The Unexpected in the Caves of Chaos.
Session #0018: Four & Five, and the start of Six.
PCs (in alphabetical order)
Krago of the Mountains (Pete) Male Mountain Dwarf Ranger (Folk Hero) Level 3.
Lappoy the Unexpected (Rob) Male High Elf Wizard (Sage) Level 3.
Mohag the Wanderer (Pete) Male Human Barbarian (Outlander) Level 3.
Sho-Rembo (Dave) Female Stout Halfling Druid (Hermit) Level 3.
Sir Glen (Dave) Male Human Paladin of Lathander (Noble) Level 3.
Sosspan (Dave) Male Dragonborn Wizard (Spy) Level 3.
Trebbelos (Pete) Male Tiefling Sorcerer (Charlatan) Level 3.
Sidekick (played mostly by the DM).
Corbis Male Human Sidekick Warrior (Soldier) Level 1.
Scrubs Male Human Sidekick Expert (Soldier) Level 2.
Tribbits Male Human Sidekick Warrior (Soldier) Level 1.
Dead PCs (in alphabetical order)
Afton Barr (Dave) Male Half-Elf Bard (Entertainer) Level 1.
Estra Zo (Pete) Female Wood Gnome Rogue (Urchin) Level 1.
Farned of the Leaf Lord (Dave) Male Wild Elf Cleric of Rillifane Rallithil (Acolyte) Level 1.
Tassit (Dave) Female Human Monk (Hermit) Level 1.
The Mystical One (Pete) Female Human Warlock (Outlander) Level 1.
Yor (Pete) Male Dragonborn Fighter (Folk Hero) Level 2.
Dead NPCs (in alphabetical order)
Wormwood Male Human Guard.
Note, you can click on the pictures here to make them bigger (if you didn't know this already).
Day 29: Being the 29th Day of Mirtul, in the year 1493 by Dale Reckoning, known as the Year of the Purple Dragons, about two in the morning, too early to be getting up, and yet...
But a little backtracking, just for a second, the Unexpected have decided to stay out in the wilds, they figure- we're tough enough, and I believe them.
They were heading for the Caves of Chaos but en route have fallen foul of the DMs random encounter dice, I keep rolling '1's. So far- an ankheg, a bunch of gnoll slavers, followed by a pack of goblin wolf-riders.
Sucks to be them.
So, the Unexpected have pulled back from the Caves of Chaos ravine and decided to make camp out in the woods- they need to rest up a bit before braving the Caves again. Here's where they are on the big map-
Where's Lappoy- bottom right, that's the Unexpected's camp for the night. The Caves of Chaos are to the north, you can see the ravine, and the Keep on the Borderlands far to the west (actually, it's about four or so miles away from the PCs present campsite).
So, a night out in the wilds, and I've already rolled to see if there's another random encounter for the Unexpected's retreat through the woods, but nothing doing, so I'll try again for the overnight.
And here we go...
It's 2 AM, and only Sir Glen & Trebbelos are awake and on watch.
At which time Grimphart, the wandering ogre, in search of treasure or a new lair, spots the Unexpected's camp and tries (he's not bright) to sneak up on the PCs.
Then I roll an adjusted '15' for Grimphart's stealth.
That's not bad, could it...
Grimphart leaps out of hiding having just achieved a gold star for his leopard crawl, and then leaps to his feet and attempts to smash Tribbits to pulp, and doesn't do a bad job of it- the warrior is down and dying.
Then, well- there's only two PCs awake, and so those sleeping need to make a DC 10 perception check to rouse- and the funny thing is, only two other PCs manage this.
Trebbelos is the first to react but the tiefling sorcerer has next to no spells left, so he uses his Thaumaturgy to shout out to his companions in a very loud voice-
“AWAKE! To Arms. We're Under Attack!”
Very official sounding.
And then with his inspiration point he attempts to Fire Bolt the ogre brute, and that's a hit.
But Grimphart has all of his hit points, I maxed him out, and as in the book his greatclub is studded with tail spikes taken from a manticore he fought recently, so there's a little extra damage from these.
Grimphart takes a stride forward and slams his greatclub into Mohag, and the barbarian- just waking, is bloodied in an instant.
But Sir Glen is the hero, the paladin is on his feet and at the ogre in seconds, with an inspiration point to activate his Sacred Weapon, and then his last spell slot for a Divine Smite. The holy warrior of the Morning Lord almost guts Grimphart (for 20 damage).
He also starts up with his annoying shouting and fretting about the Morning Lord.
Then Mohag struggles to his feet, and he's already raging and reckless, Grimphart gets sliced some more.
Sosspan awakes, leaps up, and fires a clutch of Magic Missiles into the ogre.
Grimphart is bloodied and beyond.
And then all of the other adventurers awake, after Trebbelos' yelling.
Krago thumps Grimphart with his black mace, Sho-Rembo uses her last spell to pump a Healing Word into Tribbits, Scrubs fires a crossbow bolt into the ogre, and Trebbelos tags it with a Shocking Grasp.
Grimphart is screaming, and yelling, he wants out of here, he runs...
And is sliced by Mohag, and while tottering and flailing about is finally brained by Krago.
Grimphart is dead, and as Lappoy stated at the time, and while still situated in his bedroll-
“I told you we were tough enough to be out here for the night!”
[Grimphart is dead 450 XP]
There follows a little emergency healing for Tribbits and Mohag, then the rifling of the dead ogre, and then... re-set the watch and sleep some more.
They figure the dead ogre wont start stinking the place up for a while.
But, because of all of the shouting and the noise I thought I'd roll another encounter check.
Is that my fourth or fifth today?
I've just been for a count-back, that's my fifth successful random encounter roll (out of about eight) in the last twenty four hours of the Unexpected's life.
The encounter indicated is far too nice.
Therefore we move on to Lappoy and Tribbits, on the last watch for the night, the pair are the first to hear the strange buzzing sound, no... that's not quite right.
They are the first to hear someone close by, and it's light now, saying the word 'buzzing', repeatedly, a long drawn out drawl- 'buzzzzzzzzzzingggggg', and as I say repeatedly.
The pair spot an old stooped man leaning heavily on a stout staff, the strange human seems to be surrounded by a swarm of bees.
He's the one making the noise.
The odd fellow looks up and then waves at Lappoy and Tribbits, who don't quite now what to say.
“Who are you?” Is Lappoy's opening offer, followed by an explanation of who the Unexpected are and what they're doing here, by the much more polite Tribbits.
“I am Bumble”, the old man states, “they call me the king of the bees...”
“Who does?” Lappoy asks, somewhat testily.
“Why the bees of course”, Bumble earnestly replies, and with a broad smile.
A little later and all of the Unexpected are in on the conversation, or at least lots of them- certainly they have all taken the time to introduce themselves to Bumble.
Bumble's bee friends, he seems to be constantly surrounded by a lazy swarm, cause a little consternation, but Sho-Rembo, and a few others are particularly delighted by the cheerful and pleasant old man.
So, the chatter goes on for some time, and for a variety of reasons, firstly Bumble has honey to sell, and several of the PCs are buying- it tastes good.
Furthermore Bumble has some royal honey (a curative) which he is willing to give to the adventurers, or else trade with them, but only if they prove themselves useful.
Bumble has three doses of royal honey, these can be earned by-
- Helping the water spirits of the Goblinwater River.
- Culling some of the spiders in Spiderwood, the place is over run with them.
- Stopping the undead attacks in the Whispering Wood.
But, that's a lot of things to do for just three doses (Heal 1d4+1) of royal honey, however the Unexpected- all of them, like Bumble. They donate over 30gp to the wandering druid, Sho-Rembo contributing half of this.
Note, Bumble didn't ask for money, or anything else (except see below) the PCs just started donating.
But there's more, because back in the Keep the PCs (actually Lappoy) learned (in Session #13) that there was a 'mad druid' who wanders the Whispering Woods, and who knows the region like the back of his hand. The implication being that the 'mad druid' would know where the former lair of Zeligar and Rogahn is located, remember this is the PCs ultimate goal.
They just don't talk about it a lot, mainly because up until now they're been having fun in the Caves of Chaos.
But, the 'mad druid' as it turns out is not Bumble, it's his brother- Tolpuddle. Tolpuddle, Bumble warns, is a little 'nervous' around folk, and he inhabits the Whispering Wood north of the road, he thinks.
Note, Lappoy- who is doing quite a lot of the talking (its what he does) doesn't use the word 'mad', he's very polite.
However, the High Magicker enquires- does Bumble know where Zeligar and Rogahn's former lair is? Alas, no- but his brother might. Tolpuddle has lived in the wilds here for almost all of his life, Bumble has been in the region- and searching for his brother, for just a few years now.
The Unexpected are desperate to help the nice old fellow, and to locate his brother Tolpuddle, and to earn the three jars of healing honey.
Furthermore, after more questioning, they learn that the water spirits that need help lair somewhere 'in' (the operative word) the Goblinwater River. That the Spiderwood is within the Fell Fens (see the map below, arrow to the SSE) and Bumble fears there's something particularly nasty in there. And lastly, they learn that the undead terrorising the Whispering Woods have escaped from a bunch of old cairns and burial mounds located near the Caves of Chaos (to the WNW, see the map below).
The adventurers further explain to Bumble that they are going to be spending the next month or so looking for a bunch of bandits in the region (Bumble doesn't know where these folk are), so they'll be scouring the wilds hereabouts. Bumble explains right back- that he can always be found in and/or around his present location, tending to his bee followers.
[Meet Bumble 200 XP]
Note, I've shifted Lappoy on the map so that more of the area can be illuminated and therefore seen. Spiderwood in the Fell Fens, see the south arrow- it's that-away, and that's the Goblinwater River there too. The northern arrow is pointing towards the source of the undead problem that is affecting the Whispering Woods.
Then, the Unexpected say their farewells and head back into action, back to the Caves of Chaos.
You'll note from the above exchange that the PCs have clearly decided to take the bandit hunting job, news to me when it happened.
But here's the thing, it's a half-hour walk back to the Caves of Chaos, but I had to, I just had to...
I had to roll for random encounters.
I rolled a '1'.
Yet another one, and so...
En route to the Caves of Chaos.
The Unexpected are travelling along the main road that heads out of the region, which at this point snakes between high (about thirty foot) ravine walls.
There's an odd something in the road, a circle made from stones, only small stone- just pebbles, but very neat, and very obvious.
A voice shouts down from the crags above.
“Stay where you are!” And when the PCs stop, the voice (male human, best guess) comes again.
“Leave 10gp on the ground- in the circle, 10gp each- and then, when you've made your donation- clear off, up the road- and as fast as you can.”
“Why should we?” Krago (and a variety of other folk with varying degrees of indifference/surliness) shout back.
“Because in ten seconds we're going to start shooting, and when we start we ain't stopping, less we see a pile of money in the circle. Ten, nine, eight...”
There follows what could best be described as a kerfuffle as a variety of PCs all attempt to do a variety of things, or else try to discuss a variety of things; and all at the same time.
So, time for another picture...
So, here's a summary of what you are seeing, the smart folk (maybe)- Lappoy, Mohag (INT 7?), Scrubs, Trebbelos & Corbis have all either run into the nearest area of dense vegetation, or else are en route to the same.
Tribbits, Sho-Rembo and Krago are trying to hide in the shadow of the cliffs, although Krago is already climbing, but he's only ten feet up so far.
Sosspan simply ran out of time, he's standing in the middle of the road, just gawping- doing nothing really.
Sir Glen, of course, is doing the same- only with a lot more shouting about the Morning Lord and the waving of his longsword.
Nobody has left any money in the circle, not even a few coppers.
The attack begins moments later.
But that alas, is where we end it for this one- hard to believe but the above was nearly three hours long, although- lots and lots of chatter, and some of it to do with the game.
The pot is up to £82.
Stay safe and well you lovely people.
Toodles for a bit.
Cheers the Unexpected and goonalan.