The Grind…and Explosive Moments

Chapter 5 and 6 – Power Up!

This was going to be a very short D&D episode, but I have decided to merge Chapters five and six. Following the end of the previous episode where the team realised they were seriously under-powered for the mines of Phandelver, they have decided to grind away and level up before making a second attempt. So, as usual the group consists of:

Me – the DM.

Gary – playing as Quaite, a 3rd level human paladin. .

Dave – playing as Talwin (the Tof), a 3rd level halfling rogue.

Adam – playing as Flint Dankil, a 3rd level dwarf fighter.

Joshua – playing as Gerome “The Trippy Gnome”, a 3rd level gnome rogue.

Energy levels are low tonight. Everyone seems to be focused on ensuring that they can level up rather than following the plot.

Having returned to the local town, the team are desperate to find something that is going to aid their quest to increase the powers. A quick hunt for clues and they are off to investigate shenanigans at an old ruin some days away.

Without much ado, they gang are quickly assembled outside of the ruins. The ruins consist of a ring of rubble, which means at least three-quarters of the party are too short to see over them. So its up to the Paladin to peer over the rubble at what’s inside. Seeing nothing but a campsite and a ruined tower Talwin joins him. Peaceful and quiet. Yup. It certainly looks it.

So they step down from the rubble. To be met by a horde of zombies exiting the tower! Whoops! Back over the rubble they scramble to warn the others….. And they wait. But nothing happens.

Sneaking back to the rubble they peer over and see the area is filled with a good dozen zombies and a hooded figure. Ooooh! Definitely evil! How to take them all out? Well plans are flying backwards and forwards and finally agreed on. Talwin, Quaite and Flint prepare. Gerome? Oh dear! They forgot to make sure they knew what he was up to.

As the party ascends the rubble and prepare to attack, Gerome appears at the far end of the rubble and with an eager cry reads his scroll of fireball that he stole some episodes earlier.

Now Gerome has been waiting for this moment eagerly. He wanted to use it previously in small narrow corridor but thought better of it – but here he has an open space – plenty of targets – and what is more, no party members within reach to stop him.

So position himself carefully he (as is usual in these circumstances) makes a perfect roll and cast the fireball into the centre of the clearing – hitting a good half of the zombies and the cloaked figure.

When the flames diminish, and before the shock has completely cleared Flint and Quaite clear most of the remaining zombies whilst Talwin picks the remainders off from a distance.

Very short. Very quick.

The dust settles. The cloaked figure is a charred corpse on the edge of the clearing. The zombies are either charred remains or scattered by the violence of the attack. Unfortunately also charred and scattered are the cloaked figure’s tent and possessions.

Luckily the contest did provide enough experience to push the team to level four.

Feeling pleased with themselves – although disappointed with the lack of spoils from the fight (serves themselves right) – I fudge my way through a couple of scenes and enable the team to find a clue in the excavation that was taking place in the ruined tower by the now “crisp” figure. This finally gives them a clue to what they are up against at the end of the scenario – not that they pay much attention to it.

So with the session having come to a very weak and feeble end we decide to abandon the situation and pick it up again at the next session.

With the dawn of a new session comes the realisation that we had forgotten most of what had happened in session 5. Ooops. Thats going to make writing it up very difficult! Oh well, we will just have to move on with the show! Which is good news as given this latest episode occurred more recently we can all still remember what we did!

So we return to the scene the group rapidly left towards the end of session 4. The cast of usual suspects entered the caves, taking the path they had taken before. In true fashion for this group, they ignore all tunnels and options being totally fixated on finding and destroying the monsters that caused their flight previously.

As such they have ignored a good half-dozen tunnels and rest just prior to the small maze where they were attacked previously. Here they prepare their oil flasks and torches believing this the safest method of dealing with these strange monsters.

Carefully they feel their way through the tunnels, carefully keeping their order – seeking their prey. After a few minutes of careful searching (and failing to find anything) rather than continue in the current direction they decide to take a random location and promptly their “careful” plan falls apart as Gerome decides to lag behind the party just in case he can spot something interesting.

Sadly something interesting spots him rather than he it, and a jelly like monster drops from the ceiling and seeks to engulf the surprised Gnome.

With muffled shrieks altering the party, they turn, oil flasks and fire ready to burn the beast before suddenly working out that throwing oil and fire onto the monster also means throwing it onto Gerome. Despite the temptation, they work out a plan and within a few moments have managed to extract Gerome from the monster which is quickly dispatched by a few well thrown oil flasks and flames.

In the meantime Flint who had been leading had the (mis)fortune of meeting another of these beasts. Grinning he displayed his bright shiny morningstar that he was wielding rather than his usual axe and within a few moments had dispatched the creature.

It was all over rather disappointingly quickly given the chaos these creatures had caused previously.

A bit of TLC and rest follow before the party pick a corridor at random and head off.

The next scene may take some time. This after all occupied the rest of the evening.

Moving down the tunnel the group see ahead of them the tunnel emptying into a large empty cavern. Given their night vision, Gerome and Flint decide to creep forward to have a look. It appears to be a large empty cavern into which they emerge from the south. To the west and the east stairways climb up into the darkness. All seems still and silent. Gerome, as is his want, scuttles up the staircase to the east. Here amongst the darkness he finds an old table – which naturally he decides to perch himself upon.

Sitting, he is just in time to see several ghouls descending rapidly from the opposite stairs drawn to the flickering light from the tunnel where the rest of the party resides. Believing himself to be safe, he decides to sit and enjoy the fun.

Flint also seeing the approaching danger steps forward to meet the oncoming foe whilst Quaite and Talwin vacillate about staying in the tunnel where it would be easier to defend themselves. Just as the ghouls reach Flint, Quaite finally steps forward to stop what looks like might be a bit of a bloodbath.

Gerome, thinking himself clever, is sitting swinging his legs from the edge of the table when two of the ghouls peel off and head up the staircase towards him. Quick thinking as ever, he throws a flask of oil which, whilst making the steps suitably slippery fails to prevent the ghouls from reaching the top.

With the bulk of the ghouls now in front of Quaite and Flint, blows start to be traded. Blood flows, but within a few moments a couple of the ghouls are down. However Flint and Quaite have both taken some damage. Talwin has avoided the worst of it but it was close.

Meanwhile Gerome has decided to leap down from the table and disappear into another tunnel that leads further into the cave system closely followed by two ghouls….. And here I decide I need to work out how I am going to try and keep him alive – after all, it is now going to take some luck from him to escape this.

Exiting the tunnel, Gerome enters a cavern lit by a flame. Screeching to a halt he sees that the flame is actually a flaming skull, floating some feet in the air surrounded by numerous skeletons, a number of which begin to stir as he halts.

Flameskull, Lost Mines of Phandelver, Wizards of the Coast LLC, ©2014

Oh dear.

A quick look for exits and rather than taking the closest he turns and bolts across the edge of the cavern towards an exit on his left. Behind him he hears the ghouls and the sound of a considerable number of skeletons all hot on his trail.

I think he needs to make some initiative rolls. And some agility rolls. And some luck rolls. Wow. He crits it. Talk about perfect timing. Everyone else is sitting mouth ajar as the tale leads them on with Gerome barely making it into an exit ahead of his enemies. Ahead of him he sees an exit on the left (possibly heading back to the cavern he originally fled the ghouls from – but also containing the rest of his party), or alternatively a door ahead of him.

Naturally he ignores the exit and takes the door. Why? What makes him do this. Another roll. Is the door locked or unlocked? Does he get the initiative? Amazing. Its unlocked. Even more amazing he makes the next initiative roll as well and slides inside the door just ahead of the monsters.

Slamming the door shut, he barely has time to breath before he realises the room is lit. And also contains five bugbears which climb to their feet in surprise at his entry.

Bubear, Lost Mines of Phandelver, Wizards of the Coast ©2014

If it was silly before, it is even getting even worse.

There is an exit opposite Gerome. Another door, but rather than that, he casts a spell and hides himself behind the illusion of a young bugbear. Naturally the bugbears and highly confused. And so am I as he then throws open the door he just escaped from the ghouls, skeletons and flaming skull from and throws himself back through it.

With a roar, the bugbears follow, throwing the door open. The corridor ahead is filled with skeletons, ghouls and behind them all the skull, who’s glow is getting brighter and brighter.

More miraculous agility and initiative rolls and Gerome is ducking and diving, heading for the dark exit. He finds it and flees as behind him a monstrous ball of fire fills the corridor.

Back in the cavern the rest of the part has with difficulty dispatched the last of the ghouls. Silence reigns in the cavern and they catch their breath. Flint once again starts to move forward into the cavern, noticing a faint glow in the distance.

The glow reveals the far side of the cavern and a tunnel leading from it. It is from within this tunnel that the glow appears to emanate. Moments later a young bugbear erupts from the tunnel followed by billows of flames which enguls the mouth of the tunnel and lights up the whole cavern – exposing the whole scene to Quaite and Talwin.

With suddenness the darkness returns and Quaite and Talwin wait with bated breath whilst Flint thunders forward to threaten the bugbear. Slightly stunned and singed but somehow uninjured, the young bugbear manages to stutter out the words “It’s Me!” in Gerome’s voice before collapsing to the floor.

With tears of laughter in the groups eyes they decide that enough is enough for one night. The group breaks up with an ongoing discussion around what to do with the flaming skull and how many of the enemies are actually left. Well I guess we will have to wait for the next session to find out the answers to those questions.

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