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…