East on the Triboar Trail
John – Determined to follow through with their plans, the party decided to head east along the Triboar trail to do a few of the side quests that had been presented to them over the last few sessions.
- Ask Agatha, the banshee, a question for Sister Garaele.
- Bounty on some Orcs at Wyvern Tor.
- Investigate the goings on at Old Owl Well.
The group decided to ditch the horse and cart, taking Linene’s generous offer of looking after it for them. Before they could leave, Asterin made a quick detour to Eleanora’s house to pickup the book she missed out on last time. She discovered that Elanora was still in the process of setting up her alchemy and potions store, however, she spared a moment to retrieve the Sword Coast Flora book.
With a new book in Asterin’s hands the group set out to find what new troubles they could get into. They were a day and half out of town when they ran into their first encounter.
*This time around I decided to have a non-combat orientated encounter. Combat driven random encounters can get boring pretty quickly, I find that giving your players an opportunity to roleplay out an encounter can be more rewarding. It also can be surprising what the players come up. *
As the players made their way east on the Triboar Trail they came across a group of refugees fleeing in the opposite direction towards Neverwinter. They were the survivors from a small farming village that had been raided and sacked by a marauding orc band. Some still shows signs of injury. *Tie into Wyvern Tor quest. *
The group of refugees had little to no supplies and upon seeing that the players meant them no harm, attempted to sell what little they had left. The players were disinterested with the attempts to sell them goats, an old cart or a mule, but then a villager crossed a line, and attempted to sell his daughter’s hand in marriage for 10gp. This got the players’ attention.
*To give context, these refugees are desperate, have no home and are destitute. The purpose of this encounter was to cause a reaction in the players to see how their character would react to this situation. *
Aurelia was ready to Eldritch Blast the farmer.
Asterin went looking for her weapon.
Wendel was visibly shocked.
Merric went ice cold.
*Woah! I was not expecting this level of reaction, suddenly I had to roleplay the farmer… oh dear what had I gotten myself in to. *
Aurelia basically tore the farmer’s head off with her voice, carving shreds into him, with Asterin barely a step behind her. They quickly escorted the girl away from her father and the two halflings stood guard over him to give Asterin & Aurelia a moment to talk to the girl. Merric took the opportunity to intimidate the farmer with a description of how sharp his axe was.
The young girl was timid, but they were able to discover the following from her;
- Her name was Erica and she was 13yrs old.
- She had two brothers.
- Her mother had been lost in the raid and the family was still coming to grips with the loss of family, home and livelihood.
- She didn’t want to leave her family if she had to and was shaken about the thought of marrying a stranger.
The party had no inclination in letting the farmer, whose name was revealed to be Jacob, marrying his young daughter off to the first stranger he came across. They gave the girl some food and money, then proceeded to give Jacob a thorough dressing down.
*I sat there and roleplayed Jacob while Sarah (Asterin) and Tam (Aurelia) gave me a dressing down of how marriage is a women’s choice and how dare Jacob try to sell his 13 yr old daughter as if she were a slave! … Totally worth it! 😊 I like to point out to our readers that I do not condone Jacob’s actions. He is an NPC who is attempting to deal with a bad situation in his own ill-conceived way. *
It was during Jacob’s embarrassment that the refugees were informed about Phandalin’s proximity for potential work and refuge. The refugees had not heard of Phandalin and would have completely missed the opportunity to shorten their journey. Wendell also floated through the remaining refugees offering healing, food, money, and a compassionate ear. They were all well received.
With food in their hands, their injuries attended to and a safe refuge within easy reach, the group of refuges (except for Jacob of course) left with lifted spirits and who knows what fate awaits them.
*(Evil grin) Oh, I am soooo bringing Jacob back. *
The party made good time with no more interruptions arriving in the ruins of Conyberry the following day relatively early in the day. A quick search found an old smugglers hole that contained some edible rations but little else. With little to amuse them, the party headed NW towards Agatha’s lair.
They came upon Agatha’s lair in the nearby forest. It was a domelike structure made from warped tree branches, wrapped with leaves and vines. It was Wendel’s idea to come here with the rest of the group disinterested. Merric opted to go with him however, and the two halflings entered the dome. Agatha appeared and confronted them.
Fortunately, Wendel remembered both Garaele’s gift and the question. The gift was well received and provided the answer to her question. *Let’s just hope one of the players write it down. * With answer in hand the group left Agatha to her torment and made their way back through Conyberry and towards Old Owl Well in the south.
They made the Old Owl Well by nightfall and detected the smell of death hanging over the place. Thinking better of approaching by night, the group backtracked and set up camp. The occasional light from Old Owl Well could be seen throughout the night.
*No roll-on random encounter this time round. *
Early the next morning the group made camp and approached the site. Old Owl Well was a ruined watch tower surrounded by dilapidated walls on a hill overlooking the area. The closer they got, the stronger the smell of death filled their nostrils. Entering the courtyard, they could see that a small tent was set up beside the ruins. The doorway to the ruins faced them.
Merric opted for stealth and approached the tent. He did not get far before the sounds of groans and the shuffling of feet revealed several zombies exiting the ruins headed in his direction. Roll for initiative. And by several, I mean 12 zombies had appeared.
The party all rolled higher on initiative table than the zombies and brought their range to bear dealing out the damage to the first two zombies in their sight. The zombies took the blows and then ambled forward. In round two the front flap of the tent was thrown aside and out strode a tall, bald man wearing red robes demanding the party explain themselves. Not what the players were expecting.
Realising there may be a more peaceful approach to this encounter, the players choose to talk to the sudden NPC. Sensing the change in mood the robed figure gestured to the zombies who halted their approach, however, they made no move to leave. With a pause in the fighting and the appearance of this new NPC we opted to finish the session here.