Our latest session of the Friday campaign saw us continuing through Lost Mine of Phandelver. We’d ended the previous session with the group starting their explorations of Cragmaw Castle; this session saw them conclude their explorations.
Harbek, Martin’s dwarf fighter, could hear movement to the south through a small passage the goblins had made through the rubble. He set up guard near the doorway to the southern chamber and, soon enough, the head of a goblin poked out and looked straight at him. He looked back. The goblin disappeared. Soon enough there was an exchange in the goblin tongue from within the passageway, which Harbek couldn’t understand. He shouted at them, and there was more goblin yipping. The group conferred. “What did he say?” “I don’t know, I don’t speak goblin!”
Semicolon, Adam’s wizard, did speak goblin, and so moved up beside Harbek. Harbek roared at the goblins again, and there was more discussion. Semicolon’s translation: “What did he say?” “I don’t know, I don’t speak dwarf!”
After this frivolity, a louder voice from within the tunnel ordered the goblins to attack. They did so, using advantage of their bonus Disengage action to perform strike-and-disengage tactics on Harbek. Harbek had readied an actions to strike as they ran in, but the goblins were whittling down his hit points faster than he was able to strike them back. Meanwhile, the rest of the party were using ranged attack from back in the passageway. I was assessing a +2 or +5 cover bonus to the goblins’ ACs depending on where the characters were and how tall they were. Rich’s halfling rogue, Endworkin, was generally getting a +5 penalty just because he had to shoot through Harbek’s very broad back! He was using his lightfoot’s ability to hide behind his allies, but because he wasn’t moving, I followed one of Mike Mearls’ suggestions and gave him disadvantage on those stealth checks.
Semicolon tried to use another doorway to enter the goblin lair, only to discover a trap the goblins had constructed: the ceiling fell on him! He was able to make the Dexterity saving throw, so only took five damage. With the door now blocked by the rubble, he was forced to return to slinging spells past Harbek. Rilwen, Greg’s cleric moved up to heal Harbek, and Harbek finally entered the room and slew most of the remaining goblins as they retreated. One got away, the other fainted as a result of an intimidation check. The goblin never regained consciousness during the session. (In actual fact, he often did, but finding himself being carted around by the characters who were hoping to interrogate him, he kept fainting again!)
The group made their way further into the ruined castle, discovering that parts of the complex were screened off by curtains hung across the passageways. Harbek took much pleasure in throwing javelins at them to rip them down. Continuing in this manner through the ruined passageways and rooms, the group discovered an old chapel to four gods of good. More curtains screened off the northern part of the chapel. Rilwen, a cleric of Tymora and Semicolon, an acolyte of Oghma, began bickering about which god to reconsecrate the shrine to. It was when they weren’t paying attention, the Grick attacked Semicolon, dropping down from the roof and knocking him unconscious with one powerful attack!
The rivalry between the devotees forgotten, Rilwen healed Semicolon as the other characters slew the Grick. Feeling that they weren’t alone, the group moved aside the curtains to discover three goblins hiding behind the altar, which was now covered with a bloodstained cloth. The goblins actually managed to survive three rounds of combat before they were defeated.
With the goblins defeated, the group removed the bloodstained cloth to reveal the glorious altar beneath it, carved with representations of the four gods – Lathander, Mystra, Oghma and Tymora. And the bickering started up again between Rilwen and Semicolon, and basically continued for the rest of the session, much amusing the rest of us!
Eventually, the group discovered the leader of this band of goblins: a massive bugbear. He was in negotiations with a female drow; it appeared the drow wanted to buy the map of the Lost Mine! The group swiftly moved to confront them!
I was expecting a massive fight. I was definitely not expecting the bugbear to go down in one round without even getting an attack thanks to Harbek striking it with a critical hit! However, the drow was a more dangerous combatant… and in her first turn, she turned aside and slew a dwarf lying bound behind a bed… Gundren!
This enraged Harbek, seeing his cousin slain in such a cowardly manner, and despite the drow’s efforts to escape, it wasn’t long before the drow was slain. Two hobgoblin guards, hearing the noise, came from the south and attacked Rilwen and Semicolon from the rear, but soon they were slain as well. The group found the treasure of the bugbear, and the map, but Harbek was distraught at the fate of his cousin. Rilwen performed a ceremony over the body to preserve it for the journey back, and the group resumed their investigation of the castle.
One further danger awaited: an owlbear, locked in a room by the goblins. It wasn’t much of a threat to the party… well, it could have been, but it was slain after landing only one hit on Harbek. The group discovered a chest in its room that held some useful treasure, including a scroll of revivify, but – alas – the scroll’s magic could not work on Gundren, he was too long dead.
The group now returned to Phandalin, bearing the corpse of Harbek’s cousin and defeating a night attack by orcs along the way.
Once back in Phandalin, Rilwen and Semicolon kept a very low profile to avoid being seen by the local cleric of Tymora. Meanwhile, Harbek sought her out, asking if there was anyone who could cast raise dead on his cousin in the area. He was told that there was, a priest of Helm in nearby Neverwinter. However, the magic would be costly (about 1,250 gp – using the guidelines from the Adventurers League documents) and would have to be performed within a tenday of the death. As time was getting short, the group left right away.
I didn’t give the group any hassles about gaining the magic – they were basically giving up all their gold to have Gundren raised – and afterwards the dwarf was very grateful, offering the group a percentage in the profits his mine would bring… if they ever managed to find it and reopen it!
The last stage of the session was the group travelling to the mine, using Gundren’s map. They were attacked by an ogre and three orcs along the way; the monsters were defeated within four rounds.
At this stage, the party are all level 3, with some of the characters being on the verge of reaching level 4. They’ve missed a number of side-quests available in Phandalin, but that’s fine. It’s quite possible we’ll conclude the adventure next session; failing that, we’ll finish the week after.
Glen was absent from this session due to a mishap he’d had earlier in the week. Paul should return from holiday in a few more weeks, and will be present for the first of the new campaign sessions: a campaign set in Onnwal, a country of the World of Greyhawk.