Lost Mines to the Apocalypse

Back on the Road
wherein the party travels to Red Larch and beyond

The party leaves Phandalin for the small town of Red Larch after an ominous dream that recently came to Lucretius one night. The dream, showing visions of destruction, orchestrated by the four elements, seemingly brought to intelligent life, was unsettling in the least. The party, having spent the last several months training and fortifying the nearby region, was ready to get on the road again anyway.

After a short rest at a local ranch (a friend of Shule’s) the party ended up in Red Larch without incident. It didn’t take long to scope out the general lay of the land in that small community and thereafter the party left with several clues as to where to head next.

1. A large, well-equipped party of educated dwarves and men disappeared south of Beliard, but we don’t know exactly where or which road they were on (or did they end up on the river?).
2. Items likely belonging to that party ended up in the hands of ‘shady characters’ in the town of Womford, to the south – the items were recovered by a riverboat captain.
3. A variety of people have mentioned that there is something afoot in the valley – deaths, bandits, odd weather patterns, etc

Eventually, we ended up heading to Womford to check out the one precise lead we had – to find the riverboat captain that had come upon the items likely originating with the traveling dwarves. If we can find him, then perhaps we can get a lead as to where this caravan disappeared to and, therefore, gain insight as to what else may be going on in the valley.

On our way to Womford, we met up with a gang of ruffians headed up by cultists of the element of water; their priest was not forthcoming with information, but his bodyguard was. We now know [I don’t remember what she told us]. Anyway, they both ended up dead, thankfully.

Flaming Skull

Today has been crazy! After getting a good nights rest, we decided (to my disappointment) to strike out due east, instead of going back and dealing with the undead. I’ve heard about undead, but I’m no expert. Anyway, so we decided to head east, and we discovered an underground lake! Or sea? It is big, but we don’t know how big. We could only see a part of it, as it rises and recedes. That has something to do with the loud ‘wave echo’ sound we hear that gave this place its name. Having taken a good look at that lake (and determined there was no likely danger there), we moved on and headed south.

Quarion walked around a corner (I held back to avoid giving away our position with our light source), and fwoosh! Flames came shooting past me, lighting up Quarion, and shooting past us out the entrance of the tunnel we had just come into. Luckily, I saw the flames covering Quarion first, so I had a moment to get my shield up and block the blast. Next thing I know, Quarion comes jetting past me as fast as horse in full gallop (maybe faster). He was saying something about a flaming skull, and zombies. After getting a feel for zombies at the Old Owl Well, I was eager to knock some down again. Of course, there was a nasty surprise in store for me.

First, I prepared myself, calling on Torm to protect me from the filth approaching. I could hear voices and movement behind me. The others preparing themselves and presumably calling upon their own gods… which would explain why Luc is probably talking to himself somewhere back there. Hehe.

Then things kind of started happening fast. A layer of frost and ice shards coated the ground by my feet, and covered the corridor ahead of me and around the corner. Zombies started pouring around the corner, but they were falling apart as their legs were torn to shreds. That must have been Vatten’s handiwork. I’ve got to admit it was a bit eerie seeing them plod forward, falling apart with each step. Then the cursed Flame Skull came around the corner and cast some accursed spell. Suddenly there was a ball of flame next to me! Having had enough fire for the next few seconds, Quarion made a tactical retreat. I stood firm, and was astounded when the Skull’s cackling and the zombies’ moaning cut off abruptly. Someone had silenced them with magic! Excellent! No more fiery explosions coming out of that one! Unfortunately the fires at my feet kept burning me. The consolation prize is that I saw it immolate more than one zombie that came forward.

Aaaand that was when I learned that the stupid Skull could still do magic somehow. Twin blasts of fire sot at me from it’s eyes. They caught me off guard, since I thought his magics were done. I got pretty cooked, and spent the next few seconds calling on Torm to heal my wounds. Geeze. Now that I think about it, I’ll have to be careful not to become one of those preachy clergy types! Lots of praying and whatnot for me today. The good news at that point was that Luc has some new tricks now. This one was quite effective, as a blast of energy shot past my head and slammed into the Skull. It was startled, and lost control of the flames that kept burning me, and they winked out.

From there it was just cleanup. Zombies fell fast as Quarion re-entered the fray. Large pellets of ice kept slamming into the Skull, and more bolts of energy kept slamming into it as well. It tried moving out of the silenced area, but that just made it an easier target for everyone. The last couple zombies crumbled as they moved toward us, and it was child’s play to finish them off.

Not so bad! I took a memento, some shards from the Skull, and we backed into our safe-room, locking the door for a bit of time to lick our wounds. After nearly an hour had gone by, THE DAMNED SKULL APPEARED AGAIN! It blasted the entire room with fire, and I was the only to remain unscathed. We brought it down fast, but dang… tough little thing that Skull. At Luc’s suggestion, I doused the broken skull in holy water, and poof! It sizzled and disintegrated in a flash and burst of smoke. Lesson learned. We now rest some more, licking our new wounds, and preparing to set out again.

PS. Luc can talk to me inside my head now. It’s really awkward, but I can see how it could be quite useful. It will take some getting used to.

P.P.S. This is me, in your head again, just saying hi. Might wanna put in your journal that actually Vatten disrupted the skull’s concentration. Otherwise, good prose and great spelling for a holy warrior! You make us all so proud, son. (Luc told me, in my head, to write this, and since I think he’s right about that correction I went ahead and did so… And no, Luc, I’m not writing that about the skull; I’m not putting any bad jokes in here.)

They have webs. And poison. Bad poison.

We were tired. We were worn. We still were not willing to risk the life of Gundren’s brother, so we took an hour to regroup, and we went back in.

Thinking we were witty, we planned to have Quarion turn invisible, and sneak in ahead of us. He was then going to neutralize the Black Spider with his Silence ability, and we would rush in and fight the bad wizard without him casting spells. Oops. :)

Quarion approached, and realized there was someone else in the passageway, also invisible! Furthermore, he realized there were giant spiders in there with the Black Spider. Two of them, and what Quarion figured out was another doppelganger in the guise of Gundren’s brother.

Quarion returned, and described the situation to us. We decided to have Quarion close the double doors to the room the Black Spider was in, so that we could handle the invisible opponent all by himself. Luc wanted to do a bit more scouting, but meh… we were sure that wasn’t needed. :)

The door slammed, and Vatten dropped a Faerie Fire where we believed the opponent to be, and sure enough, a hobgoblin appeared. We killed him, and decided to push forward immediately. We all pressed forward, gleefully anticipating drow blood…

Only to realize there were not 2 giant spiders, but 4 of them. Quarion did his part, but Shule hadn’t communicated well enough with him, and forgot to point out that Quarion should wait until Shule was next to the wizard before dropping a Silence on him. So the wizard watched as Shule and Quarion were surrounded by 4 giant spiders, and Shule got Webbed (giving his opponents advantage on attacks against him). The wizard was disappointed that he couldn’t cast in the silence… so he left it. At least Quarion got to punch him once as he left.

Meanwhile, Luc had been holding back to keep a good spread for our group (avoiding area spells). To his dismay, a couple bugbears appeared from the area we hadn’t quite finished scouting. Luc had some choice things to say about the value of exhaustive scouting, and then he promptly dropped a Suggestion on one of them, causing both of them to become pacifists somehow, as neither of the two that had come landed a single blow for the following 8 rounds or so.

Vatten had cast a Cure Wounds spell, and moved in. He threw an Ice Knife spell, and while the initial thrust was a miss, the aftereffect worked well. It even got Shule. :)

Quarion chased the Black Spider down, and thumped him again, but then the BS decided he had had enough, and cast Spider Climb, and took off up the wall and onto the ceiling. For the next couple rounds, we had a chaotic melee, with everyone knocking a little life off of everything. Vatten (luckily) fought off a couple Suggestion spells from the BS, and Luc broke the stalemate by casting sleep, and knocking down two of our opponents. Vatten threw down another Faerie Fire (hitting the BS and another giant spider), and decided that is one of his favorite spells.

We started focusing fire after that. Shule finally had a round when he wasn’t forced to heal or break out of webbing, and we started to make headway. Vatten said the others should press forward, and that he could handle the spider. Of course, that was before Vatten was aware of the amazingly potent spider venom that was about to enter his body. Yikes. A single bite took him from full health to under half. It was OK though, as we had finally started to gain momentum. Within another round, three spiders were down or dead, and the BS decided to run. Bad choice.

We took him down, and now have him in his underwear, bound, gagged, and unconscious. We’re not taking any chances with spellcasters. Then we realized that the two bugbears (the one Luc had Suggestion-ed, and his opponent) were still playing pattycake, so we lopped off the opponent’s head, and moved on. We found a key on the BS, and used it to open a door, finding Gundren’s bro, and saving the day. We locked the door behind us with Gundren and his bro, and the captive drow, and managed an extended rest. Gundren is happy as a clam, and we’re rested and ready to keep clearing out the mine.

All of us are feeling a bit stronger and more awesomer after the fight, and we’re ready to claim this place as our own… or… at least 10%+ of it as our own.

Entering Wave Echo Cave

Gundren escorted the players to Wave Echo Cave where they found the body of one of his brothers, Tharden, who appeared to have been dead for about a week. The players continued on into the cave where Quarian and Lucretius explored the abandoned mine tunnels. During the exploration they encountered a couple of ochre jellies, where Vatten quickly learned that when struck by lightning the ochre jelly splits in two. Shule also learned that a critical hit from an ochre jelly really hurts!

After dispatching the ochre jellies the PCs continued their exploration of the mine where they came upon an area that was more recently used. Behind a door the PCs could hear several goblins, but curious about the area further down the hall Quarian snuch forward to have a look. Not only did he find a drow, but the drow and his bugbear allies saw him.

Moving back to regroup with the party the bugbears moved forward and began calling out to the other bugbears in the room next to the players. Between Lucretius’s Darkness spell and Vatten’s Ice Spike Growth the battle quickly became confusing.

While the PCs were able to deal with the bugbears, (the drow ran off), they took heavy damage as well as somewhere around five or six critical hits in just this battle a lone! Needing a bit of a break the party moved back to the entrance with Gundren Rockseeker to take a short rest.

Next session the PCs will return planning on seeking out the Black Spider.


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