A walk to the Temple

Adda and Talia left the Underfarms carrying an unconscious Kosef. After Talia failed in her attempt to persuade a donkey to help them, the smaller tiefling managed to acquire information on the location of the Temple of Nian, a place to get help for the injured human. After hiking out of the Underfarms and north for about an hour they arrived at the temple of Nian. There, Adda took a vow to the Temple of Nian with her own blood and a promise not to go to any of the other Temples in order to help heal Kosef in a strange ritual performed by the bald priest. She also asked if the Temple could train here in the ways of healing. The priest told her to return in the morning.

Meanwhile, Loru and Rakham stayed behind, taking care of the slayed creature. The Dwarf harvested the creatures six tentacles and a single eye and then they decided to go to the tavern, assuming that the rest of the party will probably arrive there later. Waiting there, the bard haggled with Dagmar, the Innkeeper of the Helping Hand, and sold him some of the creature’s remains. Later that day, after Adda, Talia and Kosef returned, the group gathered together in the tavern and they feasted and bathed. After having a tense discussion with Dagmar, Kosef also managed to get an all inclusive, free stay at the tavern. Rakham also learned about a grey dragon, seemingly roaming somewhere east, 2 days travel from the weeping hill. Then they went to their rooms for the night’s rest.

Morning came and after a brief breakfast they decided to go to the market and, later, back to that temple. During their walk, they encountered a group of some apparently infamous individuals from The Lord’s Watch. Loru fooled their leader with some charming words and a little bit of magic. After they gained some distance, the party fled down an alley south from Weeping Hill Circle to hide from the now, probably angry, men. Hiding in the ruins of a building Talia decided to climb on top of the wall to get a look down the street. There she was spotted big two giant wasps almost a meter in length. She was able to cause one of the creatures to retreat back into a home in some brambles but the second Wasp flew towards her. She dropped from the wall and landed awkwardly on the floor. As the Wasp followed it was the party attacked and killed it with arrows and daggers.  Unharmed, they continued south coming to an old abandoned plaza with a stone well in its center.

The well appeared old and unused for many years. Dropping a torch into the will revealed that it was perhaps 15 meters deep and ended in a dirt floor with some sort of passageway leading way from the bottom. After a few minutes the touch light disappeared. The part decided not to investigate the well any further for the time being.

While the rest of the group remained hidden in the ruins of a building on the edge of the plaza Kosef made his way to the market to go shopping. The human carefully made his way to the market undisturbed and, while buying, acquired some information about the band called the Hill Hunters. He returned to the party and from there, they headed towards the temple of Nian while avoiding the main roads as much as possible.

Inside the temple’s open air courtyard  they had a long discussion with the priest, as Adda decided to try the acolyte training. Talia stole some bread from a table but a priest noticed as she did and simply smiled at her. Full of suspicions, they left the tiefling there, settling on picking her up in the evening. Loru and Kosef went back to the Helping Hand to have a talk with Dagmar about them not ever being there. Unfortunately, they discovered that the previously encountered group has already made their way there…

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The chance meeting of a strange group

Few tales begin without noble knights and highborn princesses. Legends need powerful heroes and dragons to slain. Adventures, however, can start with but a little bit of ale… Theirs started in an ancient city of Tordan. It was in one of the city’s taverns, the Helping Hand, where the lives of Loru, Adda, Kosef, Rakham and Talia would be intertwined with each other’s. After some, more or less friendly, introductions the group sat together and shared some cups of ale, while being surveyed on their preferable weapons by the dwarf. The barkeep, noticing this rather colorful bunch, offered them some coin for hunting crickets in the underfarms, as they, terrifyingly for the bard, happen to be a delicacy in these areas.

Following the directions of Dagmar the barkeep at the Helping Hand the group followed the ring road around the Weeping Hill  and arrived at the east game. There they turned right and proceeded to the entrance of the Underfarms without incident. Nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary and what looked like farmers came and went. The group entered the caves, making there way down a slopping tunnel marked with ware. After a few minutes they reached a huge open cavern with rows of various types of huge fungus being tended to by farmers.

Sending Loru on the hunt for the map of the tunnels he managed with a few charming words to find where best safe hunting area was. However he decided not to go there. Not revealing this to others he lead them to another passageway on the left side of the farms. After descending for another ten minutes the group came to a junction with four new directions to proceed. After taking some time to investigate the tunnel leading upwards to the left and another that dropped steeply into darkness on the right the group continued forward. Almost immediately a darkness engulfed Kosef as he let out a cry. After one failed attempt Loru was able to use him magic to illuminate the creatures in the darkness. There they discovered a strange, tentacle creature that had engulfed Kosef. After server Ax blows, dagger slashes and arrows the creature lifted off of Kosef and fell to the cold stone floor. Kosef was unconscious on the ground below, crushed by and spiked by the strange beast. After the group managed to slay the beast it took a team effort stabilized the human, few seconds before it was too late.

They quickly scooped him up and began to retreat back up the tunnel towards the underfarms with Loru attempting to drag the leather corpse of the creature behind.

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We return to the Stonehill Inn around midday and immediately find Gundren. He asks if we have any new information about his brothers and we admit that we haven’t. We decide that the Wave Echo Cave is the most likely place that we’ll find them and Gundren tells us exactly how to find it. Before leaving Phandalin we pop over to Barthan’s Provisions and buy as much cave-diving gear as we can carry.

Leaving Phandalin, we make our way to the entrance of the cave without incident. There is a slight breeze going into the cave. We decide to approach as cautiously as possible, sending Liarel ahead in rat form to act as our scout. After about thirty feet the entrance tunnel opens up onto a larger cave. Liarel sees a bedroll to the west and a rope descending into a pit to the north. She hears a crashing sound echo through the tunnels. Examining the west, she finds two additional bedrolls, a large quantity of supplies, and a body which smells quite rotten. The rest of the group follows Liarel into the cave and examine the body. It appears to be a dwarf, possibly resembling Gundren, but it has been dead long enough that it is difficult to tell. The bedrolls are all dwarf sized. We determine that the pit is the only way forward.

Never puts Liarel in her pocket and the group climbs down the rope. At the bottom we send Liarel back down the left hand passage, but the air feels still there so she returns and leads the group to the right. We continue to follow the wind, marking the cave wall at each turn, until we come upon a natural cave with reliefs of dwarves carved into the walls. Dozens of skeletons litter the floor. They appear to be mostly dwarves, but we also notice several orcs. Three passageways lead out.

Stepping into the cave, the group is immediately attacked by about half a dozen bat-like creatures with razor-sharp proboscises. Three swoop down onto Mella, one stabbing him in the neck. Three more land on Danak and another bites into Droop. Never rips one of the creatures off of Mella, sending it flying off, while Elada crushes the one which attacked Droop. Liarel returns to elf form and shoots another off of Mella right before Mella turns into a panther, sending the last creature flying off. Danak slams himself into the wall, crushing two of them, as Droop swings wildly at one of the remaining ones in the air, slashing it to pieces. The last one on Danak, fat and happy with blood, flies off. Three more attach to Elada, Liarel, and Mella, with a fourth flying around Droop. Elada quickly crushes the one attached to herself, Danak stomps the creature on Mella, and Never detaches the one on Liarel, holding it in place as Liarel stabs it with an arrow. Panther Mella bites the remaining creature out of the air, and off in the distance we hear a thundering crash.

We follow the wind and the sound of waves, Mella scouting ahead in panther form. He comes upon a large, open space covered with strange fungi and immediately returns to the group to lead us in the opposite direction. We come to a door behind which is a room full of bunks and bones, with three grey figures hunched in the middle gnawing on bones. As they turn to look at us Elada shuts and bars the door. We take the one remaining path forward, heading north and passing a storage room. Eventually we find our way to a large chamber with two long tables in the middle, again littered with skeletal remains, escarpments to either side. Mella smells rotting flesh as Danak’s light shines on a handful of grey creatures running toward us. We make quick work of the creatures and stop to check the rest of the room.

Moving forward we come upon a room with a water wheel and bellows. Inside we see more corpses (these looking somewhat less ancient than the bones we’ve encountered thus far) lying below a floating skull engulfed in green flame. We find that the skull turns to watch us no matter which door we stand in and eventually decide to just try talking to it. Mella begins to assure the skull that we are friends of the Rockseekers, but the skull seems to have no response. We decide to listen at the door down the hall from the room’s entrance. We hear voices but none of us understand what is being said until Droop tells us, “They’re hungry”. We decide to go rest on one of the escarpments before moving forward.

After our rest Droop tells us the voices behind the door are “big” and we decide we want to know more about the skull. We send Mella ahead to talk to the skull, but the moment he steps into the room the corpses beneath the skull animate and all eight of them shamble toward the hallway. Mella manages to block about half of the corpses with a flaming sphere and the group slowly manages to wear them down as the skull looks on, occasionally attacking us itself. During the fight Droop once again proves to be our most useful member, managing to make the killing blow on a few of the corpses. After a good long while the skull calls the corpses back before spitting out an explosion. While most of the group manages to jump out of the way, Liarel, Droop, and Danak fall unconscious.

We quickly realize that this is not the hill we want to die on and retreat, Elada carrying Liarel and Droop off and Mella feeding Danak a goodberry so he can run away on his own. We make our way back to the escarpment and Liarel heals everyone (having been fed a goodberry by Elada). We decide to rest again, this time in the storage room we happened upon a while back. Once we are done with our rest we head back to the skull room just to see if we can approach the room without getting attacked and promptly learn we cannot. After much discussion we decide to try the room at the end of the hall, which we suspect is full of bugbears. Before we progress we hear shuffling from one of the escarpments and see a bugbear peering down at us. We miss him with a series of ranged attacks and he runs off. We proceed to the bugbear room.

Mella listens at the door, hearing nothing. He signals and we all rush forward, but the door doesn’t budge. Elada and Mella manage to force the door open, revealing five bugbears staring back at us. We retreat and they shut the door. Left with no other way forward we decide to just try booking it through the skull room.

Under cover of a fog cloud we hear the shuffling of the reanimated corpses but run through the room anyway. In the next hallway, out of the fog, we keep running but no attack follows us. We quickly find ourselves in a large, natural cavern. There is a building ahead of us and glittering across the ceiling of the huge chamber but otherwise it sits in darkness. The floor is littered with remains. We decide to check out the building, but see a greenish glow coming from inside and realize it’s probably best if we try to proceed elsewhere.

In the room with the glittering lights, everything looks like stars. We hear a loud crashing sound and feel a light spray from a passage way to the left. Through the passageway we come to a path with a ledge to the right. Below the ledge we see a body of water flowing out of the room. We follow the ledge and come to a tunnel which leads to a natural cavern with a rift in it. Looking down we see three bugbears moving rocks. On the other side of the cavern is a drow, watching.




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The Orcs in Wyvern Tor

The group reconvenes and discusses at great length how to best handle the orcs. As this goes on, Elada hears general conversation coming from the cave, one voice louder and deeper than the rest, speaking with a heavy accent. There is more activity in the cave as time goes on. Orders are heard and the fire in the cave goes out.

We decide that this is the time to move. Liarel casts goodberry and gives two to each member of the party, then casts fog above the guard outside the cave. As the fog descends, obfuscating our approach, Mella transforms into a panther and he and Elada approach the guard through the fog. The rest of the team moves around the fog to reach either side of the cave entrance.

Within the fog, Elada hears the guard voice confusion before she and Mella stumble into him. As the guard recognizes her, Elada cuts a gash in his armor with her great sword. He responds by catching her in the shoulder with his axe. Mella leas forward and bites the guard, a terrible taste filling his mouth. The guard calls out for reinforcements just before Elada, raging, slices through his face. The guard falls and disappears into the fog. Elada runs off to the right to join Danak.

A large, hulking humanoid with a giant axe comes out of the cave followed by five orcs including Brogar. Liarel casts faerie fire, illuminating the mouth of the cave as well as the giant and one of the orcs. The giant and three of the orcs begin heading for Elada and Danak. The giant almost brings Danak down with one swing of his axe and hardly seems to feel Elada’s attack. Mella spots Brogar and one other orc scanning the area and pounces. Brogar catches Mella midair with his axe, turning him back into an elf. From the left, Never casts witchbolt, sending a wave of electrical energy out at the giant as Danak slams into him with his great axe, causing the giant to stumble to the ground, still breathing.

Having sneaked through the fog, Droop stabs his dagger into Brogar’s side causing him to drop Mella. Brogar kicks out at Droop but Droop dodges. Mella tells Droop to go into the forest and find a blue flower with red thorns. He says this is very important. Droop sees no forest.

Elada swings at the giant while fending off the orcs’ attacks. Never sends out one more blast of witch bolt and the giant falls to the ground, charred. Liarel casts Melf’s acid arrow, burning an orc that had attacked her and Never. On the other side of the cave entrance, Danak and Elada make quick work of the glowing orc, who falls and is left to bleed out. Droop stabs Brogar again before retreating.

Mella unleashes thunderwave, dashing Brogar into the rocks, killing him. Danak knocks one of the remaining orcs into another as Elada produces a length of rope. Seeing the rope, the three remaining orcs begin to flee. Mella runs into the cave to investigate and Liarel thornwhips the only orc she can still see, bringing him closer to the group. The orc tries to run away, but Elada clocks him in the face, knocking him out.

Inside the cave, Mella opens a chest to find twenty pounds worth of coins and three vials of clear liquid. He pockets all of it, unable to determine what the liquid in the vials might be.

Outside, the group binds and questions the orc, but he does not respond. Liarel and Mella heal the party and Mella offers Droop as many coins as he wants from his pack. After Droop has filled his pack, Liarel takes the remaining coins and divides them up for the group. Meanwhile Never pulls Elada out of earshot and asks her to teach her how to say “you have to tell her the truth” in orcish. After a few attempts Never is able to say the phrase in heavily accented orcish and the two return to the group. Never casts suggestion on the orc, indicating Elada as the “her” in question and the group begins questioning the orc anew.

The orc begins answering our questions, but we can’t be sure if the spell worked or if it failed and the orc is lying to us. He says that Ohbarn is their leader and that the many arrows are located about four days to the north. He says that they are thousands strong and soon this all will be theirs. Danak beheads him and the questioning is done.

Mella digs a number of graves and collects a number of teeth while the rest of us set up camp in the cave. The night goes by without incident and we head back to the Old Owl Well. As we approach Kost halts his zombies and we relay to him what we have learned. Mella mentions that an army may be coming but Kost seems unperturbed. Never looks around the ruins with her Eldritch sight, but sees nothing magical. Liarel talks to Kost who says he is there to research the history of the Owl Well, but he has yet to learn anything. He says there is a creature in Conyberry with great knowledge who may have the information he seeks-namely the identity of the Owl Well’s creator. Mella presents Kost with the vials, realizing that one has gone missing, and they are revealed to be non-magical perfume. Coming back to the group, Never sees a glow of abjuration magic and two evocation magics coming through Kost’s tent.

Kost asks us to seek out the creature named Agatha in Conyberry and tells us he is a wizard of Thay. Never knows that they are a well known faction of magic users and Danak knows that they are unfriendly with the lords of Waterdeep, his hometown. Kost says he will keep his eyes out for any other disturbances in the area and we decide to head back to Phandelin.

On our trip, Mella questions the meaning of life and Danak voices his suspicion of the Thay wizards. We are all suddenly very aware that Kost was interested in where we left the orcs’ bodies. Never gets short with Danak who continues on his explanation of why the Thay are not to be trusted.

Back in Phandelin, Danak makes sure there are no new issues in the area and we get Droop outfitted with a child’s sword and some studded leather armor. Danak, Mella, and Liarel go to the shrine of luck to discuss the banshee Agatha with the priestess there. The priestess says Agatha must be given a suitable gift in order to answer questions, but she does not know how many questions each gift is good for. The priestess gives the group a silver comb to present to Agatha and asks that we ask for the location of a spellbook. She will not say why she wants it, only that it is not for her and that she may trust us more later. Mella gets snappy with the priestess, going so far as to claim she may be evil, and the priestess seems genuinely offended. Liarel and Danak manage to get the conversation back on track and they learn that the priestess had tried to ask Agatha herself, but could not get her to appear. She believes Agatha is harmless unless provoked. They discuss whether the perfume Mella found would be a good offering to Agatha and Liarel realizes that Droop smells very strongly of perfume. She tries to tell him that less is more, but he remains unconvinced.

Elada and Never go off to check in with Derren Eddermath. He seems concerned about the wizards of Thay and the army of orcs. He says the Owl Well was an old Nethereese outpost.

The group reconvenes and runs a few errands before returning to the Townmaster’s Hall to speak with Sildar. He is concerned about the orc army and says we should send word to the Lord’s Alliance. Danak tells him about Kost and Sildar also responds with suspicion.

We decide to meet up with Gundren at the Inn.

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House rules

Here are some of the house rules I normally use in my games with some additions for my newest one. I am going to try to explain them without using the 5e rules as a base so they will still make sense to people who are not familiar with the 5e rules.

Limited Cantrips
Cantrips are the least powerful types of spells available to most casters. Any Cantrip you know is always available to use (You don’t need to prepare them each day). The number of times you can cast a cantrip per day is double the number of times you can cast a 1st level spell per day (twice your 1st level spell slots).

Warlocks get four times their known cantrips per day

There are two types of rests you can take, a short rest (1 hour) and a long rest (8 hours). You can only take one long rest in a 24 hour period and gain any benefits. You can take more than one short rest in a 24 hour period but you can only gain the same benefit from a short rest once in a 24 hour period.

When you take a long rest you roll to see how many HP you heal (if needed). The dice are your half your HD rounded up plus your constitution bonus. A HD is the die you roll for your HP at each level (d10 for fight, d8 for cleric, d6 for wizard, etc). So a 1st or 2nd level fighter rill roll a d10 + con bonus after a long rest to see how many HP are healed. A 3rd or 4th level fighter would roll 2d10 + con bonus.

When taking a short rest you may roll 1 HD and add your Con bonus to recover HP. You can only do this once per 24 hours even though you can take more than one short rest (you cant benefit from the same thing more than once in a 24 hour period when taking a short rest).

I will be experimenting with this initiative system, will probably make some adjustments as we play based on how it feels and feedback.

At the beginning of each round you will declare what you would like to do. Based on what actions you are taking you will roll a different die for your initiative. This system is experimental and will probably be changed after play.

-Lowest roll goes first
-Ties to to higher Dex
-Can delay your action until later
-Might need a way to make Dex more important, could reduce die for each +2 dex (d10->d8->d6->d4->d3->d2->1)
-Roll two dice if taking more than one actions (move and attack is d6 + d8).
-Experiment with when taking multiple actions they happen at different times?
-Maybe cantrips are d6 or d8?
-If you can’t take your action because of changes before you can act you lose your action? Or can change it after everyone else has acted? or add d12 to your initiative.

d4 Ranged attack, drop held item
d6 Movement, Melee attack with light or finesse weapon
d8 Melee attack, swap gear
d10 Cast a spell, Melee attack with heavy weapon
d12 Change action?

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Thundertree and Cragmaw Castle

We leave Phandelin in the morning to head toward Thundertree, which we know was once a prosperous community until Mt. Hooknal erupted and destroyed the area thirty years ago. Over the course of two days travel the group manages to do a bit of hunting, but not much else.

After two days we come upon a trail heading east into the ruins of Thundretree. A tower on a hill overlooks the village and the majority of the buildings are heavily dilapidated. A sign nailed to a tree reads “Danger: Plant Monsters and Zombies. Turn back now”. Liarel remembers Mirna telling her about an emerald necklace which may still be in her family’s old herb shop in Thundertree.

We cautiously approach a building toward the front of the ruins which appears to be in better shape than the rest. The door is reinforced with iron bands and the shutters are closed. Liarel opens the door and a man calls out. She responds in Druidic, asking if he is Rydoth. He confirms that he is and tells us to come in. Before giving us directions to Kragmaw Castle, Rydoth tells us that a young green dragon has taken up residence in the tower. We decide to deal with that matter another time, opting instead to head directly for Kragmaw in order to save Gundren.

We travel for a day until we come to a rocky outcrop and decide to rest for the night. Part way through her watch Never hears a voice in the distance. She wakes Mella, Liarel, and Droop just in case. Droop says the voices belong to bugbears and we come to the conclusion that they are patrolling the area as they never fully approach us.

The next morning we take a trail up to a crumbling castle consisting of seven towers arranged in a circle and joining together in the middle. We circle the castle and make note of the front entrance, a side entrance, and what appears to be a secret entrance. After much discussion the group decides to send Never to try and scare the inhabitants of the castle outside using Thaumaturgy. Unfortunately, she is quickly spotted and shot in the foot. She tries to recover the situation by making friendly conversation, but is ultimately forced to retreat. We decide to wait until dark before trying again, but hear a gruff voice coming from one of the towers a few hours into our wait and decide to send Mella (disguised as a rat) to investigate.

Mella scurries closer to the tower and overhears two voices negotiating for someone, presumably Gundren. A gruff voice says, “The agreement was for the dwarf. If you want the map you must pay.” The voices continue to argue for a short while before the gruff voice says, “Very well, question him”. Mella decides to climb up into the arrow slit to see inside the tower and finally manages it after some difficulty.

Looking inside the tower, Mella sees Gundren looking badly beaten. He is being prodded awake by a Drow woman. There is a Bugbear sitting in the corner with a wolf. When Gundren wakes the Drow asks him repeatedly who else has seen his map. He insists that no one has and she crosses the room to burn the map before turning back to approach Gundren, rapier drawn.

At this point Mella decides to intervene. He scurries into the room and quickly shifts into panther form, shocking everyone in the room. He lunges for the Drow’s throat, knocking her prone and biting her twice before shifting his stance to protect Gundren. The Bugbear (Grol) and the wolf both attack Mella, causing him to revert to elf form as the wolf drags him to the ground.

Outside, the remainder of the group realizes that it is time to act and Liarel casts Darkness into the room as we all run toward the presumed secret entrance of the castle.

In the darkness, Mella hears the Drow move and the sound of a door opening. He casts Thunderwave, hearing that he has knocked the wolf back, before grabbing Gundren and beginning the move along the wall.

The group comes through the secret entrance into a provisions room. Danak opens the door to the east, revealing the Drow bandaging herself up, Grol, and a cloud of darkness emanating from the corner. Two armored goblins come in through the door behind us. Danak rushes at Grol as one of the armored goblins turns and leaves, presumably to get reinforcements, as the other stays and attacks Danak.

In the darkness, Mella hears the commotion outside as he continues to make his way to the door. He calls out in Druidic that he has Gundren. In the next room over, Liarel cures Danak’s wounds and Never tries to cast Suggestion on Grol, telling him that he is our ally and there is no need to fight us. The armored goblin makes another attack on Danak, who defends, before Grol calls him and the wolf off.

Mella tries to have Grol attack the Drow, saying she is our enemy, but he does nothing. The Drow lunges, stabbing Gundren, who falls, before running off. Never stabilizes Gundren and Danak moves to pick him up, but Grol says to leave him, that Gundren is his. Realizing that Grol took “ally” to mean “our leader”, Elada charges at him with her sword, slashing him in the hip and breaking the Suggestion as five more armored goblins burst into the provisions room.

Mella hurls fire at one of the goblins and picks up Gundren as Elada and Grol exchange blows. In the provisions room, Liarel casts Thunderwave and knocks back three of the new goblins. Danak swings at Grol with his great axe, but misses and hits Mella instead. Danak, Never, and Elada Docus their efforts on Grol while Liarel continues to take on the five goblins in the next room over. Mella cures Danak’s wounds and Droop faints.

Mella gives the now-conscious Gundren his long sword just before the wolf lunges at the elf, knocking him to the ground. Liarel sends out another Thunderwave, knocking out three of the goblins and leaving the other two looking worn down. She notices a dwarf who looks remarkably similar to Gundren sneak out behind the goblins with a sword. He motions for her to be quiet.

In the other room the battle of three-against-Grol continues and Mella Thunderwaves the wolf back into the darkness. One of the goblins hits Liarel, who falls, and the darkness disappears. Meanwhile, another figure which looks remarkably like Liarel (henceforth “Lie-arel”) comes up behind Elada and stabs her. Never notices that something seems off with Lie-arel and attacks her with witch bolt whil Elada finally finishes Grol.

Lie-arel continues to hack at Elada, who falls unconscious, then shifts her attention to Danak. Danak and Never Fight off Lie-arel as Mella heals Elada. Danak strikes Lie-arel and she collapses, turning into an odd humanoid creature. We fight off the remaining Goblins, most of whom run away, and leave out the secret entrance. We hear voices approaching and Droop says there are “nine”. We run for the forest and see several goblins chase after us, but they do not leave the castle.

We quickly feed Gundren and make our way around Kragmaw Castle to have a better view of the exits, in hopes of catching the Drow as she runs away. After an hour we still haven’t seen anyone leave and Mella casts a location spell on the Drow’s sword, discovering that it (and hopefully, by extension, the Drow) is still in the castle. We ask Droop how many goblins are left and after thinking for a moment he says “nine”. We begin to expect that he thinks any number higher than four is “nine”.

Mella and Liarel try to sneak back into the castle through the secret entrance disguised as rats, but are chased off by two goblin guards, one of whom wears a belt made of rat tails and goes by “Rat Slayer”. After a brief scuffle they return to the forest. Danak and Never go off to join them, leaving Elada and Droop to guard Gundren.

Mella, Liarel, Danak, and Never decide to try once more, this time going through the front entrance. We loop around to the front and Liarel casts a fog cloud onto the front facing arrow slits. We rush through the front entrance until we come upon a door. Danak moves to listen at it, triggering a trap which brings stones and beams down upon us.

After a brief discussion as to whether or not this plan continues to be “worth it” we decide to press forward through the now un-trapped door. It opens into what appears to be a shrine to Lythander’s pantheon. Inside are three small goblins, one of which wears a red cloak, and a large, worm-like creature. Mella wants to clear the room and study it, as it was the subject of some of his deceased master’s studies, but he doesn’t quite know what he’s looking for. Against our better judgement we stay and fight.

There is a round of everyone missing before Danak manages to get stabbed multiple times. Mella tries to talk to the goblin priestess about the god Ohgma, but she appears to be a priestess of Magmulyet and otherwise completely uninterested in conversation. Mella lays down a small offering to Ohgma before joining the fight.

There is a brief scuffle during which one goblin is set alight, Danak Splits the Priestess’ head down the middle, and Mella turns into a panther for the second time today, then the door at the opposite end of the room swings open revealing Grol and two armored goblins. Liarel transforms into a wolf and Danak and Grol begin attacking each other, both missing several times. Never takes out the last small goblin with her mace as Grol finally lands a hit on Danak, who collapses. Never stabilizes Danak as Mella and Liarel fend off the goblins. Liarel kills one of the armored goblins and Grol and the remaining goblin retreat, calling out as they do.

More goblins appear and there is another scuffle before the group manages to get the shrine free of goblins and shut both doors. Liarel loses concentration on the fog cloud, causing it to dissipate. Elada notices this and she, Droop, and Gundren begin to run for the front of the castle. Inside, Liarel heals Danak and Mella searches the shrine. Looking behind one of the curtains, Mella finds an altar covered with a bloodstained black cloth and some ritual tools. Still a panther, Mella grabs a knife with his mouth and ransacks the altar.

We make our way out of the shrine, through the altar room, into a storeroom. We hear several goblins in the next room, which we assume to be the landing from which we entered the shrine initially and so plan to have Mella thunderwave them aside so we can make our escape. Unfortunately, when we open the crack open the door to look out Mella is struck with two arrows and falls unconscious. We close the door and stabilize him while we try to come up with a new plan.

Elada and Gundren rush up through the front entrance and kill a goblin each. Droop stabs another and hides. There is another round of attacks and Gundren falls. The group in the storeroom hear the commotion and decide that this is their chance. Never and Danak rush out to attack while Liarel carries Mella and books it. Danak picks up Gundren and Never stabilizes him. We run out of the castle, a small horde of goblins chasing us. Liarel falls and Never carries her out as Elada picks up Mella before she, too, is hit and falls. Danak gets Gundren into the forest before rushing back for Elada and Mella.

In the trees, Danak and Never take the party’s two health potions off of Mella and give them to Elada and Liarel. We make out way back to the rock formation we had camped at the previous night, Gundren and Mella waking on the way. We set up camp for the night.

Our rest is disturbed by an owlbear which appears to be following our scent. All at once Liarel and Mella hurl fire at it, Never hits it with witch bolt and Elada throws a javelin at it. Droop faints. Danak rushes forward and enters into combat with the owlbear, the two exchanging blows until Danak falls. Never continues the witch bolt and the elves keep producing flame, Liarel accidentally setting herself on fire. Gundren slashes at the owlbear wildly and Mella stabilizes Danak. Droop wakes up and leaps at the owlbear, stabbing it with his dagger, killing it. It falls over on top of him.

Mella and Liarel stabilize Elada before they and Never push the owlbear off of Droop. the small goblin looks a little worse for wear but looks up them and says, “Get ’em?” Everyone awake breathes a sigh of relief.

We finish our rest then make our way back to Phandelin, where Gundren pays everyone but Droop twenty-five gold (Liarel takes note of this injustice and gives Droop five of her gold pieces) and promises the group ten percent of the mine.

As we enter Phandelin, Gundren gives us detail directions of Wave Echo Cave. We begin to approach the town master’s hall to reunite Gundren with Sildar, who we meet exiting the building. Sildar is quite relieved to see Gundren safe and they begin to talk as we make our way to the Stone Hill Inn.

Asking around, there’s been no sign of the Redbrands and news has circulated that Mirna and her family are back home safe, which is raising the town’s spirits. Gundren buys a round of drinks and tells us he’s concerned about his brothers. Since they have yet to be seen in town, they are almost certainly at the Wave Echo Cave, where we suspect the Black Spider has a presence. We rest the night at the inn.

The next morning we decide to head off toward the Old Owlwell. On our way we quickly come upon some large rocks, spotting movement behind them. We split into two groups to try and surround whoever lies in wait. Shortly thereafter, a large humanoid figure peers out over the rocks with a javelin. Never tries talking to him, but he largely ignores her greeting and immediately demands that we give him “everything”. Never offers him her excess herbs, but he says he wants gold instead. Liarel gives him five gold pieces, pretending it’s all we have. He takes it and moves on to demanding food. Never again offers the herbs and Liarel eats a handful to prove that they are indeed edible. The giant calls Liarel stupid for eating “weeds” and says he’d rather eat elf, demanding that Liarel step forward.

At this point we realize that we cannot talk our way out of this situation and move to attack. Elada and Danak rush at the giant as Liarel casts Melf’s Acid Arrow, Mella transforms into a panther, and Droop throws his stick. After a brief fight, Droop land the killing blow and we dub him Droop the Giant Slayer. Mella and Liarel stabilize the giant and Liarel takes the time to use the giant’s javelin to write “The elf left you alive” in the ground while Elada steals the giant’s furs.

We make our way to a river to clean the furs and rest, then travel for the rest of the day and set up camp. Near morning we hear the sound of rustling leather approaching. We spot a handful of small flying creatures coming toward us. Liarel shoots one before Mella Thunderwaves them all out of the sky. Droop eats one and Mella buries the rest. Fifteen minutes later we hear a squawk followed by the sound of arrows. Liarel is hit thrice and Never once. We are surrounded by a small group of goblins. We make short work of them and raid the area for arrows before finishing our night’s rest.

The net morning we continue on our way to the Old Owlwell. We eventually come upon the crumbling ruins of an old watchtower, a colorful tent in the courtyard in front of it. A rotting smell is coming from the tower. As we approach, a horde of shambling corpses pours out of the tower. We begin to attack them but are quickly stopped by a man in a red robe with a necromatic symbol tattooed on his forehead stepping out of the tent.

We talk with the Necromancer (Kost) for a bit and learn that he only keeps the zombies about as protection against the Orcs nearby at Wyverntor. He says We are welcome to return to investigate the Owlwell if we take care of the Orcs for him. He then points us in the direction of Wyverntor and we head on our way.

Once at Wyverntor, a rocky high point in the area, we spot a cave entrance. As we approach we notice a guard hiding behind a rock. We stop to plan our approach and decide to send Elada to talk to the guard and set up a meeting. She does, telling the guard about her village of half-orcs which was destroyed by evil humans. The guard says to come back at nightfall. We quickly realize that Elada’s story complicates our association with Danak and so we decide to disguise him as Elada’s slave when we go back that night.

Around dusk Elada, Danak, Droop, and Never approach the cave entrance as Liarel and Mella hide out nearby, keeping watch. The guard calls for “Brogor” and an orc comes forward introducing himself as Brogor Axebiter of the Clan of Many Arrows. He is accompanied by another giant humanoid. We try to convince them to leave and never return by telling them of a mythologized version of Danak who recently came into Phandelin, but they are unperturbed and reveal themselves to be scouts observing the area for an army of thousands. Brogor says he will let us leave for our information and we head out.

When we regroup we acknowledge that we can’t scare them off and begin to plan for a fight.

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A dark figure approaches on a steed of Fire and Smoke, of shiny black hair; its mane, hooves, and tail ablaze. Ireena stands in shock at the sudden explosion of lightning, standing over the pool where her ostensible former husband and lover Sergei’s face once shone; we realize, too late, that Sergei may in fact have been the same Sergei who was mentioned in Madame Eva’s tent at the turning of the 5th card, the Broken Man. Strahd, we believe, envied the most his brother, who we suppose is this same Sergei. Ireena calls for Sergei desperately. Corrina tries to oust her from her stupor, but to no avail. She remains unresponsive, Corinna struggling to pull her away, until Mondross and Elmer join in. We drag her to cover in the trees nearby the pool, and spread out in as tactical a fashion as we can, caught off guard as we are.

Strahd, for indeed it is he atop the Night-Mare, lands by the pool and alights gracefully. He is dressed nobly, as if to welcome a Queen. Elmer takes the lead and starts walking towards the pool, calling out to the Vampire as he goes. Strahd ignores him, examines his handiwork in the pool, and is nonplussed by whatever it is he sees in the water. He turns to meet Elmer as he approaches, parlaying all the while, and interrupts, speaking to all of us.

“It appears I owe you my gratitude. Please, do not cower, come forth.” Elmer holds his hand out and introduces himself for the umpteenth time, and Strahd, as if he finally recognizes Elmer’s presence, greets him.

“Ah, Elmer Von Doot, we meet again. The appropriate greeting for your Lord would be a kneel.” Elmer complies, smiling and giving his most gracious kneel.

“Why do you still travel with this group when you could be so much more? Come with me, and not just for dinner. Come to my castle, and rule by my side.”

As the group begins to protest, Elmer turns and, with permission from Strahd, begins proselytizing to the group the virtues of working for such a man. Among such virtues he posits that in such a position of power we may influence Strahd to take pity on the common folk and create one day a week where they may be merry, he suggests calling in “Sunday.” Of course, he says, every other day would still be Strahd’s domain, and he begins listing off “Strahderday,…”

Olana, thinking herself concealed, casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter upon Elmer in an attempt to break him from Strahd’s influence, at the least physically. He falls to the ground laughing, and Strahd turns to glare directly at Olana’s hiding place, shaking his head in disappointment.

“This is what I speak of, Elmer, these piteous creatures are beneath you.” He takes a moment to look at Elmer writhing with laughter on the floor, and around at each of us.

“And to whom do I owe my gratitude for saving my dear Tatyana?” Ignoring his question, Corinna asks if Ireena is the wife of his brother, Sergei. His placid face betrays naught to her, but Mondross recognizes the smallest and subtlest of cringes at the mention, as if she had struck him.

“Hrm. She will be my bride,” and looking at Ireena, calls “come with me!” Corinna attempts to negotiate for a trade of Ireena for Elmer, but Strahd takes little notice, and speaks almost to himself. “Yes, the pool… Eva warned me there was a way, and that you all would lead me to it…”

Ireena, crying, stands and begins walking towards Strahd. It is unclear whether she does so by his command, or simply out of defeat. Mondross and Corinna attempt to stop her, but she is strong. They slow her enough for Mondross to cast Calm Emotions upon her (and, incidentally, Elmer), and she stops. He tries to rouse her from her trance, and she seems more responsive than before, yet still distraught. We hear a growling behind us and turn to see a pack of wolves encircling us, nearly 15 in total. They stand, awaiting orders from their Master.

“I thought you owed us your gratitude?” Corinna asks Strahd, motioning to the wolves.

“Ah, yes, of course. Join me, for dinner.”

“We still have some obligations we need to take care of.”

“Then I will give you a choice” Strahd says, “Keep either Ireena or Elmer. The other comes with me.” At the mention of his name, Elmer finally stops his fitful laughter. He rises and appeals again to us, saying he thinks Strahd’s castle is the “Dizzying Heights” that Eva’s card referred to, and that he might be able to discover its secrets should he go with Strahd. Though it is overcast, Elmer’s Shadow creeps towards Ireena, greedy arms outstretched and ready to grasp her, but it retreats when we notice it.

Elmer volunteers for the mission he created, and goes to Strahd. The team is at a loss for what to do; lose Ireena, the woman we’ve kept safe for so long, or certainly lose Elmer, our friend. He mounts the Hellsteed, and Strahd mounts behind him. Corinna tries to block their exit and tell Strahd to take Ireena, but he ignores her pleas and begins flying away.

Struck by the sudden realization of what was happening, and the consequences of a world without Elmer, Olana sprints forth as Strahd ascends, and using Misty Step teleports between Strahd and Elmer in an attempt to grapple the latter off of the horse. Elmer holds fast, and Strahd tries to swat Olana off the horse.

Below, Elgian tries, in vain, to get Ireena to the pool to reunite her with her lover. Corinna attempts to attack Strahd with a bolt of flame, but it bounces harmlessly off his shoulder. Olana casts an explosive spell behind the horse in an attempt to dislodge either Strahd or herself and Elmer, but to little effect. In response, Strahd grasps Olana and suddenly drains her of her vitality, leaving her unconscious. Elmer, realizing his chance, calls forth the Lord of Morning Lathander’s light onto Strahd, casting Daylight. A beacon springs forth from Strahd’s clothing. He is startled, but the light does not otherwise faze him. Ada and Corinna shoot arrows at Strahd, but they bounce off his back. Mondross and Elgian still try to get Ireena to the pool, but she resists, still stuck in despair.

Strahd finally finds himself bored of his charges, and pushes Elmer and the unconscious Olana off his mount. We fall, and Elmer lands heavily, letting out a startled grunt. Olana seems to take the fall much better and is silent. Elmer heals Olana, all the while cursing Lathander for the God’s betrayal of him, for his light did nothing but annoy the Vampire Lord. Strahd circles on his horse above, and his wolves do nothing as the scene plays out.

Mondross and Elgian finally get Ireena to the pool, and Mondross jumps in to seek the light that formerly graced the waters; he finds the pool dark and murky. Corinna tries to push Ireena in, but Ireena repels the assault. Elgian shoulders her in, in a desperate attempt to undo what we did when we separated the two lovers, and she falls in ungracefully. This wakes her somewhat from her stupor, but still she simply begins climbing out of the pool. Strahd lands next to her, and offers his hand. She takes it, and mounts the horse. Without a word the horse begins to fly away, and the wolves slink back into their woodland asylum. We hear Strahd’s ethereal invitation again, “join me for dinner at my castle soon, you are always welcome…” as the image of the flame-wreathed couple disappears into the mists and clouds.

The silence which follows is reflected on the faces of the Company. Those by the pool sit forlornly, some staring into space, others at the water where Ireena’s redemption lay, not moments ago. Olana, drained and bloodied from the fall, slowly and methodically labors to clear the statue of Lathander of detritus, and rights it with Mondross’ help. She begins to pray, ignoring Elmer as he urinates on the statue, calling Lathander the sorts of names normally reserved for sordid lovers, and neglectful family. He rants about the Morning’s betrayal, and asks why his Lord would ignore his pleas for sunlight so.

Mondross ponders the encounter and realized that something magical must have kept Strahd safe from the assaults they levied against him. Elmer, in understandable frustration, ponders quitting the life of the adventurer and starting a bakery. The suggestion is thrown about that now that Ireena is in Strahd’s possession, we might recruit Izaak to our cause. After a long while, the group stirs and mournfully heads towards their original destination, the Abbey on the hill.

They walk through the town, and ascend the switchback road approaching the abbey. The air cools, and the walk is steep. Emerging through the mists they find the abbey, a light dusting of snow covering the area. The graveyard overhangs the ridge, and below we can see hints of the town, 400 feet below. We approach the gates to the Abbey, and call out. Two creatures emerge from the guard-posts abreast the gate, they are strange amalgams of humans and other creatures, not sewn together but fused. The ear of a cat, the hand of a monkey, the wing of a bat. We ask to see the Abbot, and they lead us inside. They introduce themselves as Siegfried and Otto. The guards at the battlements of the curtain walls appear from afar as men, but as we approach we realize they are but scarecrows, equipped with mail hauberks and spears, cowls covering their nonexistent faces. The group approaches the Abbey proper, screams filling the air from sheds nearby, emanating other chimeric creatures, surely. We spy a copper placard with the inscription:

“The Abbey of Saint Markovia”

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We leave the winery with a cart and one of the cleansed barrels and head for Kresk. Not long into our journey we come to a T in the road and stop as Mondross hears voices up ahead. Mondross sneaks through the trees and stops as he comes upon a human who appears to be sneaking toward us. The man confronts Mondross, who says we are entertainers. Corrina sneaks into the treeline as Elgian starts juggling. The man identifies himself as Anton, says his group is out trapping. They notice the wine and suggest we drink it with dinner together. When Olana says that we can’t give them the wine they imply that they will eat us and transform into werewolves.

Within seconds both Corrina and Elgian are bitten. Mondross hums a discordant tune causing one of the wolves to scream in pain. Ada shoots at a wolf and Elgian stabs at it with silvered arrows. Olana hurls magic missiles at the same. Corrina casts Thunderwave, knowcking two wolves back, before hiding in the treeline. In short order both Mondross and Elmer are bitten. There is a great deal of rather undignified attempts at fighting until the wolves eventually run off. Elmer casts a much needed prayer of healing and we continue on our way.

We eventually cross an old stone bridge into another forested area and come upon a town on a mountainside. We reach the gatehouse where four guards tell us that no one may enter Kresk. Corrina explains Ireena’s situation and the guards bring forward Dmitrit Kreskoff who demands an explanation for our presence. Corrina explains again, this time making particular note of our wine shipment. Dmitri allows us entry in exchange for the wine.

Once inside Kresk Ireena begins to walk up the road without us. She says she hears someone calling to her, that they sound strangely familiar. She leads us to a shimmering pool with a gazebo and a statue of the Morning Lord nearby. As she approaches the pool the image of a handsome youth appears in the water, his face filled with joy. He calls out for Tatiana and Ireena responds, calling him Sergei. They run through a brief bit of exposition, stating that they were married and that Sergei was a prince and a man of faith. Ireena reaches for the image and a hand reaches out of the water toward her.

Panicking, Corrina and Ada pull her away from the water as a dark peal of thunder rings out and a voice calls, “She is mine” before lighting strikes the water. We see a dark horse with hooves of flame and a familiar rider flying toward us.

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Elgian has run out of sight to the north. Damien Martikoff calls for the group to help put out the winery’s fire, saying that “the boys” will find Elgian. Those who need healing are healed and we join the bucket line, Elmer using thaumaturgy to reduce the flames. Within ten minutes the fire has largely been contained. There has been damage, but at least the ceiling hasn’t collapsed.

Another ten minutes passes and one of the children (Martin) comes running back, saying that they followed Elgian but a group of Vistani caught him first. They seem to be heading to the winery. Olana, Elmer, and Corrina immediately hide nearby. Corrina tries talking to some ravens nearby. They seem uncomfortable when she asks about wereravens. Mondross hides the Sunsword under his shirt and Elmer picks up the Druid’s quarterstaff and wraps it up in some cloth as the ravens squawk uncomfortably.

Five minutes pass before Arrigal approaches on a horse accompanied by two others on wolves. Elgian is slumped over the front of his horse and Arrigal holds a sword to his throat. He demands the Sunsword in exchange for Elgian’s return. After a few ill-fated attempts to mess with Arrigal, Mondross takes the Sunsword out and Arrigal lowers Elgian to the ground as he hops off his horse. He tells his companions to shoot the halfling should we try anything.

As Arrigal approaches Mondross, Corrina smacks one of the wolves with mage hand, disorienting the rider, and Elmer casts scorching ray on the other rider, lighting her ablaze. Mondross rushes past Arrigal and slashes at the first rider with the Sunsword, the wolf biting down on his arm as he tries to follow up with a stab. He manages to break free.

Arrigal calls us foolish and calls for the wolves to attack Elgian. As they do a large raven flies down and turns into a Martikoff lad, guarding Elgian. The wolves bite him instead. Arrigal turns to attack Mondross, but Mondross throws some serious shade, causing Arrigal to miss.

Desperate, Corrina drinks one of the potions we found in Argynvosholt. Her skin turns to an iron-like substance as she runs toward the fight. Elmer jumps down the rope from his hiding spot on the second story, screams at Arrigal, and shoots him with his crossbow. Olana casts ray of sickness, but Arrigal manages to avoid it. She flips him off as he chuckles and says, “so this is where you’ve been hiding.”

Arrigal slashes at Mondross, knocking him unconscious and causing him to drop the Sunsword. He picks it up and hops on his horse, calling for the wolves to guard him. Corrina casts Thunderwave, killing the remaining wolf rider and knocking Arrigal off his horse. Elmer takes out the quarterstaff and whacks Arrigal with it. He immediately feels a pulse of energy, starts cackling, and wanders off. Olana casts chill touch on Arrigal and shouts “How do you like me now, bitch?” Ada slashes at Arrigal as he hops back onto his horse. He returns the attack as he rides off and her arm immediately starts to burn. She collapses as the sensation spreads.

Corrina rushes after Arrigal and shoots at him. The Martikoff lad turns into a half-raven half-human creature and flies after Arrigal. Four more raven creatures fly out of the winery building and give chase, pecking at him with their monstrous beaks. Olana hurls a fire bolt at Arrigal. Elmer cackles. Arrigal orders the wolves to kill Corrina, but she dodges both of their attacks and manges to shoot Arrigal once more, causing him to fall off his horse, dead.

After making one more round of attacks and being attacked in return, the wolves run off after the horse. Corrina runs up to Arrigal’s body and takes the Sunsword and his poisoned sword. The raven creatures turn back into Martikoffs. Olana really wants that horse, but cannot catch up to it. She slaps Elmer to try and stop his cackling. Corrina snatches the quarterstaff from Elmer and breaks it. An inhuman scream echoes through the land. After about ten minutes Elmer finally calms down.

Olana and the Martikoffs build Arrigal a funeral pyre in as disrespectful a manner as possible, then the Martikoffs take us into the building. After a few hours Elgian, Mondross, and Ada wake up on their own. Damien Martikoff says, “Your intentions are good. Perhaps not your methods.” He goes on to tell us that the Martikoffs are the Keepers of the Feather and confirms that they are indeed Wereravens. He then tells us about three magical gems which they need to grow the grapes for wine. One was stolen by Baba Lasaga, another by the druids of Yesterhill. They do not know what happened to the third.

We learn that the remaining wine has been poisoned and we decide to stay the night so that Elmer can purify them in the morning. When the wine is purified it is given to us to deliver to whomever we decide. We load up a wagon and decide to take Ireena to Kresk. Before we head out we decide to help the Martikoffs repair some of the damage to their home. As we do the winery is once again attacked, this time by scarecrows. We make short work of them, again with the aid of fire. We rest the remainder of the day.

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Glassstaff’s Laboratory

The large creature and the last Redbrand run off in opposite directions, leaving the group alone in the barracks. Mella heals Elada and Never moves the small goblin to one of the beds, waking him in the process. Danak takes Patches’ eye patch, it is black leather set with semi-precious stones.

Liarel and Never stand watch at the stairs while Elada listens at the door at the end of the hall. She doesn’t hear anything, so she opens the door. The goblin has come to stand by Liarel and Never, holding a plank. The door opens onto a large room with a table and chairs at the center. We enter.

Never talks to the goblin who introduces himself as Droop. Never gives him a dagger to defend himself with. Mella gives Droop two gold coins, which he promptly eats. Droop is very excited to “get ’em” and seems more than willing to join our group.

The next door leads to a hallway, another door straight ahead, and stairs to the side. Mella hears stone scraping stone from the stairs. Danak hears a bubbling sound from behind the door. We carefully open the door onto what looks like an Alchemist’s workshop. We pile into the room and close the door. There is another door to the right which leads to a bed chamber with a writing desk. We thoroughly search the two rooms for Glasstaff’s correspondence and anything else that could be helpful. Never finds some gems and two magic scrolls, Liarel finds a book about invisibility potions and a journal with historical references to the lost mine of Phandelver. On the desk, Danak finds a letter from the Black Spider.

Danak finds a secret door in the wall of the bedroom which leads to stairs climbing to a small landing and another hidden door. This door leads to the supply room just before the cavern. We re-enter the cavern just to verify the layout and Mella enters the crevasse to find the chest from before missing. We make out way to the southeast corner of the cavern and follow a path which leads to yet another hidden door which opens onto the flour-covered store room.

We backtrack through the cavern to the locked door in the hallway before the supply room. We manage to get the door open to find an armory. Mella and Liarel take long swords. Having found no sign of the creature or any remaining Redbrands, Never asks Droop where they might have gone. He says he doesn’t know about the humans, but the bugbears probably went to Kragmaw Castle. We decide to finish our search of the hideout anyway and Droop indicates that there are four rooms we haven’t seen. After a bit of wandering on our own, we ask Droop to show us the four rooms. He takes us to rooms we’ve already seen, but seems very proud of himself.

We make our way back to Glasstaff’s room to finish looting and rest a bit. Once there we notice a rat scurrying about. We think it might be Glasstaff. Liarel turns into a cat and chases it. Droop follows and manages to hit the rat with a stick, at which point it falls and vanishes into nothing. Back in the lab, we read the note from the Black Spider. It is addressed to Irno Albrech (who we recognize as Sildar’s contact in Phandelin) and asks for Dwarven maps.

Mella wants to burn the building down. Danak obviously opposes this. They fight for a bit and Danak manages to swing Mella over his shoulder. Mella realizes that Danak is planning to move in and apologizes.

We head back to town and talk to Droop a bit more. He says he’s originally from Kragmaw Hideout, which we come to realize is the cave we happened upon on the Tribor trail. He says he likes us better and Liarel gives him some silver, which he pockets.

Once at the Miner’s exchange we give Hollia the letter and she pays us. She tells us Irno was a wizard who came to town and then just disappeared, it appears to become Glasstaff. We go to leave, but Hollia asks Mella to stay behind. She asks if they’ve heard of the Zhentirim, an organization similar to the Lord’s Alliance who value wealth, power, etc. They have strict rules, but they could use Mella’s help, if they would like to work with them. Mella says they’re interested and Hollia tells them to check in with her in a week or so and to not say anything about this to the others.

Once Mella rejoins the group we head to Daran’s. On the way we run into Sildar. He doesn’t seem to know that Irno was Glasstaff. He tells us to pop by his office at the townmaster’s later. Once at Daran’s we pass along our new information and get Daran’s opinion on the Lord’s Alliance. He says they’re good folk, just a bit too structured for his liking.

We head to the townmaster’s hall, passing an Orcs Wanted poster. Never tries to block Elada’s view so she won’t see it, but she notices it anyway and pockets it. We settle down with Sildar and share our new findings with him. He pays us for getting rid of the Redbrands and we talk about rescuing Gundren from Kragmaw Castle. Sildar says we also need to figure out the location of Wave Echo Cave, that Gundren had a map on him but it was taken when they were captured.

As we start to leave, Sildar pulls Danak aside and asks him to join the Lord’s Alliance. Danak promises to think about it and come back later with an answer.

Back at the inn Liarel reads the journal she found. It rehashes the history of Phandelin and the Wave Echo Cave. It seems to have been written when the mine was operational. It tells of a mace named Lightbringer, which was ordered by a priest of Lythander but never delivered as the mine was lost.

We plan to head to Thundertree in the morning.

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