I am running these at home in an unofficial capacity to get familiar with them in case I need to run them at the store, and also so I can write about them in this blog.
In the first half of this post, I am going to present what I think are the essential notes on Phlan that you need to run a proper fleshed-out session. In the second half, I will report on what happened when I ran "Defiance in Phlan".
The Adventurers League site has a history of Phlan, but it doesn't give town details.
There's a great rundown of Phlan in a 4th edition adventure called "Monument of Ancients" in Dungeon Magazine issue 170.
Ruler: Phlan's previous ruler died in a mysterious "construction accident" last year. Phlan is currently being run by Ector Brahms, who also runs the "police" - The Black Fist. Phlan is under martial law.
Black Fist: A band of corrupt individuals, worshipers of Bane. Members include:
- Aleyd Bural: A woman in her 40's with fading blonde hair. She is one of the few non-corrupt members, and she pops up in a bunch of Expeditions adventures.
- Hurn: An old fellow, broods a lot, very bribe-able.
- Glevith: A guy with slicked back hair.
- Allar "Blockjaw": A big, tough, thug kind of guy.
- Trunkey Lighttouch: A female halfling who is a bit of a softy.
- "Dark" Linsa: A grey-skinned half-elf who is a very cold person.
Locations in Phlan
Mantor's Library: This location comes up in a few different adventures. The head curator is Master Openrael, a meticulous and excitable fellow. He's assisted by an awkwardly shy halfling named Cassra Brandywine.
The Laughing Goblin Inn: This is apparently the most popular place to drink in town. It's located at the docks and draws a rough crowd. There's a carved totem of a laughing goblin. The place is run by Imizael, a no-nonsense kind of lady. A waiter named Markoth is quite popular among adventurers, as he always knows what is going on in town.
Zelhingen Graveyard: This place is actually located outside the city, just across the river. It's accessed by a bridge. This place comes up quite a bit in the Expeditions adventures. It's maintained by priests of Kelemvor, and overseen by Doomguide Yovir Glandon. Brother Keefe, a solemn fellow, keeps records. Cassyt is a very happy, chatty acolyte who has a role in one of the adventures.
Places To Shop: Brice Vang (armor), Randolph Tzintin (leather), Alero the Smithy (weapons), Cockburn's Grocery (adventuring gear. Seriously. "Cockburn"?!) and there's a fence named Jerome who can buy stolen goods.
There's also a "festhall" (which is Forgotten Realms-code for brothel) called The Velvet Doublet which I have found almost no details on.
DDEX 1-1 Defiance in Phlan
This adventure starts in Madame Freona's Tea Kettle, an inn run by a halfling and her five daughters. The scenario is broken into five "missions"/mini-adventures. Each mission introduces one of Freona's five daughters, which I really got a kick out of.
As this was a home game, I made especially sure to give the PCs ample opportunity to use the downtime rules. I was hoping for some rolls on the Carousing table. I kind of wondered if they'd try to set up a stall in Podol Plaza to sell their ill-gotten gains. I was really struggling with trying to decide how much it would cost to set up a stall. Do they need a permit for that kind of thing? I guess all it takes is a bribe, as that is how the Black Fist seems to handle everything in Phlan.
Mission 1: The Meeting at Deepnight
When the heroes go to make the sale, members of the thieves' guild show up to try to steal the egg.
I was wondering how this would go. The heroes were clever. They got an elaborate hat from the bard's costume kit and dumped the diamonds in it. They planted the pin amongst the hat's feathers and just handed the whole thing over. Pretty good!
The buy went down OK. The heroes wanted to inspect the egg (it's actually fake, but the PCs need to roll very high to realize that). The thieves showed up. The thug leader is really tough. He has two attacks and 32 hit points! Seems too dangerous. But I rolled really poorly, so the heroes did just fine.
The PCs handed the egg over to the Harper and collected their reward.
Downtime and Lifestyle
Another PC decided she wanted to live a wretched lifestyle, because it was free and she is a barbarian. She also wanted to spend her downtime days picking through garbage looking for stuff to sell.
This, uh, is not covered in the downtime rules. So I had her roll to search garbage, and then I rolled on the trinket table in the player's handbook to see what she found. She actually found a bank note someone discarded, from a bank in a nearby town.
Mission 2: The Screams at Dawn
The dungeon has a hallway with goblins firing arrows though holes in a wall, then a tripwire (cleverly avoided by our wretched trinket-gathering barbarian), and a large chamber with goblins who can release wolves from cages to attack our heroes.
The bard really wanted to "keep" a wolf. She cast animal friendship on one, and was successful. The wolf is charmed by her for 24 hours.
So much time had been spent on hijinks, that this was as far as we got. We had to stop here for the night. We'll do more next week.
I really like this adventure, particularly the next mission, which has a very neat little dungeon. I really like how this is broken up into five smaller scenarios.
So far, everyone loves it. I'd like to have seen more Expeditions adventures with this format.