Game 1 (6/20/16)

Recap by Jim

The characters were hired by Gundren Rockseeker, a miner, to deliver a wagon of supplies to Barthen’s Provisions in the town of Phandalin.  This small community is on the way to Greenest for which everybody has a reason to be heading.  The escort service was 3 days out of Baldur’s Gate when they were ambushed by a group of 4 Goblins. 

  • Paul #1 – Galinndan – Elf – Monk- Dead
  • Paul #2 – Eldon – Barbarian – Forest Gnome
  • Alan – Grigor – Ranger - Human
  • Mark – Dr. Henry – Warlock - Human
  • Robert – Boris – Fighter - Human

In the first round, the Goblins managed to dropped Dr. Henry and Grigor.  In the next round, the goblins concentrated fire on Galinndan and killed him but not before Galinndan took out a goblin with his bow.  At this point, Boris decided to play possum and try to lure the goblins into his sword range.  The goblins saw through his ruse and attempted to shoot at him as well.  Since this did not go well for Boris (who is now the only one conscious), Boris made a mad-charge up a hill towards the goblins.  With the liberal use of Inspiration (a new game mechanic), Boris was able to melee engage the Goblins and dispatched two before the final goblin fled. 

Boris was able to put his unconscious and dead buddies into the wagon and flee the scene to the town of Phandalin.  Before he departed he noticed that the trail was blocked by two dead horses.  Both of which were killed with goblin arrows and one belonged to their employer, Gundren.  Not knowing what to do, Boris made for town.  At town, Boris delivered the wagon to Barthen’s Provisions (as contracted) and received his promised payment. 

At town, Boris paid a cleric of Luck, Lady Grazelle, to heal his friends.  After which, there is much drinking in honor of Galinndan.  The next day, the group buries Galinndan on a hill overlooking an apple orchard owned by an Ex-Adventurer elf named Daran Eldersmath.  After the funeral service he offers them a job.  In exchange for an Elf bow of quality and some magic arrows, he wants the group to resolve an issue at an old Netheril tower called Old Owl Well.  Apparently somebody is digging around this ancient ruin and there are reports of undead in the area.  (We will call this job #1).

After the funeral service, Lady Grazelle offers the characters another job.  She wants them to speak with a Banshee named Agatha in the ruined town of Conyberry.  Lady Grazelle wants to have the characters give Agatha a jeweled comb that belonged to Agatha in past.  In exchange, the Banshee is to provide the location of a famous wizard spellbook that use to belong to an elf ArchMage known as Bowgentle.  (We will call this job #2).  In exchange, Lady Grazelle is offering 2 potions of healing to the characters to complete this task.

During this same day, the characters spoke with Barthen of Barthen’s Provisions.  Apparently, Gundren is his friend and asked the characters to find/rescue him.  He promised $100 gp for the job.  (We will call this job #3).

More wondering in the street and exploring the town resulted in general discovery of the town layout, what is available, and some NPC’s of note.  Here is some of that information in no particular order:

  •  Thomas the blacksmith moonlights as a weapons smith and has a few quality items for sale
  •  Lieanne Graywind is owner of the Lionshield Coster – a shipping company that also sells weapons and armor.  Girgor wanted to purchase a heavy crossbow but none were for sale. 
  •  The PC’s are staying at the StoneHill Inn and received several rumors
  •  There is a group of thugs in town known as the RedCloaks that hang out at the Sleeping Giant Inn
  •  Corp Alderleaf – a 13-year-old want-to-be adventurer extorted Dr. Henry for $2 gp and a dagger for a story about a secret entrance to the ruined Tresendar Manor house.  Corp’s mother said that Corp makes up stories all the time and not to believe her son.
  •  Eldon went to the TownMaster hall in response to a notice about resolving Orc trouble at Wyvern Tor for $100.  (We will call this job #4).  While at a meeting with the TownMaster, Eldon concluded that the RedCloaks are holding the TownMaster’s family prisoner and that is why the TownMaster does not take action against the RedCloaks.  Is this true?  Can the PC’s resolve this issue?  (We will call this job #5).
  •  There is much confusion in the town as the group is known as an Adventuring Party but their group name is unknown.  Some call you Grigor’s Gang, others call you The Group with No Name, and still others call you Eldon’s Gang. 

The characters decided to take Barthen’s offer because it is the right thing to do.  (Job #3.) They set out for the goblin ambush site in hopes of finding a trail that leads to Gundren.  After killing a couple more goblins that were waiting to ambush them, they find a goblin trail and 2 traps which they avoid.  They find a cave entrance with a river running alongside.  Not trusting the un-guarded entrance, the Party sneaks along the opposite side of the river into the forest and ambush two goblins hiding in the trees.  They take down the goblins with little trouble.

The party enters the dungeon with torch-in-hand.  They find a side cave with 3 wolf pets chained to the ground.  The wolves attempt to attack but cannot reach the characters.  The PC’s kill the wolves with arrows from a distance.  One unconscious wolf is spared by Grigor in hopes of getting a pet. 

Up the path in the dungeon the PC’s see 2 goblins on a wooden bridge spanning the slow-moving river.  One goblin runs away and the other shoots arrows at the party.  They party shoots back and dispatches the lone goblin.  However, just as the fight is ending, a flood of water washes down the pathway.  Grigor grabs Eldon (the Gnome) and climbs a rope to avoid the rushing wave of water.  Boris and Dr. Henry are washed down the dungeon and take considerable damage from being thrown against the dungeon walls.   Boris and Dr. Henry are now separated from the other two and are attempting to walk back up the dungeon. 

Meanwhile, Grigor and Eldon rush along the bridge following the previous fleeing goblin.  They find 3 goblins in a large cave that has two reservoirs of water.  One was already released.  A goblin is attempting to release the other flood-gate when the 2 PC’s attack.  Melee combat ensues and two of the goblins are killed; but not before another flood-wave of water is sent toward Dr. Henry and Boris.  Gigor and Eldon yell a warning to the other 2 PC’s just in time for Dr. Henry and Boris to run up into the wolf kennel to safety.

The fight with 3 goblins is still going on when Boris and Dr. Henry meet up with their party.  One goblin survives and runs into a cave.  When the PC’s follow they find a Bugbear and a wolf waiting in the “boss” cave.  Another fight commences and there is a running battle where the PC’s attempt to slow the Bugbear with spells while trying not to die from the massive blows the bugbear will deal.  After a long combat, the PC’s are victorious.  In the boss cave they find some trade goods belonging to the Lionshield Coster.  (Which they salvage for a reward.)

The PC’s take a rest and then commence exploring the rest of the dungeon.  They find one more cave with 6 goblins and a human captive (beat unconscious).  The Party manages to dispatch the goblins and rescue Sildar Hallwinter.  He is a warrior escort to Gundren.  The story from Sildar is that Gundren and a treasure map was given to somebody called “The Black Claw” at “Cragmaw Castle”.  Apparently, Gundren and his 2 brothers found the famous Echo Wave Cave that was lost hundreds of years ago.  It is supposed to have the “Spell Forge”.  A fabeled forge that can create magic items.  Apparently, somebody wanted to know the location and so they took Gundren and his map.  At the urging of Sildar, the PC’s will need to rescue Gundren and recover the map from Cragmaw Castle.  (Job #6)

The PC’s escort Sildar to Phandalin and get some much needed rest.  According to Grigor, the owner of the Lionshield Coster offered him a secret job to join the Zhentarim.  From things remembered, this is equivalent to the mafia.  Grigor turns her down….. for now. 

That’s it for now.  Of the remaining 5 jobs / quests, what will the group do now?

Game 2 (07/09/16)

Grigor, Ranger (Alan), Rogue Deceased (Joe), Ptom, Druid (Darren), Dr. Henry (Mark), Mara, Sorceress (Joe)

Deceased Rogue and Ptom wander into town and hear about a group of heroes doing daring deeds done dirt cheap. They happen across Grigor at the Inn, the rest of his cohorts having gone out for a pack of cigarettes and never come back. We join his group, if 2 people can possibly join a group of 1.

There's a lot of going back and forth on what to deal with. We bump into some red cloaks out in the streets and those guys decide to pick a fight with us. Ptom uses Entangle to slow them down, while the other guys beat 'em up. One of them escapes, having decided cowardice is the better part of valor. Worth noting: Red-Cloaks attack TWICE per turn, which is a decided advantage!

The Townmaster is pissed. He's basically the Mayor with a silly title. He chides us about fighting Red Cloaks, and it turns out his wife and child are being held by the Red Cloaks as collateral to allow them to do what they want. He won't say anything more and retreats into city hall.

We think it best to do our activity outside of town, let the Red Cloaks calm down. We head to Thundertree... because that's where the Druid (Rydoff) went who seems to be the only one who knows where Cragmaw Castle is, which his held by Orcs and currently has a Dwarf as captive. Now we've got to fight the undead to get the druid to find the Cragmaw to defeat the orcs to save the dwarf who ate the spider that lay in the house that Jack built.

Upon arrival, Ptom sees something written in Druidic on the town entry sign: Beware of Green Dragon! Ptom scouts as an animal and nearly triggers some Thistleblights (Evil plants) and sees some deadites (Seriously... "Ash Zombies" would be Deadites, wouldn't they?). During the investigation he sees someone sneaking around the town. Thinking he could be Druid adjacent, he approaches in Wolf form with a note saying we'd like to talk to him and leads him back to Grigor. Seems he's part of an adventuring group. He thinks maybe we should join him. We go around the long way to meet with his "group", which seems to be a group of dragon worshippers who would like us to help them communicate with the green dragon. Grigor gets a vibe off of them that they would probably just offer us to the dragon.

During the discussion, Ptom spots a squirrel who is acting just oddly enough to be the druid or his animal companion. We excuse ourselves from the dragon worshippers, who are unhappy with our decision, and we go out to where the squirrel can find us. He shows up and changes to human. He knows about the dragon worshippers and the dragon, thistleblights, and the ash zombies. He's been there for weeks. He's concerned these guys would do something stupid that might send the dragon out on a rampage.

Meanwhile Grigor and Dead Rogue have a plan in mind. Kill two problems by introducing them to each other! They write a fake note detailing the treasure at Thundertree in this specific spot (the tower with the dragon in it, only they fail to mention the dragon) and how they should rendezvous there in the next two days. They then give the note to Korp, the kid who has been annoying the group in Greenest, with the insturctions to make sure the Red Cloaks catch him and take the note. He loves the idea of committing a "Con". Grigor and Dead Rogue then head back for Thundertree.

We had split the party. Ptom had stayed behind with the other druid in order to observe. While waiting, the crazy dragon people decide to go talk to the dragon. They make their overtures and bait him out of the tower with a promise of treasure back at their house (at the edge of town). One of the guys stays behind to sneak in and take things. Ptom decides to sneak in behind the guy and he witnesses him stealing the dragon's egg. Dilemma: If this guy steals the egg he could blackmail the dragon to do his bidding, or the dragon could go out and destroy everything looking for her egg, etc. Ptom cuts down the cultist in combat but declines the egg. He has very little time, so he opts to grab the most interesting thing immediately in sight, which is an axe with dwarven runes on it. Turns out later it's a +1 Battleaxe named "Hew" which does maximum damage against wood targets.

He then witnesses something horrible: The dragon comes back to find its egg has been handled (by a guy who is conveniently dead) and he goes and toasts shreds the rest of the guys then settles back into his tower. He's destroyed the dragon cult!

Ptom rendezvous with the other two. In the meantime they had gone to one of our sleeping spots in the forest (a cave) and a wandering monster had come after them... an OGRE. We figure that fighting an ogre at this level is almost as stupid as fighting a dragon, so the two of them run past the Ogre and barely get away without much harm.

We find a new place to hole up and wait for the Red Cloaks to arrive. While waiting, we are beset by stirges! Two each. Now one hit might be enough to take one out, if you can roll better than minimum (which two of us did at least once), and while Grigor and Ptom each took one out right away, the two on Dead Rogue took him out relatively quickly. We kill the others, but not before taking more damage and... Losing our poor rogue.

Red Cloaks come through. There's actually quite a contingent, including a wizard with a glass staff, some humans, etc. They go to town, we wait outside of time, there's a disturbance, and then retreating from the scene is the Wizard and his two guards, all beat up. Grigor decides this is the best chance we'll have to take them out, so we got two-on-three with an injured Wiz and two guards (who can attack 2 times per round, I remind you). Entangle only works on the Wiz, who proceeds to cast spells anyway. Somehow we survive this fight and even win.

We get back to town, drop our deceased elven rogue friend off with Daryn, the go who buried our last dead PC. We're building a little graveyard it seems.

We pick up Mara, who, for story purposes, was someone I met in Baldur's Gate on the way here; she was delayed but shows up now. ALSO, Dr. Henry finds his way back to us. Our next task is to argue about what to do next. Grigor thinks we go save the Dwarf at Cragmaw Castle. Ultimately the group vote to take out the redcloaks while they are rocked back on their heels and missing their leader, who it turns out was named "GlassStaff"--so we know we got him. Oh, btw, GlassStaff had a very evil looking book on him, which turned out to have Wiz spells in it.

We use Korp's secret entrance to their lair and encounter a horrible monster who can attack and turn invisible right after. He casts a necrotic beam from his eyes (for plenty of damage) and steals secrets from people's heads. We hurt him enough that he retreats. Someone spotted a chest embedded in the side of a chasm. Yes, we're dumb enough to go after it with that thing still lurking around. Grigor brings it up and we use the wood-destroying axe to get into it, finding some stuff of value and what we find out later was a healing potion.

We find various secret doors and encounter many red cloaks (and rock them all). We vacate the place temporarily because of low HP and the like (and having at least one man unconscious). We come back later and finish up, taking out two full-blown Orcs.

Finally, we go pick a fight at the Manor that we know they are in, and an ugly fight ensues that nearly kills Ptom (who is 1 fail roll away from death when Joe volunteers his insight point to save me).

At the end of the evening we can check off the Red Cloak issue (as we bring the Town Master's wife and child, plus another captive back to town). There's a weird run-in with some very obstinate guards of the Town Master who refuse to let us see him, and the Town Master refuses to talk to us, but eventually he gets his family. Not sure we can check off the dragon town of Thundertree. It still seems to have lots of encounters left in it, but the local druid, Rydoff, is keeping an eye on it for now.

Game 3 (08/05/2016)

Boris (Robert), Grigor (Alan), Dr. Henry (Mark), Mara (Joe), Eldon (Paul), Ptom (Darren)

There's a discussion as to where to go to next, but ultimately Grigor insists on going to help the long-missing dwarf who had been captured by goblin-types.  So we all tag along.

We find they are in a well-fortified building.  Yes, it's in disrepair, but overall it's holding together and it has murder holes through which to pick off trespassers, and a stout door to slow us down.  We decide to attempt some stealth.  Ptom turns into a monkey, climbs the wall, and secures a line.  I believe Grigor and Eldon get up there just fine.  I believe Mara fails stealth 101 but manages to get up the wall.  We can hear goblins making preparations for us.  Arrows are fired at the stragglers but everyone gets up there.  There's no good access down, so we move toward the front door and start dropping down to break in.  Turns out the door is a trap which triggers and debris comes falling in.  Most of us dodge it.  But now we are face-to-face with a horde of prepared goblins, hobgoblins, and a bugbear with a wolf.

There's some brief pretense at a fight but ultimately we decide running is the better part of valor.  Ptom hangs around (invisible) long enough to see what's going on then must flee due to the wolf and it's ability to sniff him out.

Plan #1 is birthed.  Ptom will go back invisible and rat-like and start poking around inside the place.  He tries to gain entry but doesn't succeed at a perception check until along the last wall, where he finds a rat-sized hole and on the other side of the wall is the quarters of their leader (Bugbear) and the missing dwarf!  Ptom tries to think of a quick way to get him out now but can't shrink the dwarf or do anything tricky so he cuts the trip short, goes back and discusses things with the group.

Plan #2:  The group will create a distraction to draw all the goblins and the troublesome wolf forward.  When that room is empty, Ptom will go in, in rat form, change to human, heal the dwarf, instruct him to sneak out without attacking anything and to avoid the wolf, and then turns the dwarf invisible.  Ptom then exits in rat form out the opening.

This plan is working better although Dr Henry's spell snipering is keeping them away from the windows.  And Mara's spells are having ill effect on the ones that dare come out the front.  We retreat and eventually the Dwarf meets up with us and we get him back to town.  Undoubtedly we lost out on treasure, but we did our job and nobody on our side died.

The Dwarf was being held because he and his kin had found a long missing mine of legend.  They took him to beat information out of him, but they do have a map, so it's entirely possible that they're already screwed.  We do an expedition to the mountains with the dwarf and discover that his brothers who were left standing guard are dead.  At least one is (the one at the front of the mine).  We explore briefly but are rebuffed my our most hated of foes:  STIRGES.  The bloodsucking bat-bird things, not Sturgis, the terrible city that attracts Harley Riders every year, though that sounds like a more awful foe.  We almost lose some folks, especially when Mara ground-zeroes an attack.

Following a long rest we explore the whole place.  There is a loud booming sound we hear at regular intervals the reminds one of the surf booming against short, but which most of the party decide is the bellows of the great forge in the mine which creates magic items.

In one room we discover an Ochre Jelly which one sharp blow splits into two.  But it is destroyed eventually by fire, sound, and magical energy attacks.

In another room we find a fungus covering the whole place.  A rock pitched into its midst causes a burst of poisonous gas to pitch into the air.  So we're not going this way.

In another room we find something that looks like a forge (though not THE forge).  There is no water coming in to power the paddle wheel.  Worse yet, there are LOTS of corpses and a floating skull!  We RUN LIKE HELL away from this.  Some of us didn't have a choice (as a fear effect kicked in and a couple saves were missed.)

With other areas to explore, we found a large open cavern with two elevated stair cases leading to ledges, and all about the room were ghouls!  We stay at the door, an Entangle helps slow their progression toward us.  The only one of us that goes down this fight is Kana, the panther buddy of Grigor.  The panther is being gnawed on when Grigor makes a crazy attempt tackled the ghoul.  We wind up destroying the ghouls mostly through spells and sniping, though our frontline fighter smacks 'em down pretty well once they get to us.

Another place found is a solid door, which we end up having Boris knock in with his axe.  On the other side are six bugbears and two goblins.  That's a lot of bugbears!  And they're waiting for us since it took a few rounds to break in.  A few short range attacks start to weaken them.  A faerie fire (with accompanying failed saves) makes some of them light up, granting us "advantage", and while Grigor and Boris stand in the hall and bottleneck them a number of others are picked off with spells from range.  That leaves three bugbears around the corner and a stalemate:  No one wants to charge in and give up free shots, nobody has a remaining Area of Effect that could get them from there, and they won't charge us.  So Ptom tells the party he'll turn invisible, go inside, and use his spell (Thunder... smash?  Something like that.) to blast the three of them towards the hall where they can get beat up.

What he didn't count on was Bugbears being able to track by scent.  He rolls terribly and uses his reroll chit to succeed well enough to get through.  The thunder attack winds up taking our all 3 of them.
The last place we end up in is back at the scary flaming skull room, but via another door.  Our poorly conceived plan leaves us with Boris taking serious flame-eyebeam damage.  Skeletons filter into the hallway single file and we back up a little.  Things don't start to go our way until Dr Henry creates a patch of darkness around the flamey-skull that keeps him from picking us off.  We get into position, try some AoE attacks into the darkness, then the skull maneuvers out into the light and tries to breath a ball of flame on us (which does very little damage).  Now that he's there, he takes a hit which powders him; he'd already taken magic missile damage from Mara so he was weakened.

The skeletons get put down but only after each of them is beat up two or more times.  You see, they keep regenerating.  That leads us to examine the skull:  seems he's reknitting as we speak!  So what do we do?  Someone (Dr. Henry I think) hits upon the idea of submerging it in holy water, which causes us to send a few of us off to town at high speed to retrieve Holy water and meet the rest on the return trip.  We do, and apparently this is the preferred method of disposing of flaming evil skulls.  Multiple applications of holy water render it useless.
Only problem is that Eldon has stirred up the town with the potential that an invading horde of undead are on the way with a flaming skull leading them.  So when he shows up with a puddle of skull-flavored holy water, they seem irritated by his attempts to stir them up with lies.

We eventually head back to the mines and discover that the dwarf was missing.  Seems he stayed behind and was probably assailed by bad guys.


Game 4 (09/03/2016)

Mara (Joe), Grigor (Alan), Dr. Henry (Mark), Ptom (Darren)

Hope you're feeling better Paul!  Could have used the extra hand.  This recap will be quick, since most of the game was tied up in a stand-off.

Last game we ended back at the mine, the Dwarf we had rescued previously was now missing again.  We had encountered stirges, zombies, fungus, oozes, and a scary flaming skull.
We explored the rest of the place this go 'round.  We found the forge.  It is currently guarded by an orb-like floaty creature no unlike a beholder, whose only function is to protect the forge and prevent its use.  It did not attack us outright, which is nice.  We actually used its room to recover a while.  Dr. Henry convinced it to let us have the items on the shelf, which were a magic breastplate and mace that casts light and gives a bonus vs undead.

Our biggest challenge comes when we finally find the dwarf again.  He is in a pit, digging at the insistence of three bugbears while overhead standing watch is a Drow warrior.  Rat patrol fails to yield much more information due to its arch enemy: human-sized doors.  When at last we join battle it's because even with spells to aid us we can't sneak worth a damn.

The fight ends up a stalemate for a long time, though we take out the bugbears (Disable 2, kill 1), the Drow Darkness keeps everyone from functioning except Dr. Henry.  Their side is down a hallway behind a door with two Drow (a warrior and a caster) and a couple giant spiders.  They have the two dwarves (The guy we rescued previously, and his brother).  Negotiations fail.  Finally, we pull back and when we do they come out a ways, search their pit area to make sure we're gone.

We go rest a day, prepare ourselves, return, and they are gone (Except the Giant Spiders).  The dwarves are dead, likely gone back deep into the under dark.

We cleanse the rest of the mine and wind up leaving.  With knowledge of its location and the forge that creates magic items, we can sell that to someone.  Maybe.  We head back to town.

We get an offer to join the Lords of something or other.  Leaping?  We decline that since it's all about working with the government, and who enjoys that?

At Dr. Henry's insistence we go off to find the Banshee and talk to her.  We know we're going to be killed by her voice or turned into newts or something so three of us put wax in our ears while Dr. Henry talks to her.  He succeeds in getting the information he needed.

For his success we get 4 healing potions and an offer to join the Harpers.  They are an expansive but secretive group of people who use each other for information, resources, and adventuring leads.  Three of us join, with Grigor abstaining.  We plan to "give" the forge to the Harpers if they have the resources to maintain and guard it, and in return we'll get something.

We decide to travel to Greenest, finally.  As we arrive, there on the horizon we see Greenest is a smoking ruin with people fleeing it in terror, and there, flying above it, a green dragon!
Kind of makes me wish I'd taken that dragon egg to bargain with later.

Game 5 (09/17/2016)

Grigor (Alan), Dr Henry (Mark), Eldon (Paul), Theo (Jeff), Ptom (Darren)

The new guy (Theo) was a cleric, though after the dinner break he mysteriously transformed into a Paladin, which he now remains.  Though he punches like a cleric.

Last game we arrived at the crest of a hill and look down upon the city of Greenest which is currently under siege!  A dragon is circling overhead.  It is a green dragon, (though Ptom, who has seen the other green dragon and this one cannot say for certain it's the same one that he got to eat some dragon cultists earlier).

Arriving behind us is a cleric of light, Theo, who we quickly adopt into the group for the sake of expedience, before we head to town via the water's edge (A river runs through the edge of Greenest).  We encounter a group of men in purple cloaks--much like the ones the dragon cultists wore in the other town.  They are seemingly (to everyone except Grigor) being bad guys and obstructing people from fleeing town.  For their troubles we kick their butts.

As we continue toward the castle which has a dragon circling it, we find another spot where looters are menacing a family.  We kick their butts too.  About now it's quit obvious that if we want to make it to the castle we're going to have to do it now because the innocent townspeople are making a rush there while pursued.  If we delay we end up in the thick of an army of thugs.  So we set out for the castle but employ some delay tactics on the enemy along the way to help people get in.  As a result we save 4 people who otherwise might not have made it.

Inside we meet the Governor and before we can learn much the dragon is coming in for an attack.  Or is it?  Those prepared to fight rush to the high points and about then Dr Henry mentally gets a message from the green dragon saying that he doesn't wish us harm.  This is consistent with what we are seeing: The dragon seems to be employing delay tactics in its 'siege' of the city.  Its eggs have been stolen by the cultists and it's only doing this to keep them from destroying the eggs.

So we withhold our attacks and Dr Henry promises to retrieve the eggs.  We start thinking about how to get them back, but it seems someone is lighting the mill on fire.  If that goes up the town loses all of it's accumulated food stuffs.  We sneak out of the castle by a secret way to stop this.  Along the way we find two purple cloaks menacing a bear who wears a necklace.  (Ptom comes from an Orphanage up north because a ranger who was a mentor there is missing and his animal companion bear has been spotted down here without him.)  We take the two purple cloaks out and now again have enough purple cloaks to impersonate bad guys if we need to.  (We've done a little bit of that before now to get around town.)  The bear is the one Ptom seeks and Ptom manages to convince him to stay there.  The team runs off to the mill and finds that these guys aren't serious about the mill burning; they appear to be faking it with bonfires.  This, it seems after defeating one of the teams and interrogating a member, is a ruse to get us out there where they can take us out.  Their leader, Blackclaw, does not want us around.

We get back to the castle, try to rest to get spells and things back, but before we can get more than an hour of rest, they are attacking the church, which has some townsfolk trapped in it.  So we go there and deal with their people.  Dr Henry is delaying them with his darkness around the door they're trying to bash in.  We, of course, came in the back way.  Eldon gets the people inside to run out the back and head for the castle.  Eventually everyone is out with only bad guys going down and we get back to the "secret" exit for the castle, which now is kind of public because we had to go straight there.

We try to rest again, but an hour later the bad guys are ALL outside the castle.  A Dragonborn (blue) starts to tell us about how he has 4 prisoners but he's willing to return them if we send out a champion to defeat their selected champion.

Problem:  Most of us are totally out of spells, and those who just got a spell or two back don't have good spells memorized for this event (that would require a long rest to reset).  Eventually, poor Eldon gets talked into doing this.  He gets a Bless (and a few other things that were less important) and goes out to face their selected champion, who is the dark elf warrior we fought in the mines last game.

When Eldon comes out, they seem to think we've sent a human child out, rather than a gnome.  They think we're kidding right up until he puts some explosive sling rounds into their champion.

Terms are:  If Eldon wins, they will return the people and end the siege.  The lawful side of the dragonborn's Lawful Evilness shows through, and that's why we agreed.

It's one of the all-time great rolling performances as the blessed Eldon, who is fighting in total drow-induced darkness, to make virtually every one of his hits despite rolling with "disadvantage", mostly because of the blessing that gives an additional D4 to the to-hit rolls and also because the one guy who can see through the darkness (Dr Henry) is shouting out general instructions on where to attack.  Without that, he wouldn't even get to roll.

A whole bunch of hits and two heal potions later, the dark elf flees back to behind his leader, who becomes furious at this.  He instructs Blackclaw to handle this, which she does by cutting their champion's throat.  This tells us two things: Darkclaw is the female dark elf we were fighting last game and that she's not in charge, this dragonborn is (or at least he's higher up the food chain).

They leave town and surrender the captives.  They did however take a whole bunch of slave labor with them from during the siege.  We rest a night and then head after them.

During this trip we run into an encampment where bad guys twist their mustaches and plan to do dastardly things with their young female captive.  We take them out with a combination of Darkness, crossbowery, head-thumping, and the newly enacted "moonbeam" spell from Ptom's arsenal.  To get the girl back to town, Ptom changes into a horse, lets the girl ride, and the panther friend of Grigor comes along as they head back to town, splitting the party.

Rather than waiting for them to return, Grigor, Dr Henry, Eldon, and Theo continue forward, and this is where they run into trouble.  There's a man pulling a cart which is supposedly full of trade goods.  Pretending to be a purple cloak (in other words, "being a dick") Grigor rousts the guy and discovers that his car is filled with body parts.  He goes Crinos and suddenly their dealing with some kind of wolfman.
A harrowing fight ensues in which only magic weapons and spells will hurt this guy, so Theo uses his newly found paladin ability to make his sword into something magic and attacks and the other guys play interference, giving him bonuses to hit.  We are now 5th level.

Game 6 (10/15/2016)

Grigor (Alan), Dr. Henry (Mark),  Eldan (Paul), Theo (Jeff), Ptom (Darren)

We were pursuing the Dragon Cultists, Mercenaries, and slaves back into the mountains and we come to another narrow pass.  Two cultists are there but Dr. Henry manages to convince them we are just more cultist in purple cloaks who fell behind.

When we reach their fortress, we hang back and rest and plot.  We briefly encounter some Kobolds who chatter at us (in draconic) about getting food for the hatchlings.  Sounds like maybe some baby dragons are being raised?

We get into camp inside the fortress walls and scout it out.  We manage to spot two missing folks (Ptom's Ranger friend who  is friends with the Bear from last game, and a sage that Dr Henry came all this way to get a book from.)  

After a bunch of plotting this is the play:  Invisible guys (Theo and Eldan) go and loosen the spike that is driven into the ground to hold the slaves' chains in place, then they will be turned invisible and they can sneak out of the place.  They'll meet Grigor down the path a mile and a half and he'll get them back to Greenest.

Now in a more improvisational tone, without Grigor around, the group decides to go look for the dragon's egg right now.  So in Theo and Eldan go into the big cave at the back of the fortress and search.  This involves sneaking past a pair of guards with a pair of dragon-like dogs who can sniff out invisible people, a trip wire, some angry plants, a cave full of bats with a few stirges mixed in, three more guards with three more draconic dogs--one of which is being trained by a couple kobolds.  MIRACULOUSLY (and with only one do-over chip expended) they manage to do all this.  What's more, Eldan comes face-to-face with a couple more dragon dogs, guards, and kobolds along with a wizard who is casting a spell on a dragon egg!

This is where maybe we don't always pay attention so much.  The egg is BLUE.  The specific egg we promised to return to the dragon who was dive-bombing town, was GREEN.  But, you know, one in the hand...
So Eldan grabs it, hides it inside his cloak, and flees as quickly as possible.  This causes a pursuit scene worthy of Indy Jones as they trigger dogs, bat swarms, plants, and everything in camp to run after them.  Outside the cavern Theo spots where the characters are, and makes a line to them, whereupon we Ptom turns into a horse, Dr Henry casts Flight on him, and he carries the team away out of the fortress and towards the meet point.  By the time we get there, Grigor and the rescuees are on their way to town already, so we catch up outside of town.

There's a short respite before we head back and discover a group of bad guys on exodus from the place.  We try to fit in, collect info, and discover that the large faction of Dragon Cultists and allies was told to disband and sent in several directions.  A Locate Object spell tells us there are no dragon eggs in this caravan so we backtrack to the original fortress.  There are only a fraction of the original people here.

We go in strong, expecting to have to fight our way through but we don't encounter anything where there had previously been all kinds of problems (except the bats, but a pass without trace spell is enough to get us hand waved past them).  There's a door with some kind of mystical lock.  Eventually we search the rest of the place and discover a map with a list on it of towns that have been crossed off--only one town remaining on the list, and a small wand-like device that is used to get us through the mystical door.

Searching beyond the door we find a room with stalactites.  We all start thinking "piercer" and search around carefully without staying under them.  Instead it turns out to be a ROPER.  There's a brief moment where a couple of us re roped up, then Dr. Henry puts up Tasha's Hideous Laughter and makes the Roper laugh hard enough that we just break ourselves out.

This is where I had to leave.  We were all outside the cavern and a few of us could see inside to attack the Roper at a range.

Game 7 (10/01/2016)

Dr Henry (Mark), Grigor (Alan), Mara (Joe), Eldan (Paul), Ptom (Darren)

Gonna blow through this quickly (and maybe a little out of order) because I don't have the time on Monday mornings I used to. ----- We're still on the road with a group of Tiamat Worshippers, trying to pry loose whether they have an egg and where they are going to ultimately.  Short term, we are headed to a town (whose name I can't recall) that has its own star over it.  Along the way we run into a manticore, which kills a horse and then flies off thinking we'll leave the horse and it can come back later.  Out of spite, Dr. Henry insists we butcher the horse and take it with us as food, leaving behind only a "shit sack" for the manticore when it returns.

Along the way we are using "animal messenger" to send messages back regarding our progress and what we know.  A subtle investigation of the two wagons we bring along shows that it's full of cloth (because we are faking being cloth merchants) and that wagons are smugglers wagons, designed with hidden compartments.

Next encounter on the road is a merchant with loads of fruit and vegetables.  The other crew want to raid the merchants and rape the women but they are talked down and we even pay (at a discount) for some supplies and send them on their way after fixing their wagon.

We get to the town.  The "star" only shows up at night and it is a remnant of the time when the Gods walked the earth, not long ago, and it harms undead who walk under it.  We're here to get rafts so we can travel to Baldur's gate.  We do the usual town stuff, gather back with the group, and find that they've hired another group of adventurers to come along.

We get on the rafts and start traveling and come across a group of brigands led by a wizard.  He fireballs the group, setting the rafts and wagons on fire.  The other adventuring group hide under the wagon and make no attempt to help.  The web spell that holds us gets broken a round or two later and we slide through with some casualties and having taken out a couple of their guys.

Overnight, when camped on shore, the other adventurer party runs away.  It seems that they weren't adventurers at all.  They were a troupe of actors who thought this would be a good way to get where they needed to go.

Similarly to the brigand encounter, five ogres stand on the cliffs and want treasure.  They then rain boulders down, following that up by leaping onto the rafts.  This is where we find out how good the Elite Dragon warriors are.  Working in teams, they get advantage on their foes and they attack twice per round so the damage stacks up quickly.  A few of the guys on our side are lost but we win.

Next up, we get some trolls picking on our rafts.  Just 3 this time.  As tough as trolls are, they can't stand up to the damage of the dragon worshippers and a little added burning.

At Baldur's gate we repeat everything we did in the last town but with a two day rest.  

I'm pretty sure there was another encounter after this, but I can't remember.

Game 8 (10/01/2016)

Grigor (Alan), Mara (Joe), Dr. Henry (Mark), Ptom (Darren)

I was thinking, and one of the things that probably helped save us this game was a lack of front line fighters.  The fact that we could stand back and let others be the front line made this work.  So anyway...

There were events that happened after I left last game:  During an evening meal, the female gnome assassin who is part of the caravan spotted a poison seed in Eldan's (Paul) food.  He'd apparently been poisoned.  She claimed he'd be dead by morning unless he did something about it.  But since Paul wasn't at the game essentially that was all set aside, except for the paranoia!  Dr. Henry and Grigor tried to pressure the gnome into confessing.  Meanwhile it legitimately appeared that Brawl, leader of the Dragon Cultists, did not seem to be in on it, as he seemed concerned about the health of the Eldan and wanted to help him.

A fight that felt imminent with the cultists never materialized.  When we reached Waterdeep we met with the Harpers, and also dinged to 6th level.

The female gnome did NOT return to the caravan when we set out to leave again.  This time we're taking building materials to a place that was mentioned on one of the maps we got last game.  It's in the middle of the swamp where (Quote) "Those who die don't stay dead."  Or something to that effect.

Now it's worth mentioning that we are still plotting on how to wittle down the Cultists so that we can seize the one or two that might give us info.  Amidst that, our first encounter is with mysterious lights in the swamp and a little girl's voice calling for help.  A few of the cultists wander out to them as if mesmerized (as does Mara).  Ptom casts a daylight spell to cover a good sized section of swamp, giving some a second save, and Mara snaps out of it.  Two members of the caravan fall into muddy pits and are swallowed up by the swamp.

A couple nights go on without any encounters and then all hell breaks loose.  It starts as a wave of 10 skeletons, which our line of cultists beat the crap out of, while we drag our feet a little bit, hoping they whittle the caravan down.  Thirty minutes after that, as we're resting, another wave of undead show up, but these are some zombies, that get beat down (some rising again based on their save when they hit zero).  Thirty minutes after that we get another escalation as four shades, four other incorporeal creatures, and three Minotaur skeletons show up.  Now these guys start chewing through our line pretty well, but the Elite Cultists are still damn good as their teamwork helps cut down the bigger guys.  The priest is out of turnings and the Red Wizard (who was the other mercenary hired when they hired the gnome a while back) decides after one attack that his best action is to go invisible and avoid the fight completely.

This one is a good, long fight with our guys mostly firing from a distance and the cultists taking the brunt of the damage from Minotaur charges and spectres/shades draining the life force from them to recharge themselves.  When this fight completes, we're down to Brawl (leader), Joss (red wizard), Priest of Tiamat, two elite guards, Nobz the cook, a Merchant, and our team of four.  While we could probably take them now, we're still in a swamp and afraid of another wave of undead so we hit the road.

On the road, a Deathknight shows up, and like Noah he's got two of everything (Zombies, ghouls, minotaurs, etc.).  He is in our path and wants to know what we're doing here.  Brawl apologizes and says we're merely traveling through but if we knew it was his swamp we would not have come.  The Deathknight says he will allow us to pass in exchange for TWO of us.

A discussion/argument breaks out.  Ultimately we wind up with a secret ballot and Brawl being exempt, as the leader and the one who knows where we're going.  It's obvious to us that with a secret ballot, the merchant is toast and that we can probably throw our votes in to take out one of the elite cultists.  Later on, after we've voted we come up with a better plan, but hindsight is everything.

The Merchant and the Elite Cultist lose, and the cook almost lost.  The cultist proudly declares he will die for his queen, Tiamat.  The merchant is unwilling but has no choice.

No one wants to see an innocent merchant killed.  I considered for a moment volunteering, and would have except for the necromancy part of all this; dying is fine, but becoming undead is something else entirely!  So with our mental switchboard communication (courtesy of Dr. Henry), we discuss doing our fight now.  So we attack the caravan and notify the Deathknight that this is how we're deciding who gets taken, the Deathknight seems to enjoy this, so he and his group watch as we smackdown in short order the remaining cultists, their boss, and the priest.  The red wizard doesn't participate because Dr. Henry mentally made a deal with him not to.

We bind the two elite cultists and hand them over, the undead hauling them off into the night.  We explain to the confused merchant what just happened, and Norbz, the cook, falls into line with us.  We continue on into the swamp and next game we will reach the place where we will drop off the building materials.  Mara took a mind-reading spell to comb the heads of the captured boss and priest for answers relating to where they were going, who they were meeting with, etc.

Game 9 (12/03/2016)