For the third time our group gathered: still D&D, still mucking about in an underground hideout, but with some changes. Since we were all learning 5th edition together I allowed character fiddling so that everyone could be happy with who they were playing.
Quoras, Alex’s halfling rogue, was missing. Alex hadn’t muddled with his character at all but the rest of the group didn’t know the results of our roleplay-via-google-chat, so for all they knew he was dead.
Dolemite, Justin’s dwarf cleric, had some minor adjustments to spells but nothing too extreme. He’s calling himself Dolemite X now.
Rizzo, Cally’s wizard, is now a drow, albeit a modified one based on Quinn Murphy’s “drau” reimagining. She’s also a necromancer now, though the rest of the party doesn’t yet know that in-game.
Clant, Phil’s human archer, remains functionally the same but has been entirely retooled under the hood.
Things went poorly. They had been captured, and though they managed to escape their cell Quoras had been taken away. They had explored all of the eastern half of the underground compound of the Redbrand Ruffians and found nothing: if he was still alive he was somewhere on the western side of the giant cavern that ran through the caves.
Then there was that thing someone had said about an “eye monster”…
- Unibroue La Terrible, which I chose because I thought “terrible” a fitting moniker
- Elysian Split Shot
- Founders Big Lushious
- Ommegang Valar Morghulis
- A.P.E.S. homebrewed coffee scotch ale
In media res
Having slaughtered the barrack full of Redbrands, the party headed back into what appeared to be an entry hallway of the Redbrand’s hideout. As they did a Redbrand guard, one of the ones who had dragged Quoras away, staggered in through the secret entrance they had found. Thinking quickly, Clant threw his net on him (Clant has a net now).
After some debate as to how to tie him up — hogtying came out to an early lead until they realized someone would have to carry him — they bound his hands and set off into the huge open cavern with the chasm running down the center. They approached the first bridge, looking around for anything amiss as the guard became a blubbering mess, when they heard a cough behind them.
“Took you long enough,” Quoras said, holding a staff made out of glass.
“Plop turd,” Justin muttered, a muddled version of “plot turn” that we all latched on to. Here stood Quoras, holding a glass staff, most likely the very same staff that gave the villain Glasstaff his name. Everyone had a different (hot) take:
- Dolemite thought that Quoras and Glasstaff were one and the same
- Rizzo thought Quoras had killed Glasstaff and taken his namesake
- Clant, meanwhile, suspected Glasstaff was a shapeshifter who had taken on Quoras’ form
Quoras, a bit taken aback, began recalling a tale of what he had been up to.
A tale of what Quoras had been up to
He awoke shackled to the wall in a room where vials and flasks bubbled away over open flames. Bookshelves lined the walls, a table with papers and books strewn about in the center.
A man walked in, red hooded robe over his shoulders. He introduced himself as Glasstaff and began interrogating Quoras: did he have a map? Did he know the location of the cave? What else had the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker told him?
Quoras didn’t know anything but offered to work for him. His party could find this map for Glasstaff! His arguments fell on deaf ears: Glasstaff smirked and told Quoras he would become a test subject in his quest to find the formula for potions of invisibility.
Knowing his time was out, Quoras made one final attempt to break free of his shackles. Summoning a strength he didn’t know he had he pulled them from the wall, then jumped on Glasstaff and used the chains to choke the life out of him.
His mortal enemy dead on the floor, Quoras snuck into the next room, which appeared to be the dead wizard’s chambers, and looted the room. He found some treasure, the eponymous glass staff and a letter addressed to “Iarno Albrek” signed with the image of a black spider.
Discovering a secret door, he continued skulking around until he came across the party.
Maybe I haven’t hyped up this eye monster enough yet. Guys there’s an eye monster.
Dolemite didn’t believe Quoras, refusing to heal him or give back his armor or weapons. Clant, feeling bad, handed over a sword he had looted from the Redbrands. They set off to Glasstaff’s quarters so that Quoras could prove his innocence.
Clant tried to sneak around a corner to see if he could spot what was making their captive so nervous. He ran directly into a bipedal creature with claw-like hands, sharp teeth and one huge eye in its head. “Meat,” the players heard inside their heads. “Bring meat?”
There was some gulping. They began trying to reason with the creature, who communicated telepathically and in short, guttural bursts. The captured guard was meat! No, the wizard said not to eat red cloaks. They debated. According to Quoras, the wizard was dead. Would that help, or set the creature free to eat everyone? Was Quoras the new leader? Eventually Rizzo wizarded up a solution: she created the illusion that the guard didn’t have a cloak. Dolemite shoved the poor man forward and the creature bit.
They ran away as he screamed.
Drunks and bugbears
Quoras lead them back the way he had come, eventually reaching Glasstaff’s quarters. On the floor, as he had explained, lay a dead wizard. He had been telling the truth.
Dolemite healed Quoras’ wounds and gave him his equipment. They decided to continue exploring.
They walked into the first door they came to, realizing too late that maybe they should have been a little more careful. It was full of Redbrands, but they were very drunk Redbrands, arguing over a dice game. After a moment’s pause they decided to walk through as if they owned the place: after all, everyone had looted red cloaks from the bodies they had killed.
They listened at the next door, hearing yelling in Goblin. They walked in, seeing a pair of bugbears beating up on a goblin. At the sight of the party the goblin gave a little shout and fainted. Clant took the lead, cautiously seeing what the bugbears wanted. They were low level goons, sent to help Glasstaff, and enjoyed mistreating their goblin henchman.
Clant — having had his backstory retooled to have a hatred of the Cragmaw goblin tribe — decided to play along. He chatted them up, got in a few kicks of the unconscious goblin and then ushered the group back the way they came.
They had now explored everything, except for a long tunnel leading south from the room with the eye creature. They poked their heads around the corner and heard slurping and chewing noises. They hurried along into the tunnel.
After a fairly long time they saw light at the end of the tunnel, figuratively. They found themselves in a forest, coming out of a cave coming out of the hillside. They looked around: where the hell were they?
They had been beaten up. Spells had been used. Everyone needed some rest. They agreed the best thing to do would be to sneak back into the Redbrand hideout, go up the stairs into the manor in the town proper and maybe come back the next day after some rest.
As they turned around they heard the snap of a twig. A voice cautiously called out:
To be continued…