Lacking Natural Simplicity

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Rushing Valley D&D, Session #5

Rushing Valley D&D, Session #5

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


2021-08-09 11:50:57

This is an actual play report from the “Rushing Valley” Dungeons and Dragons campaign. These actual play reports are available in html from T.K.B.'s blog and from P.D.F.'s RPG forum's Rushing Valley Campaign History forum.


Clockwise round the table, starting with the DM at 9 o'clock:

  • P.D.F. as DM

  • B.MC. playing Polonius, Onchu's rowdy young cousin from Riverton

  • J.H. playing Eirnin

  • T.K.B. playing Droston a'Seamus

  • M.A.F. playing Bartha

  • C.A.H. playing Onchu


This adventure started July 25th, Sunday evening. The next day, Monday, will be the first day of the Wolf-banes 2nd patrol tour of duty.

Another militia group skirmished with 8 goblins — two goblins were killed and one militiaman was seriously injured.

Wolves have become much less common, which has been attributed to the lessening of game. Those who are regularly in the woods have noticed that game is very sparse on the ground. Kids are being kept in town, and everybody who can stays as close to town as possible.

Coll the smith told Polonius that if Polonius brings Coll the meteor that fell to earth in the south-east that Coll will take him on as an apprentice.

Mrs. McVoy had accepted Droston's apology, so he was very relieved.

  • Bartha: 8 c.p.

  • Eirnin: 5 s.p.

  • Polonius: 5 c.p. Did various odd jobs around the village.

  • Droston: 5 c.p. Hunting has been pretty difficult of late.

  • Onchu: 8 s.p.

Actual Play

Relaxing At The Pub, And Then Off To Bed!

We started out in the Broken Stone, the local tavern, and it was getting close to the last round of drinks for the evening.

Droston and Bartha spent 7 c.p. each trying to find out about, in Droston's case, the old Hermit who is rumored to live somewhere south of Masonburg, and in Bartha's case, the witch who is rumored to live somewhere in the swamp near Riverton. Unfortunately, nobody knew anything about either of them.

[And the continuing confusion over what's north and what's south of Masonburg was introduced.]

… Or Not!

As we were leaving the tavern, Onchu, Bartha, and Droston noticed what looked like a child's body floating in a pool in the river. Wading out and turning it over revealed it to be a dead goblin, with a militia arrow in its belly. The goblin was wearing roughly the same colors as the ones we killed on our first tour of duty. The only think of any value it had was a small knife, and that was in pretty poor shape. Eirnin took it. The corpse was bloated and looking pretty bad. Bartha thought it must be at least 2 days old.

We knew that the on-duty militia company was due in the next morning.

We took the body to the mayor, who was sitting on his porch, drinking ale, and already at dusk feeling the effects. He found the goblin's corpse to be quite sobering. The militia hadn't been seen in four days, since they left the area of the new mine looking for creatures.

It is half a day's travel to the new mine.

Rumor has it that goblins see in the dark.

After some discussion the mayor called up the other companies. The Block & Hammer company was dispatched head north to Riverton (“Which way to Riverton? North! No, south! No, north!”), our company, the Wolf-banes was assigned to scout towards the mines (“Which way are the mines? South? North? South?”), and the Axe & Bow company was tasked to look for creatures across the river.

All This In The Dark

As they were scouting quietly Bartha and Droston heard something crawling towards them, and Droston told Bartha to hang back while he takes the torch up to see what it is. It is Evan, one of the members of the Serpents, the militia company that was on duty. He's been crawling on the ground, badly hurt. Droston yelled for Bartha, and the others heard and came running. Bartha managed to stabilize him, and we built a little litter and carried him to the mayor. Bartha stayed with him, hoping he'll revive enough to tell them something about what happened to him and the rest of the militia, while Polonius and Droston ran to the old mine and brought back the healer, old Gertie. By this time it's 3 a.m. Gertie told Bartha she's done a good job, and sent her off. Evan hadn't said anything before she left.

We asked about Evan, and he still hadn't said anything. [I think this happened in the morning, right?] His leather armor showed that he'd been very badly beaten by some blunt object. He was also very scratched up, as if he'd been running blindly through the woods. He had his pack, but not his weapon, a big mason's hammer.

Scouting For Trouble

In the morning, Droston and Bartha tracked him a mile past the close mine — it looks like he missed the mines running through the woods and ran until he fell down, then crawled another one-half mile. We followed the track for another 2 miles, almost losing the tracks completely at one point, but managed to find them and keep going. The tracks curve back towards the road, and lead to a scene of carnage. Splatters of blood and tissue were everywhere and broken weapons, broken trees, crossbow bolts, and arrows littered the ground. It looked like many people fought here. There were no bodies. Drag marks lead to the road and across to the edge of the steep drop down to the river, and two goblin bodies lay on the rocks just shy of the water, as if they'd just missed being thrown far enough. Other tracks lead to the stone-paved road and south-east along it.

By this point we were three miles from Masonburg, one mile from the bridge we helped Brock build, and three miles from the new mine. We headed there, keeping close watch as we went. When we're close, Bartha and Droston snuck ahead to see if anything was amiss at the mine. There were no miners in sight, and the door to the mine barracks had been been torn off, and there were more crossbow bolts and so forth lying about, and a goblin shortsword lying between the mine and the barracks. Droston and Bartha headed back and got the others, and returned to take a closer look. There had definitely been a big melee here, too. The carnage inside the barracks was especially bad, with blood and gore on the beds. The barracks had been looted. Footprints lead to both the mine and to the road south-east, and there were prints of wagon wheels headed south as well, though some effort had been made to obfuscate the tracks.

I Told You To Be Careful!

After some discussion, we decided we should check the mine for survivors before we go further south-east along the road. We lit some torches and headed into the mine. After about 30 feet we came to the first turn in the passage, and found a dead goblin. When we rolled him over, we found he was killed by a crossbow bolt that we recognize from its craftsmanship to be Brock Stonearm's. The body had 5 c.p., which Eirnin took, 2 javelins, which Bartha took, and 1 dagger, which Eirnin took. After this Onchu and Eirnin both moved forward around the bend. While Droston tried to warn them that Brock had probably trapped the passageway they hit a tripwire and a huge timber swung down from the roof of the tunnel and hit them both across the chest, throwing them backwards violently. At that point we heard Brock yelling that he'll kill any goblins that come near. Eventually we get him to recognize us, and he eagerly staggers forward, barely able to stay on his feet and awake after standing vigil in the mine all night against goblins.

Brock told us that the mine had been attacked by a horde of hobgoblins and goblins — there must have been more than 20 of them. He was unable to sleep and was measuring things in the mine when the attack came, and when he emerged and found the attackers he killed two and then headed back into the mine to hold the rest off. When questioned he told us that the militia company had already passed by on their way back to Masonburg.

We decided we couldn't stay where we were, since if the horde returned we'd be cut off with no food and water. Brock mentioned that the tomb of the dwarven hero would probably be a good defensible place to spend the night, if needed. Eventually, though, we decided to go back to town and let them know what has happened. Droston suggested Brock rearm his trap, and asked to watch, and Brock happily obliged. After that we headed back to town, stopping first at the new mine to drop Brock off at his fortified domicile and warn whoever is there. Turns out that there is only the mayor and a skeleton force [I think this is when this happened, right???], and they all headed back to town with us.

Dismay And Disorder

In Masonburg the mayor, who was even more disturbed by the news of the missing miners, called a town meeting for that evening, July 26th. The Axe & Bow militia company had returned from searching across the river, and while they weren't able to cover much ground due to the rain and rough terrain they'd seen no evidence of any intruders, and were convinced that none have been across the river. The Block & Hammer militia company, which took horses and headed north (“Which way to Riverton? South? North? South? North?”) to Riverton, were not expected back yet.

The town meeting was loud and upset, with wives and kids crying about their missing husbands and fathers, and lots of arguing about what is to be done. It's finally decided that the Axe & Bow company will, with all the townsfolk who can lift a shovel or swing an axe, build defenses at the bridge, while we, the Wolf-banes company, will continue south-east along the road, scouting and, if possible, mount a rescue of the missing miners and militiamen. After that we retired for the evening to the first sleep we've had in — what? 48 hours? — and slept like the dead.

Hope And Preparations

The next morning the mayor gave us a bullseye lantern from his days working in the mines. Bartha came up with the excellent idea of making rye whiskey firebombs, and after an initial experiment with gourds, we each ended up with pottery rye whiskey flasks with attached cloth for lighting.

Brock was appointed to be in charge of the defense building. Bartha showed the bombs to Brock, who suggests tindertwigs would be useful, and after seeing our blank stares, explains that tindertwigs are a technology perfected by the drwarves for easily and quickly lighting fires. Of course, when Bartha inquired if he could make us some, he said he would be too busy building defenses.

Headed For Trouble

We headed out, and are soon traveling south-east along the old road beyond the new mine. After many hours of travel, Bartha and Droston decided that there's going to be a summer thunderstorm in an hour or so. After some discussion we decided to keep going, and in only a half hour the heavens opened and a tremendous deluge crashed down. We trudged on for a little while, but with the tracks quickly washed away, we decided (with Bartha grumbling about how if we'd stopped when she wanted we'd be inside a nice shelter) to find someplace to sit out the storm. We eventually ended up under the 2nd dwarven bridge, which is still in reasonably good shape, and there we sat through the night in the dark without a fire. The rain stopped at midnight.

Oh, Yummy!

On Polonius's watch he heard a large creature heading slowly down the ravine towards us. He woke us up and Bartha started struggling with flint and steel to light a torch. In the mean while the rest of us drew our weapons.

When Bartha finally got the torch lit, we could see a huge grizzly bear on the slope below us, nearly up to the bridge. Droston loosed two arrows at it but, unnerved by the suddenness of it all, missed with both. Onchu moved up and attacked the bear, which struck back and landed a tremendous blow, wounding Onchu severely. Bartha then stepped forward yelling and waving the torch in the bear's face. The bear fled. Bartha tended to Onchu's wound, and we spent the rest of the night in cold silence. We figured the bear was probably after some of the tasty-smelling jerky Bartha always keeps with her.

Back To Town…?

In the morning we headed back to Masonburg to get Onchu some more medical attention. On the way back Onchu and Bartha noticed what looked like a lightning strike off to the side of the road. Remembering that Polonius wanted to find the meteor, they told the company and we headed in that direction. We found a crater, as we'd expected, but the meteor that should have been in the crater was missing. The hole left at the center showed that it was about the size of a basketball. Bartha and Droston figured out that a cart or wagon came up out of the crater, to the road, and away from town, headed south-east along the road. Polonius spent the next few mines moaning about his bad luck.

…Not Yet!

When we got to the new mine, everybody but Polonius was halfway expecting trouble. Polonius, still moaning about the missing meteor, was therefore the only one surprised when three goblins, two hobgoblins, and one strangely dressed goblin burst out of the mine. The three normal goblins, in the lead, launched javelins at us, and missed. Bartha launched a javelin back, and when it hit a goblin shouted something about how she'd send their javelins back where it would do some good!

The strangely dressed goblin, who had a skull on his head, elaborate (for a goblin) robes, and a staff, began gesticulating oddly. The two hobgoblins stayed in front of and close to the strangely dressed goblin, as if they were its bodyguards. Droston immediately was suspicious of the oddly behaving goblin, and started targeting him with his arrows. Suddenly, a two-foot diameter spider appeared out of nowhere and dropped on Eirnin's shoulder and bit him. Eirnin started spinning around and trying to bash it with the blunt side of his axe, and eventually did so, leading to lots of spider-guts all over his face.

At this point things turned into a general melee, with Droston continuing to fire at the oddly dressed goblin with little effect and the others moving to attack the other goblins and the hobgoblin bodyguards. As the melee continued the oddly dressed goblin again did his gesticulation again When the melee had turned decisively against the goblins, the oddly dressed goblin did his gesticulation a final time and vanished, leaving Droston in frustration to fire one final shot through the space where it had been before turning his arrows to the remaining enemies. [One of the other characters took a swipe through the shaman's square, too, but I don't remember which one. Anybody?]

Eventually all the normal goblins but one were killed, as were both hobgoblins. Bartha grappled the remaining goblin, yelling out to the rest of us to capture it. Droston attempted to help, trying to whack it with the blunt side of one of his axes, but ended up hitting Bartha instead! (And boy can Bartha blister your ears when you accidentally whack her!) [Did Droston continue to try and whack the goblin? Did he finally hit it?] Luckily the blow hadn't done any real damage, and Bartha finally subdued the goblin, after which began an argument about the appropriate way to transport a captured enemy to town.

So, at the end of the fight, we had: 1 goblin captured and trussed up, 6 more goblin javelins, 3 small goblin short-swords (of terrible quality), 3 suits of bad goblin leather armor, two sets of hobgoblin-sized studded leather armor, a light wooden shield, and a small morning star, 12 sp, 35 cp, and in an evil-smelling bag, two heads of folks we recognize as belonging to the Serpents militia company. [1] Everybody takes 2 sp each, with Droston taking the left over 2 sp, and everybody takes 7 cp each. Bartha forgives Droston for hitting her, and tells him she can clean up and repair the studded leather armor for him and […I can't remember who else was going to get the studded leather armor…] and he apologized for accidentally hitting her.

Finally Back to Town!

When we got to the old mine and quarry complex near the village the only person left there was old Gertie, who pretty much does whatever she wants. She tended to Onchu's wounds, and we continued to the village. Once finally there we had a difficult time preventing the mob from killing the goblin, but eventually we prevailed on the wiser heads and got him thrown down in the ice cellar the village uses as a lockup, to be interrogated by the elders.

Polonius talked to Coll about the missing meteor, but Coll was not impressed. Polonius has to bring Coll the meteor if he wants to be Coll's apprentice. We showed the Coll the goblin blades, and he said the best thing to do was melt them down and reforge them, and that there was about enough for a long sword. “I've never made a long sword before, but I'm willing to give it a try.” Droston said go ahead. Polonius begged and pleaded and Coll eventually relented enough to let Polonius watch Coll working on the blade. [2]


We each got 500 XP.

E-mail after the session revealed that of the militia companies, the Serpents had 7 members originally, the Axe & Bow had 7 members originally, and the Block & Hammer had 9 members originally.

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