After making sure they had all the supplies they needed for the trip to Castle Cragmaw the group was about to leave when Thalaniel asked if he could go back to the Manor House to get another pouch of the necromantic dirt since he gave his pouch to Flynrich. He said he would not be too long. As soon as he arrived he had the feeling he was being watched but he never saw anyone or anything. The feeling only grew stronger when he was in the basement collecting the dirt. He came back and told the others what had happened. Then they set off following the directions that the bugbears had given them the previous day.
They left town and followed the road until they saw the tree that had elvish runes on it. As soon as Thoravil saw the runes on the tree, the forest “opened up to him” revealing a path into Neverwinter Woods. It seemed little more than a deerpath but upon closer inspection it was an ancient path. Looking to see if it had been used recently, the group found the area to be covered in goblin and goblinoid footprints but they did not see any other kinds of prints, human or animal. Thoravil along with Aria, McKenzie, Mon Ki and Thalaniel all felt at ease, peaceful, serene as soon as they entered the forest. That feeling would not leave them. The walk was uneventful until they had just passed a campsite that was located about a half day’s journey to the Castle. A goblin ambush! But Mon Ki was able to see them before they could get the jump on the group. Two goblins with shortbows were on each side of the road with a fifth goblin standing in the middle of the road. Mon Ki launched a two handed spear ranged attack at the goblin in the middle of the road, pinning it to the ground! The goblins on the side of the road were at 3/4 cover so it made hard for the group to hit them with ranged attacks and some spells. McKenzie with her Spellsniper ability hit a few from a distance while the others waded into the woods to have a better chance of taking the goblins down. Once engaged it did not take long for the goblins to fall. The group marched on even through lunch and on as the sun began to set. Leaving enough light to make camp they decided to have Thoravil, Mon Ki, Aria, Mckenzie, Nameless and Thalaniel sleep in trees. The others would sleep on the ground scattered about between the trees where the others were hanging out. Mon Ki and Thoravil were in a tree on the right side of the road and Aria and McKenzie were in trees on the left side of the road. Aria decided to stay awake all night to keep watch. And it was a good thing as during Thoravil’s watch he spotted a giant wolf spider, about the size of a cow making its way down the left side of the road. He signaled to Aria. Aria leaped down from her tree attacking the spider giving it massive damage from her sneak attack. Thoravil cast Produce Flame to finish it off. The rest of the night went smooth. Waking the next day, they knew it would take about another half day to get to the Castle. They had no other encounters during the walk and soon they were standing before the Castle itself.
The Castle consists of seven crumbling towers of different sizes and heights, but the upper stories are all in varying states of collapse. A short flight of steps leads up to a terrace in front of the main entryway. Past the wreckage of a pair of sundered doors lies a shadowed hall. Round towers loom over the entrance way with dark arrow slits looking down on the terrace.
(see Cragmaw Castle)
Mon Ki ran forward to check the tower on the right. He climbed the tower to the first set of arrow slits and looked inside only to discover a goblin aiming its bow out at him. Mon Ki attacked the goblin and tried to bring it outside. The goblin countered and was able to try to bring Mon Ki into the tower. It did not succeed. Other goblins appeared at other arrow slits taking aim with their shortbows at members of the group that were in the courtyard. A few hit but mostly they missed. Thalaniel ran into the courtyard and into the building proper. Doors stood closed to the north and south with a crumbling mound of rubble partially obscuring the south hall. To the east, a broad corridor ends in two more doors leading south and east. The corridor is cluttered with dusty rubble and fallen plaster from the partial collapse of the ceiling overhead. As Thalaniel is looking around a hobgoblin comes out the door directly to the north and three goblins, one of which is beefier than the other two come out of the doors to the south and to the southeast. He is quickly surrounded. McKenzie takes out one of the goblins at an arrow slit. Nameless runs across the courtyard and is attacked by one of the goblin in the north tower but having it try to drop rocks on his head. The goblin misses and Nameless casts fire bolt and misses. McKenzie also uses fire bolt to take out one of the goblins in the south tower but something in the magic was off and all of her hair fell out! Meanwhile Mon Ki has killed 3 goblins each who have tried to drag him into the tower. With no more goblins he squeezes through the arrow slit and finds himself in a small room littered with debris. The arrow slits opposite the door offer a fine field of fire over the courtyard in front of the castle gates. He searches the goblin bodies and finding nothing of value heads for the door to the east. Thalaniel is fighting the hobgoblin as it engages from across the room. It moves and swings and Thalaniel attacks back. Another hobgoblin comes out of the same door to the north that the first one came out of. Thoravil makes his way across the courtyard and takes a swing at one of the bugbears. Beauford casts Crown of Madness on one of the hobgoblins bringing it under his control. It will attempt break free once Beauford has made it attack one of its companions. Aria fires an arrow hitting the other hobgoblin. Thoravil casts Command saying “Betray” and the hobgoblin with Crown of Madness on it attacks McKenzie since it was now friends with Beauford it would betray his friends and not the other hobgoblin. The group made melee, ranged and spell attacks concentrated on the hobgoblins. Mon Ki and Thalaniel attacked the goblins doing some damage to them all. Nameless cast Chromatic Orb but the bugbear made it save which flustered Nameless to no end. Nameless then cast mirror image and then dipped into his pool of magic to use Quicken Spell so he could cast Magic Missile. Soon that first room of the castle was lit up by many missile as Nameless and the three mirror images of Nameless all cast magic missile tearing into the bugbears and one of the goblins. The barrage only stopped once the hobgoblin, the beefier goblin and one of the regular goblins were dead. Two more goblins entered and soon they were dead as well. Just as they thought they had a reprieve, the door to the north slammed open and three more hobgoblins ran towards them.