The party rested in Phandalin for a few days. There had been some changes in the town since Team TPK arrived. The Redbrands have been broken, the ones at their lair under Tresendar Manor killed, and the ones at the Sleeping Giant taphouse have now been recruited by Halia Thornton into the Zhentarim organisation. She was training some of them, and hiring them out as guards for merchants, while others were paid for doing manual labour and other jobs. Halia was pleased with the party, especially Guinne who has gained some standing with the Zhentarim. Halia paid the party 100 gold pieces as agreed for their part in destroying the Redbrands.
Now the Redbrands were gone the town seemed to be more prosperous. Word was getting out that it was safe once again, and a few new businesses arrived, in some cases renovation and rebuilding was happening in some of the old ruins.
Sildar Hallwinter was saddened to know that Iarno Albreck, his associate from the Lord’s Alliance faction, was in fact Glasstaff, the leader of the Redbrands. However he could now report events to faction leaders and his mission is at an end. Sildar has decided to stay in Phandalin to see if he can help the town become a civilised place.
There were still a few odd occurrences. When moving around town sometimes party members felt they were being followed, but when they turned around to look, there was nothing suspicious there. Understanding the tactics and limitations of following people, Guinne kept her eye out for the same faces around her, but there didn’t seem to be any one face that was always nearby, other than what would normally be expected in a small frontier town.
The party also heard that the current Townmaster, a banker named Harbin Wester, was keen to catch up with them, perhaps to offer his thanks, or maybe gain some political mileage from their success and popularity. Team TPK decided meeting politicians wasn’t on their priority list.
The party considered their options:
- Visit Agatha the banshee at the ruined village of Conyberry (Sister Garaele’s quest for knowledge).
- Travel to the ruins at Old Owl Well to investigate rumours of undead and someone disturbing the ruins (Daran Edermath’s quest).
- Rescue Gundren the dwarf from Cragmaw Castle (once they found out where Cragmaw castle actually is located).
The party decided to find Agatha the banshee first. They left Phandalin for the two day journey to Conyberry. Overnight they were attacked by a flock of hungry stirges!
A few party members had some blood drained from them, but not a lot and attaching themselves to a party member made the stirges more vulnerable. It was not long before the creatures were all dead.
The following day the party arrived in the area of Conyberry. Here the trees and plants were blackened and twisted, only the hardiest plants grew, and even these had only a few grey brown leaves trying to gain some sustenance from the sun. Fizbo told the party this was the influence of the banshee on the environment, and he could use it and his arcana knowledge to find exactly where Agatha was.
The party moved through the ruined village. They heard some movement in a nearby building and went to investigate. Ghouls tried to spring a trap on the party by dragging those closest into the building through the broken windows, but the party were too quick and strong. The ghouls boiled out of the building after Goldirocks set fire to it with a burning hands spell. The touch of a ghoul can paralyze, but luck was with them and all ghouls were eventually killed (again).
Agatha lived in an old ruined mansion, the walls invaded by the roots and branches of nearby trees. Initially Agatha gave the appearance of not wanting to have anything to do with the party, but after some flattery and sweet talk she grudgingly accepted the jewelled comb Sister Garaele had provided. She touched a black gem in the centre of a diadem she was wearing, and gave the answer to the question that Sister Garaele required about the location of a particular spellbook.
Goldirocks recognised the black gem as a “kiira” or lore gem. A rare, precious magical gem that stored memories and knowledge that anyone attuning itself to the gem could access. It was dangerous, however, and only elves of exceptional intelligence could hope to master the gem. Those that didn’t found themselves locked away in an insane asylum. Black kiira were the most powerful.
One other piece of information that Agatha let slip was that she was searching for another kiira, one with a purple hue, which kiira knew was less powerful than the one Agatha currently had, which was a puzzle. Why want a lesser item, when you can only attune yourself to one at any one time?
The party left Agatha and Conyberry and headed to Old Owl Well. This was a quest given to Bonnie Basher by Daran Edermath, her immediate superior in The Order of the Gauntlet. Fizbo was also keen to explore Old Owl Well as he knew a little bit about it’s history and wondered if particular magical items could be found in the ruins.
It was another day’s journey to Old Owl Well, where they found a crumbling ruin of an old watchtower. A colourful tent had been set up in the middle of a decayed courtyard, and a dozen zombies were toiling amongst the ruins, removing rubble and piling it a short distance away. They were being supervised by a bored looking warrior. Goldirocks used an invisibility spell on herself and investigated the tent. She found a wizard in red robes with black tattoos on his bald head – a Red Wizard of Thay! The Red Wizards were known to be trouble, and Thay was the enemy of all it’s neighbours. Guinne and Igo also used their stealth to scout quietly and keep an eye on the zombies and their commander.
There was some discussion about what to do. While Red Wizards were not always hostile and indeed they often traded with others, they were known to be powerful and quick to take advantage of any situation. It was decided to attack. The party positioned themselves to collapse the tent with the wizard inside, and set fire to with oil, and get ready for the counter attack by the warrior and the zombies. The first part of the plan worked well, the Red Wizard was unable to find his way out of the burning, collapsed tent and died in there, but the party decided to use a charm person spell on the warrior instead. They found the following information.
- The Red Wizard’s name was Hamun Kost.
- Hamun Kost had hired the warrior to help him look for particular magic rocks in the area known as chardalyns.
- They had been at Old Owl Well for some weeks, and only had found two chardalyns.
Fizbo shared his knowledge that Old Owl Well sat atop a chardalyn mine. Chardalyns appear to be black, ordinary rocks, but are more fragile than usual. They contain natural magic. They turn to useless powder when struck forcefully. A single chardalyn can absorb one spell, which will be released when the rock is crushed or destroyed. Thus, a fireball spell can be cast into the stone and be released by simply tossing the stone at an enemy. If the chardalyn was empty, it could absorb an incoming spell and then be tossed back at the caster.
The Red Wizard would have been a powerful enemy, however the victory came at a cost. When the party searched the remains of the thoroughly burnt tent, as well as Hamun Kost’s charred corpse, they found the remains of his spellbook and some rolled up blackened paper that at one time had been perhaps either maps or magical scrolls. None of these were recoverable, and they just flaked away to ash when touched. But the party did find the two chardalyn which had survived the fire. Fizbo decided to save them for when he had some higher level spells.
The party told the charmed warrior to gather the zombies, and they killed all but three of them. The last ones the party let work while they rested overnight. After some debate the warrior was killed before the charm person spell ran out.
After the zombies had failed to turn up anything else, the party set out for Phandalin. They decided to leave the three zombies toiling away and maybe they’d swing past to see if they had encountered anything else. On the way back they encountered an ogre but the creature had completely underestimated the group it was attacking and was killed within seconds.
In Phandalin they gave the information to a grateful Sister Garaele who rewarded the party with three healing potions. Fizbo pushed for more, and the elf priestess said she would have to create them.
The party asked around town about where Cragmaw Castle might be, but no one appeared to know its exact location. The halfling farmer Qelline Alderleaf told them that Reidoth the druid would know. Qelline was a longtime friend of the druid and she suggested that they visit him and ask for help. She told the party that Reidoth had recently set out for the ruins of a town called Thundertree, just west of the Neverwinter Wood.
The party decided they would head for the city of Neverwinter, to resupply and allow the wizards to research.
Goldirocks wanted to research the lodestone that they picked up some time ago.
Fizbo wanted to research (I forgot).
They planned on staying in Neverwinter for about a week, and then head to ruins of Thundertree to find Reidoth the druid.