*SPOILER WARNING FOR LOST MINES OF PHANDELVER*
WHEN LAST WE MET! Our
intrepid heroes dastardly villains had cleared several goblin traps along the Triboar Road and had found the entrance to the goblin layer. They managed to force all of the ambushing goblins out into an ambush of the players’ making. So then, they found the goblin hideout entrance all but abandoned. A single sentry was left behind and he was promptly gutted. So next the party entered the cave and immediately found the wolf pack chained to the wall. Not only did the charm the wolves but they even enchanted them with a spell to make a cloud of meat smells that the wolves failed to resist. Thus began the great goblin genocide of the Cragmaw Clan.
So, armed with a pack of wolves, the party began searching the cave. The first thing they did was spot the secret entrance to the Bugbear lair. In my telling, this secret passageway was actually a latrine hole that emptied into the wolf pit. My party was too quick for that, however, and investigated without getting their hands dirty. Finding the business end of a bugbear, the fighter, and the wizard lit him up. Managing a nat 20 critical on both his pink eye and his brown (for those keeping track this is the second, of I’m sure many, butt related injuries incurred while fighting the brave men and women of the Darkdooms). Now half-blind and nearly dead (like seriously 3 health points), the bugbear alerted the rest of his forces to the party.
This activated the water trap, flooding the hall with a river’s worth of water. However, these adventurers stood their ground. I washed away their wolf pack and rolled a D4 to see how many turns I had before they’d be back. Once the water drained, I set 8 goblins on the party. Here is where some of my lessons learned came in handy. Instead of 4 goblins as written, I bumped it up to 8 (same with the wolves) to make this a little more interesting. I managed to fight the party down and get the wizard below 0 for a turn. This was good for me as I have a better gauge of what is too much for this group. Apparently, I need to bump the challenge rating up by about 2x (probably closer to 1.75 in hard math). Their luck picked back up however as my plan to delay the wolves with the water ran out and they mauled the rest of the remaining goblins.
I thought they would take this time to rest and possible check the supply room but instead pushed straight ahead for the boss. I put an obstacle in their path of a rocky hill they had to climb while taking goblin arrows. They were able to send the wolves up and over the hill to stop the arrows and then climb to safety. At this point, I went ahead and said they were clear. I’d already sent a lot at them. They rested for a moment before setting off for the bugbear. For this encounter, I decided the boss was a coward and had made a barricade in front of the door to his chamber. His 2 guards (now hobgoblins to make them a little beefier) and his wolf (now a regular wolf with 2x the health) were able to hold the party off at a distance. The hobgoblins shot arrows into the party while they tried to clear the clutter at the entrance. Getting some holes made, they sent the wolf pack in completely annihilating 1 of the guards. I think the cleric took down the wolf as it was going after spell casters.
This left the nearly dead bugbear and the other hobgoblin. Klarg, the bugbear, decided to lock himself in the bathroom he had gotten injured in earlier. The hobgoblin, however, was struck in the foot and tied to the spot by our bow fighter. He kept doing decent damage to the party but no one could hit him. He wasn’t all the powerful but no one could roll above a 12. He ended up holding out for nearly 3 more turns.
At this point, the party tried convincing Klarg to come out of the bathroom. When he didn’t comply, the rogue busted the lock open and found just a pair of feet as the bugbear tried to escape out of the toilet. At this time, the wizard decided to use his last spell slot for a lightning spell (making our third rear end related injury for the campaign).
Cleaning out the cave, the party found a good deal of treasure and saved Sildar (now a member of the Shadows Union) from the goblin prison. They took everything they could carry and made way for town. Arriving at Phandelver, they took the supplies given to them by their master, Lord Darkdoom, to the local Shadows Union broker, Mr. Pat Fiskers the rat man. They traded huge crates of cheese for the lease on a new lair. I gave them lots of options on where to set up. Which end of town they wanted; high-end, low-end, in the woods, and so on. What kind of place they wanted; bar, castle, cave, etc. And what they wanted to do with it. They decided they wanted a run down tavern in the abandoned end of town.
Arriving at ‘The Bear Cave’ (complete with flashing neon sign of a bugbear winking), they made up stalls for their wolve pack and pack animals, and took a quick break. After which they made way to the other tavern in town to try and hire some workers. Through a rare instance of the rogue not killing, he made several very high rolls against charisma of some local ruffians and received the adventure hook for the next session.
They’re on the lookout for Gundren Rockseeker. He was with Sildar but has been taken to the Black Spider as a prisoner. He knows how to get into the Mines under Phandelver through the Ehco Cave Kingdom. Somewhere deep inside is a powerful doomsday magical device that Darkdoom wants so as to keep out of the hands of other would-be world dominators. The party also knows from the interrogated goblins (they REMOVED their arms. I said, ‘roll for intimidation,’ but NOOOO… These guys…) that there is a hidden goblin castle somewhere in the region. Black Spider is the goblin’s true leader now so it’s also a possible location for them/Gundren.
They also received missions from Pat on the Shadows Union job board. So far there isn’t too much listed. There are some hooks for the next few adventures and some challenges. For example, one quest asks for a dragon toenail. There is a dragon nearby but they don’t have to kill it (and probably can’t just yet). So, hopefully, this will present a challenging puzzle with some fun role playing on the side. Or they might actually take the dragon. With this group, I won’t rule out them trying it.
For each mission they complete for the Shadows Union, I’ll reward them with a small magical item. I was worried that would make them too powerful, however, the items I’m giving out are low-level and/or positive and negative. Also, in the manual, there was a rule that they can only have three magical items on at a time. I think this will keep the party in check and give them some risk reward for playing with. I designed their loot tables to be a random 1-20 for each player designed around their class and personalities. For example, I made several items for Finn the rogue that revolve around social engineering and so forth.
Anyway, that’s as far as we got last time. In the next session, they will build out their lair, do some world building, and then hopefully follow to the next quest. Talk to you all soon!