off in pursuit of the orc.
After first they ran into trouble with a stretch of forest that was wrecked by a recent storm. Sidwin and Squirrel made it through easily but it took a while for Vognur to force his way through. Pressing onward faster the party did not notice a rattlesnake in their path. Sidwin and Squirrel were able to quietly avoid the rattlesnake. Confident in armor, Vognur ignored the snake. This proved his undoing as he got bit. Too ill to continue, the rest of the party forged on. Luck was on their said as they found the former orc chief being plagued by bees. The orc tried a valiant last stand but fared no better than Custer at Little Bighorn.
Note: I used one of favorite gimmicks Paizo's chase cards.With that final bit of business wrapped up the party headed back to Phandalin.
The death save mechanism steadily grows on me. Now that I have experienced its use in several session I feel adds a great deal of fun to the otherwise unpleasant situation of character death. And the revive to 1 hp on a natural 20 is pure gold for generating unexpected turn of events.
This was the first session with my new Player's Handbook. The book makes for an excellent reference during play. Although the index text is incredibly small it is complete and I found everything I was looking for quickly with it.
One thing that saved party this adventure was the fact they killed several sentries and patrols over the last two sessions. The failed first run proved crucial in whittling down their numbers for the successful second run.
Roll20 dynamic lighting and line of sight was awesome. But the big down side was it really bogged down Roll 20. When I switched it off for the party to loot the complex everything was way faster. I am going to need to do some reading on how to efficiently setup dynamic lighting.
One thing I was able to do was setup elven vision as distinct from how the human see things. Squirrel had a much easier time of it then the rest of the party.
So next week is back to Phandalin. See you next time!