Sunday, June 17, 2018

Phandelver Mine: Cragmaw Hideout Encounter

So, Lord Tom wastes no time in going to town and tracking down a roofer. Why? To pay for a new
roof on Tresendor Manor. They give him an estimate. Lord Tom negotiates them down just a tad and then convinces them to take half now and half later. Then, he hands over the money. (The Player and the Dm take a few minutes of tabletop arguing over whether Lord Tom has the money to do it. Then, The DM proceeds to audit Tom. Yes, I did! Every copper can be accounted for by the module from the encounters from the book.)

After securing the services and collecting a list of quests, the companions decide its time to go to the Triboar Trail. The companions come to the goblin ambush spot and track the goblins back to their hideout. It is a cave with a small stream flowing out of it, just inside the Neverwinter Forest. They defeat the sentries at the mouth of the cave. Amber casts light on Lord Tomas greataxe and they go in. The companions avoid a cavern with two hungry wolves. They continue down a tunnel and find an unstable tunnel high in the cave wall. Ignoring the "unstable" part of the description, Leo the halfling rogue, and Amber the dwarf cleric, shimmy up the wall and enter. Lord Tomas the human fighter, on the other hand, has great difficulty in the climb. When he finally gets into the tunnel, some of it falls on him, causing damage. Lord Tom has luck on his side this day, he hears the rocks walls begin to give way and he dodges the majority of the collapse, only receiving light wounds. The sound of collapsing rock echoes through the cave system. The sounds of running footsteps come closer. Leo turns and hisses to Amber, "Turn off the light." Amber waves her hands and dismisses the light spell on Lord Tom's greataxe. The trio sit in utter darkness and listen as the footsteps stop, close to the unstable tunnel exit. Guttural voices exchange words, goblins are investigating the noise.

Finding nothing, the voices cease and the goblins disappear into the dark. The trio exit the unstable tunnel. They are in pitch dark. Only Amber can see with her dwarfish darkvision. In whispers, she describes to them the opening of another cavern to their left and a safer tunnel leading to their right. Amber takes point. Leo grabs Amber's shoulder, and Lord Tom's hand rests on Leo's head. The cleric takes them left 30 feet., towards the cavern. The tunnel opens into a large cavern. Then, they stop to investigate again. The trio can clearly see soft fire glow 60 feet into the distance. Four goblins are sitting by one campfire, while another hovers beside a second. The shadowed goblin figures exchange guttural words between them.

"We need a plan," whispers Amber.

"I have an invisibility potion," said Leo. "I can take it. Then, I can circle around to flank them. You and Lord Tom come from the front, to distract them. Then, I can sneak attack them. They will be surprised either way."

"I will pray to Durin for a blessing," said Amber. "If he favors us, he will give us advantage and divine protection." (The DM has a mix of real myth and standard D&D myth in her world. Durin is the dwarfen god of surface and wandering dwarfs. You will not find information about this dwarfen god in the D&D books.)

"I will hit the dirty scallywags with my great axe. They shall taste the mettle of Lord Tomas Corlinn," said Lord Tom. (Then, the player gives a hair flip via-vi Gary from Final Space. Finishing with a smolder move via-vi  Bravestone of Jumanji. Trust me, it was funny)

--Out of game-- "Player, did you just give me smolder?" The DM asked.
--Out of game-- "Yes. Yes, I did. He is Lord Tomas Corlinn the 3rd, Baronette. Lord Tom should heroically smash and heroically smolder."
--Out of game-- "Okay, player, I am giving you an inspiration point! That was funny as hell."

---Back in game--

The cleric prays to Durin, and the benevolent god complies. The rogue drinks his potion and disappears. Amber and Tom ready their weapons and sneak 30 feet closer into positions. Leo gives the signal. Amber and Tom rush towards the goblins ready to strike...

---out of game--- "NOOOOOOO!!!!!! yells Amber's player.
"Oh no," said the Dm. "Amber what did you roll?"
The player puts her hands over her face. "I rolled a 1." She groans with embarrassment, while the other players laugh at her.
"Roll again. Let's see how bad you fail," said the DM.
Amber's player rolls the dice. "Ugh! No! I rolled a 2."
"Oh my good word," said the DM. "That's not good, but at least you didn't kill yourself." The Dm shakes her head and sighs. "All right, here's what happens..."

--back in game--

Amber and Tom, weapons drawn, rush towards the goblins. Mid-rush, Amber trips over a rock and falls forward, face down and prone on the hard-packed cavern floor. Her war hammer slips from her hand, sliding across the dirt 10 feet away. Her nose, smashed from the fall, spurts blood out and down her face, as she receives 4 points of impact damage.

The Goblins leap up from their positions, draw their scimitars, and rush forward to battle. The noble fighter receives goblin blows but makes his stand; doing his best to defend the onslaught of goblins from Amber. Leo shoots a crossbow bolt from his hiding place, instantly killing one.  Amber rises from the ground and draws her hand axe. Two goblins move past Lord Tom towards the cleric. Amber parries a goblin scimitar while the other strikes true. Lord Tom performs action surge, striking down a goblin and wounding another in a single blow. The rogue lets lose another bolt, finishing off Lord Tom's wounded goblin. Amber strikes the beast in front of her, wounding it. Two goblins strike Amber, she cries out in pain. Lord Tom moves 10 feet towards Amber, and strikes the wounded monster downing it. Leo looses another bolt and misses. Amber strikes again, wounding her second foe. The goblin strikes back and misses, distracted by the knowledge he is flanked. Lord Tom swings his greataxe and misses. Leo shoots and strikes this time, downing the fifth goblin. Amber melees with a mortal blow, finishing off the goblin. The goblin screams as he dies.

A guttural voice echoes down at them from above. ("If you are fighting again, so help me I will kill you all!" But in goblin, of course. And since none of them know goblin language, they do not know what the voice said.) To the west, the cavern floor descends upward as a ramp. It goes up about 8 feet and plateau's in a connected cavern. Standing at the top of the ramp, is a larger goblin, looking down at them. The three companions draw their weapons and move towards the ramp.

The larger goblin sees the trio and pulls out his weapons too. He moves down the ramp towards them. This goblin does not fare well at all. (his rolls were bad for the whole melee encounter.) Being used to pushing around smaller goblins, this beast thought he could do the same to adventurers. He only realized his mistake as he died.

After finishing off the monster, the three try to sneak up the ramp to investigate further, believing that more goblins lie in wait just beyond their site.  They are surprised to find a cage, with a very weak man inside. His name is Sir Sildar Hallwinter. Sir Hallwinter immediately recognizes Lord Tom, although the knight has not seen him in years. Sir Hallwinter has been a friend of the Corlinn family since they immigrated to Neverwinter. Recently, he was a companion of the Rockseeker brothers (Who happen to be Amber's kin. They called her to Phandalin in the first place.) Sir Hallwinter was in a caravan and in the Rockseekers company, when their travel was interrupted by an ambush. He and the Rockseeker brothers were captured, tortured for information, and subsequently separated. Sir Sildar was stripped of his equipment, caged, and starved. He only knows that the brothers were sent to Cragmaw Castle, to be questioned by the goblin king.

The trio takes a short rest while Sildar tells his tale. They regain some of their strength. But Sildar is too weak to help them clear the hideout. The companions explain that they are reluctant to leave him here, but it is also too dangerous for the weakened knight to leave. They way they came is blocked by a tunnel collapse and they have yet to know the way out. Sildar tells them that he will follow them at a safe distance. He will flee when the way is clear and meet them back in Phandalin.

Leo, Amber, and Lord Tom leave the spot in this cavern. They go through the area until they reach the dark tunnel, leading up and away from the collapsed tunnel.  Amber takes point. With her dark vision, she leads the other three through the lightless tunnel. The tunnel upgrades and opens to a large cavernous ravine with a  rickety rope bridge leading across to another tunnel. There is only one goblin sentry here. He is lazy and sleeping when the companions get to the bridge. It is easy for Leo to pick him off with a sneak attack.

The way is clear for the others. As they cross the bridge, the sound of a waterfall is very loud. They mange to sneak through the tunnel, into and through an opening into another cavern. This one has four huge stalagmites. Two of them are in dammed up pools of water. The other two are free standing in the cavern. Amber and Leo mange to hide behind the closest stalagmite without being seen. But Lord Tom's two left feet and metal armor prevent him from sneaking to far into the cavern. The three goblins see him and go for their weapons.

One of the goblins turns to flee up a stone stairway that connects another cave. Leo, from his hiding position, already has his crossbow out and ready.

----out of game---
Leo player; "I'm gonna shoot him in the eye."
Dm: "So, you are calling your shot?"
Leo player; "Yeah, why?" (This player is new.)
Dm: "That will make the shot a little harder. You will have to roll better than the goblin's armor class to hit."
Leo player: "By how much?"
Dm: "I think you will have to roll three better, so you have to get 18 or better to hit."
Leo player: "What will happen if I miss?"
Dm: "You miss the shot. Do you want to Rick it?" (Players laugh)
Leo player: "Is that 18 total or 18 on the roll?"
Dm: "In cases like these, it will always be total. You must total an 18 or better to shoot his eye out." (Players go into standard chant. "You'll shoot your eye out!") "Okay people, shut it!" Turns to player. "Do you want to try it or not?"
Leo: picks up dice. "Yeah, I'm going to try to shoot his eye out."

-----back in game---

Leo the rogue shoots the goblin and the bolt goes into the goblin's eye and out of the back of its skull. The goblin screams and falls backward-dead. In the meantime, Amber, from her hiding spot, casts a spell that fails. Lord Tom is being flanked by two goblins. The fighter uses action surge (he can because of the short rest he took earlier.)

---out of game---
Tom player: laughs "What the deuce!"
Dm: "What did you roll, Tom?"
Tom player: "I rolled a 20 and 1!"
Dm; gives an evil smirk. "Well then, here's what happens."

---back in game---

Lord Tom smites the first goblin with a heavy blow upwards. It splits the monster from groin to skull. Viscera, brains, and skull stuck to the great axe are flung into the air. The trailing gore spins like a pinwheel in an arch around Lord Tom and the goblin body falls to the stony floor. Fluid waves of bile, blood, and gastric liquids follow the arching energy of the swing. Lord Tom is showered by goblin entrails and juice.

---out of game---
Dm: "Tom, I need you to roll an intelligence check."
Tom player: "Why?"
Dm: "Because you are a lord and your face is covered in goblin viscera. This has never happened to you before."
Tom player: "Oh shit. I have a negative mod on my Intelligence."
Dm: "I know. Now, roll."
---back in game--

Lord Tom drops his great axe to the floor and he begins to cry. "Get it off! Get it off!" He spits. "Oh Gods! It tastes!" Lord Tom begins to panic more and his yells get louder. He performs a two-year-old, three stooges tantrum. He runs in place and waves his hands in front of himself. "Somebody help me! Oh, Gods!"

From the adjoining chamber, a guttural voice roars over the sound of the waterfall. Two goblins, a wolf, and a bugbear appear and move down the steps into the cavern. Leo and Amber's position has been compromised.  The bugbear points at Amber and yells something in goblin. The wolf moves towards Amber. Amber pulls out her war hammer. Leo makes an attempt to flee from melee range and fails. Lord Tom continues to panic. The goblin nearest to Tom gets in a solid hit. Lord Tom fails his check again and ignores the hit.

---out of game---
Amber player: "There are two pools of water here, right?"
Dm: "Yes."
Amber player: "Is there any way to get Tom to fall into one of them? I mean, is he close enough? Like maybe I can hit him and he can fall in or something?"
Dm: "You can try to tell him. But the sound of the waterfall is very loud. Plus, he is in a panicked state. And in your next turn, you are going to be in melee battle with a wolf. Tom is not close enough to the water to fall in. And he has already been hit by a goblin and it didn't appear to do anything. The odds of getting through to him are not impossible but they are high."
Leo player: "But he is open to attack, right? You said he dropped his great axe."
Dm: "Yes."
Leo player to Amber player: "I don't think we can help him. We best fend for ourselves for the moment. If we survive, then we can help him."
---back in game---

"Tom! Go to the water!" Leo yells. Leo dodges an attack and manages to disappear. Amber swings at the wolf and hits. "Tom! Water!" she yells. Lord Tom moves within range of one the pools and jumps in. Tom's goblin laughs. It turns towards Amber and moves within her range. It hits her with its scimitar. The wolf claws at Amber, causing more damage. Leo's goblins cannot find the rogue, so they move towards Amber. Leo shoots from his hiding spot. The bolt pierces the knee of one of the goblins, downing him and preventing him from further movement. Then, Leo moves and hides again. Amber is flanked by  wolf and two goblins. She manages to get in a shot. Lord Tom is fighting the water and his armor. He must rise for air, but is failing his saves. The goblins and the wolf hit Amber. Amber goes down. Leo emerges from his hiding place and shots again, aiming for the wolf. His shot is true and unexpected. The wolf slumps dead. Lord Tom rises from the water with a javelin in his hand. "Javelin throw!" yells Lord Tom. He throws it and it sinks deep into the goblin standing over Amber; preventing the cleric's death. The bugbear yells. "Klarg, will have you for sport!" It runs down the steps towards Lord Tom. The final goblin looks for Leo but still cannot find him. It decides to assist his master in attacking Lord Tom. Leo shoots from his new hiding place. The bolt finds its way into the a goblin shoulder. Lord Tom pulls out another javelin and throws it at the approaching goblin. The goblin goes down in a pool of its own blood. The bugbear isn't quite fast enough to reach Lord Tom. Leo, still in his place, shots again. Lord Tom climbs out of the pool and makes for his great axe. It lays only fifteen feet away but the fighter doesn't make it time. The bugbear comes up behind Tom and lands a hit. Tom groans in pain at the strength of the beast's blow. Leo diverts the bugbear's attention with a bolt to thigh. Tom manages to move within range and pick up his great axe from the stony floor. Tom turns to defend himself. The bugbear shifts within melee range of Tom and swings his weapon. Lord Tom parries the strike. Leo shoots again and misses by an ear. Tom swings hard and hits the bugbear, critically! The bugbear swings and misses. Leo has the final strike. The bugbear falls dead.
Leo runs to Amber. "Tom! I need a healing potion!" Lord Tom falls to his knees. "She has one! It's at the top of her pack!" Lord Tom fumbles for his own healing potion.

---out of game---
Dm: "Whoa there, Leo! What are you planning to do?"
Leo player: "I'm going to give Amber a healing potion."
Dm: "And how are you going to manage that? She is at 0 HP and is unconscious. In addition, What ever HP she does get back from that healing potion is going to be wasted because she is hemorrhaging badly!   If you do not stabilize her in 20 minutes, she is going to die from bleed out."
Leo player: "How do I stabilize her?"
Dm: "You roll a medicine check. You can, at least, stop the bleeding. Basic first aid is a DC 12. But you only get three rolls. I won't allow a "take twenty" for this stuff.
Leo player: "What's a 'take twenty'?"
Dm: "That is when I allow the player to assume success. If you roll the dice twenty times, you are going to succeed at one of those rolls. It's a game mechanic used to speed up game play. Like when Gandalf sat outside the secret door of Moria. He needed to solve the riddle to gain entry. The fellowship could have sat there all night and nothing would have happened. That is a 'take twenty' moment. In this case, you have a dying companion. Time is a factor. You cannot take twenty here. So, I am limiting your rolls to three."
Leo player: picking up dice, then putting them down again. "Wait a minute. Is that three total? Or three for just the medicine roll?"
Dm: "That's three total, player. One roll to stabilize, one roll to give her the potion, and one roll in case you mess up."
Leo player: "Wait, Why would I need to roll to give her the potion?"
Dm: "Because she is unconscious. You may end up drowning her if you pour the potion down the wrong hole." The players groan. "Hey! That is a possibility! Have you tried to drink something while asleep?" Players go quiet. "All right, Leo, roll."
Leo player: "No, wait. I want to make sure you know about my Halfling luck."
Dm: "Oh yeah. Okay, so with Halfling luck, you get a total of four rolls. Fine. Roll."
---back in game--

Leo manages to stabilize Amber. This gives time for Lord Tom to find his healing potion and swig it. Lord Tom rises and walks over to Leo, as the rogue tilts Amber's head back and pours the potion down Amber's throat. "Leo! NO!" yells Lord Tom too late. "You've opened her airway! She's drowning!"

---out of game---
Dm: "No. Lord Tom, you can't say that. Lord Tom doesn't know anything about that."
Tom's player: "I get a roll, too. We can't let Amber die from drowning. It would dishonor her family's name."
Dm: "She's not a Klingon, Player. She's a dwarf."
Tom player: "Still I get a roll, even if its it's player knowledge."
Dm: "Fine Tom, you get to do a medicine check. Roll."
Tom player: rolls and jumps up, pointing at dice. "Ha! I rolled a natural 20! You can't take it back!"
Dm: "Fine, Lord Tom You win. I won't take it back. Lord Tom knows that you did it wrong, Leo."
Leo player; "Then, I let Lord Tom do it."
Dm: "Well, Lord Tom, you better do it right or she is going to die right now."
---back in game---

Lord Tom rushes to Amber's aid. He flips her over and slaps her back. The potion comes gushing out of her airway. "Give me your potion Leo," demands the fighter. Leo fumbles in his pack and retrieves the potion. Meanwhile, Lord Tom rolls Amber back over. He picks her up and slides in behind her to hold her in a sitting position. Leo gives Tom the potion and Tom opens her mouth and slowly pours the liquid into her mouth. He gently rubs her throat to stimulate her to swallow normally.

A few moments later, Amber wakes. The companions take a short rest while Amber recovers. While they do, they explore the rest of the cave and adjoining chamber. They find that they have cleared Cragmaw Cave. The companions find the missing supplies from Lion shield Coster, loot the cave, and leave for Phandalin.