DM | Thomas Koch | https://twitter.com/ThomasAKoch
UZO | Warren Reid | https://twitter.com/urbanmasque
REMY the Fox | Beau C. Williams | https://twitter.com/Beau_C_Williams
ANDRASTE | Tiana Hanson | https://twitter.com/Vana1895
RUKUS | Aaron Acosta | https://twitter.com/AaronThatDay
Music and sound by http://www.syrinscape.com
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Episode 21 – The Road Less Traveled
EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode features multiple items from our sponsors at Nord Games. We used the luck deck, treasure deck, and multiple monsters from their book “Ultimate Bestiary: Revenge of the Horde.” We also have a guest star from the company playing a character from “Ultimate NPCs: Warfare.” Check out all their great 5e supplements at www.nordgamesllc.com – BC/SS
Dawn breaks over the campsite and the Foxy Irregulars look at the corpses of the hill giants they just fought. Remy loots their bodies and finds some gilded writing papers on one of them. Then he asks Rukus if he wants a trophy. Rukus immediately starts trying to saw the head off a giant with his wavy-bladed flamberge, and after little success, Uzo convinces him to just pull out a tusk. The thought of tusks makes Rukus gasp as he remembers he forgot to fetch Hrabbaz’s taxidermied head. He tries to convince the others to go back to Waterdeep, but they don’t let him.
They start the march south but quickly see a cloud of dust hear the sound of many hooves headed toward them. Remy hides under his new cloak and Rukus runs horizontally up the nearest tree. Uzo tries to hide but he’s too slow and Andraste just sits on the nearest rock which happens to actually be Remy.
A dwarf rider approaches and introduces himself as Strumm Hammerford of the Blue Coat Supply Company. They’re escorting a caravan of goods to Waterdeep. Andraste shares news, Uzo advertises their tavern, and the caravan moves on without incident. Rukus is sad he didn’t get to kill anything and still wants to go back to Waterdeep. He says he can just use the “tree method.” Remy asks what that is before Andraste can stop him. Rukus runs up the nearest tree for no reason.
The team travels until dusk where they make camp in a group of trees. Andraste, the outlander, finds four pheasants for dinner and also stumbles across an old rusty bear trap and a crudely made pit trap. She sets them off so they pose no danger and tells the rest of the team. Rukus wants to stay up all night so he doesn’t get surprised again, so Andraste lets him take the first watch. When she wakes for the second watch she sees him zoning out looking at the fire. She throws an acorn or “tree pebble” at him in a nearby tree. He gets the hint after the fifth acorn and slides down the tree in his slippers. Just after he falls asleep, an injured human man runs into the camp.
The man has a knife in his back and he’s bleeding from multiple wounds. Andraste runs to help him but Uzo is skeptical. He points his crossbow at the man while Andraste unceremoniously pulls out the knife and heals him. Uzo demands to know why she’s waiting resources on someone they don’t know who could be a convicted criminal. But the man says there are goblins chasing him and they strike a temporary truce.
Only Andraste can see in the darkness, and she tells the others that there are six goblins spreading out to flank them. She fires a scorching ray, slaying two and wounding one. The man says he wishes he had magic. Remy commiserates. Rukus runs up a tree and throws his flamberge into the darkness. He remembers to yell “light” as it flies away, but it hits the ground and tumbles uselessly. The light however gives the position of another goblin and Remy fires the hand cannon, obliterating it.
The three surviving goblins yell something that sounds like a surprised curse, then one of them grabs the glowing sword and runs. Remy runs after them but can’t see in the dark. The human hands out torches but Uzo throws his into the fire and uses both hands to fire twin Eldritch Blasts. There’s a green goblin explosion, and after no more goblins come to pick up the glowing sword, Rukus finally summons it back to his hand.
The man finally introduces himself as Arnor and says that he and his companion Opeth were seeking shelter in a cave. They went too deep and got caught by the goblins. Opeth is still a prisoner and they need to go save him. Uzo isn’t so sure, and says that Arnor was the one at fault for intruding and disturbing the goblins in their natural home. He asks Andraste who was really in the wrong. She tentatively agrees, but the party moves decides to head toward the cave. Uzo, Remy, and Andraste argue about marching order while Rukus and Arnor bring up the rear.
So of course they get caught in a net trap. Arnor and Rukus laugh while Andraste, Remy, and Uzo dangle from a tree pressed far too close for comfort. Arnor sees a goblin with a weird contraption of bear traps on his back. He charges and slays the goblin, then goes to cut the others down. Andraste lands easily, but Uzo’s arm gets scraped. Then Remy lands on him. He winges and asks Andraste for healing. She offers to kiss it and make it better. When Uzo says not to patronize him, the diminutive Remy jumps up and tries to kiss it.
The cave is natural but shows signs of digging as well. The party moves down a tunnel single-file until a side passage splits off to the right. Most of the tracks go ahead except for Arnor and Opeth’s. Arnor says that to the right was where they were ambushed. The team goes that way to find a gorgeous cavern with a brackish pool in the center. Stalagmites and stalactites decorate the chamber and a little island in the pool has a pair of poisonous-looking mushrooms. Andraste is wary about the water and says they should investigate a small rubble-filled opening on the far side. She’s visibly uncomfortable and says she doesn’t like being underground.
They advance carefully and quietly until Rukus gets bored and tosses his butterknife in the water. It sinks with an ominous bloop. Remy tells him to throw himself in next time to rid them of his stupidity. Then one of the large stalagmites opens its mouth and shoots four tendrils out to attack them from fifty feet away.
The stalagmite is really a roper. It attacks Rukus first since he threw the knife, but the tendril slides right off his armor. It attacks Uzo, but Armor of Agathys shatters it with the cold. A third tendril wraps around Arnor, and the last pulls Andraste to its hideous mouth where it bites her.
Remy fires the gun at the roper’s general head area and the shot echoes in the cavern horribly. All of their ears ring and it doesn’t stop quickly.
Arnor manages to free himself and runs to attack the roper with Rukus. Its rock-like hide is thick but they do manage to cut the tendril holding Andraste, freeing her. The roper bites Arnor, doing hideous damage.
Uzo yells that he can see four goblins coming down the tunnel from behind them. They obviously heard the noise of the gun. A hill goblin bomber (a Nord Games creation) throws a bomb at Uzo and Remy, and the resulting explosion is almost as loud as the gun. Uzo fires magic back, killing two, and Remy shoots his gun again. The noise doesn’t sound as loud now to his ringing ears, and he realizes that any more shots might do serious damage to his hearing. The goblins shoot arrows until Remy kills one of them. Arnor goes into a hideous rage and kills the last goblin just as Uzo fires two eldritch bolts straight into the roper’s mouth, killing it.
Andraste heals the wounded Arnor and asks if Uzo and Remy are all right. But they can’t hear her at all through the ringing in their ears. Uzo falls to his knees realizing he just got one sense back and only to lose another one. He runs back out of the cave to the night. Remy and Andraste follow where she uses the last charge of her restoration necklace to heal their hearing. Remy is relieved by Uzo is still visibly shaken. He says, “I lost the sense that kept me alive when I did not have my sight. I did not sign up for this Andraste. I want to pursue these treasures and continue with you but I do not want to risk my life for strangers.”
Andraste and Remy say they have his back and will not let him fall. But Uzo is done risking his life for people they don’t know just because someone asked. He says he’ll meet them in Daggerford. Remy tries to follow but realizes Uzo is a free man who can leave any time he wants. Bitter and angry, he watches his friend feel his way through the darkness with his spear.
Back inside the cave, Rukus and Arnor push through the rubble they saw just as Remy and Andraste return. There’s a small chamber with a bed and a cage where Arnor’s friend Opeth is imprisoned. Opeth is an older chap and wears the symbol of the Emerald Enclave. They free him, and as they head back outside, he confirms they’ve killed all the goblins. He thanks the team, but Andraste says “It may have cost us more than you think” and tells the others about Uzo.
Arnor wants to go find Uzo immediately, but Andraste coldly tells him he’s done enough. Sheepishly, Opeth says they need to secure the goods anyway. Andraste turns on him and orders him to explain. Opeth does, and says they were trying to find the goblins who had been harassing this area. Now that they’re all dead they’re free to take the loot back to Daggerford and get their reward. Andraste firmly suggests they share the reward with the The Foxy Irregulars who did all the work. Opeth agrees and they all go back to sleep at the campsite with the realization that Uzo had been right the whole time.