John – Equipped with a whole range of new abilities from their new subclasses the group headed over the north bridge spanning the crevasse. Aurelia did not gain her pact weapon, this was scheduled for another event. *Completely avoiding the trapped south bridge I might add.*
The party explored the northern passage which turned back into the familiar stone flagstones and a flight of stairs that led down to the lower levels. Confronted with two doors at the end of the passage the party detected raised voices behind the south door and charged through surprising the Redbrands playing knucklebones.
One surprise round later, two of the four ruffians were dead and Wendel had slipped trying to vault onto the betting table. Coins went everywhere, but he narrowly avoiding falling over. Losing the initiative *again!!* the ruffians went down to a hail of firebolts, eldritch blast, one axe swing and Wendel narrowly dealing the final blow incapacitating the final Redbrand. Wendel was not happy.
Again, the party had ignored his wishes, quickly dealing out murder and death. The characters’ restriction on killing humanoids was starting to cause rifts in the group. Aurelia didn’t help this by treating Wendel’s view as completely naive.
*It will be interesting to see where this goes.*
Tying up the remaining ruffian and investigating the room, the party collected the lost winnings that were scattered on the floor;
- gold earring with a tiny ruby.
Satisfied, the party opted to try the earlier north door, forgoing the southern door in the common room. Listening revealed faint bubbling and dripping sounds from behind the door. Entering the room they discovered a makeshift Wizard’s Workshop. The door had barely been open before Asterin spied the shelves of books and made a beeline across the room, narrowly avoiding a rat that leap off a workbench. Quickly investigating the shelves and workbenches, she discovered a tomb in an unknown language and several alchemical compounds (mercury, dragon bile and powdered nightshade).
Concerned with any magical nature of the room, Aurelia invoked her eldritch sight, while Wendel took position at the entrance and Merric moved over to the eastern door to have a listen. Her sight flared and she sensed magic in the room. Closer inspection revealed a conjuration aura coming from the retreating rat. It was not any mere rodent.
Before revealing this information to her group, Merric detected the sounds of noisy movements behind the door, followed by cursing and hurried footsteps. A single slam and the adjacent room fell silent. The rat staring into Aurelia’s eldritch filled eyes promptly disappeared. Fearing that someone was getting away Merric kicked down the door and ran into the room quickly followed by Aurelia. Except for a chest, a desk and a bed the room was empty. Sighing to himself, Merric investigated the contents of the chest while Aurelia checked the desk.
Meanwhile Wendel, back in the other room, detected the sounds of hurried footsteps back down the corridor that led to the natural cave area. Focusing on the sound, it slowly retreated further away. Concerned he grabbed Asterin’s attention and joined the other two in the next room.
Aurelia and Merric’s searches had found the following items;
- 130 gp
- Silk pouch containing;
- 5 carnelians
- 2 peridots
- 1 pearl
The group pored over the note which was a communication from an individual known as the Black Spider and the leader of the RedBrands. The leader was addressed as Iarno, who was the missing Lords Alliance agent that Sildar was looking for. Iarno had abandoned the Alliance.
Convinced that they had missed something, Merric searched the walls and detected a partially open door in the east wall of the room. Beyond was a secret bolt hole back to the Storeroom and the boot print in the dust bore evidence of the retreating Iarno. Disappointed that their target had escaped the party resolved to clear out the remaining area to the south of the common room.
In the south west portion of the dungeon, the group encounter a door in a bend in a corridor. The sounds of gruff voices in an unfamiliar language could be heard beyond, but the group was careless with their approach and the door burst open revealing a Bugbear with a morningstar in hand. Two Bugbears stood behind him with a goblin fainted on the floor beyond.
With the Bugbear in the doorway, and the group spread around the corner of the corridor, all the Bugbear attacks were focused on Wendel. Although they were able to bring down the first Bugbear without too many concerns, the second came through the door and dealt a critical hit felling Wendel.
The third Bugbear strode forth, stepping over the unconscious Wendal to strike at Aurelia beyond, dealing a considerable amount of damage. Knowing when she was outmatched, Aurelia disengaged and retreated behind Asterin preparing to fire off some spells next round. But it was now Merric’s turn.
*In a four strong party, felling one member can certainly make things interesting for the group.*
Merric dealt a barrage of damage to the Bugbear standing over Wendel, clearly concerned for his fellow halfling. Using action surge which was a critical hit, he killed the creature in one round. Merric moved up to protect Wendel from any further damage. Asterin backed him up and kneeling down cast healing word on him bringing him back from death’s edge.
With the combined might of the group now directed on one sole target, the Bugbear did not last long, and the group strode into the Guard Barracks. The goblin lay on the ground shaking in fright from the adventurers. It begged for its life and informed the group about the Black Spider reinforcing the RedBrands but was unable to tell them where the Cragmaw main base was. The party decided to hold onto the goblin, who called itself Droop and Aurelia took it under her wing.
*Meanwhile Merric just wanted to kill it.*
Seeing the beds in the guard barracks, and how hurt they all were the group opted to have a rest to recoup some health. This was interrupted however by the sounds of a wandering patrol of RedBrands that were coming down the corridor. Listening in on their conversation, the group realised that these were the ruffians they previously had defeated and tied up. Furthermore, the ruffians were very concerned about the trespassers and that no one could find the boss.
Surprising the ruffians, the ruffians chose to give up once more and were retied up in the guard barracks. A quick interrogation revealed that the complex was now completely empty so the party retreated back to the natural cave area. Convinced of no more threats, the group walked across the southern bridge which promptly gave way with the combined weight of the halflings.
*Oh look they did find that trap.*
Narrowly avoiding damage, the party located some boot prints in the cave floor which stopped at a blank wall. A thorough check of the surroundings revealed a secret door which led back the main entrance of the cellar. Escorting the captured prisoners outside the party collected their thoughts on their next move.