So it’s All Come Down to This… Doppelgängers and Eviscerations

Adam has started playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends in London. Here is his account of their first epic journey.

This was the first night back since before Christmas, and we were all keen to finish off The Lost Mines of Fandango storyline, so the DM organised this and the next session close together. But as it had been such a long break, and everyone was due to go up to level 4, we had a very slow start to this first night as everyone sorted out their new stats and abilities.

After their adventure in the tower, King Roberto the Pirate King, Rick, Deano and Tiny all headed back to town to regroup with the others. Along the way Rick wandered off on his own somewhere, our first absentee, and unfortunately he would not return for the finale either. Back in Phandalin, we filled the others in on where we had been, why Tiny now had lizard-like eyes and was crackling, and asked why they didn’t seem to have really wondered where we had been for several days. After a successful herpes roll for Bubbles, avoiding a flare up, we headed to the shops to grab some new gear. Our second missing player for this session was Samuel, as he was bedridden upstairs in the pub with gastroenteritis, shitting all over the room and himself.

After nearly being killed in one hit by Venomfang the dragon last time, King Roberto was in the market to improve his armour class and attack power. Following pre-game discussion with Lordi, he convinced them that the +1 longsword ‘Talon’ would be put to much better use in the hands of a primarily melee character like him, instead of a wizard who should be hanging back and actually casting spells for once. They begrudgingly acquiesced, giving Talon over on loan (there was a signed contract and everything). The magic longsword provided +1 to attack rolls and damage upon hitting.

The group headed to the nearby smith to buy some better gear too, while Tiny was outside using his considerably higher wealth and other treasure to acquire a horse for some reason. He named it Asymmetry. Inside the shop, a combination of charm and threats were deployed to make a deal for better armour for those who could use it and some rumours. The smith’s cousin went missing under Trent Reznor manor,  but we didn’t care because we’ve already been there. The Black Spider (whom many of the group didn’t understand is likely not a huge spider, rather someone using a pseudonym) had Gundrin, the man who hired us for our original wagon trail right at the start of the quest, and has taken over Wave Echo Cave, where the Forge of Spells is located. All very ominous sounding.

After gearing up we headed to Cragmaw Castle. At the south entrance, Deano conversed with his psychic rat Scratch (which we don’t know about in-game, but the fact that he continues not to tell us about him makes me trust him less) and told us to head to the north where there was a broken wall. Heading through the hole, Lordi rushed through into the first room, finding nothing. Clumsily bursting through the next door,  Lordi stumbled upon a meeting between a huge old bugbear and a female drow (a dark elf), with a spider patch on her cloak. The bugbear, King Groll, was also guarded by the wolf Snarl. We could see Gundrin tied up in the corner, in a bit of a bad way.

wolf

We started to persuade them we were sent by Glass-staff (whom we previously murdered fairly terribly), continuing our attempt to use the red cloaks we stole to disguise ourselves as redbrands. The drow, named Verith, wanted to take Gundrin to Wave Echo Cave. It turned out that Cragmaw castle was full of hobgoblins and goblins, an owlbear and a grick, whatever that is. For some reason, Lordi snuck into the corner and turned Gundrin invisible. Verith asked what the hell we were doing, and not seeing a way of talking our way out of it, King Roberto the Pirate King attempted to stab his longsword into her neck, missing completely.

Tiny snuck round and hacked at the bugbears legs, while King Roberto stabbed him in the neck. Verith grabbed Gundrin and held a knife to his throat, but Deano used shocking grasp on her, stunning her and causing her appearance to flicker, revealing herself to be a shapeshifting Doppelgänger. Snarl the wolf attacked King Roberto, somehow biting through his new armour and doing some fairly nasty damage. He responded by snapping the wolf’s neck with his shield. Grim. Deano, having bound his two handed sword to himself magically, faked out the bugbear, making him look the wrong way before disappearing the sword and teleporting it back into his hands on the other side, hacking at him. He called this an alley-oop.

alley oop

The grick crashed through the door, joining the party. It sounds like some sort of hentai nightmare, a long snake like creature with a beak mouth surrounded by tentacles. Tiny attempted to throw alchemists fire at it, but missed. In fact, we were all missing a lot and this battle was dragging along. The bugbear, now heavily wounded but still not dead due to some terrible dice rolling from everyone, still managed to take off half of Deano’s HP in one hit. He was finally taken down by a combination of an arrow from Bubbles and being run through by Deano.

grick

King Roberto beheaded the Doppelgänger, and luckily the Grick missed the whole party multiple times, and after a few good spells from Lordi it was finished off by Bubbles. Before we rested, King Roberto the Pirate King hit level 5, ahead of everyone else on account of him not missing a session.

Did I sing the Final Fantasy level up music? You bet I did.

In addition to another HP boost, at level 5 fighters get an extra attack every combat turn, which I was looking forward to abusing. With two basic attacks, plus the action surge ability and second wind I could attack 3 times in a row and heal myself, though the latter two abilities can only be used once per fight before needing a rest to recover them.

After we rested, a goblin came to the door to ask if everything was OK. Roberto and Deano, separately, attempted to fake the dead King Groll’s voice. We pulled him into the room, threatening him and convinced him to tell us where the treasure in the castle was. We woke Gundrin up, who told us the location of Wave Echo Cave. He said if we helped him take it over, clearing out the Black Spider, we would get a cut of 10% each from the profits that the use of the Forge of Spells would provide, as an ongoing business venture. We agreed, and set to leaving the castle. King Roberto, turning back into the room with the nonchalance of someone who has forgotten his keys, stabbed the goblin in the throat before joining his companions.

Slowly and quietly, the group headed to the room the now very dead goblin had pointed out as the treasure room, stealthily skirting past the dining hall where the sounds of goblins eating could be heard. Lordi crashed straight through the door, only to be smacked to the floor by an angry owlbear. In fact if we hadn’t rested they would have been knocked unconscious at least. I think the DM was planning on this being a much longer fight, but King Roberto strode into the room, full of the bravado that a level up provides, scoring a critical hit by ramming a javelin up the owlbear’s throat, and a second critical hit hacking into his neck with his sword. The now heavily damaged owlbear did unleash a multi attack on King Roberto, but his health was now so high that it didn’t really worry him. Bubbles then also scored a critical, burying an arrow into the owlbear’s head and finishing him off.

This room was largely bereft of treasure, so any remorse for killing the goblin that King Roberto didn’t feel would have been misplaced as he had lied to us. Looking at our maps however, we saw a room of interest that may contain something of value. Heading to it, we saw steps and two separate entrances covered with a curtain. Very quietly (possibly too quietly for two fighters in splint heavy armour), King Roberto and Deano sneaked up to the curtains, surveying the room. It contained an altar, with three robed goblins praying before it. In perfect synchronisation, with the same dice rolls, the pair of fighters crept up the steps to the altar and beheaded two of the goblins at the same time. They threatened the last, who revealed it was an altar to the goblin god Maglubiyet, whom they had sacrificed humans to. In fact we saw some hand crafted statues of various birds in the corner that could well have belonged to such a sacrifice.

We asked “What would happen if we sacrificed a goblin to your god?”

He looked at his dead friends and said “They’re dead, it has to be a live sacrifice…”

“You’re alive”

And so we took the golden knife and eviscerated him, disemboweling and sacrificing him to his own god. Neither of us was entirely sure why we did it, but were in total agreement that we should. We felt a chill, but no goblin god appeared to enact revenge (I think mainly because we caught the DM off guard). Taking all of the blood stained gold implements, and the bird statues, we then sneaked out of the castle. The rest of the group looking increasingly uncomfortable being around Deano and Roberto right now. With Gundrin rescued, we headed back to town to rest up before heading to Wave Echo Cave.

Adam

 

Check out the finale here!

 

So it’s All Come Down to This… Owlbears and Dragons

Adam has started playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends in London. Here is his account of their first epic journey.

At the start of our fourth session, we all hit Level 3 and were able to pick what sub-classes we wanted to go with. For fighters we were given the option of two martial archetypes: Champion or Eldritch Knight. Deano went with Eldritch Knight, which allowed him to pick a couple of basic spells. As there are two fighters in our group, and picking the same thing would be boring, I went with the Champion martial archetype, granting me improved critical hits – now a natural roll of 19 or 20 will score a critical hit in combat, and that improves even more in higher levels. King Roberto has been practicing his stabbing, and it has paid off!  As rogues, Bubbles chose the Assassin subclass, and Tiny chose to go with thief (because he is a thieving thief), Paladin Rick went down the Path of Devotion (which sounds like a euphemism), and Lordi and Samuel arrived late so we didn’t bother picking their subclasses until next time.

Back in the pub, after a full night of rest, we set about finding some more information about where to go next. King Roberto “questioned” a man that was very similar but not at all the same guy he threatened to stab back in the first session. Regardless, threats worked again. We got leads on nearby Thundertree where Mt. Hootenanny recent erupted and zombies killed the townsfolk, Old Owl Well, Cragmoor Castle where Glass-Staff apparently fled to (and someone wanted us to take care of him and clear the castle), and Coney Island. The problem with writing down joke names for everything is that you rarely remember the proper names later on. Nor do you care. We also spoke to a Sister Gabriel, who wanted us to head to Coney Island to look for the spellbook of Mr Bojangles. There we would find the Banshee Agatha. Banshees sound like fun, so we headed that way.

On the way we were attacked by an Owlbear (Half owl, half bear, all Owlbear). After we dispatched it, with King Roberto finishing it off by ramming a javelin through it’s throat (fast becoming his go-to move – ranged stabbing), we discovered it had been magically shacked. Animal cruelty, so mutilating it was a kindness. Sort of. Propping it up as some sort of meat puppet to ward off attackers while we slept is probably a bit more difficult to justify.

cousin it

We then wasted ages trying to sort out a problem Lordi had developed during the end of the last dungeon, which I forgot to mention. They drank a potion that granted them invisibility, but simultaneously caused all the hair on their body to grow rapidly resulting in a Cousin Itt look (that no one could actually see). Everyone took it in turns at this point (about a full in-game day after the problem arose, not really a priority) to permanently remove the hair, most of which resulted in damage to Lordi. After a lot of pissing around, a dragon suddenly appeared above us. As a mighty level 3 Champion, Roberto started to ponder the implications of attempting to stab the dragon, but thought better of it. For now. The dragon, named Venomfang, did not attack but did mock the goody-two-shoes-paladin-in-training Rick. He departed, indicating that it wasn’t the last we would see of him.

dnd_starter_set_art

Arriving at Coney Island, Lordi ignored the rest of the group and tried to confront the Banshee (while Tiny sneaked in to steal something), going about as well as you would expect. Failing to brashly convince Agatha to give up Mr. Bojangles’ book, Lordi was ignored by the Banshee who haughtily told us that the necromancer Seeroff had the book. Giving no more help, the Banshee left. With nothing else to do there, and no more leads, the party headed out of Coney Island and up a worn path.

We came to Old Owl Well, where we saw a large tent and a ruined tower nearby, found to be full of zombies. An aura of dark magic indicated that a necromancer was inside the tent, so Deano attempted to fake Venomfang’s voice to scare him. It failed, as Deano doesn’t actually sound like a dragon, but the necromancer did not attack anyway. We ask about Cragmoor Castle, and he agreed to tell us if we head to the nearby Wyvern Tor (not a name that filled me with anything other than dread) to murder a group of orcs with extreme prejudice, bringing back their ears as proof. Not opposed to wholesale murder for a man who desecrates and summons the dead, we headed off.

A guard outside the cave where the orcs are holed up was quickly and silently dispatched with an arrow to the face by Bubbles, very much taking to that new role of Assassin. Then we set to preparing to fight numerous orcs (and a troll apparently). As we did this Lordi, for reasons totally unknown to everyone, fluttered in some sort of weird love note to the orc leader into the cave, alerting them to our presence. Rick and Deano attempted once again to throw the rope of light between them, to cover the entrance of the cave so we could pick the orcs off. It fails, again, as Ser “Dropper” Deano fumbled the catch, again. The orcs were seconds from the entrance, troll in the lead…

… and we had to call it a night. It was a week night, and everyone had to get back across London to their various homes, very much restricted by the fact that main form of public transport in the capital of this country stops at around midnight. Big ol’ rumble as soon as we start next time!

Adam

 

Check out part 5 here!