The fellowship gathered for the second time, for dungeons and dragons and beer.
Quoras, played by Alex, a halfling rogue seeking revenge against the Redbrand Ruffians.
** Dolemite**, played by Justin, a dwarf cleric who wishes the Redbrands dealt with for moral reasons.
** Rizzo**, played by Cally, an elf wizard looking to restore the sanctity of a defiled altar.
Clant, played by Phil, a human archer who wishes to rid the ruins of his birthplace of a dragon.
They had been brought to the border town of Phandalin by Gundren Rockseeker, Dolemite’s cousin, who had found “something big” before disappearing in an apparent ambush. The party narrowly survived an attack from goblins, then headed into town. There they discovered the Redbrands terrorizing the populace, and swore to deal with them. After slaughtering four of the bandits in front of The Sleeping Dragon Inn, their pub of choice, the townmaster of Phandalin rushed over and bemoaned a group of orcs in the area.
They formed a plan: recruit some Redbrands to help with the orcs. In the ensuing melee, who would notice if a few of them fell victim to friendly fire?
Once again, we eschewed any formal tasting. But, we had:
- Alex’s homebrewed pale ale
- Pliny the Elder (!!)
- Oh Snap!
- 21st Amendment Fireside Chat
- Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale
- Duchesse De Bourgogne
A conversation gone awry
Before rushing in Rizzo pointed out that maybe they should hide the bodies before requesting the Redbrands’ help1. After disposing of them they confidently strolled into the bar and requested help.
Now, an aside: D&D is determined by the Dungeon Master (that’s me) and dice. The players decide what they want to do, the DM says it happens or requires a roll. The roll decided the result, or the degree of success/failure.
Our valiant heroes proceeded to have some of the worst rolls I’ve ever seen. 2 after 2 after 2 (out of 20). Their conversation with John, the first Redbrand who stepped up, quickly turned from a tense standoff to something out of an awkward Ben Stiller movie.
Quoras, a former member of the Redbrands, stepped in to see if he could smooth things over. He could not, and now that the bandits knew someone they thought they had killed had lived, well, they wanted him handed over. Dolemite agreed, thinking that they could escape, gather their wits and then rescue the halfling, but Clant and Rizzo refused. A fight broke out but the Redbrands outnumbered them.
One by one the party fell, until they all lay unconscious.
An extended incarceration
They awoke in a windowless stone room with bars in front of them. Their cell had a dead body in it, and another across the room contained an alive if weary family. Two Redbrands stood guard.
They concocted a plan: Quoras, obviously a person of interest for them, would feign illness. They would tell the guards he needed medicine from his equipment (as they had awoken without it all), then rush the guards when they tried to help the halfling.
Things went well: Quoras put on a believable show, and one guard left to check their packs. The other got close to the bars and Rizzo attempted to grab her keys. Yet again the dice failed them, and the guard noticed. They were ordered against the back wall until the second guard returned. The Redbrands decided to take Quoras directly to Glasstaff, their leader and the mysterious person who betrayed Quoras in the past, and opened the door. Dolemite tried to grab the guard but failed, and once again they found themselves forced against the back wall. The second guard went to fetch reinforcements.
Rizzo tried a sleep spell, which failed. Dolemite shot a guiding bolt, which missed. Things looked grim.
Three guards entered the room, took formation and opened the cell door. Quoras managed to sprint past all of them and out of the room. The three followed him, and Dolomite and Clant managed to rush the door before it closed. They knocked the sole Redbrand down and disarmed her.
The party splits
Quoras ran out of the jail and found himself in a room with three sarcophagi, each with a skeleton posed in front. Not having time to inspect further he dashed past, only to see them animate and attack. He tried to dodge them but failed. He called for help as the world once again went black.
The party’s POV
They began to interrogate the Redbrand they had cornered, but when they heard Quoras’ call for help all but Clant, wielding the sword, went to the door. They saw the three Redbrand guards pick up his limp body and walk through a door at the end of the hallway, and the three skeletons once again take their places as statues.
They successfully intimidated the guard, finding where their weapons had been stored and then locking her in the cell. Clant snuck along the wall in the next room, not past the skeletons but along the north side of the room, and nothing happened. Everyone went into the next room, a thin hallway ending with one door. They had to break down the door but then found themselves in the armory. They had their weapons, and Redbrand cloaks, but not their equipment: Rizzo in paaaaarticular desperately needed to get her spellbook, the sum of her life’s work. Another interrogation of the guard and they discovered the Redbrand hideout had secret doors: their stuff lay behind one in the hallway.
Once they knew to look for it they found the door easily and entered a storeroom. Once again fully equipped, and up a level to boot, they set out in search of their party member.
The “dungeon” part of the game
They wandered south and found themselves in a large chamber with a crevasse running lengthwise through it. They had heard the Redbrands speak fearfully of an “eye monster” in this area so they tried to move quickly. They found a staircase going down to the northwest but decided to explore the southwest. A hallway ended in a dead end, but they quickly found a secret door.
They entered a room with a fountain and three doors. The eastern one led up a staircase into an abandoned house, with footprints leading through the dust to a door. They opened it and saw Phandalin: apparently the Redbrands made their base under this manor. They explored the north door and discovered a hallway with trapped floor, ending with a door into the room with the skeletons. Quoras had been brought through the way they had come from.
They chose the western door in the fountain room and found three Redbrands in a barracks. The fight took time, and blood spilled from both sides: the party backed up to force the bandits through a chokepoint, but after Rizzo stepped into the doorway and atop a dead bandit to attempt to cast burning hands on the others a Redbrand stabbed her, causing her to collapse as well. Dolemite climbed on top of her, a mound of bodies under his feet, and swung his greataxe.
Eventually Clant and Dolemite defeated the remaining Redbrands and revived Rizzo. They took stock of the situation: obviously Quoras had been taken somewhere to the west of the crevasse.
To be continued…
What had happened to Quoras? Did an eye monster really live in the crevasse? Who is this mysterious Glasstaff? Remember when they planned to fight orcs and I painted a bunch of orc minis and then they went and got themselves thrown in jail the entire time instead?
All this, and more, but probably just something I hadn’t even thought of instead, next month!
I had been hoping they wouldn’t think of this. ↩