26 Tarsakh, 1489DR
While Cal Talmost, Moran, and Portabia were in Thundertree putting their lives at risk for the good of the Sword Mountain region, Gorbek decided to spend his time shopping and getting drunk!
On the evening of 1489DR, Tarsakh 24, he found himself at the Stonehill Inn, drinking with a few other newcomers to Phandalin, a dwarf named Bonan and a human named Altheon, who were themselves in search of adventure.
But adventure slammed open the door and found them… A goblin named Skwelch suddenly burst in, collapsed bloody and exhausted on their table, muttering “Help me. I’ll make you rich!”
The innkeeper Toblen Stonehill immediately left to get the new town constable Sildar Hallwinter, while the few locals in the Tavern grew rowdy and began to threaten the goblin’s life. Being dwarves with a strong hatred of goblins, Bonan and Gorbek considered putting an end to things then and there, but Altheon convinced them to wait until they heard more of Skwelch’s story.
The took him outside, more locals arrived, and it looked like a mob would attack. But Sildar arrived and brought calm and order to the situation. Taking Gorbek aside, he suggested that they satiate the mob’s bloodlust by making a show of taking the goblin to the jail cells at the new militia camp. Once out of site of the townsfolk, the group could lead the goblin out of town, and go along with his request for help, in the hopes that he might be able to offer them some information on the location of the Cragmaw goblins. So this is what they did.
Unfortunately Skwelch‘s Deathrot Tribe were from a location across the Swordcoast Mountains to the southeast, and he had no knowledge of the Cragmaw goblin tribe. However after relaying his tale, he convinced the group to join him in the search for treasure. He told them how his tribe had crossed the valley from the Kryptgarden Forest in search of mining camps to raid in the hills near Phandalin. Instead, they found an old abandoned tower, at the base of the mountains to the south of Phandalin. Nesting in the top of the tower was a red dragon wyrmling, which they killed and and who’s treasure hoard they claimed for themselves. But Skwelch demanded a larger share since he was the one who found and scouted out the tower for his tribe. The tribes leader Glubnose disagreed, and Swelch barely escaped with his life. He promised the party that he would give each of them 85% of the treasure if they would help him return, slay Glubnose, and take over as the new leader of the clan. The group agreed.
The following day the group set out, following Skwelch while he continually barked orders at them, turning his back and ignoring them, and generally treating them like common hirelings. Lunch presented itself to the group in the form of three boars who attacked from the underbrush, and they had an interesting encounter with a Naked Man they found later in the evening. The following morning, they arrived at the tower to find a smoldering pile of ashes outside the tower, but no sign of a slain dragon.
As they began to explore the old Mage’s tower, they found most of it old and dusty and in disrepair. However some rooms held a few left-over surprises, and they begain to suspect a trap, or that the goblin was lying and using them for some other purpose. However, he managed to convince them to continue, with promises of great riches and treasure.
As they ascended the tower toward the dragon’s hoard on the top floor, they encountered: a strange room with pipes playing themselves, that turned out to be the abode of a minor air elemental; a library with various papers and books, including one that sprouted legs and scrambled around the room shouting “No! No!” until finally caught and crumbling to dust; a small room with an invisible chest, hidden behind a grey ooze magically petrified to look like a small door; a stone statue of a goblin that had been petrified by a cockatrice that had made it’s nest under the large table of the dining hall; a kitchen with enchanted cutlery that flew randomly through the air, accidently striking anyone in it’s path; and a chantry with a gleaming silver globe sitting atop an altar, guarded by a golem that stepped out of the stained glass window of the room. None of these dangers dissuaded the heroes from finally reaching the top floor, although the fact that Skwelch followed at a distance the entire time, wasn’t encouraging.
They also found The Diary of Hugo Harpell, indicating that the tower most likely belonged to the Harpell family of Longsaddle.
At the top of the tower, the opened the door to the master chamber, to surprise a room full of goblins laying about, gambling, talking, arguing, and drinking, while their leader sat next to a large pile of gold coins and treasure, and another taking a dump in the corner.
Just as they were about to enter the room and attack, they heard a sudden rush of wind, the tower’s wooden ceiling shuddering above them, and an ear-splitting roar. The goblins all began screaming and yelling that the dragon had returned, and rushed toward the door to escape. But the party closed the door, and help it shut agains the frantic efforts of the goblins pounding and pulling on the door, trying to escape. They listened from outside the door as they heard the roof being torn off, and the cries of goblins being burned alive and thrown around the room by the dragon. They peaked inside to see the dragon ripping one goblin in half, and one still crouched in the corner in a shitting position, frozen with fear. The goblin leader managed to get his arm behind the door, preventing them from closing it, but his arm was quickly whisked away with the rest of his body, as he was ripped to pieces by the dragon.
Demonstrating a preference for staying alive, the party fled down the stairs and exited the tower. However, the dragon Talantha climbed out of the tower, perched on the broken rooftop, and began entreating them with promises of friendship, if only they would come back and introduce themselves. At this point, Bonan dove into some bushes nearby in a an attempt to hide.
They realized that they had lost Skwelch. Recalling Sildar’s request to see if he could help them find the Cragmaw goblins, Gorbek convinced them to re-enter the tower, and search the rooms they passed on the way down, to see if he was hiding. Taking a gleaming jeweled orb they found in one of the rooms, Altheon proceeded to the top floor and offered it to the dragon to add to her treasure hoarde. She took this as payment to allow the party to leave with their lives.
The party then made their way back to Phandalin, without finding any traces of Skwelch.