Recap July 6, 2018

Opening the door Althea saw a total of 8 dwarven specters, just like the ones they had fought before. Pulling out her bow she started firing first at the closest ones and then at any that still stood. Thoravil cast Shield of Faith on Althea to make her harder to hit. Mason used Blink on his breastplace and blinked close enough to cast Spiritual Weapon on one of the specters. Cesha sent her sprite forward through the bars of the portcullis and then casting Polymorph on it turning it into a velociraptor. The dinosaur then began to bite and claw at the nearest specter. Eridanus cast Wall of Thorns separating the specters into two groups. Several of the specters got tangled up in the thorns and destroyed themselves. Kapu opened a Dimension Door and stepped through to the far end of the room with the dwarven specters and began to cast Eldritch Blast. The others moved into the already crowded hall and let loose ranged attacks and spells. Soon all of the dwarven specters were defeated.

Searching the room Althea found a set of levers like in the room on the other side of the main entrance. She found the one that controlled the portcullis and soon the party was reunited. The room was mostly empty but they did find four light crossbows, eight crossbow bolt cases holding 20 bolts each, and six spears.

They moved back down the hall and checked out the door on the right. The door to this room is of solid steel and shows signs of an unsuccessful attempt to break it down. Large gouges mar the burnished metal surface and the two solid-looking locks that secure the portal bear the signs of being attacked with tools. Despite the efforts, the door appears to have resisted, protecting whatever remains behind it from looters.

Savitar and Thalaniel focused on the two locks with Savitar able to open both of them. But the doors would not open. Althea and Thalaniel tried to push and pull the doors open but it did not work. Nameless asked are the doors magical? Thalaniel cast Detect Magic and the doors glowed. Mason got out his set of Chimes of Opening and soon the doors were open. Inside they saw:

Six large rusting iron bins stand in this chamber of plain, utilitarian stone. A half-dozen oversized and empty wheelbarrows lean against the walls. The iron bins contain heaps of dust-covered stone, but the faint glint of gold appears mixed in with the otherwise drab rock. The dusty floor is disturbed by footprints in places. A trail of footprints leads from the doorway, circling the bins, while other sets seem to materialize from the very walls and wind restlessly about the space.

Oskar rushed in with Kastrina right behind him. He examined the rusty bins and began to calculation using his finger and his toes. He then said “If my ciphering is correct, there is about 3 tons of unprocessed ore in these bins which when put through the smelting process would come out to almost 6000gp in gold. His eyes lit up as he said those words. Now, to get the ore out of here and to find a place that can process the ore. Once Steelhand Hall is found there will be processing equipment there. Let us hope we can find any mention of that place in our investigating of the Knuckle.

After another quick search of the room, they left and went through the door in the north part of the long hall. It opened revealing a single door to the east and another set of double doors to the west. They went east and upon opening the door they saw:

A dais topped with a shattered idol occupies the far end of this room. The idol appears to have once been a massive stone hammer, but the head is now broken off and lies in pieces beside the still-upright shaft. Standing before the dais is a small, three-tiered fountain. Liquid gold streams from the fountain, flowing down each of its three levels before filling the fountain’s shallow basin. Another door stands in the western wall to the north of this chamber’s entrance.

They slowly entered the room. Several folks went to investigate the fountain with the liquid gold streams but no one got to close. Mason had a feeling about the room and started going through his religious training. It suddenly came to him as he saw the marked over symbol of Moridan on the broken hammer head. The symbol covering it was that of Grarr a minor dwarven good of misers and misery. He called out to Kastrina and Oskar who both said this is not good. The group continued to check out the room and soon several made their way to the door to the northwest. Opening the door:

This plain room contains a bed, a wardrobe, and a writing table, all of which are covered by an undisturbed blanket of dust. On the table beneath the grime are a candle in a pewter dish and a scroll of beaten metal.

Thalaniel looked at the metal scroll but could not read the runes written on it. Those that could read Dwarven were able to make it what it was saying. The scroll was written by a priest by the name of Averes. It tells of the discovery the gold vein in the mines below and how the dwarven miners descended into aurhreck or “gold madness”. This madness caused the dwarves to either fall into an all-consuming mania to extract as much of the metal as possible, or a murderous urge to slay one’s comrades so as to keep the gleaming ore for oneself. Averes decided he wanted the good for himself so he gave up worshiping Moradin and followed Grarr who gave gave him the divine curse known as glitterdoom so he could posses the gold for himself. The scroll ends by saying that Averes declaring his intent to go down into the mines and turn it into a cathredal worthy of his new god.

“This is not good” said Oskar. Eridanus said “There could be a cathedral full of all the nasty stuff we have already fought. Yeah, this is not good.”

They searched the room one last time. Inside the wardrobe was only tattered religious raiment. They decided to move onto the double doors that they had not checked out. As they were leaving the room Savitar decided he wanted to check out the fountain of gold. He came up to it and touched the golden stream and was instantly petrified. Althea recognizing the affliction pulled out a potion of Greater Restoration and gave it to Savitar. Soon he was back to normal and the group moved on.

A tremendous derrick and winch dominate this large, 20’ high-ceilinged chamber. Suspended from the derrick is a huge iron bucket measuring 20’ in diameter. A section of the bucket’s side is hinged and stands open, allowing easy entrance and egress. Beneath the dangling bucket is an open shaft some 25’ wide. A slight draught blows from the hole, carrying with it the mephitic smell of minerals and the subterranean world.

After looking the room over they decided to descend into the mines. Althea would control the winch and would lower half the group while Nameless would use his Rope of Climbing to assist the others down. Kapu, Cesha, Bekah and Mason with Oskar and Kastrina jumped into the bucket while Nameless, Eridanus, Savitar and Thalaniel used the rope. About halfway down the group heard an echoing voice:

“Come down and play in the darkness with us.”

They could see the area below very well now. A great space has been hewn from the mountain rock, forming a cathedral of stone under the ground. The ceiling hangs 20’ above a rocky floor inscribed with dwarvish runes and religious symbols. A quartet of iron poles serve as guides to the ore bucket, keeping it on track as it descends to the mine floor. In the eastern wall of the cavern, the wide entrance of a mine tunnel disappears into darkness. Near the mine’s entrance stands a blocky stone altar adorned with flickering candles.

Mason, Oskar and Kastrina immediately recognized the runes and altar to be dedicated to Grarr.

Thalaniel began to look around for anything using Detect Magic. He saw something shining near one of the iron poles that kept the bucket on track. Suddenly the bucket shook and leaned to one side and quickly dropped to the mine floor below. Kapu was not able to shake off the fall and lay prone as the others jumped out of the bucket ready for a fight.

Nameless cast Fly and jumps off the rope and begins to look around for whoever was talking. He soon saw a pale, gaunt male dwarf of indeterminable years. His flesh, hair, and beard are gray with age and dust, and he dresses in tattered robes over rusted chainmail. His eyes are burning gold in color and his voice is tinged with madness and greed. Beside the dwarf were three smaller grub like creatures similar to the large one they had fought. The dwarf began to cast a spell. Everyone heard an unsettling noise echoing out of the mine entrance: The sound of thundering feet and grotesque sloshing, as if hundreds of foul, grub-like things are moving in your direction, intent on feeding. Nameless sent his Earth Elemental to attack the dwarf and he pulled off a star from his Robe of Stars and cast magic missile at the undead dwarf.

The undead dwarf cast Sacred Flame at Thalaniel and then cast Guiding Bolt at Nameless. Both hit doing necrotic damage. Thalaniel cast Eldritch Blast. Kastrina fired one bolt from her heavy crossbow, dropped it pulled out her battleaxe and gripping it two-handed yelled herself into a rage and ran across the mine floor and attacked the undead dwarf. Oskar fired his light crossbow and he watched it break. So he dropped it and pulled out his handaxe and ran forward. Mason cast Spiritual Weapon and it began to beat on the undead dwarf. Eridanus cast Wall of Thorns cutting of the mine entrance. For the remainder of the fight they could hear the grubs impaling themselves on the thorns as they tried to come through the wall to assist the creature that had summoned them.Bekah closed with some of the grubs and attacked first by throwing a hand axe and then moved forward to attack with her shortswords. As several folks got close enough to the undead dwarf, he disengaged and then cast Spirit Guardians doing more necrotic damage those in range. Nameless and seen enough and he decided it was time to bring forth the disco-ball. A spell he had not used in quite some time. Those who had not seen it in action were surprised to see 4 images of Nameless all casting Magic Missile at the undead dwarf. Both Nameless and the undead dwarf fell, Nameless from exhaustion and the undead dwarf from being destroyed by the barrage of force magic.

The candles on the altar went out. The altar broke into five pieces and they saw gold ore within the broken pieces of stone. All of the ore was valued at 5000 gold pieces. The remaining grubs were also destroyed. The entire complex suddenly felt as if a great weight was suddenly lifted and areas that were once gray now seemed brighter and the air became much easier to breath.

Lowering the Wall of Thorns they looked into the mines. Unfortunately the mine had been played out and no ore remained. They decided to check the Knuckle out once more to make sure they did not miss anything. As they were laying out the items they had found Oskar say the ledger they had found the room with the chest and the earth elemental. Opening it up he began to smile and asked the others that could read Dwarven to come help look through what was in the journal.

They found the following information:

A list of various deliveries arriving and shipments departing from the Knuckle going to several Dwarven strongholds with Mirabar, Luskan and Mithril Hall being mentioned the most often. Others mentioned were:

Gauntlgrym, a recently rediscovered ancient dwarf city. It is now ruled by King Bruenor Battlehammer.

Mithril Hall, a dwarven stronghold beneath Fourthpeak Mountain in the Frost Hills, part of the Spine of the World.

Phandelver, the mines that the party had helped liberate.

Adbar - Another dwarven fortress named for King Adbar. It was built during the waning years of ancient Delzoun, the great north kingdom of the dwarves. It was a Massive fortress.

Tethymar – once home to one of the greatest dwarven communities in the North. Found in the Desertmouth mountains far to the east of Neverwinter and the Spine of the World mountains. Now home to orcs, barghests (shapeshifting goblin fiend) and demons.

Looking closer they found mention of another unnamed dwarven stronghold. Oskar started listing hints and clues from his own research with what he was finding in the ledger:

A lake black as adamantine. Hilltop rock mouth “A cave perhaps? Oskar says to the group. Many-Arrows orcs – They have to be involved somehow. They are the vermin of the Spine of the World mountains. Seek friends of the Mountain Door - still not sure about this one Blasingdell - Smallvillage and I know where it is!

Oskar smiles even wider and then says “Thank you all. I am one step closer to finding Steelhand Hall. Take all the treasure we just found. There will be more than enough at Steelhand Hall once it is found.

Kastrina says to Althea. “We need to not take so long getting together.” Althea agrees and say “Yes! Things are so interesting when we adventure together.” Kastrina follows up; “I have a place in Neverwinter. You can look for me at the Board Laid Bare. If I am not there, the owners will know where to find me.” They say their goodbyes and each head off in their own directions: Kastrina and Oskar heading towards Mirabar and the group heading back to the Manor House.

They reached the Manor House and had a good rest. As they were sitting around, a messenger came in. He said he was sent to them by Lord (Fill in the blank) of Neverwinter asking them to come speak to him regarding an orc problem. The messenger pulls out a crystal and an illusion appears showing a group of orcs attacking a caravan killing the people of the caravan and taking the items that the caravan was carrying. Will you meet with my Lord to discuss things further?