The latest in the glorious adventures of The Heroes of Phandalin.
As always, apologies for any errors.
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?
Dungeons & DiSers Part five: Back to The Phandalin
Dungeons & DiSers Part six: Shut up and roll the crits
Dungeons & DiSers Part seven: The Linton Gravel Cavern
Dungeons & DiSers Part eight: Staff meeting
Dungeons & DiSers Part nine: Crossbow, Skills & Crash
Dungeons & DiSers Part ten: More killing stuff in a castle
Dungeons & DiSers Part eleven: It’s murder at the Cragmaw, you’d better not kill the dwarf
Dungeons & DiSers Part twelve: I’m here, to remind you, of the cross Owlbear that you gave to me
Dungeons & DiSers Part thirteen: Cave of mutilation
Dungeons & DiSers Part fourteen: Something about incy wincy spider maybe, I dunno
Dungeons & DiSers Part fifteen: You have 12 undead messages
The story so far
The dwarf Gundren Rockseeker, a close friend of the party, had recently found a map he thought would lead him and his two brothers to Wave Echo Cave; a magical cave that most people assume is a myth. A place where magical weapons can be made!
Gundren and his bodyguard, Sildar, were ambushed on the way to the town of Phandalin. The party rescued Sildar but Gundren had been taken to Cragmaw Castle at the request of The Black Spider and was sadly killed during the party’s rescue attempt.
The Black Spider is a dark elf who wants to keep Wave Echo Cave for himself. He’s arranged every setback the party have faced since leaving the city of Neverwinter.
Now deep in Wave Echo Cave, the party met The Black Spider. He politely tasked the party with clearing the monsters in the cave in exchange for a truce. After a tense battle clearing an undead force, Sir Kelross withered and died, leaving the four remaining heroes to finish the job or die trying.
The party knew they couldn’t spend time grieving. Not now. They were in a cave that was throwing constant danger their way. So, Zana cast Entangle to cover Sir Kelross in protective vines for a while and they made their way deeper through Wave Echo Cave.
As the sound of the booming waves continued to echo around them, a clumsy mis-step by Zana drew the attention of four more ghouls.
The ghouls found the party fresh from rest and angry with grief. The unbreakable momentum of Sir Curtas, the blur of Gloren’s axe and fists, the ferocity of Zana with a scimitar in one hand and a spear in the other, and the drunken chaos of Fannloy switching between crossbow and mace. Against that, the ghouls fell in short order, with Gloren finishing most of them off with his martial arts prowess. In return, their predictable attacks had little effect, only managing to injure Zana.
The party pressed on to the east of the cave. As they went they passed more horrific devastation, leftover from the legendary battle for the cave. Bodies; dwarven, goblin, human and orc, all lay broken and bloodied, stripped of anything valuable and left to rot.
At the far east end of the cave, they found a large cavern and in it was a constructed room. The rooms in the cave so far had all been dug out of the stone, but this was built. It was built well, but very plain in appearance, with a heavy double door. There were stairs leading from the cavern up to the north and down to the south. They agreed to explore further before chancing this room.
To the north they found the source of the booming waves. A much larger cavern with a deep drop leading down to where the sea was coming in. Waves would regularly swell and smash against the walls of this cavern, creating what seemed to be the magically amplified booming sound that echoed through the cave.
To the south, they passed another constructed room, but his one looked in a much worse state. They continued down and found a darker, narrower cave with a low ceiling.
Zana spotted there was a lot of eerie green fungal growth ahead of them. Fannloy decided to sneak in, but did so with the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on. As he stumbled into the cave, he found himself choking on a noxious green gas that filled the air. As it flooded his eyes and nose, he ran back out coughing and feeling unwell.
After a few futile attempts to clear the gas, the party decided not to continue this way and headed back to the room which looked in bad condition.
After listening at the door and hearing nothing, the party all entered the room. It was a mess. All this room offered was piles of ash, blackened walls, smashed furniture, two scorched beds, a charred bookcase and an iron chest.
As they made their way in and began to look around, a spectral figure rose from the ground.
Mormesk the Wraith told the party they were trespassing and their presence was an insult to him. The party apologised and in a short conversation discovered that this seemed to be some kind of vengeful spirit and all it was interested in was magical items.
They stepped outside with an obvious hurry. Fannloy blessed a coin and Sir Curtas re entered the room and presented it as an offering to Mormesk. After enquiring what it is and being told it was blessed with luck, Mormesk screamed and flew into a rage.
Fannloy leapt forward and tried to hit the wraith with a sacred flame, but sadly missed. Gloren struck with his axe and followed up with punches, but Mormesk barely seemed to notice. He reached forward and laid a spectral hand on Sir Curtas, leeching the life from him. In retaliation, the knight swung Talon, his magical sword, through Mormesk and watched as he recoiled in agony. It seems Talon was truly hurting this monstrosity.
As the others threw attacks against him, Mormesk remained focused on Sir Curtas and once again drained life from him. Knowing his sword was the only thing that seemed to be effective against the wraith, Sir Curtas decided that no, someone of his stature would not die at the hands of a barely corporeal old crank. He felt life returning to him and swung his sword with a renewed vigor. Mormesk screamed and slowly disappeared back into dust.
Opening the chest, the party found a bunch of gold and jewels (kerching!) and also an ornate pipe.
After taking a short rest to collect themselves, they headed back to the large cavern with the more structurally sound room in it.
They tentatively opened the door and entered to find another room with signs of a struggle. This was a workshop, badly damaged by the ancient spell battle that laid waste to the mine. Two large work tables in corners of the room were scorched and the plaster had been burned off the masonry walls leaving large exposed areas.
A stone pedestal in the middle of the room seemed completely untouched by the damage. It held a small brazier in which an eerie green flame danced and crackled.
At the far end of the room a spherical creature, floating a foot or so from the floor, turned to face the party.
The creatures large mouth did not move, but a voice in all the party member’s heads said “Hello”
The creature introduced itself as a Spectator. A guardian created by the wizards in the mine to protect this workshop. The Spectator explained that it would be resolute in that mission until the wizards said otherwise. It was clearly under the impression that all was still well with the mine in Wave Echo Cave. It had no idea that the battle had left no survivors and the cave in ruin. Although very polite, the creature made it clear it would be relentless in its defence of the room and the party should leave.
Making their apologies, the Heroes of Phandalin left the room. Once outside, they discussed what to do next. A discussion that was soon interrupted by a familiar voice.
“How’s it going?” said The Black Spider, “Have you found the spellforge yet?”
Gloren looked nervously around and spotted the four giant spiders crawling across the cavern ceiling. The dwarf drew his axe and Sir Curtas followed by readying his weapon.
“Are you really going to attack me before I’ve get the chance to double-cross you? How annoying” said The Black Spider as his four guardians dropped in front of him and attacked.
Sir Curtas and Gloren were ready and began attacking the spiders, while Zana used her shapeshifting ability to turn herself into a giant spider. It seemed fire would be fought with fire.
It was a savage fight. Fannloy was badly bitten by a spider. Gloren was the first to take one of the massive arachnids down and didn’t stop for breath - he leapt over it’s twitching corpse and ran straight at the prowling dark elf.
As Sir Curtas killed the second spider, Fannloy was bitten again. The poison raced through his alcohol stream, sending him convulsing to the ground.
Zana cast off her spider form and raised her hand and shouted the healing word “bunnies!” to get Fannloy back to his feet. But in doing so she left herself open to attack. The spider in front of her sunk its fangs deep into her shoulder and she fell down helplessly. Fannloy had little chance to compose himself before he was bitten again. Zana and Fannloy were now both unconscious and fighting for their lives against bite wounds and spider venom.
As Sir Curtas battled the remaining two spiders, Gloren rained punches into The Black Spider. The dark elf was not without a trick or two of his own. He stared into Gloren and asked that the dwarf hand over his axe. For a second Gloren felt compelled to do exactly as he was asked, but luckily he shook it off. Decided instead to hit The Black Spider with his axe. With growing fury, the dark elf cast a barrage of spell attacks at the dwarf daring to resist him. Gloren’s body was blasted with magic damage, leaving him badly injured.
Meanwhile, Sir Curtas had managed to kill another spider, meaning only one remained. The longer the fight went on, the less chance Fannloy and Zana had of surviving.
Gloren landed a couple of perfectly placed punches that knocked The Black Spider back and made him drop to one knee. The rage on his face was not masked by his evil smirk, whatever he was planning could not be good. Gloren wasn’t in the mood to find out and he leapt forward, bringing his axe down on the dark elf who’s schemes had already cost so many lives. The Black Spider raised his arm in defence. Gloren’s blade cut through the wrist, separating hand from arm, and continued its path to land deep in the dark elf’s skull. The life drained from The Black Spider’s eyes and he fell to the ground.
Sir Curtas and Gloren made short work of the final spider, but Zana and Fannloy were in trouble.
Sir Curtas was just in time to stabilize Zana but Fannloy was dead. The spider’s venom had killed him. This cursed place had now killed two of the Heroes of Phandalin.
So The Black Spider is no more! But victory seems hard to celebrate as another hero lies dead. What will become of Fannloy and Sir Kelross? Prequel spin-off series? What can be done about the Spectator and what is that special brazier he was guarding? There are those who think that it might be the soulforge that can create magical weapons but who could say for sure? Is there anything else the party can find in this cave?
9 redbrand thugs
4 giant spiders
1 The Black Spider