Sunday, May 31, 2020

Session Report - 5e Undermountain - Assault on Castle Cragmaw

After defeating the goblin bandits in the Cragmaw caverns, the group decided to pursue the bandit leader by following the map they found, leading to Castle Cragmaw!

Session 5

Cast of Characters
Raku Chilhuly - dragonborn guild artisan, 3rd level battlesmith artificer - played by Emily
Willibald Hornblower - halfling noble, 3rd level college of lore bard - played by Steve
Nehryx - centaur outlander, 3rd level brute fighter - played by Corey
Crow - tabaxi acolyte of Nuula, 2nd level rogue - played by Lindsey

The group hiked a day through the Grosseberg Mountains. Thanks to a well-chosen campsite, they didn't encounter any of the hobgoblin warbands that stalked this part of the range.

In the morning, they found the ruin of Castle Cragmaw. It had seven towers, with only the smallest keep connecting them all. Several of the building walls were collapsing. They circled through the woods around the castle to check for possible entrances. There were a couple obvious ways in, but the group opted for stealth, and Willibald managed to find a hidden passage through the rubble and into the ruined keep.

They arrived in a hallway that separated one half of the castle from the other. The air was filled with echoes of activity, distant shouts and bumps from the activity of the goblin inhabitants. Heavy canvas curtains had been hung as dividers. They checked one set of rooms off the hall, and found another curtain dividing a large bedroom. They could hear voices beyond the curtain and opted to return to the hallway.

Further down the hall they found a door to a room that seemed to be housing a great commotion. Someone was barking orders, and there were rhythmic clangs and grunts beyond the door. Willibald carefully cast an illusionary copy of the door while the group gingerly opened the real one. They couldn't see beyond, but would be able to surprise anyone on the other side by appearing to pass directly though the door itself.

Expecting to find some sort of military drills, the group was somewhat surprised themselves to find a fat bossy goblin in a chef's hat and apron shouting orders as a miserable work crew of sou chefs and cleaners engaged in various preparatory activities around the dining hall. Crow shot the head chef in the back with her shortbow, and he went down with one blow. The others burst through the door, with Nehryx galloping across the dining room to block one of the exits. Strangely, as the other goblins ran around in a panic, they still avoided leaving via the last unguarded door...

Willibald rode on Nehryx's back, and the two were troubled by another group of goblins emerging from the other side of the door Nehryx was blocking. Willibald used his newfound skill in demoralizing commentary to take some of the sting out of the goblins' blows - "You're the cleaners? No wonder they call this a mess hall!" Together, he and the one-man brute squad Nehryx worked to defend themselves from the two groups of attackers, while Crow and Raku sniped from the doorway, keeping the goblins in a state of panic and confusion until the last body fell to the floor.

400 XP from monsters (eight goblins 50/each)

Correction - Nehryx is the brute squad!

Session 6

Cast of Characters
Raku Chihuly - dragonborn guild artisan, 3rd level battlesmith artificer - played by Emily
Willibald Hornblower - halfling noble, 3rd level college of lore bard - played by Steve
Nehryx - centaur outlander, 3rd level brute fighter - played by Corey
Demic - minotaur entertainer, 3rd level oath of the dragonlords paladin - played by Ben
Crow - tabaxi acolyte of Nuula, 2nd level rogue - played by Lindsey
Owyn Lavashield - dwarven hermit, 1st level druid - played by Eli

The group waited in rapt tension for a few moments to hear if the ruckus had attracted any unwanted attention from elsewhere in the castle. Moments later, they heard footsteps coming from the room beyond the dining hall ... it was Demic and Owyn, enjoying some pilfered snacks. "Were you two back there the whole time? Didn't you hear us fighting?" Nehryx demanded. Demic brushed the crumbs off his hands, then shrugged, "Sorry, we thought it was just the goblins arguing with each other!"

Apparently the castle's other inhabitants thought so too, because no one else came to check on them. Not wanting to push their luck, the group also avoided the door that none of the goblins used, even as they were being slain, and went back out into the ruined hallway. In the hall, they considered clambering up the rubble piles that still acted like walls to peek into a couple of the neighboring rooms. Willibald went up one wall and Crow the other, but neither was able to be very quiet about it, knocking loose debris down into the rooms they intended to spy on. Willibald saw two hobgoblins dressed in their mercenary armor ... and they saw him too! "Hey, look over-" but the sound was drowned out by a thunderous "HOOO!" as an owlbear in the other room spotted Crow and decided to make her a snack. Willibald slid back down the rubble pile and told his friends to make ready. The hobgoblins burst into the hall and were followed not long after by the galloping owlbear.

The group made short work of the two mercenaries. Demic and Nehryx outmatched the pair with their swords, Willibald magically shattered a section of intact wall to shower them with shards of rock, and although Raku had little success with her crossbow, she was able to send in her robot (technically a "steel defender") Darla, who looked like a metallic cat-dragon hybrid. "Robot robot, attack attack" intoned Darla.

After the brief battle, they heard stomping footsteps and a voice approaching from deeper into the secure area. "What's all that noise?!" Demic put on his best monster voice and attempted another act of deception. "Uh, sorry sir, the owlbear didn't like chef's dinner tonight." The voice behind the curtain seemed to find this extremely plausible, perhaps it was a common occurrence? "Well, just try to keep it down out there. I'm conducting important business. If it doesn't like the goblin's dinner, then feed it some goblins!" The footsteps then receded and a door slammed not far away.

The group took a few moments to search the hobgoblins' barracks and the owlbear's keep. Raku spotted a chest sitting atop the last remnant of the old first-floor ceiling, but they decided to retrieve that after dealing with the king of Castle Cragmaw. Before following the voice they'd heard before, the group members refreshed each other with magic.

Crow volunteered to loop around look for a side-entrance into the king's chamber. She found a partially collapsed wall she could clamber up, and ended up in a small room connected to the main chamber. Nehryx planned to lead a charge into the room, but rolled too low on initiative, and ended up going last. "Okay, everyone behind me, on ten! One, two, hey wait not yet!"

Willibald barged in first. He saw the aging bugbear king, a vicious wolf, and an elvish woman who suddenly changed to look like a copy of Willibald. He attacked his duplicate, who attacked him back much harder! As the others hurried in, they made quick work of the wolf and the befuddled king, who scarcely had a chance to raise his morningstar against them before he was struck down by Nehryx and Demic's mighty blows. Crow emerged from the side room to find only the second Willibald remaining. "Hey guys, hey guys, it's me, it's me Willibald, Willibald" the two said in eerie unison. "Ask me something, ask me something only I would know, only I would know!"

Noticing that his double was copying his movements, Willibald lay prone on the ground. His touble tossled with him so that the two kept trading places on the floor. Raku cast a spell to see magic, which revealed which one was false. By shouting advice to the others, she was able to direct them to hit the imposter every time, which proved fortunate, since the strange creature proved able to endure far more punishment than the original Willibald could have. Between these two tactics, the creature was defeated without any of the others hurting Willibald, and before it could change shape again to copy Raku. As it died, it assumed the form of an almost featureless gray humanoid.

With the king dead, and the castle certain to devolve into anarchy when the other mercenaries and bandits in his employ discovered that. A search of the room revealed the king's private stash of coins and healing potions, along with an unidentified map. The group quickly sent Crow up the side of the owlbear's tower to steal the king's treasure, a horde of coins, along with a healing potion, and a pair of scrolls.

950 gp each from Black Iris
277 gp from treasure (220 silver pieces + 270 electrum pieces + 120 gold pieces)
potion of healing
scroll of revivify
scroll of silence
1850 XP (two hobgolins 100/each + owlbear 700 + bugbear 200 + doppelgagner 700 + wolf 50)

"Robot robot, treasure treasure"

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