Hi again, Reader, and welcome back to this Story Hour!
Session 1 - On the way to Phandalin...
Three strangers in a tavern
It was a quiet Fall night, and the main room of La Reserva was teeming with regulars. The first to arrive was Tilanthe, a red-haired elf whose tunic and staff betrayed her vocation as a magician. Some minutes later, she was joined by Eldeth, a Dwarf priestess of the Divine Triangle. The last to arrive was Django, a tall Human with a wide-brimmed hat and a rapier at his belt.
None of them where there for the food or the drinks, but for a job interview: they had learned that a certain Grunden Rockseeker, a Dwarf prospector, wanted to hire help to escort a wagon of mining equipment to the little mining town of Phandalin. While they waited for their prospective employer, the three strangers began to get to know each other.
They enjoyed their dinner (boar marinated with beer drizzled with even more beer for Eldeth, a large dish of vegetables and fresh water for Tilanthe, and some meat and a glass of red wine for Django), and by the moment when Mr. Rockseeker arrived, they weren't strangers anymore.
Grunden was accompanied by Sindar, a tall Humain with the unmistakable look of a veteran soldier, and Dinny, an always smiling Halfling.
Grunden explained them that he had two wagons loaded with mining supplies to send to Phandalin. He was going to send the first wagon the next day, accompanied by Sindar. The second wagon would not be ready until two days later, and he needed our heroes to accompany Dinny and escort the wagon to Phandalin.
Django, Tilanthe and Eldeth accepted the job, and agreed to meet Dinny at La Reserva two days later, by noon.
On the High Road
The first day of travel was uneventful, even plain boring for our heroes. The High Road from Neverwinter to Waterdeep was safe and well maintained. Django took advantage of the tranquility to take a furtive look at the contents of the wagon: shovels and picks, boxes of acid vials and cartridges of dynamite.
They decided to spend the night in an inn by the roadside. When they approached, Tilanthe thought she saw a small humanoid in a hooded cloaked that ran away when they saw them.
The next Monday the party continued travel, and by noon, they left the High Road and took the Triboard Trail towards the Sword Mountains.
The Triboard Trail is less traveled than the High Road, and bumpier too. The wagon advanced slowly when our heroes saw a broken wagon and the corpses of two horses. Dinny anguish was visible when he recognized the wagon as the one that Grunden and Sildar were convoying to Phandalin.
While Dinny got out of the wagon and advanced to inspect the wagon, Eldeth, Tilanthe and Django watched the area, fearing an ambush. And their instincts were correct, because at that time a group of Goblins came out of the shrubs on the side of the road and attacked the party.
Before our heroes could act, the Goblins let their arrows fly and Sinny fell down, bleeding for multiple wounds. Django jumped into the melee, while Eldeth covered him with her crossbow. Tilanthe, painful aware of the danger of Goblin archers, decided to cast one of her most powerful spells, Sleep. Three of the four remaining Goblins dropped down under Tilanthe's spell, and the fourth one flew into the forest. Their first skirmish as a group was fast and efficient, but Sinny didn't survive his injuries, the party has lost their first ally.
Our heroes interrogated une of the surviving Goblins, admitted that they had set a trap for Grunden and Sildar the day before, as they had just done with the group.
They kidnapped them and carried it to their base, a cave a few kilometers away.
Determined to find and save their boss, our heroes intimidated the Goblin and forced him to guide them through the forest, to a cave on the side of a hill, from which flowed a small river. At the mouth of the cave, two distracted Goblins stood guard.
The heroes hid and began to prepare their assault...