Monday, August 28, 2017

Monday Recap: Lost Mine of Phandelver

Goblins galore!
Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm probably the last 5e DM to play this module. And it's really a good one. And both of my players pretty much knew what was going to happen because of The Adventure Zone. But it was still pretty fun.

Also, we didn't have a space to play this week, so we went to our local game store, The Guard Tower. They were super cool and let us just grab a table and play, even when the power went out for nearly an hour. We ended up buying some dice and minis afterwards, so all in all a great trip!

This article is part 1 of a series. The campaign was completed.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 |

Lost Mine of Phandelver

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Makayla: Fwip Arda, Gnome Bard, born into a long line of musicians, prefers the avant-garde
Shannon: Rune Coldiron, Dwarf Knowledge Cleric, born into a long line of War Clerics, prefers thinking

(Note: since I wanted to surprise my players and discourage some meta-gaming, I changed nearly all of the names and locations of the module to places and people from my homebrew world, Ahneria)

Our story starts in the dwarven city of Chortenhall, bastion of dwarven civilization, just outside the borders of Garlancia. There, the clan of Coldiron served as great warriors and priests for the dwarven crown, and the gnomish family Arda worked tirelessly to tutor the royal family in music.

However, two daughters of these families wished to set out, buck the traditions of their lineage, and begin anew in the world. Fwip, a gnome who loved the wilderness more than the conservatory, shocked her teachers with her birdsong compositions. Even after her magic had begun to manifest, she continued to use her strange melodies to perform it.
Tweet tweet
Meanwhile, Rune, a young dwarven girl trained in the art of smithing and sacrament, forsook the traditional worship of Clangeddin Silverbeard, the dwarven God of War. Instead, she was fascinated by the Dwarven God of Buried Secrets, Dumathoin. Her cousin Griffin had also left home in pursuit of knowledge, and the family worried that Rune might be yet another black sheep in the clan.

Sensing unrest among the pair, Rune's caretaker, Bartholemew "Uncle Bart" Coldiron, told them he'd get the two restless girls out of Chortenhall (and with some money to line their pockets) if they agreed to help him with a secret mission. Bart was usually quite forthcoming, which meant this mission would be interesting indeed.

Bart told them that their first test would be to escort some supplies to Phandalin, a small logging community in the woods of southern Garlancia. Bart and his human hireling, a middle-aged man named Sildar Hallwinter, would go ahead on horseback, while Fwip and Rune would take the oxen and wagon at a slower pace.

The pair passed out of the Fractured Mountains, through the city of Eastcliff, and along the Mane Road until they veered south along the Sarria Trail towards Phandalin. The journey was easy and relaxing, and they took turns wielding the reins and caring for the oxen.

When they were less than a day away from Phandalin, they came across a horrible sight: two horses, lying dead in the road! Rune spotted something moving in the trees with her sharp eyes. They crept closer and heard voices scheming and whispering in the brush.

Fwip created a yelp sound that caused one creature to shush another. The other creature denied it, and before long the "hidden" creatures were all arguing amongst themselves. Fwip rushed forward to attack, and the creatures jumped out of the bushes: Goblins!

Fwip unleashed a Thunderwave that sent a goblin flying into a tree, then killed another goblin with her rapier while dodging their blows. Meanwhile, two more goblins leapt from the trees, firing arrows at Rune. One stuck right in her shoulder, and she responded with a searing bolt of holy fire.

Juicy travelers make good goblin meals
Rune spoke a word of Command at one of the goblins, making the creature mindlessly walk towards her. Fwip took the opportunity to attack the creature, which tumbled down a small embankment and fell unconscious. The final goblin, seeing his allies defeated, screamed and ran off.

Fwip and Rune tied up the unconscious goblin and inspected the dead horses. It was clear that they were the same beasts that Uncle Bart and Sildar had used on their journey. The saddlebags were looted and a map case near the horses was emptied.

The girls woke up the goblin and interrogated him. Rune, having grown up in a family of warriors, was quite good at putting on a fearsome front. The goblin, whose name was Gral, told them his tribe had ambushed a dwarf and a human under the orders of Gralk, their boss, who was only following the orders of King Grol, his boss. Gral had no idea why they wanted these two, but they wanted them alive and with a map they were carrying.

The adventurers tried to get an estimate of how many goblins were in Gral's tribe, but he was pretty bad at math. He was able to point them in the direction of Cragmaw Hideout, where the tribe was holed up. Rune thanked him and knocked him out again.

They headed towards Cragmaw Hideout, stumbling across a couple ambush traps laid by the goblins along the way. They managed to spot the first one, and decided to use it to hold Gral, but Rune stepped in the second one. She tumbled down into a pit trap, which was fortunately not full of spikes or deadly animals.

They finally made it to the Hideout, a cave surrounded by overgrown thickets with a small stream running out of its mouth. Rune heard snickering and giggling in the trees, and realized there must be more goblins guarding the entrance.

Fwip created the sound of Gral's voice using her magic, but the goblins had apparently been told that Gral was dead. They came out of the bushes, saw the two adventurers, and ran forward to attack!

Fwip and Rune unleashed several spells at the oncoming goblins, but the tricky creatures ganged up on Rune and began slashing at her with their blades. One got a lucky hit that cut open her side, and she fell to her knees in pain. Fwip rushed forward, defending her as best she could from the assault.
Rune kicks it hard!
Focusing through the pain, Rune healed herself and stood back up, stepping on a goblin's sword and crushing another one's face with her warhammer. Fwip took the opportunity to finish off the goblin whose blade was beneath Rune's foot, and the pair breathed a sigh of relief. They bandaged up their wounds as best they could, and carried forward into the Hideout to try and find any sign of Rune's uncle.

Just inside the cave, they found a room with a stalagmite wrapped in iron chains, which formed the leashes of three snarling wolves. Fwip decided to cast Speak with Animals, and ask the wolves if the girls could help them out. The wolves happily ate some of the group's rations, then asked to be freed.

Fwip undid their collars, and the wolves howled in delight. They said there was a secret passage up to the leader's room if they passed up a rocky fissure at the far end of the wolf's room. They then fled the cave.

Fwip and Rune climbed up the rocky fissure, Rune rather easily and Fwip needing a bit of help along the way. They found themselves looking into a room with a small firepit and another exit, which had a wolf and a bugbear lounging near the flames. Fortunately, the bugbear was facing the other direction and they were able to remain hidden.

Fwip cast a minor illusion on the other entrance, making it appear like there was suddenly a boulder there blocking it. The bugbear got up and declared his name was Gralk, and he would find whoever was casting magics in his hideout! He attacked the boulder, his morningstar passing through it and cracking the stone ground.

The adventurers heard the sound of goblins cowering in fear as Gralk asked them which of them did this. After the sound of some fighting, Gralk returned to the cave, looking a little beat up. The goblins in the other room seemed quiet, probably defeated or ran off.

The group decided to try to sneak by Gralk and avoid fighting him, but as they moved through the room Rune kicked a rock and gave them away. Gralk turned on them and demanded to know what they were doing here.

Fwip immediately called out to Gralk's wolf pet and offered it food for helping them. The wolf was hesitant, but when Fwip mentioned they had freed its companions, the wolf turned on Gralk and snapped at him! Gralk responded by crushing the wolf's skull with his morningstar.

No wolf will live to say they betrayed Gralk!
Fwip and Rune drew their weapons and began to fight the bugbear, but his morningstar connected with Rune's already-injured shoulder and she nearly blacked out from pain. Fwip held her own for a bit, but before long Gralk's blow found its way to her gut, and the gnome went down as well. Gralk chuckled as their vision faded, saying they would make good food for his pets.

The pair woke up later, their armor and weapons stripped from them. They were still in a cave, and they saw a few goblins at the far end of the cave rummaging through their packs. They were barely alive, and still nursing injuries from their encounter with Gralk.

However, they were surprised and relieved to find Sildar Hallwinter tied up next to them! He told them that they had only been out about an hour, and that Uncle Bart had been taken somewhere else. He thought he was only being kept alive because King Grol had given the order to not kill any captives.

Sildar suggested that they wouldn't be able to beat Gralk, and they should focus on getting their gear and escaping. Fwip said she could use her magic to sow discord among the goblins looting their gear, if she had a bit of fleece. Sildar ripped a piece of his tunic off for Fwip to use.

The goblins were laughing at one of their number who had found Fwip's costume supply and was prancing around in it. Fwip made it sound like one of them insulted the costume-wearing goblin, who took it as a personal offense. A goblin wrestling match ensued, leaving the goblins exhausted and tired. The adventurers took advantage of this, using their magic to finish off the worn out goblins.

They broke their rope bonds, grabbed their gear, and began to get out of the cave. Fwip gave Sildar a dagger to defend himself.

They snuck up on the goblin guarding the entrance to the cave, and Fwip stabbed him with her rapier. The goblin yelped and ran back into the cave, heading to warn the others. All three of the heroes stabbed at the goblin as it ran past, but it evaded all of them and fled into the darkness. Sildar told the group to forget him and run, unless they wanted to deal with Gralk as well.

The group ran all the way back to their cart, which had been tied up in the woods. They leapt on and urged the oxen forward, finally safe. The group breathed a sigh of relief.

The rest of their journey was uneventful, and they finally arrived in Phandalin. The commoners lifted their eyes, some staring at the heroes' wounds, but most just returning to their work. Children played in the street, and the buildings here seemed warm and friendly.

Sildar suggested they find an inn and get some rest.
Boy does he need it
So that's it! The first session of the first module for 5th edition. My group was a bit smaller than most, but they managed to barely make it out alive. That kind of tension and danger is usually a sign that the game is challenging, though I probably could have cut down the challenge a little bit more! I certainly don't want my players to feel like they are going to die every game.

Also, on an unrelated note, today is my birthday, so I guess this would be my birthday session. I'm not sure I want to know what goblin cake tastes like, though.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment