Lost Mines of Phandalin

Sai Greenleaf's Journal 4
(6th game session)

22 Kythorn 1481

After discussing our plans, Declan decided to stay in the village to help Sildar organise the former Redbrands while the rest of us, Hema now included, headed to the mines with Gundren to seek his brothers. We spent the day travelling.

23 Kythorn 1481

Arriving at the mines and entering, we soon found the corpse of Gundren’s brother Thardrin at a makeshift camp. While Karrod was off scouting the nearby tunnels in the form of a spider, the rest of us were attacked by a pack of ghouls – I spent most of the battle paralysed, but Hema and Shandri had little trouble dealing with the foul undead. Karrod returned to tell us of a large ooze, which was very slow moving and of little threat while we were awake, and we searched the camp. On investigation it was apparent that Thardrin had been dead for about a week, killed by multiple stab wounds from weapons, but there was no sign of Gundren’s other brother Nandro and the camp contained only camping and mining supplies. Gundren wished to remain at the camp while the rest of us began searching the mines, but asked us to take Thardrin’s body with us and find a large pit to throw it down, as is the dwarven custom.

We began by following the tracks of the ghouls in case there were more of the creatures around and they had a lair somewhere, but encountered only a single ghoul in our travels through the twisting tunnels – though we did find many ancient skeletons in rusted armour from the long ago battle for the mines between dwarves and orcs. Arriving at a junction with a large pool area to the north and a stairway leading up, a doorway opened into an old barracks room containing three more ghouls. Once these were slain we opened the barracks’ other door and found a crossroads, one branch opening into a large cavern with many old skeletons scattered around the floor and carvings on the walls. Deciding the barracks seemed far more defensible than the mining camp, we left Thardrin’s body on one of the bunks (after Karrod claimed Thardrin’s fine boots for himself, which is apparently another dwarven custom) and went back to fetch Gundren.

Leaving Gundren and his brother’s bootless body in the barracks, we investigated the pool area. The waters were dark and opaque and smelled strongly of fish, with a trickle of water that didn’t even ripple the surface coming from a three foot wide tunnel to the north next to another set of stairs leading upwards. Ascending these stairs, we came to a doorway with the sound of voices speaking the goblinoid tongue on the far side. Bursting in, we surprised a group of five bugbears in a room with the far door heavily barricaded. After a short battle, with one bugbear trying to flee through the door we’d entered by yelling for help, half the bugbears had been slain and half taken captive. The captives seemed eager to negotiate, telling us that they had been hired by a male drow who pays well, that the door was barricaded because the mines are infested with undead including skeletons, zombies and a flameskull, telling us a bit about the layout of the nearby tunnels, and saying that if we let them leave and return to their tribe they would teach us a sentence of the goblinoid tongue that would help us open negotiations with the other bugbear mercenaries in the mines. We agreed, spent a few minutes being instructed, and let the bugbears flee.

Heading back down the stairs, we followed the directions and went up the stairs next to the barracks room where Gundren was waiting, soon coming to a large cavern bisected by a wide chasm around which stood a number of bugbears. We greeted them with the sentence we’d just been taught, but they seemed hesitant and wary so we switched to the Common tongue. Though they had their hands on their weapons, the bugbears stood aside as we entered the room and advanced to the edge of the chasm, seeing a male drow at the bottom of a twenty foot pit. The drow tried to flee up a ladder on the pit’s far side, but Karrod leapt the pit in a single great bound (aided by his newly acquired boots?) to stand at the head of the ladder and push it away from the wall. The drow managed to cling to the rock face as Hema and I raced down into the pit to stand below him and Shandri watched from the pit’s near edge. The drow scrabbled at the wall, fell to the floor and surrendered while the bugbears left.

Questioning the drow, he told us about Black Spider (a male drow) and the four gigantic spiders that accompany him, told us that Gundren’s other brother Nandro is being held prisoner in a room near Black Spider, and offered to retrieve Nandro and bring him to us if we let him live and let him leave afterwards. We agreed, let him lead us to a corridor near the large chamber Black Spider occupies, and were soon greeted by a maltreated and malnourished dwarf stumbling hesitantly towards us. We greeted him in whispers, led him away and returned to Gundren to reunite them, informing him of Thardrin’s death on the way.

We then returned to deal with Black Spider, who was flanked by two bugbear bodyguards while his pet spiders lurked on the ceiling. Black Spider deflected Karrod’s initial attack with a magical shield, so we took down his two bodyguards. Seeing how quickly we dealt with them, Black Spider cast a spell that turned him invisible and attempted to flee down the corridor, but targetting the sound of his footsteps I cast a spell that dropped him into a sorcerous slumber while the others dealt with the spiders, the claws of Karrod’s bear form able to reach them where they lurked on the ceiling while Shandri and Hema had to climb on a large dwarven statue to reach, at least until Hema’s blows impacted some of the spiders such that they lost their grip on the ceiling and fell to the ground. The last spider tried to flee down the same tunnel Black Spider had attempted to use, but we brought it down.

Searching the area, much to our shock we discovered Nandro bound and gagged in a side chamber and realised that the dwarf we’d delivered to Gundren was actually another shapeshifter!

Sai Greenleaf's Journal 3
(5th game session)

18 Kythorn 1481 (continued)

We discovered that the reason for the earlier chanting from the chapel was the goblin priests preparing a sacrifice to their dark god, and found Gundren Rocksmasher bound to the altar. Some of the party freed him and tended to his injuries as the rest of us checked over the castle. As we were doing so, a young human woman appeared on the chapel’s rafters – after some tense greetings she introduced herself as Hema, a monk of Oghma on a mission to purify the chapel who had crept into the castle earlier that day and had been hiding in the remnants of old illusion magics in the rafters. As we were talking, noises in the forest to the north alerted us to the return of a hobgoblin hunting party, four hobgoblins (one of them with noticeable smarter attire than the other hobgoblins we’d seen) accompanied by two wolves and carrying the carcass of a deer. Noticing the carnage around the castle, they split into two groups and started circling around. Karrod headed to the castle’s western door while Shandri and I headed to the concealed entrance and the rest of our party waited in the chapel. As a couple of the hobgoblins got close to the concealed entrance, we loosed some ranged attacks – and a horrific tentacled creature with a wicked beak (which Declan identified as a grick) dropped from its concealment on the chapel’s ceiling to attack those gathered beneath.

Shandri held the concealed entrance while the rest of us rushed to deal with this new threat. The grick was slain, but while we were doing so Shandri fell and the hobgoblin leader headed to the owlbear’s chamber and started unbarring the door, with the other hobgoblins hemming us into the chapel. Fortunately I was able to slip around the side and cast the hobgoblin leader and the wolf accompanying him into a sorcerous slumber, then secure the door leading to the owlbear and decapitate a further hobgoblin who came to free it, as the other hobgoblins were dealt with and Shandri recovered. Catching our breath, we secured all of our hobgoblin prisoners in the storage room next to the bugbear chief’s chamber, made sure everyone else was definitely dead, and barricaded ourselves in the chief’s chamber till the morning.

19 Kythorn 1481

We questioned our hobgoblin prisoners, some of whom fortunately spoke the Common tongue, but did not get much useful information out of them. They did tell us that the bugbear leader had been named Groll, that what we thought was a drow who’d been posing as Lord Albreck was actually a shapeshifter and knew things it shouldn’t have known – possibly another abomination with the ability to tear thoughts from the minds of those around it? – and confirmed some of what we already knew about Black Spider and their plans. The captives said that if we spared their lives they would leave the village alone and stay in the area around the castle, but we decided it was best to kill them lest they head off to inform and reinforce Black Spider. We searched all the corpses from the castle and its grounds, piled them in a large heap and burnt them, then Karrod headed into the woods to find soporific herbs while the rest of us spent some hours with Hema instructing us, and then leading us, in the ritual to reconsecrate the castle’s chapel, with Declan leading the chanting in fine voice.

Karrod returned with handfuls of the herbs he’d been seeking and liberally dosed a haunch of deer, which he quickly threw into the owlbear’s chamber before slamming and barring the door again. After a short time the owlbear fell into a drugged stupor and we opened the door, discussed what to do with it, slew it and retrieved the chest from the ledge in the room, which contained 120 gold coins, 90 electrum coins, a potion of healing, and scrolls of the spells Silence and Revivify. While the hobgoblins and goblins had possessed little of worth, and the shapeshifter had carried only spell components and the fragments of exhausted spell scrolls, Lord Albreck’s distinctive staff of enchanted glass bore useful enchantments designed to cast defensive spells each day and constantly deflect blows aimed at the wielder. Satisfied that our work at the castle was done, we started heading back to the village., Gundren and Hema making our party two greater than when we’d left.

20 Kythorn 1481

Encountered another owlbear as we travelled through the woods, even larger than the one in the castle. The creature took a chunk out of Karrod, but was swiftly dispatched.

21 Kythorn 1481

Arrived back at the village late in the day, we told Sildar what we’d found at the castle, spoke to various other locals and discussed our plans. Sildar was alarmed by news of the shapeshifter, and became paranoid that others in the village might actually be shapeshifters in disguise, but we dissuaded him from a wild and appalling plan to use the nothic for widespread interrogations. He was disappointed that we’d been unable to find either Lord Albreck or certain proof of his death, but agreed to let us use the glass staff until Lord Albreck’s next of kin had been notified. Gundren was dismayed that his brothers hadn’t been heard from, and was eager to seek them out in the mine 15 miles to the east. We also heard rumours of undead at Old Owl Well, orcs at Wyvern Tor and a banshee at Coneyberry. The priestess tending the village’s shrine to Tymora asked us to seek the lost spellbook of the legendary mage Bojentle, which is apparently known of by the banshee (whose name is Agatha), and gave us a jewelled silver comb to offer the banshee as a gift in exchange for information.

Sai Greenleaf's Journal 2
(4th game session)

15 Kythorn 1481 (continued)

With the Redbrands securely (though overcrowdedly) locked up in the mayor’s house, Sildar and Declan made overtures to them offering pardon in exchange for service as a village militia. Most of them seemed receptive. We discussed the nothic, which given it has murdered at least one helpless Redbrand already and shown it has a taste for the thoughts and flesh of civilised sophonts should clearly be dealt with as a danger to the village. Karrod wants it left to roam free and hunt as it pleases, as a compromise he persuaded Shandri and Declan to talk to it and offer it employment as an interrogator in the service of Shandri’s order – she’s sent a letter to the nearest temple asking if they’d be willing to take it on. An appalling idea, but at least it would leave the village safe and the nothic no longer our responsibility.

Some of us went to the Sleeping Giant inn to see if the dwarf bartender there had seen any sign of the fleeing Iarno. They reported seeing their mountain pony stolen by someone invisible person and ridden off at high speed along the main road to the village centre. They were concerned about not getting any custom now all the Redbrands are jailed, so Declan played some rousing tunes on his bagpipes to draw in custom. We then inquired at the town’s other inn, where some had seen the pony galloping north out of the village. Karrod was also seeking information on a druid named Rydoth, and was directed back to the halflings of the Alderleaf farm in the southeast of the village. They told us that Rydoth was probably in the forest to the north, likely somewhere around the Thundertree area investigating the undead problem there. They gave Karrod a basket of provisions to pass on to Rydoth if we see him.

16 Kythorn 1481

Woke early and followed Iarno’s trail north out of the village. He continued to the main east-west road and turned west, the same way we’d come both initially and when returning from the goblins’ lair. After some distance he turned north off the road, and several miles further on he sent the horse off in one direction while continuing on foot in another, still heading vaguely north. We camped overnight in the wilderness and set watches.

17 Kythorn 1481

Woken early by a swarm of six stirges overhead. They dove to attack, managing to attach themselves to me and Declan, but we slew them all without much difficulty. Spent the day continuing to follow Iarno’s trail north.

18 Kythorn 1481

Had a peaceful night, followed the trail north into the thicker forest, and midafternoon discovered the ruined castle we’d heard about. Karrod transformed into a tiny spider to scout out the building, discovering a total of 18 goblins (3 of them robed as priests) and 6 hobgoblins led by a bugbear. Two of the hobgoblins were next to a tower room containing a captive (trained?) owlbear and a treasure chest, while the bugbear’s quarters were shared by a pet wolf, a drow carrying Iarno’s distinctive glass quarterstaff, and a dwarf who might be Gundren Rockseeker but was so badly beaten that it was difficult to clearly discern his features. No sign of Iarno – had he been slain by the drow long since and magically impersonated all this time by the drow? A conspiracy led by drow would certainly explain the “Black Spider” title and symbology.

While the castle’s upper floors were mostly absent, its ground floor was fairly solid with two raised entrances approached by steps, arrowslits around the walls, and several goblins keeping watch from guardrooms. While many stretches of wall were in disrepair, they remained impassably choked with rubble. Karrod did discover a small tunnel on the castle’s north side crudely concealed with canvas. The goblin priests had a chapel with a bloodstained altar consecrated to some unknown dark deity, next to which was a storeroom containing a suit of bloody chainmail, a longsword bearing the emblem of Neverwinter and a crossbow, likely Sildar’s stolen gear. We decided to attack at the dead of night, and spent the rest of the day in the nearby forest resting and making preparations.

When the castle was mostly in darkness but for flickering torchlight and low chanting emanating from the chapel, I led us in through the hidden entrance tunnel, and the rest of the party waited just inside while I crept around quietly driving padded wedges into the doorways leading to the western half of the castle to slow the goblins and most of the hobgoblins from reaching us if the alarm was raised. Then we all crept into position, but made enough noise that the two hobgoblins in the guardroom just outside the chief’s quarters were alerted and stood waiting for us. We took them down quickly, but not before one of them woke the chief and the door was barred against us. We battered it down and broke in, seeing the bugbear, wolf and drow but no sign of the dwarf. While we fought the bugbear and wolf the drow read a scroll and unleashed a fireball, badly burning everyone in the room (and killing the wolf), then attempted to flee. Shandri and I gave chase but first her and then I were dropped by magic missiles; while Karrod battled the bugbear Declan roused Shandri and Shandri roused me, and the drow was brought down by fatal psychic damage from one of Declan’s spells.

The rest of the castle had been woken by the commotion and came to attack, a couple of hobgoblins driving a group of fearful goblins through the tunnel into Karrod’s waiting clutches while the rest battered at the doors behind which Shandri and Declan stood ready. Most of the goblins were slaughtered (half a dozen slain and a hobgoblin badly wounded in the chapel by a single shattering spell from Declan), though a few managed to flee into the forest. One of the hobgoblins also fled, with two more dying and one being taken alive for questioning.

Sai Greenleaf's Journal
(3rd game session)

15 Kythorn 1481 (continued)

After interrogating the captive Redbrands & talking more with Sildar Hallwinter, visited a contact of Shandri’s with an orchard in the northwest of the village. Learnt a little more about the Redbrands and the ruined manor, were directed to a halfling farm in the southeast corner of the village where a lad was rumoured to have seen odd goings on in the woods behind the ruins. Declan befriended the young halfling boy, who talked of seeing Redbrands meeting in the woods and showed us a small hidden rocky cleft in the hillside some way behind the ruined manor.

Followed the narrow passage some distance underground until it opened into a larger cavern, with two wooden bridges over a chasm in the centre & several stonework rooms & passages leading off. Brushed off a psychic assault & spotted a humanoid creature with a single huge & terrible eye, spines & claws hiding behind a pillar on the far side. Declan identified it as a “nothic”, telepathic conversation ensued & it offered to help us if we brought it live food, telling us it was able to read the thoughts of all who passed through its cavern. We went back out to the woods, where Karrod’s skill at hunting soon saw us return with a trussed & muzzled deer that the nothic immediately tore into. In exchange it told us a little more about the hideout’s layout and the Redbrands, who have apparently been hired by “Black Spider” to make the village obey & scare off any adventurers.

As Shandri crossed one bridge it collapsed, leaving her at the bottom of a 20’ chasm with unnaturally cold depths. Also down there was the half-eaten corpse of a male human woodcutter, kidnapped (along with his family) by the Redbrand some weeks previous & dumped here after being killed, his body gnawed by the nothic. Shandri found a hidden chest containing coins, gems, a couple of potions, a spell scroll, & an untarnished longsword of exceptional craftsmanship with a pommel in the form of a raptor & the word “Talon” engraved on the blade. Declan identified the sword as having belonged to Aldith Tressedar, known as “The Black Hawk”, the lord of the manor who died here centuries past fighting invading orcs in the tunnels beneath his home.

Leaving the cavern through a store room to the north, a secret passage led to a locked armoury. Availed ourselves of a few extra weapons, then locked the door & jammed the lock. The hallway outside led to a crypt, with a trio of armed & armoured skeletons leant upright against a three sarcophagi. They didn’t react to our presence until Shandri charged into the room & attacked them. Once they were destroyed we reinterred their remains in the sarcophagi from which they had been taken. Next to the crypt was a small prison containing two Redbrands who attempted to ambush us (one taken captive, one fatally immolated by Karrod) & the woodcutter’s family – wife Murna Dendrar, late teen daughter Nilsa, young son Nars, with iron collars around their necks. The Redbrands had been intending to sell them as slaves, we freed them & took them (along with our new captive) out through the passageway & back to the village. In gratitude Murna described how the family’s old shop in Thundertree (now overrun by undead) contains a hidden emerald necklace.

Returning after lunch, we resumed our exploration from the crypt & crossed a pit trap in a large hallway to reach the old manor’s main cellar, full of stored provisions & a large cistern & a way up into the aboveground ruins of a kitchen. Next to the cellar were some sleeping quarters, where three bandits were swiftly defeated. Against my objections, they were left bound & gagged in their beds. A passage from the southwest corner of the cellar returned us to the cavern & we took another secret passage from the northern store room into the bandit leader’s private bedchamber. A chest contained more coins & gems & a couple of spell scrolls, a writing desk contained numerous records of provisions & alchemical supplies, plus a letter from Black Spider which confirmed the bandit leader’s identity as erstwhile Lords Alliance member Iarno Albreck & warned him of an expected visit to the village by people with an old dwarven map (probably our party, Gundren & Sildar – did Gundren have this map?)

Next to the bedchamber was an alchemical lab full of bubbling apparatus, tomes & scrolls. One dwarven tome by an author named Urman spoke of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, the Forge of Spells, and an enchanted mace named Lightbringer commissioned by priests of Lathander. Across a hallway from the lab was the bandits common room, where we surprised four ruffians in the midst of their drinking & gambling & quickly dealt with them. Across another hallway was the final room in the complex, a barracks where we fought three bugbears (their goblin servant fainted when we burst in). We took our 10 new captives (one of the bandits left in the sleeping quarters off the cellar having been eaten alive by the nothic!) back to the village, where those from the civilised races where imprisoned to await trial while Sildar had Shandri publicly execute the bugbears in the village square.

Session 2
End of Cragmaw Hideout and Finding the Redbrands

After resting and growing stronger (level 2), went to visit the remaining goblin room. Found a goblin holding Sildar hostage, negotiated and agreed to hunt down the bugbear leader and bring his head in exchange for Sildar.

Tracked the bugbear, avoiding an ambush and a pit trap, killed him and took his head back. Goblins double-crossed the party, but the party prevailed.

Rescued Sildar and found that Gundren had been taken (along with all the gear) to Cragmaw Castle – location unknown). Also something about a Black Spider.

Escorted Sildar back to Phandalin, returned some of the Lionshield Coster equipment and gained the reward. Purchased some improved equipment (2 x Studded Leather armour and a Longbow). On exiting, met some Redbrands. After some discussion, attacked them, captured three while the bear druid slaughtered the remaining one.

Took the captured Redbrands to the townmaster and convinced him to hold them in the cells until morning so long as they kept guard. In the morning Sildar told them about his missing comrade Iarno Albreck, missing for a few months.

After interrogating the Redbrand captives, found that they are likely holed up in a run down mansion up the hill, and are lead by a wizard ‘Glass staff’ who arrived a few months ago. Party think this could be Iarno, though Sildar is wary that they should not jump to conclusions.

Session 1
On the way to Phandalin

Hired by Gundren Rockseeker to take a supply wagon from Neverwinter to Phandalin.

Gundren will go ahead with a human warrior named Sildar Hallwinter to take care of some advanced business.

Hired Sai as well known for this kind of guard duty, others coming along for their own reasons.

Part way to Phandalin came across the wreck of a wagon and some blood marks. On investigating, were ambushed by four goblins, who took down one of the oxen and some of the characters before being slain. Party identified that the wreck was old bits of wagons left there to mislead travellers, identified drag marks leading to horse corpses (fairly fresh, with most of the meat taken).

Party went on to Phandalin with the wagon and delivered the goods to Barthen’s Provisions. Were rewarded (minus some payment for dead ox), and informed that Gundren had not arrived. Heard about his brothers, who had come into town on occasion for supplies but had not been seen recently.

Stopped by Lionshield Coster and were told about other missing shipments. Went to Stonehill Inn, where they were rewarded with food and lodgings if the performance would stop.

Next day, spoke with townmaster Harbin Wester. He seems cowardly, concerned for his own safety and that of the town if something happened to the Redbrands. Kept discussing the reward for Orcs at Wyvern’s Tor, not interested in the Goblins.

Left a rude note on the door of the Sleeping Giant, where the Redbrands are known to congregate, then left back down the trail to find out what had happened to Gundren and Sildar.

Followed the tracks and found a cave, along with a couple of goblins trying to ambush the party. Went into cave, following stream. Cave with chained wolves, which druid calmed down, spoke to and released. Further up the river saw a side passage and a bridge overhead. Goblins released a flood of water, which sent druid flying back down the passage. Continued along, cut down a few more goblins before entering the main room.

Scared off the bugbear there (bard made him climb down the crevice towards the wolf room, on returning he was badly hurt so fled. Killed the other goblins and the wolf pet. Barricaded the room to get a short rest. Found the Lionshield Coster crates along with a treasure chest with 600cp, 110sp a statue of a frog and a couple of evocation potions (healing?).


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