Potential Heroes, Definite Mischief

Session 21: Candlekeep
Doing all the research

After a month long hiatus, due to work and life being crazy, we were back in the game. Sure, people didn’t really remember what was going on but soon enough we were all up to speed and back in the game. Literally.

  • Being admitted to Candlekeep the group all get a bit of a tour of the grounds and Inn. They meet the innkeeper and custodian of the living quarters – Winthrop “Winnie” Jr. Who doesn’t have the greatest sense of humour- tending to joke about the price of services around the keep.
  • The inn itself houses Seekers in one wing, with servant quarters opposite, and guest quarters in another wing. There is also a bathhouse, dining hall, and workshops.
  • Woody and Isk patrol the grounds to see what’s around the place and make notes of places to check out (namely the barracks and stores.) Ran takes a wander, with Detect Magic active, looking to see what’s what- and if he can find any secret passages.
  • Nivlac talks to Winnie for a while and looks about for any characters he can chat to who might be around the dining hall. Being the afternoon it’s a bit quiet but he does find, or hear rather, a woman exclaiming her frustration. She’s human, surrounded in papers and everyone else is giving her a rather wide berth.
  • Talking to her, which is a bit of a task in itself, he discovers that she is running low on time at Candlekeep and is at a dead end in her research – creating earrings which allow telepathic communication. Her name is Cassandra, and she has silver in her hair despite being appearing in her late twenties. He banks this away and leaves her to it when she gets a bit snippy with him.
  • The rest of the group head to the stores, but find them low on supplies – and the quartermaster, a goliath named Bo, assures them they’ll get resupplied in a couple of days. Woody puts in a few requests for items, Ran buys some books and parchment, and the group collectively ask for him to seek out some Bags of Holding, which he guesses he has somewhere. He’ll let them know (this was brought on by Isk stuffing her hand into any and every bag she could find, before she was asked what the hell she was doing.)
  • They find Nivlac smoking his pipe on their way out and he let’s them know about Cassandra- as he did say he could help her out.
  • The group get a meal, with Woody laying out a smoked fish and asking for a plate and side dishes to accompany his fine catch. He’s apparently got 3 more of those stashed away.
  • After eating, they find the woman, Isk buying her a drink, and they manage to get through to her despite her initial standoffish demeanour (perhaps in part of her desperation.) Working together they offer a number of solutions on how to get her patent working and come up with some ideas for an improved prototype.
  • Woody actually gives the woman hope by using his silent speech through the earrings she’d made previously; though he was just trying to mess with her. But his latent abilities are strong and actually managed a minor effect through the item.
  • Isk and Ran manage to put some earrings together quickly; and Woody plays his ocarina – drawing a crowd of curious onlookers. One of which being a strange man, Franzibald (a philosophy), who at least tips the halfling 10 gold for his song. Woody reassures him he’ll be playing there every night.
  • Cassandra offers the group a deal – they can get a copy of the patent to create items for their use only, they are not allowed to sell them, and she will offer them a cut of whatever pairs she manages to sell. The percentage itself was never agreed upon; but Isk and Ran did shake on that deal.
  • Meanwhile, Nivlac has a suuuuuper long bath and is incredibly pruny. But, totally relaxed and ready to go in the morning.

Day 1

  • Isk and Ran finish up the earrings for Cassandra, and they test them- learning that they work. She let’s them know she’ll be leaving that evening, but will leave a copy of the patent for them to work with and her contact details. She thanks them for their assistance.
  • Cassandra also offers the group varying levels of payment for their input, work and consultation/referrals. She’s a little out of pocket, but happy, as she’s only an assistant to an enchanter back in Amn and this could help her massively.
  • The lads, Ran and Nivlac, are introduced to their Avowed study assistants. Becaryn, a gnome woman with an interest in item creation and history, will work with Nivlac, and a 14 year old human boy with genius-level IQ, named Jamie, working with Ran. They get the ins-and-outs of the whole study situation and pretty much get to it.
  • Meanwhile, Isk and Woody visit the stables (and see to Woofford- who goes for a jaunt with them), and then head to barracks. They see what looks to be the end of a large fight, with one man standing amongst 12 prone soldiers. He’s helping them up and thanking them for the sparring session.
  • The man, Xalkash, after some conversation, invites the two of them for a sparring match and Woody takes him up on the offer- which starts with a critical hit, taking the man with surprise.
  • The two trade blows, and Isk gets invited into the fray. Woody giving as good as he’s getting, and managing to weather any strange effects the man is using in the fight. Isk starts with a fog cloud, but things soon go to hell when the cloud is blown away and the man hits them both with some kind of force… Woody, again, stands his ground, but Isk loses her footing- being blasted back 60 ft, out of the arena and likely to crash into the wall.
  • The man leaps towards her, prompting an attack from Woody (who does hit), but hits the wall before her- catching her and cushioning the blow. Apologising for getting a bit carried away (constantly wiping some of the blood from his nose from a few choice whacks from Woody.) They part and he says that he hopes to see them around.
  • Isk, with an idea of making an amulet, wishes to get up one of the towers to see the ocean. She talks to one of the guards, who was smoking and chokes on the stuff when she surprises him, and he allows her up there. The man’s name is Jebediah and shrugs off Isk’s many criticisms about his bad habit.
  • Woody spies some of the ponds, and seeing fish, decides to do some fishing. Totally catch and release. Or so he says.
  • The two then go to see Bo, as Woody has some ideas for a new item (yeah, it’s totally a fishing rod) he adds some more items to his ‘tab’ he’s set up. Isk buys some tobacco, asking what Jebediah smokes (and it’s “cheap shit”), but does get invited to play cards with Bo- who beats her in a hand of poker (two pairs, yo.) Isk is starting to take this string of loses to heart at this point.
  • Time passes and the group meet up for dinner. The lads are cagey about their studies but are excited to get back to it tomorrow. They do talk of their assistants, comparing and contrasting with what they’ve both been offered.

Day 2

  • There are meals, plans, and the boys go off to study.
  • Isk goes back up the tower, seeing Jebediah (late for another watch shift), to work on her amulet again. She gifts him the tobacco, which he’s grateful for.
  • The group all get collectively brought in to the stores when the caravan’s shipment comes in. Hearing dwarven voices, the group look outside to see familiar faces- Big Jon and Little Jon. Little Jon actually having a bit of a beard coming through now. This is their last stop before they head down to Amn to see out the winter in a warmer climate. They also give news (spurred by Woody stating that he’s killed some dragons) that a black, white and a blue dragon have apparently been active up north.
  • The group also tell them to head to Greenest and see the Kegtappers sometime.
  • Heading back to see Bo- Woody gets everything on his tab, and the group are told about a bunch of items that are available. Including Boots of Spider Climbing and two (COUNT ‘EM, TWO) Bags of Holding. They try to do some bargaining for the lot, and offer to play cards for a better deal. Bo, loses his first hand, offering a best of three scenario- Ran takes him up on it, and loses the next two hands. Amused anyway, he offers the lot at a discount. It’s not enough to sell Nivlac on the Boots, but he does manage to charm his way into a ‘free’ decent bottle of wine and the group come out with two Bags of Holding.
  • They are also told NOT to put them inside one another because that just straight up JACKS THINGS UP.
  • The lot got their own ways. The boys bring back some more Works of the Avowed, and news on Isk’s blade. It’s not news she finds very palatable- but it prompts her and Woody to study up on dragons, which they do that night and a bit the next day.
  • The group also meet Becaryn, who chats to Nivlac about their studies and she promises to bring some decent herb along for their next study session.

Day 3.

  • Isk and Woody get some dragon study on, which the boys do their thing.
  • And then they visit the barracks… getting the idea to spar- EACH OTHER.
  • It looks all well and good, until Woody uses his Ring of Spell Storing to cast Bless on himself, prompting Isk to do the same… AND ALL GLOVES ARE OFF. But Isk (with her amulet creation in mind) doesn’t have her combat spells prepared.
  • Still, the training grounds are turned into a warzone of ice, hail, lightning and steel as the two beat the ever-loving shit out of one another… and eventually Isk falls.
  • While unconscious, and they drew quite a crowd during all of this, Xalkash comes to her aid with a healing potion. When she responds with confusion (having been knocked out) he gives her the empty potion bottle and heads off, leaving the two to do their thing. Jebediah also realises he’s late again, running off.
  • The group all meet up again for meals and a chat, and Ran tells Isk he now has the method to create Scripts of Telescription. He gives her a bunch of materials, but not much else apart from that. The group also all talk a bit about getting information on Brendell Zeenk, when Ran says that he did get an accidental confirmation from Jamie that the gnome did indeed pass through maybe a month ago. But, no one else has been forthcoming with information, as avowed and staff are restricted in talking about the dealings of other patrons.
  • With that, the group all get some rest and ready themselves for another day of discovery.

Normally I’d have a lot to say here, but basically I’ll just say this- man it was good to play some D&D again. Also, the duel between Woody and Isk was straight up amusing as a DM, seeing as they kept looking at me initially for guidance when they were meant to be beating the crap out of one another.

I know that I, at least, had a heap of fun watching everyone do their thing.

Session 20.5: Prep session
Late fees are 35 cents per item per day

Hey all. So, first things first, congrats on getting into Candlekeep!

But what does that mean now? Well, it means half of you have ten days to learn stuff, which is all well and good, but I don’t want to pull it out of my butt during the session.

So this is you guys helping me help you.

This post is so you guys can talk amongst yourselves to decide what kind of priority you want to put on topics, and what the topics themselves are, to research. And who is going to look up what.

I figure Ran and Nivlac will have their own stuff they’ll want to sort out/privately research.

So! I figure something like the following will work:

  • Ran and Nivlac can send me a message when you guys figure out a list, in priority order, of things you guys want to work out (this will include personal/group research.)
  • How you order it is entirely up to you.
  • You all don’t necessarily have to use Obsidian to do this, but I figured it might be handy.
  • I’ll need a bit of lead in time to make sure I have enough to give you guys for session, so just keep that in mind :).

And that’s it… okay, it was a lot. But now that’s totally it. I figure the next session will go a bit like the training session did, with you guys seeing how you go with how things play out- but I’ll try streamline things as much as possible (which is the whole reason I’m suggesting this.)

So, have fun, y’all.

Session 20: Displaced to This Place
Because some of us don't get enough of libraries...
in our day to day lives.

NB: It will be important to note that the future combat in this session had the DM roll most die with a result of 9 or less (lots being 3 and under.) And even then, most of the hits were mitigated with abilities.

For added effect, read that section while listening to Yakkety Sax (you know, the Benny Hill Show theme.) Actually, you’d totally know that. Man… I need some caffeine already.

  • So the group find themselves in the now abandoned complex once occupied by Karador and Vik the Spectator. First thing first, they decide to give the place another once over to see if there’s anything they want to take.
  • Unfortunately the armor Isk wants just isn’t practical to drag along, so they leave it be, and soon after they exit the complex- with Ran completing the sigil to close off the lower levels.
  • Woody recalls forgetting to grab a bunch of things, but we all figure he’d have totally picked up his hammer and wand of magic missiles. I’m not that much of an asshole… though it seems like the players sometimes want me to be.

This came up a couple times this session… oh, if only you all knew what I had planned for you all…

  • Noticing the time wasn’t Undead O’Clock the group figure out where they’re heading and start to hightail it out of the woods, realising they have a couple days travel to do before they’re out of the place. Most of the party members do grab a bit of the bone meal that covers the ground being the kleptomaniacs that they are. But I can’t fault them, all the best adventurers are as well.
  • The travelling is pretty smooth with the group managing to steer away from the darker, thicker woods and swamps. They make good time… until they realise they’re being tracked, and then flanked and then… familiar faces.
  • The familiar faces were John the (alpha) jackalwere and some of the survivors from the cave-fire fiasco from earlier. All sporting wounds and burns from the incident. And there was also a displacer beast.

In retrospect the displacer beast could have been a mistake… what went from – “screw these jokers”, quickly went to “FIRE THE MISSILES!!!” And remember what I said about poor dice rolling at the start of this? Yeah, that happened right about here.

  • So, it was our intrepid heroes versus John and 8 jackalweres, and a displacer beast. But the group went back to back, and things went down hard. It all started with John revealing himself and Nivlac tossing an alchemist fire at him… with a nat 20 on the throw.
  • John goes to give a speech, but Nivlac knows speeches, and he knows you need a big breath at the start of a big speech, and the bottle of alchemist fire flies into John’s mouth, shattering and setting him on fire. Another jackalwere tried to put him out but only burned himself for the effort.

Cue Yakkity Sax

  • The Displacer Beast leaps from a tree, landing and striking at the party. It shimmers and avoids a couple attacks, but then Woody steps up with a combo of blows and a shield slam that knocks the creature prone. Nivlac piles on with Gooey Doom or whatever disgusting name Contagion has.

Looking this up, I’ve learned this is a 5th level spell… So, he did cast this like 3 levels too early. It explains A LOT. Same goes for Legend Lore, which has a pretty pricey component cost as well.

  • So while the beast was down, Isk follows up with Inflict Wounds, which crit. Woody himself discovers that his hammer doesn’t hurt the creatures, tosses it, and then goes to work with his +1 Mace. At one point he finished off the Displacer Beast, killed a jackalwere, and smacked John in the face in a turn. Dude was a machine.
  • Ran evaded some attacks and straight up tanked two Jackalweres while getting in some Green Flame Blades to finish them off.
  • Isk wasn’t having much luck with her greatsword, but ironically unlocked another one of its attunement conditions by using Wrath of the Storm on her Lightning Breathe and destroying 3 Jackals in one attack. There were a lot of very low dexterity saves.
  • John tried to hold on despite taking burning damage every turn but ended up falling, after taking enough fire damage to leave him with 1 HP… he just wasn’t ever going to be getting revenge on these guys.
  • They loot, skin the displacer beast, and move on.
  • With a bit of time they find an entirely uncomfortable campsite, but it suffices and they get some rest. Ran goes about sorting out the displacer skin, to make sure it doesn’t get ruined. They wake up with some prickles in their butts, but soon enough get themselves out of the woods for the first time in days.
  • They head over to where the party left their horses (using Ran’s animal handling skill, due to his conversation with the beasts previously) to see if any remained… And Isk rolls a nat 20, and Coal gallops up to greet her, Nivlac rolls a 19, and his nightmare-ISH (ish, it’s not actually a nightmare) cuts a fine figure standing atop a small hill to greet its master, and Ran rolling not so hot… but Sunny being there for him. Unfortunately the extra horses they liberated from the bandits/cultists earlier weren’t there, but the rest of their stuff was. Yay for silver linings!
  • They rest up, look after the horses and gallop out over the countryside.
  • When they start to get ready for calling it for the day they find a young man by a stream, fishing and attempting to cook fish. He wasn’t having the best time of it. The group approach him and while talking he realises that his fish are burnt beyond salvaging (not that it stops him from attempting to do so anyway.) The man’s name is Urien Yindalla from Luskan and leaving because it’s a pretty shitty place (ISK AND WOODY ROLL INSIGHT!) – on his way east to Greenest and perhaps the sea of fallen stars. He’s a bard and is looking for tales, and tales he does find, but not before Woody decides to show him how it’s done in the fishing department.
  • And seriously, Woody is consistently an excellent fisherman, even with his Super Lure giving him a penalty (this, over the course of this whole interaction, becomes Super Lure MKII.) The halfling also gives him a few pointers and he and Isk also help to give him a better fishing lure.
  • During all this Woody catches a bunch of fish to smoke for future provisions.
  • Urien shows a genuine interest in the party and their tales, and asks them if they have a name- they come up with “The Harvesters” after a lot of dark and foreboding examples. “We reap what you sow” being something of an impromptu catch phrase for now. The bard promises to work on something and sings a song for his meal and shares his campfire with the group.
  • The group tell him that passing on some of their stories to Greenest might be a good idea and basically try to tell him of all the places they’ve been and the things they’ve killed. But in a good, less psychotic kind of way. They also tell him to check out the Kegtappers, and kinda scope him out to run their store there (which they’re not sure they even have.)
  • He shares his watch with Ran who takes an interest in the man’s instrument – which Urien doesn’t let him play for fear that the instrument would injure him, but he does play a little into the evening to show Ran a few ways around some strings.
  • Everyone else has an uneventful, peaceful watch, with Nivlac watching the night sky.
  • The group also re-fill Woody’s Ring of Spell Storing, with some sleep-talking (Deep speech) from Nivlac.
  • Isk wakes early and washes herself in the nearby stream, and notices Urien awake at the camp, stretching and warming up his voice- embarrassing him profoundly. And during the morning Nivlac also checks the Lore behind Isk’s Greatsword “Blue Claw.”
  • He gets a series of visions, of a great blue dragon Kessellax-Reth, the sword being forged with powerful lightning breath, a human of some description seemingly serving the dragon, and wielding the sword in a gigantic battle against metallic dragons- with the human breathing lightning himself and destroying a smaller platinum dragon.
  • Isk is decidedly a lot more excited about her nearly awakened sword.
  • The group talk about parting ways with the bard, and Ran gives him a “care package” of random monster parts to take back to Chen. The group also go through their inventories a bit, wondering what the heck some of the things they have are and where they got them. It also comes up a bit that Nivlac missed out on a few things in the Snakewood previously- but he was busy setting up Nivlac’s Army in Greenest.
  • They do part ways with a wave, and the group ride off to Candlekeep… and true to the bard’s word, they get there in a couple of hours.
  • Approaching the keep they meet a few of the monks at the gate… one, Hartel, tells them of the conditions for entering Candlekeep and what they’re about. He asks them if they have an entrance donation, and Nivlac offers his tome penned by Volo. And Woody considers his book of ogre love poetry… another monk checks the book, and laughing, admits they don’t have anything like it. With Nivlac’s donation, they’ll allow another person to access the collection, with the addition of the ogre book.
  • The group head in, and Isk and Woody (having given his entry to Ran) go to the guest chambers, and Nivlac and Ran are briefly shown the section in which they can read the materials and also told the services the keep provides.
  • They regroup, start to strategise how to spend the next 10 days, and the session ends there.


So, what will the group seek to find out? What will Woody and Isk do with their ten days of ‘free time’? Will they investigate? Will they create some kind of trouble? And what secrets will the Seekers uncover? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

Session 19: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Subtitle is credited to Calvin. I found it hilarious.

  • In a dark, dark house, there were dark, dark stairs, and down those dark, dark stairs was a horrid summoning chamber, a corpse and 4 sleep deprived adventurers. There also were books and a dog.
  • Some of those adventurers shrugged off exhaustion, but it was not true for all of them. Unfortunately the DM forgot to keep tabs on it, so I don’t think anyone actually rolled any checks with disadvantage.
  • So while the group talked about what to do next, the sound of drumming fingers caught their attention. The hand on/of Nivlac’s Tome of Shadows was tapping against the cover. In a wonderful OOC moment where Matt asked, ‘wait, can we hear that?’ Nivlac reads the book, finding a passage being penned before his eyes, resulting in him casting the Speak With the Dead Spell.
  • The group ask questions of the corpse, which creeps some out more than others. The initial surprise almost prompting Ran to stab it, but the others hold him back. They find out a few things, such as who the corpse was, how it died, what the room next to them was for. And while they argued about the last question, a spectre floated above them remarking “well, this is awkward” and leaving soon after. Nivlac thanks his patron, while the rest are kind of creeped out by the whole affair.
  • Seems the ghost belongs to the body. Or vice versa. Whatever.
  • The group then decide it’s time to venture downwards into the next room. But not without using owls to scout ahead first. They look for traps, with Woody managing to help them avoid one, and ending up into a room with a giant pit in the centre and steel doors on the opposite side of the room. It’s deeper than any of them (or the owls) can see.
  • Standing at the base of the stairs seems to trigger a large pressure plate and the sound of shifting stone can be heard from the direction of the stairs they came down.
  • Meanwhile, Ran is looking through his owl’s eyes, and notices a round shape moving up towards them. He tries to fill in the pit with stone, but it’s too big to do in time. He then tries to use Mold Earth to cut away the stone near the door to try get around it. He makes a gap but by then the shape has moved up into the room.
  • The shape is a creature with a large, round shape and a singular giant eye, a gaping maw and 4 eyes on stalks that stare at the people in the room. And, in a jovial fashion, asks what they’re doing and tells them to stay away from the door- as that’s where the research is, and you’re not allowed to touch the research.
  • Ran doesn’t move away, and ends up getting paralysed by one of the eyes that glares at him. The creature is apologetic and asks for them to move away or he’ll throw the elf into the pit (which they later learn is really, REALLY deep.)
  • They speak for a bit about the creature and they ask for Karador (the corpse/ghost) the Spectator says he’ll get them and yells out continuously.
  • Woodford does try to circumvent the whole door situation by summoning Woodju through the gap and behind the door. He looks through the owls eyes (with Ran Minor Illusion-ing a face over the sleeping Halfling’s face)… to find another steel door down the corridor.
  • I believe the discovery was met with the words “FUCK.”
  • The group do talk with the very open, and friendly (if odd), Spectator, who they call ‘Vic.’ Short for Vik’Ranlious Supresia Nravak Mousey von Birkendocks the Third. It seems to like the nickname.
  • Not long after the group is met by Karador… the spectre. But moving closer to them he seems more corporeal.
  • They talk and it comes out what the group is expected to do, and what the man himself wants. He’s happy to go off with the Zhentarim to continue his work, and possibly using them to help get himself reincarnated, provided they’re still a big player in the world. He’s been dead for a while now.
  • They learn he can still cast spells, when he was asked if he was capable, and has connections to the Red Wizards of Thay. He doesn’t seem too keen on them though these days.
  • He tells the group he’s happy to go but wants his notes, supplies and prototypes. Anything outside of that they’re welcome to keep. He also is informed that he is to make a commission for the party members for their work in procuring him, and he seems interested in the prospect.
  • With that he opens access to the next room- his workshop, and the group go digging around. They find an assortment of various items, tools, magical coals, notes, books, a secret door leading to another level down below (points to Isk for finding the hidden button in a desk drawer) and a bunch of crazy transforming weapons and armor items.
  • Woody seems very happy with a hammer/morningstar/flail thing he finds and tests that out for most of the time the group are in the room. The rest find armor they want to keep and Nivlac unfortunately doesn’t find a replacement staff- but likely gets ideas for one.
  • They also talk about the prospect of joining the Zhentarim and what they’re going to do. What they should do with Karador and should they meet his request. Morality is brought to the forefront and what they know of the organisations at play and that they’re involved with. Ran is convinced Karador is evil, or at least a threat- and this is generally agreed upon. But they do come up with a plan eventually with what their options are and what they plan to do.
  • Basically a lot of character discussion happens and it was awesome. Inspiration was handed out all round. (Though admittedly, I can’t 100% recall accurately if this is exactly when this conversation happened. It might have happened after the ‘next room’ bit.)
  • The group also find themselves in need of storage solutions. They have no way of moving this much stuff. The wizard finds them a bag of holding (hidden in a secret compartment in the wall) to put the items into (fitting most of the room’s important contents) and when asked about the floor downstairs, tells the group they’re welcome to whatever is down there. I’m fairly sure this resulted in everyone yelling “I’M INSIGHT CHECKING HIM.”
  • The room below is dusty and disused. The group are instantly suspicious of everything in the room (not that they weren’t before) when they see three chests at the back of the room, and two giant suits of armor on each wall beside them.
  • Amor is inspected, ballbearings are thrown, everything is inspected… and when the group all get into the room and Isk goes again to inspect the armor- one of the suits grab her. The other stepping down in front of her, filling with an ominous red glow.
  • The two helmed horrors frustrate the every-living hell out of the party- being immune or resistant to a lot of the party’s arsenal. Nivlac’s Master Blasting (Agonising Blast) does nothing to the creature’s, and he panics, thinking to grab a chest and smash it into one of the things. Isk gets grapped and bashes at the horror in front of her with her greatsword- eventually scoring a crit (while Giant, thanks to Ran’s Enlarge spell), meeting one of the conditions on her weapon.
  • Woody grabs his Wand of Magic Missile, unleashing all but one charge in the thing. As a DM I felt a bit bad actually lending him d4’s to roll all the damage… 27 actually, which is awesome, but then saying the spell has no effect on the thing (Force immunity, man.) Woody yells “God fucking damnit” and throws the wand at construct in frustration. But c’mon, that was hilarious.
  • Ran manages to do some serious work with Green Flame Blade, but Isk takes a lot of hits. Woody manages to use his shield to repeatedly knock the things prone. Smashing them in the head or knocking away one of their legs completely. They keep getting back up, but with the group’s concerted efforts (and Nivlac giving up on the chest idea and resorting to Shillelagh) the things eventually fall…
  • Ran also did give Nivlac some (bardic) inspiration which did help ensure some solid hits with the Warlock’s staff. There was some singing. Not gunna lie, I was impressed.
  • Woody takes and wears a helm while Isk takes out her frustrations on one of the suits of armor- smashing it into scrap.
  • The group then pilfer some books and scrolls from the bookshelves and in the chests find some items (later to be identified as a Robe of Useful Items (which can transform into other forms), some Dust of Dryness, a mummified beholder eyestalk, some ingots of rare materials, and a Headband of Intellect.
  • The final chest, when grabbed by Woody, is revealed to be a mimic. And it latches onto the Halfling’s face. Everyone panics (though most people OOC yell “I KNEW IT”) and what transpires is probably the funniest combat I’ve ever had in game. Isk cast Inflict Wounds on the creature, becoming stuck to it as well- and in her frustration also kicking it, and getting increasingly stuck. Woody also Shrinks, almost disappearing into the thing, thinking he could slip out. Ran also used Lightning Lure, pulling everything attached to the creature (i.e. half the party) across the room. Isk then tries Plan B, which would be a suplex. She does said suplex, knocking the creature prone- the one thing mimics are immune to. But you know, points for effort. And soon enough the thing was killed quickly enough.
  • So, people’s feelings a feeling a bit hurt at this point and they’re contemplating trying to get back at Karador. But the group decide they are going to go for a different tact and try get an extra deal out of Karador, for their assistance.
  • They find out what the man needs to go forward (breathing preferably) and the group (thanks to Nivlac’s suggestion) decide to contact Jilhaly to see what she can do.
  • As for the group – and about 5 minutes into this conversation is what brought up the line used as the subtitle – they ask Karador what they want from him. He’s happy to get things rolling and seems to comply pretty willingly.

- Nivlac requests entry to Candlekeep. And as such, he’s gifted a tome penned by Volo himself – detailing creatures of the Hells (Nivlac uses Legend Lore to confirm the item’s authenticity and is suitably impressed.) It’s a first edition, with drawn illustration plates, and signed. Karador guarantees it’ll get him in.

- Ran requests to be taught something by him at some point. When Karador jokingly mentions apprenticeship, Ran balks, but eventually comes around to the deal as a whole. Ran tells the wizard in what he’s interested in learning and Karador also gifts the elf two tomes- one detailing animated items (with some information on sentient items) and another manual on constructs.

- Woody wants an Owl. A giant owl. Or a giant owl egg. Karador asks if Woody would prefer something living, spectral or constructed, but he isn’t sure if he can manage this. Woody intimidates the fuck out of Karador (Nat 20) saying that he wants an owl. Karador says he’ll manage something (and it’s odd to see a ghost start to sweat.)

- Isk… isn’t sure what she wants. At first she wants an item that allows her to breathe underwater. She wishes to be immune to drowning. Karador mentions how amused he is to hear this from a cleric of Umberlee. He does say that such a thing is easy and common enough and if she’s sure this is what she wants. But Isk does change her mind afterwards, instead asking if she can ask for his assistance in locating someone for her. This he assures her he can do.

  • So Ran writes the note, throwing in parts about dead people and beholders. But gets a response soon enough (Jilhaly is starting to get settled in Baldur’s Gate at this point, noted in one of her replies) saying she can send someone to sort things out.
  • Woody, equipped with the Headband of Intellect, decides he’s going to try it out to see if he can make more sense of the room downstairs- sure they missed something. He does discover a small false wall, a trigger and a small hidden area with a chest- a chest that contains 900 gold pieces. He comes back upstairs in short order, proud of his find, and pretty happy with the headband and his skills.
  • But back on track, Ran says they’ll need some time to get ready and she complies. They grab the supplies, Karador’s body, and put the Sending Stone in the summoning chamber- behind the very thick, reinforced glass. He’s worried Ryld is going to show up.
  • And his suspicious are met somewhat, with a 6ft tall man appearing in black, ridged plate armor. Their features completely obscured. But in time they let him in and Ra’Ghul asks what’s going on (quite dryly) and wants to get things sorted and back to Darkhome.
  • They collect things up, and Karador does offhandedly mention the individual deals he made with the party, and quickly enough the dark plated mage grabs a scroll, and opens a doorway. He tells Karador not to blame him if he’s torn apart by the Weave, and heads through. Karador thanks the party, waving and telling them he’ll see them in another life, the party also say goodbye to Vik who floats through after Karador. Vik happily says goodbye and tells them all to take care.

And with that, the group are left with instructions on how to destroy the complex (a note with instructions on where to find and complete a glyph), and a few pieces of armor (Isk fancied the spiked plate armor) and gear.

With that, that leg of the journey is completed. What will the group do next? Where will they go? Who will they join? Will any of them be able to say Vik’s full name? Will Munchlord come back as the big bad in session 48?!

Find out next time!!

Seriously, had heaps of fun with this session and it was great seeing all the characters interact and getting to see a lot of their goals come out to the forefront (in their own ways.) Though seriously, I will dock experience if Pokemon Go starts getting talked about STRAIGHT AFTER ROLLING INITIATIVE, GUYS!

Session 18: Out of the Frying Pan
... and into the fire (because there were hellhounds)
  • A post-Shadow morning arrives and the party discuss their future plans in greater detail. Why are they doing this? Will they work for the Zhentarim? What are Sending Stones and how do we get one of them into the lowest levels of the Abyss? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!
  • With the reservations aired, Ran reminds Munchlord that he’s owed 40 pounds of food from Isk… but it does result, not only in the meat-sack being refilled, but everyone getting a bit of a meal. Woody and Ran both use Prestidigitation about 100 times each to clean Munchlord and to flavour their food.
  • When Munchlord is asked if he can be quiet, he says “Maybe…” while backing away, backing into bushes, and… out of sight. Repeating “maybe” all the while. And with that, the little muncher seemingly has disappeared.
  • He did ask Nivlac if he can leave, seeing as the warlock has been keeping a pretty close eye on the critter, but managed to sneak off despite saying that Nivlac saying he’ll think about it.
  • The group then pass through some dark woods, brambles impeding their way. They cut and slash their way though but take a few cuts and scrapes. The going is incredibly slow, and dark.
  • Some hours later the woods clear… into a supremely murky marsh. But it’s more like a bog, with a thick, obscuring fog and a foul stench in the air. There’s more mud than water and the group slog their way around the edge of it. Isk’s keen sight helps them avoid some hazards that seem like sinkholes.

It should be noted that the group often check the compass which is becoming less and less accurate as time goes by, especially after all the bushwacking in the woods (Isk and Ran both spent most of the time slashing away there.)

  • Ahead of the group they do hear some strange noises ahead. Avian, raptor-like, and a reptilian clicking sound. Ran spies something like a nest ahead and takes point, rushing ahead. Isk decides she’s having none of it, and looks down, frustrated… and noticing oddly shaped stone. Stone that looks like it’s in the shape of creatures. Or maybe it’s petrified half-eaten creatures… FUCK.
  • She runs ahead, with the group keeping pace and she grabs the elf, pointing down at some of the petrified remains. There’s a lot of talking, and noise, and the creatures make their horribly strange calling noises and give chase after the party.
  • They sprint ahead through the thick mud, they can’t tell the numbers of the creatures (now revealed to be cockatrices) skimming over the surface of the bog behind them. Exhaustion is starting to grip them, and Nivlac gets an idea. He uses Minor Illusion to create the sound of a dragon roaring, and the rush of wind of something swooping… it works and the creatures flee back to their nest. It also deeply unnerves some of the party- namely Isk who is at the front at this point.
  • Running further they make it into more dark, thick woods, and most of the party manage to gather themselves somewhat… but Nivlac is unfortunately exhausted. While they stop to gain their breath and take in their surroundings they hear something. Something that sounds like the roar of a furnace crossed with a growl. With the slamming of powerful jaws the sound ceases, but the group see the source- hellhounds. Flames licking up the sides of their mouth, and before they can do anything they attack the party.


  • Nivlac’s choice of Fear spell, making one of the hounds run 100 ft away in a single turn. There were also some, as per usual, choice master blasts.
  • Isk killing yet another creature with Guiding Bolt, causing Ranorme to point out again that the spell typically isn’t used as a finisher. Her greatsword however did not fare so well.
  • Woody, and Woofford, putting in work and managing to dodge and subvert a lot of flame breath (leaving the dog unscathed.) Woody himself doing some pretty massive damage with his trusty warhammer and also using his ring of spell storing for the first time!
  • Ran… rolled a lot of ones. He managed to mitigate a lot of damage thanks to Absorb Elements but unfortunately the fire damage he absorbed couldn’t hurt the beasts.
  • The creatures hit hard, but they’re hit harder, and being one down for most of the fight causes it to be over in reasonably short order. But the group are hurting a bit and are a little disappointed (namely Ran) when the creatures crumble to charcoal and ash.

  • Pushing through further into the woods they reach a desolated area… creatures can’t be heard and the woods are still. Before them is an area a couple hundred feet across, on flat gray-white-brown, stony and rough-looking sand. On top of it stands a small single storey building with similar structure they witnessed to the day previous.
  • Nivlac explores about the house, noticing jutting stone buttressed up against the side of the building. The rest… face a door.
  • Ran finds the door is stuck and Isk decides it’s a time for brute force. She shoulder barges the door, to find it isn’t locked… just a bit stuck, and crashes through the door and tumbles inside the room.
  • The room is filled with mostly broken furniture and possessions, and for a moment it almost appears that she did a lot more damage than just breaking a door. Inside is a door leading to another room (Ran figures this is where the chimney stack and suspicious structures of the previous ruins was located.) He rolls a one to look for traps and opens the door.
  • It isn’t locked but there are magical sigils, which activate. Woody manages to duck out of the front door and out of range, but Ran and Isk are blindsided and a shockwave of force knocks them back into the room and stuns them. The door then slowly shuts itself.
  • Isk uses Dispel Magic (rolling well) to sort out the door and the sigils are burned out and ruined. But hey! New room!
  • Points of interest in the room are some robes, a bed, and bookshelves (which is reasonably well stocked with tomes.) It is assumed that something should be behind the bookshelf and the group remove the books. Ran finds some arcane script on the wood and Woody finds some gold in the pockets of some faintly magical robes.
  • Woody also finds some decent books on folk tales and the different planes that are amazingly illustrated and finds himself reading those. Nivlac similarly browses through as many books as he can.
  • Being too scared to do anything with the bookshelf (after the door incident), and learning that the spell on the shelf is something to do with ‘converting energy’, Isk resorts to another Dispel Magic… rolling well enough again to fry the enchantment here as well.
  • They shove the bookshelf to find a hidden door and a secret passage leading down some stone, carved steps.
  • Heading down there’s some dim flickering light, and near the bottom… a corpse. A robed figure with a broken neck and ankle.. it looks like they fell down the stairs and didn’t make it. A mop and bucket aren’t too far away.
  • The room isn’t large and there’s steel doors with an arcane glyph drawn on it (mostly) and another passage leading down. The sound of wind and chatter(?) can be heard. The party wants none of that right now.
  • Ran looks about for magic, notes the magic glyph, torches, faintly glowing robes, and an amulet.
  • The corpse looks like it’s been down there for a while and the party puzzles over who or what it could be. Isk tells the party she can speak to the dead, but not today because a goddamn goblin demanded a level 3 spell in order to feed it.
  • Oh well, that’s a job for tomorrow, but for now- let’s come up with questions! And that happens, for a while. Seriously, the group came up with discussion trees and all sorts of stuff. Probably should have given out some inspiration for that, in retrospect.

As a DM I’ve learned there are two things that will make a group stop for like 30 minutes at a time: Doors and apparently the Speak With The Dead spell.

  • There is some more investigation but the party try to get some rest. Ran studies the glyph and the books somewhat. He also excavates a section of earth near the house that was similar to the other ruins… but it leads to a large amount of stone and so that ends there.
  • First watch transpires and nothing happens. The second however… Isk notices a slight rumbling to the ground, which grows stronger. She runs outside and notices one bony hand thrust out from the sandy grit, then two. A skeleton, then two, then five, ten, twenty, thirty… all start climbing out of the ground and surround the building. The chattering of bones is deeply unnerving… as is the large, monstrous minotaur skeletons also rising out of the ground.
  • Isk thinks she can take them. She KNOWS she can take them… but then there was HEAPS of them and FUCK it, she was out. The group wake up and notice the undead are struggling to approach the house but some start to get through. They start grabbing books and trying to barricade the place up, and they realise it might have been easier to defend if all the defenses weren’t destroyed.
  • Seeing the undead, Nivlac impeaches his patron for power… and gets… something. Maybe (everyone else had to leave the room.) He manages to make some of them turn back through the sheer force of his will… but it doesn’t exactly stem the tide. Still shaking his staff at them he retreats inside.
  • They manage to grab some of the tomes, and Ran goes for a mad dash, only to be near, too near, about 5 skeletons. They all leg it downstairs, Ran completes the glyph on the steel door (I’m possibly getting the order for that wrong, I think he might have explored it a little earlier actually) and everyone runs inside. Ran also drags in the corpse… and a very tense, terrifying night passes. Sleep is had in spurts but nothing that could be called a decent rest.
  • They also discover the room they’re in. There are levers and an adjacent room, separated by thick glass. Using Faerie Fire to illuminate the room they see arcane symbols and summoning circles everywhere. Blood covers much of the floor and the back of the room disappears into darkness. Sloping up somewhat but to where, they don’t know? Some have theories however.

  • The night passes… everyone is exhausted and frazzled… but there are no signs of undead. Nothing but the disturbed dirt outside and the destruction of all the barriers placed by the party. The tomes that weren’t taken to safety… destroyed.

And we ended the session there

What is in store for our heroes? Will they brave the corridor leading down or will they peace out again? Will they risk sleeping another night? Will DM remember that Woody has a dog with him now?! What on earth will happen?!

Find out next time in Session 19!

Session 17: Into the Woods
Who let the dogs out?
  • Led by Munchlord, the party prepare to head into the Wood of Sharp (Shark) Teeth.
  • The woods are dark and thick with large thorns growing from the undergrowth and brush, and similarly from the vines overhead. Travel might be slow going, but would likely be too difficult for larger beasts.
  • The group scout the area to find a place to leave their mounts, and appropriated additional horses. Woody and Isk find a small cave, and obscure it with extra foliage, and lead the animals there. They are left with food and Ran speaks with them to let them know the situation and that they’ll be back.
  • Soon after they head into the woods with an established marching order (with Woody riding Woofford (this name also will consistently confuse the DM over and over for the entirety of the session) with Munchlord leading the way.
  • The compass seems to lock onto a location quite strongly but also deviates in several other similar directions- all seemingly near the middle/thick of the woods.
  • Travelling onwards the party come across a bunch of dark mushrooms, which Munchlord decides to eat, which blasts them with paralysing spores. Ran who was taking notes on the flora, and Woofford, are the only ones affected… and while dragged to safety, spend close to an hour locked in discomfort.
  • With Munchlord’s continued guidance the group are led to a little bit of a clearing, in which like the corpses of a number of goblins. Some have their heads cleanly cut off, some are clawed brutally, and some look as though they died in a peaceful slumber. Munchlord kicks some, chastising the goblins, and looting a better shift (clothing) and shiny trinkets. He attempts to pick up a crude knife but Nivlac prevents this from happening and destroys the piece of equipment.
  • Munchlord tells the party, when asked, that the goblins were killed by dogs and men. And that blades couldn’t hurt them. Soon after they keep progressing deeper into the woods.
  • During their travel they notice a canine (Jackal, to those with decent perception) watching them, and it runs off. Scouting ahead, with Woodju, they discover a campfire up ahead in the direction the ‘dog’ ran. Ran and Munchlord stealth in front of the rest of the party, who makes a cacophony of noise.
  • They come upon a malnourished old man, dishevelled and wearing salvaged scraps and rags. Ran approaches him and finds out the man’s name is John and that he’s stuck in the woods, came from the North, and was attacked. He offers to lead them to the group that did this to him, and Ran offers him a short sword.
  • The scouting party heads back to the rest of the group and Nivlac immediately distrusts “John” and hands him some silver. John winces when picking it up and he legs it when they notice. Isk attempts to cast Hold Person but it fails and the ‘man’ runs into the woods, and with a horrible accompanying sound, starts to transform into a jackal and run away.
  • Following him, the group make it to the campfire, which has a cave near to it. No men or jackals seem near the area, so they spend time investigating. The compass needle points in the direction of the cave.
  • The fire has had dirt kicked over it, but embers still burn. Ran investigates the cave entrance, and while it is trapped a little ways in with a pitfall of sorts (noted by Isk), he notes a white-gray residue of a thick ‘paste’ in an oval shape above the entry. He scales the rocks and goes to take a sample. When he’s about to do so an iris-like slit appears and the oval takes on the shape of an eye, which stares at him. He scrapes a knife across the mark (noting its arcane nature) and disrupts whatever it was.
  • Isk’s passive perception, and recollection, make her realise she’s seen these marks previously on trees and such about the woods. Most of which aren’t intact. Either worn or destroyed.
  • They all now start to feel like they’re being watched. And the compass needle is now spinning wildly.
  • The group then proceed into the cave passage, which is narrow, and not entirely deep. It opens into a larger room and they spy dark shapes moving. They also hear a pained whimper which is muffled.
  • With darkvision and light spells cast (on stones and thrown into the room), the party see jackals and half-men half-jackal creatures. One, with gray streaks in its hair and something like a beard, steps forward.
  • The group discover the jackalweres have lived in the forest, near an area where they dare not approach (where something powerful lived.) They motion the direction that area is (the same place the needle was pointing previously) and there is a bit of a stand off with the creatures.
  • The party notices a tortured and badly wounded goblin at the back of the cave, the source of the earlier whimper. Munchlord attempts to stealth around the back of the room but fails and holds his ground.
  • Ran casts chill touch to put the goblin out of its misery. The illumination from the spell reveals hope, then despair, then… nothing. Other goblin corpses, similarly ‘played with’ are seen in the cave.
  • The group go to leave, with Ran walking forward and the rest keeping eye contact with the cruel creatures. The jackals attempt to cast some form of sleep spell on them, but they all resist the ability.
  • Reaching the front of the cave they discover Munchlord frantically stacking wood and kindling in an attempt to burn or smoke the creatures out. The rest of the group assists, sets the fire and leaves… quickly. The sounds of panic and growls can be heard behind them.
  • Travelling to where the needle (and jackalwere) previously pointed the group come across the ruins of a small home. From a distance they spy a glowing blue-white shape (that wasn’t a jedi) of a human male, moving through the ruins. Again the group makes too much noise and it notices them, smiles a little, waves flippantly and disappears.
  • They investigate the home and find that it is destroyed, as is the home’s contents. Looking at the compass needle they notice that the spinning is slowing the longer they stay within the confines of the home.

*They discover an odd patch of ground (in a rectangle) near the house that looks like the grass is less overgrown there. With close inspection they see that there’s a light groove cut into the ground that appears to be filled. Isk stamps on the ground, and in the home, but nothing seems hollow.

  • Ran uses Detect Magic and notices blasted bits of debris that once held an enchantment (almost appearing like dust or white noise in his vision) and some sections of stone that seem solid but also seemingly defeating their purpose (one was a chimney stack.) The rectangular section of the ground also has a faint line where the grooves are places.
  • A thick, translucent goop is on the ground where the ‘thing’ once stood. Ran collects a bunch into a vial, and the group collectively scavenge for parts of a container (making a makeshift dish) and filling it with the goop. Placing the compass over the goop makes the needle point again in another direction, albeit shakily, but this time it only points to one area.
  • With most of the roof missing from the home, they decide to try make it easier to find from the sky in case they need to come back. Munchlord offers up some of his shiniest trinkets so they can be spotted (by owls, more than likely.)
  • With afternoon coming and light waning, the group progress until they see a darker, thicker patch of woods. They use Shima to find a lighter patch of woods that would make a suitable place to camp and they do just that.
  • The watch is uneventful but the darkness seems to shift and move about them. A little into the night, the shadows move, rushing towards the sleeping party and putting out the campfire.
  • Shadows attack and damage the party, sapping their strength. One critically misses Munchlord (seriously, a 1, but it also solidifies Munchlord as the most lucky creature ever.) And one crits Woodford.
  • Things look a bit grim, with the creatures resisting most damage, until Isk (after blasting one with a Guiding Bolt in the previous turn) uses her Turn Undead… blasting 6 of the 8 remaining creatures to dust on the wind.
  • Soon after the rest of the foul creatures are destroyed, bringing Isk’s faith to the forefront of the party’s interest for a moment, and the party gets a restless night’s sleep.

And with that the session was over a little earlier than planned.

Woodford also managed to trade Munchlord some rations for a shiny, goblin, caltrop-like piece of junk. It’s super shiny though. I anxiously await the creation of ‘super-lure 2.0.’

Session 16: Mercenaries & Munchlords

The game is going fortnightly from here on, with a second game to eventually spring up in alternate weeks. Stay tuned!

  • With afternoon waning, the group spy the small group of buildings with bandits and cultists milling about.
  • The group come up with many plans, but decide on Nivlac’s: to wait for dusk, light a campfire to draw attention, while he disguises himself as a cultist and asks for help.
  • The rest of the party hide in the bushes and trees, with Woody covering himself in twigs and foliage… one with nature.
  • Nivlac’s expert acting gets the scouting party onside: which consisted of three bandits and a cultist (seemingly calling the shots.) The woman, convinced by Nivlac to be a sister of the Black Dragon Cult, offers her aid and when Nivlac mentions his party being wiped out (and their loot being lost on the road) somewhere nearby, gets the attention of the bandits who offer to claim it.
  • Nivlac heads back to the cultist camp with the cultist woman, while the rest of the party do some pretty ineffective stealth (outside of Ran) on the bandits who have head off in the direction stated to be where the loot is.

  • When the party make some noise on accident, the bandits veer off in a direction towards a torch lit in the distance. Ran initiated, but Isk blasted one to death with the divine wrath of Umberlee through a Guiding Bolt. The lads then proceeded to clean up, featuring the use of Burning Hands.
  • And with the noise and yelling, the other scouting party runs towards the group. They scatter and hide, with Isk hearing where they all hid in the darkness, and Woody tearing off and Thunderwaving one of the bandits he found climbing up a tree- launching them into the air and causing them to crash into the ground.

During this tiny intermission Isk used Bless on the party. A rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.

  • The rest of the party finishes off the bandits, who try to retreat or fire crossbows, but having fairie fire dropped on them makes that near-impossible. During the commotion, the camp is alerted (by the large gout of flame and dying screams.)

  • Meanwhile Nivlac is returned to the bandit camp where he meets the leader of the cultist cell – Medreth. He is concerned for Nivlac’s persona and welcomes her, though tells her to prepare herself as it appears they may soon be under attack.
  • While forces are being consolidated and the camp prepares itself, Nivlac speaks to Medreth and the cultists about the White Dragon Cult and what it is they have been doing in the woods- laying ambush to trading caravans, and planning to attack those returning from Greenest to larger towns.
  • They intend to ferry the treasure to the North, and eventually to the castle in the clouds. The day in which they summon Tiamat is approaching.
  • Soon after, Medreth goes back to organising his forces- including the two lesser priests of Tiamat that speak to Nivlac, with one of them offering to teach him/her magic if the opportunity presents itself.

It should be stated at this point that it looked like Nivlac was seriously considering ditching the party to join this outfit.

  • Meanwhile, the rest of the party has returned near the small village with a plan… to draw more people away… but then they decided to just straight up rush from different angles. Fuck the plan.
  • The ensuing fight was brutal. Priest and acolytes laid down offensive and defensive magic, but most were taken out with brutally thrown spears (rolling a re-rolled 1, due to halfling luck, for a 1-hit-kill.) Nivlac got the fight started in earnest, while yelling his disdain for the dragon queen, and using the Arms of Hadar.

Nivlac was also unfortunately/fortunately placed near both leaders of the camp, due to his infiltration- but also received a Bless buff from one of the acolytes

  • Ran used Burning Hands to incinerate two bandits, while Isk (who seemingly summoned a storm with her previous blessing) obliterated enemies with her empowered Call Lightning. At one point using her Channel Divinity to max out a strike at 40 damage, killing the priest and nearly killing the bandit leader.
  • Thanks to the empowered nature of the lightning the collateral damage/force did cause one of the ramshackle buildings to catch alight- the one they previously knew contained the bandit’s plunder.
  • Ran used some water bending (from barrels about the camp) to put it out… a few times.
  • And Nivlac did fall, when the last surviving acolyte looted the priest’s blasted corpse to find their dragon mask and Wand of Magic Missile and unleashing most of the charges on the party.
  • But soon enough Isk brought him back and revenge was swift as Nivlac used Fear on the remaining enemies… causing the bandit leader to flee- with Woody getting a critical hit on an opportunity attack with his whip. Which honestly was a bit brutal but it got the job done. And hey, he got to use his whip in combat finally (Woody went through a lot of weapons in this combat.)

  • The party then calm the horses the bandits had tied up and add them to their own, while looting and pillaging themselves- finding a few choice items and a large amount of gold and gemstones. They drag the bodies into the woods and then rest for the evening.

  • The road is reasonably uneventful, with the occasional sign of struggle (seemingly from the bandit activity) and discovering a destroyed wagon and murdered family. With nothing they could do for them Isk performs a small ritual for the fallen, to lay their souls to rest.

  • When the party stop to rest, there is a moment where each of the members see how well their mounts/pets respond to them, resulting in some trials being undertaken for Woofford- who is tempted with food, but told to ‘stay.’ He does though as Woodford seems like something of an animal handler. Or at least very good with dogs.
  • That night, during Nivlac’s watch, something snuck into the camp and started devouring the party’s rations. A small, green creature with a silly, large, pointed hat- the self-proclaimed Munchlord.
  • Munchlord rolled like three 20’s to avoid the party’s attempt to catch him, but eventually he was put in manacles. He did nearly take off with a horse though.
  • With some clever, goblin-like thinking, they convince the critter to tell them where it came from: “woods, with stupid men and stupid dogs.” And Isk promising Munchlord that she will make food for him, any food he wants, out of thin air when the sun is in the sky.
  • Munchlord wakes Isk at the crack of dawn and with Create Food and Water gets a pile of beef which he devours and then stores in his hat (which he places on his head.) The party (Woody) then dunk him in a nearby stream to clean him and Ran doing his best with Prestidigitation. They somewhat clean the goblin but he’s not happy about it.
  • About half a day’s travel is had with Isk and Munchlord sharing their horse. But soon enough the party approach the Wood of Sharp Teeth. Munchlord directs them to the South where he says he came from and the party ride to that location.
  • The wood stands before them. Vast, dark and with a howl on the wind. The compass needle directing them deep into the woods.

Session 15: Obstacles
The grass is Greenest on the other side

Nivlac was unfortunately unable to make this session. As such he was PC’d by a kind of ‘majority vote’ at the table. Or rather a WWND (What Would Nivlac Do?)

  • The final challenge of the tournament was presented to the party and their recruits- the obstacle course.
  • First off the bat was Woodford, who had the most traditional approach to the course. He set the time to beat with solid teamwork and some unconventional problem solving.
  • Second was Isk whose first act was to crash through the first two walls/barricades. She was starting to get a decent amount of steam before the second obstacle wiped her entire team out (which became something of a reoccuring issue.) And unfortunately, with some issues, her time wasn’t too crash hot.
  • Thirdly was Ran who manipulated or skipped a lot of the elements of the course via magic and edged out Woody’s high score.
  • Lastly, was a collaborative effort with Nivlac, who made a solid showing… but unfortunately there was some poor rolling and what could have been a good run fell by the wayside.
  • In the end the results were as follows: Ran, Woody, Nivlac and then Isk.

  • The party and their recruits were led to the centre of town and given a seat and ale… and then informed of the true final challenge – a drinking contest. A chance to turn it all around, with each and every competitor able to earn points with their ranking.
  • The trainers all bowed out reasonably early, but it came down to Maddock, Brentworth and Orek in the end. Maddock unfortunately choked near the end and Brentworth followed soon after- with Orek taking out the competition. Clerics were on hand for anyone who didn’t look like they fared too well.
  • And with that the competition was at its end, with the final results placing Ran first, and Woody and Isk (tied) second, and lastly Nivlac. With all teams getting a monetary prize, and with that the festivities truly kicked off.
  • With the commotion, Escobert approached Ran, asking for his (and the party’s) time, in regards to an issue that cropped up earlier in the week. They head back to the keep to have that particular discussion, with all but two of the Guard following them.
  • Escobert asks Ran why it would be that Orek and Kenny attacked him and asked if they need to be locked up for the town’s safetly. Ran immediately owns up to the attack on them and Escobert basically tells him that he was trusted with those recruits and that he broke the law. The party is told they’re to leave town when they can and that their deal with the Kegtappers is now void.
  • Discussion follows and he’s talked around and asks for time to process things. But the whole thing sours the festivities, which the party are allowed to partake in. Most of the party goes off to drink (with Isk having a conversation with Markguth (who apologises for the whole affair)) and Woody literally leaving his mark on the town (cutting “Woodford Rulez” into a support beam in the Kegtappers’ soon-to-be tavern. Woody also nailed a lot of Stealth checks.
  • Ran decides to follow Ryld about town (as he and Jilhaly were also involved in the earlier discussion.)

  • The morning arrives and Escobert comes around again to the party, having cooled off significantly. The deal with the Kegtappers is left up to them.
  • The group also talk details on the move to Baldur’s Gate and particularly with the mission on the Wood of Sharp Teeth (now affectionately nicknamed the Wood of Shark Teeth by Isk, soon to be adopted by everyone else.)
  • They are given a compass (empowered with at tracking spell) and one Sending Stone, which can be used to teleport anyone to its sister stone- when asked about moving their quarry.
  • The reward for completing the task is membership to the Zhentarim (if they wish for it) and a weapon crafted of their choice/design.

  • The party then seek horses for the trip going forward (having considered getting a wagon but deciding against it as they figure they’ll leave ahead of Jil and Ryld) and Jil lets them know of a place just north of town that owes her a favour and can get them a decent price on mounts.
  • The group leave with a horse (barding, saddlebags, feed and saddles included) each. Well, with Woody getting Woofford (previously ‘Daphne’) the mastiff. Isk’s horse is a particularly stubborn/temperamental large black mare named ‘Coal/Cole’ and Ran getting himself a pale horse named ‘Sunny.’ Nivlac’s steed is the closest you could get to a nightmare without actually getting one- rolling a nat 20 on Charisma to choose his horse.

  • The party then spends the rest of the day seeing to a few shopping needs and seeing Chen, who hears the party is leaving soon, gives the party a healthy discount on his wares – leading them to buy a metric shittonne of potions, acid and alchemist’s fire.
  • They also talk business with the Kegtappers who, showing the floorplans for their future tavern, has a storefront (with outside/inside access – so business can be conducted facing out, or into the establishment) allocated for the party. They also discover markings stating some kind of magic being prepared for the area- which is later revealed by Ryld to be a teleportation circle, which will be installed if the party join the Zhentarim. He assures them it is very expensive. The Kegtappers similarly ensure that the party will be gifted with the best of their first batch of brew, when they find out where they’re locating themselves next.

  • The next morning comes and the party leave, and head off- following their compass.
  • The first day is uneventful, but in the night they are awoken by a giant black dragon swooping nearby to attack/eat a creature. It ignores the party and heads north, and the party barely manage to keep their mounts in check.

  • The second day is similarly uneventful, until the afternoon where they notice a small smattering of buildings/homes/huts in what looks like a tiny village. Using his spyglass, and sharing it with Woody (sorry Cal, I rolled like crap and figured you’d share it with him), they discover humanoids in the shuttered village. They see what looks like bandits, but also a central figure- wearing purple robes and something that appears to be a dragon mask.

And with that, the session ended.

What lays in store for our intrepid adventurers? Did you know I had to google ‘intrepid’ to make sure I was using it correctly?

Will initiative be rolled? Will Eldritch Blast crit? Will Woody convince people to finally head to the Chondalwood?

Find out next time, in Session 16: On the Road Again!

NB: A lot of detail was left out of this recap as I’m trying to cut back a bit on how long it takes to write up.

Session 14: Training Montage
Results May Vary
  • Morning arrives and Hector wakes in Ran’s room, and even manages to keep his insides inside. He thanks him for taking care of him and tells Ran that he owes him. Soon after he takes his leave to go set up store for the day.
  • Meanwhile Woody has been off fishing up a storm in the stream going through town. He catches a few fish and brings them back for breakfast (which results in Nivlac trying some sashimi style.)
  • Nivlac rejoins the group at breakfast, after being locked away for the day previous. Feeling a bit better he’s brought up to speed on events and soon after everyone is off to meet their recruits.

  • The group arrive at the barracks to see Escobert with the recruits, they draw lots to establish their teams. This results in the following:
    Team Isk: Brentworth and Nina
    Team Woodford: Ashe and Mina
    Team Nivlac: Maddock and Allus
    Team Ranorme: Orek and Kenny
  • Taking recruits in tow, and with some healthy amounts of competitive spirit, each group heads off to get started on preparations for the tournament.

  • The week of training is vastly different for each of the groups. VASTLY DIFFERENT
  • Nivlac takes a measured approach in how he treats his recruits and in what tasks he gives them. Equal parts fear and inspiration, he gets both lads on side, and appears to have their respect. They learn how to recognise spell-casting, fight under the effects of fear, and they do enough combat drills to learn a few weapons and work with what they favour.
  • By the end of the week, Nivlac has Maddock either training or working as a guard, while Allus either spies on other recruits or attempts to attack Nivlac (at his request.)
  • Inspiring tales pepper the week- namely the tale of Braveheart, and possibly Die Hard, which move both recruits deeply (thanks to Nivlac’s impressive performances and storytelling.)
  • Allus was also told to abandon his scimitar and old fighting style as his “culting days were over.”

  • Isk focuses on community, experience and the strengths of her recruits. She shows them around town, introduces them to noteworthy people (in Isk’s eyes- one such stop was the bakery… otherwise known as “free food”), gets them to work with the Guard and militia and even partakes in helping to assist in rebuilding the town. She also ensured that her team were given a decent meal, at her expense, and healing at the end of each day.
  • Markguth spends time assessing her recruits with her, and has a similar assessment to what Escobert gave her previously. And it’s during this that it seems that Brentworth favours larger weapons (i.e. the greatsword.)
  • Social skills and teamwork are points in the training plan, and one day involved the crafting of a lucky charm, and a swim in the stream… prompting Nina to admit she can’t swim, resulting in Isk and Brentworth teaching her.
  • Isk also uses Fog Cloud to teach them to fight while senses-deprived.

  • Woodford has a very active approach to training. He runs about town, using his size to his advantage, to get the ladies to follow him. And it becomes apparent that Ashe is very comfortable and confident in her abilities, which is a bit of a running theme for the week.
  • Another day (the 3rd) he tells Ashe and Mina to carry water from the stream to places about the town, in a very old kung fu teacher kind of training method.
  • They are trained in combat- against each other and both against Woody. The women alter and improve their technique thanks to their experience together and in fighting the halfling fighter, being able to build a solid defence without compromising their two weapon styles.
  • Strength training, and grappling, may have featured a bear at some point- with Boulder making a guest appearance and ensuring everyone got a work out that day. Target practice is undertaken with a unique blend of fishing, and flicking the fish into the air as a target. It’s also at this point that Ashe is pretty darn impressed with Woody’s hunting and survival skills.
  • Woody also took on the task of spying on the other contestants, resulting in buying a number of disguises from the tailer.

  • Ranorme had the most unique approach to training. Constantly assessing and testing limits. Kenny and Orek were both put through a number of weapons to try and Kenny seemed to take to a few with varying amounts of success.
  • Orek took on a somewhat brotherly role and supported the lad in his choices, though his confidence in his strength was tested. And Kenny’s shyness was seen as a weakness, resulting in daily trips to the Staggered Goat tavern to have him ‘encounter’ Mary and Beth repeatedly. The girls played along somewhat reluctantly, and it was about this point that Kenny revealed he has a crush on a girl back home in Longgrass (who the party previously met on the road- Penelope.)
  • There was also a fair bit of sparring training, before things became a little unhitched mid-week.

  • Mid-week the group is summoned by Jilhaly. It’s finally the time for her friend and mentor to be coming to Greenest… unfortunately most of the party either forgot or didn’t care, but they have bigger things on their mind at the moment.
  • Soon after the party meets Ryld, a silver-skinned half-elf boy. Seemingly young, and quite short (5’5") and somewhat threatening despite a friendly demeanour. He steps off the carriage that was bearing him, and… Jilhaly freaks out, telling the group to run.
  • They don’t and Ryld appears behind them (dismissing the illusion stepping from the carriage) and smiling through a Firebolt from Ran. Ryld then apologises for Epiphany not being able to make it and talks about promotions and moving up in the world, and also that the conversation should move to somewhere more private.
  • When everyone leaves, Woodford stays behind and inspects the carriage, and when he gets the attention of the carriage driver manages to convince him (with a 20 on a persuasion check) to let him take Ryld’s bags for him. This results in Woody getting given a small satchel bag that is seemingly empty. He investigates it, finds that his hand disappears in it, and when he places his head in the bag he can’t see, hear, or breathe in there at all. He puts his hand in, hoping and thinking that he doesn’t touch anything gross… and then manages to pull out a heart. He panics a little but cleans himself up with the spare pair of breeches he’s been carrying and drops them into the bag when he’s done.
  • Woody then follows after the group, only to run into two Rylds… as Nivlac was impersonating him, and being the closest- that’s who he gives the bag to. Nivlac passes is on though and Ryld laughs it off.
  • The conversation goes all over the place but Ryld tells Jilhaly that she’s moving up in the Word (later explained to be the Whispered Word, an information gathering network within the Zhentarim.) She’s to cut ties in Greenest and leave at her earliest convenience to Baldur’s Gate where she’ll be set up to help establish a new Grand Duke. Jilhaly is devastated but can’t refuse. The party is extended the invitation to go and assist.
  • They’re also offered the opportunity to take up an old job they were offered – to investigate the Wood of Sharp Teeth to find a certain someone. The difference this time is that the Zhent acquired an item which helps them track the person – a transforming dagger (changes from dagger, to sword, to whip-sword.)
  • Ryld then excuses himself because he knows his presence tends to upset people (being a high ranked Zhent assassin.)

  • And mid-week Ran decides to spring an attack on his recruits. He gets them drunk that night, and using an illusory disguise (as a sun elf) he attacks, and attempts to kill, Orek. Orek barely hangs on and Kenny comes to his defence (getting Lightning Whipped for his efforts.) And during the commotion (Orek yelling for Guards), there is a call from a nearby rooftop, with Ryld leaping down to join the fray.
  • Ran turns tail to run and casts Invisibility on himself, and Ryld drops a Sphere of Darkness on him. Running into the sphere he stabs Ran, taking him to 0.
  • Some failed (some would say 3 failed…) death saves letter, Ran is stabilised and comes to, bandaged at the Keep- with his recruits watching over him. The rest of the party are alerted and brought to his side.
  • He explains, mostly, what happened which results in Orek punching him in the face repeatedly, and Kenny staying and standing guard… albeit without being able to look at him. The party leave him alone and the night passes.
  • The next day the recruits want nothing to do with him, and take a day for themselves. But for the rest of the week they spend some time with him, going out to train and travel outside of town.

  • Ran also meets up with Hector again during the week who sells him his scrolls for a massively discounted price, to thank him for his help the other night. But with that he’s leaving town, with all the people arriving for the competition he doesn’t feel safe, and Ran convinces him to leave for Candlekeep.
  • Woody also manages to get his commissioned robes from Cuth as well.
  • Ryld is also out and about talking to townsfolk and wandering about town. Ran invites him to talk and finds out a bit about his background and gets another taste of some of the weapons the half-elf has available to him.

Then it’s the day of the competition

The groups all get together, and there is a reasonably massive crowd for the procession. The teams are introduced and soon after- the first challenge: Archery.

Team Woodford goes well, with Ashe and Mina putting in a great showing- being the favourites for this kind of competition.

Team Nivlac, not so much, with Maddock not having the range on his javelins to hit the targets consistently. But Allus does alright.

Team Isk has a decent showing as well, with Brentworth getting a decent hit or two, but overall the team gets an average score.

Team Ran does well… but Kenny does scarily well for an amateur. Scoring the highest individually amongst all the contestants.

With that, Team Woody gets full points, Ran comes second, and Niv and Isk tied for third.

Secondly: Arm Wrestling.

Elimination rounds follow… with Maddock unfortunately choking pretty hard. But Kenny and Orek getting through to the finals, with Kenny taking out the victory (perhaps with Orek throwing the win at the very end, with a wink to Ran.)

Ran’s team comes first, and second/third is Isk and Nivlac.

Thirdly is an exhibition match (combat.) Each team puts a recruit forward and lots are drawn for who versus who.

Ashe takes out Maddock, by the sheer amount of attacks she could put out. And Maddock, again, just being unable to roll very well.

The last match is Brentworth versus Orek, the two lads from Stone’s Edge. Brentworth’s greatsword (and a nat 20) takes out the victory much to everyone’s surprise.

The final competition is announced… with Escobert announcing to the crowd that the trainer’s will be participating this time! And with that, a part of the grounds that was obscured previously (with large cloth walls) reveals… an obstacle course.

But with that the session ends… because the DM had a family dinner to attend

Pre-Session 14: Training Montage
Be the best Guard you can be... in a week/10 days

Mandatory Inspiration:


Improved version:


Team Isk
Nina & Brentworth

  • Nina is a two-weapon fighter, and dex-based.
  • Brentworth is both strong and tough, but there is also his personality to take into account.

Team Woody
Ashe & Mina

  • Ashe (does not have Boulder for this competition) and is dex-based.
  • Mina is the same as Nina. Minus her fondness for Halflings anyway.

Team Ranorme
Kenny & Orek

  • Kenny’s superpower is potential. But he’s an all-rounder so far.
  • Orek is both strong and tough.

Team Nivlac
Maddock & Allus

  • Maddock is strong, tough, but is a bit of a loner.
  • Allus is like Kenny, in that he is an all-rounder. Though there is his shady background.


Alright, maggots! This is how this is going to work. You have 10 days (was previously a week but you all have an extension) of in-game time to do whatever you believe will get the most out of your recruits.

Feel free to do whatever you want, be as creative as you want, and I will let you know if there are any conflicts with other players (or if anything goes completely against what players are doing.)

Keep in mind a few things:

  1. There will be 4 competitions that will be judged. You will not be told what they are in advance.
  2. NPCs are people too. They may/may not respond to your training methods.
  3. Current Guard members will be assisting in judging the competitions at the end of the week.
  4. After your schedule is planned and before the session officially starts, rolls will be performed (separate from the group, with the DM) to see how well things have gone.
  5. Depending on how things go with said rolls, and how NPCs react to things, you can change your plans. So feel free to have a couple of options (or feel free to come up with stuff on the fly.)

Different actions and training will help increase the NPCs stats and strategies they will use.

Best of luck and feel free to do whatever you and your characters think is best.

And also ask me if you want to know anything or have any questions.


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