So some of this actually happened in session 3 and I forgot it at the time, but it reads better this way anyway.
After a good, ghost-free rest at the Stonehill Inn, the party heads out into Phandalin to get a feel for things, and it’s bad vibes everywhere: Ander and Danquayle head to the townmaster’s hall to meet up with Sildar and get some leads on finding Gundren. They discover that Sildar’s contact in Phandalin, the wizard Iarno Albrek, has gone missing, and the incompetent townmaster Hardin Wester has no interest in helping, urging the adventurers to leave the town and the Redbrands alone.
Meanwhile, Tipsy and Hank decide to fuck with the Redbrands, naturally. They’re headed to the Sleeping Giant tavern, where the Redbrands are known to hang out. They interrupt the brunching ruffians on the patio, and try to play it off as interest in joining their ranks. Here is where we first discover that Hank’s stamina for negotiating lasts exactly one round. A fight breaks out and Tipsy nearly spills her cider.
MEANWHILE meanwhile, Taranion and Chinny hit ups Phandalin’s only extant religious establishment, a fledgling shrine to the Luck goddess Tymora. They find a young elven priestess, Sister Garaele, attending to the shrine. She is bruised and limping, but her wounds came from a misadventure out in the wilderness, not from Redbrands. She explains that her super secret organization (cough) sent her to meet with a banshee named Agatha in the abandoned town of Conyberry, but the banshee had no interest in helping her. She’s acquired a bribe for the spirit in the form of a silver comb, but is too injured to make the journey again herself. The cleric and wizard wish her luck (which, is not super helpful for the priestess of Tymora) and leave, but Gnomebody doubles back to chat some more.
Taranion runs into Sildar near the townmaster’s hall, and gets a new request: finding Iarno Albrek, the missing Lord’s Alliance wizard, is now top priority. Taranion resolves to do his best and decides to investigate spooky Tresendar Manor.
Danquayle and Ander decide to go check in with Ander’s aunt Quelline Alderleaf down at her farm to see if she has any more info for them, but encounter a pair of Redbrands in the road. Some tough talk reveals that the ruffians have just torched the Alderleaf farm and scattered their livestock, and the situation comes to blows. The big, brawny Redbrand catches Danquayle with her lasso and proceeds to pummel her while Anders pokes a few holes in the shorter Redbrand. Eventually Danquayle has enough and crushes her foe’s skull with a morningstar, causing the other Redbrand to flee towards… Tresendar Manor. Danquayle figures the Big Dead Jessica’s redbrand cloak would probably fit her, and snatches it for safe keeping.
The fleeing Redbrand runs right into Taranion, but scrambles off up the hill. Taranion tracks him to the manor on the hill. The place is abandoned, but has clearly had plenty of traffic leading to and from it in recent days, including a fresh set of tracks. The cleric thinks better of entering solo and returns to the Stonehill Inn to mull over this information.
Ander and Danquayle find Alderleaf farm on fire and its ponies running amok in the fields. Danquayle uses her fiendish bloodline to her advantage to dive into the flames and douse them in water, while Ander assists her relatives. They mange to save most of the farm and sit down to chat with Quelline and her son Carp. Quelline naturally despises the Redbrands and what they have wrought upon Phandalin, and Carp lets Danquayle know about a path in the woods near the farm that he’s seen Redbrands using.
Back at the Sleeping Giant, Hank finds himself ganged up on, but manages to knock out a Redbrand cold even while grappled. They relent, and take him inside to meet their boss…NOT Glasstaff, but the Redbrand Lieutenant Jarleth. Jarleth sits with a black rat on his shoulder, going over some plans. He agrees to let Tipsy and Hank take on an initiation job: Halia Thornton, the guildmaster of the Phandalin Miner’s Exchange, is the only person uncowed by the Redbrands. She has the support of most of the village and miners behind her, so they cannot attack her openly. Jarleth suggests that Hank and Tipsy steal Halia’s ledger and personal seal, so that Glasstaff can forge the documents to make Halia unpopular with the townspeople. They agree to the conditions, and return to the Stonehill Inn.
After swapping details about their day and wondering where the gnome is, the party quickly decides to approach Halia directly about the scheme. Their intuition proves correct when they discover Halia to be a force to be reckoned with. She already has a bead on the Redbrands and is eager to assist in the infiltration. She also provides confirmation that they’re working out of Tresendar Manor, and that they have bugbears on site. She provides Hank and Tipsy with an outdated ledger (which is booby trapped) and her seal. She requests two things of Hank: return the seal to her, and take out Glasstaff.
Back at the inn, they find Prof. Gnomebody enjoying an ale and bearing unwelcome news: he’s accepted the banshee errand for Sister Garaele in exchange for some lucky dice, and also learned that something weirder than bugbears or wizards lurks in Tresendar Manor…
Defeated: 3-ish Redbrands
Acquired: Redbrand cloak (used, slightly bloodied), old ledger, fancy seal, Dice of Tymora, silver comb
NPC’s met: Harbin Wester, Sister Garaele, Quelline and Carp Alderleaf, Halia Thornton, Lieutenant Jarleth, Big Dead Jessica (deceased)
Quests: Find Iarno (Taranion), Join the Redbrands (Tipsy and Hank), COMB QUEST (Gnomebody), There Are Some Orcs Out There, I Guess (Ander and Danquayle).