chrysopoeia

The Glasstaff

After a short rest, the party considers their next course of action. Do they continue on to the next room where they heard jeers and groans, or try to find a more circuitous route around? Eventually, they return to the nothic's cavern, and pass through, seeing no sign of the creature. After some exploring, they come across a secret door, and find themselves in the cistern. Manu, trying to clear his head of his encounter with the nothic, dunks his head in the cool water, and finds a waterproof satchel containing several potions and a change of clothes, tied under the surface. After a bit of noisy discussion about the next direction to move in, they subdue a few Redbrands who had tried to get the jump on them.

After finding the stairs up into the old manor, they move carefully along, deeper into the manor's basement. Thanks to Delthal's dwarven senses, they easily spot a pit trap and set it off from a distance, and use a pair of pitons and rope to create a way to assist them in crossing along the pit's ledge through the entrancehall, and into the mausoleum. Ashen and Elessi, unconcerned by the skeletons and sarcophogi, move towards the next doors, but wake the skeletons. Elessi channels the light of Sune, blinding the undead's sightless senses, and the party makes quick work of them. 

As they continue on past an armory and storeroom, Manu stumbles upon another set of secret doors, and the party surprises Glasstaff in his quarters. On instinct, Manu quickly moves in and snatches away the wizard's staff, and the party together knocks the caster unconscious before he can work his spells. After a quick search of the room, they realize they have in their custody Iarno Albrek, Sildar's missing compatriot. Realizing the potential danger of a member of the Lord's Alliance having been turned by the mysterious Black Spider, they quickly bind and gag Glasstaff, and backtrack through the basement (Ashen noticed a chest at the bottom of the crevasse, but decided not to share the information with the party) and back out into the woods, where they take a moment to question the man.

They find Glasstaff open to talking, though not as helpful as they had hoped in learning the whereabouts of Gundren Rockseeker and Cragmaw Castle, and realize that the bugbears they killed and fed to the nothic may have had the information they needed. Manu begins to ask Glasstaff about the nothic, and Glasstaff taunts the monk knowingly, assuming he must have made a deal with the creature. Glasstaff will only say that he trapped the nothic with arcane wards, though the nothic had been present in the manor before the Redbrands moved in. Glasstaff does give up Walter, a new recruit of the Lord's Alliance who had put Albrek in touch with the necessary contacts to meet with the Black Spider, and decide they need to inform Sildar right away. They deliver Glasstaff to Sildar at the townmaster's hall, where Glasstaff is once again bound and gagged, and placed in a cell. 

Returning to the inn, Elessi and Manu consult with Gethin (whose room, when they knocked on the door, seemed to emit no sound, and was obscured in darkness that their elven eyes could not penetrate) on the nature of nothics and the sorts of wards that could hold them. However, Gethin says that there are no arcane wards that could hold a nothic long term, and shares that nothics are attracted to magic. Luckily, Gethin says that Phandalin has no powerful magical auras within it, aside, of course, from Gethin himself. Feeling the need to deal with the creature, the party retires to their rooms to regain their strength for what may be a difficult encounter.

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Nothic Whispers

The party awakens to find that several of the leaders in town were waiting for them outside the inn, including Sildar, Gethin, Sister Garaele, and Townmaster Harbin. They inform the party that something happened at the Sleeping Giant happened last night, and the tavernkeep, George, is missing.

 

The Townmaster blames the party, saying if they hadn't bothered the Redbrands, nothing would have happened. Manu disagrees and blames the Townmaster, and Sildar suggests Townmaster Harbin check with the other townspeople to make sure that no one else is missing. Gethin advises he was about to cast a spell to try and locate George, but when he does so, he reports he cannot sense him. The party offers that they've learned the Redbrands seem to be holed up in Tresendar Manor, and Gethin says that it could be that the spell reached its physical limits, and he could try again nearer to the Manor. The party and Sildar agree to accompany him to the Sleeping Giant, while Sister Garaele says she will go check on Felix, who was attempting an augury at the shrine.

 

Outside the taphouse, Gethin tries to sense for George again, but again reports that he cannot sense anything. He says that the spell is blocked by water, so it could be that there's some sort of small creek or something between the taphouse and the manor, or it could be that the Redbrands didn't take George. Nevertheless, Gethin is unwilling to involve himself too closely and does not want to get nearer the manor. Elessi thanks him for his help, but before Gethin leaves, he approaches Delthal, and says that he noticed the dwarf is carrying a relic of some value that Gethin would like to examine when they have time, should they survive the Redbrands.

 

The party goes inside the taphouse to investigate, where they find that the tables and chairs are all thrown over the place, but otherwise there's no significant damage. Behind the bar, there's spaces for missing barrels, but there's still a locked safe under the bar. Manu gets himself a cup of ale and leaves a gold piece on the bar, which Nox promptly attempts to pocket in full view of the party. Elessi and Manu have him put it back. Nox notices it looks like a the furniture was thrown to make a mess, but that there intentionally was not any damage made, nor does it look like a fight. They check the lockbox and shake it, but there's no sound of any movement inside. Manu suggests that George skipped town, rather than being kidnapped. 

 

The party returns to the shrine of luck, where they arrive at the close of the augury. Felix advises he was not able to get a clear answer from Lathander, however. Elessi asks if Felix would like to come along, but Felix says he feels he should stay with the townspeople, should something else happen, or in case George returns and is in need of healing, or if his body is found.

 

The party takes some time to decide on their plan of action, and decides to head to the woods south of the manor, where Manu and Nox scout ahead and find a cave in the cliffside. Manu sneaks back and tries to stealthily lead the rest of the party back to Nox. They encounter a single Redbrand scout, and handily defeat him. They question him, and he says that he didn't take George, but someone else could've. He says that he's heard there's a creepy eye monster in the cave tunnel into the manor, as well as admits that the Redbrands were hired by someone known as the Black Spider to scare people away and intimidate the locals. Manu decides to break his bow, then knocks him out.

 

The party regroups and rethinks their plan, unsure about the 'creepy eye monster'. Finally, they decide to enter the cave and face whatever rumored eye monster may be there. They move stealthily, but soon encounter a nothic, which proceeds to attempt to invade their minds with whispers and attempts to make deals for fresh meat. After a bargain is succeeded, the nothic allows the group to pass through to the stairs.

 

After listening at the next two doors, hearing what sounds like torture in the rooms beyond, they breech one door and quickly dispatch the three bugbears within. As soon as the battle is won, Manu picks up the unconscious goblin in the room, instructs Delthal to carry one of the bugbears, and leads the way back to the crevasse room. Manu finds the nothic and drops the goblin in front of the nothic. The goblin wakes up, screaming "No! No! Droop no deserve this!" and the nothic continues to eat the goblin live. Manu tells the nothic to "pay up". Elessi attempts to cast a spell, but Manu immediately covers her mouth to interrupt her. The nothic continues to eat Droop, who continues screaming and crying. Manu tells the group that he 'needs this'. After a few moments, the nothic finishes with Droop, and eats the bugbear. The rest of the party looks away while Manu waits, and Elessi cries hot angry tears. Once the nothic finishes with the bugbear, it runs off and jumps into the crevasse. Manu moves to follow, and screams at it from the top of the crevasse. Manu falls to his knees and begins to sob.

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Redbrand Ruffians

After returning to the Stonehill Inn after completing their errands, the party met in the Inn's lobby and began discussing what they've learned regarding the Redbrands and Glasstaff, and Elessi showed the group a strange gold coin she had in her possession, and said that she was told that the coin apparently had some kind of connection to a Red Wizard she was told might be in the area. As Manu decided he needed to visit the Sleeping Giant Taphouse, he was stopped by an elf sitting in the lobby. Elessi immediately stepped up to Manu and the elf and introduced herself. The elf introduced himself as Gethin, and suggested that he may have a task for a group of adventurers that may net them 1000 gold pieces. However, as the group had also mentioned hearing of a Red Wizard, Gethin advised he had also become aware of the Red Wizard's presence, and would like the party to make sure that the Wizard left the area. Gethin suspected the Red Wizard may be engaged in some kind of necromancy out at the Old Owl Well, and would prefer that the Wizard not be killed so that other Red Wizards would not have a need to investigate. Mention of possibly helping a necromancer did not please Manu, so he left the lobby. Elessi went to raise the issue to the rest of the party, and while she was talking to them, Elessi, Ashen, and Nox got the sense that Gethin was attempting to read their thoughts. Delthal did not seem concerned. Elessi advised Gethin that that was not very nice, and decided to leave the inn, as well. Before following after Elessi and Manu, Ashen attempted to charm Gethin, but the spell did not take effect, so she left the inn, embarassed.

Manu reached the Taphouse, but was confronted on the porch by four individuals wearing red cloaks, who told him that he was not welcome at the Taphouse, and that he and his friends needed to leave. Manu, uninterested in backing down, and unpleased by the men escalating the situation by drawing their weapons, tried to attack with his horseshoe-on-a-rope. The men swarmed around Manu, attacking with their swords, as the rest of the party arrived. Elessi stepped up to defend Manu, while Ashen burned several of them with burning beams of magic. Before anyone was able to deal lethal damage, however, Nox cast a spell and caused all of the thugs to fall asleep.

Elessi confronted Manu about not waiting for her, and tried to shove Manu, but as Manu was too quick, she tripped, and was caught by Manu before she fell on her face.  As the party considered rummaging through the Redbrands' pockets, the owner of the Taphouse, George, came outside and told the party they needed to leave, as he doesn't want any trouble. Manu attempted to convince him otherwise, and the party eventually decided to leave and buy ale at Barthen's Provisions. 

Nox, however, hid nearby and waited to watch the Taphouse. Eventually, a guard came by, and after seeing the sleeping Redbrands, ran off, then returned with several more Redbrands, who carried their unconscious fellows eastward, down the road. 

At Barthen's, the party ran into Sildar talking with Elmar Barthen. Sildar and Delthal cleared up the confusion and managed to gain the 50gp the party was owed. Manu attempted to sell the swords he took from the sleeping Redbrands to Barthen, but Barthen refused, admitting that the Redbrands had been shaking down the local businesses for money and that he could not have their stolen weapons in his establishment, and that the townmaster hasn't done anything about them. Barthen also shared that Gundren's brothers, Nundro and Tharden, had also been in town about a tenday ago, but that they had left to head to some mine or cave. Barthen expected them back any day now to resupply.

Back at Elessi and Ashen's room at the Stonehill Inn, after some confusion about how doors work, Sildar met the group to pay them the 50gp he owed them for escorting him back to town. Nox also returned to the group and shared what he had seen. Sildar shared that the Tresendar Manor, in the easternmost part of town, had been abandoned for about a decade as the previous owners had passed away without any relatives to take over the property. When they asked Sildar about the Red Wizard, Sildar advised that the druid that Qelline Alderleaf was friends with might know something, or Sister Garaele at the shrine could know something, as well.

Delthal and Ashen headed south to the Alderleaf farm, where they met Qelline and her son, Carp. Qelline told them that her druid friend, Reidoth, would certainly know more about the surrounding area, but that she had last seen him a week ago, when he passed through town towards the ruins of Thundertree due to some concerns about cultists. While talking with Qelline, Delthal and Ashen noticed her son, Carp, peeking around a corner. When Qelline asked if the two had been involved in the scuffle with the Redbrands at the Taphouse, Carp piped up saying that he had seen some of the Redbrands earlier, and that he thought they had a secret tunnel out in the woods. Delthal and Ashen coaxed the location of the tunnel out of Carp, and then left when it appeared that Qelline was rather upset with Carp for going out to the woods and being so close to the Redbrands.

Around the same time, Elessi, Manu, and Nox went to the Shrine of Luck. Manu sat down to pray while Elessi and Nox met with Sister Garaele and Felix Eran. The Sister was pleased at the mention that the group had had an encounter with the Redbrands that left four of the mercenaries unconscious. When they asked about a necromancer, Garaele admitted she had sensed something that gave her unease that could potentially be some sign of necromancy being worked, but that it was not so close to town that she thought it might be an immediate threat. Garaele and Felix shared that they were discussing a task set on them by their superiors — a spirit named Agatha, in Conyberry, might know something about a long lost spellbook of the mage Bowgentle, but Garaele had been unable to summon Agatha and speak to her about it. Elessi offered to try for them, and Garaele gave her a jeweled silver comb to try offering to the spirit in an attempt to appeal to Agatha's vanity. Before the group leaves, Felix and Garaele speak to Elessi in private for a few moments.

When the party meets back up at the Inn, after more confusion about the difference between inside and outside a door, the party decides to eat in their room and discuss what they've learned. When Elessi goes downstairs to get food, she once again sees Gethin in the lobby. Wanting to be sure to get the message across, Elessi stops at his table and lets him know he should ask rather than reading minds, and Gethin advises he didn't want to wait for them to stop talking. Elessi leaves him, buying him an ale.

The party rests in their rooms, with Manu trancing in the hallway, where he notices Gethin returning to his own room, and then discusses their plan for the day while magical smudges appear on Elessi's otherwise spotless armor.

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Klarg's Den

During the night, Sildar shared that he believes he heard the goblins mention that Gundren and/or the map to Wave Echo Cave had been taken to Cragmaw Castle, or to the Black Spider. Sildar, however, had no clue as to where this castle was, or who the Black Spider may be. 

Once fully rested, the party continued on through the cave, meeting a lone goblin standing guard on a nearby natural bridge. Ashen quickly charmed the goblin, and the party realized he had a string of bells tied to the waist of his pants. As the party spoke to Mr. Jingles Bojangles, and Manu gently caressed Mr. Bojangles' face, a wolf approached the party and attacked. The party defeated it easily, and convinced Mr. Bojangles to lead them further into the cave. However, while on the bridge, the goblins released a trap they were able to prepare during the night, flooding the cave, but sending only Elessi and Manu back to the stream outside the cave mouth. The rest of the party continued on after Mr. Bojangles, and attacked the goblin camp, killing Mr. Bojangles in the process.

While mourning, the party moved on past the goblin camp, towards a dimly lit room at the back of the cave, stacked with boxes. The party moved in quickly, as they spotted more goblins attempting to hide behind the boxes, but Manu also drew the wrath of Klarg the bugbear and his pet wolf, Ripper. Though Ripper's rage made it difficult for the party's weapons to find purchase on his hide, and Klarg unleashed a severe blow with his bugbear strength upon Delthal, Ashen unleashed her magic upon the bugbear, and then she along with Delthal ended the threat of the remaining combatants. 

The party found a chest full of copper, and discovered the stacks of boxes in the cave to belong to the Lionshield trading company, as well as a few boxes bearing Gundren's seal, but no Gundren, and no map. 

The party escorted Sildar back to Gundren's wagon, and escorted him on to Phandalin. Sildar advised he would seek out his contact, Iarno Albrek, for leads as to Gundren's possible whereabouts, and find a loan to pay the party 50gp for their assistance. Once settling into the town, Sildar rented rooms for the party at the Stonehill Inn (where the men each had individual rooms, and Elessi and Ashen decided to room together when Felix advised he would be staying at the local temple). 

Delthal drove Gundren's wagon to Barthen's Provisions, but decided not to explain the situation of the missing Gundren to Barthen. Ashen and Manu went to the Lionshield Coster and told Linene Graywind that they had found her shipment of goods in the goblin cave, to which she appeared quite thankful. Nox and Elessi went to the Miner's Exchange to exchange the chest of copper for gold. Halia Thornton, the guildmaster of the Exchange, also warned Nox and Elessi to be wary of the local mercenaries, the Redbrands, who had taken up lodging at the local Sleeping Giant tavern. However, Halia also added that should she would be interested in the Redbrands being largely left alive, so long as their leader, Glasstaff, was removed from power. Elessi also asked Halia about a strange foreign coin that Elessi had in her possession — Halia advised she had seen a similar coin recently in the possession of a Red Wizard who may be lurking around the outskirts of town. Nox did not seem pleased.

Regrouping at the inn, the party noticed an elf bearing a staff and many scars had taken up a seat in the inn's lobby.

The party achieved level 3.

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The Goblin Lure

While sharing a drink after their most recent adventure, monk Manu, paladin Elessi, sorcerer Ashen, and fighter Delthal overheard a dwarf arguing with his two companions over the need of an escort for a wagon to the town of Phandalin.

Elessi went to introduce herself and offer the groups services as an escort. The dwarf, Gundren Rockseeker, was quick to agree, though his companions, Sildar Hallwinter and Felix Eran were more skeptical of the venture. Nevertheless, Gundren decided that he and Sildar would set out for Phandalin that day, while Felix would meet Elessi and the party with the wagon in the morning.

When meeting Felix outside the tavern, the party encountered rogue Nox, who quietly and quickly added himself to the escapade.

On the way to Phandalin, Felix and the party noticed what was clearly a goblin ambush on the road. Once the goblins were dispatched, they determined the belongings left over clearly belonged to Gundren and Sildar. The party tracked the goblins to a nearby cave, and soon found Sildar, beaten up and held captive by the goblins. Once the goblins were defeated, the party decided to camp in the cave, as Sildar explained that Gundren had been taken somewhere else — along with a map to the fabled Wave Echo Cave, which Gundren had rediscovered. Sildar, as a member of the Lord's Alliance, expressed a need to find Gundren and the map, as well as remove the threat of the remaining goblins and their bugbear leader.

 

The party members achieved level 2.

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