Chance Meeting along the Trail
With the orcs cleared out from Wyvern Tor the party made camp upwind from the cave, very mindful of the Wyrmwood filled smoke emanating from the cave mouth. Wendel immediately made his rations available to Kayla to make sure she didn’t go hungry. *Wendel’s such a sweetheart… over-compensating perhaps? * As a small thank you for her rescue Kayla offered to take control of dinner, she was still coming terms with her captivity and attempted to keep herself busy.
The party headed back to the Old Owl Well to meet with Hamun Kost to discuss their reward. Aurelia took the opportunity to give Kayla a heads up on what to expect before their arrival.
*This is why I like random NPCs. If you’re familiar with LMoP you know Kayla and her family were an addition, but it gives players more opportunities to roleplay their characters. *
Upon arrival at Kost’s camp the players immediately noticed a difference of several zombies on permanent guard duty. Evidently Kost had learnt from their earlier visit and wasn’t keen on any further surprises. The party announced their success at Wyvern Tor, presenting the orc ears as proof of the deed. Kost was satisfied by the groups’ success, taking note of the Ogre ear, he rewarded them with the following;
- Scroll: Speak with the Dead
- Magic Item: Owl shaped Driftglobe
- Activation words: Hoot (Light Spell), Hoot hoot (Daylight Spell), Fly (Float ability)
*This may have been inspired by the kids show Giggle & Hoot, which I have seen far too much of with our daughter. Hoot Hoot! *
After receiving their reward Wendel couldn’t stay quiet any longer and proceeded to speak his mind about Kost’s treatment of the dead. The words desecration and slaves were used a lot. Kost’s attempted to reassure the little halfling that there was nothing untoward and that the site was for archaeological purposes.
As the group had done him a good turn, Kost took this moment to open-up somewhat about his dig. He had discovered the tower on an old map back in Thay and was intending to write an academic paper concerning the ruins. Asterin became very enthusiastic after hearing the word research, almost putting Kost off from revealing more, however he relaxed when Asterin was only interested in read the paper, not intruding into his works.
Wendel still remained unconvinced by the necromancer reasons but for the good of the group decided to remain quiet. *Although I doubt Wendel will let this go. * Kayla was becoming very nervous with the proximity of the undead and the group bid Kost farewell allowing him to return to his work.
Planning their route back to Phandalin the group choose to take a direct path out of the hills back to the Triboar Trail, rather than return via Cornberry. The party left Old Owl Well heading east and arrived back to the main trail towards late afternoon. However, they were not on the trail long before the group found signs of a recently abandoned camp besides the trail. That group choose to investigate.
The campfire was still warm to the touch with an abandoned bedroll unrolled adjacent to a large boulder. Merric discovered some tracks in the long grass that seemed to stop at the face of the boulder. Ever cautious, Merric immediately went stealth and snuck around the boulder double checking the area. However no additional tracks were discovered.
Returning to the place where the tracks stopped Merric attempted to climb the boulder and his hands passed through the wall of the boulder. An illusion had been placed here to conceal a crag in the face of the boulder. Stepping through the illusion weapon raised, Merric encountered a non-threatening tall, blond half-elf who immediately surrendered.
Stepping out to meet the group, the half-elf introduced himself as Falros Goldentongue who had concealed himself thinking that the players were a hunting party from Triboar, who may be after him. He explained that he had a run in Triboar with the Mayor’s wife… his daughter… and his sister. Quite the womaniser it seems, Falros proclaimed his innocence as he had been the one who had been chased by these “neglected townswomen”.
*Asterin and Aurelia did not have a very high initial opinion of Falros and gave him the cold shoulder. It will be interesting to see whether Falros can change their opinion over time. *
Upon hearing the party’s actions saving Kayla and their destination, he requested permission to join their party. Ever the opportunist Falros offered his service to retell the party’s tales, but several members were not interested. Shrugging at their reluctance he turned his attention to Kayla.
During the next few days of travel, Falros spent most of his time trying to make Kayla smile, she had been awfully subdued during the trip. Falros was quite successful in lifting her spirits, frequently making her laugh and blush in equal measure. At other times he would take up his lute, playing music to anyone within earshot.
* I decided that Falros was concerned about not being received well by the group, not vain just that as a travelling troubadour the memory of his passing was important to him. So, he set about giving the group the best impression he could muster in efforts to turn them into either friends or at least enjoyable travelling companions. He also felt genuine concern for Kayla and the troubles she had encountered. *
Over-all Falros wasn’t a bad sort and the party began to believe that their may be more truth to his story then they had first thought. * Well done Falros! * Apart from the music and song, the rest of the travel was uneventful, and the party arrived back to Phandelin in the early afternoon.
Asterin & Aurelia all but dragged Kayla back to the inn for the express purpose of bathing and asked the innkeeper to enquire about her family’s whereabouts. Tolben was happy to oblige *bit of a rumour mill this one * and informed them that the refugees were staying over at Edermath Orchard. Daran had provided work and lodging for several of the families.
Falros immediately begin haggling with the innkeeper. Upon reaching an agreement with a shake of hands he leapt onto the stage at the opposite end of the inn and struck up a tune for the pre-dinner patrons.
While the girls bathed, Merric and Wendel made their way over to Townmaster’s Hall bailing up Harbin Wester (Townmaster) for the reward for clearing Wyvern Tor. *That’s right they managed to get two rewards for one job. * Before they left Wendel made sure to visit Sildar, informing him on the location of Old Owl Well and the necromancer who had set up camp there. *HA! Called it! Hmm what could I make of this development. * The Greycloaks were stretched thin, but Sildar advised he would do what he could.
Sildar had a map of the region on the wall in his office. As he was marking up the location of Old Owl Well on it, Merric and Wendel noticed a mark with the name “Cragmaw Castle??” written in the woods to the north. *Sometimes you have to wave a big sign under your players nose for them to take the hint. * Enquiring about it *finally * Sildar informed them that they had a possible location and was able to provide them a scout to take them there. Sildar was very concerned about the welfare of the Rockseeker family.
*You know the people who have been kidnapped this entire time. I basically had to axe the entire Thundertree arc. The party were already level 4! I was growing very concerned that they would get too high in level before they reached Wave Echo Cave and did not feel like rewriting any of that. I’m a GM, we’re allowed to be lazy. *
Before heading back to the inn Wendel needed to make “another” stop to see Sister Garaela and provided her with the answer from the banshee Agatha. Garaela was most happy and asked for a private word with Wendel. She revealed to him that she was a member of the Harpers and invited Wendel to join. Wendel requested time to make his decision to which Sister Garaela was happy to oblige.
Another three healing potions were provided as their reward. *Hmm I’ve lost track of how many potions these guys have. May need to up the difficulty to burn through a few. * With their errands finished, the halflings rejoined the girls at the inn who were freshly bathed and having a drink in the common room to bolster Kayla for visiting the orchard.
Seeing the girls, Falros gave a slight smile towards Aurelia, who had been quite brisk with him, and began to play some songs from Calimshan. This brought a smile to Aurelia’s face as she continued to listen to the songs from her homeland.
This felt like a good place to stop the session. We will find out what happens to Kayla & Jacob and what might transpire between Falros & Aurelia. Find out in our next newsletter. Things are certainly set to heat up! No seriously there is even a fire.