The Cragmaw Hideout
After spending the evening in Phandelin, rested and re-armed with both their gear and their courage, our stalwart heroes ventured back to the spot of the Goblin hideout.
After easily dodging and disarming some crude traps, the party arrived at the mouth of a cave entrance in a rather larger hill, a small stream trickling out and further down the hill. On the opposite side of the entrance, a worn path and large, thorny bramble hid two goblins on sentry. A quick battle ensued but the goblins were easily dispatched.
Bridge over Troubled Waters
Inside the cave, while still it with the ambient light, the footpad Daedalus scouted deeper into the cave, discovering several snarling, chained up wolves in a room off to the side and a rickety wooden bridge further upstream and deeper in the cave. It was Daedalus’s inability to maintain his stealth that allowed the wolves to detect our noisy heroes, causing them to leap against their chains, attempting to pull fry and wreak havoc.
Fortunately, the quick thinking of Evandur Willows settled the matter. With quiet, soothing words and a large satchel of ration meats and jerky, Evandur was able to soothe the savage beasts and soon had them eating out of the palm of his hand. The poorly groomed canines were so smitten with Evandur that they fawned on him like pups. He then sent them to the small glade to be free, drink water and away his return.
Inspection within the makeshift wolf kennel revealed a small chimney serving as a chamber pot for goblins higher up in the caves.
Our intrepid heroes left that for a moment and the two scouts (the shadowy Aurelia and the somewhat less stealthy Daedalus) crept ahead, up stream where they discovered a rickety bridge, a poorly hidden goblin and a steeply rising path. They dispatched the goblin in silence, watching as the wretched corpse floated downstream, then made their way back to the party.
The Pincer and the Pooper
It was then that Aurelia, a sucker for a tight space (uh, phrasing) decided to shed her clothes and attempt to climb the aptly named ‘poop chute’ She failed and was rewarded in a bathe of vile goblin offal and spunk. While Jujuby helped the poor half-elf cleanse herself by the waters of the stream (with Traxom heartily giving advice) Mac easily shimmied up the poop chute (Phrasing!) and was able to spy Klarg, the Bugbear leader, his pet wolf, two goblin flunkies and a small pit fire in a large chamber.
A devious plan was then hatched. Mac, glad in naught but his glory, would climb back up the poop chute, Jujuby dangling precariously behind him (there’s an image!) the other members of the party would follow the tunnel, create a distraction and when the monstrous Klarg roused himself to challenge the would-be intruders, Mac would emerge, demon-like from the dread fissure and join the fray.
Rolling down the river
As the rest of the group continued up the river, Daedalus (with Aurelia’s help) decided to disable the bridge so that it could easily be made to fall, if necessary. Evandur and Traxom discovered up and around the bend a goblin group going out on patrol. With quick thinking, our clever adventurers beat a hasty retreat, circled back behind the goblins and discovered a might flood trap. This trap being devised by the goblins (a dammed pool of water stemming the flow of the natural waterfall in the cave), using it on the goblins themselves seemed the foul sort of irony the Danger Corps revels in. As the poor, hapless goblins were washed away, Evandur prepared called out his challenge to Klarg, who answered it with foul words and threats of deaths.
One of the goblins, thinking to flee down the shitter, got the surprise of his short, ugly life when he came face to face with a hellish visage: Mac Murchadch, naked as the day he was born, grin gleaming from the darkness, his bear sized paw reaching for to grab him from what he had thought was the toilet and his foolproof escape plan.
Unfortunately Klarg lasted about as long as the goblins as the our merciless mercenaries smote him with concentrated ranged attacks, imperilous magical onslaughts, and one big honking hammer. As Klarg, the wolf and the goblins were disposed, the group recovered not only the trade goods from the Lion and Shield Trading company, as well as a small cache of loot that Klarg had been hording.
Throw me the head, I throw you the human
While many other foolish heroes might have assumed the day won and returned home in triumph, the Danger Corps are nothing if not thorough; they knew that the tunnel connecting the bridge to the pool room was still unexplored. As they ventured towards this tunnel, Evandur issued another challenge to any remaining foes in the caverns. His challenge was answered by the craven voice of Yeemick, 2nd in command of the Goblins at Cragmaw hideout.
Yeemick appeared, the badly beaten body of Sildar held in front as a human shield, knife at his throat. After a very persuasive speech fro Aurelia, he agreed to parlay, saying that he would return the human to the group unharmed, if they were to dispatch Klarg and his damnable wolf pet.
Wasting no time, Mac retrieved Klarg’s head and tossed it to him. Yeemick was pleased but then asked for money before he would leave in peace with the rest of his goblin crew (six of them cowering in the tunnels behind, for they had heard the screams and cries of Mac the Destroyer, he who climbs latrines). Aurelia tossed the goblin a small satchel of gold, which landed in the middle of the compromised bridge. After the fiendish goblins fled the hideout (only to be attacked by the waiting wolves) Yeemick went after the gold, collapsing the bridge and falling to his near ruin at the bottom of the rocks. Evandur was able to use his negotiation skills to stop the fighting between the goblins and the wolves and force the goblins to flee the area, never to return. They were able to learn that Gundren and all of his gear were sent ahead to Cragmaw Castle, some vile fortress in the forests to the north, though Yeemick had not personally had the pleasure of visiting the edifice.
Sildar was quickly nursed back to health and he shared the reason why he and Gundren and Gundren’s brothers had come to the area. Sildar begged our group of avenging adventurers to return him to Phadalin to see if he could find his wizard contact Iarno Albrek. Iarno had travelled to Phadalin to help the fronteir town establish itself several months ago but had not been heard from since he arried and Sildar is worried he might have come to a bad end.
Our heroes agreed, and after investigating the last remaining areas of the dingy Cragmaw Hideout, they quit the place to return to Phandalin, victory in their hearts and a song on their lips (and the scent of goblin dung in their nostrils!)
The Show Must Go On!
After returning the Lion and Shield supplies to Linene (who was grateful and paid the 30gp as was promised) the party decided to split up the following morning, each to his or her own devices. While Mac and Traxom visited the orchard of a former adventurer, and Evandur and Daedalus paid a visit to the Shrine of Luck and it’s recently waylaid caretaker, Jujuby and Aurelia were accosted by a small group of Redbrand bandits looking to start some trouble.
Fortunately for our poorly armed and armored heroes, their quick wits led them out of immediate physical confrontation, but with the promise of a grand and baudy show for the Redbrand gang at the Sleeping Giant taphouse, featuring the one and only Aurelia Willow. While Aurelia protested her role in the scheme, Jujuby convinced the group that this would be an excellent way to reduce the numbers of Redbrands operating either in the town altogether, or at least at the Manor in which the Redbrands operate.
Words from an old Soldier
Mac and Traxom visited Edermath Orchard, run by the retired soldier Daran Edermath. Daran greeted our two unlikely companions and shared some morsels of information about trouble at the Old Owl Well. It seems several prospectors were reported being chased from the area by undead. The ruins lie around an old watchtower of an ancient magical empire known as the Netheril and there is a fear that meddlers might awaken terrible magic that might be dormant there. Mac and Traxom agreed to look into the matter which earned them a nod of respect and another tankard of ale from their host.
A blessing and a request
Evandur and Daedalus were surpised to find the Shrine of Luck tended by a wounded elven priestess, Sister Garaele. She informed the two that while she feared the Redbrands might never be driven from their home, she was on another mission of equal importance. It seems that a banshee named Agatha might have information about a certain spellbook of ancient power. Her attempts to persuade the banshee to give her the information has met with nothing but failure but if the characters could perhaps intercede on her behalf, with the use of a beautiful silver jeweled comb, she would be ever grateful.
Evandur agreed to take on the task, as soon as he was able. Pleased with the manners of the two, Sister Garaele blessed the two with a minor boon from the shrine.
Setting up the big show
While Mac and Traxom headed back to the town, Jujuby entered the Sleeping Giant, obstensibly to get a look at the place for the show but also to scout out the building. Little did our heroes know that their plan for the party had spread like wildfire among the Redbrands (for who can resist the allure of half-elven titties?). Jujuby quickly began to issue commands to the Redbrands, setting up tables, chairs, a dance floor/stage, and various ropes and boards near the roof. Jujuby also had the windows boarded up.
While the group had originally planned on waiting a few days to confront the Redbrands, the mutinous murderous demanded that the show go on that night. And so our heroes prepare themselves as the sun fails, darkness rises, and the party to end all parties is about to begin!