DnD – A Call from Leilon

The party enjoyed several relaxing days in Phandalin, enjoying the chance to rest, recuperate and resupply. The town was continually grateful, with the group having saved the town from goblins, orcs, the Redbrands and a dragon. 

Then, one afternoon, a messanger from Neverwinter arrived. Carrying an invitation from one of the Neverwinter Lords, he asked the party for help in the nearby town of Leilon. Leilon is along th coast, a little south of where the trail to Phandalin branches of the High Road. 

Leilon, as it is planned to grow into.

The party set out, making it about ¾ of the way before dark (they had set out late due to wellwishers in Phandalin). As night fell they approached the Wayside Inn, a place recommended by the proprietor of the Stonehill.

To their dismay, they found it set upon by zombies and wraiths. A fight ensued.

Here I messed up as a DM. I wasn’t as familiar with the creatures and missed the fact that zombies can reanimate and that wraiths take half damage from non-magical, non-silvered weapons. The battle would have been a lot more tense had I realised that. Next time!

They defeated the undead and were welcomed into the tavern, meeting most of the staff and guests. 

The following day they set out towards Leilon, only to find the townsfolk gathered in panic in a field a little away from the town. Something had spooked them.

Again, I missed a little of the flavour here, missing a lot of the council’s conversation which would have added to the colour of the situation. 

But never mind, because they were quickly set upon by knights and archers on watery horses, attacking from the direction of the town.

Look I really hadn’t expected them to get this far in the session, so I really hadn’t read up on what happens and again, missed that the archers had multiple attacks. 

The townsfolk scattered and the party engaged the attackers. A townsfolk was killed by a miss from one of the archers, but their tight formation lent itself to a fireball assault. And the battle was quickly over.

And we had to stop there.

I’m enjoying the party, and this adventure none have played. It’s the expansions from the Icespire adventure. If you buy the Starter Kit you gain access to these through D&D Beyond for free.

But I am feeling both a little underprepared (fixing that for this next session) and that I’m not really challenging the party. Partly that has been my ongoing problem with my monsters just not hitting the party (almost totally due to my ongoing dice roll fails). So instead of hurting them, the monsters (and this has been true from session 1) stand there flailing away and not hitting anything while the party pounds away. And of course, they are experienced players, using their skills effectively.

We’ll see what happens next as they will not have time to prepare for the next two combats. How will they cope when all their spells are spent?

DnD – Dragons in Phandalin

Where did we last leave our intrepid Phandelver party? Sadly our scribe seems to have lost interest some and there are no further updates from him. You’ll have to make do with my brief notes.

So the party headed into the mountains in pursuit of the dragon. Searching the hills they found several clues, including a frozen orc carcass. By this stage, they were pretty certain it was a white dragon, and the dragonborn was looking forward to the scrap.

They eventually found themselves following a trail up to an abandoned keep, high in the mountains. Made up of two buildings, you needed to enter the gatehouse building, before crossing a bridge to the main keep. A pretty good design I thought. Drop the bridge and then attackers have to scale cliffs to the main building.

Inside the gatehouse they came across a group of brigands, whom they fought until the last two surrendered. The party let these leave and continued onwards. 

Most of the keep turned out to be empty, though a small flock of stirges had moved into one room. Most other rooms had been ransacked and defiled by the orcs who had lived here. Before the dragon of course.

The new “Dragon of Icespire Peak” module.

The dragon was found on the rooftop, and a fight ensued. They won it over quite easily as they managed some lucky casts of Hypnotic Pattern which kept the dragon incapacitated for each of its turns. This let the party pound on the dragon without taking almost any damage. This was helped by the initiative order. They would cast it, then the dragon would miss their turn, only for each of the damage dealers to take their turn, and then it would be recast, just in time for the dragon’s turn. I think the dragon managed about 1 round of actual combat (where it nearly killed one character with a breath attack).

Unfortunately as the dragon had only recently taken up residence, there was not a lot of treasure.

Finishing the episode, they travelled back to town carrying a dragon head (now mounted in the Stonehill Inn common room) and with the intent to take ownership of the keep.

DnD – Updates galore!

Ah, it has been a while and I apologise. I’ve been very busy finishing my degree (only a few days before my very last assessment is due).

So The Phandelvers have continued, with the lead party recounts attached below.

As for the girls one, that has sadly sat on the side a little with my own time pressures and their school term starting back up again.

However, they are in the middle of some minor tasks around the campaign. They’ve visited the Hag, neither group thought to ask it a different question. The girls have also visited the traveling mage and provided feedback to the town. Lastly they found their way to Thundertree village and started looking about. They’re not too keen on engaging the spiders or the dragon (unlike another bunch I know!)

However both groups now know where Cragmaw Castle is, and the “not my girls group” now have someone to guide them to the mine, both groups are soon to head into the final chapter of this adventure. Exciting times….

Me, Dungeon Master???

About two months ago, I briefly joined in a couple of rounds with a nearby D&D group before it was clear that the timings weren’t going to work for me. This was 5e, and I hadn’t played since 1e when I was in high school (I’ll let you work out how many decades ago that was), so long ago that when I brushed aside the cobwebs the notes had wasted away to nothing anyway. I still have a 1988 printed PHB on the shelf (rats just gave away the answer).

Enthused, but not sure what to do, I asked around across the work network and found a half dozen of us who were all keen to play, mostly all new. So in a fit of altruism, and in order to get the idea moving I volunteered to DM.

Which I haven’t done for that same number of decades… and maybe only once then too.

Being geographically disparate we decided to use Roll20 website to run the game. This gives us an online game board to draw and create on, while providing automated character sheets and a host of other tools to use. It also has audio and video.

We’ve had two sessions so far. I hope its been enjoyable. Its a steep learning curve for me as I try to learn all of the players abilities and manage the game, while we all learn Roll20 and its capabilities. Each session has left me with some homework on things to study and read up on. I also try to make sure that I am reading ahead and preparing so that the short 2 hours that we have is of maximum benefit.

But both sessions have included new people joining, so there’s the inevitable period of setting up characters, things not working and the learning we are all doing about both D&D and Roll20. A couple more sessions and I’m sure we’ll be in the swing of it.

I’m running the group through a module called “Lost Mines of Phandelver”, which was included in the D&D Starter Set. It’s designed for new players (and DMs) so a good start for us.

There is also a host of resources online (which didn’t exist when I started, heck online barely existed when I started). Youtube videos that explain rules more clearly, tips and tricks – both generic and specific to the Lost Mines. The official D&D website and the Roll20 wiki have a heap of stuff as well. I had already picked up the Starter Set a year or more back when the Mini Mabs showed some interest and just before the foray into the other group I picked up the D&D box set with PHB, DM guide & screen and MM. So plenty of references.

I am enjoying it, the group is settling in together. I’d like to see it continue, I’d also like to rotate through as a player, but I’d rather keep the group than force the issue. Because I do enjoy the DMing as well. If it does continue, I’d like to get the Storm King’s Thunder as that looks pretty interesting. Maybe keep the same characters or let them restart…. I think that is some time away as there are at least 3 out of 4 chapters to complete in this one first.