What a Tangled Web...

Crying for Redmont
lyrics by Pettelin Quickfingers

Crying for Redmont, lyrics by Pettelin Quickfingers.

(Stairway to Heaven,  by Led Zeppelin)

There's a Lady demure,
Her youth taken, she's cold.
And she's crying in heartache, for Redmont.


When she gets there she knows
That her honor was foretold
With their blood can she get what she came for.
Ooh ooh and she's crying in heartache, for Redmont.


There's a sign in the cards
But He wants to be sure
Cause you know sometimes mystics hide meanings.
In a swamp, there he stands
A white lizard who sees,
Sometimes all of our hearts will lie broken.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.


There's a feeling He gets
When He looks to the west
And his spirit is raging with vengeance
In his thoughts he has seen
Burning smoke in her eaves,
And the voices of those who lie dying
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.


There are whispers that soon, it will be opportune
Then the faithful shall lead us to glory
And a new day will dawn
For those who fight on
And her hallways will echo with laughter.

Oh-oh-oh-oh

Now off to Ormath we all must go,
Don't be alarmed now,
Sir Stormbreak's fallen in bat-tle
Yes, there are two Thads we can go find,
But in the long run
Lord of the Dead will be his par-agon
And it makes me wonder.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh-oh

Your head is throbbing and it wont go.
In case you don't know.
Kelemvor's calling you to join him.
Dear Edward can you hear the wind blow
And did you know,
Your kin of Redmont bur-ied within?

And as we head on down the road
Comrades-in-arms facing our foe.
To save the Lady we all know.
We've pledged our soul; Reclaim her home!
How through the yard their blood will flow,
Before our fury, they fall marred.
Your home will come to you at last.
When three are one within her halls, yeah
Knightstars shall sit, upon the throne!

And she's crying in heartache, for Redmont.

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The Saga of the Wolfpack
Or the adverntures of the three best friends that anyone could have.

After they parted ways with Sir Edward, Balth and Synn; Thad, V, and Carrick sought out Silver Hand Manor. As they neared the manor/holdfast proper, it was clear that it had been attacked recently. With no sign of enemies, the three companions began their search of the grounds. They found several survivors, some children hiding in a cornfield, and what they determined to be Waymar’s signet ring (complete with Waymar’s finger still attached). Despite their best efforts through interrogation, arcane, ranger, divine, or otherwise, they were unable to discern who (what?), how, or why this terrible violence came to pass. Having exhausted their options at the manor, they decided to head back to Neverwinter, so Carrick could contact his sources to see if they had any information that might help.

 

Carrick’s pursuit eventually leads the group to a very chatty gnome. Unfortunately, though he talked quite a bit, he didn’t have much in the way of information. With how little we knew about the attack or what the Silver Hands were involved in recently, it was hard for him to specify a single group. The gnome did however mention the Shadow Thieves by name, as a group trying to make in-roads in the region. Thad didn’t think that the Silver Hand would get involved with the Shadow Thieves, so the group pressed the gnome to seek out information on the other possible players he didn’t name. The gnome agreed and handed Carrick a pin, “give this pin to your friend, it will allow me to contact you” he said. After they are alone, the group agrees that the gnome is either involved with one of these groups and is going to set us up or foolish enough to get himself in trouble and sell us out. Carrick decided to keep the pin himself in case it’s some sort of signal or beacon for an ambush.

 

Once satisfied that the gnome (or an ambush party) could reach them via the gnome’s pin, Thad, V, and Carrick depart Neverwinter for the journey to Ordulin, in Sembia, to investigate a mysterious letter Carrick received from his wife’s family following her death.

 

Cutscene:

 

Travel to Sembia is long and slow due to the weather changing up north, though luckily uneventful. Reaching Ordulin is rather dull, though with the previous adventures peril, not entirely unwelcome. Finding the estate is quite simple as it is exceptional and speaks to the resources of your cousin-in-law. You are shown to a waiting area, and quickly offered refreshments and a fine meal, should you wish it before a man takes you to a large room suited for business. Lexington doesn’t make you wait long, thankfully. He is what you would expect of royalty or nobility, fine clothes, manors, well spoken, and plays the part well. With a formal bow, he speaks:“Welcome to Sembia, and my home. I trust that my men have provided anything you might require? After such a long trip, I would expect you are worn.” If you do not need anything, he continues to Carrick.

 

“Pleasantries aside, let us continue to quite the opposite…your late wife, my dear cousin. If you will excuse my bluntness, it appears that her…inquisitive nature got the better of her. Part of her charm was her concern bordering on meddling, and in her passing, an affiliation to explain that better; she was a Harper. And it also seems that while unbeknownst to us, it was not so to the Black Network…most ironic.

 

”You know this to be concerning as she’d told you that Lexington’s mother was a Zent, and he killed her himself. Largely, where his fortune came from.“While I haven’t unearthed what exactly she was working on that put her in the Zent’s crosshairs, I have discovered the assassin and where he was sent from. The Red Wizards of Thay, a gentleman named Aran Nakkis, ordered her death by an assassin that went by the name Shadowcull. Adorable. Fear not, neither are any longer a concern. However, we are now faced with a curious set of connections that are troubling; Zents, Red Wizards, and Dark Daggers- the guild late Shadowcull was a part of. I have tied family…affiliations to the Drow and Zents, but the Red Wizards are most curious indeed. I’ve taken the liberty of prying a little information from our friend, Aran. It appears answers will be found in Luthcheq, a city set to the East of the Adder Swamp. It seems there will be a meeting there in two months, where the Faceless Council meets yearly. A mysterious group that to be frank, I’ve never heard of and that alone is exceptional. You will need Aran’s signet, and thankfully as the Faceless are just that, it matters not what you look like. If you want more answers, which I can only expect you do, you’ll need to start.”

 

After any small talk you might have, he will offer to expedite your travel to Vilhon Reach with the caveat that should you encounter any Yaun-ti, you do so peacefully.

 

End scene

 

Carrick was thoroughly disturbed by the new information regarding his wife’s pursuits, especially the manner of her death. To Lexington he asked “So do you mean to tell me that these Red Wizards orchestrated the zombie attack on Ormath, just to kill my wife?” to which Lexington had no explanation. Carrick resolved to attend the meeting of the Faceless Council to learn what he could about those responsible for the senseless attack on Ormath and his wife’s murder.

 

Thad, V, and Carrick gathered what they needed for the Vilhon Reach and had Lexington send them there. Their surroundings of Lexington’s lavish home blur and then dim and as their vision returns they find themselves in a more rural and humid environment, better known as the Vilhon Reach. From there the group set out to reunite with Pip and their other comrades to learn what they had been up to since they parted ways.

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Session 5 - We're Gonna Need Some Bigger Rope
As told by Sir Edward Stormbreak

Making their way from the mines to a small fishing village the party finally found Gundren Rockseeker who was not pleased to see them as it turned out he was behind the slaving in the mines.  After taking him into custody, the group set off back to Phandalin to turn Gundren over to Sildar who took him to the authorities in Neverwinter.  Taking some time to conduct some personal business in Neverwinter and the area around Phandalin, the group found themselves at the encampment of the Kobolds from their first leg of the adventure.  The Kobolds informed them that their ally Pip had made his way with the Kobolds, now as allies, south to Villhon Reach, which is where Gundren said the slaving operation was using as a hub in a haunted village.  As they began to head south, Carrick, Thadeus and V broke off the party to seek assistance from Carricks homeland while Sir Edward, Synn, and Balth set off to find Pip.

     After finding Pip and his Kobold allies in a large cave system, pleasantries were exchanged and Balth revealed to Pip that his powers had been stripped by Malar after Balth swore to kill the God.  Balth took a moment to try and commune with the Moon Goddess and seek her favor, when he was given the vision of a maze in the swamp.  Arming himself with his spear, the four party members set off to ensure that nothing was awaiting them in the cave so they could use it as a base of operations.  Moving further into the cave, they were given three paths to take.

     The path to the left split again to a small river path and a dryer one.  Exploring the dryer path, the group came to a large room with a number of different type of humanoid skeletons chained to the wall, some of which were tortured and killed off, and some that perished from natural causes.  Upon a more thorough search, a small alchemy lab was found containing a strange potion made of some sort of slime with a fish smell to it.  The party, took the potion and make their way back to the split and down the small river path.  Following the river, the party came to a large open cavern 100 feet down from the rivers end.  Pip sent out his familiar which flew down for a few minutes before being cast into some kind of darkness and destroyed.  Not having a way to get down, and more importantly back up, the party returned to the split and took the tunnel in the center of the three.

     Moving down the middle tunnel, the tunnel continued to narrow until only Pip was small enough to continue.  Once the tunnel got too small for Pip, Sir Edward send this familiar Bubo down the tunnel who slowly made his way on foot down the tunnel through a series of ant hill like tunnels, until he came to a giant ruby like stone.  Sir Edward was able to tell through Bubo that the stone was giving off heat in a fashion like a heartbeat with the heat pulsing from the stone.  Bubo then crept forward and touched the stone, which caused it to start hatching.  After watching for a few moments, the stone cracked and three small snakelike dragons emerged and slew the brave owl familiar.  Upon seeing this Sir Edward found a large rock and blocked the tunnel.

     Heading down the main tunnel on the right, the party found themselves on a steady decline as the air began to cool.  Making their way they found an underground mushroom forest that looked like some sort of farm, and a rough vine thatch covering the wall down.  After securing two ropes for their decent, the party headed down.  Inside the mushroom farm they encountered three types of mushrooms: one that seemed poisonous, one that had small bites taken out of it, and another that looked untouched.  Making their way down the path, they found a large seemingly petrified mushroom at the center standing at least 20 ft. tall.  Upon trying to climb the mushroom, Pip found that it released a group of spores and then the room began to fill with an odd green fog.  Noticing the fog right away our party made their way back out of the mushroom farm and headed back to the main cavern.

     Once they made sure the Kobolds had traps and guards set, the party made out toward the Lizardfolk village that the Kobolds had seen to try and gain more allies and find this maze.  Along the way they encountered a large snake which tried to eat Balth, but was dispatched before it had a chance.

     Making their way to the Lizardfolk village, Pip approached the guards to try and get an audience with the Chief, which was granted without question.  Seeing something like that as odd and noticing the all of the Lizardfolk they encountered seemed to have a glassy-eyed look to them, the rest of the party followed.  After being led to the Chief, Pip informed them that a new threat was in the swamp and they should join up with us or we would destroy them.  While not thrilled by the outright threat, the party was more surprised that the Chief simply stated, “Go Below”.  Balth was able to notice that on the Chiefs staff was the image of the same maze he had seen in his vision.

     Scouting the area, they found a large pool of water with a dead Treant in the center.  After Synn cast underwater breathing on the party and Sir Edward secured the grappling hook and rope to the tree, the party made their way down below the surface.  Roughly 70 ft. down the party found a tunnel off the main pool and suddenly found themselves face to face with an Aboleth!  A valiant fight ensued in which Synn lightning bolted the party and himself, Sir Edward became a victim of the slime surrounding the Aboleth and began to drown, as the slime caused the underwater breathing spell to backfire in that now he had to breath water.  Then both Pip and Balth were struck by the creatures’ mind-altering effect and suddenly wanted to become subservient to the creature.  Synn was able to dispel the magic from Sir Edward which allowed him to deliver the fatal blow to the creature.  Venturing further into the tunnel they came across the creatures horde and after collecting it, parts of the creature for Synn’s alchemy and proof for the Lizardfolk.

     Returning to the surface the party made their way back to the Lizardfolk who were no longer glassy-eyed and very thankful to be free of the creature.  They Chief invited Balth to try and test his mettle in the maze dedicated to Ubuto to see if their God would grant him favor and return his power…

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Session 5: Pip's arrangement and composition
You've been - Thunderstruck

( please sing this to the tune of AC/DC's Thunderstruck: https://youtu.be/v2AC41dglnM)

[Intro] (x10)
Thunder, ah

[Verse 1]
I was caught
Underwater with an ab-o-leth (Thunder)
I looked 'round
And I knew, I might run out of breath (Thunder)
My mind raced
And I thought, what could I do? (Thunder)
And I knew
There was no help, no help from you (Thunder)
Sound of the drums
Beating in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart

[Chorus]
You've been – thunderstruck

[Verse 2]
Went down through swampland
Broke the limit, we hit the caves
Went to the left,
Yeah left, and we found a lab
We met some 'shrooms
some tunnels that held fire wyrms
What do we do? left all the fools,
yeah, yeah, we, we, went to our doom

[Pre-Chorus]
It was quite a nasty shock
We were against the clock
Yeah, Synn let loose with spells…

[Chorus]
You've been – thunderstruck, thunderstruck
Yeah-yeah-yeah, thunderstruck
Oh, thunderstruck
Yeah

[Bridge 1]
Now we're heroes of the town
Liz-ard-men like us now,
Yow!

[Solo]

[Chorus]
Thunderstruck, thunderstruck
Yeah-yeah-yeah, thunderstruck
Thunderstruck, yeah, yeah, yeah
Said

[Bridge 2]
Yeah, it's alright
We're doing fine
Yeah, it's alright
We're doing fine, so fine

[Chorus]
Thunderstruck, yeah-yeah-yeah
Thunderstruck, thunderstruck, thunderstruck
Whoa, baby, baby (Thunderstruck)
You've been thunderstruck, thunderstruck
Thunderstruck, thunderstruck
You've been thunderstruck

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Session 4 - Out of the Mines and Into the Frying Pan
As told by Sir Edward Stormbreak

Fighting their way through the mine in search of Gundren Rockseeker and his men, our party made their way deeper and deeper…. sometimes not by the most orthodox ways, until they had come face to face again with a living pile of corpses…

      As the fight raged on, Sir Edward fell back to defend the spellcasters from the ever-increasing number of undead springing back to life around them while Thadeus, Carrick, and Balth continued the onslaught with the corpses.  During the battle Balth was consumed by the creature and found himself inside.  Suddenly realizing the creatures weakness, Balth struck out in bear form and in the process vanquished the foul spawn, though regrettably it did cause everything else in the room to explode…. still the day was won!  Then the party discovered the unconscious form of Synn, barely clinging to life, but were able to restore him thanks to Carricks healing abilities.

      Exiting the mines to rest, the party then encountered a traveling healer of sorts in Thoreem Roaringhorn who offered his service to the party, but made an eerie discovery.  The party had contracted some disease known as the “slimy shakes”.  Thoreem informed the party that he had seen a number of recent tracks that looked to be in the same direction that they party had seen the miners flee, and though he was not able to heal the party, Carrick used his blessings to cure everyone while they made their way, gaining on the miners.

      After making good time thanks to a passing caravan, the party continued on foot, and came upon what looked like the site of a rebellion in which the smaller folks they were tracking seemed to overtake the larger folk, leaving their bodies to rot.  After a cleansing fire, the party set out again, confident they would soon have answers.

      Making their way through, the party came across a small fishing village, and after speaking to some locals, found that the group they were following were Goblins, not Dwarves as they had thought.  On his way to speak to the leader of the town, Sir Edward had a chance encounter and discovered Gundren safe after all.  Through…heated…questioning, Sir Edward and Carrick were able to discover that Gundren himself was in league with the slaving operations in the mines, and only hired the party in the hopes that they would “mess things up”.  The party discovered that slaves were being taken to Vilhon Reach, far to the south of them.

      Returning to Phandalin, the party turned Gundren over to Sildar for justice and took a well-deserved rest.  Carrick, Thadeus, and Balth were having a glorious time in town, Sir Edward, Synn, and V set off to do some researching and to have some questions answered.

      Carrick returned with good news, that we had a manager for our new mine in Phandalin, at a healthy profit as well.  Sir Edward was approached by members of the Lord’s Alliance, including Sildar, who informed him that Gundren was taken for trial and quickly executed for his crimes.  He was also approached by Kaidrycrass, the silver Dragonborn from the mines and his mate, the moon elf Alexandria, who thank him and the party for the rescue of Kaidrycrass and invited them to the Storm Horns if the party finds themselves in the area.

      While other activites and the like took place, the party found themselves together at the Kobold stronghold where the clan outside Phandalin lives.  In talking to one of the Kobold there they discovered that Pip had met up with them, helped them defeat a black dragon, and then set off south to Vilhon Reach.  And so, the party set out south…

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Session 3: A Ranger's View

It’s been 8 days since we set out from Neverwinter. For me, our contract with Gundren was yet another contract for me to fulfill. In retrospect, this contract may be the shortest yet; the longest being my two-year stint deep in the Neverwinter Wood hunting goblin-kind. I almost would prefer that job to this, because the machinations of my foes were easier to predict. Gundren’s job has been different, and if I’m not careful, it may be my last.

The last 24 hours have been a grave challenge. Funny I should consider it such, being that the stench of death and decay surround me as I stand on a pile of bones, with my companions by me.  How could Carrick, Sir Edward and Balth the Bear be battling this pile of animated bones and not succumb to the miasma of death around us? It is almost too much for me, and I feel my life leaving me every second that I stand on these bones. A glance behind me, and I see undead have risen and are attacking Zoronium and Synn. I fear the end is near. My potion of healing in my belt pocket might be enough to sustain me; I must use it and battle one. My friends need me.

To my left is Carrack, the Paladin of Kelemvor, who may be saying a prayer for me before too long. I’m not big on offering praise to others, but yesterday he was leading us through the halls of these mines. He was up front and personal with an ooze, and he stayed his course as we defeated thing. For our trouble the ooze was nice enough to leave us a gift – a magic ring that is resistant to acid. It was also engraved with a symbol of the Earth Cult. These symbols have been popping up, and I don’t think it’s a good sign.

After the ooze, we explored more of the mine, at one point we were using my fishing gear to test the water current. I was not sure of the purpose, but those smarter than I thought it was the right course. I kept thinking, we weren’t going to find Gundren underwater, and it turned out we didn’t.

In our next stroke of luck, if you want to call it that, we circled back around to the Forge of Spells. Synn and Voronium wanted to find out more, but the forge had other ideas. We entered the room and were greeted by a magic skull engulfed in flame that demanded that we “Speak the Phrase.” Spooked by this demand, Edward and Carrack did not want to stick around to find out what happened to anyone who didn’t know the phrase. Balth decided to answer by toughening his skin using his druidic magic and then transforming into a bear. What transpired next helped us come together as a group.

The flaming skull hurled a ball of fire that burst around us, then it darted through the air and into the large statue in the middle of the room, what I found out later to be of the dwarf god Dutheon. The statue came to life, with stone grinding on stone and debris and dust falling to the ground. This thing was immense and stood nearly three times the size of an average man. Bear Balth roared and charged the statue, looking like he was trying to push it into the river. The statue didn’t move. At one point, Synn figured out that we needed to attack the furnace within the statue, through the openings where we could see the flame. I told him it was a brilliant idea and encouraged him to blast the fucking thing. The cold spells from Synn and Voronium proved effective, causing cracks and small fissures that the rest of us exploited. Synn’s wild magic continued to produce strange effects, with Balth and I caught in the weavings. I laughed with I saw Balth start to levitate off the ground, but it wasn’t too funny when I found myself several feet off the ground. I quickly found my balance, marked the statue, then I fired on it with no effect.  We simply were not equipped for all of us to be effective against the construct. However, the tide of battle turned when Synn’s magic created a magic portal that summoned a unicorn. Our luck was with us, and we were able to fell the statue.

I could use some of that luck now.

My life wouldn’t be waning away if it wasn’t for what happened after the Spell Forge. We encountered a curious battle where Fire Cultists battled a crazed cultist dressed in yellow. The last standing person dressed in yellow threw a potion on the ground that exploded and caused the ground below us to collapse.  We all fell about 50 feet, landing in the middle of a large cavern, that even more strangely, was recently traversed by humans. The tracks disappeared into a stone wall, by some trick of magic that allowed them to pass through stone. We found a pile of bones that we avoided, because something about that sight told us something was not truly dead. Shortly after that we had some luck, as we found a tunnel that led outside of the mines. We were on the other side of the mountain range. We camped and discussed our next course – a return to the mine. I thought of Bandit, hoping that my steed and gear were both intact. The night air during this autumnal season was refreshing, one of the last good thoughts that I’ll likely have.

With resolve we made it back into the mine, with stupidity we made our way back to the pile of bones. I suppose it had to be done. We were right about the bones, because they gathered together into a vaguely humanoid shape and began to lash out at us. I ran up to attack the thing, but I was met with an aura of death and decay that began to drain my life force.

There I was, wilting away like a dying flower.

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Session 3 - Deeper and Deeper
As told by Sir Edward Stormbreak

When we last left our heroes…The adventures had made their way into the mine outside of Phandalin, and during their exploration had rescued a group of Kobolds, a silver Dragonborn, Sidlar, the business partner of Gundren Rockseeker, and found a new traveling companion and party member, Voronium Uemerim or simply “V”.  During their exploration of the mine they dispatched some Bugbears, troubled themselves with a few ill-shaped acid vials, discovered the fabled Forge of Spells and finally took a rest to gather themselves before setting off to find Gundren and rescue the slaves in the mine…

      When the party awoke the party decided to make their way to a strange wet spot that Sir Edward’s familiar Bubo found during an exploration the night prior.  Upon returning the way the came into the mine, the party found themselves face to face with the wet spot and observed a strong acidic odor coming from it.  Initially prodding the spot with a heavy ball, or at least after a few attempts, the spot began to move towards them, encroaching dangerously into Carrack’s space.  Through a few well-placed magical attacks and a final firery blast from Synn, the party was able to dispatch the ooze and upon inspection found a small ring with the following sigil engraved on the band.

(Evil Earth Cult)

      Venturing further into the mine, the party realized that this portion of the mine was set up as a maze, possibly to keep out looters, but the final purpose still unknown.  Shortly thereafter, the party found themselves coming out of a tunnel and into a room with a large pool of water that ran off through a underground passage and a stairwell off to one side of the room.  After examining the room, the party decided to investigate the end point of the water by means of attaching V’s ferret to Thadeus’ fishing line, but found no real answers.

      Moving up the stairs the party found themselves in another living area with 3 human corpses and after exploring the room, made their way through the other door and into the Forge of Spells.  Entering the forge, they were confronted by a flying flaming skull that demanded they ‘Speak the Phrase’.  Not knowing the phrase, Sir Edward and Carrack were suddenly struck with unimaginable fear, leaving Balth by himself in the room.  Being asked for the phrase again, Balth responded by casting barkskin and turning into a huge bear.  In response, the flaming skull cast a huge fireball towards the entrance where the party was, then took possession of the large forge case in the form of the Dwarven God Dutheon.  As the fight continued, Synn found himself feeling the pull of his wild magic increasing and causing both Balth and Thadeus to gain the power of flight.  Things began to look bleak for the party when suddenly a strange reaction to Synn’s casting caused a Unicorn to appear and join the party in their fight and helping the party destroy the forge and flaming skull.

      Following the flow of water from the Forge of Spells, the party heard the sounds of battle ahead, and discovered a group of Fire Cultists and another group of cultists dressed in yellow.  After seeing how the battle would fair, the party decided to help the group in yellow as they had not encountered them before, but much to their dismay, the cultist in yellow had gone completely insane and threw down a potion that caused the floor to explode causing the party to drop 50 feet to a chamber below.  Upon investigating the bodies, a leather scroll case was discovered and much to the dismay of the party, Synn opened the cause, blowing himself up just a little more.

      Moving through one of the tunnels connected to the room with Thadeus following tracks on the floor which inexplicably disappeared into the wall.  While listening through the hidden doorway, the party heard a number of cultists chanting together, then suddenly dropping as if dead.  Creeping through the doorway the party saw an island of corpses that suddenly seemed to coalesce into one huge humanoid form.  Moving back through the hidden doorway the party found a small offshoot that miraculously led out of the mines and back into the forest but to their surprise found themselves on the opposite of the mountain from where they entered the mine.

      After a nights rest the party re-entered the mine and using the now identified Evil Earth Elemental ring to open the other hidden doorway and found a dead human wearing cultists robes who had been stabbed in the back and was carrying a signet ring of the Harpers in a pouch.  Continuing on, the party discovered the remnants of a mining operation with dozens of footprints of multiple sizes showing where most had quickly fled the area, but one group of footprints went back the way they came, leading them back to the island of bones.

      As the party reentered the room with the island of bones, they were able to get the drop on the giant mass of undead bodies and so the battle began……

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Session 2 - Into the Mines
As told by Sir Edward Stormbreak

When we last left our heroes…The party had made their way to Phandalin and after speaking to members of the community found themselves at the Red Brand’s secret hideout.  After discovering the hideout vacant, the party ventured south toward the mine and encountered a group of Dragon Cultists in the ruins which they made short work of.  While searching the initial area, the party was confronted by Venomfang, the green dragon, who was impressed with the aid the party had shown the Kobolds in rescuing the chiefs whelp.  After finding a place to rest, Pip their merry minstrel, informed them of urgent business he had to take care of, but assured the party he would return soon.  Thadeus set out back to town to retrieve his mount, and the rest of the party made camp for the night.  During the night watch a raven appeared and spoke with Pip’s voice, confirming for the party that the mine was being used in a slaving operation, and told them that Dragon Cultists were in the area attempting to bring a black dragon to their aid.

      On another search of the ruins the party encountered a strange symbol which they were not able to identify writing on the wall of one of the ruins in charcoal.

      Having searched the rest of the ruins, Thadeus discovered human, Warg and Dire Wolf tracks in the area around the camp.  Using his ranger abilities, he was able to track the movement of the Red Brands as well as the Dragon Cultists, all of which were headed to the mine.  In tracking the humanoids, in the area, Thadeus discovered a large mass of creatures underground around the mine, and so the party set out.

      Approaching the mine, the party set a defensive perimeter to see if there were any nearby patrols.  Seeing no activity, Thadeus snuck forward and discovered a collection of a dozen corpses by the entrance of the mine.  Orc, Goblin, Humans (Red Brands and one robed human with the symbol from the ruins on his robes) were all dead, appearing to have fought each other, though strangely the robed individual appeared to have been killed by a rapier, not by an Orc or Goblin weapon, leading the party to believe they were not working with the Red Brands.

      Making their way through the mine, the party encountered a minor water trap.  Moving ahead stealthily, Synn and Thadeus found the two goblins who had triggered the trap, and quickly dispatched them with a combination of an arrow from Thadeus and Synn causing the Goblin to vomit itself to death before their eyes.  Continuing, the party came across a large room, to vast to see across from the entrance.  This room was made of mostly water, with a small path along the right wall, and a single trail crossing it roughly 30 feet from the entrance.  Making their way across the rocks to the path, the party was suddenly attacked by a large frog, 15 feet across.  Taking stock of the situation, Balth quickly befriended the frog, ending the fight without bloodshed.

      Crossing the water, the party encountered a makeshift cell of stalactites and stalagmites with slaves inside.  Most of the slaves were Kobolds, but there was a silver Dragonborn named Kaidrycrass, or “Cliff” to his friends, and a Moon elf named Voronium Uemerim or simply “V”.  After speaking with V, “Cliff”, and the Kobolds, none of them had any pertinent information about the mines other than seeing large groups of Dragon Cultists, Orcs, Goblins, Humans, and “Smelly Humans”, as they have all be held captive for an unknow length of time.  The Kobolds did say that it seemed that the different groups were fighting amongst themselves for ownership of the Kobolds.  During the talks, “Cliff” appeared to be hiding his background from the party, but they were unable to discover his secret.  The party then released the Kobolds back towards the entrance and had them return to their clan in the nearby area.  V made a discovery in the form of a gem imbedded in the back of the large frogs’ head with a different symbol that was associated with a cult that worshiped an Evil Water Force:

And in looking at the previous symbol was able to identify it as a symbol for another cult that worships an Evil Fire Force.  The more disturbing conclusion was that these two groups should not exist, and especially not working together.

      From there the party took a passageway near the “cell” and followed it until they heard Goblin voices coming from the darkness.  Thadeus attempted to distract them with a glowing pebble then rushed in, but much to the party’s surprise, the Goblins all ran from the room and around a corner.  The group was able to parlay with the Goblins, who in true Goblin nature were lying through their broken teeth, but were able to find out that the Dwarves found the Goblin area by mistake while mining and that many more Goblins were living at the Castle.

      Returning to the bridge where the party encountered the first two goblins, they climbed up and crossed one side where they found the bodies of many Goblins and Orcs, and a single Bugbear.  Moving forward they found a well-constructed cell, and inside was Sildar, the friend and business partner of Gundren Rockseeker.  Sildar informed the party that he was in Waterdeep with Gundren when Gundren received a letter of some concern, the contents Sildar did not know, and the two set out for the mines, but during the trip they were set upon and captured.  The party moved back to the main entrance to the mine and had Sildar and “Cliff” return to Phandalin for their safety.

      Making their way across the other side of the bridge, the party came to a point where one path had been barricaded ahead of them.  While inspecting the mess of furniture, suddenly a door to the side opened and a mace came swinging towards Sir Edward nearby!  After many attempts using acid and sheer brute force, the party was able to deal with the half dozen Bugbear that came from the room and found the barracks area they were using.  Realizing they were going to need more time in the mines, the party took a rest in the barracks to prepare for the rest of their search.

      The next morning, after preparing for the day, V was able to use his weasel familiar to squeeze underneath the barricade and found himself large room with no apparent exits.  In the center of the room was an enormous forge crafted in the shape of Dutheon, a Dwarven God.  By the forge lay 5 Human bodies, and nothing else seemed to live in the room, except for a small dash of fire that the weasel caught from the corner of its eye.  The party had found something amazing in that room, The Forge of Spells had been rediscovered.  As to the location of Gundren Rockseeker or the reason for the barricade, the party is uncertain and set off to find the answers to these and many more questions ahead…

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The Ballad of Session One?
Composed by Pip

From the walls of Neverwinter
Six stalwart adventurers did ride.
Upon a great big wagon,
Loaded with supplies to guide.

Headed to Phandelver:
A mining town of old!
Gundren was their employer,
He promised bags of gold!

Through the fog and mist they stumbled,
Two kobolds they did find,
Who begged for aid and assistance,
The adventurers were not so kind.

Off to Phandalin they went,
Slaying goblins and ogres in the night!
Pip the minstrel weaved enchantments,
And the warriors did fight!

Through a goblin captive
The six did come to know,
Of a great goblin castle
To the south far below!

Arriving at their destination,
The good band did cheer!
They delivered the goods as promised,
But found things very queer.

Missing folk and madmen!
Brands of red as well!
The strangeness of this village,
Surely there was more to tell?

A young halfling lad,
Approached the group and said:
Free us from the Redbrands!
And gave us buttons of red.

So the party set off on foot
to seek the vagabonds' flat.
The place, it t'was empty,
Save for a giant rat.

So the search did continue,
Through the forest – no result,
But stumbling through a ruin,
They came across a cult!

Cult of the dragon, they were
With a tiny captive lad,
A kobold prince, all bound up,
Everyone grew quite mad!

Slashing of swords! Slinging of spells!
The cult had been defeated!
The prince was saved! The six, heroes!
Only one foe, he retreated.

A great dragon did appear,
His scales all glowing emerald
Quite fearsome, he was indeed
And many heroes trembled

A service you have done me!
His booming voice did rant.
A treasure from his hoard,
Was the reward he did grant.

That evening, they sat at peace:
our heroes did not speak,
For they knew, come the morn'
The redbrands they must seek.

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Session 1 - The Road Ahead
As told by Sir Edward Stormbreak

After finding their ways to Neverwinter, our intrepid band of adventures found themselves befriending a Dwarven merchant, Gundren Rockseeker, who was able to provide them all with work, and coin, for a time.  One day Gundren called the adventures into his office as he was packing stating that he had to head South that very night, but wanted the adventures to load up a wagon and bring it down to Phandalin in the morning for a sum of 10gp each.

Meeting up the next morning they adventures were given a sealed scroll from Gundren stating that there was trouble in his mine in Phandalin and he needed help getting to the bottom of it, offering the following payment for help: 100 gold to find his workers, 300 gold to re-take his mines, 100 gold to find who is at the bottom of it, and return their head

Setting south, the party found a small encamplment of farmers whom they shared a meal with before resting and setting off again in the morning and found out about a group called the Red Brands who were ex-enforcers who had partially taken over the town after declaring martial law.  During travel the next day, the party was slowed as they encountered heavy fog, reducing their visibility greatly. 

As Thadeus scouted ahead he found on the path two dead draft horses with longbow arrows in them which were being carved up by two Kobolds.  Upon making their approach, Pip spoke to the Kobolds in draconic while performing a rousing Kobold folk tune and provided druid craft performance enhancement from Balth.  During the conversation with the Kobolds, it was revealed they live nearby and are being harassed by an unknown beast in the woods, and that they also know the location of the Green Dragon that lives in the woods.  Upon seeing Balth, the Kobolds thinking him sent from the Gods, began to get more excited, and implored the party to come with them and face the trials to defeat the beast in the woods.  The party declined for the time being, wanting to drop off the wagon before doing anything else.  During a search of the horses, a ring bearing the Rockseeker family crest was found, and the party believed it belonged to Gundren.

Traveling on, the party set up camp for the night, but were roused by the sounds of a large creature moving near camp.  Upon following the creature, it seemed to disappear into thin air with no trace.  Making their way back to camp, the party found Ogre and a group of Goblins in their campsite, but dispatched them with ruthless efficiency.  Questioning one of the surviving Goblins revealed the location of a castle nearby where the Goblins operate from.  Following the encounter, the party decided to continue on through the night to Phandalin, and upon arriving made their way to the Rockseeker Company office.  They woke Elmar Barthan and completed their delivery and informed him of the ring they had found.  Elmar stated he hadn’t seen Gundrin in over a month but there were troubles in the mines, and there was a survivior named Karl from the most recent incident at the temple in town.

The next morning the party split to investigate the town.  Pip spoke to Karl who was in shock, but spoke of a creature with one giant eye in the mines.  Balth spoke to the woodcutters around town, one of whom got into an argument with the Red Brands and now was afraid they were coming for him.  He also informed Balth that his wife had gone missing in town since the argument.  Sir Edward spoke to Town Master Harbin Wester who told him about the strange goings on at the mine and not to trust the Rockseeker Company.  While this was going on, Synn, with the help of Carrick went to investigate the Rockseeker Company and after posing as inspectors, gained entrance to Elmar’s office where they discovered a secret panel which uncovered a signet ring with a spider and a letter from the Goblins wanting to know where they last shipment of slaves was.

After reconvening at the tavern, the party was approached by a young Halfling who wanted them to get rid of the Red Brands and could show them where they stayed.  The party followed the Halfling but found the hideout deserted, though it looked as though the Red Brand wizard was crafting potions of invisibility.  Leaving the hideout, the party followed footprints that led to the ruins North of Phandalin where they found a group of Dragon Cultists who had captured a Kobold child and were going to use him as a bargaining chip during their meeting with Venom Fang, the Green Dragon that lives in the woods.  A battle ensued and the Dragon Cultists were defeated with one being spared, Morvar, who informed the party where they were planning on meeting Venom Fang.  Before the party could formulate the next step of their plan, Venom Fang arrived and requested their presence in the clearing South of the ruins.

Upon meeting with Venom Fang, he thanked the party for their assistance in rescuing the Kobold child who was the son of the chief of the tribe that served the Dragon.  Once he heard of the treachery of the Cultists, Venom Fang killed Morvar and then offered the party a reward for their trouble.

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