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Time for another session of pure hack and slashery! The dungeons included in “Lost Mine of Phandelver” are lengthy enough that they often take us two to three sessions to get through (our sessions are aprox. 2-3 hours). It was no different here as the party took out the entire Western half of Thundertree – four combat encounters.

We had yet to explore the concept of an outdoor dungeon, so Thundertree was a fun change of place. It’s a bit trickier from a DM point of view, however, as the PCs have more freedom of movement. I am also still new to using Dynamic Lighting in Roll20, being a recent subscriber. I ended up using a combination of Dynamic Lighting with buildings and trees along with Fog of War to hide areas in the distance until the party got closer.

It worked pretty well, and my players delighted at being able to suss out line of sight by themselves, as well as communicating to each other number of foes inside a building.

The party trekked North, following the Locate Plants spell cast by Reidoth. The druid had tasked them with cleansing Thundertree of its zombie and plant life in a single day while he cast a ritual. I managed an extraordinary stealth check on the half dozen Twig Blights hiding in some ruined cottages, despite Kalinaar rolling 20 (non-crit) for Perception. I got off lots of furious little swipes in my surprise round, then was quickly cut down by a barrage of blows from the PCs. By the time it was my turn again, I had only a single Blight left. Having hordes of little guys is a neat change of pace and has the sinister side effect of making my players a bit too cocky.

d&dAfter dispatching another pair of hiding Twig Blights to the Northwest, the PCs investigated a small ruined tavern. Listening at the door revealed nothing, so Kalinaar opened it up (whoops forgot the STR check for the damaged door, oh well). Four Ash Zombies rose up at the sight of live prey and attacked!

The Twig Blights were push overs, the Ash Zombies, less so. Miri heedlessly charged into the building, which quickly turned dire as all four got to go next and deal out some damage. With Kalinaar blocking the doorway neither the rogue nor wizard were ever in danger of being attacked, but the paladin and monk took some significant damage, particularly Miri. They were also hit with the ash cloud puff effect, though Miri resisted it the first three times.

Talus unleashed a high powered magic missile, Kalinaar cursed them with Bane, and Kethra got in some powerful sneak attacks, and eventually the zombies succumbed. Miri came dangerously low to falling unconscious, and Talus did use one of his divination die to ensure one zombie missed an attack.

It was a fun fight despite the zombies not having a whole lot of tactics. The close proximity of relatively tough foes getting attacks off each round does add up. It also had a lot of juggling on my part with ongoing powers and effects – the ash cloud debuff, Kalinaar’s Bane spell, and a Massive Damage roll from Kethra that stunned one of the zombies for a round (I use the DMG rules for Massive Damage on NPCs). Roll20’s little icons and symbols came in very handy here!

Afterward the party definitely needed a Short Rest. Both tanks used multiple HD to heal, and Kalinaar used Lay on Hands on Miri to get her up to fighting strength. It wasn’t quite a harrowing fight but it did take its toll.

Talus also rolled a critical 20 on his perception check to find loot. Now in a previous room I let him find a scripted treasure chest full of money with a successful check. Here there was no treasure but I felt obligated to reward the natural 20. Plus, who doesn’t love loot? As a DM I certainly like rewarding my PCs as much as I love springing traps on them, though I do worry that they’re making so much money it soon becomes rather meaningless.

I quickly leafed through the Dungeon Master’s Guide’s loot tables, allowing him to roll a D100, followed by several other rolls to determine what exactly he found. It turned out to be several fairly expensive gems hidden in a dusty sack. Unfortunately Talus would be able to naturally crit a second perception check in another room, leading to more gems and me worrying that I set a precedent. As a DM it’s always up to me anyway, and I feel okay rewarding loot after troublesome fights. What are the odds he rolls a 20 again….


The final fight of the evening was against a pair of Giant Spiders. The large webbing stretching across the path kind of gave it away, but they’re still the first large creatures my players have faced (represented by a 2×2 token instead of 1×1). Kethra, impetuous as always, threw a stick onto the web, which immediately drew them out. It wasn’t a terrible tactic as the spiders then had to come to them, and the PCs never did have to deal with the webbing directly.

Miri’s water whip and Kethra’s sneak attack managed to down the first giant spider after a single round, though not before I got off their powerful bite attack, dropping Miri’s HP in half despite a successful save for half poison damage. The second spider would fail at entangling Kalinaar in a web, and everyone moved in for the kill, emboldened by how quickly the first fell. I did get another solid attack off on Kalinaar, again doing around 10 points of damage, but another divination die usage and multiple attacks soon brought it down. This is definitely a war of attrition.

We ended after they looted the desiccated and drained elf adventurer in the webbing inside the ruined building. Talus rolled another 20 and found more gems, though these weren’t nearly as valuable. Now at a crossroads the party could go north up the hill, as well as head East to the rest of the town. We’ve traveled through a little more than half of Thundertree. Hopefully next session we can finish it up. I certainly don’t mind sessions that are pure combat, and I like that we can get through multiple and varied combat encounters in a single 2 hour session. Next week – Thundertree part 3!

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