Play It Solo: Lost Mine of Phandelver – Cragmaw Castle

This is part 5 of  Play It Solo for the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set 5th Edition adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver.

This chapter will focus on the exploration of Cragmaw Castle, a ruined castle north of Phandalin hidden in the Neverwinter Wood.

It will be assumed that you have already played the first chapter of this adventure and progressed to part 2 before coming here. If you have not, click here for Part 1.

If you’re not familiar with how Play It Solo works or if you want to refresh your memory, click here.

It takes roughly one day to reach the castle from Phandalin and vice versa, therefore you should check twice for random encounters (page 27), once during the day and once during the night.

Chapter 3: The Spider’s Web

Cragmaw Castle

Turn to page 35 of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure booklet and read the ‘General Features’ section under the main heading ‘Cragmaw Castle’ on the bottom right of the page. Stop when you get to ‘Castle Entrance’.

Each numbered section in this article below will have a ‘Possible Actions and Outcomes’ spoiler box, so as not to give anything away before you are ready to explore the area. Each section may also have an ‘Area Description’ spoiler box.

Once you enter an area, open the area description spoiler box (if one is included) and read the text, before deciding what you will do in response to what you see, then open the ‘Possible actions and outcomes’ spoiler box.

You may also come across square brackets like these [with hidden text]. The information in the square brackets can be revealed by highlighting the text inside the brackets by clicking and dragging from the opening bracket to the closing bracket.

The information in the brackets contain spoilers and should only be revealed if certain conditions are met.

Each numbered section will lead to other areas around the castle as indicated at the bottom of each section below the spoiler boxes. To reach other areas within the castle, simply scroll up or down to find the relevant sections.

You may come and go from this location as you please in order to regroup, gather supplies from town and so forth. Whenever you do so, refer to the ‘Leaving Cragmaw Castle’ section near the bottom of this page.

Area 1

Turn to page 36 of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure booklet and read the first few lines under ‘Castle Entrance’ on the left column of the page, as well as the shaded box.

Possible actions and outcomes

1

1. Walk through the entrance

Four goblins attack from the arrow slits while shouting an alarm! Assume there are four goblins attacking from the arrow slits.

If you hang about in this area, assume that [4 hobgoblins and 3 goblins appear within 2 rounds. The hobgoblins are armed with their swords and shields. They will also try to approach the closest enemy as a unit in order to use their Martial Advantage trait. If it is possible, they try to gather around a poorly armoured character, though they won’t risk opportunity attacks to do so.

The goblins attack using their shortbows.

If you defeat any of these reinforcements, make note of how many creatures of each type were killed.]

If you are near or past the broken gate, [the goblins behind the arrow slits cannot shoot you].

If you flee back into the woods before the reinforcements show up or if you leave without killing all the reinforcements, the castle will be on alert. Make a note of this development as this may be something you need to refer to later in this part of the adventure.

The goblins guarding this area will be more alert next time and should you attempt to sneak through the front entrance again, [you will automatically fail Dexterity (Stealth) checks]. Also, as a general rule when inside the castle, your Dexterity (Stealth) checks are contested by Wisdom (Perception) checks rather than passive Perception scores.

However, if your character(s) are disguised [wearing scarlet cloaks of the Redbrands, claiming they are emissaries sent by “Glasstaff”], make a Charisma (Deception) check contested by the Wisdom (Insight) checks of any creatures you encounter.

Each time you succeed, you may award yourself XP as though you have defeated the creature in combat.

Only one successful check is required for the whole party, regardless of whether or not your other characters are successful.

If you go down the route of deception, enter each area as normal. The goblins do not attack unless you attack them first.

The goblins will not escort you to the leader of this place, so you essentially have free run of the area. They do tell you that their king’s quarters is to the east, if asked.

The goblins want you to conclude your business quickly. Hanging about means [you will need to make further Charisma (Deception) checks for every half hour you remain].

2. Approach the entrance quietly

Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check for each character in your party. If each result is greater than a roll of 1d20-1, you step through the entrance without any trouble.

If your roll is lower, go to number 1 above.

3. Sneak around the North side of the castle

Go to the section titled ‘North Side of the Castle’ near the bottom of this page

4. Sneak around the South side of the castle

Go to the section titled Area 10 near the bottom of this page

5. Attempt to lure out guards by creating an illusion outside the entrance

Only a wizard may attempt this. If you do this, the defenders behind the arrow slits attack initially. However, the goblins soon realise they are dealing with an illusion and soon stop.

The castle is on alert as a result. Make a note of this.

You automatically fail Dexterity (Stealth) checks to try and sneak through the front entrance and your Dexterity (Stealth) checks are now contested by Wisdom (Perception) checks when inside the castle.

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Area 2

Area 2 description

2

Doors stand closed to the north and south, with a crumbling mound of rubble partially obscuring the southern 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 a partial collapse of the ceiling overhead.

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Possible actions and outcomes

If you enter this area from Area 8, [read number 6 below first, and then number 7. Choose one of these results based on how you are approaching this area].

1. Take the northwestern door

Go to Area 3 below.

2. Take the northern door

Go to Area 5 below.

3. Take the southwestern door

Go to Area 3 below.

4. Take the southern door

Go to Area 4 below.

5. Take the southeastern door

Go to Area 7 below.

6. Take the eastern door

Make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw. Failure means you take 3d6 bludgeoning damage from the ceiling above you as it caves in. If you succeed on the saving throw, you take half damage instead.

If your passive Perception score is 20 or higher, you spot the tripwire that triggers the trap. If you attempt to disable it, [no check is required, due to the simplicity of the task].

Assuming you are still alive, you may step through the east door and go to Area 8 below.

Note: You have made noise by setting off the trap – please make note of this for future reference.

7. Search for traps

If you specifically search the broad corridor to the east, make a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check.

If you succeed, go to number 6 above to see what you find and how it may be dealt with.

If you fail, you do not notice anything.

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Area 3

There are more than one of these rooms in Cragmaw Castle and it is more than likely you entered one of these areas from Area 2.

In any case, a door leads to this area, so decide in your mind how you will approach before you open the door and step in.

Possible actions and outcomes

3

1. Enter the room

Turn to page 36 of the adventure booklet and read the section 3. Archer Post.

If you made noise in Area 2, you are surprised by the creatures here.

2. Open the door quietly and slowly

If you made noise in Area 2, you cannot surprise the enemies in here, but they may surprise you.

However, thanks to your own caution, you have a chance to notice the ambush. Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check for the creatures here (1d20 + 6)  contested by your Wisdom (Perception) check or your passive Perception score, depending on how alert you are.

However, if the creatures in this area are not yet aware of your presence or if an alarm has not been sounded elsewhere, you may attempt a DC 9 Dexterity (Stealth) check.

To find out what sort of creatures you are up against, turn to page 36 of the adventure booklet and read the section 3. Archer Post.

3. Manipulate the door using magic

You could open the door using mage hand until one of the creatures inside comes out into the corridor to investigate.

If you ready an action to attack from range or from behind the door, you can catch whoever comes out off-guard. This results in a surprise round for you.

4. Create an illusion outside the arrow slits

You could draw the attention of the guards inside both of these areas by creating illusions of enemies directly outside the entrance and in view of the arrow slits. The goblins will begin firing at the illusion which means you could then use the diversion to sneak into the door while the goblins are occupied, granting you advantage on your Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

However, be mindful that the creatures in both archer posts will be alerted by the illusion outside, so you could potentially be dealing with both groups at the same time.

And remember there’s a chance that the goblins will see through the illusion, at which point they will attempt to raise an alarm.

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Area 4

Decide how you will approach this area before opening one of the spoiler boxes below, depending on which area you are coming from.

If you enter this room from Area 2, click on this spoiler box:-

Possible actions and outcomes

4

1. Open the door and walk in

Begin combat against the three goblins here.

If you act first and are able to kill or incapacitate the goblins in the first round, nothing else happens.

If an extended battle occurs here or the goblins act before you in the initiative order, [turn to page 37 of the adventure booklet and read the section titled 4. Ruined Barracks to see how the events here will unfold.

This scout will attempt to sneak into the room, so make a Dexterity (Stealth) check for the scout contested by your passive (Perception) score minus 5.

However, if you are specifically keeping an eye out for other creatures that might be hidden in this area, feel free to make a Wisdom (Perception) check instead. This roll is made with disadvantage, since you are currently pre-occupied with combat].

If the castle is on alert, these creatures have readied an attack for the first creature to open the door or walk into the room.

They automatically gain a surprise round.

N.B. If combat occurred at the main entrance (Area 1) and you defeated some of the goblins that arrived at the scene as reinforcements, deduct the number of goblins defeated at the entrance from the number of goblins in this room.

2. Open the door/enter quietly

You may attempt a Dexterity (Stealth) check contested by the passive Perception scores of the goblins in this area.

If you win this contest, you gain a surprise round. Otherwise go to number 1 above to see how things unfold from this point.

If the castle is on alert, you cannot surprise the goblins here, but you may make a Wisdom (Perception) check or use your passive Perception score to thwart their own attempts to ambush you (make a Dexterity (Stealth) check once for all of them).

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If you enter this room from Area 7, click on this spoiler box:-

Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

If any of the goblins from Area 7 fled into this room while the creatures in this room have still not been dealt with, the creatures in this area attempt to ambush you. The same is also true if the castle is on alert.

If the castle is on alert, the creatures here have readied an attack for the first creature to open the door or walk into the room.

They automatically gain a surprise round.

Otherwise, turn to page 37 of the adventure booklet and read the section titled 4. Ruined Barracks in order to see what you are up against, and roll initiative…

N.B. If combat occurred at the main entrance (Area 1), the creatures in this room are the same creatures that joined the battle as reinforcements. Deduct the appropriate number of creatures of the same type that were defeated in Area 1 from the total number of creatures in this room.

2. Sneak into the room

If any of the goblins from Area 7 managed to escape into this room, you cannot surprise the creatures in here – but they may surprise you. In this case, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check for the creatures here (1d20 + 6) contested by your Wisdom (Perception) score or your passive (Perception) scores, depending on your level of alertness.

This also applies if the castle is on alert.

Otherwise, if the creatures in this area have not been alerted, you may attempt a Dexterity (Stealth) check contested by the passive Perception scores of the creatures in this area.

If you win this contest, you gain a surprise round. Turn to page 37 of the adventure booklet and read the section titled 4. Ruined Barracks to see what creatures you encounter.

N.B. If combat occurred at the main entrance (Area 1), the creatures in this room are the same creatures that joined the battle as reinforcements. Deduct the appropriate number of creatures of the appropriate type that were defeated in Area 1 from the total number of creatures in this room.

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Once you’re done here, decide where to go next:

  • North to Area 2.
  • East to Area 7.

Area 5

Area 5 description

5

Old casks of salted meat and sacks of rotting grain fill this storage area. Among the supplies, you see a bloody suit of chain mail, a heavy crossbow, and an unsheathed longsword with the emblem  of Neverwinter worked into its hilt.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Examine the casks and sacks

None of the food here is edible, but you find one of the smaller casks contains exceptional dwarven brandy. You estimate that it will fill around 20 glasses.

If imbibed, the character regains a single hit point. If you drink two glasses or more [within a single hour, you become poisoned for 1 hour.]

2. Examine the longsword and chainmail

Upon close examination of the sword, you can just make out the initials S.H.

If you think you know what the initials represent, highlight the text in the square bracket below and see if you are right:

[The chain mail and longsword belong to Sildar Hallwinter. Returning the sword does not result in any reward, but Sildar expresses his gratitude for returning the item to him.]

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Once you’re done here, decide where to go next:

  • West to Area 6.
  • East to Area 9.
  • South to Area 2.

Area 6

Area 6 description

6

Four plain straw pallets and bedrolls are lined up on the floor of this barracks. Brackets on the walls hold a number of weapons – spears, swords, morningstars, and more. The north wall shows signs of damage, but the floor is swept clean of rubble.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

Turn to page 38 and read the first few paragraphs on the top left corner of the page to see what creatures you encounter. Roll initiative and begin combat.

If the castle is on alert, the creatures in this room have each readied a ranged attack for the first person to walk through the door, therefore they automatically gain surprise.

N.B. If combat occurred at the main entrance (Area 1), the creatures in this room are the same creatures that joined the battle as reinforcements. Deduct the appropriate number of creatures of the appropriate type that were defeated in Area 1 from the total number of creatures in this room.

When resolving this battle, bear in mind that these enemies are far more organised, disciplined and combat savvy than their lesser kin. If possible, they will attempt to surround a single opponent (preferably someone who is lightly armoured or unarmoured) in order to make the most of their martial advantage trait.

Otherwise, they will hang back and attack from range with their longbows until your character(s) gets to within melee range, at which point they will discard their longbows, use an action to don their shields before drawing their swords in the next round and attack, surrounding their opponents and making use of martial advantage whenever possible.

Bear in mind that the armour class of these creatures will be reduced to 16 while they are using their longbows. When they don their shields, their armour class will be increased to 18.

2. Attempt to sneak into the room

Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check opposed by the creatures’ passive (Perception) scores (turn to page 38 and read the first couple of paragraphs on the top left of the page to see what creatures you encounter).

If the castle is on alert, you cannot surprise the creatures in this room, because they are currently readying a ranged attack for the first person that steps through the door to this room.

Since you are approaching this room cautiously, you are allowed a Wisdom (Perception) check opposed by a roll of 1d20+1 made with disadvantage.

If you win this contest, the creatures in this room do not gain surprise against you.

3. Search the room for treasure or useful items

If you examine the weapons, turn to page 38 and read the ‘Treasure’ section on the top left corner of the page.

Obviously, you will need to deal with the denizens of this room first.

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Once you’re finished here, you may return to Area 5.

Area 7

Area 7 description

7

The western portion of this large hall ends in a wall of rubble, but the remainder is still intact. This must once have been the castle’s banquet hall, with a soaring ceiling twenty-five feet high. Two large wooden tables with plain benches stand in the middle of the room, and a brass brazier full of glowing coals is tucked into one corner. Dirty dishes, half-full stewpots, moldy heels of bread, and gnawed bones cover the tables.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

You encounter several creatures in this room who attack immediately.

Turn to page 38 and read the first few paragraphs on the top right corner of the page to see what creatures you encounter. Roll initiative and begin combat.

To avoid the problem of going straight for the leader of this group and possibly ending the fight early, roll 1d8, ignoring rolls of 8. If you roll a 1, you target Yegg with your attacks until he falls (or you do). Otherwise, you target one of the other goblins.

Once an enemy falls, roll 1d8 again (or 1d6, since there will be 6 creatures left, then roll 1d4 when you only have 4 enemies left and so on) in order to see who you target with your next attack.

Any roll of 1 means Yegg becomes your next target.

If you made noise in Area 2 or forced the iron door in Area 10 open, the creatures here have readied ranged attacks and will automatically gain surprise against you.

2. Attempt to sneak into the room

Make a DC 9 Dexterity (Stealth) check or a Dexterity (Stealth) check opposed by a roll of 1d20-1 if the castle is on alert.

Success means you gain a surprise round against the creatures here.

If you made noise in Area 2 or attempted to force the iron door in Area 10 open, you may not surprise the creatures here.

However, your relative caution in approaching this area means you have a chance of thwarting any attempts to ambush you.

Roll 1d20+6. This represents the Dexterity (Stealth) check of all the creatures in this room combined. Depending on how alert you are, you are allowed a Wisdom (Perception) check or your passive Perception score to counter their attempts to catch you off guard.

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Once you’re finished here, you may:

  • Go West to Area 4.
  • Go East to the Crumbling Hallway.
  • Go North to Area 2.

Area 8

This area is completely dark.

Area 8 description

8

This high, narrow hall looks as if it might have been part of a chapel or shrine at one time. Angelic figures are sculpted along the room’s upper reaches, looking down on the floor below. To the north, heavy curtains block a matching pair of archways. Between the archways is a cracked but ornately carved stone brazier.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room without a light source or darkvision

You are attacked and your assailant gains surprise. Furthermore, the creature’s attack rolls have advantage.

You may stand your ground and fight, but you remain blinded by darkness as long as you remain in this room.

Turn to page 38 and have a glance at the first few paragraphs under the section ‘8. Dark Hall’ to see what you encounter. Roll initiative and begin combat.

2. Enter the room with a light source or darkvision

The creature in this room attempts to ambush you.

Turn to page 38 and have a glance at the first few paragraphs under the section ‘8. Dark Hall’ to see what creature you encounter.

Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check for this creature, then depending on how alert you are, you may oppose this check with a Wisdom (Perception) check or your passive Perception score.

If your check is higher, you spot the creature just before it attacks – roll initiative normally.

If not, you are surprised.

3. Enter the room with light source or darkvision and examine the ceiling

As number 2, but if you specifically scan the ceiling as you enter, you have advantage on your Wisdom (Perception) check to notice your would-be attacker.

4. Search the room for treasure

Provided you overcome the encounter in this room (and you carry a light source or darkvision), you may search this room in the hopes of discovering some useful items.

If you specifically search the brazier, turn to page 38 and read the Treasure section at the bottom of the page, but do not continue reading beyond this page.

However, if you [cast detect magic on your new find, you discover that it is imbued with divination magic], if you take it one step further and [cast identify on the item or spend a short rest experimenting with the item, read the rest of the Treasure section on page 39].

5. Examine the walls of the room

Provided you can see in this room, you may attempt a DC 10 Intelligence (Religion) check to identify the intricate carvings on the walls. Success reveals that [the gods Oghma, Mustra, Lathander and Tymora were once worshipped here. This suggests that the former owners of this castle were human].

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Once you’ve finished exploring this area, you may leave the room via one of three exits:

  • North to Area 9.
  • East to Area 2.
  • West to the Crumbling Hallway.

Area 9

Area 9 description

9

This chamber occupies the northern tower of the castle. A stone alter stands in the middle of the room, covered with bloodstained black cloth. Golden ritual implements – a chalice, a knife, and a censer – are carefully arranged on top of the alter. Two archways to the south are covered with heavy curtains.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

If you made noise in Area 2, fought a battle in Area 8 or if the castle is on alert, you may be ambushed by the creatures in this room. Make the appropriate Dexterity (Stealth) checks for the creatures, then make your own Wisdom (Perception) checks to oppose them. If you are not particularly alert, use your passive Perception score instead.

Turn to page 39 and refer to section ‘9. Goblin Shrine’ to see what creatures you encounter. Roll initiative and begin combat.

2. Sneak into the room

If the castle is on alert, you made noise in Area 2, or you fought a battle in Area 8, you cannot surprise the creatures in this room, though they may do the same to you. See number 1 above for the checks that are required.

Otherwise, you may attempt a Dexterity (Stealth) check opposed by the creatures’ passive Perception.

If you win the contest, you gain a surprise round.

Turn to page 39 and refer to section ‘9. Goblin Shrine’ to see what creatures you encounter and the relevant stats needed to resolve the checks.

3. Search the chamber for treasure

Turn to page 39 and read the ‘Treasure’ section under the section titled ‘9. Goblin Shrine’.

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When you’re ready to leave, you may exit this chamber via the following exits:

  • South to Area 8.
  • West to Area 5.

Area 10

Area 10 description

10

On the south side of the old castle, an overgrown path leads to a passage that climbs up into the wall. A large iron door stands here, sheltered from direct outside attack. Arrow slits ten feet above the ground overlook the path.

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This iron door is locked.

Possible actions and outcomes

1. Bash the door open

This is only possible with a DC 25 Strength check.

If you remain here for [more than 2 rounds, you are spotted by goblins who peek through the arrow slits in response to the noise resulting from your not-so-subtle attempts to gain entry. The castle is now on alert].

2. Pick the door open

Assuming you have thieves tools, you may pick the door open with a DC 15 Dexterity check.

3. Listen through the arrow slits

You hear the clatter of crockery and heated arguments between goblins.

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If you are unable to or you prefer not to enter the building via this entrance, you may:

  • Go back to Area 1.
  • Head towards the East side of the castle.

Area 11

Area 11 description

11

This tower has almost completely collapsed, although the ground floor still has a little open space. Rotting crates and ancient barrels show that provisions were once stored here. A heavy curtain blocks a crumbling area to the south, and an intact door leads east. To the north, a short passage through the rubble ends before a screen of canvas.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Search the barrels, crates and rubble for items

There is nothing of interest here.

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When you’re ready to leave, you may leave via the following exits:

  • North through the passageway that leads outside to the North Side of the Castle (see below).
  • East and then East again through the door to Area 14.
  • East and then South through the curtains to Area 12.
  • South to the Crumbling Hallway (see below).

Area 12

Area 12 description

12

A stone brazier full of coals glows in the middle of this small barracks. Four straw pallets are lined up along the east wall. The wall to the south has collapsed, but a barred wooden door in that direction is still clear. A curtain hangs in an archway to the north.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

You encounter two hobgoblins. Roll initiative and begin combat.

When it is the second hobgoblin in the initiative order’s turn to act, [he will attempt to escape through the north entrance. If the north entrance is barred by you or if the hobgoblin is somehow prevented from going that direction, he tries to leave via the western entrance instead. If this is not possible either, he stays and fights.

If the hobgoblin escapes through the north entrance, assume he reaches Area 14 in the same round he attempts to escape this room.

If the hobgoblin escapes through the west, he will go through the door, head north to Area 11 and then turn back east through the door to the L-shaped corridor leading to Area 14. In the second round, he reaches Area 14.

Once the hobgoblin reaches Area 14, he shouts something and then returns to Area 12 in the next round and reenters the fray].

2. Sneak into this room

Make a Dexterity (Stealth) check opposed by the hobgoblins’ passive Perception scores. If the castle is on alert, your Dexterity (Stealth) check is opposed by the hobgoblins’ Wisdom (Perception) check instead.

If you win this contest, you gain surprise on the hobgoblins.

3. Open the barred door

Go to Area 13.

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When you are finished here, you may:

  • Go north, then east to Area 14.
  • Go north, then west to Area 11.
  • Go West to the Crumbling Hallway.

Area 13

Area 13 description

13

The upper floors of this tower have collapsed to create a hollow silo at least thirty feet high, and the upper reaches of the room are lost in shadows. Dust, rubble and broken glass cover the floor, and old worktables and bookshelves lie strewn to the south. In the middle of the room is a hulking beast that looks like a mangy bear with an owl’s head. It rears up and roars when it sees you.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Attack this bear-like creature

Turn to page 61 of the adventure booklet and refer to the stat block under the one for the orc. This is the creature you will be fighting.

2. Quickly slam the door shut and bar the door

Roll initiative as normal. The creature in the room has an initiative modifier of +1.

If you win, you are able to shut and bar the door in time.

If not, the creature charges you before you can act and you have no choice but to resolve the encounter.

3. Flee

If you run away, the creature chases you.

However, if you flee into [areas 7-10 or 14, the creature disregards you and escapes the building via the northern exit of the castle in Area 11].

In any event, should you survive this encounter, award yourself XP as though you have defeated a CR 3 creature.

4. Stay out of the creature’s way

If you try to get out of the creature’s way as it stampedes towards you, it rushes past you, escapes the building and flees back into the wild, never to be seen again.

Award yourself XP as though you have defeated a CR 3 creature.

5. Throw the creature a piece of meat

The creature devours the meat.

At this point, you can do one of many things, including some of the things listed above.

If you attack it while its guard is down [you gain a surprise round].

However, if you don’t attack it [it does not attack you, provided you don’t provoke it or get too near the beast. Other than this, feeding it does not improve its attitude towards you.

Once it has finished feeding, it escapes (unless you have closed the door and barred it again), ignoring you as it does – unless you get in the way].

6. Search the room for treasure

Once the creature is defeated or has left the room, you may examine the room more closely to see if anything interesting can be found here.

If you look up at the ledge that makes up the remains of the second floor, make a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check.

If you are successful, you find [a chest containing 120gp, 90ep, a potion of healing, a scroll of silence and a scroll of revivify. The chest is not locked or trapped].

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Return to Area 12 once you have finished exploring this room.

Area 14

If you have visited Area 12, [encountered creatures in that area and one of these creatures managed to escape Area 12 and make its way to this area], use the spoiler boxes below.

Area 14 description

14

This chamber has been set up as a crude living space, with thick furs thrown on the floor to serve as carpets, old trophies hanging on the walls, a large bed to the north, and a brazier of coals burning brightly. A round table with several chairs stands to the south near the door. You see a fierce old bugbear who has stooped shoulders and his back is hunched. Held hostage by the bugbear is an unconscious dwarf who looks badly beaten.

“Back off, or this dwarf dies!”

Beside the bugbear is a wolf who is growling and looks ready to pounce, but does not actually make a move.

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Possible actions and outcomes

You recognise the dwarf as your patron and friend, Gundren Rockseeker.

1. Attack

Doing this may place Gundren’s life in danger, depending on how you approach the encounter.

The bugbear currently has cover, thanks to using Gundren as a shield, although his armour class is otherwise 2 points lower than normal, since he is unable to carry his shield while holding on to the dwarf.

If you make a ranged attack and miss, [your attack instead hits Gundren and inflicts one death saving throw failure on the dwarf. The bugbear does not let go of the dwarf as long as there is some distance between you and him. He retaliates by throwing javelins at you].

If you attempt to get within melee range, [the bugbear is true to his word and attacks Gundren (he has readied an action to do this), inflicting one death saving throw failure and tosses him aside. From this point forth, the dwarf will need to make death saving throws until he stabilises or he dies. The bugbear then attacks with abandon, donning his shield the round after he discards the dwarf].

Resolve the encounter as you would, but when 1 round has passed, [make a Dexterity (Stealth) check equal to 1d20+4, contested by your passive Perception score. However, if you made sure to look around for any hidden dangers, you may make a Wisdom (Perception) check instead.

If you lose this contest, you are surprised by a creature who attacks at +6. This is a melee attack and the creature makes two of these attacks per attack action. Each of these attacks are made with advantage and inflict an extra 10 (3d6) points of damage if they hit.

Otherwise, the creature – who is a dark skinned female elf with white hair uses the following stats:

  • Armour class 14
  • Hit Points 52
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR: 11 (+0); DEX: 18 (+4); CON: 14 (+2); INT: 11 (+0); WIS:12 (+1); CHA: 14 (+2)

  • Skills Deception +6, Insight +3
  • Condition Immunities charmed
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
  • Languages Common
  • Challenge 3 (700 XP)

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The dark elf makes two melee attacks using its fists.

Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Feel free to copy and paste these stats on notepad or some other text processing software using ‘paste as plain text’ for easier reference and without the need to highlight this section of text.

If you kill this elf, click here].

If you reduce the bugbear’s hit points to 27 or lower, [you find that he actually has 45 hit points in total].

If you reduce the wolf’s hit points to 11 or lower, [you find that it actually has 18 hit points in total].

If you kill the bugbear outright [before you defeat the dark elf, the dark elf turns her attention towards the dwarf and attempts to kill him. If cornered, the dark elf fights to the death, rather than allow herself to suffer the indignity of being captured.

If she succeeds in killing the dwarf, the elf goes to the bed and takes a leather sack from under the bed. She then attempts to flee the castle altogether via the the exit in Area 11].

2. Do as the bugbear says and fall back

The bugbear does not harm Gundren and allows you to leave. However, the castle is now on alert and there is a random chance you will encounter guards as the bugbear orders the whole castle to search and destroy the intruders.

Basically, you should roll 1d20 each time you enter a room. On a roll of 17 or higher, you encounter some guards. Roll 1d2 to determine what creatures you encounter:

  1. 1d3 + 1 Goblins
  2. 1d2 + 1 Hobgoblins

If you leave the castle and do not return for at least a day, [you do not need to make these rolls any longer].

3. Bluff the bugbear

If you are disguised as a Redbrand and claim you are emissaries sent by “Glasstaff”, a female dark elf reveals herself from her hiding place behind the door to the northeast and warns the bugbear that you are an imposter.

At this point, the bugbear tells you to throw your weapons over to him and surrender, or he will kill Gundren.

If you do this [the bugbear, wolf and dark elf attack you as soon as they have confiscated your weapons, directing attacks at obvious spellcasters. If you have met Targor and struck a deal with him, he and his war band arrive in time to help you out].

Other actions you can take are listed above.

If you attack, go read number 1 above, but [Ignore the part that describes how the dark elf attempts to ambush you, since she has now revealed herself to you].

Any other attempts to bluff the bugbear fail. The dark elf is somehow able to see through your every lie.

4. Heal Gundren

It’s possible to do this while you are in the middle of combat. If you do this, Gundren wakes up confused at what is going on before staying out of harms way by moving to the corner of the room.

If your enemies are defeated, the dwarf thanks the party for rescuing him.

If you wish to ask Gundren some questions, consider what you might want to ask him and open the ‘Conversations‘ spoiler box at the bottom of this section.

5. Search under the bed

If you specifically look under the bed, you will find [220sp, 160ep, three potions of healing and a map that points the way to the Wave Echo Cave].

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If you have not yet visited Area 12 or if you did visit Area 12, but managed to [defeat the creatures there before they were able to flee], use the spoiler boxes below instead.

Area 14 description

14

This chamber has been set up as a crude living space, with thick furs thrown on the floor to serve as carpets, old trophies hanging on the walls, a large bed to the north, and a brazier of coals burning brightly. A round table with several chairs stands to the south near the door. Near the table, on the floor, is an unconscious dwarf who looks badly beaten.

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Possible actions and outcomes

You recognise the dwarf as your friend, Gundren Rockseeker.

1. Press your ear against the door before you enter

If you do this, you hear two voices in a heated discussion – a loud, growling voice demanding payment for something, and a silky smooth reply.

2. Enter the room

You see a fierce old bugbear with his back hunched and shoulders stooped. Beside him near the table is a female elf with dark skin and white hair, as well as a wolf.

3. Attack

Roll initiative as normal. You will encounter a bugbear, a wolf and a creature that uses the following stats (highlight to reveal):

[

DARK ELF

Armour class 14
Hit Points 52
Speed 30 ft.
STR: 11 (+0); DEX: 18 (+4); CON: 14 (+2); INT: 11 (+0); WIS: 12 (+1); CHA: 14 (+2)

Skills Deception +6, Insight +3
Condition Immunities charmed
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The dark elf makes two melee attacks using its fists.

Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

Feel free to copy and paste these stats on notepad or some other text processing software using ‘paste as plain text’ for easier reference and without the need to highlight this section of text.

If you kill this elf, click here].

If you have spoken to someone called Targor, [he and his war band joins the battle].

If you reduce the bugbear’s hit points to 27 or lower, [you find that he actually has 45 hit points in total].

If you reduce the wolf’s hit points to 11 or lower, [you find that it actually has 18 hit points in total].

If you kill the bugbear outright [before you defeat the dark elf, the dark elf turns her attention towards the dwarf and attempts to kill him. If cornered, the dark elf fights to the death, rather than allow herself to suffer the indignity of being captured.

If she succeeds in killing the dwarf, the elf goes to the bed and takes a leather sack from under the bed. She then attempts to flee the castle altogether via the the exit in Area 11].

4. Sneak into the room.

See number 2 above. Also you may make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to avoid being detected. Any result lower than 18 automatically fails as the wolf picks up your scent and howls to warn his master that there are intruders.

However, if you succeed, you have the element of surprise should you decide to attack.

5. Bluff the bugbear

It’s possible you are currently disguised as a Redbrand. However, before you can say anything, the dark elf says, “Nice try, fool. But I see through your flimsy disguise!”.

At this point, you have no choice, but to fight or flee.

6. Heal the dwarf

It’s possible to do this while you are in the middle of combat. If you do this, Gundren wakes up confused at what is going on in front of him before moving out of harms way and cowering in the corner.

If your enemies are defeated, the dwarf thanks the party for rescuing him.

If you wish to ask Gundren some questions, consider what you might want to ask him and open the ‘Conversations’ spoiler box at the bottom of this section.

7. Search under the bed

If you specifically look under the bed, you find [220sp, 160ep, three potions of healing and a map that points the way to the Wave Echo Cave].

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Conversations

Before any conversation takes place, Gundren Rockseeker offers his heartfelt thanks for saving him from a grim fate.

1. What happened? Why were you captured?

The dwarf tells you that something or someone called the ‘Black Spider’ orchestrated his capture. He does not know who or what the Black Spider is.

2. What do you intend to do now?

Gundren asks that you escort him back to Phandalin. Once he has had a chance to catch his breath, he wishes to travel to the Wave Echo Cave and learn the fate of his brothers, Nundro and Tharden.

3. So where is the Wave Echo Cave?

Gundren mentions that he carried a map with him that was taken away along with all his other belongings. He does not know where the map is kept, nor does he remember the way to the cave.

4. We should leave now!

Not until the map is found, insists Gundren. Any attempts to persuade him to think otherwise fail completely.

If you try to take him back by force, Gundren is unlikely to be impressed and will insist that you return to the castle and retrieve the map before he will reward you. However, [if the dark elf still lives, you’ll find you are unable to locate the map anywhere, despite searching the whole castle thoroughly. In this case, Gundren becomes irate and does not reward you].

On the other hand, if you indicate you have found the map and prove it to him, he agrees to leave this place without delay.

Should you wish to go to to the Wave Echo Cave, remember you need to escort Gundren back to Phandalin first.

5. We’re back in Phandalin!

Should you escape Cragmaw castle with Gundren and safely reach Phandalin, Gundren rewards each character in your party [25gp].

As long as you agree to travel to Wave Echo Cave and clear out the mines, he also promises a 10% share of the mine’s wealth once he gets his mining operation up and running.

Remember to check for random encounters on your way back to Phandalin.

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East Side of the Castle

If you have been stealthy and have crept your way around the wall of the castle, taking care to avoid the arrow slits by crouching, you may continue as normal.

If, on the other hand, you creep around the east wall of the castle without taking precautions to avoid being in full view of anyone on the opposite side of the arrow slit [you are attacked by two hobgoblins when you are halfway round the east wall. If you attempt to retaliate, it is nigh impossible to hit. The hobgoblins have three-quarters cover against your attacks].

Otherwise, there are no entrances leading into or out of the castle.

You may return to Area 10 or the North Side of the Castle.

North Side of the Castle

Some of the walls on this side of the castle appear to have collapsed, but you can see that there is no entrance on the north wall of the castle. Decide what you are going to do here before opening the spoiler box.

Possible actions and outcomes

1. Continue to walk around the wall

Make a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check or rely on your passive Perception score if it is high enough.

If you beat the DC, [you notice a footpath leading out of the castle from one of the collapsed walls].

2. Actively search the north wall for secret entrances

Make a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. If you beat the DC, [you find an entrance to the castle in one of the collapsed walls hidden by a canvas that is made to blend in with the surrounding stonework and the rubble. If you wish to enter the castle via this entrance, go to Area 11 above].

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Crumbling Hallway

15

From here, you may access the following areas:

  • North to Area 11.
  • South to Area 10.
  • East to Area 12.
  • Southwest to Area 7.
  • Northwest to Area 8.

Leaving Cragmaw Castle

If you have finished your business here or are simply leaving the castle to restock your inventory, make a D20 roll. On a result of 17 or better, you [encounter a returning war band consisting of three hobgoblins and two wolves. Consider what you will do before you click on the spoiler box below].

Result of Your Roll

1. Attack

Roll initiative and resolve the encounter as normal. When you first attack a hobgoblin, roll 1d3. If the result is 1, you attack the leader who has 20 hit points instead of 11.

2. Search the bodies of the hobgoblins

Assuming you defeat them in combat, you find nothing other than sacks containing elf heads.

3. Parley with the hobgoblins

The leader of the war band may let you pass if you are disguised as a Redbrand and you succeed on a Charisma (Deception) check vs. the hobgoblin leader’s Wisdom (Insight) check.

However, if you think to tell the leader [that he may be more suited to be the current king of this tribe of goblins or something to that effect], make a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check. If this succeeds, the hobgoblins promise not to kill you and you may work with them in order to hatch a plan to overthrow the current leader of the Cragmaw Tribe.

If you ask for his name, he tells you his name is [Targor Bloodsword].

Whether you defeat the hobgoblins in combat or strike a bargain with them, award yourself 500xp.

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If you return to this castle and the leaders of this goblin tribe have not yet been dealt with and you have killed some of the creatures in the castle, [there is a 50% chance that each room you have cleared of enemies are restocked with the same number and type of creatures. The exception is unique creatures – creatures that are named in the adventure and/or have more hit points than normal.

In addition, the castle is on alert].

Click here to return to Phandalin.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Play It Solo. Look out for Part 5 coming your way soon.

Any questions or comments, positive or otherwise, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

 

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