Monthly Archives November 2016

End of the road, for some…

Having caught our breath – we proceed stealthily up the corridor.  There are no more chambers until we reach the bridge over the stream, where I spot a goblin sentry again.  My aim is poor in the dim light though and the shaft misses.  Fortunately he rushes towards me and I make short work of him with my sword.

Concerned that his battle-cry may have alerted his comrades, we move forwards, but become aware of the noise of a waterfall up ahead.  Slowing down, as the sound may have masked his cry, we peer round the corner, into another cavern.  There are two pools of water at the base of the waterfall, held back by low stone walls.  One has been breached – obviously the source of the flood that almost swept us away.  Three goblins are waiting, but seem oblivious of our presence.  Elaina, Aramil and I draw our bows and step out, each aiming to kill one of the three goblins.  Aramil and my arrows strike true, but Elaina misses and her goblin runs from the room.  We pursue, before it can alert the bugbear, up some stairs and into a larger cavern – we are too late to catch it before it alerts the others.

The cavern is full of loot, and we can see three goblins cowering behind it.  To our right are some stalagmites, and a growling noise coming from behind them.  A deep voice booms out, asking us who dares to approach Klarg.  I start to offer a chance for him to surrender, but suddenly a wolf leaps past the stalagmites and attacks us.  I hit it with an arrow as it charges, and its jaws fail to grip on my leather vambraces.  A swift slice from Elaina then finishes it off.  Garret performs another incantation and the three goblins fall into a deep slumber.  We then hear a scuffling noise from behind the stalagmites, and guess that Klarg is attempting to escape via the shaft into the wolf stable that we saw before.  Instantly, Aramil, Elaina and Sildar rush out of the cave and down the passage along the stream, to try and block him off from escaping.  I rush past the stalagmites and see him climbing down the shaft – I fire an arrow before he disappears out of sight and hit him.

The others rush down the passageway and reach the entrance to the wolf-cave before he reaches the bottom of the shaft – we have him trapped.  He rushes to meet us, and with a single blow smashes Elaina against the wall, knocking her unconscious.  Aramil and Sildar are momentarily panicked by the ease with which he dispatched Elaina, but press their attacked anyway.  Garrett takes the opportunity to deploy his bardic wit and invective against the bugbear, and Klarg is obviously unsettled by it as his next attack is mistimed and misses, allowing Aramil to land a hefty blow on him.  Meanwhile I have jumped down the shaft myself, and attack him from the rear.  My sword thrust runs him clean through, and he slumps to the ground.

In the cavern above we find a small amount of money (about 30 gp each in total) and some restorative potions, as well as a lot of bulky trade goods they have been looting.  We carry this, load by load, back to the wagon, which takes the rest of the afternoon.

7th day of Tarsakh

Next day we return to Phandalin, and restore the looted trade goods to their rightful owner, Halia Thornberry.  She is grateful, but continues the longstanding local tradition of complaining about the Redbrands.  We agree that they are a local menace, and she offers to pay us some more money if we can capture their leader, Glasstaff, a human wizard, and capture any correspondence he has.   We agree to investigate, but decide that dinner and a bed beckon for the moment at the Stonehill Inn.  As we step out of the trade store though, we are confronted by 4 ruffians in red cloaks who tell us that we are not welcome in Phandalin.  We protest that we are not looking for trouble, but they reach for their swords.  We draw first and each strike at our opponents, severely wounding three of them and killing one.  Garrett then once again uses his incantation to put them to sleep, and they fall to the ground.  We bind them and take them, with an encouraging crowd, to the Town Hall.  There we are met by Harvin Wester, the Mayor, who seems a thoroughly weaselly character.  I suspect that he will release them the moment our backs are turned – he seems more annoyed with us for antagonizing them, than please that we have eliminated some vagabonds.  Sildar however, steps forward, and reveals that he has been sent by the Lord’s Alliance to bring some order to Phandalin, and that he will be taking over that responsibility from Harvin.  Harvin seems relieved to be handing responsibility for keeping order to someone else, and invites Sildar to take them into custody and look after them.  Satisfied that Sildar won’t be on their side, we retire to the Stonehill Inn for a well deserved drink and meal to celebrate our new found abilities.  Unfortunately Garrett still doesn’t seem to be able to hold his ale.

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The right road

5th day of Tarsakh

After a desultory overnight stay in Phandalin, we awake and get ready to leave.  I find the shrine of Tymora and meet Sister Garaele, who turns out to be a fellow elf.  She knows nothing of my quest, although she shares a desire to rid Cragmaw Castle of goblins.  However, she has a more pressing need to find out some information from a banshee, and wants my help with this.  Nervous of distraction while Sildar and Gundrun are still in goblin hands, I promise to return when we have freed Sildar.

Garrett has been buying pitons or iron spikes or something, but the transaction is soon finished and we set off back down the track.  We encounter no problems and camp for the night near the place where we were ambushed.  Next morning we find the ambush site, and see no disturbance.  We scout around, but find no other ambush.  We then proceed cautiously up the goblin track and our caution is rewarded when I spot a snare trap, and then a pit.  They are obviously expecting pursuit.

After a few hours, we reach a low bluff that matches the description that the goblin gave.  There is a cave mouth with a small stream issuing from it.  There are briar patches that approach the cave mouth, so Garrett and I cross the stream to sneak up through one set that go closest to the cave mouth, while the other two advance along the foot of the cliff in the bushes there.  Our fieldcraft is rewarded as we find a watchpost with two goblins who are completely unaware of our progress past them in the bushes.  We leap out and each dispatch a goblin with a single stroke, soundlessly disposing of the guards.  Emboldened, we enter the cave entrance.  Immediately on our right are steps up to a larger cave with two chained wolves that snarl and strain to reach up.  We rapidly dispatch them with arrows and examine the cave beyond.  At the far end is a narrow chimney which has been used as a midden, presumably from a cave above.  We consider climbing up, but decide we would be too vulnerable while making the ascent, and decide to continue up the main passage along the stream.

Turning the corner, we see a branching corridor on the far side of the stream, and a rickety bridge crossing the passageway about 20′ ahead, and 20′ above us.  There is movement on the bridge – a goblin sentry has spotted us.  I loose an arrow and hit him, but he scampers off.  Worried that he will raise the alarm, we jump across the stream to the branching corridor.  As we are half crossed though, a surge of water comes down the stream.  We are buffeted, but all just manage to hang on to the cave walls and prevent ourselves being swept away.  Cunningly, Garrett casts a minor magical illusion of the sound of us being swept down the stream to try and convince any goblins listening that we are gone.

We continue up the corridor, which slopes up in a series of rough ledges, before intersecting another corridor.  To the left, this opens out to a large cave, where we see five goblins preparing a meal.  So far we have not been spotted.  Garrett uses another spell to cause a magical slumber to fall on them, and I kill the last one with an arrow.  Aramil and Elaina rush into the cave – there is a high ledge on one side, and a larger than normal goblin has leaped up.  He holds a scimitar in one hand and the hair of a bedraggled human captive in the other, and threatens to kill him if we do not negotiate with him.  I, being the only one who understands goblin, shout at the others to stop and tell him that if he releases the captive, who I assume is Sildar, we will spare his life.  He says that he will give us the captive if we bring him the head of the bugbear Klarg.  The captive raises his bruised and bloody face and says in a weak voice ‘Don’t trust him!’.  I make an instant judgement and let fly with my nocked arrow, wounding him, but not preventing him from pushing the captive forward off the low cliff.  He falls ten feet to the cave floor and lies in a crumpled heap.  Aramil rushes forward and pronounces a benediction on him to try and stop him dying. Elaina leaps up the stone steps and strikes the great goblin, but misses. Garrett tries for another incantation but it has no effect.  I shoot another arrow but it misses wildly.  The great goblin swings at Elaina and catches her a heavy blow on her shoulder which renders her shield arm numb, but despite this she swings her sword round and under the blocking swing from his scimitar; it catches him across his stomach just below his leather jerkin and carves deep through his belly, almost reaching his spine.  He looks astonished as he sees his guts slide out in front of him before he topples forward, dead.

Elaina rests on her sword and massages feeling back into her shield arm.  Garrett quickly dispatches the sleeping goblins.  Aramil is now able to use one of his healing incantations to restore the captive to consciousness, and indeed heal many of the wounds he has suffered during his captivity.  It turns out that he is indeed Sildar, and is most grateful to be rescued.  We offer him the great goblin’s scimitar as a weapon, which he accepts, but are unable to find any armour for him to wear.  He is enthusiastic to accompany us to wreak his revenge on these goblins and clear out these caves from this scourge.  We clean our weapons, retrieve unbroken arrows and have a quick drink before turning to continue our quest.

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A new road

This being the journal of the travels of Aeldrin Oakwood, once of Selenica, ranger of Dymrak, now chosen of Oghma.

It has been a halfmoon now since I acted upon the visions that I have been receiving for the last several moons. The visions were clear, if confusing – I have no idea why I should have been chosen by Oghma to receive these visions, for I have never worshipped or paid reverence to him. The message was clear however; I am chosen by him to travel to Cragmaw Castle and cleanse his shrine there. I assume that I have been chosen, unworthy as I am, for my many years hunting goblins in the Dymrak, for he has also revealed that it is they who desecrate his shrine.

The vision also told me to go to Phandalin, and meet a Sister Garaele there, at the shrine of Tymora. I found Phandalin on my map and so headed west out of the Dymrak. At the first homestead I reached, I inquired of the road to Phandalin, but the owner, Pyotr Sukiskyn, had not heard of the town at all. Looking at my map he remarked that it was missing a town called Threshold as well, which was on the road to where Phandalin apparently once was. These humans change things so fast.

Anyway, I took the road to Threshold without any major incident, and found a bustling human town. There are a new set of men here, from Thyatia, who seem to have taken over the rulership of Traladara recently; they call it Karameikos now. At Threshold, I enquired of Phandalin, and discovered that it does still exist, but is a mere village now, having been over-run and pillaged by orcs many years ago. As I was asking for information on it, I was approached by a dwarf named Gundrun Rockseeker. He recognized me as a ranger and offered me employ escorting a wagon-load of supplies from Threshold to Phandalin for him, as he was concerned about bandits and goblins on the road. I readily agreed to take his commission, as I was already intending to make that my destination, and being paid to travel my own road seemed a stoke of fortune. He introduced me then to three others that he had hired to protect his wagon; two half elves, one a priest of Helim, the other a sell-sword, and a halfling who seemed altogether too fond of his own voice and opinion on all matters.

3rd day of Tarsakh

The journey to Phandalin was initially uneventful, until the third day around noon. Rounding a corner as the track made its way through a cutting in dense forest, we saw two horses lying in the roadway ahead. I moved up and identified them as belonging to Gundrun and his bodyguard, a man named Sildar Hallwinter. There was no sign of either dwarf or man, but as I looked for more clues, two goblins leaped from the undergrowth and attacked me. As I turned and drew my swords, I felt an arrow hit me in the back – an ambush! One of the goblins then hewed my leg, and I collapsed to the ground. I came round as Aramil, the priest, cast a benediction to heal my wounds. The two goblins by me were dead, so I snatched my bow and killed one of the two ambushers on the hill above with a single shot. Elaina, the half-eleven warrior, felled the other with an arrow. We saw that actually one of the other goblins that had attacked in close combat was merely asleep; it turned out that Garret the halfling actually knew some magick as he had boasted the previous night in his cups.

Casting around, I found tracks belonging to many goblins leading to the north-west. It looked like they had dragged their captives or victims in this direction as well. Returning, I questioned our now-bound goblin captive. He revealed that he was part of a goblin tribe led by King Groll at Cragmaw Castle, although he was part of a warband led by a bugbear called Klarg in some nearby caves. According to the goblin, their king had been paid by a mysterious stranger called Black Spider to kidnap the dwarf, so they had ambushed the two of them. The dwarf would be sent to Cragmaw, but the bodyguard was destined for the goblin cookpot.

We rapidly evaluated our options. We could follow the goblin tracks to their cave now, and try and rescue Sildar, but that would mean abandoning the cart and its supplies, and we were also weary and wounded. Questioning of the goblin revealed that Sildar would probably be kept alive for a while, so we decided to continue to Phandalin first and see if we could recruit help.

4th  day of Tarsakh

We arrived at Phandalin after another uneventful day on the road. There we delivered the cart and supplies to Barthan’s Provisions as required. The halfling seemed very jumpy when we approached Phandalin, and admitted that he had once lived here, but had fallen in with a bad set known as the Red Blades. Talking to Elmar Barthan, he revealed that Gundrun had two brothers, but they were not in town at the moment. It seemed that the whole town lived in fear of these Redbrands, who were a bad lot entirely, running a whole protection racket. We were paid by Elmar and left Gundrun’s wagon with him, and took rooms at the decent inn in town, where we heard more tales of the bad deeds of the Redbrands. We tried to see if anyone would help up rescue Sildar or deal with the Red Blades, but the local population seemed completely cowed. Even a half-elf called Darren Endermarth who Elsa the barmaid claimed was a great warrior claimed that he was too old to help us out when we spoke to him.

Disillusioned, we retired to bed. In the morning, we decided to do some quick shopping and the go and see if we could rescue Sildar. I need to see if I can see Sister Garaele as well quickly, if only to find out why I am here. Especially if I am going near to Cragmaw.

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