Monthly Archives January 2017

A long road to find very little

15th day of Tarsakh

We return to Phandalin after an uneventful trip down the Triboar trail.  Somehow all the lands around seem more welcoming and normal after our defeat of the orc menace that was threatening the area.  We report to Sildar about Kost and the prospectors, and also our defeat of the orc threat (we neglect to mention the single orc that escaped – we will deal with him later).  I also return to Sister Garaele and tell her about Agatha’s response.  She is pleased and gives me the 3 potions of healing that she promised us.  She is also interested by our various exploits and pleased by the way that we handled our various encounters, and suggests that I would make a good recruit for the Harpers.  I had been considering this for a while, but just hadn’t met a representative of this secretive organisation, so I agree to join.  There seems to be no formal ceremony or oath-taking, but she informs me that I am now a Watcher of the Harpers.  Being a clandestine organisation I am to tell nobody (whoops!).

We enjoy another restful evening and night at the Stonehill Inn.  Even Harbin the mayor seems pleased with us, telling us that there has been no reprisals from the Redbrands, and the town fells better for their absence.  It turns out that us getting rid of them was one of his best ideas.

16th day of Tarsakh

We arise early and set out for Neverwinter, as being the shortest route to Thundertree.  Elaina is keen to return, as this is the village of her birth, from where she was exiled after it was destroyed in the eruption of Mount Hotenow 40 years ago.  The ruins have been cursed ever since, so this once prosperous village was never reoccupied.

On the road, we join a caravan, which makes our journey to Neverwinter safe and rapid.

19th day of Tarsakh

We arrive in Neverwinter in the afternoon and find an inn to stay in (last time I was here I was so poor I had to sleep under a hedge).  We also purchase 2 mules and their tack in order to carry our equipment for us.

20th day of Tarsakh

We set out for Thundertree along a well marked road through prosperous agricultural country.  As we approach Thundertree though, the great Neverwinter Wood looms ahead and the land becomes deserted.  The track leads to Thundertree, but at the entrance we find a sign saying:

Danger – Plant Monsters and Zombies

Do Not Enter

The village beyond is ruined and overgrown.  A tower on a tall mound looms over the centre of the village – intact apart from the roof which is partially ruined.  We tie our mules to the sign, and enter the village.  The first few hours are just ruins, and we poke our heads in to see if there is anything left.  Suddenly, some of the shrubs around us shake themselves and tumble towards us; lashing us with thorny whips.  The fight is relatively short, and we hack eight of them to pieces, while only taking a few scratches ourselves.  We resolve to not examine any more of the ruined cottages.  The next building is more complete, although the roof is sagging.  The sign outside identifies it as having once been a tavern.  The door is shut, so we peer in through the windows.  The inside is divided into two rooms, a bar, and a kitchen cum brewery.  We decide not to investigate.  Turning a corner as the road winds round the base of the mound, we see a house ahead which appears completely intact, with a closed, iron banded door and heavily reinforced shutters.  We guess that Root{} the Druid might be living there, so walk up and knock on the door.  An unwelcoming voice responds and asks us who we are.  We identify ourselves and state we are looking for {} the Druid.  It asks who sent us, and we say that Ma Appletree mentioned the druid.  At this point, he opens the door and rapidly ushers us in.  He tells us that he is worried about the shrub-monsters and also the ash zombies, several of which he has locked in the tavern that we looked at – a close escape.  However he tells us that a more immediate issue is the green dragon that has taken up residence in the tower!  Although he does mention that the dragon has at least killed some of the giant spiders that live on the mound around the tower.  This all sounds a bit tough to be frank.  Plus he mentions that there are some black-robes strangers wandering around Thundertree as well, who may or may not be associated with the dragon.  We tell him that actually we just came here to find out the location of Cragmaw Castle, and he happily shows us where that is on our map of the region, explaining that we will be doing the area a favour if we rid it of the goblins who are there.  I explain that I have been charged by Oghma with the same task in a dream.  He also mentions that he knows of the location of Wind Echo Cave, and will tell us if we help him drive the dragon away from the village before it settles her.  We explain that we feel that we should go and rescue Gudrun as a matter of priority, but will return to help him in a few days.  He is happy to let us go and will wait for us to return.

We return to Neverwinter, and then down the Great Road and up the Triboar Trail to where we were first ambushed.

23rd day of Tarsakh

We find our way back to the goblin caves and find them unoccupied.  We clear out and camp in the large chamber that the goblin chief was using.

24th day of Tarsakh

The night passes uneventfully, but as we are leaving, we see a party of six hobgoblins approaching the cave.  They don’t appear to have seen us so we duck back into the cave.  Garrett goes up to the bridge over the stream to watch for them entering, and the rest of us go back to the cave with the water reservoirs.  As we hoped, one of them is still full of water.  We wait until the hobgoblins enter, and then Garrett casts a minor illusion of a noise further up the main passage.  As they come to investigate, Aramil and Elaina break the dam, releasing another rush of water down the passageway.  All six hobgoblins lose their footing and are swept out.  We rush down to engage them while they are not on their feet.  They are bruised, but are starting to get up.  I shoot one with an arrow, wounding it.  Garret casts a Sleep spell, which affects 4 of them.  Elaina and Aramail rush forward to attack them, followed by me.  We attack the remaining two and kill them in a couple of rounds of combat.  We bind and search the others, and find a scrap of parchment with a badly drawn picture of Garrett and a reward for 25 gold pieces for his capture, signed with a black spider.  We try to question the remaining hobgoblins, but they refuse to talk or be intimidated, so I behead them.  While Aramil and Elaina repair the reservoir walls in the cave in case we want to use this location again, I craft 6 stakes and place the heads on them outside the cave.


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Open road

11th day of Tarsakh

Leaving Agatha’s hut, we return to the ruins of Coneywood, but as the day is yet young we decide to press on and see what the problems at the Old Owl Well are. We find a trail heading that direction and follow it – soon it becomes apparent from the tracks that prospectors have been using this trail recently. I stop occasionally to see if I can hear or smell any traces of orcs nearby, but am unable to.

Around midday we reach an untidy campsite next to a stream occupied by a number of human and dwarvish prospectors and miners. They talk to us, and welcome us when we mention that we have been sent by Sildar to investigate their problems at the Old Owl Well. The explain that they were prospecting up their recently, and wanted access to the well there (which is the source of the stream we are currently standing by) as a water source. However there is a man there in a tent, and when they approached him, he set a pack of zombies on them. We offer to go and try and resolve the issue. They also mention the problem of orcish raids, and we say we will look into that as well.

Garrett and I scout ahead of the clank brothers to have a chance of coming on this man unawares. We reach the crest before the old tower and see it for the first time. It is obviously very old and very ruined. The tower is only 15-20 feet high now and surrounded by rubble. There is also the low ruins of a curtain wall around the top of the hill as well. We can see a colourful tent pitched in the bailey. We wait for the clanks to come up and have a brief council of war. I am in favour of circling around the hill and ambushing the occupant of the tent from all sides at the same time. Aramil however suggests that we should talk to the occupant first, which is an interesting approach, but one we decide to go with. I still circle around the hill with Garrett though, while Aramil and Elaina approach frontally. When they reach the bailey, the door of the tower opens and a horde of zombies comes shuffling out. Aramil waves his holy symbol at them, and all but one go back into the tower. A man has emerged from the tent by this stage and Aramil engages him in conversation. Obviously impressed by our ability to dismiss his zombies, he talks to us, and explains that he is a wizard from Thay called Kost and the zombies are his servants that he uses to protect him from the orcs while he investigates this tower. He is interested in knowing who built the tower, and offers us some money if we will ask Agatha the question for him. We suggest that he should give her a present, and after initially demurring, he provides a jewelled box to give her. He also offers to reward us if we will deal with the local orcs, and we agree to do that as well. We get an agreement from him that he will not harm the prospectors and will allow them to mine near the tower provided that they don’t disturb him. He agrees and we return to the prospectors and explain who is is and what he wants (mainly to be left alone).

We return to Coneywood and then back to Agatha’s hut. Garrett enters again, singing a song, but she throws him out because he had already asked a question this morning. Aramil enters instead, and she accepts his (Kost’s) gift and tells us the name of the wizard the built the tower (the name is meaningless to us).

It is late in the evening now, so we return to Coneywood and camp for the night in the same place. This time, we are attacked by stirges in the middle of the night. Only Elaina, who is on watch, avoids being bitten and manages to kill hers. Garrett and I also kill ours quickly, and Elaina attempts to help Aramil killing his with her sword. She is rather enthusiastic though and her sword blow, while killing the stirge, does quite a bit of damage to Aramil.

After the excitement, we settle back to enjoy the rest of the night, which is uninterrupted.

12th day of Tarsakh

In the morning, we head towards Wyvern Tor to find the orcs. It takes us most of the day (Wyvern Tor is a long way away) before I start to sense the presence of orcs in the wind and through the earth. We find that they are encamped in a cave in a ravine, and I feel that there are probably only a few of them in this raiding party. We spot a lone sentry, who doesn’t spot Garrett or myself, and I manage to kill him with a single arrow, albeit enhanced with Hail of Thorns.

Garrett and I then sneak up to the cave mouth, and see another 6 orcs, including one who is obviously a chief, sitting around a fire inside the cave. Garrett and I prepare spells while the clanks join us. As they do, Garrett and I step into the mouth of the cave. I fire another arrow on which I have cast Hail of Thorns at the chief and the two orcs on either side of him, while Garrett casts Shatter on the fire. Aramil and Elaina then step forward to protect us from the orcs attacking us. The orcs are suprised, and we attack again – I shoot another arrow at the chief, killing him, while Garrett casts Sleep, which drops all but one of the remaining orcs. However the ear-splitting noise of the Shatter spell has awakened an ogre who was obviously sleeping in a niche that we hadn’t seen before. He rushes us an strikes Elaina, although the blow is stopped by her armour. We engage in battle with the ogre, and manage to kill it without loosing any of our numbers. The last orc manages to escape in the confusion though. We loot the cave for treasure, and decide to camp the night here as we are so close to sunset.

13th day of Tarsakh

Next morning, we return to Kost and tell him his information, and collect our reward.

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The long road

Returning to Phandalin via the main road (as the Redbrands seem to be too cocky to set watchment) we stop by at Sildar to break the bad news about Iano Albrecht to him, and return Thel Dendra’s body for burial.  We explain that we haven’t managed to kill Glasstaff yet, and need rest before we can take him on again.

9th day of Tarsakh

We return to the Stonehill Inn for a meal, and yet more adulation from the general populace.  After a good, and uninterrupted, night’s sleep, we return to the catacombs via the back entrance we found last time.  Unfortunately, the dungeon turns out to be completely deserted – Glasstaff and his bugbears have done a runner!  Disappointed, we return to Phandalin via the Sleeping Giant tavern.  We stake out the tavern, and observe a female dwarf bustling around the kitchen door.  Garrett goes over to engage her in conversation, and finds her thoroughly unpleasant.  She recognises him, and accuses him of having ruined her tavern by driving away (or killing) all her clientele.  Our view that she should try and raise the standards of her establishment fails to get much traction.

We return to Sildar and break the bad news to him, but declare our intention to track him down, as we suspect he has fled to Cragmaw Castle, whence we need to go to free Gudrun.  However, Sildar doesn’t know when Cragmaw Castle is.  At the Town Hall though, we do see a notice about travellers on the Triboar Trail being attacked by orcs based near Wyvern Tor.  Sildar also mentions that he is concerned about reports that prospectors in the mountains to the east near the Old Owl Well ruins have been chased away by undead monsters.  The Old Owl Well is an old watchtower from the magical Netherill Empire, and he fears that there might be some old, bad magic there that is causing this problem.  The Old Owl Well is also relatively close to Wyvern Tor.

We go to Halia Thornton, who is also disappointed to find that we haven’t killed Glasstaff, and refuses to pay us as we haven’t completed the task she set us.  We show her a bundle of his correspondence with his orders for alchemical reagents (but minus the letter from Black Spider that identifies him as Iano Albrecht) and she agrees to give us half the fee for that.  We ask her about Cragmaw Castle – she doesn’t know where it is, but suggests that Quentelle Alderleaf might know.

We return to Ma Alderleaf, but it turns out she doesn’t know where Cragmaw Castle is, but she thinks that Reedoth the Druid does know.  Unfortunately he was last seen leaving Phandalin heading for the ruined village of Thunderleaf, which is back up the Main Road towards Neverwinter.

Finally, I drop in on Sister Garaele again, to pick up on her request to deal with a banshee.  She is grateful that we have dispatched so many of the Redbrands, and tells us more of what she wants from the banshee.  It turns out that the banshee is called Agatha, and she wants to ask her the location of a spell-book that once belonged to Bowgentle.  In return she has an ornate silver comb that she is offering.  If we will go to Agatha’s lair and exchange the comb for the information, she will give us 3 potions of healing.

We undertake the perform this mission, and set out up the Triboar trail.  Agatha’s lair is in the forest opposite Wyvern Tor.

11th day of Tarsakh

It takes us two days to reach the ruins of Coneywood, but the journey is uneventful.  Once there, the route into the forest is easily found, and rapidly leads us to a large hut that we assume is Agatha’s.  Garrett enters and uses his charm and musical prowess to flatter her, give her the comb and get the question answered.  Bowgentle’s spellbook was traded over 100 years ago to a necromancer called Tseonarth from Iriaebor.

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