SC6.08: Cragmaw

The level six Silvers for this session:

In order of initiative

Dakeyras, wood elf rogue/Assassin;
Richlen, high elf paladin/Oath of Glory;
Garth, mountain dwarf fighter/Battle Master;
Vernon, human wizard/Conjurer

supported by Sr Garaele and Daran Edermath

The Silvers begin 10xp below level seven and END ON LEVEL SEVEN

The story so far

Cryovain the White Dragon is dead! A number of Phandalin townsfolk are slain as Cryovain asserts its territory… and the Silvers, stopping only to find and pillage Wave Echo Cavern, scale to Icespire Fortress, slay Cryovain, and its Dragon Cult guard as well.

Loot and a Long Rest

10 small gems of the 25 gold coin variety;
70 gold coin;
140 silver coin

Two of the four are weary and relax in the warm bastion, idly looting while Garth and Vern hustle Gundren, still firmly gagged and shackled, across: then head down to the fortress crypt and systematically retrieve loot and toboggan.

Dak and Rich aren’t capable of removing white drake skins, but report the beasts must have been ridden by the cultists – they found four sets of harness.

Then it’s time to consider how best to return. Phandalin is west-south-west of where they are, and Axeholm (where most of the townsfolk have taken refuge) is due south of that. So there’s no advantage to splitting up.

“Once we get to Phandalin, let’s hire those two young lads that want to be adventurers to deliver the all-clear,” Dak proposes. “A ten gold coin reward is a great start to adventuring.”

“Ten gold… <sputter – kaff> Whose gold now?” Garth wants to know.

“Come on Garth, we all have so much gold we can hardly carry it.”

“Speak for yerself! But, I was just kidding. We’ll do that.”

Since they have supplies, have travelled this way before, and have a toboggan, it’s an Advantage Survival and Nature check. Both come in at over 20. No problem finding their way!

Sister Garaele at last

During the final stretch of the trek – during which they have all observed flying creatures of lower orders returning to the hills – Vern spots a large flying beast and with a prickling of excitement, picks out a rider! He speeds up…

“Let’s hurry guys! Griffon time!”

“Uhhh… gimme a break… this sled is heavy!” Gundren moans.

“Huh! Throw that mook of the cliff, it’s not too late!” Vern sneers.

“That’s all of five yards, I can just climb back up,” Gundren observes mildly.

As they arrive in Phandalin itself, they find that a few brave townsfolk have ventured back already. Cheers greet them. Over to the left, a familiar griffon rests on the common, and Sildar waves to them in greeting from near the shrines.

He has a woman with him, robed in green and yellow and cowled, brown-skinned and clear-eyed. This is the long-missing Sister Garaele, priest of the Luck Shrine here.

“As you’ll no doubt be wanting to bring your loot – and what a great pile of it there is – to Neverwinter, I wonder if you would agree to escort Sr Garaele there?”

“There’s a matter I have to report on, and it’s best the lord of Neverwinter hear it from me direct,” she agrees, speaking with a local accent.

She is referring to Lord Dagult Neverember

DM

“Why, it could be done… but we have a little side-quest, you see… we have been told of where the goblins – those black arrows – have their stronghold. They ambushed us, and it’s against our creed to let any enemy get away with attacking us.”

“Well, consider me support,” Garaele suggests. “I may not be versed in the wilds, but perhaps I can ask Daran to help. With him at my side I can hide while you do the fighting. And of course, I can heal.”

It’s agreed, assuming Daran agrees.

XP: lvl7-5, including the bonus for bringing Gundren back alive

Inspiration all round!

Future trails

“I’m headed in for a drink,” Garth announces, after introductions have been made. He’s noticed that Sildar wants a private word with Richlen.

Sildar asks Richlen if he is willing to consider joining the defenses of Waterdeep. What he is really hinting at of course is whether the paladin will join his covert brethren in the Lords Alliance.

Richlen expresses conditional assent – as this can only be something for the future – so Sildar promises to journey with the high elf to find and bond with Griffon chicks.

“Griffons are go!!” Richlen exalts to Vern, who is seated outside the inn at this point.

Vern sees Garaele returning from Daran Edermath’s farm with the retired ranger. Daran, with a flourish of his fine mustachios, congratulates them all. He has agreed to shepherd Garaele to the forest!

Inside the inn’s common room, the youngsters Ander and Pop take Dak’s commission and hurry off to equip! Garth looks up from his second beer. Sildar has come back and the other two are with him. Sildar sits with them and leans close:

“You may as well be aware that wyverns – or why-verns, depending on how you prefer to say it – are back, preying on the High Road, south towards Leilon. And Sister Garaele may want to tell you more, once she gets to know you as I do – as bold, daring adventurers!”

The four have in fact heard this news about wyverns, but as they consider that it may play a part in their future, it means more now.

XP: lvl7-4

Feted

Three days later, all of Phandalin has reassembled and formal thanks are given to the Silvers. The town council declares a two-day celebration!

“We had a bard all set,” Tobe grumbles, “but when he learned that he’d actually be working in payment for bed and board, he legged it. As they all do! Well, young Galandro can carry a tune, so he’ll have to do.”

Tobe, lately widowed, seems to be finding some solace with a young widow named Trilena, who lost her husband to Cryovain. So spring may yet come for the innkeeper!

Fame: The Silvers can now add a d8 when making Persuasion or other reputation-based checks.

Cragmaw

It’s no surprise to Dak that Xanth the centaur does not show himself. His friend is shy, or fearful, or both. But the trail as his friend explained it is simple enough to follow.

About half a day into Neverwinter Forest, Dak lets Daran know that this is a good spot to build their hide. The four Silvers leave Daran, Garaele and a reinforced treasure-sled (their friend Bartham upgraded the toboggan) and pace quietly north. Then clamber up a large steep-sided hill, that must once have been bare. Now, it is thickly overgrown.

The top has been leveled, perhaps by artifice. Ruins on ruins, thick-walled and pierced by arrow-slits, dominate the surface. From their vantage, they can see two sets of steps in, one north and one east.

We have a plan

“Let’s split up,” Rich proposes confidently, “I can go with Dak, Garth can go with Vern.”

“What about shock and awe?” Garth asks.

“I think we can both surprise them and achieve shock and awe.”

Rich sounds so confident, there is no further debate.

“I can aid you in moving silently,” Dak assures Rich, and, “I can make us both invisible,” Vern tells Garth.

Pass Without Trace for Rich, Invisibility for the eastern force.

The last henchman

Dak lets Rich clamber up from hiding and advance towards the steps. Then he too skitters along quietly. The tall high elf can see over the stone base, into what seems to be a main entrance. The doors are down – they can climb right in.

Meanwhile Garth invisibly motions back to an invisible Vern, as he reaches the eastern steps into what appears to be a sally passage. Or maybe nothing. Vern catches the sound of dwarf boots on steps, and follows along.

Then there’s a baying howl from the north side of the ruins and two huge dire wolves bound around towards Rich and Dak! And from within the ruin, there’s a command in goblin (a tongue Vern understands):

“Release the owlbear!”

North: Rich uses Firebolt, searing the lead wolf. Dak snipes it with devastating effect, dropping it. Then the next wolf decides to flee. Rich leaps off the landing, his boots carrying him over 20′ onto the wolf. Dak sends an arrow into it as Rich cuts with Alagondar. The wolf snaps back at Rich, but its powerful jaws make no impact on the paladin’s greaves. As Rich slams Alagondar down on it a second time, the wolf, maddened with pain and desperate to get away, leaps off the hilltop over the steep descent! Rich goes over with it!

Lord of the Rings New Zealand Tour: Day 10 (Wed 21 April) - Te Anau to  Queenstown

East: Garth kicks the stone-jammed old door in and charges a now-freed owlbear. He uses Menacing Blow, forcing the beast to flee back into its hutch. A hidden goblin snipes Vern, who shakes off the deadly poison. Then three goblin Black Arrows mob Garth, and from the other flank a massive Bugbear leaps at him. The latter wields a flame scimitar, but makes little impression on Garth’s fine armor.

Male Bugbear Marauder - Pathfinder 2E PFRPG PFSRD DND D&D 3.5 4E 5E 5th ed d20 fantasy

As the owlbear returns to the attack Vern and Garth destroy the goblins and hammer the owlbear back again. As the hidden sniper has a crossbow mishap, the bugbear leaps away with a fantastical leap and is gone through the ruins.

North: Suddenly a bugbear leaps from up above, onto Dak, who uses his rogue talents to avoid harm. The fiery scimitar and a hex curse threaten Dak, but he shakes off the curse:

“Rich! Stop horsing about and get up here!”

Below in the trees, Rich uses his boots to get height and his gauntlets to grab a sapling, and pole-vaults up onto the hilltop once more!

East: The sniper emerges, revealing a goblin boss. It flanks Vern, before Garth quickly gets back to shield him. Beating back the now-weary owlbear Garth and Vern pen it back into its hutch and finally put it down, while the goblin boss escapes north.

“Now where are those other two?”

North: Rich hurls Guiding Bolt a couple times and finally scores a good hit. With the advantage that gives, Dak crits and the bugbear falls dead!

Then Rich, who is still standing off northward, spots a fleeing goblin boss! Both nail it as it zips for the treeline and the last Black Arrow falls dead.

Victory!

Loot: 10 gold coin, 140 silver coin, Ring of Feather Falling, Ring of Jumping, Light Crossbow of Warning, Hellfire Scimitar, and (for Daran) Owlbear components and dire wolf teeth claws and pelts.

XP: The Silvers are LEVEL SEVEN!!

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