Session 6: Exposition Explosion
Hello, dear readers. Thank you for putting up with a brief hiatus while I fought back the sinusoid demons. Thankfully, this latest outbreak failed to reach full infection stage; and I am, more or less, back in action. So, let us continue with our ongoing saga of two heroes just trying to get to the next place. At the end of our last session we had just defeated a cave full of goblins and rescued one sorely beaten old man. They camped for the night outside the cave to rest and tend to their new charge’s wounds.
At this point Falconsight recalled some woodscraft he had picked up from one of his hometown hunters. He remembered how to mix together an herb infused poultice that could aid in their recovery. 1 During his watch that night he thought about some other lectures the old hunter had given him during their time tracking game for the village. Suddenly, some things that had not made sense before seemed obvious. He now understood what the older man had meant by calling on the natural world to aid him. He recalled the techniques he had tried to learn before for actually communicating with the beasts of the forest and for spotting the signs of poison and disease in someone. He also took some time for some target practice with his bow and found that he had improved significantly.2
Tenzen spent part of the evening in meditation and worked his training katas. To his amazement he felt a new energy coursing through him during his exercises. His movements were swifter and more centered. He even mastered a quick punch technique that had eluded him before.3
They passed the night without further incident and awoke rested and much restored. The man they had rescued, who they had learned was Sildar Hallwinter, one of the two gentlemen who had contracted for their services with the Adventurers Guild, felt much better also, and was eager to get to Phandalin. After a quick breakfast they set off. Along the way Sildar expressed his thanks and filled them in on what had happened to him and his friend Gundren Rockseeker.
Gundren and Sildar had been on their way to Phandalin when they were waylaid by the goblin ambushers. Gundren had been taken to the goblin leader, King Grol, who had been ordered by someone named the Black Spider to capture the dwarf. He had heard that Gundren was taken to a place called Cragmar Castle, but didn’t know where that might be.
Sildar told them that this was a very serious development as Gundren and his two brothers, Tharden and Nundro, claimed to have discovered the entrance to Wave Echo Cave, site of a long lost mine that had been the source of Phandelver’s Pact. The pact was an agreement made between a clan of dwarves, a tribe of ixit and some human wizards over 500 years ago. The cave contained a well of magical energy known as the Forge of Spells which could be used to craft ensorceled items of great power. The location of the cave was lost after it was attacked by a force of orcs aided by evil wizards of the Dark Order. Sildar worried that his friend might be forced to give up his map and that the Forge would then wind up in dangerous hands.
Sildar also told them that he had a contact in Phandalin. Sildar was part of an organization known only as the Brotherhood. “We do what we can to ensure that civilization survives.” His contact is another member, a human sage named Iarno Albrek. After hearing of the discovery of Wave Echo Cave, the Brotherhood had dispatched Iarno to Phandalin to keep an eye on things, and to try to keep the inevitable trouble to come at bay. He had not been heard from for several months, and so, Sildar was sent to find out why.4
They reached Phandalin by early afternoon and Sildar promised to reward them for his rescue, and for clearing out the goblin raiders. They took Sildar to the Stonehill Inn and got him settled there. Then they went to the Lionshield Coster to tell Linene that they had found her missing shipment. She is very grateful and says she will send a team up to the cave the next day. When her team returns with the missing goods, she will pay the two heroes for their good work. She also says she will give them good prices on any gear they might need while they are in town. They thank her and head back to the inn.
They were crossing in front of the townmaster’s hall when they were accosted by four brutish looking men wearing dirty red cloaks. One of them stepped up and said, “Oy! You must be them new fellas. We don’t need no strangers here. How ’bout you give us a look in them packs.”
Naturally, Falconsight and Tenzen were reluctant to give up their packs. When they refused the leader of the ruffians hurled insults at them and made menacing gestures with his sword. Eventually, he stepped too close and Tenzen sprang into action. A quick scuffle ensued. The four toughs jumped at the ranger and monk. Almost before they knew what happened two of them were knocked out and down on the ground. A quick exchange later and a third fell to Tenzen’s flurry of staff, fist and feet. Falconsight wounded the fourth who dropped his sword and turned to run. In the heat of the moment, the ranger drew his bow and felled him with a shot to the knee that nearly took off his leg.5
Just as the struggle ended a portly gentleman came out of the townmaster’s hall and demanded to know what the commotion was. Upon seeing the unconscious Redbrands in the street he quickly changed his tone. “Oh dear! I say. I say, what have you done? I say, this is most improper, now.” (I played him with a Foghorn Leghorn voice) “Quickly, get these here fellas off the street. I say, this will bring big trouble now.” He helped the heroes get the unconscious brutes off the street an into the building. He introduced himself as townmaster Harbin Wester and told them he really didn’t want any trouble with the Redbrands. “I say. No tellin’ what they might do if riled up, now.”
Tenzen convinced Harbin to at least lock up the unconscious ones. There were two cells in the basement of the townmaster’s hall. They buried the one they had killed while waiting for the others to awaken. They had put the spokesman in one cell and his two buddies in the other. Harbin went upstairs before the ruffians woke up. He didn’t want them to know he had helped the heroes in any way.
The lead ruffian woke up and immediately went back to bluster and threats. “Do you have ANY idea who we are? You better let out of here if you know what’s good for ya.”
Tenzen was not impressed. He started asking questions. What are the Redbrands up to? Why are they harassing people in town? The talker just spat at him, “I ain’t tellin’ you nuthin’. We is just doin’ what the boss said. Make sure folks don’t make a fuss. Keep strangers out.”
“Who’s your boss?” Tenzen asked.
“Glasstaff’s the boss. He’s the one what pays us to keep strangers like you outta Phan’lin.”
Tenzen got an idea. “What makes this Glasstaff the boss?”
The tough grinned, “What makes anyone boss, he can whoop all everyone’s asses.”
Tenzen tapped his chin, “So, by your logic, since, I just whipped all your asses,” he said, pointing at the three of them in the cells, “that makes me your boss, doesn’t it?”
(I was honestly nonplussed by this. He totally caught me. It was awesome. I had him roll a Persuasion check, with Advantage. I rolled an opposing Will check with Disadvantage. I rolled really low.)
The thug’s jaw dropped, then his whole body drooped and he sat on the bench in the cell. “Uhh, yeah.” His two buddies in the other cell snickered. One of them said. “He sure got you, there, Lars.” Lars just scowled back.
“Alright, Lars. Let’s start again.” Tenzen then peppered the thug with questions. Lars offered no further resistance.
[cue exposition 2]
He told them the Redbrands worked for Glasstaff who hired them on to frighten off travelers and intimidate the locals. He said someone called the Black Spider gave Glasstaff his orders. He’d even sent a couple bogyars6 to help out. The Redbrands had set up their base under the big house on the hill. The entrance was under the floor of the kitchen. Between the ones in the Sleeping Giant and those on duty in the hideout there were about two dozen Redbrands all together.
[end exposition 2]
When Tenzen was satisfied he had gotten all the info he could out of the beaten ruffian he and Falconsight hatched a plan. They decided to impersonate Redbrands, beat up the ones at the Sleeping Giant then take on the ones in the manor cellars. They remembered that one of the town kids had found a tunnel in the woods that also appeared to lead into their hideout. They decided they might need some help with their plan; so, they took the cloaks off the ones in the cells and went to Linene to see if she could offer any assisstance.
Linene was happy to do so. She suggested they talk to her lead caravan guard, Michaela. “You’ll find her in the Stonehill this time of evening. She’ll be hard to miss. Black hair and skin to match.”
They thanked her and set off for the Stonehill Inn.
And that’s where we closed the session. That was a blast. I dumped a lot of info on them this time; but, they went with it. Son the Younger loves his monk and Son the Elder is making good use of that bow. Tenzen’s interrogation coup had us in stitches. Please, join us next time when we see how their first purposeful confrontation with the Redbrands goes.
- The PC’s had reached 2nd level and this was one of his new abilities. I just snagged the Healing Poultices feature from Chris Delvo’s Ranger v2.2 as given in his Loot The Body blog. That feature is a revision of the Poultices feature from the so-called Spell-less Ranger presented in Unearthed Arcana: Modifying Classes. My reasons for using Mr. Delvo’s modification will be the subject of my next DM’s Workshop post. ↩
- At 2nd Level the Ranger gains the ability to learn two 1st level spells. He picked Speak with Animals and Detect Poison and Disease. I need to remember to fit in an opportunity for him to use those at some point. Rangers also get to pick a Fighting Style. He picked Archery. He’s a smart fella. ↩
- At 2nd Level Monks gain access to Ki which empowers various new techniques and moves. The first of these are the ability to either make an additional unarmed strike, improve one’s defensive stance or swiftly pull away from an opponent. ↩
- The Brotherhood is the equivalent of the Lord’s Alliance in my setting. Also, in my setting, arcane magic is viewed with suspicion by most people because it was the cause of a major destructive war in the not too distant past. Thus, most practitioners keep a low profile and a few “secret societies” have sprung up as support networks for them. A magic user in my setting would never refer to himself as a Wizard, Sorcerer, or Warlock. Rather, they might be known as sages, wise women, scholars, or philosophers. ↩
- Tenzen was devastating with his attacks. He took out two in the first round and the next one in the second. Falconsight caught the escaping one with a critical hit. Tenzen had declared that he was only hitting to subdue, so his victims were only knocked out. The last one was not so lucky. It’s hard to wound to subdue with an arrow. ↩
- Recall, I have decided to call bugbears bogyars in my campaign. I just don’t like the name bugbear. It is confusing and silly. ↩