At the end of our last gathering, our heroes had barely shed lantern light on the interior of the Lost Mines of Phandelver before energies waned. Here, now, two weeks later, the usual suspects gathered for a final assault. It was the night before the annual pig roast so there was an extra layer of pending commitments and distraction in the air. Goater (via Goater’s wife) provided a giant pan of lasagne and salad and such. All were satiated.
We pushed forward absent only Scrudley who was attending to pre-pig-roast details. Sacrament was broken on some ghouls. The ghouls went down quickly, the donuts even faster. Methodically, our heroes pushed through empty caverns and ancient mines. Baranoff was ambushed by a dreaded Ocher Jelly.
Passages to the right were thoroughly explored. Beyond an entrance chamber containing some vile Stirges, they found a daunting chamber of giant mushrooms and fungi of various colors – including violet. Our heroes were afraid and sought for safer looking routes deeper into the mines.
The group circled far left. Just as Scrudley arrived, they found a large underground chamber with a pool. There was interest in the pool, but also fear. They stayed away and moved out a far doorway. Up some stairs there was a room with five bugbears. A fierce battle waged for several rounds. In the end, the bugbears lost but not before some toll was taken on our heroes.They tired. Perhaps one more door and then they’d think about resting. But beyond that door lay a giant chamber fit with an ancient bellows, and astride that aged contraption was a floating flaming skull – and that skull’s eyes blazed and it let loose with a terrible fireball hitting most of the party. Several heroes fell below zero hit points in one fiery conflagration.
Retreat and a long rest in a dark corner of an unfinished passage.
And then, again, forward. This time, a slightly different and more direct route was taken. Straight into what was once a great central chamber spanning several levels – and into a ferocious attack by seven or nine ghouls. There was carnage all around and the fight would have been even bloodier if it had not been for Goater’s turning of the vile beasts. The fleeing undead ran straight into the chamber with the floating skull – and returned slightly smoking and smoldering from its greeting.
After the ghouls were wiped out, there was once again a period of indecision. Finally, it was decided to push deeper into the mines on the left flank, past the bugbears and the cavern with
the pool. In there, our heroes happened upon a locked door and were beckoned from within.
“At last, you’ve finally found your way to my chambers. I’ve been expecting you!”
Hands on hilts and readied spells! But this new foe, The Black Spider, an obsidian eyed Drow, held a knife to Nundro’s throat and bid our heroes to stand down. Some bugbears came from a distant passage, attending to the commotion. A standoff ensued briefly, pulses raced and sweaty palms held sword and axe firmly. Tense negotiations began.
After much bargaining and arguing, it was agreed that our heroes would kill the flaming skull monster, with the aid of two bugbears, in return for Nundro the Dwarf. Our heroes would, on obtaining Nundro, depart the Lost Mines and promise not to return for at least three days. They promised.
After a bit of a rest, our heroes and the bugbears approached the bellows chamber and the flaming flying skull from three directions on the run. Spells and missiles were fired, the skull dropped a fireball on the bugbears who happened to have to cross the bellows and were slowed and bunched up slightly in their approach. They fell to the ground, burning and smoldering. The skull also retreated slightly upwards and away, out of reach of our heroes and across the ancient stream bed. But our group’s ranged attacks were too much for the thing. Arrow and spear and spell hit home, and it was vanquished.
Nundro was exchanged for this service – wounded and slightly beaten – but safe.
Some of our heroes grumbled about leaving The Black Spider to his dark plan, but Scrudley, at least, claimed a moral victory over the dark-skinned scum. Our heroes emerged from the caverns out into the fresh air, with Gundren, and Nundro safe, and carrying the body of their brother Tharden. It was victory by armistice. An agreement between gentlemen.
We weren’t certain if we’d return in two weeks to bring The Black Spider to justice or not. If it stands at that, a violent carnage avoided, it will be a first. For the moment, there ends the tale of Finnegan, Dickie, Scrudley, Goater, Quellin, and Baranoff in the Lost Mines of Phandelver.