'Strange goings on' A Summary of Session 8 of Lost Mine of Phandelver
Summary of Session 8: Strange goings on
Spending the night in Cragmaw Castle after defeating its denizens, our gang headed off to Conyberry to visit Agatha the Banshee to find the whereabouts of an ancient wizards tome. Along the way they found more evidence of the orc attacks, a burning farmstead and the remnants of ‘Westors Logging Company’. After decieving the guards with a made up argument that allowed Chase to ‘sneaky sneaky’ and investigate the buildings. Finding another letter written in Abyssal at the logging company they headed off to Conyberry.
Making their way through the creepy ruins of Conyberry, our gang parleyed with Agatha and her sister. Cackling with madness, she was persuaded to give up the location of Bowgentles spellbook. With all roads now pointing to Old Owl Well, the Goudefellas headed there to investigate the strange goings on. After trying to steal Susan’s spellbook the group were found hiding behing a tree trying to cast identify on it. Turns out, it was a history book. But hey, Susan was willing to let by gones be by gones and invited them to tea. Things were about to get nasty when the group judiciously cast ‘charm person’ and manged to calm the situation…. unfortunately when the effcects wore off and in the middle of being robbed blind Susan flipped out and all hell broke loose.
Whilst the Goudafellas where in the end victorious, Brian the Zombie Ogre pummelled Hjukyl and he was down for the count by the time susan was dispatched and the zombies will broken. Licking their wounds, they slept the night in the ruins of Old Owl Well.
Giving players just enough rope to hang themselves
As part of the haul at Cragmaw Castle I gave out a ‘magic ring’ that allowed the bearer to cast ‘pass without a trace’. Stealth is one of the my favourite and most fun parts of the game … there is so much tension in stealth. Every dice roll feels heavy with potential as you make your way through the situation (if you can’t tell I enjoy playing a rogue from time to time :) )
I think its where D&D really shines, in that the dice rolls feel important, but you are still roleplaying. Combat can feel a bit ‘rules heavy’ which can lesson the tension. Stealth keeps it simple. I also really enjoy plans going wrong. So theirs that.
Anyway, my point is that my characters had stopped trying to be stealthy, especially as a group, because the disadvantage caused by their armour and what not had rendered it useless. To offset that, I gave them a fighting chance to pass stealth checks as a group.
When a plan seems viable you are much more likely to do it :)
I love it when my players surprise me and their inventiveness in this situation was great. After coming a cross a group of crooked guards, who were sharing the spoils of ‘investigating’ the Logging company after the attack. Our players didn’t attack, thinking the better or killing some Amphicea guards, no matter how on the take they were, but to distract them so one of the party could investigate they mocked a fake a fight outside. This drew the guards attention (mostly to laugh at them) so that one of their party could investigate the house. Ingenious!
Weston’s logging company is an encounter in the Essentials Kit but I ran it as a ‘CSI’ type moment. The encounter in the Essentials Kit was way below this groups level so it just felt a bit pointless and I wanted to have something else that pointed them at Wyvern Tor. I’ve been dropping some Abyssal (as a language that none of my characters can read) type artifacts to add mystery and to link encounters to The Black Spider. I took the desciriptions and what not from the essential kit description and then added, crime scene type things like tracks, guards and clues.
Beefing up encounters
Challenge rating (CR) is something that really confuses and feels miiiiiiiiles of. When I put a banshee in dndbeyonds encounter building, one banshee against my group came up as a hard encounter. So I gave her a sister so that at least it would be a difficult fight if they tried anything. With this group unless an encounter is just into deadly then it won’t even scratch them. They rest A LOT. I don’t know whether this should be encouraged or discouraged but I don’t mind from a DM point of view. It just means I have to assume that my characters are going to be uflly rested at the start of every encounter.
I could now plan for what our folks might find out at Wyvern Tor …