In our adventurers’ second foray into the town of Phandalin (you can read about part 1 here), we had some additional heroes, and one with an extremely different personality. The kids enjoyed the time they had to play Dungeons and Dragons, and really wanted to play some more. We had some time at the end of the week where pulling a few more kids aside while preparations were being made for a big family gathering that evening would actually be helpful, so we gathered the kids around the table, set everything back up, and made things much more complicated.
This time, we had the following players:
- Ghoti reprising his role as Flash-o, the halfling rogue
- Kim popping in and out as Raelshel, the high elf wizard, when she wasn’t helping with party prep
- P, still Fred, the noble human fighter
- B (another 6 year old) taking over for George, the human fighter folk hero
- C (about 9 or so, I think) joining the group as a hill dwarf cleric who had a name so secret I’m not sure anyone knew what it was.
Yes, we removed one grown-up (JJ was still at work, so he didn’t get to be George this time), had the other grown-up helping tend to party preparations a bit more than the game, and added two more kids. Absolutely nothing was about to go as planned.
In our first session, P had to leave early, so I started this session by retconning just a little of the situation around his involvement. If you read the first episode, you’ve read part of what we determined had happened: Fred went ahead with Sildar Hallwinter to keep an eye out for any goblin ambushes (and look what good that did…). On their way, they were also waylaid by goblins and were able to fight them off. They had also tracked them to their cave hideout—in case the adventurers wanted to go there, they now had a way to just know where it was.
We also wrote C into the story as being a friend of Fred’s (P and C are brothers) and cousin to Gundren Rockseeker who was also in Phandalin at the time the rest of the party arrived.
Flash-o, George, Raelshel, and Gundren arrived safely in Phandalin with their cart of provisions being pulled by two deer. Gundren directed them to Barthen’s Provisions shop where they could drop off the cart (and release their deer of burden). They were paid a slightly more generous fee than they were initially offered, 10 gold pieces each instead of 8. Then, Gundren, still worried about Sildar, went toward the Townmaster’s Hall to see if he could find him.
The players went outside of the provisions shop and met Fred and C in the road in front of the shop. Fred introduced C, and the group got to know each other. C was a very secretive cleric. He opted not to tell the party that he was a cleric directly, instead, answering questions about his name and class-based profession in Dwarvish. [Ed: I have no idea why he didn’t want to tell anyone anything, but it paved the way for some marvelously unexpected interactions later in the session.]
As these introductions were taking place, Flash-o and George (remember, he was now being played by a fellow 6 year old) were standing off to the side, and Flash-o noticed two people standing across the street next to the smithy, scowling and watching the group. They were wearing dark red cloaks and, on closer inspection, probably carrying weapons.
Flash-o and the Redbrands
In this village, there’s a band of ruffians that have been harassing the locals. They call themselves the Redbrands, and they’re slowly becoming a real force of trouble. Flash-o hadn’t told anyone else in the party, but he used to be one of them until their leader tried to have him killed. To further complicate his situation, his aunt also lives in the village. She is unaware of his involvement with these local thugs, and he is interested in keeping it that way.
As such, Flash-o recognized the two strangers across the way as members of the Redbrands. Since secrecy was quickly becoming a theme for this session, he quietly told George that he knew those two people and that they were local thugs. Worried that word would get back that he was in the area, he took matters into his own hands. In the midst of the newly coalesced party’s introductions, and as they were starting to figure out what to do next, Flash-o suddenly pulled out his bow and fired an arrow at the Redbrands.
Public Display of Affliction
Obviously, the Redbrands didn’t take kindly to this greeting, and a fight broke out in the road. Flash-o and George ran across the street to attack the Redbrands. They pretty quickly killed one of them, but Flash-o took a few hits in the process. The other one ran across the street to attack Fred and C. As this was going on Raelshel stood confused, conspicuously refusing to fight these strangers until she got an explanation of why Flash-o had suddenly opened fire on what she understood were just some angry looking people on the other side of the road. Fred and C hit the other Redbrand thug pretty hard, so he tried to escape but didn’t get far; he was knocked unconscious on their side of the road.
As is customary, most of the party decided to loot the bodies, but Raelshel quickly intervened. She stopped C and Fred from taking anything from the nearby unconscious man and demanded an explanation. C said he had no idea what was happening; he saw Flash-o attack them and figured he must have had a reason, so he helped. Raelshel turned to Flash-o and asked him why he was killing people in the road in the middle of the day. Flash-o answered her in Halfling because inexplicable secrecy really was the order of the day. Of course, Raelshel doesn’t speak Halfling.
Then, Raelshel bent down, picked up a rock, and threw it at Flash-o, yelling for him to come to his senses and just say what was going on. [Ed: I initially tried to make this throw as innocuous as possible, describing how Raelshel just tossed a rock in his direction, but she wasn’t having it. She insisted she threw the rock at him intending to cause damage, so, “okay, everyone, we’re apparently still in combat… Roll to hit, Raelshel.”] The rock struck Flash-o in the chest, doing a minimal amount of damage. He, with his sword drawn, walked up to Raelshel to try to intimidate her, but made it a point to say he wasn’t attacking. Before Raelshel could ask again what was happening, George had his turn. Seeing the attack on his fellow six year old, George (the fighter) ran right up to Raelshel (the wizard) and attacked her with his sword, immediately knocking her unconscious, because low level wizards just weren’t made for taking melee attacks from trained fighters.
C continued trying to loot the unconscious Redbrand at his feet, acquiring a few items from him as this was going on. Fred, his inner Lawful Good shining through, wanted to bring this new fight to a quick end. He told George to stop, but George said he intended to kill Raelshel for attacking Flash-o. So, Fred ran over and pulled her back away from George and toward C, who healed her a bit—bringing her back to consciousness. C was still interested in keeping his name and class a secret and was hoping to heal her without anyone realizing he was a healer. Unfortunately, they figured that out.
Flash-o had a moment of regret and held back from furthering any more of this madness, but George was still hellbent on revenge. He ran at Raelshel, but she was ready for him. Still lying on the ground, just having recovered, she extended her hands and let loose quite a fire blast from her fingers. The flames consumed George and Flash-o, hurting George a fair amount and knocking out Flash-o.
As the literal fireworks were beginning, some of the party noticed that Sildar and Gundren were running up the road toward the party. Word had gotten down to the nearby tavern about the brawl in the street, and Sildar ran up to see what was happening. Gundren was very surprised to see the adventurers who had just helped him get here in mid-battle where he had left them. He went to the unconscious Flash-o and healed him enough to get up.
Sildar recognized only Fred from their trek together. He surveyed the scene: a seemingly dead thug, an unconscious thug, a freshly revived halfling, a human attacking a flamethrowing elf, another human, and a dwarf. He did not look forward to getting to the bottom of this. He approached Fred and demanded an explanation. George was still ready to attack, even threatening Sildar, who was not intimidated in the slightest. Sildar told George that if he didn’t stand down, he would end the fight. George complied and stabbed his sword into the ground.
As this was happening, a few of the party members noticed the Redbrand hoodlum they had knocked out had regained consciousness and was trying to sneak away. Realizing he had been noticed and seeing that Sildar was trying to mediate the problem, he quickly feigned total innocence and told Sildar his version of what happened: the party had attacked and robbed him. He pointed out that the dwarf was holding his cloak and that his gold was missing. Flash-o and George moved to capture him, but Sildar, still wary of George, tackled him and knocked his sword away but wasn’t able to tie his hands. This afforded the Redbrand the distraction he needed to commence his escape. He ran off, pursued by Flash-o.
George was able to get free from Sildar and went for his sword. At that, Sildar attacked. The former cavalryman was much more than the somewhat weakened George was able to handle. George dropped from a single attack. Sildar tied him up.
Meanwhile, Flash-o tried to catch the escaped ruffian, but lost track of him. Since Flash-o was formerly a Redbrand, he was aware that the thug was probably headed toward their hideout under the ruins of a nearby manor house. He didn’t dare go back there himself at this point, fearing what trouble he might get into. Instead of meeting up with the rest of the party that evening, he went to his aunt’s farm to check in with her and lay low.
The Townmaster’s Hall
Sildar requested that the remaining party accompany him to the Townmaster’s Hall where he intended to put George in a holding cell for the time being and request a better explanation of what happened. They agreed to follow him and explained what happened. On the way into the building, they noticed a board beside the door with a sign that said, “Reward for defeating orcs near Wyvern Tor.”
In the Hall, the party also met Harbin Wester, a lazy, cowardly man who appeared to have some position of authority. They talked to him about the orc problem. Harbin told them there was a 100 gold piece bounty for anyone who could clear the orcs out of a nearby cave. The party was interested in this quest and told Harbin they’d like to take him up on the offer in the morning (after George would be released from custody). He provided them with a letter that would let them stay in the inn for free in exchange for their service the following morning.
The Following Morning
Flash-o conveniently found the rest of the party near the inn in the morning. Nobody asked where he had been since asking him questions had caused a bit of a ruckus earlier. The party went to the Townmaster’s Hall to retrieve the now much calmer George. Before being set free, George was fined 30 GP for the fracas, and Sildar told him that he was no longer welcome to stay in the village. He’d would be escorted to the provisions shop to buy materials he may need, but he was not to return to Phandalin.
…and on that note, we ended the session. I definitely did not expect things to play out as they did, but it was fun to let the party fight it out and try to manage what the rest of the town would do during such a scuffle.
Next time we pick this campaign up, JJ will be back to playing George, and Flash-o and Raelshel will be the only other participants. I’ll need to write a few characters out; and I’ve come up with a story-related reason to explain George’s behavior in a way that only requires a small amount of retcon but allows him back into town in the future. We’ll see what happens, though.