Something Big

Episode 17: A Diversion

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1 Kythorn, 1489DR

Following up on the information learned during the interrogation of Grindol, the group decides to investigate the haunted cottage outside of Red Larch. Underneath, they find remnants of the Death Cult previously discovered, destroy an enchanted statue of Bane, and tie up loose ends with a certain old man named Weylan Frace

Notes:

  • Captain Morningfall arrives in the hall to inform the group that a chest was found in the lagoon below the Rivergard Keep. Inside the chest are four magical patchwork cloaks and a pair of enchanted gauntlets. Everyone dons a robe and Rahziel uses the gauntlets to translate several scrolls.
  • That evening, the group begins their traditional nighttime drinking fest, resulting in Rahziel wandering off and somehow ending up in jail in Red Larch the following morning.
  • The next morning the group decides to investigate Nightwell Cottage to learn why Grindol Farmoor went insane. They head to Red Larch and talk with some old-timers at the Helm at Highsun, where they learn that a woman named Lise used to live in the cottage.
  • Following their advice, the group heads to the butcher shop to look for Lise. Altheon orders a a large amount of meat for the keep, and they learn from Lise how her and her husband went insane after living the the cottage; her husband killed a man and was hung as punishment five years prior. With the location of the cottage learned, the group heads north of Red Larch to investigate.
  • They discover the abandoned cottage, but it seemed someone had been working to fix it up (presumably Grindol). After entering the cottage, Rahziel immediately begins hearing malicious voices in his head. The group restrains him as a precaution, but he is deemed safe and is released. Meanwhile, Wraith discovers a trapdoor leading to a secret room containing several tomes on necromancy. Gorbek is triggered.
  • Beneath a dirty old chest, they discover another passage leading further underground. After climbing down, the group discovers an enormous natural cavern, with reflective stones dotting the wall. They enter a passageway filled with sulfurous earth and are set upon by massive insects.
    *After dispatching the creatures, the group stumbles upon the bodies of another group of adventurers who met their grisly fate in the caves. Altheon unwittingly triggers a zombie horde and Gorbek saves the day with his holy powers.
  • After crossing a brackish pool deeper in the cave, Gorbek and Rahziel are ensnared in spongy earth and the group is attacked by a fiendish Mouther. In desperation, Gorbek rips a patch off of his cloak and summons a friendly, dancing ogre to aid them. After many pirouettes and finger snaps, the group prevails against their foe.
  • The cross a lake of boiling mud with some difficulty and rest to recuperate their health and steel their resolve. Deeper in, they find an archway inscribed with prayers honoring the dark god, Bane. Just inside the archway is a massive statue of Bane with glowing jewels for eyes, and a coterie of skeletal warriors waiting at its base.
  • Detecting a Glyph of Warding in the entrance, Altheon rips off one of his patches and carves out a deep pit at the base of the arch, nullifying the glyph. After leaping across the pit, the party engages with the skeletal warriors, as well a Nothic who came to investigate the disturbance. In the confusion, Wraith managed to topple the statue, shattering its jeweled eyes and instantly halting the voices in Rahziel’s head.
  • After the fight, the group discovers the remains of Dale, Lise’s husband, as well as the deed to Nightwell Cottage, a princely sum of gold, and an enchanted hat.
  • Down the hallway, underneath the north-south road to Red Larch, the group finds a chamber full of rotting corpses and piles of bones, as well as a dining table and chair. Thinking quickly, Gorbek skillfully hides himself in the bone piles using his cloak as cover.
  • Weylan Frace, the old man working with the Death Cult who entrapped the party some weeks earlier, arrives in the room with his personal guard. After a brief fight, Gorbek scores the killing blow against his hated foe (with some help from the others, it should be said). Taking Weylan’s enchanted bracelet, the group returns to Red Larch.
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Episode 16: Stoned Again

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29 Mirtul, 1489DR

Weary from the day’s battles and the attempted poisoning from the kitchen staff member Galeri Coldel, the party is relieved when their missing friend, Altheon, appears at Rivergard Keep. The following morning, the keel boat hired four days ago by Wraith and Gorbek arrives from Womford, and two new knights arrive from Summit Hall to help protect Rivergard Keep.

The peace is broken by the sudden stabbing of the Cook by another member of the staff named Grindol Farmoor . Entrusting the issue to Captain Morningfall, the group sets out to tackle the Sacred Stone Monastery for a second time, to attempt a rescue of the captured Dwarven historian from the Mirabar Delegation. After a series of clashes involving monks, Duergar, Orogs, and Ogres, the group came across a subterranean holding cell containing the historian and several other captives from the area. Fighting their way out of the monastery, the group returned home with their loot, the captives, and Bonan’s long lost father in tow.

Notes:

  • Altheon appears at the keep and the group rejoices by drinking. Wraith discovers his ambition to become an erotic dancer.
  • In the morning the group recounts the past few weeks of events to Altheon. Afterward, two Knights of Samular sent as reinforcements by Ushien Stormhammer appear at the gate with a letter from Summit Hall. The letter shared new intelligence gathered about the elemental cults at work in the area. There are four elemental cults, one for each of the Haunted Keeps which are being used as cover for the cults’ activities. The cults are: The Cult of the Eternal Flame at Scarlet Moon Hall, the Cult of Howling Hatred at Feathergale Spire, the Cult of the Crushing Wave beneath Rivergard Keep, and the Cult of the Black Earth at the Sacred Stone Monastery.
  • Shortly afterwards, the keel boat carrying the Dwarven tomes from Womford arrives, and the crew are hired by Gorbek to maintain the boats and docks at the keep. While showing them around the keep, more drama unfolds as the cook is stabbed in the neck by Grindol Farmoor, who claims to hear voices in his head tell him to kill. The group manages to save the cook Eren Winenc (thank god), and the man is locked up in the tower until he can be interrogated further. It seems that he might have been cursed after moving into an abandoned cottage outside of Red Larch.
  • Everything having quieted down at the keep, the group starts heading towards the Sacred Stone Monastery to implement their plan to rescue the historian. On the way to the monastery, the group spots a distant figure who seems familiar to them somehow, but before they can investigate they are attacked by two giant insects and a swarm of Altheon-obsessed spiders. They defeat their enemies and rest before entering the monastery.
  • The group storms the front door of the monastery and engage a group of Duergar in battle. After they are dealt with, Gorbek and Rahziel examined a library room of sorts and discover a stack of magically-encoded Dwarven documents, as well as a book called Marlow’s Testament. It appears to be some sort of manifesto written by the man from Gorbek’s vision. The book speaks of how he founded the Temple of Black Earth beneath the monastery, how he is nurturing the Black Geode, and how he plans to call forth the Evergrowing Mountain to reshape the land in his image. The group takes both the book and the documents.
  • Working their way through the monastery, they encounter more groups of Duergar and monks, which they defeat in battle. The discover a magically sealed door (possibly containing the lich), a dojo, a sparsely decorated study, and a distillery which is pilfered by the group.
  • Heading down a flight of stairs, the group stumbles into a large guard consisting of two Ogors and an Ogre. After a short but heated battle, Altheon manages to convince the guards that we are members of the cult and orders them upstairs and out of the way. In the tunnels surrounding them, they discover the missing Dwarven historian, Bruldenthar, and a group of other captives taken from the area to dig in the tunnels.
  • Bruldenthar informs the group about the purpose of the Haunted Keeps, which is to protect the entrances of the vast Dwarven city that lies under the region, Tyar-Besil, which was built on the ruins of an ancient Drow city, and had to be abandoned due to an elemental cataclysm in the past, and the keeps where built over the entrances to keep people out. It’s rumored that the city is home of the Thane of the Eye, an artifact of elemental evil created to serve a mighty god of chaos. It’s clear that whatever is happening the region is somehow linked to this evil below.
  • The group escorts the historian and the captives out of the monastery and back to Rivergard keep. The group returns the documents to Bruldenthar, who then reveals himself to be Bonan’s true father. Also, Bonan’s mother was a whore. Sorry, Stone brother…
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Episode 15: A Trail of Stones

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27 Mirtul, 1489DR

Rahziel, Bonan, Gorbek, and Wraith are reuinited in Rivergard Keep. Bonan had just returned from Red Larch with some new hired staff and guards, and Gorbek was successful in convincing Ushien Stormhammer to loan a few Knights of Samular to aid in keeping the keep secure, after they decided to keep the keep.

While dining, and getting to know the captain of the dispatched knights, a ruckus is heard in the yard, where a ship mistaken for the keelboat acquired in Womford (Episode 13) was allowed to dock at the keep. It was a gang of pirates and smugglers previously based out of Rivergard, who were unaware the Heroes of Phandalin were the new tenants, and a fight ensued.

As usual, drinking continued throughout the night, and Gorbek found himself waking up next to one of the new servants from Red Larch, a man with wide eyes and a thin build, named Galeri Coldel.

The following morning, the party headed out for the Sacred Moon Monastery to follow up on clues provided by the leader of the Knights of Samular. Her spies reported that the Dwarf historian from the missing Mirabar Delegation was being held captive by the monks, who were in fact earth elemental cultists being led by someone named Marlos Urnrayle. The party announced their arrival, and then sneaked through a back door into the kitchen, quickly moving to the main hall where they engaged an earth elemental priest named Qarbo, and his attendants and guards.

The Heroes prevailed, but found themselves severely wounded and exhausted. After a quick reconnaisance by Wraith, it was decided that it would be best to retreat and recuperate. They headed back to Rivergard Keep to get some food and rest.

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Episode 14: In the Thick of It

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21 Mirtul, 1489DR

After meeting up with Bonan and Rahziel in Red Larch, the group heads to Summit Hall to find what they learned about the Sacred Stone Monastery, as well as the surprising history of the brother of the Order’s founder, who is now a lich living below the monastery. Afterwards, they travel to Rivergard Keep and captured the river fortress in a brutal struggle with the pirate gang in control of the keep. Having secured a new base of operations, the party then split to find help, speak to allies, and explore the ruins below the keep.

Log:

  • Upon returning to Red Larch after their battle with Captain Shoalar in Womford, Wraith and Gorbek met up with Bonan and his new Half-orc friend, Rahziel. They share their news with each other and invite Rahziel to join them on their next adventure. This is followed by a night of debauchery in which Gorbek discovers a new and painful side of himself in exchange for 2 gold pieces
  • In the morning, the group receives a message from Ushien Stormbanner, head of the Knights of Samular, informing them that she has new information on the Sacred Stone Monastery.
  • The group decides to travel to Summit Hall to find out what they learned. On the road to Summit Hall, they are ambushed by a group of water cultists who are easily dispatched with.
  • On arrival to Summit Hall, the group is greeted by Ushien Stormbanner who informs them that they were able to plant spies inside the Sacred Stone Monastery. The spies reported (before being found and killed) that a man named Marlos Urnrayle has been called to the Monastery by a mysterious figure only known as "Ironfang". The monks are stoics who believe that only the strong are fit to rule and kindness is a weakness. The monastery itself is a front for an elemental temple hidden deep below it.
  • The spies also revealed there is a lich at work inside the temple, although he doesn’t appear to be working with the monks. Ushien reveals that the lich is actually the brother of Samular Caradun, the founder of the Knights of Samular, and that he was once a wizard in search of eternal life. The lich’s phylactery is located somewhere in the crypts below Summit Hall.
  • The group informs Ushien of their fight with Shoalar and its implications. She advises them to advance on Rivergard Keep quickly before they become aware of the groups activities. The group agrees and sets off for Rivergard over land, leaving instructions to the boat crew to meet them at the keep in three days’ time.
  • Outside of the keep, the group poses as friends of Shoalar to attempt to gain entry. The ruse apparently works as the gate is opened and they are greeted by Holger, captain of the gatehouse, who takes them to speak to “Jolly” Julliver Grimjaw, the leader of the keep.
  • Inside the keep, Julliver is instantly suspicious of the group’s cover story and reveals that they saw through the deception upon arrival. The guards attack the group as Julliver transforms into a wereboar and charges into battle. After a fierce battle, the group prevails- though a water sorceress who appeared in the middle of the battle escaped under the protection of an invisibility spell.
  • After exploring the rooms of the keep, the group returns to the courtyard to find the people of Rivergard Keep fleeing in a state of panic at the demise of their leader/employer. In the confusion the group encounters another spellcaster and after a brief struggle end the fight over Rivergard Keep.
  • Having secured a new base of operations for themselves to inhabit for the foreseeable future, the group parts ways to hire personnel to man the keep, as well as inform the Knights of Samular of their success.
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Episode 13: Searching for Clues

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15 Mirtul, 1489DR

Gorbek and Wraith continue the search for clues about the missing Mirabar Delegation. South of Beliard they find what looks like the site where the delegation was ambushed and carried away across the river, apparently toward the monastery of the Sacred Stone Order. They also followed a trail of Dwarven historical tomes, pointing them in the direction of Rivergard Keep on the Dessarin River.


Of particular interest:

  • After walking through Red Larch, Gorbek met the Halfling fighter, Wraith, at the Helm at Highsun. After being shamefully drunk under the table by Wraith, Gorbek persuaded him to join the group in order to investigate some troubling rumors they had heard about a possible goblin attack on Westbridge.
  • On the way to Westbridge the following day the group is attacked by two Feathergale Knights, who are beaten into a retreat.
  • While making camp that night, the group was approached by a Helmed Horror Construct who seems attuned to Wraith. He was non-hostile and resisted all attempts to distract him from following Wraith. They decided to let the construct follow them until they could learn more.
  • The next morning the group stopped at Harvest Inn to ask Hariven about the goblin sightings. He directs them to nearby Opal Lake.
  • At Opal Lake, they find a lone tent with fishing supplies inside, as well as the broken sword Gorbek had given to Droop as a gift. Droop is nowhere in sight, so the party returned to Hariven to tell them the goblin poses no threat.
  • After leaving Westbridge, Gorbek and Wraith decide to head East to Beliard to try and pick up the delegations trail. On the trail, they met a Knights of Samular patrol who gave them directions to Summit Hall.
  • On the road to Beliard, they cross the Stone Bridge and recount its history while traversing it. Upon entering Beliard, they encounter the cryptic beggar, Max, who continues to make Gorbek utterly paranoid.
  • In Beliard, the party spoke with Senya, who saw a monk in a gold mask watching the delegation on the day of its departure. The monk left prior to the delegation leaving town. A shepherd, Eann, saw soldiers to the south, as well as a party of Feathergale Knights who flew in the direction of the recently departed delegation.
  • Five miles south of Beliard, the group notices a flock of carrion birds to the west of the road. They investigate the source and discover the remains of the Mirabar delegation, apparently massacred in an ambush. Several of the delegation guards were lying in large craters, potentially victims of magical attacks. Neither the historian, nor the body of the dead Dwarf hero were found at the site.
  • Near the ambush site, they uncover two stone cairns (similar to the shallow graves) which contain the bodies of a female monk wearing a gold mask and five bugbears wearing black leather armor emblazoned with a triangular emblem.
  • Near the ambush, they find tracks belonging to 30-40 individuals leading away from the massacre heading west to the Dessarin River, where the trail ends. Telltale signs of boats on the shore were found.
  • Heading south, they traveled to Summit Hall, seat of the Knights of Samular, to deliver the news of the massacre to the head of the order, a woman named Ushian Stormbanner. She reveals that the gold masked monk probably belongs to the Sacred Stone Order based in the Sacred Stone Monastery (one of the haunted keeps) west of the river in the Sumber Hills.
  • She requests that the party not do anything rash until the matter can be investigated. Gorbek takes this time to inform her of the ill-intentions of the Feathergale Society. They stay the night in Summit Hall.
  • The group then returns to Red Larch by way of Womford in the south, along the Cairn Road. Once in town, they head to Vallivoe’s Sundries to ask Endrith Vallivoe about the Dwarven Tome he recently purchased off a traveling merchant from Womford. Gorbek bought the book from him, and revealed it to be a historical work tracing the genealogy of various Dwarf clans. They decide it must have belonged to the missing Dwarf historian. Endrith reveals that a keelboat captain in Womford had reportedly found several such books.
  • The party returned to Womford and asked around the town for new books. They were directed to ask Shoalar, the keelboat captain who had been selling them.
  • At the docks, they found Shoalar’s boat and encountered a swashbuckling Halfing, Pike, and a heavily tattooed Captain Shoalar. Shoalar quickly became defensive at the groups questioning and attacked the party with a monstrous tidal wave created through magic.
  • In the ensuing fight, Gorbek, Wraith, and the construct managed to kill Shoalar, Pike, and one of the deckhands of the ship. One bandit managed to escape, and after the fighting ended, the mysterious construct faded into thin air.
  • On the ship, the group discovered a trunk full of Dwarvish historical tomes, as well as a chart on a table marking the location of Rivergard Keep up the Dessarin River, near where the group lost the trail of the ambushers. A weird X-shaped symbol was seen written next to Rivergard Keep. The group camps outside of town and make ready to head upriver to investigate the keep.

Takeaways:

  • There are several elemental cults at work in the region. “The Watchers” mentioned by the townspeople of Red Larch are actually the Sacred Stone Monks, who likely carried out the attack on the delegation.
  • It is unclear if the Feathergale Knights played a role in the ambush, or if they simply launched an opportunistic attack. However, it is clear they are angry at the Heroes for the events at the tower and are actively hunting us.
  • It is likely that Shoalar was hired to carry the ambush party across the river and was paid with the historian’s book collection. This means the Dwarf historian is likely being held by the Sacred Stone Order.
  • Most importantly, Droop is alive and well at Opal Lake.
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Episode 12: The Long Road

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12 Mirtul, 1489DR

Altheon, Bonan, and Gorbek travel to the Dessarin Valley to see what they can learn about the disappearance of the Mirabar Delegation and the recent rumors of monsters and elemental disturbances in the area. After some investigations they end up at Feathergale Spire and learn that it’s inhabitants are actually members of a cult who seem to worship the element of air.

Of particular note:

  • Droop was sent into the Dessarin Hills to start a new life. In parting, he gave a special gift to Gorbek.
  • The party passed through the small village of Westbridge and spoke with the innkeeper Herivin Dardragon, who unfortunately hadn’t seen the Mirabar Delegation.
  • The party decided to go to Red Larch in search of the delegation, which may have buried a Dwarf Knight at Summit Hall in the Sumber Hills nearby.
  • In Red Larch, the party stopped by the Shrine of the Sovereign Host and learned that the delegation had been seen near Beliard by Brother Earden.
  • At Lorren’s Bakery, the party bought rolls and learned that a Half-Orc at the Helm at Highsun had fought with the delegation guards a few weeks prior.
  • A The Singing Sword, the party met Brother Earden who saw the delegation at Beliard two 10-days prior. He claimed the delegation probably came down the Dessarin Road and crossed at Ironford, somewhere south of Beliard. Also, he claimed fresh graves had been found in the Sumber Hills by a Shepherd, Larmon Greenboot, who could be found at Gaelkur’s.
  • At The Helm at Highsun, the party met with Zometh the Half-Orc caravan guard, who saw the delegation perhaps 10-15 days prior. She only relinquished this information after Bonan crushed her arm through the table, winning the arm wrestling competition.
  • At Gaelkur’s, Altheon gave a gold piece to Larmon to hear the story of the stone graves. Larmon had found 4 stone graves to the east of town. He also told the party about the “Watchers”, a mysterious group of people who wear masks and watch things. Larmon continued on to talk about Kaylessa Irkell claiming lightning had been erupting from the ground around the valley. Before leaving, the party talked to Marlandro Gaelkur about the Scarab Beetle Idol, but he knew nothing about it.
  • On the way out, the party recognized the old man who lured them into a Cult of Myrkul ambush, and learned that his name is Weylan Frace. The party confronted him and convinced the constable to investigate the Obsidian Temple and lock up Weylan as a danger to the public.
  • Back at the Singing Sword, the party spoke with a Kaylessa about the elemental disturbances happening in the valley, but little new information is learned.
  • The next morning, the party followed Larmon to the site of the stone graves, where they discovered signs of a recent battle that took place. Larmon told them about Feathergale Spire, with its order of flying knights, and the party unearthed the graves to find a Dwarf in artisan robes, a female human warrior wearing the symbol of Mirabar’s army, a human with a black cloak and strange stone armor, as well as a human wearing a feathered cloak — all killed by arrows or blows to the body.
  • The party parted ways with Larmon and traveled to Feathergale Spire to ask questions. Along the way, they met Akkarakkarakka and Cackarakkarakka, two bird-like humanoids who responded to Bonan‘s cry for help (unintentional). The party thereafter notices that the Scarab Beetle Idol seemed to attract insects and implore Akka and Cacka to eat the spiders (due to Altheon’s intense arachnophobia).
  • Arriving at the tower, the party is welcomed to a feast celebrating the 10th anniversary of the flying club by a women, Savra Belabranta. The party recognized the robes of the knights are the same as the one worn by one of the corpses in the stone graves, but chose not to say anything. The party then met the head of the order, Thurl Murosska. Altheon sneakily looks through the spy glass on the roof of the tower and spots a strange hooded figure disappearing into a concealed door in the valley below. The party learns from Thurl that Feathergale Spire is one of the four Haunted Keeps, and was originally built by the Knights of the Silver Horn. While the rest of the party speaks with the knights, Altheon sneaks into Thurl’s room and copies down a letter from Aerisi Kalinoth that implicates the order in some unsavory activities.
  • During the feast that night, a manticore is spotted in the valley and a hunt is hastily arranged, with a reward being offered for the killer of the beast. Gorbek managed to strike the killing blow, and despite efforts by his companions to steal his glory, he graciously shares the reward with them.
  • Later that evening, the party went to speak with an initiate named Tibrus Strutt, who might have seen the attack on the delegation take place. Found in the kitchens, Tibrus was discovered leading a strange ritual with many other initiates in which it became clear that the Feathergale Society was a front for an elemental air cult. Thinking themselves safe, the party went to sleep that night only to be awoken by men binding their hands. It seemed the party wasn’t meant to see the ritual in the kitchens, and were taken to the roof of the tower to be thrown over the edge as punishment for their curiosity. Only the quick thinking of Bonan, who managed to call Akkarakkarakka and Cackarakkarakka to the rescue, who swooped in and caught the party in mid-fall, was able to save the party from certain death.
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Episode 11: A Fork in the Road

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9 Mirtul, 1489DR

After another meeting with the Council of Phandalin, the Heroes of Phandalin made the decision to investigate the disturbances in the Dessarin Valley, and head toward Red Larch.

Although Droop had been released from custody, he had no where to turn, and continued to loiter around the outskirts of Phandalin. The Heroes were asked to lead him away from town, and ensure that his service in eliminating the threat of the Cragmaw Goblins was rewarded.

The party also encountered Max, a young beggar they met on the road to Old Owl Well a few days prior. He offered them some advice: “the greater your help to those in the need, the greater your rewards.”

After taking a shortcut through the foothills of the Sword Mountains, and finding a place for Droop to live out his remaining days as a fisherman, they connected with The Long Road south of Triboar and headed toward Red Larch.

As they were travelling, they saw a small cabin in the distance perched on a large outcropping of rocks. An old man came running toward waving his arms and yelling for help, claiming that his wife needed their help, after a wolf attack. The party investigated, only to find that the old man had a gang waiting inside to ambush them. The party was taken captive, and led into a nearby forest, where there was an ancient abandoned Obsidian Temple, concealed in the overgrowth.

The party learned that they had been captured by a cult who worshipped the god of death, Myrkul, and that they were to be used as sacrifices. They were thrown into a cell with a grumpy old Tiefling named Starmin Gamentador, who informed them that they would be slowly sacrificed over the course of weeks, as pieces of their bodies were removed one at a time, and used in the cult’s rituals.

Unwilling to wait until nightfall, the party lured a few guards into their cell, in an attempt to escape. An alarm was raised, and a fight ensued, as members of the Cult of Myrkul attempted to subdue them. The leader of the cult, Snakeskull, and his hellhound arrived to help put an end to the prisoner’s uprising. Starmin charged out in an attempt to flee, but was killed by the hellhound.

Things were not looking good for the Heroes. Their weapons had been taken from them when they were first captured. Alexander was able to summon some temporary weapons, but they were no match for the large number of cultists in the Temple. Things were looking grim.

And then suddenly, a familiar screech echoed from behind the cultists! A goblin came rushing forward, pushing his way through the surprised cultists, his arms full of the heroes weapons which he threw down at their feet. It was Droop! He had followed them all along, and while they cultists were distracted, he had snuck into the cultists storage and gathered the party’s weapons!

Weapons in hand, the Heroes of Phandalin had little trouble putting an end to the cult leader’s life, and upon seeing this, the remaining members of the death cult fled in fear. Unfortunately, during the battle Droop was mortally injured, and lay dying. Alexander acted quickly and healed him, bringing the heroic goblin back to life!

After a quick sweep of the now deserted temple, the party resumed it’s journey south toward Red Larch.

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Episode 10: Biding Time

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2 Mirtul, 1489DR

After rescuing Gundren Rockseeker's brother from the mines, and capturing The Black Spider, the Heroes of Phandalin returned to town to get some much needed rest.

The following morning, Daran Edermath informed them that they had some time on their hands, while the council is meeting to discuss recent events, and consider their options.  He asked them if he will help by investigating rumors of someone digging around the ruins of Old Owl Well, and undead in the vicinity.

After their first day of travel, they set up camp for the night, only to find a hill giant named "Virgil" approaching in the darkness, complaining of stomach pains and indigestion.  The giant intended to eat them, believing it would ease his symptoms.  He began swinging his club at the party, but then fell to his knees, and his stomach exploded.  The "bad food" he'd eaten was zombies, and they climbed out and attacked the party, leaving the hill giant's body lying dead on the ground.  The zombies were easily defeated.

Arriving at the old well, they found an ancient ruined tower, infested with zombies who are controlled by a Thayan named Grost, who was camped in a large red tent nearby.  He told them he needed their help, and offered them information on where to find the forest dwelling of Agatha if they would do him the favor of dispatching the orcs of Wyvern Tor who have been harassing him.  The party agreed, and quickly found and dispatched the orcs.

When they returned, Grost asked another small favor, of a more personal nature.  He explained that twenty years ago, when he was adventuring with a small company, he took a liking to a wizard named Amylia, with whom he traveled.  The party split up, but he'd heard rumors of her coming to these old ruins, and disappearing many years ago.  He took it upon himself to track her down, but was having trouble finding his way into the crypts below.  He promised the party that he would reward them with a few magical items he's discovered in the ruins, as well as anything they discovered below, if they would see what they could learn of her fate.

They found a magic seal, and by deciphering the code, the were able to enter the ancient passages below.  Considering the contents, it appeared to be the lair of an old wizard.  After facing many traps and magical beasts, they found the decayed remains of Amylia's party, but Amylia had been preserved in stasis in a tiny flask.  Releasing her, she was surprised to learn that twenty years had passed, but was relieved when she was reunited with Krost.  

Krost kept his promise, and provided the party with directions to Agatha's lair in Neverwinter Woods.

See Agatha IC

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Episode 9: The Lost Mines

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1 Mirtul, 1489DR

After rescuing Gundren Rockseeker from Cragmaw Castle, and returning to Phandalin, Altheon, Alexander, and Gorbek, were summoned the following morning, and found Sildar Hallwinter in his office, having a meeting with Phandalin’s most influential citizens: Halia Thornton, Daran Edermath, Sister Garaele, and the roaming Druid of Neverwinter Woods, known as Reidoth.

They thanked the Heroes of Phandalin for everything they’d done to help the town and the local miners, and explained the importance of finding out who the The Black Spider was and why he was trying to prevent anyone else from learning about the mines of Wave Echo Cave. They explained that the note found on Favric might have been intended for The Black Spider, meaning he might actually be working with the Cult of the Dragon to accumulate significant wealth from the lost mines, most likely to be used for their common practice of bribing Dragons. If this was so, then it meant the cult was expanding northward, and recent events in the south attributed to the cult were more significant than previously thought.

The Heroes headed out, with Gundren Rockseeker leading the way to secluded cave entrance hidden in the rocky foothills near Phandalin. Just inside the entrance they found the body of his brother Tharden Rockseeker who had promised to meet him at the mines. Gundren became enraged and was ready to charge in to avenge his brother, but Sildar Hallwinter and the party talked him down, convincing him to wait at the entrance as a rear-guard with Sildar. They used this time to bury his brother where he fell, and perform simple funerary rites.

Exploring the old dwarven mines, the party found the remains of dwarves and orcs everywhere — evidence of the great battle that happened when the orcs swept through the area 500 years ago. They encountered zombies, and dwarven skeletons, as well as ancient magical creatures still guarding the ancient chambers, remnants of the days when the mine was still in operation.

They encountered Mormesk, the wraith of a wizard who met his end during the great battle that destroyed the mines, who had gone mad after so many centuries.

They eventually found the Forge of Spells. Its magic had waned over the centuries, but it was still able to enchant weapons and armor for a few hours. There they also found Lightbringer, and Dragonguard, two of items that were created and left behind ages ago, when the forge was still in operation.

The finally found the The Black Spider‘s camp, in a large chamber containing a temple to the dwarven god Dumathoin. Gundren’s brother Nundro Rockseeker was also there, and begged the party to save him. After dispatching a group of giant spiders hiding in the room who ambushed the party The Black Spider revealed himself, attempted to learn what he could from the party, and offered to make a deal with them to clear out the mines and make them safe enough to resume operations. However the party knew he could not be trusted, and decided to subdue him and take him into custody. Gorbek cast a silence spell, rendering the drow wizard nearly powerless, and they bound and gagged him for transport back to Phandalin.

Nundro thanked them for rescuing him, then suddenly attacked with great force and ferocity, revealing himself to be a imposter, as the party had already suspected. After dispatching the doppelgänger, the party found the real Nundro beaten and bloody in a nearby chamber.

They returned to the cave entrance,where Nundro and Gundren embraced, and grieved over their dead brother. The party then left the mines, The Black Spider in tow, and headed back to Phandalin.

As per their agreement, in addition to 10% of any future profits from the mines, the HoP also found a variety of magical items which the kept.

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Episode 8: Finding Gundren

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29 Tarsakh, 1489DR

Tarrae Rasphyre had taken Droop north to Neverwinter Wood to scout for Cragmaw Castle, where they hoped to learn about Gundren Rockseeker’s fate. They found it, and returned to Phandalin and provided a map to Sildar Hallwinter. A few days later, Altheon and Bonan returned from the Tower of Hugo Harpell, and Portabia returned from Thundertree.

On their way to meet Sildar Hallwinter, walking through town, the townsfolk were friendly and grateful for the changes that have been happening around town, and credit the recent spate of adventurers who have been coming and going. They have started to refer to them as the Heroes of Phandalin.

They met with Sildar, Daran Edermath, Reidoth, and young wizard who arrived in town a few days earlier, named Alexander, who agreed to help. Sildar told them that they know The Black Spider had been using the Redbrands and the Cragmaw Goblins to gain control of the Wave Echo Cave for himself.

Daran Edermath also pointed out that there may be reason to think The Black Spider‘s interest in the lost mines has something to do with recent events in the south, and Favric’s unsent letter regarding Greenest may have been meant for The Black Spider.

Sildar offered 500gp to the group if they can find out exactly what happened for Gundren, put an end to the goblins and their raiding of travellers along the Triboar Trail, and learn whatever they can about The Black Spider. He was wearing armor and sword, and led the party north to find the ancient castle ruins that the goblins have been using as their home.

They entered the castle and were immediately surrounded by goblins and hobgoblin guards, but killed them all in glorious battle! They then found a room being used as a chapel by a goblin priest and his acolytes. They priest said he was expecting the players, and that they had come to fulfill the prophecy, and other nonsense and gibberish. The party tired of his religious rumblings, and as Bonan swung his battleaxe, he lost his balance, and hit his friends instead! The goblin priest’s conviction that Bonan had been sent by Maglubiyet was short lived, when he and his acolytes were quickly killed by the others.

They eventually made their way to the back of the castle, where they found the goblin king Grol in an argument with a female drow, and the unconscious dwarf Gundren laying beaten and filthy in the corner of the room. At one point the drow turned to kill Gundren, but was slain, and was revealed to be a doppleganger. They revived Gundren, killed the goblin king, and found the stolen map.

Gundren informed them that he’dlearned that The Black Spider had already found the lost mines, and kidnapped Gundren and the map only to make sure no one else would find it. He was very worried about his two brothers who he asked to meet him at the mines, and promised 10% of all future income from the mine to the Heroes of Phandalin, as well as any treasure they migh find, if they would help him reclaim the mines and rescue his brothers.

The party agrees to help, but first headed back to Phandalin to rest up and prepare.

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