Our heroes arrived in Phandelver and shook up the local crime gang for information; now they’re off to put a stop to the Redbrand’s ruthless ways for good! Monday was a loooong session, so I’ll split this up into two posts I think. More traffic for me!
In Attendance: Loki Fastfoot (Darryl), Bosun Barry Arrers (Joe), Grimdark Stonelock (Trev), Carick “Mouse” Silverfrost (Liam)
And obviously myself, the DM.
After straight-up murdering a load of Redbrands in the Sleeping Giant tavern, our heroes know that the gang has a hideout in the cellars below the old Tresendar Manor. Carp, Loki’s nephew, has told them about a secret passageway into the cellars that the Redbrands sometimes use for smuggling in goods. They could be badass and kick down the front door, or they could be smart. They choose smart.
Under cover of night, they sneak into the tunnel (Grimdark wisely casting bless in advance), and come out into the massive cavern in the middle of the map. The stink of rotting flesh immediately suggests that this is A Very Bad Place. What further cements this is the insane cackling and the voices in their heads.
Joe rolls well enough for Barry to spot the nothic that lives in the cavern. Nothics are insane, psychic cannibals whose one eye gives them some bizarre powers.
So out pops the nothic, and immediately it starts demanding food and “shinies”. It guards the cavern, and while it would love to munch on the Redbrands, it’s kept in line by the gang’s leader, Glasstaff. The Redbrands feed it with the bodies of people they’ve killed.
The group are all wearing stolen Redbrand cloaks, but the nothic instantly knows that they’re in disguise. Rather than raise the alarm, it’s intrigued by them, and keeps asking for food and shiny things. The guys are apprehensive about fighting it – an insane psychic monster with “bizarre powers” might as well have “Hit here for TPK” tattooed on its forehead – so they appease it by giving it silver coins and some rations, which Mouse flavours with his prestidigitation spell so that they’re more to the nothic’s taste.
The creature is satisfied, and mentions that the Redbrands have some captives locked away in another room (who are fortunately not on the menu), and that some “big hairy things” have recently arrived to keep an eye on the Redbrand’s operations. So, yeah, bugbears. Because that whole business with Klarg went well.
The group leaves the cavern and heads east to scout the place out. They hear the bugbears guffawing and bullying someone in the south-most room, and a raucous gambling game going on in the larger common room. They decide to leave the bugbears alone for now, and deal with the Redbrands in the common room.
A plan is hatched; Barry (as the only human and therefore the one most likely to pull off the bluff of being a new recruit) will go in, pass himself off as one of the gang, get them distracted, and them the other three will burst in from either side of the room and kill ‘em all. I’m only now just realising that the whole “pretend to be a Redbran” seems redundant when they already had the element of surprise on their side, but hey ho…
Barry waltzes in and interrupts the drunken card game in progress.
“Who da fuck are you?”
“I’m… errr… Mr Redbrand…?”
“Sigh. Roll Deception Joe.”
“Yeah, that’s not great. You rolled low and it’s an opposed check versus their Insight.”
(readies his signal whistle to summon the others)
*drunken cheers* “Alright mate! Sit down and ‘ave a pint!”
Who would’ve thought that drunken thugs were incredibly – almost offensively – gullible?
So they accept “Mr Redbrand” into their little group, and the game continues, though a scuffle seems imminent. Barry stirs the pot by making suggestions of cheating and foul play, and it doesn’t take long for fisticuffs to kick off; at that point the other three burst in and cause all sorts of merry hell. It’s over very quickly; Mouse blasts them all with a burning hands, and Loki and Grimdark scrag two. The other two give up almost immediately.
They get tied up and interrogated, but they don’t know much else. Well, okay, never mind.
“What are we going to do with them?”
You can just leave these guys here tied up, right? Right?
“Let’s feed them to the nothic!”
“Yeah, fuck these guys!”
That’s pretty twisted you guys…
Grimdark is the only one who decides to have no part of it, but he doesn’t exactly stop them either; after all, he wants to stop the Redbrands just as much as any of them. And at the end of the day, there’s definitely some karmic justice in condemning the Redbrands to the same fate as some of their victims.
They manhandle the two survivors to the nothic’s cavern to keep the creature on side, and they get a front row seat as the nothic goes all Ark of the Covenant and blasts the two Redbrands with its rotting gaze, reducing them to stinky sludge.
“Yeaaah, let’s not fight that thing, like, ever.”
They throw Mike more coins and decide to go and explore the rest of the hideout before tackling the bugbears and Glasstaff. Grimdark’s stonecunning easily lets them discover the secret door that leads from the cavern into the “lobby” with the cistern, and some more listening at doors reveals the presence of Redbrands in the barracks. They leave that and head north into the long, obviously-trapped corridor. At the end of the corridor is a set of old bronze double doors, carved with weeping angels.
They decide to grab a barrel from the other room and roll it along the corridor, hopefully triggering any traps without any risk to them. As Barry rolls the barrel into the corridor, one of the Redbrands comes out of the barracks.
“Umm… moving this barrel?”
“Umm… the barrel room…?”
“Sigh. Roll Deception Joe.”
“Well it’s opposed versus Insight, so here goes…”
“Huh. Didn’t know we had a barrel room. Well, see ya.” (goes back inside)
Bosun Barry Arrers everyone, master of disguise and espionage!
But in all seriousness, HOLY SHIT GLASSTAFF YOU NEED TO STOP HIRING STUPID PEOPLE.
Anyway they roll the barrel down the corridor, and they notice the slight dip in the floor as it does. However, no trap triggers.
“Hmm, maybe it wasn’t heavy enough. Let’s force one of those Redbrand guys to trigger it!”
I’m starting to think there was a very good reason why Loki was kicked out of the gang.
The group set up another ambush; Barry will wander into the barracks, while Loki, Grimdark and Mouse will set up outside. Barry strolls in and settles down on the one of the bunks, ready to backstab his new friends. Then Mouse opens the door with mage hand, and Grimdark throws a sacred flame into the room, which achieves precisely nothing.
“Why have you forsaken me Lord!?”
The Redbrands rush out; the first one crashes into Grimdark, who holds the line. The second one however gets pounced on by Loki, and tumbles into the cistern. The last one gets an unexpected trident in the back, courtesy of Barry.
“Et tu, Barry?” 😦
The rest of the fight is brutally quick. Mouse uses shocking grasp to electrocute the shit out of the Redbrand that’s flapping around in the water, Grimdark smashes another, and Loki – although he gets hit and loses a good chunk of HP – ganks the other with his usual murderous efficiency.
“That guy in the water is still alive.”
“Looks like we got something to trigger that trap!”
They go back to the corridor and force the wet, electrocuted Redbrand to trigger the concealed pit trap. He goes tumbling in and breaks his ankle. Ignoring him, the group listen at the bronze door and hear nothing from the room within. With Mouse and Barry covering him, Loki opens the door and sees…
To be continued…