The session report
below was written quickly and poorly, with bad sentence structure and
wonky spelling. It's not glittering prose, but I think it does a
decent job of hitting the important points of the session.
Before we get to
the recap, though, I want to comment on how fun D&D 5th
Edition combat has turned out to be. On my side, monsters have been
easy to run. Each monster or NPC has a couple of tricks that make
them interesting (two attacks per round for Redbrands, or the
goblins' attack-and-hode routine, Bugbears' extra damage, etc.) but remain simple enough that I,
the DM, can focus on creating an evocative combat environment. Thanks
to the whole “bonded accuracy” thing with 5th Edition,
monsters and PCs both hit a lot, keeping fights tense and exciting.
On the other side
of the screen, my players are good at using tactics in
combat without turning D&D into a “tactical” game. The party
has turned into a very effective SWAT team. The rogues and ranger use their
stealth skills to slip into the shadows, where the rogues can use
their powerful sneak attacks to pump out a lot of damage in the first
round. The war-cleric and paladin rush into combat and draw enemy fire--not by using any special “draw aggro” power, but through pure
roleplaying. “Raar raar raar! I'm a vicious iron-clad dwarf IN
YOUR FACE swinging a howling sword at your boinloins! COME AT ME,
YO!” With the “tanks” in the middle of the fight, the rogues
can continue to use their sneak ranged attacks against any monster
within arm's length of their armored allies. Meanwhile, the wizard directs his owl familiar to swoop in, use the
“help” action, then fly away safely using it's “flyby” ability. This gives the next hero to attack the distracted monster advantage on
It's cool to see
these tactics work even though we only use maps and minis about 50%
of the time. I can't wait to come up with some scenarios that
monkey-wrench this routine.
Now, onto the
Bramble (Green Gnome
Kokiri aka “Cookie” (Wood
Atticus Digby (Half-Wyrd-Elf
(Hill Dwarf Cleric/Sage)
Rabbitslayer (Halfling fighter,
in town guarding prisoners)
The heroes continue
their assault on the Redbrand hideout. Vandalar's player couldn't
make it, so we deiced that the paladin went back into to town to make
sure the civilian posse got home okay. We assume she got distracted
helping an old lady carry groceries or helping a cat out of a
tree—y'know, paladin stuff.
discovered a couple of secret passages in the bandits' base, the team
investigates the Redbrand's workshop for hidden doors and finds two.
Bramble sets up some bell alarms near one door, and the party
continues down the other.
This passage turns
out to be the Glasstaff's secret escape route. The heroes
stumble into the evil wizard's bedroom, startling the Glasstaff as he
sits at his desk. The team is shocked to realize that the infamous
Glasstaff exactly matches the description of Sildar Hall's missing
friend Iarno Albrek! Wasting no time, the team attacks quickly,
beating the wizard into unconsciousness before he has a chance to
cast a single spell.
The heroes roll the
wizard in a curtain and tie him to the bed then search the room.
Digby claims the wizard's Staff of Defense for himself while Skeld
searches his desk. Among the wizard's papers, Skeld finds a letter to
Albrek from the Devil Spider!
|For any letters or notes the PCs find, I try and make handouts like this.|
Bramble peeks under
the bed and spots the wizard's rat familiar. She tries to talk to it,
but the fiendish rodent tells the gnome to “Fuck off and die!”
then scampers away through a crack in the wall. Digby uses Mending
cantrips to seal all the rat holes he can find.
laboratory is in the adjoining room. Along with the wizard's
alchemical gear, they discover his spell books and the journal of a
dwarven adventurer, Urmon Fellhammer, that describes the
history of the Phandelver Pact and the legendary Spellforge.
Fellhammer was a paladin on a personal
crusade against the vampire Xyxor. While in Uruth, he heard stories
of the mace, Lightbringer.
This magical weapon was commissioned centuries ago by priests of
Brahma but was lost when Wave Echo Cave and the Spellforge were
destroyed. He set out to find Lightbringer with his companions—Jase
Gumbleputty (a gnomish ranger and marksman) and Bolinda Plum (a human
entry indicates that his party intended to consult the “Ghost
Witch of The Woods” for information.
While the team is
busy looting the wizard's room, there's a sudden knock on the door.
“Boss!” shouts a rough, thuggish voice, “There's something
weird going on. You'd better come out for a moment!” The Redbrands
must have found all the iron spikes the team has been leaving in
The heroes rush the
door and beat the bandit into submission. Down the hall, they can
hear the telltale sounds of men putting on armor and readying
weapons. The team is once again on the move, readily falling into the
commando-like tactics that have served them so well. The two rogues
and the ranger slip into the shadows with their formidable stealth
skills. Skeld kicks in the door to the next room, surprising the four
Redbrands inside. The fierce, mail-clad, sword-swinging dwarf draws
the badguys' attention while the rogues and ranger take them out with
sneak attacks. Digby's owl familiar swoops in to distract enemies
with its “flyby” ability—moving in, making “help” actions,
then flying away. The Redbrands lie dead or unconscious before they
can mount an effective counter-attack.
When the heroes
return the Glasstaff's room with three more hog-tied prisoners, they
find the wizard's familiar (who had slipped under the door) trying to
chew through its master's bonds. Digby's Chill Touch spell
quickly dispatches the fiendish rat.
|Lego heroes against lead villains!|
the hideout, the party hears several rough, brutal goblinish voices
and one squeaky, whiny goblinish voice. Taking up familiar positions,
the party approaches the room. Bramble tests the door to see if it is
locked, but botches her Stealth roll. The rattling door handle causes
the voices beyond to pause for a moment. Wasting no time, Skeld tries
to kick in the door... and rolls a 1. The door holds, and the voices
inside fall eerily silent. Sighing in resignation, Skeld opens the
door via the handle and is (not very) surprised to find a massive
bugbear waiting for him, filling the entire door frame.
The battle begins!
Our heroes focus fire and take out the first monster as they rush
into the room. They spot a second bugbear, lurking in the shadows
near a bed, while a scrawny, terrified goblin watches form the far
side of the room and faints dead away. The party engages the second
bugbear and are quite shocked when a third
bugbear (who got a
20 on his Stealth roll) steps out from the shadows and drops Roanvine
the ranger with a single sneak attack. Things are desperate, as the
giant shaggy goblinoid has bypassed the designated “tank” and is
among the much squishier rogues and bard. Kokiri bravely lunges at
the bugbear and wounds the monster deeply but not fatally. The
bugbear swings it's great morning star around and slams the elfin
rogue, dropping her to 0 hp. Kokiri slams against the wall and slides
down to the floor, leaving a smear of blood behind. With two PCs down
and bleeding out in as many rounds, the fight turns tense. Skeld
slays the Bugbear he was fighting with a natural 20, and Aces, the sword of Druuj the Slayer
, starts wailing alien war hymns (which sound
a lot like Motorhead). Finally, with a combination of spells and
swords, the third Bugbear goes down. Healing potions revive the
unconscious heroes. The team is glad they convinced Gundren
Rockseeker to throw some potions in with their payment.
When the goblin
(whose name is Droop) revives from his faint, he freaks out at
the sight of Digby. “Oh please, most powerful wizard, do not put
Droop to sleep again. You spared Droop's life once, spare it once
Digby is confused. “Do I recognize this goblin?”
He makes an Intelligence check, and rolls a 2. All goblins look the
same to him. “When did I cast a spell on you?” the bard-wizard
“On the trail,
when we attacked your wagon. You killed my friends but spared me. You
left me tied up with the halfling.”
A look of shock crosses
Digby's face. “You're supposed to be dead!”
The goblin wails in
fright once more, but the party manages to get the whole story out of
the terrified goblin with a couple of Charisma rolls and a
well-placed Friends spell.
When the party was
exploring the lair of the Cragmaw goblins a couple of days ago, they
left their goblin captive (this very goblin, Droop) under the watch
of their halfling hireling, Pete. A couple of hours after the party
left, “the clayskin came and killed the halfling. It
took his shape, and I was able to escape. I ran here, where the Devil
Spider's human minions live.”
Roanvine the ranger
specializes in monstrosities and recognizes the creature the goblin
is describing—a doppleganger. The party realizes that they
have left a murderous monster in town, watching their prisoners.
The heroes want to
get back to town quickly, but are afraid of leaving the Redbrand's
base unexplored. They quickly investigate the couple of rooms they
had skipped over. After battling a handful of skeletons and some
Redbrand guards, they rescue a captured townswoman and her two
children. They have been beaten a bit but don't seem too badly
injured. They are, however, quite eager to get back home and bury
their father, who was murdered by the Redbrands.
The session ends
with our heroes, their prisoners, and rescued captives returning to
town, speculating on what the dopple-Pete-ganger has been doing in