05 Castling, trolling and mining

((Anders, Andreas, Henrik. Andreas via skype and maptools, worked quite well. A few lost connections, a maptool crash, occasional really bad voice quality.))

Now aware of the location of Castle Cragmaw, they headed there after a brief rest in Phandalin. After scouting out the surroundings they entered via a side door, encountering several groups of goblins, eventually triggering a rockfall trap that probably made the entire castle aware of the intruders. More goblins and hobgoblins were slain before the bugbear King Grol and his pet wolf entered the battle. With two adventurers down they managed to retrieve the bodies and run for the woods, chased by the few remaining defenders. On the way out they noticed a female drow running from the castle with a dwarf strapped to her back. Realizing that the dwarf must be Gundren they caught up with her and managed to slay her, who turned out to be a doppelganger. The dwarf was Gundren however.

After a night's rest Gundren urged them to go back to retrieve the map. The castle had had a patrol return overnight, so there was another bugbear, a couple of hobgoblins and a few wolves more. Also, a huge old owlbear the hobgoblins kept captive broke free and went on a rampage through the castle. Eventually these were all slain and the castle thoroughly looted. Among other things they found a sun elf statue that could grant augury one time per person with a few charges remaining. (They also briefly researched the castle, discovering that it was abandoned hundreds of years ago, before the current polities of the Sword Coast appeared. There is no known legal owner.)

On returning to Phandalin Bruno ordered a breast plate from Neverwinter, and the group asked the Lion Coster owner to use her contacts to see if they could exchange the statue for something more immediately useful.

After a week or so a rather shady person arrived, who offered them an - ahem - slightly hot Cloak of Protection and 250 gp in return for the statue. The Cloak turned out to be marked with 'Property of Arcturia' (a powerful and well-known necromancer, one of the 'surviving' apprentices of Halaster Blackcloak), it is made of human skin that is tattooed with skulls and bone patterns which feel cold to the touch. The item is quite famous (or infamous, perhaps) due to the great deeds of it's owner and creator (she made it herself from the flayed skin of the subject of her first vivisection.) It can be used as a portal key to the owners vault, perhaps it is the only key? The bearer feels a sense of distaste when in contact with the item, and continues to sense discomfort while wearing it, always hearing tortured screams and feeling the cloak writhe in pain...

With shopping (and the buying of hot magic items on the black market...) completed, they headed for Wave Echo Cave. On the way they were accosted by a troll, whose cave they entered once he was slain, and while searching it soon came across a dead Rockseeker brother and a network of worked stone tunnels that seem to be the lost mine itself.