A Friend in Need
TSSF - Book 1
The Story So Far
Book 1: The Spellforge
PC Levels: 1-5
The following is a summary of the main events in the first book of A Friend In Need:
- Braxus “Trey” Dellagato III became heir to his family’s estate when his father and eldest sister died in a tragic accident. Trey discovered that the family’s trading business, Moorguard Mercantile, is nearly bankrupt and that his family is in danger of losing everything.
- Trey sent out a plea to his friends to help him revive Moorguard Mercantile. Trey’s plan is to use clues taken from his great-grandfather’s adventuring journals to find rare treasures to sell at great profit.
- Kheth Fleetrunner, Lanster, Unther, and Wilfire Loyalar (the PCs) travelled to Leilon to answer Trey’s summons and agreed to help him in exchange for a percentage of the profits from the business. Trey asked his valet, Ryuichi (also a PC), to accompany them, to serve as his household representative.
- The party’s first task was to escort a wagonload of mining gear to the town of Three Stones. Trey had hired a dwarven prospector, Raynor Hammerdeep, to find the legendary Spellforge, using an old map from Trey’s great-grandfather’s journals. Raynor traveled to Three Stones ahead of the party, accompanied by Trey’s sworn sword Sildar Highwinter.
- Raynor and Sildar were ambushed on the road by goblins from the Cragmaw Clan. Both were taken prisoner.
- The PCs were also ambushed by the Cragmaw goblins the following day. The PCs survived the attack and tracked the goblins back to their lair. There, they found and rescued Sildar, though Wilfire was gravely wounded. The PCs learned that Raynor and the map to the Spellforge had been taken to a place called Cragmaw Castle on the orders of someone called the Silver Spider. The PCs fled the Cragmaw lair with SIldar and Wilfire, and defeated their pursuers with the help of Aldan (a PC), another friend of Trey’s who was late to answer his summons.
- The PCs completed the journey to Three Stones and delivered the mining goods as instructed. They found a local priestess (Sister Garaele) to care for Wilfire. They also learned that the village was being controlled by a group of ruffians called the Bloodcoats, led by an unseen wizard called Glass Staff.
- While exploring the town and making connections with the locals, the PCs angered the Bloodcoats, who decided to teach the newcomers a lesson by burning down the inn where the PCs were staying (along with everyone else who happened to be there). The PCs overcame the Bloodcoats and put out the fire, but decided the Bloodcoat menace must be dealt with permanently.
- The PCs found a secret way into the Bloodcoats’ hideout, defeated the brigands and their Cragmaw allies, and captured the Glass Staff. The wizard turned out to be an old companion of Sildar’s from the Lord’s Alliance. The PCs also learned that the Bloodcoats were working with the Cragmaw Clan to repackage stolen goods and sell them on behalf of the Wavesilver Trading Company. The entire operation seemed to be orchestrated by the Silver Spider.
- The PCs questioned the Glass Staff, then decided to send him to Leilon wth Sildar and Kheth for further questioning by Trey. Sildar and Trey also took Wilfire with them when they departed.
- In the meantime, Trey received a ransom note from the Silver Spider, along with Raynor’s severed hand. Trey implored the PCs to find and rescue Raynor, and recover the map to the Spellforge. Separately, Unther discovered the likely location of the Spellforge in a place called Thundering Cavern, using clues found in an old dwarven journal taken from the Glass Staff and notation on a map owned by Sister Garaele.
- The PCs learned the location of Castle Cragmaw to the north, within Neverwinter Wood. They traveled to the site and spotted someone who looked like Glass Staff entering the castle (how did he escape Sildar and Kheth so quickly?). The PCs sneaked into the fortress, but were discovered before they could find Raynor and were forced to flee.
- While hiding from the Cragmaws, the PCs spotted a mysterious figure leaving the castle with a dwarf-sized bundle slung over his shoulder. The PCs followed and confronted the figure. The strange person was able to change his appearance dramatically, and said he was a friend of Trey’s and that he was trying to rescue Raynor. Indeed, he had carried Raynor from the castle (the dwarf was alive, though very injured). Certain elements of this person’s story didn’t make sense, however, and after they put some distance between themselves and Castle Cragmaw, the PCs bound and gagged him and search him for clues.
- The individual turned out to be a shapeshifting creature called a doppelganger, who tried to flee while the party was encamped for the night. The PCs caught and killed him, but not before he revealed that he worked for the Silver Spider, and that the Spider had already discovered the location of the Spellforge (in Thundering Cavern), and was making his way there to secure it for “their employer.”
- The PCs escorted Raynor back to Three Stones and find that the town is under attack by hobgoblins and goblins from Cragmaw Castle. The Cragmaws had torched an outlying farm and were threatening to burn down the whole town “if the Glass Staff doesn’t give back the dwarf”. The PCs killed or drove off the attacking Cragmaws.
- During the battle, while tracking a group of Cragmaws that were trying to sneak into the village, the PCs came upon a huge wolf-like creature that had attacked and (apparently easily) killed a goblin and hobgoblin. The PCs chose to avoid the beast, and when they later led Daran Edermath to the site of the attack, it was gone. They followed its tracks to a wood southwest of town, but lost its trail.
- The Cragmaw attack revealed the village’s poor ability to defend itself, and Halia Thornton tried to use the situation to suggest that she she could use her connections to the Black Network to bring in protection (in exchange for control of trade). The PCs countered by saying that Trey could provide protection, and used their influence to secure a trade deal for Moorguard Mercantile in the town. Halia was angered, but the rest of the town seems very excited to have Trey’s patronage.
- Raynor reviewed Sister Garaele’s map with Unther and confirmed the location of Thundering Cavern. It is located to the southeast in the Sword Mountains, a half-day’s journey from Three Stones. Raynor offered to lead the PCs to the location the following day.
- Raynor led the PCs into the Sword Mountains and, following the clues on Sister Garaele’s map, they located the Thundering Cavern. The mine’s main entrance had collapsed, but the PCs located a sinkhole on the slope above that allowed them entrance into the complex. They also found signs that others had already entered the cavern. Descending into the darkened mine, the PCs were attacked by a swarm of hungry stirges and barely survived. After resting, they found signs of an ancient battle fought inside the complex between orcs an dwarves. It seems the stories of the mine collapsing before the orc horde arrived were untrue. Delving deeper, the PCs encountered a pack of ghouls, but Unther called on the power of Deneir to send them fleeing into the dark tunnels.
- As they explored the Thundering Cavern, the PCs were plagued by increasingly powerful undead (including a floating skull that shot fireballs from its mouth), and were forced to retreat again. Exploring a different route, the PCs came face-to-face with the group who had entered the Thundering Cavern before them – the Silver Spider and his Cragmaw allies! To push back the undead and secure the Spellforge, the two groups agreed to an uneasy alliance. Together, they won through to the Spellforge, tricked its guardian into leaving, then destroyed the wraith Mormesk as it attempted to seize the Spellforge for its own.
- Once the Spellforge was secured, the Silver Spider unlocked it using an arcane incantation taken from Dellagato’s stolen map. There was a flash of green light, and the PCs saw a vision of an alternate plane. A white-cloaked hunter stood in the courtyard of a bustling twilight fortress, staring into the still waters of a ringed pool. With hags cackling and dire wolves snarling behind him, the hunter raised his gaze and grinned hungrily at the PCs, before the vision faded.
- The PCs had agreed to give the Silver Spider’s employer control of the Spellforge, as long as a portion of the enchanted items manufactured there were provided to Moorguard Mercantile. The Spider had argued that Dellagato would be unable to keep the Spellforge secure, and that only through secrecy could both parties reap the benefits of the site and avoid drawing the ire of power-hungry kingdoms. However, the vision of the hunter frightened the PCs. Further, they were alarmed by the Spider’s greedy gaze and repeated assertions that it was “only a matter of time before my employer destroys Dellagato anyway”. Therefore, they decided to break their compact and attacked the Spider. Weakened from previous battles, the Spider fled using his magical Slippers of Spider Climbing, though not before he vowed to wreak vengeance on the PCs. After driving off or destroying the Spider’s allies and minions, the PCs claimed the Spellforge and the artifacts found within for Moorguard Mercantile.