Chapter Four: Clearing the Castle

After last session’s foray into a plotline of my own devising, we returned to the Lost Mine of Phandelver with an assault upon Cragmaw Castle.


Cast

  1. – N’idera – Half-elf Ranger (Beast Master)
  2. – Ara’tak – Aarakocra Druid (Moon)
  3. – Sirath – Dragonborn Paladin (Vengeance)

DM – Torvak – Goliath Cleric (Life)


Play began with the party re-uniting and interrogating the captured Halfling. He said he had been hired from his home to provide undead minions by a ‘tall, thin figure’. The party took possession of the key to his house in Waterdeep and turned him over to the authorities.

They took care of business with the Graywind’s (including telling them about the supplies they had to leave in the hunting lodge and selling a lot of the stuff they had been hoarding) and examined the scroll case they had found. Within was the land deed for the hunting lodge and land around it. With that taken care of, they examined their current goals and determined to clear out Cragmaw Castle (and thus eliminate the big threat in the local area) before tackling anything else.

[DM Note: I gave the party the map to the castle in the last session as a way of tying things together (the undead goblins were part of the Cragmaw tribe) and because the suggested method of them obtaining it (random encounter) doesn’t feel right to me.]

Instead of waiting to scout it out, Sirath (true to form) strode right in through the main doors. The watch-goblins alerted the waiting reinforcements, as they are supposed to, and combat was joined. The party made great use of their plentiful AoE effects and made short work of the large force that rushed them in the entrance hall of the ruined castle.

N’idera, after trapping two watch-goblins in their room, and Sirath began to explore. N’idra found a set of bloody chain-mail and an ornate longsword. Whilst they were doing this, Ara’tak decided to continue further into the castle and triggered a trap. Although he escaped unscathed, the sound of the ceiling falling in alerted more of the castle’s inhabitants.

The party (possessing two characters with a high Perception score) heard the sounds of surprise from the banquet hall to the south and, with some slight damage to their pride, vanquished the large number of goblins within. Both the goblin who fled, and one of the watch-goblins from the other guardroom were hunted down and slain. One goblin escaped with its life.

The party then checked out the northern rooms of the castle (after finding the Owlbear tower and the secret entrance) and beat both the Grick and the goblins in the chapel handily.

Unfortunately, due to Sirath’s magic use during the last battle, the rest of the castle was on high alert. The crash of her magic enraged the Owlbear which broke out of its tower in response to the painfully loud noise and went on a rampage as it escaped. Recognising this, the party moved carefully forwards.

[DM’s Note: Thunderous Smite REALLY puts its work in to alert the NPCs to the party’s progress.]

They found the signs of the Owlbear’s escape and entered the final room. The King of the Cragmaws proved a challenge but they overcame both him and his wolf in okay shape.

As N’idera checked on Gundren (who was held captive in the King’s chamber), Sirath opened the second door in the room (the first being the entrance).

Full disclosure, as a DM, I am unhappy with the stat block for Vyerith. I kept it the same, but interpreted the line about the extra damage occurring in the first round of combat as occurring in the first round of combat she takes part in, but only if she hasn’t been detected. Imagine my surprise when she rolled a natural 20 and downed Sirath instantly.

The fight was nasty but short and the party, initially distrustful of the drow they encountered, took her prisoner. N’idera, being a half-elf, remains distrustful but seems happy enough to keep an eye on her.

Whilst searching their new prisoner who explained that she was trader, N’idera found Gundren’s map to Wave Echo cave. Keeping that, but leaving her with everything else in the satchel she had ‘mysteriously’ acquired, the party set off back to Phandalin.

[DM’s Note: Vyerith is supposed to fight to the death if cornered, but the party put a lot of effort into talking her down and I don’t think DM’s should ignore the efforts of their players. Also, she ended up with the Cragmaw King’s satchel because the party didn’t have time to search the room and Vyerith snagged it while they weren’t paying full attention to her.]

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