AND NOW THE EXCITING CONCLUSION OF THE LOST MINE OF PHANDELVER.
So, where were we? Oh, yes. The final boss fight.
The group strides into the Forge of Spells (retwigged on my map to be a big hallway with pillars and a raised platform at the end) and are greeted by the sinister Black Spider, the nefarious elven mastermind behind the campaign of terror against the people of Phandalin.
“Well, well; the nuisances make themselves known.”
“Sir? I know you’re going for the sinister, one-step-ahead-of-you nemesis thing, but seriously, we have utterly crippled your entire operation.”
“You mean those worthless human ruffians and that lickspittle Iarno? Or that imbecilic bugbear Grol? Or those lowlife mercenaries? (laughs) Oh yes, you truly have proven yourselves great and mighty heroes. And yet, here I still stand, at the seat of power that formed Phandelver’s Pact all those centuries ago! Your frantic efforts have amused me; the death and desertion of your comrades even more so. But now the joke has worn thin, and now you are dangerously close to actually annoying me.”
With that scathing monologue, he turns away, back to the Forge. He snaps his fingers, and the bugbears charge forward. Two giant spiders crawl down out of the corners of the ceiling. His three elven henchmen (one of which is Aelya, the betrayer) unsheathe their swords and slink down the stairs in unison like murderous catwalk models.
The final fight for the Lost Mine of Phandelver is on.
So, the group have munched their way through enough bugbears before to know what to expect. They tangled with some giant spiders in Thundertree, so no surprises there. But the elf swordsmen? And the Spider himself? Well, even if you had the book in front of you now, you’d be surprised at what they could do. In the published adventure, the final encounter is a bit… lame. The Black Spider is a hopelessly weak mage, and has no good ass-kicking henchmen. So, I gave him some bite…
Fang of the Black Spider
Medium humanoid (elf), neutral evil
Armour Class 15 (leather armour)
Hit Points 18
Speed 35 feet
STR 12 (+1) DEX 18 (+4) CON 10 (+0) INT 13 (+1) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 12 (+1)
Saving Throws Dexterity +6
Skills Acrobatics +6, Stealth +6
Senses passive Perception 11, darkvision 60 ft
Languages Common, Elven
Fey Ancestry. Normal elf stuff.
Short Sword. Melee Weapon Attack. +6 to hit, reach 5 feet, one creature. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) slashing damage.
Multiattack. The Fang of the Black Spider makes two short sword attacks.
Parry. When hit by a melee attack, the Fang of the Black Spider may roll 1d6 and add the result as a bonus to its AC; use the revised value to determine if the triggering attack hits. The FotBS can’t use this reaction if it can’t see its attacker, or if it isn’t wielding a melee weapon.
So, yeah. Three of them.
The Fangs actually hang back for a bit (why send the elites in first, after all?) while the bugbears and giant spiders rush forward. Loki and Grimdark rush to engage one of the spiders – Grimdark pausing to throw out a bless on himself, Loki, Helga, and Pyke – and heavily damage it; it responds by scuttling up the wall and onto the ceiling, out of reach. The other giant spider webs Nundro; Droop and Helga return fire with magic missiles and ray of frost respectively, while Pyke wades in to finish it off with his greatsword.
The two bugbears close in; one puts a hefty dent in Grimdark, and the other makes a beeline for “easy pickings”, Droop and Helga. Loki and Grimdark easily finish off the bugbear they’re fighting, while dodging the webbing fired from above by the wounded giant spider.
The Fangs then commit; one heads for Pyke, and the other two go for Grimdark and Loki. The Fang that locks swords with Loki is the treacherous Aelya. “I’ve never fought a halfling before!” she spits into his face.
“Oh, it won’t be a fight,” Loki sneers back, nailing her with a critical hit and nearly one-shotting her. I high-five Darryl then and there.
Pyke has his hands full against the giant spider and the Fang, but actually manages to achieve something for once when he kills the spider. The Fang is more of a challenge though, and he starts getting sliced up by the elf swordsman.
Seeing some of his goons have been defeated, the Black Spider finally decides to get off his perky elven derriere and get his hands dirty. He pulls an ominously-glowing spear from the flames of the Forge, does some fancy spinning, and OH SHIT HE CAN TELEPORT.
The Black Spider
Medium humanoid (elf), neutral evil
Armour Class 16 (leather armour)
Hit Points 28
Speed 35 feet
STR 12 (+1) DEX 18 (+4) CON 10 (+0) INT 16 (+3) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 15 (+2)
Saving Throws Dexterity +6, Intelligence +5, Wisdom +4
Skills Acrobatics +6, Arcana +5, History +5, Investigation +5, Perception +4, Persuasion +4, Stealth +6
Senses passive Perception 14, darkvision 60 ft
Languages Common, Elven
Combat Reflexes. As long as the Black Spider is able to perform reactions, creatures cannot gain advantage on melee or ranged attack rolls made against him.
Fey Ancestry. Normal elf stuff.
Innate Spellcasting. The Black Spider can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components; mage hand (at will), cure wounds (1/day), misty step (2/day), shield (1/day).
“Raid”. Melee Weapon Attack. +7 to hit, reach 10 feet, one creature. Hit: 8 (1d8+4) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) poison damage.
Multiattack. The Black Spider makes two attacks with Raid.
Parry. When hit by a melee attack, the Black Spider may roll 1d6 and add the result as a bonus to his AC; use the revised value to determine if the triggering attack hits. The FotBS can’t use this reaction if it can’t see its attacker, or if it isn’t wielding a melee weapon.
Slightly more of a threat than his published version, right? Does he break some rules regarding creature creation? Yes. Does he have some fairly cheap counters to the hero’s strategies? Yes. But fuck that, he’s the BBEG, and they’re made to break the rules!
So the Black Spider misty steps into the fray, and stalks towards the guys on the back row; Helga, Droop, and Nundro. Droop panics and fires off his last burst of magic missiles from his wand. The Black Spider does a little smug chuckle and throws up a shield without even breaking stride.
Loki breaks off from Aelya to help out Pyke. Aelya, already psychotic from her near-fatal stabbing at the hands of a hobbit, follows him.
Droop, terrified that his wand is out of magic pew-pews, gets his pointy stick out and runs into the ridiculous clusterfuck of Loki, Pyke, and two Fangs. Aelya takes a swipe at Loki and misses, but for sake of drama we say that those attack hits Droop instead! The poor little dude drops to the floor.
The Black Spider is still walking towards Helga with murder on his mind. In a display of truly villainous douchebaggery, he straight-up coup de graces Droop as he walks past. No attack roll, no damage roll… shit, I don’t even say it costs him an action. That’s how casually he does it. What a dick.
Unable to break away from his fight with the Fang to protect Helga and his cousin, Grimdark instead summons that bane of my existence, spiritual weapon. But it’s okay, because Trev makes my night with this declaration;
“The weapon takes the form of Barry FUCKING Arrers!”
*materialises into being* “Knock knock. Who’s there? The saviour of Thundertree, that’s who.” *hefts spectral version of Tested*
So now the Black Spider is having to fend off the vengeful trident-wielding ghost of Barry Arrers! This gives Helga and Nundro some time to get out of the way; they’ve been tied up against this one bugbear for ages. Compared to the frantic back and forth going on, their fight is like a toddler’s playground scuffle.
Loki kicks his murdering into high gear. Firstly, he finishes off Aelya, stabbing her right through her treasonous heart.
Then he spins away, and plunges his second sword into the back of the Fang that Grimdark was fighting. You know what? A 3d6 sneak attack is pretty goddamn brutal. A second Fang goes down.
But Loki’s spree has put him the path of the waiting giant spider! Eager for revenge, it drops down from the ceiling on top of him, critting him with its bite. Thankfully he stays standing, and the poison doesn’t paralyse him.
Helga and Nundro have finally managed to drag down the bugbear they’re fighting when they find a psycho spear-wielding elf in front of them.
No need to tell him twice; he scurries away and cowers in the corner. Helga lets rip with a burning hands. The Black Spider actually fails to dodge it, and gets a nice fiery facial.
Scorched, but unfortunately very much alive (and pissed), the Black Spider makes short work of Helga. One slash from Raid puts her down, and the second is a coup de grace. Noooooooo!
*pointing at Grimdark* “You’re next, priest.”
*rushing in from the side* “CHOO CHOO, ALL ABOARD THE TRIDENT TRAIN!”
Loki looks at the carnage unfolding, then at the unguarded Forge of Spells. An idea goes through his little halfling mind…
Grimdark kills the second giant spider, and Pyke somehow – against all odds – manages to beat the third Fang, bisecting him with a swing of his greatsword. Of course, then he’s got the boss to deal with.
The Black Spider faces off against Pyke, and cuts him up bad. But Pyke’s tough, and stays on his feet. Grimdark rushes in to help his fellow Mintarn alumni.
Meanwhile, Loki has climbed the stairs to the Forge and is bathing his rapier and short sword in the sorcerous flames…
The Black Spider lashes out against Pyke and Grimdark, while also fending off the spiritual Barry. He puts down Pyke, and reduces Grimdark to 0 HP. Again, Rule of Cool intervenes; rather than have Grimdark drop to 0 HP and leave himself open to a coup de grace, Trev and I compromise and say that Grimdark remains at 1 HP, but he’s staggered back and disarmed. Surely he’s as good as dead…
That’s when Loki pulls his new magical swords out of the Forge’s fire! I demand that Darryl names them both; all magic weapons need names, that’s what makes them magical!
The rapier is Earful. The short sword is Ball Slicer.
*flourishing* “Come to daddy.”
With a scream of rage, the Black Spider misty steps towards Loki, and they fight on the stairs. There’s some narrow misses, and both of them take hits. However, only one can survive.
The Black Spider nimbly steps aside the thrust from Earful, but that leaves him wide open for Ball Slicer, which does exactly enough damage to reduce him to 0 HP.
The elf tumbles down the stairs and rolls to a halt. Grimdark towers above him.
“I… I surrender.”
Grimdark looks at the bodies of Droop and Helga, then back down to the Black Spider.
“You know, I’ve always hated spiders. You know what I do to ’em?”
“Wh-what are you talking about?”
Grimdark doesn’t reply. Doesn’t say a single word.
Instead he CURB-STOMPS the Black Spider, like it’s fucking Gears of War. No coming back from that I guess.
Loki strolls down the stairs, giggling at the pretty swirling patterns his swords make when he twirls them. He looks at the sundered mess of blood, skull fragments and pulped brains that’s all that remains of their nemesis, and tuts.
“Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t want his ear.”