In the city of Neverwinter, Lung the Dragonborn barbarian from the far-off land of Kara-Tur, the gnome wizard Warwick, the gnome monk Imamu, the half-orc fighter Rom, and their elven druidic guide El’hathan are hired by the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker. Gundren was clearly excited and more than a little secretive about his reasons for the trip, saying only that he and his brothers 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 the party on horse, along with a warrior escort named Sildar Hallwinter, claiming he needed to arrive early to “take care of business.”
The party had an uneventful first few days as they traveled south, following the High Road, and eventually cautiously veering east on the Triboar Trail. Bandits and outlaws have been known to lurk along the trail.
After being on the Triboar Trail for about half a day, the characters come around the bend and spot two dead horses sprawled dead about fifty feet ahead. Each had several black-feathered arrows sticking out of it. The woods pressed close to the trail here, with a steep enbankment and dense thickets on either side.
The characters cautiously approached the horses, where they identified them as belonging to Gundren and Sildar! Lung quietly surveyed the scene, and was able to overhear the small rustling movements and slight whispers of goblins as they prepared to attack! Imamu and El’hathan were lost in thought and failed to notice the attack, but the other members were ready!
Rom and Lung quickly dispatched two of the goblins, but Warwick’s spell went wide of mark. One of the goblins was able to take aim on El’hathan and scoring a telling blow. The next turn Warwick landed a flaming spell on his goblin, and the last turned to run but not before Rom took a few strides and felled it with a mighty blow from a thrown hand axe.
The party investigated the scene, and was able to determine that many goblins have moved back and forth from this site. After a short rest that allowed El’hathan see to his wounds, the party followed the trail back to its origins, and found the evil goblins were fond of setting traps. They avoided a snare trap and narrowly avoiding falling into a pit.
The trail led back to a cave, the Cragmaw Hideout, from which they were easily able to harrass and plunder traffic moving along the Triboar Trail or the path to Phandalin. The Cragmaw get their name because each member of the tribe sharpens their teeth so they appear fierce and jagged!
The party attempted to wait out the goblins inside the cave, but Imamu and El’hathan failed to secure good hiding places. El’hathan was specifically targeted and subsequently felled by goblin arrows! While Rom and Lung tended to two goblins hiding in the brambles at the mouth of the cave, Warwick assisted Imamu in stabilizing the fallen elf. The party pulled back from the cave, established a small camp, set guard, and tended to El’hathan’s wounds. Fully healed and rested, the party returned to the cave entrance.
This morning, the goblins were on guard, as six of the roynish humanoids hid in the thickets, aware and arrows ready! The melee party snuck on a flank while Warwick bravely cast spells from the side, diverting their attention. El’hathan covered the warriors’ approach with a cloud of fog, hiding the party from direct view. Under concealment and flanking the goblins, the warriors closed and finished them off, but not without Warwick getting wounded. El’hathan healed his wounds, and the party entered the cave.
Upon entrance and immediately to the right of a tunnel that wound deeper into the hillside was a cave guarded by frothing wolves chained to a stalagmite in the center of the room. While they gnarled and gnashed their teeth, El’thathan used soothing elvish words and chunks of dried rations to calm the predators. Soon, they calmly allowed the party to pass amongst them, happily gnawing on jerkied meat.
Near the rear of that cavern was a fisher that created a natural chimney to a higher cavern. Bits of rubbish, torn cloth, bones and other detritus gave clue that something lived in the upper cavern. The nimble Imamu scaled the chimney with the assistance of Rom and Lung, and was able to quietly peek into the upper cavern.
There, a massive bugbear and two goblins argued and sketched images in the dirt before the bugbear’s seat while another wolf snarled at the bugbear’s feet. Imamu attempted to set a rope into some cracks along the edge so he could climb down and warn the others, but failed and fell, knocking himself out upon impact. The gnome monk lay wounded as the Bugbear, goblins and wolf roared upon the noise, and commenced to run out of the upper cavern!
Below, the party rushed into the tunnel that led deeper into the cavern and prepared to meet the roaring monsters! El’hathan had intended to assist Imamu, but the stout gnome awoke on his own, so the elven druid instead grabbed the collars of the wolves chained in the room, whispered soothing words in elvish, and broke the bindings! Surprisingly, the wolves looked at him momentarily, and then charged into the tunnels, snarling and intent on paying back the cruel goblins for many torments!
There was a wild pell mell, where Rom faced several goblin attackers and rapidly smote them down, but the massive bugbear Klarg took one swing and knocked the mighty Rom to the floor! (Note: He should not have, but we made a mistake here and forgot the half-orc’s Relentless Endurance. Because we’d already moved a full turn beyond that point, I made the wounds stand). Shortly after that, the mystical Warwick fell to gnashing jaws of Klarg’s chief wolf, Ripper!
It looked grim, with Imamu deeply injured from his fall (1 HP), El’hathan with just cantrips, and two of the party down and one dieing, but fortune favors the bold! Imamu engaged Klarg, and was able to get some serious wounds on him, but it was the massive barbarian Lung that strode forward and gutted the bugbear on the end of his glaive! El’hathan finished off the last goblin while one of the friendly wolves took down Ripper (the other lain dead, pierced with goblin arrows).
At this point, the party tended to Rom’s wounds and sought a safe place to rest. The entire hideout had come at them, but they managed to weather the assault. While Rom and Warwick remained unconscious, the party explored the remainder of the cave and discovered the severely wounded and tortured Sildar Hallwinter chained in one of the chambers. They also discovered still-crated provisions and goods, labeled with the blue lion icon of the Lionshield Coster.
Sildar revealed to them what he knew; that the Rockseeker brothers had discovered the entrance to the lost Wave Echo Cave, that the bugbear was ordered by some mysterious figure known as the Black Spider to waylay and capture Gundren, that Gundren had a secret map to the entrance, and that while Sildar had the secondary purpose of getting to Phandalin to discover the whereabouts of Iarno, an old friend and compatriot. He also believed someone in Phandalin might have knowledge of this Black Spider, and how to track down and rescue Gundren.
With this knowledge, and fully rested, the party returned to their provisions-laiden wagon with Sildar and continued to make way to Phandalin.
One jeweled frog.worth 40gp
600 Copper Pieces
110 Silver Coins
2x Potions of Healing
A total of 350 XP was earned per player. Lung earned a 15xp bonus paid by the DM and 5 each from Imamu and Warwick.