It is mid-morning in Neverwinter. Several individuals wake up to face a new day and new challenges. Euphemia, a halfling, wakes up in an alley, obscured by drunken revelers sleeping off the previous night’s ale. She quietly gathers her belongings, dusts herself off, and walks around to the front of the tavern to get breakfast and see about a possible job opportunity. Medislak, a jet-black giant of a human; Thorudin, a compact dwarf with braided beard; and a nameless nondescript human all rise from their respective beds in Neverwinter’s least nosy and least expensive Inn. Dawn Maryona, a tall thin human of obviously noble birth (as evidenced by his elegant—perhaps fussily elegant—attire), steps onto the streets of Neverwinter, draws in a deep cleansing breath and makes a face. Apparently, Neverwinter fails to smell as sweet and clean as Dawn would prefer.
Lost Mine of Phandelver
|Highsun, the 20th of the Melting, the Year of the Grinning Halfling
Cast of Characters
Act 1: Goblin Arrows
The Adventure Begins
As morning progresses all five make their way to a certain tavern where they have been summoned to a breakfast meeting with Gundren Rockseeker, a well-dressed dwarf with a full purse and a kindly (if somewhat gruff) demeanor. Over breakfast Gundren explains that he has a cart full of…things that needs to be delivered safely to Phandalin—a town about three days‘ walk from Neverwinter. In return for the safe delivery of his cart, Gundren promises them ten gold apiece as payment for their effort. All five agree to Gundren’s term, with remarkably few questions, and after a quick round of introductions (all introduce themselves except for the still unnamed nondescript human), the band of unlikely adventurers are on their way, starting out heading south on the High Road from Neverwinter.
On the road, Dawn attempts to befriend everyone with little success. Apparently these scruffy strangers are less impressed by his noble bearing than expected, especially since Dawn’s typical interactions involve those around him quickly being won over by his easy manner. Euphemia seems to dislike walking, perhaps due to her somewhat slower gait, and blithely swings up on the back of the cart, walking across the tarp covering the goods making barely an imprint. She settles on the head of the front ox, sitting with legs crossed, watching the road ahead. Thorudin makes somewhat more pleasant conversation with Dawn as they walk along, and the gruff dark-haired Nameless one chuckles to himself at the little one’s antics. Medislak seems ever-prepared for any possible danger, but for the first two days the trip is entirely uneventful.
About mid-day on the third day of travel some time after they have turned west onto the Triboar Trail, as the party inches ever closer to their destination, they are surprised by two dead horses in the middle of the road. Euphemia is immediately alert, and she hops off the head of the ox, dashes to the treeline, and promptly fades into darkness. Nameless tells Medislak to check out the horses while the rest of the party stays with the cart. The horses, Medislak discovers, have been shot by small arrows, the kind Euphemia carries with her for the short bow slung around her back. As he turns to report his discovery arrows begin to fly from the trees. Dawn pulls out his impressively large and jewel encrusted axe and goes to investigate the right side of the road—the side where Euphemia had disappeared. Thorudin and Medislak rush to the other side of the road as Nameless is struck by arrows and dives underneath the cart. Thorudin and Medislak encounter two goblins with bows and arrows and somewhat ineffectually try to attack them. After Dawn handily cleaves one of the goblins he has found on his side of the road in twain, he hears a battle cry from across the road, and hurls one of his javelins in that direction, brilliantly striking…Madislak, and knocking him bleeding to the ground.
Meanwhile, Euphemia has stealthily come around to discover the goblins on Dawn’s side of the road. She lets an arrow fly and catches the one farther from Dawn, but fails to kill him as the goblin screeches and heads towards Euphemia, bow drawn. Instead of being useful, Dawn turns after killing the first goblin and Euphemia screams in rage as she sees Madislak fall.
Safely under the cart, Nameless picks off one of the goblins attacking Madislak and Thorudin with his bow, and Dawn finally comes through and rushes over the slay the last goblin on the left side of the road.
Euphemia’s last goblin runs full speed away having severely wounded Euphemia with an arrow, but Euphemia is strong enough to charge out of the woods, swearing in Halfling. Thorudin manages to bring Madislak back to his feet, and after a bit more investigating (and Halfling curses), the horses are moved out of the way and the party makes it to Euphemia’s aunt’s house for some much needed rest, food, and recuperation.
The next day they bring the cart into town. On arrival at the general store, where they had been told to deliver the goods, they encounter an unexpected difficulty. Apparently their patron, Gundren, has not managed to arrive safely in Phandalin. This causes some distress both to the general store’s proprietor, Barthen, who does not have the funds to reimburse the travelers for their trouble, and to the adventuring party (in part because of the lack of payment, and in part because those horses on the road suddenly take on a new dimension of import). After a little time, and far more bickering than seems necessary, the adventurers are given some advice on how to find their way around, and promised payment as soon as Gundren returns to town. However, if the traveling party can find more information about Gundren’s whereabouts, Barthen would be willing to pay them something for their trouble. After a bit more investigation and interrogation of the general store owner, and his far more informed stock boys, the group makes their way to the Town Master—perhaps he can shed some light on why a dwarf and his traveling companion may have been prevented from arriving in town.
The town master is far more concerned with the recent orc troubles just outside of town than some random missing dwarf. Even the local group of ruffians the travelers hear about on their way to the Town Master’s office, the Redbrands, seem to bother the Town Master not at all. It’s almost as if he might have some sort of arrangement with them. He offers, again and again, to reward them for killing the orcs, but declines to offer anything in the way of aid in finding Gundren or in doing anything at all to stop the Redbrands from terrorizing his city’s denizens, claiming that they're “just a mercenary guild, and not all that much trouble, really.”
After a bit more exploring, it becomes clear that the only way to find out more information about the goblin ambush on the road and the likely whereabouts of Gundren Rockseeker is to venture into the part of town controlled by the Redbrands. Euphemia refuses to go into that area, but keeps watch from the top of a house a block or so away. [When the others approach the tavern where several Redbrands are lounging about.] Is that a sentence? At first the villains hurl only insults at the odd band of travelers, but in fairly short order they attack. Dawn and Nameless primarily make short work of the Redbrands, not even giving Euphemia the opportunity to fire an arrow. [Players: if you have flavor/detail to add here, that would be great, I don’t remember tons about this part of the encounter.] She slides down from the house and hurries over to her companions, and insists they follow her. They argue at first, but she points out that they’ve just killed some Redbrand foot soldiers and the more powerful members of the gang are sure to follow soon. One of the men is not dead, and the group spirits him away for enhanced interrogation in a nearby abandoned shack.
When the man comes to, Euphemia perches on his chest, threateningly, and demands to know about the goblins. The man is confused at first, but eventually, and with much prodding from Euphemia and Nameless, reveals that there is an underground hideout not too far from the tavern. He mutters something about an eye monster, and a goblin that might have more information. He says that Glasstaff will be more than happy to avenge this insult Euphemia and her friends have made to the Redbrands. After getting as much information out of the Redbrand as possible, the group bickers about what to do with him. Finally, Nameless and Madislak take him to the Townmaster's hall, in the hopes of a reward or assistance. Harbin, instead of gratitude, offers a sputter of irritation and rage.
“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?”
“A public service. We defended ourselves against an attack, and rid the community of a threat,” Nameless responds.
“Oh, dear. Oh, dear, oh dear. You have no idea. Just what, exactly, do you think will come of this? Nothing good, I can tell you that. Nothing good at all. Do you think Glasstaff and the leaders of the Redbrands will simply let this pass? No. No, no, no. They’ll come right into town and look for answers. And do you know where they’ll come first? To me.”
“Fine. If you won’t take care of your town, that’s your problem,” and Madislak slits the Redbrand's throat. The two men turn around and exit the hall, leaving the body of the Redbrand splayed in a puddle of blood on the townmaster’s floor.
When Madislak and Nameless return to the shack, Euphemia tells them all that she knows how to get into the underground hideout. They make their way across some fields and come to a tunnel leading underground. As they enter the stony tunnel they see very little, as it’s extremely dark. As they walk through, however, each hears a disturbing voice in their head that seems to know their most intimate secrets. All of a sudden Madislak screams and the smell of rotting flesh invades the air, and all the adventurers are on alert. Well, all but one. Dawn immediately starts talking. To something. Asking that it stop hurting “us.”
“For the love of all that’s holy, it melted his flesh! You can’t reason with something that melts flesh! Shut up,” Euphemia shouts at Dawn.
“It’s just scared.”
“We didn’t melt its flesh, but I will put an arrow in its skull.”
The rest of the party spreads out searching in the dark tunnel for whatever it is that attacked Madislak. Before anyone spots it, Euphemia cries out in pain, and her arm begins to rot. All of a sudden, in front of Nameless, there is a scaly beast with one giant eye and a mouth full of bared, horrifying teeth. Its hands and feet are claws, and its giant eye seems to weave in front of it, as though the eye controls the rest of the body. The adventurers attack viciously, save Dawn, who tries to convince the eye-monster to stand down while he shouts at everyone else to stop attacking it. No one listens. [I don’t remember who hit it with what, so if anyone else does, that would be great to add.] The eye-monster falls into the ravine, and melts into darkness. They search around for the body of the horrible monster, and in the process Euphemia falls unceremoniously into the cavern when the first bridge collapses underneath her. Madislak climbs down to help her up, but she scales the sides of the cavern instead. The party carries on, crossing the solid bridge across the ravine and discovers a doorway that they investigate.
The first opening just north of the cavern reveals…a storage room full of empty barrels. The next opening has a staircase leading down to a door on the left and another on the right. They open the first door which yields a barracks-style sleeping room…with five Redbrand guards playing cards. Luckily, the first one through the door is Madislak, with Dawn close behind him. Dawn acts quickly and insists that Madislak is his prisoner, and that Dawn is friends with Glasstaff. Dawn speaks loudly enough that Nameless, Thorudin and Euphemia can back into the door on the other side of the corridor (an empty workshop with alchemical seeming draughts and bottles and measuring tools), and hide. Though there are some significant mis-steps in Dawn’s story (much mumbling and side-stepping), his charismatic ownership of his own nobility is enough to eventually convince the Redbrands that Dawn is, in fact, holding this man prisoner for Glasstaff. Of course, the next thing to do is to bring the prisoner to Glasstaff, which the Redbrands are happy to do for the visitor. As they attempt to take Madislak away from Dawn, Nameless comes in, toadying to Dawn’s aristocratic bearing, and the guards back off a bit—but only for a moment. Meanwhile, Thorudin and Euphemia find a door that leads to a sleeping chamber; clearly a sleeping chamber not built for a guard. In the back of this room, Euphemia discovers a hidden door that had been left open a crack, but before she can open it, they hear commotion in the workshop.
“Here’s the way to Glasstaff, sir. If delivering the prisoner personally is necessary, this is the way to do it.”
“What’s this, then? A prisoner, you say?”
“This…noble brought a prisoner for Glasstaff, sir.”
“Well, we know what happens to prisoners. Thank you, sir, for your help. I’ll have my men take him to the mines.”
“Oh, no, I, uh, well, Glasstaff will want to interrogate him.”
“Yes, yes. The interrogators at the mine will have a fine time with him.”
“No, I mean, well, the thing is, you really need to let me…”
And Euphemia jumps out from the door in the back of the workshop, bow drawn, shoots an arrow and yells “Madislak, fight for your freedom!”
And the fight ensues. Euphemia deftly strikes with her arrows, Madislak sticks several Redbrand guards with his sword, Dawn cleaves his axe into limbs, but in the melee Thorudin is struck and falls unconscious. Dawn is also knocked into a table where many potions spill, staining his fine clothing. When it’s over, the adventurers have won, but their wounds are significant. They decide to hide out in the back room and rest until the dwarf has recovered sufficiently to help the rest of them heal.
In the night, as the others sleep, Dawn has an interesting mental conversation with a mysterious voice. A familiar mysterious voice. He sneaks out of the room where his companions are resting, picks up the dead body of a Redbrand, and sneaks into the tunnel where he deposits the body in the ravine. In a sliver of light from a wall torch, Dawn sees the eye-monster limp out to the body and devour it. And Dawn brings a second body.
When everyone is fully rested and ready for a bit more exploration, they open the door in the back of the sleeping chamber. They climb the stairs through the dusty and mildewed rock, and discover another door. On the other side of the door they discover…some nondescript crates and barrels, nothing of any note or value. They exit the room to find…the cavern they originally were in. So, given their circling around everything, they try the third exit to the cavern. They walk down a flight of stairs and hear a commotion. Deep, beastly voices growling in some horrible language that sounded unnatural coming from these voices. Then a higher voice, screaming in panic and pain.
“Please! No kick Droop! Droop do what Mosk say!”
As Madislak knocks the door open, the party sees a group of beasts in Redbrand garb, covered head-to-toe in fur, knocking a goblin around and shouting at him in an indistinguishable language. When Madislak enters, the goblin collapses on the floor in a heap.
“Who you!” the largest one, with a jeweled eyepatch shouts at the interlopers. Euphemia zooms forward.
“Euphemia Hiddenstream. You’ve heard of me,” she says with confidence. “I work for Glasstaff.”
“You used work for big boss. Now you outlaw! We kill outlaw!”
“No, no. I was pretending to be an outlaw. Glasstaff told me to pretend so I could find things out for him. Now I’m back. Glasstaff sent me to find you.”
“Find Mosk? Why find Mosk?”
“We’re tracking a prisoner!” says Dawn.
“Prisoner? Where prisoner?”
“He went that way,” says Nameless, pointing up the stairs.
“Oh. He went to eye-monster. Eye-monster eat prisoner. We play with goblin.”
“No, he escaped the cavern. You, Mosk, are the perfect person to catch him!” says Euphemia.
“You mean, he went to town?”
“So Mosk go to town?”
“Is about time. Mosk been waiting for orders to go to town.”
And the bugbears scoop up the goblin and head for the stairs.
“Wait!” Shouts Euphemia.
“Leave the goblin. He’ll slow you down, and besides, Glasstaff needs him for a…spell.”
“Hrumph. Glasstaff take all good toys. Fine.” And with a sigh, Mosk drops the goblin on the floor.
The group manages to revive the goblin. At first the group is harsh with Droop, but he cowers and they get little out of him. So Euphemia pushes the others aside and stands on her tiptoes to be eye to eye with Droop.
“What’s your name?”
“Name? Droop is name.”
“Hello Droop. I’m Euphemia. We need to find the boss.”
“Boss? Mosk boss. He kick droop lots.”
“No, not Mosk. Glasstaff.”
“No know Glasstaff. Droop hear name, but never ever see Glasstaff.”
“Okay. Where is your home, Droop?”
“Droop lives in cave.”
“Do you live with other goblins?”
“Oh, yes. Droop lives with lots other goblins.”
“Can you take us where the other goblins are?”
“Yes…but…ambush place is on way. You get ambushed.”
“Did your goblin companions ambush a dwarf recently?”
“Dwarf? Yes. There was dwarf. And knight. Now leader have them.”
“What does your leader do with the people he captures?”
“How much do you think your leader would sell the dwarf for?”
“You ask him. Droop no do negotiations.”
“Okay, Droop. Will you take us to the place where we can try to buy the dwarf and the knight?”
“Yes. Droop take little one.”
And with that, the adventuring troop sets off, out of town, back to the site of their earlier encounter with the goblins to attempt to rescue Gundren and his knight companion from the goblins.