Preparing for the fith session as DM in Lost Mine of Phandelver

Preparing for session 5

Missing out

As mentioned in my summary of session 4 my characters missed out on a lot of the Redbrand hideout because of the path they chose. This made me a little sad because they missed out on some combat and some goodies. To encourage them to return I wanted to set up a hook so that they might be enticed.

They did know that there was other stuff to find, because they had questioned first, a redbrand ruffian, and then Iarno himself.

Story decisions

I decided to streamline some of the side quests from Lost Mine of Phandelver. Again … this could have been a very preperation heavy session. In theory there were many paths they could now take:

  • Any one of the quests they could find in Phandalin
  • Re-investigate Redbrand Hideout
  • Head out to Cragmaw Castle

In reality, I wanted my players to re-investigate Redbrand Hideout and then head off to Cragmaw Castle. But obviously the characters don’t always do what you want :)

Assuming they would investigate at least something they already knew about … I wanted focus my prep on the Nothic encounter and I also generated a ‘random’ encounter in the woods. I would run this encounter regardless of the path my characters took as it could fit in anywhere and would mean I wouldn’t have to prep EVERYTHING!! You can find the map I used for this random encounter in the appendinx.

Nothic Encounter

The Nothic encounter in the Redbrand hideout is obviously meant as part of a larger piece, however, my players would be encountering it as a solo encounter. When I put this into the encounter creater on D&D Beyond … it was … rather unfair. As such I wanted to modify it slighty. To make the Nothic a little more scary I decided to amp them up a bit. I wanted to play them as suggested in the adventure guide, but I made their ‘weird insight’ talent able to effect the whole party at once, rather than individuals. This would mean I could do some effective roleplay with the characters to try and convice them not to kill the Nothic. The aim here is to make my players more scared of it than it actually is. They will probably still kill it.

Levelling up!

My characters didn’t quite make the technical limit for XP gained to pass the threshold to go to level 3 … but capturing Iarno felt like a significant milestoe so I did it anyway…

As the characters go to level 3, two of my players had to make significant decisions, I had a rogue and champion… I explained to them the possible choices to them based on high level summaries of their types … they chose types that I currently didn’t have access to so this meant … more costs on D&D Beyond… I purchased the following:

  • Eldritch Knight ($1.99)
  • Arcane Trickster ($1.99)

So roughly ~$4 in total. Not too bad.

As mentioned before, my players were newbies so I wrote them a guide and investigated what these might look like for them a little first.

Now my players aren’t particularly bothered about MAX DAMAGE combos but … when reading the cantrips by default that are available to Eldritch Knights are pretty crappy … very few help them improve their damage … and the other good ones have probably been picked by others. After reading this guide on I decided to make an additional purchase of the spells from the Sword Coast Adventures Guide. This meant:

  • Spells ($3.99)

So now I have spent ~$8

At some point I will write an ordered summary of things I purchased and how the costs have progressed.

In total, by the time I make it to the 5th session, I have spent around £40 on source material.


Session recap and intro

When last we met … our adventures found themselves, having tried to clean up the scene of their latest grizzly murder, at the pointy end of an irate goblin’s crossbow. After making a sharp exit they quickly set their sights on Tresandor Manor, the suspected home of the Redbrand Ruffians. After making a surprisingly sneaky entrance, Chase and Vivien blew their cover by trying to open the secret door they were specifically told not to open.

What came next … no one could have planned for and I, cannot speak of.

After this, unspeakable horror, our adventurers showed an amazing act of personal growth, they questioned an individual, learnt what they needed to learn and then … let them go!!! This new found approach to solving problems continued as they grabbed redbrand cloaks and managed to fool not only a bunch of undead folks who clearly just needed a hug, but also the guards of some prisoners from Phandalin. Helping the prisoners escape they continued on, deeper into the cellar of the manor, where, after deftly avoiding EVERY HARD THING IN THE DAMN PLACE THEIR DM HAD PUT THERE FOR THEM, they made their way to the room of the leader of the Rebrand Ruffians, the mysterious Glassstaff.

Despite the many clues, the adventures once again showed their vast intellectual prowess by taking a full 5 minutes to figure out that Glassstaff and Iarno Albrek were the same person … this revelation only becoming apparent after Iarno told them. Amazing detective work. With Iarno in tow, our adventurers snuck back out the manor house the way they came, having taken more damage from an angry goblin than in a bosses’ hideout. What gives?

Taking Iarno to Sildar, whilst shocked at the scale of Iarno’s betrayal, he was impressed with the groups work, so much so, he suggested that they name themselves, like all great adventuring parties, in the form of a cheese based pun. And so, we catch up with our newly named Goudafellas, the morning after the night before, where a joyous townfolk, newly free of oppression, sung, danced, drank, bagpiped and in the case of Chase told deeply disturbing stories about their past, the night away.

Its late in the morning, you can smell breakfast being cooked downstairs …

What would you like to do?

When they leave the inn

Perception check outside 10+ You can see that tresandor manor is smoking, the smoke is now white so there was probably a fire their last night.

Job offers in Phandalin

Quest Location Found out about it Started Finished
Delivering the supplies to Barthen Barthens Supplies
Old owl trouble Edermath Orchard      
Recovered Goods Lionshield Coster
Halia’s Job Offer Phandalin Miner’s Exchange  
The Banshees Bargain The Shrine of Luck      
Orc Trouble Townmaster’s Hall    
Finding Cragmaw Castle Townmaster’s Hall    
Finding Iarno Townmaster’s Hall

Goblin Camp

"Goblin camp"