Fresh off defeating the bugbear Klarg and his cadre of goblin and wolfish defenders, our heroes delve deeper into the cave hideout of the Cragmaw Goblins.
Leaving Klarg’s lair, the group stealthily discovers a room within the cavern that is half-filled with two large pools of water. A battle ensues between the party and many goblins, with reinforcements arriving bringing two more goblins and a wolf. The party managed to deal with the threat, but took some scratches and dings of their own. An investigation of the room and the pools gave the party the intuition that the way the pools were set up had them serve as a security system for the main entrance into the cave. Posts could be knocked loose to unleash a torrent of water to hopefully wash-out any intruders. Since the party managed to avoid the main corridor on their way in, they were never noticed, and the security system was left unused.
A choice lay ahead of them as two paths led out of the cave they were in. They chose the right after their rogue, Draxan (Corey) scouted ahead. He discovered that this path led back down to the main corridor (and a potential sneaky back up to their current level) and that the other path led to a rope bridge above their current position.
Basically, they are all at (4) above on the map, where there is loose gravel and rock that inclines about ten feet up to a flat surface, and then after that another ten foot escarpment to scale before arriving in the upper hallway.
Cue the hilarity.
Agnar (Erik) the dwarven paladin manages to climb up with a successful Athletics roll (and Dexterity saving throw roll) and drops a rope to the rest of the party. Unbeknownst to the party, if anyone fails on the saving throw on their way up, the entire slope of escarpment lets loose.
Magnus the dwarven barbarian (Miles), failed his saving throw and tumbled ass-over-teakettle down the incline, landing on his back in the stream, defeated, dejected, and damaged from the fall.
Maran, Tuck, and Draxan make their way up to Agnar with due to low athletics rolls on their part, and successful strength checks saw Agnar doing almost all of the work to get them up, leaving Wil and an embarrassed Magnus last up to join the group.
Cue the group strategy session when Draxan scouts ahead and finds out the path their climbing up to connects across the bridge to the twin pools cavern they came from earlier and that there is a room in front of them with five goblins arguing over a cook fire. They decide to split the party (GASP!) so that they are spread out to deal with the force, and are in the middle of a debate of their own regarding ambushing the goblins or trying to draw some out when one of them says he’s going to check with Kleenex (spontaneous Goblin name I came up with) the bridge guard to see if he wants some of the food.
The players rolled well on stealth checks and the goblin rolled poorly on his perception checks so he moves out into the hallway, oblivious to the danger he’s walking into. The group begins to debate whether or not they should grab him and have Agnar, who speaks Goblin, try to draw out more or if they should just take him out. This lasts for a couple of minutes so I begin rolling behind the screen to see if any other goblins move out. I set a high DC for this roll and just kept rolling for the remaining four goblins while the group talked. Adam was the first to notice I was doing this, and urged the other players to make a choice.
After the debate continued, Adam made the choice himself. Leveling his longbow directly between Tuck and Maran, he fired an arrow that connected with the goblin’s collarbone who then let out a yelp of pain that alerted the rest of the goblins that something was not right.
ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!
The goblin’s fellow archer buddy rushed forward and failed to notice Agnar in the shadows, (whom I forgot to have him roll his stealth check at disadvantage due to his armor, now that I think of it), but did see Tuck down the hallway so fired an arrow at him for some damage.
The party then hears a disembodied voice yell from the room in Goblin, “What’s going on?! Are we being attacked?” Unbeknownst to them, this is Yeemik, the leader of the goblins, and he has Sildar Hallwinter, the human the group is searching for, hostage on the upper level of the room.
The three goblin fighters rushed up and attacked Magnus, managing to almost take him out before the party dispatched them. With one goblin left, Yeemik yells to the party in Common, “TRUCE, or the human dies!” As the lone goblin henchman remaining tries to retreat back into the cavern, Magnus gets and attack of opportunity and manages to slay him, launching him into the room for Yeemik to see. (Had Yeemik rolled high on my check to see if he followed through on his promise, the party could’ve walked into the room to a downed and bleeding out Sildar).
The party entered the room and began to parley with Yeemik. He tells the group that he wants to be the leader of the entire hideout, and if they bring him Klarg’s head, he’ll let the human go free. (Unbeknownst to him, Klarg has already been defeated, along with every single other goblin in the hideout.) Wil and his fox fetch the head and bring it back to him. Yeemik, however, decides to push for more and demands 500 gold pieces in addition to the head of Klarg to free Sildar. Numerous attempts to persuade (AND AN AMAZING INTIMIDATION ROLL OF 1 FROM MAGNUS) bring the situation no closer to being solved and as players start to close the distance between them and Yeemik, he decides that he’s had enough negotiating and shoves a almost-dead Sildar off the edge the 10′ cliff he stands on. Sildar, at 1 hit point, takes enough damage to go unconcious, and the players make short work of the lone goblin.
Maran stabilizes Sildar and the human tells the party that Gundren had indeed found a map to the fabled Lost Mine at Wave Echo Cave that houses the fabled Forge of Spells, a great source of magical power. The town of Phandalin prospered before a host of orcs invaded form the North and laid waste to all in their path. A monstrous battle was fought between allied humans, dwarves, and gnomes against the orc forces and the ensuing spell-heavy war destroyed much of Wave Echo Cave and few survived the battle and cave-ins, leaving the location of the site lost for centuries. The map was taken from Gundren when they were captured and he believes it has been sent to the goblin chief at Cragmaw Castle.
He’s glad they dispatched the denizens of this hideout, as he had overheard that they have been ambushing travelers and supply wagons along The High Road from Neverwinter for a while. He asks the group to escort him to Phandalin whereupon he will pay them a 50 gold piece reward for rescuing him. They rest and recuperate for the evening and continue the journey with the mining supplies and now Sildar to Phandalin.
I’ll spare you the give and take in town between the PCs and townsfolk unless it’s either super funny, or super important. They’ll chat up some NPCs, buy some equipment, get some quests, etc.
Long story short though, Phandalin has a local thug problem. The Redbrands are an issue for everyone, and the party might have to try to put a stop to them somehow.
As the campaign progresses (in its young state, only two sessions) I’m getting a better idea of the power level of our party. Goblins aren’t really hardy creatures (they have 7 hit points) and even at level 1 the characters are generally one-shotting them. So going forward, I’m going to be looking at trying to balance the encounters more so that it’s more of a challenge than a cakewalk for the group. I’ve been doing the enemy initiative rolls separating enemy groups (i.e. the goblin archers from the fighters) and going forward I think they are all gonna be on the same initiative so that the party gets a tad more pressure put on it. I dunno, we’ll see how it goes.
This was also my first time wearing the DM hat as well as playing a character since Rich had to miss. I didn’t get Maran, the dwarven cleric killed, so I guess that’s a success on my part!
See you next week! Happy Thanksgiving!