Next instalment for those who like the recaps.
Sir Curtas Sulazar (@keith) Human Fighter
Fannloy Roade (@twentynine) Human Cleric (absent tonight, so played by me)
Gelanúr (@songs_about_ducking) Half-Elf Bard
Gloran Hopback (@grievoustim) Dwarf Monk
Sir Kelross (@alex.hidell) Half-elf Ranger
Zana Dalanthan (@dingaling) Wood Elf Druid
As always, apologies for any errors and massive thanks to the squad for being amazing.
Gundren Rockseeker, a close friend of the party, is missing. He and his bodyguard, Sildar were ambushed on the way to Phandalin. The party rescued Sildar but Gundren had been taken, maybe to somewhere called ‘Cragmaw’, at the request of ‘The Black Spider’.
Gundren had recently found a map that he thought would lead him and his two brothers to Wave Echo Cave; a magical cave that most people assume is a myth.
After arriving at Phandalin, the trail has gone cold. The town is in the grip of a bullying militia called The Rebrands. Sildar’s colleague, the wizard Iarno, is also missing.
To help the town, our brave adventurers head off to investigate a troublesome orc encampment at Wyvern Tor.
Part three: Wyvern long face?
Reaching Wyvern Tor took the group a couple of days’ uneventful ride from Phandalin. The forest was noticeably more dense and less travelled as it headed east. Zana tried to climb a tree at one point and fell out.
On the second day, they explored the crags the map had led them to. Sir Kelross and Zana, who are both forest dwellers, easily found the location they were looking for. A cave cut into Wyvern Tor, with a single orc standing watch.
While the rest of the group stayed back out of sight, Zana turned herself into a rat and crept behind the orc lookout. After waiting for a while, Sir Kelross marked his target and sent an arrow straight at it. His archery lessons had paid off and the arrow sunk deep into the orc’s neck, causing a huge amount of damage. The orc had no time to react as a crossbow bolt from Gelanur flew past him and a rat he’d failed to notice suddenly turned into an elf and killed him with a scimitar.
As the party gathered at the cave entrance, Gelanur and Zana started to move the body. As they did, Gelanur cut himself on a sharp piece of armour and let out a loud curse.
Sir Curtas, who speaks orc, could hear voices from inside the cave. They were arguing over who would check out that noise they’d just heard. The party moved into position and readied themselves for an attack.
As an orc ran out of the darkness towards Sir Curtas, Zana called roots and vines to crawl out from the rock. Sir Curtas managed to avoid getting snared, but unfortunately so did the orc. More orcs followed and the battle was on.
The first three orcs all swung their axes at Sir Curtas, the first one missed, but the other two dealt savage blows. Sir Curtas fell backwards and hit the floor with a worrying thud. Gelanur sang to inspire Zana as she turned into a dire wolf. Unfortunately, her bite missed its target. As did Sir Kelross’ arrow.
Fannloy, sobered by the sudden attack, shouted a healing word at Sir Curtas which wasn’t quite enough to get the fighter back to his feet.
Gloren ran in, using a flurry of blows to land a couple of strong punches to one of the orcs. Sensing this punchy dwarf was their biggest threat, the orcs struck back at him with powerful axe blows.
Gelanur sang a healing word to ease Gloren’s injuries as Sir Kelross put an arrow into one of the orcs.
The Zana-wolf missed another bite. Gelanur inspired Gloren as he cut down an orc and punched another in the chest. The first orc was slain but Sir Curtas was still dying, it was one-all.
As the orcs pressed their attack, the one wearing Sir Kelross’s arrow in its arm ran towards the ranger but Zana took a chance to maul it as it ran by. Her bite hit hard and she used her wolf strength to knock the orc to the ground. Meanwhile, the orcs attacking Gloren landed a crushing blow that put the monk face down and motionless.
Gelanur wondered if it was time to run, they were already two down and there were still six orcs very much alive and kicking. Instead, he steeled himself and shot a crossbow bolt into an orc. Sir Kelross pushed a sword into the orc Zana had knocked over, killing it easily.
Fannloy cast another heal on Sir Curtas, this time enough to bring the man back to his feet. Rejuvenated and angry, he surged forward and with two heavy swings of his greatsword, he took out another orc.
Gloren also came back to consciousness but decided to play dead while he was surrounded by orcs. They focussed their attacks on the Zana-wolf and she whined as the blows landed. Undeterred, she retaliated, putting another orc on its arse as Sir Kelross killed the one beside her. It looked like the battle was turning in the party’s favour.
Fannloy held up his holy symbol and shouted some words he thought he remembered from somewhere. A flash of light breathed new life into the recently revived Gloren and Sir Curtas. The pair respond with vigour, Gloren immediately leapt to his feet and brutally laid into one of the orcs with his axe and fists, as Sir Curtas swung his greatsword fatally through another.
The last remaining orc hit Zana again, but fell still as Gelanur yelled at him to stop.
“How many more of you?” asked the bard.
“Ha! No more orcs here” replied the orc, still not moving.
Gelanur sprang forward with a stab of his rapier, but the attack was dodged. Before the orc could rally, he fell to a follow-up strike from Sir Kelross.
The party caught their breath and reflected on what a close call this had been. Two of them nearly died and the fight had taken almost every trick they had.
Zana, still a dire wolf, began to sniff around the rest of the cave. She ran up to the party, turned back into Zana and loudly whispered “I can smell an ogre!”.
Realising they knew little about ogres and were very beat up, the group fled to a secluded area nearby. Gelanur kept a fixed eye on the cave as the others rested. If the ogre came out, he would see it.
After a few hours, they assembled around the cave again. Zana resumed her wolf appearance and snuck into the cave to lure the ogre out. It wasn’t easy, as the ogre was barely awake and blessed only with ogre intellect, but it took the wolfy bait.
As the ogre came out of the cave, the group attacked. Zana leapt up and bit it, Sir Kelross, Gelanur, Sir Curtas and Fannloy let fly a brutal salvo, as three crossbow bolts and an arrow all put holes in the monster’s chest. Gloren ran in to follow up with a series of blows.
The ogre was big and now very angry.
The raging wounded ogre whacked Zana with his club. It was a good hit, but the wolf shook it off and sprung up to bite the ogre on the arse. The monster let out a roar of agony as the dire wolf tore flesh from its rear. This injury proved one too many for the ogre and it fell dead.
Sir Curtas cut off the ogre’s head as Gelanur found the stash of gold in the cave. Kerching!
Further rooting around uncovered a courier’s satchel with a couple of letters in. One of which seemed to be addressed to Sister Garaele, the friendly shrine keeper they’d met in Phandalin. It was wrapped around a silver comb.
Sir Curtas made it clear that he wanted to return any property here to its rightful owners. The team agreed and also decided it was not a great idea to spend the night in a cave filled with orc corpses and a decapitated ogre. They retreated to where they’d stashed their cart and made camp for the night. No asked Zana what ogre arse tasted like.
During her watch with Fannloy, Zana became aware of someone or something watching them. She turned herself into a cat and investigated. She soon picked up a familiar scent and followed it until she found Sildar creeping through the forest towards their camp. She popped back to Zana form and warmly greeted Gundren’s bodyguard.
Sildar grabbed Zana, spun her around and put a knife to her throat. He loudly walked her to the camp and made sure everyone was awake.
Sildar angrily asked the confused and startled party if they had anything they wanted to tell him. They shared their orc and ogre destroying success from the previous day, but this didn’t seem to be what Sildar was getting at. He threw a poster to the ground in front of the party…
For the brutal murder of Iarno Albrek (Sildar’s other missing friend, the wizard)
If you see these villainous scum, report them to The Redbrands immediately. Reward available.
On the notice were four crudely drawn, but recognisable faces. The faces of Gelanur, Gloren, Sir Kelross and Fannloy.
Sir Kelross managed to bluntly convince Sildar that they had nothing to do with Iarno’s disappearance or apparent murder.
Eventually, an exasperated Sildar released Zana. He told them he’s exhausted and frazzled. Having lost the friend he was supposed to be protecting then finding his wizard colleague was also missing. And his efforts to find any answers had so far come up with nothing.
The party deduced that the reason those four of them were on the poster was most likely because they were the four who’d entered the Sleeping Giant: drinking hole of The Redbrands.
Sildar also shared that Sister Garaele had been seen talking to the party in town. It seems she had been punished for that through a severe beating that has left her wounded in bed.
Sildar said he needed to go to Neverwinter. He’d been called back and was hoping it was information that could help them find Gundren. He asked that the party continue the investigation at this end and help Phandalin, but to keep a very low profile as they were now wanted by The Redbrands.
What is with those Redbrands? Is Sister Garaele okay? Why was she asking about the mining exchange? What good is a silver comb? WHERE THE FUCK ARE GUNDREN AND IARNO? What will Sir Curtas do with that severed ogre head? How will the team survive as wanted criminals?