The level three heroes this session
In party order
Rich [NPC this session]
The heroes begin 50xp from level 4 and end on 42
This strange doll
Now victors, the tired and acid-scorched adventurers turn to examining the Loggers Camp. It is deserted. And, now everything has calmed down, Zach has a chance to show the others the little Talos-marked stick-doll, with sinister stains. Kiro glances at it and keeps chatting to Rich about other matters. Linc speculates that it is probably linked to the building’s destruction, because Talos; they decide to wash it clean with water and Prestidigitation. Yep, probably blood. Linc briefly morphs into barbarian Linc and breaks some of the doll. Nothing happens.
Where did everyone go?
Meanwhile Dak and Garth scout north towards the little jetty and another campfire. No blood-splashes, or at least none the rain left. The rain has also doused the ashes so thoroughly there’s no exact knowing when the creatures attacked. But the do manage to pick up the distinctive boot-tracks of Holg, with his two bandit cohorts. They seem to have gone west by way of the last two destroyed buildings of the area.
That leaves just one building standing: the main site lodge.
Tibor is just as bad as Harbin?!
Garth knocks and calls, and is rewarded by timorous scream, off right: “DON’T MAKE A NOISE!! KEEP QUIET!!”
Zachery begins circling the building counter-clockwise to investigate, and Garth knocks and peers inside. The floor almost immediately front and right has been disrupted: it’s obvious that at some point another of those giant lobsterish things burst through. The ground begins to shake just as Garth spots a door right, probably connecting to the screamer.
During the battle that follows both Linc and Kiro take another acid shot, and Linc drops again. Kiro heals him within seconds!
Ironically the ankheg is undone by the very sturdy walls of the main building. By the time it musters the strength to burst out, it’s already nearly dead. Dak finishes it with a final well-placed shaft.
The lone Loggers Camp survivor proves to be Tibor Westin! Obviously his keen nose for trouble saved him when others ran about and got swallowed up. Judging by the way he waves his arms and wails at the jetty, it is quite likely that some loggers took to boats and escaped by river.
The adventurers present the loaded cart and docket to sign, so there’s not going to be too much chance for Harbin to wiggle out of the mission! They offer Tibor passage back with them to at least Falcon’s lodge. Then, herding Vincent and the pigs into the ruin and building a nice little manger for the beasts and a fire for themselves, they all take a
Long Rest: spell slots and hp regained
XP: lvl4-47, which includes a bonus for providing Tibor a safe conduct
The sending stone speaks!
Garth hears a familiar elderly-female gnome voice coming from the sending stone:
“Lads? Dwarfs? This thing on? Factoree speaking. Oh of course you know that. I’m just calling to say I am ready to have you fetch”
“I don’t think she said all she meant to say…”
“Factoree – thanks – Garth here – weren’t you going to deliver it? Please advise. Over.”
Over the next several days in this stop and go manner, they establish that Factoree would prefer that Garth, Dakeyras, and their new comrades, help escort her device from Gnomengarde, and she will come with it.
Thoughts of further exploration
We flashback to Falcon’s lodge a day ago. Falcon, mellowed by the fine wine, waxes on at some length about the Originals’ exploits, and his cares in the forest. In no particular order, and with some vague supplementary information from the stable-boy:
- Shrine of Savras: Go to Conyberry, turn south, march towards Wyvern Tor
- Wyvern Tor: the Originals cleared the wyverns out, a really tough battle, opened the area for Phandalin to be resettled
- Mystery old place: On the trail north-west from Conyberry, when tracking around the goblins ambush site, Dakeyras noticed what looked like thick secondary growth formed in a regular domed kind of shape. Could be where Agatha the banshee is said to haunt
- Black-feathered goblin arrows: there’s an old keep way over in west Neverwinter forest, that tribe generally stays around there
- Mysterious half-orc Holg: Falcon suggests he is linked to other half-orc cultists trying to bring back Gorthok Thunder-boar. They worship Talos. They camp over in east Neverwinter forest, not too far from Falcon
- Falcon’s enmity for orcs: seems to be rooted in general “we always fight orcs” non-specific bigotry.
So putting all this together, the obvious first stop is just down the trail, at the mystery old place. They may even be able to complete Grace’s quest! Then if things hold together and they drove the pigs back to Butterskull, they can consider the shrine, or just head right back to Phandalin to sort out Gnomengarde’s ballista.
But prudence prevails. After all, they are not merely holding their own lives in their hands. They agree to first all drove the pigs, then come back from Conyberry into Neverwinter forest, and examine the old haunted place.
XP: lvl4-46 for the planning and roleplay
Three banshees, three curses?
So it is four days after leaving Tibor at Falcon’s lodge and with an Inspiration each under their belt (for delivering the pigs) that the adventurers (minus Rich, guarding Vincent and the cart with their gear in it) push along the goblin-size trail Dakeyras found.
The forest grows dark and still as the trail winds deeper into the trees. Heavy vines and thick layers of moss drape the branches, and the air is noticeably colder here. Dakeyras once more sees a domelike shape made from the warped branches of trees standing close together. A low doorway, formed of a mighty tree-root warped like an arch, leads inside.
“Garth, I’ll let you do the honors.”
Garth fights against his dwarven commonsense as the air thickens and the cold increases.
WIS SV: OK!
He picks out the remains of what must once have been a home built inside, and some of the carven timber is still intact enough to recognize the Tresendar crest alongside elven designs.
“This could be it – I can see that Tresendar design.”
The air grows cold, and a powerful feeling of dread grips Garth. A cold, pale light flickers in the air, rapidly taking on the form of a female, her hair and robes weaving in a spectral wind. She might have been beautiful once, but a hateful expression twists her features now. “Do you not know it is death to seek me out?”
“We have something of yours… Zach?”
Zach steps forward (WIS SV just makes DC13) and continues negotiations. Agatha receives Grace’s gift of her own comb with some incredulity! Unlike Grace, she seems well aware that centuries have passed.
It seems that Agatha, racked by the horrors of what the orcs inflicted on her, made a deal with a Patron! She has been cursed with eternal life and now lives on as a banshee, stirring up malevolence against orcs.
Nor is she alone! She refers to two other banshees. One off the coast, one deep below mountains. And a prophecy:
“When all three sleep through the actions of just creatures then prosperity will dawn again.”
Zach cheekily pushes his luck pressing Agatha for a little more information. Garth drags his body clear and Kiro heals him.
XP: lvl4-43, bonus 2 outstanding for bringing peace to Grace
A dwarf’s attention lightly turns to thoughts of gold
“Yes we do have to get to Gnomengarde and help Factoree. But you know, this Shrine of Savras is supposed to have treasure maybe. And we know exactly how to find it. And here we are, at the exact spot to start heading there. I’m just sayin.”
“Well if Garth’s in, I’m in,” says a clear plurality of voters and the adventurers (and Vincent and cart) turn south from Conyberry, bearing ever towards Wyvern Tor.
At least it’s not raining! Indeed the present journey is marred by gale-force winds. They bring their own problems.
The manticore lives another day!
Only an hour in, Garth (rearguard) spots something flying against the wind… and getting bigger quickly!
It’s the manticore! As it gains, Dak swiftly fills the new adventurers in. Linc casts a full-camo version of Disguise Self and blends back into the scrubby upland growth. The others take Ready actions and wait.
The wily old manticore maintains height and demands to see their pass. Dak displays it. A little miffed by numbers suddenly doubling, the manticore demands a token payment in gold. They provide it, and it maintains height until they are well down the trail.
“I still say we gotta kill that thing one day soon,” Garth grumbles, feeling lighter by one gold coin’s weight.
“My purse is very light,” Zach mourns.
“Wait, what? It should still be bulging with that share of the halfling loot, you know, from that time we, uh…” (looks around to see who’s listening) “…from Conyberry.”
Zach maintains a mysterious silence.
The ruined shrine: what dwells within?
One more hour or so of hill-trail travel, and Dak has seen enough to know that halflings and some humanoid with HUGE feet are about. The cover here is sparse: Rich stays back to guard Vincent and the gear, just in case they are all walking into a giant ambush.
A ruin stands in the middle of a vast field north of the rocky foothills of the Sword Mountains. An old stone temple with a belfry jutting from its peaked roof is enclosed by stone walls, many sections of which have collapsed. The trail ends at a crumbling gatehouse, the doors to which were sundered long ago. Four ruinous towers still mark the corners of the outer walls, though only one, the north-east most, extends up its full old height. It looks as though the stone temple’s roof has – miraculously – remained intact.
Dak (foot, circling cautiously) and Puff the familiar (air, circling swiftly) do some scouting. Dak reports that the entire west wall is pretty much open, while there’s a big gap in the south-east of the temple itself. Puff confirms that the roof is largely intact, except over that one particular breach.
Linc sends Puff for a slightly closer look but this time a murder of crows wheels up, raucous with rage, from the belfry! Linc has no choice but to dismiss poor Puff from the mortal plane.
Better to strike now and quickly, than wait until the opposition gets a plan together!
They race from scrub cover to the north-west corner. Dak slides east, covering an open notch in the wall. He hears a growl from the gatehouse, and links rattling as something is unchained!
And as a halfling crossbow bolt zips past Garth, the session ends!