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