Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Recap: Hammers and Song

Everything a village could possibly need
Welp, another weekend that I didn't have a game scheduled... which means it's time to dig back into
Lost Mine of Phandelver! This module has about 5 sessions' worth of material, so I imagine we'll eventually finish it. Depending on player availability and such, of course.

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

Lost Mine of Phandelver: Hammers and Song

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
Will: Valkas Barthen, Human Barbarian, son of a peace-loving shopkeeper, wants to prove himself with his fists

(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)

After the events of the last day, Fwip and Rune were exhausted. They stayed the night at the Stonehill Inn, along with Sildar Hallwinter, their patron and Uncle Bart's friend and guardian. Rune's uncle, Bartholemew Coldiron, was still missing. The group wasn't sure where to start, but they knew his map had been taken - a map to Wave Echo Cave, the fabled site of the Forge of Spells. If they could find it, they might find him as well.

Rune and Fwip went to Barthen's Provisions, where they had been told to deliver a wagon of supplies as a test of their adventuring skill. Despite having made it to the supplier, they were a bit down since they had been captured and nearly killed.

Inside the shop, they found the shopkeep, Elmar Barthen, arguing with his son Valkas. Valkas was mad because a local gang, the Redbrand Ruffians, had been shaking his father down for money. Elmar was a peaceful man and had faith that the gang would see the error of their ways, but Valkas wanted action and justice.
Anger: check. Big hammer: also check.
Elmar thanked the two adventurers for their efforts in bringing the supplies and asked about Bart. Upon hearing he had been captured, Elmar urged the girls to stick around town for a couple days, since Bart's brothers, Harry and Horace, were still in the area and would be back any day now to resupply. In the meantime, Valkas could show them around town.

The group went back to the Stonehill Inn and started digging up rumors. The innkeeper and his wife told them that the Redbrands had killed a local woodcarver. After that the woodcarver's wife and children went missing. The group was also shocked that the townmaster, Harbin Wester, had apparently done nothing to stop the attacks.

They went to the Townmaster's home, but discovered Sildar Hallwinter was there waiting for an audience. Sildar said he had been waiting for some time, and didn't think he would get anywhere. He asked them to look for Iarno Albrek, the mage they were supposed to meet in Phandalin.

They stopped by the Shrine of Luck and met Sister Garaele, a tiefling cleric of Olidammara. Though tieflings were a relatively common sight around Garlancia, Rune and Fwip (who grew up in Chortenhall in the mountains) had never seen one before. Garaele gave her blessing on the party's mission of helping the town be free of the Redbrand Ruffians, and Fwip prayed to the Gnomish God of Luck for aid.

After much debate, the group decided to confront the Redbrand Ruffians at the rundown tap house they hung out at: The Sleeping Giant. As they approached, the thugs immediately began to insult them and try to threaten them. Valkas stood his ground, and before long the Ruffians had resorted to drawing their blades to scare him away.

Inevitably, a fight broke out. The ruffians put up a paltry fight, but Valkas took them out one after another with his hammer. Fwip used the butt of her rapier to knock one of them out, and Rune kept everyone on their feet. The last ruffian turned tail and fled towards Tresedar Manor, an old ruined mansion on a hill near the town, but Valkas crushed his leg as he tried to escape and finished him off.

Valkas restrained the unconscious ruffian by stacking his comrade's bodies on top of him, before waking him up. The thug was extremely frightened, as one might expect, and told them there was indeed a secret hideout in Tresendar Manor. The Ruffian's leader, an enigmatic figure named Glasstaff, was located there as well. Also, the kidnapped wife and children were there, guarded by animated skeletons in an old crypt.

The party knocked him out and decided to wash off in a local well before heading up to the manor. As they did so, they met Carp Alderleaf, a young halfling who admired adventurers. Fwip and Rune, just barely qualified for the title, introduced themselves. Carp told the group that he had discovered a secret tunnel near Tresendar Manor. The party decided to take him up on his offer to lead them there, but not before grabbing a bit to eat from his mother, Qelline.

Tresendar Manor, a place of many secrets! Well, one secret. At least one.
The group made their way to the secret tunnel, and gave Carp a couple gold pieces to keep him quiet and happy. After walking for a minute or so, they came out into an underground chasm, which lead up into the basement of the manor.

Rune noticed a treasure chest stashed under one of the bridges, and the group tried to open it with extreme caution. However, they kept receiving telepathic messages disguised as their own voice, which dissuaded them. Finally, Fwip realized things weren't right, and they called out to the faceless voice that was tormenting them.

The voice demanded bodies, flesh to feast upon. In exchange, it would tell them where everything was in the dungeon. The group agreed, as long as they were killing Ruffians, they might as well get something in exchange for it. They climbed out of the chasm and headed down a tunnel.

The tunnel came to a dead end, but Rune realized it was actually a concealed door. They pushed it open and saw a room with a stairway leading up to the rest of the manor, as well as two other doors. Valkas walked over and pushed open one of them, revealing more Ruffians!

The Ruffians attacked, since the group was obviously not supposed to be there. Valkas held the door as long as he could, but eventually had to pull back and let Rune take the lead. The Ruffians fell to Valkas' and Rune's hammers, while Fwip played support and healed Valkas' injuries.

The last Ruffian decided to drop his weapon and surrender, and the group convinced him to quit the gang. They got a little more information out of him before they sent him up and out of the manor. The other two bodies, they dragged back to the bridge to feed the mysterious voice.

The voice told them where they would find Glasstaff and his guards. The group wanted to avoid them, and instead checked out a storage room nearby. They found a couple secret doors, and went through one of them.

They busted into a locked armory and picked up a few crossbows, then ventured into a crypt with three coffins in it. Just as the Ruffians had warned them, skeletons rose from the coffins and attacked!

Rune brandished her holy symbol and two of them turned back, fleeing to the corners of the room. The last skeleton advanced, fighting off even Fwip's mind-wrenching magic. Fortunately, the skeleton was stronger in the mind than the body, and Valkas finished it off with a crushing blow from his hammer. The other two followed quickly, and the group moved into the prison area.
The PCs get off easy, as usual
After dispatching a couple more Ruffians who were guarding the prison, they discovered the captured wife and children: Mirna, Nars, and Nilsa Dendrar. Mirna thanked them as Valkas used a crowbar from the storeroom to pry open their cages.

The group decided that since they had rescued the hostages, they would head back. They were sorely in need of a rest anyway. They threw the last couple bodies to the voice, and were surprised when it gave them a magical sword from a knight who had once lived in the manor. Valkas took it as a souvenir.

They made it back to town, where the townmaster was still looking for the mysterious killers who had murdered the Ruffians from the Sleeping Giant taproom. The group decided to hide out in Valkas' dad's shop, at least until the trouble had passed over. The Dendrars hid as well, fearing Rendbrand retribution.

That night, Fwip woke Valkas and Rune up before they were fully rested. The Stonehill Inn was burning, and a crowd had gathered in the town square!

The group rushed out to see a robed figure directing three Bugbears to throw torches into the flames. Valkas called him out, and the Bugbears attacked! Sildar Hallwinter, an experienced but elderly warrior and their patron, jumped to their aid.

Rune and Valkas charged the bugbears, who fell one by one to their hammers. Fwip made the robed figure double over in laughter, and Sildar did his best to fight alongside the trio. As they fought, rain began to fall, eventually growing into a drizzle.

Finally, the Bugbears had fallen, and Sildar ran forward. He dropped his sword in shock when he realized that Glasstaff was actually Iarno. Valkas had no such compulsions, and rushed forward to attack.

Iarno, however, decided to take the opportunity to flee. The group loaded their recently-obtained crossbows and shot him down as he ran out of town. The townsfolk cheered, and several of them approached the group of heroes to request their assistance. Sildar, recognizing the need for the young adventurers to get their rest, held off the crowd and directed the group back to Barthen's Provisions.

The next day, fully rested, the heroes awoke to find Sildar and Harbin had searched the manor and uncovered a box of treasure that Iarno had left behind. Since the group had driven off the Redbrand Ruffians, the treasure was rightfully theirs. The group decided to band together, taking the name "Hammers and Song" to reflect their fighting styles.

Feeling refreshed after the night's sleep, the heroes prepared to bask in their glory and help those around the town who were in need!

A bugbear. Closer to bear than bug, but still different from both.
Well, that's the second session of Lost Mines! Playing with a smaller party, it didn't go exactly as expected, but I think the final confrontation was much more epic because of it.

I don't have concrete plans for our next session, but just in case I let them level up to 3. We'll probably end up playing soon anyway, since Will, Shannon and Makayla are definitely my most active and invested players.

Thanks for reading!

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