SC6.02: Gorthok the Thunder Boar

The level six Silvers for this session:

In order of Initiative

Garth, fighter wielding the Ungart Hammer and shield;
Vern, wizard wielding spells;
Rich, paladin wielding Alagondar and shield;
Dak, rogue wielding Whisper

The Silvers begin 104xp below level 7 and end on 90

Ill-omened night passage

During Dak’s watch, with yet a few hours to dawn, the calm night is literally trampled as something big races south, to broach the glade around the overgrown ruin, and on. Smaller wildlife follow, using the great rent torn in Neverwinter Forest to flee along.

Come dawn, so over-trampled is the trail, all they can tell is that it was bipedal, maybe 9′ at the shoulder.

XP: lvl7-102, wise choice. A reminder that Neverwinter Forest is not just a walk in the park.

Plans about flying and revenge

“I’m keen to head back to the Circle and clean up the cult remnants,” Dak proposes, “then from there, we can march back to Phandalin, re-provision, see if old Reidoth has sent word of where Cryovain’s lair is, and probably take a swipe at the manticore’s lair.”

“Sounds good,” they agree, so with legs fresh after a Long Rest, they march through mild weather, the odd shower barely noticed from the forest trail.

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“If need be, we can travel from Phandalin to Conyberry,” Dak adds not long later, “and from there I can find Agatha’s lair again. She may well be willing to give us advice on whereabouts things are.”

“I wonder if an ad on the jobs board for a used griffon might work,” Vern wonders, obviously following his own train of thought.

“And finally, I’d like to put a few arrows in that Human Cost,” Dak finishes.

“Hamun Kost.”

“Whatever. Human Cost and the cult of Collateral Damage.”

“Hey Vern can you add my name to your ad as well,” Rich asks, and the two-sided conversation carries on very much along these lines, until Dak (in cover as usual) gives Rich the signal to stop and wait. They have reached the dolmen-topped barrow known as the Circle of Thunder.

XP: lvl7-101, more if this plan turns out to be as workable as it sounds

The pig-pen is empty! Let’s follow west!

A queer acrid smell comes to Rich’s nostrils as, a minute later, he leap-frogs Dak’s position to check the barrow crown. Gazing about for possible foes, his eyes are caught by the western forest fringe: the boughs are broken up to about 12′, and a trail has been busted due west. People-size footprints mingle with a gigantic boar’s slot.

The four split into two and investigate two barrow passages to be sure: but as they suspected, the cultists have gathered all of their weaponry, armor, cloaks, boots, and valuables, and have headed west with Gorthok the Thunder Boar!

“I never believed that myth, even though it was one of the first yarns I heard in Phandalin,” Garth marvels. “So what’s west?”

“I make it Falcon’s lodge, near enough,” Dak judges.

Rich returns from an extra pass at the trail:

“Maybe ten or so cultists?”

The others shrug. After seeing off powerful war-priests and some kind of war-leader, they are super-confident.

XP: Lvl7-100

Relief assault at Falcon’s Lodge

As has been noted before, Falcon’s forest home is a genuine stronghold, with a lofty donjon rising above the log-built main lodge. Dak chooses to approach along the normal path, following right on the trail of the cult and boar. As Rich passes the final few trees, his platemail is spotted by a lookout up in the donjon tower.

Garth moves forward to Dak’s layup, shield raised. Vern moves behind them to good cover in the same group of bushes. The ground in front of the three has been largely cleared of cover by Falcon and his people, though there is some cover off half-left. But it’s obvious that the fort has been taken: not merely the lookout’s cry, but a gaping hole in the fortress palings where the north-east gate used to be.

Crashing and trumpeting of the monstrous boar from around south of the donjon! Stockade rails are flung dozens of feet as Gorthok plows through them and smashes out the stockade wall there.

Rich paces forward confidently. Raising Alagondar he calls on Lady Tanamere to Bless all present. This proves absolutely crucial over the entire battle!

Immediately the cultists demonstrate their command of Lord Talos’ powers. A thunderhead grows over the ward, and lightning is flung by cultists and Gorthok!

Dak sends a powerful aimed attack into Gorthok, and Vern slams two firebolts home. Gorthok begins its charge – but another shaft from Whisper and a crit Firebolt chews right through it – and Gorthok dissolves into lightning fragments and is gone! The cultist running up beside it is left to hurl what he can in the way of lightning bolts, then dies before he can get to cover.

Meanwhile the two lookouts above are making life as interesting as they can for Vern. They soon discover that Rich and Garth are near-immune from their spirit-boars, the local variant of Spiritual Weapon. But Vern takes some Sacred Thunder and Spirit Boar gouges and is soon in trouble!

Take 7 piercing in the name of Gorthok!

Garth and Rich storm the naked ward before two anchorites there can fully muster cultists. Garth novas his full array of attacks, cowing an Anchorite (which saves him shortly after) and smashing a cultist down in a sweeping strike! Rich works more deedily around the flank, preventing the cultists from massing all their spells on Garth. With an Inspiring Smite, he heals himself and Garth enough to keep them hard on attack!

Despite trying something really cunning involving a grapple, the unwounded Anchorite can’t catch a break: Dak moves up and turns his deadly aimed attacks on that one, slaying him. It’s something of an anticlimax that the Anchorites and remaining cultists are struck down so fast – but it allows Garth to sprint into the lodge itself, aiming to race up to the tower!

Meanwhile Vern takes more spirit boar attacks and falls before he can retreat up into his dimensional bubble with Rope Trick. Dak pulls back and stabilizes Vern successfully. But he’s too slight himself to haul the wizard to cover.

Rich cuts the final fleeing cultist down and heads to the west gatehouse. Its gate west is barred, and no-one is left up above. Feeling frustrated, he unbars the door, checks west, then heads back to begin looting.

Garth’s legs pump like fury as he sprints up, around, then up a steep circular stair. Finally he reaches a door at the top! Boot! Nothing – they have blocked it off.

Two more attacks on Vern have him re-starting death rolls! Dak heals him with a potion, gets him on his feet, and they stumble to cover. Another successful attack! Vern swigs his own potion and flees!

Ungart Hammer: Earth Tremor! Garth got three charges back in the dawn, and he spends two of them now, jarring the gear piled up behind the door enough to allow him to kick it open!

Dak sends a shaft into one of the cultists’ shoulder! They slam Garth with Inflict Wounds: he withstands the pain and smashes them dead!

Victory!

Dak hollers for Vern to come back, it’s safe.

Further searching and tracking reveals that Falcon has taken his big mount and all his staff, and has fled south towards Phandalin. And as they confirm with one another that they will follow that same trail south, the session ends.

Loot: 644 gold coin worth of coin, one Greater Healing potion, a Mithral Hall fashioned +1 shield, and a deeply fissured, jet-buckled thick leather belt, the Bulky Earth Belt.

XP: lvl7-94 for the battle, lvl7-90 for the bonus of scotching the entire Neverwinter Forest branch.

DM Note: During the battle we could not recall whether Rich has visited Falcon, the answer is that he has, it was his first adventure after joining the party.

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