Rise of the Dark Queen

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls
Wherein our heroes fight lots of ghouls

Deciding to take the northern tunnel, the party discovers a room that was obviously once the main barracks for the dwarven miners. They also find a small pack of three hungry ghouls, munching on the remains of said dwarven miners. Smelling fresh meat, the undead creatures quickly attack. Though they are outnumbered, the ghouls put up a huge fight, but eventually they are taken down. Worn down from both the ghouls and the stirges, the party decides that the barracks would make a good, defensible position from which to rest and make deeper forays into the mine. While resting in the room, Allie decides to send out his raven friend to investigate some of the surrounding dungeon.

Meanwhile, locked in the room with the remains of dead dwarves and ghouls, the party can hear scratching and groaning coming from the western door of the barracks. It only lasts a few minutes before the sounds seem to retreat. When the raven comes back, Lael uses her speak with animal spell to hear its report. The raven tells her that there are a large number of ghouls, some were wandering the maze of mine shafts to the east, but they retreated to what appears to be a ghoul next in a large cavern to the north. The raven, not being very good with numbers, can only say there were more than four ghouls there.

After spending some time talking about what to do next, they decide that the best case of action is to just attack quickly and hopefully get the drop on the undead. Moving through the mine shafts to a northern tunnel, they find the large cavern the raven described. The center part of the cavern is sunken, but stairs on either side lead in and out of it. It is in this sunken area where the ghouls have gathered the remains of the dwarves and orcs that fought here centuries before. It is also where the ghouls have gathered, about seven of them.

The party sets themselves up in the mine shafts just south of the cavern, and then uses blood to draw a ghoul or two towards them. The plan works better than expected, as all seven undead charged towards the stairway. Lael cast a moonbeam spell right on the stairs, so that each ghoul has no choice but to go through it on their way down. Egging them down the stairs, though, are Allie and Nissin, while Steve, Torian, Meleas and Amos were on either side of the stairs to attack them as they came through the Moonbeam.

Despite overwhelming numbers, the plan mostly worked. Although several party members took a lot of damage, including Nissin, who nearly was killed in the fight, they ghouls were destroyed. Victorious but tired after a day of travel and fighting, the party retreated back to the barracks to rest for the night. Allie, only needing half the rest of most of the party, deices to head out and scout while the rest of the party rests. He goes to explore the western mine shafts, which appear to be just that, old, empty mine shafts. He slowly makes his way through the tunnels, though, mapping them out for use by the rest of the party later. However, while in the tunnels alone, he is attacked by an ochre jelly. The ooze proves to be tougher than Allie expected, and he falls under the attack. His raven friend flees and raises the alarm with the rest of the party, most of whom are just waking up from their rest. They quickly grab their gear and rush to Allie’s aid.

They arrive in time to see the jelly covering Allie in an attempt to digest the dark elf. The strikes come quickly, but when Meleas attacks with Talon, her magic sword, the ooze splits into two, and the party now finds themselves fighting on two fronts. This time, however, they change their tactics and start using more magic attacks. With the split, the two new jellies seem to ignore Allie, who is pulled out of the area by Meleas, who uses her own healing magic and potions to bring her teammate back from the edge of death. Meanwhile, the rest of the party uses a combination of spells and blunt weapons to destroy the two jellies. The group returns to their Barracks headquarters to discuss future plans and how no one should wander off on their own from now on.

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Wave Echo Cave
Wherein our party gains new members, and finds a legendary mine

Half-afraid that they had alerted the entire castle of their presence with their battle against the King, the party prepares for battle again. Lael orders Finn to guard the still unconscious Gundren with his life, and the rest of the party takes positions by the door. When it opens, a couple of hobgoblin guards poked their head in to see what was happening. The battle was quick, and did not go well for the guards. Torian moved out of the room to make sure there were no more guards coming, and everyone else followed except Finn, who stayed behind with the dwarf.

Their did not appear to be any further guards coming their way, but just as they were about to turn back, they heard a roaring noise from behind a door on the other side of what appeared to be guard barracks. Checking it out, they open the door to see a very strange sight.

Off to the side of the room was a metal cage, inside of which were two naked men, one human and one drow. On the other side of the room, growling at the two men, was a large owl bear. The creature turned to the door upon its opening and attacked. The battle was fierce, with Torian taking the brunt of the Owl Bear’s claws and beak, but eventually the party took the beast down.

Amos, between laughing fits, questioned the two men in the cage while the rest of the party worked in getting them free. The human introduced himself as Steve, and his companion as Allie. They were hired by Sildar Hallwinter back in Neverwinter to be caravan guards for Gundren’s wagon that left the day before the party did. They had been ambushed by a large force of goblins and hobgoblins, captured and taken back here. The bugbear that lead the goblins had stripped them naked and stuck them in this cage until he figured out what to do with them. They figured that at some point he would just feed them to the bugbear, who had clawed at them rather hungrily for the past four days.

Meanwhile, Nissin searched the chests in the barracks and discovered not only the two men’s gear, but the key to their cage. Now free, they joined the party in returning to Gundren and Finn. A quick search of the King’s quarters revealed some loot, but also, and more importantly, Gundren’s map of the Sword Mountain region, marking the location of Wave Echo Cave.

Amos recognized the name as being a prosperous dwarven mine many years ago. It was home to a great forge called the Forge of Spells where the dwarves created mighty magic items. That was before it was lost in a battle against a wizard and his forces trying to take control of the forge. The story goes that the battle destroyed much of the cave and caused many cave ins. In the intervening years, the location of Wave Echo Cave was lost.

Taking a now revived Gundrin with them the party retreated back to Phandelin. There, they took Gundrin to Sildar Hallwinter, who was greatful to see the dwarf still alive. After getting him some food and water, Gundren told everyone his story. He and his two brothers, Nundro and Tharden, had been surveying the Sword Mountains for potential mining operations. They had also been following the legends of Wave Echo Cave, though Gundren never thought they would actually find it. But, find it they did. Gundren was sent back to Neverwinter to solidify their claim as well as retrieve mining and excavation equipment while his two brother remained behind to guard their claim.

As the party knew, it was on his way back that he was ambushed. He doesn’t know much, except that someone called the Black Spider set up the ambush, and was seeking his map from King Grol. Now, he fears that this Black Spider has done something horrible to his brothers and taken over the mine. He asks that the party, along with his two caravan guards, go to Wave Echo Cave, find out what happened to his brothers, and defeat the vile villain that jumped his claim. In return, he offers the collective party a 10% share of the mine’s profits once it is up and running.

The party confers among themselves. They all agree to work together, except for Finn, who feels this is all just a little over his head. He thanks Lael and the others for helping him out on his first adventure, but he feels that he’s just holding the team back with his inexperience. So, he leaves the party and returns to Neverwinter to hook up with another adventuring party, one that is more on par with his skill level. Wishing him luck and with a hope to see him again in the future, the party bids him farewell.

The new party, now consisting of Lael, Torian, Amos, Meleas, Nissin, Steve and Allie, decides to take the rest of the day to prepare for this next important step on their adventure. They rest, buy supplies, a wagon and a horse to pull it, and prepare mentally for the challenge ahead. Then, following Gundren’s map, head into the Sword Mountains.

With the aid of the map, it doesn’t take the party more than a day to find the cave entrance. At first, it appears to be nothing more than a normal cave. A big one, to be sure, but a normal one. But then they find signs of a camp. Three bedrolls and a collection of supplies. And nearby, they find the dead body of a dwarf. According to the descriptions they were given, this appears to be Tharden Rockseeker. Not far from the body they find a large, open pit.

While the main group is exploring inside, Amos and Steve head outside to make sure that they are not being followed. While standing in the cold, they are attacked by a swarm of stirges. Steve has one latch onto him, while Amos utilizes his quick wit and some judicious use of bardic magic, and quickly kills all the loathsome creatures.

Deciding that there is no one else nearby, the two return inside. Meanwhile, the two drow, Nissin and Allie, had descended into the pit in order to scout things out. Nissin headed north, where he quickly found a maze of mine tunnels. Allie went east and found more caves. Leading the whole group down into the pit, they all decide to head east, figuring it to be the least likely to have foes.

Not long after entering the cave to the east, Steve hears a now familiar buzzing noise. More stirges attack the party. The pests are dealt with quickly, however, and the party steels themselves, ready to venture further into the caves, and take down the Black Spider.

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Of Castles and Kings
Wherein our party rescues their employer

After ooing and ahing over their friend’s new form and expressing their relief that she is alive, no matter how she looks, Reidoth exited the cabin and approached the group. They, somewhat still angrily, reported on the death of Virmathrax. He nodded his approval. Then, as they had agreed upon, he showed them the location of Cragmaw Castle. He stated that, with the death of the dragon he had other pressing matters to attend, so he could not go with them, but he did give them detailed directions on how to get there that involved landmarks and special druid marks. Most of the party didn’t understand the instructions at all, but Leal and Torian understood completely.

Realizing they were looking at a two day hike, at least, the party decided to stop back at Neverwinter to recover somewhat before taking on the goblin hideout. There, they return to the Neverwinter Adventurer’s Guild, where they were introduced to a young adventurer by one of the guildmasters. His name is Finn, and he wanted to learn the ways of an adventurer. The guildmaster thought that since the party was fairly experienced in the area, they could take Finn under their wing and show him the ropes. They talked to Finn for a minute and, after finding him rather likable, agreed to take him along.

After gathering some supplies, the party tracked their way through the forest, following the druid marks visible to Leal and Torian, the eventually find their way to Cragmaw Castle, which turns out to be the remains of an old fortress. It looked like most of it collapsed and was reclaimed by the forest hundreds of years ago, but a good chunk of the first floor remains, making it a good hideout. Before they can get very far, though, they run into a goblin patrol. It turns out, however, that the patrol is being led by the party’s old “friend,” Yeemik. Yeemik is not happy, especially when he figures out that the party is here to attack the castle. The party, however, decides to make another deal with Yeemik. Show them a way in to the castle, or they will kill him right here and now. Having seen them in action, and seeing that they now have even more heavily armed people with them than before, he agrees, and shows them a hole in the wall on the northern face of the castle. Yeemik then takes his patrol and runs away.

As quietly as possible, the group enters through the hole. The inside of the castle is as crumbled and messy as the outside, but it’s also clear it’s being occupied. The room they enter is currently empty, and appears to be an old storage room. The party deicides to head to the door off the room, rather than through any of the hallways leading out.

The door led through a hallway that ended in another door, or turned to the south to a curtain. They hear voices through the door, and decide to enter it. Once inside, what they see surprised them.

It was a large old bugbear, King Grol of the Cragmaws himself. With him is a large wolf and a female drow. In the southwest corner of the room lies an unconscious dwarf. It’s Gundren!

Without any hesitatation, Grol attacks, and the battle is on. Meleas, Torian and Finn quickly focus on the bugbear, while Nissin aims to take out the drow woman before she can unleash her magic. The rest of the party helps where needed. The battle was quick, but bloody, as Torian and Meleas take a lot of damage from Grol, but Nissin and Leal take out the drow pretty quickly, how turns out to be a doppelganger in disguise. Finn and Amos manage to take down the wolf, and then the whole party is focused on King Grol, who is killed under the concentrated firepower.

Just as they are about to celebrate and go see if Gundren is still alive, they can hear some voices from down the corridor. Apparently, the sounds of their battle drew some guards!

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Loot! As of Saturday March 7th
Compiled by Nissin

Coin

Copper Pieces 1327
Silver Pieces 1463
Gold Pieces 827
Platinum Pieces 5

Total GP worth if all converted to GP:
1036.57

Magic Items

“Talon” Meleas Longsword +1
“Icesickle” Nissin D’Laer Glass Staff of Defence 10 Charges +1 to AC, Mage Armor cost 1, Shield cost 2 gains 1d6 + 4 charges @ dawn.
“Hew” Torian Rusty Dwarven Battlehamer. Dwarven runes proclaim it “Hew”.
Ring of Protection + 1 Torian Ancient kite shaped ring.
Iarno’s Spell book
Cantrips: Light, Mage Hand, Shocking Grasp
1st level: Charm Person, Magic Missile
2nd level: Hold Person, Misty Step.

Scroll of Augry, Scroll of Charm Person, Scroll of Darkness, Scroll of Fireball
2 Scrolls Unidentified (Found in tower with young green dragon)
4 Potions of Healing

Items

2 Garnets (10 gp/)
5 Carnelians (15 gp/)
2 Peridot (15 gp/)
3 Pearls (100 gp/)
5 Malachite (15 gp/)
1 bottle of MErcury (20 gp)
1 bottle of Dragon’s Bile (25gp)
1 bottle of Powdered Nightshade (25 gp)
1 pair Gold Earings w/ Rubies Droop (30 gp)
1 Eye Patch w/ Ruby mounting Amos (50 gp)
1 Iron Key
1 Neck Purse
3 vials of perfume (10 pg/)
4 Silver Goblets encrusted w/ Moonstone (60 gp/)

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Druids and Death
In which one of our heroes dies

With the orcs dealt with, the party heads back to Phandalin. There, they present their success and report that the orcs were just a raiding party, not part of a larger uprising. Townmaster Harbin Wester grudgingly acknowledges that they did a good job, and hands over the reward he was offering for dealing with the orcs.

That night, the town citizens gather at the Stonehill Inn to celebrate their new heroes, both for dealing with the orc raiders as well as for taking down the Redbrands. None of the party were allowed to buy a single drink that night, and everyone had a good time.

During the evening, a local farm woman, a Halfling named Qelline Alderleaf, approached the party. She had heard that they were looking for Cragmaw Castle. While she had never heard of it herself, she does know of a person that might know where it is. She mentions an old druid that is known to wander these parts, Reidoth, the druid. Lael gasps in recognition. She has met Reidoth once, during her early training in being a druid. She remembers him as being mostly silent and rather grumpy in a scary kind of way. Qelline says that last she had heard, Reidoth was hanging out in a ruined town called Thundertree.

Thundertree was apparently a town that was destroyed not long after Mount Hotenow erupted. The eruption itself didn’t reach the town, but not long after the ash fell on the town, strange zombies rose up and attacked, forcing the townsfolk to flee. Mostly, the town is abandoned now, with very few actual zombies left.

This being the first real lead they have on the location of the castle, the party agrees to head to Thundertree. Nissin decides that, given the town is about 4 days away, to rent a wagon and some horses to make the trip easier. The trip itself is pretty uneventful, and included a quick stop in Neverwinter. They arrive in Thundertree the next morning, where they find some crudely built signs warning people away from the town due to zombies and deadly plants.

They party quickly decides this is more of a challenge than a warning, and marches in. They are quickly set upon by small, plant like creatures. The battle is quick, though during it Nissin is wounded when one of the creatures leaps into the wagon. The party, now wary of the town, moves deeper in, but before they can investigate more, a figure appears.

It was a wild eyed, white bearded man wielding a quarter staff and waving his arms. He yelled at them for ignoring his signs, but quickly figured out they were adventurers (which he seemed to think was only slightly better than stupid people). Lael then blurted out that she recognized him as Master Reidoth. He needed at her, vaguely remembering her from her training.

He brought them back to a rickety shack he was currently living in to discuss the situation. The party explains that they were in Thundertree to seek him out, because they had been told that he might know where Cragmaw Castle would be. He nods in recognition of the name, knowing it as a headquarters for a tribe of goblins.

Reidoth explains that he came to Thundertree due to something new that changed in the town. A young, green dragon named Virmathrax. It had arrived a few months ago and has set up shop in the remains of the town tower. Reidoth has been watching him to make sure he doesn’t strike out from his new home, but he does wish to take care of the dragon problem soon before the dragon becomes a real problem later.

He makes the party a deal. Kill Virmathrax for him, and then he will show them the way to Cragmaw Castle.

The party discusses this, wondering if it’s a good idea, but in the end decides to do it, as so far this is their best chance of finding Cragmaw. Plus, killing a dragon always looks good on the adventuring resume.

He point the party towards the only building in town over one story still mostly standing, the old tower. It once belonged to a wizard, but now it’s been hollowed out to house the dragon. Virmathrax himself goes in and out the top of the tower, but a small house attached to the side has a more normal entrance for the party to use. If they go at night, they are more likely to catch the dragon sleeping. Agreeing to this plan, the party rests and prepares.

That night, they see the dragon fly down out of the sky and land into the tower. Droop is left behind, as they move into the house next door. Quickly, they move to attack, striking the tower from the small house. Meleas and Torian charge the green dragon, striking as hard as they can and getting the dragon’s attention. Amos helps as best he can, striking with his rapier and quickly backing away. But it is the wizard Nissan and the druid Lael that do the most damage to the dragon with their magic.

Young but not stupid, Virmathrax realizes the true threat, and lets loose with his breath weapon, dropping both spell casters in one attack.

Amos quickly realizes what happens. He casts his Vicious Mockery spell, distracting Virmathrax enough that the warriors are able to get his full attention. Amos then quickly moves into the small house to take care of the spell casters. He uses his meager healing skills to bring Nissin back to consciousness, and helps the wizard stand so he can re-join the fight, week as he was. Amos then moved to check on the druid, and here he received some horrible news.

Lael was dead.

With a cry of pain, he stood and moved next the wizard, who was casting magic missiles at the dragon. With anger in his eyes, Amos aimed another Vicious Mockery spell at the dragon, again distracting him. This allowed Meleas to call upon the power of her diety and strike a holy blow, killing the dragon.

Before waiting for the dragon’s body to even hit the floor, Amos rushed back into the house to pick up the body of his dead elf friend, and carried it to the hut where Reidoth and Droop wait. He kicked open the door, startling the goblin, and then stood there, staring at the druid. Reidoth, for his part, slowly sipped from his cup as he looked at the body in Amos’ arms.

Droop, after recovering from his shock, ran to the body of his master and poked her, trying to see if she was really dead. He called to her quietly, and tears sprung into his eyes. Amos, ignoring the goblin, marched across the floor, and placed the body in front of Reidoth, who hadn’t moved or removed his eyes from Amos’.

“Heal her,” the bard said. “Bring her back. She died fighting your fight for you, and so you will bring her back. You will do it, and you will not ask for anything in return. This is the least you can do.”
Reidoth stared down the young man for a moment before sighing.

“Leave my hut,” he said.

Amos only stared at him.

“Leave now,” the druid repeated. “If you want your friend back, you will take your goblin and leave me so I can work.”

Still angry, Amos turned around, grabbed Droop by the arm, and walked out the hut. The rest of the party was only then catching up to him, and he filled them in on what was happening. They all waited outside as chanting and strange lights came from the hut inside.

Several hours later, with the moon now high in the sky, Lael opened her eyes. She sat up, slowly and with the help of Reidoth, and asked what happened. The druid explained that she had been killed by the dragon, and that, at the very strong request of her human friend, he brought her back to the best of his ability. He informed her that it may take a little bit for her to get used to her new form, but that despite the changes, she was still Lael, the same Lael she was before her death. He spirit had just been bound to a new form.

He then gave her a serious look and made sure she was paying attention to her.

“Despite what your young friend outside believes, this spell cost me,” he said. “it cost me dearly. You, my dear, now very literally owe me your life. One day, I will come to you for payment.”

Lael, understanding the druid master, nodded. This only made sense to her.

“Now,” he said, “go. Re-Introduce yourself to your friends.”

She nodded again, thanked the master, and then took a few halting steps outside. The rest of the party rushed up to her, then halted when they saw not the young, small elf women they expected, but instead, a tall, lavender skinned tiefling. They all gasped.

“Hello, my friends,” she said. “It’s me. Lael.”

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Orcs and Cultists
In which our heroes explore their surroundings

Our party rises the next morning to go to have a few meetings.

First, Nissin and Meleas spoke with their Harper contact, Sister Garaele. She informed them that, as their mission were to trace the slaver known as The Black Spider, who now seems to be involved with the disappearance of Gundren Rockseaker, to stick with the party currently searching for the Black Spider for other reasons. Aligned goals worked in their favor at this point.

The second meeting was with Sildar Hallwinter, who wants to talk to them about what they found in the Redbrand hideout. Sildar has, in the meantime, set up his own headquarters in the Townmaster’s Hall. When the party arrives, they find not only Sildar, but also the Twonmaster, a fat, well-dressed man named Harbin Wester. When asked, both Harbin and Sildar explained that the Townmaster is not a true town leader in the form of a government, but more like an elected judge and arbiter of disputes in town. The town elects a new Townmaster every year, though Harbin has been elected for two years in a row now.

Harbin pretty quickly made it clear that he was not happy with the party or their actions. In his eyes, there wasn’t much of a difference between them and the Redbrands, in that they are both bands of heavily armed mercenaries. And, while the Redbrands were annoying to be sure, they at least did not bring goblins and drow into town. He then points to Nissin and points out that this Black Spider that Glasstaff was working for is, but Glasstaff’s own admission, is a drow. How does anyone know that it isn’t Nissin.

While the party tries to point out how ridiculous it would be for the Black Spider to just walk into the town he’s been bullying, but Nissin himself points out that his people are very machiavellian, and it wouldn’t be beyond one of his kind to do just that.

Frustrated, the party asks how they can prove themselves to be the heroes they know they are. That’s when Sildar and Harbin share a look. It turns out that some reports have come to both of them that orcs are gathering near Wyvern Tor. If the party could investigate and stop any threat to the town these orcs represent, that would go a long way to helping Harbin trust them.

The party agrees almost immediately, still having very little clue as to the location of Cragmaw Castle, the location that Gundren Rockseaker is held. While there is little chance the orcs know the castle’s location, it’s better than nothing. Plus, Wyvern Tor is close to Conyberry, a place they already want to go to in order to find the location of a banshee named Agatha, so they figure they can kill two birds with one stone.

The journey to Conyberry is uneventful, and it is easy to see why when they get there. The town itself is gone, barely ruins overrun with weeds and plants, and very few actual buildings left standing. However, the town marks the halfway point between two places the party wants to be, so it makes a good camp.

The first decide to head north, where they find what appears to be an abandoned hut in the forest. However, it turns out to be the home of a banshee, Agatha. She threatens to kill the party if they don’t leave immediately, but Torian gives her the gift that Sister Garaele gave them a few days before. She agrees to answer one, and only one, question. A quick discussion ensues, as both Leal and Amos argue that they should ask for the location of Cragmaw Castle, but in the end the party decides to honor the promise to the elf priest, and asks the banshee about the location of the spell book the Sister is looking for. She tells them, and then goes right back to threatening their lives if they don’t leave.

Ever the proper guests, the party leaves quickly. They then head south from Conyberry. On their way to Wyvern Tor, they discover the ruins of an ancient tower in the hills, a place the locals call Old Owl Well. It looks like someone has made camp up there, so they decide to investigate. They don’t get too close, however, before they are attacked by skeletons! A battle ensues, and the man at the top of the Well reveals himself to be a Red Wizard of Thay. A quick negotiation with him gets him to surrender and flee without any of his stuff (though he does take his pack before fleeing).

In the treasure left behind they party discovers a spell book and an ancient ring from the old empire of Netheril. Taking some time out to investigate it, the party discovers this is, in fact, a ring of protection. Happy with this resolution, the party continues moving south. Eventually, they reach Wyvern Tor. As the townmaster said, there are orcs there. The party spots two guards outside a large cave mouth. They attempt to sneak up on them, but are not quite successful, causing one guard to run inside the cave. Not wanting to loose what little advantage they had, Torian leads the party on a charge, and a battle is quickly joined inside the cave.

Even though the orcs had an ogre on their side, and fought well, the battle was hard fought, but in the end, the orcs were outclassed, and the party was victorious, destroying the last of the orcs that were here, including their leader.

With the enemy defeated the party searched the cave and found the information that Harbin was looking for. Satisfied with themselves, they gather up their booty and the information, and plan on returning to town to confront Harbin and get the respect they feel he owes them.

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Glass Staffs and Goodbyes
In which our heroes say goodbye to one of their own

Continuing on, the party decided to head to the open chamber at the northern end of the cave. There, they discovered another storage room, but this one was holding empty boxes and barrels, apparently ready for use in the future. While searching around, they discover a secret door that leads to a stairway, apparently ending in a dead end. A quick search at the bottom finds yet another secret door, leading Torga, who has seen this kind of architecture before, to the conclusion that this is an escape route. Deciding that who or whatever is on the other side of this escape route must be important, they open the door and barge in.

Inside, they find what appears to be a human wizard. Surprised, he quickly reaches for his glass staff and pushes out of his desk chair, but Torian gets to him first and smacks him in the face. But then the wizard quickly casts a spell that charms Torian, who then refused to him the wizard further. The rest of the group joins in the battle, and given that it is one wizard against six adventurers, he falls quickly. Torga gets the final blow in, knocking him unconscious rather than killing him, though he is pretty badly wounded from the fight.

Searching his room, the party finds a note. It is address to Lord Albrek (the same name as the wizard that Sildar Hallwinter was looking for). It indicates that he is the leader of the Redbrands, and is somehow connected to the kidnapping of Gundren Rockseeker, and is working for someone else. The letter is only signed with a black spider picture. Nothing indicating who this Black Spider might be.

Moving on, they find the wizard’s work room, filled with all kinds of alchemy apparatus. Nissin looks it all over, and decides that the wizard was working on an invisibility potion, though he hadn’t been successful at it yet. They also find a dead rat in here, which every surmises was the wizard’s familiar. They decided that the wizard is Lord Albrek and that they need to take him to Sildar, so they tie him up and carry him along.

Continuing from there, they eventually run into a guard room with more Redbrands. These guys, though, seem slightly smarter than the rest, for they quickly block the door, preventing all but Torian from attacking. This causes the barbarian to fly into a rage, and he pushes the guards back into the room, and from there, it’s a quick battle and the party mops up pretty easily. They capture one of the Redbrands, and question him.

He tells them that the wizard they captured is called Glasstaff. He doesn’t recognize the name Irano Albrek, they all just call him Glasstaff. He tells them that Glasstaff is working for the Black Spider, but he has no idea who that is. The Black Spider paid them to cause trouble in town, specifically when it came to adventurers. The Black Spider also sent over some additional muscle in the form of three Bugbears, who are in a room just down the hall. Because he was so cooperative, the party agrees to not kill him, and ties him up to also be turned over to Sildar.

Forewarned, the party approaches the bugbear room. Inside, they can hear the voices, shouting and laughing. Leal understands the language, it being goblin, and says it sounds like larger voices giving demeaning commands and then laughing.

Deciding that surprise is still on their side, the party bursts into the room and attacks. They spot a goblin who appears to be a slave to the three bugbears, who faints dead away as soon as he sees the party. The bugbears put up a bigger fight than the ruffians have so far, but eventually, the party manages to take down all three of them. They knew they were in a fight afterwards, though, and rested and healed afterwards.

The goblin awoke while they were resting, and quickly surrendered. Lael spoke to him, and he introduced himself as Droop. He indicated that his tribe, the Cragmaw goblins, had always treated him badly, and in what they thought was a funny joke, gave him to the bugbears to be their servent. In gratitude for freeing him from such cruel masters, he agrees to serve Lael. She reluctantly agrees, not knowing what else to do with the pathetic creature. Unfortunatily, he does not know how to get to Cragmaw castle, as the bugbears, in a cruel joke, blindfolded him and then gave him orders that required sight.

After a short break, the party searches out the rest of the underground hideout and discovers that they have cleared it all out. The Redbrands are no more!

Returning to Phandalin in triumph, the party tuns over Albrek and the Redbrand captive to Sildar Hallwinter, who is suitably impressed with their sucess. He is saddened to learn of Albrek’s betrail of the Lords Aliance, but gives the party a substantial reward for turning him in.

The rest of the town is happy that the Redbrands are no longer a nuisance, and calls the party heroes. The Inn even gives them free drinks (for one round). While at the Inn celebrating, a messenger arrives, with a letter for Torgga. Apparently, the master of her monastery is sick, and possibly dying. She must return to tend to his last days.

Sadened by the loss of their friend, they all say their goodbyes, pay out her share of the loot, and bid her a fond farewell, hoping that they will one day meet again.

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Party Coin
Coin Only

Money
Platinum NA
Copper 600
Silver 458
Gold 312

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Party Items

Items
1 Jade statue with gold eyes
2 Healing Potion
2 Garnets worth 10 gold each
1 Plat signet ring worth 10 gp
5 Carnelians worth 10 gp
1 Pearl worth 100gp
2 Paradot worth 15gp
5 Malachite Gems worth 15gp
1 Scroll of Augary
1 Talon a magical Longsword (used by Meleas).
1 scroll of Fireball
1 Scroll of Charm Person
1 Bottle of mercury 25gp
1 Vile of Dragons Bile 25gp
1 Vile of powdered Night Shade 25gp

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Prisoners and Playmates
In which our party gains new members

Taking a deep breath from their fight with the skeletons, the party bravely pushed on through the door to the east. Inside, they find two prison cells. In the southern cell is a human woman huddling up with a human girl and a blond elf woman who looks more defiant than scared. In the northern cell is a human boy, staying as far across the cell from a male drow elf, who sat patiently at the other end. All of them were wearing gray tunics with irons around their necks, hands and feet. But before anyone could react, two Redbrand guards who were hiding behind the door struck.

They managed to get in a few good blows on the dragonborn, but they fell quickly before the combined might of our heroes. Strangely, though, they had no keys on them. But, with his strong arm, and some help from Torgga, Torian managed to pull open the bars enough, and then they used the swords from the fallen guards to pry open the shackles.

The human woman, Mirna Dendrar, and the children, it turns out, are all members of a family. Mirna’s husband, Thel, was the only man in town who stood up to the brigands, and they killed him for it, and then captured the rest of his family to sell into slavery. She is grateful for the rescue, but says she has no money to offer for a reward. Though the group tries to deny a need for one, she tells them of an emerald necklace that was a family heirloom of hers, that was left in the now destroyed town of Thundertree when she was a child. If they could find it, she says they can keep it as their reward.

The other two prisoners had a more complex tale to tell. They introduce themselves as Meleas, a high elf paladin and her companion, Nissin D’Laer, a drow elf wizard. They tell an interesting tale. Apparently, they are both members of an organization known as the Harpers, who work to promote goodness and freedom throughout the realms. They were sent to Phandalin to report to Sister Grael, specifically to take on the Redbrands. Apparently, the gang also had ties to a reported slavers ring, and this was the first solid lead the Harpers had on them. These two young agents were to check out the Redbrands, find out their connection to the slavers, and if possible, take the gang down, helping the town of Phandalin out.

The party, most especially Lael, is reluctant to trust a drow, even one who claims membership in the Harpers, but with Meleas vouching for him and willing to take responsibility for him, they agree to join forces to take on a common foe.

After escorting Mirna and her family back to the surface, the group continues to search the basement hideout, but only finds a room that has been converted into an armory. They are sure there must be more than this, however. So, they begin searching for secret doors, and manage to find one in the cellar, next to the large cistern.

Following the hallway on the other side, they come into a large natural cavern with a deep crevasse running through it. There are two crude wooden bridges running across, next to two large, natural columns. Lael get’s a feeling that they are being watched, but she can’t quite point out where. Shutting out the lights, Nissan is able to see a figure lurking around one of the columns. The figure see’s that he’s been spotted and comes out, hands up. It’s a strange, hunched over creature with one large eye, called a Nothic.

“No hurt I,” he says, and then offers information and books to the dark elf wizard. Unable to resist, Nissin walks across the wooden bridge and asks what the creature knows. The creature motions towards the column on the other side of the bridge, and when Nissin get’s there, the Nothic attacks, attempting to push the wizard into the crevasse below.

Jumping to his protection, the party leaps into the fray. Nissin is taken down by the monster’s magical gaze, but shortly afterwards the party kills the creature. Lael, overcoming her initial reluctance, heals Nissan. Looking around the crevasse, they find that it is easily climbed down, and must be the creature’s home. Climbing down, Nissin and Torian find a half eaten body, and quickly spotting the resemblance to Mirna Dendrar’s children, realize this is her husband, Thel. They also find a small wooden chest, which contains a small pile of gold and silver. Behind the chest is a sword in a silver trimmed scabbared. The word Talon is etched on hits hilt, which is carved in the shape of a bird of prey. Amos recognizes the sword as a well known magical item belonging to a knight who was known in this part of the realms many years ago, called the Black Hawk. His real name was Aldith Tresendar, and the legend goes that he died defending his family home from attacks by orcs in tunnels below his family manor. This must be the remains of said manor.

Armed with their new friends and a magic sword, the party braces themselves to continue further into the hideout of the Redbnands.

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