Back again at Nerd Central, we gathered at the requisite time. Absent were Lilia, Silverwind, and Nobo. Felkin brought crock-o-pot of pulled chicken that was hot and saucy and delicious. On top of that, everyone seemed to bring chips of some kind or another and as the team arrived successively, like Bilbo’s unwelcome guests, each bag was consumed in turn. The resulting bloat was heavier than usual.
Our tale begins two weeks earlier when the Rockseeker brothers (Gundren, Tharden, and Nundro) hired their cousin Groater, along with some friends, to shepherd a cartload of supplies to Phandalin. Our heroes discovered that Gundren and his bodyguard Sildar were waylaid by goblins as they travelled ahead. Adventures in the Cragmaw Goblin Caverns ensued, culminating in the death of King Klarg and the rescue of Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar was sure that Gundren and his map showing the secret location of Wave Echo Cave was sent to the chief of the Cragmaws at a place called Cragmaw Castle. Klarg was ordered to capture Gundren by someone called “Black Spider.” Sildar thought someone in Phandalin might know where Cragmaw Castle is located, possibly his contact in Phandalin, a wizard named Iarno Albrek.
Our newly reconstituted and very well fed party, accompanied by Sildar Hallwinter, journeyed onward to Phandalin where the group made safe delivery of entrusted cargo to Barthen’s provisions. A few words with Barthen revealed that Phandalin was struggling under the yoke of some thuggish bandits known as The Redbrands.
Cut scene to burning bodies in the streets.
Within minutes of arriving in town, four Redbrands lay dead, bleeding and smoldering outside the Sleeping Giant taphouse.
But, let’s back up a moment. At the Goblin Caverns, the group had found a haul of sacks and crates sealed with the mark of the blue lion, symbol of the Lionshield Coster, a merchant company with a trading post in Phandalin. On their way into town, the group stopped off at Coster HQ and had a talk with Halia Thornton, proprietress of the trading company. This led to a cash reward for information about the lost shipment of goods. The conversation also led to more rumors of just how bad these Redbrands are, and an agreement of sorts. Halia wanted the Redbrand Chief – Glasstaff – captured. In return, she agreed to pay 100 gold for the service.
A few members of the party also picked up a few tidbits at the Stonehill Inn from Trilena, the innkeeper’s wife and the barmaid, Elsa. Turns out, Thel Dendrar, a local woodcarver, was recently murdered by the Redbrands for standing up to them while they harassed his wife. A couple of days later his wife, daughter, and son went missing. Also, rumor has it that Orc raiders have been seen at the east end of the Triboar Trail. The Townmaster, Harbin Wester, is looking for someone to run them off. The group also heard that Sister Garaele, a kindly Elf lass who oversees the Shrine of Luck, recently went missing for a few days and then showed up again looking wounded and exhausted.
Conversation with Sister Garaele revealed that she was a member of the Harpers, and there is a small matter she could use some help with. Her superiors recently tasked her with persuading a banshee named Agatha to answer a question about a spellbook. Sister Garaele sought out the banshee but it would not appear for her. She believes that an appeal to the shade’s vanity might entice it to answer a question. She offers a jeweled silver comb as a gift for the ghost – and asks you to help her. She offered three potions of healing as payment.
All of this was discovered as the group walked through town drawing their swords and tightening their belts. Almost absently they affirmed consent to help those who asked, but their eyes were set on the Sleeping Giant and “some business” they had there. It was over quickly. Donuts!
However, the combat outside the Sleeping Giant was tougher than our PCs had planned, and some healing was required. A watch was posted while the most injured and spell-spent sought rest. Well before midnight, three more Redbrands came swaggering into town. They walked directly into an ambush. One fell asleep as he walked – ensorcelled by the Wizard. The other two drew arms but were cut down before they even saw their enemy.
Soon, our party was filling the marching order and deciding on light sources. Just inside the door, the creature known as “the eye” telepathically asked what kind of food they’d brought? The group backed up and went back to town to bring a body of one of the Redbrands. As “The Eye” munched hungrily on the corpse, Finnegan began his job.
A room full of bugbears on the left, a room full of Redbrands on the right. The Bugbears were torturing some pitiful helpless goblin. Quellin’s Burning Hands took care of the suffering goblin, and did serious damage to the torturers as well. The plan was to all rush in and then close the door – but on seeing a room full of bugbears, the plan changed. The fight spilled into the hallway and the Redbrands in the adjoining room were alerted – but for nought. They died as well.
The group pushed ahead, finding the wizard’s chambers, but apparently just missing the wizard. Searching the room, our heroes discovered that Glasstaff was none other than Iarno Albrek and also in the service of the Black Spider. They then, killed some skeletons and rescued Thel Drendar’s wife and two kids, and faced a final bitter showdown with three Redbrands that spilled out and into the night. All of the Redbrand scum were caught and killed. As they died, they shouted for Glasstaff to help them, but no help was forthcoming.
And, that was the night.
Your errand book is starting to fill up… and where’s Cragmaw Castle? Where’s Gundren and the map to Wave Echo Cave? Where’s that bastard Glasstaff?