The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's potatoes

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Wrathbone
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The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's potatoes

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:36 pm

As I previously threatened early in the tabletop thread, I'm thinking of running another D&D game and I'd like to gauge interest. The headline points:

- You don't need any previous D&D experience. We'll be running 5th edition, which is ideal for beginners and experienced players alike.

- The game will be run on roll20.net, which allows you to control your characters on a map, do dice rolls and talk to each other.

- Games will be about 2 hours, ideally on a weekly basis. I'm fairly flexible on when the game runs, but I'd suggest a weekday evening would be easiest. I'd look to start in early October as I've got stuff going on until then.

- The campaign would be one of my own nefarious design. I have a broad idea for it, but as a starting point I'd suggest we play the first chapter which would take about 4 or 5 sessions and then see what everyone thinks.

- Characters can be created for free at:
www.dndbeyond.com
It's dead simple and works out all the complex stuff for you. Basically you go through several screens and just choose the things you want for your character.


So, anybody up for it? We'd need 3 players as a minimum (4 would be better in case someone can't make a session), going up to maybe 6 as a maximum.

Pre-Session Catch Up
Spoiler
Gather round and hear ye the tale of the Lost Mine of Phandelver and the band of heroes who did everything to demonstrate themselves otherwise in their search for it!

Many centuries ago, a group of dwarves and gnomes came together in an agreement known as the Phandelver Pact. Together they mined the magically rich ores within Wave Echo Cave and created one of the few places where metals of a magical nature could be forged: the Forge of Spells. The mine was lost to the ages after a great battle, but the dwarven Rockseeker brothers came upon a map leading to it and set about organising an expedition.

A ragtag group of adventurers were hired by the eldest of the three brothers, Gundren Rockseeker, to transport a wagon of provisions from Neverwinter to the village of Phandalin. Thus did our intrepid band embark upon their journey: Slythe, the light-fingered rogue; Ellis, the beer-swilling bard; Van'Skar, the brooding paladin with a haunting background that will probably never be revealed; and the wizard who's name escapes me, so for brevity we'll call him DJ. Not far from their destination, the group came across a ruined wagon in the middle of a trail which to their horror was Gundren's! A goblin ambush ensued, and the surviving wretch was forced to lead the party to the goblin hideout - a cave in the woods. After executing their unarmed prisoner, our heroes raided the cave with similar levels of mercy and finesse. Thousands were butchered, or so the tale goes, but sadly Gundren was not to be found. Instead they found Gundren's companion, the human warrior Sildar Hallwinter, alive but badly injured.

The party escorted Sildar and their wagon to Phandalin. The wagon was delivered to Barthen's Provisions and Sildar retired to the inn to rest while the heroes drank themselves into a stupor. The village was under harassment from a group of local ruffians known as the Redbrands, and with no real forethought the drunken heroes took it upon themselves to stumble into the street and put an end to the Redbrands' reign of terror with immediate effect. A street fight erupted to the horror of the sleepy village, and any who were asleep were suddenly awakened by the literal thunderclap that one of the heroes sent at the bandits, extinguishing their lives in a heartbeat. At this point, the wizard DJ stumbled out of sight and was never seen again.

Rather than wasting precious seconds searching for their lost and probably imperilled companion, the three remaining heroes pursued a fleeing bandit up a hill to a destroyed mansion. There they found a basement - the Redbrands' base of operations - and proceeded to slaughter everyone they saw with zero tolerance and much thunder. It is said they also experienced a fell voice in their heads who attempted to treat with them. Whether this was some feral creature or simply their consciences appealing for mercy, none can tell. Neither can it be said what happened to the leader of the Redbrands, Iarno Albrek, who was captured and subsequently interrogated. Was this arcane practitioner allowed to go on his way or, more likely, was his head staved in with a hammer? I certainly cannot recall, nor do I wish to. What is known is that it was the first time that the party heard the name of Iarno's master: the Black Spider.

Searching for answers, the party returned to the inn and told Sildar of what had happened. Sildar knew not of the Black Spider, but was distraught to learn that Iarno, a former colleague of his from the Lords' Alliance, had turned from the path of good. He told of how Gundren had found the mine, and that his stolen map was the key to finding it. Clearly Iarno and the Spider had an interest in this matter. Iarno had provided a possible location for where Gundren had been taken: the ruined castle of Cragmaw, deep in the Neverwinter woods. After some much needed rest, the party left Phandalin in search of the castle.

After a long trek through the woods, the intrepid heroes found and approached the castle with utmost stealth, entering through a breach in the walls. Many goblins and hobgoblins lurked inside, and naturally they were all pitilessly dispatched. It was then that a terrible serpentine creature, a grick, descended from the ceiling to attack. It too was sent to its death. Within the depths of Cragmaw, danger and destiny awaited. For all they knew, two of the heroes could soon perish from a rock unceremoniously dropping on their heads from nowhere. But that story is for another time...
Session 1 Summary
Spoiler
Following the fight with the grick in the depths of Cragmaw castle, Slythe, Van'Skar and Ellis pondered their next move. Ellis, tired from battle, looked for something to drink and found a flask of unknown liquid on top of a nearby barrel. Without a second thought, he popped the cork and drained the contents. Moments later, the dwarven bard was transformed to stone, an immortalised statue of his impulsive nature.

A disturbance deeper in the castle distracted Slythe and Van'Skar from the horror that had befallen their friend. The mighty paladin Van'Skar took the lead, bursting through the door to find a regally-garbed bugbear threatening the very dwarf they had come to rescue: Gundren Rockseeker. Several other prisoners sat tied along the wall with a froth-mouthed wolf growling beside them. The bugbear, King Grol, demanded the intruders leave at once, but before Van'Skar could negotiate this precarious hostage situation, Slythe's bow fired from the shadows and pierced the King's neck. King Grol, affronted by such insolence in his court, made good on his threat and battered Gundren almost to death. Van'Skar sadly did not see the shadowy blue-skinned figure that emerged behind him and thrust a scimitar through his back, fatally wounding him. At the sight of his fallen comrade, Slythe loosed another arrow into King Grol, felling him for good. The prisoners, escaping their bonds through dexterity, magic and pure brute force, leapt at the opportunity to kill their captors, felling the blue-skinned assailant and terrifying the wolf with some choice words. The battle over, Van'Skar as his last act healed Gundren, expelling the remains of his own life in the effort.

Gundren explained that after being captured and dragged to Cragmaw, the Black Spider had personally come to retrieve the map to the mines of Phandelver at Wave Echo Cave. Though he didn't know where the map had gone, he had overheard the bandits talking of operations at the ruined village of Thundertree. The other prisoners - the arcane tieflings Sage and Charr and the human juggernaut of muscle, Truss - explained how they had been hired by the Lord's Alliance in Neverwinter to investigate what had become of Sildar Hallwinter (a Lord's Alliance member) and his journey with Gundren. On their journey they too had been captured by a band of hobgoblins and dragged to Cragmaw. It was agreed that Gundren would return to the village of Phandalin to rest and reunite with Sildar, while Slythe joined the new trio of adventurers to investigate Thundertree.

Opting to take the more direct route through the woods, the party encountered a dishevelled noble by a campfire cooking a lone sausage on a stick. He told how he had been assaulted by bandits in masks with a strange dragon motif, which Charr recalled as being something worn by ancient worshippers of the god of dragons, Tiamat. The man, Relius, had been sent by the council of the Ten Towns in the Icewind Dale to the north to talk to the city of Neverwinter and the dwarves of Gauntlgrym to find out why trade had all but stopped. He explained how the towns relied on trade from both cities to survive, and it seemed clear to him now that bandits were responsible for the disruption. After magically recovering his dropped sausage from the campfire, the party left him in peace.

At Thundertree, the party found an old, grumpy hermit living in the least-ruined building of the village. After some cajoling, he told of how a dragon had nested in a tower at the north of the village and how a bunch of bandits had also taken up residence. He wanted them all gone, and in exchange for evicting them he agreed to guide the party to Wave Echo Cave. Charr took the lead in talking to the dragon, due to his draconic ancestry, and found it was a young but prideful green dragon called Venomfang, who explained that the bandits were in fact dragon cultists trying to petition him to their cause. This had become a nuisance to him, but he did not want to simply annihilate them as he suspected it would anger Tiamat. Instead, he asked the party if they would do the job instead. The party agreed on the condition that he would leave the area for a couple of days so the hermit would think him gone for good. Amused by this scheme, the dragon concurred. The party also asked about the giant spider (Jeff) milling around next to the dragon's tower, and Venomfang claimed he had influence over him (and all creatures), and that Jeff would aid them if they sang him a song. Slythe stepped up to the challenge and persuaded Jeff to their cause through the power of beatbox.

The party proceeded to the cultist's house with Jeff in tow, and persuaded the leader that they too were worshippers of Tiamat and that Venomfang had agreed to their wishes and wanted to speak to them. As the cultists proceeded through the village ruins, Charr magically created a terrible odour of rotting flesh targeted on the leader's face, intended to attract the hunger of Jeff. It worked. As Jeff ploughed through the cultists, the party dispatched them with little effort. The last remaining cultist dropped his weapon and pleaded for his life, yet the party stood and watched as Jeff enveloped him in a web and dragged him off into the woods. With that done, the party pilfered the corpses around them and found a strange, unknown potion, some diamonds and a hastily-drawn map which looked like a possible route to Wave Echo Cave and the lost mines.

The party returned to Venomfang who approved of their swift violence and absence of mercy, and as agreed he flew away from the village for a time. Returning to the hermit (Reidoth), the party told of what had happened with some carefully placed mis-truths, much to the hermit's delight. They all rested for the night before continuing on their journey...
Session 2 Summary
Spoiler
The party left Thundertree and headed south through the woods, following the eccentric hermit Reidoth as he led the way to Wave Echo Cave and the lost mine. After a long day's trek, everyone settled down for the night not far from Cragmaw Castle, with Slythe and Sage's new animal companion, Raven, keeping a watchful eye. Numerous lights heading towards the castle were spotted throughout the night, and closer inspection from Raven swooping overhead identified one of the groups as hobgoblins. The party decided to return to Cragmaw to sneakily investigate in the morning, but aside from some disgruntled goblins and the statue form of Ellis apparently missing, little caught their eye and so the journey south continued.

Reidoth reluctantly mentioned how he had once been a druid and part of a group called the Emerald Enclave, and that given time to prepare he could magically try and contact the group to see if they knew anything of the troubles in the area. The party decided to rest at the village of Phandalin so that Reidoth could make the attempt before heading to the mine. Arriving at Phandalin around dusk, Slythe was concerned to find a wanted poster with his face on it, requesting he be brought in for questioning regarding his part in the Redbrand massacre several days prior. Donning a false moustache and glasses and adopting the accent of a Frankish gnome, he sauntered to the inn with Truss and Reidoth, confident in his nonchalant anonymity.

Sage and Charr proceeded to the Townmaster's hall to offer information on Slythe, cunningly telling them to search the roads to the north. They then headed to Barthen's provisions, where a ruckus was narrowly avoided after Sage attempted to magically influence Barthen into giving him four healing potions (the most expensive items in the shop at 100gp apiece) for free, and was caught. Charr, however, found the true gold on offer and procured four potatoes. Were these the vegetables of which the soothsayers foretold, the Potatoes of Destiny, their starchy forms the key to treasures untold and responsible for the fate of the very multiverse? Time, as always, will tell.

Sage and Charr regrouped with the party at the inn, Sildar and Gundren with them at the table. Gundren was thrilled that the way to the mine had been recovered but was also concerned for his two brothers who were missing. Sildar expressed concerns that the Townmaster hadn't accepted the truth regarding the Redbrand incident and that if Slythe and his associates were brought in they would be subjected to more than questioning. He also spoke of his general mistrust of the Townmaster and speculated that he was perhaps involved with the bandit raids and kidnappings in some way, though he emphasised that he could be mistaken and that the Townmaster was simply an arse.

With this suspicion raised, Sage, Charr and Truss went to execute a masterful plan to gather intel. Disguised as a human and using the same tactic that had failed on Barthen, Sage attempted to magically force the Townmaster to spill the beans, but unfortunately this resulted in the Townmaster ordering his guard to arrest Sage. As Sage fled the scene, Charr stepped dramatically into the doorway, potatoes at his side, and used his sorcery to put the Townmaster and the guard to sleep. Having retreated to the inn and explained the situation, Sildar agreed to try and calm the now awakened Townmaster and guards shouting outside. He managed to talk the Townmaster down, but it was made clear that Sildar and his friends from the Lords' Alliance were not entirely welcome in Phandalin.

After a night in the inn, the party went outside to find Reidoth asleep in the muck of the town square. They startled him awake and he set about contacting the Emerald Enclave. He asked about Cragmaw castle, any general trouble in the area, if they knew where any kidnappings had taken place and whether the Black Spider was behind them. They replied that there were goblins and hobgoblins at Cragmaw, there had been raids and kidnappings of three dwarves in the area (one of which was Gundren, the other of which they said took place at Conyberry; the location of the third was unknown to them) and that the Black Spider was responsible. The party concluded that the mine was still their best chance of finding the Black Spider and prepared to leave Phandalin.
Session 3 Summary
Spoiler
The party followed the druid Reidoth through across the hills and through a canyon maze to the entrance of Wave Echo Cave, whereby he left them with little more than a hastily sketched exit route on their map and a terse farewell. Proceeding inside, the party found the apparently murdered body of a dwarf with similar features to Gundren - presumably one of his two brothers. After a second or two of mourning and compassion, Slythe ripped the dwarf's fancy boots off his cold, dead feet and put them on to find they enhanced his ability to jump.

Sage sent Raven ahead to scout the tunnels, but the poor magical rat was attacked by a swarm of bat-like creatures (stirges) and vanished into thin air. The party engaged the stirges, who were also attacking a Redbrand bandit and a goblin, and after much blood-sucking and air-swatting the stirges were all killed, as was the goblin. The Redbrand was taken for interrogation, having been mercifully crippled by an arrow to the knee (which scuppered his future adventuring plans). The Black Spider had recently arrived at the cave, it seemed, and had ordered an exploration. Another Redbrand strolled round the corner and was promptly shot in the head by Slythe, after which their captive was summarily executed after promising his freedom, thereby breaching every wartime convention ever ratified in the Sword Coast.

Having spied some ghouls in a nearby room, Sage and Charr took on the forms of the Redbrand and his goblin friend and proceeded down the tunnel to scout further into the cave. A conversation was overheard between a dragon cultist, a Redbrand, a hobgoblin, a goblin and a drow - a congregation of every group they had pissed off over the past week. Sage lured them back down the tunnel, calling for help with the ghouls, and led them into an ambush where Charr gave them a good charring with all of his fire (or at least a good portion of it). The drow came last and was almost subject to another merciful kneecapping and interrogation until Truss cleft his head from his shoulders in a fit of rage.

Moving onward, the party found an ancient, out-of-action watermill on a dry canal, guarded by a skull wreathed in green flame. After a brief discourse with the skull, it was made clear that it wanted them to leave. Immediately. They tested the skull's patience with some loitering before investigating some humming to the east, which came from a floating betentacled green eye monster guarding the Forge of Spells - a magical brazier of enchanting and an anvil. The monster, pleasantly surprised to see people for the first time in 650 years and apparently oblivious to the fact that the mine was no longer in operation, explained that he had never been given a name, and so the party (inevitably, some would say) named him Jeff. Jeff told them how he had been summoned to guard the equipment produced in the Forge of Spells from being stolen, and seemed quite happy bimbling about waiting to intervene in some thievery. Whether the party would attempt to pilfer the phat loot in the room remained to be seen...
Session 4 Summary
Spoiler
Bidding Jeff farewell, the party immediately set about figuring how to rob him blind. They settled on disguising themselves as dwarves and convincing Jeff that his contract to guard the forge had long since expired, as had all the other people running the mine. Relieved of his post, Jeff went to have a chat with the flaming skull by the water wheel. The moment Jeff floated out the door, Slythe swiped everything of value from the forge. Charr also enchanted the Potato of Destiny in the flaming green brazier, expanding its power beyond that of any other potato in the multiverse.

Proceeding further into the mine, the party discovered two bugbears being directed by two drow to locate something in the mud banks of a stream. Not wanting to overexert themselves, they delegated the job of slaughtering them to Jeff by persuading him that they were thieves who had stolen stuff he was meant to be guarding. Jeff, incensed by this turn of events, gave the intruders a piece of his mind before ravaging their brains into mush with his eye-beams, allowing our intrepid heroes to immolate and carve their bodies to pieces. Jeff helpfully pointed out what the bugbears were looking for - a pair of gauntlets of ogre power, buried in the mud - and then set off to explore the world.

The party took a break by the stream, but the alarm set by Slythe was triggered. Upon investigating, they found the enemy they had been tracking for some time, the Black Spider, with one of Gundren's brothers held hostage at knife-point. Curiously, Slythe noticed through a keyhole to another room that there was another dwarf held prisoner who looked exactly like the hostage.

The Black Spider ordered the party to surrender else he would kill the dwarf, but some cunning insight determined that the hostage was not in fact a real dwarf. The ruse exposed, the Spider questioned where the party's allegiance laid and what their motives were in coming to the mine. Slythe concluded that his allegiance was to coin, before moments later realising that nobody had agreed to pay them to come to the mine and stop the Black Spider. Were our heroes so selfless and noble that they hadn't even considered financial reward before plunging themselves into peril? Or was this plain incompetence on a scale hitherto unheard of within adventuring circles? Whatever the case, they were not given chance to ponder on this as the Black Spider's hostage transformed into its true form of a doppelganger and attacked.

Thirty seconds or so later, flames had been thrown, thunder had erupted, an urgent distress call had been sent to Jeff, Charr was crushed within an inch of his life and the Black Spider lay on the ground, dead or dying.

Will Charr survive to burn people another day? Will the Black Spider make his death saves given that the DMs dice were consistently rolling 2s and 3s all night? And will Jeff return to save the day and show everyone who's boss? We find out next week!
Session 5 Summary
Spoiler
Returning from the previous cliffhanger, the party continued to dispatch the onslaught of enemies while somehow avoiding their own demises. The last remaining bugbear surrendered as his comrades fell, and was forced by our illustrious heroes to strip naked and flee with his last shred of dignity in tatters. As surprising as it may be, this would prove to be their most merciful action of the coming day.

Amidst the sea of corpses, only Truss lay alive, and only barely as his friends came to revive him. The Black Spider was not so fortunate, having had his body and brain devastated by Sage's sonic blast which literally shattered multiple stone pillars. Slythe investigated the room and found papers indicating the Black Spider was receiving orders from someone he disliked, along with a coded message in an unknown script. The party also freed Gundren's brother, Nundro, and then conveyed to him the death of his brother Tharden by parading the fancy boots they had ripped off his cold, dead feet. After some much needed rest, Nundro proceeded to hack the head off the Black Spider's corpse as proof of his death, or perhaps as a trophy.

Upon leaving the mine, the party bumped into Jeff, who had got lost and wasn't sure if he was outside or not because he had no concept of what that meant. The group helped Jeff find the exit (Truss scooping up Tharden's body along the way, like a sack of non-destined potatoes), and Jeff was elated and shocked at the sheer scale of the sky. Charr brought him back to earth by informing him that looking at the sky for too long was dangerous, and so Jeff diligently kept his eyes to the ground as he set off on his journey of exploration to the North. Would he find untold treasures and wonders, make new friends and test the depths of his character? Or would he incinerate the first group of travellers he encountered due to an unfortunate misunderstanding and his total ignorance of the wider world? Only the trail of ashes and blood in his wake would tell.

Arriving back in Phandalin, the party found many new wanted posters and warnings of their various activities and disguises, and they heard a commotion from the town centre. A crowd stood around a hastily-erected gallows as the Townmaster decreed that Sildar and Gundren were to be put to death for the crimes of sedition, multiple counts of accessory to murder and conspiracy to depose the town's rightful authorities. Rather than taking the flimsy, pissant approach of trying to defuse the situation, Sage marched forth into the crowd disguised as the Black Spider, his dark and ominous staff in hand, and demanded that the Townmaster release the prisoners into his custody at once.

It is unclear what part the Townmaster played in the troubling events surrounding Phandalin and the Black Spider, though it seems he had been involved to some extent with a subordinate or associate of the Spider's. What is certain is that the party then rallied the crowd against the Townmaster, placing the blame squarely on him for every ill that had happened in the past weeks and months. With the frenzied, ill-informed rage of a Daily Mail reader (that being the local Neverwinter hate rag, of course), the crowd cut free Sildar and Gundren and summarily hanged the Towmaster without trial or forethought until - with his dying constrictions - he watched as Sage reverted in front of him to his true form and revealed the trickery that had led to his demise. Hours later, the Townmaster's corpse still swinging in the breeze, Charr sent his ethereal, disembodied hand to loot a pouch of gold off his belt.

Knowing they would find no dignity in such company, Gundren and Nundro set about burying their brother alone on the edge of town, and then returned to regroup with Sildar and the party at the inn. The town had agreed for Sildar to administer the town's needs temporarily until proper elections could be held. Sildar accepted the charge and suggested that the party returned to Neverwinter to report back to General Sabine and Sir Carac (Sildar's superior), receive their reward and perhaps find more work in tracking down the Black Spider's masters and their plans. Gundren and Nundro also agreed that as a just reward, the party would be given 16% of any profits from the mine once it was up and running again.

With the rescue of Gundren, Nundro and Sildar, the scuppering of bandit activities in the area, the discovery of the Lost Mine and the demise of the Black Spider, the party had proven their value, and their flexible ethics. As they headed to Neverwinter at the close of the first chapter of their story, whispers began to spread of their deeds and misdeeds to ears of both friend and foe. Their true journey had just begun...
Session 6 Summary
Spoiler
As the 'Heroes' of Phandalin (AKA The Unmentionables; AKA The Bastards) brought a close to the terrible events surrounding the discovery of the Lost Mine, they began a new chapter of their own. Began, that is, by stealing blood for unknown nefarious purposes from the hanging body of the Townmaster whose death they had partially orchestrated. Seeking swift transport to Neverwinter, the party spoke to Linene Graywind, trader and postmaster, and agreed to deliver two letters and a parcel to a tiefling called Tombstone in the city in exchange for borrowing her horse (Biscuit) and cart. With the old, disgruntled nag huffing out every ounce of sweat it could muster by towing Charr, Sage and Slythe in the cart (Truss on foot), they began the journey north.

After a couple of uneventful days on the unusually quiet road, a ship with a black flag bearing a red cutlass was sighted off-coast by Sage's familiar, Raven. Later the next day, the party encountered a distraught woman and her two children at the side of the road, and her husband's dead body nearby. She described how two rough types - a man and a woman - had killed her husband and stolen their cart containing all their belongings, then rushed off west towards the coast. While the others debated the logistics of catching up to the bandits, Charr had no such hesitation and sprinted with thunderbolt alacrity into the fields. The others followed as best they could, Sage buying some time by sending Raven to fly in advance and harass their prey. Eventually, a mere half mile from the coast and the previously-sighted ship not far off-shore, Charr and Truss caught up to the bandits and launched a surprise assault which rendered the man unconscious and forced the woman to surrender. As Sage and Slythe arrived on the scene, Sage made a swift assessment of the situation and concluded that melting her head with Eldritch magic was the only viable solution.

The party woke and interrogated/tortured the man, who reluctantly identified himself as Felwin, a buccaneer from Luskan who had been ordered by his captain to raid the roads with his friend, Polly. There was mention of the five High Captains who rule Luskan, but nothing Felwin said could appease his captors, and they decided his fate by asking Truss to kill him. Truss dutifully accepted by stamping on Felwin's head with little mercy or dignity. It is said that two wrongs do not make a right, but Slythe attempted to subvert this by slipping 20gp into a crate on the stolen cart before it was returned to the widow, thereby demonstrating that two rights still somehow seem wrong. Unfettered by moral arithmetic, the party escorted the woman (Yenna) on the road to Neverwinter, with a stop at a small roadside tavern on the way.

Four days after leaving Phandalin, our heroes entered the gates of Neverwinter and proceeded to collect their reward from General Sabine at the Hall of Justice - a great fortress of white stone and marble serving as both barracks to the city guard (the Mintarn Mercenaries) and as the temple of Tyr, the god of Justice. The General was found in heated discussion with Lord Neverember (Lord Protector of the city) and Sir Carac, a renowned and noble paladin, and Sildar's superior. The party reported the success of their mission and were rewarded as agreed before being introduced to Neverember, who gladly greeted them. It appeared that the party's deeds had not gone unnoticed, such that Neverember seemed to want their help in another task, and he asked for them to meet back at the Hall of Justice later in the evening after he had spoken to the Council.

With their reward in pocket, the party proceeded to find Tombstone and deliver the post as agreed, while also spending some coin. Tombstone, it seemed, was a shopkeeper and detective who ran Cases and Curiosities, a tiny hovel filled to the brim with (as the bards say) 'phat loot'. After some bartering, Tombstone's salesmanship and unplaceable accent sold several items, including a Cloak of Billowing which billowed dramatically on command. Slythe also managed to sell the shield from the mine for a hefty sum, but Tombstone refused to buy the mace on the grounds that it was a holy relic of Lathander, and as a rule he tried not to get on the wrong side of gods. Before departing, the party enquired about any ongoing investigations they could help with, and Tombstone asked if they had ever heard of Iarno Albrek. They had, Slythe and his former friends having defeated him in the manor at Phandalin and allowing him to depart to an unknown (but probably deadly) fate. Tombstone asked if they would return in the morning after he had checked the mail they had delivered, as he may have questions for them.
Session 7 Summary
Spoiler
Departing Tombstone's shop, the group now calling themselves the Unmentionables decided to have a pre-Council drink at Neverwinter's grottiest, most infamous flat-roof pub, The Dolphin, in the hope of overhearing some juicy local gossip. Attempts at cordial conversation with the salty staff and clientele were met with jibes and drunken snarls, with the only interesting rumours being talk of trouble at the dwarven city of Gauntlgrym and potential unsavoury work up in the pirate town of Luskan. The group left less than satisfied, magically freezing all the drinks and slamming the doors on the way out.

They made their way back to the Hall of Justice to meet Lord Neverember at his request and were led to the Council chamber, where the Council had convened. The Council were introduced:

Lord Dagult Neverember, Lord Protector of Neverwinter (human male)
General Sabine, Master of the Guard (human female)
Sir Carac Stonesworn, Master of Justice (human male)
Lady Tanye Mithmireleen, Master of the People (high elf female)
Brior Felhim, Master of the Arcane (gnome male)
Beatrix de Bolbec, Master of Trade (half-elf female)
Xalvador Montagu, Master of Shadows (human male)

Neverember explained that the problems facing the city were numerous and growing beyond the capability of the guard to handle. Trade had almost entirely stopped in all directions due to apparently coordinated raids from pirates, bandits and monsters on the roads, the Ten Towns to the north were in dire straits from dwindling supplies, and the latest word from Gauntlgrym to the East was that King Bruenor - the dwarfiest dwarf who ever dwarfed - had died in suspicious circumstances. Unless these problems were resolved swiftly, Neverwinter faced disaster.

And so it was that Lord Neverember, against the wishes of some of the Council, appointed the Unmentionables as Neverwinter's task force due to their reputation for getting the job done at any cost. They were granted Neverember's full authority to investigate and end any and all threats facing the city, and they were promised exceptional compensation for their noble efforts.

Sir Carac, paladin of Tyr and Master of Justice in Neverwinter, voiced his objection to the apparent free reign from the law that Neverember had granted the Unmentionables in their task. Neverember then emphasised that he expected the group to act within the bounds of the law when possible, but ending the threats took priority. Beatrix de Bolbec, Master of Trade, also voiced her concern that the city's coffers were so far stretched from the trade issues that Neverember was promising payment beyond what they could afford, but Neverember dismissed this with a hand wave.

As the Council departed, Neverember spoke privately with the group and informed them that he suspected someone on the Council was working against Neverwinter's interests, and that any updates on their mission should be first given directly to him.

With the Unmentionables given terrifying levels of authority to override the law and stamp on civil rights to achieve their goals (with an apparently huge budget), they retired with the Council to a chamber of refreshments where they mingled with other members of the city's nobility. The group first went to talk with the spymaster, Xalvador Montagu, asking for advice on where to start their investigations, inquiring about Tombstone (who Xalvador claimed was a capable amateur but working only for himself) and discussing who may have potentially betrayed the Council.

Next they spoke with the Master of Trade, Beatrix de Bolbec, who was very concerned with the trade crisis and placed the likely blame solely on Luskan. She mentioned that she had worked with General Sabine to provide guards to protect outbound caravans, but all had been lost and the city could no longer spare any more guards. The group suggested posing as guards with a caravan to Luskan, and Beatrix agreed that if they decided to go ahead with the plan then a caravan could be dispatched the next day. In the interest of ending the crisis quickly, she gave the group 500 gold pieces and promised 500 more once trade routes had been made safe again.

The group then spoke with the excitable gnomish wizard, Brior Felhim, who made it clear that he enjoyed public displays of arcane prowess. The party, of course, acquiesced to this by causing thunder to rumble the rafters (and the Cloak of Billowing to billow dramatically). Brior expressed his approval of the party's appointment, and when asked about his thoughts on where to start he suggested that the troubles facing the city were most likely wider than just Luskan, and that Gauntlgrym (being the site of an apparent regicide and the guardians of a major entrance to the Underdark and the drow within) was probably of similar importance. He also lamented that his fellow wizards at the secretive Cloak Tower - the seat of arcane learning in Neverwinter with very restricted access - did not share his desire to spread their arcane knowledge for the betterment of the city. Leaning in closer, he suggested that they could gain the Cloak Tower's loyalty by finding a way to enter the mysterious Shard of Night - a tower which had appeared 500ft above the city many decades ago and remained there ever since. He told of how five mages had entered the tower when it first appeared but had never come out, and ever since it had been forbidden to enter. With the legal flexibility now granted to the Unmentionables, they were in a unique position to finally discover what was inside. If successful, Brior suggested he could arrange limited access to the Cloak Tower and their magical knowledge and artefacts.

With more Council members still to talk to, the Unmentionables mingled further into the crowd...
Session 8 Summary
Spoiler
The Unmentionables continued their mingling amongst the Neverwinter nobility by talking to Lady Tanye, the Master of the People - the representative of the citizens of Neverwinter on the Council. She did not take a liking to the motley bunch of misfits, (not unwarranted, given that her coin pouch was then stolen from her) but their exchange of insults was interrupted by a peculiar and disturbing turn of events: Sir Carac, the noble paladin and Master of Justice, rose abruptly from his seat, drew his sword and lunged at Lord Neverember with a glazed expression.

Amidst the panic that erupted in the room, the party quickly realised that Sir Carac was not in control of himself, and was subject to some nefarious exterior influence. Truss and General Sabine rushed to try and restrain the paladin as he hacked at Lord Neverember, whose armour thankfully did its job of (mostly) protecting him. Charr, sensing the stirrings of destiny, grabbed a handful of potato fritters from the table next to him and heroically lobbed them towards Sir Carac as a distraction, though alas they hit Lady Tanye square in the face instead, sending her reeling to the ground in a fit of starch-based distress. The scene of chaos was suddenly enshrouded in impenetrable darkness, as Sage cast a spell at Sir Carac to hinder his assault.

It was at this point that the party noticed two of the four band members acting suspiciously, un-panicked and staring intently towards the darkness enveloping Sir Carac. With their actions uncovered, the two musicians sprouted wings and horns and shed their human disguises to reveal their true natures: a succubus and an incubus, terrible fiends from the Abyss. Slythe, having given his bow to Brior Felhim for it to be enchanted, reached for the mace Lightbringer and lunged at the incubus in stealthy fury. The glowing radiance that erupted from the strike dazzled all in the vicinity, giving Slythe a moment to hide from view again (*cough*retcon*ahem*). Sage quickly evaluated the scene and determined that a deafening Shatter spell would hit both fiends, along with the acceptable civilian losses of the other two band members. For the greater good... or some kind of good, presumably... or another vaguely justifiable reason, Sage sent forth his magical assault, causing intense pain to the fiends and instant, ear-bleeding death to the innocent minstrels whose corpses then flopped to the ground. Meanwhile, Charr sent a number of minute meteors (of Melf's variety) hurtling towards the succubus.

Being fiends, the succubus and incubus were no strangers to evil and sordid deeds, which apparently included personal assaults of a most ribald nature as the incubus proceeded to kiss Slythe full on the lips, and similarly the succubus advanced on Charr. Far from being romances for the bards to sing about in years to come, the embraces were clearly substandard and unrequited based on the screams of harrowing pain from Slythe and Charr. The party responded with further attacks as Slythe and Charr then retreated to a safe distance from the handsy predators. The succubus sought a new victim, kissing the already unconscious Lady Tanye until her face turned grey. The incubus foolishly attempted to win the heart of the mighty Truss, who was unswayed by such feeble flirtations, and responded by garroting the fiend and then plunging his greatsword through its throat. Sage rounded on the succubus, destroying her with his eldritch powers.

With the fiends dead, Sir Carac's mind returned to him and he ceased his attack. The party and the Council quickly established that Sir Carac was no longer a threat and that the fiends had been controlling him. The paladin rushed to heal Lady Tanye, who awoke in a foul temper, but sadly the two minstrels were too far gone for Sir Carac to restore to life. Sage searched their bodies, finding a flyer for the Winged Wyvern tavern on one of them, and then proceeded to extract some of their blood into vials. Sir Carac questioned this undignified act, but Sage put forth an extraordinarily compelling argument as to why it was necessary. An outsider could be forgiven for thinking he had innocent blood on his hands, but in fact his sanguine extraction was handled with deft cleanliness.

The Unmentionables retired to chambers within the Hall of Justice with many questions unanswered. Who were the fiends? Where did they come from? Were they working alone? Did anyone notice Sage commit culpable manslaughter? Only one thing seemed certain: Lord Neverember's suspicions of a conspiracy were not unfounded.
Session 9 Summary
Spoiler
The Unmentionables awoke to the hammering of General Sabine's fist on the door. She had found that the band - the Ribald Rapscallions - had been hired from a local tavern/playhouse called the Winged Wyvern. They set off to investigate the lead, hoping to uncover some clue as to how the fiends had infiltrated the gathering in the Hall of Justice. The Wyvern was closed, but our intrepid heroes were no strangers to breaking and entering and promptly sneaked in via the kitchen without so much as a knock on the door. In the bar they found the severely hungover bartender, Gilbert Greenhill, soon joined by his equally inebriated employer, the theatrical Saluvian Siltheer. Disguised as General Sabine, Sage interrogated them regarding the band, and Gilbert explained how they had played at the Wyvern for years but that the twin brother and sister, Derren and Sally Dellweather, had been living up to their band's name in recent weeks, seducing strangers from the crowd and taking them back to their room which they rented upstairs.

The party were given access to the room by Gilbert. It was a rank mess, with a lingering rank smell that emanated from a large trunk. With some effort, the trunk was unlocked to reveal the mutilated corpses of the real twins inside. Several other curiosities were found about the dresser: numerous pouches of coin, presumably stolen from the fiends' victims; a magical sending stone which allowed the bearer to communicate with a companion stone; and a metallic blue brooch in the shape of a cloak, quickly identified as those worn by the wizards of the Cloak Tower.

With nary an apology or an explanation, the party vacated the Winged Wyvern before they were dragged into helping with corpse-disposal. With questions about tracing the companion sending stone and how the Cloak Tower brooch had fallen into the hands of fiends, the logical course of action led the party to talk to Brior Felhim at the Cloak Tower. On the way, they were distracted by a burned down orphanage with one survivor - a little girl, only six years of age, lamenting the death of her old guardian, Patricio, along with all the other orphans. Upon hearing this news, Sage dragged his friends out of earshot and confided that he had received a dream from an unknown entity a while ago who asked him to make a choice as to which of an old man or a young girl should live. Far be it from this storyteller to suggest that one of our heroes was responsible for the death of many, many orphans and their master - indeed, I need not make such an allegation, as Sage himself suggested it. But still, what price is the death of unknowns compared to the sweet, sweet magic that comes from unquestioning servitude to an obfuscated and otherworldly entity of unfathomable power and intent? As recompense for her troubles, Sage ensured that a guard escorted the girl to the Hall of Justice, where she would receive lodgings and care by order of the Unmentionables.

Arriving at the Cloak Tower, the Unmentionables were met outside the gates by the eccentric gnomish Council wizard, Brior Felhim. He first presented Slythe with his newly-enchanted bow, now more powerful and with a button on the shaft which would cause an additional effect which even Brior wasn't sure about. He advised only to use it in dire need. With secret matters to discuss, the party departed with Brior to the more private corners of the Fallen Tower - a collapsed tower renovated into an open-air watering hole. There the party asked Brior about the sending stone. He examined it and declared that he would need to spend a few hours scrutinising it to figure out how to trace the location of its companion stone. After some debate in private about whether to simply hand over their main lead and evidence in their investigation to the wild-eyed, cackling gnome from the mysterious and secretive Cloak Tower, they decided to first try speaking through it. There was no response, and so handing over the stone seemed their only recourse. The party also enquired with Brior about the brooch, and after close inspection he determined that it was genuine and therefore gravely concerning that it had fallen into the hands of the fiends. Brior resolved to get to the bottom of the matter and departed for the Cloak Tower with the sending stone.

The Unmentionables remembered that Tombstone, the tiefling shopkeeper and private investigator, had asked if they could stop by to answer some questions about Iarno Albrek. Upon arriving at Cases and Curiosities, he asked them about their business with Albrek, when they had last seen him, what they knew of Sildar Hallwinter and, strangely, what they knew about runestones. He then showed them the runestone which the party had unknowingly delivered to him in the package from Phandalin and explained that it was most likely bad. Very bad. He believed it to be a summoning stone, though what it summoned he couldn't say. He went on to tell how an investigation had uncovered the theft of the runestone from the Cloak Tower which somehow ended up in the possession of Iarno Albrek, who he found out had set up a band of ruffians in Phandalin. When he learned that the Redbrands had been annihilated, he asked his friend and contact in Phandalin, Linene Greywind to recover the runestone. Given the circumstances of the troubles around Neverwinter and the supposed mole in the Council, Tombstone was convinced that the runestone was immensely dangerous and not at all safe in his possession. As such, he convinced the party that they should look after this terrifying instrument of probable catastrophic doom and promptly offloaded the responsibility to them. He declared that he had to find Iarno Albrek, dead or alive, though for what purpose he did not say.

Seeking information about runestones, the party headed to the House of Knowledge - a temple to Oghma, the god of knowledge, where a library of substantial size and quality was available for public consumption. Little did they realise that the taxes used to fund the Unmentionables on the orders of Lord Neverember meant that important public services such as this library would probably be axed due to budget cuts, leaving the populace an illiterate and ignorant rabble. Nevertheless, they made good use of the library for their own immediate needs and soon found a suitable book describing the nature and usual purposes of runestones similar to the one in their possession. The news seemed bad - such runestones were generally of nefarious intent, and it was rumoured that one was responsible for the eruption of Mount Hotenow many decades ago which destroyed most of the city. Another passage mentioning how the Drow had historically used runestones to summon terrors triggered Slythe's memory and reminded him that he had an untranslated note written in Undercommon, found in the quarters of the Black Spider in the Lost Mine. Sensing a possible connection, the party enquired with the monks if they could translate it, and a master linguist was brought forth to read the note. After a few moments of the translator looking increasingly concerned, he announced that he knew what it said...

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Sly Boots
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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Sly Boots » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:42 pm

:o

Yes, yes... a thousand times yes! :D

Can I resurrect Slythe or should I make a new character?

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:44 pm

:D

I was hoping you'd say yes!

I was thinking of starting from level 1, but I'm not against bringing old characters back. Can you remember what level you got to (4 or 5, maybe)?

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Sly Boots » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:45 pm

Wrathbone wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:44 pm
:D

I was hoping you'd say yes!

I was thinking of starting from level 1, but I'm not against bringing old characters back. Can you remember what level you got to (4 or 5, maybe)?
I'm just heading out for the school run, but I'm pretty sure I still have the character sheet on my google drive. I shall have a look when I get back in a bit.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:52 pm

It could actually make a lot of sense to incorporate where the old adventure left off into this new one. There's some appropriate crossover.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Mantis » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:20 pm

I would be up for this. I don't mind whether we roll new characters or not. There are aspects of Ellis' character that I wouldn't have gone with in hindsight.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:32 pm

Yay! :D

If we do stick with the existing characters then they'd need recreating in dndbeyond anyway, so I'd have no problem with changing whatever you want.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Sly Boots » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:49 pm

Mantis wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:20 pm
I would be up for this. I don't mind whether we roll new characters or not. There are aspects of Ellis' character that I wouldn't have gone with in hindsight.
Too sober? :lol:

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Sly Boots » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:53 pm

Yep... here 'tis:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9Yhmz ... sp=sharing

We made it to level 4, it looks like.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Raid » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:28 pm

So is this open to new players too? I've done a couple of tabletops before but not D&D. Wouldn't mind getting into another one.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:06 pm

Absolutely! New players definitely welcome.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Mantis » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:13 pm

I've still got my character sheet for Ellis too. What would be the best course of action for starting a fresh campaign with new players when Sly and I are already level 4? Roll everything again from level 1 anyway?

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:38 pm

I’m leaning towards everyone starting at level 4, because picking up exactly where we left off has a really opportune way of introducing new characters quickly.

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Solitaire » Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:25 am

I'm interested :)

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Re: The return of the D&D campaign: This time it's personal

Post by Wrathbone » Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:43 am

Sweet! :D

That’s four provisional players, which is great. I’ll post some more details about character creation, etc, later on but the earliest I’d be able to run a game is in a couple of weeks so there’s still plenty of time for anyone else to join up if they want. For now, have a think about the sort of character you want to play. I think we will stick with Sly and Mantis’s existing characters from the previous game, and they’re playing a rogue and a bard respectively, so ideally for party balance you’d want some kind of martial expert (fighter, barbarian, paladin or ranger) and either a divine or arcane magic user (wizard, sorcerer, warlock, druid or cleric). It’s really up to you, though, and party balance isn’t absolutely essential.

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