Session 2: From Cragmaw Hideout to Phandalin

Having just defeated Klarg and all the goblins in the goblin cave, the group began to survey the area.

Turenim bandaged up everyone's wounds and applied the last of his healing to Ivor's torn up face.

As soon as the immediate danger had passed, Pippin began looking through the sacks and crates.

Meanwhile, everyone else's attention then turned to the remaining goblin slumped onto one of the sacks. Lee's initial reaction was to shoot down the remaining goblin, but Turenim intervened, asking the goblin why he was clapping.

Snowg a.k.a. Droop
"You killed Klarg!" the goblin replied gleefully, "We hated him. He was mean! Mean to all Cragmaw clan."

"You mean he was not part of your clan?" Turenim asked.

"No!" the goblin replied incredulously, "Klarg is bugbear. But King Grol, chief of the Cragmaw tribe, he sent Klarg here. He sent Klarg with message that Cragmaws work for Black Spider. That Cragmaws watch road for dwarf and capture him."

"Is that why you ambushed Gundren and Sildar?" Atilius asked, nodding towards Sildar. The goblin nodded. "And where is the dwarf now?"

"Klarg sent him back to King Grol. Back to Cragmaw Castle. Along with his stuff, especially his map. I heard they want his map." the goblin replied somewhat proudly.

"That's very helpful. Now that Klarg and the rest of the goblins are dead, what will you do if we let you go?" asked Turenim.

Upon hearing this the goblin eye's lit up briefly. "You let Snowg live?" the goblin asked, skeptically, as his demeanor reverted in disbelief.

"Perhaps. Is that your name? Snowg?" Turenim asked. The goblin nodded. "So what will you do if we let you go?"

Snowg's eyes fell to the floor. "I don't know," the goblin replied grievously. "I guess Snowg will go home to find other Cragmaws. Won't go to Cragmaw Castle. That's where King Grol is and he sent Klarg."

"Where is Cragmaw Castle?" Atilius asked?

"It's in Neverwinter Wood," Snowg replied, "just a short way north of here. I can show you"

While Atilius tried to get clear directions from Snowg, the others began to turn their attention to the sacks and crates. It was immediately obvious that most were marked with the image of a blue lion, which Sildar and Turenim announced they recognized it as the symbol of the Lionshield Coster, a merchant company with a warehouse and trading post in Phandalin. Sildar suggested that there would likely be a reward for the return of the supplies, to which everyone agreed, though Pippin was clearly reluctant.

Pippin showed the party an unmarked chest that separate from the other sacks and crates. Moula agreed to carry the sacks of copper and silver coins within. Atilius held on to the two potions for later identification. [Meanwhile Pippin did not feel the need to disclose the jade statuette of a frog with tiny golden orbs for eyes that he stealthily pocketed.]

The group dragged all the goods out of the cave. There was a disagreement about what to do with Snowg, with Turenim and Lee on opposite sides. Eventually they agreed to let Snowg go in the woods and not to return. Lee then returned to to the caves, gave the wolves food from the goblin's provisions until they were satisfied and let them free in the woods as well.

It became apparent that the captured stores were too bulky to bring back to Phandalin along with the Gundren's supplies that already filled up their wagon, so they decided to drag the crates and sacks back to the goblin's pit trip and hide them there until they could return, making sure that Snowg did not see them do so.

Alturiak 23
We sent Snowg and Sildar to a specific spot where they could rest up overnight. We ended up there too, but we discovered a few things beforehand. We learned that this cave is connected to Cragmaw Castle and Wave Echo Cave, which Gundren has a map to. Cragmaw Castle is ruled by King Grol. The Black Spider, a mysterious organization, is included somehow in all of this. Turenim jokingly called it “Trump Industries”, although I have no idea what that is. Is it connected to his past? However, we learned that the Black Spider paid the Cragmaws to get Gundren to King Grol. Klarg got the message from King Grol to find and send Gundren to the Cragmaw Castle. We also learned that the castle is around 20 miles northeast of the cave, but we don’t know where it exactly it could be. Snowg apparently knows, though. Moving on… We found some Blue Lion crates, coming from the Lion Shield Coster. Are they a part of this malicious organization? We also wanted to return them, if possible, but we didn’t have a large enough wagon or enough wagon space. We don’t know, but we did learn something: The Cragmaw Castle was sought after by Iarno Albrek, a member of the Lords' Alliance and a person of note in Phandalin, however, he went missing. After that, we rested up and went to bed for a short time.
~ A.H. Valentinus
With the supplies hidden away in the pit trap, the group retrieved their oxen and wagon and made the uneventful journey back to Phandalin.

• • •

The sun was beginning to set when the rutted track emerged from a wooded hillside, and the group caught their first glimpse of Phandalin. The town seemed to consist of forty or fifty simple log buildings, 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 this must have been a much larger town in centuries past. Most of the newer buildings were set on the sides of the cart track, which widened into a muddy main street of sorts as it climbed toward a ruined manor house on a hillside at the east side of town.

As they approached, they saw children being called in from the town green and townsfolk securing their doors and shutters for the night. People looked up as they passed the group, and some peeked out their windows briefly, but all quickly returned to their business.

Sildar, still looking exhausted from his ordeal announced, "I will secure us all lodgings at the Stonehill Inn while you tend to your supplies." With everyone's agreement, Sildar departed.

The group arrived at Barthen's Trading Post just as Barthen was closing up shop. Barthen immediately recognized Ivor and asked about Sildar and Gundren, fearing the worst. The group quickly let Barthen know that Gundren had been abducted, but that Sildar was safe and resting back at the inn. They then asked if they could borrow the wagon to retrieve the remaining supplies from the goblin's hideout. Somewhat relieved to hear about Sildar, Barthen agreed.

• • •

On the way back to the goblin's hideout, in the middle of the night Lee became aware of travelers on the road ahead. As they got closer he realized that they were goblins and began firing arrows at them. The goblins responded in kind, and soon everyone who had something to fire was doing so. Eventually the firing stopped and four goblins were found dead. This began a heated argument between Turenim and Lee about firing first, with Turenim suggesting they give diplomacy a chance, and Lee dismissing  this because he thought of goblins as innately evil creatures.

• • •

When they arrived at the sight of the ambush they once again steered the this-time-empty wagon away from the road and tied off the oxen so they could follow the goblin's trail back to the pit.

When they arrived at the pit Lee spotted Snowg sitting on a branch, just out of sight. He quickly drew an arrow and asked "What are you doing here?"

"I was watching your stuff for you." Snowg replied with a satisfied expression. Lee was suspicious, but the rest of the party dismissed the fact that although Snowg wasn’t even supposed to know about the hidden supplies being in the pit trap, he had found them.

Snowg helped them retrieve the sacks and crates and drag them back to the wagon, where they all loaded everything up and began the trip back to Phandalin.

On the way talk turned to the argument about the goblins they had killed on the road. Looking for some validation Turenim asked Snowg what he thought of it.

"Of course you kill goblins. And goblins kill you. That's how it is." Snowg replied, quickly adding "But not Snowg, because you not kill Snowg and Snowg happy. Snowg happy to help now."
Alturiak 25
We took the time to take our band of 6 and Sildar to the town of Phandalin. We were forced to leave Snowg behind, though. Later, we realized that Snowg was guarding our provisions all along, and we met up with him before saying goodbye outside of Phandalin. As we moved in, Sildar agreed to secure us a spot at the inn, and we went to Barthen's Provisions for some questioning. Elmar Barthen assured us that they were being stolen, and it had been happening for some time. The answer was sufficient, so we decided to recover the provisions we had at the Lion Shield Coster. Linene Graywind, the proprietor, was thankful, and allowed us to take the wagon to recover the other provisions. First, though, we spent some time learning about Phandalin. The shops included The Sleeping Giant Taphouse, which is home to a malicious organization called the Red Brands (which both Pippin and Lee hate), the Phandalin Inn, also known as the Stonehill Inn, and many more, which I put on my map. We went into the Stonehill Inn to get some much-earned rest, and thankfully, Sildar negotiated with the proprietor, Toblen, to give us food. Toblen is a native to Triboar- a town east of here. He tried to be a miner, but he ended up being the bartender for the Stonehill Inn. At any rate, we went to bed.
~ A.H. Valentinus
The trip back to Phandalin was uneventful, and when they returned to Phandalin early the next morning everyone agreed that it would not be a good idea for Snowg to enter Phandalin, especially Snowg, who said he would be safer outside.

• • •

The group's first stop was the Lionshield Coster Trading Post. Hanging above the front door of this modest trading post was a sign shaped like a wooden shield with a blue lion painted on it, similar to the markings on the crates and sacks. The master of the post, a human woman of thirty-five named Linene Graywind, greeted them, and was immediately pleased to see the return of her stolen goods. Linene gave them a reward of 50 gp and promised to help them any way she could. In a back-room, Linene showed the group her supply of armor and weapons for sale.

She also explained that her outpost has been hard hit by banditry, and warned them that the Redbrand ruffians are trouble and advised them to avoid the Sleeping Giant tap house.

• • •

The group's next stop was the Stonehill Inn, a large, newly built roadhouse of fieldstone and rough-hewn timbers in the center of town. The common room was filled with locals nursing mugs of ale or cider, all of them eyeing the group with curiosity.
Sildar Hallwinter

There they found Sildar waiting for them looking very refreshed. He introduced them to the proprietor, a short, friendly young human male named Toblen Stonehill, who showed them to their rooms. After traveling all through the night they were all exhausted and went right to sleep.

• • •

When they woke it was already mid-afternoon. One by one they came down to the main room to find a modest crowd gathered around eating and drinking. Toblen told them that Sildar had gone to visit the town master. "I sure do hope your friend can straighten things out around here," he told them, obviously upset. "Those Redbrands have been allowed to terrorize the town, and that Harbin Wester, the town master, hasn't done nothing to curtail them. What's a man to do? I don't want to stir up trouble. I've got a wife and child, you know!" Toblen introduced them to his wife Trilena, and his young son Pip. "This used to be a good place with lots of opportunity. When I first came here from Triboar, I thought I would try my hand at prospecting, but I soon realized that I knew a lot more about running an inn than he did about mining. It was good place back then." Toblen sighed and picked up a stack of dirty mugs, bringing them into a back room.

Then Trilena, chimed in almost whispering, "You know Thel Dendrar, a local woodcarver, stood up to the Redbrands a ten day ago when they came by his shop and leered at his wife. Those ruffians murdered him! Several townsfolk saw it happen. The Redbrands grabbed his body, and now his wife, daughter, and son have gone missing too!" Visibly upset Trilena found some chores that needed attending.

The the young Pip tugged on Pippin's sleeve. "Are you an adventurer? One day I'm going to be an adventurer! Me and my friend Carp. You know he found a secret tunnel in the woods, but Redbrands almost caught him. When we're adventurers we won't be afraid of no Redbrands!"

Then an older woman leaned over. "It's true you know. The Redbrands hassle every business in town. Every business that is except for the Phandalin Miner's Exchange. They don't want trouble with Halia Thornton..."

"Oh Freda," chimed in an old farmer sitting across from her. "Don't go bringing up Halia Thornton, now. You know who I'm worried about? Sister Garaele. She oversees the Shrine of Luck. She left town for a few days recently, and when she returned she was wounded and exhausted."

Elsa, the barmaid refilled their glasses. "Daran Edermath, the orchard keeper, is a former adventurer." Elsa chimed in for no apparent reason. Lee had heard this name before and showed some interest.

To which a younger man with the look of a miner replied, "Yeah, there's plenty for adventurers in an around Phandalin. Orc raiders have been seen on the east end of Triboar Trail. Even the town master is looking for someone to run them off."

• • •

After eating and speaking with the locals at the Stonehill Inn, the group wanted to find Sildar, so they went to the Town Master's Hall. On a board next to the front door of the building with sturdy stone walls, a pitched wooden roof, and a bell tower at the back, they saw a notice written in Common. It read: "REWARD — Orcs near Wyvern Tor! Those of a mind to face the orc menace should inquire within." The notice bore the town's seal and an indecipherable signature.

Inside they found Sildar talking heatedly with an old, fat human male. Sildar paused as he saw the group. "Harbin, these are the adventurers I was telling you about. This is Harbin Wester, Phandalin's current town master."

Harbin frowned at the implications of the description. "Ah, so you're the adventurers I've heard so much about. We're all grateful you were able to free Sildar here. The Lords' Alliance is welcome here, believe me!"

"And we're grateful to have you here as well. Travelers have reported some trouble with a band oforcs near Wyvern Tor, east on the Triboar Trail. I'm offering 100 gp to any group that can take care of the problem."

"That's good to know Mr. Wester," replied Atilius."We'll look into that. What about the problem with the Redbrands?"

"Oh, the Redbrands?" Harbin replied, "They're just a mercenary guild, and not all that much trouble, really."

"My friends," interjected Sildar, "Harbin is very busy running things in Phandalin. Why don't we leave him to it." And with that Sildar gestured for the group to follow him out.

Once outside he explained, "My friends, it may not be obvious, but Phandalin has no functioning government. The townsfolk elect someone to serve as town master each year. The town master serves as a judge in minor disputes and keeps any records that need to be kept. And Harbin, a former banker,is a pompous fool. He's completely intimidated by the Redbrands, as you can probably tell."

Leading the group farther from the Town Master's Hall, Sildar continued. "You see my good friend Iarno Albrek, a wizard and fellow member of the Lords' Alliance, traveled here two months ago to establish order here. But after questioning several locals, I've learns that larno, disappeared while exploring the area around Tresendar Manor about two months ago, just shortly after arriving in Phandalin. I'm hoping that you will investigate the manor and the surrounding area. Hopefully you can find and bring back larno—or what's left of him, if something killed him. larno is short, human with a dark-beard, in his thirties. In addition I'm prepared to offer a reward of 200 gp for eliminating the Redbrand threat!"

"But I also would like you to find Gundren," Sildar continued. "Perhaps you should keep up the pressure on the Cragmaw goblins. The Lords Alliance is willing to pay a 500 gp reward if you can locate Cragmaw Castle and defeat or drive off the tribe's chieftain. If you need me you can usually find me at the Town Master's Hall. As an agent of the Lords' Alliance, my goal is to bring law and order to Phandalin. As such, I want to find the lost mine of Wave Echo Cave and help the Rockseeker brothers put it back into production. I believe that bringing prosperity to the region will help civilize the town."

• • •

Lee suggested they seek out Daran Edermath, so they visited his apple orchard. Outside a tidy little cottage they found him, a fit, silver-haired half-elf well over a hundred years old.

"I've heard you are looking for people of courage and principle to help teach some bullies a lesson," offered Lee.

"Well someone has to," replied Daran. "But my fighting days are behind me. In my prime I served as a marshal and herald for many years in the lands of the Dragon Coast, far to the southeast. But now I am retired, though I am still a member of the Order of the Gauntlet, a devout and vigilant group that seeks to protect others from the depredations of evildoers. The order is always vigilant, ready to smite evil, enforce justice, and enact retribution against any who try to subjugate or harm others. Though I am no longer active in the order, I try to keep an eye on happenings around Phandalin."

"Lately," Daran continued, "I am concerned about the Redbrands, and yes, I would like to see a group of adventurers such as yourselves teach those ruffians a lesson. It's especially time someone took a stand against the Redbrands' leader, Glasstaff. You can usually find the Redbrands hanging around the Sleeping Giant tap house, but the main Redbrand safe house lies under Tresendar Manor, the ruin at the east edge of town."

"Are there any other troubles in the area?" asked Atilius.

"Well, yes, but not in Phandalin. I've heard stories from prospectors in the hills northeast of Phandalin that someone is digging around in the ruins known as Old Owl Well. More disturbingly, several prospectors have reported being chased from the area by undead. Perhaps you should visit those ruins - they're a couple days march northeast of Phandalin - and find out who's there and what they're up to. Those ruins are an old watchtower of an ancient magical empire known as Netheril, and I am worried that dangerous magic might be dormant there."

After some more small talk, the group thanked Daran and went on their way.

• • •

Moula heard that Sister Garaele, a priest of Lady Luck, might be of assistance. Not far they found Phandalin's only temple, a small shrine made of stones, dedicated to Tymora, goddess of luck and good fortune. There they found Sister Garaele, a scholarly young elf acolyte tending to the place.

"Greetings sister," Moula hailed. "We've come here looking to help with the problems in Phandalin. We've heard that the Redbrand are causing trouble."

"Well met, my friends," replied Garaele. "Yes, they are definitely a problem, but the town does not seem to be willing to take the steps necessary to get rid of them. I fear that may be the only way to truly be rid of them as many of the Redbrands are natives of Phandalin."

"Meanwhile, I can also offer a more delicate mission," Garaele continued, "I need someone to persuade a banshee named Agatha to answer a question about a spellbook. I sought out Agatha in her lair, but the creature did not appear for me. I am hoping that you might be able to bring Agatha a suitable gift, a jeweled silver comb, and persuade the creature to tell what she knows about the location of a spellbook belonging to a legendary mage named Bowgentle. I believe flattery might be the best weapon against Agatha's vanity to persuade her to trade the comb for an answer. If you succeed I can offer three potions of healing as payment for your efforts."

"We will look into these," Moula replied, and they moved along.

• • •

Pippin was interested visiting the Miner's Exchange. Upon knocking a cool woman's voice bid them enter. "Greetings, I am Halia Thornton, the guildmaster here. How can I help you?"

"Greetings,"Atilius replied. "We've come here looking to help with the problems in Phandalin. We've heard that the Redbrand are causing trouble."

"Ah yes. those Redbrands certainly are a problem! Those ruffians loiter around the Sleeping Giant tap house and have a base under Tresendar Manor, on the east edge of town. As a matter of fact I'm willing to offer you 100 gp to eliminate the Redbrand leader, whom those outlaws call Glasstaff, and bring me any correspondence you find in the leader's quarters."

Feeling a bit uneasy about the direct nature of Halia's request, Atilius replied "You seem mighty eager to see the leader dead. What about the rest of the Redbrands?"

"And what about bringing them to justice?" Turenim added.

"Why wouldn't I want them dead? They terrorize the entire town!" Halia replied.

"Have they terrorized you or the Miner's Exchange?" Atilius asked.

"Well, they have not crossed me directly. That would not be wise. But they are an evil band. I've even heard they have a goblin minion serving them. Look, if you want the job, it's your. Otherwise, is there anything else I can help you with?" she replied.

"We will consider your offer and get back to you," Atilius replied, and they moved along.

• • •

Next the group decided to follow up on the tip from Toblen's son Pip, so after some inquiring they went to find Carp at Alderleaf Farm. It sun was low in the sky by the time they got there and a female halfling in her mid forties opened the door.

"Hello, are you Qelline Alderleaf?" Atilius asked.

"I am. How can I help you all?" Qelline replied in a kind voice.

"Well, we're here to see your son. "Atilius continued. "We've heard that he found something that might help us against the Redbrands."

"Well, I just sent him to bed. Can this wait until morning?" Qelline replied.

"Who is it mama?" they heard, as a young halfling popped his head out. "Are they adventurers?"

"Well you might as well come in," Qelline suggest, "but let's make this brief. It is getting late, and we farmers must rise with the sun."

"You must be Carp?" Atilius asked. "Is it true that you found a secret tunnel in the woods?"

"Yes it is!" Carp replied, excited, "See me and my friend Pip, we were playing at adventuring and we was playing in the woods near Tresendar Manor when I found a secret tunnel in a thicket! Then a couple of "big ugly bandits" came out of the tunnel when he was there, and met with a pair of Redbrands! They didn't see me, but it was close! I bet those bandits have a secret lair under the old manor house! I can take you to the tunnel if you want."

"Not tonight you can't," Qelline interjected. "Now you are all welcome to stay in our hayloft until morning if you need a place to stay, but now we ought to be turning in. I hope you understand." Turning to Carp, she added, "now off to bed with you lad."

"Thank you for the generous offer, but we should be going." Atilius responded.

As they turned to leave Qelline stopped them. "Before you leave, a longtime friend of mine, a druid named Reidoth, can probably help you with anything you need out in the wilderness. There's not an inch of the land he doesn't know. I know Reidoth recently set out for the ruins of a town called Thundertree, just west of the Neverwinter Wood. Those ruins are about fifty miles northwest of Phandalin" Otherwise, good luck and I hope to see you again."

"Thank you again." Atilius replied.

• • •

Finally, as the sun set, the group decided to visit Tresendar Manor. On their way they passed the Sleeping Giant tap house, and four young men in red capes called out to them, "Hey, where do you think you're headed? Why don't you just hand over those weapons before you get hurt!"

Redbrands outside the Sleeping Giant in Phandalin

Alturiak 25
We decided to venture towards Tresendar Manor, the headquarters for the Red Brands. On the way, we passed by the Sleeping Giant Inn, which has been controlled by the Red Brands for some time. Our personal goal was just to keep walking and to let the Red Brands go about their business, but they did not let us go. They continually harassed us to the point that conflict was initiated, and what resulted was the bloodiest battle in the history of the Rowdy Crowd. 4 Red Brands were there initially, but many more arrived and died. From the power of the arcane Fire Bolt, the vicious double swords, the arrows, the darts, and the merciless groin stabbing, our group was victorious. We ended up defeating the scourge with an onlooking crowd. Victoriously, we put Pippin Thomas in our arms and cheered. The onlooking crowd was hesitant at first, but they finally realized that the scourge was troubling them no longer.
~ A.H. Valentinus

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