Well, that’s it. Half an hour ago, my players and I finished off our first real, honest-to-god, start-to-end D&D campaign. You want to know how to went down? Of course you do! Let’s get this final chapter underway while it’s still fresh in my mind. A lot happened though, so this’ll be a two-parter.
In Attendance: Loki Fastfoot (Darryl), Grimdark Stonelock (Trev)
And obviously myself, the DM.
So, last time, the group found an unused water channel than ran through the smelting chamber that would hopefully allow them to bypass the various barricades obstructing their way. After some robust discussion, they send a reluctant Helga through the tunnel to find out where it leads. Grumbling about how she gets no respect, Helga disappears down the tunnel.
The group waits for ten minutes, but she doesn’t come back. Eventually, Grimdark announces that he’ll go after her. Good thing he does; as he emerges from the tunnel, he sees that Helga has been captured by two bugbears (I was originally going to use hobgoblins, but after how badly they performed last time, I decided to pull out something with a bit more bite). The tunnel comes out at the bottom of a crater or dry lake bed, with high rock cliffs rising up above and… urgh, you know what? This bit.
Grimdark bellows down the tunnel for the others to come and help, casts spiritual weapon to start harrying the bugbears, and throws himself at one of the rope ladders that’s hanging down. Loki, Pyke and Droop all show up just as Grimdark scrambles to the top, only to find there are twice as many bugbears as he’d anticipated. Tch. Mondays.
Loki blows the dust off his hand crossbows and goes all John Woo, nailing one of the bugbears near the edge of the ridge with both shots. This is one of those times I decide to sacrifice rules for cool, and say that the bugbear – after being hacked at by a magical ghost sword and now getting two crossbow bolts in the chest – tumbles off the ridge, landing hard on the rocks. Droop throws uses his magic missile wand against the other, and Pyke makes a run for one of the ladders. Grimdark doesn’t have as much luck; he blocks a thrown javelin from one bugbear, but the other one rushes him and pushes him off the edge of the ridge.
The fallen bugbear scrambles up and takes a swing at Pyke, achieving nothing and starting the long and tedious dance of two below-average warriors. The bugbear that Droop shot responds with a javelin back at the little goblin, missing him entirely. The javelin clatters to the floor, and Darryl sees this as a chance to do something new. He gets Loki to run over, snatch up the javelin and throw it back, despite Trev’s repeated protests. I actually sort of hoped that Darryl would pull out one of those surprise natural 20s he’s so good at, but no luck. The javelin bounces off the rock face. “Well now I know not to try doing it again!” he beams, while Trev facepalms so hard he almost breaks his nose.
One of the bugbears manages to hit Droop with a javelin, which drops him to 1 HP. Droop then fails the Wisdom saving throw I request that he makes, resulting in him firing off a panicked three-charge blast from his wand (which vapourises the bugbear) and fleeing back down the tunnel.
Loki actually finally gets a use out of his second storey work ability, scrambling up the ladder in record time (ganking the bugbear that Pyke is fighting as he passes). Grimdark also clambers back up onto the ridge. Meanwhile his spiritual weapon continues being fucking OP as shit for a goddamn 2nd-level spell.
One of the bugbears grabs Helga as a meat-shield.
Loki goes in to attack, but I impose disadvantage, fluffing his miss as him being unable to hit the bugbear without also stabbing Helga. The bugbear follows through with his threat and throws Helga off the cliff; thankfully Pyke manages to cushion her fall slightly, but she’s hurt bad and dying.
The fight’s over fairly quickly after that; Loki, Grimdark, and the ever-present spiritual weapon deal with the last two ‘bears, but not before taking some hard knocks; bugbears hit hard, after all. To think, there was a time when just one gave them trouble… Meanwhile, Pyke, with literally nothing else to do, stabilises Helga.
Droop returns, and the group spend some time healing. Helga has a broken arm from her fall, but I rule that a cure wounds from Grimdark would be enough to heal that. Loki finds a set of keys on one of the bugbears, and is obviously eager to find out what they unlock. He also takes another bugbear ear. Can never have enough ears for your creepy ear-necklace, that’s what I say.
They go exploring a bit, taking the north-east path and finding the namesake of Wave Echo Cave, a massive cavern where waves of water boom and crash against the rocks. Very pretty, but not much else. They follow the tunnel round, and essentially go round in a big circle before arriving back at the ridge (like I said, I tweaked this map somewhat). They head north and find an old hall which seems to be a place of worship for Generic Dwarf Mining God Number 54. There’s bedrolls and cook fires set out, so they’ve found where the bugbears are camping out.
They notice a door at the far end of the room, and find it locked. They use the keys they got from the bugbears and find that it’s the private quarters of the priest who no doubt maintained the shrine. Inside, they find an unconscious young dwarf; It’s Nundro, the youngest (and sole surviving) of the Rockseeker brothers. He’s malnourished and beat up, but alive. The Black Spider has been interrogating him, but would you believe that he knows nothing useful?
Regardless, Grimdark is just happy that at least one of his cousins is safe. They can’t risk sending Nundro back through the mine alone, so they get him to come with them, giving him a javelin looted from a dead bugbear, and a dagger. They tell Droop to keep an eye out for him. I’m sure that’ll end well.
With Nundro rescued, there’s only one more place for them to go; the actual Forge of Spells itself! They head down the final corridor, and come out into a big hall with a central row of pillars. At the far end of the room, two bugbears stand on either side of a flight of steps. At the top of the steps are four elves in black leather armour. The group recognises one of them as Aelya, the elf woman who betrayed them by murdering Sildar, Gundren, and Iarno while they were fighting a dragon and losing a friend in Thundertree.
One of the elves is standing in front of a long, wide basin full of green, mystical flame. As the group enters the room, he turns to face them, and sighs like they’ve shown up to a black-tie dinner party wearing wife-beaters and Crocs.
“Well. It’s about time.”
To be concluded…