“I remember the last time we did this…”


 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • “Have we ever met a good kobold?”
  • A mysterious crevasse
  • A surprise attack
  • A familiar foe

Photo showing the cast of Lobster Role

Episode 20: A hobbit walks into a room…


WHERE WE LEFT OFF

We left off just after surviving a near-deadly ambush. Tibboh is mounted on the shoulders of a great brown bear who appeared out of nowhere and answers to none but Hag. Enya catches her breath after having narrowly escaped the clutches of an eerily familiar bugbear. Meanwhile Little Pocket has taken off in hot pursuit of a giant blue-and-white spider that is escaping with the corpse of one of the bugbears. “I think it might be V!”

 

RECAP

After sneaking their way into the basement of Coffee Hole Farm, Little Pocket discovered a waterproofed satchel containing fifty gold coins, a clean change of clothing, and a couple of unidentified potions. The sailor and her comrades advanced toward the room where they know redcloaks keep their prisoners. Hearing some sounds on the other side of the jail room door, Little conjured a burst of rainfall while Enya added the touch of a distant, rolling thunder. Tibboh began silently playing on his whistle, producing a piercing thunderclap within the cell room as the door burst open. A disoriented guard stumbled into the room clutching his head only to be greeted by watery piranhas nipping at his feet before Enya put an arrow clean through him. Tibboh discovered a trio of small, frail, wounded kobolds huddled in the corner of one of the cells. After he seemed ready to leave them there, they appealed to him in their own tongue. After a brief conversation, Tibboh had a change of heart: “I’m letting them out.” Enya and Hag both seemed initially distrustful, Little Pocket made their animated piranhas nip at the limping kobolds behind their back, and even Tibboh joked about their death. But he put his foot down: “They’re going back to Phandalin. We need all the bodies we can get.”

Entrusting the kobolds to Helja’s care, the four continued deeper into the basement, uncovering a cache of weapons and a secret door that opened into a large chamber to the west. A cold breeze filled the large, natural cavern, divided in two by a deep crevasse. Hag wandered off, distracted, in the direction of the southernmost of two arched wooden bridges spanning the chasm. Little Pocket spotted a weird figure creeping in the depths of the crevasse. “What should we do about that?” Hag mused aloud. Tibboh suffered a wave of psychic damage after sending a mage hand down to retrieve some loose debris which responded to his detect magic spell. With nothing but some small splinters of wood to show for his efforts, Tibboh and Hag pressed ahead to explore the areas beyond.

Coming to a closed door, Tibboh skipped ahead of Hag and found himself smack in the middle of an ambush by a trio of bugbears, each wielding a ferocious-looking spiked club known as a morningstar. With no time to react, Tibboh watched the first blow pass straight over his head before the same bugbear cast aside their morningstar and landed a brutal left hook to his face. A panicked kobold fainted and collapsed just as a second bugbear grabbed the hobbit and dragged him against the far wall. A third bugbear, muscular and sporting a jeweled eyepatch, grinned widely as he strode forward and slammed the door in Hag’s face, trapping Tib inside. Alone with three enemies more than twice his size, Tibboh sought to lighten the mood, and the bugbear released him and fell to the ground repeating “a stick!” over and over in between fits of incapacitating laughter. Little Pocket conjured a swirling ball of flame twice the size of the hobbit himself and sent it colliding with the bugbear barricading the entry, just in time to help a raging Hag burst through the door. Enya rushed near but not near enough to enter the room, drawing a white piece of cloth with which she extended aid to all her comrades just as Tibboh darted across the room and right into another big blow from the smallest of the three bugbears. “I don’t know you…” she puzzled aloud, losing interest in Tibboh and striding recklessly toward Hag who she attacked from behind with a bruising blow to the ribs and a sweeping kick to the knee. Enya rushed into the room to again heal Tibboh while Little Pocket dropped another millimeter thick sheet of rain on the whole chamber, dousing all flames in an instant except the 5′ diameter hissing, spitting ball of fire under her command.

At the moment Hag thrust his hand into his bag of tricks, the outcome of the battle appeared genuinely unclear. In an instant, the tide turned. The small but fierce bugbear that had beaten Tibboh within an inch of his life before pouncing on Hag was now flanked by a fully grown adult brown bear — promptly mounted by the hobbit himself — that proceeded to bite a hunk of flesh from her shoulders and repeatedly maul her with an unrelenting series of claw attacks. The two other bugbears were brought to the ground by Hag’s club and by a small ball of flame hurled by Little Pocket as she dismissed her larger sphere. Almost indifferent to the threat, the smallest of the three bugbears focused exclusively on attempting to grapple Enya by the throat, snarling: “I remember the last time we did this.” Enya evaded both attempts and managed to land a point blank shot with her bow as a final claw attack from Hag’s new amigo brought the final enemy to the ground.

“Shall I kill the kobold?” Hag asked. Tibboh proceeded to treat with it in its language and the entire party noticed the creature perk up at the mention of Phandalin. “Phandalin?” Unable to carry on much of a conversation, the kobold seemed to descend into a sort of gibberish, “Kax? Lax?? Max???” Meanwhile, in the corner of the room, out of nowhere appeared a blue-and-white spider the size of the brown bear, descending from the ceiling to clutch the body of the small bugbear and flee the room in spite of attacks from all sides. While others caught their breath or collected their thoughts, Little took off in hot pursuit: “I think it might be V!”

 

MASTERING THE GAME: FUN

There were many interesting and important game mechanics that came up in this session: surprise (PHB:189, 183), targeting spells (PHB:204), the dodge action (PHB:192), unarmed strikes (PHB:195), attacks of opportunity… (PHB:195) I had to refresh myself on the rules for mounted combat (PHB:198), for crying out loud! It was wild. I learned from a few mistakes (you shouldn’t have been able to “surprise” the guard in the cell room since you weren’t explicitly trying to be stealthy, Tibboh should not have been “surprised” after his turn passed in the first round, and more), but I actually think we all handled all sorts of new things really well. There’s always more to learn, but I think we’re in a phase where the most important learning we’re doing isn’t game mechanics any more, but rather about becoming more familiar each week with our own characters and how we have fun together. In that spirit, and continuing with last week’s emphasis on something fun to watch rather than learning new rules, I want to recommend the second half of the episode I shared with you last week. While last week’s clip featured a triceratops who turned into a bard, this week’s selection is a raging barbarian, pure and simple. It’s a great display of what a higher-level barbarian can do with their extraordinary ability to absorb damage so that the rest of the party can stay safe, and it also features some mechanics (like Reckless Attack, PHB:48) which we haven’t seen yet in our own game. Hag, in particular, have a look at this and see what ideas or questions it gives you. And everyone, if you want to watch another barbarian in the mold of Hag go to town on a bunch of enemies, enjoy! “They’re in front of us? I’m already raging? I just f*%king bust through, apeshit style…” Gunpowder Plot: Part 1 | Critical Role: VOX MACHINA | Episode 31

 

COFFEE HOLE FARM AND OUR WORLD

The farm is almost within our grasp. Phandalin will be a safer place. What additional opportunities exist to extend shelter to our friends across the region? What sort of deed might rise to the standard necessary to further develop our growing powers? But first: what exactly were the redcloaked elves seeking to accomplish here at the farm? How can we explain the strange comments from the small bugbear? And how will we ever find the map Gundren lost a month ago? These and more questions remain unanswered, for now.

 

Be heroic,
Be creative,
Have fun together,
Isaac

 

See also: Tibboh’s Diary #20

See also: Enya’s Letters #20

 

 

 

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