Ravensgate

Session 11: "My Gold"
Ambush Failure & Ambush Redemption!

Picking up immediately after last session’s fight with the orcs and ogre, it is headed toward night and the party is in a copse of trees. They have heard enough noise to believe that their battle alerted other forces to their location. They hash out a quick plan to ambush whoever is coming. The plan centers on:

  • Ambrosia will use her illusion and her orcish language to appear as one of the orcs that was killed in the last battle (with blood coming from its neck to explain her non-orcish voice) to run out of the woods where we fought to tell the other orcs that there‚Äôs the advance guard of the humans of Conyberry in the woods and they are retreating. The orcs need to rush in full charge now if they want to catch them.
  • As the orcs enter, Caeside will cast Entangle on the ground the orcs will run into (so we can pepper them with arrows). Because wild shape does not interrupt concentration, he is either going to wild shape into a dire wolf or a giant spider.
  • Silver Feather and Aranel are going to be in the trees. Once the orcs are in the woods and entangled, Ambrosia will hit them with her breath weapon attack from behind, Silver Feather and Aranel will make with the snipping and Caeside and Madox will attack.

Just as we are discussing the ambush, Madox arrives. After assisting with putting away the mules and Conyberry’s defense he followed our path and the sounds of battle to find us.

Due to his injuries from the previous encounter, Caeside casts Cure Light Wounds on Silver Feather for 9 HP.

The party (Aranel, Caeside, Madox and Silver Feather) take up their ambush positions in the woods. Ambrosia casts a spell and makes herself look like an orc before going out to meet the incoming orcs.

Four orcs plunge into the clearing just beyond the woods and encounter Ambrosia-orc. She tells them that she was attacked by three human villiagers who injured her and killed the others. The orcs, instead of charging into our trap, they send her back to the stitcher and accompany her. The party, unaware because we don’t speak orcish, wait for the orcs to attack. However, Ambrosia goes with the orcs instead and there is no fight then and there.

Madox, Silver Feather, Caeside and Aranel wait about five minutes for either some orcs to come before deciding to track the party that took Ambrosia.

NOTE – At this point, DM (Mike) and Ambrosia (Sara) roleplayed what happened to Ambrosia-orc separately and it is not recorded in this write up.

An hour later, the party has gone as far as it can undetected. Following up a trail into the narrow pathway formed by a pair of 50 foot tall crevice walls, they find four orcs guarding the path from the top. They are armed with javelins and two have horns. The walls up to them are steep and just beyond the chokepoint can been seen tents.

Due to the unlikelihood that we could approach undeteched, the party decides to backtrack and try to find another way in.

As the party travels along a plateau covered by conifer trees, Madox feels like something is following us. Madox motions and lets the rest of the party know that something is behind them and they should spread out.

Silver Feather, Madox and Aranel hide behind tree trunks within 10’ to 15’ of each other. Caeside decides to make himself bait by standing out for the unknown thing to spot.

As the party waits, they all start to hear a whispering noise that fills them with dread. The whispering is coming from all around them. The whispering is indistinct but clearly wants something.

Trying to locate the source of the sound, Silver Feather focuses on it. However, instead of finding a source for the sound, the sound instead assaults him searching for his fears. [Note – Silver Feather made a save against Fear (19) and was not affected.]

Madox tries to circle back behind the whispering to learn more (Stealth 22). As he travels back, alone, Madox spots an otherworldly creature with a big mouth full of teeth. Its sudden appearance catches Madox off-guard and it attacks him. The creature wraps its clawed hands around Madox’s throat (7 HP) and screams into his face, “My gold!” Without warning, it then disappears like it was never there.

Madox stumbles backwards and runs back to the rest of the party. His throat is bruised and he croaks out, “Something is out there.”

With that, the party decides to move away from the area quickly.

Despite the haste with which the party is moving, they run into six orcs on patrol. The orcs are forty feet away and have not spotted the party but there is a likelihood that they will (they’ll pass within twenty feet). The area is still the plateau with conifers around it.

Due to the terrain and nearly even numbers, the party works out their attack plan via hand signals.

Silver Feather, Aranel and Caeside will pop up and surprise the enemy with bow fire while Madox will throw one of his darts [Seriously…].

The surprise gives allows all of the archers to hit the orcs. Aranel hits for 10 HP wounding her target. Silver Feather hits for 14 HP and drops his orc to one knee. Caeside, still unused to the bow, hits with a Natural 20 for 4 HP and lightly wounds his target. Madox attacks with the dart and misses.

Despite the surprise, all six orcs throw their javelins at us.
1 hits Silver Feather for 6 HP.
1 hits Caeside for 5 HP.
1 hits Madox for 9 HP but he uses his ancient monk training and deflects it which lowers the 9 to 1 HP of damage.

Their javelins gone, the orcs pull out their great axes and spread into a semi-circle to charge the party.

At this point, Caeside casts Entangle on the orcs. It only impacts only one of them.

Round 02 Initiative:
Orcs (5 of the 6) go first
Madox 12
Aranel 12
Silver Feather 11
Caeside 10

The five unentangled orcs charge up and attack.
Silver Feather gets hit for 10 HP.
Aranel gets hit for 13 HP and a second blwo against her does an additional 4 HP. [Note – Aranel uses second wind and regains 10 HP.]

Madox tries to attack but misses with both his sword and his fist.
Aranel has two orcs on her. She switches from her long bow to her rapier and hand ax attacks. She hits with the rapier and does 10 HP killing an orc (he took an arrow earlier). She also hits another orc with her hand ax and does 8 HP against an unwounded orc that is now gushing blood from its arm.
Silver Feather attacks one with his rapier and kills it. He then whirls and attacks the one Aranel just wounded. Silver’s dagger cuts the orc’s neck, killing it.
Caeside wild shapes into a dire wolf and bites the orc that he had shot with the bow for 11 HP killing the orc.

Round 03

One orc is still entangled and one survived the slaughter the party just brought.
The unentangled orc tries to disengage and run. Madox, with his amazing speed, runs it down and hits him for 6 HP with his fists.
Silver Feather misses the orc with his bow.
Aranel charges the orc and attacks with her rapier but misses. Then attacks with her hand ax and hits with a crit for 6 HP. This kills the last free orc.

150 XP each for the party for defeating/killing six orcs.

The party adds a horn and five more orc heads plus 22 CP, 32 SP and 7 GP. Silver Feather takes two of the orc javelins since they have hit him so often.

The party approaches and binds the one orc that is alive in the Entangle spell. Caeside and Aranel interrogate the orc who speaks broken common but he is not willing to break easily. Aranel, whose people were oppressed by the orcs, steps up and tries to intimidate the orc but he refuses to break. Silver Feather begins testing out the javelins that he’s secured by throwing them around the orc. This attempt to intimidate him has no effect. His questioning leads him to believe that the orcs have not captured Rockseeker and do not know anything about Glass Staff.

While we are addressing the orc, Caeside, still as a dire wolf, feels that there is something in the air and it is making him nervous. He moves to Madox and growls and points behind us. Caeside hears a snapping branch from not too far away and then becomes aware that all of the area’s wildlife is gone and has been gone since before the fight. Caeside alerts Madox who alerts us.

We believe it is the whispering presense that we felt before. Knowing that it is out there, Silver Feather asks the orc about it. The orc says that it drinks the blood of orcs (fifteen so far). He will reveal no more so Silver Feather leaves him to Aranel. She cuts him so he will bleed to death and, at the same time, this draws the whispers to us.

The party decides to take their plunder and run. Silver Feather tosses the captured orc horn to Madox. Madox blows the horn and the party takes off. As soon as the horn is blown, the whispers cease.

They run 500 yards and turn around. Something appears and crouches over the bleeding orc and snaps its neck.

As the party is moving, they hear 6 or 7 orc horns sound and rumbling enough to let them know that a horde of orcs is descending upon the area that Madox sounded the horn. As the party continues to run wide around these sounds, we pass a tree that has a message written on its trunk. Written in dripping blood, it reads “My gold.”

Caeside believes that the spirit is referring to the 300 GP that we got from the ogre in the previous session. Once he is certain that the spirit is drawn to the gold, he wants to return it to the orcs and let this be their problem.

Note – Mike said that this evil spirit that is after its gold came about due to a messed up roll on his part. When rolling for the ogre’s treasure, he rolled up 300 GP which is way too much. Instead of correcting it, he decided to build it into a plot point.

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Session 10: Preparing for the Invasion

Five days have passed since the last encounter with the orcs. The party has been traveling toward Conyberry, the area’s largest town. At night, as the party travels, Sildar and Caeside have been helping the NPCs to learn to use their spears and dagger. As well, Sildar has instructed Silver Feather on heavier fighting techniques. Along the way they’ve encountered at least one small, isolated single family mining camps that proved friendly.

Since our last encounter, we’ve picked up some DISTANT tails, orc scouts (2 or 3). They have been following over the days but have not attacked us.

On the fifth day, the party arrives outside of the defended mining settlement called Conyberry (in a valley). The town is defended by a ditch ten feet deep with water at the bottom and 15 feet wide as well as a “hedge” made of spiked sticks (not a solid “wall” but mound of dirt with polearm-like spears pointed out of it). The party arrives about noon allowing Caeside and the party’s humans to approach the town. Silver Feather, Ambrosia and Aranel wait behind so their appearance does not raise alarms and trying to spot the orcs as the rest of the party approaches the town.

Caeside greets the town and waves us down at their behest. Together we learn that the town is armed defensively and the citizens have been raided before. The crowds say “Oh-rok” as the party enters (likely for orcs).

Beyond the mute and defensive wall, the town has several longhouses of stone around a central one of wood that is their great hall and is build for defense (it is higher than the other buildings). The town’s leader, an old warrior named Old Wodroff, greets us and is resolved to the oncoming of war. He puts Roric, his son, in charge of the town’s defenses and scouts. Roric is unhappy with the party, blaming them for “leading” the orcs to the town.

To assist with the orcs, that night Silver Feather, Caeside, Ambrosia and Aranel form a plan to infiltrate the orc camp that evening. Old Wodroff believes that the orcs will rally at some hill caves five miles away. He expects either their scouts or their whole band will be in that area. The plan is to recon the enemy, assess their size and maybe capture an orc for interrogation.

That night, an hour into the journey Silver Feather (as the party’s point/advanced scout) finds a disembowled town scout in the woods. As Silver Feather looks around for what happened, two orcs in the trees throw javalins that hit him (4 and 7 points). They jump down from the trees with axes in hand to charge Silver Feather.

Round 01:
Silver Feather 21
Ambrosia 19
Caeside 18
Orcs 18
Aranel 16

Silver Feather bulleyes an orc with an arrow and slays it with a Natural 20 even as Silver Feather is moving back toward the party.

The remaining orc paces Silver Feather’s retreat but does not close the gap.

Behind Silver, the party sees the attack and start to move foward when a huge thing looking like a rock suddenly stands up. It is an ogre. The ogre swings at Aranel with its club. She takes 10 points of damage and goes flying.

Caeside swings at the ogre with a staff (Shillelagh) for 7 pts.

Ambrosia uses her breath weapon and does 6 pts against the ogre.

Aranel rolls a Natural 20 to hit the ogre and does 15 pts with her rapier. But misses with her hand ax.

Round 02 (same order):

Silver Feather drops his bow to pull his rapier and dagger as he counter-charges the orc. Silver Feather attacks the orc twice hitting both times. Doing 12 and 8 points. This kills the orc.

Ambrosia attacks and hits the ogre for 7 pts.

Caeside and the ogre go at the same time. The ogre is hit with Caeside’s staff (Shillelagh) for 12 pts.

Caeside is hit by the ogre’s club for 13 pts.

Aranel attacks with her rapier and her hand ax against the ogre. She deals 13 pts and 5 pts for the two hits. Aranel downs the ogre.

XP for the ogre and two orcs – 165 XP per PC.

The party takes 2 orc heads and 1 ogre head as well as 8 SP, 7 CP and a sack with 300 GP.

Because of the noise of the fight, several large things are coming through the woods toward us.

Aranel and Silver Feather scramble up the trees to be snippers. Ambrosia turns into (illusion) an orc (one of the dead ones) and Caeside becomes a wildshape lizard (or dire wolf).
We plan an ambush. Ambrosia, as one of the dead orcs, along with Caeside as a lizard goes to “call for” the orcs to help as they’ve been attacked.
The bad guys will charge into a wall of arrows.

We will work out the final details next week.

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Session 09: Die, Orc, Die!

The party consisted of Arnell, Caeside, Madox, Sildar and Silver Feather while Ambrosia was mostly run as an NPC (and the 2 NPC henchpeople and 2 mules).

After defeating the first orc raiders, the party set their sites for the largest of the mining settlements in the area – Konberry.

Along the way we encountered Sosen Fenat and his family panning for gold in the hills. He was friendly and fed us. He did not know anything around our quest for Rockseeker. He was thankful we’d defeated the orcs and an ogre.

After moving on the next day for Konberry we spotted six orcs tailing the party on the 4th day. We were in a rain storm and traveling up a ridge.

We each maneuvered to gain the high ground (us straight on, they going wide). We ran to cut them off with Maddox at the lead.

Caeside cast Entangle to halt three of the orcs allowing the party to deal with them in two waves.

[NOTE – The rest of this is pulled from our Google Hangout messages.]

3x are entangled by Caeside’s Entangle spell. 3x are coming at Madox.
3x orcs approaching Madox throw javalins. They hit 3 times. Madox uses his monk ability to catch one. He takes 12 damage from the other two.
Madox throws the javalin back and hits (7pts). That orc smiles and pulls an ax.
Arnel throws an ax but misses.
Madox uses a ki point and attacks the wounded orc with the ax (hit and 8 pts), staggering the orc back. Next two attacks with fist (one misses and one hits). This orc takes 6 pts.
The two orcs attack Madox but he leaps between them avoiding their blows.
Round 02
Silver Feather 8
Caeside 22
Ambrosia 21
Arnel Natural 20 (23 total)
Madox 16
Sildar 19
Orcs 1

JOHN – Yeah! You weren’t expecting the Monk to be travelling with a BEAR!!!
Stupid Orcs

Arnel throws her last ax at an orc. She does 4 pts.
Caeside drops the Entangle spell and turns into a bear. Caeside charges in to attack the non-wounded orc near Madox. Claw (11 pts) and bite (6 pts) which knocks down and kills the unwounded orc.
Ambrosia does her breath attack against the 3 orcs that had been entangled. 1 takes 7 pts and 2 take 4 pts.
Sildar runs down the hill to help Ambrosia. He hits with his second attack (9 pts). The orc is not dead but seriously wounded.
Madox attacks the final of his 3 orcs. First attack is a Nat 20 (8 pts) and kills him. He moves down to engage the other orcs. He hits one for 4 pts.
Silver Feather hits with first orc he reaches (17 pts) killing it.
1 orc charges the bear and 1 at Madox.
Orc/Bear. The orc hits 7 pts.
Orc/Madox. The orc attacks but Madox uses a luck point and Mike has to reroll and Mike does a 1.
Round 03:
Arnel pulls her rapier and dagger and attacks the orc that’s fighting Caeside/Bear. She hits and does 4 pts and kills the orc.
She slits the other orc’s throat with her dagger.
All orcs are dead.
XP is 100 per PC.
Taking orc scalps (cause it’s what we do). They don’t have anything worth taking.

First thing next session we will interrogate a mostly damaged/dead orc. [NOTE – Mike also hinted that more orcs are on the way and that he may develop this story a bit more.]

We are skipping next week (Mike will be away teaching) and John will be out the next 2 weeks (Alaska).

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Session 08: Orc Songs & Ambushes
Ambush & Dragons

Five days after the run-in with Ambrosia’s brother, the parties reunite and reach a position to see Wyrern Tor 25 miles distant. From that position the party can also see Ice Spire Peak, a mountain, 10 miles to the south. Caeside, Maddox, Sildar and Silver Feather. Ambrosia is there as well (and Arnel as an NPC). Our two NPC henchpeople and mules are there as well.
The next day Caeside speaks to a bird that speaks of pigfaced creatures that are toward Wyvern Tor. It mentioned 2 talons of claws of pigfaces and a big one (double their size). They are a day and a half away. They are in a cave on the evening sun side of a hill… on the right hand side (south side) of the hill is a creek near the cave. There is a human settlement between the hill and mountain in a wide valley (they are a day out of our way). The orcs only come out of the cave at night.
We decide to go straight for the orc’s hill/cave. Want to arrive at night to scout them as they leave and then decide then what our plan is.
We spot the cave about a mile away from a copse of trees. It is late afternoon.
Silver Feather scouts toward the cave in the day. He spots an orc (500 yards away) under a canopy 50 yards from the cave. No traps spotted so far.
Silver Feather returns to the party to report the orc.
The plan is to get the party within 500 yards, Arnel and Silver Feather climb a tree near him in case things go south. Ambrosia approaches the orc to use her charm person. The orc is nearly asleep. She is wearing a special occasion black dress to impress the orc and she casts charm person. The spell works and Ambrosia talks to him.
The orc boss is “Broogar”.
Ambrosia follows the orc into the cave. Silver Feather approaches the cave (following her).
SIDE NOTE – Caeside suggests to Maddox that the party should try to collect more of the white dragon’s scales.

After Ambrosia enters the cave (20 minutes later). And singing starts. 6 to 10 voices singing in orcish. They party/sing for another 40 minutes. The voices are getting ready for battle.
Plan for the ambush of the orcs. Arnel and Silver Feather climb up some trees to shoot the orcs as they come out, Caeside turns into a brown bear, Sildar (with his crossbow) and Maddox on the ground (hit and runs).

Round One of Orc Battle (at twilight). We attack from the trees when the orcs are 50 ft away.

Ambrosia (who is in the cave with the orcs [that are emerging]) – Uses her breath weapon against 2 orcs for 6 pts each.
Arnel (played by Sara and then Lee) – Hits an orc for 11 pts (did not kill it). An orc javelin hits her for 4 pts.
Caeside (wild shapes as a Brown Bear and gets 9 extra hit points due to Enhanced Ability) – Attacks the ogre (2 hits) for 11 pts and 8 pts.
Maddox – Short sword and punch attacks against an orc for 9 pts and 4 pts. (same orc that Sildar hit)
Sildar (played by Lee) – Hits an orc with a crossbow for 8 pts.
Silver Feather – Hits an orc for 13 pts (did not kill it). An orc javelin hits him for 6 pts. The ogre’s javelin for 12 pts.

Orcs x6 – 1 orc killed
Ogre – Engaged with CaesideBear

Round Two

Ambrosia (who is in the cave with the orcs [that are emerging]) – 8
Arnel (played by Sara and then Lee) –
Caeside (wild shapes as a Brown Bear and gets 9 extra hit points due to Enhanced Ability) –
Maddox – 21
Sildar (played by Lee) –
Silver Feather -12

Orcs – 18
Ogre -

Maddox – Hit twice for 10 points against a burning orc (killing it).
Orcs – Most figure out where the archers are. Missile fire will incur disadvantage due to Maddox and Ambrosia being among the orcs. 2 orcs target Maddox.
Throws another javelin as Silver Feather for 6 pts.
Ambrosia takes an ax hit and is bleeding badly.
Sildar – Hits an orc for 3 pts.
Arnel – Does 5 pts to an orc via an arrow.
Caeside – Two attacks against the ogre. One hit for 7 pts.
Silver Feather – Climbs down the tree for the round.
Ambrosia – She hits twice against an orc for 12 pts. killing an orc
Ogre – Club attack against CaesideBear for 22 pts. (many of which were from his Enhanced Ability).

Round 3:

Maddox – Hit twice for 15 points against a wounded orc (killing it).
Orcs – Maddox gets hit for 6 pts of damage. Sildar parries the leaders attack.
Sildar – Hits the orc for 8 pts. (misses with other)
Arnel – Shoots into melee at the least wounded orc for 7 pts.
Caeside – Two attacks and hits with both against the ogre for 6 pts and 9 pts.
Silver Feather – Kills the leader orc with 13 pts from the rapier
Ambrosia – Attacks twice and hits with the dagger (only) for 1 pt damage
Ogre – Attacks Caeside with great club for 9 pts

Only 1 orc and the ogre left.

Round 4:

Maddox – Charges the last orc. Hit twice for 11 points (killing it).
Orcs – All Dead.
Sildar – Misses the ogre twice
Arnel – Her bow string snaps
Caeside – Hits twice (one a natural 20) for 7 pts and then 24 pts and kills the ogre

All are dead. XP is 225 after caving in to the McGuire.

750 CP
180 SP
62 EP
30 GP
3 vials of perfume (10 GP)

We are a day away from Old Owl Well.
We take the ogre head and the orc heads as proof to the miners of what we did. For 100 GP in bounty for the orcs for when we get back to Phandalin.
We are going to check the area miners and learn of any other attacks.

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Session 07: The TelaTale Harp
Ambush & Dragons

These are the edited Google Hangout notes I wrote as we played.

Side quest – Harp of TelaTale Longtime.
Ambrosia has heard of a magical harp located in a Stellarium of Vinteralf on Icespire Peak.
On our way to deal with the orcs that are raiding the local mines, we decide to divide the group to both look for the orcs and find the harp. Ambrosia, Caeside, Sildar and Silver Feather quest for the harp while Arnel, Madox and the new hirelings scout the mines/miners to lay out our ambush. The quest for the harp takes us 4 to 5 days almost due east to reach the stellarium.

Out the gate, Caeside rolls a natural 20 on his Survival check and locates a game trail that helps cut our travel time.

On the first night of camping, we talk of our families (for those that have them).

Ambrosia has a 23-year old daughter, Jade making her the same age as Silver Feather. It is noted by all that Ambrosia looks young for her true age (which is hard to gauge since her father was a white dragon). Jade is with Ambrosia’s sister, Sona “Purple Scar” (dubbed due to a small scar across her cheek). She takes after Ambrosia and is taught her kind ways. However, Jade’s father is an evil dragon-born that Ambrosia wants nothing to do with.

Sildar shares that he has a son and a daughter (passed) and a wife (passed).

Caeside’s family is the Circle of Druids.

Silver Feather has no hatchlings.

After the party goes to sleep, Silver Feather takes first watch from a perch in a tree. He spots fours goblins approaching the party’s mule and supplies to steal them. Using his mimicry, he roars like a wolf which wakes Ambrosia even as it confuses the goblins who cannot imagine why a wolf is in a tree. Silver Feather shoots an arrow into one of four goblins killing it. The rest run.

Caeside, in the wild shape of a dire wolf, tracks the remaining goblins. Silver Feather and Ambrosia follow. Sildar stays behind to guard the mule and our supplies. Caeside finds the goblins in a dry creek bed in the half moon night in the wooded hills.

Three goblins in creek bed trying to catch their breath after the death of their companion. We decide, based on Caeside’s wild shape form, to have him circle wide of the goblins and drive them toward Ambrosia and Silver Feather in a small clearing that Caeside discovered.

Ambush 1 – Caeside circles around the goblins and growls to chase them toward Silver Feather and Ambrosia. Herding them toward the heroes and their heroic ambush.
As the goblins run into the clearing Silver Feather is in a tree with his bow while Ambrosia waits below. She unleashes her freezing breath weapon at all three of the goblins. Two of the goblins freeze instantly while the last one is killed by Silver Feather’s arrow (after taking a lot of damage from the freezing breath weapon).

70 XP per player character for the encounter.

Afterwards we return to our camp and are able to sleep through the night undisturbed. Long rest achieved.

Next day. Lee rolls a second natural 20 for his Survival check and finds another trail that improves our speed again.

During the day’s travel through the thick pine forest we hear an unnatural roar. And a sickening crunch just beyond the next ridge.

Ambrosia asks Silver Feather to scout ahead for the sound. Silver Feather creeps forward to spot a 10 foot tall humanoid with a bloody spiked club who is eating a bear.

A bear.

Silver Feather sneaks back and lets the group know about the [assumed] hill giant. We agree to avoid the creature and take the left side of the ravine to get away. But it works so we don’t fight the hill giant.

Caeside finds another pass (not on the natural 20 but instead a 19 plus his bonus) so we just find a good trail but not one that increases our speed.

That night and next day and following night nothing happens beyond Silver Feather training with Sildar to improve his fighting skills.

The following day we reach Icespire Peak and begin the climb up. The granite mountain is topped with ice at the top. From the base, through the last of the woods, we can see the peak of the stellarium.

We find and follow a stream up the mountain to a granite wall that the stellarium sits upon. As the creek flows into the mountain we see a small cave that the stream comes from. Between us and the stellarium is a cave (man-made) 50 feet up. It is visible from the small cave where the party is standing. Above that is a bronze spire that is unnaturally pristine save for a hole ripped into its side.

The party (either Caeside or Ambrosia) remembers some details about the Stellarium of Vinteralf. It is an oracle of sorts and draws its power from starlight to grant a suppliant knowledge of the wider world.

Ambrosia suggests we go into the cave stream. Caeside suggests he become a giant spider to enter the cave stream. We agree and he takes the wild shape of a giant spider. Inside the stream case, the water gets warmer the deeper Caeside goes. By the time he reaches a new chamber, the water is pretty hot. The cave opens into a large chamber/cave and it is dominated by an underground pond. On Caeside’s left is a manmade horizontal tunnel. Another is on the farside (manmade) and it is vertical. But the vertical shoot is choked off by slag. On the shore of the pond, to the right is a thing glowing blue/white that Caeside investigates. They are gigantic scales 6" wide and a half dozen total. Caeside takes them with his webbing before exploring the the horizontal tunnel. It is incomplete.

Caeside goes back out and heads back to us to drop off the scales and web up a map of the stream cave for Silver Feather, Ambrosia and Sildar to see. Ambrosia recognizes the scales as white dragon scales and believes there’s a chance that she is related to this dragon (possibly that he’s her long lost brother). Realizing there is a dragon in the area, Silver Feather takes the mule down the hill and hides it among the trees.

Caeside, still as a giant spider, climbs up to the next cave and then the spire. Caeside spider enters the spire through the big hole. He spies a former library that is likely being used as the dragon’s refuge chamber. He spies a humanoid with a seal’s face and horns guarding it.

Ambrosia, Sildar and Silver Feather try to climb the cliff but it fails and they can only reach the manmade cave 50 feet above the “ground”. Caeside returns and with the last bit of his spider form takes a rope and secures it at the flat area that the spire sits upon so we could climb to it. With that, we are all next to the dome of the stellarium.

Ambush 2 – Ambrosia enters the library from the hole to speak to the seal man thing. It shouts at her in some unknown language that was likely a “halt/stop” or the like. She talks to it and tells it to leave because she has come to claim something. It is clear that she is not an evil creature like her people. It is almost impossible for her to exert her will against the seal-like creature. As they talk, it speaks to her in draconic. But the conversation takes a turn for the worse and he raises up his polearm to stab Ambrosia.

Having snuck in unseen due to Ambrosia’s distraction, Silver Feather stands upon the book shelves with his bow ready. Seeing the seal creature about to strike he mimicrys the seal’s original shout of “halt/stop” to distract it. Then he fires an arrow. The seal creature is hit in the gut with an arrow from Silver Feather (12 HP). It flees for the stairs in the center of the room. As it runs, Ambrosia freezes him dead with her breath weapon.

Seal thing 25 XP for each player character.

Among the refugre of the library we find a ripped up halfling, a frozen bear and a frozen elk and lesser items. Nothing alive to rescue and little of value save for a carved tusk. Ambrosia finds and takes the craven silver enlayed tusk with astrological signs on it. [Caeside later finds out it radiates magical energy.]

We then investigate the stairs (the only entrance) finding that they go up and down from this library. Above us we can see the light from the fading sun is still bright in the star stellirum and when we look down the stairs we can see some dim light down below.

Ambrosia decides that we should go below to search for the harp. The stairs go down 30 feet into a room with three exits/doorways that are missing their doors. We go through the eastern doorway to a second chamber. This room has frescoes of seal people meditating adorning the walls. The room is thirty feet square and likely a meditation chamber for the seal creatures. In the center of the room, on a pedestal is the harp, totally unguarded. Caeside does Detect Magic and finds the only magics in the room are:

The Harp of Tell-a-Tale Longtime
Sildar’s magic long sword
The tusk that Ambrosia found in the library
And something in the next room that we cannot see

Silver Feather checks for traps but finds none (and Caeside’s Detect Magic confirms that there are no magical traps within the room).

As Ambrosia approaches the harp, her lost brother, Jokton, appears from the next room. A white dragon 10 feet across. He and Ambrosia have not met before and they have a dark discussion about their father. Jokton is disappointed that the one member of their father’s children to defy him is so… human…

As he talks he circles around the room and her. Once he is at the doorway and can clearly see Caeside, Sildar and Silver Feather in the hallway beyond, the white dragon does a breath weapon attack. We tried to duck behind the walls of the next room. Caeside and Sildar did so easily but because Silver Feather had been the furthest forward he was hit by the weapon. Silver Feather’s save was a 1, Caeside’s a 15. Mike was generous and only did 20 HP of damage (which was half) to Silver Feather from the breath weapon. Sildar and Caeside survived the attack untouched.

Now that he is happy to be alone with his sister, Ambrosia and her brother continue to talk. He threatens her with his demeanor more than his words to take the harp. It becomes clear that he wants her to have the harp that he knew it would draw her to him. After some internal struggle she takes the harp and Jokton allows her and the rest of us to leave.

Caeside quickly heals Silver Feather for 10 HP.

Ambrosia leads us up the stairs to the star chamber of the stellarium. There she plays the harp at the top of the stellarium. She plays at the top and the star light pours into the chamber and begins to burn like the sun. Ambrosia saves versus the star light (constitution) and survives. At the same time, she gains enlightenment and is allowed to ask one question. She chooses to ask – What is the nature of evil and how can it be defeated?
She sees the cosmos divided between light and dark with the world between. Dark attacks the light but is thrown back and in the course the planet is destroyed. [NOTE – Mike, if I misinterpreted that, please edit it.] The knowledge is so overwhelming that she passes out and we have to carry her out and away.

For surviving the white dragon we get 200 XP each.

With the harp in hand, we will travel to find Arnel and Madox so we can deal with the orcs. We will tell them of Jokton, our new foe and that we have to be better prepared for him next time.

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Session 06: What To Do Next?

With the Red Brands cleared from Phanadalin and the cellar of the ruins of the Tresendar manor cleared, we move our group from the Stonehill Inn to there. Within the chambers we take advantage of the space and plan to use the left behind supplies for any longer trips we might make and the left over weapons to arm any hirelings we might encounter.

However, it weighs on our minds that we have not saved Rockseeker and we decide that we will go into the liberated town to find what we can about the habits of the Red Brands and other creatures. First, the Sleeping Giant tavern offers us nothing but a drunk owner who hates us for driving out the Red Brands. Second, the town’s leader (Harbin Wester, I think) is terrified of us and pisses himself as we first try to learn more about the Red Brands and second give instructions for how to safe guard the town from a future attack.

With what information we could gather, our best options for finding more about Grunden are to either work on clearing the local forest of goblins or trying to counter the orcs that are raiding the surrounding mines. We opt to supply up and head north about 10 days to where the mines are most likely being raided and set up an ambush to take the orcs and question them. Our goal will be to break them.

With that, we set about buying supplies and mules and hiring some locals to assist with this journey.

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Session 05: Red Brands Rebranded!

From the previous fight, one of the Red Brands traded information about the Red Brand’s base for saving his life. He revealed that there are 4 human Red Brands left, 3 Bugbears, 1 Goblin and a one-eyed creature waiting in the ruins of the manor above town.

After defeating the Red Brands in the village, Caeside leads Sildar, Madox, Aranel and Silver Feather up the road to the ruins of the Tresendar family manor, the lair of the Red Brands. Disguised as Red Brands, the party is able to defeat the one human sentry. They then enter the ruins and descend into the cellars below. There they captured two Red Brands in their beds, defeated three skeletons, charm person the final human Red Brand and free the wife and kids of a farmer that the Red Brands killed (and burned their home). Ambrosia escorted the freed humans out of the manor.

With the human Red Brands handled, we explore more of the cellar/dungeon. We find Glass Staff’s lab but he escapes us without a confrontation. Before our pursuit of him, Sildar discovers that the wizard he was supposed to meet in this town sold him and us out to Glass Staff (a letter confirmed this). We then chased after Glass Staff. Caeside cast a spell on Madox to make him move so fast that he bearly touched a bridge over a chasm. Because he only lightly touched it, it did not collapse into the crevice where the Nothic waited. It attacked Madox. We fought it and won.

That battle alerted the bugbears to our presence and they came out to talk. Thinking us Red Brands, they did not attack. They asked if Glass Staff had any orders for them. Instead, they returned to their room. We set up an ambush and Caeside went to their room and asked their leader to come to Glass Staff’s office where we ambushed and killed the leader. We then went to the bugbear’s room where Caeside wild shaped into a rat and entered the room to use Thunderclap. We then ran in and dispatched the largely depleted monsters.

Glass Staff escaped as did the 3 wounded human Red Brands. Regardless of that, the night was ours and we found a magic long sword (+1), potions, scrolls, treasure and, most importantly, liberated the town.

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Session 4: Redbrand Attack
Derailing the Module

Last night we were down another player (my wife) and the paladin’s player still hasn’t been able to make it, so that left Silverfeather, Aranen, Caeside, and Maddox. Fortunately, Sildar Hallwinter was happy to hang with the group who had save him last session, which gave them a much-needed tank. My wife has been wanting some one-on-one time anyway, so we just explained her absence as being off on some mission or another.

Sildar approached the group after discovering that his friend and contact, a wizard named Iarno Albrek, had never made it to Phandalin. As they discussed their plans while visiting the market, four red-cloaked ruffians approached the party. “This is our town, strangers, and it’s time for you to move on. So just drop your stuff and get out.”

At this point, the module expects a fight to break out and gives no back-up plan for if the PCs avoid it. It didn’t count on Caeside using his position as a priest of the Old Faith and a fair amount of smooth talking (with some really good Persuasion rolls) to diffuse the situation. The four ruffians were put completely off-guard, with those born in the area being reluctant to attack a druid, and so withdrew to carry Caeside’s offer to meet to their mysterious leader, Glasstaff.

After soothing the cowardly townmaster, the party withdrew to the inn to discuss plans, not really trusting the Redbrands to negotiate peacefully or in good faith. They discussed getting the townsfolk to rise up against them, but given that the town was so cowed that they didn’t do anything even when the Redbrands burned down a farm, killed its owner, and either killed or kidnapped his wife and daughter, the likelihood of rallying around a bunch of outsiders seemed slim. If they could break the back of the Redbrands, on the other hand, show them to be vulnerable . . .

They decided to lay an ambush that night in case of retaliation, but found some Redbrand watchers already keeping an eye on the Stonehill Inn. Not wanting to risk anyone inside, they faced the Redbrands on the street and in the fields behind the inn and quickly defeated them. Due to a late start, the session ended there, with the band planning on taking the battle to the ruins of Tresendar Manor, where the remainder of the Redbrands and their mysterious leader would hopefully be caught off-guard by the attack.

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Session 03: The Goblin Caves, Take 2
Introducing Madox

When last we left our heroes, they were fleeing the goblin caves, having slain several both outside and inside the lair, but now having drawn the attention of those within. Caiside used his last spell slot to heal Ambrosia, getting her back on her feet, just as four wolves, followed by a half-dozen goblins and one very irritated bugbear emerged from the cave. Realizing that they could not outrun the wolves, the party quickly climbed several trees, whereupon I promptly informed them that no giant eagles would be showing up to save their bacon.

Silver Feather slew the lead wolf with an arrow. Ambrosia used a cantrip to summon the image of a skunk, while Caiside used one of his to waft the smell of a skunk over the wolves. Since they had already fed the wolves and the wolves failed their intelligence saves, the combined illusion succeeded and the wolves fled. Unfortunately, the illusion was not so successful against the goblins, who quickly split up and tried to approach hidden in the underbrush. The party managed to keep eyes on four of them, but two disappeared from sight, as did the bugbear a round later.

In the meantime, Madox Sprio, an old friend and sailing buddy of Silver Feather’s, came up the trail looking for the kenku. Hearing the noise of battle to the north of the trail, he investigated with caution (which saved him from the goblins’ snare trap).

Silver Feather and Aranel exchanged arrows with the goblins, killing and/or wounding three before the two who had managed to hide appeared behind them and opened fire from a flanking position. One struck Silver Feather, wounding him just as the bugbear emerged from the brush with a roar and began climbing Silver Feather’s tree. Ambrosia jumped from her tree and charged at the other, taking an arrow herself but managing to wound the goblin with a thrown dagger in return. Silver Feather made a desperation move of leaping down on the bugbear. While managing to wound the bugbear slightly, he hit the ground hard and was incapacitated.

Just then, Maddox leaped from his concealed position, killing Ambrosia’s goblin with a slash of his curved shortsword as he ran towards his friend. Aranel managed to distract the goblin and bugbear from their kill with missile fire long enough for Maddox to close, killing the last goblin with a swipe of his sword and delivering an open-handed blow with his off-hand that would have killed a normal man but which barely fazed the bugbear. Fortunately, he was soon joined in close combat by Aranel and Caiside, and the three of them managed to take down the bugbear before it could inflict further casualties.

After a short rest—and four out of five characters actually leveling up due to the module’s instructions that experience points for combat should be given out immediately. Inside, they found some treasure, a fair amount of equipment belonging to the Lionshield Trading Coster. They also found signs that the goblins had had a prisoner, one who they might have missed entirely had not Ambrosia been keeping guard at the cave entrance.

The prisoner, Sildar Hallwinter, had been Gundren’s body guard when the two were attacked. He told the party that shortly after they had been taken prisoner, another group of goblins had appeared and taken custody of Gundren and taken him elsewhere.

The party returned with Sildar to Phandalin, where they received some cash rewards from both him and the Lionshield Coster (for the return of their stolen goods). The party decided that they would create a more formal organization, with half of all earnings going to a group purse and the remainder being distributed evenly among its members.

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Session 02: Scouting the Goblin Cave
Introducing Aranel

We had a bit of a reshuffling of the party for this session: The paladin’s player couldn’t make it, and we had a new player join the group who wanted to play a wood-elf fighter. Since the paladin took a huge beating from the goblin ambush in the first session, we just decided that he was still recovering from his wounds and the wood-elf was another friend of Gundren who had sought the party out when she heard rumors of his disappearance.

So this week’s party consisted of:

  • Ambrosia, the dragonborn bard (played by my wife)
  • Silver Feather, the kenku swashbuckler
  • Caeside, a mysterious druid
  • Aranel, the wood-elf fighter

Four characters, none of them wearing anything stronger than leather armor. So right off the bat they decided that this was just a scouting mission: They wanted to locate the goblin lair, assess their strength, and then possibly withdraw to gather more sword-arms before making a real assault.

The best laid plans . . .

They made their way back to the ambush site, arriving just before midday, where they found the horses and goblin corpses removed. Caeside used speak with animals to befriend a robin, who led the party north to the goblin cave and warned them in time to avoid the snare trap. (I didn’t have stats for a robin, so I used the hawk’s passive perception vs. the trap DC, and the robin won.) Forewarned about the trapped path, Silver Feather searched ahead and found the pit trap. So far so good.

Arriving at the cave, the party crept forward. with Silver Feather climbing a tree from which he could spot the goblin guards in the thicket to the right of the cave entreance, from which a stream of water flowed out. Unfortunately, the goblins spotted the elf and a brief ranged battle took place. Ambrosia used disguise self to make herself appear a (rather large) goblin and got in range to cast charm person on one of their foes. However, due to a lack of coordination ahead of time, Silver Feather promptly shot both goblins from his perch. With a sigh, goblin!Ambrosia entered the cave.

Ambrosia ran into a half-dozen goblins deeper in the cave, failed to bluff them, and had to run out. In the meantime, the rest of the party had managed to soothe the wolves in the right-hand with food and discovered the chimney leading up to the cave of Klarg, the bugbear leading the goblins. They turned to pull back just as Ambrosia ran past, being trailed by the half-dozen goblins she had encountered. The party made quick work of them, but were spotted by a goblin lookout further up the cave, who opened up the water reserves to wash the party out. Ambrosia was swept out of the cave and knocked unconscious, and the others decided to beat a hasty retreat.

And as they flee, they can hear the howling of wolves and the roar of something far worse echoing in the cave behind them . . .

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