Monthly Archives May 2017

Thank you for not smoking

Having dealt with the menace of Black Spider we have some well earned sleep.  We then return to the cave with the crevasse and have a really good search, finally uncovering the skeleton of a dwarf miner with some very chunky looking gloves.  Aramil tries them on and finds that his strength is magically much increased, so he decides to keep them.

We then return to the cave with the Forge of Spells in it.  There is unfinished business with the wraith, who could be a tough opponent.  We decide therefore, since he spoke to us, and since reasoning with the mad beholder went so well, that we might try talking to him as well.  We open the door and he forms before our eyes as before.  This time, though, we ask him why his soul is restlessly stalking the material plane.  He ponders and gives us a long story about how he was the last of the defenders and the mightiest wizard here, but even he fell defending the Forge.  He is now trying to preserve all the magical items that remain and keep them safe.  If we are willing to get rid of the guardian of the forge, then he will reward us with coins from his treasure chest, for he has no use for them.  We tell him that we have dismissed the guardian, but he does not believe us until Garrett shows him his normal dagger, then goes and enchants it in the forge and returns to show us it is enchanted.  The wraith then allows us to take all the coins from his chest, but not the pipe.  We examine the chest, and there is indeed a hoard in there, as well as an old and well worn smoking-pipe, which we leave as instructed.  The wraith then offers us a chance to look through his shelves of tomes and scrolls if we give him something similar in return.  We offer the scroll of Augury (a spell of strictly limited utility) and have a look.  Unfortunately we find no scrolls of Wish or similar, but do find an intriguing old map stuffed into the flysheets of one old book.

We find little else in the caverns, and so decide to return with Tobler to Phandalin, where we receive a cordial welcome from Gudrun and Sildar.  No sign of Glasstaff anywhere – we shall have to cast our nets further afield.  Our plan to finish off the last Redbrands at the Sleepy Giant is forestalled by discovering that they have all scarpered, including the grumpy proprietress.

Fortified, we return to Thundertree to help out the druid as we promised.  We find him easily, and discover that nothing much has changed.  Aramil persuades us that rather than just heading straight for the tower, and the dragon, we should have a check of the rest of the village first.  We find that the route to both the tower and the rest of the village is blocked by a wall of webs anyway, so spend a merry couple of minutes slaughtering two giant spiders before continuing.  We find a village square with a statue to some minor hero, a fortified watch tower with some ash zombies in it, and then at the far end of the village, a barricaded house.  Garrett and Aramil knock on the door, with Elaina and myself covering them and hidden.  The house turns out to have 6 complete loonies living there, who appear to worship dragons and want to befriend this dragon.  They are very interested in Garrett and Aramil joining their cult.  A plan starts to form in my mind, that we could offer the dragon 6 willing victims if it agrees to leave the village and move elsewhere.  I am sure it would give the loonies the buzz of their lives to be actually eaten by the dragon.  Or maybe it would get it into their stupid heads that dragons are not cute and cuddly.  Either way, its a win for the forces of sanity.

Aramil slips out though, and we have a conflab on the plan.  They agree that the cultists could provide useful ablative cover, so Garrett and Aramil will offer to lead them to the dragon, given all their experience in dealing with dragons.  Meanwhile, he suggests that since the watchtower has arrow slits overlooking the tower, and has arrow slits, it would provide a good place for me to snipe at the dragon from.  I heartily concur, as studded leather has been shown in repeated tests to provide very little protecting against dragon breath.  We burst into the tower and start killing the ash zombies one at a time after Aramil has turned them all.  It turns out that they are heavy smokers and each time you hit them they try to share a little passive smoking with you in the hope that you will die of a lingering lung disease in 20 years time, so Elaina and I pull back and shoot them down while Aramil goes toe to toe with the forces of Big Tobacco.  We finish them off relatively quickly, and I start preparing my ambush point.

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The low view – obviously he skipped the poetry lectures

We search the rift to no avail. Garret is so unobservant he barely notices that there are rocks to be looked under.
Aeldrin sneaks off up another passage while the rest of us ponder on the meaning of existence.>He returns and reports that he’s found another cavern and a locked door. Behind the door he thinks is a dwarf, In the cavern is an elf and two large goblinoids. We wonder if it is yet another doppelganger, but still formulate a plan of attack. The first part of this plan being that Garret and Aramil return to the glowing brazier to recharge a few items.
This done, the rest of the plan follows – sneak up to the cave, smash the place up and kill everyone.
In actuality, it was somewhat different.
It seems that this is the real Black Spider as he went into a BBEG type speech about having to deal with us himself.
Garret missed with his crossbow and was promptly jumped by a giant spider which squirted him with webbing.
Elaina managed to cast Magic Missile and hit BS. Aeldrin followed up with a well placed arrow and BS looked shaken.
Aramil cast his Bane spell on BS and the two bugbears, then looked to defend Garret. The musical halfling spent most of this battle either escaping from webbing or being squirted with more. He did manage to critically spear a bugbear in the goolies which cheered him up no end.
Having been rocked by the attacks from Elaina and Aeldrin, Black Spider promptly disappeared, thinking that his four pet spiders would do the job for him. Despite Aeldrin’s inner fears, we eventually won out, although BS did make a decent attempt to escape. A Shocking Grasp momentarily disoriented Aeldrin enough for Black Spider to slip past down the corridor. However, an arrow between the shoulder blades did the job and the usurper of Wave Echo Cave was no more.
We got some decent loot and even found that the Staff of Spiders that Black Spider carried would enable Elaina to cast Web or Spider Climb multiple times per day. There was also a key which allowed us to rescue the third Rockseeker brother and we took a long rest in his cell.
Next day, we returned to the Rift. A night’s rest clearly sorted Garret out as he spotted a dwarven skeleton instantly, and found it was wearing some Gauntlets of Ogre Power. Aramil now sports these and feels confident he will be able to bash the shit out of anyone with his magical mace!!

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Unmasking the villain (again)

5th day of Mirkul (possibly)

Before we start the rest though, we decide to quickly go and check on the bugbears that we had tied up.  We discover that they have been freed – their ropes were cut – so obviously Black Spider or another of his henchmen (henchbears? henchbugs?) have been here.  We withdraw to the cavern with the glowing brazier and have our short rest.  We debate on whether to confront the wraith again, but decide that it looks a bit too scary for us, so decide to go and talk to the senile beholder again, and persuade it that we are the new owners of Wave Echo Cave, and all the wizards it used to serve are dead.

We enter the building and hear its familiar burbling voice in our heads.  Garrett starts speaking (or sub-vocalising to it).  He tells it that all of the wizards that it used to serve are long dead, having died in some great battle outside.  It looks quizzical (possibly, difficult to tell on a disembodied eye), and asks us to confirm this a few times.  Then it just suddenly vanishes.

We wait a while to see if it will reappear, before deciding that possibly it had been bound by the wizards and so is now free.  Garrett examines the brazier of green flame and mutters some exploratory incantations over it.  I go and look at the remaining workbenches and find a very fine looking brass headed mace and a breastplate with a dragon’s head on it.  Garrett extends his incantations to examine these items as well.  Aramil takes the mace, which is sacred to Lathanader and is called Lightbringer.  Elaina takes the breastplate, which was made for a hero of Neverwinter called Turgon and is called Dragonguard.  Usefully, it gives extra resistance to dragon’s breath.

It turns out that the flaming brazier will also make mundane items temporarily magical as well, so we dip our weapons and armour into it, and go hunting for Black Spider.  We return to the wave cavern and up the ledge to the far end.  We find a natural fissure where a stream once obviously flowed, but is now dry.  I scout ahead, and find a good sized chasm with a wide fissure across it.  There is the noise of rocks being moved, and I see two bugbears down at the bottom of the fissure, moving rocks around.  Ropes lead up to the floor on the far side, where a further bugbear is supervising them.  I wait and continue to observe, and see a drow is also there as well – this time this must be Black Spider.  We decide that trying to fight them across the fissure is not ideal, as they can easily flee if they start losing, so decide to find the other route into that cave.  We return through the bugbear room, then up the corridor and turn right.  Ahead we hear the noise of the bugbears, so know we are close.  I return to the forge room, and scout up the water channel, guessing that it should also come out into that cavern.  I am correct, and the ambush is set.

I start by shooting the drow, having previously magically marked his as my quarry.  Garrett leaps forward and casts a spectacularly useless shatter spell.  Aramil casts an invocation at the bugbear that freezes it in place, while Elaina slashes at the drow twice, but only hits it once.  The drow now draws a sword and attacks Elaina with little effect.  I shoot it again.  Garrett casts another incantation at the drow, and it drops to the floor.  Aramil hits the still frozen bugbear with his new mace.  Elaina rushes forward and cuts one of the ropes that a bugbear is climbing, causing it to tumble to the floor.  I shoot the other bugbear, and Garrett leaps forward and stabs it with his rapier.  It clutches its face in agony and falls from the rope, breaking its neck as it hits the cavern floor.  Aramil hits the frozen bugbear again, but his blow is deflected by its armour.  Elaina steps in and delivers the coup de grace, while I shoot the final bugbear at the bottom of the rift.

We examine the body of the drow to find that this one has also reverted to a doppleganger form like the last drow.  Was this really Black Spider?  Are all the Black Spiders dopplegangers?  Is there one Black Spider somewhere who is sending out all these duplicates?  Will we ever work out what is going on?


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