John – A lesson quickly learnt is to always insist on backstories before commencing a campaign. Just relearnt this lesson. Both Asterin and Aurelia have thrown a slight spanner in the works requiring some quick shoe horning of some elements, I just hope it all sticks.
Firstly, the party skipped content in Cragmaw Hideout. This meant the artifact that would act as conduit for Asterin’s multiclass cleric at level 2 did not happen. Whoops.
Secondly, Aurelia’s backstory now has specific goals in mind which I hadn’t planned for, which would work better with having certain people and places in town at the onset… Last minute revising, yay! Let us begin.
The party had arrived at Phandalin and immediately came to the notice of the Redbrands, a bunch of ruffians were who were terrorising the townsfolk and local businesses. Sildar left the group here and while the party argued over what to do first in town, Asterin was drawn to a nearby alley by an unknown force. Slipping away from the others she entered the side alley where she was greeted by the elven goddess Aerdrie Faenya.
Aerdrie Faenya had been watching over her ever since Asterin had taken upon herself to protect an ancient book which she had been ordered to destroy by the monks at the Monastery of St Fanal located in Calimshan. Forces were now in pursuit of the books recovery for ill purpose forcing the goddess to act. Aerdie Faenya bestowed her blessing upon Asterin and that she would receive further guidance. *Roll for character story save successful*
Upon her return the group delivered the cargo at Barthen’s Provisions where they learnt more about the group known as the Redbrands and that their employer had two brothers who were several days overdue to town. The party then went shopping for some armour for Asterin and at the Lionshield Coster they discovered that within the skipped Cragmaw Hideout content was the Lionshield Coster’s missing supplies. *We’ll see whether the group will follow this hook back up.*
Upon seeking lodging at the Stonehill Inn the party learnt the following bits of gossip;
- Redbrands frequent the Craven Dragon brothel *The tap house was altered into a brothel to work in with Aurelia’s character, I shameless stole the name from Night Angel Trilogy*
- Redbrands accosted and murdered a local woodcarver. The woodcarver’s family is now missing.
- A boy on the Alderleaf farm found a tunnel in the woods, Redbrands almost caught him.
- The local shrine of luck caretaker disappeared for a few days and returned wounded.
- Redbrands avoid the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange on account of they fear the owner.
- The local orchard keeper is a former adventurer.
Sildar re-joined them briefly at the inn to pay them for his rescue and to inform them of his pursuit of Iarno Albrek, his missing agent in town and that if he was needed they could find him at the Townmaster Hall.
After the girls had finished their bath and everyone had some drinks the party decided to follow up on some leads. *I tried to use the lifestyle expenses mechanic here for the food and drinks, but ultimately it didn’t really sit well. I’ll drop it for the next session*
The party didn’t get much of a chance because as soon as they left the inn, they were ambushed by the Redbrands. One very one-sided battle later, and due to the gentle nature of Wendell, the party now had two Redbrand prisoners… not to mention the attention of the entire town as it was only just past noon. The townsmaster was called to the scene, fortunately Sildar came with him.
Harbor Wester, the current townsmaster, escorts everyone back to the Townsmaster Hall. He begrudgery allows the prisoners to be locked up at the hall and interrogated by the group. A surprisingly affect interrogation by the two halflings *and here I thought Wendel was gentle* the party found out where the Redbrands were located below the Tresender Manor and even were supplied a rough map. *Oh great now I have to sketch up a map!*
Eventually the Townsmaster agreed to let the party clear out the Redbrands, with much prompting from Sildar. Sildar had heard some rumours that Iarno was last seen investigating the manor ruins. Aurelia was determined still to go to the brothel and dragged the party along with her, although Merric had no such complaints.
Confronting another group of Redbrands outside the Craven Dragon led to more one-sided bloodshed. Apart from one brutal hit to Wendel, which allowed Asterin to show off her new healing prowess. After the confrontation, the owner of the brothel came barging out and was quite heated with the party, he was accompanied by his two, previously absent, bouncers.
Demanding that they explain themselves, the party was escorted into the Craven Dragon brothel. Stay tuned next time for the brothel scene, which was heavily influenced by re-watching a bunch of the Deadwood tv series.