Sunday, September 21, 2014

It is a Mad Mad 5e World

This is a report on the last two session. The search for the Lost Mine of Phandelver was continued. The group is up to six players +Tim Shorts , +Daniel McEntee+Chris C.+Joshua Macy+Ken H, and Josh +Rhandom A.

The Ongoing Story
We last left the party outside the Redbrand Hideout having escaped the dungeon of Iarno Allbek/Glasstaff. They are clad only in loincloths and some rusty weapons liberated from skeleton. Along with a 500d (sp) gem in the skeleton crypt. Squirrel, one of the party's two elven wizards, lies dead inside.

The Roster
  • Ara (Joshua Macy) - an Elven wizard dwelling in human lands in order to return to his people's lost cities that lies in ruins within Dearthwood. 
  • Keyar Nailo (Dan McEntee) - an High Elven Archer seeking to keep the elven refuge of Losthain safe.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Aevin Steelhand (Ken) a former solider who doesn't back down from anything looking to make his mark in the world now that he out of the Overlord's army.
  • Fosco Chubb (Josh) a gentlemen halfling from Limerick Shire. When asked about his business, he will give you a 24 point dissertation on the varieties of mutton. 
The Hirelings
  • Lanar - a down on his luck miner who was hired as a torchbearer by the party.
  • Martha - with her debt to a unpleasant manor.
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.

Session 9/8/14

Hearing of opportunities for guarding mines and shipments, Aerin Steelhand heads to Phandalin. Along the way he met Fosco Chubb, a gentlemen halfling from Limerick Shire. The two travelled together to Phandalin and stopped at the Stonehill Inn to get some lunch.

Vognur, Keyar, and Ara emerged from the Redbrand Hideout into the ruins of Tessander Manor. Accompanying them was Mirna and her two children. Mirna is the wife of the woodcarver that was murdered by the Redbrands and was kidnapped. The group rescued her from being sold into slavery, along with themselves. Squirrel's body remained in the hideout.

The group headed down the hill to the secret tunnel entrance where they found Sidwin in the midst of constipation trouble. Appears the injuries he sustained and the food he ate was not a good mix. The group checked for pursuers and headed back to the village.

There they stumbled into the Stonehill Inn. Toblen and his wife Trilena quickly called for Elder Gisela, a priestess of Mitra residing in Phandalin. As the group was getting healed and patched up they discussed what to do next. Their fortunes were greatly boosted when Fosco Chubb and Aerin Steelhand offer to join and help them. Feyar was the only one of the group unable to continue so he stayed behind at the inn.

After a quick trip to Barathan's Provision to reequip themselves, the party decided to collapse the south tunnel entrances and seal up the basement stairs in the manor ruins. Then wait for Glasstaff to try to leave.

By late afternoon they returned to the manor. While checking the tunnel area for traffic they found evidence of a hasty retreat. Sidwin and Fosco scouted the hideout and found it abandoned. Iarno Allbeck aka Glasstaff had fled! Luckily they found some better equipment in the gear and stores left behind and gave chase.

Heading east from Phandalin, the brave party entered the orc infested Forest of Dearthwood. They made their way through a forest fire. avoided a snake infested thicket, and resisted the lure of sleep in a ancient grove of elven standing stones. Here they found one of the Redbrand bandits fast asleep and quickly dispatched him. But alas while following the wizard's trail through a ravine, one of the side collapsed in a avalanche! The party managed to get out of there without any permanent harm but the trial was lost.

After camping out for the night, the party elected to continue to head in the last known direction of the trail. By mid morning, they heard noise, A very large creature was ahead, grunting and groaning. The group slowly made their way closer by stealth. And spotted an solitary ogre doing his err business. (Point O)

After a brief discussion, the group decided to grant the ogre some release. Arrows, bolts, and magic spells were unleashed. After a fiery eruption from its behind, the ogre indeed found release his final release. The party found 30d (sp) in the Ogre's sporran. Luckily since the fiery burst erupted out of the other business end it was in touched. Well untouched by fire that is.

Afterwards the party continued to head north until they ran into the Limerick Trails without any luck in finding the Wizard's Track. At this point the group decided to head back to Phandalin.


I used Pazio's chase cards to handle the tracking of Glasstaff. I need to work on my delivery but it was smoother than the last time I used them.

Session 9/15/14

One the return to Phandalin, Fosco immediately dove into supper. While the rest welcomed Feyar back, who is now fully recuperated. Mirna stopped by to thank the group and told them of valuable heirloom of her family that could be found in the ruins of the village of Thundertree to the north. At first the party thought she wanted them to retrieve it for them but instead she was offering all her claims on it as a form of repayment. Everybody was left a bit speechless.

Later after the party got the title to the Sleeping Giant from the town for their aid, Fosco understood her desire to avoid charity and offered her a job to work with Martha to rehabilitate the tavern.

Elder Gisela came by to check on the group. She also had a proposal for them. To ask a question of the Banshee Oracle Agatha near the ruins of the village of Coynberry. Her superiors needed to know the location of the spellbooks of a mage named Bowgentle. The banshee would not speak to her. While directly looking at Sidwin (18 charisma) she thinks the group can get her to answer the question. She offers three healing potions for the job (1,500d!). Sidwin turned on the charm and got her to agree to turn over one as down payment. Gisela also gave Sidwin a jeweled comb to use.

After breakfast the group decided to talk to Sildar Hallwinter who is staying over at the town hall with the Reeve Hedrin Westrin. There was some trepidation as they know Sildar Hallwinter was in the employ of Iarno Allbeck, the real name of Glasstaff. But their fears were unfounded as Sildar quickly condemned Iarno's actions as Glasstaff. Sildar talked with the Reeve Westrin, they decided to grant the party 2,000d out of the money the Overlord gave Iarno for his budget. Sildar also told the group if they found out where the Troll Skull's castle was, rescued Gundren Rockseer and eliminated the Troll Skulls, that there a 5,000d bounty that they were authorized to grant. The Reeve, Hedrin Westerin also offered the group a 1,000d to rout out a group of orcs near Wyvern's Tor.

That night the town give the group a party and in a feast at the Stonehill Inn, something that pleased Fosco to no end. During the party the group learned from Qellan Alderleaf, a local farmer, that if they were going find Gundren they best to seek out his friend Reidoth, a Trehaen (MW druid) that been exploring the area. He was last seen heading to Thundertree. He could help with Mirn'a heirloom. They also learned from Daran Eldermath that there was some undead seen near an old ruined tower known as Old Owl Well near Coynberry.

After sleeping off the party, the group met around breakfast. It was decided that the first thing to do was head out toward Coynberry, as three of the tips they got were all in the vicinity.  (Banshee, Old Owl Well, and Wyvern Tor). The party gather their supplies and headed out.

They arrived at the ruins of Coynberry (point C) by noon and found the track to Agatha's lair. (point A) They drew their cloak closer as the air chilled when they arrived at the grove containing the Banshee's hut. As Sidwin carefully looked around he noticed that everybody else in the group was staring at him.

With a sigh, Sidwin entered the hut and within moments his breath came out in ragged fog as the chill deepened. The banshee Agatha manifested in front of him demanding to know why he has disturbed her.
With his disarming smile and clever wit. Sidwin was able to present her with the jeweled comb Elder Gisela gave him. Pleased the Banshee answered.
A necromancer virdiian named Tsernoth in the City of Gormmah
As she dismissed Sidwin to leave, the rogue asked her if can have her answer one more question. Angrily she retorted that she only answers one of anybody who seek her and that he used his chance. Again putting his best smile and turning on the charm. He replied that his question is one that she wants to her. Temporarily mollified she gave him permission to ask. Giving no promise that she will answer. With the party collectively shaking their head no, waving negatively, and several getting reay to run. Sidwin asked
What will free you?
Stunned, the banshee was left speechless. The party stopped in mid gesture. After a long moment, the the air warmed and the banshee replied.
I will never be free again until they sing in the silver halls again.
After a somber pause, Sidwin looker her in the eyes.
Will I ever be able to return home again?
She started to fade through the walls and leaving a whisper of her voice in the air.
You will be able to. But there will be two paths; one of power or one of sacrifice.
With a collective sigh of relief the party left the grove and returned to the ruins of Coynberry. The group proceeded eastward along the Limerick Trail until they spotted the tower of Old Owl Well to the north and Wyvern Tor to the south. After a very brief discussion the group decided to check out Old Owl Well. Fosco stated, "That sound OK"

When the group got there, (point T) from a distance they noticed that there was a large tent pitched outside of the tower. Feyar decided to scout it out. While sneaking around the tent. The mage heard him, fortunately Feyar heard the mage moving out as well and was able to attack first. The mage grunted in pain as Feyar's arrow sunk into his thigh.

Seeing this the rest of the group started to sprint towards the camp and Old Owl Well. Unfortunately the mage held out a small straight piece of iron towards Feyar who felt a iron grip wrap around his body and limbs. The mage shouted
Attack, my minions!
Summoning his mental reserve, the elven ranger fights through and strings an arrow. Keyar aim is true as the arrow pierces the mage's heart downing him. But as the elf turn his head towards the ruined tower, to his horror a dozen zombies come shambling out after him.

Running back, Keyar made his stand with the group. At first the zombie appeared to be going down under the skill attacks of the party. However to their horror many just got back up and continued to attack. They surround Fosco, and while the halfling showed surprising agility it wasn't enough to beat off a horde of shoving and clawing zombies.

Aerin tried to beat zombies off from Fosco but was surrounded himself. The rest broke and ran, taking shots at the zombie as the undead started their relentless pursuit. The fight took most of the afternoon, with each zombie requiring several arrow or bolts shots to be put down. The group despaired when they heard Aerin screams as he fell against his opponents.

But when things were at their bleakest, Fosco recovered and was able to run away drawing the zombies off of Aerin. Soon after Aerin recovered. By this time the rest of the party managed to down the last of their pursuers and was able to make their way back to Fosco and Aerin. Together the group downed the last remaining zombies.

After a quick search of the mage's tent yielded some decent treasure, the party camped down for the night. Keeping careful watch for any more of the undead.


So far I refereed Phandalin like I do most of my campaigns. The players are in a sandbox free to choose to do whatever they like. The initial portion of the module worked out because the starting circumstances was that the group were hired as Gundren Rockseer's bodyguards. Most of the ensuing events resulted from the group natural responses to what was happening.

As it worked out, their victory over the Redbrands was done in a spectacular fashion. While the party may have suffered a lot of material loss, it was obvious to the villagers they gave it their all. And with the rescue of Mirna, the group have won the hearts and minds of the locals.

The only back effect of all this is that all the subsequent information came in a rush due to everybody wanting to talk to them a once. Between what the party was doing in the town and the subsequent party and feast, the hooks has a bit of World of Robquest feel. Everybody agreed it made sense but given today awarness of tropes and long experience with MMORPGs, the Robquest jokes went flying. I laughed just as hard with everyone and the game moved on.

The choice of going after the stuff around Coynberry was the party's decision. The whole Agatha's encounter was a blast to run and Tim really did an outstanding job of roleplaying. Especially at how he managed to parlay his one question into three with the final one the one he really wanted answer. It should be interesting to see how he handles the answer.

Now the zombie fight, at first I thought it was going to be a cakewalk. When I ran this encounter for the Gold Star Anime crew they had it down cold with clever use of fire and the party's cleric. That group, because of 10 PCs, faced a much larger group of 30 zombies. The Monday night crew got to face the book number of 12 zombie and 1 mage.

Well Dan's character, Keyar, took out the mage character easily enough. But OMG the zombies were killer. Their ability to return to 1 hp if they made a con save of DC 5 + damage suffered that round made this ordinary monster that we dealt since OD&D into something out of a horror film.

The basic tactic I used was that if more than one zombie attacked, the first one would shove the target PC. If that didn't work I went down the line until half of the zombie tried to shove. Then the rest would just attack. But if a shove was successful this meant the remaining zombie's attacks were at an advantage. And this in combination with the damage save is what put terror in the hearts of the PCs.

It also dragged the combat out forever because with a +3 on their con save and the party doing 8 or 9 damage on average the zombies were not going down fast. I am not sure how I would handled this at a physical table as I had to keep expanding the map in Roll20. In the end the party was victorious and now zombie are not longer the 2 HD chumps they were in ADnD.

It started with this.

And ended up with this. 


Chris C. said...

One of the interesting things I'm slowly (probably too slowly) learning while playing 5E is that I can't assume anything. Like last week, I thought "oh, zombies, no special abilities, no big deal." But they are now a big deal, since they have that "push" and con save. They aren't simply the 2HD cannon fodder we have taken for granted for several decades.

Unknown said...

I observed that Rob neglected to mention that in 2 rounds of combat he rolled I think 12 dice over 17... with 4 or 5 20's. This helps the 2hd canon fodder significantly.