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Session 8: Cragmaw Castle

General Summary

That night, Adelaide checked on the rat they had collected under the manor, which she had named her Madam President and had been keeping her in a small wicker basket wherever she went. When the cleric opened the basket, a light haze of yellow-green poison gas escaped from under the lid. The rat was lying unmoving in the corner; a quick check showed that she was alive, but barely. With a healing word from Reidoth and the air cleared, the rat seemed to be breathing better, but there was little visible improvement, and no way to tell when, or if, she would fully recover.   The next morning, Reidoth stepped outside to find a zoo's worth of animals waiting for him, crowded around the door to his house. He politely excused himself and closed the door, and (to those watching through the window) seemed to be speaking to each one in turn; they formed an orderly queue and each one went bounding off after a moment in front of Reidoth. He made no explanation of this when he re-entered the house, but he did ask for the party's map and made good on his promise to show them the location of Wave Echo Cave. Before the party took their leave, he expressed the thanks of the Emerald Enclave for all they had done in Thundertree. He gave them a small, thin square of tree bark with a knothole in the center, telling them that if they were ever in the wilderness and needed help, to press the knothole, which would alert the nearest member of the Enclave.   With that, the party took their leave of Thundertree, with Cragmaw Castle and rescuing Gundren Rockseeker the next thing on their minds. They took the road leading southwest out of the town towards the coast and the King's Road, stopping at the edge of the forest to move south towards the castle. As the day wore on into the afternoon, they began to move back into the forest.   It was not long until they found the castle, standing in a wide clearing and surrounded by otherwise untouched forest. The building was old and crumbling; though it seemed that it had once consisted of several tall towers, they were all collapsed and crumbling masonry pervaded the exterior.   The party decided that they should pretend to be Red Brands in order to get inside the castle. They donned the red cloaks they had kept from the manor and then moved to approach the castle. They were stopped at the entrance when a pair of black-tipped arrows appeared from arrow slits in the walls above them and a shrill voice ordered them to identify themselves. Malcolm stated that he was Glass Staff, and was reporting news from Phandalin. The voice told them to wait for an escort.   A troop of hobgoblins soon emerged from the castle gates, sized up the party, and then ordered them to follow them inside. The adventurers were whisked through a series of rooms and corridors inside the castle, then stopped at a pair of wooden double doors near the back. They were ordered to stay outside while two of the hobgoblins entered.   After a moment, one hobgoblin returned, saying that King Grol would see them.   Inside the sparsely-furnished room was King Grol, a fierce, old, battle-scarred bugbear standing at a table. Behind him lay an unconscious dwarf, and a large wolf that snarled at the adventurers. As they entered, Coryn noticed a door on the side of the room that was slightly ajar, and moving slightly, as if it had just been closed.   Malcolm immediately began speaking as Glass Staff, but Grol stopped him short, saying he had good news and bad news for the wizard. The good news was that the dwarf had given up the map.   The bad news was that Glass Staff always wore white robes.   At that moment a hobgoblin roared behind Malcolm and slashed his shortsword across the wizard, cutting deeply and dropping him to the ground. The rest of the party found themselves surrounded by hobgoblins in the middle of a goblin-occupied castle, fighting for their lives. King Grol was a savage fighter; whenever his morningstar connected, it always dealt a vicious blow. The hobgoblins used the tight quarters to their advantage, controlling the space and forcing their enemies to fight on the back foot.   For a time the battle seemed like it could go either way; with multiple fighters locked in a deadly dance and unable to make headway against each other, or adventurers falling to the goblins, it seemed as though it was headed for a bloody stalemate. The balance was broken when Grol finally fell; without his presence, and with healing and recovery magic bringing some party members back into the fight with a vengeance, the morale of the other hobgoblins faltered and they lost ground to the adventurers, and were eventually overwhelmed.   As the fight was beginning to wind down, the side door flew open and a drow woman in leather armor sprinted from it. She ran past the adventurers and down the hallway of the castle, from which more goblin shouts were issuing. The party had only a few moments to decide what to do--fight their way out, or try to find another way to escape?   In the room where the drow had come from they found that the wall and part of the ceiling had collapsed, leaving a ten-foot scramble over masonry rubble between them and freedom. Grabbing the dwarf from under the table, the party began climbing the rubble just as another group of hobgoblins burst through the door. They had barely reached the top when the hobgoblins swarmed into the room, and had to dodge handaxes flying just above their heads as they crawled to the outer wall of the castle.   A short but jarring drop later and the party was running full tilt across the field. Black-feathered arrows flew through the air from the arrow slits in the castle as they fled. But they didn't stop running until they were well into the woods beyond the clearing...

Campaign
Lost Mine of Phandelver
Protagonists
Report Date
08 Apr 2019
Secondary Location
Neverwinter Wood

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