Dungeon Master Paul permitted the party to use the optional multi-classing and feats rules, if desired.
Discussed some nuances to D&D 5e rules – the only way to improve “to hit” rolls is by magic weapons or increasing strength. Learn how concentration works with spells.
The adventure continues with:
- O’Dell Hammersmiter former dwarven soldier Officer (Bob)
- Klang Rockseeker former dwarven soldier Sergeant (Toby)
- Taklaan Hammerlock dwarven warlock (Grant)
- Kevin Bright human figher (Ward is back in the story)
- Kithry halfling rogue (long term absence expected)
- Goldtooth Dragonborn sorcerer (Josh MIA)
- Valin wood elf ranger (Steve)
- Droop goblin rogue (NPC being run by Bob)
Upon waking, the party finds Goldtooth is gone…with the Staff of Defense. A quick search shows there was no struggle and that he simply left. No notes were left, leaving us in silence. It was a rare moment in which each pondered what might come after adventuring.
That didn’t last long as a loud familiar voice rang up from down stairs. Kevin was found at the bar with a belly full of grog and a strange smile on his face. No one dared to ask about Kithry. We figured Kevin would tell us when he was ready.
After some discussion with Toblen Stonehill and wife Elsa and a morning meal, Toblen introduced Klang to a visiting wood elf named Valin who happened to be looking for adventuring work. Klang opened a dialog with Valin and after some bungling dialog decided he was worthy of consideration. Calling O’Dell over to discuss terms, a bargain was struck and the party gained a new member.
The party decided what they would keep and what they would trade-in for a more portable currency. Can’t be lugging all that booty around with us and have no secure place to store it.
O’Dell, wanting some ranged weapons, opted to keep 8 javelins and the +1 sword named Talon. He also melted down 3 short swords as a tribute to Moradin.
Valin, Kevin, and Droop made use of the studded leather armor. Klang kept the silk pouch.
Taklaan kept the three reagents – mercury, dragon bile, and nightshade powder – along with the scrolls of augury, charm person, and fireball. He kept the maps and papers obtained along the way too.
Klang headed to the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange to trade-in the various loot (gold teeth, jade statuette, jewel encrusted eye patch, etc.) for gold.
The rest of the party visited Barthan’s Provisions to acquire and sell various items. Klang then met up with the party at the coster, where the remaining unused armor and weapons were sold.
At this point, the loot totaled some 769 gold, 323 silver.
Visiting the town master, the party notified him of their intent to clear the rest of the manor today. He confirmed that the manor could be claimed by the party if desired as a base of operations as no one else living was known to hold any claim on it. The party requested and received manacles from the town master for the remaining Redbrands that might be captured.
The party stopped at the Sleeping Giant tap house. The female dwarf proprietor named Grista made it clear that she had lost all her business as a result of the party driving off the Redbrands. Given the rather dismal state of her vacant tap house, the party opted to continue to the manor’s tunnels instead of facing further wrath from her.
Reaching the tunnels of the manor, the party returned to the room they had jambed shut. The door was had been unjammed, yet not in fully functioning order. Busting through the door, they found three Redbrand guards ready for a thrashing. Once subdued, they were locked in the prison cells. They had and were relieve of a gold earring, 75 copper, 55 silver, 22 electrum, 15 gold, three short swords and 3 sets of studded leather armor.
Returning to the room with three sarcophagi with red cloaks on, a quick search turned up several sets of bones and a platinum ring. The remains were obviously nobles, probably the Tresendar’s.
Side-stepping the trap floor Droop gleefully pointed out, the party ascended into the upper floors of the manor. Other than being run down and in need of renovation before being occupied, there were no further Redbrands or squatters found there.
Before returning to town with the prisoners, O’Dell suggested we “clean out” the rest of the tunnels before departing. No sense in leaving any of the ruffians behind to cause more trouble.
Upon entering the cistern room, nothing but water was found. Suspicious of the water, Taklann checked around the cistern for traps. Finding nothing, he cast a magic detection spell. It drew his eye towards a satchel in the water that no had noticed. When Taklann pointed it out, Klang rushed into the water to retrieve it. It was a water proof satchel containing a potion of healing, a potion of what appeared to be invisibility, 50 gold, and some traveling clothes.
Thinking there was little left in the place, Kevin wandered up to the last unexplored door and opened it. He was set upon by Redbrands and laid low. O’Dell and Droop were first to Kevin’s aid, quickly retrieving Kevin’s body from the fray and holding the Redbrands at bay. The room was clearly setup as a trap for anyone foolish enough to enter.
So instead of charging the room full of Redbrands, O’Dell tossed a burning flask into the room driving them out into the waiting blades and hammers of the heroes. While O’Dell’s lack of hits was impressive, Taklann’s hex was effective. Two of the four were captured alive. They were relieved of 17 gold, 31 silver, 15 electrum, and 2 garnets (worth 10 gold each). The room was stocked with 30 days of provisions.
Kevin was healed and the prisoners put in manacles for the march back to the town authorities. After the prisoners were delivered, the party reviewed their quests against the map to Cragmaw Castle. The priority was saving Gundren from his fate, so two wagons and two horses were quickly acquired and the party headed out.
On the way, the party was ambushed by 7 goblins with arrows the first sign of trouble. The wagons were brought to a halt and Taklann’s magic made short work of the bunch. This time, no prisoners. Fortunately, Droop feinted before things got messy. Added 7 scimitars, 7 short bows, about 100 arrows, 6 gold, 6 electrum, and 2 silver to our wagon’s load.
Upon spotting Cragmaw Castle, the party pulled off the road and had Valin scout the area. Identifying three entrances, the party setup an ambush outside the northern entrance due to it’s higher foot traffic. Unfortunately, a hunting party returning to the castle sniffed out the ambush with their wolves and ambushed the party instead. The hunting party consisted of 2 wolves and 4 hobgoblins.
Droop felled a wolf and dealt many more hits than the rest of the party expected. Kevin, Klang and Valin all had near death experiences. Yet, through the perseverance of O’Dell and his superior shielding, the party was able to overcome the odds and capture their leader – Targor Bloodsword. No small feat.
The bodies were drag some distance off. Kevin and Valin lifted the long swords, long bows and associated arrows from the lifeless forms and put them to good use. The left 2 long swords, 2 long bows, 1 copper, 50 gold, 19 electrum and 2 high elf heads in a bag.
Targor was bound and interrogated. He informed the party that he is second in charge behind King Grol, a Bugbear, who is also physically stronger than Targor. Grol has been consorting with a drow and a wolf. Seeing his life was about to be shortened, Targor offered his help if we depose Grol and the drow, and leave him and his fellow hobgoblins alone.
While the party wasn’t thrilled with this offer, once he started mapping out the castle, the party was swayed to give him a chance. Klang blessed Valin, Taklann, and O’Dell to ensure the crazy plan worked. Targor’s first task would be to retrieve Sildar’s armor and weapons from a storage room and place it near the exit. Once we could see the gear, he was to join his fellow hobgoblin guards in a nearby room and keep them from entering the battle. Targor quickly agreed and Taklann used his gaze of two minds spell on Targor to ensure no funny business. Targor did in fact place Sildar’s gear in view of the exit and then joined the guards in the guard room. He convinced one guard to stand down while the other guard remained indecisive. That was good enough.
Meanwhile, Taklann and Kevin moved off to the exterior arrow slits leading to where Gundren was kept. With Kevin on Taklann’s shoulders, they dumped burning oil into an arrow slit driving the drow and bugbear towards the castle’s northern exit, leaving Gundren unguarded.
Valin used the potion of invisibility and ran in while the foes ran out. When he reached Gundren, he applied his healing magic and started to extract Gundren from the smoky room. Gundren urged Valin to retrieve his map to Wave Echo Cave. After a quick search, Valin retrieved the map and helped Gundren towards the exit.
O’Dell and Klang took up positions on either side of the castle’s northern exit, while Droop acted as bait in retrieving Sildar’s gear and running out of the castle’s northern exit. The drow, bugbear and wolf took the bait. Droop made it a dozen yards out of the castle before the wolf took him down.
As the drow came into view, O’Dell lost all self control went into an uncontrolled barbarian-style rage, taking the drow by surprise with hammer strikes. Realizing there would be no waiting for the bugbear, Klang also laid into the drow. In between dodging the bugbear’s axe and healing Droop, Klang delivered the drow’s killing blow.
As the drow fell, it changed into something else, something strange, but still very dead.
But there was no time to wonder as Grol continued to unsuccessfully strike Klang. Little did Klang and O’Dell know, but Valin had been filling Grol’s backside with arrows from across the room and were likely reason Grol’s strikes were less than accurate.
As Kevin and Taklann came around the castle to assist, they dropped the wolf and turned their sights on Grol. With the full party bearing down on Grol, it didn’t take long to reduce him to a bleeding mound of flesh.
While this was the desired result, there were mixed feelings among the party. O’Dell’s rampage was quickly dispelled when he realize it was not a drow. Klang was puzzled and inspected the body. It was a changeling, or more specifically, a doppleganger – something rare and dangerous to be sure. But not the satisfying kill of a drow.
Valin took Gundren out of the castle and a few dozen yards into the safety of the trees. Klang quickly joined them and thankful clasps were exchanged.
Targor, having extinguished the fire, was pleased to see the remains of his former superior and offered his wary thanks. Seeing the blood lust still the party’s eyes, he offered another target – an owlbear that had been locked up in one of the castle’s towers – before the party saw him and his fellow hobgoblins as their next level of experience. The party readily agreed that shooting a trapped creature sounded a whole lot simpler than taking on a castle of goblin folk.
Klang made sure to loot Grol’s and the doppleganger’s bodies along with the room from whence they came. For his efforts, the party obtained 220 silver, 160 electrum, 3 potions of healing, 4 javelins, 1 morning star, and 1 shield.
After some Taklann trickery lured the owlbear down into view of the arrow slits, Valin and Droop took bow shots at it from the exterior of the castle. Seeing this would take more time and thinking than was needed, Klang decided to just enter the room and face down the owlbear.
O’Dell, questioning the wisdom of Klang as a cleric, started a jog around the castle to save Klang from certain death. While Klang got off a good shot of divine magic at the beast, it closed the distance and dealt a nearly fatal blow before additional arrows felled the monster. Droop dealt the killing blow…stealing Valin’s claim to the creature. O’Dell awarded Droop with the owlbear’s pelt to wear in his new role as the party’s rogue.
The chest found in the owlbear prison contained 90 electrum, 120 gold, a potion of healing, a scroll of silence and a scroll of revivify.
Gundren offered 25 gold each and, for the party in total, 10% share of the Wave Echo Cave mine if they escort him safely back to Phandalin. The party readily accepted…even O’Dell.
All participating party members received 680 experience points.
There was indecision about what to do about the goblins (and hobgoblins) in Castle Cragmaw. Options included:
- Slaying the goblins, but Droop may not thrilled about that.
- Capture the goblins and put Droop in charge of them – our own personal band of goblins – although most civilized races would frown on it.
- Slay the hobgoblins and let the goblins have the castle, the betrayal option.
- Slay both hobgoblins and goblins, the more chaotic evil option.
- Leave them alone and depart for Phandalin, our mission accomplished and likely future problem for locals to contend with.