The night continued
If you’ll recall, our third Dungeons & Dragons night went on for so long that I thought it best to split it into two posts. When last we met:
- The party discovered Quoras very much not dead
- And, in fact, he had murdered the bandit leader Glasstaff with his bare hands (and a length of chain)
- They skirted around an eye monster with a taste for human flesh, sacrificing a guard they had captured
- After following a long tunnel they found themselves in a forest. They began to turn around when a voice called out:
A young halfling stepped out from behind a tree: Quoras recognized him as his young nephew, Carp Alderleaf1, who told him that he had been spying on bandits sneaking in and out through the tunnel. He offered to take them back to his farm, on the outside of Phandalin, which the party readily agreed to seeing as they had no idea where they were.
Once back at the Alderleaf farm Quoras reconnected with his sister, Quelline, while deftly avoiding mention of how he knew the Redbrands. The group ate dinner, Rizzo excusing herself early so she could spend time studying the glass staff Quoras had gifted her from the dead Glasstaff: a man they suspected actually had the name of “Iarno Albrek”, judging by a letter found in his study.
After study and meditation Rizzo determined she had a staff of defense, which not only boosted her armor but could also cast certain defensive spells a certain number of times per day.
In the morning the group thanked Quelline for her hospitality and went back into town.
Whatever happened to Gundren Rockseeker of the Chicago Bears?
Clant had looted a number of Redbrands: he likely could have built his own iron throne from the swords he carried. Gold mattered more to him than furniture of questionable utility and so he headed to the Lionshield Coster to sell them.
There Linene Lionshield complained of the unreliable supply flow: goblins had been ambushing merchants traveling along the Triboard Trail, and her latest caravan hadn’t arrived at all.
Goblins. Possibly the same ones who had attacked them as they approached Phandalin, who had likely apprehended or killed Gundren Rockseeker, the dwarf who had hired them to bring supplies. Perhaps not coincidentally, Glasstaff and the author of the letter who signed with the image of a black spider had also been interested in Gundren and his two brothers.
It appears the party had found themselves a plotline2.
They remembered a trail Clant had found by their ambush. Before they traveled back, however, they made a brief stop at the Townmaster’s Hall where Dolemite took great joy in telling the lecherous Harbin Wester that the Redbrands had been… dealt with. Permanently. This overjoyed Wester, though he largely confirmed their suspicions that Glasstaff’s actual name was Iarno Albrek: Albrek was a human wizard who arrived to help bring order to the town but disappeared and had been presumed dead. It appears he had not been slain by bandits but by greed.
Backwards up the mossy glen
Although it had been a few days the party found the spot of their ambush easily, and from there Clant made short work of locating the path the goblins had used. Eventually they came upon a stream coming from a cave. They snuck up to the cave, along a dense thicket, and discovered two goblins doing a particularly terrible job of keeping watch.
The goblins got summarily slaughtered.
Soon after entering the cave they found a small room where two wolves lay chained to spikes. They snapped and snarled, but Dolemite showed excellent prowess with animal handling and not only calmed them but managed to gain their affection. He undid the spikes and led the animals by their chains up the cave.
Clant, being merely human, couldn’t see in the darkness of the cave. Rizzo used her magic to illuminate the cave and they continued on.
Or at least they tried to: with very little warning the cave became full of a torrent of water, bringing with it peer to peer pain! Dolemite, Quoras and the wolves managed to take refuge in a tiny alcove but Rizzo and Clant found themselves washed to the cave entrance. They sullenly trudged back up only to find another wave, washing them back to the entrance yet again.
Thinking perhaps they should find another way, the group climbed up a steep passage in the alcove and crawled along until they heard fires and revelry.
The death toll rises
The group entered a den of goblins and wasted no time in bringing the pain. Dolemite released the wolves; Clant drew his bow; Quoras stabbed and Rizzo cast.
Although five goblins fought, none of them survived very long. As the tide was turning a sixth appeared at the upper edge of the room, but even the apparent leader was no match for the party. It seems as though their time in the Redbrand hideout solidified their teamwork, and Eris favored their dice rolls.
Ascending to where the last goblin died, they found the dead body of a human soldier. He had no armor, weapons or identifying information on him but seemed recently deceased.
Dolemite gripped the reins of his wolves. The rest of the cave waited, unexplored.
We as a society need to accept that the default D&D names are dumb and move on, okay? ↩
I kid. The best part of D&D and all RPGs, in my opinion, comes from the players quickly and gleefully doing whatever the goddamn hell they want. If I wanted a linear story I’d read a book. I am quite amused by their steadfast refusal to do things in the order they were meant to: Phil bought the starter set and found he had to stop reading on the second page because they hadn’t gotten there yet. ↩