Below is the summary for my latest d&d session. We’re playing through the 5e starter set, so SPOILERS I guess? (Although we’ve strayed so far from the published campaign that I’m not sure that matters anymore)
It’s a bit of long post, but there’s a fair amount of backstory to cover, hopefully future reports can be shorter.
In the previous session the party managed to rescue the dwarf explorer (and cousin of the party’s cleric) Gundren. They discovered he was being held by a group of goblins and hobgoblins, led by a doppleganger, disguised as a drow (dark elf), who was in turn a minion of a person or creature known as the Black Spider (I’m sure all of that will make sense later).
Gundren was in a bad shape (especially after being turned into mist to avoid having his throat cut), so the party brought him back to the town of Phandalin to rest and recover. A little (down) time was spent fortifying the town from the ever-increasing orc raids. It also turns out the raiders were being led by an orc named Muzga, the step-brother of party’s barbarian (a half-orc, naturally).
Gundren recovered and thanked the party for their help, gifting them with a ‘Bag of Tricks’ – a bag filled with fuzzy balls that turn into small creatures when you throw them. He also warned the party against going against the Black Spider too quickly, and that they should perhaps gain some ‘experience’ first (subtle).
The party decided to kill two birds with one stone (almost literally) and set out on a personal mission of the party’s wizard to investigate Old Owl Well, and murder the orcs based around Wyvern Tor on the way out/back.
After the first day of travelling the party made camp, and while the others were sleeping, the wizard and barbarian spotted a large creature stalking the edge of camp. Thinking fast (well, acting fast anyway) the barbarian threw a burning torch at the creature and started a fight. The light of the torch revealed that the creature was an Owlbear, and the heat of the torch ensured that it was angry.
After murdering the owlbear, the barbarian decided to stay up for the rest of the night and skin it, despite having no tools or expertise. The rest of the party went back to bed. The next morning an exhausted barbarian showed off his filthy, bloodsoaked cape (really more of a collection of owlbear parts placed around his person) and decided to sleep off his nightime activities in the party’s wagon.
This was unfortunate as the party was ambushed by orcs just a few hours up the road. More unfortunately (for the DM) the orcs were dealt with quite easily, and the party moved on towards Old Owl Well.
Upon reaching their destination the party discovered it was inhabited by a group of zombies, standing around in the entrance to old fort. Staying stealthy and out of site, the party decided the best course of action was to throw a badger from the bag of tricks, and then start a fight. This was interrupted by the arrival of a man in red robes from inside the fort, apparently in command of the zombies, who demanded to know what the party were doing in his encampment.
At this point everyone realised they’d not really questioned where or why they were going, having just followed the suggestion of the party wizard, who explained he was seeking the man’s help (good going so far).
After some discussion (and some good charisma rolls) the party discovered that the man was a red wizard named Hamun Kost, who was doing unspecified ‘research’ in the fort, and had raised the zombies for his protection. The party wizard said that he was seeking Hamun’s help to resolve his personal problem, and took off his boots to reveal…
Creepy bird feet.