This is the story of our little group’s journeys in the areas surrounding Phandalin. Please be aware that spoilers lie behind the fold.
Having been shown the path young Carp had uncovered leading into Tresendar Manor, the party finds themselves in a natural cavern beneath the manor, split by a narrow crevasse running roughly north to south. They spend little time investigating the dark gash and instead head west down a short set of steps into a short hewn passage, turning left, and with a door to the right.
Feeling plucky, Mostana knocks on the door without heed, after which it promptly opens, revealing a some surprised bugbears. Ashley takes a quick swing, but misses, as the bugbear retreats into the room to get his bearings. Cerric promptly casts burning hands into the room, damaging the bugbears, and incinerating a poor goblin they had apparently kept as a pet to torment. The bugbears charge forward, as much to escape the flaming room as to return the attacks the party has bestowed upon them. A fight ensues in the hallway, ebbing both into the room and towards the stairwell. The ruckus also draws the attention of a troupe of Redbrands in the next room down the hall, and they engage the group shortly, perhaps not in fighting shape. Carric retreats back to the cavern to lick his wounds after receiving a mighty blow from a bugbear. Swords swing, arrows fly, and the party slowly gains the upper hand in the battle. The three bugbears fall, and three of the Redbrands go down as well, one of them falling to a sleep spell cast by Laewyn. Realizing his plight, the third Redbrand flees the scene, to be pursued by Mostana and Ashley. Seeing an opportunity, Ashleys looses and arrow, striking and slowing the fleeing brigand, allowing Mostana to close the gap as they run up the stairy, around a bend, and into the cavern room. First the Redbrand falls, then Mostana on his heels, fails to stop in time to avoid falling into the crevasse. The Redbrand perishes from a critical fall, while Mostana is out could beside him.
To the south, the cowed Carric hears the commotion, but is unaware that it was Mostana who has fallen, as he had donned a Redbrand cape and was calling ahead to his ‘brother’. With good fortune, Ashley had taken up the trail and noticed two tangled bodies at the bottom of the crevasse. Several party members scramble down the walls to attend to their fallen comrade, and Ashley shoulders Mostana and carries him back up, carefully. Up top, Lord is able to administer aid to Mostana to stabilize his condition.
While Carric and Mostana rest further, the remainder of the party revive and restrain the guard who succumbed to the sleep spell. He drunkenly and confusingly informs them that there is an eye beast guarding the lower part of the area, babbles about a Black Spider who has directed the Redbrands to lean on the locals somewhat aggressively and intimidate adventurers and outsiders, and that there are a few captives near the crypts, a woman and children. In addition, Darren (the Redbrand) mentions their leader Glasstaff, who ‘makes spells’.
The party decides that they may be better off returning to town to lick their wounds, and take the subdued Redbrand with them in hopes of gaining favor with the Townmaster and having Darren incarcerated. Unfortunately Townmaster Harben sees this a primarily an act of aggression on the part of the outsiders, and considers their action to be punshishable in itself. Fortunately, the wise warrior Sildar whom the party had rescued previously broke in and suggested that the drunken Redbrand should perhaps sleep it off in a cell.
The adventurers then revisited some earlier conversations, of note one with Harben in which was requested assistance in dealing with some Orc raiders along the Triboar Trail, offering a 100gp reward for subduing the raiders. Feeling like they should perhaps let the dust settle a bit, the adventurers rest at the in, then head north and east towards Wyvern Tor to patrol the highway.
After an uneventful day-and-a-half journey, the party mounts a rise and spies a lone orc keeping watch. They attempt to approach the orc stealthily to subdue him, but kick some gravel on the approach, alerting him. The members who’d stayed back manage to unleash ample fury to drop the orc before he has a chance to alert any others nearby, most likely in nearby cave.
With a few minutes to plan, the party decides to post a few members above the cave to fire missiles, the rogue to the side to backstab as they emerge, and the spell casters at the site of the lookout, to act as a distraction. Laewyn casts an audible illusion of a skirmish happening at the lookout site, which draws four orcs. They emerge from the cave, Mostana stealthily backstabs the nearest and retreats, while missiles rain down on the others. Spells are cast from the front to confound the orcs. Realizing that they are under siege, an ogre and three additional orcs rush from the cave ready for battle.
One orc succumbs to a sleep spell, another is hit by a barrage of magic missiles, cold rays, and arrows. The ogre is powerful, but unable to engage immediately, as orcs have surrounded the casters. These orcs have been hobbled by Lord’s Bane spell. They are incinerated by Carrik’s Burning Hands shortly after, opening a space for the ogre to join the fray. Continuing to rain arrows on the ogre and orcs, the adventurers gain the upper hand, until one remaining orc breaks off to flee. He is felled by Ashley’s deft arrow after only a few steps.
Binding and reviving the slept orc, the party rests through an uneventful night, and breaks camp to return to Phandalin in the morning. Another day and night pass without mishap, but on the final morning they are surrounded by hobgoblins, three on each side. Hobgoblins may not be as intimidating as an orc, but they are wily and challenging to strike. A difficult battle ensues, beginning with an ominous “This is them” cry, with Mostana again falling when slashed by a hobgoblin. Ashley takes serious damage, but is healed by Lord as Carric deals magic damage left and right using Cloud of Daggers and Chromatic Orb, while Laewyn drifts two hobgoblins to sleep. After defeating the hobgoblin raiders, the adventurers heal Mostana, and question the hobgoblins. They don’t get much information, but they are shown a wanted poster with a picture of Mostana, a 25gp reward, and a black spider icon.
They return to the Townmaster’s Hall in Phandalin with their hostages, where the distasteful banker Harbin rewards the players their 50gp bounty for capturing the orcs. He doesn’t know what to do with the hobgoblins, but will place them in a cell for the time being.