Session 5: Ambush
Well met, fellow travelers. Sit a spell and let me tell you the tale of two brave souls who set out on a journey together not knowing where they would wind up but who rightly figured that getting there was half the fun.
Yes,, gentle readers, it is time once again for another installment of the adventures of Tenzen and Falconsight. For those of you just now joining us, this is a series in which I share the ongoing goings on in the D&D 5e campaign I am running for my two sons. You have joined us as an opportune moment as they have just completed one adventure, leveled up, and are now at the very beginning of the Lost Mine of Phandelver (LMoP) adventure. You can read about their previous experiences by clicking on the campaign log tag. Very good. Let’s get to it.
We join our heroes as they are on the Triboar road three days out from Haven Cross on the way to Phandalin. They are riding a ox drawn wagon full of mining supplies. About mid-day they spotted two large animals laying on the road. When they got to within 50 feet they could make out that they were a pair of horses and appeared to be dead. There were black birds eyeing them from the trees on either side of the road.
They stopped the wagon and Tenzen walked forward to get a closer look. Falconsight grabbed his bow just in case. When the monk got close to the dead horses he could see the black fletched arrows sticking out of them. On one of the saddles he saw Gundren Rockseeker’s mark. He was the dwarf who had contracted with the Adventurers Guild to transport the equipment they had in the wagon.
While he was processing this information a savage cry shattered the quiet of the woods and sent the birds fluttering off their branches. Two short, muscular, ruddy-skinned and rather ugly humanoid creatures ran at Tenzen. He brandished his staff and readied himself to face their onslaught. Falconsight tried to get a shot at them with his bow, but found himself dodging arrows fired out of the brush.
Tenzen dispatched one of the little brutes quickly. The other pressed the attack with wild ferocity but could not penetrate his defenses.1 Meanwhile, Falconsight took an arrow in the shoulder but managed to hit his attacker as well, even with the enemy bowman still hidden among the trees.2
A quick exchange later and the monk felled his remaining assailant. They heard a yelp from the tree line and the sound of running feet and crunching twigs. Falconsight peered into the wood, spotted the fleeing figure and let fly. The arrow sailed true and brought down the last ambusher.
The pair tended to their wounds and examined their attackers. Falconsight identified them as goblins. They decided to continue on to Phandalin and let the folk there know what they had found. They arrived late in the afternoon and delivered their cargo to Barthen’s Provisions as instructed. Elmar Barthren, the owner, thanked the adventurers and explained how there had been problems getting supplies through. “Linene over at Lionshield Costers lost a whole shipment just last week,” he said. “Probably those same gobs you ran into.” He further informed them that no, Gundren and his friend had not shown up. He gave them the agreed upon payment for making the trip and pointed them toward the Stonehill Inn where they could get a room for the night.
They did so, and spent some time in the common room listening for rumors, as you do. They heard several people complain about the “Redbrands” being a real heartache in town, harassing the businesses and threatening people. They speculated about Daran Eldermath, owner of the orchard northwest of town. “Heard he come from Haven Cross. One of them adventurer types. Betcha he could handle them Redbrands.” There were some nodding heads at this until the innkeeper’s wife brought up Thel Drendar who had stood up to them and was murdered. “And now his wife and their kids have gone missing, too.”
Someone mentioned that Sister Garaele had returned from a recent outing looking like she had been wrung through a wringer. “Maybe it was the orcs,” someone ventured. “Townmaster’s posted a bounty on them.”
The innkeeper’s son ran into the room and tried to slip past his dad. “Hold on there, Pip! Where you been.” “Soory da! I got hooked by Carp. He wanted to show me the tunnel he’d found in the woods but I told him I had chores.” “Damn right you do. Now get at it.”
Thus filled with information, food, and ale, the travelers went to their rooms for the night. The next morning they decided to talk to a few of the people they had heard about last night.3 They split up and each visited a couple. Falconsight started with Sister Garaele at the Shrine of Luck since that was closest to the inn. He found the acolyte in the shrine and was surprised to discover that she was an elf. The townsfolk had not mentioned this little tidbit the night before. He asked her about what had happened to her in the woods. She explained that she had been trying to persuade a banshee to reveal the whereabouts of a spellbook that had once belonged to a legendary mage named Bowgentle. “I was not successful. Banshees are fickle and vain by nature. I had forgotten to bring her a suitable gift. I know she will not tolerate another visit from me. Maybe if someone else went on my behalf. Do you think you could do me this favor?” Falconsight readily agreed and she gave him a silver comb with which he might bargain with the elf spirit. She promised to reward them if they were successful.
Meanwhile, Tenzen had gone to visit the Lionshield Coster where he spoke with Linene Greywind. When he informed her that he had just brought a shipment to Barthen’s she asked if he had seen any sign of a caravan she was expecting. “I’d pay good money to whoever got rid of those goblins who’ve been raiding my caravans,” she said. When Tenzen asked, “How good?” she smiled and promised a purse of gold if he and his friend managed to find her missing goods. “Pelor knows, those good for nothing Redbrands won’t do anything about it.”
Falconsight went to visit Daran Eldernath thinking that the one time adventurer might be willing to help them deal with the Redbrands. In this he was disappointed. Daran, an aged half-elf, was more than happy to swap adventuring stories with the young man, but confessed that his days of derring-do were well behind him. “It’s a shame too. This was a right nice town until recently. It would be a great service to this town if some young adventurers like yourselves taught those Redbrand thugs a lesson. Run them out of the Sleeping Giant and cleaned out their warren under Tresendar Manor.” He also told Falconsight about some trouble he’d heard about out at some ruins about two days Northeast of town known as Old Owl Well. He said there were some ancient ruins up there and it would not be good if some unholy magics were let loose. His biggest worry, however, is his friend Sildar. He’d rest easier if he knew what had become of Sildar and Gundren.
Tenzen’s next stop was the Alderleaf farm on the south side of town. There he spoke with the farmwife, Quellene Alderleaf and her son Carp. They were Earthsoul dwarves and their farm was renowned for the quality of its produce. Carp told him the story of finding the tunnel in the woods near the Tresendar manor. “I seen some of big ugly bandits come out and talk with a couple of them Red fellas. They was the biggest bandits I ever seen, and they had hair all over, like bears.” When Quellene found out he was going to find the goblins that were raiding caravans she advised him to seek out her druid friend Reidoth up in Thundertree, about 50 miles northwest of Phandalin. “Reidoth knows every inch of this region. If anyone knows where those goblins are hiding, he would .”
The partners met back at the inn and compared notes. They agreed that something needed to be done about the Redbrands, but first they had to deal with the goblins that were keeping supplies from reaching Phandalin. It was only mid-morning by this time so they decided to head back to where they had been ambushed and see if they could learn anything there.
And that is where we will leave things today. Join us next time when we learn who let the gobs out.
- Tenzen, as a monk, has an AC of 17 with no armor. ↩
- Falconsight is +8 to his with his longbow and had hot dice that night. He was able to hit even through partial cover. ↩
- Like good little gamers they set out to gather up all the side quests. It amused me to see them approach this scenario in just that manner. This was different for them because their first adventure had been pretty railroady by comparison. The only real variation available there was on my end deciding which encounters to present to them. ↩