Right, let’s get back on track. The group went to Cragmaw Castle, pretty much wiped out the Cragmaw gang, and rescued Gundren and we managed to get together to continue their wacky genocidal adventures. Except for Darryl. Damn you parents’ evening!
Well, Thundertree could wait. Iarno Albrek, aka Glasstaff, had escaped them weeks ago, and they were ready to track him down.
In Attendance: Bosun Barry Arrers (Joe), Grimdark Stonelock (Trev), Carick “Mouse” Silverfrost (Liam)
And obviously myself, the DM.
I should mention that this session is not one found in the starter set’s adventure book; this was all brand-new home brewed content.
The adventure started with Sildar approaching the group and asking to speak to them in private. That morning, he’d found a message left for him on his desk. The message was anonymous, but said that Iarno had been seen in Leilon, a town a day’s travel to the south (Leilon is yet *another* ruin according to the map, but I wanted an urban setting that wasn’t Neverwinter). Sildar was suspicious though as he had no idea who could’ve delivered the letter, and who could’ve known that they were looking for Iarno. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to waste the opportunity, and asked Barry, Grimdark and Mouse to go and check out Leilon. Loki opted to stay behind in the town to keep an eye on things, just in case their mysterious messenger decided to appear again. Mmm, convenient explanation for player absence.
So the trio loaded up Mr. Redbrand and headed south. They arrived in Leilon at dusk the next evening, and immediately made for the local inn to make inquiries about mysterious wizardy-looking men carrying around glass quarterstaffs. Iarno Albrek was known to the innkeeper, who knew him as “a proper gentleman and patron of the arts, and good friends with the mayor.” However the innkeeper couldn’t say if he’d seen Iarno in town.
Meanwhile, Grimdark had spotted a couple of soldiers from his old mercenary outfit, the Mintarns. He flashed his insignia, and they told him that they were in town on a job. Grimdark pressed them for details on the job, but unwilling to talk to their technically-suspended colleague, the mercs told him that they’d best direct any questions to their commander, Sergeant Pyke.
So by now, the trio pretty much suspect that Iarno has hired the Mintarns for some reason. With the unpleasant thought that they may soon be tangling with a squad of mercenaries, the three go to bed.
The next morning, the three first pay a visit to the mayor’s office. The mayor isn’t around, but the secretary is happy to tell them that Iarno Albrek is a respected and well-known member of the community, and makes frequent donations to the local museum. The group then go to said museum, and get a little bit more information from the curator, but the end result is basically the same; that no-one has seen Iarno for at least three months. While in the museum, Barry also notices a painting titled “Thundertree Resplendent”, a nice picture of his forsaken hometown, and immediately begins mentally hanging it somewhere in The Barrel Room. If only they had a thief with them to help acquire it! Oh well…
Finally, the group go to the town green, and find a dozen Mintarns doing laps. Grimdark approaches the one bellowing orders, and unsurprisingly finds out that he’s Sergeant Pyke. Pyke is friendly enough to his fellow sergeant, but remains tight-lipped about the job that he and his men have been hired for. All he says is that the client had hired Pyke and his squad at very short notice and at three times the normal cost.
With that avenue exhausted, the trio leave and start discussing the pros and cons of fighting twelve hardened mercenaries; at one point they consider abandoning the task entirely, given the inevitable crapstorm that they’re probably walking into. As they’re talking, a street urchin approaches them and tells them that Iarno will be in the garden at the Church of Oghma at eighth chime that evening, before scarpering off.
Well, at least they can sort of prepare for it. They go to the Church of Oghma, and Mouse ingratiates himself with the clergy there while Grimdark and Barry scope out the area. The garden is just an open space, with a high stone wall around it. On the north and east sides, two-story townhouses have balconies that overlook the garden. Sniff sniff, I smell snipers.
While Grimdark and Barry work on a plan, Mouse spends some time browsing the books in the church, and I finally throw Liam a bone and let him scribe down invisibility in his spellbook. Eager to use his new spell, Mouse suggests using the spell to hide Grimdark in the garden to await Iarno’s arrival, while Barry stakes out one of the balconies.
As it comes to seven, Mouse casts invisibility on Grimdark, who plans to stand very patiently in the garden. Barry parkours up to one of the balconies, and Mouse hides in plain sight amongst the clergy.
As Barry gets set up on the balcony, he hears a door opening in the room behind him. He ducks back just as two men in black cloaks and carrying crossbows open the doors and come out onto the balcony. A bodged Stealth roll to slide back into the room reveals him however!
“I’m… err… one of the Mintarns?”
Yep, another one of those infamous Barry Arrer bluffs. Well, it’s worked twice before…
Joe rolls decently on his Deception check for once, and the crossbowmen are convinced. I let him become proficient in Deception on the spot; it only seems fair. The crossbowmen tell him to get “downstairs with the others” and to “wait for the signal”. Barry leaves the balcony and the bedroom adjoining it and closes the door behind him, but only fakes going down the stairs; instead he waits just outside the door so he can overhear the crossbowmen’s conversation and get the drop on them if needs be.
Meanwhile, Grimdark has seen the whole thing. He’s also seen two more crossbowmen set up on the other balcony, but he can’t act as he can’t risk breaking his invisibility. Mouse is inside, reading.
Eventually, at eighth bell, Iarno shows up, walking into the garden with six hired thugs as bodyguard. The clery seem alarmed, but Iarno reassures them that everything is alright, and he’s just meeting a friend. Up on the balcony, Barry has heard the crossbowmen talking about waiting until “you can get them all”. It’s at this point that they realise that this all an elaborate set-up; the crossbowmen and the Mintarns have no doubt been hired by the Black Spider to kill Barry, Grimdark, Mouse, and Iarno all in one go and tie up all the loose ends!
Barry takes this as his chance to rush the crossbowmen from behind. He knocks both of them off the balcony, and the screams get everyone’s attention. Then it’s on. Grimdark drops his invisibility, yells a warning to Iarno about assassins, and summons his spiritual weapon up on the other balcony to attack the crossbowmen. Iarno and his henchmen are confused, and Iarno asks if the dwarf is his “contact that the letter mentioned.” Grimdark quickly explains that they’ve all been tricked, enemy of my enemy, etc.
That’s when Pyke and the Mintarns show up, and the Massacre of Leilon truly gets going.
Six Mintarns, headed by Pyke, come in through the church’s main entrance, and the other six burst into the garden and immediately engage Iarno’s hired thugs. Barry and one of the crossbowmen on the other balcony trade a few shots, while the other crossbowmen lands a hit on Iarno. Mouse throws down a web that traps Pyke and three of the Mintarns in the church’s entrance; the others wiggle free and head round the other way.
It’s mayhem in the garden; Mintarns and Iarno’s henchmen are going back and forth, with the Mintarns quickly getting the advantage due to their numbers and superior training and equipment. Grimdark blesses Iarno’s henchmen to help them out, then with a heavy heart lays into the Mintarns. Iarno makes an escape from the garden, pausing to throw a panicked fire bolt at Barry. Barry is less than amused, and quickly lashes a rope to an arrow…
Meanwhile Mouse unleashes a burning hands at the mercenaries trapped in the sticky, flammable webbing. This goes less than spectacular as he rolls triple 1 for damage, giving them a bad case of sunburn and freeing them from the webs. Whoops.
Barry ties the other end of the rope to the balcony, and fires at Iarno. He hits, and the rope effectively anchors Iarno to the balcony, stopping him dead. Barry then makes a slightly-too-rapid descent and takes damage, and before he gets a chance to pounce on Iarno, one of the mage’s hired goons crits him with a shortbow, and he takes more damage.
*draws Talon* “Okay, so this is getting to be bullshit now.”
“Why won’t you die!?”
By now, Grimdark’s spiritual weapon has taken care of the crossbowmen on the balcony, and he’s fighting the Mintarns practically alone. Just like Mouse, who is dealing with an angry and barbecued Pyke and another Mintarn. Pyke lands a solid blow, and puts Mouse down to single-digit HP. The response? A second burning hands, followed by some more running away!
Barry gets his murder on by charging the henchman who injured him, and kills him in one hit with Talon. He then action surges, rampages into another, and drops him as well. That’s why you don’t mess with Barry. Seeing that Grimdark and his magic floating sword have got the situation under control, he runs back to Iarno and rugby tackles him to the ground.
At this point, Mouse is in trouble. Luckily, he dodges another attack from Pyke, and fires off a third burning hands. Grimdark rushes to the rescue, and knocks Pyke unconscious with a solid smack with his warhammer. “We can question him later,” Grimdark explains calmly while forcing a healing potion down the elf’s throat.
There’s only a few Mintarns left, and Mouse staggers out into the blood soaked garden and finishes off another with a magic missile. The two remaining Mintarns decide that they like living more than being paid, and run for it.
The town guard is surely on the way, so the trio grab Iarno and the unconscious Pyke, and hightail it out of town. Barry wonders if there’s time to make a detour and take the painting of Thundertree, but sadly that isn’t the case.
Once they’re out of town, Iarno calms down and explains that he was looking to escape the Black Spider’s retribution for losing the grip on Phandalin. He becomes a model prisoner and willingly submits himself to any justice that Sildar or the group will mete out. Pyke regains consciousness, and confirms that the client was “an elf in a black cloak” who hired him and his squad to eliminate Iarno and “the others” who were lured to the garden; he hadn’t known it would be the guys he’d spoken to earlier that day. Pyke insists it was nothing personal, “just business”. He figures that the client won’t be too happy with the botched job, and offers his services to the group. They decide to take him on as a bouncer for The Barrel Room and promise to pay him well. Pyke seems content with that.
Upon return to Phandalin, Iarno is thrown into prison until Sildar can summon members of his guild to come and transport the treacherous wizard back to Neverwinter to face trial. He also advises that nothing eventful happened while they were gone (although their apprentice wizard/magic chef from Neverwinter has arrived in town, a young dwarf mage called Helga), but they still haven’t worked out who could’ve delivered the note that lured them to Leilon. Hmm, the plot thickens…
Level Up! More HP! Everyone’s stats go up, and Grimdark and Mouse get more spells. Loki just did lots of crunches instead of killing people I guess.
Completed Quests: Track down Glasstaff/Iarno.
Ongoing Quests: Seek out Reidoth the druid in the ruined town of Thundertree, find Mirna’s family heirloom in Thundertree.
Ears Collected: None!
Pub Staff Roster : Elsa (head barmaid/assistant manager), Mirna (barmaid), Aelya (barmaid), Pyke (security), Helga (catering), and Droop the goblin (janitor/stablehand).
All in all, an amusing adventure on the side before we get to very un-amusing expedition to Thundertree…