Something Big

Ep 20: Farming For Clues
by GuyFall

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8 Kythorn, 1489DR

Gorbek, Wraith, and Gorm Tanglehair head a few hours northeast of Westbridge to investigate rumors of fire cultists causing trouble at the Nettlebee Ranch. The halfling family’s claims of a “fire witch” living in an ancient barbarian burial mound on their land, are actually part of a conspiracy between the head of the family and the earth cultists. The desecrated remains of the barbarian king found in the burial mound comes to life, and he demands those responsible be put to death. Fortunately, the party is able to negotiate for the safety of the innocent family members, and revenge comes only to the patriarch and first-born son who were responsible.

  • The Party arrives at Nettlebee Ranch and interview the family concerning the burning of the ancient burial mound of the Uthgardt barbarians. They learn that the stone blocking the tomb has been moved and that their livestock is being branded by a fire witch. The symbol on the livestock is recognized as that of the fire cult. They say that the tomb has been entered by the witch. Though they talk of a witch, nobody claims to have actually seen her.
  • The party learns that the son of Bertrum Nettlebee, Watson, has fallen in love with a blind human woman and plans to wed her against the wishes of his parents and grandfather. Feeling suspicious, Gorm tests the woman’s blindness but learns nothing. Meanwhile, Wraith, feeling randy, lures the rancher’s daughter with his box.
  • Deciding that there is nothing more to be learned from the Nettlebees, the party decides to enter the tomb. Indeed, the tomb has been opened and a line of torches light the passage inside. Gorbek casts a detect magic ritual to determine if there are any magical traps and Gorm sends his crab familiar inside to detect any invisible enemies. They learn that the torches are in fact everlasting flames but no sign of traps or ambush.
  • The passage moves directly to the heart of the tomb which has been desecrated. The remains of an elk tribe chief have been scattered about the tomb. 3 altars with the symbols of the wolf, tiger, and elk are in different sides of the tomb. Wraith convinces the party to touch each altar at the same time. Suddenly a tall ghost of a long dead Uthgardt chief appears. Gorbek attempts to parlay with the ghost. The ghost says his name is Javor and wants vengeance for the desecration. Gorbek offers to help the ghost.
  • Suddenly the entrance collapses and the party is trapped. A creature made of stone and earth erupts from the passage and charges toward the burial chamber. Gorm casts bolts of force to push the creature back and Wraith charges. Gorbek cast a whatchamagoo and did a whatchamacallit. Being a creature of elemental energies, Wraith’s attacks are largely ineffectual. Gorm calls for the wounded Wraith to withdraw so he can trap the elemental in the Fey Waters. The elemental escapes into the ground and continues to charge. Gorbek lays his healing hands on Wraith but he is still in bad shape. Luckily, the combined martial prowess and magic of the party is enough to take the elemental down. During the battle, Javor the ghost observes quietly.
  • After the battle, Javor begins to dig a path out of the tomb. The party follows not wanting to be trapped inside the burial mound. Outside they are surprised to meet 12 members of the Uthgardt tribe led by their chieftain. They have been called to the burial mound through strange dreams. They plan on taking revenge on the Nettlebees but the party convinces them that they will do the deed for them. Javor ignores the negotiation and walks toward the ranch to have his revenge.
  • The party follows the ghost to a cellar where the Nettlebee family is huddling in fear. After confronting Wiggan and Bertrum, they confess that they made a deal with the Black Earth Cult to lure the heroes of Riverguard to their deaths. Gorm, losing patience and annoyed that his Fey presence failed to cower them decides to take the direct approach and kill the family patriarch, Wiggan. Gorbek, revels in the ultraviolence and vigorously smashes Bertrum’s head with his maul. Not killed instantly, the two halflings begin casting spells but to no avail as Wraith joins the fray and slices the evil farmers into pieces. With the killing done, the barbarians leave.
  • The party search Wiggan’s office and find a chest containing Javor’s burial treasure and some other loot. Watson, the surviving son, declares that the party should take the treasure for saving the rest of the family from the barbarians’ wrath. The party takes the burial treasure back to the mound and bid farewell to the Javor and the 12 barbarians.
  • Wraith insists on returning to the Nettlebee ranch in order to box the box. Gorbek and Gorm retire to a tree to keep a watch on the blind woman. Gorm sends his familiar to spy on Watson and his blind human girlfriend in order to see if his suspicions are true. He discovers that the blind woman is not actually blind. She storms out of the house and begins walking down the path away from the ranch. Gorm hexes her with a curse and she immediately charges him and dishes out a can of medieval whoopass. Stunned and wounded, Gorm expects to die but is saved by Gorbek who calls forth angels with razor sharp wings, fangs, and switchblades. Wraith hearing the commotion rushes to help his comrades after failing to plug the gap in his halfling heart with the farmer’s daughter. Gorm recovers and tricks the monk with an illusion buying time for Wraith to arrive. Proving that 3 demihuman males are just as tough as a human woman, the heroes dispatch her with angelic, box battle, fey vengeance. Wraith explains to Gorbek and Gorm that he suddenly remembered that he saw her inside the lair of the Black Earth Cult. Her name was Hellnrae and she was a level kerbillion bad ass. Gorm feels relieved that he didn’t just get beat up by a blind beggar girl.
  • The party decides that it is time to delve into the Dwarven city to get to the heart of the problem plaguing the region.
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Ep 19: We Can't Dance Together
by jonslater2

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6 Kythorn, 1489DR

During the evening at Rivergard Keep, an eccentric character named Gorm Tanglehair arrived with information about trouble brewing in Red Larch. He joins Altheon and Gorbek as they investigate cultist attacks on the town of Red Larch and Westbridge. They find Red Larch completely destroyed by fire, and Westbridge taken over and occupied by earth cultists.

  • The group received two letters: one from Ushien Stormbanner and one from Bruldenthar recapping what is known about the cultists’ movements, and also to inform the group that the Lord’s Alliance is being mobilized to counter a rising threat of orcs who have been raiding and destroying farms and homesteads in the east of the [[Dessarin Valley.]]
  • A message was also received regarding an earthquake that struck Westbridge, which was almost certainly perpetrated by the Earth cultists. Gorm informs the party that a similar attack was carried out by fire cultists at Red Larch.
  • Word was also received that barbarian tribes have been incited to attack by the fire cultists at Nettlebee Ranch.
  • Gorm convinces Gorek and Altheon to dispatch one of the river boats to patrol the river and search for information about the pirate captain Strym Three-Fingers, captain of the Fury.
  • The group decides to head to Red Larch that same night to address the unfolding situation. Halfway there, they encounter a large brush fire that was created by two fire elementals and a cultist. Realizing they can’t escape, they engage in a fight. Altheon gets pounded in the fight, Gorm’s illusions manage to trick one, and Gorbek smashes the opposition.
  • The party arrives at Red Larch too late, it has been destroyed by a mysterious orb. Several townspeople were killed, and the remainder of the city has left as refugees. Gorbek invites those who remain to stay with them at Rivergard Keep.
  • After camping outside of town, the group heads north to Westbridge. Along the way, Gorbek questions Gorm’s affiliation and the nature of his magic abilities. After lunch, a massive worm erupts from the ground and attacks the group. Gorm is swallowed whole by the worm, but is saved after Gorbek installs a new window on the side of the worm’s belly. Altheon continues to try and woo Esper. Gorbek destroys this round.
  • The party arrives at Westbridge. Altheon and Gorm approach the city, where Gorm attempts to charm one of the townspeople. Esper and Gorbek gallop into the city after Altheon is discovered.
  • After being uncovered, the party is attacked by a stone priest, two guards, and a giant. Altheon continues to woo Esper with pistol winks. Altheon manages to dispatch the priest. The party manages to defeat the giant and reassure the townsfolk that the Earth Cult was behind the earthquake.
  • To cap off the days events, the group decides to celebrate in Westbridge with a round of drinks. Gorbek wakes up in the morning in a back alley, covered in blood, and finds 3 gold pieces worth of illegal substances in his pouch. Score.
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Episode 18: Something Bigger

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5 Kythorn, 1489DR

*Gorbek, Rahziel, Wraith, and Altheon headed back to Rivergard Keep where they caught up with Bonan, and everyone had a few days of downtime to relax and recuperate. Gorbek decided to handle the two prisoners that were still being held inside. He decided to send Galeri Coldel to the Knights of Samular for further interrogation into his involvement with the water cultists. Grindol Famoor was released and told that the voices in his head should now stop. He sent him on his way and gave him 5 gold to start a new life.

*Captain Morningfall delivered a letter from from Lady Ushien who detailed the latest happenings in the valley and requested aid in dealing with them. She indirectly asked for money as a donation to help maintain the Knights of Samular. Captain Morningfall also informed the group that the new cook, Max, had been leaving the castle at night. The party decided to send a knight to follow Max and report back.

*The group headed back to the Sacred Stone Monastery to seek the aid of the Lich living inside. They brought with them the letter from Lady Ushien in hopes of convincing him. Even though Lady Ushien and the Lich had a history together, he still wanted nothing to do with the group — but after Bonan’s persistent pleas he finally gave the groups some items to help them.

*They then departed to investigate a gathering of druids happening at Scarlett Moon Hall. Altheon catches up to the party at the camps surrounding the druid gathering. Their questioning annoyed a group at one of the camps who attacked them, drawing the attention of others who intervened. Entering the large tower at the top of the hill they encountered what seemed to be the leader of the gathering, Blazar. Unfortunately Blazar escaped.

Notes:

*While speaking with Blazar they learned that, Eanex is the prince of fire and Enefer is the chosen apostle, who is beneath the weeping colossus which is under the Sacred Pyre.

*The party found out that Blazar had recruited the Druids to Sacred Moon Hall for the “Gathering of the Wicker Giant” The purpose is unkown what he was going to do with them.

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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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