Campaign of the Month: February 2012

Legacy of the Realms

Redbrand Hideout
Chapter 5 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

4 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Town of Phandalin, Sword Coast

Osric, being able to see better in the dark than the others, led the way as the adventurers quietly walked through the rough-hewned secret passage which led under the old manor from the woods near the Alderleaf Farm.

Moments before, everyone dropped by to pay their respects to Qelline Alderleaf, Carp’s mother.

Qelline was a gentle, yet wise halfling woman of forty-five who seemed to know everything that went on in town.

She even offered the group the use of her barn as a place for them to stay for free if they were willing to sleep on dry hay and offer a hand or two around the farm.

They accepted, much to Carp’s excitement. It seemed Carp looked up to the adventurers and had dreams of becoming an adventurer someday—despite his mother’s insistence that he take over the farm when he was old enough.

Carp said he wanted to become a well-known rogue; famous like his hero, Regis, a member of the famous adventuring company known as the Companions of the Hall. He had read about Regis and his adventures in one of the few chapbooks his mother had acquired from a traveling merchant from Waterdeep.

Carp even showed off his skills at unlocking padlocks, something he had been practicing since Elmar Barthen gave the insistent halfling boy a set of old padlocks and some tools used to pick locks.

Qelline, although not entirely supportive of Carp’s unusual hobby, found his skills useful whenever she occasionally locked herself out of the house.

The group offered to let Carp lead them to the passageway’s entrance. But they made him promise not to follow them in.

Before leaving, Sildar gave Carp a small pouch of gold coins and some gems. He told Carp to give the pouch to his mother. If the group did not return to the farm after a day, he was to insist that his mother take him far away from Phandalin. Hopefully to a place safe where the Redbrands could not harm them.

**

Osric quietly made his way back to the group waiting for him.

Xander held a torch which the others could see their way by.

The half-elf bard reported spotting a medium-sized creature lurking in the shadows of a large natural cavern where the passageway ended.

Even strange was the fact that somehow the creature was aware of the bard’s presence, and had telepathically spoken to him.

When asked what the creature had said, Osric reported that the creature was hungry and that it wanted fresh meat.

Since they were lacking any source of fresh meat—and since no one was willing to volunteer to be fed to an unknown creature—everyone agreed that they would have to simply charge into the cavern and attack whatever the creature was.

The group readied themselves and moved in to confront the creature.

They entered a large cavern. The faint scent of decaying flesh filled the cavern. A crevasse divided the cavern which was flanked by two rough stone columns that supported the twenty-foot-high ceiling. Two arched wooden bridge without rails spanned the chasm on the north and south end.

To the north was an area finished with stone block walls and a flagstone floor.

Several barrels were stored against the walls, along with a number of crates, straw for packing, hammers, pry bars, and boxes of nails.

Several passages opened up off of the larger cavern.

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Ghesh led the charge and stepped on to the closest bridge.

On the other side of the chasm appeared a strange creature resembling a lanky, hunched, olive-green humanoid with a single, enormous, red, central eye. Its long arms were tipped with claws which dragged along the ground as it moved in an awkward hop.

But as soon as Ghesh stepped on to the bridge it collapsed!

The dragonborn fell twenty feet to the bottom of the crevasse. He landed hard on his side, knocking the wind out of him.

While the others fought off the one-eyed ‘creature’—for no one knew what the thing was—Ghesh tried to climb out of the crevasse.

The dragonborn fighter noticed that the bottom of the crevasse felt unnaturally cold. Heaps of broken and well-gnawed bones littered the ground. He also came upon a half-eaten body of a male human dressed in commoner’s clothes.

At one end of the crevasse, Ghesh also spotted a battered wooden chest.

Despite his curiosity, Ghesh decided to join the others rather than inspect the chest.

**

When the one-eyed humanoid was slain. The party regrouped.

Most everyone had sustained some sort of injury while fighting the thing. At one point, the creature stared at one of them with its red eye. The creature’s gaze caused the skin to rot and decay painfully.

When the creature lay dead at their feet, they all agreed that whatever it was, it was by far the toughest creature they had faced yet.

Tire, everyone decided to the storage room at the north end of the cavern. Before moving there however, they all helped to retrieve the chest from the bottom of the crevasse.

While they rested and healed, they inspected the chest.

It contained nearly two hundred silver coins and over a hundred gold coins. It also contained five malachite gems and two potions clearly marked as potions of healing. A scroll, which Randal and Osric read, turned out to be a scroll of augury.

But the most amazing treasure in the chest was a beautifully crafted longsword in a silver-chased scabbard. The blade shone brightly when unsheathed. On its blade was inscribed the name, “Talon”, while its hilt was worked in the shape of a bird of prey with outspread wings.

Some it the party recognized the blade as having once belonged to a great knight named Sir Aldith Tresendar, known as the Black Hawk.

They recalled that Sir Aldith was the last living Tresendar to live in the manor in Phandalin. As the lore went, he died fighting off the orcs that attacked through the hidden caverns below his manor.

No one ever knew whatever became of Sir Aldith Tresendar and his famous blade, Talon. That is until now.

**

About an hour later, the group left the storeroom and made their way down the southern passage away from the cavern.

The narrow hallway they were following ended in a blank wall. Careful inspection revealed a secret door which led into another room.

Beyond lay a large cellar.

Stone steps ascended up to short flights to a narrow landing fifteen feet above the cellar floor. A wooden door was visible on the landing.

Another door stood beneath the stairs to the north.

A large stone cistern occupied the western part of the room, whose walls were lined with kegs and barrels.

A third door stood on the northern side of the cistern.

Xander, ever the lover of spirited drinks, examined one of the kegs. “Good stout ale,” he said as he took a taste then resealed the keg.

The group decided to open the door on the other side of the cistern first before examining the other doors.

As soon as they opened the door, four Redbrands came charging out of the room beyond!

**

The fight against the Redbrands didn’t last long.

The party were able to defeat the thugs with little or no injuries to themselves.

After, they disposed of the bodies by throwing them into the cistern. They then inspected the room where the Redbrands came out of.

The room appeared to be a storeroom pressed into service as a living quarters. Two double bunks stood against the wall near the door, while barrels and crates filled the southern half of the chamber.

They decided it was another good place to catch their breath before going further into the Redbrands’ hideout.


Heroes and NPCs

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Osric Drakespeare (5e Bard: Entertainer)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Sildar Hallwinter (NPC)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


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Phandalin
Chapter 4 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

3 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Town of Phandalin, Sword Coast

The rutted tracks emerged from a wooded hillside.

Up ahead, the group of tired and wounded adventurers saw their first glimpse of the town of Phandalin.

Meanwhile, a nearby distressed sound took their attention away from Phandalin.

Under a large tree and just off the side of the tracks, three human men dressed in leather and armed with shortswords and longbows were busy pushing around a young male halfling between them. All of the men wore red cloaks.

A fourth man, similarly dressed and armed, had just thrown one end of a rope over a thick overhanging branch. He then proceeded to fashion a noose at the other end of the rope.

The halfling boy was crying, deathly afraid for his life.

When the wagon and the adventurers stopped near the tree and asked what the men were doing with the halfling boy, the men put their hands to their sheathed blades and warned the adventurers to mind their own business. They said they were Redbrands and were from Phandalin.

The adventurers then threatened to take action if they harmed the hin (a word used by the goodfolks of the Realms to describe halflings).

After weapons were drawn by both sides, Randal threatened to bring down the wrath of Lathander upon the evil men.

Upon hearing that, the men looked around nervously.

“They must have an invisible wizard named Lathander!” one of the men warned.

The others were also convinced an invisible wizard lurked nearby.

They then turned to flee towards the direction of Phandalin, unwilling as they were to take on the adventurers and an invisible wizard.

The group couldn’t believe their luck and how gullible the men were.

When asked who he was, the halfling boy introduced himself as Carp Alderleaf. He said he and his mother, Qelline Alderleaf, lived on a farm at the southeastern end of town. When asked, Carp said the men threatened to kill him since they saw him wandering in the woods near the ruins of Tresendar Manor.

Carp said he found a secret tunnel in a thicket. He also saw a couple of “big ugly bandits” come out of the secret tunnel to meet with a pair of Redbrands. Carp was sure they didn’t see him. He was also certain that the bandits must have a secret hideout under the old manor house.

Carp said the adventurers were welcome to come back home with him so his mother could cook a meal for them as gratitude for saving his life. The group said that perhaps later they would. They said they had pressing business to attend to in Phandalin first.

However, they did offer to safely escort Carp back to Phandalin.

Upon entering the town, the group notice that the town consisted of about forty or fifty simple log building, some built on old fieldstone foundations. More old ruins—crumbling stone walls covered in ivy and briars—surrounded the newer houses and shops, showing how Phandalin must have been a much larger town in centuries past.

Most of the newest buildings were set on the sides of the cart track, which widened into a muddy main street of sorts as it climbed towards a ruined manor house on a hillside at the east end of town.

As they approached, they could see children playing on the town green while townsfolk tended to chores or ran errands at shops.

Many people looked at the party as they approached, some giving the half-elf and the dragonborn quizzical looks. But, eventually, the people all returned to their business as the party moved on.

Carp once again thanked everyone and ran back home to his mother.

Sildar seemed more at ease after arriving at Phandalin.

“My friends,” he said. “let us deliver this wagon and its contents and then secure lodgings. I’m told the local inn is very quaint.”

**

Elmar Barthen paid both Randal Sunbringer and Ghesh Goldscale ten gold pieces for safely delivering the wagon to the trading post.

Travarr bid farewell to the group and remained with the wagon at Barthen’s Provisions.

After, the group made their way to the town’s only inn, the Stonehill Inn.

Stonehill Inn, a newly built roadhouse of fieldstone and rough-hewn timbers, stood in the center of town. The common room was filled with locals nursing mugs of ale or cider, all of them eyeing the adventurers with curiosity as they entered.

While at the inn, the group met Toblen Stonehill, the short, friendly young human male proprietor. They also met his wife Trilena, and their young son, Pip.

They also overheard some of the local rumors and gossip.

The most disturbing lead the party heard came from Trilena, the innkeeper’s wife. She told of how Thel Dendrar, a local woodcarver, stood up to the Redbrands—similar to the men they ran into outside of Phandalin—a tenday ago when they came to his shop and leered at his wife.

The ruffians murdered him. Several townsfolk saw it happen.

The Redbrands then grabbed Thel’s body, and then his wife, daughter, and son had gone missing too.

They asked who the town’s leader was. Toblen said it was Harbin Wester, a male human banker. He described Harbin as a fat, pompous old fool. According to Toblen, Harbin simply considered the Redbrands a mercenary guild and “not all that much trouble”.

The group also learned that the Redbrands took orders from someone named Glasstaff and had just recently become an organized gang of thugs. Before Glasstaff became their leader, the Redbrands were nothing more than loosely groups of bandits who waylaid travelers along the High Road and the Triboar Trail.

No one had apparently ever seen Glasstaff, but have heard his name mentioned by the Redbrands on numerous occasions. The Redbrands were also known to frequent The Sleeping Giant, a rundown, dirty, and dangerous tap house at the end of Phandalin’s main street. The tap house was operated by a surly female dwarf named Grista who favored rough-and-tumble customers like the Redbrands.

When asked why the townsfolk didn’t simply stand up against the Redbrands, they said that they were simple folks and not skilled in fighting off monsters and Redbrands alike.

Overall, the group had the impression that the people of Phandalin had given up all hope of ever having a life of peace, free from the oppression of thugs like the Redbrands.

Sildar said that while the Redbrands had their way, Phandalin and its people would never be safe.

Osric, meanwhile managed to procure free rooms for everyone in exchange for him performing at the Stonehill Inn. He also managed to charm his way into bed with Elsa, the gossipy barmaid.

Before retiring for the night, Ghesh, Randal, and Sildar considered visiting the Alderleaf Farm.

If Carp did know a secret way into the Redbrand’s hideout, perhaps they could use it and put an end to the Redbrands’ tyrannical rule over the townsfolk of Phandalin.


Heroes and NPCs

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Osric Drakespeare (5e Bard: Entertainer)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Sildar Hallwinter (NPC)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


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Cragmaw Hideout
Chapter 3 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

3 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
The Sword Coast

The four adventurers from Neverwinter came across a large cave in the hillside, some five miles from where they found signs of where Gundren and Sildar were ambushed.

A shallow stream flowed out of the cave mouth, which was screened by dense briar thickets. A narrow dry path led into the cave on the right side of the stream.

It was still early in the morning. The sun’s golden rays bathed the scene in a golden idyllic hue. The setting didn’t resemble a place where goblins would lair.

Randal patted Ghesh on the shoulder. “It’s good to have you back with us, friend,” he whispered. The paladin then moved to another thicket to hide himself.

It was just yesterday that Ghesh lay on the wagon. He had been badly injured when four goblins ambushed the others and him on the High Road where it forked towards the Triboar Trail. Although the paladin, Randal, had also been wounded, Ghesh was nearly lost to a goblin’s rusty scimitar. Fortunately, his friends had done what they could to bind his wounds and hope for the best. After a good long rest, the dragonborn soldier was as good as new.

Last night, the four adventurers discussed whether they should proceed to Phandalin as planned or follow the goblins’ trail to wherever they had taken the dwarf, Gundren Rockseeker, and his hired human warrior guard, Sildar Hallwinter. After much debating on the merits of what’s right over duty, Randal had convinced everyone of the importance of finding and rescuing his and Ghesh’s employer. Despite concerns that they were sorely outnumbered by the goblins, the four adventurers left Travarr to guard the supply wagon and headed northeast.

Along the way, the four ran into two cleverly hidden traps the goblins had set up along the trail. One was a hidden snare and the other, a concealed pit some ten feet deep. They were able to trigger the traps and continue on their way.

Ghesh quietly made his way closer to the cave entrance.

Xander kept a watchful eye for any goblins lurking about, while Osric stayed close by. The half-elf bard hid himself behind a tree and looked towards the cave entrance, ready to warn the others should any goblin come out.

Ghesh stopped in front of the row of thickets by the cave’s entrance. He suddenly stopped before pushing his way through the overgrowth.

He saw two goblins sitting on the grass on the other side. Both were dressed in leather and armed with scimitars. Shortbows lay on the ground right next to each one. They were too busy finishing off their morning meal to notice Ghesh and Xander’s presence.

Ghesh signaled to Randal who hurried to make his way to where the goblins were. But when the paladin tried to cross the shallow stream, the two goblins heard him.

Before they could react, both Ghesh and Xander charged through the thickets.

The dragonborn pressed the advantage as the goblins tried to stand and arm themselves for a battle. He brought his handaxe down on one of the goblin’s skull. It tried to roll out of the way. Ghesh’s handaxe cut it across its shoulder instead. He then followed the first attack with a second from his other handaxe. The handaxe bit deep, sending a fountain of blood spraying in all directions.

The other goblin couldn’t stand up fast enough. In desperation, it drew its scimitar and tried to slice at the dragonborn.

The goblin’s blade barely scratched Ghesh’s suit of chainmail.

Xander quickly drew his rapier and stabbed at the goblin’s chest. The sharp blade pierced the creature but it didn’t die. Bloodied, the goblin stood and retreated towards the cave.

Osric ran out of hiding and moved towards the fleeing goblin. He drew his dagger and threw it at the goblin. But his aim was too high.

The goblin was almost inside the cave!

Ghesh chased after the goblin. He swung for the goblin’s back and struck it right below its neck, killing it instantly.

**

With the two goblin guards slain, the four adventurers regrouped outside the cave.

The cave grew very dark after nearly ten paces in. If they were all going to enter the cave, they would need to light a torch. However, they knew well enough that a light source would also attract attention and ruin any chances of surprising the goblins inside.

“I could scout ahead,” Osric offered. “I don’t need light to see inside.”

“You can see in the dark?” the other three asked in unison.

Osric smiled. “It’s something I inherited from my elven side.”

While the others waited outside, Osric stealthily made his way into the cave. Just inside the cave mouth, a few uneven stone steps led up to a small, dank chamber on the east side of the passage.

The cave narrowed to a steep fissure at the far end, and was filled with the stench of animals. Osric spotted three wolves chained up just inside the opening. Each wolf’s chain led to an iron rod driven into the base of a stalagmite.

Meanwhile, the main passage climbed steeply upward, the stream plunging down past Osric emerging outside where his companions waited. The bard also noticed a side passage that led west across the side of the stream.

Trying to be as quiet as possible, Osric moved past where the wolves were chained up.

At a point where the main passage curved, Osric noticed the shape of a rickety bridge of wood and rope crossing over the passage ahead. The bridge connected two tunnels that were twenty feet above the stream and intersected the main passage.

He wasn’t certain, but he thought he caught a glimpse of a goblin moving about on the bridge.

Not wanting to tempt Tymora, the goddess of luck, Osric silently made his way back outside.

**

Once outside, Osric told the others what he had seen.

They were confident that the fast-flowing stream would mask any sound they made inside the cave, but any source of light they brought in would certainly alert the goblins inside to their presence.

And if they were going to find and rescue Gundren, and the sellsword, Sildar, they could not risk the goblins detecting their approach.

They decided to rush in and attack the wolves in force.

The wolves immediately became aware of their approach as all four ran inside. Xander held a the torch so they could see.

The wolves pulled on their chains, trying to escape their bonds and attack the intruders who dared enter their masters and their territory.

But the adventurers were well prepared for the wolves. No one sustained a bite, while they made short work of all three wolves.

Looking around the cave, they saw that the cave narrowed to a steep fissure at the far end. Further investigation revealed that the fissure formed a natural chimney which led upward at a steep angle through the cave’s ceiling.

Standing near the fissure, the group was able to make out voices coming from somewhere on the other side of the stone chimney.

They decided to have Osric climb up and see where the chimney led.

The climb up the chimney was precarious but Osric made it. At the top, he wedged himself against the rock walls and listened to the voices coming from a chamber beyond.

After a few minutes, the bard carefully made his way back down to rejoin the others. But just as he began his descent, he lost his footing.

He slid thirty feet down and landed hard, nearly breaking his arm!

The others helped him up while Randal healed him.

Osric told everyone what he had heard. He said someone named Klarg was ordering goblins around. He also heard what sounded like another wolf in the chamber.

The party decided to explore the side passage across from where they were before confronting whomever or whatever Klarg was.

**

The side passage was choked with rubble and barely had enough room for one person to walk through.

Several feet in, they came upon a 10-foot-high ledge blocking the passage.

Ghesh helped Osric reach the top of ledge. But as soon as Osric placed his weight on the ledge, it collapsed upon itself. Osric fell—again—nearly spraining his ankle this time!

The others were beginning to wonder if Osric would make it out of the goblins’ cave without breaking his neck, or worse.

The party continued on. The tunnel led them to a large cave. It was divided in half by a ten-foot-high escarpment. A steep natural staircase led from the lower portion to the upper ledge. The air was hazy with the smoke of a cooking fire. The cave also reeked with the smell of cured hides and unwashed goblins.

Several goblins inhabited the cave. One stood on the edge of the ledge and held a bound prisoner who was on his knees.

Ghesh and Randal immediately recognized Sildar Hallwinter, the sellsword hired by their dwarven employer and friend, Gundren. Sildar’s mouth was gagged with a cloth, while his hands and feet were securely tied behind him. It was also clear that Sildar had been badly tortured, by way he looked.

Knowing the goblins weren’t aware of their presence, the party rushed in to attack!

Ghesh moved up to where four goblins stood around the fire. He immediately breathed fire on all four, killing two instantly.

The others followed the dragonborn’s lead and attacked the remaining goblins.

“Truce, or this human dies!” the goblin who held Sildar yelled in common. To emphasize his threat, he pushed Sildar closer to the edge. The barely conscious sellsword let out a pained moan.

Everyone stopped their attacks, not wanting to find out if the goblin would carry out his threat or not.

**

“You…can’t…trust…a goblin,” Sildar spat in between bouts of bloodied coughs.

The goblin holding the sellsword pushed him closer to the edge. Before he could send him over, the party lowered their weapons.

“We came here for him,” Randal pointed to Sildar. “Let us take him and we’ll leave the rest of you alone.”

“He has value to us,” the goblin, clearly the group’s leader, said.

“Where is the dwarf who traveled with him?” Xander asked.

“Klarg sent him far away.”

“Where? And who is Klarg?”

“Klarg is a strong bugbear who is our leader. But me, Yeemik, wants to be new boss of the goblins! You kill Klarg and I will release this human.”

“Don’t trust him!” Sildar coughed out in Chondathan, the language spoken by people along the Sword Coast. He hoped the goblin coudn’t understand him.

“Sildar,” Randal said in Chondathan when it was obvious that Yeemik didn’t understand the language. “We will get you out of here. I need you to be ready to move when I give the signal to attack.”

Sildar nodded in understanding.

**

The attack on the goblins didn’t last long.

Everyone of the vile creatures had been slain. More important, Sildar was alive, despite having suffered under the goblins and their bugbear leader. Some of the adventurers had sustained minor wounds, but nothing Randal’s divine healing or a good night’s rest in Phandalin wouldn’t cure.

Sildar told his rescuers everything he knew including how the Rockseeker brothers, Gundren, Tharden, and Nundro, had discovered an entrance to the long-lost Wave Echo Cave, site of the mines of the Phandelver’s Pact. He also told of how Klarg had orders to waylay Gundren and bring the dwarf back to someone or something known as the Black Spider. Gundren had a map showing the location of Wave Echo Cave, but the goblins took it when they captured him. Both Gundren and the map had been taken to a place called Cragmaw Castle.

Sildar suggested they head to Phandalin so he can try to contact a human wizard named Iarno Albrek who was sent by the Lords’ Alliance to establish order there. After no word had been heard from Iarno, the Lords’ Alliance decided to send Sildar to investigate.

As it turned out, Gundren was looking to hire a bodyguard to Phandalin from Neverwinter. Sildar then took on the job since he needed to go to Phandalin as well.

Not wanting to risk running into Klarg or any other goblins, the group moved as quickly as they could back to the wagon.

From there, they followed the Triboar Trail to Phandalin.


Heroes

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Osric Drakespeare (5e Bard: Entertainer)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


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Goblin Ambush
Chapter 2 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

2 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
The Sword Coast

In the city of Neverwinter, a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker asked Ghesh Goldscale and Randal Sunbringer to help safely deliver a wagonload of provisions to the rough-and-tumble settlement of Phandalin, a couple of days’ travel southeast of the city.

Gundren was clearly excited and a little bit secretive about his reasons for the trip, saying only that he and his brothers had found “something big” and that he was willing to pay both Ghesh and Randal ten gold pieces each for escorting his supplies to Barthen’s Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin.

Gundren then set out ahead of the wagon on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to “take care of business”.

**

Ghesh was the first to spot two travelers walking along the middle of the road.

The two were still about a hundred yards ahead of the wagon, but Ghesh didn’t want to take any chances. He jumped off and walked alongside the single ox pulling the wagon.

Travarr, a old human man Gundren had hired to drive the wagon to Phandalin, slowed the wagon down to a crawl.

Randal, too, left the wagon and looked around for signs of any others who may be hiding. “Could be an ambush, Ghesh. Stay alert.”

Both drew their blades, ready for anything.

Osric and Xander heard the wagon coming up behind them.

They turned around and saw three people on a wagon being pulled by an ox. While two were human, the third was clearly a dragonborn; an uncommon sight outside most large cities.

One of the humans was an old wagon-driver by the looks of the commoner’s clothes he wore. The other human, however, was armed with a longsword and carried a steel shield emblazoned with a fiery golden sun. He wore a suit of chainmail which protected him from head to foot.

The dragonborn had a battle axe in his right hand. A second battleaxe was visible, strapped on his back. He too, wore a suit of chainmail.

“Could be bandits,” Xander warned but he didn’t draw his rapier.

Osric raised his hand in greeting as the dragonborn and human began walking towards them both. “If they’re bandits, we’re in for a fight. They’re well armed and armored.”

“Well met travelers,” Ghesh said as he and Randal approached to within thirty feet of the two. His scaled browridge rose when he realized that one of the travelers was a half-elf. Uncommon as they were, he could count on his one hand the number of times he had met a half-elf.

Osric and Xander introduced themselves and asked where the trio were headed. In turn, Ghesh and Randal introduced themselves and explained that they were headed to the town of Phandalin which was still about thirty or so miles southeast of where they were.

Xander went on to explain that he and Osric were looking for work to earn some coins as they made their way to Waterdeep. When asked, Randal admitted he didn’t know where he was headed beyond helping deliver the wagon to Phandalin. However, he said he was on a personal quest as a paladin to spread the knowledge of Lathander, the god of birth and renewal. Ghesh, it seemed, had business in Waterdeep as well.

Randal offered to have Xander and Osric join them on their way to Phandalin.

By late afternoon on the second day of their journey since having left Neverwinter, the group now four strong, along with the wagon driver, veered east along the Triboar Trail. They were fortunate not to have encountered any trouble so far, but they knew well enough how dangerous the territory could be.

Both Ghesh and Randal decided to walk next to the wagon.

Xander and Osric meanwhile enjoyed the ride on the wagon full of supplies, which seemed to be composed of various mining supplies and food.

Travarr proved to be a fair enough companion on the High Road. He spoke mostly of his failed marriages and kept offering sips to everyone from his flask containing a strong wine which had a smoky, nutty flavor to it. Osric and Xander were just happy to be able to ask for more water to fill their wineskins.

Suddenly an arrow thunked into the front of the wagon just below where Travarr sat.

“To arms!” Ghesh yelled. Before he could draw both batteaxes, a small green-skinned humanoid dressed in ragged leather armor and wielding a rusted scimitar and shield ran out from behind a nearby boulder. With a wild scream, it rushed at the dragonborn who sidestepped the humanoid’s attempt to cut his stomach open.

goblin_sniper_by_sumerky-d3ewxos.jpg
Randal screamed in pain as an arrow buried itself into his back. From a nearby bush, a creature—a goblin, he was certain, for he spoke their vile language—rushed out of hiding and tried to attack Xander who was sitting next to Travarr on the wagon. Fortunately, the goblin found it difficult to attack someone almost out of his reach.

Osric, who was taking a nap near the back of the wagon, suddenly woke up upon hearing Ghesh sound the alarm. He spotted Randal nearly doubled over in pain. A black-feathered arrow was sticking out of the paladin’s back.

He quickly sang a short aria. Randal heard the bard and felt the soothing tones of his aria flow through him. Despite the arrow still stuck in his back, the bard’s song helped ease the pain.

The battle continued for almost a minute.

When it was over, Ghesh lay unconscious on the ground. He was alive, but barely. Fortunately, Osric was able to staunch the flow of blood after a goblin had cut him down. Even Randal had suffered wounds from the goblin ambush. However, he was able to call upon the blessings of Lathander to heal himself.

In the the end, three goblins lay dead. One had gotten away and fled northeast.

After tending to their wounds and placing Ghesh on the wagon, they searched the goblins. They considered taking the creatures’ weapons and armor to sell in Phandalin, but Travarr told them the goblins’ equipment were worthless: patched up leather armor, rusted scimitars, and bows on the verge of breaking were not likely to earn them even a copper piece. The goblins’ arrows, however, seemed to be sharp enough to use. So they decided to take those. They then buried the goblins together in a shallow grave not far from the road.

With no priest or healing potions, and Ghesh still unconscious, the group decided to continue on the Triboar Trail and find a suitable campsite before they lost daylight.

But as they came around a bend on the trail, they spotted two dead horses sprawled on the path, blocking it. Each had several black-feathered arrows sticking out of it. The woods nearby pressed close to the trail, with a steep embankment and dense thickets on either side.

“Another perfect place for an ambush,” Randal said as he went with the others to investigate the grisly scene. “These horses belonged to Gundren Rockseeker and Sildar Hallwinter. I’m sure of it. Looks like they’ve been dead about a day.”

“The saddlebags have been looted,” Osric said. “They’re all empty.”

Xander discovered a leather map case lying on the side of the trail, not far from the dead horses. “It’s empty,” he said showing it to the others.

After further inspecting the area, they learned that the goblins seemed to have been using the place to stage some ambushes for quite some time.

They also found a path on the north side of the trail. It led northeast.

They also learned that about a dozen goblins had come and gone along the trail, as well as signs of two human-sized bodies having been hauled away from the ambush site.

“What do we do now?” Randal asked everyone. “The goblins have taken Gundren Rockseeker and Sildar Hallwinter. We need to find them!”

“How do we even know if they’re still alive?” Xander asked.

“There doesn’t seem to be much blood here,” Osric offered. “They could have been overwhelmed by force, knocked unconscious, or taken captive. It’s all very tragic indeed.”

“Listen everyone,” Xander said. “Ghesh is hurt and needs healing or at the very least, rest. And we don’t have much sunlight left in the day to go tracking down goblins.”

“He has a point,” Osric conceded.

“I say we continue on to Phandalin, deliver the wagon, and then come back,” Xander offered. “Maybe we can even find help in town.”

“How far till we reach Phandalin?” Randal asked Travarr.

“We’re still about a day’s travel out,” Travarr said. “We’ll need to stop soon. Old Bess needs to rest for the day.”

“Bess,” Osric inquired. “Wasn’t that the name of your fifth wife, if memory serves?”

“Aye,” Travarr replied. “The old ox here reminds me of her girth and stubborn nature.”

“Horns too?” Osric couldn’t resist. Travarr only smiled back.

“Let’s make camp and discuss our plans,” Xander proposed. “Hopefully Ghesh will recover after a night’s rest. We can decide what to do in the morning.”

Everyone agreed that with night coming, they would indeed have to wait until the morning to decide what to do.


Heroes

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Osric Drakespeare (5e Bard: Entertainer)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander, Acolyte)

Xander Wayfinder (Human Fighter, Sailor)


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I'll Take the High Road
Chapter 1 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

1 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
The Sword Coast

Xander Wayfinder barely avoided being drenched by a bucketful of waste thrown from a window above him.

Looking up, he noticed an elderly woman mouth an apology then quickly slam the shutter closed behind her.

Xander looked farther down the street. He could just make out the southern gates leading out of Chasm, the area of Neverwinter named after the immense gaping crevice which divided the city’s southern district in half. Despite being early enough in the day, the streets of Chasm were already becoming congested with people of all races and professions.

Xander was eager to leave Neverwinter. He had been in the city for two days but could not find work as a sailor. He could no longer afford to stay in Neverwinter either. Rooms and food cost coins. He checked his belt pouch despite knowing he was running out coins.

He heard there were jobs to be found in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. He tried to avoid walking the two hundred miles it would take along the High Road, but with no ships willing to take on another sailor, even to work off his passage, Xander had no other alternative but to walk.

He was fortunate enough to have met other travelers who were headed south along the High Road. He stayed with them until late in the afternoon when the last two travelers took a trail headed east.

Xander knew that a lone traveler on the High Road was an easy target for bandits, or worse. He was skilled enough with the rapier. But even he knew he wouldn’t last long against several opponents at once.

As the sun began to set on the first day of his journey, Xander spotted a small square building along the road. It was barely twenty feet on each side and lay in ruins. it didn’t have a roof. It may have served as a shrine, a traveler’s rest stop, or someone’s home at one point.

Xander saw smoke rising out of the building. Someone had clearly started a campfire inside the stone building.

Not sure if whomever was in the building was friendly or not, Xander carefully made his way to where a corner part of the building had collapsed.

He saw a male half-elf sitting by a small fire inside. The half-elf was picking the strings of a yarting. The half-elf’s belongings lay on the ground behind him. He was also chewing on some rations.

Xander had previously met a half-elf only once before. It was when he first sailed out of his homeport of Baldur’s Gate. The half-elf, who was neither welcomed by the humans nor the elves on board the ship, always kept to himself. Xander tried to befriend him, but the half-elf preferred to be left alone. He always wondered if all half-elves were the same.

“Well met traveler,” the half-elf announced. “If you mean no harm, you are certainly welcome to share the fire with me.”

“A bit warm for a fire don’t you think?” Xander remarked as he walked over to join the half-elf.

“It helps keep the bugs away.” the half-elf said. “I’d offer some fresh meat, but unfortunately my skills are lacking in the art of hunting.”

“I’ve got rations.” Xander said. He took off his own heavy backpack and lay it down next to him. “I’m Xander Wayfinder. I’m headed to Waterdeep. Where are you headed, friend?”

“I’m Osric Drakespeare…” Osric paused wanting to let his surname sink in. Unfortunately, it didn’t. “You’ve never heard of Drakespeare?”

“Should I have?” Xander asked.

“You should have. My great uncle was William Drakespeare, the most famous bard and playwright in all of Faerûn.”

“Sorry, but as a sailor, I didn’t have much time to read or see plays.”

Osric was disappointed. “Well, you will soon hear of my fame after I open up a playhouse in Waterdeep. I plan on being more famous than my great uncle.”

“Sounds like an expensive dream,” Xander said. He took out some dried meat, a piece of hard bread, and several slices of moldy cheese. He scraped most of the mold off and took a bite. “You’ll need gold coins, and plenty of it.”

“I plan to stop by the nearest town I come to and perform there to earn some money. Perhaps even perform at some of the other towns or villages along the way to Waterdeep.”

“What about you?” Osric inquired. “What are your plans for your future?”

“When I reach Waterdeep, I plan to sign on as a sailor on a ship. I hope to become a captain someday. I’d like to have a ship to call my own.”

Osric smiled. “Now there’s a dream worth a lot of coins, my friend.”

“Have you ever been along this road?” Xander asked changing the subject.

“Never,” Osric replied. “I’ve stayed in and around Neverwinter mostly.”

“Well, tell you what,” Xander offered. “It’d be safer to travel together. I’ve been told to be careful of bandits along this road. So, let’s stick together and make our way to Waterdeep. We can stop along any town and village and see what coins we can earn. What skills do you—”

“Shh!” Osric interrupted. The half-elf was looking around. “I heard someone or something outside.” The bard slowly got up and peered into the area beyond where the fire from the campfire illuminated the road and the surrounding grassy field. His darkvision allowed him to see well enough in darkness.

He didn’t see anyone.

Xander moved up and stepped into a nearby corner next to a small arrowslit. Suddenly the fighter spotted something moving just outside the narrow window. In the firelight, it looked like a slim person. But it was the eyes and its mouth that told the sailor that whatever it was, it was not, or no longer human. Red pinpoints of light shone in its eyes. And its mouth was covered with rows of sharp teeth that resembled those of sharks he’d seen in many of his voyages in the Sea of Swords.

Knowing it had been spotted, the creature suddenly hissed at Xander and rushed to attack them both.

ghoul1.jpg
In the campfire’s light, the creature was no less frightening. Its skin was ashen in color. It wore bits and pieces of torn clothing and remnants of what may have been leather armor at one time. Its hands looked more like claws, with blackened, dirt-crusted, nails that looked sharp enough to tear through any armor.

Both adventurers nearly gagged at the stench emanating from the creature. It smelled like damp earth from a cemetery and decayed matter.

“Phlesssh…fooood..,” the creature hissed in common.

Xander drew his rapier and attacked. It screamed as Xander’s blade cut a deep, thin slice across its arm.

Osric, drawing his own rapier, stabbed at the creature, striking it in the stomach. Dark, putrid-smelling blood oozed from its wounds.

Angered, it tried to rake at Xander who barely managed to avoid being disemboweled by the thing’s sharp claws.

Both fighter and bard pressed on the attack, wounding it further. Any other creature would have fled at this point, but the thing’s hunger needed to be satiated.

It lunged at Osric. The bard struck the hilt of his rapier against the thing’s extended arm, batting it away.

Xander quickly moved to flank the creature. Seeing the creature’s attention momentarily focused on Osric, Xander slashed with all his might. His rapier sliced through the thing’s back, cutting through skin and muscles.

The creature arched its back and screamed in agony. It then fell to the ground, twitched once, and lay still, dead once more.

Osric and Xander caught their breaths and made sure there were no more of the foul creatures lurking about. Satisfied there weren’t any, both dragged the body far enough away so as not to smell it.

Both asked but neither knew what the creature was.

Satisfied that they were safe enough, they both settled in for the night.

Each took his turn on watch, hoping to never to run into whatever that thing was, yet wondering what other dangers lurked on the two-hundred mile journey to Waterdeep.


Adventurers

Osric Drakespeare (5e Bard: Entertainer)

Xander Wayfinder (Human Fighter, Sailor)


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Legacy of the Realms 5th Edition launches!

With the release of the Player’s Handbook, Legacy of the Realms officially switched over to the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons.

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"The Garden of Graves" Part 4
A Tomb of Horrors Story Arc

Eleint 4, 1479, Year of the Ageless One


From down the hall, the sounds of dull murmurings of multiple people talking softly at once, as well as the occasional clinks of glasses can be heard.


To be continued…


Adventurers:

Patch, and Kallin Rourke

RIP:

Fredara, Jobek, Monro, Vyn
& Orva (female gnome arcanist companion, from the Feywild)

Companions:

Luthan Graythicket (male half-elf ranger companion, from Elturgard)

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"Ancient Grudges"
A Shadowblades Story Arc

30 Eleint, 1479, Year of the Ageless One
Town of Daggerford



To be continued…


Heroes:

Gaerd De’barronn, Sgt. Carric of Daggerford

Companions & NPCs:

Gomorrah Entreri

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"Spiders Man '!'"
Land of the Purple Dragon (Adventures in Cormyr)

Tarsakh 5, 1481, The Year of the Grinning Halfling
Mines of Madness, Northeast of Azoun’s Hold in the eastern border of Cormyr

Weather:
Description: Rain
Temperature: Moderate
High: 54°F (12°C)
Low: 41°F (5°C)
Relative: Normal
Wind Force: Light
Wind Speed: 2 mph (3 kph)
Rain: Rain reduces visibility by half, imposing a -4 penalty on Spot and Search checks. It also imposes a -4 penalty on Listen checks and ranged weapon attacks. Rain automatically extinguishes candles, torches, and similar unprotected flames. It causes protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to dance wildly and has a 50% chance to extinguish these lights.

Light Wind: A gentle breeze, having little or no game effect.



The Purple Dragons settled in for a good night’s rest.

To be continued…


Heroes:

Cormyrian Purple Dragons: Bryan, Brando, and Waingrove

Companions & NPCs:

Sword Captain Dorin Goldhammer


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"Does it taste like chicken'?'"
Land of the Purple Dragon (Adventures in Cormyr)

Tarsakh 5, 1481, The Year of the Grinning Halfling
Mines of Madness, Northeast of Azoun’s Hold in the eastern border of Cormyr

Weather:
Description: Rain
Temperature: Moderate
High: 54°F (12°C)
Low: 41°F (5°C)
Relative: Normal
Wind Force: Light
Wind Speed: 2 mph (3 kph)
Rain: Rain reduces visibility by half, imposing a -4 penalty on Spot and Search checks. It also imposes a -4 penalty on Listen checks and ranged weapon attacks. Rain automatically extinguishes candles, torches, and similar unprotected flames. It causes protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to dance wildly and has a 50% chance to extinguish these lights.

Light Wind: A gentle breeze, having little or no game effect.



To be continued…


Heroes:

Cormyrian Purple Dragons: Bryan, Brando, and Waingrove

Companions & NPCs:

Sword Captain Dorin Goldhammer


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