The characters for this session
Cat Weasel, friend to Elin Barad, Hag’s Bane, Giantslayer, Savior of Thane Braden, Shadow’s-end, enemy of the Fiend, Virtuous of the Long Road, Friend of St. Berronar, friend of the New Town, minor tier Rumbler, enemy of the Black and Green Dragons, friend of the One True Faith, enemy of the Hobgoblin Warlord, friend of Haranshire: a 2nd-tier warlock wielding a 2nd-tier Rod of the Pact Keeper; also a Hat of Disguise, Ring of Mind-Shielding, and Ring of Protection. Gains Sapphire rank after report delivered to Mooregate.
Phoenix Pilandaros, Hag’s Bane, Giantslayer, Savior of Thane Braden, Shadow’s-end, enemy of the Fiend, Virtuous of the Long Road, Friend of St. Berronar, friend of the New Town, enemy of Sebek, enemy of the Black and Green Dragons, friend of the One True Faith, enemy of the Hobgoblin Warlord, friend of Haranshire: a 2nd-tier barbarian wielding the legendary weapon Mocair, boots of jungle travel, a brooch of shielding, and a superior shortsword. Gains Sapphire rank after report delivered to Mooregate.
Seck Rustrau, Enemy of the Red Black and Green Dragons, doom of Gleekmound, friend to Elin Barad, Hag’s Bane, Giantslayer, Savior of Thane Braden, ear-taker, Shadow’s-end, enemy of the Fiend, Virtuous of the Long Road, Friend of St. Berronar, friend of the New Town, enemy of Sebek, friend of the One True Faith, enemy of the Hobgoblin Warlord, friend of Haranshire: a 2nd-tier rogue wielding both the 2nd-tier shortsword named Red Whisper and the 2nd-tier throw-blade named Maelsauga, and wearing an Elf cloak and Boots of the Skirmisher. Gains Sapphire rank after report delivered to Mooregate.
with their sidekicks:
The Omen, pact-bound chuuni; Captain Piego, revisionist river-rat; and Chur, discerning urchin
and randomly assisted by Vir Onden, lvl 6 ranger, NPC this session
The Long Roaders are 9xp from level 7
Welcome back! The mission so far, to scout the long-abandoned Garlstone Mine and determine threats, is going according to plan. The Long Roaders fight their way past gnome defenders and down to the lower caverns. There they are ambushed by the last defender and the creature they know as Andren. They have reached the great Blue Garlstone cavern, and weigh up either dealing with a giant eel or resting, and if the latter for how long.
There’s no need to go seeking trouble, veteran Seck points out. After a more careful check of the log cabin – finding a long-drop privy and no threat – watches are stood, spells and health regained.
As a rough strategy [and influenced by a high-aggression roll from Vir] the Long Roaders decide to beetle about and expect ambush. Their main objective is to get Andren, and he seems to like ambush.
So it’s a march back to check the back-trail – the point of ascent – and having made sure that’s safe, they face forward into the depths and head along the trail towards the deeper caverns.
Party order: Vir, Cat back but within Sentinel, about 30′ back to the Omen then another 10 to Seck and Chur (who has the lantern), and Phoenix and Piego about another 30 feet back.
Other relevant notes: Seck is favoring Red Whisper for its mage-nerfing property, and Ulruf’s Mageslayer: Smite Corruption will do a great deal of damage to a caster. Ulruf itself is still not fully glaive-shaped so is still only worth a d8. Cat is armored up with Armor of Agathys.
Is it an ambush if you expect it?!
They all have their zones to watch. And so when Andren drops out of an invisible niche above, Cat yells the warning and inits are rolled!
Initiative: Cat, Seck, All Evil, Phoenix, Vir
Round 1: Cat belts a Repelling Blast into Andren, missing twice even with the advantage the Omen gives him. Seck hurls Maelsauga, misses with a nat1. He moves to stand next to Cat, in the dim outside the lantern-light. Andren switches tactics: lands nimbly, cuts Seck twice with a short sword [Seck misses his CON SV and takes two levels Exhaustion from the poison] and tangles Cat [who misses his Acrobatics] to immobility with a whip. Andren takes 15 frost dmg (Armor of Agathys) but Vir misses his Sentinel. Then, Andren Spell-surges, fixes death-black eyes on Cat: “Inflict Wounds!” – “Counterspell!” Then Andren uses a bonus action Misty Step. Cat reads his line of retreat and calls it – deeper in!
Round 2: But before they can surge forward, a Dark-fire outline briefy flares. Cat can’t see where it came from: there’s a fell zone of Darkness up ahead that makes even Fey Sight dim.
Everyone on the zone makes their DEX SV!
A rattle of crossbow bolts takes toll! Vir spins Ulruf expertly, parrying one off. Then the distinct tramp-tramp of retreating boots!
Round 3: There’s a certain amount of rallying forward… there’s a 30′ area of darkness masking the retreating foe. Seck assays a shot using his hearing, misses: it gives Phoenix a direction though.
Phoenix, already well to fore, races forward into the dark using his Totem bonus move – Piego following far behind – and runs smack into…
Rounds 4 to 6: As the others follow up they pass one fallen hobgoblin warrior and find Phoenix harrying hobgoblin warriors, three more of them, falling back – beyond a side-passage to the cavern known as The Dome – towards a wider area. Cat knocks two of them away with Repelling Blast and the Omen summons weird twisting lights to help the other party members. An eldritch glow diffuses an expanse that must be the cavern known as Fairyland. Another heavy timber lean-to lines the right wall.
Perception checks all round
There’s a hobgoblin captain well behind the front rank, and a third line of hobgoblin casters well back from him, and a final line of ???
Phoenix cuts a wounded hobgoblin down and finishes the other in front of him – only one hobgoblin warrior remains! Phoenix ignores him and rushes the captain! Mocair slams bruisingly onto half-plate. Piego joins him with the lantern, and uses the Defend option. Seck – who has waited for the chance – drops the last warrior as Vir closes on it. Vir advances to support Phoenix, calling Hunter’s Mark onto the captain.
Round 7: Cat doubles forward. Seck runs up, a little ahead of Chur, and flanks the captain, stabbing with Red Whisper. A deep wound! The captain Disengages: Vir Sentinels him! Colossus Slayer, Hunter’s Mark and the normal Ulruf all impact heavily: the captain is bloodied and angrily calls for backup. The captain tries a leg-sweep but Phoenix withstands it. Then pale flame envelops him and he again evades!
Phoenix makes an Acrobatics check and three DEX SVs! Then a DEX SV for the others.
Cat, Seck, and Vir leap aside as vines erupt from the walls and floor. None are restrained but this will be a challenge for all to get past them. Phoenix is on the hobgoblin side of the effect.
Meanwhile behind Cat and the Omen, unseen, Andren slips out of hiding…
Mocair glances off the captain’s half-plate, then Phoenix rushes at the casters, Piego close behind. He cuts at one, injuring him. The caster scuttles back, close to a creature that looks a lot like Helena!
Vir can’t move through the vines, so attacks the captain, but misses both tries.
Round 8: Cat hammers the captain with Eldritch Blast, just once: he is looking beaten. The vines prevent him advancing. Seck again stabs the captain and he is down! Mobile allows Seck to get clear, and he races further in to support Phoenix. Then behind him he hears Cat cry in pain!
Cat has taken a sneaky Inflict Wounds attack from Andren, who is above and behind Cat. Thanks to the Armor of Agathys’ temp hp, Cat is still on his feet. He uses Reaction: Misty Escape to drop round the “corner” right and near the cabin. The hobgoblin casters retreat, throwing more Sacred Flame on Phoenix, who takes two of the three. The three Helena-like creatures shift around confusingly and…
All but Vir save against Bane
Phoenix follows up and slams Mocair once into a “Helena” who screams. Vir, far behind, is in difficulty. He can’t break free and is an advantage attack target. And he can’t see where Andren is attacking from. His voice is raised letting his fellow know he’s stuck. He readies a torch for lighting.
Round 9: The Omen is stuck, Cat grabs a potion from his component pouch and uses it. Seck hurries to support Phoenix and uses Red Whisper on a “Helena.” He hits, and “Helena” loses its top spell (if a real caster.) But the “Helena” seems not to suffer from the blade – the one Phoenix hit must be the real one! Hearing Vir’s call, Seck is at least aware something is a problem. He passes that on and moves to use a “Helena” as cover from the other casters.
Andren drops from his hidey-hole above onto Vir, cutting him deeply and inflicting 2 levels of exhaustion! Vir’s warnings become shrill! Andren calls loudly in a fey tongue for the vines to be removed. Two remaining Helenas retreat clear and Phoenix tags his one as a Reaction: Seck misses his WIS SV and is Held. The hobgoblin casters reform and drop Sacred Flame on Seck, who can’t avoid.
Phoenix encourages Piego to keep up with the light as he follows up, this time focusing on the wounded caster. Crit! The caster is bloodied, and a second strike staggers him. Far at the back, Vir is still in the same trouble with only the Omen, who has spent all his magic points, nearby. Dropping the torch he takes the Dodge action and tugs out a potion.
Round 10: Cat advances to Shadow Blade range of Andren and it strikes deep! Cat recalls the blade and darts back into full cover from the assassin. Seck shrugs off the Hold Person and scans around: one Helena, one badly wounded caster and one fit caster. He zips across to Phoenix and finds another Helena, seemingly wounded. He again uses Red Whisper with three ranks of nerfing, but she makes the CON SV. On the other hand, this is definitely the real fake Helena!
The fake Helena shrilly tongue-lashes the casters who throw Sacred Flame again: dropping their shields the casters whale on Phoenix and Seck with staves. Fake Helena slashes Seck repeatedly with claws: he falls! She retreats! And fades beyond Phoenix’ vision.
Over by Vir the vines drop, Andren takes a mere nick out of Vir, and fades back [Vir misses Sentinel]. Vir sees him split into three, each of which takes a different direction.
Phoenix cuts at fake Helena with Mocair but the blade slides off some solid-feeling armor. He finishes the beaten-down caster and follow up with two cuts at the next caster.
Perception [listen] and [see] tells Phoenix there is a rat- like noise from where fake Helena fled to.
Vir takes a final potion, not having much luck on the roll.
Round 11: Cat singles out the caster nearest, and hurls his Shadow Blade.
Seck makes his first Death Roll
Chur doubles to Seck’s side and fumbles for a potion.
The Andrens attack Vir again, wounding him again.
The two remaining casters move back – Phoenix misses with his reaction cut – and he dodges two Sacred Flames. Phoenix hears Cat calling “group up on the barbarian” and follows up on the casters, Piego moving up with the light. Mocair hits and the caster is staggered, then the second attack drops him. Phoenix follows throw and smashes the remaining caster with a bruising smash!
No good options for Vir! He sidles between Andrens and isolates one, casting Hunters Mark and attacking! It’s Andren! Who is slammed by the combined Colossus Slayer and Mageslayer! Andren loses his top spell. A second attack is also successful. Andren looks uncomfortable.
“Got the bastard!” – Vir
“What was all that whining for then?” – Phoenix, earning an Inspiration
Round 12: Cat doubles back towards Vir’s call, hurling Shadow Blade into the gloom. Andren looks bloodied and his gorgeous blond hair loses some of its floppiness. His skin takes on a darker tinge. Chur splashes a potion over Seck’s face, and he is conscious. He rises, and finding himself within range of the Phoenix-caster duel, hurls Maelsauga: it hits! The caster is down! Seck cunning actions and moves towards Vir.
Andren decides to take Vir with him and moves in to strike.
Vir – now clear of Bane – calls for Inspiration as he misses his counter, Phoenix delivers it: just enough! Andren is still stuck!
From beyond the Fairyland, swarms of spiders and a great spider scuttle! And something else!
But Phoenix and Piego are running back to help Vir, Phoenix closing and – using Piego’s help – slices Andren twice. Andren looks staggered.
Vir lances Ulruf again at Andren, He misses twice.
Round 13: Cat gets close enough and hurls Shadow Blade. Andren is hit again! He looks beat! Cat calls that out, pulls the blade back and gets to better cover. Seck hurls Maelsauga and Andren is down! As he falls his face darkens, his dimming eyes are yellow slits, and his hair is silver. He calls on his mother, in an Elven dialect, as though she was here. Seck finishes his victory dance and heads in to loot, drawing out a potion.
Spider swarms sprawl across the cavern and Andren’s mum heads in, looking for revenge!
Phoenix yells to bring the light and attacks the giant spider. He connects, but Mocair passes through as though the spider is not there as it vanishes. Phoenix calls, “These might be illusions!” But as he looks beyond he sees a snake-haired creature with googly eyes glaring at him! He surges on and (turning his gaze away) connects. The contact seems real… “She’s back!” Phoenix yells.
Meanwhile Vir is making sure Andren doesn’t get a deathroll. Munce. Chop. Maim.
Round 14: Cat once again heads back towards the front spotting three spider swarms and a snake-haired female. He hurls Shadow Blade and discerns that she is not real, and steps back into shadow. Seck ensures he has range on the “medusa” Phoenix is fighting, hurls Maelsauga, hits! He rallies back with Chur.
Spiders swarm over Phoenix who meanwhile fails his CHR SV and takes deep insults. Medusa drops back Failing his WIS SV and CON SV as well, Phoenix takes two levels of exhaustion. “Medusa” stays in the fight as she hurls the Vicious Mockery and slams claws into Phoenix. He is near down!
But in response Phoenix hammers back at her, knocking her clear, and as he moves away, attempts (badly) to scrape the spiders loose. Vir yells “coming Phoenix” and doubles over.
Round 15: Cat advances as well, hurls his Shadow Blade, scoring a Crit! She is down! Cat retreats from the nearest swarm. Seck swigs a potion. He moves and Cunning Actions closer.
The spiders continue attacking Phoenix and Piego, but not doing any damage. They fade.
The battle is won! “Medusa” reverts to a creature that looks like Yazol the Green Hag!
XP: level 7-4.
Loot: 10 regular healing potions, one Superior healing potion, 78 gold coins, a little model of a cottage.
Let’s get some rest!
Too weary to clear the area, they retire to the cabin. It seems better swept and chock-full of supplies. Better fit for war than mining. And they are recently-stacked. Seck restocks with eight skins of oil.
Watches are set up. Vir removes his own and Phoenix’ first levels of exhaustion and takes first watch.
Time to move!
Cat is on second watch. Vir shakes him awake, he steps out to make his libation, sees a short, stunted figure, looking something like an oversize gnome wearing a red cap, bowing and grinning with great sharp teeth.
“I come from our Lady Queen. She bids you, this way, to seal the bargain. Bring all treasures that ye may.”
Cat reassures the others and they march after the Redcap, through the passages to the Chamber of the All-hearing Gods.
Pegged across the ear-shaped impression that gives the chamber its name is a desiccated corpse. It wears robes that suggest a wizard.
“Not part of my brief… we can spare a minute if ye want to check out the goods.” The Redcap produces a huge scythe out of nowhere. With a practiced sweep he opens the clothing.
This is the long-dead body of the Inquisitor Hellebore.
Following the Redcap on they pass along more narrow winding passage to another great chamber. Presumably the final Grand Cavern. Again, here and there, blue chips of Garlstone shine. But their guide walks on, to the far end, and pauses, turns and addresses Cat.
We reclaim the fair Helena
Warned by the Redcap and Cat, the party passes safely through the Shadowfell. They emerge from a rocky outcrop, within sight of Parlfray Keep. The Redcap tells Cat he is to remain behind but they are to retrieve Helena.
Splashing water on cloth, the Long Roaders clean their faces as best they can, and approach. The keep gates are guarded as before. Calling up to the guards Cat claims entry as Long Roaders, and they are admitted to the outer ward.
Advantage Persuasion, with rep. They gain the inner ward and an interview with Hagar the seneschal.
Hagar the chamberlain-cum-seneschal welcomes them and sees to them being given baths, while he alerts Helena and arranges a warm meal. The Long Roaders take their time, making sure their garments are as clean as possible.
Cursing his luck not bringing those clay tiles that he intends as a present for Uili the attractive Plains Tribeswoman – again – Phoenix discovers she is long gone. Oh well.
Cleaning up good proves the right call, because their next task is to persuade Helena that she should leave her job as Guild Clerk and her stunted career, and shelter away from weird threats in the Feywild under Titania’s care.
Somewhat generous allowing DC10 to count as success, two of the three make it.
Farewell and adieu
Helena performs her last duties as clerk, writing up the final report of their adventures. Hagar agrees that the Garlstone has been duly scouted and pays on behalf of Carman.
XP: lvl7-3 as the report is handed over.
Loot: 50 gold. Helena also gives Cat the Elven book she got from the Spire. But later he finds that the model cottage is gone, and a cuckoo egg wrapped in summer leaf is left in its place.
It is night by the time they all head back to the outcrop. Cat studies it, seeing a silvery floral design sprouting up on each side, forming another portal. It opens and from beyond can be heard merry-making, as of a wedding-party. Helena gulps visibly and steps in.
The stone closes with an audible click.
XP: the Long Roaders are Level Seven! They have secured Helena away from the parties seeking her “power.” The GM promises not to forget what the big deal is, so he can explain at some later date.
Next session: Level seven gains confirmed, go back to Milborne, check in with Badger the recruit and Biddy the recruit and Beorn the boat master. Choose how best to travel to Mooregate, head for Mooregate to begin prep for the heist.