My First D&D Campaign: Song of Best Intentions [Session 3]
Once again a TL;DR version can be found at the bottom.
We left our adventurers emerging from the craggy cliffs to see Clove (Molli’s childhood friend) tearing up the main road towards the large port town that lay west, with a large black cloud of smoke curling up from the direction of Nicodranus. Molli and Larz took off after her with Larz failing an Animal Handling check and getting tossed from his horse. Eventually, they reached each other, and Clove dismounted her horse, obviously exhausted and breathing quickly.
Molli was privately messaged about a heart condition that she knew Clove had because she was told in confidence many years ago. Molli told Doctor Wollf to ride with Clove but didn’t tell him why which confused everyone out of game.
This is important. We will come back to this.
Clove told everyone that several hours after they left, a mercenary group led by a woman named Asharna came to town with the Request for Aid sent out by the Mayor previously (the same one this group answered) and when they were told the issue had been dealt with, they demanded that they be taken up to the tomb for it to be examined. A few townsfolk volunteered to take them up, and they didn’t come back down the mountain with them.
Once Asharna came down from the mountain, she demanded to know the adventurers who had cleared the threat. Edith had questioned why they wanted to know, only to be punched by one of the mercenaries. It had only gotten worse from there. They had set fire to the inn, the general shop, and Edith’s home. Once people realized that they meant harm, panic happened, and Clove had barely gotten out. They had started shoving people into the Temple of Melora right when she had escaped through a known crack in the city walls. She also mentioned that they had started rounding up the younger children of the town, which included Jondal’s little sister, Hildie.
Manfred attempted to send a mental message to the mayor, asking for an update on the situation and received no reply.
They rode back towards the city and decided to enter the city through the same crack in the wall Clove escaped through. They left their horses and Clove in the forest outside the walls before they headed in.
The crack in the wall deposited them behind the last row of houses, and they all rolled sufficiently to be stealthed. Manfred used his familiar in raven form to survey the area. The mercenaries had sunken one of the large boats at harbor and were loading another large ship with supplies. The crow spied two robed figures piling straw around the temple, which now had boarded up doors and windows. There were also two mercenaries patrolling the gates. On the ship, there were about four dozen mercenaries and a group of about 10 children at the bow of the boat.
They were very close to one of the guards, who still hadn’t noticed them. Molli decided to sneak attack and rolled a 20, (of course, this is important) stabbing him in the back of the knee and having him fall prone. Everyone got an attack and he was dead before it was even his turn.
Asharna, a elven druid with a black handprint across her face and small skulls dangling from her belt, went to the edge of the dock and threw her arms out, “Melora, Goddess of the Wilderness and the Sea, if you give use safe passage across the sea, YOUR sea, then I promise your precious children here,” she pointed towards the huddled mass of white clothed children, “will be unharmed. But it’s up to you, and we all know you have your own priorities. We know that you don’t necessarily care about your followers, do you? Well, boys!” She turned and laughed, “Let’s roll the dice! You four!” She barked at the ones still in town, “Set that disgusting temple on fire and then follow. I don’t want to smell burning flesh again.” She boarded.
Jondal went to dash for the ship but Molli grabbed him and told him he would be slaughtered if he tried anything stupid because their group was completely outnumbered. And that they couldn’t save Hildie if they were all dead. Within the next few minutes, mages on the ship casted Gust of Wind into the sails, and the ship took off with alarming speed onto open water.
The group saw the mages near the temple start to light their torches and they ccould hear the screaming coming from inside. Molli ran up and attacked one of them, then he tossed his torch into the straw surrounding the temple and caused all of it to light up quickly.
The group descended and promptly rolled way too many natural 20’s and killed the two mages. The last mercenary by the gate tried to flee, but Doctor Wollf gave the last blow in the form of a necrotic syringe. Molli’s new favorite target was the back of the knees.
During the fight, Manfred sent his familiar into a crack in the temple doors to survey the inside. The room was slowly filling with smoke, all the men and most of the women had picked up the temple pews and were smashing them against the doors and stained-glass windows, which sent glass shattering down on top of them. All the children were lined up on the far wall crouching down with their hands over their heads, and the women were tearing the bottoms of their white dresses to fashion cloths over the noses and mouths of the children. Edith kneeled in front of the statue of Melora, her lips moved in a silent prayer. A DC Perception 15 revealed distant rumbling in the distance coming from the mountain.
Larz: It’s the dragon.
Nia saw a water trough to the side and made a strength check to knock it over, successfully putting out about 20 feet of burning building. Manfred destroyed the planks nailed to the doors and Larz pulled it open. He ran in and grabbed several children from the back wall and took them outside, and it was just havoc with everyone heaving and gasping for air.
The townsfolk were sweaty, smoky, and singed. Mothers were pouring water over their children or dunking them in the ocean to cool them faster. Several of the men were being treated for minor cuts from the shattered glass. The starving peasant from the road was found inside and begged forgiveness, somehow blaming himself for what happened.
Then Molli, Jondal, and Larz went to collect Clove from the forest and found her seemingly asleep against one of the horses, with all the other horses laying on the grass around her. Molli shook her, and she did not wake up. They found out that Clove had died while the fight happened within the walls–a completely preventable situation had Molli informed Doctor Wollf of her medical condition. Jondal brought her back to find the tattered and torn townsfolk already building a funeral pyre so the bodies of the fallen couldn’t be reanimated to serve Vecna. Clove’s mother took her and was distraught.
The group decided to go to the mayor’s estate, to find the mayor with a knife in the back of her head seated at the head of the dining table. On the table was the small cracked crystal from the tomb that was in the forehead of the statue.
Jondal insisted on taking Pfrotter’s body to the tomb and having laid her to rest on the stone so she might return to stone, as is dwarven custom. Nia, Bran, and Larz accompanied him and they laid her to rest in the spring located in the tomb. Jondal also performed the rites for the townsfolk who died; Clove, two men who tried to fight back, and two small children who died from smoke inhalation. The pyre was beautiful, and their faces had been cleaned. The head garlands from the Midsummer festival decorated the pyre.
Jondal performed the rites and the children of the village passed out white candles that had been intended for the paper boat lanterns at the end of the festivities. Each person held their candle, lit small portion of the pyre, and sang a seafaring song about going back to the Allmother.
One of the townsfolk, a man who lost his child, accused the group of causing this, and demanded that they leave. Manfred unsuccessfully tried to calm him down and the man accused Manfred of not being able to understand because he’d never watched his child die in front of him. Manfred got angry and said, “I know more than you know,” and stormed off to be one with the ocean. The group decided to sleep and leave the next morning towards Zadash.
The group headed north, and encountered a huge tree blocking the path with several civilians chopping away at it. A successful perception check (which only Bran passed) made him notice that this huge tree did not fall here but was placed here. The ground was just haphazardly dug up near the base of the tree to make it look like it fell. Once the party members dismounted and started helping, a javelin was thrown from the woods and hit Pater, the man wear wearing a blacksmith apron who had a limp. The javelin hit his limp leg.
Two ogres burst from the woods and engaged in combat, yelling about the adventurers being tasty soups. Larz made a joke about ogres being like onions. The ogres took several rounds to take down, and when searched, the group found a giant tooth, a crude map including their own encampment nearby, a live chicken, a bag of dried pipeweed, and a bag of onions.
The group attempted to hand off the map to Pater (after healing him) and he asked them to take care of the encampment as they were just a small town. The group grumbled but accepted.
Upon arriving at the encampment, there are three more ogres there, one sleeping on guard and the other two passed out by the fire with a barrel of ale to the side. They could see a chest in the middle of the camp. They could attempt to sneak up and loot, kill the ogres, or both. There was a chicken yard to the left with 25 chickens in it, and one ogre was sleeping with a chicken in his arms. They even had a tiny vegetable garden. A log near the fire had chains in a pile next to it on the ground. When the players attacked, the chicken snuggler popped up, grabbed the chest (causing a scream from the chest) and said “I’ll keep you safe!” and ran off after kicking the cage off the top of the chicken run with all the chickens chasing him into the woods. The other two ogres called out to him, but he booked it into the woods.
Molli was able to get a crit on the sleeping guard before he was able to alert the others, getting him for FORTY FOUR damage in a single hit.
RIDICULOUS! But rolls are public, so she didn’t cheat or anything. At this point, there had been like 5 natural 20s. And, as a DM, I am losing my mind.
They fought valiantly and then Molli took off after the ogre that fled, stopping just short of revealing herself. She stumbled upon a scene of a huge ogre holding a tiny blond gnome in his open hands at eye level. She was standing and waving a finger at him as his chickens clucked and pecked at the ground around them.
“Felg, you have to run. They’ll kill you!” The gnome insisted waving her finger.
“But I protect you.” The ogre insisted, adjusting his seat as he fidgeted.
“Felg, you have to run. They won’t understand.”
Molli came out of the trees and Felg immediately jumped up; the chickens started screaming and running in circles and the gnome called out, “Please don’t hurt him, he’s the one whose kept me safe.”
Molli delicately placed her dagger back in her sheath, and the chickens calmed down. She smiled at the ogre. Molli asked to pet Felg’s chickens, to which he gave a big, partially-toothed smile and nodded his head. She sat down to pet one and all of the chickens swarm all over her clucking and begging for attention.
This was the scene the rest of the party caught up to. They decided to leave them alone after the gnome, Lyra Swiftfoot, explained that she was kept as an entertainer, and while the ogres were kind enough not to eat her, it was Felg that had kept her safe in her captivity. Felg was also the runt of the brothers and bullied by them. He helped move the huge tree from the road and apologized, but stayed in the woods to wait when Lyra went to the town with the adventurers. Lyra remarked that she had to stay with Felg now because people would just attack him without knowing who he was.
Tolsor was a small town made mostly of traders or woodsmen. There was a sickness that started right after the mercenaries passed through that the Priestess of Sarenrae believed was caused by the mercenaries themselves. Five entire families had fallen sick and the players spent time investigating the local area and homes to find magically altered Feverfew flowers that the children of the families had collected.
The groups that had fallen sick were five entire families (17). Several dogs and cats had already died. Their houses had been quarantined and the families brought here. Each family had a little child(ren) that played by the forest like all of the children in the town.
Symptoms include: fever, confusion, child-rash, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, weakness, low blood pressure, blurred vision.
Doctor Wollf was able to figure out a cure, to which Nia rolled a natural 20 on her nature check to find the ingredients.
A few items were procured in town as well. He made his potion and took three pearls from their loot from the temple and let them soak in the solution, making him healing amulets against the illness.
He administered the potion by drops, finding the children need far more than the parents did. The sickness was cured with the only casualties being the household pets of the five families. Doctor Wollf decided to spend the night at the temple to watch over the people, and Molli decided to stay at the temple to watch over Doctor Wollf.
The mini statuette of Melora had been defaced and poisoned with a magically altered vine of poison, to which she offered to replace it with the statuette she found in the temple of Melora. Priestess Octavia was taken by surprise, because the statues are only available in actual temples, and she asked Nia where she’d gotten it. Nia said with conviction that she was a devoted follower of Melora and would never ransack her temple. (Who then started worrying that that had been exactly what they’d done at the Blooming Glade.)
The group was offered free room and board at the small inn, but there were only two rooms with two full sized beds.
This caused a hilarious conversation among the players.
Our adventures returned to town after leaving Clove safe in the forest, with the knowledge that mercenaries had taken the town and were gathering people into the main temple. The group took out one guard expertly and managed to kill the other three enemies in the town, but not before the huge ship filled with mercenaries took off towards the horizon with a dozen of innocent children on board.
The group found that Clove had passed away due to a heart condition that Molli forgot to mention to Doctor Wollf, and she and four others were burned on a funeral pyre. Mayor Pfrotter was found dead in her house, and she was laid to rest in the mountain, as is dwarven custom.
The group, after a small disagreement with the townsfolk, headed north towards Zadash and had to deal with a small encampment of ogres on the way, while choosing to spare the life of the ogre, Felg the Chicken Whisperer, and protector of the gnome bard that his brothers had kidnapped. Lyra Swiftfoot thanked the party for sparing him.
The party made it to Tolson, the halfway town to Zadash, to discover half the town had been quarantined from a mysterious illness. The group discovered the cause to be a magically altered flower that appeared shortly after the mercenary group came through and also defiled the statue of Melora. Doctor Wollf was able to figure out the cure, Nia was able to find all the ingredients, and the town was cured. The only casualties of the illness were a lot of the pets of the households.
The group was offered free room and board at the small inn, but there were only two rooms with two full-sized beds. This caused a hilarious conversation among the players.
So, there it is!
This was a more relaxed session and there were so many natural 20s that I’m not sure if the encounters were too easy or they just got really lucky. But, I will definitely up the encounters as they just blew through them too easily.
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