Starter Set Saturday (or Sunday): Lost Mine of Phandelver

The Players

Grumpkin Hammerstone: Dwarf Barbarian/ Path of Wild Magic

Humph: Kobold Rogue/ Eldritch Stalker

Jaws: Dragonborn Monk/ Way of the Ascended Dragon

Snow: Elf Druid /Circle of the Shepard)

Current Party Level: 4

Goblin Ambush Site

It was a great start to a campaign today. I have two of my youngest players now as I am running the starter set for DM Pie and his family. Grumpkin Hammerstone (Dwarf Barbarian), Humph (Kobold Rogue), Jaws (Dragonborn Monk) and Snow (Elf Druid) started their travels to Phandelver escorting an ox driven wagon. On their way they found two dead horses in the middle of the road. While Jaws, Grumpkin and Snow were investigating the corpses Humph was able to spot the goblins ready to ambush. The party had no trouble defeating the goblins and were able to find the goblin trail leading away. Snow stayed behind to guard the ox wagon full of the goods and the rest of the party followed the trail up. Grumpkin was able to stop Humph from triggering the Snare trap and the Kobold Rogue was able to prevent the pit trap from becoming a problem. When they made it to the opening of the cave, Humph was able to hear the two bored goblin guards from behind the briar arguing over cheating at cards. Humph had an amazing roleplay moment going in to teach the goblins how to properly play “Kobold Kards” and won some coin from the poor green fools. Humph then “dropped the cards” allowing Grumpkin and Jaws to come up for the three of them to dispose of the two goblinoids. They went back for Snow and end the session outside of the cave ready to explore the inside of the dark cavern next session.

The Day the Dice Gods Frowned

Yesterday was the day the dice gods frowned. Each of my 4 players had difficulties with the dice, from failed attack rolls (even with advantage three rounds in a row) to skills not working the majority of the rolls were under 10. The party explored into the Cragmaw Hideout. In the kennel area of the cave the party took turns trying to befriend the wolves using jerky from their food rations. The light from the torch Jaws carried (as the only party member with no darkvision) distracted the goblin on the bridge enough for Humph to kill it stealthily. The rest of the party made their way up afterward. Grumpkin tossed their small kobold Humph up onto the bridge where the goblins became aware of the danger in their cave. One of the goblins went to the water pool and released the flood. The party was able to make it to the stairs to protect themselves from getting swept away and a very long battle occurred as the bad rolls brought some disheartening feelings. The party defeated Klarg after losing many of their wolves and the party needed a rest to help regain spells, many lost hit points and the dragon breath.

The Continuation of the Cave

The dice gods were more favorable as the group made their way into the cave. The party started this game by looting Klarg’s Cave. The dwarf, to Humph’s dismay, deemed the barrels with the blue lion’s head were too heavy to bother with and left them in the cave but they were quite pleased with the potions of healing and the amount of coins that were in the treasure chest. The only homebrew item that I added with the monk in mind was an amulet that gives off the brightness of a candle in the dark. The group barricaded themselves using barrels and boxes from Klarg's Cave to give them cover at the edge of the rickety bridge. Snow the druid talked to the wolves and asked them to howl. Eventually two goblins from the den arrived to investigate and were ambushed by the party. The group made their way cautiously to the goblin den (area 6) with the wolves out front with the command to attack any goblins they see. The wolves bolted into the cave of the goblin den and the party made their way in after. Yeemik was ignored by the party in his attempt to parley for Sildar's life and killed the warrior in front of the group. Thankfully the druid got to him and saved him, healing the party with his unicorn guardian.

Now the party heads to Phandalin to drop of Sildar and plan to search for Cragmaw Castle.

The group is also enjoying their level up to level 2 and are even starting to look ahead excited for the prospects that come with level 3.

Entering Cragmaw Castle

The party found themselves outside of Cragmaw Castle. As they made their way up the stairs of the castle entrance some of the goblin sentries in area 3 spotted the not so stealthy Jaws and Humph. First roll of initiative of the day for me was a nat 20 (one of three rolled today) for the goblins. Thankfully the dwarf Grumpkin and the kobold Humph were able to take care of the goblins quickly and quietly without alerting the nearby other rooms. Only Jaws took damage as my goblin hit for max damage on it’s first roll (6 on a d6 as shown above with a nice 22 to hit). Humph opened the squeaky door to the ruined barracks where he was able to take out a sleeping goblin before the party made their way into the room. Jaws used his dragon born fire breath to toast many of the goblins from the banquet hall. The druid Snow had difficulty as the goblins kept making their constitution saves against her Poison Spray (due to all the terrible goblin cooking).

Sometimes brothers fight but today there was a really sweet moment as the druid used magic to heal the monk. Jaws took a lot of damage from the goblins, one time getting nailed in the face with a cast iron skillet. They found a moment to be sweet in the middle of combat to keep each other going.

The party did well with taking down the goblins in the banquet hall, with only one managing to escape elsewhere in the castle. The only homebrew change was I had Yegg the chief cook use a cast iron skillet instead of a scimitar (using scimitar stats and bludgeoning damage). As the party left the room backtracking into area 2, Humph failed to see the trip wire and failed his reflex save. He took 12 points of damage (3d6 as shown above) and his party helped pull him from under the rocks and rubble. Next play session we start there, seeing who all heard the noises of the collapsing trap.

The players are currently unaware of what or how many thins heard the falling of the rocks. At least this was one time rocks fell and nobody died.

The room where no ranged attacks could hit.

Going Deeper into the Castle

The party quickly got to action, making sure the rocks blocked the door leading to area 8 as something (a very startled Grick) tried to push on the door to get to them, its beak and tentacle claws scraping against the wood.

Initiative soon followed as a hobgoblin from areas 6/5 drew the short straw and came to investigate the loud sound of debris from the triggered trap. The party took to action by taking turns shooting, whapping and hammering the hobgoblin out of existence in two rounds. Unfortunately for the part the sound of combat had the goblins from the upper archer post (area 3) come out to back up their already dead hobgoblin comrade, who was also quickly taken down by the quick work of the party.

Entering room 5 The party noticed that there were doors to the East and West, and acknowledged that there were sounds coming from both doors to the East and the West(areas 6 and 9). The group decided to take the left room first to try and prevent taking enemies on two fronts. The dank hobgoblin barracks were locked and the three hobgoblins inside were ready as the party opened the door- two in melee range with a long sword and one hobgoblin ranged with a short bow. This was the moment that everyone's dice decided that no ranged combat shall be successful. The hobgoblin, Humph the kobold, nor Snow the druid could land a single hit between their ranged attacks. Not even the druid's poison spray had any luck affecting any target in that particular room. Only Jaw's quarterstaff and the dwarf's hammer were able to strike true.

With the enemies slain and the barrels quickly made note of, the party prepared to quietly open the door to area 9. Unfortunately for the party, the goblins were ready on the other side and all three archers hit the poor dragon born Jaws as he opened the door into the room. This brought the monk down to below zero hit points, causing the first player unconsciousness of the game.

At this point I should say that as a DM I take no pleasure in killing player characters (PC's) and I always try to make sure that my players have chances to bring back/ save comrades (thank goodness for 3 saving throws worth of time), but to see the 6 year old player of that monk start to cry definitely broke my DM heart a little bit. Thankfully big bro, Snow the druid, stepped in and healed Jaws bringing him back from 0.

Grumpkin the dwarf and Humph were able to finish off the goblins of the room, Jaws staying back with such low amount of hit points. The party admitted that that room was harder than they were expecting. Many of the party at this point had lost hit points and spell slots and the group decided that it would be best to retreat to the old hobgoblin barracks to take a long rest. They barricaded the door with barrels and had a guard watch scheduled to assure all got their much needed rest.

Learning their lesson from the previous day's attack on the monk, the four was prepared when they opened the door for archer ambushers. Surprisingly enough the room's curse against ranged attacks continued but the 4 were able to defeat the two goblin archers waiting. With the enemies taken down the party was able to properly explore area 9, and were surprised to find a shrine. They each searched a blood stained body of the goblins and took the golden chalice, knife and censer off of the bloodied alter for themselves.

In the Dark Hall the players with dark vision had a good enough perception check to notice Grick hanging out with the statuary by the ceiling. The druid decided that the grick wasn't inherently evil and provided numerous snacks for the hungry creature to the point it was satisfied enough to not attack.

This was coming close to the end of our gaming session, but the party wanted to go through one more door and made it to the passage way that had lots of doors and curtains to explore. A comment was made how at least this game didn't end with Humph under a pile of rocks, to which he expressed his great displeasure with a "Humph" and proceeded to pull at the rubble in the decrepit stone wall next to him purposefully causing 2 (1d4) damage as he made it fall on his toes.

Big Surprises

The party started by dusting off Humph of his debris before picking a door to go through (into area 12). The party had the kobold rouge peek into the room where Humph identified it as a sleeping quarters of some sort. One hobgoblin was warming himself by the stone brazier of coals. The other hobgoblin was sleeping in one of the straw pallets on the floor with it's longsword next to it. The party rushed in to take down the awake hobgoblin but missed attacks had the party fighting two enemies. The party was slightly disappointed at the lack of loot in the room and continued south listening at the door.

Humph peeked into the room and saw the two big glowing eyes staring at him through the darkness that belonged to the owl bear inside. Humph started panicking and quickly shut the door. Grumpkin used his hammer to break the door mechanism to give the party a round to place themselves in the room and prepare for an attack. As the owl bear crashed through the door the party was able to use their strategies and pact tactics to bring it down.

The Owl Bear was something that my children players did not like. Even after the encounter Jaws's player kept saying very adamantly "I DO NOT want to see one of those ever again, EVER AGAIN!"

The room seemed almost empty and they were about ready to move on when one last perception check made the discovery of a treasure chest above. The battered wooden chest that was on the jagged ledge of the tower's second floor was no match for the flying kobold, thrown up to the ledge by Gumpkin.

In King Grol's chamber (area 14) they finally see the dwarven prisoner, Gundren, the cousin of Grumpkin looking quite beaten and unconscious at King Grol's feet. The fierce old bugbear king and the goblins and wolf in his room was ready for an attack from hearing the combat from earlier. While the players start through combat, Grol uses his weapon to put Gundren below zero, forcing Snow to heal him to bring him back. The Drow in the room is seen grabbing something from under the mattress. It takes quite a few rounds but Grol and the drow both make it past the party injured but they escape. By the time the party is out of the last of their combat they are unable to peruse and focus on healing each other and Gundren.

And they are excitedly level 3 now!

Fun quotes of the session: “It's time to be serious… in this game of make believe”- Grumpkin

“I heard voices… not in my head but through the door” - Humph the Kobold

Back to Town & Shopping

Today the party didn’t have a very adventurous day but shopping and roleplay got to take place.

They started with Gundren Rockseeker being healed by the party and talking with the party about his missing map to Wave Echo Cave. As King Grol the bugbear and the drow escaped the party is unsure of what became of them. Gundren is worried that the Drow will use the map to seek out Wave Echo Cave and harm his brothers Nundro and Tharden. The party agreed for a sum of 25 go and a 17% share to the mine’s wealth they would go with Gundren to Wave Echo Cave and seek out whatever may be lurking for them now that the drow could return with reinforcements.

Snow the Druid turned into a draft horse to help carry back all of the loot from Cragmaw Castle without slowing down the party too much. The group on route to Phandalin was briefly stopped by a hobgoblin and goblin scouting party. The hobgoblin commanded the goblins to attack, and the party jumped into action. Gundren watched as the party was effectively taking out the enemies, and Grumpkin told his cousin that if he didn’t help out, he owes the party a higher percentage. The dwarf being a frugal man jumped to action, Gundren making his way towards the hobgoblin. Humph, the party's kobold, got to try out his new Acid Splash taking down a goblin and ensuring a victory. Grumpkin got the last kill with his javelin taking out the last goblin who was attempting to flee.

The party then made it back to town to do some major shopping in hopes to have enough money to buy new gear. This is how we ended the session with new gear being made and the hunt for Sildar who is still somewhere in Phandalin.

Redbrand Route

After equipping new gear, restocking and making a plan to go find the rest of Gundren and Grumpkin’s kin, the party start to make their way out of town. As they make their way to the city gates the party is confronted by a group of rough looking individuals. One of the thugs approaches, spitting on the ground and insulting the party. This group of four thugs had no hope, as they were quickly taken down by the party. An old lady who saw the party take down the thugs praised them and said “If only there were more people like you to stand up to them.” This encounter made the party realize how bad the Redbrands are and the disruption they pose to the town folk. Grumpkin, concerned how the Redbrands could affect the party’s cut from the mine's operation, agreed with Humph that perhaps taking down the Redbrands may come first, Wave Echo Cave to come second.

It doesn’t take the party long to make their way to the ruins of Tresendar Manor and find their way into the cellars that host the Redbrands Hideout. As they made their way in, defending down the two flights of stairs, they first went to the barrels and kegs to see if they were of any value. The rogue listened at the door of room 2 but heard nothing on the other side. Grumpkin and Jaws made great rolls and discovered the hidden satchel in the cistern and the secret door. Stealth checks were high enough to not alert the Redbrands in room 2 as the party quickly put their new goodies in group loot and slipping through the SW secret door to make their way down the hall into the cavern with the crevasse.

The dark large cavern cave is quite large, has a slight cold breeze that moves around the faint scent of decaying flesh which put the party onto high alert. The party stayed in the doorway and rolled perceptions, after hearing nothing but the breeze and some bats they entered cautiously to look in. The nothic that calls the cavern home watched from behind one of the large stone columns on the west side of the bridge. The party looked over both of the wooden planked bridges that cross the crevasse, not afraid of the fall but just being weary of the bodies down beneath.

At this point the nothic tried using it’s “weird insight” and failed to do so. With all weapons drawn and knowing the party is hostile, it prepared to attack. Humph, unaware of the nothic by the pillar attempts to walk by but took some slashing damage as the Nothic swiped at Humph with it’s claws. Grumpkin, Jaws and Humph surrounded it around the pillar while Snow threw poison spray at it from a distance.

Being behind the pillar, and rolling a really great investigation check, Humph determined there may be things of worth down by the corpses in the bottom of the crevasse. Grumpkin held a rope, letting Humph slowly start to descend down the twenty feet but Grumpkin let go for the last few feet causing Humph to tumble into the dead, half-eaten bodies. Humph found the battered wood chest with the coins and goodies, pocketing the gems for himself before making his way back up. Once the party regrouped on top, Humph showed off the longsword and scabbard, but none had a high enough History check to recognize “Talon.”

The party went down the hall noting voices in rooms 9 & 10 realizing that perhaps they did not want to enter those rooms quite yet. They then made their way back across the bridge and north to the storeroom ( room 7). They used some of the pry bars laying about to open crates but deemed the pelts not worth their effort to take as group loot at the moment. First the party discovered the secret door to the north leading into a hallway. They crossed the hall to make their way into the armory, happily stockpiling their own group loot with some of the weapons and taking some of the dirty red cloaks for possible disguises for the future.

The next room that they explored was the Tresendar Crypts. The party who took the cloaks but decided not to wear them triggered the three skeletons to animate and protect the sarcophagi. The party alerted the Redbrands in room 5 to danger and they prepared for an enemy to come through their doors but the party ignored their door and went back to the storage room to take the other secret passage down to room (12) where they surprised a very unhappy magic user. That is where we ended the session.

The Ending of the Redbrands

The party did a shoot first, ask questions later on the magic user, and had no chance to surrender. I gave what background I could using the notes and paperwork in Iarno's room since the players were unable to get information from him. The Black Spider was re introduced and a note was found making the players realize that they were a target.

Feeling accomplished the party made their way into the Wizard's Workshop where they encountered a rat. I had to go homebrew for a moment and instead of a tiny rat familiar I put in a giant rat for a little more flavor since a familiar would be angry at the loss of its companion/master. The rat took a little bite out of the party before being defeated.

Amongst all of the tomes and books in this room, Grumpkin was able to read the dwarven journal and learn more about Wave Echo Cave and where his cousins have been.

Next came a series of well meant attacks that had ill met dice rolls. The party tried taking down the Redbrand ruffians in the Common room (area 10) by Jaws using his Fire breath but did not do enough damage to do much to them. This just enraged the Ruffians and alerted the bugbears and goblin that were in the room down the hall. A lot of hits and a chase trying to catch a fleeing Droop ended in missing hit points and a lot of used spell slots. Again, Droop the goblin, was also killed before becoming any use as a npc but for the most part all the enemies remaining in the hide out were taken care of. The last bit of the day's session ended in area 2, where Humph charmed one of the Red brand's named Tom to lead them to remaining "friends" and had Tom help them free the enslaved towns folk before Tom met his end as well.

Wave Echo Cave: Part 1

After a good nights rest at the inn the party made their way towards Wave Echo Cave. The party entered the cave cautiously, concerned that they could hear nothing but the far off sound of waves. Humph sneakily approached what was once the Rockseekers; campsite on the western corner of the cave entry. There they were distressed to find the dead body of Tharden; brother of Gundren and cousin to Grumpkin. Grumpkin is now in a state of rage (for a moment) as someone has killed his kin. The party quickly take the books of striding and springing, Grumpkin putting on this last token from his cousin before they rush over to the large open pit. The party did their best to climb down the rope to reach the bottom but a few of our dear players failed the Athletics check falling to the bottom.

The party then made their way to the mine tunnels where they encountered an ochre jelly. As the party made progress slicing pieces off the ochre jelly it turned into smaller blobs to fight.

After making the quiet way through the maze, they made their way towards the south barracks door. Jaws and Snow were too loud and alerted the ghouls that were eating their meal inside to come pouring out to attack the party. As the party finished off the last in the hallway, one last ghoul left out the bottom of the barracks, making low growling and grunting sounds as it escapes. The party makes it into the barracks where they start to hear the same sound echo out from the other halls, the sound becoming louder as it seems more ghouls come closer.

Working quickly the party tries to barricade themselves into the room, attempting to make the ghouls come in single file into the room. The party started taking down the approaching enemies and we will continue next session with the Ghouls continued advancements.

At this point the game is on hiatus. As much as I love playing games with younger players it is important to me that they too are enjoying the game. Doing this digitally has been difficult as I know that it is hard for young kiddos to sit still in front of a screen for a 2 hour time. The time being this group is on Hiatus as I am not a dm to force people through a story to the end. Having fun is one of the most important things about playing D&D.