Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The playtesting of 5e is over, Phandalin explodes

Over the summery and into the fall I ran the Lost Mine of Phandelver for the group to get our feet wet with DnD 5e. The only major change I made was to set it in a region of the Majestic Wilderlands. In October the group successfully deal with the Black Spider and the denizens of Wind Echo Cave. The only goal they didn't achieve was the capture of Glasstaff who managed to escape despite his boss' demise.

Flash forward to February and  Ken of the Rusty Battle Axe is ready for a break. Joining us was +Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic along with +Joshua Macy  making up a new character to replace Ara, his elven wizard.

You can read Doug's account of the session in his post over on Gaming Ballistic.

Since we are no longer playtesting 5e. I decided to integrate the campaign fully into my Majestic Wilderlands.

The Roster
  • 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.
  • Elder Carmina (Joshua Macy)  a human cleric of Mitra, the goddess of Justice and Honor, sent as a routine courier from the Archbishop of Modron to the temple in Tain.
  • Mark Bludiell (Douglas Cole)  a half-elven paladin of Veritas, the god of Truth and the High Lord, Originally from the mixed community of Ashenshaft in the Gnome Kingdom of Lightelf he has been wandering the northeast coast region for several years following the call of the High Lord. 
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.
  • Mirna - wife of the slain woodcrafter, hired to manage the party latest acquisition the Sleepin Giant Tavern. 
General Note: In the Roman Catholic Church the most commonly used honorfic for a priest is father. In the Church of Mitra the equivalent is elder. 

All hell has broken out in City-State. With the death of the Archbishop of Mitra, the goddess of justice and honor. The bishops have colluded with the Duke of Dearthmead (a believer in Mitra) to rebel against the underage Tharian Overlord of City-State and his High Regent Duke Divolic. Divolic is widely known to be a Myrmidon of Set and a major leader of the Church of Set. Mitra's traditional enemy.  Duke Divolic already has been fighting his rival Duke Draco-lindus for three years to keep him from overthrowing the Tharian Overlord.

The followers of Mitra are nearly a majority of the population of the territory controlled by City-State. Most are peasants and sharecroppers toiling under the Tharian Horselords.  To raise the forces they need the bishops and Duke of Dearthmead have sent out a call for them to rise up and overthrow their lords. To join in a holy cause to rid the land of the vile followers of the Dragon God Set.

One of those messengers reached Phandalin.

At Wind Echo Cave
The party emerges from the cave victorious. The killed the Black Spider, dealt with the doppelganger, and rescued one of Gundren Rockseeker's brother. The only loose end was that Glasstaff escaped.

On the Limerick Trail in the Troll Hills.
As night falls, Sildar Hallwinter leads a dozen miners to shelter in the wilderness northeast of Phandalin. As the group huddles around the fire, Hallwinter thinks back on the events that drove him and the miners into the wilderness.

Phandalin one day ago
Sildar heard the roar of a crowd outside in the square. He put down the account books that he been toiling on ever since magistrate Iarno Allbek decided to go rouge and play at being "Glasstaff". Sildar hoped that Vognur, Silwin and the rest their group were successful in capturing him and returning the Rockseers back alive.

Sildar walked out the door and saw a herald in the livery of the Church of Mitra standing with Elder Gisele, the local priestess of Mitra. The herald was delivering some news that was getting everybody excited. The more he listened the more he became concerned. The fool priests and bishops of Mitra have launched a revolution in City-State to overthrow the Overlord and the regents. The herald spoke openly of supporting the treason of Duke Draco-lindus, and what amounted to genocide against the follower of Set.

When Elder Gisele then started preaching about Halia Thorton and her unholy control over the miner, Sildar could only think, "Fuck! This is not going to end well.". He quickly returned to the town hall shouting for Reeve Westin. The fat "leader" of Phandalin was sitting in a plush chair eating apricots from a bowl.

"Get up Westin, a riot is about to break loose." yelled Sildar.

"Whaaa?" replied the reeve. "What going on?"

Sildar jerked Westin out of his chair. "Get out there now or Elder Gisele is going to led a mob to lynch Halia Thorton for being a worshiper of Set along with any miner that gets in their way. The fool bishops in City-State have declared their allegiance to the Dragon Overlord Draco-lindus and now issued a call to arms."

"How I am supposed to stop her?" Reeve Westin asked as he hurriedly wiped apricot juices off his hands.

"You are the damn reeve, act like it!" as Sildar shoved Westin out the door into the village square.

Running towards the miner exchange, he could hear Elder Gisele and Reeve Westin arguing. "Good", Sildar thought, "I may just have enough time."

Sildar tore through the Miner Exchange building looking for Halia Thorton. She was nowhere to be found although he managed to rouse up a dozen miners. Looking out the exchange door, he saw Reeve Westing being forced into the Town hall, escorted by several angry villagers. To the west he heard a women's shout and ugly sound of a mob.

"Wait here" he told the miners.

Making his way quietly across the village, he found Halia Thorton surrounded by three dozen angry villagers about to lynch her. However before he could decide what to do, Elder Gisele was there. He heard her proclaim that Halia Thorton was under arrest for being a follower of Set and that she was to be imprisoned until her trial. Then heard the priestess command the mob to make sure that the Miner Exchange was secure.

Quickly making his back to the Miners Exchange, Sildar gathered the miners around him.
"We need to go, it is not safe here for you. Halia Thorton has been arrested for being a follower of Set." The rest of the village is on their way to arrest all of you. The miner are started muttering angrily and pick up clubs.

"No time for that, we are outnumbered, we must flee into the Wilderness and then head to the Sheriff in Tain." Sildar said quickly. The group gathered what they could and left by the back entrance. Ten minutes later the village burst into an empty building.

Somewhere on the Limerick Trail in the Troll Hills
Mark Bludiell, a paladin of Veritas, and his travelling companion Karmina, a priestess of Mitra were on their way to Tain.

Throughout the summer Mark aided the Halflings of Limerick in hunting for a pack of Ankhegs tearing up local farms. Now that the harvest was starting to be brought in safely, he began to dream of a dark cloud hanging over the lands to the west. Of two armies warring underneath it oblivious to the storm building up overhead. It was time to leave.

Eldar Karmina reasons for travelling were much simpler. She was commanded by her superiors in Modron, deliver various packages and message to the temple of Mitra in Tain. Merely one of dozens of couriers used by the hierarchy to bind the church together. While a seemingly mundane task, it was an important one for a young women on the rise within the church. It allowed her to visit churches throughout the land, to get to know her fellow elder, and how the follower of the Red Maiden fared in other lands.

Elder Karmina needed an escort to safely cross the Troll Hills, Mark Bludiel happened to be going that way. The journey went well until a half day out from Phandalin when Mark heard the sound of battle.

On the Limerick Trail in the Troll Hills
After leaving the Wind Echo Cave in the morning, the party made their way down to Limerick Trial. Just before they were to get on the trail, Sidwn called a halt. There was a party of men 30 yards away on the other side of the trail. Sildar sneaked up and immediately spotted Sildar Hallwinter. Revealing himself, Sildar greeted Sidwin and the rest of the group enthusiastically.

After explaining the situation in Phandalin, the conversation was interrupted by a band of marauding orcs! Not noticing the party on the other side of the trails, the orcs went after the miners, and cut two of them down.

Image thanks to Doug at Gaming Ballistic

The two sides quickly engaged each other. Hearing the noise of battle, Mark Bludiell and Eldar Carmina rushed up the trail and joined in. At first the battle looked bad as miner after miner were being cut down by the orcs. Mark was almost crushed by a single blow of the Orc leader's morningstar and Aevin Steelhand was quickly surrounded by four wearing heavy armor.

However the two warrior were able to withstand the blows of the orcs. With the help of timely backstabs from Sidwin, Keyar's arrow shots, and Carminas spells the orc leader was downed. With the fall of their leader, the morale of the orcs broke and half of them ran. The remaining orcs were cut down. With a priestess of Mitra on hand, only two miners could not be saved.

On the Limerick Trail in the Troll Hills
Despite their gratitude at being saved there was considerable tension between Elder Karmina, the miners, and Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar and the Miner refused to return to Phandalin, insisting they need to push on to Tain. The group ultimately decided to send Gundren Rockseer and his brother to Phandalin with Mark Bludiell and Elder Carmina. The rest would escort Sildar and the Miners to the estate of Sir Various a local knight that the party has had dealing with in the past.

Phandalin (two hours later)
When Mark and Elder Carmina approached Phandalin the road into the village was blocked by a barricade guarded by two peasants wielding spears. Mark used the mantle of authority from his paladinhood to convince the guard to quickly let them pass. Tired and weary from travelling and combat, it wasn't that impressive. However it was just enough to convince the peasant guards to let them pass into the village.

There they met Elder Gisele. She was excited to see Elder Carmina but was soon a bit crestfallen when see realized that she was on a mission to Tain and not to organize Phandelver's role in the rebellion. The three retried to the Stonehill Inn where they secured Gundren and his brother some quaters to rest. Afterwards they talked about the situation as they eat awaiting the arrival the rest of the group.

Highgarden Manor
Sidwin, Keyar, Aevin Steelhand, Vognur, Sildar, and the miners arrived at the outskirts of Highgarden Manor. They were spotted coming in, and Sir Varius rode up to them looking as slovenly as he did at their last meeting. The Knight challenged them and was plainly not listening to their explanations and requests for refuge.  Then Sildar stepped up and showed the knight a token out of view of the rest of the group. Sildar could see enough to recognize that it was a symbol of authority carried by agents of the Black Lotus, the Overlord's secret police.

Immediately the knight's manner changed and he promised Sildar and the miners full assistant. Before leaving with the Miners, Sildar promised the group that he won't forget this. And while he was  only a "acting magistrate" he would do what he can to make sure they are recognized for the good deeds they have done.

A hour later and well out of earshot of anybody at the mnor, Sidwin the let the group know that Sildar was a member of the Black Lotus and that if his story about what happened at Phandalin was true there was trouble coming.

Phandalin (several hours later)
The group with Sidwin, Vognur, Aevin, Keynar, and Lanar the torchbearer finally made it back to Phandalins. The guards at the barricade recognized them and waved them through with a smile and a cheer. Outside of the Stonehill Inn they found another group of spear armed peasants roasting sausages and they also greeted the group with a cheer. The party went inside and were reunited with Mark and Elder Carmina.

From Elder Gisele they found that the Sleeping Giant tavern was still intact and that Maltida, Mirna, and Mirna's two children were safe. Elder Gisele left to leave the group to their dinner and soon the party fell into animated discussion over the situation. One thing that was obvious that Elder Gisele and the village elders that backed her were in way over their head.

It was decided that Halia Thorton needed to be investigated and with Elder Carmina taking the lead they when over to Elder Gisele quarters and asked to look at the leader of miner's guild papers. After several hours it was obvious that Halia was a devout member of the Church of Set. That she never concealed that fact. What wasn't as obviously is that she had a system going involving paying various local lords and magistrates for the criminals and outlaws they captured. Then she would send them to City-State to sell at a profit as slave. Sidwin also was able to compile a separate list of people that she was sending money too. A list that included Sir Various of Highgarden Manor.

As the group readied themselves to leave, Elder Gisele and Sidwin got into an animated discussion over the wisdom of what was going on. For the most part Elder Carmina supported the priestess positions. But there was no getting around Sidwin's points about how all quickly this happened. How there was little planning and that most of the villagers could not withstand trained soldiers. Elder Gisele then decided that in the morning she will talk to the village council and make haste to the other village to see what everybody else is up to and start to organize things for when troops arrive from the bishops in control of City-State. Sidwin look skeptical at the remark about troops arrived but with the evening being late decided not to press it.

The group retired to the Stone Giant tavern and bedded down for the night.

Next post will have commentary and notes..


Joshua Macy said...

Carmina. As in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEllLECo4OM&feature=youtu.be&t=1m22s

Robert Conley said...

Thanks for the correction.

Chris C. said...

So bummed I had to miss that session!