D&D 5E Lenora's Journal for Our Phandelver Campaign Transition into Curse of Strahd


Session 1 – Leaving Neverwinter

Met up with some adventurers: Heinrick (Dwarven Paladin); Gerald (Human Cleric); Rasputin (Half-Elf Warlock); Brace (Wood Elf Rogue)

Me, I’m Lenora, a High Elf Wizard castigated from my clan in the Silvertree Forest. I’m studying to become a Bladesinger, inspired by the old tales of Tal’ana Culith – Dragon friend and Elf protector.

Heinrick got us a job to escort a wagon to Phandalin. One of his kinsmen, Gundren Rockseeker, promised us 10 gp each for this job while he and his partner Sildar Hallwinter would travel ahead of us and meet us at Barthan’s Provisions in Phandalin.

When Heinrick and Gundren started speaking about Elves for some reason, I told them a story about a clan of Dwarves and a tribe of Elves who bred with each other. Gerald could tell it was just a tall-tale, but I told the group, “with a good story, truth matters little; it is all in the telling.”

I haven’t gotten to know too much about the group I travel with yet, but I’m sure I will.

On our first day out, we found a wagon with two dead oxen. Arrows killed the animals. Heinrick went to check it out as we all followed. Goblin ambush.

I think it was 5 of the small swine. I took an arrow to the shoulder almost knocking me down. Then I hid under the wagon and used my frostbite magic against a couple of foes. Brace went down, but Gerald was able to heal him. Rasputin fired deadly energy from his hand (his one hand. Yes. He is missing an arm. That’s probably a good story, I’ll have to find out more about). Heinrick also took a grave wound, but the cleric also worked his healing magic to bolster the Dwarf. Heinrick applied his hands to my wounds and I felt much better. He was very kind, almost fatherly.

Heinrick was able to find an empty map case in the ambushed wagon, and he also realized that this was Gundren Rockseeker’s. We followed some signs through the brush to the northwest avoiding a few traps on the way. It seems like Gerald has the best eye for danger of our group. Let’s hope we can keep more aware as we venture further.

At a cave, we sent Brace ahead to scout it out, but he slipped on some rocks and splashed into a stream that issued forth from the cave mouth. That’s when 2 goblins surprised us from the forest. I had to use my magic to shield myself from another arrow, but soon enough, Rasputin, Heinrick, Gerald and Brace took care of the threat. Strangely, Heinrick wielded an Elven longblade, a weapon that certainly caught my eye. I’ll have to find out more about this.

I had to admit, I was a little tired having used all my major magic, but Heinrick urged us into the cave for fear that his cousin and his partner were in danger.

Inside the cave, we fought 3 wolves. Gerald nearly went down, but he stood strong and killed the last of the wolves. Inside the wolves’ den, we searched and found a crumbled down area in the far corner. Nothing else of interest. It seemed as if we would need to continue north and follow the stream that flowed gently from north to south. Pretty soon, I’d like to take a short break to revive at least a little of my magical power (arcane recovery).

Session 2 – In the Goblin Caves

We rested for about an hour inside the wolf den and I was able to muster up strength to prepare one more spell.

Heinrick could wait no longer so he charged deeper into the cave up a ledge beside the stream. We saw a passage to the west, but it seemed like a rocky chute of sorts. Heinrick continued beside the stream to see a bridge about 15’ above us. Then, the sound of roaring water rushed toward us. Gerald and I jumped aside and held onto the walls, so did Rasputin and Brace. Heinrick lost his footing and was pushed down by the torrent. He reached out and was able to catch Gerald’s hand preventing him from flowing down the steam.

At that point, we saw a goblin atop the bridge. It was ducked down low behind a railing hiding, but Heinrick quickly threw a javelin at it, killing it and sending it flying off the bridge into the stream below. I suggested that we rush up as far along the stream as possible in case the rushing water was some kind of triggered event.

At the top, we fought some goblins, but one ran into an adjacent cave. From behind on the bridge another goblin appeared and shot Brace, knocking him to the ground, bleeding in a lifeless clump. I was able to frostbite the little bugger, but I had no time to help Brace. Rasputin, Gerald and Heinrick engaged a goblin above and pretty soon we heard the yelling of a larger more dangerous foe, a bugbear. I created an illusion of a bolder near another one that Heinrick was hiding behind to give us a little more cover. Rasputin fired some mystical energy into a goblin. Gerald tried to create sacred flames, but to no avail. Heinrick moved up and dodged to keep the goblin and bugbear from advancing on the rest of us, and we all tried to do more damage to the bugbear. Rasputin called upon his eldritch might and a sickly green ray struck the bugbear, but the bugbear shook it off.

Soon after, a large wolf emerged from the back cave to join the bugbear and the goblins. Heinrick dodged deftly, but Gerald took scimitar slash to the side and went down. Seeing that things were going badly, Rasputin ran for the stream and the cave exit. I fired an icy knife at one of the goblins, which killed it outright and sent icy shards into another goblin, killing it, injuring both the wolf and the bugbear.

With Gerald down, Heinrick tried to stay up, but the wolf took him down too. Before he fell, he tossed me a medallion from around his neck and told me to save it as a keepsake. After catching the medallion, I ran back to the bend of the stream to see where Rasputin had gone. The bugbear came after me but could not attack me yet. Then he shouted some command to the wolf and the wolf bounded past me, giving pursuit to Rasputin. I unsheathed my short sword and took a wild swing at the wolf, but missed. Then I faced off against the bugbear. I imagined that this was a test to see if I could truly become a Bladesinger. With nearly fatal resignation, I thrusted the point of my sword toward the bugbear’s abdomen, and scored a devastating blow that killed the creature. Then, to try to get the unconscious Brace to safety, I dragged his body up the stone stairs a little closer to where Gerald and Henrick lay dying.

Meanwhile, Rasputin was under the bridge being chased by the wolf. He jumped up on the side of the wall and found some handholds. Then he deftly climbed his way up on top of the bridge and made his way toward Gerald and Heinrick. He was able to utter some prayer of sorts and stabilize Gerald. The wolf sniffed the area under the bridge, but when it could not find its prey, it turned and ran back to me. It leapt upon me and that’s when all went black.

Then I was in a field with Tal’ana Culith, the ancient Bladesinger, friend of Dragons and protector of Elves. She was instructing me. Teaching me how to use blade and magic in concert.

Eventually I woke, regained consciousness and found out that Rasputin was able to kill the wolf with a few bolts of his eldritch energy. He also tended to our wounds and dragged us into a cave with a fire and some furnishings, evidently the bugbear’s lair. We were lucky. None of us perished, but we came oh so close.

Inside the cave, we found a few gold and silver pieces and a pile of copper, provisions, and a few potions. Gerald and I looked over the potions and determined that they were potions of healing. We saw no sign of Gundren or Sildar, but we needed to take a rest so Rasputin stood watch at the entrance to the bugbear’s lair. The rest helped us recover some physical strength, but still both Gerald and I had no major magical powers left to offer.

Heinrick and Rasputin did not want to waste any more time so they scouted over the bridge. Since we knew that we were not going to be able to take a longer rest, the rest of us followed. On my way past the fallen bugbear, I cut off its head and took it with us to use as a bargaining chip.

Over the bridge and a little ways down another tunnel, we came to a cave with 4 goblins. Gerald drank one of the healing potions to fortify himself. Then, Rasputin took an arrow to the chest, and the others went into combat. I held forth the head of the bugbear and told the goblins to stand down or they would be next to die. One of the creatures was scared back, but the other 3 stood their ground. Henrick and Gerald, with Brace flanking for a sneak attack took down the goblins and we were able to see another cave up a small flight of steps. A few arrows from the other cave hit Heinrick, but they were both minor wounds.

Inside that cave, there was a heartier goblin, along with the one that ran, and a bound, prone man, Sildar. Heinrick and Gerald rushed into the cave, and Heinrick was able to cut down the goblin leader. Rasputin, Brace and I also arrived in this area of the cave. I was able to frostbite the goblin before it could jab its dagger into Sildar. It told us it would kill Sildar if we moved, but Gerald was able to make divine flames consume the goblin as it poked Sildar for only a minor wound before it died.

We untied Sildar and spoke with him. He told us that Gundren was beaten up by the bugbear, but then he was taken somewhere else. Eventually, using some historical knowledge Heinrick and I were able to determine that the Cragmaw area was in the southern forest, and perhaps Gundren was taken to Castle Cragmaw in that region. Sildar suggested that we all head for Phandalin so that we could recover from our ordeal in relative safety and we agreed. At that point, I wanted to speak with Heinrick about the medallion and the Elven longblade that he used, but we didn’t get a chance to speak too much as I gave him the medallion back.

We were able to make it back to our wagon and oxen, and before nightfall we made it to Phandalin.

Session 3

We pulled into Phandalin at about dusk and headed immediately to Barthan’s Provisions. Inside, we talked with Elmer and were paid 10 gp each for delivering Gundrun’s goods. Elmer also told us about the Red Brands, a gang of thugs in the town, who have made business and the lives of the common folk more uneasy. Additionally Elmer revealed that he’d been waiting for the other Rockseeker brothers, two of them, who had gone off about a tenday ago. Heinrick was concerened about that too.

After conducting our business, we found an inn in the middle of town and went in to get rooms. Heinrick was driven by exhaustion, and he handled the arrangements, but as he was talking with the innkeeper, a table of boorish men, wearing red armbands started saying that there were no rooms to be had at the inn. Heinrick didn’t appreciate this, since the innkeeper seemed ready to rent a room just moments ago. Then one of the thugs moved up to Heinrick, but Heinrick, told h im to “leave,” and the thug did just that. It seems as if our fellow, Heinrick has the ability to use his voice in a commanding manner, some magical trick that we had not known about until this moment. With that, the rest of the roughies got up and followed their comrade out, not understanding what had just happened.

Henirck finished getting us the room, and he went upstairs to take a bath. Brace stayed int the room with him, but Gerald, Rasputin and I left the inn to go get Rasputin a new staff so that he could begin to remake his broken spellcasting focus.

Outside, we ran into the Red Brands again. I tried to hustle us off to the side to hide, but was not successful. Then Rasputin and Gerald walked toward them. Rasputin was saying that we had been thrown out of the inn, which was what the Red Brands wanted in the first place, and when the thugs seemed to discuss taking us on, Gerald puffed up and said they’d need at least twice as many of them to take us on. I walked over to Rasputin and waited for his next move. When he whispered for me to go ahead of him, I walked forward, but one of the thugs grabbed me and I could not break free. Then they taunted me and made a crude sexual innuendo offering me a place to sleep for the night.

All this time, Brace was able to hear the commotion from the room so he warned Heinrick. Eventually, Brace came out the inn door, and Heinrick, naked, wielding his sword jumped down from the 2nd story of the inn on to the ground below. That was quite a sight.

While the thug was holding on to me, Rasputin showed them his missing arm, and he said that I was responsible for this, so they should not mess with me. Then, Gerald told the thug to “flee” using his divine magic. It worked. The thug let me go and started to flee. Gerald and Rasputin built up the story about how dangerous I was, and the others looked back at the naked Heinrick and decided to run off with their companion. They said that they’d let the boss take care of this.

After the thugs left, Gerald walked in the direction they had fled to see if he could see where they were going, and Brace disappeared into the shadows and trailed the Red Brands.

Rasputin and I went back to the provisioner and got Rasputin his staff. Then we returned to the inn and met up with everyone. Eventually, Brace returned. He told us that the Red Brands went to an old run down taphouse nearby. He heard them talk about their leader, referring to “her” as they tried to decide who would tell about the night’s experience. They seemed reluctant to speak with their boss, but they went into the taphouse nonetheless.

After having a drink and some food, we retired for the night.

Session 4

We spent the day in Phandalin speaking with locals to find out more information about the town, the Red Brands, the Rockseekers, and anything else we could find out.

The morning started with breakfast at the inn. Toblin, the innkeeper, thanked us for standing up to the Red Brands and gave us our meal for free. He told us that the town was run by a town master named Harbin Wester, and he pointed us toward Harbin’s building. I gave him a gold piece thanking him for his kindness and for the information, and told him that all would be well. Elsa, the serving lady told Heinrick about an orchard keeper who used to be an adventurer. She thought he might have some good stories. When asked where to find him, she said he would come in to the inn once in a while, and also to the shrine across the road. Another old-timer named Lenar, a miner by the look of him, piped in about some orc raids in the area and that Harbin would pay for someone to take it to the orcs.

Before we left, Toblin’s wife spoke with me aside. She mentioned a woodcarver named Thell who had been murdered outright by the Red Brands. There were witnesses too, but nobody said anything. Additionally, Thell’s wife, daughter and son all went missing. I told her that we’d check it out. I really felt badly for that family. She warned us of the power the Red Brands, but I assured her that we’d be able to take care of ourselves. Then she thanked me and went back to her duties.

After breakfast, Heinrick went to the shrine with Gerald, and the rest of us went to talk with Harbin.

We all found out information, and Rasputin started the wheels in motion for an elaborate plot to make some extra coin. Eventually we all met back at the inn and shared our findings. Here are some highlights.

Heinrick spoke with Sister Garaele of Tymora and found out that she had been attacked by orcs while she was on a mission to parlay with a banshee named Agatha. She said the banshee had some information about a spell book that could prove to be valuable. Agatha lived alone in the woods, and had been relatively peaceful. Garaele had learned that Agatha was vain, and sought a pearl handled comb, which Garaele was going to give to her, but that’s when the orcs waylaid her. She gave the comb to Heinrick and told him to continue the mission. She also gave Heinrick some salves that heal.

We had spoken with Harbin and found that he was offering 100 gp for the death of some of the orcs near Wyvern Tor, east of the Triboar Trail. As we spoke, Rasputin got an idea. He exited the building and then returned disguised as one of the Red Brands. At first, I didn’t know what was going on, and Brace even went for his weapons, but Rasputin gave me some signals, and I eventually figured it out so I was able to calm Brace. As Rasputin spoke with Harbin, he told the town master that the Red Brands wanted to solve the orc problem and they’d take 250 gold, up front to do it. Harbin was visibly concerned. Then Rasputin asked for us to leave so we did, and I laughed and offered Harbin 150 gp for the job, telling him that we’d be outside if he needed us. Rasputin continued his charade, and during his conversation with Harbin learned that the Red Brands were led by someone called the Black Widow. He also mentioned some manor named Tresumpter, Presumpter or Transender or something where they may be. Not wanting any trouble from the Red Brands and the Black Widow, Harbin told Rasputin that he’d need a day to get the funds. Rasputin gave him the deal – give him 230 gp and Harbin himself could pocket the 20 gp extra, but Harbin should not bother the Black Widow, just deal with him. Rasputin left knowing that he’d have to return in 8 hours.

Before we got back to the inn, we sent Brace back out to shadow the town master in case he decided to speak with the Red Brands or the Black Widow. Then we took a rest at the inn and waited. While waiting, we asked Toblin about the manor that Harbin had mentioned, and he said maybe he meant the old Transender Castle, maybe that was it. Rasputin also shared with us that he got the feeling that Harbin was a cowardly stooge, shaking in his boots at the thought that there might be trouble with the Red Brands.
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Session 5

While we waited the day around the Stonehill Inn, a baker women came to visit Toblin. She told us about Hallia, the only other woman in town to stand up to the Red Brands. Heinrick noticed a little boy eying us, and he turned on the charm to teach the boy how to fight using two sticks he picked up. This was Toblin’s boy, Pip. After the lesson, Pip told us about how he and his friend Carp found a secret tunnel out by the Halderly Farm, near the east woods and Tresander Castle. When Carp poked his head into the tunnel, a voice asked what he was doing, so the two boys ran.

Later that day, we all went back to the town building so that Rasputin could meet with Harbin again. Heinrick and Gerald went into the supply shop nearby and I just walked the streets a bit while Rasputin assumed the aspect of a Red Brand and went into the town building. Pretty soon, Rasputin came out, looking pretty pleased. As he changed his disguise, eliminating the red bands on his arms, the four Red Brands we had encountered earlier came up to us. One questioned why I was still here and he motioned me to leave. Then they surrounded Rasputin and told him that he had some explaining to do with the Black Widow. The situation got worse when one of the toughs grabbed the illusionary arm that hid Rasputin’s missing arm. As Rasputin spoke with the ruffians, I used a message spell to tell Heinrick what was happening. Then I darted into the supply shop to meet up with the Dwarf and our cleric.

Rasputin hadn’t started a fight yet, but he had drawn the Red Brands closer to the supply shop. We all exited and there was a moment of tension as Heinrick strode up to Rasputin and poked fun at the Red Brands. Pretty soon, Heinrick was head butting one of the thugs and the fight broke out. Rasputin tried to swing his staff, but unfortunately he missed his mark and hit Heinrick instead. Then one of the Red Brands stabbed him pretty deep with a short sword. I moved away and threw an ice knife that I conjured from the weave, hitting one of the thugs, but unfortunately, they were quick on their feet so none of them took the icy damage that exploded around them. Rasputin wasn’t as quick on his feet, so he took a little chill. Heinrick swung his Elven blade and cut into the Red Brand he had been fighting with, and others tried to take out Rasputin. Gerald was able to get up close to Rasputin and ply him with healing magic as one of the Red Brands broke over to me. I was able to dodge his blows, and then I sang a bladesong and stabbed into my foe. Henrick, with sword, and Rasputin with some Eldritch blasts, were able to dispatch a few of the goons, and then the others decided to run. They said they couldn’t go back to the Black Widow fearing for their lives, so they said they would run for the woods. I tried to knock one down with the butt end of my blade as he ran, but I couldn’t hit him hard enough so he disappeared into the rainy night.

After the fight, we went back to the inn for a short rest before our next move to check out the tunnel that Pip told us about. After about an hour, we heard some screaming out front. When we ran out, we saw Brace, unconscious and beaten badly, nailed to a spike. There was a note spiked to his chest as well. It read, “The Black Widow sends her greetings.”

Heinrick quickly applied his healing hands to Brace, which brought him back from the brink of death. Then Gerald said a prayer and his divine magic knitted up many of the wounds on Brace’s body. Brace told us that he was hiding and watching the town master when all of a sudden everything went black. He woke up and all he could see were shadows, but he heard a woman’s voice. That was all he remembered. He didn’t even recall what information if any he uttered.

Now it was personal so we had more of a reason to find that tunnel and try to infiltrate the Red Brand’s by surprise. Maybe we could find the wife and children they had abducted days earlier. Maybe we could take out the Black Widow and then try to convert the remaining Red Brands giving them jobs in Phandalin as guards or patrol members. In any event, our orc hunting expedition and the mission to give Agatha the comb would have to wait until after we check out the tunnel and do some more damage to the Red Brands.
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I really enjoyed reading this, Rhenny! Thanks for sharing.

My pleasure. Thanks for reading.

I've been keeping journals for some of the campaigns I run and some of the ones I play in. I love to read them over to help me remember what's going on and we used them for our group to keep informed too, but I love when others read and comment on them.



Numinous Hierophant
I come to these boards seeking inspiration for interesting characters and stories. Campaign journals like this provide inspiration in spades. Keep 'em coming!


Session 6

After Gerald tended to Brace’s wounds and restored his health with divine magic, we set off for the hidden tunnel that Pip had told us about. Heinrick tried to make it seem as if we were leaving town, but he laid it on a bit thick. I think Toblin, the Inn Keeper, could tell we were going out to the old manor house to deal with the Red Brands.

We trudged quietly through the rain and darkness until we got to a forest only a short distance from the east of town. Then Brace, Rasputin and I took point, sneaking about 25’ ahead of the others. I was able to spot the tunnel when we got to the cliff face north of the small forest, and we scouted it out before calling Heinrick and Gerald forward. There were no guards so we navigated the tunnel for a while until it opened up into a natural cavern.

At this point, Rasputin used his warlock magic to assume the appearance of a Red Brand. He lit a torch and walked 25’ ahead of the rest of us. When he got to the middle of the cavern area, next to a bridge spanning a crevice, we saw a creature drop down upon him so we rushed up as soon as we could. This creature had one large eye in the middle of its face; it was a putrid green and gray with rotting flesh. It looked like a large humanoid combination of ghoul and a bipedal frog. Evidently, it was trying to use some strange power by staring directly at Rasputin. Fortunately, our warlock friend has a pretty strong will, and was able to avoid the brunt of whatever the creature was attempting to do to him, but later he did say that he felt as if his own memories were being pulled from his mind. Heinrick attempted an athletic feat, jumping over Brace who had fired an arrow at the beast, but instead of clearing Brace, he knocked him down and then fell flat on his face right in front of the creature, but that did not stop Heinrick from attacking. He lashed out with his Elven longsword and cut into the abomination to draw first blood.

During our battle, we found that this creature could withstand a number of our blows. Heinrick battled it in close, while most of us kept our distance and used ranged attacks. Brace was able to land a few sneak attacks as Heinrick got raked nastily by the creature’s claws. According to both Heinrick and Rasputin this hideous creature was growling and speaking to Rasputin. It said, “Rasputin. Azuth, your god, will be mine.” Finally, Brace landed the killing blow. I tried to study the creature, but I couldn’t remember anything from the lore I’ve studied.

We continued to the east over the bridge, Rasputin leading us in the guise of a Red Brand. We found a dead end, but Rasputin noticed an odd discoloration on one wall. We all studied the area to find that there was a secret door which Heinrick was able to open. Inside this new chamber was more like the basement of a dwelling. There were supply boxes scattered all around at a large cistern with water in it. I washed the blood from my hands and blades as we walked in, but then Rasputin told us to stay out. He continued to another door and opened it. Then he slipped inside and a few moments later he came back out and told us that there were three Red Brands in that bunk room. I was still upset from when the Red Brand grabbed me earlier and threatened to take me to a “nice place to sleep,” so I encouraged the others that we should kill them. Heinrick reminded us that we should try to spare those that we might be able to convince to leave the Red Brands, perhaps to become town guards or to help rid the surrounding area of the blood-thirsty Orcs.

We had Heinrick bust in the door and quickly moved in to deal with the Red Brands. I was able to use my greenflame blade to chop and burn some of them before they even grabbed their weapons. As I backed up to get back near the door, I was cuffed by three of them, but their bare hands merely stung me and made me angry. The others used their signature attacks, and we were able to kill or subdue the Red Brands without further harm. We got some information out of one of the foes and found out that the Black Widow was not at the manor. We also took a few of the red cloaks and had Brace and Gerald put them on as I used my disguise kit to make them look a little more like two Red Brands. Then, we left the room, allowing Brace to deal with the prisoner. Brace wanted revenge for when he was taken and tortured by the Black Widow, so he showed no mercy.

Exploring more, we found a corridor with a pit trap that Rasputin almost fell into, but Brace and Heinrick were able to re-rig the trap to keep it shut. Then we found a set of double doors and Rasputin felt some evil ahead. We entered this room, Heinrick in the lead at this point. He saw three coffins in the room with three armored skeletons propped up against them. He could sense they were undead so he charged and smashed into one of them. We were able to defeat these creatures and inspect the coffins. Evidently this was the resting place of the Tresanders. We left their bodies undisturbed, even the woman who wore a golden bracelet.

We went through another door to the north and found a secret weapon room. I spent 10 minutes studying a detect magic ritual while the others kept guard, but unfortunately none of the weapons in the room were magical. We also found more red cloaks. We had one more door to check back in the crypt room. When Heinrick opened it up, he saw two Red Brand guards and two prison cells. There was a woman and a girl in one and a little boy in the other. All had chained collars that the guards were holding. As Heinrick entered one of the guards pulled the chain attached to the woman close and threatened to kill her. Heinrick dropped his blade and slid it, but then he uttered divine words and told the guard to “release,” which caused him to drop everything he was holding. Then we all jumped in to take care of the guards. One of the hurt guards started to give up and tell us more about the Black Widow. Heinrick started preaching to him and it seems as if he was going to turn from the Red Brands when the other guard attacked him for saying too much. We took down the aggressive Red Brand, and Heinrick continued his sermon. It was very good. The Red Brand, named Onti, swore that he’d take the lady and children back to town and help our cause, and we all could see his sincerity, but just in case, Heinrick bound his hands behind his back and gave Myrna, the woman we rescued, a sword. We told her to go directly back to town, to the Stonehill Inn. It was the inkeeper’s wife who had told us about what happened to Myrna’s husband and her family, so she’d be safe back at the inn. Myrna thanked us and told us about her family business back in Thundertree. She said they had to leave that place quickly so they had left behind a family heirloom. We promised to check it out if we ever made it to Thundertree, and then she took her kids and Onti back to town.
Onti furnished us with some important information before they left. We learned that the Red Brands in this manor were now led by Glasstaff, a mage. He and the Black Widow had also allowed bugbears to work with them, so we could expect to encounter some of those brutes as well.

Not wanting to waste any time we continued to check out the area only to find a collapsed stairway. Then we went west toward where we had heard Glasstaff would be. Rasputin, disguised as Onti now, found a door at the bottom of a stairway. He opened it stepped in and then closed the door and came back to us. He said there were three bugbears in there and they were making a naked goblin do some strange dance. When the goblin saw Rasputin, his eyes bugged out and he fainted. The bugbears looked up, but Rasputin left. Before we could decide what to do, one of the bugbears was already up the stairway next to Rasputin threatening him. While we battled two of the brutes, the third one was able to use a tunnel to get out of the room and appear on our other side. Rasputin took a damaging clubbing, but we were able to kill the three goons and bring their bodies back to their room. We tied up the goblin and left him in there with the dead bugbears and we continued to the north.

This room had four Red Brand ruffians, playing cards in it. They told Rasputin, who still looked like Onti, to pull up a chair and join in. Rasputin then told the others that there were intruders and he pointed back to the south. A few of the ruffians went to check out the Dwarf they saw in the hallway, as I ducked behind Heinrick and tried to hide around a corner. We fought them and when Rasputin could fire an eldritch blast into the back of the last ruffian, he caught them by surprise. Two of the ruffians ran to the north and said they would get help as we fought the other two. Then, from the other direction the other two appeared and we fought on two fronts, but we prevailed. I got sliced once more by a blade, but I did not go down although at this point, I was feeling a bit worse for the wear.

After killing the ruffians, we went back to the card room and took all the coins on the table. We also found a gold earring with a ruby in it, a pretty nice piece of jewelry.


Session 7

We continued forward through another door where a stairway led up to the east and the caves above, but there was another door directly opposite the door we entered. We went into that room to smell the pungent odor of alchemy. There was a large table with ingredients and a pot on a stove, boiling some toxic mixture. I took a look around and found a few valuable vials, some dragon bile, mercury and powdered nightshade. Rasputin decided to test the liquid boiling on the stove by using a stone spoon to scoop out a small amount. Then he went over to one of the dead bodies of the ruffians we had just dispatched and he poured the liquid onto his skin. Immediately the skin puckered and blistered. This was some vile mixture.

There was one more unopened door to the east of this room, so Rasputin pushed it open. We all watched as he went rigid, paralyzed or held by some magical spell. I ran into the room to see what evil was within, and as I did, I stepped on some runes in the floor that triggered a barrage of magic missiles. I snapped my fingers and called forth a shield spell, deflecting the deadly darts, saving my life. I also saw a mage about 15’ away holding a glass staff. It was Glasstaff the leader of this force of Red Brands. I dove out of the room and hid beside the doorway, and then Brace had a chance to fire an arrow at the mage, doing a little damage. The mage stepped up to the doorway and placed his hands on Rasputin. Electrical charges coursed through our warlock’s body, taking a grievous amount of damage, but it didn’t kill him. Glasstaff stepped back, but still paralyzed, Rasputin could do nothing against the mage, so Heinrick grabbed him and dragged him away from the mage and switched positions with the warlock. Brace attempted to trace the mage with sacred flame, but his magic did not work against the foe.

With only one spell left, I bided my time getting ready to cast a sleep spell. I had the feeling that Glasstaff was too powerful to succumb to my spell at this point, so I tried to catch him with a bit of frostbite. It failed. Then, when Heinrick jumped into the room to attack the mage, Glasstaff disappeared with a whisk of smoke around him. Heinrick ran throughout the room swinging his Elven blade, but it seemed as if the mage was gone. I tried to discern what spell he had used, but I was a bit clouding on it. Eventually, after Brace and Gerald moved around in the adjacent room looking for Glasstaff, I checked under the ingredient table and ran back to the ruffian’s room to see Glasstaff near the card table in the southern room where we defeated the four ruffians.

Rasputin could not shake off the paralysis he felt so he was stuck in the corner of the other room while Brace, Heinrick, Gerald and I jumped into the room to fight Glasstaff. Brace was able to hit him with another arrow and then close, but he was hit by four magic missiles and nearly went down. Then Heinrick entered the room and I started to prepare for the sleep spell. Unfortunately, I could see that Brace was more injured than Glasstaff so I was still afraid to use my spell, so I waited until Heinrick and Brace could do a little more damage to the evil mage. As soon as my companions injured Glasstaff, I threw some sand into the air and uttered the magical words attempting to put Glasstaff to sleep. It worked. He went down, and so did Brace, but that gave Heinrick the chance to chop off Glasstaff’s head.

We searched the room and Glasstaff’s possessions and found some scrolls, some notes/letters in the desk in his room, and the staff he possessed as well as some other treasures. Heinrick read the letters and found that some were written in Elven, while others were in common. The ones written in Elven seemed to be from the Black Widow. One said that the bugbears knew the way to the Wave Echo Cave. Another said that The Forge of Spells was all that interested her and it was the only reason she was involved. She could care less about the Dwarves. One written in common threatened, “ If you don’t want the Drow Spider to turn you into one of the eyes, you’d better shape up,” and another warned about a group from Phandalin that needed to be stopped.

We made our way back to the Stonehill Inn and found that Myrna and the kids were safe, and Onti the converted Red Brand was cleaning for Toblin at the inn. In the comfort of the Inn, I was able to identify the staff as a staff of defense that had some impressive spell qualities, the ability to cast mage armor 1/day and the ability to use shield spell by expending staff charges, it also helped the wielder defend himself. For a while I pondered using it, seeing how I might wield such a weapon, but then I thought about Tal’ana Culith, the ancient Bladesinger, friend of Dragons and protector of Elves, and I gave the staff to Rasputin. The scrolls, however, I kept for myself.

It was late that night, so we decided to sleep and set watches in case the Black Widow or the Red Brands decided to retaliate.
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Session 8 (a short one) Off to Kill Orcs and Find Agatha the Banshee

We got to sleep the night away without incident. In the morning, we prepared ourselves, and I was able to learn two new spells, Rope Trick and Blur. We also decided that Gerald would be best suited to wield the Staff of Defense we liberated from Glasstaff so he attuned to it making it his weapon of choice. After a quick meal, we went to the Lionshield Coster and I hunted around for a rapier while Rasputin and Heinrick both tried to sell our goods.

Rasputin tried to sell the vendor the gem encrusted eye patch, saying that it once belonged to “The Dread Pirate Roberts.” The vendor was not impressed so when he offered Rasputin a low-ball price, Rasputin just turned tail and left with goods in hand. Heinrick had better luck telling the truth. He noticed that the vendor needed something that he could use to pick out earwax to unclog his ear canals. Heinrick offered the vendor his jade frog statuette, which just so happened to have one thin arm and hand protruding so that it could be used for such a purpose. Then when the vendor said something about his wife wanting an earring, Heinrick threw down the earring we got off one of the Red Brands, and offered both items for a bargain price. The vendor’s offer was much more to the liking, so Heinrick parted with his little token and pocketed over 100 gp. I got to trade in my shortsword for a serviceable rapier, paying 25 gp without much ado.

Shopping done, we took to the road to go towards the area where the Orc mauraderers might be, also in the direction where Agatha the Banshee was reported to have her forest hut. On the road, we made good time, but after a few hours there was rustling in the woods and an Ogre with huge club came bounding towards us. I conjured mage armor and waited for all to make their moves. We got lucky. None of our team took any damage, and within a few moments, we had taken down the brute. We waited, listened and watched to make sure no other foes were about, and when all was quiet, we continued on our way toward the Tor to search for the Orcs.
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Session 9 – The Orcs and Agatha

After a few more hours traveling by road, we came across a mutilated pack mule. The trail of blood proceeded to the south into the hills. This was a sign that perhaps the Orcs were about. We were able to follow the trail to a small crag, and before we took a few more steps Brace saw some smoke billowing into the air from around the crag opening. There was a river rushing down one of the hills making a bit of noise, which helped us approach a lone Orc who seemed to be guarding the crag opening. We set upon him with quick fury taking him down with minimal noise.

Then Heinrick took the lead and entered the crag. He disappeared into the darkness after about 20’ or so so I skittered up to take a peek. The cave was filled with a good half-dozen orcs, one which looked like a leader of sorts. In addition, there was a brutish ogre. Heinrick had cast some kind of sanctuary spell and when the orcs came to attack him, some of them seemed to back off unexplainably. As this battle started, I sang a bladesong and casted a blur spell upon myself so that I could enter the fray, but then I stepped back before any of the monsters could attack me. Pretty soon, Heinrick dropped his spell and started hacking. Rasputin crept up from behind, and first he molded the earth in one area next to Heinrick to make it more difficult terrain; then he withdrew to safety. Brace crept up to fire his bow and keep out of sight. Then Gerald stepped forward even though he had a tough time seeing in the dim light. His sacred flame burnt one orc to the ground as I stepped up again and took a fighting stance. Seeing that there were a few orcs and the ogre, named Gog, within range, I unloosed burning hands injuring them all. Henrick slashed an orc or two, and Brace, Rasputin and Gerald focused on the leader, Axebreaker. While I was up close, one of the Orcs grappled me and tried to pull me down into the river that ran through their cave. Brace killed that Orc before it did me harm. Then, even blurred and in a bladesong dance, I found that one of the Orc great axe attacks was heading straight for my neck, so I flipped up a magical shield to divert his blow.

Soon after, Gerald’s sacred flame was the end of that Orc leader, and we were able to cut down the other Orcs, Rasputin’s Eldritch blast downing the last of them. But, Gog was still fighting us. In fact, his mighty club came down hard upon Heinrick, staggering the Dwarf slightly. We focused fire upon the brute, Brace scoring a sneak attack, Heinrick cutting him with his sword, and Gerald’s sacred flame was the final blow.

After the battle, we searched the cave and found a locked chest, which Brace unlocked. Inside we scored some coin, and Heinrick found a note on the leader, but it was written in the Orc language. Heinrick, disgusted, crumpled the note and threw it to the ground. I picked it up so that we could bring it back to town and get someone to read it. We also took the Orc leader’s axe as a prize to show the Town Master.

Before leaving the cave, we took a rest and I casted detect magic to double check the area to no avail. Then I drew upon arcane recovery to restore some of my spell energy for later that day. With a little rest in order, we left the crag and traveled for a few hours toward Coneyberry in the direction of Agatha’s abode.

On our journey we were beset by an owlbear. It entered our ranks and tore into me before I could even begin my bladesong. After being hurt, I was able to sing and gain some quickness of foot and combat skill, but I was in pain. Gerald, used a spell to soothe my aches, and eventually after Rasputin misty stepped up into a tree to fire down Eldritch pain from above, and the rest of us hacked at the beast, the beast went down. During the battle, Gerald was able to inflict wounds upon the beast with divine magic, and Heinrick delivered an especially vicious Elven longsword blow to a major owlbear artery, which spelled the end for the dangerous beast.

A few more hours on our journey we arrived at the overgrown village of Coneyberry. Vines and growth covered some ancient abandoned buildings, and soon Heinrick could find where Agatha, the banshee’s abode was. He strode confidently to it as I trailed behind as to not lose the Dwarf. He opened the hut door and went inside speaking out to Agatha. I poked my head in the doorway, but then stood there and took out a book of lore to read more about banshees, looking up every so often to see what was going on. Rasputin went into the hut with Heinrick, but soon he was feeling a cold chill, and a fear he could not shake. Heinrick, spoke eloquently and offered the banshee the comb that Sister Gareale had given him. Then when Agatha agreed to answer a question, Heinrick asked how he could set her free. The banshee told him to go to Thundertree to vanquish the dragon that had destroyed her family. With that, Henrick promised to abide, and we left the banshee in peace.

At that point, I tried to get Heinrick to delay the journey to Thundertree mostly because I felt we were not ready to fight a dragon, but he remained resolute. Then, I realized that we had a 3 day journey to get to Thundertree, yet I only had 2 days of rations so we decided to search Coneyberry for edibles and make camp for the night. We found scarcely any good food and barely managed to avoid poisonous berries, so we had to make a meal of our rations.

That night, around our campfire, when Rasputin was taking watch with Gerald, 4 ghouls decided to check us out. Rasputin used some of his innate powers to repel some of the ghouls, but unfortunately, instead of attacking him, one attacked me as I was in my trance. I suffered a terrible wound, but was able to wake and get ready for battle waking everyone else with my cries of pain. Heinrick took up his holy symbol and forced two of the ghouls to run for the woods as we fought the remaining two. We were able to take down the 2 undead fiends, and then Gerald used his healing powers upon Brace, Rasputin and I. Low on spell power and exhausted from our adventures we went back to sleep, setting watches through the next morning.
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Session 10 – Travel through Neverwinter Wood

Heinrick, Rasputin, Brace, Gerald and I entered the woods near Coneyberry as Brace led us toward Thundertree. We traveled the day talking about whatever Heinrick could remember about the dragon that Agatha had said something about. I still thought it a bad idea for us to stray so far from Phandalin, especially to go to an area that seemed to be corrupted by evil. It was Heinrick’s sense of duty and sheer strength of character that kept us going.

That night, we nearly slept the entire night in a sheltered depression in the woods, but eventually Henrick woke us up because he heard some creatures sneaking in on us. A Hobgoblin with heavier armor stepped out of the shadows and attacked Heinrick, but missed the Dwarf. Then the rest of us got ourselves up and about eventually facing five of the organized and brutal humanoids. One of the brutes cut down on Heinrick and wounded the Dwarf greatly. Gerald stepped up behind Heinrick, using divine healing to close some of the wound, but not all of it. Then Rasputin fired eldritch blast and Brace stabbed one deeply, killing it. Singing my Bladesong, I tried to stab one with my rapier, but I hit armor instead of soft flesh. Eventually, we were able to take down the Hobgoblins without suffering any other wounds.

I inspected their fallen bodies and the markings on their armor to find that they were part of an old alliance with the Cragmaw Goblins. I had thought that this alliance was ancient history, but perhaps these Hobgoblins and the Cragmaw Goblins have re-established their bond. This information reminded me about what we learned about Gundren Rockseeker from Sildar. I reminded Heinrick that Sildar said the Goblins took his cousin to Cragmaw Castle, which may actually be somewhere in this forest. Heinrick still wanted to go to Thundertree first so after we finished the night’s rest, we continued.

Unfortunately, Brace had a tough time finding food for us so we had to eat a number of Gerald’s rations. We were running low, but eventually we made it to the edge of the woods. Out in a clearing, we heard the sound of a dying animal. Heinrick and Rasputin ran to see what it was so the rest of us followed. We saw a grotesque sight, a blood-caked Ogre with strange eyes was tearing apart some larger animal. As we approached, Rasputin could tell that the creature was babbling in Abyssal. It was clear that this creature was tainted by a demonic influence.

I was able to frostbite the creature before it tried to beat on Heinrick, and we were able to take it down after a number of hits, some sacred flame, some eldritch blasts and a sneak attack or two. I danced through the trees and got up behind the possessed Ogre and struck true, my rapier sliding deeply into its fleshy back. Heinrick hacked it down, but as it writhed on the ground, a new creature burst out from within.

The demonic creature was a spiny demon of sorts and it launched a volley of spines, one heading directly for my chest. I incanted a spell and shielded myself just before the spine hit me. Brace was not as lucky. He took a hit right in his shoulder. To retaliate, Brace, Heinrick and I attacked the thing with melee weapons, as Rasputin fired his mystical energy blasts to hurt the thing as well. Gerald’s sacred flame seemed to do full damage and brought it down, its body disappearing in a puff of black smoke and ichor.

As dusk fell, we decided to travel a few more hours to get to the outskirts of Thundertree before thinking about finding a place to camp.


Session 11 – Into Thundertree – Dragon Cultists not Zombies

We all decided to scout into Thundertree to see what it was like. The town itself seemed abandoned, many of the buildings left in ruin. We saw a sign of warning flapping in the wind, “Danger, Zombies,” and then we saw a few buildings that were less destroyed and ruined. Heinrick led us up to one in the south east of town near where we entered from the road. The windows were covered from within and the door was closed. Heinrick opened the door to find a small room littered with debris. There was another door to the north of this room, and when Heinrick and I were inside, the door flew open as a streak of light seemed to produce a number of humanoids – two wore flame colored outfits while another was dressed all in black, wearing a mask. They threatened to feed us to the "mother" and the "child." They spoke about the dragon and they attacked us.

Heinrick took the brunt of the attacks as I tried to maneuver into a position that would allow for me to spread forth burning flames. Singing a bladesong before two of the cultists attacked me, saved my skin. Heinrick attacked with his sword and got hit a few times. Rasputin fired off Eldritch Blasts when he could, while Brace jumped in to sneak attack cultists when possible. Gerald hung back waiting for a time when his healing arts would be needed. Before too long, more cultists came from the adjacent room. I was able to catch two of the red ones and the one in black. The two red ones died immediately, but the cultist in black stood his ground. Heinrick hacked into another cultist taking him down, and Rasputin blasted the one in black as Brace slid his blade into the masked cultists back, killing him. We took down the others pretty soon, but realized that the flames from my spell were now burning throughout the room.

After nearly 30 seconds and a lot of uncertainty, grabbing drapes and clothes, even using the bodies of the fallen, we were able to put out the fire before it did more damage. A few of us took some heat damage from the flames and Gerald was weakened by the smoke.

After controlling the blaze, Rasputin looked at the masked cultist and assumed his visage. In the other room we found some food and drink and the door and window leading outside from that room had been boarded and shuttered pretty solidly. Gerald and Heinrick stayed in the room and took a rest while Rasputin, Brace and I went out to inspect the outside of the building. Brace climbed up on to the roof to look out over the town and see what he could see. Rasputin saw some signs of force used against the outside door to the north, but he couldn’t tell if they were old or new markings. I kept an eye out behind Rasputin to watch his back.

Rasputin scouted further to the west and found a building that might have been a smithy. The door was stuck so he left it closed and looked a little to the north finding a partially ruined building as well. I hid behind some ruins and waited for Rasputin to return. Shortly he came back and we went back to our new camp inside the building we cleared. When we got back, we found that Heirnick had chopped up the cultists to make sure they didn’t come back as zombies as he stated that he could tell we were on desecrated soil. We dragged the dead outside the building and piled them to the east of the building. Then we set watches and took our night’s rest.

Although there was a terrible storm that night, we rested undisturbed and woke refreshed, and very happy that we did not have to spend a night out in the storm. Peeking outside, we found that the storm had subsided, but the town did look more windswept and rain scoured than when we first arrived.

Personally, I think the story about the zombies that came to attack the residents 30 years ago was an old story. The new threat seems to revolve around this dragon cult we’ve encountered and the possibility that there is or will be a real dragon somewhere near. I am both frightened and curious to see such a creature. For a bladesinger like myself, the tales of Tal’ana Culith – Dragon friend and Elf protector are always on my mind.
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Session 12 – Exploring Thundertree – Ash Zombies and Twig Blights

After preparing ourselves for the day (studying my spells and casting mage armor), we followed Rasputin to the smithy building he had found. Heinrick, sensed the desecration around us, and pushed open the door. Inside, two shambling ash zombies lurched forward. When Brace hit one with an arrow, it issued forth a putrid gas and rot that made Rasputin sick. The zombies beat on Heinrick, but eventually we were able to take them down, even after one tried to stand again after getting hacked by the Dwarf’s longsword. We could tell that Gerald’s sacred flame did damage that kept a zombie down too.

The smithy was only a small 20’ x 20’ building with some anvils and tools, but little else so we followed Rasputin back east to another ruined building that looked like a weaver’s shop. All the while, Rasputin disguised himself as the masked dragon cultist dressed in black.

Henrick and I stepped inside the ruined weaver’s hop and saw some of the sticks and vines on the ground coil and form into small creatures, twig blights. 6 of them stood before us and soon they were closing on Heinrick. Heinrick got hit by a number of the pesky creatures as I killed a few with my blade and the cascading green flame that lept from one to another. Brace stepped forward and stabbed deeply into another creature reducing it to inanimate debris. One of the twiggy creatures slashed at me and opened a wound on my sword arm, but Heinrick hacked another bringing it down, all as poor sick Rasputin’s eldritch blasts could not find the mark. Eventually we defeated the last of the blights, but the room did not have anything else of interest.

We worked our way to the north east of town, seeing a statue of a founder who fought to defend Thundertree so many years ago. The statue’s face looked brave as it wielded sword and shield in defense. Then to the north we saw a tower to the west and a barracks to the east. Both seemed in tact. Keeping to the periphery of the town, we went to the barracks.

Heinrick pushed open the door and quickly two more ash zombies stepped up to attack. We fought them at the door as another joined in, and a few moments later two jumped down from the roof of the barracks, one hitting Gerald, the other missing Brace. Heinrick found it quite easy to resist the sickness caused by the cloud of putrid ash, but Gerald and I both got sick as we fought. Heinrick got hit a few times. Brace and Gerald also took damage from the attackers. One Zombie went down twice, but got back up again to attack Heinrick with vengeance. One of the zombies would have hit me, but I conjured a magical shield to block the blow. Eventually we put the zombies down for good and moved into the barracks.

We spent a short time cleaning the place so that we could use it to rest. It was a more fortified position than where we slept last night, so we wanted to keep it as a safe place for the next time we needed a long rest. Henrick needed to rest and bandage his wounds so we spent an hour, which I used to call back some spell energy I had used that day. Heinrick patched himself up, and I used a little of my own fortitude to help staunch the small wound I received.


Session 13 – Green Death – Venom Fang

After resting, Rasputin re-disguised himself as one of the Dragon Cultists we had defeated earlier. He scouted to the west near the tower and ruined castle. Heinrick, Brace, Gerald and I followed at a distance and kept to the trees. I used the message cantrip to communicate with Rasputin. Apparently, he saw two dead, shriveled and puckered, giant spiders that seemed to be dragged near the front door of the stone building. Then, suddenly, the sun was blocked momentarily and a young green dragon flew above and landed near Rasputin. I could not make out what Rasputin said as he was speaking some strange language (I can only assume it was Draconic because the dragon seemed to understand him), but soon after he did say something to the dragon, the dragon turned toward Heinrick and approached our advancing Dwarf Paladin.

Gerald blessed Brace, Heinrick and I, and then Rasputin fired an Eldritch blast at the dragon but missed so even though I didn’t want to fight the creature, we had committed to battle. Heinrick took a claw that opened a gash across his chest. The creature spoke in strange tongue we could not understand, but we could hear his name – Venom Fang. Brace angled for a shot, and connected with Venom Fang, which caught the dragon’s attention. The dragon flew off toward Brace, who had ducked behind a statue in the road. Heinrick took a swing at Venom Fang with his blade, but his blade bounced harmlessly off the dragon’s hide. I moved toward the northern copse of bushes and a tree and tried to inflict Venom Fang with frostbite, but his constitution was too high for my spell power to work against him. Then Venom Fang clawed and bit at Brace, knocking him down, unconscious. Then, a final claw dug into Brace and we could tell Brace was nearly dead.

Venom Fang turned back to face the others as Gerald’s sacred flame scorched the dragon for some minor damage. I created a rope trick hidden in the bushes under the tree where I was and then I moved out to get a shot at Venom Fang with my short bow, before firing the bow I yelled out to my friends, “run to the tree – meet there and I can teleport us away.”

Rasputin hexed the creature and fired another Eldritch blast. This time he did some damage, but before Venom Fang could get to him, he had to fight Heinrick who had tried to climb up his back and tail to attack him from the topside. Unfortunately, Heinrick slipped and fell so Venom Fang attacked, missing with claws, but biting for tremendous damage. Heinrick was down, unconscious but not dead.

Rasputin ran to where I had created the rope trick and tried to all out, grab the rope and climb, but he misgrabbed the rope after climbing 20’ up, and he fell, hitting the ground with a resounding thump, perhaps breaking a rib or two. Then, Venom Fang turned on Rasputin and struck him down. The dragon picked up Rasputin, the unconscious warlock, and flew up to the tower. We had no idea what had become of our companion.

Gerald seeing an opportunity, ran over to Heinrick and casted cure wounds. Heinrick told him to “run” and he proceeded to crawl toward Brace, the nearly dead rogue. Heinrick touched Brace and imbued him with a small portion of life (1 hp).

Brace, Heinrick and Gerald all started to move closer to the rope trick, but before they could get there, Rasputin’s body fell from the tower. He was dead. Then Venom Fang landed but 10’ away from us and he breathed a cloud of noxious gas. The poison engulfed at least Gerald and I. I can’t believe it didn’t kill me. Unfortunately, Gerald was not so lucky. I watched as his body contorted in painful spasms, and his skin blistered and turned green and sickly. He dropped to the ground, a quivering mass of disfigured flesh. Brace panicked and ran to the south. I ran to the rope trick. Heinrick ran with me.

I was able to get up into the extradimensional space, but when Heinrick got to the rope, he climbed up and swung himself toward the dragon rather than enter the space with me. He tried to jump on to the dragon with his sword drawn, but he was unsuccessful. Venom Fang seized the opportunity to finally down the Dwarf paladin, and in the next few seconds, the dragon swallowed the Dwarf entirely.

I pulled up the rope and hid inside the rope trick space, hoping that the dragon would not stay around when the spell ended. It seemed as if Brace ran off to the south so I was unsure where he had gone or what fate had visited him.

While I waited, I rested and bandaged my wounds as best I could. My lungs burned, but I started to fell a little better.

When the rope trick ended, I climbed down and tried to quietly make my way to the east so I could retrace our steps back to the side of the town and down to the road we came in on. I made too much noise and the dragon flew down toward me. I ran to the barracks building to the east and dove for the door. The dragon flew by and clawed me once, tearing into my flesh, nearly knocking me unconscious (1hp). I managed to open the door and dive in and hide myself in the middle of the barracks. As I was in there, I could hear the dragon landing on top of the building. It was tearing at the roof trying to get at me. I casted another rope trick and hid myself in the extradimensional space once more.

When the spell ended, I made my way down and saw that the top of the roof had been ripped open, but a portion of the south rooms seemed to still have a roof. I hid myself in the enclosed area and spent the night without sleeping. I was badly wounded and low on energy. Eating rations and drinking some water kept me from being overly fatigued, but I was in bad condition. After a few more hours, I snuck out of a window on the east side and snuck my way to the edge of town. I was lucky not to encounter the dragon or any other hostile creatures, but I was at least 20 miles from Waterdeep, and a few days through the woods to Phandalin.

I started my way toward Waterdeep, and saw some farm lands. Some of the farm hands saw me and rushed to my aid. They took me in and tended to my wounds. That’s were I am now. Three of my comrades are dead, and I don’t know what happened to Brace. When I’m stronger, I’ll make my way back to Phandalin. Perhaps Brace made it back. In any event, I’ll need to join up with some new adventurers and get my life back on track.
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...I started my way toward Waterdeep, and saw some farm lands. Some of the farm hands saw me and rushed to my aid. They took me in and tended to my wounds. That’s were I am now. Three of my comrades are dead, and I don’t know what happened to Brace. When I’m stronger, I’ll make my way back to Phandalin. Perhaps Brace made it back. In any event, I’ll need to join up with some new adventurers and get my life back on track.

Wow, a near TPK. The green dragon encounter is a bit ridiculous. In most scenarios where PCs encounter the Dragon, they are simply dead adventurers walking. Unless they get very, very lucky retreat isn't much of an option - the Dragon will catch them.

Did your group continue from this or start fresh?


Lenora will limp back to Phandalin and meet up with some new adventurers. We'll see how we progress. Most of the players are rolling up new characters and one is joining the group. I think the new person is going to be playing a noble's daughter who has some hired companions (the other players). Eventually they will seek out Lenora because they will hear rumors that Lenora survived the encounter with the dragon

I played last night as a guest (running one of the new PCs for someone else). The 1st level PCs had to do some pre-adventure to get them together and get them to a point where they can travel to Phandalin.


This is glorious- I'm loving the action, I hope the new guys get levelled up and back into the fray soon. I also hope you write up, or summarise, the adventures of the heroes to get back to this point.

I've just started writing up (again, I tried once before but was unhappy with the result) the action from our venture into the Lost Mines of Phandelver, the first session is here- The State of the Union

Keep up the great work, I dearly wish one of my players would write up a journal as you have.

Cheers goonalan


Session 13, 14 and 15 – Lenora meets new Adventurers

I was able to catch a ride with a farmer who was taking some of his goods to the outskirts of Waterdeep. Then I made my 3 day journey to Phandalin. Exhausted, dejected and alone, I checked back at the Stonehill Inn. Toblin and Myrna, the innkeeper and his wife, greeted me, but they could tell I had been through an ordeal. They didn’t even ask me about the others yet, sensing what had happened to them. Brace was nowhere to be found so I offered to pay for a room so I could just rest. Toblin would not take my money.

Eventually, I told Toblin and Myrna what had happened to us in Thundertree, and I spent a few more days writing and contemplating. That night, a red-headed young noble woman with three retainers (a priest, a druid and a monk) arrived at the inn. Pretty soon, the noble woman was addressing me. She had heard about our encounter with Venomfang, and she was way too excited to go see the dragon. Over dinner and drinks, I was able to calm her down and impress upon her how dangerous dragons really are, and I learned that her father was a wealthy noble in Waterdeep. Her name was Syvrina, and she was on an expedition to see the world and help her dad. The priest with her, who kept saying, “yes, m’lady” to Syvrina, introduced himself as Brigby. The druid was Bynn, a man who had a taste for drink, but Syvrina kept him in check so that he only could have one drink. The monk, Yut ief, was not a very bright one, but he seemed pretty reliable. It turns out that Syvrina’s father was paying these guys to adventure with his daughter and keep her safe.

Syvrina told me that she was unable to get shipments of perfume because there were disturbances up this way. I had three vials of perfume from my days adventuring with my departed companions so I gave them to her. As trade, she gave me a map that showed the location of Cragmaw Castle, and she said that that was the source of the disruption. She asked if I’d join them as they explored and ended the disruption. I figured it was time to get back out in the world, and I remembered our original reason for coming to Phandalin, to find Gundrun Rockseeker, the cousin of Heinrick the Dwarven paladin that I used to adventured with. My earlier exploits revealed that Gundrun was taken to Cragmaw Castle, so now at least I could do a good deed for my dead friend.

We spent one more night at the inn, getting ready for our new adventure and started off in the morning. We traveled up to the Triboar Trail and headed west until we could cut north and enter the forest. Bynn and Yut were both quite good at finding trails and aiding our travel. I tried to play a tune for Syvrina on my viol, but when Brigby sang along, it made me shudder so I was not at my best. Syvrina seemed to like Brigby’s tune though so whatever.

A few hours into the woods, with Yut sneaking to our left, we were attacked by a small band of Hobgoblins. I remembered how tactical and tough they were so I didn’t try to conserve my spellpower. With Mage Armor already on, I sang a bladesong. My companions were already in battle with the Hobgoblins, Yut put up a fight, but was eventually knocked down by two of the foes. Brigby fought beside Syvrina and Bynn while I moved over to protect the fallen monk. Using a more powerful burning hands, I was able to kill one and injure another Hobgoblin. Brigby moved into position near two more of the brutes, but before he could blast them with a powerful Thunderwave, another knocked Syvrina unconscious. Brigby blew the two Hobgoblins away with his mighty spell, and was soon able to use some divine magic to save Syvrina, “m’lady.” Bynn moved towards Yut and although his thorn whip did not catch a foe, his healing word restored Yut and got him up again. As the last Hobgoblin turned and ran, I gave chase, but I could not take him down right away. While the others were getting up and regrouping, I continued my chase and faced off against the Hobgoblin. He was unable to cut me so he ran again, but I was able to cut him down.

We stayed where we were for the night, but had to defend ourselves against a small group of Orcs. They were not as difficult to put down as the Hobgoblins, but their great axe swipes could have been nearly as dangerous. We bested those vermin, and continued our journey toward the castle nearly refreshed from our night of rest.

When we got to the castle, Syvrina walked right up to a side door and started to speak yell out, “you hoo…come out…are you there?” I had to speak with the lady and tell her that all of this could be dangerous and we needed to be more quiet. When I could tell that this wasn’t really getting through to her, I told her that it would be more fun if we were quiet and tried to sneak into the castle. I had heard her talking to her hired men earlier about sneaking into daddy’s kitchen to eat pies, so I figured maybe I could appeal to this playful side of her. Brigby, Bynn and Yut gave me the nod. Truth be told, Syvrina was actually really good at sneaking so we needed to use that to our advantage.

The door, it turned out, was locked. Syvrina took a hair pin out and used it to open the door, just like when she opened doors in her own house. I palmed my head in dumfounded amazement as Brigby helped open the door. Inside he was shot at by goblin shortbows, and he took an arrow wound immediately. Yut came running up from our flank and entered the castle. That monk could really move. He smacked down two goblins with a quick snap of his hands, and then he positioned himself by a doorway to the left. We all entered and fought with a number of goblins, one looking a little more beefy than the others. It seemed as if the others called him Yegg. Our fight took us deeper into a dining hall and another hallway, down a corridor and to another room. Yut and Bynn peeled off to the left into the dining hall to fight some goblins in there, while the rest of us fought the ones right before us. Brigby, Syvrina and I fought up to the right and cornered Yegg, but Yegg was able to scramble up some rubble into a room behind a door to the east. Syvrina went up to follow, but then she came down again, cut by a blade, telling us that two hobgoblins were in the next room with Yegg. A hobgoblin opened the door we were near and I disengaged to get away. Then Brigby let loose another of his thunderwaves to throw both of the hobgoblins back dead. We were able to take out Yegg too, but as we waited for our companions to catch up, we realized they were not coming to us.

In the dining hall, Yut and Bynn fought against a number of goblins. Bynn had turned himself into a dire wolf and was ripping some of the goblins to shreds. Yut slapped them with his unarmed strikes, downing a number of the little humanoids. But, just before we got back to assist, Yut was struck down by a goblin. Bynn still in beast form tried to take out another of the goblins. When Brigby was cut by one of the goblins and he too went down, dying, Bynn reverted back to druid form and healed the dying cleric, who in turn healed the dying monk. Eventually we finished off the goblins and none others came to defend. We searched the area quickly, but didn’t find much. Then I told the others that we should make it look as if we fled the castle, using blood smears, bloody footprints and all to lead away from the castle, but then, sneak back in and hide in the corner of the dining hall near a ruined tower in a the extradimensional space I could create using my Rope Trick spell. This would allow us to hide and take an hour to reinvigorate ourselves. Bynn executed my plan very well, and we were all able to slip into the rope trick and “disappear” for an hour.
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Session 16 – Cragmaw Castle – Goblins, Hobgoblins and Owl Bear

After the Rope Trick ended, we dropped down to find that many of the goblin bodies that littered the ruined dinning hall had been dragged away. Slightly concerned, we kept exploring to the north. As we opened another door into a shrine like room, we encountered some more goblins. I neglected to sing my bladesong, during our battle, one of the little buggers cut me and ran past me to escape. While the others took on the few goblins in the shrine room, I tried to find the goblin that fled past me. I climbed over some rubble into the hall to the east, but could not find the little green menace. The others took care of the goblins, and when I came back to the shrine, I saw that Bynn had taken a ritual chalice from the alter and smashed it under foot. Yut, who had used his shortsword and open hand attacks had been able to take down many of the goblins. Syvrina and Brig did their share of killing too. Before we could search much more, Yut ran off to the west.

Within a few seconds, Yut came running back yelling about more hobgoblins. Apparently, he had opened a door into another tower room to see four of the brutes. Bynn, transformed into dire wolf form and stood guard right outside the closed door that Yut said the hobgoblins would use. Then, when one of the foes stepped through the door, Bynn pounced and took it down in one blow. Syvrina stood ready with her bow for another who came out, and then the rest of our group came into the room to fight the hobgoblins. Somehow, one of the foes made it to the south of us and came up, trapping Brig. Brig brought his Morningstar down on the hobgoblin, a mighty blow, but it wasn’t enough to stop the hobgoblin from getting revenge. The hobgoblin skewered Brig and took Brig down.

Meanwhile, Syvrina, Yut and I were both fighting the other hobgoblins. I stepped up and used burning hands to kill the two in the doorway, and then I stepped into the room to engage another. Syvrina ended up firing upon the creature, wounding it as Yut moved around to take out the hobgoblin that downed Brig. Bynn moved close to Brig and assumed his Half-Elven form. Then he placed a goodberry into Brig’s mouth and induced Brig to swallow it. Syvrina and I took down the last hobgoblin and took a breather to decide how to proceed.

Eventually, Bynn used his last healing spell to restore some of Brig’s health, and then he gave out the rest of his goodberries to boot. We knew we were low on resources, but we decided to explore a little more before finding another safe place to rest in my Rope Trick. We ended up searching the area finding some edible provisions, a long sword from Neverwinter, some bloody chainmail and a crossbow. None of it looked especially well made, but at least the sword looked official. Bynn also went back to the alter and destroyed the dagger and other goblin objects.

Soon after, Yut scrambled off to the south west and went to the doorway that we had found earlier where I had heard growling behind. As he neared he saw many of the dead goblin bodies, some missing arms, legs, huge pieces torn from their dead bodies, etc. After a little while, we heard Yut outside the castle to the north, running around to get behind us. It seems as if an owl bear was on the loose and Yut got bitten, nearly going down when he was exploring the area to the south east. He yelled for us to get out so we all regrouped to the west side of the castle and headed a little bit to the west to find a place so I could cast the Rope Trick. I was able to do that without encounters so we took an hour in our extradimensional space where I was able to tend to my wounds, and the others were able to tend to their wounds as well.


Session 17 – Rescuing Gundrun Rockseeker and Running from Targor’s Warband

We made our way back into Cragmaw Castle and everything seemed pretty quiet. We let Yut lead us since he was the one that saw the owl bear. He weaved his way to the tower where the owl bear had probably nested and he crawled into the room over a rubble pile. Syvrina went in after him. We didn’t hear any screaming or other ruckus, so Bynn, Brigby and I walked around the northwest way through some doors to enter the tower with the others.

Inside, Yut and Syvrina were moving tables and wooden benches near a ledge that was 20’ up. Atop the ledge was a small chest. They were trying to get up to the ledge, but the tables and benches kept falling over. We pulled a bed in from the other room and propped it up so Syvrina could bounce and climb to catch hold of the ledge above. Up on the ledge, she used her hair pin to open the lock of the chest. Inside she saw coin, a couple of scrolls and a vial of liquid.

Not wanting to waste time, we pocketed the spoils and moved to the northern area and a door that we never opened to the east. At the door, Syvrina heard growling. We backed up and made a plan to open the door and charge in to get the jump on whatever was inside. With that, we positioned ourselves and Yut pulled the door open. Inside the room we saw a very large bugbear standing next to a wolf that must have been its pet. There was also a hideous looking Drow woman who hissed at us as we entered the room. Also, in another corner of the room, behind some tables Yut could see a bound up, beaten Dwarf. When I entered the room, I could tell that the Dwarf was Gundrun Rockseeker.

Yut moved into the room and faced the Drow. Syvrina hid herself in shadows and made her way all around the outskirts of the room behind the bugbear. Then she slashed the beast from hiding. The creature took the damage and looked as if he could take much more. The Drow woman, who seemed to be named Vyerith, struck Yut viciously. Then she disappeared as a wisp of smoke. I ran into the room singing my bladesong and positioned myself as to fire burning hands directly at the bugbear and his wolf. The flames damaged them both, but they didn’t go down. The wolf turned to attack Syvrina, but it could not bite the agile young lady. Bigby helped restore Yut’s health, and moved into the room. Syvrina and Yut both struck at the bugbear and were able to kill it. Then, Bynn transformed into a wolf and attacked the wolf…wolf on wolf. That finished off the foes, but Vyerith then appeared from a doorway to the north east. She struck at Yut as she uttered a prayer to Lloth, the Demon Queen. After dealing a near mortal wound to Yut, knocking him unconscious, she retreated to the room she came from.

I ran into the room, but could not see her at first. As I moved into a corner to set up for another burning hands spell, she took a swipe at me with her blade from on top of some rubble to the north. I cleared her attack and spun shooting flames into her face. I swear when the flame hit her, it seemed as if her flesh was falling off, but it didn’t seem to hurt her that much. Brigby healed Yut once more, and then Bynn as a wolf ran into the room to attack the Drow. Eventually we surrounded the Drow and Yut was able to deliver the killing blow. As she died, she transformed into a grotesque, naked, gray humanoid creature with big green eyes.

We thought we were in good shape when the owl bear Yut had seen earlier appeared from outside a hole in the northern wall. We faced it and although we were frightened and didn’t know if we could defeat it, we did pretty well. During fight, Syvrina ran back to untie Gundrun. He said we needed to get out of here. He was upset that the goblins and worse were taking over his mine. Then he started to gather a bunch of his stuff. After that, Syvrina ran back to help us with the owl bear. We were lucky that we didn’t get hit by any of the owl bear’s first attacks. I was able to stick it with my rapier while Bynn as the wolf bit it viciously. Syvrina returned to fire an arrow at it, doing some mighty damage as she gave off an angry huff. Brigby stood in the doorway and threw a dagger at it doing a substantial amount of damage as well. The owl bear attacked me again, but I was too quick for it. Then, I released another burning hands spell that singed the creature quite badly. Yut concentrated all of his spiritual energy and unleashed a flurry of blows and was able to kill the creature before it could do any more damage.

We took some time to get back into the room where Gundrun was kept, but Yut stayed outside to carve up the owl bear. Don’t ask why. We told him we needed to go, and Gundrun warned us that we should go before Torgar Bloodsword and his war party returned. The monk was bent on carving up the owl bear, so we just left him to it. In about 10 minutes, Gundrun warned us again. He even gave us some healing potions and a map of The Wave Echo Cave. He told us we needed to get back to Phandalin and then set out for the Cave to save the mine. I was just about to look over the other things we found and perform an identify ritual when we heard Yut screaming and running from the north, through the castle to the south door. He said that the hobgoblin war party was back.

We quickly scooped up all our goods and ran to the south. Outside the castle we found Yut hiding against the wall of the castle. He was a bloody mess, and he looked as if he was about to drop down. Bynn reverted to his Half-Elven form and cured Yut a bit. Then we looked at each other and ran south. Bynn was able to cast pass without a trace on us and we used every ounce of strength and will power to get through the forest and back to Phandalin. In 10 hours we made it back to town, tired but alive. Gundrun was still excited about the mines and he told us again that we had to go to the Wave Echo Cave to save the mines.

Back in town, I was able to learn two new spells (comprehend languages – a ritual, and misty step) and become a little more quick of foot (finally perfecting the art of mobility). We also realized that the sword we found with the Waterdeep insignia, and the chainmail and crossbow belonged to Sindar, Gundrun's friend who we rescued from the goblin caves when we first started our travel to Phandalin about a month ago. A bath and bed at the Stonehill Inn was in order.
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Session 18 – To the Wave Echo Cave

Back in Phandalin, Gundrun kept pushing us to get a move on it to the Wave Echo Cave to clear it of the evil that has overrun it. He was concerned about his brothers, Nundro and Thardin, but I think he was more concerned about the mine itself. He offered us 25 gp each and a 10% stake in the mining profits to go there and get rid of the evil in the mines and find out what happened to his brothers. He mentioned the Black Spider, and I remembered that name was responsible for the torture endured by my old adventuring companion, Brace. Brace had escaped Venom Fang’s ire, but still I have not seen or heard word of his condition or his whereabouts. We rested the night at the Inn, but decided to prepare for travel early the next day.

In the morning, I went to the Coster’s and purchased a long bow. Then I went to Barthan’s Provisions and was able to get a pouch of colored glass “gems” that I could give to Yut. He really likes gems, so I figured I’d get him some cheap ones to play with. Yut is a quick and powerful monk, but he doesn’t have much upstairs. After a little shopping, we heard that the mayor of the town was found murdered, an arrow to the neck. We contemplated checking into this, but Gundrun pressed us to go to the Wave Echo Cave. Lady Syvrina, Brigby, Bynn, Yut and I told Gundrun to meet up with his buddy, Sildar, and together, they could check into the murder and attempt to restore some order to Phandalin. We promised him that we’d go to the Wave Echo Cave.

Travel to the cave was quite pleasant although Bynn warned us that a storm was on the horizon. We found the cave a little after mid day, before the storm, so we went in to investigate. We slowly walked down a small tunnel of natural rock, Brigby igniting magical light on his shield. Pretty soon, we found a larger cavern area with signs of a campsite, and a dead body. The body was a Dwarf, and in his pack we found a letter. Brigby could read the Dwarven language and we found that this was a note from a woman named Deena to Thardin. Upon inspection, the dead Dwarf did look a little like Gundrun, so we believed he was Thardin, poor man. Along with a bunch of mining gear, ropes, picks, lanterns, and the like, I noticed that the boots Thardin wore were etched with runes. I studied them for a short while and recalled that these could very well be magical boots of springing and striding. We gave the boots to Brigby since he is by far the slowest of us, but we didn’t spend any time to rest so he could not attune them yet.

We continued our search after giving Thardin a burial under stones in the corner of the cavern. Yut jumped off a small ledge into a 20’ depression and he barely managed to avoid hurting himself. Everyone else saw a rope tied to a stalactite so we shimmied down without mishap. After checking two tunnels one north and one to the southeast, we decided to search to the north first. After many off shoots and dead ends, where mining had been done, we doubled back. From behind us, we heard Yut yell out, startled by a huge ochre jelly that dropped from the ceiling and tried to engulf him. His agility saves his hide, and we were able to fill the jelly with arrows before Yut could strike it down. Although we heard the sizzle of its acidic slime, we were lucky and nobody suffered any harm.

Moving as far north as possible, we came to an underground pool with a set of stone stairs to the east of it. Lady Syvrina washed her hands in the pool while Yut moved up to the water’s edge and went fishing using nothing but his bare hands. He slapped into the water once and then again, and was able to pull out a small fish with his second strike. The fish was too small to make for good eating so he threw it back. As the fish hit the water, Yut could swear that he saw a larger white flash under the surface of the water, but it was indistinct.

After this short interlude, we walked up the stairway, Yut guarding our rear, worried about the thing in the pool. At the top of the stairway we saw a passage to the north with another stairway a passage to the south that had a collapsed mine area and a passage to the east with a closed door ahead. Syvrina listened to the door and could hear some guttural voices, nothing she recognized, but they didn’t seem friendly. I told the others to hide around the corners, and I planned to open the door, look in and then run back this way to try to draw the inhabitants out into our ambush. We set up and I tried the door. It was barred from the other side so I just banged on it a bit and then I ran back.

We waited a short time, but nothing came out of the room. Yut strode up to the door and started bashing it with his bare hands. Soon the door was splintered, and Yut could see 5 bugbears within. They all launched javalins at Yut, but the door wreckage gave Yut some cover and he was able to dodge all of the projectiles. Then he stood in the doorway to face the bugbears. Two of the creatures moved up to Yut and struck him hard with large morningstars. Yut could feel the pain. Syvrina moved into the hallway and shot her bow, striking one of the bugbears, and then we fought for a little as Bigby healed Yut and blasted the bugbears with a divinely inspired shatter spell. Bynn transformed into his wolf form and stood beside Yut, tearing into one of the bugbears, as Syvrina and I both kept back and fired arrows into the pack. Pretty soon, when Yut stepped into the room, I ran in as well, but instead of striking the last bugbear down, I stood defensively, and let Yut take that brute down. Fighting along side this monk, I realized that whenever he strikes a killing blow, he gains vitality, at least for a little while.

Inside the room, we found some beds, some coins and a door at the other end of the room. It was also barred from the inside, which made it look as if the bugbear were actually hiding out in this room. With that, we turned back to the stairway that continued to go up to the north.
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