Adventures of Team TPK

The Destruction of the Redbrands

The party entered the ruins through the secret tunnel, to find a creature that Fizbo identified as a nothic in the area. The creature didn’t attack straight away and seemed to be interested in the party spellcasters, but Team TPK didn’t take any chances and attacked first. The nothic tried to fight back, using its magical gaze attack, but it had no hope. Nothic_smaller.jpg

The area that the nothic was bisected by a crevasse about 20ft deep, where the body of the murdered woodcarver was found, along with a box containing four potions (two were healing potions, the other two remain unidentified).

The party continued to explore and found a room with some beds, one of which was occupied by a Redbrand ruffian. He was charmed by Fizbo, and the befuddled man explained to his new best friends that he was sleeping because he had the night shift to help guard the area. He provided a map of the ruins and showed where everyone was. He agreed to take the party to where the rest of the guards were currently on duty, and explained he was sleeping here because he was not allowed to stay at The Sleeping Giant taphouse due to getting drunk all the time. The man also explained that there were five bugbears who had been provided by The Black Spider, who was in communication with the Redbrand leader, Glasstaff, but didn’t know why the bugbears were here. He took them to a door beyond which the current guards were on duty. There was some discussion about the best way to deal with the guards, use trickery to make them leave, or just storm the room. The decision was made, the party thanked the charmed guard, then Bonnie cut his throat with her axe. While he sank gurgling to the floor, a look of surprise and hurt on his face, the party didn’t spare him another thought as they charged into the room to take the guards by surprise. The battle was short but fierce, and soon another five Redbrands lay dead or dying.

Exploration continued with the party finding a room with sarcophagi. They expected the worst and of course undead creatures arose – four skeletons and a wight. There was also a zombie which seemed to be a recently slain Redbrand under the control of the wight.wight.jpg The wight used its power of life draining to bring Guinne to unconsciousness, and she started to become undead (think of Frodo in LOTR when he was stabbed by the witchblade). However the wight and its minions was destroyed and Eric healed Guinne before the process could take hold. Bonnie took the black longsword wielded by the wight. Goldirocks and Fizbo examined it and deemed that it was a sword of historical significance, having once been wielded by a lord who liked to perform his own executions.

The party found the cells where the woodcarver’s wife and children were being held, and they were escorted to the exit where she stated she was going to stay with her sister and lie low until the Redbrands were broken.

The party then proceeded to the area where the Redbrand leader Glasstaff was located (according to the map made by the charmed guard). The party found Glasstaff’s rat familiar in the first room, and while they tried to kill it rather noisily, Glasstaff and his bodyguard got the drop on them. Glasstaff let off a fireball which devastated half the party – Igo, Fizbo, and Eric were all badly injured and unconscious, having to make death saves every round. The rest of the party were injured but battled the bodyguard who was well armoured, while Glasstaff behind him let loose several spells to further damage or incapacitate party members. Finally the bodyguard was defeated, and Glasstaff himself could be engaged. Tai Ni Dong let loose a Fist of Unbroken Air which he had been saving for just this moment, and Glasstaff took a lot of damage before being finished off by the rest. Just in time as he had been just about to cast an invisibility spell on himself. During this battle Bonnie used the black sword and found its blade to be keen and as well as the normal damage from a blade it did a small amount of necrotic damage to anyone struck by it.

The bugbears pounded on the door, demanding to know what the noise was. Eric deceived the bugbears, talking through the door telling them to go away and that everything was all right. The deception worked and the bugbears retreated.

In Glasstaff’s room the party gathered correspondence, as requested by Halia Thornton, the proprietor of the Phandalin Miners’ Exchange. They found evidence that Glasstaff was in fact Iarno Albreck, the member of the Lord’s Alliance that Sildar Hallwinter had been sent to Phandalin to find. Iarno was also subservient to The Black Spider who wanted him to deal with the adventurers. Still no clue as to who The Black Spider was. Meanwhile the wounds of the other members were bound and Eric regained consciousness and was able to cast healing magic on the others.

The party left the Redbrand Lair to rest. On the way back Igo was convinced they were being followed by something that stuck to the shadows, but the party decided they were in too bad shape to engage in any more combat. They returned to the inn to rest.

The next day Guinne took all the correspondence to Halia Thornton, and reported what had happened. Halia congratulated Guinne on a job well done, but chided her for allowing so many Redbrands to die unnecessarily. Still, there was work to be done, and Guinne and Halia, along with some employees rounded up the rest of The confused and leaderless Redbrands from The Sleeping Giant taphouse and she made them an offer of employment working for her at The Miners Exchange. With nothing else but punishment or exile to face the ex-Redbrands agreed. Over the next few days while the party recovered the ex-Redbrands were seen loading or unloading carts at the Miners Exchange, and performing guard duties, seemingly willingly.

During this time Goldirocks volunteered to examine the black sword. The party was deciding which mission to take on next – rescue Gundren from Cragmaw Castle, visit the Banshee sage at Conyberry, or travel to the ruins at Old Owl Well to find who or what is causing the undead there and disturbing the ruins.

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Lost Mine of Phandelver
Part 1

Things in Wayfork had returned to normal after Team TPK closed the Shadowgate. The dead stayed dead, which was a good thing, and the living stayed living, which was also a good thing, although it depended on who you were referring to.

Team TPK didn’t have much to do, and the old normal life didn’t seem to have much appeal after what they had been through. They endured several months of little happening and life was in danger of going back to normal.

About then Bonnie Basher received a visit from her cousin, Gundren Rockseeker. It’s not a secret that dwarven names like “Basher” and “Rockseeker” are not their actual clan or family names. Dwarves are a suspicious, secretive lot, and tend to adopt a second name that humans and other races seem to expect. So Gundren and Bonnie actually do share a clan name, but of course if you would to ask all you’d get would be hard stares, and maybe a harder boot up the backside.

Gundren and Bonnie had been close as dwarven children. Yes, all dwarves were children once, although the rumour they are born with beards cannot be confirmed or denied. Except by dwarves but if you ask expect hard stares and boots again. Anyway Gundren was all excited about a map he waved at Bonnie, but wouldn’t let her look at it too closely.
“Less people that know the better, but it’s something big!” he said. Bonnie, being a suspicious and secretive dwarf, agreed not to pry any further. Gundren wanted Bonnie and her adventuring company (Bonnie thought the phrase “adventuring company” made them sound grander than they were – especially as she had caught sight of Fizbo outside the window with his clown facepaint on entertaining children outside the inn) to escort an ox cart of supplies from Neverwinter to the frontier town of Phandalin. Seemed simple enough. Gundren was going to go on ahead to Phandalin and meet them there, after which he would tell them everything.

Bonnie called the others together, ready to try to convince them to leave their lives behind and follow her on a road to adventure, even if that road was going to be slowly plodded along with some oxen. She was gratified but not surprised that everyone agreed to become full time adventurers. She also knew that most of the party had a reason to journey to the Neverwinter/Phandalin area. Dasira, for example, had been receiving visions for weeks of a shrine to Lathander in a ruined castle near Phandalin being desecrated by goblins. Now it made sense to her, for here was the opportunity to go find that shrine. Tai Ni Dong was from up that way too, ten years ago he and his parents had been forced to flee the village of Thundertree when a nearby volcano spewed ash and lava for miles around.

Plans were made and the party set off for the coastal city Neverwinter to the north. On arrival they picked up the ox-cart and supplies and set off along The High Road south for a few days before turning inland on the Triboar Trail. They had only been on the trail a few hours when two dead horses were seen on the trail. Investigating triggered a goblin ambush, but Team TPK dealt with them easily enough. They also captured one of the goblins and charmed him.

From a note found on a goblin body they found out that someone called “The Black Spider” had hired the Cragmaw Goblins to capture Gundren and his map. The Cragmaw Goblins operated out of Cragmaw Castle, and also had a hideout near the Phandalin trail.

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The party followed the track from the road back to The Hideout (avoiding a trap on the path). They were ambushed by goblin lookouts, but the goblins were no match for the party. One goblin was charmed, placed in a web over the cave entrance, and the web and the goblin were turned invisible. The goblin was then told to yell out for everyone to come out quickly. Some of the goblins, the bugbear Klarg who was the boss of the hideout, and some mangy half starved wolves charged out to fight the party in numbers, but were caught up in the invisible web. Dasira used her Radiance of the Dawn ability to channel her god’s power to kill all but one of the wolves, all the goblins, and badly injured the bugbear. A scorching ray spell from Fizbo saw the bugbear off and the last wolf killed. The caves were then explored and remaining goblins cleared out. These goblins were guarding Sildar Hallwinter, who had been badly beaten. Sildar was rescued and healed and the party took a long rest in the caves. Barrels, boxes and crates of goods belonging to the Lionshield Coster were also found in the caves. The party loaded them up on their ox cart for transport to Phandalin.

The charmed goblin had told Team TPK that Gundren and the seemingly important map he was carrying were taken to Cragmaw Castle. The goblin also provided the location of the castle, which was important for Dasira’s personal goal (reconsecrate the shrine to Lathander). However the party decided to continue taking the ox cart to Phandalin and complete that part of the mission.

On the way Sildar Hallwinter gave them some information about what Gundren was up to. It seemed that Gundren had discovered Wave Echo Cave, the location of the legendary Spell Forge. The Spell Forge was a magic item creator that amplified the natural magic of Wave Echo Cave to create powerful magic items in half the time. It was lost when orcs and evil humans attacked the humans, dwarves and gnomes who were running the operation, resulting in at least part of the mines where the Spell Forge was situated collapsing. Sildar also advised that Gundren and his map had been taken to Cragmaw Castle, ready for delivery to The Black Spider – Sildar did not know who or what The Black Spider was. Sildar’s reason for travelling to Phandalin was to find Iarno Albrek, member of The Lord’s Alliance who travelled to Phandalin two months ago to establish order there. Sildar is also a member, and was sent to investigate.

Phandalin is a small frontier town, the surrounding ruins show that it used to be much bigger. There is gold in the lands surrounding Phandalin and prospectors and explorers pan and look for gold in rivers, hills and old mines. They seem to find enough to make it worthwhile. However a band of criminals called The Redbrands has been making life hard for people in Phandalin. Guinnehas some history with The Redbrands, and would like to see them taken down (her personal goal).

Team TPK returned the goods to the Lionshield Coster, the Phandalin post is run by a sharp tongued woman of 35 named Linene Graywind, who rewarded them. They also bought two nets from the Lionshield Coster stores thinking they might be useful in combat. They then dropped off the ox cart and Gundren’s supplies to Barthen’s Provisions, the biggest trading post in Phandalin. It is run by Elmar Barthen, a lean and balding human male shopkeeper of middle age with a kindly manner. He was saddened by the news of Gundren’s capture and encouraged Team TPK to rescue him.

Team TPK also visited the Shrine of Luck, a shrine dedicated to Tymora the goddess of luck and good fortune, run by Igo Puepue‘s sister, an elf priestess named Sister Garaele. She asked the party to visit the lair of Agatha the Banshee, and present a jeweled silver comb to her in the hope that the undead spirit, something of a historian and sage, would answer the question about the current location of a spellbook belonging to a legendary mage named Bowgentle. The party agreed, as this fits with Goldirocks’ personal goal of making contact with Agatha.

The party met Halia Thornton who runs the Phandalin Miners’ Exchange. She would like to see The Redbrands taken down, but suggested that rather than kill them all it might be better to just “cut the head off the snake” by killing their leader Glasstaff. She offers the party a reward to kill him and bring her any correspondence you might find in his lair.

Igo met with Daran Edermath, a half elf retired adventurer who agreed The Redbrands needed to be taught a lesson. He also said he was looking for a party of adventurers to go to Old Owl Well to investigate rumours of undead there. This fits with Fizbo’s personal goal of wanting to have a look at the ruins of the watchtower there, as sometimes you can find magic items. Although most have been found, Fizbo thinks maybe some small item might have escaped notice.

The party then sought lodgings at The Stonehill Inn. Sildar Hallwinter was already there and now parted ways with the party, and gave them 50 gold pieces for rescuing him and escorting him to Phandalin. He is looking for Iarno Albreck, a member of a group called The Lord’s Alliance, who came to Phandalin two months ago to help the town become more “civilised”. However Iarno has not been heard of since.

Everyone you have met so far has said The Redbrands are a blight on the town and need to be eliminated. The Townmaster has done nothing about them however, and after The Redbrands killed the town weaver and kidnapped his wife and children, everyone has been too afraid to confront them.

At the inn the party heard from the son of the innkeeper that a local halfling boy had seen The Redbrands come out of a tunnel leading to the ruins of Tresendar Manor. The gang is using the cellars as a base, while spending most of their free time at a taphouse called The Sleeping Giant. The party got Carp, the halfling boy, to show them the tunnel and are about to enter.

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The Shadowgate Ruins
Deal with the Cult of Death and Close the Shadowgate

After the party had returned from Dimwood they had a few short days to recover. During that time a darkness fell on the land, intially over Dimwood, but it started to spread. Everyone was concerned. Then bodies from the local cemetery started to stir and attack the living. A decree was made that all bodies should be burned to death.

The village council sent their agents into Dimwood to investigate and stop whatever was going on there. They already had a good idea of what was happening from the information the goblins had given them. On the way they encountered a group of cultists who had been attacked by a couple of ogres. All the cultists were dead except one, and the party managed to surprise the ogres and kill them. The remaining cultist had a strange stone sphere, about the size of a large grapefruit, in his pack. The sphere was covered with runes and a magic was detected by Fizbo emanating from it.
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Fizbo also cast a charm spell on the cultist, who told them the following:
In the ruins under the keep lies a Shadowgate, a portal to the undead realm of Orcus the Demon Prince.
Kalarel the cult leader has been instructed through dreams and his demonic familiar to open the Shadowgate. He has done so by removing and scattering the Guardian Stones which kept the gate closed and by performing a ceremony where half his cultists were slain to provide blood. The cultists have now been animated as various undead and Kalarel is an undead creature himself, transformed by the power of the Shadowgate. The portal of the Shadowgate is becoming solid and will soon remain permanently open. Already some small undead and demons have come through and other, larger ones will follow. The living cultists have been abandoned by Kalarel, now that his mission is complete, but is using them to guard the ruins. They are confused and unsure what to do, and too scared to enter the ruins. The charmed cultist had been told to take one of the Guardian Stones and hide it so that the portal cannot be closed, and the other Guardian Stones were hidden in the dungeons under the ruins.

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The party, now led by the charmed cultist, went to the ruins and bluffed their way past the other cultists guarding the entrance, who had been thoroughly spooked by the wails and shrieks coming from the dungeons below the ruins. A zombie cultist had emerged an hour ago and they had hacked it down. They only needed a little excuse to go running and the party gave it to them.

Inside the dungeon the charmed cultist fell victim to the first lot of undead they encountered. They searched for and found the other remaining Guardian Stones, and then confronted Kalarel with his undead minions at the Shadowgate. The Shadowgate itself pulsed with dark energy, with tentacles of shadow lashing out and anyone nearby, grappling them and dragging them shrieking into the portal. Shapes, too large and strange to be human, tried to push through from the other side. The battle was joined and the party was victorious after a hard fought battle, and just in time too. The Guardian Stones were replaced and Kalarel was killed (again), his ceremony interrupted. The Shadowgate was quiet once again, and the dead stayed dead across the land.
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First Adventure - A Time for Heroes
Avert the Second Goblin War

The Red Fang Mauraders – a goblin tribe – burned farms and performed hit and run attacks on the village. They grew bolder with each attack, and eventually attacked Wayfork itself some years ago but were massacred by a group of powerful adventurers. Now the tribe are only a shadow of their former glory days. They breed and grow quickly though, and villagers from Wayfolk say it’s only a matter of time. Their words seemed prophetic as one night Kerna, a farmer’s wife, arrived in the village calling loudly for aid. Kerna told of how goblins raided her home, stealing livestock and foodstuffs and slaying Otto, her husband. The family fled while their home burned.

The village was put on alert, the militia summoned to protect the village. However as the night hours dragged on, there was no attack on the village. The village council formed a plan and asked for volunteers to go and investigate what happened at Otto’s farm. It appeared no other farms were attacked either, so this did not appear to be a new goblin war. However something had obviously happened to make the goblins attack after nearly a decade of peace. The volunteers were a ragtag bunch, apprentices and acolytes of local dignitaries, a couple of out of town volunteers, and two members of the militia, including Bonnie Basher, the militia corporal and deputy militia commander.

As soon as the volunteer team arrived at the farm they could see something was odd. The barn had been burned down, and footstuff stolen from the house, but Otto’s body looked like someone had tried to give him first aid using herbs and medicines found in the forest. This indicated it was the goblins who had tried to save Otto’s life.

Tracks led away from the farm, and Igo Puepue, the elven ranger was able to easily follow them. It wasn’t long until the goblins were found, making a temporary camp near Dimwood. Contact was made, and the goblins explained their situation. Undead were roaming through Dimwood – skeletons and zombies were coming from the inner, darker area of Dimwood. The goblins could handle these, but then an undead bear arrived at their cave and killed many, including the chief, and drove off the rest. The tribe then splintered into several small bands, each led by a goblin war captain. Rather than combat the bear any longer, the bands fled to different areas of the forest. One band, led by Thrask Three-Teeth, son of Usok One-Fang, fled to a field situated at the forest edge. Thrask was the goblin the party were talking to. He wanted the party to deal with the undead bear, and they would go back to their cave. If the party couldn’t, then the goblins would have no choice but to raid another farm. It wouldn’t be long until other goblin bands joined in and the risk of another goblin war would be increased. Igo Puepue believed Thrask. He had seen a skeleton shambling through Dimwood during a hunting trip and had reported it back to the militia. However Igo had been laughed at and not believed.

The party promised to assist, and returned to the Wayfork to inform the anxious town council of the state of matters. The town council were relieved the goblin war was not imminent, but divided on how to manage it. The party themselves were concerned about how they could tackle a living bear, let alone an undead bear. Goldirocks was a historian and had heard about a weapon that was effective against the undead. It was hidden in Ammakyl Ruins behind something called “a moon door”. Goldi had looked for it previously, but had been unable to move some of the larger stones. Deciding this was a good lead to follow while the Wayfork council bickered, the party got permission from the steward of Ammakyl Estate, William Derleson to explore the ruins, on the proviso that any gems or jewellry rightly belonged to the Ammakyl Estate and should be given back to him. He would allow the party to keep any weapons as reward however. The party agreed and set off, knowing it was a full moon tonight. According to Goldi a moon door would only open on nights of the full moon. They arrived at the ruins and spent a few hours clearing some of the collapsed stonework away, and finally the moon door was discovered on the floor, its outline glowing in the light of the full moon. It was opened and the crypts underneath it were explored. Some of the bodies started moving, and the party had a few battles destroying ancient skeletons in armour. In addition some very large spiders had settled in the crypts, feasting on rats that also inhabited the area, but were also up for human flesh. In the end all foes were defeated, and a magic battleaxe which did extra damage against undead was recovered. Bonnie Basher, already proficient in the weapon, took custody of it.

The next day the village council gave permission for the party to kill the undead bear, with the understanding that the party were to kill all of the goblins if they did not return back to Dimwood afterwards. The party contacted Thrask and explained the situation, and then set off to Dimwood and the cave lair (as explained on a mud map by Thrask). After getting lost only a couple of times, exploring the wrong ruins, running away from an owlbear, encountering and killing undead, and having Igo charmed by a dryad, they finally found the cave. Guinne the rogue went in to investigate and unfortunately triggered one of the few goblin traps that the bear had not yet blundered into. She wasn’t hurt but it made noise and the bear charged after her out of the cave. A battle ensued and the undead bear was killed.

The goblins were delighted, and returned immediately to their cave. Before they went they advised that they were aware humans in robes had been moving through Dimwood, heading for an old keep on a hill at the centre. They thought they might be responsible for the undead stirring, as Dimwood was different, darker somehow.

The party returned triumphant (and wounded) to the village of Wayfork.

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