Lost Mines of Phandelver

Day 1 - Neverwinter
A Business Lunch

The heroes assemble at the Driftwood Tavern, a strange Inn indeed. Its interior bedecked in the faded glories of Neverwinter – tables made from grand doors, chandeliers crafted from the stained glass artworks of the ruined noble district. This is an expensive place, our heroes (with the possible exception of Grey) immediately feel out of place.

An associate of Gudren Rockseeker, named Sildar Hallwinter, rushes to meet the adventurers, he seems keen to introduce himself and extremely happen to see them – odd considering their lack of experience. He leads them to a secluded area of the Inn, a giant table lies in the middle of the room, clearly once a great vault door, now covered in glass and re-purposed. At the far end sits a grey-haired dwarf, his outfit as haphazard as the decor of the Inn, old fashioned garments adorned with salvaged finery.

The meeting is surprisingly brief, Rockseeker seems to have no interest in the player character’s suitability for the role, only their willingness to undertake a mission for him. This mission turns out to be merely driving a wagon to the town of Phandalin, some way to the south, along the High Road. He will meet the heroes there, business concerns having forced him to leave ahead of them by horse. He promises the heroes 10 gold to be paid upon their arrival in Phandalin and bids them goodnight, mentioning that the cart will be outside and ready in the morning.

The heroes take some time to introduce themselves to each other, Grey seems somewhat reticent to give out too much information, but they get an idea of each other’s capabilities and take a meal together before heading to bed.

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Day 2-4 - The Long Road to Ruin
In which the brave heroes discover their limits

The heroes leave in the morning for Phandalin, the wagon they have been left appears to contain mining equipment. Sildar Hallwinter has left many notes advising against disturbance of particularly expensive and fragile items.

Grey has his own cart, hitched to a small, angry looking rothe, named Greg’k. The cart itself is crafted from metal, all sharp angles and strange shapes, the wheels appear to be more octagonal than round, and the wheelbase is very wide. Tarlach and the sorcerer are amused by it’s appearance, commenting on it’s unusual nature to Grey, who seems oblivious to their stares.

Travel south is relatively easy, passing traders the only other people using the high road. Eventually the heroes reach a junction, they consult the map and take the turning towards Phandalin. After travelling along the smaller trail for some time, they come upon a pair of dead horses lying across the track. The horses are riddled with black arrows. Grey is immediately suspicious, scanning the treeline on both sides of the road, he sees nothing, however. Tarlach dismounts and moves with Grey to the dead horses, in an attempt to see how long the dead animals have lain in the road. On inspecting the dead horses, Tarlach discovers an empty scroll case bearing the sigil of Gundren Rockseeker, he swears.

At this point, Adaven spots a pair of aiming bows at the group. He slings a fire-bolt at the creatures, but misses, he is then shot down by a pair of black-feathered goblin arrows. Tarlach and Grey attempt to fight back, but the ambush is too swift, and they are knocked down in a flurry of blows.

The heroes wake up some time later in a dark cave, Tarlach and Grey are unable to see much in the darkness, but can pick out a group of goblins jabbering by a spitting fire. Content Not Found: adavan elven heritage grants him the ability to see in the dark, he notices they are tied to stakes on a raised area above five chattering goblins, a further goblin watches the heroes from a darkened area to their left. Gundren Rockseeker’s assistant from the Inn in Neverwinter is also tied to a stake, he appears to be unconscious.

Adaven struggles out of his bonds, he searches through his robes and finds he still has a dagger that the goblins failed to find. He spends some time waking his allies, they then whisper to each other in hushed tones, managing to cast some minor healing, as well as freeing each other from the poorly tied ropes. Adaven manages to cast disguise self, disguising himself as an Orc, he uses this to indimidate the goblins, casting chromatic orb at the largest of the goblins. Grey uses the element of surprise to launch his breath weapon at the goblins clustered around the fire, none drop immediately but most are wounded. The goblins try to retaliate, but a combination of Adaven’s spells, Grey‘s sword and a thrown dagger from Gundren’s assistant the rest of the goblins off. Unfortunately, Grey is knocked out towards the end of the melee, and with no more magical healing available, the best they can do is to stop him dying.

The heroes spend some time recovering their gear, as well as learning from Gundren’s assistant, Sildar Hallwinter, that the dwarf entrepeneur may have been taken to Castle Cragmaw by a bugbear named Klarg. He warns the heroes that more goblins are present within the caverns, they elect to take a short rest and get Grey moving again before pressing on.

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Day 5-6
Bugbear, my bugbear

After recovering our wounds, we pressed on into the goblin cavern. Adaven took point, and almost immediately startled a goblin, who was defending a rickety bridge over a gushing stream twenty feet below. The goblin ran before we could defeat him, and we pursued him across the bridge. We planned to tie a rope and escape through the cavern below, towards the light we could see spilling in the cave in the distance.

Grey, however, had different ideas, pursuing the goblin into the next cave, he came across more goblins attempting to remove a dam that held back the raging torrent, flooding our only escape route. We launched into a swift attack, defeating the pitiful creatures in short order. After considering our options, we decided we should press on while still able, in hope of finding more clues as to the objective of the goblins and their leader, Klarg.

Stepping in to another large cavern, we attempted to approach sealthily. Unfortunately, an ambush had been prepared, and Klarg himself stepped into view, his mangy wolf pet straining at its leash. Tarlach managed to react, but the others were caught unaware. Klarg, however, was too quick for the bard, and folded him over with a mighty blow from his morningstar. As Tarlach bit the dust, the wolf pet made a bee-line for Grey, snapping at his heels. Adaven attempted to cast a spell, but was felled by a hail of goblin arrows and knocked unconscious. Klarg then begain wailing on Grey and Rockseeker’s assistant, a combination of him and his wolf causing them to surrender.

Grey attempted to negotiate with Klarg, who agreed to temporarily spare the party provided they find out where the dwarf had been heading. It turned out Gundren had a map to an unspecified location, and Klarg was keen to get there before his superior, in order to gain prestige. Our equipment was confiscated and Grey set about interrogating Sildar Hallwinter in order to learn where the dwarf was headed. It turned out to be an old dwarven ruin, although he knew little about it. He told us that a contact in Phandalin would know more. We were being watched by goblin, but they did not seem to be listening too intently and we were able to discuss a plan to outwit the Bugbear and escape to Phandalin.

We decided to spend the night considering how we would convince the Bugbear to let us go, with every intention of betraying him at the earliest opportunity.

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Day 7-8 - Welcome to Phandalin
In Which We Actually Win a Fight

Having been thoroughly humiliated by Klarg and his cronies, it was clearly time for ‘Plan B’ – unashamed grovelling. Signalling to the goblin guards that we were ready to speak to their brutal chief, we ascended the stone steps to Klarg’s throne room, where our captor awaited with his dreaded wolf Ripper. Adaven lead the negotiations, praising the mighty strength and indomitable will of our captor, and pledging our continued service to his growing legend. Surprisingly enough, this worked.

We hooked the bugbear warchief in by promising to retrieve a second copy of Gundren’s secret map from Phandalin – as a towering, brutal, goblinoid monstrosity, Klarg obviously couldn’t wander over there himself. The map didn’t actually exist of course, but Klarg’s not the sharpest tool in the box, and his greed made him an easy mark. Fast-talking from Tarlach and Adaven and some expert menacing looming from Grey convinced Klarg that we were serious about working for him.

He didn’t trust us completely, though. He warned us that if we didn’t come back to him within ten days, he’d give us to the Red Brands. We had no idea who they were at this point, so we just nodded and backed out, bowing and scraping, Sildar in tow. We noted down a few features of the goblin outpost as we left, including a watch-post buried in some thistles near the entrance to the cave. It wasn’t time for our revenge just yet, but by Tymora we’d be prepared for when it came.

And so off we went, stripped of most of our belongings and all our cargo except a barrel of dwarven ale and a big bag of crowbars. A tough couple of days. The journey to Phandalin was largely uneventful. On the way we had a chance to recover our health and take stock of our situation. Though we had suffered several defeats, we felt invigorated by the thrill of adventure, and each of us was undeniably stronger for our hardships. Adaven felt a greater connection to the wild magic of the weave, and tested this new sensation out by casting a new spell. There was a small crackle in the air, and suddenly the sorcerer felt more hale and hearty than he had ever felt in his life. After sampling several pints of dwarven ale, he realised that he was now utterly incapable of becoming intoxicated. This would come in useful later.

We arrived in town around mid-afternoon. Sildar said his goodbyes, once again reminding us of his quest to locate his friend Iarno Albrek. We parted on good terms, each wishing the other the best of luck. Except Grey, of course. He and Sildar didn’t get on. Next we stopped off at Barthem’s Provisions, where we were originally meant to deliver our lost supplies. Barthem was upset about Gundren’s kidnapping and the looted wagon, but didn’t give us a hard time about our failure. We promised to retrieve his goods as soon as possible. He also mentioned that Gundren Rockseeker’s two brothers were somewhere near Phandalin, but he had no idea where.

We journey to the local mining registry office, where we meet with a no-nonsense female official. She can’t help us find the Rockseeker brothers, but she does fill us in on the Red Brands, a group of thugs and troublemakers who’ve been harassing the locals. She told us that they were based in the old manor to the west of town, and were lead by a mysterious figure called Glass-Staff. The official offered us one hundred gold to take him down and disband the crooks. We accepted. It’s not that we were desperate for cash… okay, it pretty much was.

After a bit more exploration, including a stop at the local shrine of Tymora (we had the feeling we needed as much luck as we could get), we headed on over to the local inn. Grey immediately marched over to the bar, spent our last coin on a room for himself and stomped off upstairs, the grumpy dragonborn sod. Adaven and Tarlach were left with the horrible prospect of sharing a barn with snoring peasants. Luckily Adaven hit on the bright idea of using his new-found resistance to alcohol to earn a few coins. He challenged a group of miners to a drinking contest, and the locals watched in astonishment as a five foot nothing half-elf outdrank five burly men. That earned enough gold pieces for a good night’s rest.

Before we headed off, Tarlach quizzed the bartender and his wife about events in town. We learned more about the Red Brands’ villainy, and accidentally frightened an old woman. We also learned about a possible secret entrance to their hideout, and the bartender’s son mentioned a local lad who might know the way. We decided that dealing with Klarg was the more pressing concern. The Red Brands could wait.

Next morning, we were ambushed by the Red Brands. Damn it. They waited for us outside the pub dressed in rough leather armour and red capes, and attempted to threaten us into handing over our (few) belongings and running out of town. Grey answered with as near as he ever gets to a smile, and Tarlach and Adaven smirked at each other. Four scrawny bandits? We’ve fought Klarg, good luck intimidating us. It turns out they were pretty dangerous fighters. Each drew two slim swords and charged forwards to attack.

Tarlach drew his rapier and squared up to one, while two others went for Grey. The last made a beeline for the seemingly helpless Adaven. Tarlach wove his rapier expertly, feinting and slipping past the ruffian’s guard to score a nasty slice across his chest. His opponent scored two solid hits of his own, however, leaving the bard wincing in pain. Grey grunted as two swords slashed across his thick scales, and responded with a mighty swipe of his black iron greatsword. It crunched into one bandit, all but felling him in one blow. Adaven aimed a fiery chromatic orb at his own foe, but the bandit rolled beneath the ball of fire, escaping injury and scoring a hit on the sorcerer in return.

We exchanged a flurry of nasty blows, but in the end the bandits were no match for the ferocity of Grey and the skills of Tarlach. Grey breathed a ghastly tide of necrotic energy at three of the bandits, felling two and leaving the other wheezing and reeling. Tarlach finished the survivor with a pinpoint thrust to the heart. The final ruffian, on the verge of cutting Adaven down, reassessed the situation and made a run for it. Wise. We chased him through the streets, hoping to cut him off before he reaches the safety of his gang’s hideout. Adaven pinned him with a ray of frost, encasing his legs in a layer of thin ice and slowing him down, and Tarlach cut him off at the next alleyway. The Red Brand attempted to scamper away, but Tarlach skewered him through the knee as he passed. We secured the wailing bandit, ready to get some answers regarding the Red Brands, their rickety mansion lair, and the mysterious Glass-Staff…

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Days 8-9 Part 1
Delving-derring-do

After the scuffle in Phandalin’s main thoroughfare, the group were surrounded by townsfolk, most of whom seemed grateful for the show of force, it appears the Redbrands are incredibly unpopular amongst the villagers, with the elected head of the town having taken no action to curb their violent rampages.

Tarlach Malthar decided that it was best to turn the ruffian in to the local authorities, to get a handle on whether they are in a position to mete out any justice, or if, as suspected, they are impotent, unable to defend the town from the predations of bored Redbrand mercenaries. On entering the Townmaster’s hall, the group caught their first sight of the current Townmaster, Harbin Wester, dozing off whilst hearing the cases of local peasants. Tarlach strode off to confront him, the prisoner in tow.

Meanwhile, Adaven caught sight of Sildar Hallwinter, and collected the money he had promised us. Sildar Hallwinter also offered the adventurers further work, with a reward totalling 500 gold for successful completion. Adaven took down the details and updated Sildar Hallwinter on our investigation into the Red Brands, and their mysterious leader Glass Staff.

Tarlach’s attempt to report the vicious attack in town was met with some irritation by the Townmaster, who seemed more worried about the trouble such an event would bring in to town than with seeing the surviving aggressor imprisoned. With the help of Sildar, however, the cantankerous old man was convinced to take the captive Redbrand in to custody for a couple of days, giving the adventurers enough time to explore their suspected lair at the old manor house.

Grey also obtained details of an open bounty placed on a group of Orcs spotted near the town, figuring that any work would be welcome, given the current lack of equipment and money.

On regrouping, the heroes accompanied the Harbin Wester and Sildar to the makeshift cells beneath the Townmaster’s Hall, and spent a small amount of time interrogating the Redbrand prisoner, he was unfortunately rather dimwitted, and what knowledge he posessed was of little worth. He was locked up for a couple of days, the intention being that the heroes would be able to remove Glass Staff from power within this time-frame, eliminating the Redbrands as a threat.

The group then decided to talk to a young halfling, Carp who they had been told knew of a secret entrance to the Redbrand lair, this involved conversing with peasant families, something Grey was less than keen on doing. As Grey returned to the Inn for a peaceful nights sleep, Tarlach Malthar and Adaven spent the rest of the evening and much of the next morning helping with farmyard chores, in return being provided with a hot meal and a bed for the night.

The halfling child was rather boisterous, and fancied himself as an adventurer, he agreed to lead the three heroes to the secret entrance the next morning. Carp was rather keen on venturing inside the dungeon as well, but was quickly dissuaded by Tarlach, who feared the boy would be killed, or get the rest of them killed. The boy agreed to patrol the outer edge of the forest, and to warn the villagers if any Redbrands were spotted. Steeling themselves, the three heroes advanced into a narrow passage that cut from the forest floor into a large hill.

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Days 8-9 Part 2
Into the belly of the beast

The group slowly made their way through a narrow passage, scored with tracks and clearly having seen considerable use. Deciding to use a trio of looted Redbrands cloaks, they stumbled in to a large chamber divided by a small crevasse. All three of the heroes could feel a cold, malevolent presence which made telepathic contact with them. Whilst the creature was unidentifiable, the half eaten remainds of various animals and humans scattered around the pit left little ambiguity as to the its motivation.

The creature agreed to let the heroes past, and make life more difficult for passing Redbrands, provided they find some fresh food for it. The group decided the more pressing concern was apprehending Glasstaff and so decided to go and purchase a goat from the peasant farmers, using the fresh meat as a bargaining piece.

One the creature had been appeased, they moved in to a storage room with a redbrands messroom attached. Ignoring the Redbrands residing here for a moment, the group pressed on further, into a corridor that contained a pit-trap. After a bried detour through another door that lead to the surface (which appeared to be the ruins of an old manor house), they made their way across (after having triggered, and narrowly avoided) said pit-trap and in to an ancient crypt, replete with skeletons attached to a series of sarcophagi. Some time was taken to create a makeshift bridge over the pit trap from broken doors and materiel obtained from the ruined manor house.

A duo of Redbrands were present just through the crypt area, guarding a trio of bedraggled prisoners destined to be sold as slaves. After a brief discussion, with aid of some rudimentary disguises, the group decided to retreate and set up an ambush for the two Redbrand guards. Using deception to pull the guards into the crypt area, the group quickly eliminated the first guard and captured the second, with the intention of interrogating him.

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Days 8-9 Part 3
Never pull a weapon on an angry dragonborn...

Deep in the bowels of Tresendar Manor, our heroes interrogate their prisoner. He is useless, and knows nothing except that Glasstaff is someone you don’t want to mess with. Grey comes over all business-like suddenly, and tries to tempt the Redbrand into joining his merry band. The ruffian agrees, somewhat tentatively.

While Tarlach and Adaven try to comfort the prisoners, a mother and her two children, Grey heads off with his new recruit to scout out the armoury. Whereupon the Redbrand seizes a spear from a nearby weapon rack and spins to confront the dragonborn. “Aha!”, he cries. Grey sighs, dodges an ill-timed thrust, and splits the foolish rogue neatly in two with his greatsword. After perusing the unremarkable set of gear the Redbrands have stored up, he returns to his allies. When they inquire as to the whereabouts of the group’s latest recruit, Grey simply shrugs and says “it didn’t work out.”

Deciding that they really don’t want to know, Tarlach and Adaven inform Grey that the manor’s resident bugbears hold the prison key. The trio decide to finish off the Redbrands on this side of the manor, then go off in search of Glasstaff and the bugbears. They head onwards.

Heading back across the pit-trap, the group nears the door back into the central rooms when Adaven signals for a halt. He weaves a quick spell and takes the form of Bronn the unfortunate prison guard, whose insides are currently decorating the armoury floor. A plan is decided upon. Tarlach and Grey nestle into the shadows on either side of the door, while Adaven heads back into the storage chamber, where a Redbrand is chatting with a local informant. The half-elf’s magical disguise and talent for bullshitting are enough to convince the Redbrand, who appears to be something of a lieutenant, that an intruder has been captured. The Redbrand leader calls in two enforcers from the mess room, and follows Adaven into the corridor – where a surprisingly well-planned ambush is waiting.

The leader manages to spot the hulking, reptilian monstrosity with a greatsword lurking in the dark corner, but his two fellows are caught off guard. Tarlach charges out and dispatches one with a flamboyant spin and a one-two thrust to the ribs, while Grey cuts the other’s legs out from under him with a sweeping blow, spins his great black blade around and neatly skewers the unfortunate minion into the floorboards. A combination of Adaven’s magical bolts of fire and Tarlach’s sword strikes take the leader down, but we decide to keep him alive. The group quiz him briefly, discovering little of value, then bung him down in the pit-trap.

Next, our heroes pacify whatever the nine hells is in that rocky chasm with a Redbrand corpse, and head across to the other side of the manor, where bugbears and a deadly wizard await.

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Days 8-9 Part 4
The most competently planned fight we've ever had...

Adaven creeps forward, down a flight of stairs on the left of the manor’s secret entrance. Rough growls and yelps emanate from a room at the bottom, where the corridor bends a right angle and leads to another shut door. Adaven scouts ahead, gently easing the door at the bottom of the stairs open. Inside, three huge bugbears are playing an enthusiastic game of ‘kick the crap out of the goblin’. The half-elf sorcerer gently closes the door, and creeps down the corridor to the facing room.

Inside this one are four Redbrands, playing a game of knucklebones and enjoying an off-duty drink. Adaven manages to peek in without disturbing them, and then scampers back to Grey and Tarlach to formulate a plan of attack. They come up with a good one. What if they play these two groups of villains off against each other? Snickering with gleeful anticipation, the three heroes form up in the corridor, and Grey readies a throwing axe.

Kicking open the door, he roars a challenge and hurls the axe into a bugbear’s chest. Getting a good look at the hideous goblinoids for the first time, the group notices that one stands out – a hulking brute with an eye-patch, wielding a nasty-looking morningstar. In the corner, a helpless goblin covered in ugly purple bruises takes one look at the intimidating dragonborn intruder… and faints dead away. The bugbears roar in fury, particularly the one who just took an axe to the chest, and rush to meet our heroes in combat. Our heroes grin mischievously, and promptly scarper off into the Redbrands’ room.

Adaven, still dressed in his stolen scarlet cloak and looking every bit the terrified Redbrand recruit, bursts through the door, yelling at the top of his lungs. “Murder, murder! The bugbears are revolting!” Thankfully avoiding the potential for a cheap joke, the four Redbrands scramble to their feet. Three draw twin swords, and one hefts a crossbow and kicks the table over, forming some makeshift cover. Tarlach and Grey move into the room with them, weapons drawn, facing the corridor and the four charging bugbears. And seven hells break loose.

The Redbrands meet the bugbears’ charge, convinced that they’re about to be torn limb from limb. The team has clearly tapped neatly in to some underlying paranoia and mistrust between these two groups. Terrific. Leading the bugbear charge is their scarred, one-eyed leader, who is now dual-wielding his morningstar along with that unfortunate goblin slave. He barrels into the room, and his cleaving swipe smacks one Redbrand into the wall. There’s an audible crack, and the poor ruffian slides limply to the floor. Battle is joined. Grey leads the line, dueling one bugbear with his greatsword, taking a couple of nasty strikes but scoring a backhand slash of his own in return. Tarlach whips out his twin blades, and slips in to stab another of the hulking brutes, but wisely skips back to keep the focus on our erstwhile allies.

Dodging and weaving, the Rebrands draw blood several times with their fine blades, but it’s not so easy to take down a bugbear. Despite bleeding from multiple wounds, the beasts continue to bash away with mauls and morningstars. The Rebrand leader fires his crossbow, and turns to Adaven, telling him to go out the back door and find Glass-staff. Adaven shakes his head, and tells the man that they can handle these brutes. He fires his crossbow and misses horribly, and the Redbrand gives him an unimpressed stare. Grey takes one too many hits, and pulls back. A bugbear roars eagerly, and swipes at him, missing by a hair’s breadth. Grey ducks under that blow and comes up with a two-handed thrust that impales the bugbear through its ample gut. The bugbear gasps, gurgles and expires.

Another Redbrand dies, his skull exploded by a falling morning star. “This is going brilliantly”, our heroes all think. Tarlach engages the second bugbear, while the leader makes for Adaven. The half-elf flings a bolt of fire, which smacks into the upturned table and sets it afire. The smell of smoke and spilt liquor fills the room. Grey takes a second to regain his breath, and moves back into the fray. Tarlach scores a nasty hit with a feint and slash along his opponent’s calf, then skips back to avoid another brutal swing.

Gray and the remaining Redbrand swordsman engage the bugbear leader, while the crossbow-wielding Redbrand shouts once more at Adaven to go and get Glass-staff. Sensing that their ruse, fantastically effective though it’s been, is about to collapse, Adaven shrugs and smacks the surprised crossbowman in the face with the pommel of his dagger. Staggering back, the unfortunate ruffian stumbles into Tarlach, who mumbles apologetically and stabs him clean through the back with his rapier.

Grey hamstrings the bugbear leader, ducking as the one-eyed bastard hurls his shrieking goblin slave at him. There is an unpleasant wet thump as the goblin strikes the hard stone wall. With the bugbear reeling, the remaining Redbrand triumphantly cuts out his throat, and turns, grinning, to Grey. Who promptly takes his head clean off. Tarlach takes a hit on the shoulder from the final bugbear warrior, but a crossbow bolt slams into the brute from Adaven, knocking him back before he can follow up his strike. Tarlach doesn’t waste the opportunity, leaping forward with a yell to bury both his swords deep in the monster’s chest. The bugbear issues a surprised gurgle, and topples to the floor. Victory.

The heroes try, and largely fail, not to be too smug about their victory. Three dead bugbears and four dead Redbrands, with barely a scratch suffered in return. This, the group acknowledges, is the best thing they’ve ever done, and will likely not be bettered. Still, through the door behind them awaits Glass-staff. Time to finish this.

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Days 8-9 Part 5
The trouble with wild magic...

Taking a moment in the midst of the carnage of their previous victory, our heroes reflect on their recent adventures. They each feel as if they’ve passed some kind of experiential milestone, and each feel stronger and more powerful than they’ve ever felt before. Adaven’s been brushing up on some of the rather underhanded skills he learned on the streets of Neverwinter, whileTarlach and Grey have both grown more powerful in their very different forms of combat. Tarlach’s bardic magic is also stronger than it’s ever been.

The group heads onwards. In the room beyond the destroyed mess hall, they find what looks like an alchemist’s workshop. Adaven studies the apparatus, but although someone’s clearly been creating potions here, he can’t tell what kind. He pockets a couple of vials, though. There’s some valuable stuff in here. The group press on. Before them is another door. Fixing his Redbrand cloak, Adaven swings the door open. Inside is a small but well-furnished bedroom, with a elegantly carved desk to one side. Sitting at the desk, quill in hand, is a short, dark-bearded human with an unassuming manner. He looks up and raises an eyebrow. “Yes, what is it?”

Adaven’s a little thrown by the man’s unruffled demeanour. He states that the bugbears have run amok, and are killing Rebrands throughout the manor. The man, clearly Glass-staff, sighs. He waves a hand distractedly at Adaven, telling the half-elf that he’s busy, and that he’s sure things will sort themselves out. Adaven looks blankly at Grey and Tarlach, who shrug back. “Fair enough,” he says, and summons an orb of chromatic energy, which he hurls at Glass-staff. The ball of light coalesces into a blast of lightning, but the wizard sitting at the desk is no fool. He stands and whips out a weapon in one move, a inquisitive staff made of pale green glass. As the draws the staff, a shimmering field of energy envelops him. Adaven’s chromatic orb spell splashes off the wizard’s defences.

Eyes narrowed in cold anger, Glass-staff weaves his own spell. He gestures to Adaven, who feels a soothing echo reverberate in his mind, whispering that this wizard is no enemy, indeed a valuable friend. Fortunately, the sorcerer’s elven heritage steels his mind against the charm. He shrugs off the wizard’s spell. Grey and Tarlach begin to move into the room to engage. Grey flanks to the right, while Tarlach decides to try out a new spell. Roaring a word of arcane power, he blasts Glass-staff with a wave of rolling thunder. The little wizard is blasted entirely off his feet, smashing head over heels into the wall behind him – which promptly crumples, revealing a secret passageway with stairs that appear to lead up.

Adaven grins, and prepares another spell. “Nice try Glass-staff, but you’re not dealing with weak-minded fools any more,” he says, but as soon as he releases the spell there is a shimmer in the weave, and a chaotic cascade of pure wild energy ripples out from him, turning everyone in the room invisible. “Oops,” the disembodied Adaven says.

Tarlach and Grey register no small amount of consternation with this new development. Glass-staff merely laughs. “Your magic is that of a witless child, half-elf,” he snickers, “you have no control and no talent for it. Much as I would love to entertain you three fools, I’m afraid I have urgent business elsewhere. I am sure we will meet again soon.” With that, the heroes hear scampering feet making for the top of the secret staircase as the now invisible villain makes good his escape.

Grey says something uncomplimentary about Adaven’s parents, and hurtles after the retreating wizard. Tarlach and Adaven follow, the latter rather sheepishly. At the top of the stairs, there is no sign of Glass-staff, and no door to be seen. Luckily Adaven’s observant eyes pick out a small panel on the wall. Grey punches it, and a secret door swings open, leading to the back of the cavernous entrance area with the deep crevasse that our heroes had traversed earlier.

The group rushes forward, and hears the wizard Glass-staff’s voice once more. “MY, you are persistent, aren’t you? I’m afraid I can’t stay for drinks, but I’ll ask my friend here to keep you company.” The heroes feel a familiar cold, malevolent presence in their minds, and a hideous one-eyed creature emerges from the crevasse. It resembles a kind of nightmare, cycloptic lizard monster. It walks on two legs, and packs a pair of razor-sharp claws and a row of dirty, jagged teeth. “A nothic!”, Tarlach shouts.

“I do apologise friends,” the creature rasps within the groups’ minds, “I’m afraid I must renege on our previously beneficial relationship.” With that the lurking aberration leaps forward, and focuses its foul yellow eye on Grey, who’s at the head of the group. The eye blasts the dragonborn with a wave of foul, necrotic energy. Fortunately, Grey is not your typical dragonborn, and happens to eat foul, necrotic energy for breakfast. Though the blast of negative energy withers some of his scales, he shrugs off the hit without too much trouble.

The dragonborn warrior leaps forward, striking once, twice across the nothic’s leathery chest with his greatsword. Tarlach rushes in as well, sliding beneath one claw swipe and taking he other to the arm as he gets into position for a flank. Adaven hears laughter fading in the distance, and concludes that Glass-staff is as good as gone. He curses and sends a crossbow bolt into the nothic’s leg. The monster howls. Tarlach and Grey team up to cut the beast to pieces, but it manages to slash the bard and scamper away. It slips down into its pit, cursing our names. Just as it’s about to hide in the darkness below, Adaven sights in on it and sends another bolt down into the pit. The bolt bursts through the back of the nothic’s head, bursting forth from its single eye in a spray of gory ichor. The beast drops to the ground, clearly dead. Glass-staff has escaped, but Tresendar Manor has been cleared.

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Day 10
The Talons of Tresendar

Victorious at last, the heroes strip the Tresendar Manor of valuables as efficiently as a pack of ravenous rust monsters. Searching through the caverns where the Nothic made its home, Adaven discovers a chest filled with treasure and a magnificent longsword worked in silver. He hands this to Grey.

Tarlach goes to retrieve the captured family, and along the way picks up the unfortunate goblin that the bugbear captain was using as an impromptu club. His name is Droop, and he is hired as a butler on a temporary contract until the groups finds someone marginally less repulsive.

Grey finds a letter in Glass-staff’s quarters that proves he is none other than Iarno Albrek, the very same “friend” that Sildar Hallwinter tasked the heroes with finding! The letter is from some kind of shadowy benefactor, and is signed only with the symbol of a spider.

The manor secured, our heroes march triumphantly into the bustling town hall of Phandalin, a surviving Redbrand prisoner and the three rescued family members in tow. Town official Harbin Wester is shocked (and phlegmy) to see them, and Tarlach’s charismatic victory speech quickly has the milling crowd roaring the heroes names. Grey reveals his fabulous new sword, and there are startled gasps – this is surely the famous Talon, ancestral weapon of the Tresendars.

After a brief but passionate discussion in which various possible names are rejected, the heroes finally shake hands on a new title for their adventuring group, inspired by their greatest victory thus far – the Talons of Tresendar are born!

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