So the big damn heroes of the week include:
- Waxon, an Elven Cleric of the Wood Elf variety (whose healing was very welcome due to persistent near-death experiences)
- Szenden , a Half-Elf Fighter
- Gavan, an Elven Mage of the High Elf variety
- Valantis, an Elven Monk, of the Wood Elf variety
- Tassidar, a Half-Orc Fighter
- Mave, a Human (I think) Rogue, and the only female in the party
We return from Julkoun to Daggerford, where we report our findings to Sherlyn, who if memory serves me correctly, leads the militia, or at least something that closely resembles that position. Despite not having truly fixed the problem, we’re actually paid 25 gold pieces each for our services. We also ask for aid in rescuing the Julkoun villagers being held at Firehammer Hold, and she’ll forward our request to the Duke of Daggerford, but she also informs us that it’ll probably take at least a couple of days to get a response. We learn that he’s been spending a lot of time with Natasha, whose name seems to pop up in association with a lot of strange things (the missing sculptor, and the guard who tried to provoke a fight and promptly hung himself.) Unfortunately, with no definitive proof, it may all be just coincidence, since she apparently spends a lot of time with many different people. Gavan asks Sherlyn to at least keep a close eye on the situation, and not to take Natasha too lightly. We also learn that Sir Isteval has returned from his exploration into the wilds. Since he is the reason we even came to Daggerford, we make our way to his abode.
Before getting to his place, we make a brief detour and go to the local priest who was friends with the priest at Julkoun to see if the holy symbol we found belonged to his friend. It was, and he was grateful to us for giving it to him, though he would have preferred a body. We actually ended up cremating the dead body, in a fireplace no less, and as we clumsily tried to relate this to the priest, I the player (not Gavan) was cracking up over this for whatever reason. We probably could have handled that situation with a bit more tact and sensitivity, but to be fair, we’re adventurer’s who purposefully seek danger for wealth and glory. One could argue there’s something wrong with our heads anyways.
But I digress…the party goes to Sir Isteval’s home, who is actually acquainted with Waxon from a previous adventure. Something about Ghosts and Dragonspear Castle. We relate our findings at Julkoun to him, and he asks us how much we were paid. He seems rather appalled at our ‘low’ pay and we all get an additional 25 gold pieces each. Quite possibly the easiest payday Gavan has ever had. Speaking of which, he also tells Sir Isteval of the various strangeness around Dagggerford, surrounding Natasha, and worrying about the Duke. This makes Isteval a bit mad, as we find out the Duke had Sir Isteval’s house searched without permission. So it looks like we have a recipe for disaster in the making, where a local hero and the local lord don’t exactly get along.
So we knew previously that Sir Isteval had went out to explore the gnoll activity firsthand with a fellow named Kelsin Darktretter. Here in the house of Isteval, we meet a Lord Darfin Flosham, an elf and Kelsin’s uncle. and together they share their findings, based on a theory that Kelsin had as to where the gnoll’s are operating out of. In Ardeep Forest near Waterdeep, there are two hunting lodges: Nandar Lodge and Phylund Lodge. Sir Isteval and co. searched Nandar Lodge for gnoll activity, but found nothing, and they unfortunately had no time to search Phylund Lodge, which is where we come in. As of right now, Isteval feels the gnolls plaguing the area are the more immediate priority over rescuing the Julkoun villagers, as their continued harassment threatens peoples lives and homes. For the moment, we agree, and also agree to inspect Phylund Lodge.
In asking for any additional information that may aid us, we find out that generations ago, Phylund Lodge was a hunting lodge, where nobles gathered to hunt “fantastic creatures.” Apparently, either Kelsin or Darfin (I don’t remember who) participated in at least some of these hunts. Historically, there were many strange accidents, and in fact, the lord was infected with lycanthropy and had to be put down. The family having lost their wealth went to Waterdeep to try and reclaim their fortunes, but were never heard from again. We also learn that the best way to get there is a foot path leading off the main road.
So a brief shopping expedition later (Valantis wanted a longbow), and we’re off to see the wizard!
So on the foot path miles away from our destination, we are ambushed by four gnolls. We emerge victorious, but find nothing of value on their persons save for some weaponry. Searching the area however, we find a small clearing with turkey leftovers; five plates worth, which leads to an immediate problem – we only fought four gnolls. Szenden is able to find gnoll tracks leading away. We follow, and end up in battle with eight gnolls, including two archers. We win this fight as well, though Gavan goes from full health (20 hit points) to near death (1 hit point!) Thank the various D&D pantheon of Gods for Waxon, who provides some well needed healing. Magical healing is fantastic!
Like the previous gnolls we fought, they carry nothing of value. We again search for gnoll tracks, which lead us to a cave with a small stream flowing into it. Mave and Szenden hilariously try to stealth the cave for reconnaissance. I say hilarious because while Mave is successful in her stealth check, Szenden is not, so basically she hears “Cling! Clang! Clang! Clunk!” behind her the entire time. Anyways, they don’t find much as the natural light from the outside eventually gives way to darkness. Gavan casts the light cantrip on Valantis’s newly bought quarterstaff and we go in. The cave area is somewhat like a dungeon crawl like last time, so instead of telling every single time we turned left, turned right, etc., I’ll just give a nice bullet-pointed list like last time of interesting stuff.
- We find a chamber with stick figures carved into the wall. The most interesting of which roughly resembles a humanoid colored red with a hand carved into. Thanks to some religion checks, we find that this is the holy symbol of Malar, God of Beasts. There are also rat bodies laying around…
- Another chamber 30 feet round with a pool that goes out. In the pool is a bucket with a chain, with a small hole in the ceiling. We’re guessing this is a well, and somewhat hoping that it leads to the lodge. However, it’s more or less impossible for us to fit through the hole in the ceiling. Mave might be able too, but the rest of us, especially our seven-foot Dragonborn, probably won’t be able to.
- A third chamber, with more wall carvings, this time of 2 hunting beasts. There’s also what is essentially the top of a sphere sticking out of the ground. On the sphere is writing, and after some initial confusion, we figure out that the writing is some ancient form of the common tongue everyone speaks, devotions to Malar. We then remember that the previous lord of the Phylund Lodge was a werewolf. Was he the only one? A fourth chamber is similar to this one, with another sphere with more carvings, but with the added addition of bones of various humanoids. Someone’s lunch or dinner, presumably?
- We finally get to the first room that is not natural, but man-made. A square room with a carved chanel running throught he middle. Here, there are writings on the wall, poetry of the hunts the Phylund Lodge had. There’s also an old, stone altar with old red stains on it, presumably blood and lots of it. There’s also a door that leads to…
- …a circular room with inhabited by three undead creatures, who are naturally hostile, one of them wielding a gleaming sword (as opposed to a blazing sword.) At the center of this room is a statue of a warrior with plate mail and a notched battle axe. After dispatching the undead, we find the armor worn by these undead is decades old, though well aged. On the gleaming sword is a crest of some kind, presumably a family crest, and the name Bartos Phylund, whom we know to be the name of one of the hunters. Gavan also is able to sense that this sword is indeed magical. After some brief deliberation, it’s agreed that a frontline fighter would make the most of this weapon, and Szenden will be the one to do so. Finally, the door we entered from seems to have mysteriously vanished, though our rogue Mave is able to find wall switches to reveal (push in three bricks) the door was actually there all along. There another door on the opposite side, just waiting for one of us to enter through…
And that is where this weeks story ends.
So FYI: sadly, for the first time since January, there will be no D&D Encounters blog next week, as I will not be able to attend. I’ll instead be at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, possibly the last one I’ll attend for quite awhile. In the meantime, I’ll try to blog about the Conference daily, the talks I attended, my thoughts and feelings on them, etc., but no promises. I suppose the best part is that I get to spend time with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins so there’s that. I’m packing King of Tokyo, and hoping to rope them into a few games of that.