Dungeons: The Dragoning

The Factions

There were some questions about factions last session, so I figured a small essay on them might be helpful, especially since some of you are faction members.

The five major known factions in the sword coast are The Emerald Enclave, The Harpers, The Order of the Gauntlet, The Lords’ Alliance, and The Zhentarim.
First off, in Faerun there’s no shortage of corrupt statesmen, scumbag gods, and vice versa. The gods aren’t omniscient either. They’re more like competing politicians who want your votes (worship) because their success is tied to how many people follow them. “Go kill that little old lady down the street” doesn’t become less morally questionable if King Pope the Good Natured, High Priest of Hyoomor Ingothers, is telling you to do it. However, faith is built trust in the gods. If you accept the gods as moral authority, then you accept that, yes, an action is good because this god says it is. The states are less clearcut, after all they are usually monarchies (Neverwinter, Waterdeep), some weird oligarchies like Baldur’s Gate, or Theocracies like we see in Elturel. But we can still accept that these states are some form of social contract, and thus the government does have the monopoly of force.
So, in the worst light:
The Emerald Enclave are not “nature loving hippies.” Their goal is balance. They keep civilization from taking over nature just as much as they fight against nature overtaking civilization. They will advocate killing entire cities if “balance” would be maintained. They are open about not being on mankind’s side.
The Harpers are vigilantes who believe they can kill people because they figured it out. They are neither a state nor do they have the blessings of a specific god vouching for them. They simply believe they are so right that their actions are justified. The Harpers are like the Illuminati, always rumored to exist, but who knows who they are. They are isolationists and borderline cowards who are worried they’ll be wiped out like they almost once were, so they wait until the stack of evidence is so overwhelming that they’re almost forced to act. They can be quite extreme in their belief about powerful magic (no one should have it if everyone can’t).
The Order of the Gauntlet is filled with a bunch of bullies who want to crush anything they see as a threat Minority Report style before it gets a chance to actually prove itself as dangerous. They operate and in rule Elturel, a new country to the south-east of the Sword Coast, in a theocratic state that accepts no rebellious thought. They will do whatever their gods tell them to, disregarding the feelings of the mortals whose lives they impact.
Lord’s alliance has the monopoly on “lawful” use of force, because they are the state. Lords Alliance want whatever is good for their specific kingdom far more than they crave “order.” They’ll throw everyone’s mom under the bus and stab them in the back if it means their King, Lord, territory, etc gain any kind of benefit. They want control and advantage under the guise of order. They are essentially a bunch of One-Percenters who want to maintain their power and status, easily swayed by forces that wish to manipulate them so long as the Lords Alliance believes they are gaining power and control. They are lawful yes, but as a group they are mainly focused on maintaining their own power and the status quo, so they vary from good-neutral-evil depending on what an individual lord is willing to do. They can just as easily have tyrants in the Alliance as well as benevolent kings.
The Zhentarim are out to work for the Zhentarim. They want more influence, more power, and more control over the world. The Zhentarim want you to be dependent on them. That’s their ultimate goal. Take over small operations and grow. Like the mafia. They want to conceal their influence, while controlling as much as possible from behind the scenes. Provide the cheapest, but highest quality mercenary services. Gather information from the shadows. Control trade. They don’t care about anyone who is not in their organization, and feel no compunctions about using illegal or immoral methods to obtain their goals. The Zhentarim do not care if their acts are good or evil, as long as they further their own cause ie gain influence and power.

In the best light:

The Emerald Enclave ensure nature is not overrun by civilization, and that undue threats to civilization are nipped in the bud. They also provide aid to travelers lost out of their element in the wilderness. They want everyone to achieve the best they can be in accordance with their place in the world.
The Harpers, more than almost any other faction, genuinely care about the good of others. They defend the weak against the strong, usurp tyrants, and provide aid to righteous rebellions. They collect information to ensure that any threat to the nations of Faerun will be challenged, and any forbidden knowledge remains under lock and key away from those who would misuse it.
The Order of the Gauntlet fights against evil in all forms, defending the just against the unjust. They will boldly go into unspeakable danger if there’s a chance their sacrifice could save an innocent. They ensure the will of their gods is felt across the nations, making the world safe for the common man.
The Lord’s Alliance maintains peace between nations and ensure no nation attempts to wage war on others. They are devoted to making sure their countries are strong, independent, and successful, while still connected to other nations for the good of all. The strive to maintain law across their rule, and make sure that nations are defended, supplied with food and resources, and defend their neighbors against intrusions. They embody the status quo and mutual security between nations.
The Zhentarim are a family who support each other. They want their family members to succeed, and they will do what it takes to support their members. They want Faerun to be peaceful and have good relations between nations. They do not want any other agency to gain power or control over the nations of the world, and will assist with bringing down tyrants/conquerors who attempt to wage war on other nations. They make sure trade flows to all corners of the land, supplying goods to rural areas that, without Zhentarim influence, would see a peddler maybe once every two years. They are open and honest about what their goals are, as opposed to other factions who might send you on missions you don’t understand.

There’s evil and good in all factions, depending on how you look at it. Always remember that evil alignment doesn’t mean you’re a jerk who dropkicks kittens, steals candy from babies, and insults your allies. It just means you consider yourself and your goals to be above the needs of others… and are willing to step on a few people along the way to get what you want.

1.4 Half Mast for GlassStaff

After the scuffle with the Red Brands we find ourselves hurt, tired, and wide eyed from the experience. We decide that we should probably find some place to sleep in order to get our strength back.

We know of an old adventurer named ________ that lives in the town. He has a barn that is suitable for us so we decide to mosey down to his house uncovered in the middle of day. Surely people must have seen us.

We knock on the door and he shuttles us in asking us some questions. We convince him that we are against the Red Brands and to let us in for a place to sleep. He agrees and we find a nice cozy place in the barn to sleep.

During the night we get woken up by Halia Thornton a fat woman who is the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange Guild Master. She tells us that she will pay us to go to Tricindar manner whoere the Red Brand leader named Glasstaff resides.

After we rest we make our way on the journey towards that direction. But we realize we may want to be a bit more careful this time instead of just waltzing in the front door. So we decide to try the southern side to scope out a possible safer entrance.

As we make it around the area we notice a child playing in the fields along with his mother who quickly becomes nervous as she notices our presence. Eventually we get a chance to speak to Carp and he tells us that where he saw deers path through the thicket at the base of the hills there is an entrance to the manor’s basement.

As enter we make our way around a bit more stealthy until we come upon Glasstaff. Nugget Mage Hand’s his staff to himself and we more or less beat him down.

Other things we learned:
1. Darren Eatermath tells us that in Netheril the prospectors were chased away by zombies and he needs us to investigate. He will pay us.
2. Othar Froom part of the Order of the Guantlet is Qtips Friend who is also friends with Darren Eatermath .
3. Sister Garaele is the priest of Tymora and can help us find Cragmaw Castle. She is also in charge of the shrine of luck in Zentarym.
4. ThunderTree after undead, the alchemy shop under the shelves is emerald jewelry
5. Glasstaff is a wizard and has bugbears working for him. Black spider sent at least 3 bugbears to aid Glass Staff

1.3 Red Branding Hot

We fast forward to us walking into Phandalin. This is where we need to deliver the supplies that we were closely guarding, and where the Lord’s Alliance member Iarno went before Sildar and Gundren to grab supplies and rations before their journey to Wave Echo Cave.

Sildar walks briskly towards the Stone Hill Inn which is owned by Toblin Stonehill and a few members of the party follow. While others deliver the wagon full of supplies where a 40 year old human declares “You’re late!!!”. He inspects the wagon and see the Blue Lion emblem on the crates with rope in it and says that we should take it to Lenine Graywind who is the owner of these supplies. They show up and she is at first apprehensive about how they obtained it but then shortly bartered for the location of the rest of the supplies.

The group in the Inn finds out information about the Red Brands who are a gang that hassles businesses for protection. They are identified by the red arm band and can be found in the Sleeping Giant Taphouse. We find out horrible things that the Red Brands have done such as murder a whole family after moving in 5 months ago. In the recent 2 months they have become an even bigger problem.

The two groups meet in the street as QTip shows the awesome woman’s garb that he bought for Arathor and its a lavendar and flower covered ______.

So Nugget is drunk because he is a lightweight bitch and is thought that he is going to another taphouse to drink. He is having a conversation with himself thinking his friends are right behind him. Two Red Brands on the front porch of the bar get up and begin to walk aggressively toward him. Nugget is startled and looks back to see his friends 50 feet back. He is unable to muster enough courage to stand his ground and he immediately begins to retreat towards his friends thinking this is a bad idea.

Against best judgement the party attacks and in the scuffle Arathor runs inside where the door is closed and locked behind him. Arathor is pummeled and unconscious in the back room. Rosetta attacked and unconscious. Nugget tries to smooth over the situation by charming one of the Red Brands in the scuffle, “Hey Jimmy, you know me, we good Jimmy, lets just let this misunderstanding blow over and lets have a drink.”, They are just about to agree to a settlement over beers, and Angar strikes to incite the battle once more. We pummel the guys outside. One knocks on the door to let them in and his friends inside grabbed him and pulled him in with Q and A taking Opportunity attacks on this maneuver. QTip runs in to see Arathor’s boddy gone. The ruffians run out and we kill the rest.

The bartender is not happy with us because we killed all of her business and made a mess of the place. We tried to smooth it out with giver her gold and she decides that for now we are ok and gives us fresh glasses and beer. We hear a thumping upstairs and the owner comes down mad.

Other notes:
1. Nundro and Tharden (Gundren’s Bros) reside outside of town.

1.2 Let's put faces to crates

After we short rest and regain our conciousness a bit, we decide to sneak into the goblin lair. Rosetta Vittori being as sneaky as she can be slides across the fields towards the rock wall in order to get a look inside the cave to scout the area. She tip toed across so quietly, she didn’t notice the rock sitting directly in her path and trips over it. Rosetta Vittori gracefully shoots up and brushes herself off as she gallops the rest of the way to the rock wall.

Rosetta Vittori carefully uses her hand mirror to look around the corner and sees goblins which were dispersed quickly. The hallway is long and curves to the right with stairs directly to our right. The group decides that we should check out this room where a pack of 3 wolves were discovered chained to rocks. Walfinas Richon slowly creeps up the stairs with a handful of goblin flesh as the rabid wolves salivate furiously. As he throws large chunks of meat to the hungry wolves he calms them and handles them successfully into trusting him and eating his meat.

There is a chimney in the corner of the room so Erathar Frostfall decides it is a good idea to climb it in order to get a better view of the surrounding area. As he makes it towards the top he looks down onto a large Bugbear and a wolf.

Shortly thereafter a makeshift bomb comes down the chimney, fuse burning and all. An attempt was made by Erathar Frostfall with his monk-like quickness to try to throw it back up the chimney, but he was clearly not dextrous enough. Rosetta Vittori was luckily close enough to grab the bomb and make a throwing attempt as well. Unfortunately, for Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII and Walfinas Richon she decided to throw it towards them and into the water. After a successful dodge it diffused in the water without an explosion. Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII is so flustered by the bombs and crates falling he neglects to tell his mates that he has spotted a goblin on the bridge up above.

Rosetta Vittori then decides she should climb the chimney now. As she climbs up a large wooden crate hits her right in the face. She slides down and we decide maybe we should devise another plan. How about we go around!

The team makes a trek through the water getting hit by a couple waves of water along the way. Those of us not quick enough get thrown back and drenched in water, those of us quick enough make it out of the way, and those of us dumb enough and heavy enough drag along the bottom (ahem! Quinton Tipple)

As we make it along we encounter a group of goblins, a bug bear, and some more wolves. Angar Bloodfist does his best Dolph Lundgren impression and destroys some of these goblins while Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII successfully puts some baddies to sleep. Some of the team goes pokey pokey and some goes blasty blasty. Eventually some goblins run away in fear and we plunder the riches.

Next we decide we are going to go deeper and cross the bridge that we noticed in the previous hallway. We fall upon a group of goblins sleeping around a fire and Sildar is held hostage on a ledge by another goblin. We dispatch the goblins handily with some slashy slashy and decide to try to kill the goblin holding Sildar in 1 shot. Unfortunately, we did not and Sildar gets dropped onto his head and is near death. Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII tries to patch Sildar up but he is unsuccessful in his panicked state.

We feed Sildar one of our only potions and bring him to life. Flarb was very disappointed that we let Flerb live of all the goblins in the fucking tribe. He wanted to die when he realized we killed all of his family and friends except for Flerb. We question remaining goblin and he says Gundren is at Kragmaw Castle stating similar to what Flerb had told us as well.

He also disclosed that the Black Spider scares King Groll the head of Kragmaw Castle into doing bad things.

Sildar said that they got ambushed on the trail and dragged here and were tortured. Flarb says there may be a basement but not sure how to get in there. Rockseeker Brothers who are 2 of Gundren’s Brothers have located the entrance to Wave Echo Cave. These are mines from the time of Phandelin Pact which was created 500 years ago to share the mineral wealth and spell power derived from these mines. There is a Forge of spells where magic items are to be crafted. Disaster struck when orcs killed all of these people 500 years ago. The cave is mostly destroyed for the last 500 years but has now been found. Gundren has map to Wave Echo Cave which is why he was kidnapped and brought to Krawmaw Castle.

WE GAINED LEVEL 2 and have 325 XP

1.1 - Mutton for Punishment
Caravan to Phandalin
Driftwood Tavern
As all adventurers do, our crew found themselves at the tavern. Presented with all the food and ale their stomachs could handle from their mutual acquaintance Gundren Rockseeker, The group knew based on the spread that their friend had them all signed up for something either dangerous or stupid, and possibly both. Un-phased by either possibility the group enjoyed their night of consumption. Mead was had, Meat was flung ( ahem Erathar Frostfall ) , peace was purchased ( through more mead ) and the crew enjoyed their final rest before setting out on the road.
The Road to Phandalin
The road was long and grueling though peaceful for the adventurers for the first day. Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII scholarly legs caused him to suffer from exhaustion after just one day and was given the spot in the cart our of pity and to help the group keep the pace.
The Ambush
Shortly thereafter the wagon approached a narrow piece of the road stretched between two wooded areas of high ground. The corpses of two horses blocked the way. Sensing the possible danger the crew prepared defenses and attempted to clear the carcass blockade. Just as they attempt to clear the first horse, an arrow fizzes from the tree line on one of the mounds. Quinton Tipple raises his shield and laughs off the crudely made arrow. Raising their arms the group makes quick work of the foul creatures. Just as they struck down the last visible foe, Another arrow is loosed from the opposite treeline. Unaware, nose in book, Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII takes the arrow deep in his side and collapses. Seeing his new companion unconscious Quinton Tipple quickly runs to his side to administer aid as the source of the arrow flees into the trees.
The Chase
Emboldened by their first kills ( and first near death ), The adventurers crudely hide their supply cart and chased the source of the arrow into the forest. After a short while tracking they came to a cave entrance along a heavily wooded area. Quinton Tipple angered by the creatures lack of respect for life and their attack on his new friend, charged the cave entrance banging his shield. In response he is promptly pin cushioned by arrows from a hidden blind and falls to the ground holding his wounds. Angar Bloodfist and Erathar Frostfall charge the blind and make quick work of the archers as Nuggèt von Chrönléif XXXXII attempts to tend to Quinton Tipple’s wounds.

We leave our adventurers outside the cave, surrounding their wounded friend, Contemplating their next move.

Things to do
  1. Make an Obsidian Portal account
  2. Come up with a character concept
  3. Talk with Trevor about background and rules crunch
  4. Submit a character
  5. Confirm background tweaks
  6. Start playing

Feel free to poke around here to get some ideas.


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