Phandelver’s Pact: Footfall – session 1-2

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017-18, the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign I ran in 2018-19 and ‘Out of the Abyss’, a campaign I ran in 2020. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another grand campaign that started out with a slightly warped version of ‘Lost Mine of Phandelver, then rolled on to merge ‘Storm King’s Thunder’ and ‘Princes of the Apocalypse’ (it took the intrepid heroes to 20th level using experience points – yes, those antiquated things lol). Please note it was never called ‘Footfall’ in the beginning, as it was originally just going to be playing the Lost Mine, but I had some ideas along the way and the campaign grew as it went on in an ad hoc, improvised manner, adapting parts of Storm King’s and Princes to pad out the story. The main villain wasn’t even thought of until about three-quarters of the way through the 70-session campaign. Each session was approximately 5 hours (sometimes more) long. This campaign was also the first time I didn’t write all the summaries – some of the players were given that task and did so admirably! Most of the summaries appear here as they first appeared (with minor edits). If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Session 1 – Cragmaw Cave

The party (consisting of Fuzz the Halfling Rogue, Grigor the Human Fighter and Striver the Dwarven Cleric) travelled on the Triboar Trail to deliver goods to Phandalin for Gundren Rockseeker. After discovering some dead horses and being ambushed by several Cragmaw Goblins, the party tracked down the goblin’s staging cave and assaulted it. After several trials (poop-filled chimney’s and toilet-flush water traps), the party took out King Grol (“Nobody hits King Grol but King Grol!”) and saved Sildar Hallwinter (“I remember when I was fighting goblins just outside of Neverwinter…”). Of note was Striver’s use of sanctuary and dodging to block a doorway and hem the goblins in. Loquacious Sildar promised the party 50gp to deliver him to Phandelin.

(Meanwhile, Lady Atrasian the Human Fighter and Aelfwyn the Elvish Wizard were traveling to Phandalin, each on their own private mission, when they came across dead horses, dead goblins and a disguised supply cart hidden in bushes. They inspected the area and waited until the battered party returned…)

Next week: Phandalin!

Session 2 – Phandalin

– The intrepid party ran into two new party members while recovering their cart. Lady Atrasian the Fighter and Aelfwyn the Wizard joined Fuzz the Halfling Rogue, Grigor the Human Fighter and Striver the Dwarven Cleric.

– They escorted Sildar back to Phandalin, Sildar and Lady Atrasian stopped off at the inn for the night, where Atrasian heard several rumours, including that the Redbrands, a local gang, were running roughshod around the town. Atrasian also met up with Sister Garaele at the local shrine, who offered her a job to flatter a local banshee in return for the location of a magic book.

– Fuzz reunited with his Aunt Qelline and Carp, her son. The party stayed in the barn and ate supper with the family. Carp revealed he knew a secret way into Tresendar Manor and believed the redbrands were based there. Quelline indicated a druid called Reidoth might be able to help them locate Cragmaw Castle. He was last seen in the ruins of Thundertree.

– Next day, the party negotiated a fee to return goods to Lionshield Coster, returned goods to Barthen’s Provisions, and stocked up. Barthen mentioned Gundren Rockseeker’s brothers, Nundro and Tharden, were camped outside of town but had not returned to resupply and asked the party to find Gundren and his brothers.

– Aelfwyn spoke to Sister Garaele about a vision he had about his need to consecrate an altar in Cragmaw Castle. She advised if he helped Atrasian complete her mission she might be willing to provide assistance with Cragmaw.

– The party took out three Redbrands in the street and interrogated another. They discovered Glasstaff (now known as ‘Glassass’) was the leader, and that the gang was based under Tresendar Manor. Apparently, a one-eyed thing protected the underlevels, were told they shouldn’t try wearing the Redbrand’s cloaks, and that some people were recently taken hostage and were held below.

– Over to the Townmaster’s hall, where Harbin mentioned he needed someone to deal with Orc raiders on Wyvern Tor for 100GP. It turned out Sildar was a member of the Lords’ Alliance, a group committed to defending the various lords’ interests in the area. He offered party 200 GP to deal with Redbrands. Sildar mentioned that a short, dark bearded wizard in his mid-30’s named Iarno, might be held by the Redbrands. Iarno was also a member of the Lords Alliance and had been missing for a while.

– Down to the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange, where Halia asked the party to take out the Redbrand’s leader and bring her any correspondence they found – she would pay 100 GP, no questions asked. She suggested a goblin in the employ of the Redbrands might know where Cragmaw Castle is.

– Daran, a member of the Order of the Gauntlet at Eldermath Orchard, advised someone should deal with Glassass once and for all. He mentioned some prospectors were having problems with undead in the ruins of Old Owl Well.

From the journal of Aelfwyn (Pieter):

Lady Atrasian and I were travelling along the road towards Phandalin, when we came across a scene: dead horses, dead goblins, and a hidden cart with supplies. We inspected the area and waited a bit, until the responsible parties returned to the scene, battered and beaten, with a rescuee.

After some initial pleasantries, we all set off for Phandalin together. There, we separated, Lady Atrasian and I accompanying Sildar into the Stonehill inn for some food and rest, while Fuzz took Grigor and Striver to his cousin’s farm. During their stay there, they learned of a secret tunnel guarded by Redbrands, courtesy of his nephew Carp, while enjoying a meal and rest. That same evening, Lady Atrasian visited the Shrine of Luck, where she conversed with Sister Garaele. It turns out she was a member of an organisation called the Harpers and she was on a mission to recover a spell book from a banshee called Agatha, near a well. Pledging to help her, Lady Atrasian exchanged her signet ring for a silver comb she could use to persuade the banshee.

In the tavern, the party spoke of Daren Edermath, a former half-elf adventurer who owned an orchard there, after having been a marshall up the Sword Coast, years ago. A member of the Order of the Gauntlet, too, apparently, though his adventuring days were now over. He said he was too old to keep doing this. We heard of orc raiders to the east of the Triboar Trail, whom had been causing havoc. We also took note of prospectors running into some trouble to the north-east at the Old Owl Well, seeing undead near an ancient watchtower rumoured to contain magical secrets.

But most of all, the talk of the town was of the Redbrands, a band of ruffians who had been terrorising the settlers, and mayor Harbin Wester not doing anything to stop them. They extorted the businesses, bullied the people, or outright killed them sometimes. A woodworker was murdered and his wife and child taken away as prisoners.

After some shopping, selling and delivering of goods, we exited the shop to face a band of ruffians. Unfortunately for them, they gravely underestimated the brave adventurers. A few arrows, spells, and swings of sword and axe later, three of them lay dead with the last one captured and interrogated. It was here we came to learn more about their organisation: their leader, a wizard named Glasstaff, resided in Tresendar Manor; the Sleeping Giant Inn was being used as their go-to tavern; the kidnapped wife and child were being held captive in the manor; something about a hideous eye-monster; also, skeletons. There was a discussion about what to do with the captive – if he should just be killed, like his friends, or sent to jail. The latter option had the most support, and lo it was done.

Personally, I learned about a druid in the ruins of Thundertree who might be able to help me find Cragmaw Castle, where I needed to reconsecrate the altar to Oghma. I also learned that fire was particularly effective against guys with red shirts.

All in all, after this first encounter, the Redbrands should fear us. We were no party to mess around with.

Next Week: Facing The Redbrands…

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Published by Laidback DM

I’m a writer who loves tabletop role playing games, poetry and (you guessed it) writing.

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