The East Phandalin Company

Assassin!

After defeating the dragon of Thundertree, the heroes departed the ruins, heading West towards Neverwinter to sell their spoils and prepare for an assault on Cragmaw Castle.

Arriving in the great city, Bree was forced to take a bath, but in doing so, was able to secure a place at a wealthy auction house to sell amongst other things the head of the dragon they slew.

During the evening, Regrim returned to his room to find a drow assassin waiting from him. He fired a poisoned crossbow bolt at Regrim, saying it was on behalf of the Matron Mother Zeerith Q’Xorlarrin, the drow tyrant he defeated at Gauntlgrym. However, the mighty Regrim was not affected by the poison, and the heroes fell on the assassin, who used invisibility to try and escape, which led Bree to cover the entire inn in a cloud of flour.

The assassin escaped out the window after revealing himself with another failed assassination attempt, and was shortly detained by the heroes, but the town guard took over and took the drow prisoner.

The ordeal over, the heroes departed Neverwinter, bound for Cragmaw Castle.

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The Dragon of Thundertree
Sayonara Herr Nilsson

The heroes set out to return to Phandalin, armed with knowledge and weapons to face off against the creature that dwells at their next destination – the green dragon that has claimed the ruins of Thundertree.

After being attacked by a rampaging owlbear, the heroes arrived back safely in Phandalin to resupply and bid farewell to Lerissa the Tiefling Monk who departed for her temple to try and regain control of the demonic rage inside of her. The group collected the reward for dispatching the orcs at Wyvern Torr and after a night’s rest at the Stonehill Inn, journeyed back towards the city of Neverwinter bound for Thundertree.

After another owlbear attack, the party camped for the night amongst a strange rock fromation on a hill overlooking the ruins of Thundertree, where they spied their deadly quarry – a young green dragon – flying overhead. Resting up for the night, the heroes quickly discovered that the stones were in fact graves, and were attacked by restless ghouls, although their increasing skill allowed them to dispatch them swiftly.

The following day, they entered the ruins, and met with the druid Reidoth, a man of few words. He agreed to tell the heroes the location of Cragmaw Castle, the goblin fortress where they knew Gundren Rockseeker had been taken, and warned the group that the ruins were haunted by twig blights, ash zombies, a strange cult that appeared recently, and of course, worst of all, the dragon.

venomfang.pngThe heroes were determined to slay the dragon, but not before clearing out the ruins. When they were sure that the beast slept in its lair, they began to systematically clear out the ruins, facing off against tiny animated plants, zombies that just would not stay down, and a cult that was destroyed in mere seconds once combat was certain.

The group then hatched a plan to face off against the dragon. Lia and Regrim used magic to fly, whilst Bree, Tector, Hjalmar and Herr Nilsson assaulted from the ground. The dragon was not taken unawares however, and spewed its poison breath over the heroes. Lia cocked her bow with Arthindol, but missed her first shot, while the heroes drove at full force at the dragon. While the others distracted the beast, Lia flew down and retrieved the arrow, firing a second time, this time the ancient spirit struck true and the dragon was grievously wounded and made to retreat. It spew its breath a final time, claiming the life of poor Herr Nilsson, but the heroes struck a mighty final blow, and slew the beast.

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The Tomb of Arthindol
Ghost of the dragonslayer

The heroes were assaulted by wolves at night whilst camping in the ruins of Old Owl Well. They quickly dispatched the beasts, and were met by Lia. However, as she joined the party, the ground inside the tower ruin gave way, revealing a chamber underneath.

Determined to explore the ruin, the heroes climbed down by rope, Tector slipping and falling to the ground, but suffering no major injuries. The cavern led to the well, but also to an ancient stone door that the group determined to be of Netherese origin, and almost 5000 years old.

The adventurers unlocked the tomb, and found a peaceful fountain in the middle of the room, along with two alcoves with two sarcophagi each. Bree disturbed the sarcophagus in the southwestern corner, and was assaulted by shadow. Hjalmar was able to understand the Ancient Netherese language, but it did not keep the spirits from attacking. A spirit rose from each of the four sarcophagi.

After defeating the shades, the group discovered marvellous treasures in the form of a Doss Lute, a Netherese Rapier, and an amulet, all of which were magical in nature. They then entered the final chamber and encountered the ghost of Arthindol the builder of the tower and dragonslayer. Rather than fight the spirit, Hjalmar translated, informing Arthindol of what had transpired since his death. The party convinced Arthindol to aid them against the dragon of Thundertree, and the ghost gave them the treasure he was buried with, an Arrow of Dragon Slaying, which he possessed.

With the treasures in hand, the heroes headed back to Phandalin, with the goal of resupplying before striking out for Thundertree where they might find information as to the location of Cragmaw Castle from a druid who lives there.

Along the road, the party was assaulted by a fearsome owlbear.

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Trouble at Old Owl Well

After clearing the Redbrand Hideout, the heroes returned to town with Sildar, who took up residence in the Townmaster’s Hall and started restoring order to the town. The heroes learned of a group of orcs up at Wyvern Tor, terrorising the countryside, with a reward for 100 gp, and Sildar offered a reward of 500 gp if the heroes could find Cragmaw Castle and rescue Gundren Rockseeker.

The party returned to the Inn before visiting a number of locals, looking for information. They visited an ex adventurer, the Orchard keeper, Daran Edermath, who told them he had heard stories from prospectors that someone has been digging around the ruins there, and that miners have been chased off by undead.

They also were told of a druid who lives in the outskirts of the ruins of Thundertree named Reidoth. Reidoth supposedly knows the region better than any other, and should know the location of Cragmaw Castle, or any other important feature of the area, perhaps even the mines that Gundren and his brothers found.

The party set out towards the ruins of Conyberry, following the Triboar Trail, with the intentions of visiting Old Owl Well, and Wyvern Tor. They camped for the night in Conyberry, and spied a mysterious path. They followed it to a mysterious place in the woods, where a spirit confronted them, telling them to leave. The group was able to persuade the Banshee Agatha to tell them about the history of Old Owl Well. They learned that it was an ancient Netherese tower, built more than five thousand years ago by the wizard Arthindol.

They left then in peace, and proceeded to Old Owl Well, where they found an encampment owned by a red wizard of Thay named Hamun Kost. After learning that he was a necromancer, with a legion of zombies at his command, the group came to a deal. Kost was looking for the name of the wizard who built the tower, and the party had already learned it from Agatha. The group and Kost struck a deal – they would agree to visit Wyvern Tor and take care of the orcs that were scouting around Kost’s dig site and in return, Kost would give the group an ancient Netherese ring he found, in exchange for the name of the wizard.

The group went to Wyvern Tor, avoiding a goblin ambush along the way. They proceeded to a cave guarded by a lone orc, and took him out, mounting a surprise attack on the orcs in the cave. They fought fiercely against eight orcs and an ogre, but prevailed, leaving one alive to question about additional orcs, which gave them the information they needed to ambush the returning scouting party later that evening.

The group returned to Old Owl Well, and Kost set off home after making the trade. The group chose to camp for the night in the ruins. At night, during the watch, they heard the howling of wolves getting closer…

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Redbrand Hideout

After leaving Death House, the party discovered that most of the goods they took from the house had aged by centuries. Dismayed by the degradation of the plate armour, Regrim visited the smithy, and set to work combining the remains of the plate into a suit that he could wear, working through the night.

Meanwhile, the heroes interrogated the Redbrand Ruffian they captured in a room at the Stonehill Inn, learning the following:

  • The leader of the Redbrands is a human wizard known as Glasstaff, so named because his magic staff is made of glass.
  • A mysterious figure called the Black Spider has hired the Redbrands to frighten off adventurers and intimidate the locals, for reasons unknown. The Black Spider has sent bugbears to reinforce the Redbrands and provide extra muscle.
  • The lower part of the complex is guarded by a hideous “eye monster”.
  • The Redbrands have a handful of captives in a holding area “near the old crypts,” which are guarded by skeletons.

After following up on a rumour, they also learned of a secret entrance to the hideout, a tunnel in the forest south of Tresendar Manor. They were also approached by Sildar, who had learnt that his missing contact, Iarno Albrek, was last seen around Tresendar Manor two months ago, and fears that the Redbrands might have captured him. He is determined to accompany the party when they reveal that they intend to raid the hideout.

The group decided to take advantage of the early morning and the fact that the Redbrands were notorious drunkards, stopping off on the way at Lionshield Coster to reequip themselves and Sildar for their mission. Along the way, Hjalmar introduced his animal companion, a wild boar, Herr Nilsson, who had been shadowing the group on their travels.

Along the way to the manor, the heroes visited the Sleeping Giant taphouse, but found it closed. The party met the owner, however, a dwarf maiden named Grista who took a shining to Regrim and told them that she would reopen that night.

The party entered through the secret tunnel, and were confronted with a hideous one-eyed creature called a Nothic. Hjalmar attempted to parley with the creature, and initially succeeded, but then the negotiation soured after the party refused to pay the price of buying the Nothic’s loyalty.

A fight ensued, and the nothic was defeated, and under the bridge a chest was found with a magical sword, “Talon”, which Bree claimed. The heroes then systematically went through the dungeon, using the knowledge gained from their prisoner. They defeated three redbrands in their sleeping quarters, faced off against skeletons, a hallway trap, and freed Mirna Dendra and her two teenage children.

Mirna could not offer payment, but told of a secret location of a family heirloom in the ruins of Thundertree which was valuable.

The heroes then headed towards Glasstaff, the supposed leader of the Redbrands, only to discover that Glasstaff was none other than Iarno Albrek, the wizard that Sildar was looking for. A fight ensued, and Iarno was killed before he could be captured, but his missives included a revealing letter:

Lord Albrek,
My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Phandalin. They could be working for the dwarves. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but don’t allow
them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste. I’m counting on you, larno. Don’t disappoint me.

The letter was signed only with a drawing of a black spider.

The heroes then cleared out the rest of the hideout, freeing the town from Redbrand domination.

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Death House
The heroes follow a thug into a haunted house

After a restful night at the Stonehill Inn, the heroes set out into the morning to find a mist clinging to the ground, unusual for this time of the year. As they moved to investigate the strange house on the village green again, spying the two children from the evening before entering the house, a group of four red-cloaked thugs stumbled drunkenly into the green and began to abuse the party.

A fight ensued, and the thugs were beaten, with the final fleeing into the house.

The party pursued after hiding the bodies of the thugs down in the gully at the bottom of the town. As they approached the house, the mist rose to become a thick fog that obscured everything but the house. They went inside to find it eerily quiet.

In one room with three vicious and stuffed wolves, which Lia reacted nervously to, the party found the traces of a trap door, although it looked as if it could only be opened from the other side.

Finding blood trails leading upstairs, the group systematically went through the house, finding a dumbwaiter. Bree was hoisted up to the second storey, and the other heroes followed via the stairs.

On the second floor, which looked well kept, the heroes found suits of armour with wolf head motifs on the helms. In a study, they also found a library with a secret door hidden behind a bookcase. Within, they discovered a skeleton clutched over an open treasure chest, the victim of a trap. Within were the deeds to that house and a windmill, as well as an obscure letter from an unfamiliar nobleman:

_My most pathetic servant,

I am not a messiah sent to you by the Dark Powers of this land. I have not come to lead you on a path to immortality. However many souls you have bled on your hidden altar, however many visitors you have tortured in your dungeon, know that you are not the ones who
brought me to this beautiful land. You are but worms writhing in my earth.

You say that you are cursed, your fortunes spent. You abandoned love for madness, took solace in the bosom of another woman, and sired a stillborn son. Cursed by darkness? Of that I have no doubt. Save you from your wretchedness? I think not. I much prefer you as you are.

Your dread lord and master,
Strahd van Zarovich_

On the fourth floor, the house seemed to be abandoned to time, covered in cobwebs. The party was attacked by an animated suit of armour and a broom, and then the ghostly spirit of a servant woman screaming about protecting her baby.

On the fourth floor, they discovered the two dead spirits of the children they saw on the streets, Rose, and Thorn. When the heroes tried to leave, Lia was possessed by Rose, and Regrim by Thorn. The heroes took the remains of the children and discovered a secret staircase down to the basement. There, they found tombs where they could lay the children to rest.

They explored the basement which appeared to belong to an evil cult. They had to face several monsters, including the ghouls of the former cult members, and a door that was actually a shape-shifting creature called a mimic. Eventually, they followed the sound of ghostly chanting down to a subbasement where they found the thug in a prison. They defeated the thug and found a sacrificial chamber. The spirits of thirteen cultists appeared and demanded a sacrifice.

The party debated sacrificing the thug, but then noticed a dormant creature in the corner. They chose to sacrifice it, and faced off against the creature, a living, writhing mass of debris and plant matter.

After that, the house seemed appeased and allowed them to leave. The party took the thug back to the Inn and kept him prisoner.

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A Night in the Stonehill Inn
The heroes meet a new tiefling companion and hear rumours

The heroes met with a new companion, a tiefling named Lerissa, who joined them for a night at the Stonhill Inn, run by Tolben Stonehill and his wife Trilena. Tector played his viol for the tavern, and Hjalmar danced. Regrim, Lia and Lerissa spoke quietly at their table

The party learned the following rumours:

  • Narth, an old farmer: “Sister Garaele, who oversees the Shrine of Luck, recently left town for a few days, then returned wounded and exhausted.”
  • Elsa, a gossipy barmaid: “Daran Edermath, the orchard keeper, is a former adventurer.”
  • Lanar, a miner: “Orc raiders have been seen on the east end of Triboar Trail. The townmaster is looking for someone to run them off.”
  • Trilena, the innkeeper’s wife: “Thel Dendrar, a local woodcarver, stood up to the Redbrands a tenday ago when they came by his shop and leered at his wife. The ruffians murdered him. Several townsfolk saw it happen. The Redbrands grabbed his body, and now his wife, daughter, and son have gone missing too.”
  • Pip, the Innkeeper’s young son: “Qelline Alderleaf’s son Carp said he found a secret tunnel in the woods, but Redbrands almost caught him.”
  • Freda, a weaver: “The Redbrands hassle every business in town, except for the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange. They don’t want trouble with Halia Thornton, who runs it.”

Several of the party stayed in rooms, while a few others bunked in the stables. Tolben was so pleased with Tector’s performance that he allowed the bard to stay for free room and board.

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Goblin Ambush
Trip from Neverwinter - Goblin Ambush - Cragmaw Hideout - Phandalin

After being hired in the city of Neverwinter by the dwarf, Gundren Rockseeker, a small group of heroes made merry in the inn and then the following morning, set out along the High Road southwards with a oxen-driven wagon full of mining supplies, destined for the town of Phandalin.

Gundren Rockseeker and his companion, Sildar Hallwinter, rode on ahead on horseback, while the wagon made slow progress. After two uneventful days travel, the heroes guided the wagon onto the Triboar Trail, only 30 miles out from Phandalin, when up ahead they spied two dead horses on the road.

After investigating, and realising the horses belonged to Sildar and Gundren, the heroes were ambushed by goblins. After dispatching the beasts, the ranger Hjalmar found traces of tracks leading off into the forest. The party tied up the oxen, disguised the wagon, and proceeded up the trail hoping to rescue their missing friends.

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Avoiding a series of traps, the heroes came upon a cave and got the drop on the guards. The went into the caves, and were startled by the growling of wolves. Hjalmar calmed the wolves enough to allow the others to quietly dispatch them, and the party ascended a tunnel up thirty feet into another chamber, only to find themselves face to face with goblins, a wolf, and a mighty Bugbear warrior named Klarg.

Although the bard Tector suffered grievous wounds, the party defeated the leader of the goblins, and used stealth to penetrate further into the cave. They rested for the night, and made their final assault very early in the morning when the goblins were sleeping. They found and rescued Sildar, Tector healing him with his magic, and slew the last remaining goblins.

Sildar told them that Gundren was taken to a place named Cragmaw Castle, by orders of someone called the Black Spider. He reveals that Gundren is one of three brothers who recently rediscovered the long lost Wave Echo Cave, the site of the mines of Phandelver’s Pact. He relates the tale of the Pact:

More than five hundred years ago, clans of dwarves and gnomes made an agreement known as the Phandelver’s Pact, by which they would share a rich mine in a wondrous cavern known as Wave Echo Cave. In addition to its mineral wealth, the mine contained great magical power. Human spellcasters allied themselves with the dwarves and gnomes to channel and bind that energy into a great forge (called the Forge of Spells), where magic items could be crafted. Times were good, and the nearby human town of Phandalin (pronounced fan-duh-lin) prospered as well. But then disaster struck when ores swept through the North and laid waste to all in their path.

A powerful force of ores reinforced by evil mercenary wizards attacked Wave Echo Cave to seize its riches and magic treasures. Human wizards fought alongside their dwarf and gnome allies to defend the Forge of Spells, and the ensuing spell battle destroyed much of the cavern. Few survived the cave-ins and tremors, and the location of Wave Echo Cave was lost.

Gundren had a map showing the location of the mine, but it was taken away along with the dwarf when they moved him. Sildar did not know where Cragmaw Castle was located, but suggested that the party move on to Phandalin and see if they could discover who might know it’s whereabouts there.

Sildar offered to pay the party 50 gp for their troubles, upon his safe arrival at Phandalin. The heroes agreed, and transported the stolen goods from the cave, and Sildar, back to the Triboar Trail and continued on to the town.

They arrived at nightfall, delivering the goods to Barthen’s Provisions and Lionshield Coster before retiring to the Stonehill Inn. As they entered the inn, the party looked across the road and saw a strange girl and a boy holding a doll. In the distance, evening mist clung to a four-storey house on the village green that looked out of place there. A cart passed by, and mysteriously, the girl and boy seemed to have vanished. A hooded figure in the doorway regarded the heroes and said, “You saw them too, didn’t you?”
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