Campaign of the Month: February 2012

Legacy of the Realms

Cragmaw Castle
Chapter 10 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

15 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Cragmaw Castle, Neverwinter Woods


To be continued…


Heroes and NPCs

Errich Alderleaf (5e Rogue: Criminal)

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


View
Thundertree
Chapter 9 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

13 Flamerule, Year of the Warrior Princess (1489 DR)
Ruins of Thundertree, Sword Coast

Still unaware of the exact location of Cragmaw Castle in Neverwinter Woods, the heroes traveled to the ruins of Thundertree to seek out the druid, Reidoth.

In Thundertree, they came upon unfamiliar zombies seemingly composed of the ashen remains of the village that was burned over three decades before. In time, they found Reidoth. The druid said he was studying the Ash Zombies. Reidoth also talked about a mysterious group of cloaked people he’d seen in the village. When asked about the other group, Reidoth said he thinks their presence in Thundertree involved the young green dragon, Venomfang, which had taken a tower in the northern part of the village as its lair. He suspected the mysterious people might be members of the Cult of the Dragon, whom he had heard were becoming increasingly active along the Sword Coast.

The heroes were surprised to hear that a green dragon was nearby. Nevertheless, they asked Reidoth about the location of Cragmaw Castle. The druid stubbornly refused to help the group unless they help him slay or drive away Venomfang. The heroes thought the druid had taken leave of his senses, but they agreed to help him.

The heroes along with Reidoth made their way to Venomfang’s lair early in the morning. When they confronted the dragon in its lair, the battle nearly cost the entire group their lives. With one breath of its poisonous gas, Venomfang defeated half the group. The heroes immediately surrendered and begged the dragon to let them leave. Venomfang consented, provided everyone relinquished their coins and magic items. The human paladin of Lathander, Randal, was not happy to surrender Talon the magical longsword he found in the Redbrand’s hidout, but he had no other choice.

As the group walked away from Thundertree, Reidoth conceded to helping them find Cragmaw Castle. He felt it the least he could do considering they had tried to help him and then lost their valuables.

The group used their backup weapons and traveled on to Neverwinter Woods, the druid Reidoth leading the way to Cragmaw Castle.

They all vowed that someday, when they were better skilled and equipped, they would return to Thundertree to slay Venomfang!


Heroes and NPCs

Errich Alderleaf (5e Rogue: Criminal)

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


View
Return to Cragmaw Hideout
Chapter 8 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

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


In Phandalin, the heroes met with Sildar who was very much concerned about the dwarf Gundren’s well-being. Sildar was himself, along with Gundren, taken captive by a band of goblins who took them both to their bugbear leader, Klarg, in the Cragmaw Hideout. All everyone knew was that Gundren was then moved to a place called Cragmaw Castle somewhere in the Neverwinter Woods. No one knew exactly where the castle lay. The heroes did learn that a human druid named Reidoth knew the entire area better than anyone else. However, the druid was said to be currently in the ruined village of Thundertree east of the city of Neverwinter.

Deciding that seeking the druid would take too long, the heroes chose to return to Cragmaw Hideout and find out from Klarg the exact location of Cragmaw Castle.

When the group arrived at the hideout, they confronted an ogre guard who they dispatched of rather quickly. Inside the hideout, the halfling rogue Errich climbed up a stone chimney shaft which led up to the bugbear leader’s cave. Meanwhile, the others fought their way through goblin guards to confront Klarg and his pet wolf, Ripper, in his lair.

The heroes defeated Klarg’s guards and his wolf. They didn’t kill Klarg, but rather interrogated him. Unfortunately, he didn’t know where Cragmaw Castle lay either. All he knew was that he was given orders to waylay Gundren. Someone—or something—named Black Spider had ordered the attack and further ordered that the dwarf and his map pointing to the location of the lost mine of Phandelver be brought to Cragmaw Castle. Klarg didn’t know who or what the Black Spider was.

The heroes took the bugbear’s treasure and returned to Phandalin with Klarg. There, they turned the bugbear over to Sildar where he placed him in the town’s prison alongside Harbin Wester, Phandalin’s former Townmaster.


Heroes and NPCs

Errich Alderleaf (5e Rogue: Criminal)

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


View
Revenge on the Redbrands
Chapter 7 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

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

The sound of the door opening into the slave pens woke everyone from their sleep.

It felt longer, but it had only been half a day since the adventurers were captured by the Redbrands. Osric Drakespeare, the half-elf bard was killed when the adventurers came upon four Redbrands gambling in a common room.

Yarris, a Redbrand the group mistakenly trusted, led them to the common room. He then turned upon the group and joined the others in attacking the adventurers.

Only Xander managed to avoid being killed or nearly killed by the two remaining Redbrands which included Yarris.

A figure which stood less than four feet in height entered the slave pens.

The figure wore the familiar red cloak worn by all Redbrands. The hood of his cloak obscured his face in deep shadows.

The short figure carefully and quietly entered the slave pens then closed the door behind him.

He looked around then moved closer to the cells holding the adventurers and the young boy.

The figure then drew back his hood, revealing a youthful looking lightfoot halfling with straight light brown hair combed forward. A single gold earring adorned his left ear.

He pulled back his red cloak. He wore a full suit of black leather armor. A shortsword hung from a leather belt, as well as a hand crossbow.

“Who are you?” the halfling asked Xander.

“My name is Xander and these are my friends.”

“Why are you here?”

At this point, the others were beginning to stir, albeit slowly.

“We wanted to help the people of Phandalin.”

“Why would you care about these townsfolk?”

Despite the pain wracking his body, Sildar pushed himself to a sitting position. “Because someone has to.”

The halfling regarded Sildar with curiosity. “Who are you?”

“I am Sildar Hallwinter. I am a member of the Lords’ Alliance. The others are helping—”

“Shh,” the halfling suddenly interrupted. He took a few furtive steps back and disappeared into the shadows beside the slave pen’s entrance.

The door opened.

Yarris entered, followed by someone wearing a hooded robe that reached to the floor. The man—if he was a man—held a staff, beautifully carved from a single piece of glass.

Neither Yarris nor the hooded man noticed the halfling.

Everyone in the cell but the boy rose to their feet.

“I will deal with you later,” Xander told Yarris.

“My good gentlemen,” the man in the hooded robe said in a voice as cold as the stone floor. “I would expect more from my guests.”

“We are hardly guests here,” Randal said.

“You must be Glasstaff,” Ghesh said.

“Very perceptive dragonborn,” the man said. “I wish I could provide you with more suitable accommodations. However, be assured that you will not be here much longer. Except for you.”

The robed man pointed a finger at Sildar.

“Why me?” Sildar asked.

“Because,” the man said slowly as he pulled back his hood. “I would prefer to see you spend the rest of your days rotting in this cell.”

“Iarno Albrek!” Sildar yelled. He pushed against the iron bars and tried to reach for the wizard who stood just beyond his grasp.

“My dear friend. It is good to see you again.”

“How could you do this, Iarno? You were sent here to establish order in Phandalin.”

“I have done exactly that,” Iarno intoned. “Before I arrived in this godsforsaken town, the Redbrands were nothing more than a motley group of road brigands and cutthroats.”

“And now they are an organized group of brigands and cutthroats,” Randal said.

Iarno gave the paladin a rueful glare.

“Say what you will my good gentlemen. I have secured a position here and no one can take that away from me.”

“You will pay for this treachery,” Sildar intoned. “I swear it. When I get out, I will see you pay for your crimes.”

Iarno let out a diabolical laugh. “You have always been a fool, Sildar. Always unable to face the truth even when it is standing there before you. You will rot here, while your friends are sold into slavery.”

Sildar gritted his teeth and shook the bars with all his strength. The iron bars rattled but held firm.

Iarno turned to leave. Yarris followed close behind.

“C’mon Yarris,” Xander instigated. “Just me and you and a couple of swords.”

Yarris only grinned.

“Coward.” Xander said. The door closed behind the Redbrand. From outside, Yarris locked the door.

The halfling stepped out of the shadow as if he were a natural part of it.

“Free us,” Randal said. “And you will be rewarded.”

“Why should I help you?” the halfling asked.

Sildar pushed against the iron bars. “Because I want to bring Glasstaff to justice and put an end to the Redbrands.”

The halfling stepped closer to Sildar. In his hands, he held a set of thieves’ tools. “Now you have my interest.”

**

“So what is your name?” Randal asked. He and the others were quickly donning their clothes from the pile of clothes. Mirna and her family did the same.

The halfling had freed them all. However, they had none of their equipment. Probably taken by the Redbrands and kept elsewhere.

“I am Errich Alderleaf,” the halfling introduced himself.

“Alderleaf?” Xander asked.

“Yes, Qelline Alderleaf is my aunt. Carp is my cousin. He told me you were here.”

“We’ll need our weapons and armor,” Ghesh said. He stood guard by the door.

“How are we going to get past the skeletons without the red cloaks?” Randal asked.

“There’s an armory nearby,” Xander reminded everyone. “We can equip ourselves there.”

“Your equipment would most likely be either in Glasstaff’s quarters, kept in his footlocker, or given to the others in the common room or barracks,” Errich said. “There are also extra red cloaks in the armory. I can help you find your gear. I know my way around this place.”

“How do you know so much about this hideout?” Xander asked.

Errich looked to everyone and smiled. “Because I used to be a Redbrand.”

“You mind explaining that?” Xander said unsure about whether or not he could trust Errich anymore.

“I’m not proud of my past,” Errich began. “About two moons ago, I came to visit Aunt Qelline when I was approached by the Redbrands. I was low on coins so I decided to join them. Whatever money I gained went to help Aunt Qelline and Carp. They never suspected anything—and I plan to keep it that way.”

“What made you leave the Redbrands?” Randal asked.

“Someone in the ranks tried to set me up. I later found out it involved the barmaid, Elsa, from the Stonehill Inn.”

Everyone looked at each other.

“One of the Redbrands apparently became jealous that Elsa and I were having a tryst…”

“No offense,” Sildar interrupted. “But…well…you’re a halfling. She’s a human woman.”

Errich’s smile said it all. “Many women have said that I’m quite gifted, if you will.”

“Elsa likes being showered with gifts, apparently,” Xander remarked.

Errich gave the sailor a strange look. “What do you mean?”

“Nothing,” Xander said quickly. “Just thinking out loud.”

“So whomever was jealous of my affairs with Elsa,” Errich continued. “went to Glasstaff and managed to convince him to have me killed. I barely managed to escape with my life. I would have stayed away, but I became concerned over Aunt Qelline and Carp. So, I chose to return to Phandalin.”

“I suppose we should be thankful you did,” Randal said.

“I just want to make whoever tried to have me killed pay for what he’s done,” Errich said.

Errich went to the armory and returned with enough red cloaks for everyone to wear. They then walked past the skeletons and into the armory where they were able to equip themselves with longswords and light crossbows. Unfortunately there weren’t any armor in the armory for them to use.

They decided to take Mirna and her family to the cellar. There, they had the family escape outside, giving them specific instructions to head to the Alderleaf Farm for safety.

After, they made their way back to the secret staircase which led to Iarno’s quarters.

Not wanting to risk being spotted by anyone, especially Iarno’s rat which Errich told them was the wizard’s familiar, it was decided that only Errich and Xander should enter Iarno’s quarters to see if their equipment was there.

It turned out that Iarno was not in his room.

Errich told Xander that the wizard liked to stay up late and would gamble away the night with the other Redbrands in the common room.

Errich and Xander returned ladened with the group’s equipment. Xander also grabbed a letter off of Iarno’s writing table. The letter was addressed to Iarno and signed with the image of a black spider.

He read the letter to the group.

Lord Albrek,
My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Phandalin. They could be working for the dwarves. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but don’t allow them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste.
I’m counting on you, Iarno. Don’t disappoint me.

The group decided to take on the bugbears in their barracks before confronting the other Redbrands in the common room.

Errich led the way to the bugbears’ barracks.

The door was unlocked. From outside, they could hear the sounds of the humanoids snoring away.

Only Xander and Errich entered the barracks. The others kept watch in the hallway.

Across the hallway, they could hear the Redbrands gambling away or singing. Someone was plucking away unskillfully on Osric’s yartring.

A single lantern in the hallway spilled dim light inside the barracks.

Four roughly built wooden bunks with heaped up blankets and dirty dishes were scattered about the room.

A strong smell of unwashed bodies and rotten meat filled the air.

Three furry humanoids were sound asleep, the sounds of their snoring helping to mask Errich and Xander’s approach.

A small goblin lay on the floor in between two bunks. A small empty wooden bowl sat next to the goblin.

That must be Droop, Xander thought. The goblin had brought he and the others their food in the slave pens. Xander tried to convince the goblin, who by the looks of it had suffered under the hands of the Redbrands, to help him and the others.

The goblin promised to do what he could but seemed to fear for his life. Xander offered to help Droop escape if he helped.

The goblin, again, promised to do what he could but Xander wasn’t certain if the seemingly hopeless goblin had enough courage in him to stand up against his oppressors.

Droop reminded Xander of the people of Phandalin. Beat a goblin or an entire town into submission enough and they lose whatever ounce of hope for freedom they ever had.

Errich and Xander pointed to Droop and signaled for one another to leave him alone.

Xander stealthily made his way to stand next to a sleeping bugbear. The thing was wearing hides and smelled worse than a ship’s bilge. He raised his rapier and placed the tip of it to the bugbear’s throat.

He looked over at Errich, who stood next to another bugbear, his shortsword pointed at the thing’s throat.

Xander nodded.

Together, they both plunged their blades into the sleeping humanoids.

One didn’t die outright. It made enough noise to wake up Droop and the third bugbear.

Droop sat up, took one good look at Errich and Xander, then fainted.

The bugbear, however, wasn’t easily scared. It tried to reach for its morningstar, which was leaning against its bed, just as Xander tried to attack the bugbear.

The noise also attracted the Redbrands down the hall.

While Sildar remained in the hallway, Ghesh and Randal entered the bugbears’ barracks to join in the fight.

From down the hall, the door opened into the common room.

Sildar could see Iarno standing in the middle of the room surrounded by three Redbrands. Iarno held a scroll in one hand and his glass staff in the other.

The wizard was desperately trying to concentrate as he read from the scroll. Licks of flames spread across the paper as the arcane words vanished from the page, burning the paper with it.

Within seconds, nothing was left of the scroll.

To Sildar’s amazement, nothing happened. He expected Iarno to unleash a powerful spell down the hall, but nothing happened.

“No!” Iarno screamed in frustration. “That was a fireball spell!”

Errich slipped out of the room, seeing as how the others were faring well agains the remaining bugbear. He quickly made his way past Sildar as he ran up the stairs.

Sildar wondered where the halfling was going.

Meanwhile, the others had killed the last of the bugbears and pushed their way into the common room to fight against the Redbrands and Iarno.

During the battle with Iarno and the Redbrands, Errich quietly entered the common room through another door.

Iarno never saw or heard the halfling approach him from behind, his attention solely focused on the adventurers killing his men around him.

Errich stabbed Iarno in the back. The wizard fell to his knees. The surprised look on his face never left him, even in death.

“We’ve got company!” Sildar yelled from the hallway. The fighter was pointing up the stairs.

The others ran out of the room to confront the new threat.

Errich quickly made his way back the way he came.

When the halfling reached the cavern with the crevasse, he spotted Yarris with another Redbrand standing above the stairs leading down to the bugbears’ barracks. He kept to the shadows as the other Redbrand went down the stairs to face Sildar.

Errich loaded his crossbow and aimed for the unsuspecting Yarris.

His shot pierced the unsuspecting Yarris right through the heart. Blood gurgled out of the Redbrand’s mouth as he stumbled against the cavern’s cold wall.

Yarris slid down and slumped over. He was still alive, but barely, when Errich walked up to him.

Yarris looked at the halfling and tried to say something. Errich didn’t let him finish.

Errich shot him in the head.

Down the stairs, the remaining Redbrand did not fare any better.


To be continued…


Heroes and NPCs

Errich Alderleaf (5e Rogue: Criminal)

Ghesh Goldscale (5e Fighter: Soldier)

Randal Sunbringer (5e Paladin of Lathander: Acolyte)

Sildar Hallwinter (NPC)

Xander Wayfinder (5e Fighter: Duelist Sailor)


View
Prisoners
Chapter 6 (Lost Mines of Phandelver)

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

“We can take the three extra cloaks here and assume the role of Redbrands,” Osric suggested. He placed the cloak around him and secured it with the copper skull clasp the Redbrands wore.

Randal watched the bard, grabbed a cloak and wore it. “I was thinking the same thing.”

“Now gentlemen,” Osric began. “Part of the art of subterfuge is speaking in such a way as to lend credibility to one’s disguise.”

“What are you suggesting?” Xander asked. He too wore a Redbrand’s crimson cloak.

“Simply that you allow me to speak for us,” Osric said. “I—well, let us just say that I have skills in convincing people.”

“The way you convinced Elsa last night?” Xander asked.

Osric gave the fighter-sailor a sly smile. “Believe me, it didn’t take much convincing.” He said. “She needed her curiosity about half-elves satiated.”

“What, that the elven half of you was from the waist down?” Ghesh chimed in.

Sildar came back into the room. He wore a similar cloak, although his was completely drenched having had to get his and one other from the ones they tossed into the cistern an hour previous. “Wish you thought of this before we threw them in,” Sildar said. He grabbed the ends of his cloak and squeezed a bucketful of water out.

Ghesh and Randal opted not to wear a Redbrand’s cloak.

They decided to play the role of prisoners instead.

When all were ready, they stepped out of the room and saw three Redbrands in the cellar.

“Halt!” one of the Redbrands commanded as soon as he saw Osric open the door. Like most of them, he was a human male in his late twenties or early thirties. He stood looking over the cistern. It looked like he had just finished examining the bodies in the cistern. “What happened here?”

The group walked out of the room.

“These two attacked them,” Osric said nodding towards the cistern. “We’re transporting these two prisoner to see Glasstaff.”

The Redbrand looked at both Ghesh and Randal. He then drew his shortsword.

“Do you always transport prisoners with weapons on their persons?” the Redbrand questioned. He turned to the other two. “They’re impostors!”

**

The adventurers were able to easily defeat the Redbrands. One tried to escape by running outside. But he was killed before he could warn any other Redbrands who may be wandering about in Phandalin.

Back inside, the group entered the door under the stairs leading outside.

Thick dust covered the flagstones of a somber hallway. The walls were decorated with faux columns every ten feet, and a set of double doors at the far end of the hall were sheathed in copper plate, now green with age.

A relief carving of a mournful angel graced the doors.

Xander and Osric led the way, the two walked alongside one another in the ten-foot wide hallway.

However, after several steps, Xander fell through the floor to land some twenty feet below! Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt too badly and climbed up to reach the other side.

The others carefully took several steps back, ran, then jumped to clear the ten-foot wide pit to land on the other side. They then walked up to the door.

Close examination revealed that the doors had not been opened in quite a long time. Dust and cobwebs covered it in places.

They carefully opened the doors, their torchlight spilling into a large mausoleum.

Three large stone sarcophagi stood within the dusty crypt. Propped up against each one was a human skeleton clad in bits of old rusty mail. Each wielded a shortsword.

False columns along the walls were covered to resemble oak trees.

Two wooden doors, not showing as much dust and cobwebs as should be expected, led out of the mausoleum to the north and east.

MonstersS.Skeleton.jpg
When the party entered, the skeletons moved to approach them, their swords at the ready.

Randal threw off his red cloak ready to battle the undead.

At the sight of the paladin throwing off his cloak, all three skeletons advanced to fight him while ignoring the others who still wore their red cloaks.

Quickly realizing this, Randal donned his red cloak once again.

The skeletons stopped their attacks and moved back to stand by each sarcophagus.

The party carefully made their way through the mausoleum and opened the door leading east. It was clear that the door had been opened many times in the past due to the lack of dust and cobwebs.

They opened the door.

Inside was a room partitioned into three areas, with iron bars walling off the north and south. . Filthy straw lined the cells’ floors, the hinged doors being secured by chains and padlocks. The room clearly served as the Redbrands’ slave pens.

A pair of disheveled human women were held in the cell to the south, while a human boy was being kept alone in the northern cell.

Everyone of the prisoners had iron collars fitted around their necks.

A heap of discarded clothing—all belonging to the current and perhaps past prisoners—were piled carelessly against the wall opposite the entrance into the slave pens.

A dimly lit lantern hanging on the wall above the pile of clothing afforded the only illumination.

Two Redbrands in scarlet cloak were surprised to see the group enter the slave pens.

The adventurers quickly killed one. The second one surrendered.

They questioned the Redbrand, whose name was Yarris. They also questioned the woman and the other two.

The woman said she was Mirna Dendrar. The others were her two teenage children, thirteen-year-old Nars and eighteen-year-old Nilsa. Mirna said the Redbrands had murdered her husband, Thel, a few days ago for defying them.

After murdering Thel, the Redbrands returned and abducted her and her children from Phandalin. She overheard the Redbrands’ plans to sell the family into slavery.

The group remembered hearing about Thel, the murdered woodcarver, from the townfolks in the Stonehill Inn.

Mirna begged the party to free her family. In return, she offered the party a reward. She told them about the location of a hidden valuable family heirloom: an emerald necklace. She said her family had an herb and alchemy shop in Thundertree when she was a young girl.

Her family fled Thundertree when a horde of undead overran the place.

She told about the location of the hidden necklace and the where the shop was located in the ruined town.

The group thanked her for her offer but insisted that they remain in the cells until the adventurers can clear the hideout of Redbrands.

The adventurers then threatened to kill Yarris if he didn’t cooperate and tell them everything he knew about the hideout and the Redbrand leader, Glasstaff.

He said he was willing to help them if they would spare his life. He added that he really wanted to be a shepherd anyway and give up the life of a bandit.

After promising to return for Mirna and her family later, the adventurers had Yarris lead them further into the hideout, going past the hideout’s armory and through a secret door which led to the storage room north of the crevasse where they first entered.

The captured Redbrand said that only Glasstaff and Mosk, the leader of the bugbears in the hideout had keys to the armory.

When asked about the bugbears, Yarris said they were sent by someone or something called the Black Spider to help keep the Redbrands and the citizens of Phandalin in line.

Yarris took the group to Glasstaff’s workshop.

A single rat scurried across the floor when the adventurers entered the wizard’s workshop. Another door, which Yarris said led to Glasstaff’s quarters, led out of the room.

Alembics, retorts, distillation coils, and other alchemical devices, all of it stewing and bubbling away took up space on shelves and tabletops. Bookshelves were crowded with sheaves of parchment and strange-looking tomes.

They even found some rare reagents like mercury, dragon bile, and powdered nightshade.

The rat, skitted across room, and wasn’t seemingly afraid of the adventurers. It even rubbed against their boots on occasion.

Osric said that by the looks of the tomes, parchments, and alchemical devices, it seemed that Glasstaff was trying to brew potions of invisiblity.

They carefully made their way to the door and opened it.

Glasstaff’s bedchamber was covered with drapes of scarlet cloth. The furnishings included a small writing desk with matching chair, a comfortable-looking bed, and a wooden chest at the foot of the bed.

The room was not occupied. However, the group quickly noticed a slightly ajar secret door against the opposite wall.

Everyone quickly moved to the secret door, opened it, and followed a secret staircase leading up to another secret door.

The way led into the storage room north of the crevasse.

They were shocked to realize that they had rested in a room with two secret doors leading into it!

They was no sign of Glasstaff, who the group deduced may have fled the hideout.

Yarris then led the party to the common room where other Redbrands were known to gather.

Everyone still wore their cloaks so tried to pass themselves off as fellow Redbrands when they entered the room.

Inside were four Redbrands sitting around a table. A stack of coins and trinkets were heaped upon the table. By the looks of it, the four men were gambling.

The four looked at the party when they entered.

They immediately recognized the party as the ones who came upon them along the Triboar Trail!

The Redbrands abandoned their gambling, stood up, and immediately attacked the party.

**

“Ye’ll be someone’s slave soon ’nuff,” the Redbrand said through a mouth full of missing teeth. He shoved Xander into the cell, then locked the iron barred door.

The Redbrand then left the slave pens.

Inside the cell lay the others, all badly wounded from the battle against the four Redbrands they encountered in the common room.

The party managed to kill three of them, but Yarris decided to turn on his captors. He picked up a shortsword dropped by a fallen Redbrand and joined in the fight against the adventurers.

Only Xander managed to avoid being killed or mortally wounded in the bloody encounter.

He surrendered, while the Redbrands called upon two bugbears led a third beast of a bugbear who wore a jeweled eyepatch.

Mosk, the bugbear leader, had the others stabilize the dying adventurers and then had them brought to the slave pens for Glasstaff to deal with at a later time.

Osric, however, did not survive his wounds. He died. His body was thrown into the crevasse, but not before being stripped of all his valuables.

The others too were stripped of their equipment. Even their shirts and pants were taken off of them before they were tossed into their cell.

Xander, the only one conscious amongst his fellow adventurers, sat on the cold flagstone floor of his cell. Nars looked at him and began to quietly cry.

He looked to Mirna and her family. Their look of despair at the sight of their only hope of freedom now occupying the slave pens with them was obvious.

“What’s going to become of us now?” Mirna said through tear-filled eyes. She moved closer to embrace her daughter.

Xander sat back and gazed at his fellow adventurers who lay motionless but alive on the stone floor nearby.

What will become of them all, the sailor from Neverwinter wondered.


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)


View
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.

2014-09-21_07.14.02.jpg
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)


View
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)


View
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)


View
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)


View
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)


View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.