Session 10: Ambushed Again

hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
With Gundren revived, the group was wrapping things up at the castle and planning their next move.

Julious never liked dealing with people, so he had mixed emotions when Reidoth told him to check in with the group of adventures who had confronted King Grol in Cragmaw Castle. Reidoth had told him that one of their members, a ranger named Lee, might make a good edition to The Emerald Enclave. Apparently his family had all been members, but Lee might not be open to the idea. Why Reidoth thought this was a good job for him, was a mystery to Julious. Julious never really got along well with people, which is why his chose a life with the company of plants and animals. But Reidoth was wise, so maybe this would be different. In any event, Reidoth was the head of the region, so there wasn't much choice.

On his journey to Cragmaw Castle Julious became aware of people up ahead and decided to crouch down and observe without being noticed. He saw two males, one drow and the other human, both armed, holding hands. He overheard parts of their conversation and gathered that the drow was going to report back to Nezznar, while the human, who was heavily armored as well, was going to report back to their master. Julious remained hidden until they had past.

When Julious finally approached Cragmaw Castle he spotted two humans, a male and a female, dragging hobgoblin bodies through the castle's clearing and dumping them in the woods. He approached them and introduced himself, saying that he was interested in joining them, especially their companion Lee. They continued to drag the bodies into the woods and pile them on top of a quite large pile of bodies, possibly the entire inhabitants of the castle. Then they said he should follow them.

Inside they introduced Julious to the rest of their group, including Lee, Atilius, Pippin, Gundren, themselves: Turenim and Moula. Among them were also five goblins, who appeared to be helping them around the castle.

Julious told them his story, but was reluctant to divulge the specific his organization or who sent him. This led to most of the group being very suspicious of him. Eventually, Julious revealed all that he knew; including that he was a member of The Emerald Enclave sent by Reidoth about Lee joining their faction. He also told them about the drow and the human he spotted in the woods, and what he overheard them saying.

This all resulted in accusations of spying and other nefarious intentions, especially from Lee, catching Julious very much off guard. Apparently, The Emerald Enclave had a very poor reputation with some in this group.

By the time Turenim and Moula finished removing all the corpses from the castle, with the goblins' help, it was already evening and everyone was very hungry. Most of the group went to the goblins' banquet hall to eat their rations. The goblins returned to the meals that had been served when the castle was attacked.

But Moula still felt that there was more to do to reconsecrate the holy place. Visiting the shrine she felt that the altar was still wounded from all the unholy sacrifices. She urged Turenim to heal it. Having already rested and replenished his spells Turenim cast prayer of healing, focusing on the altar and the shrine. Upon completion, a euphoric wave briefly emanated out from the altar, and was felt by the entire group.

Meanwhile Gundren indicated that, with the map stolen by The Black Spider, they should head to Wave Echo Cave as soon as possible, where his brothers, Nundro and Tharden, were waiting for him.

The group argued long about whether and when to head to Wave Echo Cave, what to do with goblins, and whether to let Julious join them. Moula was uncharacteristically opposed to allowing the goblins to remain in the castle, fearing that it might again be defiled.

Eventually, Moula asked the gold sun elf statuette about leaving the goblins in the castle. At first, nothing happened, but the group realized that the statuette needed to be closer to the shrine. Returning to the main hall she asked again, and this time the statuette indicated both weal and woe.

Then Lee took the statuette and asked about allowing Julious to join them and the statuette indicated weal.

Pippin asked the statuette about going to Wave Echo Cave and the statuette indicated woe.

Then Atilius asked about not going to Wave Echo Cave and the statuette indicated weal.

They heard Gundren snore loudly as he drifted off in his seat.

With that, the group decided to rest for the night in Cragmaw Castle and head out in the morning. Lee cast Alarm around the main hall, and they all went to sleep, taking turns guarding the area.

The next day, still undecided as to what to do with Snowg and the other goblins, Snowg asked the statuette about leaving with the group and the statuette indicated woe. Then one of his companions asked about going to Cragmaw Hideout and the statuette indicated weal.

They all agreed that the group would leave with Julious, and soon after the goblins would depart the castle for Cragmaw Hideout.

As they were packing, and Moula was securing the arms and armor she was bringing back to Phandalin, Gundren recognized the armor and sword she carried as Sildar's. She was glad they had decided to bring it back.
hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
After a few hours the group left Neverwinter Wood, stepping out into the bright sun. But before they could get much farther than 100 feet, dozens of arrows rained down on them.

Looking back, they saw almost two dozen hobgoblins firing arrows from just within the tree line, except for Pippin, who could not figure out where the arrows were coming from.
The Lost Minds react to hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
Afraid to confront so many foes head-on, all at once, the group dashed south, away from the woods. The hobgoblins set their four wolves loose on the group, and continued their barrage, shouting, "For King Grol! We'll kill you all and your traitorous goblin friend!"

Soon, everyone had been hit by at least one arrow. Many of the arrows were aimed at Atilius, but he reacted with a shield from his glass staff of defense, which deflected the vast majority of them.
hobgoblins give chase outside Neverwinter Wood
As the group dashed away, they increased their distance from the slowly advancing hobgoblin archers, but the wolves were gaining on them, especially with Gundren slowing them down. Occasionally, one or more hobgoblins would throw down their bow and charge after the group, drawing their swords.

As the distance increased, the hobgoblins' aim grew worse, but occasionally an arrow would still land. Twice, Atilius cast misty step to propel Gundren farther ahead. Periodically, Turenim cast healing word on his wounded friends.
Lost Minds change tactics and face hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
Eventually, the group was able to make it out of the hobgoblins' range altogether. But by this time, the four wolves were upon them. Atilius hung back and waited until they were within range of his spell sniper enhanced burning hands. The wolves ran into the cone of flame, and the stench of burning canine hair filled the air. Only two of the wolves made it through the flames, and they were badly scorched. Moula and Lee quickly put them down for good.
The Lost Minds react to hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
The group continued to run. When the group caught up to Gundren, Moula helped Gundren keep up with the rest of the group, though she was barely unencumbered herself. Now they controlled the distance. But they realized they could not run forever, and who knew how long the hobgoblins could maintain this pace. Most of them were over 600 feet away, but the nearest of them was less than 100 feet away. Based on the looks of things they were sure that the hobgoblins would be able to outlast Gundren.

Eventually, they decided to slow down and attack. Atilius cast his spell sniper enhanced firebolt at the nearest hobgoblin. When they got closer, Lee shot arrows at the nearest, or the next batch, depending on the distance and how wounded the nearest appeared. When they got closer, Pippin and Turenim also began shooting. If any still made it, Moula was waiting for them, and she lashed out with combinations of strikes with her kicks and her new staff, that felt practically weightless in her hand.
The Lost Minds react to hobgoblin ambush outside Neverwinter Wood
On the hobgoblins came — in batches of one to three — knowing that their brethren were right behind them. On one occasion even Julious lashed out with his scimitar.

Eventually, all that were left were ten hobgoblin archers who steadily chased the group. Everyone in the group was wounded and they were reluctant to face so many relatively fresh enemies all at once. As they ran, they conspired, and they argued. They ran for almost an hour.

It dawned on Atilius that he might be able to get rid of the entire band in one shot. Slowing down, the rest of the group ran in a line, forming a wall behind Atilius. Covered from the hobgoblin's sight, Atilius drank the potion of invisibility that they retrieved from the cistern in the Redbrand hideout cellar. Then, he waited for the hobgoblins to get closer. When they were within range, he launched the fireball jar he found in Glasstaff's quarters. The jar took off from his hand and flew straight into the center of the hobgoblin archers, where it engulfed all of them in a ball of flame, leaving only their smoldering remains when the flame quickly subsided.

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