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).
25 Flamerule – 1490 – Year of the Star Walker’s Return
As they sat down to eat their breakfast and discuss the conclusion of their contract with Gundren and Nundro, Jortran noticed that Malfred had the mysterious pipe in his mouth, puffing away happily on it, even though it wasn’t lit. When Jortran asked Malfred why he had it, Malfred was as surprised as Jortran. He had no recollection of taking or even having it, and promptly handed it over.
Gundren and Nundro informed the party they were meeting with some potential investors and heading out to show them the mine. The heroes assured them they had taken care of everything, but warned them of the fungi, and the potential for a floating skull. Gundren and Nundro offered to buy the heroes out of their shares of the mine for 1,000 GP each now, rather than the PCs having to wait, and come back to Phandalin to collect. The party agreed, and Nundro said he would have Halia Thornton draw up the necessary papers and pay them out on the morrow. While they were finishing their meal, Trillenna, one of the inn keepers, came to inform Malfred and Tec that Halia wished to see them today.
After breakfast was finished, Ragnar decided to visit Sister Garaelle, Tristan went to sell the scraps of armour and weapons he’d collected, and Jortan left to find a donkey and armour to buy. Eamon stayed in the stables to guard the Forge of Spells. Malfred and Tec headed over to see Halia. On their way they saw two men standing out side of the shopfront of Freda the Seamstress, talking animatedly about murder! Malfred and Tec apprached the men and asked what was happening. One of the men introduced himself as Geoffrey Woodaye, recently appointed Sheriff of Phandalin. With him was an elderly man named Thalbal, the town “doctor”. The Sheriff informed them that Freda had been found murdered. He questioned the two adventurers, and then, after Thalbal scurried off, admitted he didn’t really know what he was doing and needed help. He invited Tec and Malfred in to look around.
They found Freda dead, lying on her bed fully clothed and wearing her shoes. The bed was made, and had not been slept in. There was no blood anywhere, or sign of struggle, but her forehead was badly battered and bruised, apparently the cause of her death. They noticed that she was missing a ring from her finger, and something had been taken from the bottom drawer of her bureau, possibly clothes.
Meanwhile, Ragnar found Sister Garaelle in the Townmaster’s Hall with some of the other townsfolk and Harbin Wester. They were discussing town safety. Ragnar asked Sister Garaelle why she seemed upset with him, and she said she was disappointed that he was dealing with a drow. Ragnar convinced Sister Garaelle that he only wanted what was best, and that he trusted the drow to be only an artefact seeker, and not evil. Sister Garaelle asked if he would turn over the artefact to the Harpers, but Ragnar declined. He offered instead to let her study it, and she accepted.
Tristan and Jortran returned from their respective selling and shopping sprees and sat with Eamon in the stables discussing what to do next. As they were talking, Vyerith showed up, entering through the back door. She asked the party members if they intended to keep their end of the bargain and escort Nezznar and the artefact to Triboar. Eamon insisted there was no agreed to time line for delivering it, and that Nezznar could wait until after the party had gone to take care of some things elsewhere. Vyerith told them Nezznar wouldn’t like that at all, and she would be back in an hour before leaving through the back door.
Malfred and Tec finally made it across the street to the Miners’ Exchange to see Halia Thornton. They were shown to her back room by Thimble. There they found Halia speaking with an older, silver-haired half-elf who was introduced to them as Daran Edermath, a retired adventurer who would be going up to the old Tresendar Manor with some of the townsfolk to check out the cellars, and the hole to the underdark the party had warned about. Daran left, and Halia asked the two boys to tell her all about the mines, and what they’d seen. They told her everything except about the Forge of Spells and the Black Spider. When they were done she thanked them for doing such a great job, and asked them if they were ready to become full members of the Zhentarim. They agreed, and Halia had them each mark a document with their thumbprints using strange ink she took from a jar kept on her fireplace mantle. She gave them both the official rank of Fang of the Zhentarim, as well as a special coin for each of them that included the image of a winged snake on one side. She said it would be their means to get help from the faction in other places.
Ragnar and Sister Garaelle arrived at the stables, and Sister Garaelle studied the Forge of Spells, making drawings, and rubbings of markings on its surface. Once she was satisfied with what she had learned, she promised to let Ragnar know if she heard anything from the Harpers, and then left. Eamon told Ragnar about Vyerith’s visit, and they decided to bury the Forge of Spells in case they wanted to leave immediately for Thundertree. Not long after, Malfred and Tec returned, and told the others about the murder of Freda. The rest of the party wanted to go immediately to investigate, but before they could Vyerith returned as promised.
Vyerith informed them that Nezznar was not pleased, but offered to pay the party half of the originally agreed upon amount to relinquish the artefact now, so that he could make other arrangements to take it to Triboar. She also suggested that refusal might be bad for them. After much debate, they decided to take the offer. Verith gave them a promissory note from Nezznar for 6,000 gold, and told them to take it to an Inn & Tavern in Neverwinter called The Tiger’s Tale where it would be paid out by a halfling names Nevis Smallbottom. Eamon then handed her a shovel, and the party left to investigate the murder.
As dusk came on, the heroes arrived at the door of the seamstress’s shop. Inside they found Freda where Malfred and Tec had left her. Investigating the room further, they discovered Freda had likely been killed by the pommel of a short sword, and had a small tattoo on the inside of her left arm that looked a bit like a cuttlefish, or squid. They began wondering if she had something to do with people who had sent the mysterious letter to Iarno Albrek, with the blessings of something called “Slarkrethel”. Under the bureau they found a key. Jortran turned into a hound and attempted to find scents to follow. He found one scent that led behind the counter in the front of the shop, behind which was a trap door that was locked.
Sure enough, the key they’d discovered opened the trap door, and beneath was a set of stairs leading to a cold cellar. In the cold cellar they found a secret door that opened into a very small room that held what appeared to be a shrine of some sort. On the shrine was a wooden mannequin’s head, on which rested a finely sewn “hat” that looked like a purple squid with tentacles. On the alter before it was a small, silver knife with old blood stains. Upon seeing the hat, Malfred began having intense chest pains. Everyone noticed, and he admitted that he had something on his chest. He showed them the growing patch of purple on his skin that looked like a squid with tentacles. He said he badly wanted to try on the hat.
It was decided to let Malfred try on the hat. When he placed it on his head he cried out and suddenly found himself floating under water in the dark, as a gigantic black shape moved around him and the name “Slarkrethel” was whispered in his mind. The vision passed, and he said he was fine, and that he felt a bit more powerful with the hat on. The party decided he should remove it for now, and it was stowed in a pack for later testing. It was just then they heard sounds from above. They quickly closed up the secret room and found the Sheriff was upstairs. They explained they were continuing the investigation, and the Sheriff let them know he was leaving to question people around town.
In his hound form, Jortran next tried finding scents on the ground outside. He followed one around that seemed to zigzag everywhere, until they realized they were following the Sheriff as he went door to door asking townfolk about the murder. He followed a different trail, and they came to the house of Thalbal, the doctor, who was sitting alone playing the harmonica. They decided he couldn’t possibly be the killer, and that their best bet would be to use magic in the morning to locate Freda’s missing ring.
They retired to the inn to rest, and found it packed with people discussing Freda’s murder. Ordering their meal, Toblin said he was worried, and would be keeping his family inside, but that he was well-prepared, and showed them an old short-sword. The party then went to rest, with Ragnar intending to test out the strange squid hat.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…