For different reasons and with varied purposes, our adventurers all found themselves in Neverwinter when Gundren Rockseeker, a wealthy dwarven merchant, was hiring an escort for a wagon of mining supplies traveling to the frontier town of Phandalin. They are promised 10gp each upon bringing the wagon to Barthen’s Provisions in Phandalin; Gundren (accompanied by Sildar Hallwinter) heads out ahead of the party to prepare for their arrival.
Some distance from Phandalin, Ashoulla leading the way while Kildrak drives the oxen, they find the path blocked by dead horses, pierced with goblin arrows. Imara suspects an ambush; the adventurers look for sign of a nearby enemy, but see nothing—until more arrows fly from the woods pressing in on the path. More goblins burst from the woods and attack the party.
Once the goblins are defeated, Kildrak searches the horses, which he recognizes as belonging to his cousin. He finds an empty map case, though what it once contained is a mystery.
A secret trail hidden behind thickets leads northwest, indicating that goblins have been using this place to stage ambushes for quite some time. The adventurers hide the wagon to the side of the road, Helen laying some traps nearby to ensure it remains secure, and proceed down this trail to hunt down the rest of the goblin bandits.
Kildrak and Helen discover tracks of around a dozen goblins, as well as two larger, human-sized bodies that appear to have been dragged along the path. Kildrak helps the party avoid several traps along the way. Finally, the party finds itself near the opening of a cave with a stream running out of it.
Kildrak and Rinn go ahead of the others to scout out the cave, but barely get close before more arrows fly at the party from a thicket to the east of the cave entrance; the goblins had stationed guards outside.
The guards are despatched, and Ashoulla approaches the cave entrance, finding it forks in two directions; two wolves are chained up near the entrance, with a third farther in. Kildrak, with keener sight in the darkness, sees a rickety bridge crossing one of the paths deeper into the cave, while the other seems to lead to a natural chimney in the rock.
The wolves are killed, and Kildrak leads the party down the passage leading to the bridge; in the distance, a lone goblin is seen scurrying away. Moments later, a mighty roar fills the passage, and a flood of water pours down upon the adventurers. Most are able to dodge the flood or anchor themselves to a nearby stalagmite, but Helein, Kildrak and Rinn are washed out to the entrance of the cave. Rinn is slammed against the rocks and knocked out.
Benjamite quickly heads to them to check on Helen and tend to Rinn’s injury. Kildrak, followed soon by the others, heads down the other passage, and climbs the chimney, finding a chamber full of sacks and crates of loot at the top. The crates are marked with a blue lion, symbol of the Lion Shield Coaster, a trading company with a presence in Phandalin. A larger opening at the other side of the chamber leads down natural stone steps, with the sound of water coming through it. Coals of a large fire smolder in the center of the room, surrounded by a large bugbear with a mangy pet wolf and four other goblins.
Kildrak lowers a rope down the chimney and the rest of the party climbs up one by one until only Rinn and Benjamite remain. Rinn makes it to the top, but with a misstep sends a rock clattering down the chimney. The bugbear turns, sees the adventurers, and attacks.
The battle ends when Klargh, the bugbear is knocked unconscious; the two remaining goblins, put to sleep by one of Rinn’s incantations, are restrained and woken up. Kildrak demands to know where Gundren is.
" King Graal has him." Rinn recognizes the name; Graal is the leader of the Craigmaw goblin tribe. “We have the human that was with him, in the eating cave.”
Ashoulla leads the way towards what the goblins called the ‘eating cave’, though the larger opening. They find another cavern, where they find the stream dammed up to create a small underground lake. Remnants of another, smaller dam are visible; this is apparently how the goblins had caused the earlier flood. 6 goblins hear the adventurers approach and turn to attack.
Benjamite thinks quickly, then tells the goblins that their leader has been captured, and convinces them to surrender. They are disarmed, and lead the rest of the party down a passage to the eating cave.
There are 12 more goblins in the cave, one of which appears to be in charge—and holding a tied and bound human over the edge of a cliff. “Truce! Or this human dies.” The goblin identifies himself as Leamik, and says he’ll trade his human captive for Klargh’s head. The human whispers “don’t trust him,” but is silenced by Leamik.
The adventurers withdraw from the chamber to discuss the offer, then decide to bring Klargh (alive) to exchange.
Leamik is pleased. “Excellent! Now we can discuss the ransom. 60 gold pieces or you get the human…in pieces.”
The price is steep; but earlier, in the first chamber, Kildrak had found a beautiful jade statuette with gemstones for eyes that appeared to be quite valuable. He offers this in exchange in lieu of the gold. Leamik accepts, and gives them the human, who Kildrak revives with a healing potion. The goblins allow the adventurers to leave.
The human thanks them for his rescue, and says, “I am Sildar Hallwinter. We were ambushed on the road to Phandalin. I don’t know where they took Gundren.” The Black Spider, an unknown entity, appears to be behind the kidnapping; the goblins also took Gundren’s map, with the location of Wave Echo Cave.
They return to the first chamber with the looted goods and the captive goblins and interrogate them to determine the location of Craigmaw Castle. Sildar requests that before the party leave, they deal with the remaining goblins.
There was a second passage into the final chamber, much smaller than the first, and unstable in appearance. Selker turns this into a trap, luring the goblins out with a derogatory limerick; the passage collapses, and most of the goblins are crushed. The surviving goblins charge towards the party down the other passage, where they are met and dealt with by Ashoulla and Selker.
The party loads the Lion Shield Coaster crates on the wagon and heads on to Phandalin.
After some distance, the track emerges from the woods, and they see Phandalin ahead of them. The track continues through the town, climbing a hill towards a ruined manor house.
They take the stolen goods to the Lion Shield Coaster, where Lenan Graywind, master of the post, pays them quite generously for their trouble, then head to Barthen’s Provisions. Elmar Barthen, the shopkeeper, thanks them for delivering the supplies and pays each of the adventurers 10gp. “I have not heard from Gundren yet, though.”
Imara asks the shopkeeper about her brother; he suggests we talk to Daran Edermath, who owns a nearby apple orchard.
The party retires to the Stone Hill Inn to rest.