The Tiamat Saga

... and the adventure continues on to Hoard of the Dragon Queen!
Vance DMs
It has been 3 months since the Triboar Knights last adventured. Some have retired, some have moved on to better things, at least one has passed away tragically, but Tellaos Tessel has returned to his home in Neverwinter and is more and more restless. Is it some evil in the air or just a bad turnip in last night’s feast? There is a knock at the door. A messenger with a scroll. Messengers are not uncommon at Tessel’s home. Contractors, guild masters, trade agreements, sometimes more than Tellaos would care to acknowledge. The messenger quickly leaves and Tellaos looks at the sealed scroll. A wax seal with the crown of the Lords’ Alliance pressed into it. Tellaos reads the scroll:

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House Tessel

Memories stirred in Tellaos Tessel as he entered the remains of his house, destroyed by the eruption of Mount Hotenow. He wondered if anyone was able to survive this devastation. Not able to even bring himself here until now, his feet balked at the entrance to the last remaining part of the keep – the foundation.

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Childhood memories of his father’s stories about Castle Tessel and the happier times spent here, drifted through his mind. Smells and sights stirred his heart and he vowed to once again reclaim honor and respect for his birthright. Stirring him from his thoughts, the bard gently strummed his harp as if to accompany his contemplations. Giving his friend a smile he lit a torch and pushed some brambles aside he entered with a heavy heart.

Things came back to the nobleman as he stood in the cavern cellar. He’d always imagined himself to be the returning hero, liberating his family estate, back when he was growing up in Waterdeep. But, cutting into his joyful memories came a familiar velvety voice which raised the hackles on the back of his neck and a yawning anger swelled in his chest. It was the Black Spider! Nezznar stepped out of the darkness in the back of the cellar like an evil ghost or demon that he imagined as a child hiding down here. His mere presence violated him deeply.

“Ah, it is you – I knew you would come. Did you bring Iarno with you? This is too easy! You are here earlier than I expected.” The Black Spider’s words dripped with venom and malevolence.

Seeming to wait for a response that never came, he continued: “I thought this would be the perfect place to wait for you to come and, alas, I am right again! Ha haa haa.”

“So you came to reclaim your ancestral home, eh? This hovel, this carcass of a goat-herder’s hut? Telleos Tessel, your family was such a lesser House that they were a disgrace. But, I guess it is appropriate that you have come back to be laid to rest with the rest of your family’s remnants – Here let me give you a hand!” He yelled out “Now!” and the floor below the Triboar Knight’s feet gave way.

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The Death of Venomfang and Beyond...
Wherein our heroes, Tellaos Tessel and the Triboar Knights quest

Following the liberation of the Wave Echo Cave, the reknowned party of adventurers, the Triboar Knights, were told of the disappearance of the druid Reidoth. The party spent a few days resting, re equipping and rearming, in preparation. In Phandalin, the Knights were introduced to Pavel Graytail , Reidoth’s apprentice.

Pavel led the party through the wilderness to Reidoth’s grove, where they witnessed cloaked, armed men wearing dragon masks attacking an animate tree. The young druid summoned the power of the elements, covering the area with a sleet and hail storm. The storm extinguished fires set by the marauding cultists, surprising them. The Triboar Knights made short work of the enemy.

Exploring the area, the party discovers a hidden, underground chamber. It was Reidoth’s cache, contained powerful magic items that could be used against Venomfang, the green dragon. Knowing that the dragon laired nearby in the ruined town of Thundertree.

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When the party arrived, the effeminate elf, Varis Liadon , used his owl familiar to scout the town for enemies. The wizard noticed two buildings: a large ruined tower and a building that appeared inhabited. Having visited the town before, the part knew that Venomfang the Green would be lairing in the crumbling tower. Flint slunk off into the darkness, attempting to get the drop of any hidden foes.

The rest of the Triboar Knights donned the dragon masks and cloaks pilfered from the dead cultists in order to perform a unlikely feat of infiltration.

Tellaos began formulating a plan, silently, as they approached the bottom of the tower.

“Kerig, you get ready with your bow. Wait for my signal!” The nobleman implored.

“Err, what’cha plannin’, Tessel? Me sphincter’s tighter’n an elf’s purse strings!” The dwarf asked, annoyed.

Tellaos gave the dwarf warrior a concerned look.

“You know how to use the bow, right? Don’t fuck this up!”

Kerig harumphed an acknowledgement.

The party entered the tower, and there, in all his splendorous evil, was Venomfang.

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“What you have brought me, my servants? Perhaps a tasty elf prisoner?” The green dragon rasped. Stinking, green chlorine gas wafted up from his nostrils as he smoke. It’s large frame perched on the inside of the ruined tower’s far wall.

Paraphan pulled out the Tome he had acquired earlier. “A book, oh Caustic One! It tells the tales of the greatness of dragonkind!”

Tellaos kept silent under his mask. By Helm’s Hard-On, it was working! The other knights were taught with tension as the bard prattled on for what seemed an eternity. He didn’t know where that damned little halfliing was, but trusted him enough to believe that he’d position himself in time.

The tension became too much for young Tessel. He looked at Kerig and nodded slowly and then stepped forward, interrupting Paraphan’s verbal gymnastics. Speaking in courtly, ancient draconic, he addressed Venomfang.

“My Lord Dragon, Venomfang, this book contains not only general information on those of your mighty kin, but there’s a an interesting tale, in there, as well.” Tessel paused, giving a worried look to the now ashen-faced bard’s face. Again, he looked at Kerig. The dwarf stood, rock-like in terror. Sweat began to drip down Tellaos’s face, from his masked brow.

“Really?” The dragon said, clearly intriguied. “Please go on.”

“It is, my lord, the Tale of the Greedy, Green Dragon. It concerns a dragon who onced claimed these woods…he fought with the elves and humans of this wood, and was greatly feared.”

Tessel paused a moment and muttered to Kerig in Dwarvish, “Are you fuckin’ ready, man?” Seeing the dwarf stealthily knocking the magical arrow in his shortbow, he continued speaking.

“Well, it seems this green dragon was so STUPID and GREEDY, that he wasn’t even aware that a party of heroes infiltrated his lair.” Tellaos began to raise his voice to a yell. Giving one last, imploring glance at the dwarf, he turned back to Venomfang, who was seething with anger and having his terribleness derided and mocked. "Because, " Tellaos threw down his dragon mask and whipped off his cloak. “I’M TELLAOS TESSEL AND WE ARE THE TRIBOAR KNIGHTS!!”

Tessel leaped out of the way to give Kerig the opening he needed. The dwarf’s bow glowed with magical radiance as the Arrow of Green Dragon Slaying was set loose. At first looking like it was going to miss, the dwarf silently prayed for Marthammor Duin and Moradin to guide his missle. At the last possible second, the dragon’s underbelly was exposed enough, and Kerig’s shot found it’s mark. Venomfang was wracked with a pain it had never known. Kerig allowed himself a quick fist pump, in celebration.

The dragon poured gas out of his nostrils, and quickly took a great breath, preparing to unleash his wrath on the impudent humanoids before him. Venomfang extended his long neck which brought it’s jaws down to the party’s level for attack.

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That’s right when Paraphan Elbereth, bard, par excellance, stabbed outward with a quick rapier strike! Venomfang shrieked and hissed as the bard’s needle cut deep under it’s scales to slice a vital artery. Thick, dark dragonblood spurted from the creature onto the walls and onto the bard, himself. Emboldened by the victory, the rest of the Triboar Knights unleashed everything in their power: sword strikes, arcane and sorcerous magic, druidic magic and axe blows.

Venomfang was completely overwhelmed. It tried to bite its attackers and it tried to fly away in retreat, but a final unearthly blast of energy (by the unnaturally dimunitive halfling) blasted the last sliver of life from the beast.

The Triboar Knights were victorious, again!

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Black Spider Battle

Updated Treasure NOTICE: The black spider left behind a sack of treasure that had some coin and stuff that I forgot to mention last night.

Faffer saw that everything was well on his farm so he decided to go back and help his friends in the mines. He did his best to navigate the mazelike section of the cave near the new entrance, but he got lost and ran into an Ochre Jelly that hit him a few times, but he was able to stave it off and continue through the cave. He wasn’t very quiet on his way and so he attracted the attention of two bugbears that were standing guard in the barracks that hadn’t been explored by the group yet. The bugbears followed him and waited for the perfect moment to strike. They surprised Faffer from behind, but were too inept to actually hit him. Faffer struck back at one of them with his sword.

Back in the temple of Dumathoin, the party was still engulfed in the magical darkness that seemed to come out of nowhere. Those with enough knowledge of the drow, figured that he was to blame, others probably thought it was a wizard’s magic of some sort, either way no light shone through and so they flailed about or the smarter ones walked out of the room and back into the lighted area. Varis spread some oil in the hallway just out of the darkness. Kerig flailed about in the darkness and landed a killing blow on one of the bugbears. Tellaos emerged from the darkness into the hallway and Flint levitated up to the ceiling of the hallway. About this time a bugbear emerged from the darkness and through the oil that was spread by Kerig, but he didn’t miss a step, but he did miss Tellaos when he swung at him with his morningstar. Varis, now being able to see the bugbear, casted a ray of frost on him, killing him.

Faffer tried to push a bugbear down, to no avail and followed up with an attack that missed as well. The bugbears retaliated and one of them hit Faffer solidly. The bard started to sing Christmas carols and healed Tellaos. Faffer, surrounded by bugbears and spiders, decided he better go on the defensive.

The magical darkness subsided and the party to see a drow move out from behind a statue and he points his staff at them and webs surround them in the hallway, restraining everyone save Faffer. The spiders move in and attack Kerig, knocking him out with their bites. Flint sees the black spider now and casts a chromatic orb at him, but a magical shield of force forms to block it. After some back and forth, Flint tries again and this time he hits the Black Spider. The bard healed Kerig, who regained consciousness. Kerig gets up and throws some axes at a spider and slips and falls on his face again. The Black Spider casted magic missiles on Varis, who used his Staff of Defense to put up a magical shield, blocking all the missiles. Flint unleashed another powerful chromatic orb which hit the Black Spider again. Something weird happened after this display of power though, and Flint shrunk 9 inches afterwards, becoming even more diminutive than before.

Varis launched magic missiles at the giant spider and the black spider. The Giant spider perished and the black spider used his magical shield to block the dart. Kerig got a few hits on a spider and then the Black Spider, dropped his area of webs, and casted invisibility on himself. Tellaos whistled at the spiders surrounding Faffer, but they didn’t seem to be phased. The doppelganger revealed itself as Vyerith, the drow priestess that the party had met in Cragmaw Castle, though obviously she is not a drow priestess, but a doppelganger… After some back and forth, Kerig set the doppelganger on fire with a concoction in a jar. A spider bites Faffer and he falls unconscious. Tellaos gets a good hit in on the doppelganger and then attempts to persuade him to give up. The doppelganger assesses the situation and decides to give up. The party takes care of the remaining spiders and can’t find Nezznar anywhere. They question the doppelganger who doesn’t seem to know where he may be. The party lets him go and he takes off.

The party looks in the next room over and find Nundro Rockseer, Magda, and the remaining orphans. They also find a sack full of treasure and some notes that Nezznar left behind. Everyone is grateful for being saved.

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Wave Echo Cave 3

Kerig and Faffer hailed each other as they crossed paths. Kerig was returning from escorting the orphans out of the cave and burying his cousin while Faffer was on his way out to go check on his livestock. When Kerig arrived he found the group coming upon a cavern full of fungi of all sorts. Puffballs a foot across, weird shelf fungus growing on stalagmites and large stalks and caps five feet high occupied the cavern. Paraphan had already scouted ahead to he next room and whispered back to Tellaos that the air in the cavern was difficult to breath and burned his lungs so the group should be careful on its way through. So Tessel covered his face with his cloak as he started through the cavern and about half way through he was hit by a flurry of tendrils coming from an animate violet colored fungus that was blending in with the rest of the fungi. His armor absorbed the attacks, but he had to lower his shield and in so doing his cloak fell off of his face and he was exposed to the spores, but was able to hold off the effects.

The group sprung into action helping out Tessel. Kering tossed an axe at the horde of fungi and managed to hit one. Flint had a lucky shot that almost hit Varis, but just missed him and whizzed through to blast one of the fungi. Tessel uncharacteristically lost his composure for a minute and lashed out at the fungi that were flailing at him and over swung and slipped in some of the fungus at his feet and fell down. The fungus took advantage of Tessel being vulnerable and unleashed a flurry of attacks on him. The bard was ready to heal Tellaos, but wasn’t too keen on going back in the room for fear of damaging his precious vocal chords, so he waited, ready to heal Tessel when he fleed out of the cavern. Varis continually pounded the fungus with acid and Flint launched a chromatic orb at one of them, blasting it to pieces. The party eventually overcame the fungus and made it through the room without inhaling any of the spores.

They continued on into the next cavern which has glittering mineral deposits on its ceiling which catch the light and send it back to create the impression of a starry night sky. There are dozens of skeletons, many of which have been crushed by fallen rocks debris in the cavern and also two free-stranding structures that are human proportioned, unlike many of the other doors and furnishings in the other parts of the cave. The structures are separated by an escarpment that has a set of stone stairs carved into them. Both structures have battered and blackened masonry walls and their double doors are cracked and scorched.

The party tried to open the doors of the lower structure, but the hinges have been melted and so they needed to get out a crowbar to wrench them open. Inside is a bookcase with dusty tomes on it as well as a bed and a scorched iron chest. When Tellaos stepped in the room a ghostly black form appeared out of nowhere and threatened the party if they touched his treasures. After some talking from the bard, the wraith decides to offer the party a deal. If they will kill the spectator in the building at the top of the stairs, it will give them all the treasure in his chest other than his prized pipe. The party agrees and the party heads upstairs to find the spectator.

The party peeks in the door and the spectator greets them. They talk for awhile with it and it seems fairly confused and thinks the mine is still in operation and everything is as it was a hundred years ago. It allows the dwarf in, apparently figuring he belongs there and the dwarf investigates the eerie green flame in the brazier. He puts his axe in the fire and after a minute or so he pulls it out and it feels as if it has been transformed into a magical weapon. The effects are only temporary; they figure it will last about 10 hours or so. The party decides to take out Mormesk the Wraith rather than the spectator, figuring that the spectator actually belongs here.

The Knights develop a ruse trying to trick Mormesk with a minor illusion, but he seemed to see through it and attacked. The Knights got a few good hits in with their newly magic weapons. Mormesk countered by draining some of Kerig’s life force. The wraith retreats out of the room, going straight through the wall. On the outside of the building the wraith calls for help in the form of 4 skeletons who rise up and surround Varis the wizard. The Wraith appears from the corner of the building and Varis unleashes 3 darts for magic missile into the wraith. The bard mocks the wraith and finally Flint lands the killing blow in the form of a chromatic orb. The party puts away their weapons and draws their mops and takes care of the skeletons.
Sigil.jpgThe party loots the room finding a bunch of coins and gems in the treasure chest as well as a pipe with platinum filigree that appears to be valuable. They look through some of the books which are mostly histories. They find a map sewn into the cover of one of them. There are books on various places in Faerun, Zhentil Keep being one of them. They then go outside the building and find a pile of rocks on the ground that has a big flat stone with a sigil burnt into it. The party wasn’t able to decipher the Sigil, but the bard copied it into his notes. The bard also started to hear beautiful harp music in his head that he replicated on his lute. After digging up some of the rocks they find a beautiful harp whose strings glow with a blue magic glow when played.

spectator_flip_cut_2_1_.pngThe group decided that a rest would be a good idea, so they went up to the Forge of Spells to rest with the spectator. They take a look in the northern room of the forge building. and find two items. A mace that glows when wielded and a breastplate. The party identifies the mace as Lightbringer and the breastplate is a magical breastplate called Dragonguard. After resting the party gets ready to leave, but as they leave the spectator attacks, protecting the magic items from being pilfered.

The spectator shoots rays out of two of its many eyes frightening Kerig and Paralyzing Varis. Flint steps up an unleashes a Chromatic Orb, absolutely pummeling the spectator with lightning. The dwarf runs out of the room scared. Tellaos rushes in and attacks the spectator with his sword, hitting hit once, but missing it on his second swipe. The spectator retaliates by paralyzing him with his eye ray and then unleashes a ray on Varis who shakes off the effects of it. The bard starts playing Azlaer’s Harp to calm down Kerig. Flint unleashes another orb on the spectator killing it.

The group goes to the west and finds that that is the waterwheel room that they already visited. They backtrack and go to the north where they find the source of the wave-like sounds they’ve been hearing in the cave. There is a narrow ledge overlooking a cliff that leads to huge body of water that appears to be part of a much larger cavern. The water rises quickly into the chamber causing the wave like sounds, then subsides. The party hears some crying ahead and go investigate. One of the slave children sees them and is happy that his savior has arrived. Tellaos apparently isn’t convinced that this is indeed a child so he swings at him with his sword, but misses badly and falls to the ground. He tells the bard that this is off the record and gets up and dusts himself off. The party is skeptical, but they eventually believe the kid and have him lead them to where the other slaves are. He leads them back to the large cavern where they fought the bugbears. They go up the cliff on the east side and down the hallway into a great big room lined with statues that appears to be a temple of Dumathoin, the dwarven god of mining. Some people notice some spiders hiding behind the statues right before they attack.

The spiders charge right in, but they all miss trying to bite the Knights. Varis casts sleep, but is unsuccessful. The bard sings a song to Tellaos. The dwarf hits a bugbear who becomes frightened. All of a sudden, the entire area becomes engulfed in darkness, even the torches that had been lighting the area seem to be not working, although their heat can still be felt. A spider shoots a web out at Tellaos, catching him in the web.

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Wave Echo Cave 2

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Updated Treasure

After dispatching the bugbears in the open cavern, the group found several orphans from Phandalin in the lower part of the rift. Apparently the bugbears were pushing them around and bullying them, so they were quite shaken up. Paraphan took out his lute and started playing the Ballad of Sandusky, an old favorite. The song, in addition to seeing their friend Flint, calmed the children well enough and they were able to give the party some information. They were being asked to find some kind of treasure in the small caves at the bottom of the rift. There was a mazelike series of tunnels littered with rocks and rubble and a dark elf had told them that whoever finds the treasure can have a meal. The bugbears had called the dark elf black spider and another dark elf woman had called him Nezzenar.

The orphans were sent out of the cave with Keurig who wanted to go properly bury his cousin, but vowed to return. The group decided to try to find whatever treasure the black spider had been searching for. The wizard used his ability to detect magic and Flint used his short stature to search through the cave system. It took quite awhile, but eventually flint found a skeleton of a crushed dwarf under a fairly big rock. On the skeleton were some gauntlets that seemed to radiate magic. Apparently this is what the black spider was having the children search for.

The group talked over where to go and they notice that there were two passageways leading out to the east on the side of the rift they hadn’t explored yet. They threw a grappling hook and dropped a rope, making the climb much easier. Once they climbed up they started to feel strange, as if they entered another plane where time seemed to pass exceedingly slow.

They walked into a large cavern where there was a 5ft deep 10ft wide channel which they were walking in and which bisected the room. There was a waterwheel in the channel that connected to a large bellows that was pointed at a furnace, though it appears it hasn’t been lit in many years. The channel was dry, but looks like it had once had water running through it to power the waterweel. There were several exits in various directions and there were many corpses all over the place which looked to be orcs, dwarves, humans, gnomes, etc. Floating above the corpses was a skull bathed in green flame. The party was able to identify it as a flameskull. An undead creature created by wizards to guard areas of importance.

Flameskull.jpgTellaos moved up to form a front line and Varis casted a spell on him to make him much larger than normal. The flameskull summoned a large ball of fire that he moved around the room ramming it into the group. Faffer joined Tellaos on the front line, battling the zombies as they shambled towards them and Paraphan hid in the back mocking the flameskull. The flameskull fired a couple of jets of fire out at the party and Varis tried to cull the herd of zombies by unleashing an ear shattering noise in their area. Flint tried to cast a Ray of Frost on the flameskull, but it seemed to not notice it at all. The flameskull decided that the group meant business and so he would have to unleash a fireball to try to shock and awe them, but all in the group were able to duck out of the way taking only some of the brunt of the fireball.

About now is when the bard started to feel weary. Even though the battle had been going on for exactly 1 hour and 5 minutes, he felt like it had easily been twice that long. Flint fired a chromatic orb at the flameskull which reacted by putting up his magical shield of force. The flameskull sent out some darts of magic missile at the two casters. The group of zombies were starting to fall, although they were very hard to kill. Eventually, flint landed the killing blow on the flameskull and soon after his minions perished, exactly 1 hour and 37 minutes after the battle had started, though the time dilation made it seem much longer than that.

The group decided they needed a rest and decided that acoustics should be the main factor in where to rest. They went back to the previous cavern where the rift was and camped out at the bottom of the rift. About 4 hours in, they were attacked by a group of skeletons that came out of the caves. The group didn’t have too much trouble dispatching the skeletons, but their rest was interrupted and so they needed to rest again. The second attempt at resting was successful and so the party continued on.

Down some stairs to the south of the Smelter’s Cavern they found a hall that appeared to be an old dining hall. The bard found that there were some ghouls munching on old bones on an upper level of the hall to the west. After messaging back to the group, the group burst in surprising the ghouls. The ghouls barely had a chance to react before being cut down.Ghoul.jpg

The group continued exploring the cave to south and eventually found what looked to be the original entrance to the cave which was decorated with reliefs of gnome miners hard at work and the hallway lined with unlit brass lanterns. A cave-in sealed the entrance shut and skeletons littered the floor, evidence of the battle that occurred here nearly a hundred years ago.

The Knights looked around and found a room with a large desk with multiple scales on it and cubbyholes with old disintegrating paper in them, an old assayer’s office. They found a locked strongbox which the wizard opened with his magic. There was some coin in the lock box. Exploring further, the group found an old storeroom with burst open kegs, unfortunately all were completely dry.

The bard scouted ahead to the northeast and walked through a cavern of fungi. The spores in the air choked him a bit, but he was able to cover his face and power through the room. On the other side he found a cavern with mineral deposits on the ceiling that glinted in the light (even though there wasn’t any light). It made the whole cavern look like a starry night. The cavern was rather large and contained two free-standing structures. There was one structure on the same level as the bard and another that was up a flight of stairs that were carved into an escarpment. Both were marred with burn marks in their masonry walls and both had sets of double doors that appeared to be cracked and damaged.

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Wave Echo Cave 1

Glasstaff waits patiently outside the Sleeping Giant Taphouse for the bard to finish his parody of a parody. “Hmm, this is pretty good, too bad this will be his final performance.” He whispers to himself. He picks his time as the bard starts his next song and sneaks in the door and reads his scroll of fireball and unleashes a tremendous conflagration into the room engulfing the majority of the crowd. Following on the heels of the fireball come 2 bugbears attacking with their morning stars and taking out the Varis and smashing Faffer.

Careless_Whisper.jpgFlint thinks quickly and sends a dissonant whisper to one of the bugbears who runs out of the taphouse apparently not liking what he heard. The bard tries to help his fallen wizard friend with some healing. Glasstaff, AKA Iarno Albrek, moves into the room and unleashes magic missiles on Faffer and orders the bugbears to take out the entire room. Varis, recently revived, casts sleep, digging deep into his magical power, onto Glasstaff who succumbs to the spell and falls to the ground. The group gangs up on one of the bugbears and takes him out. The other bugbear seeing his leader has fallen asleep, breaks free from the group to wake up the wizard, and shortly after he is killed by the group. Iarno reaches for his precious staff on the ground, but before he can he sees a magical hand appear and grab it and fly across the room with it, out of his reach. The bard tries to get the wizard to give up, and after seeing his bodyguards have been killed, and his magical staff having been taken from him, he reluctantly gives in, not wanting to suffer the wrath of the Triboar Knights.

The group tries to interrogate Iarno, who is cooperative, but doesn’t want to say too much, preferring to wait for his trial in Neverwinter. He does give up the fact that the Black Spider is a drow male, and they were to go into business together, and that the Black Spider ordered him to take the group out. Sildar agrees to take responsibility for the prisoner and after stripping him of his possessions, takes him to the jail in the basement of the town hall to hold him until he can be transported to Neverwinter. Flint hands the Staff of Defense to Varis who is like a kid in a candy shop after finding Iarno’s scrolls and spellbook. He sits down with the staff for some time, learning its properties, and also getting in tune with its energies.

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The group sets off early the next day. Gundren gives his map to Kerrick who is able to read it reasonably well after turning it the right side up. The group travels almost the entire day through hilly and mountainous terrain and arrives around sunset at the cave mouth. Paraphan volunteers to scout around inside since he is able to see in the complete darkness of the cave. As soon as he enters the cave, he hears a thunderous pounding like a wave in the ocean crashing on the beach. The stone beneath him vibrates and shakes for a few seconds and eventually subsides. The bard sees a campsite with bedrolls and provisions and a lifeless body of dwarf. He investigates the dwarf and finds him to be dead, but he is wearing really nice boots. When the group joins him, Kerrick immediately recognizes the dead dwarf to be Tharden, his cousin. The group makes a makeshift burial with rocks while the wizard orders his celestial owl to investigate the bottom of the pit. There are two tunnels leading out of the pit, one to the north and one to the east. The party investigates the one to the north.

There is a mazelike series of tunnels where miners of the past have dug tunnels and given up leaving dead ends. As the party moves to the north, an Ochre Jelly drops from the ceiling and attacks Kerrick. Kerrick slashes the jelly with an ax and the jelly splits in two. The casters unleash magic spells on the oozes and Tellaos bashes it with his shield. One of the oozes gets a good hit in on Flint, but eventually Flint returns the favor with a chromatic orb and the party emerges victorious.

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The party loudly moves up and then somehow surprises the bugbears in the next cavern since they were too busy whipping some children in the crevasse trying to get them to work harder. There was a rope leading down into the crevasse, but it then somehow disappeared, making it much harder for the bugbears to climb up to get the Knights. One bugbear makes it up, but immediately gets shoved off again by Tessel. Nundro the dwarf gets up and climbs the cliff thanking the group for coming to save him. Then out of nowhere, he shoves Varis off the cliff, but Flint casts feather fall on him, allowing him to fall gradually. After some back and forth, the bard tries to calm the situation, but Nundro doesn’t seem to relent. Eventually the dwarf succumbs to some magic missiles and after falling down, he turns into a gray alien-like body much bigger than a dwarf. The party determines that this was a doppelganger posing as Nundro. The party then mops up the bugbears.

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Cragmaw Castle Cleanup

The party’s latest adventures as told by Faffer to a gaggle of farmers and fur traders in the Phandalin Tavern:

“So there we was wit’ King Grol layin’ at our feet. The biggest bugger you ever seen, all bloody and chopped up like a spring sow. Hacked by axes, skewer’t wit’ swords – and the smell – that’s what ya don’t get used to fightin’ ‘side wizards. Always the smell o’ burnt fur and flesh hangin’ in the air.”

“So like I was sayin’ we rescued Hadrek’s cousin, who was also layin’ on the floor an’ not lookin’ too good hisself, but the dark elf, she got away. Ran like a deer into the woods. Some o’ the others, they think she is this ‘Black Spider.’ Me? I’m not convinced. I can’t say for sure one way or t’other though. Call it a gut feeling."

“Anyhow, we was tryin’ to catch our wind. Some o’ the guys are scroungin’ through the room, lookin’ fer booty an’ such when this gobber shows up an’ spots us. He beats it down the hall, flat feet a-flappin, but Tellaos and Varis run him down. I help drag the body away, ‘cept this time its froze solid like t’was inna meat locker. Wizard magic is scary stuff I tell ya.”

“Well all the rummagin’ turns up a bag o’ coins and some vials, and Gundren’s map to Wave Echo Cave. He’s pretty riled to have it back and wants to go there to check on his brothers as soon as we stock up on some supplies here. Varis wants to copy the map but Gundren was havin’ none o’ that. We finally think we’ve got a spot to catch our breath when we hear another gobber comin’ lookin’ fer t’other one we kilt. We take him down fast but not a’fore he let’s out a ruckus.”

“Tellaos was takin’ no chances an just kicks in the door to this big main hall. T’was like a beehive full o’ gobbers in there! Kerig an’ Tellaos wade into em an start hackin’ away. I don’t think Paraphan was too keen on this plan because he kept rollin’ his eyes at me – but he was singin’ a new song bout’ it by nightfall. The battle turned in our favor when Varis puts a spell on a bunch o’ the gobbers an’ they fall right over an start sleepin’ like piglets fat from the teat! Wizards.”

“But a few gobbers get out a back door and start runnin’ pell-mell through the castle screechin’ in gobbertalk – an’ that was the end of our skulkin’ about. Now the whole place comes down on us an’ there’s gobbers ‘n hobgobbers swarmin’ everywhere! We get all split up chasin’ em about. We hear Varis yellin’ fer help from somewhere and then Flint almost gets buried by the ceiling cavin’ in. The whole place fills up with dust and we are all runnin’ everywhere tryin’ to find the wizard.”

“Turns out some creepy tentacle thing found him first! I ain’t never seen nuthin’ like it a’fore. Body like a snake, face like a squid, huge snappin’ beak – Phan says it was a grick. I say it was a nightmare I never want to see the likes of again! Well its got Varis cornered when Kerig steps in an’ we all start hewin’ away at it. Varis freezes the thing an’ Tellaos jumps on it from behind an’ runs it through. Turns out this place is the temple I was tellin’ you ‘bout – the one Varis was lookin’ for. We was spent by now though, so we hightail it outta there to catch a breather in the forest.”

“When we come back in the place is quiet ‘cept for flies buzzin’ all over the dead gobbers. Varis heads straight back to the temple and we all follow. Now I’ve never been one to pray at the gods – they don’t seem to pay much mind to us regular folk – but even I could tell something was wrong with this place. Phan points out the statues: Tymora, Ohgma, Mystra are the ones I remember, but there were others. Varis says the place is all dirtied up by the gobbers and their god ‘Lubiyet. Flint, Phan, and Varis start ’digitatin stuff around and we all clean the place up while Varis lights incense an’ starts this chantin.’ Kinda spooky watchin’ him go into this trance – not a regular elf-trance like when they sleep – but somethin’ different. Even I felt … something … when sunlight come in the high window and lights up the altar. Gave me gooseflesh all over.”

“Well Varis snaps out of it and tells us all about this vision he had. He goes on and on about some device – a star-viewer – on some castle tower in a swamp, and a group of robed women all stabbin’ each other with knives. Phan keeps grilling him on it an’ He claims it was somethin’ that happened long ago. Maybe a bunch o’ wizard hogwash, but who am I to say?”

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Thundertree and Cragmaw Castle

As the party continues, a not so dapper young fapper named Faffer gets a round of drinks for the heroes and offers his services to them for their coming journey. Tellaos is suspicious of the man’s abilities and challenges him to a test of skills outside the bar. They go back and forth, the nobleman taunting the warrior. The warrior does score a few hits, but ultimately the nobleman is victorious. Faffer, as a matter of pride, tries to score one last hit, but falls on his face, the nobleman helps him up and accepts him into his band of “Knights”.

The party rests for the night, some getting more rest than others, and they set out on the road the next day with their new horses and wagon. They make good time on the first day and make it half way to thundertree before camping. On the overnight, Faffer hears a stick break in the bushes just outside of camp and wakes Tellaos and goes to investigate. A group of Hobgoblins attacks the party. The party is awoken by the calls of Tellaos and Faffer and they set up a line formation ready to cut their enemies down as they come to attack. The wizard put two of the hobgoblins to sleep and two more of them fall for the tactics of the fighters. The party keeps one hobgoblin alive, temporarily, and find out from him that there is a bounty out on Tellaos for 25gp from the black spider. The hobgoblin doesn’t know too much of value so he is cut down along with his 2 sleeping brethren.

The Knights rest for the rest of night. <- that is some kickass writing there. They continue on towards Thundertree. They arrive in the late afternoon at the ruined town of Thundertree. They scan the small, ruined town, and see that there are buildings in varying states of dilapidation. Old cottages, farmhouses, and what appears to be a tavern in the west end. A hill in the middle of town has a tower on the top of it. Weeds and trees are overwhelming most of the structures. The town is eerily silent. There is a sign the reads, “DANGER! Plant monsters AND zombies! Turn back now!”

The bard investigates one of the ruined cottages and spots a twig blight next to the door and invites Tellaos to come over and deal with it. He sees the blight, but still misses it when he tries to cut it down. Another twig blight, that was hidden attacks. The Knights cut down the annoying little plant monsters pretty easily.

They investigate the tavern-looking building across the road. They look in the windows and see two separate rooms. A kitchen and brewing area in the west and a common room and bar to the east. The bard does a thorough job looking for tracks outside, but alas finds none going to or from the alehouse. When they enter the alehouse they are surprised to see zombies animate and rise from the floor. These zombies are slow, but tough to kill. There is a puff of ash that explodes in the area the first time they get hit, choking anyone in the immediate vicinity. The Knights are eventually able to dispatch the zombies after a fairly long battle.

The party notices some tracks going toward a fairly intact cottage toward the south end of the town. They meet Reidoth the druid. He warns them of some of the dangers in town including some plant monsters, spiders, black-cloaked humans, and a green dragon that has recently moved in. Reidoth guides them to the old herb and alchemy shop, or was that the old urban alchemy shop? They find Mirna’s Heirloom pretty easily. The druid teaches the wizard to cast animal messenger somehow.

The Knights travel to Cragmaw Castle, it takes about a day. While they are resting for the night, the wizard has a vision from his god, reminding him of his quest to find the defiled altar in Cragmaw Castle and restore it to its former glory.

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bugbear.jpgWhen they arrive at the castle, they decide to scout around the castle a bit and they find a couple of alternate entrances, one of them hidden behind a big canvas in the north wall. They decide to go through this concealed entrance and pretend like they are hobgoblins that have come back from a raiding party. It turns out this tower was empty so the ruse was unnecessary. The party creeps through the door to the east and find a hallway. They listen at the eastern door and hear nothing, so they decide to barge in. On the other side they find King Grol, pet wolf at his side, arguing with a female drow. Also in the room is the unconscious body of Gundren Rockseer.

The drow priestess scores a critical hit early, but starts taking heat so she takes flight. The fighters engage the bugbear while the bard pursues the drow. The bard tries to make the drow believe he is a hobgoblin, she seems to buy it and orders him and the two other hobgoblins in the room to go help King Grol. She continues to flee out the southern exit. One of the hobgoblins sees through the ruse, the other does not. Back in Grol’s room, the rest of the party exchange blows with the bugbear and his wolf pet. The bugbear scores a few hits, but ultimately, the party takes care of him and his dog too without too many problems. The bard charmed the two hobgoblins so they are now friendly, but the pursuit of the drow wasn’t successful as she disappeared into the woods outside the castle.

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Poster

The next day a hand penned flier on fancy looking painted vellum is seen in the Town Green and villagers are talking about it excitedly.

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