D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 2 Recap

The adventurers successfully clear out the goblin-infested caves of the Cragmaw tribe, and reach level 2.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Session 1 Recap

 

 

Our sophomore session resumed our first dungeon crawl in the goblin-infested caves, the Cragmaw Hideout. We spent the entire session inside the dungeon, so this recap will be far more tactical and combat-related and less plot/role-playing than others.

The players were given multiple paths and options, though scouting ahead would prove tricky as only one of them (Kethra, a half-elf) actually had darkvision. Thanks to some hilariously horrendous rolls on Initiative on my part – and a well-timed and powerful dragonbreath attack from Kalinaar, they were able to handle all the goblin foes quite handily.

The caves have a few nifty traps and elements in play – namely a stream that can turn into a raging river if one of the goblins spots the adventurers. Kethra the rogue spotted the goblin standing watch on the bridge, and with a single sneak attack was able to snipe it in one hit. She then scrambled up the walls and scouted around every angle, while the others continued on the Northern path.

Since they were already in the cavern by the time the goblins in the Twin Pools Cave area spotted them, it was pointless to spring the river trap. One of the goblins is scripted to leave and warn Klarg, their bugbear leader, but I had all of them stick around for a single round to fight off the sudden threat of the players. It was prove fatal, as a combination of Miri’s two monk attacks, Kalinaar’s sword and Kethra’s bow made short work of them (poor Talus still can’t hit anything with his cantrips – except for illusions).

Kethra stealthed her way into the Southern chamber – the boss chamber containing the hulking bugbear, his pet wolf, and a pair of goblins. Kethra’s stealth check beat out everyone except the wolf, who’s enhanced senses sniffed her out. Instead of trying to get off a surprise attack, she retreated to the previous room with the others, and Klarg sent everyone out to attack.

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Unfortunately for me I rolled absolutely terribly for initiative for the goblins, wolf, and bugbear (all under 5). It was a trend that would continue throughout the night, giving my players a huge advantage in every fight even without stealth and surprise. It was probably for the best as level 1 characters are notoriously weak, and the bugbear alone can easily drop a low level player character in a single hit from his morningstar – which he did!

First, however, Kalinaar used his fire breath attack at the entrance to Klarg’s chamber, perfectly bathing all four enemies in fire. Only the bugbear made his saving throw, leaving both goblins dead and the wolf about half-injured – from a single attack! Stupid dragonborn. After that it was cleanup duty on the wolf, and soon I only had Klarg left.

Klarg is scripted in the adventure to retreat if his wolf dies, which totally happened before he even had a chance to act. I had him run toward the chimney/fissure/escape hatch on the West end (which the players were debating on trying to go up earlier in the session). Miri was in his way and she had just killed the wolf, so he lashed out with his mace, connecting with a solid 12 damage and dropping her instantly.

Kalinaar bellowed a challenge and followed Klarg down the fissure, both successfully making their Athletics checks to avoid falling – though it would take him until the following round to actually take the fleeing Klarg down. It might not seem heroic but dealing justice to every evil creature is definitely in line with Kalinaar’s philosophy. Too bad the player already had a point of inspiration from the beginning of our last session!

The players were able to stabilize Miri, and with Klarg’s stash of treasure they found some potions of healing they could use to get her on her feet. At this point they’d already had 2 Short Rests, both after the first two battles at the end of our previous session, so it was surprising that those much more difficult combat encounters didn’t require a rest at all. Stupid dragonbreath + my awful initiative rolls!

They’d defeated the boss but still hadn’t located their employer Gundren Rockseeker. A final path remained in the Western half of the caves, which Kethra explored ahead (darkvision plus a great stealth bonus is a very useful combo).

d&dA horde of goblins surrounded a campfire in the final room, where a boss goblin stood on a ledge along with a human captive – Sildar Hallwinter, Gundren’s bodyguard. Finally we had a chance for a bit of role-playing and dialogue – though two goblins would die before I’d get a chance given my awful initiative rolls. There was also a funny moment when Talus used his Minor Illusion cantrip to conjure a “sexy goblin” among the pack, distracting half of them for the first round of combat.

The goblin leader, Yeemik, wanted to depose Klarg as leader of this band of Cragmaws. The players had already dispatched of Klarg, though Yeemik wasn’t yet aware of that, and demanded to see the head. Kalinaar had dramatically cut off the head and thrown it into the fire back in Klarg’s chamber, so Talus offered to go retrieve it.

Kalinaar kept Yeemik talking, so I had Sildar slowly worm his way closer to his goblin captor, and attempt to communicate to the others through meaningful glances at grunts. When Talus returned with the head, he used Mage Hand to float it toward him. I timed it that when Yeemik grabbed the head, Sildar tackled his legs, forcing a Dex saving throw from Yeemik. He failed, and fell into the cavern below, taking damage and re-initiating combat for everyone.

Yeemik was focused-fired and went down quick. though the remaining two goblins got in some deep wounds, including bringing down Kalinaar with a particularly deadly strike. Talus pulled off a sleep spell to give everyone some breathing room, and everyone performed some decidedly un-heroic murder of the remaining sleeping goblins.

By the end of this third combat encounter we’d gone a little over our allotted time and had to end it there. The heroes had earned enough experience to get to level 2, and a now rescued Sildar can hopefully give them some answers.

We didn’t make it quite as far as I expected, but the players’ slow and cautious approach definitely paid off as they scouted each encounter and planned accordingly (mostly). I was pleased that we completed all of Cragmaw Hideout, and the level up gives everyone a chance to look over their characters’ new abilities and be prepared to raise them to level 2 at the beginning of our next session. Yay no more super squishy level 1 characters!

Next time: Answers (and possibly more questions) from Sildar, and onward to Phandalin!

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

 

Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection Vol. 1

The X-Men move to San Francisco to rebuild their lives and provide a safe haven for the remaining mutants.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Thanks in large part to trade paperbacks and the digital convenience of Marvel Unlimited I can make relatively quick progress, and I’ll write down my Final Thoughts for each collection here on my blog. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

Uncanny X-Men #500Writers: Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker

Artists: Greg Land, Terry Dodson

Issues: Uncanny X-Men (1963) #500-511, Uncanny X-Men Annual #2, X-Men: Divided We Stand #1

 

The awesome, status-quo changing events in Messiah Complex destroyed the X-Mansion and shook the X-Men to their core in 2008. Marvel took the opportunity to breathe some new life into the mutants, moving them out West to San Francisco, a city known for its liberal policies and eclectic population.

Where the X-Men go, trouble always follows, and their initial time in California is anything from peaceful. The stories are a mixed bag of dumb and silly, but with some fun action scenes and effective usage of the ever-expanding cast. I wasn’t a big fan of Greg Land’s touched-up, supermodel-esque artwork for each character but the action is bright and vivid. Matt Fraction’s Complete Collection Volume 1 has some fun dialogue and tons of ongoing stories and little character moments, I just wished the major story arcs could’ve been elevated above silly comic book fare.  Continue reading “Marvel Comics Final Thoughts – Uncanny X-Men: The Complete Collection Vol. 1”

10 Great Classic PC Games You Can Play on Mobile Devices

Here is a list of 10 of the best updated, remade, or successors to some of PC gaming’s classics on mobile.

Read the full list at Pixelkin

real myst pc games on mobile

The industry trend of bringing classic PC games to mobile is an exciting one. Whether you’re nostalgic for old-school charm or looking to see what all the fuss was about, the chance to play these updated classics in the palm of your hand is pretty magical. Here is a list of 10 of the best updated, remade, or successors to some of PC gaming’s classics on mobile.

Read the full list at Pixelkin

D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 1 Recap

Our new adventurers begin their journey as supply wagon escorts when they’re ambushed by goblins, and track them back to their hideout.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9:30pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

 

Finally, our first official session of Dungeons & Dragons! We were all very excited to get started after weeks of planning. Already I felt much more confident with the rules and setting than I ever did with Shadowrun. We spent a good chunk of time at the beginning introducing our characters and setting the stage for our adventure, but my players still made it about as far as I anticipated they would in our normal 2-2.5 hour session time. If you haven’t already, be sure to read this blog post introducing everyone’s unique characters. Continue reading “D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 1 Recap”

Image Comics Final Thoughts – Rat Queens, Vol. 1

Witty dialogue, intriguing world-building, amazing art, and just plain fun action and characters make Rat Queens the best start to a new series I’ve ever read.

With Marvel’s popular and successful foray into films with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ve finally decided to get back into comics. I grew up a big fan of X-Men and other superheroes but haven’t really kept up since the 90s. Thus begins my grand catching-up of the last ten years of Marvel comics, events and stories.

Of course, occasionally I may even explore comics outside of Marvel if they come highly recommended or simply peak my interest. Like my gaming Final Thoughts, this will be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!

image comicsWriter: Kurtis J. Weibe

Artist: Roc Upchurch

Issues: Rat Queens #1-5

 

Over the last few months I’ve been branching out from my Marvel bubble of comic reading – mostly into the open arms of Image Comics. Saga was my first love, but even its alien star-crossed love story greatness pales in comparison to my new all time favorite comic – Rat Queens.

It may be a tad of a knee jerk reaction considering I’ve only read the first five issues that compromise the first collected Volume, Sass and Sorcery. Never before have I been so pleasantly delighted by a combination of witty dialogue, intriguing world-building, amazing art, and just plain fun action and characters. Rat Queens may just be the best start to a new series I’ve ever read, and I’ve read quite a few. Continue reading “Image Comics Final Thoughts – Rat Queens, Vol. 1”

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Child of Light

Ubisoft effectively distills all the best elements of a traditional JRPG into a fun and beautiful 10-15 hour package.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Publisher: Ubisoft

Release Date: April 24, 2014

rogue's adventure

Charming, fairy tale-like indie games are all the rage right now – even AAA publisher Ubisoft had to get in on it. Child of Light isn’t an indie game at all. Instead it cleverly distills the best parts of the normally long and bloated JRPG into a tight 10-15 hour experience. It’s lovingly wrapped up in a beautiful hand-drawn art style and expressed through a constant rhyming structure throughout the whimsical dialogue. The story is a bit basic and linear, but overall the condensed RPG experience works remarkably well. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Child of Light”

Introducing our Dungeons & Dragons Characters

Each of my players introduces their unique characters as we begin our new D&D campaign.

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As I mentioned last week in the final recap of our Shadowrun role-playing campaign, we’re moving on to Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition for our next online role-playing excursion.

I’m really excited to dive back into D&D, and the Fifth Edition ruleset feels nicely refined and intuitive. We spent our session last Sunday building our characters and learning the rules and character sheets for Roll20, and we’re ready to introduce them. Below I’ve included a picture, character sheet, and a brief backstory written by their respective players.

We officially begin our first campaign, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” this Sunday. Like Shadowrun our sessions will be broadcast live beginning at 9:30pm Central time. Unlike Shadowrun we’ll be broadcasting to my YouTube channel rather than twitch. Be sure to subscribe! Continue reading “Introducing our Dungeons & Dragons Characters”