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Campaign Notes: Phandelver Page 2

Page history last edited by Gillian 9 years, 5 months ago

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Session 6:

After fleeing from Thundertree and the dragon, the PCs made their way, cautiously, through the forest to Conyberry. They avoided the dragon the first two days of travel, although they did have to fight off a nest of large wolf spiders. They reached the "ghost oracle"'s house late the second day. There, they were able, through some adroit questioning, to find a number of answers; Marion learned that the spellbook Gayna's relatives were interested in had been sold to an elf wizard named Malvoliel, perhaps a hundred years ago. Theron learned that the ghost was indeed his ancestress, and that Aerilaya stole the harp and that then Brock of Amberdale stole it from her. She did not know how she died. Alzardel learned that Gundren can indeed be found in Cragmaw, in the hands of King Grol of the Goblins. Gia was told that yes, Wave Echo Caves are near Phandelin, and how specifically to locate them. Lastly, Doodle learned that if she continues to investigate the goblins and Wave Echo Caves she will probably cross paths with Earnwald Albrecht again.


Leaving the next morning, the PCs make progress northward, but see the dragon in the sky, apparently hunting them. They slow their pace and move carefully for the rest of the day. A couple of days later, they were ambushed by 4 goblins and a dire wolf. Doodle fell to the goblin archers, but Marion managed to save her as the others slew 2 goblins, drove two off, and then killed the dire wolf. Gia and Theron, however, took considerable damage as well. That night they made a cold camp, hiding as they rested and recovered. Theron's keen eyes allowed them to track the goblins, and the next day they reached Cragmaw Castle; it is a mostly ruined citadel perched high on a ridgeline. Alzardel decided that a frontal approach, demanding to speak with the King of the Goblins, was the best. He and Doodle marched up, were met with arrow-fire, and rushed the broken-down front entry. In the meantime, the rest of the PCs noticed a path at the side of the keep, and scrambled up to the sally-port entry. It was barred from the inside and Theron could not break it down.


Meanwhile, inside, Al and Doodle rush south, meet 3 goblins from the tower, use Thunderwave and defeat two of them. The third hides and leaps on Doodle when they enter, injuring her. She kills him. They turn to the west, entering the dining hall; they see the others outside the tower,but the steep slope makes them joining together impractical. Instead, they face the cook and seven goblin warriors. Alzardel casts sleep, and four fall. The remaining three charge Al, and Doodle darts across the room, towards the western door, hoping it will lead her to the rest of the party, whom she knows are nearby. Instead she finds a hallway, but the outer door is just around another corner and she is able to get there shortly, letting the others in. Gia and Theron rush to Al's aid. The dwarf wizard has just gone down under the onslaught of three goblins, and they barely manage to shoot two of them before the third rushes at Gia; it chose to leave Al bleeding and unconscious on the floor so that the Goblin King could question him later. A few rounds of brutal combat later, Al is barely saved by Marion's healing, and the other goblins are slain.


A hasty discussion ensues as to whether or not to retreat, or to press on and seek the Goblin King before he can rally his defenses. No decision is made - we'll pick up here next week.


Session 7:

After evaluating their spell and HP status, a decision was made to retreat. They crept out of the castle and found a place in the forest to hide; a ravine with an overhanging cliff. There they spent the night, interrupted only by the arrival of a trio of youthful Woodsfolk hunters, who happily shared some roast rabbit in return for helping watch the camp overnight. They warned the PCs that the goblins were hunting; they could hear their horns.


Next morning, the PCs crept back to the castle, and spotted several things; the goblins were burning back all the brush around the castle, making it much harder for the PCs to approach from hiding, and also that many of them were on the walls. Eventually, sneaking and spying, they noticed a lone goblin (the shaman) sneaking out of the castle; they managed to ambush him and questioned him about what was going on. He informed them that King Groll did indeed have Gundren prisoner, and that the King and his Owlbear would slay them personally next time they invaded the castle. This alarmed the party a bit, but eventually they decided that "one" owlbear wasn't much of a threat! Lugbo warned them the king was "mighty", but they shrugged this off. How dangerous could a single goblin be? He also assured them that the "invisible dwarf wizards" who had invaded the castle on the previous day would be slain by Maglubeyet himself, if they dared return!


Waiting until night, when even the goblins would have trouble seeing them on a moonless night, they crept back towards the castle. But the ever-clumsy Marion tripped, fell, and rolled, creating a loud disturbance. Goblin arrows flew, and they dashed into the secret tunnel without surprise. However, the goblins took a bit of time to rally, and they made it safely inside before being attacked by 4 goblins and 2 wolves. One wolf leaped on Alzardel, the other at Doodle. Alzardel went down to a crit, but brisk sword-work from the rest of the party soon took them out. Unfortunately, they were forced to use every scrap of their healing to repair the damage done by these goblins, and Theron insisted that they retreat again.


A brief discussion led them to a decision - parlay! Alzardel and Doodle marched forward yet again, to the front of the castle, dragging Lugbo the goblin shaman with them, demanding to speak with King Groll. King Groll, now revealed to be a bugbear, and his wolf-companion emerged, flanked by a half-dozen goblin archers, and dragging an unconscious dwarf. A brief exchange of taunts ensued, and King Groll issued an ultimatum - Alzardel would face him in single combat, or Gundren died!


Alzardel invited Gia to be his stand-in, but she was already injured, and declined. So the dwarf wizard, clutching the goblin shaman's staff of defense (I decided they needed SOME aid), and with two of the fire-breath bombs they'd found in Thundertree, advanced to meet King Groll. Alzardel won the initiative and attacked first. His fire-breath scorched the king mightily, but then the bugbear swung, and missed! Alzardel tried to use Thunderwave, and failed to push the king back. The king hit him hard with his mace, and Alzardel nearly went down - he'd never stand another blow! He used the second fire-breath, and caught the King afire, roasting him. As King Groll collapsed, his wolf guard leaped into the fray. From a distance, Gia, Theron and Doodle fired arrows at the wolf, and Alz snatched Gundren. As he fled, the goblin archers peppered them with arrows, hitting each of them once. But Alz had just enough HP remaining to stay upright and flee. The wolf fell to a second round of arrows, and the goblins broke in terror. They fled back inside, blowing their horns in distress. The PCs fled, once again nearly spell-less and badly wounded.


DM's Note: at this time, the group was only 2nd level. I toned Groll down a LOT, rendering him an ordinary bugbear rather than the max-hp King he should have been, had the PCs been 3rd level or higher. They reached 3rd lvl as they fled, and I have allowed them to level up before we play again, in 2 weeks.


Session 8

After fleeing from Cragmaw with Gundren, the PCs retreated again to their ravine hideout. Once there, they hid for a day while Marion nursed Gundren back to consciousness. Theron and Gia searched behind the waterfall, and found a tunnel there. Worried that the goblins or Venomfang would eventually spot them, they decided to hide in the tunnel. Following it, they found a long tunnel that cut through the ridgeline to the east, providing them with a massive shortcut to Phandelin. In the passage, they found a mysterious door, marked with elven runes, indicating some sort of portal or gate - and a warning not to enter it.  The PCs all decided to heed the warning and leave it be for the time being. Only Marion had any desire to explore it, but her worries for Gundren, still suffering the effects of concussion, convinced her to pass it by.


On the trip back to Phandelin, only one minor danger intruded - Theron disturbed a trio of stirges nesting in a tree above the camped PCs; a brief combat ensued, and the stirges were slain by Theron and Alzardel.


On reaching Phandelin safely, they rushed Gundren to the Inn, and called Sister Gayna to his side. He was so pleased to be safe, that he paid the PCs each 100 silver pennies for his rescue. He gave them three pieces of information; first, that a strange elf had arrived at Castle Cragmaw, and that he had bought Gundren's map from the goblins. He also delivered to the goblin shaman the glass staff of defense which Alzardel captured from him in their ambush. Lastly, this messenger named his master as being "the Black Spider"; he is extremely interested in all info on Wave Echo Cave, and eagerly purchased the map Gundren had carried. The messenger left the morning after the PCs conducted their first raid on Cragmaw.


Two pieces of info about Phandelin came to the PCs ears: first, Sir Sildar has officially been appointed by Count Michael as the fiefholder of Phandelin. He will be rebuilding and fortifying Tresendar Manor, and hiring a sheriff and establishing a constabulary. He will be Baron Sildar, once he has officially sworn fealty for the title. Sir Sildar offers the PCs a permanent position as his henchmen, providing them room and board in return for their promise to deal with any troubles he assigns to them. They tentatively agree, but swear no oaths at this time. Secondly, the party hears that a young green dragon, dubbed Venomfang, has been seen flying over the forests around Lake Phandelin. They profess amazement and horror. Word is that the Count will announce a bounty on the dragon, but no official word has been received.


The next day, Gundren begs Alzardel and the other PCs to seek out his brothers at the Wave Echo Mines, to check on their safety, and take them supplies. He will not be well enough to go for several more days, and in the meantime is fearful for their safety. So Alzardel hires a mule, and packs it with supplies on Gundren's account. They travel the three hours to the caves Gundren's map had indicated; he was able to give them a detailed description from his own trip there three weeks ago.


Reaching the caves, the party descended into the first entry cave, where they made a tragic discovery; amids their camp gear and supplies, the body of one of Gundren's brothers lay stiff and stone cold, some three days dead. Alzardel, while not able to identify which of his cousins it was, was able to confirm it was a Rockseeker clan dwarf. They debated returning to Phandelin at once, but Alzardel felt he had to at least attempt to find the remaining missing dwarf brother. They found the tracks of a humanlike person, and of at least two bugbears in an eastern tunnel, and off they went. After several twists and turns, they found what must once have been the real mouth of the Wave Echo Mines, and then a barracks where several ghouls lurked, gnawing on the bones of fallen orcs and stone dwarf corpses. Marion turned them, and they fell quickly to the cantrips of Alzardel and Theron. Later, they found a storeroom, then a vast cave that seemed to be some sort of workroom. More skeletal remains of orcs and dwarf stones were smashed across the floor. The PCs turned east again, climbing onto a raised platform at the end of the room, just in time as TEN more ghouls approached from the west. Alzardel blocked half the stairs with a cloud of daggers, while Gia and Theron blocked the other side. Alzardel used Thunderwave and cantrips, Doodle fired arrow after arrow, and Marion briskly wielded her new Spiritual Hammer. Ghouls tried to scale the platform wall, but the PCs beat them back, narrowly avoiding the cleric's downfall at one point, when a ghoul did scale the wall and circled past Gia to paralyze Marion. Only her ability to continue to use the magical hammer spell saved her from being dragged away as fresh meat. Once the battle was over, they decided a short rest was in order, and retreated to the storeroom they'd passed earlier; it had a stout door they were sure they could bar shut!


Session 9: 

After their rest (which they extended to a long rest period) they went back into the large cave, and eventually further north, into the forge cave. This led to a brutal battle with the flame skull and skeleton minions. One fireball later, Marion was down, Doodle and Alzardel had only 9 HP each left, and Gia and Theron were untouched, having advanced to battle the skeletons. Alzardel used two separate Cloud of Dagger spells, and Doodle used a healing potion to save Marion's life. Turn undead helped to save the day, as did some brute force application of his new fighting style by Theron. Later, they explored the water cave, learning how Wave Echo Cave earned its name; they seemed uninterested in exploring the sunless sea beyond...


They followed the dry streamed around to the chasm, and another very tough battle began; Doodle, Alzardel and Theron managed to climb down into the chasm where one bugbear was digging, while Marion and Gia (who have no dark vision) stayed on the eastern ledge. Since the bugbears on top of the ledge had torches, everyone but Doodle attacked them. Alzardel slept one, after Theron firebolted it. The second one, badly wounded, fled in panic to alert Nezznar. The one in the chasm advanced on the PCs, but because of the rough floor took a long time to get there, and was eventually battered to death by Theron, with Doodle's help.  The three in the chasm pursued the wounded bugbear, but nearly lost it in the passages; they had to wait for Marion and Gia to catch up, giving the bugbear time to alert Nezznar.


(Note: since my PCs are only 3rd level, I reduced the encounter with Nezznar by leaving out his spider companions. They faced "only" 2 fresh bugbears, one badly wounded one, Nezznar and the "elf" henchman). 


When they burst into the room behind the bugbear, the situation was as follows: the three bugbears were advancing on the doorway; behind/beside them was the "elf". Invisible at the back was Nezznar. The elf closed very rapidly, outmaneuvering the bugbears to reach the party and slam Marion, who was in the front rank. She withdrew behind Theron, and threw her spiritual weapon (love that spell; bonus action to cast!). The bugbears closed with Theron and Gia, adding to the cluster at the doors. Next round, Nezznar cast magic missile at Gia, but her shield spell negated it. Everyone attacked the elf, whom they determined must be some sort of monk! 


Several rounds later, Nezznar decided that it was time to clear out; he cast a web from his staff around the door, blocking off everyone's ability to enter the room, and fled out the side entrance. However, Theron and Doodle, who were just behind the front rank, were able to retreat and circle around, catching him on the edge of the chasm. Because he'd been hit by the spiritual hammer once, and by Alzardel's firebolt as well, Theron and Doodle were able to take him down with one round of ranged attacks, even as he prepared to spider climb his way to safety.


The two badly wounded bugbears who tried to flee with him surrendered at that point. The PCs herd them back into the temple, and bring Nezznar's body in, as well. After a search, they identify the staff and a potion as magical, and detect the magic aura on the statue of Mikarathlan. They also find the key Nezznar has, and use it to open the locked door. They rescue Nundro; at this point there's considerable discussion about the emerald eyes in the dwarf god statue; eventually, Theron orders the bugbears to attempt to remove them or they will be killed. They reluctantly agree, and the PCs all retreat out of the room. One gouge of a dagger, and the eye is pried out, but it shatters into glassy shards, and then with a hideous groan, the roof collapses! Both bugbears try to flee, but in their wounded state are unable to escape. Both are crushed to death.


At this point, Nundro warns the PCs that there are more bugbears and at least one more human ally of Nezznar's somewhere nearby. This is where we paused until next session.


Session 10: the PCs, after rescuing Nundo and creating a massive collapse, decided that discretion was the better part of valor. They retreated to the island on the edge of the underground sea, where they hid and took a long rest. Everyone healed, recovered spells, and fought off a quarto of hungry stirges in the middle of the night. Doodle was nearly drained dry, but even though Alzardel slept through the whole encounter, the bloodsuckers were defeated. Afterward, the party followed the dry streamed back to the rift, and re-examined the area the bugbears were searching. Through use of a detect magic, and some dwarven stone-sense, they found and recovered the gauntlets of Ogre Power, which Gia donned. While uncovering the gauntlets, they disturbed an ochre jelly, which gave them a hard fight, though only Doodle was injured. Finally, they climbed out of the rift and began searching for the rest of the bugbears, and the other human whom Nundro warned them about. They found the bugbear barracks, and the wizard's room, but all had been abandoned, and with some tracking they were able to determine that the creatures had all fled. Once again, Doodle lost her chance to confront Earnwald Albrecht.


By some luck, the PCs managed to avoid going back into the Forge room, neatly circling around via side-passages to the workrooms where they promptly ran into the Spectator, whom they bluffed into leaving. They were able to use the brazier/forge to enchant their weapons; Doodle and Gia enchanted their swords, Marion her mace, and Theron enchanted a handful of arrows. Then they ran into the wraith. Marion turned him once, at which point he warned them not to touch his belongings before sinking into the ceiling.  They then dragged the Wight's treasure chest out of the chamber, and so, as soon as the turning wore off, he pursued them. When he caught them, Marion turned him again. The PCs were able to get two free rounds of attacks on him, as he flew up on them and then fled and then came back again. Theron's magic arrows were very effective, here.  Unfortunately, Marion was out of turning attempts, and the wight descended upon her with all his wrath. One solid hit drained her to 0 HP and killed her as she failed the CON save to resist being drained. As she withered away into a mere husk of her former self, Doodle stabbed him with her magical rapier and finished him off.


The PCs examined the treasure in the wraith's chest, and found his book and map. They were intrigued by the hints of other possible treasures, in the list of wizards who had visited the Caves and the items they had forged. Doodle especially was intrigued by the idea of a scrying ball. They also discussed the possibility of taking Marion's body back to her home temple for proper burial. 


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