Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Elemental Evil: Session 3

In the previous session the group had started to clear out the Redbrand Hideout in Phandalin, albeit with some difficulties. This session started with them talking to the prisoners they had liberated. These were the wife and children of the local woodcarver, who had been killed by the Redbrands for intervening when they harassed his wife. The family didn't have much to reward the group with, but the woman was able to tell the group where an emerald necklace family heirloom was hidden in the nearby abandoned town of Thundertree. The group led the family to safety and started arguing about whether to rest or not. In the end they did, because they could do so in the safety of the inn, and figured that with all the noise they had made their element of surprise was gone anyway.

The next day they went back into the dungeon. Searching for tracks outside revealed that suspiciously few tracks were present, which made them conclude that there was another entrance. Inside they had explored every room, so they started searching for secret doors and found one right in the first room, leading to a corridor. Given his experience falling into a trap in the previous corridor, Erdan the druid used a barrel he had found to roll before him. When they reached a large room with a large crevice all the way from north to south, he also used the barrel to test the stability of the bridge in front of him, which promptly collapsed. He looked into the crevice and saw a hole in the wall under the bridge, but didn't follow up on that. The group was somewhat distracted by a Nothic, who used his telepathic powers to read their minds and speak with them telepathically, asking to be fed. They "asked" back what they would get if they fed him, and the Nothic (which they never saw) answered that he would let them pass unharmed. So they took one of the corpses of the Redbrands killed the day before and threw it in the crevice.

All session long the group was highly chaotic and uncoordinated. Erdan searched the room north of the crevice room and found a secret door leading down some stairs, but didn't use them. Meanwhile the rest of the group was in disagreement how to cross the crevice, with Krosh jumping across, others taking the north bridge (which was safe), and others building a new bridge from planks found in the ruins upstairs, which was equally safe. Finally everybody went across without problem and they chose to descend the northern one of two stairs going down. That ended in a corridor with two doors, one leading north, the other south. They decided to open the north door, and found a room in which two Redbrands were feeding a rat.

The following fight demonstrated how tricky the concept of a simple door can be. The group killed the two Redbrands within the round with relative ease, but Popée the sorceress thought that the safest place was the space just outside the door, not considering that there was another door right behind her. So when it was the turn of the Redbrands, the south door opened and two Redbrands attacked Popée, nearly killing her. She tried to bluff and fake her death, but a bad roll meant the performance wasn't very convincing. In round two the group turned and stormed the south room. Popéé, for safety, went into the north room, again ignoring the fact that in that north room there was yet another door. At the end of the turn that door opened and a mage appeared, firing Magic Missiles at everybody in the room, knocking Popée unconscious. On the next turn the group killed the remaining Redbrands, and Krosh, the half-orc war priest used his channel divinity to get a +10 on an Inflict Wounds spell, seriously hurting the mage. Laurelin the paladin revived Popée. The mage, which turned out to be both "Iarno Albrek", the mage that Sildar Hallwinter was looking for and "Glassstaff", the leader of the Redbrands, used a Misty Step teleportation to disappear. Krosh failed his perception check and didn't notice the secret door with the view hole "through" which the mage had teleported, so he escaped.

Having finally realized the importance of doors, Erdan wanted to open the door south in the Redbrands room, while the others wanted to search the mage's room. They found some treasure, but more importantly the book that the goblins had taken from Gundren Rockseeker, and a letter. The letter congratulated "Lord Albrek" on having infiltrated the Lord's Alliance and taken control of Phandalin. It asked him to use his "goblin allies" to capture Gundren Rockseeker and get his book, which was "dangerous to our cause, even if the dwarf doesn't know it". The mage was supposed to bring this book to "our tower near Red Larch". The book was the family history of the Rockseeker clan, starting from 5,000 years ago, where the dwarves had a surface kingdom called Besilmer. They defended that kingdom with an underground fortress called Tyar-Besil. But digging deeper they came upon a drow temple worshipping the Elder Eye of Elemental Evil. The dwarves were unable to destroy that evil power, and the Rockseeker clan recorded the dwarven knowledge on Elemental Evil.

The group was a lot less interested in this campaign background / clue what to do next information than in the next door, which they now opened. They heard some voices behind it, but decided to just open it rather than listen. So they stumbled into what was actually probably the hardest fight (and the most avoidable) of the dungeon: Three bugbears were harassing a goblin for fun. The goblin hid under the bed when the group entered, and the bugbears attacked. As usual in 5E the fight was over relatively quickly, but the bugbears got in some serious hits and the group was low on health and spells at the end. However that was the last room of the dungeon, and we ended the session here. Due to the group having 6 players compared to the "standard" 5, they are still a few experience points short of reaching level 3. But we will certainly get there next session.


Well, if your group are there for the fighting, they probably thought it was the best session ever!
I've heard it suggested that if the player's are having fun, its all good. But I know I personally go nuts when my players don't take stuff at least semi-seriously. DMing takes work, and I don't feel like its community service, I run a very simulationist/reactionary game so I usually find it easy to nudge my players back from wacky antics by just delivering unto them the consequences that make sense for goofing off. But you're players seem just... indifferent and that would drive me crazy.
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