Upheaval of the Sword Coast

Journey to Thundertree and...

While breaking up their camp along Triboar Trail, our party is greeted by a lone traveller, a Paladin named Elcares. He’s also been hunting orcs at Wyvern Tor but now that they’ve been taken care of, he expresses his gratitude to the party for killing the greenskin and offers to join the party back to Phandalin.

Arriving in town, the party is met by Sildar who introduces them to a middle-aged female Halfling named Quelline Alderleaf. She has no knowledge of where Cragmaw Castle can be found but she knows someone who might – a wandering Druid named Reidoth has extensive knowledge of the area surrounding Neverwinter and Quelline suspect he might know where to find the Castle. She provides the party with directions to the abandoned town of Thundertree, saying that Reidoth is known to wander that area.

Before heading out for Thundertree, the party receives their payment for dispersing with the orcs and the Redbrands.

After an uneventful couple of days travel the party finally reaches the town of Thundertree. It’s a small ruined town with no more than 10-12 buildings, half of which are collapsed and overgrown with plants. A small, hand-made sign bids our adventurers welcome: “DANGER! Plant monsters AND zombies! Turn back now!”

The party splits up with Rakman and Elcares going east and west, respectively, around the town, while Malien and Martyn takes the more direct route due north. Elcares discovers an old Tavern filled with zombies and some huge cobwebs while Rakman surprises a couple of zombies in an old smithy.
Rakman lures the zombies out of the building back towards Malien and Martyn but is attacked by some Twig Blights when climbing up some ruined walls. They quickly eliminate the threat but Martyn is struck by some ashes from the slaughtered zombies and feel very ill for a few minutes.

While planning their next move, suddently Malien hears something from one of the adjacent buildings. They enter and discovers an elderly man with a white beard; Reidoth the Druid.
After introducing each other, Reidoth willingly shares some information about the town of Thundertree with the adventurers: The town is overrun by zombies, plants and spiders but more worringly a young, green dragon has apparantly settled down in the abandoned tower at the top of the hill in the middle of town. Also, some folk in black masks and cloaks have been spotted skulking around.
He asks if the party would try and investigate the cloaked people and in return he’d show them the way to Cragmaw Castle. The party agrees and leaves most of their gear behind before heading out for the eastern part of town to investigate.
They quickly find a small farmhouse where all the doors are shut and windows shuttered – something they haven’t seen anywhere else in the ruins. They sneak up to the house and – somewhat surprisingly – knocks on the door. After some time the door is opened and a couple of cloaked humans appear in the doorway. Martyn tries to charm his way into the house by faking an interest and love for dragons and now the leader of the cloaked persons also appear. After a short discussion, Martyn casts a spell killing the leader of the Dragon Cultists in an instant!
The remaining cultists are scared, wanting to flee the house and the party lets them go without harming them further. Returning to Reidoth the Druid, the adventurers learn the location of Cragmaw Castle and head out, back south towards Phandalin.

On their way back, the weather is getting worse by the hour. Rain is pouring down and the marsh is getting more and more swamp-like. At one point the rain is so intense that it’s hard to see just a few feet ahead. After several hours, the rain suddently stops but instead a very dense fog lays over the lands. A few moments later the fog disappears but now it seems like the entire surroundings have changed… It looks like our adventurers are in the middle of a swamp!
The party discusses what might have happened but ultimately concludes that they simply cannot have entered the Mere of Dead Men – the only known swamp in the area – as it’s located way too far to the south. Meanwhile, Martyn realises that his Holy Symbol is constantly feeling hot…

After wandering the swamp in what seem like forever, night falls over the area. The dark, grey sky is turning even darker and ghastly mists rise from the water. Through the tree-tops the moon is looking larger than ever before but no real light is coming from it. Far, far away the adventurers can see smoke-black stormclouds gathering, a clear sign that a storm is coming.

The next morning, the party continues on and suddently they see a small raft tied to a tree in the middle of the swamp. They board the raft and continues exploring the misty swamp. It is now several days since the adventurers have seen any form of sunlight and at some point their minds begin to play tricks with them – seeing and hearing things that may or may not be real…
Then, suddently, they are attacked by 3 Giant Frogs! However, they pose no real threat to the party and are killed off quite quickly.

The black storm-clouds in the distance are looking more and more threatening but still no rain or thunder is to be heard or seen. The next day, after spending several more hours on the raft, the party suddently see something they haven’t seen in quite a few days: Light!

On a small piece of dry land, a fire in the middle of a small camp is visible. In the flickering light a colorful gypsywagon along with 2 horses, some small children and 3 adults are seen. Sitting by the fire, one of the adults, an elderly man, looks directly at the adventurers, smiles and waves them towards him and the small camp.

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Exploring the ruins of Tresendar Manor

Our adventuring party continued exploring the cellar finding another room full of Redbrand thugs in the process. Before finding a secret passage into the second part of the lair, however, they decided to free the 3 prisoners, leading them back to safety in Phandalin.

Rakman and Boris discovered a large cave with a couple of shaky bridges but cared not for the voice in their heads demanding food, food and even more food. Joined again by Martyn and Malien they continued to explore the rest of the cellar.

First, they found a gambling room where some clearly intoxicated Redbrands didn’t pose much of a threat to them – except that Boris fell unconscious on the floor. Then they ventured on to another guard room – this time containing 3 Bugbears and a small Goblin. But because Malien and Rakman wore scarlet cloaks (looted earlier from the thugs) the party managed to persuade the Bugbears that they were new recruits and left the room, closing the door behind them.

Going back through the gambling room, they found a room filled with destillation coils, other alchemical devices, and bookshelves crowded with sheafs of parchment and tombs. This was clearly a wizard’s workshop. Malien found a book written in Dwarvish, which he later identifed as the journal of an adventurer named Urmon. The party also killed the only inhabitant of the room – a small rat.

And last, but not least, their search led them to a small bedroom with both a desk, a chair and a relatively comfortably-looking bed. On the desk they discovered a very interesting letter, addressed to Lord Albrek and signed by the Black Spider.

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They also noticed that an otherwise hidden door was left open, as if someone had used it in a haste, forgetting to close it behind them.

Thinking that he was doing a clever thing, Martyn set the room on fire, trying to lure out the rest of the Redbrands. Unfortunately he’d forgotten that Boris was unconscious in another room thus killing off their warrior companion!

After waiting for a while, the party discovered a hidden passage leading out from the cellar to the nearby forrest. As heavy rain had begun falling on the lands, the tracks were too obscured to make any sense of and our adventurers headed back to town, to get some well-deserved rest.

Next morning they explained to Sildar what had happened to Boris – or, at least some of the story – and decided to head over to the Townmaster’s Hall to inform him of their encounter with the Redbrands. Here, they decided to take on the challenge of killing the orcs at Wyvern Tor, while trying to get some more info on the location of Cragmaw Castle.

Our 3-man party headed out for Wyvern Tor and some hours later they found a cavern in a hill-side guarded by a lone orc. After luring out the pack of orcs (and a single Ogre) they managed to kill off the leader of the pack which led the remaining greenskins to flee the battleground. In this fight, Rakman tried some crazy tree-dancing moves which almost led to his death – but he managed to escape with a single hp left!

Back on the trail, our party of stout adventurers decided to take a rest before heading back to Phandalin…

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Searching for clues in Phandalin

After arriving in Phandalin, Sildar heads for the Stonehill Inn for a much-needed rest. Rakman and Boris goes looking for clues while Malien and Martyn heads over to Barthen’s Provisions with Gundren’s wagon.

Rakman tries his luck, first at a dirty, old tavern called The Sleeping Giant and later at the Townmaster’s Hall. Here, he almost gets into a fight the Townmaster, Harbin Wester, but eventually leaves and rejoins the others no wiser than when they arrived in the town.

Back at the Stonehill Inn the party sits down to share a meal and some ale. Elsa, a gossippy barmaid, tells them that the silver-haired, old half-elf in the corner is a former adventurer named Daran Edermath and that he knows a lot about what’s going on in Phandalin. Malien buys an extra mug of ale and joins Daran at his table. When the half-elf learns that the party are out to hunt evil he congratulates them on their noble quest and shares a bit of information which he thinks might be useful to them:
“The Redbrands have gained too much power in Phandalin over the last few months and it’s time that someone took a stand against them and their leader, Glasstaff. They hang around the Sleeping Giant and their main safe house is located at the ruins of Tresendar Manor, on the eastern edge of town.”

After a night of peaceful sleep, the party heads out towards Tresendar Manor. On the way they are confronted by 4 thugs dressed in scarlet cloaks. It’s obvious that Rakmans questions from last night has alerted them of the partys presense. A fight breaks out and our heroes manages to kill off the opposition without too much hassle.

At the ruins of Tresendar Manor, the party quickly finds a staircase leading down to the cellar below the old mansion. In his usual larger-than-life style, Martyn charges into the underground with the rest of the gang following closely behind him.

They first enter a large room with a couple of doors, some barrels and kegs and a large bassin filled with water. They decide to open the northern door which leads them into a long hallway. At the end of the hallway, they see a large double door with a relief carving of a mournful angel. Before reaching the door, Martyn sets off a pit trap which he barely manages to escape.
They open the double door and finds themselves inside a crypt holding 3 large stone sarcophagi. Sitting against each of them is a human skeleton clad in rusty mail. Suddently while exploring the crypt the 3 skeletons become animated! The very moment the skeletons become animated, Martyn’s Holy Symbol of Lathander becomes warm around his neck. The party quickly deals with the skellies – which ultimately turns Martyn’s symbol cold again – and continues exploring the crypt. When examining the sarcophagi more closely they find that each stonelid is carved to depict a person – 2 human males and 1 human female, all of noble bearing. Our friends decide not to open the sarcophagi and heads for the door in the northeastern corner of the room.
When opening the door, Malien sees a room split into 3 areas with iron bars wailing off the north and south. A pair of human women are held in the cell to the south while a human boy is confined to the north. All are dressed in grey tunics and have iron collars fitted around their necks. Malien decides to enter the room and is immeditately attacked by 2 guards wearing scarlet cloaks, hiding behind the door. Luckily he escapes relatively unharmed and the adventurers kill the guards after a short fight. Then they approach the prisoners but ultimately decides to leave them confined “for their own safety”. The woman and her 2 children have been prisoners since the Redbrands killed her husband, a local woodcarver who chose to stand up to them.
The party leaves and continues to explore the cellar heading out another door in the crypt. This time they are not attacked by any skeletons or guards but now finds themselves in what is clearly the armory – a small room with racks of weapons and dirty red cloaks.

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Exploring the caves of Cragmaw Hideout

The party continued where they left off – outside the cave with the confined wolves. While trying to decide what to do next, they suddently hear a loud rumble and moments later a large wave of water comes crashing through the tunnels! Being neither agile nor strong, Martyn is washed away by the wave and finds himself outside the cave entrance. He dusts himself off and rejoins the party where he left them. Moments later – as if it was some kind of de-ja-vu – another huge wave of water comes crashing through the cave. Again Martyn is swept away by the force of the water. This time only to lose consciousness outside the cave…

The party decides to rest for a while and then sends Rakman the Rogue in to investigate the rest of the cave alone. He discovers 2 pools of what used to hold large amounts of water with broken make-shift dams, a bridge across the entrance of the cave and a smoke-filled, smelly cave with goblinoid noises coming from it.

At this point the rest of the party decides that they have waited long enough for Rakman to return and enters the cave again. After a couple of failed attempts by the not-so-agile-and-nimble Elf, Martyn manages to throw a rope around the bridge which they use to climb up.

Using his stealth and amazing archery skills, Rakman disposes of a few goblin warriors almost before the fight has broken out. Malien suffers some nasty wounds but before his companions are able to come to his aid, a voice from a 15’ ledge orders them to stop fighting or “the human will die”. A goblin leader has his scimitar pointed at Sildar’s throat! Martyn tries to be the hero of the day, but his efforts are in vain. Luckily Rakman fares a little better, killing the goblin with just 1 arrow. Unfortunately this means that Sildar falls from the ledge and lands unconscious at the floor of the cave.

Our adventurers quickly bring both Sildar and Malien back to life (yes, 1 hit point is still alive) and they begin searching the rest of the cavern for hidden doors and other missing rooms. At one point Rakman sets off on his own and tries to search the wolves cave. Unfortunately, one of the chains that holds the wolves breaks, and Rakman falls unconscious to the ground.

Meanwhile the rest of the party discovers a staircase leading to a so-far undiscovered room in the eastern-most part of the cavern.
While Boris stays back to protect Sildar and Rakman, Martyn and Malien enters the cave only to discover a couple of goblins, a wolf and big, bad Bugbear named Klarg. Martyn tries a mind trick that seems to fool Klarg for a few moments but when Malien takes a direct hit and falls to the ground, Martyn runs for his life to bring Boris into the fight. After a hard fought battle, lots of heroic moves by Martyn and very little assistance from Boris, the enemy is defeated. Klarg succumbs to his wounds and the party is victorious!

Before exiting the cavern, the party quickly searches the stashes in the main cave, finding quite a lot of money, some healing potions and small jade statuette. They also see a lot of crates marked with a blue lion which obviously is the loot from other raids at the Triboar Trail.

After completing a much-needed rest, they head back to the place where they left the oxen wagon along the Trail. Heading out for Phandalin, Sildar shares a few things with the party about what has happened:
The three Rockseeker brothers (Gundren, Nundro and Tharden) recently found the long-lost Wave Echo Cave. But somehow this did not go unnoticed… The goblins in the cave talked about someone (or some thing) called The Black Spider who apparantly sent word to Klarg to have Gundren brought to him (or it). Sildar believes Klarg sent both Gundren and the map showing the location of Wave Echo Cave, to a place called Cragmaw Castle. Unfortunately he doesn’t know it’s location but suggests that someone in Phandalin might. Sildar has a contact in Phandalin named Iarno Albrek, a wizard who traveled to the town 2 months ago. Both Sildar and Iarno (and Boris) are members of The Lords’ Alliance but noone has received word from Iarno since he left so Sildar decided to investigate while escorting Gundren to Phandalin.

On the road to Phandalin, Sildar also tells the party the story of the Wave Echo Cave.

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Ambush at the Triboar Trail

While staying in the city of Neverwinter, our party of 3 adventurers (Martyn, Malien and Rakman) met up with an old friend – a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker who asked them to bring a wagon load of provisions to the settlement of Phandalin, a couple of days travel southeast of the city.

Gundren was clearly excited but only revealed that he and his brothers, Nundro and Tharden, had found “something big,” and that he’d pay the party 10gp each for escorting his supplies safely to Barthen’s Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin. He then set out ahead of them on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to “take care of business.”

Accompanied by Sildur’s loyal apprentice, Boris Halz, our band of adventurers has spent the last few days following the High Road south from Neverwinter, and only recently veered east along the Triboar Trail. They’ve encountered no trouble so far, but are well aware that this territory can be dangerous – after all, this is the Sword Coast…

After spending half a day on the Triboar Trail the party turn a corner where they spot a couple of dead horses on the trail, blocking the path, about 50 feet ahead. There are several black feathered arrows sticking out of each horse.

Suddently the party is under attack!

Goblins armed with bows and black arrows attack from both sides of the woods surrounding the road. After a few intense moments of fighting, the goblins are defeated and Martyn persuades the last remaining goblin to spill his guts promising him gold and to spare his life in exchange for information.
The intimidated goblin reveals that someone named the Black Spider was paying them to capture Gundren Rockseeker and that someone named Klarg succeeded in doing this a couple of days ago. Furthermore, he reveals that Gundren’s human companion is held captive in the “eating cave” – a cavern which is found about 5 miles north of the ambush site following a trail in forest.
Martyn thanks the goblin for his willingness and kills him quietly. While gathering the rest of the goblin remains, one of them whispers into Martyn’s ear on his dying breath that “the King will get them…”.

After a short discussion on whether to continue on towards Phandalin or seek out the “eating cave”, the party decides on the latter.

After about 1½ hour on the trail – and after Boris had fallen into a crude goblin-made pit trap – the party comes to a small clearing in the forest. Across the clearing they see a cavern in the hill-side with a small stream coming out of it.
When approaching the cave from different sides, suddently a couple of arrows come flying from the opposite side of the forest. A couple of goblin guards are quickly killed by the party, while Martyn ventures off on his own into the cave, casting a light spell on his sword.

When entering the cavern he first hears what sounds like dogs barking from a cave. Investigating this, he finds 3 wolves confined to a stalagmite with iron chains. He feels sorry for the wolves and tries to calm them down feeding them some dried meat. He then returns to the main cavern to meet up with the rest of the party.

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Character Creation

Martyn Gwaelish, Human Cleric (Light Domain), Lathander, Inheritor / Folk Hero.

Malien Tadashi, Moon Elf Wizard (Bladesinger), Sage (Wizard’s Apprentice).

Rakman, Human Rogue (Assassin).

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