Lost Mines of Phandelver – Session 25

Kobolds, Tactics and Lots of Traps

With the western passage now blocked the party’s only choice was to take the northern passage and delve further into the kobold den to search for an alternative route. The halflings took point and moved forward, with the two sisters covering their back and Gundren kept in the middle. Heading north they encountered the first of many obstacles, a series of murder holes in the caves ceiling.

*You may be thinking “Kobolds have a CR of 1/8. Why is the DM using kobolds against a group of level 5?” You may recall my earlier mention of mob tactics. This is another example of this. This kobold den is going to be filled to the brim with various traps, murder holes and tiny tunnels. A player can be killed outright with a tunnel collapse, almost regardless of level, although I’ll try to avoid this. All the kobolds will also be using hit and run tactics with several of weapons being tipped with poison. The aim will be to practice mob tactics and provide an interesting player experience. *


Several flasks were dropped from the ceiling, narrowly missing Wendel but completely drenching Merric in foul smelling oil. Somewhat annoyed the party quickly launched a salvo of melee, arrows, and magic into the holes, screams of dying kobolds could be heard from within. However, one of the arcane spells used was fire based and poor unlucky Merric was too close, resulting in the flammable oil igniting burning him for 1d6 damage per turn. Fortunately, with no mobs left he quickly doused himself.

*The way this area is setup is that there are a finite number of kobolds whose main agenda is to stall the players so that other members of their tribe can retreat with their young. Once a certain number of kobolds are killed, no more will reappear to harass the players. I borrowed a lot of ideas for this area from Runesmith on Youtube. They are definitely worth checking out as they have some wonderful videos about getting more out of your basic mobs. *

Still trailing smoke Merric ventured forward, a little more wary than before. The tunnel opened into a carved-out room with a small fire in the middle with several bedrolls and lockboxes scattered around the room. This was a sleeping quarters of some kind, the fire was a little odd as it had a groove in the dirt around it filled with water that was hot from the fire. *This was a small egg cache that had been successfully cleared by the kobolds. *

Merric & Wendel strode forward, but Wendel noticed some disrupted dirt and stopped Merric from triggering the trap. They noticed this trap, but they failed to notice the trap wire installed in the tunnel exit. This was high enough that any kobold and halfling would fail to trigger it, the dwarf on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. A poison bolt shot from the tunnel wall and struck the poor NPC. A dwarven constitution however allowed him to shrug off the poison. Four kobolds immediately used this opportunity to do a quick attack on the group but failed to get the jump on the group. After a single round of combat, the last remaining kobold fled NW into an adjacent room with Merric in hot pursuit.

The adjacent room matched the previous room with exits to the west and south, not wasting any time the kobold fled into the south exit. Merric choose to halt his pursuit and returned to the party. *Wise move, as the kobold was leading him towards more traps.* Back in the original room the party opted to discuss their next option, tunnel exits led in NE, E and NW.

Merric’s curiosity got the better of him, and he chose to investigate one of the lockboxes while the party was deciding their next move. Finding no traps he lifted the lid and quickly discovered that he had disturbed a swarm of centipedes that immediately swarmed all over him crawling through his clothes biting him all over. Cries of pain and anger brought the group discussion to an immediate halt as they subdued the critters. It was decided immediately to not touch any other box in the room.

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Burnt and covered in bites, Merric was looking somewhat annoyed. Asterin placed a hand on his shoulder and with a few words restored his health back to full. Realising that they would be better off leaving this place as soon as they could, they opted for the western tunnel. However, 15 feet into the tunnel they discovered the ceiling dropped below 5 feet, which meant that Aurelia and Asterin would need to crawl on hand and foot to continue further. *Aurelia was not happy with this at all.*

With Merric in front, yet again, he exited the tunnel and was immediately shot at by a lone kobold who stood on the opposite side of a rickety looking rope and board bridge that spanned a 30ft wide chasm. Two can play at that game thought Merric as he pulled out his bow and with a single arrow took the creature down. *I think Merric’s learning not to charge in.* Looking carefully at the bridge now, the party decided to cross it one at a time.

Merric, Wendel and Gundren crossed without incident. Asterin was halfway across when the rope bridge started to come undone. One successful athletics check later Asterin narrowly made it to the far side as the bridge collapsed behind her, leaving Aurelia alone on the far side. With a smirk of her face Aurelia muttered an incantation under her breath. Surrounded by silver mist she took a step towards the open chasm and suddenly appeared on the other side beside her friends.

Relieved not having to abandon her sister, Asterin took a sigh of relief, meanwhile Merric looted the fallen kobold coming away with an odd ring. A western tunnel stood before them, with now no way back the party continued. A short ways in, the tunnel forked to the east and south. Opting to take the south route, the party discovered that various clay pots lined the walls and floor at various intervals throughout. Not wanting to take any chances the party proceeded carefully without upsetting a single pot.

*These guys are doing remarkedly well on these simple traps. At present they are not trusting anything that is being thrown at them. This is probably wise. *

The tunnel bent to the east and the whole party failed to see another set of murder holes. Several arrows shot at them from above narrowly missing them. The party’ returning fire also missed and then the murder holes became silent. Making sure their foes had moved on the party continued and promptly discovered a pool of oil before them. A quick leap had them all cross without incident, except for Asterin who stumbled and emerged coated head to toe in foul smelling oil. Aurelia laughed at her sister.

Tunnel twisted and turned to the south, with another pool before them, although this one appeared to be dirty water. With care Merric lead the way leaping over the pool and right into combat in the next room. The carved-out room beyond displayed evidence of crude mining with several nodes of ore exposed in the walls. Several tunnels led to the South, West, NW and NW. Three kobolds were present in the far side of the room and immediately took aim at Merric.

Merric charged forward immediately tripping a trap wire and a crate fell from the ceiling crashing to the ground beside him. Several swarms of spiders crawled out from within and set upon him. Wendel, hearing the cries of battle rushed forward, leaping over the water to support his comrade. Both Asterin and Aurelia would take two rounds to arrive on the scene as they were further down the tunnel.

Merric and Wendel leapt to engage the swarms and had reduced their number by the time Aurelia arrived on the scene launching out Eldritch blasts to take care of two of the kobolds. The final kobold acknowledging that it had successfully delayed the party sufficiently fled down the North-east tunnel. Left to tidy up the swarms Aurelia moved to the south side of the cavern to engage the spiders but didn’t notice the disturbed dirt by the southern tunnel. Click.

A loud rumbling noise could be heard from the south tunnel shortly followed by a rolling boulder that shot out of the tunnel, colliding into halfling, tiefling and spider alike before it lodged itself in the northern wall. Fortunately for the group they had dodged the boulder, but a smear of spider guts on the cave floor suggested that the insects hadn’t been so lucky. Asterin finally arrived in the cave at this point but the combat was over.

*Asterin is an armoured sorcerer/cleric who can do decent melee. The player has begun to realise that she needs to move her to the front some more or completely missing out on combat. *

With several exits available the group decides to move towards the west *the objective is to the east* and attempted to listen for any more approaching kobolds. They got very lucky with their listening checks and Asterin was able to make out the kobolds barking with themselves.

“Young safe. Retreat. Leave treasure. Return when safe. Yip yip.”

 *Never forget the lure of treasure to a player.*

Not wanting to pass up any potential riches, Aurelia encourages the group to press to the east suggesting that they would unlikely encounter any further kobolds. Taking the NE tunnel, they pass undefended murder holes and come to a larger cavern with very low tunnel entrances. The halflings and dwarf enter easily enough and discover a large statue of a dragon in the middle of the room surrounded by various sacks with the glint of gold spilling out from the top.

Aurelia squeezes herself through the tunnel and the party approach the statue. Asterin is the last to enter the cavern and her squirming through the low tunnel entrance dislodges the loose supports. The ceiling of the tunnel collapses upon Asterin burying her in loose dirt and small stones.

Aurelia screamed in alarm as the party rushed to Asterin’s aid.

Find out how Asterin fares in the next session.

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