Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Recap: Castle Cragmaw

Here be gerblins
We finally got another session of Lost Mine of Phandelver in. The holidays are over, and D&D is back! Yeah! It's a whole week of awesome things returning! What does that mean? Find out Friday!

And that's enough advertising for me. Ugh. That felt terrible.

On to the adventure!

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

Lost Mine of Phandelver: Castle Cragmaw

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Makayla: Fwip Arda, Gnome Bard of the Blades, 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 Storm Herald Barbarian, son of a peace-loving shopkeeper, has accepted his new Storm God overlords

When we last left our heroes, they had discovered the location of Cragmaw Castle by helping out an old, naked druid. They were still trying to find Rune's Uncle Bart, and along the way help Sildar discover the location of the legendary Wave Echo Cave.

The group woke in Barthen's Provisions, the shop owned by Valkas' father. They spent little time hanging around, since they had a clear goal in mind. After a quick goodbye, they began the long trek towards Cragmaw Castle, the lair of the Cragmaw Goblin tribe.

Their journey along the paths of Southern Garlancia was mostly quiet. They reached a small area off the road by day's end, and set up camp for the evening.

That night, during their first watch, Valkas noticed the flapping of leathery wings in the still night air - the sound of Stirges! The creatures were somewhat common around here, and the party had fended off a few before. Valkas awoke Rune and Fwip, and they all prepared for battle!

The Stirges flew in a few at a time, attacking Valkas first. He fended them off with his hammer, and summoned his Storm-God powers to zap those he couldn't hit. Fwip wielded her twin swords with grace, pinning Stirges to trees and slicing them off of her allies. Meanwhile, Rune was nearly smothered by the monsters.

With some fast thinking (and a very awesome combo with Valkas' hammer and Rune's shield), the group finished off the tiny bloodsuckers. They healed up and changed watches, and fortunately the rest of the night passed uneventfully.

The next day, they ventured away from the paths and towards Cragmaw Castle. The forest was quiet, and as the sun was beginning to set, they saw the crumbled towers of the castle crest over a hilltop.

Not being a particularly stealthy group, Valkas went up to a steel door built into the side of the castle, and started pounding on it. Inside, Fwip and Rune heard the sounds of movement, and Rune recognized the Goblin language. Valkas switched to using his hammer, and the Goblins inside became even more alarmed.

When all you have is a hammer...
At this point, the entire castle was basically roused. Not seeing a way through the door, the group ran around to the front of the castle and burst in the main doorway, dodging Goblin arrows from small slits in the tower walls.

Just as they appeared inside, they were caught in a deadly pincer attack by a team of Hobgoblins and Goblins alike. Valkas summoned his thunderous rage, but Rune realized they wouldn't be able to fight in two directions at once. She unleashed the power of her God Dumathoin to cast Calm Emotions on the entire area.

Suddenly, the goblinoids were indifferent about the fight, and most of them simply sat down or gave up. But two Hobgoblins were still approaching, unfazed by the holy magic. Fwip, thinking quickly, directed the group into a small side room they suspected was the other side to the arrow slits out front. Sure enough, there were two Goblin archers inside, and only one entrance - a perfect chokepoint!

After quickly dispatching the archers, the group turned its attention back to the mass of goblinoids in the hallway. Valkas took position at the door, bringing his hammer down on the Hobgoblins who were still pursuing them. At the sight of their ally being harmed, the daze of the spell left the Goblins, and they attacked, screeching and stabbing towards the door.

One of the Hobgoblins ordered some Goblins to run around the outside of the building and attack through the arrow slit. Fwip took up position, stabbing back at the Goblin swords that were poking towards the group's flank.

Valkas, still swinging away, finally broke out into the hallway. He and Rune advanced on the remaining Goblins, taking them down in droves. The last Hobgoblin fled into another chamber, and the surviving Goblins decided to flee (after Valkas finished off one that looked like a second-in-command, of course).

The group found an unconscious Goblin that they wanted to interrogate, but before they could, another door in the hall burst open and a huge worm-like monster with a beak and tentacles squirmed out! Behind it, they saw the Hobgoblin that had run off - he had found this creature and brought it out to fight the party.

It wouldn't be D&D without some weird, difficult-to-describe monsters
Rune summoned her Spiritual Weapon, a floating hammer that proceeded to smash the Hobgoblin in the head until he was unconscious. Meanwhlie, Fwip and Valkas fended off the monstrous worm, dealing massive damage to it before Fwip finally finished it off by cutting its head off. Valkas wanted to grab the head for his own use, but they had yet another problem to deal with - more Goblins in the room the monster had just squirmed out from!

They rushed into the room, finding it to be a darkened chapel-like area that must have been a place of worship for the previous inhabitants. Inside, three goblins had shortbows trained on them, one dressed in dirty priest-like robes. Rune and Valkas finished off the two underlings nearly immediately, causing the Goblin priest to flee out another door.

The party gave chase, coming to a room where the Goblin priest was informing two Hobgoblin guards of the situation. One of the Hobgoblins rushed through a curtain, leaving the other two goblinoids to defend the entrance. Valkas and Fwip quickly took out the pair of guardians, and the other Hobgoblin when he returned. They also noticed a closed and barred door at the other side of the room, but decided to press forward and see what the Hobgoblin had run off to do.

After a quick round of healing by Fwip and Rune, Fwip snuck forward and peered into the next area. There, she saw a large, grizzled Bugbear holding a familiar-looking dwarf. This must be King Grol, and he had Uncle Bart held hostage! Not to mention, he had a large wolf next to him.

The party burst through the door, attacking Grol with hammers, Spiritual Weapons, and bardic magics. Fwip made his morningstar superheated, causing him to drop it, but even then the old Bugbear told them to back off or the dwarf would get it. Grol's claws squeezed around Bart's neck.

Just then, Rune took a massive blow to the back of her head and passed out. Behind her, a Drow woman had crept from a darkened doorway and began to attack Fwip! Valkas, not sure what else he could do, continued to smash Grol with his hammer, all while being bitten by the wolf from behind him.
Save the biggest and baddest for lastest
Fwip turned to face off against the Drow woman, fighting defensively to stay alive. Rune struggled awake, and prepared a Spare the Dying spell if Fwip went down. And she nearly did, but then Valkas had a breakthrough.

Just as Bart's life was about to leave his body, Valkas dealt a final, crushing blow to King Grol, crushing in his skull and causing him to collapse. The young barbarian then turned around and gave an intimidating glare to the wolf, causing it to pull back and flee.

Seeing this, the Drow woman turned and fled as well. Rune rushed forward to her Uncle, using her magic to bring him back from the brink of death. The castle had grown quiet now, but the party decided to barricade the doors and rest for a moment inside the throne room.

Slowly, Uncle Bart recovered and woke up. He hugged Rune and thanked the group for saving him. Now, they needed to find his brothers Harry and Horace, and figure out where Grol had stashed the map to Wave Echo Cave.

After a few minutes of searching, Fwip found the map (along with a sack of coins and healing potions) under Grol's mattress. Bart was satisfied, but they group wanted to make sure the castle was cleared out before they left. To make things easier, Valkas cut off Grol's head and put it on a stick, to help intimidate any Goblins they found. He called it the Grol-lipop.

They returned to the barred door, and Rune cast an Augury spell to see if opening the door was a good idea. The result was neither good nor bad, and so they decided to open it.

Inside, they saw a massive monster: an Owlbear! It stood on its hind legs and roared at them, making Valkas quickly close the door. After some deliberation, they realized it probably just wanted to leave, which would make sense for the result to be neither good nor bad. After throwing the beast a goblin carcass to appease it, they simply let it walk past them and out of the castle.

They continued searching the castle, finding some spell scrolls, a magic statuette, some more gold, and some of Sildar Hallwinter's gear. They did not, however, find a single Goblin. Satisfied, they set up their barricaded room again and went to sleep.

The journey back to Phandalin was quiet, similar to their journey there. Bart asked plenty of questions about what had happened in the last few days, and the group told them about Iarno and the other Goblins they had encountered. Valkas took a particular liking to Bart, and began to call him Uncle Bart like Rune and Fwip did.

Upon their return, Bart went to talk to Sildar Hallwinter, who had helped him start this expedition in the first place. While the party slept, the dwarf and the human spent the night formulating a plan to get to Wave Echo Cave and delve it, hopefully without too much trouble. There was still the matter of the strange Drow woman, and who else she might be connected to.

There would most certainly be dangers awaiting them in Wave Echo Cave.

But also treasure, right? I mean, what's the point here, really?
And, that's the game! A pretty combat-heavy one this time. hopefully delving the depths of Wave Echo Cave will be more exploratory and less hack-and-slash-y. To facilitate that, I had Bart's map lay out the entirety of the cave. I'm not sure if giving the players a full dungeon map was a good idea, but at least I found one without labels and notes on it.

We'll see, next time!

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment