Dang, a lot happened this session. Long post ahead:
Having crashed their funicular cars at the bottom of the tracks, the party gets down to business tracking down the Black Spider and/or the Forge o’ Spells. Hank investigates the path that leads off in the direction of the booming wave sound, and finds a cavern full of giant, glowing fungus.
Chinny and Taranion identify these fungi as being A) weird, and B) most definitely probably poisonous. Mistria, with her dwarven resistance to poisons, trudges through to explore. The disturbed puff balls begin releasing toxic spores into the air, and Mistria ducks into a side cave to escape.
Through the cave, she discovers a large room with scorched walls speckled with shiny, reflective spots like colored glass. The room smells like stale, burnt hair, and some investigation reveals the incinerated corpses of a bugbear and a few goblins. Hank and Ander have braved the fungi cavern to join her, and as she turns to greet them they see a figure made of shadow silently rise behind her and rob her of her life force with a single icy touch.
Ander uses message to contact Danquayle and summon the rest of the party to their aid as the shadowy figure materializes into a horrifying wraith clutching a human skull. Spooky guy begins threatening the party with certain death, which is pretty uncool of him, but I guess when you’ve been dead 500 years and stuck in a shitty cave you start to hate the living or something.
When one of the party members moves to attack the wraith, calling himself Mormesk, he flings the skull at them. Green flames erupt from the skull and it hovers menacingly in their face, burning with palpable rage. Ander attempts to snatch the flame skull using mage hand, but the skull generates its own mage hand and cancels it out. Mistria meanwhile, has retrieves the dynamite from her bag and is getting ready to light the fuse.
The situation is growing tense, until old Mormesk gets a whiff of something powerful among the party; Chinny’s book. The sketchy gnome levels with the party that he’s been carrying around a powerfully evil book that he won in a card game, hoping to find a way to dispose of it or at least keep it from falling into the wrong hands. He won’t, or cant, say for sure what it does, but it’s got a sort of “book of the dead” quality to it. No one likes the sound of it, but Mormesk has decided: either he gets the book, or he takes the party’s souls and adds them to his collection of specters.
After much debate, Chinny relinquishes the book to the wraith, resolving that they come back for it in the future. Mormesk is feeling generous and lets them look through his old things, which include a few scrolls, some books, a nice pearl (100gp) and the one thing they can’t have: his old pipe. Taranion pores over the book shelves and finds something interesting: a history book with a map tucked into its binding. He decides to save that one for later.
The party decides to leave Mormesk to his reading, and continues into less scorchy, more fancy looking hallways. They enter a large chamber filled almost entirely with a giant stone dome. The wizard’s key, in Hank’s pocket, begins to subtly hum and grow colder. The dome is impenetrable, and they circle around it to find a magical barrier of sorts. Someone, or something, can be heard murmuring on the other side, and Tipsy recognizes it as the voice of Iarno Albrek, better known as Glasstaff. Using her pet mouse as a test subject, Danquayle discovers that the barrier is just an illusion, and the party proceeds around the bend to find a filthy, exhausted Iarno kneeling in front of the dome.
He does not respond to the party’s approach, and when Ander attempts to get his attention he zaps them with shocking grasp and goes back to his work. It appears as though he has been trying to open the dome through various spells, glyphs, and runes, but hasn’t had any luck. Chalk and charcoal notes and scribbles cover the stone, and his finger nails are bleeding from scratching at the smooth stone. They identify that he is under a powerful geas spell, and resolving that he won’t snap out of it any time soon, they knock him out.
When one of them addresses the apparent doorway, they activate a magical phone tree sophisticated magic mouth spell:
“Hello! Due to repeated unauthorized attempts at entry, access to the Forge of Spells has been temporarily revoked. To reestablish access, please provide proof of membership in the Phandelver Pact.”
Three alcoves open in the stone at staggered heights: one four feet off the ground, one 3 feet, and one 2 feet. The party recalls the Phandelver Pact consisting of human mages, dwarven miners, and gnomish crafters. They choose three items–the wizard’s key, Mistria’s family Rockseekre ring, and the mechnical crab they found in the gnome workshop upstairs–and the alcoves glow. The magic mouth say “Scanning…” and after an agonizing wait, announces “..access restored. Have a nice day!”
The items are pushed out of the alcoves and a door opens in the stone, unleashing a blast of arcane energy. Peering inside, they see the floor sloping down towards the center of the chamber, where a font of magical energy erupts like a geyser from a brazier in the floor. As arcs of green light lash out from it and strike the ceiling, Ander uses mage hand once more to place Hank’s sickle in the beam of energy. They can barely hold it there before it gets blasted away, embedding itself in the solid stone wall of the chamber. Hank sees a hole that looks like it would fit the key on the brazier, and sensing that the key wants to go to there, he plunges into the forge room.
Hank immediately starts taking blasts of green energy from the forge, one of which forces him backwards, another of which makes him confused as to what he was doing. Chinny and Mistria rush in to help, and each of them begin attracting bolts as well. Several of the bolts ricochet off and produce some…unusual effects. Chinny suddenly grows to 6 and half feet in height, and Hank becomes utterly terrified of him. A bolt passes through Mistria and bounces outside the chamber, suddenly imbuing Danquayle with the power of flight. As Hank reaches the brazier, he jams the key into the slot and begins cranking the valve shut. The torrent of energy wanes to a tiny flame, and then snuffs out.
As everyone gathers their wits, the brazier creaks open under its own power, unleashing a small, green flame. The flames begin to fill up a human shaped form, eventually revealing the figure of the ghost wizard they encountered back in Neverwinter, who greets them.
He is: Wendyll Nosewhistle, humble hedge mage and dead guy. Reinvigorated by the magic of the forge, Wendyll can finally do more than just moan and haunt things; he can provide exposition! Turns out, Wendyll is the last in a long line of cowardly, shitty wizards who can nonetheless trace their heritage back to Elgran Nosewhistle, an intern in Phandelver during its heyday. Elgran survived the orc raids that destroyed the mines by locking himself in the forge chamber and not coming out for days. When he finally left, he shut off the forge and took the valve key with him, binding it with a spell that would notify him whenever someone entered the mine again. He crawled out a small opening which collapsed behind him, and went out into the world.
The Nosewhistles passed the key and a handful of maps and notes down from generation to generation, until it at last came to Wendyll. When the Rockseekers rediscovered the mine, Wendyll was summoned, and he was passing through Neverwinter on his way to Phandalin when he was killed and robbed in his sleep. When the party stayed in the murder-room, Wendyll’s confused ghost haunted the key, and rode in Hank’s pocket all the way to the Forge of Spells.
His mission complete, Wendyll plans on possessing the brazier for a while longer, until he can discover its mysteries and learn how to get the forge up and running again. He offers the party the chance to temporarily enchant all their gear but has a favor to ask them: Make sure the forge doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. As everyone sticks their weapons into the green flame, they set their sights on Black Spider.
Defeated: Glasstaff, negotiated with Mormesk
NPCs met: Mormesk the Wraith, Flameskull, Wendyll Nosewhistle the Shitty Wizard Ghost
Acquired: Scroll of Silence and Revivify, Pearl (100gp), Mysterious map, temporary +1 magic enchantment to all their gear, Lightbringer and Dragonguard (I’ll talk about these next time.)
Quests: Deal with Black Spider, rescue Nundro.