Wherein our intrepid heroes answer the call of adventure. Flying well off the seat off my pants, I ran the first part of LMoP. We put together some characters and decided to play the first segment of the adventure, nobody died. I think it worked out well, although the bog standard fantasy wasn't exactly an electrifying introduction to this group of cynical beer drinking newbies.
tl;dr: they eviscerate many goblins and a bugbear.
Lo, let me sing to you a song of noble adventurers, bound together not by fealty or faith but by the test of fate and promise of a quick buck. Our story begins in Neverwinter, coastal metropolis of such reknown that I’m sure we all know of it and nod accordingly and ‘hm’ and ‘haw’ at its mention. In a tavern sat Lionolo Suicide legs” X, a warrior monk fleeing from a troubled past. He had been contacted by his old friend Gundren Rockseeker, a dwarf of no small daring himself, to help escort a wagon of supplies in exchange for a tidy sum of money and the promise of further amazements. While in the tavern (The Troll and Manticore, if you have to know in order to score it on Yelp or whatever), he struck up a conversation with several other unsavory types seeking similar exploits. Over a simple meal of rounded cheesed-dough they formed the Adventurers’ Friends League Society; they were Herbert Fiddlesticks, a sharp-tongued pirate whose tenure as ship’s bard was cut short due to budget reasons, Tirias, son of Teclas a sullen ranger looking for purpose at the tip of an arrowhead, and Kerouac the wizard, an elf with a penchant for dense books, strong wine and trying challenges. An odd bunch they made, but they were united by their love of a good drink, a good challenge, and that cheese bread stuff that P’izza the gnomish publican was dishing out.
Our merry band embarked on the road from Neverwinter to Phandelver, escorting Gundren’s wagon full of mining junk because, fuck it, there was cash to be had, when they were stopped by the sickly sweet stench of rotting horsemeat blocking the road. Thoroughly poking at the arrow-studed corpses, Suicide-Legs and Kerouac realized they belonged to Gundren and his companion Sildar Hallwinter, but no sooner had they done so then our party was set upon by goblin ambushers rushing down from the escarpment on either side of narrow path. Finally, some action! Fortunately, they had prepared for such treachery, and Tirias, hiding in the bush, gave one of the noisome monsters an arrow monocle or some witty way of saying he killed the shit out of it, while Fiddlesticks lashed out with a stream of magical insults that, while they did not hurt the creature much, still really hurt the goblin, you know? Like, ow, why would you say something like that. Kerouac thoroughly blasted one of the goblins with a frost ray, saying “you need to chill out” or something cool like that, while Fiddlesticks and the object of his invective charged at one another. Suicidelegs charged at the other two vermin, unleashing his martial fury but failing to kill his opponents and taking a rather pretty nasty looking scimitar wound in the process. A few seconds later, in a fury of insults, daggers and arrows, two more fiends were dead and the third broke and ran for safety. Suicidelegs, displeased about that whole scimtar thing, knocked the bastard cold with his spear and tied him up for interrogation.
Here begins the story of Meat Pie, the goblin apple of his goblin mother’s eye, aspiring henchman and entrepreneur, known for leagues amongst goblins for his...ok nobody cares, he is tied up and he has definitely at this point soiled himself. Kerouac did play the “goode coppe” to the “bad coppe” of Fiddlesticks, and between the two of them they did glean much information about the wherabouts of the Adventurers’ Friends League Society’s (AFLS) patron and traveling companion. Meat Pie had lost a few more pints of blood than he usually needs to keep his facts straight, so was all a bit roundabout. This Black Spider sounded like a real piece of shit, but the AFLS decided to follow Meat Pie’s advice to go with him to the Craggamaw hideout and rescue Sildar, because, well, look at the little guy he’s so cute like a puppy.
At the mouth of the hideout our heroes let loose a barrage of arrows, spears and daggers at the unexpecting guards, fruitless as it was. The first guard, Bernard, turning to his colleague Harold to comment on all the missed attacks, found himself speaking to a block of ice as Harold had been dispatched by Kerouac’s vicious frost ray moments prior. The realization that his friend was dead went through his mind at about the same time as the arrow did.
Oh look who it is! Guark the Young, stout and hardy wildman, childhood friend of Fiddlesticks. He drank too many ales last night so he’s late to the party, but eager to squish some bad guys.
Entering the cave, our heroes noted two chained wolves guarding the goblin lair. Tirias, friend of all of nature’s creatures, placated the beasts and kept them distracted while the others snuck by; unfortunately no amount of play could detract from Guark’s pungent orkish odor. No sooner had the wolves started growling, however, when they were dispatched by withering insults from Fiddlesticks (bad dog, bad!) and a flurry of quick attacks (for children reading, they were sent upstate to live on a nice family farm).
Feeling fresh, Guark decides to climb the natural chimney in the cave for a better view, but his hangover caught up with him about halfway up the climb and a misstep sent him tumbling back down. With a “Fuck this chimney, I’m not doing that again,” our band of merry madmen decided to press onwards up the stream.
At the next branch in the path, our elven wizard Kerouac decided to climb up a steep escarpment to the chamber above, but after another tumble down the hill the party swore off any further obstacle management for the day. Tirias, perhaps a bit upset by the experience with the wolves, is pretty sure that a squirrel is in distress nearby and heeds the call of nature, but not before nearly decapitating a goblin guarding the bridge ahead with another pointy arrow.
At the end of the path, three goblins stood guard in a large room where a waterfall fed the stream they had followed. Convinced they heard the sweet sweet beckoning of some ladygoblins coming from the other room, the hapless dolts were facing the wrong way and thoroughly unprepared to die, but die they did. One survived the first barrage and ran, “I gotta tell the boss, tell the boss!” he gurgled as Lionolo’s spear found the back of his head.
Warned of the dangers ahead and their approach muffled by din of the waterfall, our twin magic men took the vanguard. In a cavernous chamber sat two goblins around a fire in the middle of the room, but more importantly there was Klarg himself, bugbear amongst bugbears, sitting by a pile of ill gotten loot with his pet wolf. Kerouac lulled the two guards and wolf to sleep, but the only lullaby that reached Klarg’s ears was a dyschordant symphony from one of Fiddlesticks’ more edgy experimental albums. The bugbear was racked with pyschic pain, grabbing his head and reeling to the corner of the chamber to escape the bard’s sweet melodies. “If it’s too loud, you’re too old, punk” said Fiddlesticks, as Guark, who fucking loves that song, got amped up and sent into a rage by the music, bringing his axes down on the bugbear while Suicidelegs showed the beast where he got his nickname with a kung fu flurry of stabbing and kicking. Klarg don’t live here no more.
The sleeping escorts never woke up again, and our heroes availed themselves of Klarg’s loot before pressing onwards across the rickety bridge to find Sildar. The goblins in the common room heard the resonant voice of their bugbear leader call out to them “OI, YOU LOT, PUT YOUR SHIT DOWN AND GET OVER HERE, IS HAPPY HOUR AND KLARG DON’T DRINK ALONE.” Enticed by the promise of free libations, three of the goblins made their way to the treasure room but the only thing on tap was whoopass, and lit up by the bluish glow of Fiddlesticks’ faerie fire they made easy targets. Even their two remaining companions, still armed with their bows, could only watch as the raging barbarian, ninja monk guitar bard wizard tide rolled over them.
Sidlar, trussed up on the escarpment above, heard the telltale sounds of goblin disembowlment and called out to the adventurers, thanking them for the rescue. The man told them of the Rockseeker brother’s rediscovery of the legendary Wave Echo Cave, and how Klarg was under orders from King Gnol (himself hired by the Black Spider) to waylay the dwarf and confiscate the precious map, now with Gnol at Craggmaw Castle. Our heroes are eager to take the castle, but agree to escort Sidlar back to Phandalin for a bit of gold and the promise of a shower and hot meal.
They pack up the loot from Klarg’s stash to take it back to the wagon and head outside, where Sidlar points to a tied up goblin and says “Who the hell is that?”
Reflections: I may have been too generous (I was definitely too nice overall), but Minor Illusion and particularly the fact that it can emulate voices is a pretty damn powerful cantrip to be throwing around blind corners. Also, a lucky roll on the sleep spell and a few terrible rolls from the bugbear prevented the party from being absolutely slaughtered in the boss fight. I think the worst damage everyone took was from falling, which is perhaps unsurprising at level one.