Next recap for those following the adventure.
“In 1484 DR, a ragtag adventuring unit was wanted by a mercenary force for a crime they didn’t commit. These DiSers promptly retreated to the Triboar Trail undergrowth. Today, still wanted by the militia, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them…maybe you can hire… this party.”
The other two were sadly absent this week, so played very badly by me:
Previous recaps: Dungeons & DiSers Part one: Don’t know who you are, pal
Dungeons & DiSers Part two: Big Cave and The Bad Deeds
Dungeons & DiSers Part three: Let Sleeping Giants lie
Dungeons & DiSers Part three: Wyvern long face?
As always, apologies for any errors. Errors like having two part threes.
Gundren Rockseeker, a close friend of the party, is missing. He had recently found a map that he thought would lead him and his two brothers to Wave Echo Cave; a magical cave that most people assume is a myth.
Gundren and his bodyguard, Sildar were ambushed on the way to the town of Phandalin. The party rescued Sildar but Gundren had been taken, maybe to somewhere called ‘Cragmaw’, at the request of ‘The Black Spider’.
At Phandalin, the trail has gone cold. The town is in the grip of a bullying militia called The Rebrands and Sildar’s former colleague, the wizard Iarno, is also missing.
The party have cleared a pack of troublesome orcs from a nearby encampment, but have just found out they’re wanted for the murder of Iarno.
Part five: Back to The Phandalin
The party, with their fresh new ‘wanted’ status, made their way back to Phandalin. Some walking, some riding, some drinking (Fannloy).
As they steered the cart around a bend on the overgrown, creepy Triboar trail, Sir Kelross and Zana spotted something sinister in the distance: skeletons!
Pulling the cart to a stop and wasting no time with diplomacy, Sir Kelross fired an arrow that took out the left side of a startled skeleton’s ribcage. Gelanur followed this up with a crossbow bolt that took out a collar bone. It was still standing, but with far fewer pieces.
While Fannloy woke up to find he’d had an unfortunate accident in his sleep, Sir Curtas ran in and smacked one of the other skeletons, badly injuring it.
Gloren charged at the half-complete skeleton that Kelross and Gelanur had hit, but swung wide. The skeleton hit back and managed to hurt Gloren before Gelanur finished off this boney menace. Zana torched one of the other skeletons with her fire bolt, sending the rags it wore up in flames. It was still going, but looking charred.
The remaining skeletons fell in short order. With Sir Curtas swinging his greatsword through one, Gloren’s axe taking down another and Zana’s scimitar cleaving the skull of the last one with such force that no one saw where any of the bits landed. An easy fight, with little damage taken, but the party remembered that former-adventurer Daran back in Phandalin had told them about rumours of undead in the area.
When they arrived at Phandalin, Zana and Sir Curtas set off into town while the others waited out of sight. Neither Zana or Sir Curtas were on the wanted posters, so they were safe.
They made their way to the Townmaster’s house, where a startled Harben Wester stuttered his way into paying the party (leaving off the extra amount he’d promised them for leaving that day, the rascal!) He asked where the rest of the party where and Zana lied, saying they’d been killed in the fight. Harben looked genuinely sorry to hear this, but wished them both well on leaving the town. Because they were leaving the town now, right? They would be on their way now, byeeee!
Zana and Curtas didn’t leave town, obviously. They went to the pub.
The landlord of the Stonehill Inn, Toblen, welcomed them in and asked about the others they were with, referring to them as “the murderers”. Zana softened the lie here and said they weren’t with them. Changing the subject, she asked why both inns in town only sold beer from the Purple Star brewery. Toblen told them he gets a pretty sweet deal for that exclusivity and saves on delivery by sharing with The Sleeping Giant. Curtas and Zana took a room for the night but before turning in, they both got to work.
Zana turned herself into a mouse and ran to Sister Garaele’s house. She found the priestess badly beaten, whimpering in bed. She was initially panicked to see Zana, but settled down when Zana’s healing spell brought her back to full health.
Zana mentioned the letter from Sister Milton and the comb, remembering what details she could (the letter was back at the cart). Sister Garaele explained that the comb was to appease a banshee who lives in the forest, a few days’ travel to the east. This vain, arrogant banshee, Agatha, seeks flattery, gifts and worship from everyone. It is told that she claims to know almost everything and will answer one question if suitably impressed by the gifts and worship she receives from visitors. Sister Garaele hoped the comb would be enough of a gift and told Zana to take it to her. Sister Garaele is trying to locate an old spell book called ‘The Red Book of Luck and Magic’ and she hopes Agatha knows where it is. Indebted for the healing, she tells Zana that if she wants to use the comb to ask a question that helps the party, she could do that instead.
Sir Curtas meanwhile broke out his charm and bought a round of drinks for the miners gathered in the Stonehill Inn. As drinks were quaffed, he asked about the miner’s exchange. The party had heard that they weren’t being hassled by the Redbrands and Sister Milton’s letter suggested she was trying to investigate them.
The miners said the place was well run and paid fairly. Although a guy called Ronom is the one they usually deal with, it’s owned by a woman called Halia Thornton. Curtas convinced the miners he was looking to invest in mining and Phandalin had caught his eye. This, along with another round, made him their hero for the night.
The next day, Sir Curtas and Zana went to the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange. It was a stone building, well kept and clearly signposted, situated conveniently on the road that leads from the town to the local mines.
When they arrived, they found themselves alone in the Exchange with a confident young woman who it turned out was Halia Thornton. She led the pair into a back room and with a wide-eyed, grinning expression asked them “Sooooo, how did you two avoid being on the posters?”
It seems Halia knew a lot about the party, mentioning Wyvern Tor, the murder of Iarno and other details. She said she had no knowledge of Gundren beyond him supplying the local shop and had never heard of Sildar. She scoffed with ridicule about Wave Echo Cave, saying it’s mere myth and the party wouldn’t be the first to die looking for it.
Zana asked her straight, “How much are you paying the Redbrands to leave you alone?”
This seemed to delight Halia who leapt up to answer, calling Zana a little detective. She answered by saying she pays nothing to the Redbrands. Halia went on to point out that Phandalin is a mining town and although shops and shrines can be replaced, it’s less easy to replace a mining operation. Without the mining, the town collapses. Without the town, there’s no one to bully and extort.
Talk of the Redbrands soon revealed that Halia had no love for them and she encouraged the party to take them out. She also offered 100g to them if they did (but only if they also chose a name for their party, she was appalled that they didn’t have one).
As Halia grew sure that the party intended to complete this job, she gave them some useful information. The Redbrand’s hideout was in the crypts underneath the large ruined manor on the east side of town and they were led by someone called Glassstaff, who she reasoned probably had a glass staff as these thugs weren’t exactly the type for metaphors.
Although she had no knowledge of The Black Spider or Cragmaw, Halia did point out that there was a goblin in the Redbrand hideout who might know what Cragmaw means. They read it in a goblin’s letter after all. She scribbled down ‘The Black Spider’ in her book and said she’d ask around.
As they left, Halia held Curtas back for a private word. She reminded Sir Curtas that Glassstaff was in charge and killing him would be all that was needed to stop the Redbrands. Without him, she was sure they’d give up.
The party regrouped outside of town and decided what to do next.
They crept along the ruined wall that surrounded the town. Zana, as a rat, crawled into the Redbrand’s pub, The Sleeping Giant. A quick recon revealed that she was far from the only rat in that place, but little more than that. The Redbrand’s inane banter giving nothing of use. She did notice that it looked like a shift change though and that gave the party an idea - once they’d discouraged Gloren’s enthusiastically repeated plan to burn down the inn.
Hiding nearby, the party waited. Eventually, a squad of Redbrands made their way down the path from the manor and headed towards the inn. Seeing their chance, they crept up the hill towards the ruins of Tresendar Manor.
Arriving at the ruin, Zana found a cellar door that was unlocked. With Gloren leading the way, they followed some stairs down into the basement.
They found themselves in a well made stone cellar, with a water fountain, some barrels laying around and a single door leading out. They were in the Redbrands’ hideout and who knows what lay ahead.
What will they find under Tresendar Manor? Can they get to Glassstaff and take him out? Will they release Phandalin from the Redbrands’ grip in the process? Is there a goblin who knows what Cragmaw is? By god, this feels like their first real lead! This was a bit Zana and Curtas heavy eh? We’ll find a way to make it up to the others.