SC3.04: Enter, a creep

The level three heroes for this session

Dakeyras, wood elf rogue (assassin) with criminal background;
Garth, mountain dwarf fighter (battle master) with soldier background;
Kiro, wood elf cleric (nature) with acolyte background;
Lincas, human wizard (enchanter) with noble background;
Richlen, high elf paladin (the ancients) with soldier background

Supported, in the carrying-the-gear sense, by Vincent the ox, with cart

The heroes begin 28xp from level 4 and end on 20

The shrine so far

The heroes have taken a swipe at Savras Shrine as they head back west towards Phandalin. The shrine grounds are held against them but the opposition is not all of one mind. The heroes deal with the first burst of defense then help one faction deal with an unpleasant veteran. The grounds are theirs!

Savras Secret Unsealed

Dak and Garth report all clear around the ward. There’s a latrines, some cropped areas and a hay-cut section. The north-east tower is the only one still intact enough to permit its turret to be accessed.

Inside the shrine building the nave and sanctuary are higher-ceilinged than the transept but all are one level. A makeshift rope ladder leads up to the little square belfry, center of the whole. The blood-pooled body of a fallen bandit demonstrates that footing may not be ideal. Ravens jitter and mock from time to time but do not interfere.

I use a step-down-dice stress for the searching, because Garth wants to search the whole place. At the same time Dak has a couple of Perception tests from up at his watch-point. We start at d8 and drop to d4 by the time the team works its way down to the altar.

DM

There’s little to find – though if they need spare rope the late occupants left plenty – aside from the altar.

“There’s gotta be some treasure here somewhere…” – Garth

The foolish lord Windin chose the sanctuary to be his stables, and it has not been properly searched. Rich and Linc can tell the altar can be moved.

Linc dances and sings and as he finishes his Draconic-speech Ritual, Detects Magic! From beneath! After a little testing and pushing the right pressure point results in the whole altar moving around, semi-circular! A circular stair leads down…

Learned discourse

Dak has remained on watch all this while and now his voice sounds the alert: at least a dozen bandit types coming down from the south-east! Red-robed leader!

Dak hies him away to the north-east tower, a splendid snipe spot.

After some hesitation, second-guessing and counter-planning the others adopt this:

Kiro stands watch at the west transept in case someone squeezes through that broken corner; the other three are ready to defend the east transept.

A large-shouldered bravo detaches from the main body and begins sneaking in. Dak hails him.

There’s a pause as both sides take stock, then the bravo heads back, and all fifteen newcomers begin scrambling through the broken east curtain wall.

The leader is very obvious: short, stout, red-robes, bald head, and a tattoo of Myrkul on his forehead. He bears a glass or crystalline staff.

He introduces himself as Hamun Kost, and refers in passing to Thay. To Garth, his robes look rather like those he saw in the ruin of the dwarven excavation – that ancient temple of Abbathor.

Linc engages him in conversation while the others discreetly talk options and bring in Kiro.

The followers, aside from two very sturdy and capable bravos, look very generic… and the defenders can smell a carrion smell off them…

Inspiration for Linc and Rich as between a Divine Sense and knowledge of illusion magic, they are able to warn that Hamun Kost is wielding fifth-level spells.

A couple of baubles are Kost’s offer

Kost, finding that “his” people are gone and these newcomers are adventurers, offers them two or three tasks: he has a Ring of Protection, a rez-value diamond, and other baubles.

  1. Bring him evidence of clearing the orcs out of Old Owl Well and Wyvern Tor. They are threatening to become a nuisance to him.
  2. Visit Agatha and ask her who leads the Talos cult.

Sarcophagus Speed Stripdown!

Having gotten Kost to stand off for half an hour, the adventurers – still minus Dak because someone has to watch for treachery – take breath, and hasten down to what proves to be a crypt.

“Why ya lookin’ so happy, I coulda taken him – short, outta shape…” – Garth

Rich lights a torch. A large stone sarcophagus atop a raised plinth; some ancient looking chests; otherwise time-crumbled furnishings.

Garth races back up for his crowbar, while the others kick or hammer open the chests. Gold! So the tale of locals hiding their savings here was true!

The sarcophagus (Kiro offers a heartfelt prayer to three relevant gods) contains the trace remains of a burial, and a magic staff of seeming natural grain wood – but with strange metallic flecks through it – and with a blue crystal head.

Garth staggers back up the stairs with many pounds of coin, hoping his lightning sort got all of the gold and the least amount of coppers.

And with Rich having set Vincent to his collar again, it’s away!

XP: lvl4-26

Loot: 1,215 gold coin, 237 silver coin, and 7 copper accidentally swept up too.
Stormstruck Staff: Weapon (quarterstaff), rare. This wooden staff has been scarred by lightning and embedded with an amplifying crystal at its head. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon. Small sparks of electricity arc from the crystal, dealing an extra 1 lightning damage to any target hit by the weapon. The gem glows brilliantly and pulses with electrical energy for 1 minute after you or the weapon take lightning damage from any source other than the staff or while the weapon is under the effects of the shillelagh spell. While the gem is glowing in this way, the weapon’s extra lightning damage increases to 1d6, and the gem emits bright light out to 10 feet and dim light for an additional 10 feet.

Cryovain again!

Given they could make Old Owl Well by nightfall – so the directions from a bravo indicate – the idea of a rez-value diamond gleams and glistens greedily. They swing the patient Vincent east and south, for the higher foothils.

The trail winds up and around, among steep bluffs and small weather-crumpled mesas, past the tree-line.

Dak scouts around and ahead, and from the vantage of one such lookout, spots a dot, off south, airborne. Then it doubles in size and he realizes it is coming on fast!

He leaps down, warning the others to pull in hard under the lee of a bluff, stay still and hope!

Stealth checks all round, and unluckily Rich scores so badly the group result can’t compensate. I rule he polishes his armor to a brilliant sheen and that has been seen!

DM

Cryovain banks hard, and comes out first in Initiative!

“Protect the ox! Protect yourselves! I dunno!” – Garth, coming in a solid last

Cryovain swoops and a thick sleeting of ice breath hammers along the ground, strafe-style!

It’s not large enough to cover the entire wagon party with a single breath except with perfect aim – Cryovain gets a half-good roll, I rule lowest three on a d6 roll get hit. Dak Garth and Kiro! I rule that Dak can use his rogue’s DEX SV ability, rather than CON, to get part-clear.

DM

Dak rolls clear of most of the effect, Garth hunches and becomes Frosty the snowman, while Kiro falls face-down!

Rich kneels at the cleric’s side and pours his paladin healing power in!

Linc stands again: “I Suggest you need to fly back to your lair – there could be thieves about to steal from you!”

“…And stay there!” he adds at the top of his voice as the white dragon wheels south.

Garth crackles into movement, brushing ice off his coat. “My beard’s all a-frozen – but I gotta make sure the gold’s OK! Hey… Vincent, you don’t look too well…

Rich has some paladin healing power left and Vincent, like Kiro, is able to stand once more.

XP: lvl4-22

WIS: Survival checks for being able to take shelter and rest in the cold. Group check fine.

Short Rest! HD are rolled. Everyone is back to health, and Dak has had time to care for his longbow so it has no more chance than normal of a string snapping. The Short Rest also averts Exhaustion.

Old Owl Well

As the dusk deepens the wind calms. From below the raised ground where lies a stump of ancient tower, they can hear voices. Orcish voices.

Linc casts Comprehend languages. Two orcs chaff and boast as they prepare supper.

The party wends around to an entry-ramp. Except for Dak who, as insurance, sneaks up the side of the mound – perhaps once man-made or smoothed by man’s hand but now crumbled and easily scaled – and waits in cover.

The two orcs are not prepared for intruders, nor is their camp defensible. They do seem in fact to be the very same two scouts, lately come up here from Savras Shrine. They certainly remember Garth, and ask where Dak is.

Soon, an easy negotiation takes place. Linc, with advice from others, tries to find some cunning plan by which they can all trick Kost and still get the diamond.

Wyvern Tor may be the thing. The orcs there are holdouts, not part of Akaros’ people (yet). The scouts explain how to get up there. It sounds depressingly well-defended, but still.

The scouts simply occupied Kost’s own tent, claimed that they were many, and Kost seemed to believe them. They’ve looted his belongings.

The heroes trade coin for a damaged but valuable little keepsake-box, and its contents, a delicate and ancient bronze figure of elf-style taste. And Kost’s writing desk has an encrypted document. It’s an easy dwarf-script cypher: Rich works it out.

After a shared supper, the scouts depart. “Travel by night, no dragon, no manticore,” as one explains.

And as the party decides on further rest or pushing on, the session ends.

XP: lvl4-20

Deciphered Document

Instructions from ‘The Slippery’

  1. Lord’s Alliance – avoid for now, report on Sir Sildar, Daran surname Edermath, or Sir Fenton.
  2. Talos cult – seek to confirm that Gorthok is summoned onto this plane, if so who summoned? Report on Tower of Storms, possibly held by Talos leader. Seek identity of rumored dark elf woman liaising with Leilon.
  3. Harpers – avoid confrontation, seek location of Garaele priestess in Phandalin?
  4. Storm Echo – as usual seek location, send your lieutenant Han to speak to miners.
  5. Darkhold – avoid those who may be of the Zhentarim.
  6. Report in person – Leilon or Waterdeep depending on season.

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