The final session of my Friday campaign playing through Lost Mine of Phandelver was missing Adam’s wizard, but with everyone else present. It was also over a month ago; I’ve discovered I’m pretty good at writing session reports when the campaign is still ongoing, but the final reports of a campaign? Those I’m hopeless at. However, better late than never, so here’s an abbreviated description of what occurred. Abbreviated mainly because I can’t remember most of the details!
Not having Adam there was odd, because it meant the group didn’t have a wizard. We had Paul instead, who was playing a cleric. The group not having a wizard turned out to be bad.
It didn’t seem that way at first. The group easily penetrated the lower caverns and made their way to a great feasting chamber where ghouls hungered for their flesh, jumping down from ledges above the players. The characters formed a defensive formation and their clerics sent almost all the ghouls fleeing from the hall. The two remaining ghouls soon wished with only two avoiding the effects of the Turn Undead ability; those two were swiftly slain.
Realising that the ghouls would return shortly, the group moved to an even better defensive position and were able to slaughter the undead that returned with no trouble at all. It was a really effective use of the group’s tactical powers.
They started to encounter some of the living inhabitants of the mines, the humanoid servants of the Black Spider. They were dispatched with ease.
The heart of the mines, the mystical forge, was protected by a spectator, but they were able to bargain with it for sanctuary; very useful against the wraith who lurked nearby. This was a fun encounter, with Greg (as usual) chipping in with a lot of not-exactly-helpful comments. You have people who are quiet for role-playing, you have people who help the role-playing, and then you have the Gregs of this world who don’t quite think before speaking. They’re really amusing, but occasionally utterly frustrating for the smooth progression of the story.
(Normally I have two of them: Adam and Greg, although Adam has been unusually diplomatic of late, but, as noted, Adam couldn’t make this session).
The ultimate encounter of the adventure was against the Black Spider, the drow elf who had been the cause of so many of the problems besetting Phandalin. He was accompanied by a couple of bugbears and a number of giant spiders, which the adventure notes as being large. I used miniatures for this encounter, unlike a few other of my recent combats, and we had the unusual situation of the REALLY BIG SPIDERS being hidden behind quite narrow columns in the chambers.
10 ft. base spiders. 2 ft. wide pillars. How does that work? My players and I thought of a few beanpole-impressions the spiders might be doing.
Initiative was won by Paul’s cleric, who immediately ran into the heart of the room.
The next to move were the Black Spider and his bugbears, and that didn’t go well for Paul, especially as they managed to damage him and cause his concentration spell to fail.
From here, things slowly moved against the players. The giant spiders were really, really dangerous. With the clerics going down quickly, Rich and Martin could only watch helplessly. They were able to deal with the Black Spider and his bodyguards, but the spiders just continued. Eventually, only Rich was left, and he bravely stood until the last…
And so ended the first D&D 5E campaign of my Friday group, with a Total Party Kill. (TPK). I quite likely would have pulled my punches a bit if the campaign had been continuing, but we all knew the Onnwal campaign would be starting a couple of weeks later. Thus, when the party got into trouble, it was interesting to see just how quickly they fell.
I’ll have more to say on the D&D Starter Set in coming weeks, but for now I’ll say that I think it contains a very good adventure, despite the ending to this group’s story!