The Job – Session 1

A man limps up the notice board, burdened with a satchel full of paper and nails.  Without a care as to the previous papers cluttering the surface, he places the newest announcement as close to the center as he cares to attempt.  The sound of his pin hammer echoes across the square.  Tap, tap, tap.  Tap, tap, tap.  Tap, tap, tap.  The nosier of the locals crowd around to be the first to know the newest gossip.  “Brave Adventurers wanted.  Escort duties to Phandalin.  Easy money for a few days…”  As the initial crowd disperses, the cloaked figure steps from the shadows and removes the notice.  10 gold pieces is not much, but I am intrigued.  They turn and set off to find the contact, Gundren Rockseeker.

As evening begins to set in on the nondescript tavern located just beyond the sprawl of Neverwinter, the short silhouette of a dwarf graces the doorway.  Making his way to the table he arranged previously, he makes eye contact with the barkeep and indicates 9 ales.  7, more than anticipated but worth the effort.  Settling in at the table, Gundren must boost himself slightly to hold socials with his new hires.

Something is off, that smell.  What is that smell?  His muscular build and rough hands are all but common to his kind.  His smile and shining eyes are not.  Gundren comes off as warm hearted and welcoming just with a glance.  Before he can even look around a half-elf sits across from him and slides an ale in front of him.  Several heads taller than Gundren he looks down on the dwarf with green eyes and smiles.

‘A pint for a new friend.  Ekim, ranger by trade.’

‘Aye laddie.  Many thanks for the ale, but…’  The barkeep sets down the 9 jugs on the table, sloshing small amounts of their contents onto the surface.  ‘No, many thanks for the drink.’  He takes a long drought.  ‘Have you met any of your fellow companions?’  Ekim sits back and looks around the small room and shrugs.  Almost immediately they are joined by a female dwarf and human each grabbing an ale in turn.

The human tips the mug towards Gundren, ‘Sylla, Sylla Vivelron,’ and takes a drink.  Gundren can tell by the tightly kept hair, hooded cloak, and general disposition that this is his other ranger.  Before he can finish acknowledging Sylla, the dwarf slams down the empty mug.  Wiping the foam from her mouth, she acknowledges the table.

‘Belgwyn Bravefoot, are these taken?’ indicating the remaining ales on the table.

‘By all means have another.’ smiles Gundren.

3 so far, what luck if the rest show.  As Gundren completes his thought, he stares down a sight he never believed he would see.  ‘I can’t believe me own eyes, an Eladrin.  That’s what you are?’  The figure sits down at the table and smiles.

‘Yes, you may call me Sariel.’

Gundren stares a little while longer, ‘Well, I’ll be damned!’ he says, sliding a drink in her general directions.  ‘I didn’t believe the report, but here you sit.  Excellent!’

Shaking off his astonishment, Gundren feels like he is still seeing things.  A little ‘toy’ mouse scurries across the table, stops in front of him and squeaks “Hi!”

‘Hello.  Whom does this belong to?’  The mouse shuffles off to an empty spot at the table and quickly disappears.  Gundren swears a small hand grabbed it, but he can’t be sure.  From the corner of the room Two figures approach.  The first sits at the far side of the table, antlers protruding from the top of his head.  As he sits, every candle in the room dims to almost nothing before returning to normal.  ‘Ohhhh, spooky.  I like tieflings.  You got a name?’

‘Tethren will do for now.’

As Gundren grins quickly vanishes into a look of terror.  ‘Shit!’  A paw reaches across the table, grabs a drink and then sits to the side at its own table.  ‘A gnoll!  What in the name of the gods is a gnoll doing here?’

‘The same as the rest of us.’ replies the tiefling.

‘You knew?’

‘The whole tavern reeks of her, are you saying you didn’t know?’

‘Well, no… just keep it away from me.  Gods be damn, a gnoll in Neverwinter.’

Shaking off his shattered nerves, Gundren looks around the table.  This is good.  This is really good, he thinks to himself.  ‘Well, we are all here.  If someone would like to ask the gnome under the table to join us, we can start.’  The short little version of a man sheepishly steps up onto the chair and beckons with his hands for one of the remaining tankers.  Sariel slides one over and returns her attention to Gundren.  The gnome looks around, produces a small rectangular box with several knobs on it.  It quickly works the knobs and flips around the board.  The word Seebo and what looks like a childish attempt at a smiley face is scrawled across.  The gnome smiles and then shakes the box, the writing disappearing.  Gundren beams once again.

‘Thank you all for coming…, does anyone know if that thing’ pointing a finger towards the gnoll at the next table ‘even understand common?’

A guttural ‘Yes’ is the only answer given.

With another visible shutter, Gundren continues.  He introduces himself as one of three brothers, all miners.  He explains that he is traveling to Phandalin in hopes of opening a new claim on the long lost Wave Echo Cave.  His brothers Tharden and Nundro are already there.  He lets his potential hires at the table know of his need to safely transport needed supplies from here in Neverwinter to Barthen’s Provisions.  He is offering 10 gold pieces each for their assistance.

As he offers up more details a last figure quietly joins next to Gundren.  He does not remove his cloak’s hood and pushes the offered ale back at Gundren.  Belgwyn takes the opportunity, steps up onto her chair to reach the rejected ale before anyone else can lay claim.  Gundren frowning continues, ‘This is my friend…’

‘Gundren, we discussed this.  They are in no need of knowing who I am.’  The stranger’s eyes darted from each member of the table to the next.  When his eyes meet the black voids of the tiefling, the harsh lines of his grimace soften to slight defeat.

‘I know who you are, Sildar Hallwinter.’ smirks Tethren

‘Gods be damned.  Gundren, I told you this was a bad idea.’  Sildar quickly introduces himself to the rest of the table as a member of the Lord’s Alliance.  He has offered his assistance to the Rockseekers in making their claim and has official business in Phandalin.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Gundren concludes the conversation by letting the party know that those who wish to continue in the morning will be supplied with food, drink, and lodging this evening.  He must insist that the party start in a few days’ time once the arranged supplies have been finalized.  He and Sildar will be riding ahead as he is eager to meet back up with his brothers.  He insists that the group makes all haste to reach Phandalin as quickly as they can.  All agree to join and enjoy the rest of the evening over dinner and lots of ale.

Just a little under a week later the party has travelled South on The High Road and turned East on the Triboar Trail.  Having made about half a day’s progress the cart approaches a bend in the road to find it blocked by the bodies of two dead horses.  The party is well aware of the dangers in this part of the region and makes attempts to scout ahead.  In the process the Gnoll, now known to the group as Grozniir, makes a little too much noise.

Four goblins suddenly appear out of the forest line and let loose an ambush attack on the party.  Through sheer numbers, and a little fire magic, the party quickly dispatches the raiding goblins.  In the process, Grozniir falls unconscious while in close combat with one of the goblins.  It is only by the grace of Sariel’s magical berries that Groz’s state is short-lived.  Beyond that, and a little posthumous flatulences, there is little of note for the history books.

After tending to themselves, the party finds a game trail that was used by the goblins to reach the road.  The party decides to secure the wagon and investigate where their attackers came from.  Upon reaching a cave in the hillside they are met with a sign ‘Cragmaw Hideout – No Ugly Chicks Allowed’.

Not phased, the party pushes on.  Surprising and quickly silencing the two sentry goblins lets them know they are in the right place.  Creeping slowly up the stream exiting the cave they are met with the sounds of snarling and canine fighting.  Discovering several wolves tied up in an alcove.  Groz attempts to dominate them but only succeeds in more intense glaring stares from the small pack.

Moving past the makeshift kennel Ekim barely spots another goblin in the pitch black passway above on a bridge.  He lands a well aimed shot from his crossbow, but the goblin runs off only wounded.  Several minutes pass when suddenly there is a loud crash coming from deep within the cavern followed by an ever increasing roar.  The party scatters as the tiny stream turns into a flash flood ahead.  Thankfully no one is washed away.

The group chooses to follow the water to its source.  They find a room with two pools, the lower now emptied of its contents and ultimately rewarded by coming face to face with several goblins, all ready for their arrival.  In the rush of action that ensues, one of the goblins bolts from the room into the next chamber.

‘What the hell is going on out there?  There better not be any ugly chicks in my club!’ bellows a deep voice from the distant chamber.  Shortly after a large, ominous figure approaches the top of the steps.  Ekim and Belgwyn in their efforts to push back the goblins now find a very angry bugbear staring down at them.  ‘Klarg did not give you permission to be here’.

The melee doesn’t last long, and the bugbear falls to several prompt and effective attacks.  Venturing further into the chamber from which the bugbear came, the party finds two very ineffective goblins cowering in the shadows and one ragged looking wolf.  The goblins they cut down, the wolf they spared.  Looking through the bugbear’s small ‘treasure’ the group discovers several crates with a distinct symbol on them and a golden mace lying in one corner.  Though not one of the party can figure out what the mace is, Tethren cannot stand having it in his possession.  The dwarf finds that to her liking and takes it for her own.

‘Onward.’ states Ekim looking into the darkness across the bridge from which the goblin he wounded must have altered the pool keepers.

Creeping slowly across the bridge, the path begins to lighten from fires up ahead.  By the smell of it, this is where the goblins must eat and sleep.  Bursting into the room Ekim and Belgwyn lash at the first creatures they come across, while Sariel sets fire to the back of the opening.  The goblins are caught off guard and can barely retaliate.

‘Stupid, stupid, stupid.  That’s what you lot are, aren’t you?’ a squeaky voice almost cackles from the level above.  ‘He will have your heads for this.’

‘Who is he?’ demands Tethren, attempting to get a look at the source of the voice.

A goblin steps to the edge, dressed differently than all the rest.  This must be their leader.  ‘Klarg, the leader of this hideout.’

The group all crack smiles.  ‘Dead.’ sneers Sylla.

The goblin looks over his shoulder at the figure tied up in the corner.  ‘Prove it to me.’

‘No.  Take our word or die like the rest.’ responds Ekim as he continues to creep closer.

Knowing he is outnumbered and out classed, especially as a gnoll comes into the light of the fires from the tight passageway.  ‘Let me live and go.’

‘Not a chance.’  Ekim is about to strike, a fire in his eyes for the death of the goblin.

‘Stop’ cries out Sariel.  ‘We may need him.’

‘HE DOES NOT DESERVE TO LIVE!’ yells back the ranger.

‘His time will come.’

The ranger reluctantly backs off and storms out of the room.  The others secure the goblin and attend to the figure in the corner.  As they bring the human into the light they are astonished to find Sildar.  Beaten and barely alive he is silently thankful for the company he now finds himself in.

Quicker than lightning Tethren and Groz are back on the goblin.  ‘You, do you have a name?’

‘Yeemik.’ coldly the globulin returns the cold stares.

‘Where is the dwarf?  What happened to him?’

‘Not telling.’

A gutteral snarl builds in the throat of the gnoll.  Tethren smiles.  ‘Answer or I let her have her way.  I don’t even know when she last ate.’  The gnoll instinctively flashes her daggerlike teeth.

‘Cragmaw Castle, Black Spider, Cragmaw Castle, Black Spider… Don’t eat me!  I taste like shit.’

‘That’s a start.’ The tiefling smiles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *