Lost Mine of Phandelver
Meet Up 6 (12 Apr 2015)
During the hours the dwarves spent digging for what would be later found to be gauntlets of ogre power, Taklaan was summoned away by his other worldly master.
It was also during this time that Valin finally caught up with us. Having made it to Phandalin, he learned from Gundren what had become of us and found us easy to find – just follow the dead monsters.
The party agreed that O’Dell needed better mobility if he was going to continue to be the meat shield of the party. So he put on the boots of Striding and Springing, which boosted his movement speed among other things. Taking a short rest, O’Dell attuned himself to the boots.
Returning to the “always go left” technique, the party backtracked to a door. As they approached they noticed the telltale signs of recent use. Abandoning stealth and wanting to preserve the mine’s finer features, O’Dell simply opened the door and barged in, hoping to take whatever lay inside by surprise. Instead, the party was somewhat stunned by a large cavern with 6 pillars and a large dwarven statue at the distant end. To one side was a table with three creatures huddled around it – two bugbears and another drow.
The drow exclaimed, “So it seems I’ll need to deal with you myself!” (you meddling kids). Waving his spider staff about, the drow set his minions upon the party. O’Dell, making use of his new boots, dashed over and landed on the table, attracting all the attacks the three could muster while the rest of the party used ranged attacks. O’Dell took out the drow after Kevin and Valin softened him up with arrows.
Little did they know that 4 large spiders were crawling down the walls until one tried to entangle O’Dell. While the spiders managed to entangle Klang and fill him full of poison, his dwarven resistance to such things refused to let him die. While there were some looks Kevin’s way when he fell back down the hallway to avoid a spider, the others remained pleased that his arrows continued to rain down on the beasts.
To the party’s surprise, the drow was in fact a drow this time! O’Dell was almost preening with his spirits lifted. A quick search turned up a potion of healing (used immediately by Valin), a Spider staff, an iron key with an anvil-shaped handle, 190 electrum, 130 gold, 15 platinum, 10 gem stones (100 gold each), and a dwarven mug made of electrum (100 gold). Ka-ching!
After some experimentation, Klang became attuned to the Spider Staff and learned it can cast Spider Climb (1 charge) or Web (2 charges, Save DC 15) and deals an additional 1d6 poison damage when used to attack. It recharges 1d6+4 charges at dusk.
The dwarven statue was of Klang’s deity – Marthammor Duin – and appeared to have eyes made of gems. Before the dwarves could react, Kevin was already climbing the statue. Despite warnings from Klang to not defile the statue, Kevin reached the eyes only to find they were made of glass. Seeing Kevin’s disappointment and desire to take out some frustration on the statue, O’Dell quickly convinced Kevin to leave the statue undamaged and turn his attention to a locked door down a side passage.Therein they found a beaten and battered Nundro, who thankfully accepted healing from O’Dell. Klang was speechless and finding his cousin and fretted over his well being. Eager to see him to safety, the party escorted him out of the mine where they rested for the night.
After some food and drink, Nundro urged the party to clean out the mine and warned them of even foes that even the drow feared. With images of beholders and vampires in their dreams, the party did not sleep well that night.Come morning, the party discussed their options. Continuing deeper into the mine would likely lead immediately to more dangerous foes, particularly behind that door that the bugbears had barred. So they decided to backtrack to the other tunnel to see what lay down that path using the “always go right” technique to dungeon crawls.
When a stirge plunged into Kevin’s neck, there was both a sigh of relief and the adrenaline of combat. Kevin killed the stirge with his bare hands. Klang made good use of the magic missile wand, felling six of the annoying critters. The remaining two were felled by arrows.
Coming across a pair of doors, the party opened the one on the right first. A cluster of 9 skeletons thought it was time to dance, coming to life to entertain the party. O’Dell took the lead, dodging their attacks while arrows flew and the rest were turned. Klang’s war hammer laid waste to those that resisted the compulsion to flee.
Finding nothing among the skeletal remains, the party moved on to the room across the hallway. There was a counter and an area with cubby shelves. It appeared to be the exchange room for the mine. Behind the counter was a strong box that foiled all of Kevin’s attempts to open it. It was simply busted open by O’Dell. It turned up 600 copper, 90 electrum, 60 gold, and 180 silver.
Back in the hallway, the party took the only remaining path from the area. It led through a room filled with giant puff balls and fungi that lit the room. The dwarves passed through unharmed, but Valin was overtaken when he breathed in their spores and dragged out by his fellow dwarves. Kevin, with a clearer head for danger, did not immediately enter the room and took note when Valin fell. He made a dash through the room while holding his breath and only took a few points of damage, mostly to his ego.
After another short hallway of unfinished stone walls, the party entered large cavern with several stone buildings. Unlike all the previous construction that was obviously of dwarven make, this was made for human-sized beings. It was obviously damaged by scotch marks, with the doors off their hinges and melted together, forming an effective barrier to entry.
The dwarven duo approached while Valin and Kevin kept close watch with their bows ready. Sizing up the situation, O’Dell asked Klang to see what he could do. Apply the finesse only a dwarf with a war hammer can apply, Klang cleared the doors from their path. O’Dell pondered aloud what happened here, with many more scorch marks inside. Klang’s assessment – “magic”, which was echoed by the wraith who rose through the ash on the floor.
Twas truly a frightening sight. Yet it did not move to immediately attack, instead questioning our presence in its abode. Never one to let an opportunity to talk pass him by, O’Dell began a dialog with the creature while Klang fumbled for his holy symbol. We learned that it was creating undead. It questioned us, confirming we were adventurers and seeking our aid in dispatching the spectator protecting the Forge of Spells.
That got the party’s attention and O’Dell quickly agreed that we would do what we could to be rid of the spectator, but first asked if the wraith could enlighten us on what we would face in doing so and why the wraith hadn’t done so itself. The wraith explained that it was bound to this structure, though it did not explain why, and that the spectator was a summoned creature that could shoot beams from its eyes with varying afflictions – confusion, paralysis, fear, or wounding.Klang asked who summoned the creature, but the wraith had no answer.
Finally, O’Dell asked if the spectator could speak common. The wraith said, “It speaks by telepathy. You will understand.”
O’Dell and Klang stepped outside the building, discussing possibilities with Kevin and Valin. Could undead be used to operate the mine? Could the wraith serve as a treasure protector? What could take down this spectator? Who would have summoned it and why? What would the wraith do if the spectator was gone?
The party agreed that finding the Forge of Spells was on its collective bucket list. So off the party went, climbing the stairs to ascend to the shelf over looking the rest of the cavern. It too had a stone building with two sets of doors, similarly scorched by magic and barring the way. O’Dell used his strength to move them aside. We were immediately greeted, by a spectator…which could easily be mistaken for a beholder.
The spectator was hovering near the ceiling and was illuminated by the green flame of a very large brazier. O’Dell could hear the creature in his mind, questioning his motives and intent. Probing what the creature would permit, he learned that anyone could go past the creature into the room beyond, but not leave.
There was something odd about this creature – like it had suffered serious wounds in the past. Its telepathy was child like and not of some savvy creature from another plane. Recognizing a possible opportunity to outwit the creature, he began asking why the creature was still here. Sure it knew the previous owners of the mine were no longer alive and that ownership had indeed passed to the party before him.
A few more minutes of dialog between the creature and other members of the party managed to convince the spectator that his services were no longer required by the owners of the mine. The spectator, satisfied its duty fulfilled, dissipated…presumably returning to its native plane of existence.
Surprised by their success, the party stood dumbfounded for a few moments before investigating the green flame. It was not giving off heat like a normal brazier would, nor was the light as strong as one would expect and flickered occasionally. Instead, they realized this was magic flame and once close enough, their existing weapons became magical – certainly this must be the Forge of Spells!
While thrilled with the find, Klang was still curious what lay in the room beyond. Amongst the crumbling furniture and ash, he found a suit of armor and a brass-headed mace. Returning to the other room, he saw each of the party members holding up their weapons and armor to the light. With the green light, he took a closer look at what he had found, he realized he was holding relics of historical and magical significance.
Upon close inspection, the party realized these were in fact Lightbringer and Dragonguard. Lightbringer is a magical mace, made for a cleric of Lathander. Dragonguard is a magical breast plate created in the shape of a gold dragon for the human hero of Neverwinter named Tergon.
The party quickly learned that the magic bestowed on their weapons and armor dissipated after only a few hours. Given all the magical damage in the area and the injury on the spectator, it’s likely the forge was also damaged in spell combat.
While the damaged forge was a huge disappointment for all in the party, the two relics made for a stellar find. Klang glommed onto the mace. The breast plate was also left to Klang, despite being the wrong size.
All these discoveries had the party experimenting. A short rest was in order to take it all in. And then came the sinking feeling of having to inform (and likely deal with) the wraith – just being in its presence gave them the eebie jeebies. There was no argument when O’Dell said that we would not be treating with an undead…at least not voluntarily…and we’d be putting the limited magic of our weapons to good use ridding the mine of such evil. Valin put on a stoic face. Kevin started wishing Taklann was back. Klang was already fondling his holy symbol – a mace on a boot – and mumbling a prayer.
Schlepping back down the stairs of the shelf, the party returned to the wraith. O’Dell did the talking again. First he approached the wraith with Klang to deliver the news that the spectator was dispatched. Then, he delivered both a charismatic line and a powerful axe blow to the wraith. Kevin and Valin landed magically enhanced arrows, literally felling the creature with only three blows. For good measure, Klang landed a blow with the magical mace on the wraith’s remains that briefly lit up the room.
The rest of the building was vacant except a sizable amount of booty. One always wonders why the undead have so much worldly wealth? Regardless, the party recovered 160 silver, 50 electrum, 1100 copper, 3 diamonds (100 gold each), a wooden pipe with platinum filigree, a notebook about Phlan, and some historical books (later confirmed to be magical tomes).
In skimming through the books, it became clear that no mithril was found in the mine. It did make it clear that was ample silver and copper veins, so the mine would not be a complete bust. There was also a rough map of the place.
We agreed to continue exploring the remaining areas of the mine before calling it a day. We followed a natural path that appeared to have been a stream bed used to channel the water to the bottom of a watermill, which we found at the end of this path. Not knowing exactly when the water might return, the party didn’t linger to find out, quickly backtracking to the room with the shelf.
Climbing the stairs up the shelf, the heroes followed another path that led to the top of the watermill and continued on to a large room. In this room was a floating, flaming green skull along with a group of withered bodies on below it. O’Dell used his boots to quickly move into the room towards the skull and bodies. The bodies became animated and he was quickly surrounded. Using his heightened defenses to dodge the blows thrown his way, the rest of the party entered the room more slowly.
Kevin had Klang cast a spider climb spell on him earlier and quickly made his way up the 10 foot wall. The skull cast a fireball at these distant foes, with Klang and Valin taking the full brunt of the blast, while Kevin was partially spared.
After that, the fight was more one-sided with the skull being downed quickly and the undead be mowed down by Klang and his new mace lighting up with each blow. And once again, delivering a post battle blow to the skull to make sure it got a dose of radiant damage.
With wisps of smoke still drifting off their hair, the party took a long rest in the what appeared to be a blast furnace room. Nothing of obvious value was found here. After waking, the party headed back to the Forge of Spells to re-imbue their now mundane weapons and armor with magic again. Then it was onto the remaining areas of the mine.
Their next stop was a big room that had a ledge along the western side where 7 ghouls had taken up residence. The party had entered on the eastern side, given them ample time to prepare before the ghouls were able to crossed the room. Ahh, the benefits of having ranged attacks.
And once the ghouls were within range, Klang used turn undead to keep them at a distance. As they shook of the effects of the spell or were hit by arrows, they returned for more. O’Dell offered them a target they could not hit. At this point, some were thinking he should change his name to O’Dodge.
Once the ghouls were thoroughly decimated, the party scouted the room again finding little of value other than the mine itself. They moved on to another room, finding some split and broken casks – obviously the ale storage room. The thought of wasted dwarven ale had a moving effect on the dwarves, making them pause a little longer than seemed appropriate. Shaking themselves to the present, they moved on.
Approaching a closed door, which was odd in that it had a working door, the party took a little more caution. Kevin could hear gnawing and spitting from within and relayed this to the others. Upon opening the door, they learned it had once been a barracks. Now it served as a home for 3 more ghouls. Dang, that wraith must have been busy pumping out undead. Good thing that had come to an end. So too did these ghouls. And once again did the party find little of value.
As far as the party’s reckoning went using the old books, they had concluded the clearing of the mine. Tired of sleeping and keeping watch, the party loaded the wagon with their booty, departed the mine, and headed back to Phandalin. The friendly banter between Kevin and Valin about Kevin’s less than noble spider climb up a 10 foot wall to evade the fireball kept the party in good spirits until they reached town.
There, they learned that Taklann’s former understudy – Kandul – had become implicated in a murder. While the town was itching for his death, the town master was urging restraint and had serious doubts about Kandul’s involvement.
Harbin Wester (the town master) noting the party having high regards amongst those in town and a vested interest in seeing Kandul cleared of charges, asked them investigate the matter. He figures he can hold the town off for another week, but asked that they hurry. Perhaps he wasn’t a complete buffoon after all.
After speaking with Kandul, the party learned that once he had shaken off his madness and returned to his senses, he went in search of Taklann. Upon nearing Phandalin, he was set upon and…
A story best left for next time…mostly because I didn’t write it down.
There were letters awaiting nearly everyone in the party – see the Obsidian Portal wiki page (towards the bottom). Each seemed to lead in different directions. But all seemed less pressing than this Kandul matter.
Paul asked us what sort of adventures we wanted to pursue. He finds what works well is when a party sets their goal to obtain some magic item or an important McGuffin. Bob prefers lots of dice rolling. Steve likes when the party has to face the results of their decisions. Toby likes story and plot driven intrigue. Ward kept his mouth shut, suspicious he could live to regret saying anything.
There had been some posts on the Obsidian Portal’s forum on the topic, so there weren’t any surprises in the discussion. I think the main thing we all agreed on was that we didn’t want something like the module depicted below.
Total party experience was 1530.
Total party wealth is 4663 gold, assuming we sell all items that have a definitive value.Somehow, Klang ended up with the Spider Staff (which was puzzling), Lightbringer mace (which certainly fits), and Dragonguard armor (which doesn’t do him much good). O’Dell or Kevin has the iron key with the anvil-shaped handle. It did not unlock anything in the mine.