Apologies for this being late - wedding anniversary and Easter on the same weekend really killed my writing time. Should not be an issue after this.
Tor, Chosen of Kord – Male Halfling warlord
Mahest Dahl – Female Half-elven warlock (star pact)
Hanea – Female Bugbear warden
Cinder – Female Tiefling rogue
Having recently arrived in Goldland Crossing via the Moon Gate, the adventuring group known simply as "Here Be Bugbears" checked in at the Gate Guild offices. The adventurers were told to look around the Upper Docks area for an unclaimed building to claim as their own. Scouting around off the main thoroughfares, the group found a four-story building that seemed to meet their needs: there was a basement (per Hanea's request), the remaining tower provided a view of the stars (per Mahest's request), and there were rooms which did not leak (per everyone else's requests).
(DM's description of the building: "There is a set of stairs leading up to the first floor and a single tower (out of two) still standing. There appears to be a basement. From the outside, the first floor appears to be solid, the second floor looks like it is lightly damaged, the third floor is missing walls and floors, while the fourth floor is more suggested rather than actually present.")
Scouting out the interior of the building, the group immediately split up (yeah, rookie move). Mahest went up the stairs in the remaining tower to see if any of the interior floors were still good. She found all the wood-work ruined or burned, but the stone-work appeared to be solid. Cinder started investigating the rooms on the first floor while Hanea went down into the basement. Tor hung around in the main entry hall "just in case".
In one of the semi-isolated rooms on the first floor, Cinder found the remains of an old fight in the form of a multitude of dead bodies. As she started poking around, the bodies reanimated as two zombies and six decrepit skeletons. At exactly the same time, Hanea discovered a rat's nest in the basement and was attacked by a rat swarm, two dire rats, and three giant rats. Both Cinder and Hanea cried out what they had discovered and for help. Tor moved to help Cinder with what appeared to be the more immediate threat of undead. Mahest, oblivious to all of this, continued to check the upper floors of the tower.
On the first floor, Tor and Cinder ineffectively fought the zombies and skeletons, with Tor quickly getting bloodied. They decided to fall back, closing and holding doors to delay the undead advance. In the basement, Hanea was nearly overwhelmed by the rats and fled back up the stairs. Mahest, meanwhile, finally noticed her companions were making quite a racket and wondered what was going on. She wandered back down the stairs, just in time to see Hanea run across the ground floor landing, pursued by giant rats.
With the group (mostly) re-assembled, they concentrated on fighting the rats in the doorway to the tower (where all the stairs were). Cinder slid a dagger through the door handles to delay the zombies and skeletons and flung shuriken at the rats swarming over Hanea. Tor and Hanea fought and killed the rats in melee while Mahest (from up in the tower) rained eldritch blasts upon the rats. After some tense fighting, all the rats were eventually killed. Note: Cinder killed rats in the swarm every time she threw a shuriken, never hitting Hanea. Also, Tor was infected by one of the dire rats.
As the last rat died, the zombies finally started breaking through the doors Cinder was holding closed. The group of adventurers pushed aside the dead rats and retreated into the stair tower, pulling shut the very stout doors behind them. While the zombies pounded on the doors, the group took a short rest to catch their breath and prepare to fight the undead. When ready, the adventurers re-opened the doors and proceeded to slowly destroy the undead.
With the interior of the manor finally theirs, the adventurers burned the rat's nest in the basement and hauled the remains of the rats and the undead out of the manor. This seemed to draw the attention of a gang of goblins. The goblins started trying to shake down the adventurers, who were having nothing of it. In almost less time than it takes to tell, the adventurers attacked and killed almost all of the goblin shake-down gang – one was captured for questioning and one managed to run away and escape.
Wanting to face the goblin gang head on, the adventurers started questioning their captive and then scouting around the neighborhood, looking for the goblins' lair. Mahest and Tor were able to get the goblin captive to talk and Cinder was able to sort out the truths from the half-lies. Sadly, fortune went against the adventurers after that.
End of Session
The party triggered two Level 1 encounters simultaneously by splitting up to search the manor. This started out looking bad as their dice were against them, but quick thinking on the PCs part to delay the undead by closing and blocking the doors let the PCs face one threat at a time.
The Level 2 encounter with the goblin shake-down gang took longer to get started than I thought it would. I think the players were hoping to intimidate the goblins into leaving, not knowing how powerful the goblin gang is in this neighborhood.
The skill challenge (tracking down the goblin lair) should have gone in favor of the PCs, but some bad rolls led to a failure. This means that instead of finding and ambushing the goblins, the PCs will be taking a more difficult route. I'm thinking a sewer crawl is in order as I'd rather not have the goblins ambush the PCs with overwhelming numbers. I might have a different gang notice the PCs and offer to help, for a price. We'll see.