Wednesday night at the Gaming Goat and all of the players from last week were back this week, plus Tim joined us to play one of the pre-gen characters (Valenae, the Eladrin Cleric Warpriest). Besides myself, Steve and Robin had made up their own characters via the Essentials Character Builder tool, although we all chose to build the same type of character that we played during week 1.
After the battle at the stream crossing last week the party members struggled to get the caravan reorganized and with some pushing we managed to get caught up to the first half of the caravan. Malgram, the half-orc guard captain, even gave the party a bit of begrudging respect once the story of the stirges (not Preston Sturges) was related to him. The caravan hoped to reach the settlement point by the end of the day, but travel had been slow so far and Malgram was pushing everyone to keep things moving.
Later that day Malgram approached the party members, this time with a female elf in attendance. He introduced her as Faldyra Allariel, the sage. She was insisting on finding some rare herbs that grew in this area, but Malgram didn't want to slow down the caravan and he didn't want her wandering off by herself. Aldus Splintersheild held her in high regard, so would the party members please accompany her to ensure her safety?
The party had been told the sage was the one who knew the most about the Castle Inverness and the area to where the caravan was heading, so if nothing else we could use this as an opportunity to find out information about what might lay ahead. An agreement was quickly struck and the group took off cross country in search of the rare herbs.
Along the way Faldyra answered our questions about the castle as best she could. The castle was now a ruin, although the central tower apparently still stood. Adventurers had cleaned out some sort of evil there many years ago and the tower had been sealed since, so she wasn't expecting any problems, although she did say she had lost a relative in the tower many years ago (here). Most of the problems she expected were the ones might find in the Nentir Vale the further one got away from civilization. She hoped that the town would provide a new point of light in an otherwise dark part of the world.
After some searching a large patch of the rare herbs were found and Faldyra began to dig and the party arrayed itself in a protective perimeter. As she dug she came across something metallic. Our mage insisted on inspecting it further, and pulled out from the ground a long lost long sword. Some successful arcana checks later it was determined that the sword was indeed magical, and after some additional handling that it was a flaming long sword. After some discussion it was determined that my Dragonborn Paladin could made the best use of a flaming weapon and a long sword to boot (more on the flaming weapon later).
As the party resumed their defensive perimeter a pack of goblins attacked. Five of the goblins were wielding bows and stayed toward the back to let their arrows do their talking. Five others wielding short swords attempted to flank the party. The mage was the first to act and he quickly moved up to drop some sort of flame burst onto a group of the goblins. The burst was successful, but the left the mage open to the attacks of the goblins.
The paladin directed one of the rangers to protect the other flank, told the cleric to stay with the sage, and then directed the rogue and the other ranger to move forward to take their attacks to the goblins. The paladin then moved forward to support the mage and do some damage of his own.
The goblins managed to get in some damage of their own, but the party soon took command of the situation and the goblins were quickly struck down. Our rogue was able to do back stab damage to two different goblins, including doing 19 points of damage with one of his attacks. One of our rangers was able to do 15 points of damage with each of two arrows on one of his attacks. The mage was bloodied, but the cleric came through with a timely heal, and the cleric was also able to do some healing on the sage who had taken an arrow at the beginning of the encounter.
With the goblins vanquished javelins and arrows were reclaimed and restocked, and any of the goblins weapons that were any good were bundled up to be returned to the caravan. Faldyra was a bit shaken from the attack and wanted to return to the caravan, but sheepishly asked that Malgram not be told that he was indeed correct that Faldyra really would need an escort. Promises were made and the party returned to the caravan.
We used the fortune cards again, but not to much avail. The mage had a card that allowed him to reroll a missed attack roll, but he rerolled worse. I had the same card readied, but the encounter only took three rounds and I connected on all of my swings so I didn't need it. Tim, our first timer who was playing the cleric, was voted player of the night for having forgone the opportunity to jump into the fight when he stayed back to protect the sage and for having delivered some critical healing when needed.
Character Builder comment - Since it was my character that claimed the +1 flaming long sword I went to the CB tool to add the new weapon to my character sheet - but "flaming" wasn't available as a choice. It was in the book (Essentials Dungeon Master's Book, Pg 257), just not in the tool. I had a choice of a magic, luck, vicious, or defensive long swords, but flaming was not there for me to select. I really like to keep items on my sheet and to not make up separate items or special cards ... I'll talk with Jack and we'll figure something out. Jack and I were also going to discuss "Defensive Aura" to make sure we are playing it correct.
When we meet next week the caravan will still not have made it to the destination point, so we will still be on the road. Each of the players earned 203 XP for the evening and picked up a Action Point as well.