Dean (Jared), Matt (Spinter Paw), Mariel (Ragash), Coby (Azza), Jeff (Ford), Chris (Creeper), and James (Kraygen) are returning cast members.
We left the group in Phandalin, having spent the night at the Stone Hill Inn talking with Sildar. Sildar informed the group that Gundren and his two brothers had rediscovered an entrance to the Wave Echo Cave, one of the old mines worked in the region. While being held captive by the goblins, Sildar overheard them mention that a mysterious creature or individual known as the “Black Spider” has specifically ordered Gundren to be captured and brought to him in Cragmaw Keep. Sildar also mentioned he was personally investigating the disappearance of one “Iarno Albrek”, a wizard of his acquaintance who had been sent to Phandalin some months ago to establish order in the town. There has been no word from Iarno since. Sildar left the party to their own pursuits while he investigated this disappearance.
In the morning, the group traveled to Barthen’s and delivered Gundren’s goods to Elmar Barthen. This worthy runs a local provisioning supply store (most standard goods under 25gp are in stock, except no armor or weapons). He did not know where Cragmaw Keep might be, but did mention that the town was pretty lawless; bandits ambushing travelers, and even within town, a mercenary group known as the Redbrands collected “taxes” at will. Basically, a protection racket. He warned the group to avoid the Sleeping Giant inn, as the Redbrands frequent the drinking room there. Knocking on their door would be borrowing trouble, unless the group is ready to confront the gang.
From there, the group crossed the town square to Lionshield Coster. They returned the twice-captured goods for a 50gp reward, and the proprietoress Linene revealed that she does have a small stash of armor and weapons (but no hand crossbows, though she could special order one if the roads were safe). She also mentioned the Redbrand gang, warning the party that they would often stop people merely walking through town to demand payment. She also mentioned the townmaster is a typical politician: slimy and may well be associated with the Redbrands in some way. The party inquired as to who might know the location of the Cragmaw Keep; she did not, but suggested asking around among scouts or wilderness guides (rangers or druids). The townmaster is likely to know who to ask, but might not keep such information to himself.
The session was interrupted by the passing of a beloved pet before more could be accomplished.