This week’s dorks and orcs recap.
As always, apologies for any errors.
Gloran Hopback (@grievoustim) Dwarf Monk
Sir Kelross (@anon42112221) Half-elf Ranger
Zana Dalanthan (@anon75298087) Wood Elf Druid
Sir Curtas Sulazar (@keith) Human Fighter
Gelanúr (@songs_about_ducking) Half-Elf Bard
MIA: Fannloy Roade (twentynine) Human Cleric
Previous recaps: Dungeons & DiSers Part one: Don’t know who you are, pal
Dungeons & DiSers Part two: Big Cave and The Bad Deeds
Dungeons & DiSers Part three: Let Sleeping Giants lie
Dungeons & DiSers Part three: Wyvern long face?
Dungeons & DiSers Part five: Back to The Phandalin
Dungeons & DiSers Part six: Shut up and roll the crits
Dungeons & DiSers Part seven: The Linton Gravel Cavern
Dungeons & DiSers Part eight: Staff meeting
The story so far
The dwarf Gundren Rockseeker, a close friend of the party, is missing. He’d recently found a map he thought would lead him and his two brothers to Wave Echo Cave; a magical cave that most people assume is a myth.
Gundren and his bodyguard, Sildar, were ambushed on the way to the town of Phandalin. The party rescued Sildar but Gundren had been taken to Cragmaw Castle at the request of The Black Spider.
The Black Spider is a dark elf who wants to find Wave Echo Cave. He arranged the ambush of Gundren after hearing that he’d found the map. The Black Spider employed the mercenary group terrorising Phandalin (led by Iarno Albrek, an old friend of Sildar’s operating under the name Glassstaff) to waylay the party and end their investigation.
With the mercenaries slaughtered and Iarno in custody, the party have become local heroes and learned where Cragmaw Castle is.
Awaking after a long, levelling rest, the party were met with two revelations: Fannloy was missing and Sildar had returned to Phandalin.
Sildar greeted them warmly, having heard that they’d taken care of the redbrands and captured their leader, Glassstaff. He was keen to talk to Glassstaff once the Townmaster, Harbin, opened the Townmaster’s Hall where he was being held. He did not yet know that Glassstaff was his old friend Iarno and none of the party had the heart to tell him.
When Harbin eventually did open the Townmaster’s Hall, they entered to find Iarno dead in his cell. After giving a heartbreaking explanation to Sildar about Iarno’s double-life, the party inspected the scene. Iarno had been shot expertly in the throat with a very finely made crossbow bolt. He was still locked in his cell and had been facing his murderer. Harbin insisted that no one else had a key to the Townmaster’s Hall. The cell was not visible from any windows and there was no sign of forced entry. Sildar was convinced this was an assassination, by someone who was very good at assassinations.
Taking the bolt with them, the party visited some people around town:
Linene Greywind at The Lionshield Coster confirmed that the crossbow bolt was not a standard issue. It was well made and expensive, the kind an assassin would use.
Halia Thornton at The Miner’s Exchange was delighted to see the return of Zana and Sir Curtas, with the full party in tow. After a lesson in the importance of brand recognition and a decision to call the party The Heroes of Phandalin, she was keen to get a glimpse of the various documents Sir Curtas had recovered from Glassstaff/Iarno’s quarters.
Gloren suspected Halia wasn’t being entirely honest when she said she didn’t associate with the kind of people who would know how to arrange an assassination. Sensing this, Zana asked for a minute to scan through the documents herself. As she did, she found most of it impossible to decipher but she did notice a few Purple Stars stamped throughout.
(Purple Star is the name of the brewery that supplies both of Phandalin’s inns)
They handed the documents to Halia who gave them a cursory glance and said it was written in Thieves Cant. She promised her scholar would look at it and she’d pass on anything useful she found. Although she pleaded with the party for more details on their adventures, they left.
Qelline Alderleaf at Alderleaf Farm was pleased to meet the Heroes of Phandalin. She didn’t have much to share, but she confirmed that the Purple Star brewery makes a weekly visit to Phandalin and she sees their carts.
Back at The Stonehill Inn, they learned that Iarno had introduced the landlord to the Purple Star brewery and helped set up the sweet exclusivity deal with them and Grista at The Sleeping Giant.
The next day, the Heroes of Phandalin (HoP) gathered supplies and headed off to Cragmaw Castle - the place they believe Gundren was being held.
As they approached the crumbling ruin of Cragmaw Castle, Zana used ‘pass without trace’ to help cloak her friends. They made their way up the stairs, through a battered down door and into a foyer.
Time had not been kind. A number of the castle’s towers were ruins and it seemed only the ground floor was now inhabitable. The original stone building was threaded with vines and patched up with crude scaffolding.
As they explored the foyer area, Gloren felt something against his foot and realised just a second too late than he’d hit a tripwire.
With a loud crash, an avalanche of heavy stones and wooden beams fell from the ceiling. Luckily, Gloren managed to leap out of the way and no one else was close enough to be hurt. Unluckily, this sound had undone all their sneaking.
Knowing this was about to get violent, Gelanur sang Gloren an inspiring song and everyone readied their weapons.
Goblins flooded in from both ends of the foyer.
Zana’s prepared Thorn Whip spell struck one goblin across the face but failed to do any significant damage, as she and Sir Kelross both took hits from the little critters. Oh oh!
Sir Curtas and his magic sword critically sliced through a goblin, killing it instantly. Gloren missed with his axe but followed it up with a deadly, critical punch to kill another. At the other end, Sir Kelross delivered a critical arrow shot and Zana hacked away with her scimitar, both of them killing a goblin each.
Seeing four of their number so easily dispatched didn’t seem to bother the goblins as they continued to swarm the party. Unfortunately for them, all their attacks either missed or did little damage.
A bad axe swing from Gloren almost made him drop the weapon, but again the follow up punch was a good hit. Leaving a badly injured goblin as easy pickings for Sir Kelross’ keen shooting.
Zana turned into a brown bear and the goblin attacking her was lucky to avoid the beast’s jaws and claws. Meanwhile Gelanur badly injured a goblin with his rapier and Sir Curtas surged forward to kill another.
Six goblins down but they showed no signs of stopping. How many more could there be?
Although they had the larger force, the skill difference was clear as the goblins struggled to land any attacks on the newly levelled party. Meanwhile, rapiers, swords, arrows and axes found their targets to thin the greenskin masses.
(it was about this point where I remembered a key thing about Sir Kelross’s character that would’ve made his role in this fight even more effective, but you live and learn eh)
As Zana, in bear form, tore through another goblin with her claws, they still could not see an end to the little bastards.
How many more goblins can there be in this castle? Will they keep coming just to face their doom at the hands of the HoP? Will the team find Gundren here? Will they find The Black Spider here? Who assassinated Iarno? And why? What does a brewery have to do with all of this?
9 redbrand thugs