Thundertree is cleared. Gnerx is left trapped in a giant spider’s web overnight, and Marius is nowhere to be found. The night passes in fitful dreams, and Boirin is visited by Linene Graywind, proprietor of Lionshield Coster, who turns out to be a druid who can take the form of a wolf. Boirin ascertains how much time has passed during their conversation. The two schedule a rendezvous for the 10th of Eleint.
The party’s search for Gnerx leads them to a tower atop a hill in the midst of the ruins. Dragon Cultists demand the Glowstone in exchange for Gnerx; Rána fools them by giving them his old arcane focus instead, and the party defeats the cultists.
Venomfang the Dragon returns, and after a grueling battle is defeated by the party. Boirin obtains the Trusty Feller, a magic dwarven axe. Rhogar locates one of Beltiln’s puzzle boxes amdist the contents of the dragon’s stomach.
Heeding Linene’s grim warning that the Black Spider’s agents have been tormenting Phandalin, the party hastens south. On the way, they are drawn into Neverwinter by a commotion, which turns out to be a public execution. Iarno Albrek is hanged, and Marius the Madman, similarly condemned, follows him onto the gallows. The party mounts a daring rescue, barely escaping the city. Marius had been convicted of dealing magic items without a license.
The party continues south toward Phandalin, meeting a variety of strange folk along the way, including a paladin named Torinn Delmirev. A roguish tiefling named Damakos meets and joins the party.
The Stonehill Inn Fire
The party hastens through the night to find Phandalin’s Stonehill Inn ablaze with Trilena, the innkeeper’s wife, still trapped inside. While Rána, Boirin, and Damakos rush into the burning building, Andrena organizes the panicked populace to form a bucket brigade. Gnerx fights the fire in the inn’s kitchen while the others continue their search for Trilena upstairs.
Damakos is caught in a backdraft and falls unconscious. Boirin falls through the floor before he can heal their new friend. In an attempt to reach Damakos, he throws the Trusty Feller at the intervening ceiling, causing a collapse in which Damakos dies.
Rhogar locates Trilena, safely lowering her to safety through the second-story window with Rána’s help (casting feather-fall). Thanks to the bucket brigade, the Stonehill Inn Fire is extinguished and the structure is saved from complete ruin. Inspired by her leadership, the townsfolk elect Andrena as their new Townmaster.
A half-orc named Krusk makes trouble amongst the townsfolk, and the party apprehends him. Rána recognizes him as a warlord, but before he can question him the orc is slain with an arrow. Torinn, the dragonborn paladin, appears and reveals that he had been sworn to hunt the half-orc. He joins their party.
The party learns the cost of Phandalin’s loyalty. Any buildings with known associations to the Phandalin Phorce Phive had been razed by agents of the Black Spider, including: Barthen’s Povisions, Townmaster’s Hall, Stonehill Inn, Lionshield Coster, Blacksmith, Stables, Tresendar Manor, and the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange.
Many of the villagers were killed for refusing to cooperate, their bodies hanged from the trees in Edermath Orchard to set an example. Among the dead are found Minkus & Dinkus, Smitty the Smith, Petunia Pleasantbaker, Freda the Weaver, and Halia Thornton, as well several Redbrand Ruffians, three bugbears, a goblin, and a nothic. The party assembles a funeral pyre to honor their friends who died for them.
Rhogar returns the Glutton’s Fork to Gnerx (previously stolen by Rána) and reluctantly dubs him Gnerx the Courageous with said fork. Gnerx approaches Torinn, and the dragonborn agrees to train him to become a paladin. Gnerx, thrilled with his new apprenticeship, sets about finding tasks to prove himself.
Andrena disappears, leaving behind the Nitpicker and a note. The weight of responsibility that accompanied becoming the Townmaster was too much for her, and she regrettably had to leave.
The group donates 60 gp to Toblen Stonehill in support of his family and toward the repair of his inn. Toblen can fully repair the inn with 2,500 gp. The party appoints Toblen as the new Townmaster.
The Mercenaries of Mintarn
Bazuk Longforge, Boirin’s former captain, appears on the street to parley with the party. Mintarn Mercenary thugs emerge from all corners of town, surrounding the party and murmuring exclamations like “Cold-blood Boirin!” “Ashcloak the Assassin!” and “Deathy the Dwarf!” as they are surprised to see Boirin again.
Boirin’s old company, it appears, is currently employed by the Black Spider. Neither side is willing to back down, so a battle breaks out. Bazuk is killed, along with five of his thugs. Dumberlug, the last surviving mercenary, flees into the charred husk of the Stonehill Inn.
The party apprehends Dumberlug and turns him over to the townsfolk. They learn that the Black Spider has kidnapped Gundren and is forcing the dwarf to lead him to lead him to Wave Echo Cave.
Boirin sees visions of a diamond, a crystalline pillar, and a meeting of three gods.
Journey to Wave Echo Cave
12:00 am — Driven by urgency, the party forgoes rest in favor of pursuing the Black Spider to Wave Echo Cave. Rhogar leads the party east along the Sword Mountain foothills toward Wave Echo Cave, following Gundren’s map. Ripper the Wolf attacks the party again, and is defeated. Rána claims its skull as a trophy.
1:00 am — While they ride, Boirin opens up about his dark past with the Mintarn Mercenaries, including the botched assassination of Prince Aldrik, who gave his life to save Boirin’s. Boirin became a cleric in order to atone for Aldrik’s death, and aspires to learn how to resurrect his savior. Gnerx shares his own dark secret: he gambles.
2:00 am — The party finds a plundered burial mound and (figuratively) picks the bones clean, finding a chest with about 200 gp in it.
3:00 am — Rhogar is bitten by a stirge on his back. The party stops to eat.
4:00 am — The party finds a fallen and overgrown statue of Lathander (one of the gods from Boirin’s recent vision).
5:00 am — Rána casts enlarge on Rhogar, and together the group lifts the statue back in place while Boirin repairs it with his masonry tools.
6:00 am — When it is complete, the sun rises behind the hill, framing the god of the dawn in a golden nimbus. Rána shoots a fireball into the air to celebrate (losing a bet to Gnerx and giving him 1 gp).
7:00 am — The party reaches the entrance to Wave Echo Cave!
Wave Echo Cave
The party reaches Wave Echo Cave. Tharden, one of Boirin’s cousins, is found dead inside the entrance. While the rest of the party works to excavate an opening large enough for the party to enter the mine, Rána and Roden snack on some glowing mushrooms.
While exploring on his own, Rhogar finds a scrap of ancient parchment and, incredibly, recognizes his own handwriting before it crumbles to dust.
Led by pscyhotropic fungus into a dark lair, the Phandalin Force 5 is trapped on a giant game-board at the mercy of a sadistic ambulatory fungus — a Myconid Sovereign known as Milkcap, introducing himself as a “real fun guy.” The party participates in games and challenges, including spinning the Wheel of Misfortune, which demands a sacrifice from each player. Torinn is disarmed. Rána contracts sewer plague, Roden sight-rot. Boirin is unlucky. Rhogar sacrifices his dignity; he swaps bodies with Gnerx for the remainder of the game.
Finally, the party, miserable and tortured, reaches Milkcap’s stage and violently take their revenge — reducing him to a cloud of spores that dissipate and descend back into the Underdark (but not before Rána turns into a potted plant). The party loots the prize cache, including coins, gems, and a Staff of the Woodlands, which Rhogar keeps. With Milkcap dead, they escape the glum gameshow and resume their pursuit of the Black Spider.
The party breaks into a room which turns out to be the lair of a murderous wraith named Mormesk. He forbids them to loot his treasure, but Boirin distracts the undead specter with a longwinded speech while Roden nimbly empties the chest behind the wraith’s back. As they prepare to leave, the wraith mentions that they look familiar to him. Roden, to the party’s disbelief, confirms the wraith’s suspicions, going all-in with a bluff. The halfling begins reminiscing about their shared childhood — Mormesk’s dog named Bunny, a dragonborn who used to bully them, and Mormesk’s impressive magic skills. Incredibly, the wraith believes him, and is pleased to be reunited with his best friend. He agrees to join them on their current quest, so long as murder is involved.
With Mormesk’s help, the party moves quickly and silently through the monster-infested tunnels, past ghouls and jellies, bugbears and drow, into the northwest corner of the mine. The Black Spider, along with giant spiders and bugbears, is found in the Temple of Dumathoin. A great battle ensues, and the party fights valiantly. Mormesk waits in the east passage, murdering all approaching reinforcements. Nezznar, the drow known as the Black Spider, is at last slain by the party — but not before Rána turns into a sheep.
The battle-weary party makes camp in the Temple of Dumathoin. Nundro, Boirin’s third cousin is found alive and is rescued, but Gundren is nowhere to be found.
Fearing what Mormesk might do while the rest are sleeping, Rhogar remains awake. Using the anvil-headed key that was retrieved from Nezznar’s corpse, the ranger opens the door to the natural cave adjacent to the temple and ponders the strange crystal formation within.