The Guardians – Episode 19: Checkout time

This is my first ever game of D&D 5e. We’ve just migrated the existing characters of our Basic Fantasy RPG campaign to D&D 5e. I like it. I hope my players like the system too.

It’s relatively easy to run. Although I have all three core rule books, I intentionally narrowed down the scope of the game down to only what’s in the free Basic Rules plus whatever is in the free SRD. This way, my players can easily access any of that information even if they didn’t buy any of the books.

Creating level 3 characters from scratch is a bit more time consuming in 5e over classic D&D but it does a better job at finishing character creation with a PC that has background and personality all sorted. It definitely encourages new players to think of their PCs as actual living breathing characters and not just a bunch of stats.

The other good thing about it is that there are now more player options and these options are not necessarily that complex. The description for each feature tends to be described in one or two short paragraphs. It’s so easy to just have the player read out loud the description so that we both know what it does during play.

Switching to a more modern version of D&D, I was worried combats would be slower. It turned out that it’s pretty much the same speed, but with more stuff to do. I think this translates to more fun at the table. I’ll have to watch this more closely over a few more sessions though. My worry is that too many options could overwhelm the players.

Anyway, I actually feel happy with 5e. I think it’s what I wanted D&D to be but now I don’t have to use Classic D&D and home brew it to the nth degree. 5e already does what I want out of the box.

Plus the community/fan support for the game is pretty awesome. I now have access to awesome online and app tools that can help me prepare and run games that I never had before.

I think I might convert my other campaign to 5e too.

Anyway, here is the actual recap of our session…


This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – human paladin, level 3
  • Elfred – high elf ranger, level 3
  • Fredo – stout halfling rogue, level 3
  • Hermione – human wizard, level 3
  • Lavandes – high elf druid, level 3
  • Oracle – human fighter, level 3

The heroes have spent a couple of days at the underground goblin settlement where the weaker goblins managed to escape to before the Lich Kranis Volan has destroyed their main lair and killed their goblin king. They were waiting for the shaman to return so that they could enquire about the phylactery.

Looking around town, they dropped by the smith’s forge to see if there were weapons or arms worth buying. There was nothing of interest so they went to another shop that sells potions.

The old balding goblin was a collector of interesting items and went by the name of Yobak. He tried to sell them a few things including a folding boat, a wand of the war mage and an immobilesed rod. In the end Hermione purchased the wand whilst Elfred got a magical Dagger (+1).

As they stepped back outside of Yobak’s place, they heard a commotion. The shaman had returned and he was gravely injured. The goblins brought him into his own hut in a stretcher and laid him in bed.

The heroes came into the hut with Charuk, the goblin boss of the settlement. The shaman weakly opened his eyes and saw the tall people and nodded at them.

They had lots of questions for the shaman. His party was ambushed by the undead and he was the only survivor. The shaman handed them the phylactery. It was a shiny box made of black stone. He told them that they needed to bring the box to the Hellmouth and throw it into the fiery lake within it. He told them that the Hellmouth is a gateway to Hell and the closest one lies sealed under the Town of Landseal, their hometown.

Charuk wanted them to leave the caves and go straight back to Landseal as soon as they could and destroy the phylactery. For all of their sakes.

Outside, the guards yelled that the undead had found them. One of the goblins in the hut murmured that the old fool had led the undead straight to them.

The heroes went back up the narrow passage that they used to get to the goblin lair days ago while the goblins prepared themselves to defend the settlement from the onslaught of undead.

As the heroes climbed up the passage, they could hear the sounds of screaming, clanking metal and burning behind them. Yobak, fearful for his life, followed the group. All he had was a sack of his belongings and he gave the group a healing potion each so that he could join them in their escape.

Once they were back in the main tunnel above, they could hear the faint screeching and moaning sound of the undead echoing along the walls. They were faced with a decision: go left back to the surface in the direction from where they had come from originally or go right into unknown territory.

They chose to go right. Immediately, they saw three skeletons brandishing short swords coming right at them. Everybody braced for a fight. Hermione cast a protection spell, Lavandes changed into a wolf, Fredo leapt forward, Elfred, Oracle and Diana readied themselves.

They engaged the skeletons. Hermione cast a thunderwave spell that pushed back one skeleton. Lavandes bit on one of the skeletons and pulled it to the ground. Elfred shot fire bolts at the skeletons. Fredo struck with his dagger and shortsword. Diana shot with her longbow. Oracle swung with his magical longsword.

Soon, all three skeletons were defeated.

Unfortunately, a second wave of undead was approaching with a wight at the lead. The heroes engaged the undead force again. As they came closer to the undead to attack them, they realised that there are a lot more of them coming toward them. If they do not move soon, the undead will overrun them.

Would the heroes press with the attack? Would they turn around and try to leave the caves?

To be continued…

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The Dragonslayers – Session 6: Let’s keep the book

This session’s PCs:

  • Alistair – male human magic-user, level 3
  • Beka – female elf fighter, level 4
  • Chichi – female halfling thief, level 5
  • Elrond – male elf magic-user, level 4
  • Gambit – female elf fighter, level 4
  • Goldmoon – female human cleric, level 4
  • Pedro – male human fighter, level 4

The Dragonslayers arrived in the town of Erstone where they were reunited with the rest of the group. They met up in the tavern to discuss what to do with the Book of Making. Elrond took a moment to study the book and was reminded of his early education in magic.

The Book of Making was a book present at the moment of Creation wherein an angel inscribed the events that led to the Creation of everything. After some time, the book was lost and then was found by someone who became the First Magi. The First Magi passed on her knowledge to her disciples and from there, more magic-users came into the world. Afraid that the book could fall into the wrong hands, the First Magi and her disciples have placed protective spells on it, locked the book shut and hid it away.

Chichi attempted to unlock the padlock on the book again but she failed and was jolted by dark energy that originated from the book. Pedro suggested they open the book by force but decided better of it.

What they have decided was that they weren’t just going to turn over the book to Kheldratus either. Elrond has suspicions as to Kheldratus’s moral alignment.

While at the tavern, Gaylord Thatcher the bard approached them about their latest escapade. They reminded him that they were no longer the Blacksmith’s Heroes but the Dragonslayers. Gaylord was pleased because this would make the stories he would sing about the group all the more epic.

When the bard sat at the corner to play some music for the people at the tavern, and old man approached the heroes asking if they were the Blacksmith’s Heroes. They clarified again that they were now known as the Dragonslayers. Anyway, he asked for their help.

His daughter and grandson live in a miner’s village two days’ walk to the north of Erstone. His daughter would send him letters every week but he had not received any in the past 2 weeks. He’s worried that something might have happened to them. He didn’t have much money but the heroes were happy to help investigate.

Before leaving town, they visited Duncan the blacksmith and upgraded their armour. Chichi handed Duncan the green dragon scales he harvested from the temple and asked him if he could make it into a leather armour. Duncan said he could do it in five days. Chichi gave him 50gp as down payment and said she’ll pay him another 50gp on pick up.

Just before setting out of town, Alistair cast Invisibility on the bag that carried the Book of Making as an additional precaution against those who might covet it. Pedro carried the huge tome as he was the strongest of the group.

While they were walking along the path through woodland forest on the way to the miners’ village of Stonescar, some of them noticed that there seemed to be shadows following them from a distance. Suddenly arrows flew out of the trees and struck some of the heroes. Combat ensued.

Photo courtesy of Mel

They spotted four elves equally spaced apart around them, hiding in the bushes. One shouted at them demanding that they surrender the Book of Making to them. The group feigned ignorance.

Chichi pounced on the nearest one and sliced him in the stomach with her dagger. Goldmoon and Pedro followed Chichi into battle but both missed the elf.

Beka closed in on another elf and stabbed him with her rapier. Gambit took a shot at the same elf but missed the elf. Unfortunately, it hit Beka instead. Elrond put one elf to sleep with his magic and Alistair shot off a magic missile and arcane blasts at another.

Eventually, three elves were down and the last one ran away. The decided not to pursue the last elf. They weren’t planning on staying put for too long.

After they’ve stripped the three elves of their valuables and tied the sleeping elf on a tree, the heroes decided to press on, in case more elves appear.

When it got dark, they set up camp at a clearing. Gambit set traps along the perimeter. Goldmoon used up all her healing to get everybody to maximum health. Alistair and Elrond studied the spellbooks they got from the fallen elves and learned new spells.

Beka volunteered to be the first watch while the rest slept around the fireplace.

Four hours later, Beka spotted a large black dog with glowing eyes in the distance. She roused Chichi, Pedro and Gambit from their sleep. She was careful not to wake up any of the spell casters to ensure they are in full energy in the morning. Chichi leapt into action. Gambit followed suit. However, Pedro was sleeping so soundly that he did not wake.

The dark creature ran toward Beka to bite her. On closer inspection, they saw that it’s a huge dog with fire gushing out of its eyes and mouth. It managed to avoid Gambit’s trap as it attacked Beka.

Beka and Chichi both struck it with their weapons. Gambit wanted to put on her armour first before engaging the black dog. She also kick Pedro in an attempt to wake him but Pedro only stirred a little and went back to sleep.

Gambit finally let loose an arrow at the dog and hit it on the shoulder. The dog snarled at her and breathed fire out toward her direction. The fire engulfed both Gambit and the sleeping Pedro who was now wide awake after being singed.

But before Gambit or Pedro could retaliate, Chichi stabbed the dog to death and the combat was over.

It stunk of rotten flesh and sulphur so they had to move it away from camp temporarily. In the morning, Elrond was able to identify it as a creature called a hellhound. It’s an extraplanar creature that shouldn’t be on their world. Why there’s one around was still a mystery.

They continued their forced march toward Stonescar village. They walked along a rocky hill to get to it. It was already dusk when they arrived. It was an abandoned small town. The wooden buildings there had been torn and burnt.

They also noticed the the tavern was all boarded up from the inside. Beka approached the tavern door and knocked. After a few moments, they heard the sound of nails being pulled as the wooden planks barring the front door were pulled away to allow them through.

Somebody hurried them inside. Once they all stepped in, they quickly began nailing the doors shut again behind them.

Inside, the tables have been turned to their sides to act as shields. There were mostly women and children in the room behind the tables and bar. There were two men with short swords and one old man behind them nailing the doors shut.

To be continued…

The Guardians – Episode 18: The old goblin lair

This session’s PCs:

  • Diana – female human fighter, level 4
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 5
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 5
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

Before leaving the rope bridge, Rusty suggested that they cut the ropes enough to keep the bridge together but as soon as somebody steps on to it, it would snap and break.

Tarukbo the goblin led the heroes down a hidden narrow passageway that led to an old goblin lair deep underground.

Due to the steepness of the passageway, everybody slipped and slid down into a large mud pool. Everybody was able to jump clear of it except for Elfred, Aragorn, Hermione and Fredo.

Rusty easily pulled Elfred out of the muddy pool but Aragorn, Hermione and Fredo were stuck at the far end of it. Tarukbo told the heroes that his people will get their friends out of the pool. In the meantime, he wanted them to follow him to the boss’s home.

The goblin lair was like a village where buildings were built along the walls of a large cave. Rope bridges connected the different buildings along the wall. There was also no sunlight down there but it was illuminated by phosphorescent algae and moss that were all over the walls, ceiling and floor. Most of the goblins in the lair were women, children and old.

Boss Charuk, the late goblin king’s brother

The heroes met Charuk who was actually the Goblin King’s brother. The king was killed by the Lich when it came to their current lair near the surface. Thankfully, Charuk was able to convince the king to let him evacuate their people to the old lair in case it didn’t go the way the king planned. Charuk did not agree with freeing the Lich in the first place.

Supposedly, the shaman still has the phylactery still but he was currently unavailable. He wasn’t in the lair at that moment.

A guard interrupted their meeting to say that there were incoming skeletons. They needed to lead the skeletons inside the lair so that they could close the lair’s gate and trap the monsters inside. Then they should kill the monsters so they couldn’t report back to the Lich.

Once hidden around the entrance, they waited for the skeletons to come in. What they saw was Brioche who had come back from the dead but not quite alive. With him were two large bone golems with four arms each equipped with swords.

With the doors closed behind the undead Brioche and the bone golems, they first tried to talk sense to Brioche but he would not listen. He touched Mistamojo which weakened him. The bone golems started attacking everybody.

Mystic eventually thought that if they kill Brioche, nobody would control the bone golems anymore. So they did. With Brioche dead again, the bone golems actually just went berserk and attacked randomly.

Everybody contributed to put down the bone golems:

  • Elfred with her spiritual hammer
  • Mystic with her Web and Magic Missile
  • Oracle with his magic sword and climbing on the back of one of the golems
  • Diana with her sword (which ended up not hurting the golems)
  • Mistamojo with his mace (which ended up not hurting the golems)

With the golems were out of commission, the goblins cheered the heroes. They were invited to have dinner at the mess hall and were given two houses where they can stay.

To be continued…


Lesson learned this session:

  • Don’t let a retired player play an antagonist. If I had control over the antagonist, I would have consciously tried to go for a dramatic encounter.
  • Remember to add an environmental element that could help the PCs in combat if the direct way wasn’t working for them.
  • Design adventures dependent on player group preferences. One size does not fit all.

Shorter recaps

In the past, I rewrite the short notes I’ve taken about a session so that they read more like a short story when I post them here. However, I’m having less and less time these days to relax after the stresses of real life. And so I feel I should devote less of my time and energy to rewriting the recaps, especially since I think I’m the only one really reading them.

I still want to chronicle the session’s events so I’ll definitely continue writing the recaps. However, I’m writing it here more for me than for anyone. I only need to put enough details so that if I ever need to look back at what happened during a specific encounter, I can just load this blog and find the essential facts about the even here.

Maybe someday when I have more free time, I’ll go back to writing the recaps in a better storyteller style. For now, I just want these sessions recorded somewhere.

The Guardians – Episode 17: Don’t cut the bridge

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 4
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 4
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 5
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 5
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

Last time, the goblin Tarukbo convinced the Guardians to come with him to meet with his leader. Most of the tunnels that lead to their underground lair were overrun by goblins that have been turned into zombies by the Lich Kranis Volan. Tarukbo was certain that there was at least one clear tunnel to their lair where his leader was still in hiding. But even that cave was guarded by three zombie goblins.

The group were able to dispatch two of the three easily. When they failed to put down the last one, it screamed loudly and its shrieks echoed across the valley. They turned around to see a horde of zombies descending on them.

Fredo, Oracle and Elfred looked up and saw that the Lich was floating above the incoming zombies. He was staring at them intently from above but didn’t do much.

Everybody ran into the tunnel with Aragorn in the lead. He finished off the remaining zombie in their path and pushed in. The rest followed him inside except for Oracle.

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Oracle turned to face the incoming zombie horde

Oracle turned to face the incoming zombie horde and ran toward them. He believed that he won’t survive the day anyway so he might as well try to slow them down and buy his friends time to escape.

Hermione yelled at him to come back and join them but he ignored her. In an attempt to save Oracle, she created a convincing visual illusion of the Lich a few feet to the side of Oracle. The fake Lich raised its hands palms open in a gesture that Hermione hoped the zombies would interpret as a command for them to stop.

Meanwhile, the group inside the tunnel came into a small cavern with a very deep pit in the middle. Shambling along the hole in the ground are a couple more goblin zombies. Fredo tried to push one of the zombies into the pit but slipped and almost fell in himself. Thankfully he was able to hold on to the ledge long enough for Rusty to help him out.

Elfred bashed the zombie with her spiritual hammer, knocking it down the pit nearby. Mistamojo went around the pit and knocked down the other zombie. With the cavern cleared of zombies, Tarukbo ran passed them and continued into another tunnel while yelling, “this way! Follow me!”

Hermione heard from the inside of the cave that the coast was clear. He called for Oracle to follow them for the last time and then she turned and ran into the tunnel herself. Once she had gone, the illusion of the Lich flickered and then vanished. The zombie horde, no longer confused by the illusion, continued their sprint toward the cave.

Oracle managed to put down a zombie before realising that trying to hold back the zombies out in the open would be futile. It came to him that it was better to run to the tunnel, use it as a choke point and hold them off there.

Once Oracle is in the tunnel, he turned to fight off the incoming zombies. Soon, Aragorn joined him in preventing the zombies from coming in. They were able to kill off lots of zombies but they just kept on coming.

Meanwhile further in, Rusty and Diana followed Tarukbo through the tunnel and saw that there was a portal with two doors wide open at the end. Beyond the doors were two more zombies just standing there inside a huge cavern separated in the middle by a gaping ravine. There was a wobbly rope bridge across the ravine and an ogre zombie on the other side of it hefting a boulder.

Once the ogre zombie saw Diana, it snarled and threw a boulder at her but it accidentally crushed one of the other zombies near her instead. She leapt at the remaining zombie with her long sword and cut it in half. At that point, the rest of the group went into the huge cavern except for Oracle and Aragorn.

The ogre zombie crossed the bridge to get closer to the group when it ran out of boulders to throw. The group gave the ogre zombie everything they’ve got. Hermione fired off three magic missiles at it, Fred threw a dagger at its shoulder and slashed it with his rusty sword, and Diana threw her magic dagger at its chest.

In the end, Rusty’s sword swiped at the ogre zombie’s legs and it fell off the bridge into the ravine. With that, eveybody in the cavern cheered.

Oracle and Aragorn took that as a sign that it was time to retreat. When they got to the doors, they threw oil around the entrance and Aragorn set it aflame with his flaming sword. They then closed the door and barred it behind them.

Seeing that the bridge was able to support the weight of an ogre, some of them had started to cross to the other side. Hopefully, there wouldn’t be any more zombies betweeen here and the goblin lair.

To be continued…

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The Guardians – Episode 16: Encounter with the walking dead

This week’s PCs:

  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 5
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

The group decided to stay the night at the hydra’s lair. As everybody needed to rest, nobody stayed awake to stand guard while they slept.

Fredo stirred awake to see a big sea snake slithering around camp. He decided against attacking the serpent. Instead, he nudged Oracle awake to ask him what to do.

Oracle just stood up, pulled up his pants, pulled out his magical long sword and swung it at the snake. He dealt the snake a mighty blow but it was still alive and bit him back. Oracle staggered a bit from the venomous bite but managed to kill the snake in the end. Thankfully, Elfred was on hand to restore some of his strength.

After everybody woke up and readied themselves, they climbed up to the surface and continued north to look for the goblins’ lair. They only had to walk a short distance when they found a cave with three goblins walking slowly and aimlessly around it.

Mistamojo, Mystic and Rusty went to the goblins to try to talk to them but only realised that they were actually undead when they were within melee distance of them. The zombies attack the trio. Forced to fight the undead goblins, Mistamojo and Mystic killed all three of them.

Meanwhile, a goblin hiding in a nearby bush called out to Fredo, His name was Tarukbo. He was at the battle at the mausoleum (in episode #2) and was forced to flee after the heroes massacred his companions. He apparently stayed long enough outside to see what looked like the group driving away the Lich Kranis Volan from the mausoleum.

He told them that his boss, Charuk, brother to the king of the goblins, wanted to talk to them. They needed the group’s help in stopping Kranis. Apparently, their plan to control the Lich didn’t work out the way they hoped.

 

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Tarukbo led them to a shortcut to their underground base that wasn’t overrun with zombies. Yet. Unfortunately, they arrived at the mouth of that cave and saw there were three zombies milling about in front of it.

Fredo easily dispatched one zombie by shooting it straight in the head with an arrow and Elfred killed another by throwing a spiritual hammer at it. Mistamojo also created a spiritual hammer and threw it at the last remaining zombie but it wasn’t enough to kill it.

The lone goblin zombie began shrieking loudly.

Then the group felt and heard rumbling behind them. They turned around to see a horde of zombies pouring into the valley toward them. They have two options: stand and fight; or run for the cave.

To be continued…

The Guardians – Episode 15: Death to the hydra

This week’s PCs:

  • Aragorn – male human fighter, level 4
  • Brioche – male human thief, level 4 (deceased)
  • Diana – female human fighter, level 3
  • Elfred – female elf cleric, level 4
  • Fredo – male halfling thief, level 4
  • Hermione – female human magic-user, level 4
  • Mistamojo – male human cleric, level 5
  • Mystic – female elf magic-user, level 3
  • Oracle – male human fighter, level 4
  • Rusty – male dwarf fighter, level 4

With the two ogres crushed under falling rocks, the team scrambled toward the only visible exit from the collapsing cavern. Oracle ran with the others but was slowed down from carrying the unconscious Brioche in his arms.

Then a stalactite fell from the ceiling and hit Brioche’s head. Oracle saw that Brioche had stopped breathing.

Considering that the cavern was crashing down around him and that a dead Brioche was slowing him down, he just dropped him in the ground and ran.

Not wanting things to go to waste, Fredo ran to Brioche’s body and took anything of value. Afterwards, he ran toward the rest of the team.

Everybody was starting to gather by the tunnel as nobody wanted to go face-to-face (or faces) with the seven-headed hydra in the next cavern. Since the hydra was huge, it couldn’t get to them. After a few more minutes, it began to walk away from the entrance and the team could no longer see it.

Mystic took a peek into the cavern and saw that the hydra had returned to its resting place across the stream. She then fired a Magic Missile at it which angered the hydra. It stood up and crossed the stream toward them again as they all tried to cross the water to the side of the cavern with the ladder that led to the surface.

The hydra blocked the path of most of the team and bit at them with its multiple heads. The heroes took a severe beating as they tried to fight their way through the beast.

Mystic and Hermione eventually crossed to the other side of the stream. Hermione looked around and shot a Magic Missile at the hydra from behind. Meanwhile, Mystic went up the ladder to see if there was anything in the surface they could use to help fight the hydra. All she saw was that the ladder led to an opening by the river and that there were a lot of other cave openings in the vicinity.

Whilst very weakened by his wounds and burns, Rusty mustered the strength to chop off one of the hydra’s seven heads. Oracle followed suit and also severed one of the hydra’s heads. He dealt it the killing blow and the hydra slumped into the ground.


They gathered around the hydra’s resting place and saw that there was treasure just under the sand and dirt. They found 400 copper coins, 900 gold coins, a two handed sword with an image of flames etched on its blade and three potions.

They decided to camp there for the night to rest and recover. Mystic also took the opportunity to learn some advanced spells from Hermione during the night.

Tomorrow, they set out again to explore the various caves Mystic saw on the surface.

To be continued…