These are the journal entries for our D&D 5th Edition campaign being played on Roll20. There are 6 PCs: Ragnar (Paladin), Eamon (Cleric), Jortran (Druid), Tec (Rogue), Malfred (Warlock), and Tristan (Barbarian).
23-24 Flamerule – 1490 – Year of the Star Walker’s Return
Tristan rushed forward toward the female drow elf while whipping out his shield. Before he could get to her, he was peppered with arrows. He tried valiantly to bowl her over with his shield, but she easily danced aside. The other drow moved quickly to gang up on the rampaging barbarian, who attempted to smash them all with his body and his shield. Tecton, meanwhile, made a beeline for the scaffolding and climbed as quickly as he could to the outstretched arms of his waiting friends.
As this was transpiring below, above in the cave Malfred discovered that he was not alone. The female drow elf they’d seen at Cragmaw castle stepped out of the darkness, her hands raised, and said that her employer wished to speak with the group and offer them a job.
Down in the depths, Tristan decided that surviving was better than dying, and began climbing the scaffolding as quickly as he could. The amused drow leader called off her soldiers and taunted the barbarian as he fled, suggesting that if he were to come back, he should bring tribute, or simply surrender himself for a better life as a slave. The heroes quickly retreated up the spiralling stairs, and when they reached the top, Eamon used his power to create a thunderous wave to collapse as much of the scaffolding and stairs as he could, into the depths of the hole.
Once they had all regrouped at the top of the sinkhole, they realized they were not alone, and that Malfred had been speaking with the drow from Cragmaw Castle. She introduced herself as Vyerith, and said that she worked for The Black Spider. She explained that he wished to meet under a flag of truce to discuss a job offer. She pulled out a folded note, which she placed on the floor and backed away.
Tristan stalked off back to town while the others stayed to speak with Vyerith. Malfred read the note, which asked the party to meet with the Black Spider. He wished to have their help with a matter in Phandalin, and in exchange he was offering 12,000 gold, and to leave Phandalin alone. The party agreed to meet with him, and Vyerith disappeared.
Back in town, they went briefly to the inn to fetch Jortran, who had finally woken after a very long mushroom-induced nightmare-filled “dream-quest”. Eamon babbled to the Innkeeper about Drow under the town, and then they went to the Townmaster’s Hall to inform Harbin Wester. When they arrived they noticed that the guards outside were gone. Inside they found Halia Thornton standing with some townsfolk, looking at a map and talking animatedly. Harbin Wester sat slumped, and dejected, in a chair nearby. The party explained, frantically, that they had found a hole to the Underdark beneath Tresendar Manor, and that it needed to be plugged up right away or else the town might be overrun by Drow and Orcs and Purple Worms. An obviously dismayed and frustrated Halia asked if the adventurers could handle it, but they insisted they had other things to do, after which they headed back to the inn to prepare for their meeting with The Black Spider.
Ragnar stopped to speak with Sister Garaele, who seemed happy to see him. She told him some more about the small job the Harpers needed help with; finding a banshee named Agata, offering her a gift, and asking about the location of a long-lost book. Ragnar said that the group might be able to help her with that once they’d completed their contract with Gundren and Nundro to clear out the mines. Ragnar invited Sister Garaele to join them for dinner with their “important guest” and then left to ready himself for the evening.
At the appointed hour the party (minus Tristan who was sleeping) descended to the dinning hall of the inn, where Toblin Stonehill ushered them to the private dining room in the back. There they found Vyerith wiating for them with a male drow elf that looked like the one they’d killed in the mines, except that his robes were much finer, his spider staff much more menacing. They all sat down and Toblin served a multi-course meal.
The Black Spider explained that he was not actually interested in the mines, or even the town, rather that he was an adventurer who specialized in retrieving antiquities as part of an organization called House Xorlarrin. His organization had been hired to retrieve an artefact from within the mines, and he had been sent to accomplish this. He did not know who the buyer was, only that he or she was willing to pay handsomely. Since the party had killed his bugbears, The Black Spider needed help to finish his mission, and offered the party 12,000 gold, and his promise to leave Phandalin, if they would help him to find it and deliver it to his contact in Triboar.
The heroes excused themselves for a moment and moved to the common room where Eamon used a recently found scroll of Augury to ask the gods if it would be a good idea to take the job. He read the scroll aloud and asked “Will accepting to the Black Spider’s contract be good or bad for us and the townfolk of Phandalen?” to which he received the response “WEAL!!!!!”
The party returned to the room and agreed to help the drow elf. He smiled and thanked them, and then continued to eat his dinner. The heroes all sat and ate with him, although Sister Garaele seemed very concerned about what was happening, and quietly kept her eye on the drow, occasionally glancing at Ragnar with what seemed like concern and disappointment. During the course of the meal, the party discovered that Vyerith was most likely a doppelganger, and that the doppelganger they’d killed in the mine was her brother, Vhalak. Vyerith has promised to avenge her brother, but for now she is under strict orders from The Black Spider, who finally introduced himself as Nezznar, and would not hurt them until they had finished the job.
As the meal came to a close, Nezznar and Vyerith stood and said goodbye, before disappearing. The party discussed the situation, agreeing that it could only benefit them, since they had to clear out the mines for the dwarves anyway. Sister Garaele left them, and they retired to their rooms to rest.
The next morning they set out bright and early for the mine, not allowing anything to distract them from their mission. In the main cave area they decided to go to the right, and investigate new areas, rather than go the way they’d already been. Through a short passage they found a naturally carved chamber, from which multiple passages exited. The walls were covered with carvings of dwarves, humans, and gnomes all working together in the mine. There were niches and ledges holding unlit brass lanterns. All around them on the floor were ancient skeletons of dwarves and orcs, clad in tarnished and rusting bits of armour. As they searched the room, suddenly there was a high-pitched squealing sound, and small bat-like creatures fell upon them from above! They were Stirges, blood-sucking beasties that quickly attacked, attaching to some of the party and sucking their blood. They managed to swat a few off before Eamon used his magic to create a thunderous wave, popping them all, and coating the room in a fine mist of blood.
After taking a moment to regroup and heal up a bit, they move on quickly up the passage to the north, coming to a closed door. Tristan listened at the door and reported to the others the sounds of claws clicking on stone, the cracking of something brittle, and the noise of incessant munching. He kicked in the door and changed spaces with Rangar. In the light from Ragnar’s shield, they spied Ghouls sitting on the floor, cracking open the old bones of fallen dwarves and orcs, and trying desperately to find the smallest bit of marrow. Upon seeing the living, breathing meals at the door, they rushed as one to attack, with more unseen ghouls appearing from the shadows at the back of the room.
The battle was long, and Ragnar, briefly paralysed by the poisonous claws of a ghoul, almost died, but Eamon managed to turn some of the undead beasts with the help of his godly patron, and the monsters were eventually dispatched. Now, panting and weary from two quick fights, the party decided to search the room and rest briefly before moving on.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…