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Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

Murder Hobo Squad: A Lost Mine of Phandelver/Dragon of Icespire Peak & Beyond D&D 5E record (Beware Spoilers!)

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S29: The Mine Reclaimed

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
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During their short rest they discussed where to go next.  Head north through the Blast Furnace chamber, head south east to the fungal room, explore the nearby side chamber, or go and try to talk with the trapped Flameskull with no way to perma-kill it yet.  They opted to head north for now.

The furnace room had an exit to the west to the door barricaded from the other side which they had already explored, and an exit to the north which they confirmed connects to the crevasse they found two bugbears digging in.  The crafted gulley that previously powered the water wheel also went out under the wall to the east, from which the sound of water and the periodic tremor grew louder.  There was also a corridor near this heading east, which is the path they chose.

Karson went ahead and found the short corridor quickly opened up in to a vast chamber, larger than his Darkvision could reveal to him.  There was open darkness to the south, and a corridor heading north down some steps and out of site.  In front of him he saw a building with two entrances.  He listened carefully at both doors and didn’t hear much, but light could be seen from the cracks in the double doors.  He went back to the party and they got in position ready for the double doors to be opened.  As they entered the large cavern some element in the walls and ceiling picked up the light they were carrying and bounced it around the cavern.  Every surface looked like it was covered in little stars, providing dim illumination throughout.  A second building could be seen further south.  Karson snuck in through the side door and found a simple damaged workshop showing signs of an ancient battle.  Another door could be seen in front of him, with light escaping from under it.  He waited by this door for signs to act while the others opened the double doors.  Melandrach gave a quick listen at the double doors and could hear what sounded like a small fire crackling on the other side.  He gave the group a nod and opened them.

The Starry CavernThe Starry Cavern

The doors opened in to a large workshop which was badly damaged by the ancient spell battle that had laid waste to the mine. Worktables taking up two corners of the room were scorched, and the plaster has been burned off the masonry walls. In the middle of the room, a stone pedestal held a small brazier in which an eerie green flame danced and crackled. The brazier and its pedestal appeared to have been untouched by the forces that destroyed this area.

Behind the brazier of green flame floated a spherical creature measuring roughly four feet in diameter. Four eyestalks protrude from its central mass, two on each side. In the centre of the body was a large eye that stared at them. “Hello,” said a thick, burbling voice inside the heads of all who could see it.

Netyrk, the Beholder (a Spectator)Netyrk, the Beholder (a Spectator)

The green beholder seemed polite and pleased to see them and they had a conversation.  The beholder revealed his name is Netyrk and that he was guarding the Spellforge and the items created from it, gesturing to the only two clean items in the room, a mace and a set of half plate.  The party tried to tell him that the mine had fallen and everyone was dead, but Netyrk insisted it was a fully operational mine and he’d spoken to the miners recently.  When asked what he could see in the room he greatly downplayed the damage, insisting it just needed a good clean and wasn’t largely destroyed.  They asked if they could enter the room and he asked what they were doing there.  They said that the mine had been attacked and they had been called in to check the threat had been fully removed and it was safe again.  Netyrk remembered the battle and insisted it was recent, when it had been 500 years ago.  He was happy to see them and let them enter, but asked them to not touch anything they shouldn’t.  They had a look around the room and let Karson in from the side door.  The breastplate had a gold dragon motif worked into its design, and the head of the mace was shaped like a sunburst and made of solid brass.  This was presumably Lightbringer, the mace they had read about long ago, commissioned by the church of Lathander.  They asked who his boss was and who had created the items.  Foreman Grindle Rezinbakker was the name they were given and they were pointed towards him for more answers.  Netyrk continued to act like all was well in the mine and he’d spoken to Grindle only a few days ago at most, although one day is pretty much the same as the next when you don’t leave this room.

They said they needed to keep securing the mine but they’d be back later and headed to the southern building.  They listened at the door and heard nothing before opening the door.  Dust, ash, walls blackened by fire, and heaps of debris beneath the sagging ceiling showed that this room was damaged by a destructive blast. The furnishings-tables, chairs, bookshelves, beds-were charred or splintered, but otherwise well preserved. A scorched iron chest stood near the foot of one of the beds.

They filed in to the room and began looking around.  As Devere approached the chest and started talking about opening it, a smoky shadowy mass began rising out of the floor, and took on a human form.  “Your presence is offensive to me, your life forfeit. My treasures are mine alone, not yours to plunder!”  He looked about the group, in particular towards Devere.  Devere asked if he was the offensive one.  The apparition responded that this was his home and they should get out.  Devere looked around at the group for help and they shrugged and gestured for him to take the lead.  Devere said they’d leave.  They carefully backed out, covering their rears, and closed the doors behind them.

The WraithThe Wraith

They backed off a bit and had a chat about what to do next.  They considered asking Netyrk about who this spirit is, but decided that was pointless as he still thinks it’s 500 years ago.  They knew they couldn’t leave it here as they were hired to clear the mine and this would not be safe for Gundren.  The beholder might be safe to leave here as he appears to be one of the original employees and they might be able to convince it to accept new management.  They agreed to head back in and kill the spirit.  Araloth said he was sure it is a Wraith.  An evil spirit of malice infused with negative energies.  It was likely once a living human a long time ago.  They got in position and Devere kicked open the door, shouting, “By the light of Lathander, your presence in this realm is anathema to every living thing!  We will quench your fire and send you to the pits where you belong!”

Karson charged past him, but the wraith was waiting behind the door expecting this.  It attacked Karson, sucking the life from his bones (DM: and reducing his max HP).  Karson countered, attacking with both his weapons.  Araloth ran down from the roof, through the doorway and along the inside wall to slash at him, before backing up to stand upside down on the ceiling.  The Wraith lashed out at the only target in range, but missed Karson.  Bilba crept in and put an arrow into the Wraith and Ramond moved to flank it, hitting with a Divine Smite.  It lashed out at him feasting on his life force, rejuvenating itself partially.  Melandrach ran in and beat it with his stick and then punched it to death with a Flurry of Blows.  They then looted the room, pulling some trinkets out of the chest.  The books on the shelves seemed to be a mix of history texts and guides and notes on magical item creation.  One of the books had a few pages stuck inside that did not match the rest of the book.  They were handwritten in dwarven, but had a drawing of an elven plaque that had been badly copied.  The pages appear to be torn from of a larger text and start mid-sentence.  They detail the authors stay overnight in a ruined elven temple he was hiding in after some unspecified incident.  He made drawings of what he saw and the next day kept notes on his attempts to find his way back to civilisation as he was apparently lost deep within the Mere of Dead Men.  The elven plaque was hard to read as it was such a bad copy, but it suggested Sehannine Moonbow had once visited the temple and left an artefact behind which the temple had dedicated itself to guarding.

They concocted a plan to get Lightbringer from the beholder so headed back to the northern building.  They popped inside and said some of them were representatives of the Church of Lathander (Gesturing towards Devere, the cleric of Lathander) and they were here to collect their commission, the mace Lightbringer.  This worked and Devere was able to take the mace.  He tried to collect the plate too, but Netyrk asked him to stop.  They tried to pump Netyrk for information on who that commission was for, but he would not tell them, siting Client Confidentiality.  They eventually gave up trying and headed north.

The northern passageway took them to a vast underground lake.  Every two minutes something would bumble up under the water and burst forward.  Water would slam against the banks and the water level would raise almost enough to flood the land around it.  This seemed to be the source of the periodic tremors, although they could not work out what the source of this activity was.  The followed the path around and it lead them back to the crevasse the Hobgoblins had been digging in.  They then spent 20 minutes trying to work out the original water network in this cavern, eventually concluding water flowed from the west to the east favouring the manmade canals and terminating in the north eastern lake.  An earthquake had created a new exit in the crevasse and had redirected the water away from the water wheel.  They stopped to dig for a few hours to find whatever the Black Spider had been looking for and pulled out some magic gauntlets.  They decided to head back to camp and see if Gundren knew anything about the Beholder, the Flameskull,  or the original defences of the mine.

They got back to camp and had a check with Gundren who didn’t know anything he hadn’t already told them.  He had packed a selection of tools for mining and metalworking which the group borrowed to spend 8 man hours filing down silver coins.  Talindra also identified the Mace and the Gauntlets.

LightbringerLightbringer

Lightbringer, +1 Mace

This +1 mace was made for a cleric of Lathander, the god of dawn. The head of the mace is shaped like a sunburst and made of solid brass. It was possibly the last item made in the Spellforge at Wave Echo Cave before the mine was lost centuries ago and has never been used before.

When attuned to by a follower of Lathander, this weapon can glow up to as bright as a torch when its wielder commands.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power

Your Strength score is 19 while you wear these gauntlets. They have no effect on you if your Strength is 19 or higher without them.

Devere took the mace and the party decided that Karson was the best fit for the Gauntlets.  They rested in camp overnight so Devere could craft some Holy Water in the morning.  The night passed by uneventfully, but when Devere got up to pray during the sunrise something unexpected happened.  As the first rays of sunrise hit his new mace it began to vibrate and it lit up by itself.  There was a flash of power within it, echoed within Devere and he became aware of a new power within the mace: While at full brightness, its wielder gains a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throw DCs of their divine spells. (DM: He didn’t notice this new line at first and said, “oh great.  It’s a torch”.  3-4 seconds of silence before there was a more excited “Oh!”).

The party got themselves ready and went back to the mine and decided to speak to Netyrk again.  They tried to convince him that he’d been in the mine longer than he realised.  They showed him Urmon’s journal (DM: They found this with Glasstaff’s stuff.  It was written 500 years ago by a dwarf who had been at the mine when Lightbringer was being worked on).  They showed him the dates on the entries and how old the book was.  He wasn’t ready to believe them, but he was listening.  Melandrach also realised that this handwriting matched the pages they had found yesterday.

They told Netyrk the truth as best they could.  They persuaded him to look outside this chamber.  He wouldn’t leave, but he stood in the doorway as they pointed towards the dead bodies scattered around.  He insisted they were just resting.  Weren’t they?  They picked one up and brought it over.  Bits fell off on the way.  Under close inspection, reinforced with their persuasion, they convinced Netyrk that it had been 500 years, not only a few years.  Netyrk took a moment to absorb this, and then said his contract had expired.  A portal opened behind him, and as he disappeared through it, he thanks the group.  They looted the half plate and headed south to deal with the Flameskull.

They tried to talk to it through the door, but all they got was death threats and maniacal laughter.  They quickly realised talking wouldn’t get them anywhere so they came up with a plan, took up positions and opened the door.  3 Zombies came pouring out.  This fight didn’t last long and the party downed the zombies and the Flameskull with much more ease than last time (DM: it was about midnight and we were all making mistakes.  I forgot his Blur and Shield spells until it was too late to make much difference.  Devere attacked the burning skull with fire at one point!).  Devere poured the Holy Water over it, and it fizzed and bubbled like it was acid.  It melted away like a cheap plastic toy in an oven.

They debated leaving the fungus for Gundren to deal with, but decided best not to.  There could be something hostile living in there.  Talindra sent her Owl familiar to scout through the room.  As it flapped about the fungus unleashed a thick cloud of spores and the Owl choked and died before it could escape.  The spore cloud added away and Devere sent in a Flaming Sphere to burn the fungus.  This seemed to work well, so he sent in another and then they went in after with other fire spells and cleared the room up.

With the fungus gone, the noticed a circle of runes carved in to the floor where the fungus had been.  An earthquake had broken the ground here allowing the original fungus entry and had put a crack through the runes.  Fungus grew out of that crack and had lifted up a section of rock over the years.  Talindra tried to read the runes and concluded they were magic in origin, but she couldn’t read most of them.  The one she thought she knew was something to do with transportation or teleportation.

The full mine (minus my decorative extras)The full mine (minus my decorative extras)

With the mine now cleared they called Gundren over to join them.  They took him and the miners on a tour telling them what they had encountered and what the risks and challenges might be going forwards.  Gundren asked them to hang around for a few days and guard them until they were sure it was safe.  They were going to have to reopen some collapsed shafts and didn’t know if anything might be living in those areas.

(DM: The party have agreed and Gundren will hold them here for 3 more days before allowing them to leave.  They will be kept busy the first day, but as the miners get used to the place they’ll have a lot more free time, basically finding themselves “on call”.  This gives them some free time in the mine to do as they see fit.  Gundren has asked that anyone magically inclined take a look at the Spellforge and figure out how it works.  We called the session and I’m hoping to deal with this time across the week over Discord.  They now own 10% of a mine and will get 10% of the profits, once it’s up and running.  They also have access to the mythical Spellforge.  This was used to make magic items with much more ease than normal, long long ago.)

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