Having dealt with the menace of Black Spider we have some well earned sleep. We then return to the cave with the crevasse and have a really good search, finally uncovering the skeleton of a dwarf miner with some very chunky looking gloves. Aramil tries them on and finds that his strength is magically much increased, so he decides to keep them.
We then return to the cave with the Forge of Spells in it. There is unfinished business with the wraith, who could be a tough opponent. We decide therefore, since he spoke to us, and since reasoning with the mad beholder went so well, that we might try talking to him as well. We open the door and he forms before our eyes as before. This time, though, we ask him why his soul is restlessly stalking the material plane. He ponders and gives us a long story about how he was the last of the defenders and the mightiest wizard here, but even he fell defending the Forge. He is now trying to preserve all the magical items that remain and keep them safe. If we are willing to get rid of the guardian of the forge, then he will reward us with coins from his treasure chest, for he has no use for them. We tell him that we have dismissed the guardian, but he does not believe us until Garrett shows him his normal dagger, then goes and enchants it in the forge and returns to show us it is enchanted. The wraith then allows us to take all the coins from his chest, but not the pipe. We examine the chest, and there is indeed a hoard in there, as well as an old and well worn smoking-pipe, which we leave as instructed. The wraith then offers us a chance to look through his shelves of tomes and scrolls if we give him something similar in return. We offer the scroll of Augury (a spell of strictly limited utility) and have a look. Unfortunately we find no scrolls of Wish or similar, but do find an intriguing old map stuffed into the flysheets of one old book.
We find little else in the caverns, and so decide to return with Tobler to Phandalin, where we receive a cordial welcome from Gudrun and Sildar. No sign of Glasstaff anywhere – we shall have to cast our nets further afield. Our plan to finish off the last Redbrands at the Sleepy Giant is forestalled by discovering that they have all scarpered, including the grumpy proprietress.
Fortified, we return to Thundertree to help out the druid as we promised. We find him easily, and discover that nothing much has changed. Aramil persuades us that rather than just heading straight for the tower, and the dragon, we should have a check of the rest of the village first. We find that the route to both the tower and the rest of the village is blocked by a wall of webs anyway, so spend a merry couple of minutes slaughtering two giant spiders before continuing. We find a village square with a statue to some minor hero, a fortified watch tower with some ash zombies in it, and then at the far end of the village, a barricaded house. Garrett and Aramil knock on the door, with Elaina and myself covering them and hidden. The house turns out to have 6 complete loonies living there, who appear to worship dragons and want to befriend this dragon. They are very interested in Garrett and Aramil joining their cult. A plan starts to form in my mind, that we could offer the dragon 6 willing victims if it agrees to leave the village and move elsewhere. I am sure it would give the loonies the buzz of their lives to be actually eaten by the dragon. Or maybe it would get it into their stupid heads that dragons are not cute and cuddly. Either way, its a win for the forces of sanity.
Aramil slips out though, and we have a conflab on the plan. They agree that the cultists could provide useful ablative cover, so Garrett and Aramil will offer to lead them to the dragon, given all their experience in dealing with dragons. Meanwhile, he suggests that since the watchtower has arrow slits overlooking the tower, and has arrow slits, it would provide a good place for me to snipe at the dragon from. I heartily concur, as studded leather has been shown in repeated tests to provide very little protecting against dragon breath. We burst into the tower and start killing the ash zombies one at a time after Aramil has turned them all. It turns out that they are heavy smokers and each time you hit them they try to share a little passive smoking with you in the hope that you will die of a lingering lung disease in 20 years time, so Elaina and I pull back and shoot them down while Aramil goes toe to toe with the forces of Big Tobacco. We finish them off relatively quickly, and I start preparing my ambush point.Read More