Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lost Mine of Phandelver - Session 2 [D&D 5th Ed Actual Play]

Wherein the team arrives in Phandalin and encounters the Redbrands...

Bramble (Green Gnome Rogue/Charlatan)
Kokiri aka “Cookie” (Wood Elf Rogue/Sailor)
Atticus Digby (Half-Wyrd-Elf Wizard/Bard/Noble)
Roanvine (Human Ranger/Outlander)
Vandalar (Dragonborn Paladin/Noble)
Skeld (Hill Dwarf Cleric of Wotan/Sage)
(NPC) Peitor "Pete" Rabbitslayer (Halfling Fighter)

Taking up from the previous session, the team interrogates their three goblin captives. Only one of the goblins speaks Common and repeatedly tries to sell out his comrades in exchange for his freedom. The heroes don't go for it. The Goblins know that Gundren Rockseeker has been taken to some place called Cragmaw Castle, though they aren't sure exactly where it is. “Supposed to be a day north and east of here, in the forest.” They also know that their chief was working for some “big bosses” that live in the castle.

As the team makes their way back to the Three Boar Trail, they meet up with their wayward companions, Skeld and Vandalar. At last the team in complete, blizzard be damned.

The reunited team arrives in Phandalin well after sundown, and most of the shops and buildings are closed for the night. Skeld and Vandalar wait at the edge of town with the goblin captives while the rest of the team tries to figure out where they are supposed to deliver Gundren's supply wagon, as well as the Lion Shield goods they recovered from the goblins' lair. Sildar Hall thanks the heroes and makes his way to the Stonehill Inn (“I need a drink... in that tavern there, right now.”) with promises to pay the team in the morning.

Several of the buildings in town display this poster...
...which the heroes note for later.

Barthen's Provisions is closed for the night, but Digby manages to talk the owner, Elmar Barthen, into seeing them. Digby buys a gnomish ukelele as his focus or his shiny new Bard level. The heroes impress the storekeeper with their pluck and manners, and he tells them about the Redbrands, a gang of ruffians that have been causing trouble in the town.

The Redbrands get their name from the angry, dagger-shaped scar they have branded on their foreheads.

Meanwhile, on the edge of town, Skeld and Vandalar run into a couple of Redbrands returning from Edermath's Orchard with an armload of stolen cider. A fight erupts. One Redbrand runs off towards the ruins of Tresender Manor while his buddy attacks the cleric and paladin. The Redbrand's two attacks per round give the two heroes a solid fight, but they eventually come out on top, knocking their foe unconscious.

The fracas (and Skeld's radiant spells) draws the attention of the townsfolk. A small mob of villagers shows up (along with the other PCs) led by Mayor Harbin Westler. Westler is a fat, pompus old man who doesn't want any trouble in his town, but some of the other villagers seem relieved that someone's here to take care of the Redbrands.

As things start to settle, Daran Edermath (the owner of the orchard) shows up, demanding to know what's going on. He's a fire-scarred old half-elf leaning on a walking stick who talks like Charlton Heston. He invites the heroes back to his home while they lock the goblins and the captured Redbrand in his woodshed. They leave Pete the possibly-homicidal halfling to guard them (with Digby's owl familiar secretly watching Pete).

Reading this module, I didn't realize how irritating the Greenwood/Forgotten Realms names would be to say constantly. If I could do it over, I would change all the NPC names.

Edermath is a retired warrior and a member of the House of Hrothgar like the PCs. His house is decorated in hand-carved woodwork and mementos of his old heroic career. A faintly-green-glowing sword hangs over the mantle, which Digby identifies as Verdikast, the sword that Daran used to slay the great white owlbear of Thistlethorn Forest. Daran tells the PCs about all the troubles in the town, while the PCs confide their own plans to the scarred old hero. After a good meal, Daran lets the PCs stay in his place for the night.

In the morning, Sildar Hall helps the heroes transport their prisoners to the makeshift jail in the town hall's basement. Sildar also tells the heroes that he can't find his friend Iarno Albrek, another member of the Bastion he was supposed to meet in Phandalin. Would the heroes please keep a lookout for him?

The party interrogates the Redbrand (who is named Hugo) and discover that the gang's boss (a wizard known as The Glasstaff) is working for a mysterious figure known as the Devil Spider. They have a hideout in the basement of the ruins of Tresender Manor. There is a secret entrance to the basement in the woods.

During the interrogation, Vandalar steps out to get food. While in the streets, she sees a group of six Redbrands heading towards the town hall. She runs back to warn the rest of the team. The Redbrands (led by a man named Jasper) line up in the street outside the town hall and call out the heroes in classic Western fashion.

A fight erupts! Digby's sleep spell takes out Jasper. Roanvine and Kokiri pepper the bandits with arrows. Bramble sneaks out and around, shanking bandits with sneak attacks, using her innate illusion power to make Batman-esque smoke clouds to help make Hide actions. Vandalar and Skeld bash villains with melee attacks and keep their friends up with healing magic. When the dust clears, the bad guys are all dead. The villagers are elated, but justifiably concerned about Redbrand retaliation.

As the heroes loot the Redbrand bodies, Sister Graelle, the priestess at the local shrine of Chalice (goddess of healing, suffering, and mercy) approaches them. She laments that such violence has come to her town, but heals the heroes' wounds regardless. The good sister also gives last rights over the dead Redbrands, praying they will find redemption in the afterworld.

Sister Graelle is a member of the Tome and Compass society, a organization of explorers. The PCs ask if she knows where Cragmaw Castle is. She doesn't, but she might be able to find out if they do her a favor. She wants the PCs to find the spirit of an ancient elf diviner named Agatha and ask her where the famous explorer Cutter Tork's lost map case is. She has an old silver comb of Agatha's they can use to bargain with the spirit. Another quest!

But first, the team decides they need to take out the Redbrands NOW! They have a plan. Vandalr and Skeld will round up a posse of villagers to cause a ruckus and distraction at the main entrance of the Redbrand's base. When the Redbrands come running out, the townsfolk will scatter and the cleric and paladin will engage the villains. Meanwhile, the other, sneakier heroes will come up through the secret entrance, hitting the Redbrand's from behind.

The heroes seem to think the Redbrands' base is one large chamber. It is not.

As the PCs leave with their posse, they are approached by Linene Greywind, the woman that runs Lionshield Coster. “You're taking these boys with you?” she says, indicating the posse. “These people are my friends. You're going to get them killed.” The heroes assure her that no harm will come to the villagers. Linene doesn't seem quite so sure.

Cut to the ruins of Tresender manor. Skeld, Vandalar and the posse bash on their shields and hoot and holler calling the Redbrands out. They do not come. The heroes send the villagers back to town with booze money and enter the basement themselves. In the cellar, they are confronted by a trio of Redbrands trying to sneak up on them. It's a tense fight in a crowded area, but between the dragonborn's breath attack and Skeld's magic they are able to take out the bad guys.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hideout, near the secret entrance, Bramble, Digby, Kokiri, and Roanvine encounter a strange, one-eyed monster crawling out of a misty, cold chasm. The thing cackles and gambols about, speaking secrets about the characters that no one else should know.

“You! Your father wears the yellow robes!” it hisses into Digby's head, indicating his father's alliance with the Yellow Warlocks of K'Narth.

“Lost Princess!” it hisses at Bramble, indicating it knows about her past as an exiled noble.

Fed up, the PCs attack the monster (a Nothic, my favorite new monster). It blasts Digby with its entropic gaze, but the wizard-bard makes his save.

“The monster's eye flares with black-light energy, and your flesh doesn't rot from your bones!”
“I love it when that doesn't happen!”

The monster is killed in short order. Thanks to some secret passages that both Bramble and Skeld find, the two strike teams soon reunite.

Digby's Detect Magic spell indicates that the chasm has some weird low-level Necromatic magic. There's also the glow of something else magical glowing underneath one of the bridges spanning the chasm.

Lowering Bramble with a rope, they find a chest full of coins stashed in a cubby hole as well as a magical sword that Digby recognizes as Aces, the sword of Druuj the Slayer. Skeld claims the sword, hoping its dubious legacy won't offend Wotan.

As the session closes, the heroes lock themselves in a store room and take a short rest to regain some Hit Points and other resources.


  1. I enjoyed running this one. Some exploration, mini dungeons, mini quests. ...

  2. I enjoyed running this one. Some exploration, mini dungeons, mini quests. ...

    1. I rarely use published modules or adventures (in 25 years,I think I used maybe five adventures out of Dungeon magazine). But I really liked what I saw in Lost Mine of Phandelver. It has a good "Skyrim" feel. Come into town and half a cozen NPCs approach you with their problems. Travel some place and run into a couple of mini-quests on the way. It's been fun to run.

  3. My crew of a half-dozen middle school players are also loving the Lost Mines. They've all but ditched the Rockseeker / Lost Mines hook (especially since Sildar got whacked) to focus on battling the Redbrands and the whole things is starting to take on this Gangs of New York vibe.