The Lost Mine of Phandelver

From the writings of Doric Silvertongue, travelling bard.


At the 'Golden Apple' Inn there are many strange groups, travellers from distant lands, but perhaps none so strange as those gathered around a small candle this very night. The three benches around the table are packed full of as disparate a group of people as one ever saw in Neverwinter. Barely visible above the wooden table a halfling sits with legs crossed and eyes closed, deep in contemplation. Jayleaf's blackened clothes and satchel of tools give him up as a thief, an appearance mirrored by the man to his left. Konrad laughs as he tosses dice and places bets with a third, robed figure, the wizened Clarence. His sinister grin is revealed as he pulls a sizeable pile of his silver and copper winnings across the table. The three were old colleagues, criminals who operated in Neverwinter seizing letters of mark from the wealthy and replacing them with forgeries. It had been a good trade, only discovered when Barrett came into town. The Paladin sits across from them, arranging payment for a hulking armoured figure next to him. He is golden haired and fair faced, ever the paragon of righteousness and order. His companion is perhaps his opposite, a furred and clawed creature in rusted plate and chain he exudes an aura of savagery and violence. Punchcat is an oddity, one-of-a-kind even in this strange world, but for all his intimidating appearance has a pure and charitable heart. The golden man signs the documents hiring him as a mercenary, for trust is a hard thing to come by these days and the golden man saw the truth in the cat-man's character. The sixth figure sits apart from the others, jotting notes into his leather bound notebook with feverous pace as he hums under his breath. Doric is a bard, handsome and dashing as many of his kind, and sworn to record the entire affair into an epic song. Or perhaps a sonnet. He has yet to decide. But he knows these five figures would have adventures of the most peculiar and exciting kind…

Chapter I: Adventurers Wanted

Part I: Trouble on Tribour Trail

[Cragmore Cave]

The stream flowed out of the cave mouth and in amid the dusky brambles where the figures squatted. They cast gangly silhouettes against the cliff face, bickering in glibtongue as a skinny rodent roasted on a feeble fire before them. The squelch of goblin-iron boots and hooting voices echoed across the clearing, off into the forest where the stream vanished in its' gambolling course. There, concealed by the ancient overgrowth, a hidden group lay watching. As the largest goblin laid aside his axe, the better to beat his chest, a wordless look passed among them. Readying fists, spells, hammer and crossbow, they broke for the cave at a steady jog.

[Goblins in the forest]
It is late afternoon when the oxen-led caravan is forced to stop on the forest road from Neverwinter to Fandolin. Lazing aboard the cart or walking alongside it the group had been employed to guard the caravan on it's journey out to the forest town of Fandolin, carrying valuable and much needed supplies. Their employer, the dwarf Gundrun Rockseeker, had promised 10 gold pieces a head for the job, a fair wage, and ridden ahead with his bodyguard Sildar the day before. The journey had been smooth so far, the Tribour trail a winding dirt path through the heavy forest. The group laughed and talked as they travelled, the new comrades sharing stories of their lives in different parts of the Kingdom. It would only be late in the afternoon some days into the journey that the smell of death would reach them upon the wind.

The ill breeze wafts the smell of death towards the party, and with hesitant steps the rogue Konrad makes his way towards the dead horses blocking the path. Even as he bends to inspect them a cry comes from behind him as a group of Goblins appear from the forest. Green-brown skin pockmarked beneath leather and black steel armour they wield bows and curved scimitars and give foul cries from behind rotten teeth. An black shafted arrow spits from the undergrowth and takes Konrad in the throat, and back at the caravan the group leaps into action. Punchcat puts on his dwarven crafted gauntlets as he barrels towards the Goblins, screaming a warcry. From behind the Paladin Barrett rushes forward to Konrad's side, chanting a prayer of healing as he kneels over the blood soaked and moaning form of his ally. Stablising Konrad Barrett hefts his golden warhammer and joins the fray, seeing off the last of the Goblins. As the creatures flee they are surrounded by a wall of purple flame that burns them to ash. Still sitting on the wagon, the warlock Clarence had joined the fray.

Konrad's bloodied form is carried back to the wagon, and under Barrett ministrations his wounds are sewed and his fever abated. The Goblin bodies are piled and burned, their weapons thrown into the caravan for what little value they have. Inspecting the dead horses the group realises with a jolt that these were the steeds of Gundrun Rockseeker and his bodyguard. The Goblin tracks lead away from the horses, deep into the forest, and the creatures appear to have dragged two forms away from the road. Returning from scouting the road ahead the halfling monk Stevie Jayleaf offers to track the Goblins to their lair, the rescue of their employer a potential new source of income. The halfling follows the goblin tracks along a hidden trail further into the forest, easily dodging the amateur traps of the goblins and finding their lair. A river runs out of a cave hidden behind thorny brambles, with a pair goblins guarding the entrance. With a series of open palm strikes Stevie downs the guards and slinks back to the group. Back at the caravan a recovered Konrad cooks fish over a fire, plucked from the nearby river by Punchcat.

A few hours pass, the group recovering their strength and making their way towards the goblin cave. They enter the dark cavern, a bubbling stream running past them from further within the cave out into the forest. Lit by the flickering light of a lantern they come upon a warren of caves and passages, freeing a pair of caged wolves and dispatching more goblin scouts. The goblins retaliate, unleashing a wave of water from above onto the group. Washed back almost to the entrance they recover, pride battered but ultimately unharmed, and move once more deeper into the cavern. Stowing their light the group sneaks up upon a larger cavern, filled with goblins cooking a strange chunk of meat over a roaring fire. With fists, crossbow bolts and hammer blows the group falls upon the unaware goblins, slaying them as they struggle to recover from the unexpected onslaught. The final creature, a taller more armoured Hobgoblin retreats to the back of the room, climbing a set of stone stairs to recover his hostage. He holds the prone form of Sildar over the drop, threatening in his crude tongue that if the group comes closer he would drop the man. Unwilling to deal with goblins the party fire upon him, a crossbow bolt to the hand forcing him to drop Sildar, while Clarence's purple flames blast the Hobgoblin onto his back, sizzling and moaning in pain. Punchcat leaps to catch the falling Sildar, and Barrett's healing prayers set the bones broken from the fall.

Sildar is carried back to the wagon, and the group rests within the goblin cave before following the stream further into the cavern. At the source of the water, a deep pool, they are attacked again by the caves inhabitants, Konrad taking a pair of goblin arrows to the chest and dropping with a gasp. The creatures are dispatched and despite his wounds Konrad argues for the group to push on to the heart of the cave. Deep within a group of goblins are hurried packing crates and chests with food and gold under the watchful eyes of a hulking Bugbear. Brown skinned and furred, Bugbears are a hulking and mutated goblinoids, standing far taller than a man. Firing upon the unaware creatures Konrad and Clarence down surprised goblins with bolts and necrotising flames. Charging in Stevie and Barrett engage the goblins, crushing them beneath hammer blows or expert unarmed strikes. Meanwhile the barbarian Punchcat calls out a challenge to the Bugbear, the creature drawing from it's waist a fearsome and crude morning star. As the others engage his followers, the Bugbear and Punchcat meet in brutal combat. Punchcat lay heavy blows upon the armoured Bugbear, smashing off armoured plates and breaking bones, but the creature yet stands. Swinging his mighty spiked weapon he nearly lays Punchcat low with a single swing, splattering blood across the stoney floor as it makes contact with his jaw. But bloodied the Punchcat rises, laying a series of blows into the Bugbear before finishing the beast with a mighty punch to the sternum. The creature falls, choking on his own blood, and the party raises a cheer at the victory.

The cave cleared of goblins the group starts hobbling back to the caravan, weighed down with the treasures of the bugbear. With the crates and chests loaded onto the caravan the group makes camp for the night, recovering from the bloody battle. The next morning they head back out onto Tribour trail, making good time and arriving at Fandolin. The town is built on ancient stone ruins, the new wooden structures a strange contrast to the ashen stone of their foundations. Sildar shows the group to their contact, and the promised 10 gold is payed in full. Pockets brimming the group makes their way to Barathan Trading House, the owner of the Lion Sigil items. Returning them brings favour from the proprietor of the trading house, Linene Graywind, and the group spend their newfound wealth on armour and weapons from her collection. Packs heavy the group purchase accommodation at the Dreaming Warrior inn. Chatting to the innkeep Barrett hears stories of the local criminal organisation and the iron grip they hold around the throat of the town. The group call themselves the Red Brand Ruffians, and charge local merchants and townsfolk money for their protection. Indignant at such criminality, Barrett vows to rid Fandolin of these men and bring justice to the town.

Part II: The Heroes of Fandolin

[The town of Fandolin]

The bandit cringed amid the wreckage, his features swollen from a righteous blow of the Paladin's back-hand. "Confess your sins," boomed the holy warrior, holding up a bloodied scrap of the missing farmer's garb. The outlaw's eyes bulged behind a greasy curtain of dirty-blonde hair, squeezing himself further into the corner as the squeal of a crossbow winch echoed from the back of the room. "I aint ever done aught but what the masters told me!" he pleaded, clawing at the hem of the man's tabard. "I swear it by the Father!"

Barrett's lips tightened at the invocation of his God, and he brushed aside the grasping hands and words. "Kidnapping, blackmail, theft, graft and the practice of slavery," he exclaimed. With a sombre expression, he shook his head and stepped aside. As Konrad raised his crossbow, Barrett added the final charge. "Murder."

[The Red Brand Bandits]
While the others settle in at the Dreaming Warrior Barrett engages the Innkeeper in conversation about the matters at hand. In the common room Konrad tries his hand at the dice tables and Doric strikes up a song with some intoxicated locals, while Barret mutters in hushed tones over a pint of ale with the grey bearded man. Although he will not speak of the leader of the bandits he does mention the name "Black Spider", a local folk-legend who is rumoured to be behind both the goblin infestation and the bandit activity in town. The next morning the group disperses amongst Fandolin in search of information as to the whereabouts of the missing dwarf Gundrun and the bandits occupying the town. At the local miner's hall Punchcat discovers that a local child was reprimanded for going into a tunnel near Tresendar Manor at the outskirts of Fandolin, the Red Brand Bandits apparently very interested in locating the child. As Clarence returns to her to buy some fine quality clothes Linene Graywind also reveals that Orcs had spotted in the hills near town, far larger and more fearsome than the goblins the group had tangled with earlier. Meanwhile Barrett had discovered the town sports a temple to Almora, goddess of luck and niece to the god to whom he had sworn. It causes him discomfort to discover Konrad would also be attending, eager to thank the goddess for the winnings lining his pockets from the night before.

At the temple, merely a simple statue in the centre of town, Barrett meets with Sister Garaele who begins to reveal the true villainy of the Red Brand Bandits. Although dealing with her own problems with a local banshee the sister reveals the Red Brands have been taking villagers who defied them, rumours circulating about a family snatched in the middle of the night. Furthermore the Sister suspects the Brands are in league with the goblins of the forest, arranging for caravans to be ransacked on the way to Fandolin. Barrett is torn, his teachings from the monastery having not prepared him for these shades-of-grey decisions. On the one hand the Red Brand's were protecting the townsfolk from the creatures of the forest but on the other they were preying upon them. As the group meets for lunch at the Dreaming Warrior he discusses the matter with them and eventually comes to the conclusion that the Red Brand Bandits have forfeited their right to mercy.

That night the group finds themselves infiltrating the tunnel near Tresendar Manor, led by a shadow hugging Stevie J in his black cloak. Led by the wobbling light of a lantern the group makes their way up a rough hewn stone cave into a cavern, a vast chasm splitting the room and forded by two crumbling wooden bridges. As the group steps out into the cavern they are met by a voice that speaks directly into their minds. It warns them to go back, stating to each member present a brutal truth that shakes them to their core. Their ire raised the group spots the creature, a black ball of energy and teeth floating behind a pillar at the back of the room. Narrowly dodging blasts of mind energy from the abomination the group fires bolts and bolts from Clarence's staff back at him. Eventually, wounded and leaking acid blood, the creature lowers itself to the ground, where it is smashed into a pulp by Barrett and Punchcat.

Continuing into the bowels of the cavern the group finds the foundations of Tresendar manor. Breaking through a false wall the group comes upon rooms full of surprised Red Brand Bandits, easily dispatched as they run for weapons to protect themselves. Moving from room to room the party captures or kills all bandits they come upon, those captured being interrogated and declared guilty by Barrett by the laws of his god. In an attempt to stop the group the Red Brand's unleash ancient skeletons from the manors crypt, but the creatures are smashed apart by the magical bursts of Doric's lute. The group moves through armouries, store rooms and servants quarters, finding the Red Brand's far less armed and far fewer in number than they had predicted. One captured Brand reveals their leader was in the service of the Black Spider, taking coin to keep the town of Fandolin separated from the outside world and working alongside the orcs and goblins of the forest. Before his life is ended by a sharp knife he warns the group that a band of bugbears had recently arrived at the manor, re-enforcements sent from Cragmore Castle to defend the Black Spider's interests in the town.

Rushing to the master bedroom of the manor the group finds a secret door leading to the exterior of the manor, the bandit leader having fled as his fellows were slain. Rummaging through his quarters the group find an alchemical laboratory, midway through the making of invisibility potions. Hidden beneath the bed they find a letter from the Black Spider, sealed with a black wax seal. As they move through an adorning room they come upon the aforementioned bugbears. Konrad is grabbed by a pair of beasts as he enters a dark cavern, smashed again and again into the ground and thrown away in a spray of blood. The group draws weapons and lays into the bugbears, blitzing the creatures before they can bring their fearsome two handed blades to bear. Barrett tends to the wounds of Konrad, while the rest of the group finish the search of the manor, running off the last of the bandits and securing a room of makeshift weapons and armour.

Back in Fandolin proper, wounded and exhausted, the group returns to the Town Hall. They are met by the Mayor of the town, but far from the joy and possible coin they had been expecting he greets them with fear and confusion. It is unclear whether the mayor is in league with the bandits or simply a coward, but the overweight and balding man quickly packs his belongings and flees town. Stevie J follows him out, mounted on the mastiff he had recently purchased with the intent of training the creature as a mount. Back in town Sildar has recovered, and offers to stand for mayor when the town decides to hold an election. In the mean time he busies himself with organisation a citizen militia and arms locals with the weapons taken from the Red Brand's. He requests the party assist the town in defending itself. A task to which the newly self declared "Heroes of Fandolin" are happy to oblige.

Part III: Cleaning Up Cragmore

[Cragmore Forest]

From Fandolin to Thundertree, the Heroes northward bound. The Marksman slew with stinging bolts the Goblins that they found. The Paladin, with godly blows, wrought righteous path through undead foes and 'midst the webs and spider-dark, the Warlock left his fiery mark. When at last, they Cragmore sought and travelled to the East, upon the Orcs of Wyrventor the Punchcat was released.
Poetry of the Sabre Coast, Doric the Effusive, Book I, Verse III

[Roaming the lands]
After a night of heavy drinking to celebrate the victory at the manor the group are awoken by a fevered knocking on their doors. A runner from Sildar was asking for them to hurry to the town hall, and heads heavy they oblige. The town hall is a flurry of activity, Sildar getting his affairs quickly in order to organise the town. He takes the group aside, further noting the importance of the activities he had previous asked the group to perform. The area around Fandolin needed to be made safe, should the town ever get back on its feet. To this end he provides the group with an ox and cart, the ox an old worn out beast affectionately named "the Admiral". The group take a map from Sildar and begin to plan their journey. North to the town of Thundertree, a dangerous place troubling travellers. Then east through the Cragmore forest to Conyberry, where Sister Garaele had claimed to have found a troublesome banshee. Then finally south to the foothills of the mountains, where Orcs are rumoured to be hiding, raiding local caravans and farms. Locations marked and caravan loaded the group moves out into the dark forest around Fandolin.

Just as Sildar had anticipated the forest is swarming with goblins, the group attacked a number of times throughout the day. Most of the creatures are seen off with ease, although a pair are captured for further interrogation. That night a figure is captured on the edges of the camp by an alert Punchcat. The man is old and weathered, but his once fine clothes imply he was not always this way. When he wakes he is questioned by Barrett, who discovers he is a warlock from Fandolin by the name of Iaro Albrek. With a jolt Konrad realises where he remembers the name, pulling from his pack the letter from The Black Spider to a man with that name. The man admits to being the orchestrator of the Red Brand Ruffians, but claims to have left to repent. He had only followed the group to retrieve his magical familiar, a rat capture by Punchcat the day before. Although acknowledging his guilt Barrett decides to be merciful, taking the possessions of the man but allowing him his life, should he swear an oath of redemption. As he scampers off into the forest Clarence inspects his staff, a long stick of carved glass that he claimed was magical. Intent on manifesting its power Clarence attunes himself to it, his magical energy washing across the campsite as the others settle back in before the march to Thundertree the next day.

The town of Thundertree had long since been swallowed by the forest, what few buildings still standing covered in vines and moss and the once paved roads now fields of swaying grass. The town lay at the base of a small mountain, and at the base of the ascent stands a stone watch-tower. From the town limits the group notice that a handful of the buildings in town seem occupied, and move warily through the undergrowth. Within a barricaded and sealed building they come a cross a hermit, who warns them about undead within the ruins before retreating back into his darkened home. In the abandoned buildings of the town the party finds the remains of the townsfolk, rotting flesh falling off bones as they shamble towards the group. Barrett lets out a battlecry as his warhammer begins to glow with golden light, his eyes glowing with inner fire as he charges towards the undead. A corpse is cast aside with every blow as he lays about him, each turning to ash as they are struck by his glowing weapon. In a crumbling inn called the Hoarse Horse Punchcat bludgeons the skulls of zombies with the old legs of a chair, roaring with glee as their ash washes over him. The undead threat dealt with, the group take refuge within an abandoned house, finding in its nearly collapsed basement a hidden chest filled to the brim with coins. Grateful for this turn of events they count out the coins and have a rest, eager to inspect the rest of the town once the midday heat had abated.

The town had been nearly overtaken by the forest, the building within which the group rests having a young oak tree growing through the middle of the wooden floor. In another building a group of massive spiders had taken up residence. Driven out when Clarence sets fire to their webs, the spiders attempt to flee the conflagration and are met by cold steel. In another area a group of fey spirits had manifested, the treelings attacking on sight with sharpened bark claws and razor leaves. A burst of cold energy from Clarence slows the creatures, allowing Barrett and Punchcat to smash them apart with fist and hammer blow. In the nearby apothecary Barrett lifts up a false floor plate and reveals a chest containing a dusty but fine golden necklace. He had been informed of its location by a grateful family from Fandolin, and intended to return it to them. Upon exiting the building the group runs into half a dozen armoured men moving through the town. Wearing leathers shaped into scales and masks depicting the visage of a dragon the leader of the group introduces himself as Favrick, and explains that the men are dragon cultists, worshippers of dragons who wander the lands finding and revering these grand beasts. They offer to take the party to the tower in the centre of town, apparently the home of a green dragonling. The group accepts, Punchcat and Konrad in particular interested to meet such a legendary beast. But Barrett is unsure. He asks his god for guidance and in a split second of clarity sees the ill intent of the dragon cultists. Hefting his warhammer in two hands he gives out a cry of warning before laying into the cultists around him, shattering ribs and splitting skulls. The others join in, confused but all too willing to spill blood on Barrett's suspicions. Completely surprised the cultists are killed in seconds, Barrett explaining after the blood had cooled that they had intended to feed the group to the dragon as an offering. Their goal here completed and well and truly sick of the town the party move back into the forest away from Thundertree, making camp for the night before setting off once again the next morning.

Led by their captured goblins the group makes their way through the most dense parts of Cragmore forest. The cart barely fit through the long winding paths and hunter's trails, but fearing for their lives the captured goblins were true to their word and did not attempt betrayal. Finally, in the darkest reaches of the forest they come upon Cragmore Castle. An ancient fort of hewn black stone, it's seven towers show the passage of time, entire sections collapsed. The halls of the castle itself sit behind shattered wooden doors, shadows and the flickering of torch-light just visible far within. Although they had found it at last, the group knew they were in no state to be attacking the castle, Stevie Jayleaf still absent and the group wounded and tired from the battles of Thundertree. So marking the location on their map they continue through the forest towards the town of Conyberry, and the banshee within. The forest is riddled with greenskins, and separate ambushes by hobgoblin archers and orc berserkers are only just seen off by the weary group. Arriving at Conyberry the group finds the village entirely ruined, no stones standing higher than a knee and the remains almost entirely swallowed by the forest. Not far from the town Barrett leads the party into a clearing of warped trees, where the air is unnaturally cold and the forest shaped by strange magic. Within the spectre of a female elf manifests, the banshee. She speaks to Barrett for a time, informing him that she had traded her magical tome to a Necromancer named Saenoth in the city of Israbore a century past. Thanking her Barrett hands over a small silver comb as payment, which seems to please her greatly. Despite the peaceful conclusion the group is eager to be gone from the unnatural aura of the banshee, and make their way once more on the back of the Admiral led cart moving through the forest.

Moving south upon the Tribour trail from Conyberry the party reaches the foothills in only a day. From there it is hours on foot to Wyvern Tor, further into the mountains. There they find Orcs camping inside a large cave, roasting foul smelling meats and fighting amongst themselves. The group tries to approach without being seen, but the armoured steps of Barrett and Punchcat give them away. The Orcs heft weapons and move towards the interlopers, a massive Orc with a black steel great-axe stepping to their fore. In broken common he announces himself as Grog, Deputy Chief of the Orcs of Wyvern Peak. With a snarl Punchcat steps forward, challenging the chief to single combat. And so the two armoured titans engage, swift gauntlet blows smashing into the Orc again and again as Punchcat ducks beneath the lumbering swings of the Orc Chief. Eventually the blows become too much and with a final, sickening squelch Punchcat rips the head of the Orc Chieftain from his body. His fellows scatter, hounded by crossbow bolts and arcs of flame from Clarence as they flee down the mountain into the forest. As Punchcat relishes his victory a slow thump is heard from within the cave. A shape twice the size of a man, grey skinned and covered with armour plates, the creature swings a giant rock strapped to the end of a tree branch. None of the group had ever seen an Ogre before, but they knew of the stories of their sheer brute strength. Wiping sleep from his dull eyes the Ogre points to himself, before gesturing at the humans quaking before him. "Me Bigog. Me true chief. Me kill now"…

Chapter II: Cragmore Castle

Part IV: Notions of Character

[The accursed cottage]

The smell of the creature hit them first, a great unwashed mass of grey sweaty flesh featuring a strangely floral undertone. The ground shook as the beast lumbered towards them, swinging its makeshift club as it took great lumbering steps across the forest floor. Leaves fell from nearby trees as its heavy steps echoed through the wooded clearing, a sapling smashed aside as it simply ran through it. It roared one final challenge as it met the waiting group…

[Danger and Deception]
The Ogre Bigog wastes no time, a spittle filled roar echoing through the clearing as he hefts his club and lumbers towards the group. Stopping to sniff the air as he blunders towards Barrett he spots Konrad half hidden amongst the shrubbery at the edge of the cave. With a resounding and sickening crunch the Ogre brings his club down upon Konrad, leaving him prone in a pool of blood and broken bones. With a grin the creature turns towards Barrett, but here he finds far more difficult prey. Glancing massive swings aside with his shield or simple stepping out of the way Barrett dances around the Ogre, while from a safe distance Clarence sends bursts of magic that burst against the Ogre's thick grey hide. Eventually as the Ogre tires Barrett swings his warhammer into the beasts head, cracking its skull. Rushing to Konrad's prone form the group finds him long since expired, his ribs and skull shattered by the crushing blow of the Ogre. Barrett digs a small grave and oversees the last rites with a solemn expression while Clarence searches the Ogre's cave. Within the cave he comes upon a weedy and wounded man still wearing the remnants of fine nobles attire. He introduces himself as Lord Thom, and claims to have been in the area hunting undead with men of his household. His men were set upon by Orcs and slain, leaving Thom at the mercy of the Ogre. He thanks the party for rescuing him, promising favour when he returned to Neverwinter. Loading the wounded man into the back of the cart the Admiral begins to pull the party slowly back along the Tribour Trail towards Fandolin.

The town bustles with activity as the group approaches some day later. The trip was bothered by goblins and massive insects from the deep parts of the forest, but without the Orc presence these dangers were far less bold and fled after a short time. Within Fandolin the group finds Sildar talking with a young man in armour, a two handed sword on his back. He introduces himself as Albrecht, of the noble house Blackwell in Neverwinter. The man greets Thom with a smile, the two having met in Neverwinter before, and informs the party that it is them he was seeking. He was sent into the forest by his Father to learn more about the world and hone his skills in battle, and had heard about the Paladin Barrett and the "Heroes of Fandolin", a name the bard was circulating against Barrett's wishes. Eager to buff their numbers with more capable warriors for the battle to come the group accepts him, Barrett particularly eager to meet another who follows his faith. They settle in to the Dreaming Warrior for a night of relaxation, food and accommodation kindly paid for by Thom, who spends the night being tended by the local wise woman. The next morning Thom meets with the group, informing them that he would be traveling back to Neverwinter but requesting they do him one last favour before he leaves. His goal had been to clear the ruin known as "Old Owl Well", located just south of the town of Conyberry, of the scourge of undead. He could no longer perform this task, but promised the party payment in gold if they would complete it. The group agrees, although a reluctant Punchcat informs them that his gauntlets needed repair and he would not be able to accompany them.

It is such that two days later the group finds themselves cresting the ridge that leads to Old Owl Well, loaded on the back of the Admiral's cart. Old Owl Well consisted of a crumbling watch tower, surrounded by a grey stone wall in heavy disrepair. Within the walls is visible a brightly coloured tent, as well as a dozen or so unmoving humanoid shapes. As a cautious Stevie J approaches the figures animate, shambling towards the diminutive halfling. The group moves to engage the undead, but before they can a voice rings out asking them to stop. A purple robed man walks from within the tent, moving past the now halted zombies and greeting the party with an open hand and smiling face. He calls them friends, and introduces himself as Hamman Coch. He claims to be using the zombies to protect himself from Orcs, and says they are no threat while he commands them. When asked about his business at Old Owl Well he pauses, looking the party up and down before continuing. He states that he was here researching Kuldar Baldermane, a dwarven magical researcher who studied here centuries past. Baldermane was known as a summoner of daemons, and was forced to flee the Forge of Spells to this tower. Hamman tells the group that Baldermane created a sword bound with the energy of a daemon and that he had found this sword. But before he could secure or destroy it his assistant made off with it in the night. He offers the group 50 gold pieces a head to retrieve the sword, but Barrett swears he will find and destroy this unholy artifact.

Hamman Coch, or "Cochie" as the group had come to refer to him, leads them through the heavy woods nearby to a small stone and wood cabin nestled in the foothills of Wyvern Tor. The simple stone building is well hidden in the forest, but Barrett senses that a dark evil lurks below ground within the cabin. Clarence summons to him an owl from the forest, imbuing it with magic and sending it out towards the cabin. Seeing through the eyes of the bird he notices magical traps around the doors and windows of the cabin. With this new information Stevie J and Albrecht decide to go in through the roof. Pulling up thatch and tiles they manage to gain entry as the flimsy roof gives out under Albrecht's armoured form. Plummeting through the roof and smashing through the false floor he crashes into the pit trap beneath. The others rope into the building through the hole and find Albrecht sporting only bruises and wounded pride, his backpack having broken his fall. Stevie's sharp eyes soon pick up a hidden basement behind a dusty bookcase, and the group moves down the stone stairs towards a room with flickering light. Within the damp basement they find a small work area, a desk pushed up against the back wall. Atop the desk, resting on a small plinth, sits the blade. Golden handled it sports a blood red blade that seems not to reflect the light. With a glint in his eyes the newcomer Albrecht steps towards the sword. Barrett shouts a warning about the nature of the weapon and the voices of Stevie and Clarence join him in encouraging caution. But Albrecht has ears only for the sword, it's foul mutterings filling his mind. He walks towards the blade and draws it. A strange cool seems to fill the room and he turns, eyes now solid red flames, back towards his former allies.

Albrecht leaps at the group swinging the blood red blade with unnatural speed. His swings land again and again on the holy shield of Barrett, while Stevie's expertly aimed punches slowly sap his strength. Eventually he falls to the ground, unable to continue, and the sword leaps from his grasp. Attacking now on its own accord it spouts foul words into the minds of those present, lashing out at Stevie and Barrett as Clarence backs away, chanting wards of protection. The sword darts and weaves in the air, avoiding attacks and stabbing again and again at the group. Eventually a hammer blow from Barrett knocks it to the ground, and with a burst of light the blade is broken. Dragging a now manacled Albrecht from the basement the group comes upon a strange sight in the forest. Albrecht and a younger man are wrestling on the forest floor. Rolling about in an attempt to gain physical superiority over the other. Clarence puts a stop to it by paralysing them both. Both are hysterical, and claim the other is trying to kill them. Eventually with careful questioning Barrett gets to the bottom of the matter. Hamman was no peaceful wizard but a necromancer, who had been run out of the town of Kalkirk for doing experiments on the dead. His assistant, Fulsom, was no assistant at all but the local magic healer in the town who discovered the misconduct. He had tracked Hamman here, taking the sword so the necromancer couldn't perform a ritual to bind it to him. The truth of the matter resolved the party makes a deal with Fulsom to deal justice to Hamman in return for his help disarming the traps he claimed the Necromancer cast around his tent at Old Owl Well.

Mr. F leads the party back through the forest to Old Owl Well, the necromancer manacled in the back with an unconscious Albrecht. Fulsom uses his magic to disarm the traps around the necromancer's tent and as per their arrangement the party takes ownership of Hamman's possessions. Barrett takes the necromancer away from the ruined watch tower and executes him, burning the body to ensure his evil magics cannot take hold. He then turns his attention to Albrecht. The nobleman acknowledges his mistake and agrees to give more weight to Barrett's advice, but the paladin still suspects Albrecht's soul tainted from his contact with the daemon sword. The two argue, with Albrecht refusing to take part in a ritual in the woods with Barrett. The argument ends in silence, and the trip back to Fandolin is quiet. Fulsom takes his leave to return to Kalkirk, but gifts Stevie with a magical ring of protection before he leaves. Back in Fandolin the party reunites with Punchcat, who had finished his tasks and was eager to rejoin the group. Barrett has a suit of splintmail made with sigils of suns and light rays, and after a few days rest the group is ready to journey to Cragmore Castle.

Konrad the Marksman, wry of humour, slain by the Ogre Bigog at Wyrven Peak.

Part V: Storming the Keep

[Cragmore Castle]

Pinned to the wall by some kind of furred hulk, the Drow impassively considered her options. Though disarmed, bound and held by the throat, she eyed the brutes who were pillaging the room and calmly noted a number of opportunities for escape. The Paladin shone brightly in her witchsight, his pure soul causing her pupils to constrict painfully. She noted the veiled menace of the lounging swordsman, and the awful strength of the creature restraining her. But before she could fully formulate a plan, a shadow bloomed across her vision. Cloying darkness and the stink of foul incense overwhelmed her senses as an elderly man hobbled toward her. The Drow could see past his outward appearance, and she sucked in panicked breaths at his approach. "Now then my dear," crooned Clarence, his cheshire grin swelling in the void. "We have some questions for you."

[Raiding Cragmore]
The following morning Punchcat has finished his work with the blacksmith, completing his repairs on his gloves as well as assisting to forge himself a whole new suit of armour. The group now complete once more they remount the wagon and lead the Admiral back out into the forest. Through a now familiar route they enter the forest, winding beneath dark and foreboding trees and through thickets until they reach the many towered black stone of Cragmore castle. Tying up the Admiral near the road the group sneaks down towards the castle, spotting fires within the arrow slits of the towers. Moving around the back of the castle entrance they find a small servants entrance long rusted into place by the years. To everyones surprise Clarence produces a crowbar from his backpack, and a heavy jerk from Albrecht opens the door with an eerie squeal.

The groups unorthodox entry takes the goblins within completely by surprise. Moving throughout the castle the Heroes of Fandolin are like a crashing wave, washing away the goblins and their filth. The group roams from room to room, slaying the beasts wherever they could be found. Broken by Barretts warhammer, burnt to a crisp by the magic of Clarence or cut in two by Albrecht's fearsome blade the creatures were dispatched almost as soon as they appeared. Punchcat particularly took to the slaughter, breaking the backs of the goblins with his bare hands, and snarling approvingly at every combat. Stevie snuck ahead of the party, and as they passed they would find dead goblins without a scratch on them, slain by his unique martial arts. But the goblins are not alone, and eventually their fearsome allies engage in the fight. A tentacled creature from nightmares threatens to engulf Stevie whole within its maw before a blow from Barrett slays it, and a gargantuan owlbear slashes deeply at Punchcat before he rips off its beak. In one room Barrett finds the remnants of an unholy church, the place of worship for the chaos loving goblins. He flies into a zealous range, killing all the goblins present and smashing the altar with a single golden blow from his hammer. Moving further into the castle the group comes upon the stored gear of Sildar, captured when Gundrun was some days earlier. Reaching the final quarters of the castle the group realised they were drawing nearer to their goal.

Approaching the final doorway without a sound Stevie listens to a silky female voice and a gravelly unhuman voice arguing. Readying their weapons the party smashes down the door and charges in. Before them is the finest room by far in the castle, tables and chairs and even a large rug laying before a burning hearth. Also before the hearth stand the owners of the voices. A massive scarred and black furred bugbear and a lithe dark skinned female elf. Roaring challenges Punchcat, Albrecht and Barrett charge towards the bugbear. Dodging its hefty swings they slash and bash at it until with a spurt of blood it falls to the ground, its head removed seconds later by a Albrecht's greatsword. Meanwhile the Drow is trapped by Stevie J and Clarence. She attempts to hold Gundrun hostage, pulling the dwarfs unconscious form from within a large chest. A standoff ensues, while at the back of the room can be heard the sounds of an intense combat. Stevie blocks the drow's exit, and Clarence manages to convince her that she would not be harmed if she dropped Gundrun. Letting the dwarf down the drow looks directly at Clarence. Her short scream is silenced by a punch to the head from Stevie J. Taking the prone forms of Gundrun and the drow, as well as some of the nicer room ornaments, the group makes their way back to the wagon in the woods.

Journeying back to Fandolin the group discusses matters with Gundrun, while Barrett keeps a careful eye on the captured Drow. Gundrun reveals that his capture was an attempt to capture maps to a nearby cavern he had discovered with his brothers. The cavern was said to lead to the fabled Forge of Spells, and was filled with treasure and artefacts beyond imagining. This was obviously what the Black Spider was after, and Gundrun begged the group to help him find the cave and rescue his brothers. During the night a group of Orcs attack the wagon, but underestimating the skill of the defenders are counter-ambushed and slaughtered before they could swing a blow. Revelling in the victory the party realises too late that the Drow had escaped. Clarence detects magic on the air and Barrett enters a dark mood, vowing to be more vigilant about mages in the future. His mood continues throughout the journey back, silencing the party as his sullenness infects the mood.

Arriving back in Fandolin Gundrun and Sildar are reunited, sharing a long embrace. Sildar's equipment is returned to him and he organises accommodation for the dwarf within the Townhall chambers. The group moves to the Dreaming Warrior, relaxing for the afternoon and resting from the road. That night however they break out a cask of port taken from the cellars of Cragmore Castle. Barrett forgoes the festivities, still angry with himself over the escape of the Drow. Punchcat also avoids the common room, suspicious of the strong fruity port. And he was right to do so. The night grows out of control, Stevie spending half his coin purse buying drinks for the entire bar and Clarence wandering drunkenly into the woods and sleeping in a cave. Albrecht would have the worst of it though, targeted by a local pickpocket known only as "Lightfinger". Hungover and ill from the night, he hunts around town for the halfling. Unable to find him he posts a bounty of 50 crowns with Sildar for the capture dead or alive of Lightfinger and recovery of any possessions he is carrying. Sildar agrees, and posts the bounty at a local mercenary noticeboard. Still fuming, Albrecht travels to the abandoned homestead rumoured to he Lightfinger's home and finding evidence of habitation, burns it to the ground. Barrett gives him a disapproving look for the pettiness of the vengeance, but realises not everything is worth chastising.

Meeting over a light lunch in the Dreaming Warrior Gundrun and the party come to another arrangement. In gratitude for saving him he would lead them to Wave Echo Cave, and help them make their way into the Forge of Spells. The condition for this being that any Rockseeker family heirlooms be returned to him. The group hurriedly accept, and begin to make provisions for the journey. Although daunted by the task at hand, their heads are filled only with imaginings of the treasures long sealed within the cave.

Part VI: To Squash a Spider

Wave Echo Cave

The smoky figure darted around the chamber like embers from a flame. It parted unharmed beneath the blows of Blackwell's ancestral blade, merely ruffled by the swings of Barrett's hammer and Jayleaf's darting fists. "Coward!" bellowed Albrecht, as the shadowform coalesced once again into the familiar, gloating shape of the Black Spider.

"You have cost me much, vile surfacers," spat the villain. "But I will take your souls in recompense." As he raised his staff, it's fires suddenly winked out. With a yelp, the Spider dropped from the air and hit the ground hard, the breath driven from his lungs. With a nod of thanks to Clarence, the nobleman strode forward and raised his sword.

[The Spider's lair]
Wave Echo cave is located only a few days from Fandolin, in the foothills of the southern mountains. The party makes good time getting there, the Admiral sure footed even as the terrain became more and more difficult. Beneath a rocky outcrop not unlike hundreds of others they had passed that day Gundrun kneels and removes a wooden covering. Beneath he reveals a long dark passageway, obviously recently dug. Moving down the passage the group happens upon the group that dug the tunnel. A small mining camp occupies a large cavern, with a pit leading downwards accessible only by rope. Amongst the mining supplies Gundrun happens upon his brother, many days dead now and peppered with goblin arrows. A ceremony outside is overseen by Barrett, and the supplies and equipment from the mining camp are transported back to the wagon. With Gundrun's permission Stevie J retrieves his brothers boots before the burial, and gleefully uses the magical boots to leap from wall to wall. This does little to lighten the mood, and it is hearts heavy with responsibility that rappel down the mining-ropes further into Wave Echo cave.

The dwarven ropes make the passage into the cave easy for all but Clarence, who manages to fall from a height, injuring his wrist. Moving through the cave by the flickering light of torches the party finds where it breaks into ancient dwarven tunnels, the air dense and dusty in these structures not visited for hundreds of years before Gundrun found them weeks earlier. The dwarven structures lead to a maze-like warren of collapsed tunnels and natural passages. Confused in the dark tunnels the party slits up, hoping to find an exit. While exploring a collapsed section Albrecht is dropped upon from above by a large pile of dark-brown slime. As he recoils and begins to clean his clothes it slithers towards him, apparently possessing some faint and hostile sentience. He slashes at it in effectually, crying out to the party as his blade passes cleanly through the creature without harming it. As the creature advances on him he slashes at it again and again, but the creature reforms after every blow. Eventually Barrett and Punchcat barrel around the corridor and with a series of brutal blows bludgeon it into paste. A shaken Albrecht is helped up. And as Clarence and Stevie had found an exit the group moves on.

The tunnels soon dip, and are flooded with water. The group wades through, Stevie J perched atop Punchcat's large shoulders. At the bottom of a natural pool Clarence stumbles upon an old human skeleton. Fishing about he finds a magical wand and a pair of rings, which he adds to the party sack of valuables. Resting on the side of one flooded cavern the group finds themselves set upon by a group of bugbears. Obviously drawn by the noise of armoured figures the beasts charge into the group as they stop to rest. The water is soon awash with blood as the party struggles to hold them off. Deep wounds are taken by Albrecht and Stevie, but the beasts are eventually slain. Moving up the cavern the group happens upon more bugbears, and set upon the beasts from a high vantage point. Many are slain by Clarence's new wand, as he shoots bolts of white-blue energy that seem to seek out foes, while others are killed by crossbow bolts from Albrecht, Barrett and Stevie. Those that reach the group are easily dispatched by Punchcat's armoured fists. Finding a hidden cave amongst the cavern the group lights a small fire and rests, Barrett seeing to the wounds of Albrecht and Stevie as Clarence identifies the magical items he had discovered.

Soon the caverns turn again into carven dwarven passageways. The passages seem to lead somewhere, and the group soon finds themselves in a large throne room, with a massive dwarf statue with emerald eyes at one end. Noticing the lifeless form of a dwarf underneath the statue Gundrun, Barrett and Punchcat rush forward. As they approach the body seems to come to life, the dwarf revealed to be Gundrun's brother slashing at the party with a pair of curved shortswords. As the group staggers with shock they are set upon from above, massive oily black spiders dropping from hiding places in the high roof. Stevie runs in to help the others as they battle the spiders and dwarf as Clarence shoots magic from afar. Clarences owl swoops in on a spider, pecking out its eyes before being blasted by magic from the corner of the room. Albrecht runs towards the source of the magic, finding a surprised looking male drow wizard. Seeing a black spider motif on his dark robes Albrecht engages, but despite his skill his blade cannot find flesh. Eventually Clarence intervenes, paralysing the drow and allowing Albrecht to cut him clean in two. As the Black Spider falls to the ground, the group finishes off the rest of the spiders and kill the dwarf.

As Gundrun's brother falls to the ground his skin seems to bubble and change, eventually turning a deep blue hue. The creature before them at the end of the transformation is no dwarf at all, but as Clarence informs the group a "doppleganger". A creature capable of magically assuming the forms of others. He picks over the corpse with interest, and takes a sample of clear liquid from the creature. A muffled cry from the next room draws them, and battering down the door they find a lean and filthy dwarf. Gundrun embraces his brother, and barricading the door behind themselves the party settles in for a rest. Barrett sees to their wounds and Punchcat cooks some meat over the fire as they rest, a single pleasant moment in the chaos of the cave. They would soon be back in the tunnels, fighting their way through goblins and bugbears as the Black Spiders minions attempt to avenge him. Bloody battles are fought in abandoned halls, collapsed caves and ancient bedchambers, but despite the sheer number of enemies arrayed against them the Heroes succeed in pushing through them. In one room their find a sinister floating skull, its mouth filled with green fire. It laughs as it faces them, necromantic energy pulsing from it to animate the nearby corpses of dwarves and orcs. As the rest of the group begins to battle the waves of risen dead Stevie J makes a beeline for the skull. Leaping over abandoned furniture he lands atop the skull. Barely holding on as it shakes and rolls to try and dislodge him he lays blow after blow into the flaming skull, until eventually it cracks open, its power dissipated. The undead fall to the ground, their magic expended, and with ragged breaths the party give nods of thanks to Stevie.

The dwarven tunnels and caves soon give way to proper dwarven structures, and the group soon finds themselves moving through abandoned forges and armouries of long-rusted weapons and armour. Reaching the central forge they are surprised to see a small glowing orb hovering over a blue flame. The orb greets them, informing them that it is the guardian of the last dwarven treasures, summoned by the dwarves in their time of need to oversee the protection of what little remained of their works. The creature seems resolute, but a few silky words from Albrecht soon convince it that with the death of the Black Spider the threat has passed. The guardian is released, and disappears with a pop, leaving the group to search through the remains of the dwarven treasures. Within the chamber they find a gold and bronze mace built in a sunburst pattern and a black breastplate with red enamel dragons across it. Barrett claims the mace is a holy weapon and proudly places it upon his belt, giving an oath to use it to vanquish evil. The breastplate seems to be of human make, designed by the dwarves for a human hero of neverwinter. Albrecht claims the chest-piece, casting aside his scalemail. Within a chest at the back of the chamber the group finds a great deal of dwarven currency, as well as a ring of protection that Punchcat slides roughly onto his smallest finger. Although the Black Spider is dealt with the party decides they would like to explore the rest of Wave Echo cave to see if it contains any more valuables. Gundrun agrees to be their guide, while Punchcat would escort his brother out of the cave back to the wagon.

Part VII: Lost in Wave Echo Cave

[The Dwarven ruins]

Water laps against the shore with a thunderclap, the sound bouncing through the vast chamber and through the long abandoned dwarven halls. Far away in the darkness the water bubbled from an underwater spring, pushing hot water towards the shore that created the odd tides.
As the group began to leave Stevie turns back to the cavern. "Oh. Wave Echo. I get it now."

[Exploring a lost ruin]
Moving further into the long-abandoned dwarven ruin the party finds the remnants of a great hall, where dwarves fought a valiant last stand against the army of orcs, goblins and trolls that was sent against them. Moving through the cast-down dwarven defences the group happens upon an unholy sight, as gaunt and twisted Ghouls feast upon the long-rotted flesh of the dead. The creatures snarl as the heroes approach, their feast interrupted, and rush at them with long rusted weapons and festering mouths. Barrett and Albrecht form up at the bottom of a set of stairs, holding back the creatures while Clarence shoots flames into their midst from his wrinkled hands. Limbs are slash and skulls bludgeoned, but the creatures seem to push through even the most horrible wounds. Albrecht beheads the creatures with swings of his sword, and Albrecht blasts them to pieces with his mace 'Lightbringer', but on the creatures come. Eventually the numbers are too many, and Albrecht and Barrett are laid low by their shambling foes. Clarence backs up away from the oncoming horde, blasting them apart with magic and conjuring a mist that confuses the creatures. But on the creatures come. As the old man is cornered, his magic expended and his staff barely keeping the creatures at bay Albrecht rises. Holding his greatsword in his one uninjured hand he plows into the creatures from behind, slaying them before they can react. Supporting a heavily wounded Barrett the group makes their way back to an early chamber and stops for a rest, rejoined by Stevie after his scouting turned up no new exits.

Once Barrett is healthy enough, he lays his hands upon his allies and heals their wounds, before turning his powers upon himself. Steeling themselves the group moves further into the ancient dwarven halls, swatting aside massive insects fat from the blood of the dead, and slaying the last of the goblins serving the Black Spider. Deeper in the structures they find the homes of the dwarves, where many were slaughtered as they slept. As they approach Clarence senses foul magic, and the corpses rise up to attack the party. Orc and Dwarf skeletons shamble towards the group, but are quickly beaten back. Whole swatches of enemies are incinerate by the holy fire of 'Lightbringer', as Barrett swings the mace back and forth. Skeletons are thrown against the wall and shattered by force emitted by Clarence's staff, and the spines of many undead are ripped apart by Stevie's small hands. The Halfling leaps between enemies, unnaturally agile as he pushes off ribcages and swings around ancient bones. As they slay the undead an echoing sound reaches the group. A laughter they had heard once before, and with a burst of fire the flame filled skull reformed from the broken skulls of the slain undead. But this time the group is ready for it. Barrett advances on the undead, pulling forth a holy icon and shouting an incantation. The skull recoils and the golden paladin advances through its burning fires. He continues to chant as the hair is burnt from his head and his skin scorched, pushing through the flames towards the skull. He reaches it as the fire becomes too much to bear, and with a sickening crunch his mace shatters the skull into dust. As his wounds miraculously begin to heal he pull a flask of holy water from his satchel and pours it upon the skulls remains, lest it rise again.

As the dust settles an exhausted Barrett wants to rest in a lockable chamber, but Albrecht claims it isn't safe. Despite this the group settles in to recover their strength, while Albrecht stays awake to watch. As the group slumbers a dark slime drops on Stevie from above. The foulness begins to embrace the Halfling, threatening to engulf him. But jolting awake Stevie's reflexes kick in, and he throws the foul brown creature off with a twist. As the others rise the slime disappears into a nearby grate. Realising the untenability of their position the group dons armour and hefts weapons with exhausted arms. Moving through empty chambers by the scant light of their lanterns they come into a large chamber near the centre of the ruin. A ceiling marked with mineral veins and ores glitters as light is cast across it, and the group are gripped by this singular beauty amidst the horrors of the ruin. Deeper still they come across a shimmer wraith, barely recognisable as a Dwarf beneath a sheen of magic. The shadow introduces itself as Mormesque the wraith, and becomes enraged when the group moves past it to explore the chambers beyond. Within Albrecht finds a chest, but is surprised when upon opening he is seized by its wretched jaws. As the others struggle to free him from the jaws of the Mimic, Barrett faces down the Wraith. With a golden hammer he smites the creature, and it's master destroyed the chest also crumbles into dust. The whole party wounded and exhausted from hours of combat, the Heroes of Fandolin take what gold remained in the chests guarded by the Wraith and leaves Wave Echo cave, and the dwarven ruin within in.

The journey back to Fandolin is brief, and after the horrors of the cave the wooden palisades of the village seem as close to home as anything had in these past weeks. Gundrun and his brother pay for accommodation at the Dreaming Warrior and the pair discuss opening up and restarting the forge in Wave Echo with excitement. Albrecht's bounty on the thief Lightfingers is successful, and a travelling mercenary turns over the halfling, miraculously still carrying half of the gold he stole from Albrecht. Albrecht seems happy with this outcome, and the group agrees to take him to Neverwinter to be charged for his crimes. The next few days are calm, as the group regains their strength for the journey back to Neverwinter. Gundrun invites the group to stop off at his town on the journey back, and soon the Admiral is leading the group through the carved stone gates of the dwarven settlement of 'Stonehill'. Set in the foothills south of Fandolin the town is build directly into the base of a large rise, and stone walls and watch-towers encircle the squat buildings within. Although secretive and shy of the nearby human settlements, the dwarves make a good life here mining stone from the nearby quarry and trading through the port of Neverwinter.

The party are welcomed as heroes for the rescue of the dwarves, and they are treated to all hospitalities during their stay. Gundrun hosts a funeral for his dead brother, a sombre affair of black cloth and deep voiced dwarven singing, before a feast is held to celebrate his life. The party indulge at the feast, with Albrecht, Stevie and Clarence in particular enjoying the stout dwarven ales. Albrecht passes the evening betting with local dwarves on acts of strength and daring, and before the night is out he is the new owner of a riding horse, and over 12 pounds of silver ingots. Clarence is not so lucky, an imitation of Gundrun's dead brother not as well received by the dwarves as he had hoped. Meanwhile in his drunken state Stevie becomes a little too friendly with a local dwarven woman, whose name would escape him the following hazy morn. The stay in town is extended by a few days as Albrecht spends his newfound silver commissioning a beautiful silver plated greatsword, its hilt marked with the lion of house Blackwell. Riding from town a few days later on his new steed, the noble seems very pleased with his new possessions.

The group arrives at Neverwinter some days later, the Tribour Trail substantially safer than the last time they travelled it. Not a goblin nor orc was to be seen, and the Heroes of Fandolin were filled with a genuine sense of accomplishment for the safety now enjoyed in the region. Back in Neverwinter the group enjoyed the relative safety and sanctuary of the city. Barrett however would not rest. Having heard rumour of a group of hunters pursuing a unicorn in the Cragmore forest he set out to halt them. He finds the group, half a dozen rangers who had tracked the beast for many days. The hunters claim to have been sanctioned by the King himself, and show a license of hunting bearing his royal seal. Barrett finds himself at an impasse. On the one hand the unicorn is a holy animal of the Lord of Light, and the death of such a creature is an affront to his beliefs. But the King himself had sanctioned the hunt, and the word of the King was law above all others. Barrett grappled with this question as he followed the hunters through the forest, tossing up between what was lawful and what was right. Eventually the beast was found, and Barrett distracted the hunters while the unicorn escaped, finding this to be both lawful and just without violating the Kings orders or his own moral codes. On his way back to Neverwinter he caught glimpse of the unicorn, a clear sign in his mind that his decision had been the righteous one. On the day of Barrett's arrival the clouds that had threatened to approach for days hit arrived, blanketing Neverwinter with winds and rain. The heroes paid it little mind. A storm may be fierce, but after the days they had experienced they certainly deserved their one night of rest.


The storm that wracked Neverwinter that night would be remembered for years, and the events that followed would change the region forever. But the Heroes of Fandolin did not know this. Gathered around various fires they enjoyed their newfound wealth and the relative safety of the city. Within the Cathedral of Light Barrett Bray prayed next to a flickering candle, steeling his soul for challenges to come. Next to a well stoked fire Albrecht sipped wine, regaling his family with stories of hideous ghouls and ancient caves. The fires of a smithy spit and hiss as rain hits them, but this does little to dissuade Punchcat's hammer blows. A roaring hearth fills the tavern common room with light as Stevie dances on a table. Skulling from a pitcher of wine he laughs along with the songs of the locals. In his chambers upstairs Clarence holds a light in his hands as he pores over his ancient book, the strange drawings and nonsensical ramblings moving on the page. And outside the storm raged on.

Campaign Appendixes

Dramatis Persona:

  • Konrad: Rogue with a mercenary attitude, dark of hair and eye. Brings marksmanship and pragmatism to the group learned in a life of crime.
  • Punchcat: Unique barbarian warrior who fights with armoured fists. Despite his playful demeanour his hulking furred and armoured form brings death to any who stand in his way.
  • Barrett Bray: Golden haired and fair skinned half-elf Paladin. Worships the Father with the fervor of one recently out of the convent and is intent on bringing justice and peace to the lands he visits, by kind word or hammer blow.
  • Doric: Named the effusive, silvertongue or "the handsome", Doric is a bard and storyteller. He is an enigma, dropping in and out of lives just long enough to compose a tale or inspire others to greatness.
  • Clarence the Wizened: Clarence stands with years of experience swindling and manipulating his betters. A simple forger and con artist Clarence found his true calling through a magical oath to one of the Old Gods. From this Old God he gains powers to defend himself and destroy those who oppose him.
  • Stevie Jayleaf: A halfling thief who follows a strict code to keep his body and mind in perfect shape. His training allows him to perform acts beyond others, even those twice his height and bulk.
  • Albrecht Blackwell: A human noble from nearby Neverwinter, sent into the wilds to prove himself as a warrior. Wields a two-handed dueling blade.

NPCs & Associates:

  • Gundrun Rockseeker: Dwarven merchant and facilitator. Supplier for the out-of-the-way town Fandolin.
  • Sildar: Warrior and bodyguard of Gundrun. Later Mayor-Elect of Fandolin.
  • The Black Spider: Mysterious benefactor of both the Red Brand Bandits and the goblins of Cragmore Cave. Figure of fear for the townspeople of Fandolin.
  • The Admiral: Strong oxen, loyal friend.
  • Hans Fulsom: Known as "Mr. F", he was a local healer and mage at the town of Kalkirk before the passage of Hamman Coch drew him away.

Maps and Relics:

[1] History of the Cragmore Region
More than five hundred years ago, clans of dwarves and gnomes made an agreement known as the Phandelver's Pact, by which they would share a rich mine in a wondrous cavern known as Wave Echo Cave. In addition to its mineral wealth, the mine contained great magical power. Human spellcasters allied themselves with the dwarves and gnomes to channel and bind that energy into a great forge known as the "Forge of Spells", where magic items could be crafted. Times were good, and the nearby human town of Phandolin prospered as well. But disaster struck when orcs swept through the North and laid waste to all in their path.

[2] Letter from the 'Black Spider'

Lord Albrek,
My spies in Neverwinter tell me that strangers are due to arrive in Fandolin. They could be working for the dwarves. Capture them if you can, kill them if you must, but don't allow them to upset our plans. See that any dwarven maps in their possession are delivered to me with haste.
I'm counting on you, Iarno. Don't disappoint me.

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