So, another session yesterday, and one of my old players was finally able to join us again!
So added to the party was Devin Tresendar, a Fighter who is the younger brother of the Baron Tresendar and in town at the request of Sildar to help “figure out what is going on” not just in Phandalin, but nearby Diamond Lake as well. The Tresendar’s have had a multigenerational decline, with the family selling off mineral rights to attempt to pay for massive gambling debts along with a the capitol losses from the loss of the Forge of Spells to the most recent Goblin Wars and worse. Devin wants to restore the common people’s faith in his family as well as do whatever he can to sink some capitol back into the family’s finances.
Last session had been a pretty major blow-out with the Redbrands, a handful of them dead; two run-off, terrified of the “the Dread Worm Caterpilius;” and three captured. After a short interrogation, the party was able to uncover some of the details of the Redbrand’s operations underneath the ruins of the manor, and after a quick discussion decided that striking while the iron was hot made the most sense. The fact that head of the local mining consortium and Sildar pledged 300sp if they dealt with the Redbrands decisively didn’t hurt either. They did, however, enlist Sildar, the druidess, and the local orchard owner (a retired adventurer) to watch their backs and guard the entrance to the cellars – something they were happy to do given the prospect of the party being able to capitalize on their success.
So off the party went to see what they do about the Redbranch base of operations! As they approached, their “eye in the sky” (Lockheed the Dragonet) noticed a ruffian diving inside so they knew they were not going to have the advantage of surprise. But after a bit of false start, they entered the cellar and cistern, scanning for enemies…
Noting the two doors, roughly half the party went to each one, intent on checking them out. In both groups, 25+ Perception checks were made, and they were able to discern that there were foes behind each one, waiting for some sort of signal. Fonkin the gnome moved a barrel, but made enough noise that the nearby bandits heard and burst open their door to face Devin (fighter) and Ilda (bard) immediately on the other side.
Upon the other door bursting open, Rhys kicked the other door open, managing to surprise the three Black Goblins on the other side (despite Disadvantage) and with the resultant surprise attacks kill one of them immediately (almost maximum damage on all the dice). From there the combat roiled back and forth with things going relatively well for the party dropping a bandit every round and a half (from melee combat by Devin and cantrips from Fonkin and Ilda – her witheringly Vicious Mockery proved amazing effective again) and a Black Goblin every other round (from melee combat with Rhys and both a Magic Missile and cantrips from Gwyneth). Two remaining bandits surrendered despite having finally managing to strike Devin down when Rhys came charging at them, having finally managing to slay the last Black Goblin, and they Nat1’d a Morale Check. They begged to flee because “Glassstaff was trying to rouse the Eye Monster!”
And that is where I called it!
Again, everyone had a good time. Enough experience was gained that Fonkin, Gwyneth, and Rhys made 3rd level and Devin made 2nd level (he was also fed a Healing Potion right before we called the session). So the party is suitable “up-gunned” to deal with the immediate threat of both Glassstaff and the “Eye Monster” who are likely to be attacking quite quickly…
Observations: Again, the monsters rolled relatively poorly – though their initiative was better this time. The party accidently managed to use perhaps the best tactics possible in this combat. A melee fighter blocked each doorway and prevented forces from entering the room to engage the spellcasters, and was also able to engage one opponent at a time due to the narrow spaces involved – while supported by the party’s spellcasters. Bounded Accuracy really cut both ways, by all rights the Black Goblins should have smashed Rhys to a pulp, then make equally short work of Gwyneth, and then moved to the rest of the party. Instead, mediocre rolls meant they were really hung up – this may require some thought to come up with a solution…
In any case, I’m making the choice to allow characters to level up immediately because it’s nicely dramatic. It also provides provides some resource management that doesn’t require the party to take some downtime. I also get to start the game in media res two weeks from now, and get everyone’s blood pumping immediately.