SC3.01: Loggers Camp upheaval

The level 3 heroes for this session

In party order

Dakeyras, wood elf rogue, assassin;
Kiro, wood elf cleric, nature domain;
Richlen, high elf paladin, oath of the ancients, also proficient at cart-driving;
Zachery, human bard, lore college;
Lincas Sulfarn, noble human wizard, enchantment school, ably supported by his raven familiar Puff;
Garth, mountain dwarf fighter, battle master.

The heroes begin on level 3 and end on 50 below level 4

Weathering over in Butterskull

Restored even further to fitness, Big Al Kalazorn sits at head of table. On his right, seated with wall at back, are his saviors. On his left are three adventurers, newly come from Triboar. They have made it just as the heavens opened. Even now their heavy cloaks are drying in the galley where Mayberry works busily.

The three newcomers, all seeking adventure or to right wrongs, heard that Butterskull had been seized by hostiles. It’s a relief that the ranch owner is still alive: they’re sorry they came too late to save the others.

Naturally the decision is to team up, and seek further adventure with the Phandalin three. But that will be for the morn, as the storm howls and hammers at shutter and shingle.

XP: lvl4-59, for good roleplaying and introductions

Dak’s plans are overtaken by Cryovain

Dak has outlined a plan to push on past Conyberry and swing north from his original marker on the trail. For the first part of the journey, all is well. Richlen, or Rich, proves an experienced driver – he served Neverwinter in the army for a time. There is but one road, tending a little north of due west. Zach accompanies the journey with a rough draft of a song that celebrates the victory at Conyberry.

The dark line of Neverwinter Forest draws near and dim shapes ahead firm into ruinous buildings and towers.

Nature check: Dak, helped by Zach, sees an oncoming storm.

Although one option is to swing north into the forest from here, the storm prompts Dak to suggest they simply fort up for the remains of the day, and the night. The others agree.

Zach has learned from the cues Mayberry gave him around the barn-like quarters, and whips up a fine evening meal. Then watches are agreed:

Watches: Rich, Garth, Kiro, Zach/Dak.

“I’m willing to take a watch, but I have been called ‘less than observant’ in the past,” Linc explains.

It’s second watch when Garth’s keen ears pick up the beat of heavy wings! He shakes the nearest resting comrade awake – “pass the word something may be happening!” and Rich hustles for Vincent’s tether.

Rich is inspired by Zach’s Inspiration and with Garth helping gets to DC20: they haul the startled ox inside before Cryovain the White swoops for the grab!

The tree under which Vincent was tethered snaps and with an angry roar Cryovain sprays the entrance to their quarters with ice!

DC10 DEX SV: Garth and Linc miss and are frozen, and down!

They waken near the fire, warm and comfy, overhearing Dak suggest that with Cryovain active along the trail, he’s changed his mind about heading on. The trail he saw Holg and the two bandits take is probably easiest.

“I say, next time we just let Vincent go,” Garth suggests lazily.

“Barthen told us very firmly that he wants the ox back,” Zach reminds him.

Cryovain the white! Rich recalls that some in Triboar think it’s settling on a regular series of points to patrol. And with that the remainder of the night is uneventful.

XP: lvl4-57

Black feathers!

Neverwinter forest is of mixed timber, deciduous trees bare-leafed interrupted by stands and reefs of conifers. The trail that Holg and his cohorts took is adequate for the cart, and offers some cover from the fitfully gusting wind.

Dak peers dubiously at the path ahead. Is that log spanning the stream, right of trail, supposed to be a bridge? He moves past an outcrop and…

DEX SV!

…manages to pull back from a pit trap! Two arrows buzz past him! They must have come from the bushes immediately ahead!

Inits: Dak, Linc, Zach, Kiro, Garth, Rich, goblins.

Round 1: Dak shouts, “we’re under attack!” and pulls right back behind the cart. He readies, waiting for a target ahead. Linc bundles nimbly out of the cart and zips to cover behind the outcrop, casting Mage Armor and summoning Puff. Zach, who has charge of Vincent, is still uncertain as to whether enemies are all around, but based on Dak’s retreat vaults off the seat and plunges into the wet brush, side of trail. Kiro tanks up to the van, attempting to draw missiles. Garth pushes through ferns at stream-side, crouching for some concealment. He takes the Dodge action and peers about. Rich tanks forward past Kiro. Arrows rattle past him or in two cases off armor or shield. At least one came from the right flank across the stream!

Round 2: Dak keeps scanning, in cover and still Ready. There’s a quick rattle of to-and-fro in an unknown tongue. Linc, muttering “my call is goblins” sends Puff out rightward, to spotting position. He edges into better cover. Zach, safely in concealment, Readies. “Where are they?” Garth yells and pushes forward through the fern to where he can see at least Linc. “What’s happening?”

Great survival check from Rich

Rich charges forward but alertly works out where Dak’s foot sagged down and steps well left before he does that! He reaches the presumed cover of the nearest ambusher: swings his longsword lustily and with a squawk a goblin dashes away!

Linc receives Puff’s update:

“Yo! Linc! They’re on the move! They’re fleeing!”

Linc updates the others as at least a half-dozen goblins retreat.

It’s fortunate that Dak has budgeted a full day to get to Falcon’s, for the goblins have left three massive pitfalls, and a new trail has to be cut.

As the labor goes on (Rich and Garth, with handaxes) Dak returns from scouting, with a couple of arrows. Short-bow arrows, black-fletched.

XP: lvl4-55

Falcon’s discriminating hospitality

“Say Garth, Dak, why are we stopping over at Falcon’s? I never got the scoop on that,” Zach asks. They easily fill him and the rest of the party in:

  • He’s some kind of ranger
  • Used to be with the “Originals” – the group that cleared Wyvern Tor among other things
  • Likes fine wine
  • May be able to update us on a few threats and stories, like Agatha
  • His hunting lodge could be a good stopover before pushing on to the Loggers Camp

Falcon’s place is less a lodge and more a fortress! A woman of mature years opens the gate, and a sprat of immature years stables Vincent – and stings Rich for a princely tip to treat Vincent well.

Falcon is one of those hulking rangers, standing well over 6′, broad-shouldered and with arms that can easily span a heavy warbow. The lodge may be the oldest part of the fort: well-polished, finely-finished wooden interiors add a note of comfort and refinement.

Surly to begin with, he brightens remarkably at the sight and smell of the wine Zach presents him with. From that point he is quite the genial host! He does rant quite a lot about orcs, whom he hunts for no obvious reason: allows that they are in cahoots with half-orc Talos cultists trying to summon Gorthok Thunder-boar into the world.

Although he doesn’t immediately recognize the arrows, Falcon promises to have a think back and look over his trophies. Meanwhile the guests have a choice of cheap n nasty pallets, for free, in the guest barn; or luxury accommodation, for 10 gold coin apiece, somewhere else.

They opt for free. “Free is good,” as Garth would say.

DM Note: The time in Falcon’s Lodge can be flashbacked, for extra detail about forest lore.

DM

We say goodbye to Vlad at this point, he stays over, awaiting better traveling weather and river transport.

XP: lvl4-54

Holg once more, with porkers

Neither rain dripping through the trees, nor the same fitful wind, prevent Dak’s keen ears picking up the grunting of a boar. He’s been expecting something of the sort: not far back, he found the footprints of a man, becoming the slot of a boar. And they overlaid the slightly older tracks of pigs.

Dak has made great Survival: Tracking and Perception checks

He drops back to alert the others. After a quick run-down of this generally-hostile Holg, would-be horse-thief, the agreed strategy is for Dak and Zach to circle quietly, while the noisy three plus Linc walk forward to see if Holg is willing to talk. Linc summons and sends Puff up to scout.

In a clearing stands a boar, seemingly in some sort of conclave with three pigs. The pigs are branded BAK: those are the pigs Big Al is missing! No sign of any bandits.

“Team sneak” confront hidden bandits while they themselves stay concealed. Neither side is willing to risk exposing themselves.

Although ready for trouble, “team talk” has to deal with two pigs: somehow, boar-Holg sends them charging at the adventurers! Using that distraction, he escapes: the bandits make off after him. Linc essays Suggestion, but Holg either shrugs it off or cannot understand. Kiro uses his affinity for nature (Channel Divinity) to befriend all three of the pigs who then follow Vincent as part of the caravan.

XP: lvl4-53, with a bonus of an Inspiration for Kiro if the pigs make it back!

It’s never that easy: Loggers Camp in ruins

A grim silence, other than the muted sound of what’s by now a fair-size river running by. Just as sinister – here and there the ground has been disturbed.

Dak studies a myriad of tracks but can’t make out enough to tell a tale.

Some buildings seem to have been taken down, perhaps as part of shifting the camp or perhaps some more aberrant event.

Garth and Zachery work their way uneasily forward, while Linc updates the other with what Puff sees – more broken area of ground, past a campfire sort of area. Rich heads that way.

Investigation from Zach, with Advantage from Garth’s Stone Cunning

The building has been shattered, its chimney part-toppled, rather than taken down in orderly manner. After probing about for some time, Zach studies a doll-like stick figure, and shows it to Garth. It bears the lightning strikes of Talos the Storm-lord, and is smeared with what looks a lot like dried blood.

“Why are you playing with dolls?” Garth asks, but further conversation is prevented as, in front of Rich, a huge crustacean-like thing erupts from the earth!

x

Two more erupt around the campfire area and the battle is on!

Inits: Dak, Zach, Kiro, Linc, Garth, Rich, Ankhegs

Round 1: Dak sends a longbow arrow arcing across from where he’s been covering but the shaft bounces off its carapace. Zachery moves to get line of sight, and supplies Rich with Bardic Inspiration. He Readies, hoping to pass the doll off to Linc. Kiro runs purposefully forward, casting Shillelagh, and getting quite close to the camping area. For plan, Linc has what no caster wants: a front-line role! He moves directly into line of sight from the creature and uses Hypnotic Gaze to soothe it. “I’m soothing this one, you can attack the others!” And indeed it does drop to a more prone position. A much more attractive target…

Garth can see another of the creatures beyond, and dashes forward to support Linc. Rich casts Compel Duel on the incapacitated creature, and attacks it while he has advantage! The longsword blade lances down, deep between chinks in the natural armor, and the creature is snapped out of its pacified state! An acid spray squirts back at Rich, and some drops spatter through his guard. Following up, it swings a mighty feeder-palp, missing completely as Rich easily steps aside!

Further back the other two swing toward the party, one directly towards its fellow, crashing across logs set around as seating; the other south of the tented camping area.

Round 2: This time Dak’s shaft slams home between the carapace plates, and the creature wavers and looks about to collapse. Dak shifts north a little, maintaining good line of sight. Zachery casts Dissonant Whisper at the third creature: it writhes with psychic pain and retreats as fast as it can! Zach shifts north, paralleling Dak’s move, and nimbly moves a few feet into the bad going of the ruin. Kiro shifts forward to support Rich: Shillelagh smashes down: shell cracks and ichor begins flowing out. Kiro steps carefully around the carcass and across to menace the next one, near the campfire ashes. Linc shifts to get good line of sight, skipping easily over guy-ropes, and hurls an accurate – but minimal – fiery bolt. Garth is still having some ground to cover to get shield to shield with Kiro, so takes the Dodge action as he closes. Rich switches attention to the one Kiro is facing: attempts to run along the large seat-log, but slips! Regains his feet and gets to the ashes, facing the monster. As a bonus action, Rich pushes Thunderous Smite power into his blade. In response to these moves, the fleeing creature swings about, spitting a long spray that just falls short of Garth but splashes through the tent-canvas over Linc and spatters him; and the creature in Rich’s face spits – covering Rich, Kiro and Garth. Kiro avoids the worst damage but the other two are badly acid-seared. The great mandible smashes down – ashes cloud up, obscuring its vision!

Round 3: Dak still has line of sight, and yelling “you guys might wanna spread out!” sends a shaft through the carapace. The creature seems hurt. Zach moves back out of the bad ground, essays Vicious Mockery, and as usual the creature shrugs it off. Kiro turns south to ensure that third creature doesn’t pincer the others; Linc hurls another Firebolt but, concerned not to hit the paladin, throws it high. Garth steps carefully forward through the campfire beside Rich and hammers at the creature: but his stroke whiffs air. “I’m warmin’ up!” Rich has advantage on the creature thanks to the ash-dust, and a Thunderous Smite hammers it back 10′. It seems to waver, nearly out on its feet, drooling acidic spittle. Rich closes up. The less-damaged creature south of Kiro hammers ineffectually at his Shield of Faith, but hurls spittle across both he and Linc. Linc is pretty battered: then he takes more acid from the creature facing Rich and is down. Once again the mandible smash does nothing.

Round 4: Dak surges forward, sending a powerful shaft into the creature facing Kiro: it staggers visibly. Zachery uses a Bonus Action to heal Linc, and looses an arrow at the staggering one Dak has just hit: gets through the carapace! It is ready to fall, and Kiro’s Shillelagh accounts for it. Linc rises from prone, gets out of line of spittle, and hurls another Firebolt at the weakened final creature. It looks par-broiled and ready to collapse. Garth roars and smashes a final and finishing blow!

Victory!

And as the party begins assessing what hurts they have and what may have transpired, the session ends.

XP: lvl4-50

This was a great first session for three new players, there were nat 20s, there were nat 1s, but roleplaying was the winner on the day!

DM

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