Play It Solo: Lost Mine of Phandelver – Wave Echo Cave

This is the final part 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 the Wave Echo Cave, a forgotten mine that lies fifteen miles east of Phandalin in the deep vales of the Sword Mountains.

It will be assumed that you have already played the first chapter of this adventure and gained knowledge of the location of this mine through adventuring. 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 half a day to reach the mines from Phandalin and vice versa, so check once per trip for random encounters (page 27), using the day roll or night roll, depending on which time of day you are travelling.

Chapter 4: Wave Echo Cave

Turn to page 42 of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure booklet and read the ‘General Features’ section.

Also, be mindful of the ‘Wandering Monsters’ section. Basically, a check every hour in game time should be enough, or two hours if you rather do without the tedium.

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 mines as indicated at the bottom of each section below the spoiler boxes. To reach other areas within the mines, 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 The Wave Echo Cave’ section near the bottom of this page.

Area 1

1

Turn to page 44 of the adventure booklet and read 1. Cave Entrance’ all the way up to and including the shaded box.

Possible actions and outcomes

1. Take the items

None of the supplies are valuable, though they can potentially be useful.

2. Examine the dead dwarf

If you have met Gundren Rockseeker, a close examination of the dwarf and a DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check allows you to see that [the dead dwarf bears a little resemblance to Gundren].

3. Search the dwarf for treasure

There is nothing of interest on the dwarf’s pockets.

However, if you specifically examine and handle the boots the dwarf is wearing, you sense that there is something extraordinary about the item.

If you take a short rest to experiment with it or cast identify on the boots, [you discover that they are a pair of boots of striding and springing (see page 52 of the adventure booklet)].

4. Climb down the pit

Provided you use the rope, you may climb up and down the wall without too much trouble.

However, if for some reason you decide not to use the rope, [you must succeed on a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) check or fall down and take 2d6 points of bludgeoning damage if you fail by 5 or more. You also land prone at the bottom].

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When you are ready to begin exploring the cave, you may:

  • Go Northwest to Area 2.
  • Go East to Area 3.

Area 2

Area 2 description

2

This area consists of numerous intersecting passages. The ceilings here are only six feet high, and several of the passages end in partially excavated rock faces.

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Possible actions and outcomes

The problem with this area is that you will have seen the map and therefore know how to avoid the dead ends. To create some randomness, whenever you reach a junction, assign a number from 1 onwards to each possible route and then roll a die. Take the passageway that corresponds to the result of your die roll.

For example, if a passage splits into two passages, you would assign the passages as 1 and 2. If you roll a 2 (or an even number on a 1d6), you take the passage that was assigned the number 2.

However, if you think to take the [jagged passage that leads northwest], you eventually end up at Area 10.

If you arrive at a dead end, you are attacked – and possibly surprised – by [an ochre jelly].

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From this area, you may reach the following areas:

  • Northeast to Area 9.
  • East to Area 6.
  • East and then South to Area 3.
  • Northwest to Area 10.

Area 3

Area 3 description

3

Many tunnels intersect at this natural, thirty-foot-high cavern. The walls are carved with simple reliefs showing dwarf and gnome miners hard at work. Below them, nearly two dozen skeletons in rusted scraps of armour are scattered across the cavern floor. Some are dwarf skeletons, while others are orc remains. Half a dozen large brass lanterns stand in niches or on ledges around the cavern, but none are lit.

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Possible actions and outcomes

As you decide on your next course of action, turn to page 44 of the adventure booklet and read the entire section, 3. Old Entrance’ and follow all the instructions there.

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Once you are done here, you may:

  • Go North to Area 6.
  • Go Northeast to Area 7.
  • Go East to Area 8.
  • Go South, then from there you may go East to Area 5 or West to Area 4.
  • Go West back to Area 1.
  • Go Northwest to Area 2.

Area 4

Map

4

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Turn to page 44 of the adventure booklet and read the section titled 4. Old Guardroom’.

Possible actions and outcomes

Aside from the encounter and the rubble scattered around in this room, there is nothing else of interest.

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From here, you may:

  • Return to Area 3.
  • Go East to Area 5.

Area 5

Area 5 description

5

This chamber was once an office or storeroom of some kind. A large stone counter bisects the room, set with three dusty balance scales made of iron. Cubbyholes carved into the north wall are stuffed with dusty paper scraps. Several long-dead corpses – gnomes and orcs by their look – are separated across the floor.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Examine the paper scraps

If you attempt to handle the paper, they crumble into dust.

If you can read Dwarvish, you can see a faint markings on a few of the scraps, recording weigh-ins and disbursements.

2. Search the room for treasure

If you specifically look behind the large stone counter, you locate a locked iron strongbox. If you are proficient with thieves’ tools, you may open the strongbox with a successful DC 20 Dexterity check.

Should you open the box, you find [600 cp, 180 sp, 90 ep and 60 gp].

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From here, you may:

  • Return to Area 3.
  • Go West to Area 4.

Area 6

Area 6 description

6

The door to this room is partially open. When you open the door, you can see old stone bunks in orderly rows lining the walls of this chamber, and a corroded iron brazier full of old coals standing near the middle of the room. The bones of a half dozen dwarves and orcs lie strewn about. clad in scraps of armour. Three gray, hunched figures squat among the remains, pawing at the scraps and gnawing on the bones.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Attack the figures

Turn to page 45 of the adventure booklet and read the entire section titled 6. South Barracks.

2. Listen into the partially open door

If you think to put your ears against the door and listen into the room before you enter, [a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check allows you to hear faint crunching and splintering sounds.].

3. Sneak into the room

This automatically fails if you are carrying a light source. Otherwise make a Dexterity (Stealth) check contested by passive Perception scores of 10.

Should you succeed and wish to attack the creatures inside, you gain surprise. Go to number 1 above to resolve the encounter.

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Once you’re finished here, you may:

  • Go South to Area 3.
  • Go West to Area 2.

Area 7

Area 7 description

7

The eastern wall of this chamber has collapsed into a mass of rubble. To the north, a door stands ajar, leading to a good-sized storeroom. Dusty kegs are tucked neatly against the walls, all of them cracked and split open from age.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Search the kegs and crates

The kegs are completely dry, their contents having long since evaporated.

2. Examine the door

You find that the door is sturdy and solid. Should it be barred, blocked or reinforced somehow, it would be difficult for anyone to get through without investing a good amount of time into the task.

3. Rest

Should you decide to rest in this room, [you are safe as long as the door is barred, although the room is a little uncomfortable. If you leave the door open, however, you may still encounter a wandering monster].

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From here, you may:

  • North to Area 9.
  • South to Area 3.

Area 8

Area 8 description

8

Dense carpets of weird fungi cover large sections of the floor in this cavern. The growth includes puffballs a foot across, weird shelf fungus growing on stalagmites, and large stalks and caps a good five feet tall. Some of the puffballs glow with an eerie green phosphorescence.

This luminescence is enough to adequately light the area to the point darkvision and/or a light source is not needed to see in this cavern.

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Possible actions and outcomes

If you step into the cavern for any reason at all, poisonous gas is released into the air by the fungus covering the floor.

Make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw. If you fail this saving throw, take 3d6 poison damage and you are afflicted with the poisoned condition for 10 minutes.

1. Remain in the cavern

If you enter and remain in the cavern once the chamber is filled with poison gas, you must repeat the above saving throw each round you remain in the cavern.

2. Try and discern what type of fungi is in the cavern before you enter

A glance may be enough to glean some information about the fungi here.

Make an Intelligence (Nature) check.

  • If your result is 15 or higher, [you know that most of the fungi is harmless, but you are suspicious about the fungi covering the floor, nevertheless].
  • If your result is 20 or higher, [you know that the fungi covering the floor, if stepped on, will release poisonous gas].

3. Cover your nose before entering

If you do this, you can still be affected by the poison gas, but you have advantage on your saving throw.

4. Start a fire

If you have oil and a source of fire (including spells), you could attempt to clear the fungi by burning it. If you are a spellcaster with enough levels to cast a fireball spell, that can work too.

However, the fumes resulting from the burning of the poisonous fungi become poisonous themselves and unless you fall back to your previous location, you will need to make the saving throw above due to the possibility of inhaling the fumes.

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Area 9

Area 9 description

9

Steep escarpments divide this large cavern into three sections – high ledges at either end, and a lower section in the middle. Carved stone stairs climb up to the ledges. Two large tables stand in the middle section, along with a pair of old braziers. A smaller table stands on the eastern ledge. The skeletal remains of dozens of dead warriors – dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and ogres – attest to the fierceness of the fighting that took place here long ago.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the cavern and explore it

As you explore the cavern, seven ghouls rush out from the darkness, hungry for your flesh!

The ghouls’ starting distance from you depends on how far you can see into the darkness. You could spot the ghouls charging at you from as much as 60 feet away if you have darkvision, while you may only begin to notice them when they are 30-40 feet away from you, if you need to rely on a torch.

If you are carrying a candle, you may not detect them until they are almost on top of you!

2. Sneak around the cavern

If you are quiet, you may be able to gain surprise on the seven ghouls here – or even avoid the encounter entirely.

You should make a DC 10 Dexterity (Stealth) check in this case. Success lets you move about undetected and lets you see how many enemies there are in this room.

This automatically fails if you carry a light source.

3. Set up some traps

Following on from number 2 above, you may have the presence of mind to set up some traps, so you can level the playing field a little.

You could, for instance, cover part of a corridor with oil and/or ball bearings so that the ghouls might slip and fall prone, readying an action to throw a torch or a fire spell at the oil so that you can burn the ghouls as they slip on the oily surface or the ball bearings.

There are a lot of ghouls, so anything like this you can do to stall or hinder your enemies can only lower the probability of a TPK!

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When you wish to leave this area, you may:

  • Go North and then East to Area 11. However, you realise that[the door is barred from the other side].
  • Go Northeast to Area 12.
  • Go South to Area 7.
  • Go Southwest to Area 2.

Area 10

Area 10 description

10

A still pool fills much of this cavern. The water is dark, revealing little of what might lie within. The shore of the pool consists of a thin layer of broken shells from strange, pale mussels, and a fishy odour hangs in the air.

A passage leads south from this area, and a set of steps climbs up to the east. A sluggish stream flows out of the cave to the northeast.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Examine the pool of water.

You do see anything below the surface of the water if you peer into it.

If you use a pole to poke around, you turn up nothing of interest.

2. Dive into the pool and swim around

If you dive into the pool with darkvision or a light source that cannot be extinguished by the water, you discover [an old skeleton lying on the bottom, 10 feet from the shore and under 10 feet of water. If you search the skeleton, you find two platinum rings worth 75gp each as well as a baton in its hand, should you touch the baton, you get a sense that there is something special about this item].

If you spend a short rest playing around with your find [or cast an identify spell, you discover that the baton is a wand of magic missiles (page 53 of the adventure booklet)].

3. Wade through the stream on the northeast

The passage is roughly 5-6 feet tall and the stream itself is around 3 feet deep. It is not difficult to wade through and doing so leads you to Area 18.[./spoiler]

Area 11

Area 11 description
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11

Old stone bunks line the walls of this barracks, which is lit and heated by a glowing iron brazier in the middle of the room.

This area is lit.

If you entered this room from the West, reveal the hidden text in the square brackets.

[Across the room is another door, this one blocked by a barricade made from the remains of a wooden table].

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Enter the room

Five bugbears attack. Roll initiative and begin combat.

The bugbears are a little dim-witted, and a little impatient. If the bugbears cannot attack all at once, due to your using of the door as a bottleneck for example, [after three rounds, the bugbears not engaged in combat at the rear will attempt to force their way past their comrades and shove you back so they can join the fray. They do this by entering the square of the bugbear that is currently being engaged by you (using 10 feet of movement in the process) and attempt to push the player character that is currently blocking the door.

Make opposed Strength checks. If the bugbears win, they force you back and they may be able to bring the whole group into combat.

If not, remember the bugbear may not finish his turn on the square occupied by another bugbear (or any other creature) and will need to return to an empty square, possibly provoking an opportunity attack in the process.

Other bugbears may use the help action to aid the one doing the pushing].

2. Enter the room from the west

If you entered this room via the western entrance, the barricade makes it rather difficult to wade into battle and engage in melee combat with the bugbears. On the other hand, you have half cover against attacks made by the bugbears.

If you managed to open the door first or second time round when coming from the west, roll initiative as normal for combat.

If you needed more than two attempts, [the bugbears have each readied actions to hurl javelins at you the moment you force the door open. This is particularly dangerous due to the bugbears’surprise attack trait].

3. Press your ear against the door before you enter

If you think to listen into the room before you open the door, make a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. If you succeed, [you hear gruff voices speaking in goblin. If you know goblin, they are merely complaining about how hungry they are. If you spend five minutes doing this and your previous check result exceeded 15, you pick up five different voices involved in the conversation].

4. Open the door slowly and sneak into the room

This will not work if you are carrying a torch or some other light source.

Make a DC Dexterity (Stealth) check contested by the bugbear’s passive Perception score of 10. Success means you may surprise the bugbears or at least see how many creatures are in this room (five bugbears).

5. Ambush the first creature that opens the door

You may only attempt this if you are approaching from the east.

Instead of opening the door and entering the room, you could wait until one of the creatures does something about his hunger and comes out of the room.

This is possible and if you are patient enough to wait at least 10 minutes, [one of the creatures eventually decides to venture out of the room. If you ready an attack action, you gain surprise. Once this happens, roll initiative and refer to number 1 above to see how the encounter develops from here].

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Area 12

If you enter this area for the second time and at least one hour has passed since you visited this area last, click on the spoiler box below. Otherwise, open the ‘Area 12 description’ spoiler box.

Returning to this area

If you destroyed the flaming skull the first time round, [you are surprised to see the skull floating around the room as though nothing had happened].

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Area 12 description

12

A blast furnace and a mechanical bellows powered by a waterwheel dominate this large chamber. The furnace is cold and dark, but heaps of coal are piled nearby, along with carts full of unrefined ore. The waterwheel sits in a ten-foot-wide channel cut into the floor of the room, but the channel is dry. Passages exit to the west, south, and east. The empty channel exits to the north and east

More than a dozen withered corpses are scattered around the room. These slain dwarves and orcs are still wearing the remnants of their armour. Floating above them is a skull engulfed in green flame.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Attack the flaming skull

Turn to page 46 of the adventure booklet and read 12. Smelter Cavern to see how the battle develops once you charge in and what creatures you face.

Stats for the flaming skull are copied here for your convenience:

[

Flameskull

Tiny undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 13

Hit Points 40 (9d4 + 18)

Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft.

   STR           DEX           CON           INT           WIS           CHA
   1 (−5)        17 (+3)        14 (+2)        16 (+3)       10 (+0)       11 (+0)

Skills Arcana +5, Perception +2

Damage Resistances lightning, necrotic, piercing

Damage Immunities cold, fire, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12

Languages Common

Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Illumination. The flameskull sheds either dim light in a 15-foot radius, or bright light in a 15-foot radius and dim light for an additional 15 feet. It can switch between the options as an action.

Magic Resistance. The flameskull has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Spellcasting. The flameskull is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). It requires no somatic or material components to cast its spells. The flameskull has the following wizard spells prepared:

Cantrip (at will): mage hand
1st level (3 slots): magic missile, shield
2nd level (2 slots): blur, flaming sphere
3rd level (1 slot): fireball

Actions

Multiattack. The flameskull uses Fire Ray twice.

Fire Ray. Ranged Spell Attack: +5 to hit, range 30 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (3d6) fire damage].

When it comes to tactics, defensive spells will be the priority for the skull and don’t forget the shield spell whenever the skull is targeted by an attack that is about to hit or targeted by a magic missile.

The heavy artillery should be used only if the skull can catch multiple player characters together and its minions are not caught in the blast, ideally as a finishing blow.

Should the skull find itself in the losing side and possibly cornered, it may use its most powerful spell, regardless of whether or not the skull or its minions will be caught in the blast.

Should you defeat the monster, you may make the check as described in number 3 below.

2. Sneak up on the flaming skull

If you have darkvision, the darkness will work in your favour should you wish to attempt stealth.

Moreover, the flaming skull is very easy to spot in the darkness (being on fire and all), and if you are not carrying a light source and there is a distance of at least 61 feet between you and the skull, you could move undetected by the skull.

Even if you are within 60 feet of the skull, it is still possible to sneak up to the skull (or past it) if your Dexterity (Stealth) check exceeds its passive Perception of 7 (base passive Perception score of 12, minus 5 due to disadvantage for being in a lightly-obscured area).

3. Try and identify the skull

Make a DC 10 Intelligence (Religion) check. If you succeed, you know that the creature is a [Flameskull, an undead creature particularly adept with fire magic and are powerful spellcasters].

A roll of 15 or higher lets you recall that [flameskulls will rise again an hour after they are destroyed] and a roll of 20 or higher means you may freely read all the information regarding the flameskull on page 57 of the adventure booklet.

4. Climb/jump down into the channel

The bottom is only 5 feet below the floor level, so no damage will be taken if you choose to leap or drop down. Getting back up is not a problem either and no ability check is needed.

Should you decide to go down the channel, [you may follow it North to Area 18 or West to Area 16].

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Once you have done what you needed to do here, you may:

  • Go East to Area 13.
  • Go South to Area 9.
  • Go West to approach the western door to Area 11.

Area 13

Area 13 description

333

 

Glittering minerals in the ceiling of this large cavern catch the light and send it back to create the impression of a starry night sky. Dozens of skeletons – many crushed under fallen debris – are scattered across the floor.

The cave is large enough that it contains two freestanding structures. Each of these stone buildings is proportioned for human use, as opposed to the dwarf-sized doorways and furnishings you’ve seen elsewhere in the mines. Both structures have battered and blackened masonry walls, their double doors cracked and scorched.

The cavern is divided by an escarpment, into which a flight of stairs has been cut. Passages lead out of this area to the north, south, and west.

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Possible actions and outcomes

If you are proficient in Arcana, you can sense a subtle aura of magic in this cavern. If you cast [detect magic, you find that the aura becomes stronger as you approach the northern building (Area 15)].

Aside from this, there isn’t really much you can do here other than enter some of the buildings or leave the area entirely.

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From here, you may:

  • Go North to Area 16.
  • Go South to Area 8.
  • Go West to Area 12.
  • Enter the Northern building (Area 15).
  • Enter the Southern building (Area 14).

Area 14

The doors leading into this area are cracked and the iron hinges are partially melted. Breaking in requires a DC 15 Strength check.

Area 14 description

14

Dust, ash, walls blackened by fire, and heaps of debris beneath the sagging ceiling show that this room was damaged by a destructive blast. The furnishings – tables, chairs, bookshelves, beds – are charred or splintered, but otherwise well preserved. A scorched iron chest stands near the foot of one of the beds.

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Possible actions and outcomes

When you enter the room, a dark, spectral form rises from the floor and says , “Your presence is offensive to me, your life forfeit. My treasures are mine alone, not yours to plunder!”

Decide what you are going to do. Some options are presented below. If you take one of these options, reveal the text in the square brackets by highlighting it:

  • Attack – [The creature’s stats can be found just under the hobgoblin stats on page 59 of the adventure booklet].
  • Flee – [The creature pursues you relentlessly, though it does not follow you outside the cave].
  • Attempt to identify the creature – [Make a DC 10 Intelligence (Religion) check. If you are successful, you identify the creature as a wraith].
  • Talk – [It’s possible that this creature can be reasoned with. If you wish to do this, consider what you might say to him, then open the ‘conversations’ spoiler box below].

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Conversations

Note that if you have harmed the creature or stolen some of its treasure, it can no longer be reasoned with. The only option in this case is to destroy it before it kills you.

1. I do not wish to fight you, I will leave

The creature says that a price must be paid for disturbing its rest – your life would be a fitting payment. However, if you plead with the creature and ask what you can do for it or what else you could offer it in exchange for your life, it says that nothing less than an item of great worth will stay its wrath.

  • If you offer valuable items such as gold, gems and the like, [the creature says that is not good enough and attacks].
  • If you offer a magic item, [it will only accept it if you can convince the creature of the item’s worth. A DC 10 Charisma (Persuastion) check must be made. You have advantage on this check if you offer a scroll, spellbook or other arcane knowledge. If you are successful, the creature is placated and lets you live].

2. What would you consider an ‘item of great worth’?

Following on from number 2, if you have the presence of mind to ask what it considers valuable, it will tell you that magic in any form will be a fitting tribute.

3. Who are you?

The creature does not feel compelled to reveal its name. As far as it is concerned, your days are numbered.

However, if you manage to stay its wrath and convince it not to kill you, the creature is called [Mormesk].

4. What happened here/How did you die?

Feel free to turn back to page 3 of the adventure booklet and read the first couple of paragraphs under the ‘Background’ section.

The creature was once a powerful mage that took part in a massive spell battle that happened right here during the orc attack and it was at the climax of this battle that the creature met its end.

You can see the effects of the destructive energy all around you.

5. Are you willing to part with your treasure?

If you are willing to kill the spectator residing in the Forge of Spells for it, it might consider relinquishing some of its horde.

If you agree to do this, it points you to the Forge of Spells (Area 15).

Any attempts to get more information about the spectator fails.

Should you return bearing evidence that the task is complete, [turn to page 47 of the adventure booklet and read the ‘Treasure’ booklet to see what the creature keeps as treasure.

Take anything you like, but the creature does not relinquish the wooden pipe under any circumstances. Any attempts to make off with the pipe provokes the creature’s wrath and it attacks relentlessly until you are dead or it is destroyed.

The books may be perused, but the creature does not allow you to take anything.

Regarding the map that you find sandwiched in one of the books, this is the only item that the creature allows you to keep from the shelf of books. As mentioned under the ‘Treasure’ section, this map could lead to your next adventure after this one.

If you want to continue your adventure as a solo player after you’ finish Lost Mine of Phandelver, check out the Mythic Game Master Emulator, a great rules supplement that allows you to spontaneously create and run an improvised adventure on the fly, whether you play D&D (or any other roleplaying game) solo or with a group of friends playing without a Dungeon Master].

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From here, you may return to Area 13.

Area 15

The doors leading into this area are cracked and the iron hinges are partially melted. Breaking in requires a DC 15 Strength check.

Area 15 description

15

This large workshop was badly damaged by the ancient spell battle that laid waste to the mine. Worktables taking up two corners of the room are scorched, and the plaster has been burned off the masonry walls. In the middle of the room, a stone pedestal holds a small brazier in which an eerie green flame dances and crackles. The brazier and its pedestal appear to have been untouched by the forces that destroyed this area.

Behind the brazier of green flame floats a spherical creature measuring roughly four feet in diameter. Four eyestalks protrude from its central mass, two on each side. In the centre of the body is a large eye that stares at you.

“Hello,” says a thick burbling voice inside your head.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Attack

You can find the creature’s stats on page 62 of the adventure booklet, directly underneath the stat block for the skeleton.

2. Speak with the strange creature

If you do this, consider what you want to say before opening the ‘Conversations’ spoiler box below.

3. Blind the creature somehow

Should you manage to derive the creature of its sight – whether temporarily or otherwise – it vanishes completely and does not return.

4. Study the brazier of green flame

Make a DC 15 Intelligence (Arcana) check. Success lets you determine that the brazier is the source of magic that suffuses the surrounding caverns.

Furthermore, you also suspect the magic has either warped or waned and is no longer as effective as it once was. However, [the short term benefits can be useful: should an ordinary weapon or armour be bathed in the green flame for at least a minute, that weapon or armour will become a +1 weapon or +1 armour, respectively. The magic will wear off in 1d12 hours].

It is impossible to remove the brazier from this room.

5. Examine the worktables

On the worktable in the southeast corner of the room, there are a couple of items: a breastplate and a mace, both beautifully crafted and are obviously products of a gifted artisan.

Should you attempt to handle the goods, the spherical creature warns you to step away from the items or else it will be forced to kill you. If you do not heed the warnings and take the items anyway, [the creature attacks. Also, as you touch the items, you immediately get the sense that these items are far more than mere masterwork products from a blacksmith’s forge.

If you cast identify or spend a short rest appraising the item (one short rest per item), you may turn to page 48 and read the ‘Treasure’ section near the end of the page.

Obviously, before you can do all this, you need to deal with the bizarre creature in the room first…].

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Conversations

The creature speaks to you using telepathy.

1. What are you?

The creature explains that it is a spectator, a creature often summoned by powerful sorcerers to guard important items or locations. Typically, the term is 101 years and in this spectator’s case, it was summoned to protect the items on the worktable (it gestures towards the suit of breastplate and mace).

As an aside, he advises against taking or even touching the items as he would be forced to honour his contract.

2. What happened here?

The spectator can reveal all the information in the first two paragraphs under the ‘Background’ section on page 3.

Oddly, he considers the battle as a triumph for the dwarves.

3. How long has this place been empty?

If you mention the fact the mines are no longer in use, the spectator has no idea of what you are talking about.

As far as he is concerned, the former occupants of this place are alive and well, though he assumes they are so busy that they simply do not have the time to drop by and say hello.

Should you attempt to prove otherwise, [the spectator dismisses everything you say and every piece of evidence you present].

4. Ask about the spectral creature in Area 14

The creature sighs as it describes the tiresome attempts to defeat it or drive it away. They often come in the form of zombies or ghouls.

“You would have thought that the miners and dwarves would do something about the pesky undead in this place. Oh, well. At least it gives me something to do to alleviate the boredom of just floating around here for 101 years.”

5. You are free from your service to me, you may leave this place

If you attempt to masquerade as a miner or wizard, [you may attempt a DC 15 Charisma (Deception) check to trick the spectator into thinking that you and/or your party members are the owners of the Wave Echo Cave.

If you succeed, it vanishes completely, convinced that it is finally released from service to the dwarves.

Actions in Hindsight: You have disadvantage on this check.]

[collapse]

From here, you may return to Area 13.

Area 16

Area 16 description

16

A narrow ledge overlooks a large cavern that houses a surging body of water. They rhythmic booming heard throughout the mines is louder here. At regular intervals, a fresh surge of water funnels into this chamber and slams against the wall just below the ledge. The echo suggests that this cave might be one arm of a much larger cavern to the northeast.

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Possible actions and outcomes

There isn’t much you can do here, unless you want to dive into the body of water, which is probably not a good idea.

However, if you would like to this, bear in mind that something like this is beyond the scope of this adventure, even if the area description suggests that there might be a connecting cavern to the northeast.

If you wish to explore this area, Strength (Athletics) checks may be called for (DC at your discretion, but probably around 15 or even 20, since the water is churning). It may also be a good idea to check out the Mythic Game Master Emulator which is designed to help you create improvised adventures or add to existing adventures on the fly as a solo player.

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When you wish to leave, you may:

  • Go Southeast to Area 13.
  • Go Southwest to Area 12 via the channel.
  • Go Northwest to Area 17.

Area 17

Area 17 description

17

This passageway is barely four feet high and is obstructed by rounded boulders and pebbles. It might have been a streambed, though no water flows here now.

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Possible actions and outcomes

This area overlooks Area 18 – you may go to Area 18 below if you would like to enter that area proper. If you wish to go back the way you came, simply turn back to Area 16.

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Area 18

Area 18 description

18

A wide rift fills the eastern half of this cavern. A stream pours out of the west wall, then tumbles down into the rift and flows out again to the north. Several ropes are secured to iron stakes along on the western edge of the rift, leading down to the chasm floor.

You see male drow in the southwest portion of the cavern escorted by a bugbear. The male drow appears to be supervising two other bugbears who are currently busy digging away in the rift.

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Possible actions and outcomes

1. Attack

Roll initiative and prepare for combat against a male drow and three bugbears.

The male drow has the following stats (highlight the hidden text to reveal and copy and paste the text into notepad or other text editor for easier reference):

[

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.

If you kill this elf, click here].

Assuming you entered this cavern from the west, the dark elf and his bodyguard will engage you in combat. The two other bugbears that were digging in the rift immediately drop what they are doing and climb up from the rift. Assume they join combat in the second round.

If you entered this area from Area 17 or Area 12, the dark elf will remain where he is while his bodyguard climbs into the rift and hurls javelins at you, as do the bugbears in the rift. When they have thrown their javelins, they attempt to climb the wall of the rift and engage you in melee.

They must succeed on a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check in order to climb up the wall. Failure means they take appropriate falling damage (1d6 per 10 feet fallen).

The rift is 20 feet deep.

If two or more bugbears are killed or defeated [the dark elf flees to the west. He flees through the southwestern passage or the northwestern passage, depending on which is nearest, unless somehow prevented from leaving. If he cannot escape, he fights to the death].

2. Approach stealthily

This will not be possible if you are using a light source since they will notice the light suddenly appearing in a completely dark cavern.

However, if you are not using a light source, you may attempt a DC 6 Dexterity (Stealth) check to sneak up on your opponents and/or gain a surprise round.

If you attack these creatures from hiding, go to number 1 above to see how the battle develops.

3. Climb down to the bottom of the rift

If you are climbing down from the west side of the rift, you may use the ropes that are secured along the western edge of the rift. If you are attempting to climb down from the openings in the east, you must succeed on a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check. A failure by 5 or more means you fall and take 1d6 per 10 feet fallen and land prone.

4. Search the cavern for hidden treasure

Scanning the area, you can see nothing of value.

However, if you specifically dig around at the bottom of the rift and succeed on a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check, [you find a dwarf skeleton wearing pair of gauntlets with a golden visage of an ogre on each gauntlet. If you pick up the gauntlets,][you immediately sense that these are no ordinary gauntlets. If you cast identify on the gauntlets or spend a short rest experimenting with the items, turn to page 52 of the adventure booklet to see what sort of gauntlets they are].

If you fail, [but persist until you are absolutely certain you are unable to find any items here, you may attempt the same check for each hour you continue to search].

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Area 19

Area 19 description

19

Six cracked marble pillars line the walls of this hall, at the north end of which stands a nine-foot-tall statue of a dwarf seated on a throne, a mighty stone warhammer across his lap. Large emeralds gleam in the statue’s eyes.

The dust and debris covering the floor has been swept to one side, and a campsite of sorts now spreads in front of the statue. Half a dozen bedrolls and packs are neatly arranged around a rough-built fire pit. A wooden table stands on the west side of the room between two pillars.

If you had a combat encounter in Area 18 and prevented the male drow from escaping the battle, highlight the section text in the square brackets below:

[Two bugbears stand by the table, flanking a dark elf dressed in black leather armour and robes. He clutches a black staff with a carved spider at the top and frowns as he sees you. “It seems that I must deal with you myself. A pity it must end this way.”

Go to the “Possible Actions and Outcomes 1” spoiler box below].

On the other hand, if you had a combat encounter in Area 18, but did not prevent the male drow from escaping the battle, highlight the extra text in the square brackets below:

[Two bugbears stand by the table, flanking a dark elf dressed in black leather armour and robes.He clutches a black staff with a carved spider at the top end and points the staff towards a dwarf prisoner kneeling in front of him.

“Surrender and lay down your arms, or else this dwarf dies!”, the elf says.

The dark elf that you had been fighting previously appears to be nowhere in sight.

Go to the “Possible Actions and Outcomes 2” spoiler box below].

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Possible actions and outcomes 1

1. Attack

You face Nezznar the Black Spider, two bugbears and four giant spiders.

Nezznar casts [mage armour] on his first turn, and then on his second turn, he will [use his staff to cast spider climb before climbing onto the top of the statue where he will remain perched, unless somehow knocked from the top of the statue].

Nezznar reserves the rest of his 1st level spell slots for the shield spell, only using magic missile when he has no other option.

On his third turn, Nezznar will [use 2 charges from his staff to cast web if he can catch several characters within the area of effect. Should a character fail his or her saving throw, Nezznar will cast ray of frost at the restrained character while concentrating on the web spell. The bugbears will also target their ranged attacks at any restrained characters.

If more than one character is restrained by the web spell, Nezznar and his lackeys will focus on the character wearing the heaviest armour, hoping to make the most of the advantage gained to take down a now-vulnerable character who is normally very difficult to hit.

If you manage to escape or avoid getting restrained by the webs, and you move away from the web spell’s area of effect, Nezznar will cease concentration on his current casting of web and use another 2 charges from his staff to cast web again until he can snare a character with the spell – unless your characters spread themselves out to avoid getting multiple party members trapped in the area of effect.

Bear in mind that with his staff, Nezznar can effectively cast the web spell four times in total after initially casting spider climb to climb up the statue.

After the fourth casting of web, Nezznar will not use his staff to cast spells again – unless he is very desperate, in which case he may use the staff’s last charge to cast spider climb if the situation calls for it.

Should this happen, roll 1d20. If the result is a 1, the staff crumbles to dust in Nezznar’s hand, rendering it useless.

Alternatively, if you are playing a lone character or if your party is far too spread out to be affected by the web spell, Nezznar will cast the suggestion spell instead – preferably on a warrior or a rogue, if you are controlling a party.

If you fail the saving throw, Nezznar will say, “You are outnumbered, I’ll spare your life as long as you drop your weapons and come quietly. It is far preferable to a painful death by the fangs of the spiders!”. The sheer numerical advantage that Nezznar and his minions have makes this request seem reasonable to you if you are affected by the spell.

If you are playing as a single character or all your characters fall under the sway of the spell, this effectively ends the battle in Nezznar’s favour and you are led to the makeshift prison in Area 20 before being stripped of your belongings.

If your saving throw is successful, however, Nezznar will resort to other spells – or attempt the suggestion spell again on another character.

Nezznar will leave at least one 2nd level spell slot free, so he can cast the invisibility spell – in case the battle turns against him].

If a character gets to within melee range of Nezznar, [he will cast shocking grasp, which gives him advantage on his spell attack rolls if the character is wearing metal armour. Should he hit, he will move away to safety, preferably behind a minion. As per the spell description, you are denied your reaction if he hits you with the shocking grasp spell].

If Nezznar is cornered and he has no clear path to escape, [he will cast darkness to impose disadvantage on your attack rolls before attempting to push past the weakest character (resolve this as a Strength contest if necessary)].

The bugbears will hang back and stay with Nezznar, throwing their javelins if you are within 30 feet of them. When they have thrown their javelins, they will draw their morningstars and stand guard in front of Nezznar.

Should one of your characters get close enough to potentially threaten Nezznar, the bugbears move in to attack.

If it looks like Nezznar and his minions are winning easily, the bugbears join the fray if the conditions allow for it.

The giant spiders follow a simple pattern of firing their webs at the nearest unrestrained character, then closing in on that character and biting at him or her. They recharge their web attack as normal, but do not use it again unless the spider’s current target tries to escape or it manages to knock him or her unconcious. The exception to this is if another character is engaging the spider in melee combat.

If you have not yet defeated the creatures in Area 18, [they eventually arrive to assist Nezznar and his minions 3 rounds into the encounter. They act after the giant spiders in the initiative count].

2. Approach quietly

Make a DC 9 Dexterity (Stealth) check (thanks to darkness) for each character in the party.

Carrying a torch or bearing other light sources automatically results in a failure.

If you are successful, you gain surprise and assuming you intend to attack, refer to number 1 for details of the encounter.

3. Parley with the dark elf

Consider what you wish to say to the dark elf, then open the ‘Conversations’ spoiler box below for possible answers to your questions.

4. Search the room for treasure

This option assumes you have defeated all the creatures here. You find nothing of worth in this chamber if you perform a generic search of this place.

If you search the table, [you find a sack on the table containing 190ep, 130gp, 15pp, nine small gems (10gp each) and a dwarven ale mug made of hammered electrum (100gp). Other than that, there are a few interesting notes and maps showing Nezznar’s efforts at exploring the mine so far].

5. Search the bodies for treasure

This option assumes you have defeated all enemies in this room.

You find nothing at all on the bugbears or the spiders. However, the drow wizard carries [a potion of healing and a staff that, when handled, gives you the sense that you are handling an item of mystical nature.

Playing around with the item during a short rest or casting identify on the staff allows you to learn all information regarding the staff on page 53.]

6. Climb onto the statue and pry its eyes out

Climbing up does not require a check, but prying out a gem requires a DC 10 Strength check.

If you succeed, [the pillars that line the walls crack, triggering a ceiling collapse. Each creature in the room must now make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d10 bludgeoning from falling rubble and falling prone on a failure, or taking only half damage on a success.

To add insult to injury, if you inspect the gems closely, a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the jewels are worthless].

7. Examine the statue

If you have proficiency in Religion, [you instantly recognise that the statue is a depiction of the dwarven god of mining, Dumathoin].

8. Cast detect magic

If you do this, [you pick up a strong aura of abjuration magic on the statue itself, perhaps a clue that the statue is protected in some fashion].

[collapse]

 

Possible actions and outcomes 2

1. Attack

If you attack without regard for the the safety of the dwarf, Nezznar shakes his head and tuts, while sarcastically commenting on the lack of compassion shown by so-called heroes these days.

Then he orders his minions to attack.

Also, [four giant spiders appear from behind the pillars and spew their webs at you. You have a chance to avoid being surprised by the spiders only if their Dexterity (Stealth) checks of +7 do not beat your passive Perception scores].

Open the ‘Possible actions and outcomes 1’ spoiler box and go to number 1 to see how the battle should be handled.

On the fourth round of combat, [if you have not been paying attention to the dwarf or if you have rescued the dwarf and have your back turned towards him, the dwarf attempts to ambush the nearest character, preferably characters who cast spells and/or do not wear armour.

If the dwarf succeeds in beating your passive Perception score minus 5 (unless you are carrying a light source) with a 1d20 + 4 Dexterity (Stealth) check, he gains surprise on you.

The dwarf gains a couple of benefits as a result of surprising you. He makes his attacks with advantage and inflicts an extra 10 (3d6) points of damage if he hits.

Otherwise, the dwarf 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 dwarf makes two melee attacks using his 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.

If you kill this dwarf, click here].

2. Scan the area for other dangers

If you take the time to stay alert before you do anything in response to your current situation, you may make a Wisdom (Perception) check to see if you can spot anything lurking in the shadows. You have disadvantage on this check if you do not carry a light source, even if you have darkvision.

If your check is greater than 1d20 + 7, [you notice four giant spiders lurking behind the pillars].

3. Do as the dark elf says and drop your weapons

[The bugbears approach you and strip you of your belongings before taking you to Area 20.

You are now a prisoner.

When you arrive at Area 20, you see a badly disheveled dwarf identical to the one that Nezznar had held at staff point in order to force your surrender. You turn round to look at the dwarf beside Nezznar and he shifts into a new form that looks like this.

While mocking your foolishness and gullibility, not to mention the weakness typical of those who show compassion, your captors lock you up in a place devoid of light or hope.

Go to Area 20.]

4. Try to bargain with the dark elf

The dark elf reminds you that he is now the one in control, what with the dwarf at his mercy. If you do not yield, he says, the dwarf will be dead.

If you can succeed on a DC 15 Charisma (Persuasion) check and [persuade him that you are more useful to him alive than dead, he admits that he rather agrees with your assertion and that he may actually have something for you to do.

Basically, the undead monsters in the caverns to the east are a source of major headache for him. If you can clear the area of undead monsters, he will let you leave this place with the dwarf.]

Consider whether or not you will agree to his demands, then reveal the text in the square brackets by slowly highlighting it from left to right.

[If you are observing the dark elf for signs of deception, make a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by the elf’s Charisma check of +1. If you win the contest, you get the feeling that he is hiding something].

5. Try and analyse the situation you find yourself in

If you are suspecting that something is not quite right in this situation, you may attempt a Wisdom (Insight) check.

If you roll 15 or higher, [you get the gut feeling that this situation isn’t quite what it seems, but you can’t discern anything more than that].

If you roll 20 or higher, [you pick up on the fact that, for all the threats the dark elf is making about harming the dwarf, you feel quite certain that he appears hesitant to follow through on his threats and kill the dwarf].

6. Call his bluff

If you feel confident that the dark elf is unlikely to hurt the dwarf for whatever reason, you can call him out on this.

Should you do this, [the dark elf is surprised at how perceptive you are. You are correct – the dark elf is hesitant to hurt the dwarf and the surprise on the face of the drow – and the dwarf – pretty much confirms your suspicions. From here, you should decide what you are going to do next].

7. Enter this room using stealth

This will not work as the creatures in this room are expecting you.

8. Search the room for treasure

This option assumes you have defeated all the creatures here. You find nothing of worth in this chamber if you perform a generic search of this place.

If you search the table, [you find a sack on the table containing 190ep, 130gp, 15pp, nine small gems (10gp each) and a dwarven ale mug made of hammered electrum (100gp). Other than that, there are a few interesting notes and maps showing Nezznar’s efforts at exploring the mine so far].

9. Search the bodies for treasure

This option assumes you have defeated all enemies in this room.

You find nothing at all on the bugbears or the spiders. However, the drow wizard carries [a potion of healing and a staff that, when handled, gives you the sense that you are handling an item of mystical nature.

Playing around with the staff during a short rest or casting identify on the staff allows you to learn all information regarding the staff on page 53.

You also find a key on his person].

10. Climb onto the statue and pry its eyes out

Climbing up does not require a check, but prying out a gem requires a DC 10 Strength check.

If you succeed, [the pillars that line the walls crack, triggering a ceiling collapse. Each creature in the room must now make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4d10 bludgeoning from falling rubble and falling prone on a failure, or taking only half damage on a success.

To add insult to injury, if you inspect the gems closely, a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check reveals that the jewels are worthless].

11. Examine the statue

If you have proficiency in Religion, [you instantly recognise that the statue is a depiction of the dwarven god of mining, Dumathoin].

12. Cast detect magic

If you do this, [you pick up a strong aura of abjuration magic on the statue itself, perhaps a clue that the statue is protected in some fashion].

[collapse]
Conversations

1. Who are you?

The dark elf introduces himself as Nezznar.

2. Are you the Black Spider?

The dark elf [admits that he is the Black Spider].

3. Are you the mastermind behind the goblin and the Redbrand activities?

Yes, he ordered the goblins to capture Gundren Rockseeker and controlled Phandalin through the bandit gang.

It’s ideal in maintaining control of the area, while keeping his identity secret from outsiders and meddlers.

4. Demand the elf’s surrender

He admits that you are more powerful and resourceful than he thought, and that he has nothing to gain by opposing you. But the elf is reluctant to surrender, because there is something he must do before anything else.

He proposes to work together against the undead to the east. They are likely guarding wealth that the dark elf has searched long and hard for. He is willing to share with you some of that treasure as long as you work with him. The mines were a real trove of treasure and he suspects that there is a lot to be shared.

He adds that surely you can see that this would be the most fruitful outcome for both of you?

If all goes well, there will be more opportunities to increase your wealth. The drow has more projects of a similar nature to this – wealth enough for you to not want for anything for the rest of your days.

Should you agree, the drow thanks you and bids you good luck. Once you clear out the caverns to the east of all undead and bring whatever you find to the dark elf, click here.

Consider whether or not you will agree to his demands, then reveal the text in the square brackets by slowly highlighting it from left to right.

[If you are observing the dark elf for signs of deception, make a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by the elf’s Charisma check of +1. If you win the contest, you get the feeling that there is a hint of deception in his words].

5. I would like to join you

The drow is always on the lookout for skilled and resourceful people to partner with and you being here means that it’s likely that his forces have been left battered and bruised by your hand.

If you are serious about helping him, he tells you about the undead on the east side of the mines. These creatures have been making life difficult for him and he would reward you greatly if you were to rid the mines of the undead menace.

Should you agree, the drow thanks you and bids you good luck. Once you clear out the caverns to the east of all undead and bring whatever you find to the dark elf, click here.

Consider whether or not you will agree to his demands, then reveal the text in the square brackets by slowly highlighting it from left to right.

[If you are observing the dark elf for signs of deception, make a Wisdom (Insight) check opposed by the elf’s Charisma check of +1. If you win the contest, you get the feeling that he is hiding something].

[collapse]

Area 20

The door to this room is locked. If you carry thieves tools, you may use them to pick the locks with a DC 15 Dexterity check.

Area 20 description

20

Dusty draperies adorn the walls of this room, which also contains a bed and brazier. A badly disheveled dwarf lies bound and unconscious on the cold stone floor.

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Possible actions and outcomes

Regardless of whatever you do here, if you did not operate quietly in and around this area, [four giant spiders appear from the west and attack you. These spiders will spew their webs at you during their first turn, provided there is some distance between you and the spiders.

They then close in and engage you in melee combat].

1. Heal the dwarf

Any healing you can provide will bring him to consciousness. He has the hit points and stats of a commoner.

2. Speak to the dwarf

Before you can do this, the dwarf must be revived (see number 1 above).

When he is able to speak, you may open the ‘Conversations’ spoiler box below, though you should think about what you want to say to him first.

3. Untie the dwarf and leave the room with him

He offers his gratitude and will tag along with you while you remain in Wave Echo Cave.

Should you escape with him and make it back to Phandalin in one piece, [award yourself 200XP, shared between all characters in the party].

4. Rest in this room

Provided you have dealt with all enemies permanently in the western side of the mines, you may freely rest in this room with the door closed without being disturbed (it isn’t necessary to lock it, though doing so might make you feel safer).

[collapse]
Conversations

1. Who are you?

The dwarf tells you his name: Nundro Rockseeker.

2. Can you tell me more about the mines?

Unfortunately, the dwarf knows as much as you do about the mines, so there isn’t an awful lot he can tell you.

3. Can you tell me about the Black Spider and his minions?

He says that the Black Spider is actually the dark elf, Nezznar, who is a capable wizard. He is served by a retinue of bugbear guards as well as a handful of doppelgangers that usually take the form of dark elves.

As well, he usually has several giant spiders close to him in the temple to the west of here.

[collapse]

If you are a prisoner in this room, you may wish to consider what actions you might take when alone in the prison and when guards come into the room to interrogate you.

Captured!

From time to time, your captors will come in and interrogate you. The dark elf, who will already have introduced himself to you by this point is called Nezznar.

Nezznar quizzes you at length regarding your identities, allegiances, interests and goals.

Nezznar comes in at a random time, best determined by rolling 1d20 and treating the result as the hour when he comes in during the day (e.g. if you roll a 16, he comes in at 16 hours or 4pm in the afternoon).

When he does so, consider what you might do in response to the interrogations, bearing in mind he is not adverse to using more brutal or cruel methods to force your cooperation.

Some possible actions you might take or things you might say are listed in the spoiler box ‘Conversations 2’ below.

1. Speak to the dwarf

In between visits by Nezznar and his lackeys, you may speak to the dwarf as you wish. Consider what you want to talk to him about before opening the ‘Conversations’ spoiler box above.

2. Try and find a way out of here

Doing this is fruitless. The only way to leave is through the door to the room and it is currently locked. The bugbears have also been thorough in stripping you of all functional items, even thieves tools, so the only way to get through would be to smash the door open – which will draw attention to you.

However, if you did have the presence of mind to hide items like lockpicks while the bugbears were searching you, you could attempt a DC 15 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check (or perhaps you already have) contested by the bugbears’ Wisdom (Perception) checks (roll once for all of them).

If you succeed, you may use the lockpicks to pick your way out.

However, bear in mind that all your weapons are confiscated, so unless you are able to remain functional in combat while unarmed, you will be at a serious disadvantage should combat occur.

You would be advised to leave the mines and hope you don’t run into more of the dark elf’s lackeys or even Nezznar himself.

[collapse]
Conversations 2

1. Tell the dark elf everything he wants to know

You reply to every question that is asked of you – of which there are many.

When the interrogation is over, Nezznar appears satisfied and, [at this point, it does not matter if you are truthful or not. You are no longer of use to Nezznar and he has you executed on the spot. Your adventure ends here].

2. Refuse to speak to Nezznar about your reasons for being here, your goals, allies, etc.

Nezznar tortures you, attempting to force answers out of you. Should you continue to resist, [Nezznar tortures you until he has had enough and leaves the room. You lose a sixth of your current hit points and gain one level of exhaustion.

You also get the feeling that this is far from over and Nezznar will be back in due course].

3. Try and bargain with Nezznar

Attempting to get him to listen to you will be a feat in and of itself. You have caused endless trouble for Nezznar and his plans and now that he has imprisoned you, he sees no reason why he should free someone who has been a thorn in his side and make his own life difficult again.

In addition to coming up with a good reason for him to free you, you must succeed on a DC 20 Charisma (Persuasion) or a DC 20 Charisma (Deception) check. Should you succeed on the check and tell him [that you can be more useful to him alive than (half) dead/are willing to betray Gundren/something along these lines, Nezznar will agree to free you, but only for the purpose of fulfilling a task that he requires of you.

Enough of your equipment for you to be functional in your chosen class will be returned to you. All magic items will remain with Nezznar.

Basically, you are to explore the caverns to the east and take out all the undead, as they have been a major source of headache for the drow wizard.

Of particular note is the flameskull in Area 12 which rejuvenates within one hour whenever it is destroyed. Should you manage to destroy it, Nezznar would like you to bring the remains to him, so that he may figure out a way to deal with it permanently.

In order to ensure you do not escape, Nezznar will relocate to Area 1 along with his bodyguards and spiders.

When you have completely cleared the place and return to Nezznar with the remains of the skull, open the ‘Fulfilling your obligations’ spoiler box below once you have decided in your heart what you will do when you confront the drow wizard again].

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Fulfilling your obligations

1. Lie to Nezznar and say that the task is done

This will not be a good idea, since he will confiscate all your equipment again and to make sure you are not lying, he will go to the eastern caverns with you in tow to see if you have indeed dealt with the problem.

Naturally, a revived flameskull floating around will be all Nezznar needs to determine that you are lying and he will have you killed on the spot.

2. Hand over the skull

Nezznar expresses his pleasure at the fact that there are now no more obstacles to get in the way of his plans and immediately orders his men to confiscate your items again, involving the spiders if need be.

Once he has taken all your equipment, you will be returned to Area 20.

3. Attack!

If you rather try and force your way out of here or die trying, go to Area 19 above, open the first spoiler box and read number 1 to see how the battle unfolds.

The setup of the battle is exactly the same, other than the fact it takes place in Area 1 instead.

4. Hurl the remains of the flameskull at Nezznar and his minions – just as it is about to revive!

If you manage to think of something like this, it could potentially make all the difference between victory and defeat for you, especially when you have been deprived of all your magic items.

The flameskull will focus on the creatures closest to him first (which is hopefully the drow and his minions), before it turns its wrath towards you.

Refer to Area 12 in order to see what tactics the flameskull will use.

Nezznar and anyone else with a ranged attack will focus on the flameskull – who will be floating above the battlefield – first, while those who cannot reach the flameskull will be ordered to attack you. Aside from that, go to Area 19 above, open the first spoiler box and read number 1 to see how Nezznar fights.

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Leaving The Wave Echo Cave

If you wish to return to Phandalin, remember it is roughly half a day’s travel from this location. Check for random encounters once. Refer to page 27 for details.

If you have finished exploring the mines and [you have captured Nezznar, intending to turn him over to Sildar Hallwinter or Townmaster Wester in Phandalin, you gain double the experience points for defeating Nezznar in combat. the drow is locked up until Sildar Hallwinter or another representative of the Lords’ Alliance can escort him to Neverwinter to face justice and interrogation.

In the meantime, it is worth considering what you wish to do with the prisoner. Once you have decided, click here].

Click here to return to Phandalin.

I hope you enjoyed the final chapter of Play It Solo.

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

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4 comments

  • digitaltempest

    I wanted to thank you so much for this series. I’m a new player, and I already play with a group, but we haven’t been playing enough for me to feel like I’m actually catching on to the things I should. I haven’t been able to find another group to play with as of yet (offline isn’t much of an option and online I can be a little leery just finding random groups). This has helped to fill in the gaps while I learn the mechanics! Thanks, and I hope you do other adventures in D&D, too, like Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

  • Samuel

    Thank you so much for doing this series!
    This might be much to ask, but could you make another series like this please because I really enjoyed it.
    Thanks!

    • Ken Wai Lau

      There are no plans at the moment to create another series like this one, but neither am I ruling out the possibility of doing something similar in the future.

      The main reason is that there are other articles that I want to focus on first.

      In any case, glad you enjoyed this.

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