Campaign Diary #11: Bad Lip Sync.

The following is one of my Campaign Diaries, where I recap the latest game of Dungeons and Dragons that my friends and I play. Click here for the Campaign Diaries in order, click here for a “Who’s who” style summary, and click here for a Dungeons and Dragons introduction post!

The Diary

Leaving Thundertree

Worse for wear after their fights with Venomfang and the Cult of Tiamat, the Dungeon Delvers decided to leave Thundertree behind. They elected to return to Phandalin. There were a few mysteries they still hadn’t even started to investigate.

  1. What happened to Donat’s body once it was left on the pyre?
  2. Where was Gundren Rockbreaker taken to?
  3. Who is the Black Spider and…
  4. What does the Black Spider want?

The only place they could find any clues for these burning questions was Phandalin. It was a two-day hike, so the group decided to camp for the night, rather than walk the whole way. During the first day of hiking Reynarín kept talking about how much she was dying for a sup of ale. She even suggesting the group walk through the night to get to Phandalin a little quicker.

Theon and Naoise took the first watch, which was pretty uneventful. They did gossip about a big change in Reynarín’s behaviour since Necrolas left the group, including her newfound alcohol obsession.

Gryff and Reynarín took the second watch. Nothing attacked them. During their watch, Reynarín expressed much concern for Gryff’s injuries that he sustained during the fights in Thundertree. She also revealed that Necrolas was not her brother, that they lied to suss the group out. She sat very shiftily, as if she had more to hide. Not probing any further, Gryff thanked her for her concern by carving a unicorn horn for her.

Back in Phandalin

Upon arriving in Phandalin, the Dungeon Delvers noticed the townsfolk being a little anxious and cold towards them. Qelline Alderleaf and her son Carp were seen leaving Barthen’s Provisions. Carp recognised Dovogholz and tried to run to him, but Qelline stopped him, nodding politely, but coldly, towards the group.

Finding this behaviour strange, the group set off to find Naoise’s husband Frank. Frank was the last person to have seen Donat’s body. He told them that he constructed the funeral pyre as instructed, but left it when Venomfang attacked. He was with the group when the found it destroyed the next day, with a Black Rose left on top.

Questioning the meaning of the Black Rose, Gryff went to talk to Harbin Wester, the town-master. They talked for a time, Harbin even looking through the haphazard crime records he keeps. Not a single mention of a Black Rose. Disappointed, Gryff went to talk to Sildar Hallwinter as well, but Sildar had no clue as to the meaning of a Black Rose. He did express concern for the dwarf Gundren however.

The group went to a shop and bought some new armour and weaponry, and decided to set off in the rough direction of Cragmaw Castle, hoping to find some clues regarding Gundren Rockbreaker’s whereabouts.

Inflitrating Cragmaw Castle

Another hike across the Sword Coast countryside and the group eventually came across Cragmaw Castle. Once a fine castle, now it rose out of the horizon like a set of broken fangs.

Knowing this to be the base of the Cragmaw Clan, who attacked them a few days ago, the Delvers tried to plan how to explore the ruin. Reynarín stepped forward and suddenly turned into a rat, revealing her Wild Shape ability for the first time.

Scuttling across the fields to Cragmaw, Reynarín clambered in the south entrance and scuttled along the hallways. Inside was a wreck. Walls were crumbling down, some rooms were only separated by piles of gravel rather than walls. The whole place stank of waste and sweat, and the light was dim. She explored carefully, finding a dining hall inhabited by a large group of goblins and another smaller room housing two hobgoblins. It was then she found a room where a bugbear stood arguing with a cloaked figure who held a staff.

A staff with a spider decoration on the top.

Once she spotted an unconscious dwarf tied up in the corner, Reynarín knew she had found Gundren. She scuttled away, leaving through a hidden entrance she found and made her way back to the group.

Rescuing Gundren

The Dungeon Delvers formulated a plan to rescue Gundren. They also spoke of the possibility of taking out the Black Spider, the root cause of all their problems.

Naoise used her spell Disguise Self and made herself look like a Goblin (As a Gnome she is the same height as the average Goblin). Then Theon cast Invisibility on Gryff, who could speak Goblin, and the pair made their way into the room with the two Hobgoblins.

“The boss needs you!” said Gryff, with Naoise giving a very convincing performance. The male hobgoblin followed her into another room where Dovo, Theon and Reynarín waited, all three attacking (and killing) the poor unsuspecting Hobgoblin.

“Round two?” asked Theon, as Naoise and Gryff left to convince the second Hobgoblin to follow. “Ughhhh…. we need you too.” said the Gryff/Naoise combo, as the poor unsuspecting Hobgoblin followed to her doom.

With the closest room cleared, the group decided to go straight towards the Bugbear, “Black Spider” and the dwarf. Naoise, showing little fear or thoughts of consequences, barged into the room just a little bit earlier than Gryff was expecting her to. Naoise burst through the door mouthing the words “Grubs up!”, while Gryff said it around half a second behind her.

Thankfully the Bugbear wasn’t too quick to notice, and the cloaked figure had their back turned. This was the first time that someone was getting a good look in the room. (Reynarín’s rat eyes only seeing so much). The cloaked figure had snow white hair, and coal black skin, and just beside the door lay a sleeping wolf.

Pissing off King Grol

“YOU DARE SPEAK TO YOUR KING LIKE THAT?!” screamed the bugbear, stomping towards Naoise. Gryff didn’t have time to translate however, as he swiftly grabbed the disguised Gnome and flung her against the wall.

Gryff ran to her side, worrying for her safety. Still invisible, he whispered in her ear “Are you alright?”

“Jesus you frightened the shite out of me!” shouted Naoise, with the bugbear hearing her, baffled by her insolence. He told her to get out once more, and Gryff translated again. She took the hint and left swiftly.

Deciding to try and use his anger to get him to leave the room, Naoise and Gryff returned once more. They planned on opening the door, Naoise lipsyncing and Gryff saying “Fuck you tiny balls!” and leaving the room. However, (due to some poor rolls) they ended up with Naoise opening the door, mouthing the words “Fuck you tiny balls!” and Gryff shouting it out after Naoise closed the door.

(Oh man I love D&D.)

The Battle of Cragmaw

Outraged as well as confused, King Grol charged after Naoise, calling his pet wolf Snarl to his side. They exploded into the room, only to be met by a well prepared Theon, Dovogholz, Reynarín and Naoise. They unleashed all their power onto him and were swiftly joined by Gryff (the invisibility spell wore off once he attacked)

Theon, Dovogholz, King Grol, Naoise and Gryff locked in battle.

Once she could see that the others had the bugbear under control, Reynarín fled to seek out the Black Spider. She managed to cut him off at the room to Hobgoblins were in before.

King Grol fell to his death after Dovogholz managed to thrust his halberd into the King’s neck, with Gryff finishing off the wolf with an arrow to the eye. Meanwhile, Naoise ran after Reynarín, but the Black Spider managed to flee further towards the exit. As he did he screamed “The Castle has been invaded! We’re under attack!” attracting the attention of the eight goblins who were feasting in the dining hall.

With some fast thinking, Reynarín cast Spike Growth between the Black Spider and the exit, while Gryff arrived at her side, ready to fire some arrows. Between the spikes and an arrow to the knee, the Black Spider fell down, unconscious.

Chaos in the Castle

However, the alarm had already been raised. Dovogholz had been battling a stray goblin who found his way in the middle of the mess, when suddenly a massive creature called an Owlbear burst through a doorway, attacking everything in sight.

At the same time Yegg, the chef Goblin, and his seven companions charged out of the kitchen towards Gryff and Reynarín.

And AGAIN at the same time, a monsterous slug-like creature with four tentacles and a sharp beak called a Grick burst through another door and grabbed Reynarín.

The Goblins swarm Theon, as the Grick attacks Gryff and Reynarín

The party fought valiantly, with Naoise even getting knocked out at one point. Gryff came to Reynarín’s aid, hurting the Grick enough that it let her go. She ran from the room, stopping to give him a swift kiss on the cheek as she did.

Once the leader of the smaller troupe of Goblins was dispatched, the rest fled in fear.

Dovogholz, in a panic, roared at the owlbear. He managed to do so so loudly that the creature became afraid of him, unable to take a step towards him. Once Naoise was revived the two of them worked to put an end to the owlbear.

Aftermath

With the castle quiet at last, Dovogholz went and collected the unconscious body of the Black Spider, only to find that it wasn’t a drow at all, but the second Doppleganger that worked for the Black Spider. Dissappointed that they hadn’t defeated the true Black Spider, the party took solace in the fact that they had captured his underling.

The brought it back to the room where they first encountered it, and began to tend to the unconscious Gundren Rockbreaker.

Will they ever meet the real Black Spider?

Why did the Black Spider kidnap Gundren?

What is with Reynarín kissing Gryff?

No seriously, what is with Reynarín kissing Gryff?

Find out the answers to these questions and more, next time!

Behind the Screen!

Once again, this is for everyone except Naoise, Theon, Gryff, Dovogholz and Reynarín!

This was a session that I was really looking forward to. Cragmaw is a devilishly full castle with plenty to keep a party on their toes, and that was where I kept them.

There wasn’t too many changes I had to make during this session. I did try my best to overwhelm the players, but they managed to keep tabs on everything. I did feel bad for Naoise as she ended up unconscious for quite a bit of the battle, but that is just something as a DM you can’t avoid.

The real result of this battle will be in the next session however, when the group interrogate Vyerith the Doppleganger and Gundren the Dwarf. Vyerith is the first living creature they have met that actually knows the Black Spider in person, but it will take a lot of clever role play for them to get anything out of her. The book actually states that she would fight to the death rather than be captured, so I’m not sure how to handle it. I guess I’ll have to think on her backstory a bit.

Why is she working for the Black Spider, and how did this come into play? What does she want that the players can offer her?

I was really happy with this session overall, but I’m really looking forward to the next one.

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