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

Preparing for Session 6



I am starting to really enjoy playing Sildar. He’s fast becoming my favourite NPC. He’s not 1 dimensional or there for only one purpose and the players like coming back to him and chatting about their adventures. Its nice. I see Sildar a bit like this:

"A man stood in front of some maps looking very intense"

But with a borderline offensive mediterranean accent.

The Sleeping Giant

The Sleeping Giant is fast becoming ‘the home of the lost and the troubled in search of a new life’ for our characters. I am fairly certain they will check in with the owner. I’m treating the Sleeping Giant as some light comic relief. Bozz will basically abuse the characters regardless of their power, he doesn’t care. He just cares he’s running out of customers and now has a cheese obsessed goblin for a helper. I am thinking Fawlty Towers but with less racism.

Inspiration! … or ‘Expanding my source material’

So during this time it was my birthday (\o/ yay!) and so the lovely people who care for me bought me some D&D based gifts … a set of adventure books to serve as inspiration:

I have no intention of running these seperate or ‘as is’ at the moment but do want them as inspiration for my campaign.

So the easiest thing to do was introduce some of the locations via the maps I produced.

The ‘Essentials Kit’ was SUPER easy to integrate into an existing story. I just pulled a few locations and plonked them on my maps. That way if the characters ever rocked up I could run the encounters from the ‘Essentials Kit’ without too much hassle. It only took me an evening to go through the adventures, understand which would fit easily and get them on the map. On a side note the quality of the rulebook is a SIGNIFICANT upgrade on the rulebook in the starter kit.

I read the intro to ‘Curse of Strahd’ and a few ‘reviews’ or ‘guides’ around it like this one from Sly Flourish, and a lot of them suggested that it could be run standalone. So I included Barovia as a place on one of my maps. I also made the map a bit spooky and weird so that anyone who knew much about Amphicea would know this was not quite right. The most obvious person who would know this would be Sildar.

‘Hoard of the Dragon Queen’ was my big gamble … as discussed in my previous prep sessions article I wanted to start emphasising the dragon cultists as ‘the next big threat’ for my players. So I orginally de-emphasised Thundertree in my current story arc, but would start ramping it up as the ‘next biggy’ after Wave Echo Cave. Hopefully the source would inspire me. Nothing put in from this at the moment … but plans ahead!

Being kind to the players

My son had wanted to cast chromatic orb in the last session … and had not had the spell components :(

So at the start of this session I concocted a crazy story about a squirrel giving him a diamond in the middle of the forest iin exchange for 50gp.

Everybody gets one.

"Scene from Family Guy where Spiderman says 'everybody gets one'"


Inkarnate is amazing. With their release of the ‘top down’ battle map option I’ve been having super fun. But the maps for this week were slightly more traditional (for Inkarnate) region maps.

Organising the places is hard to make them fit together cohesively but I think I’ve done an OK job. To allow for some leeway with the players I’ve described the ‘Shellfell Mountain’ map as very high quality, I am fairly happy as DM that I am not going to add any more locaitions to this area. For the ‘South Bariande Forest’ map, I described this as ‘on the back of an envelope’. I am less certain that I won’t want to add things to this map :)

As for drawing maps … I’ve decided that maps will have a similar cost to copying magic scrolls. As for time and quality, I have no basis for this but I assume that creating a high quality map on vellum takes a lot of time and skill… so I decided to base quality on time taken.


Session recap and intro

When last we met … After spending some time preparing and finding the town in a friendly mood after vanquishing the Redbrands, they set off back to Tresandar manor seeing the remnants of smoke. On arrival, there was a grizzly discovery, and a clear message to come to Cragmaw Castle. During this they also tackled a nothic which made them reveal some deep dark secrets. It was also here that our adventurers learnt lesson number one about deception. Don’t try to fool a creature who can detect magic with a pretend magic item.

After dispatching the nothic, and resting up the Goudafellas set off for Cragmaw castle early in the morning, entering the woods it wasn’t long before they learnt lesson number two of deception. No matter what you look like, it might be a good idea if you could talk to the folks you are trying to decieve. This deception technically lasted longer than the last one … but only because Goblins and Trolls are idiots. Chase continued in his rich vein of luck and managed to hit nothing but tree trunks, Wistendal proved his bravery by dancing amongst the trees, leaving Hjulkyl and Vivian to do all the actual work.

After dispatching their enemies they headed to make camp a safe distance away. That evening, In what can only be described as an extraordinary incident, Chase found a friendly squirrel who, surprisingly, had accidentally buried a diamond for the winter instead of a nut. The squirrel, no longer needing the diamond once informed of the mistake, bartered with chase and agreed the price of 50gp for the diamond, which would allow the squirrel to send his kids to Acorn college in the autumn. Remarkably, this is exactly the material components that Chase needed to cast Chromatic Orb from now on. How strange. Please add that to your inventory Chase :)

So, the group camped, took watch and a long rest … and its early, just before dawn, maybe 5am.

You know that the castle is about an hours walk away based on your view from above the trees.

What would you like to do?

After saving Gundren: He will jealously guard the map to wave echo cave. He will tell them he needs to rest, maybe a week or two, and then make himself ready to set out to wave echo cave. He doesn’t know what the BlackSpider wants with the cave, other than the fact he now knows where it is

Townmaster’s Hall

Harbin Westor - Wants the Orcs out … looks like they’ve started attacking ranches and my brothers logging company … we’ve had word these are coming out of Wyvern Tor theres a band of Orcs …out on the tribor trail I need dealing with … near Wyvern Tor … Ill give you 100gp for it …

Distrubingly we’ve also had reports of a necromancer working out of old owl well.


Gundren!! It is good to see you … and of course, you succeeded my Gouda fellas! Now tell me Gundren … what is it you had found that was worth nearly dieing for?

Takes Vivian to one side … You my friend, you are like me no? Better with your fists than your brain? You should come see me, train with me when you have time, I think I can help.

To all the party …

Gundrem will tell Sildar he has found the location of Wave Echo cave.

Sildar: These are troubling times … I am hearing of disturbing things from the Lords Alliance, I told them of the traitor Iarno, and he is now on his way to the jails in Bariande. However, they have told me of something that has left me deeply disturbed. The Lords alliance has got wind of cultists sprouting like Weeds across Amphicea. We do not know their aims, only that they appear to be in thrall to Tiamat… I cannot see the pattern, but all these things, the orcs moving and attacking our farms and villages, the tales of the necromancer being told in old owl well, and the scheme of this black spider, and his move on Wave Echo cave… they must be related.

And he bangs his arm on the desk.

I just cannot see the wood for the trees? No?

If Iarno sees the map of Shellfell mountains for any reason … he will tell them that this map is weird … it seems old and new… Baravia does not exist.

The Sleeping Giant

Now run by the goblin Bozz and his new helper, Norgul the cheese eating goblin.

Bozz is still basically pissed off and grumpy, hes largely abusive to Norgul. Played for laughs.

He complains a lot about how he’s going to be out of business soon because the rebrands are gone.

Job offers in Phandalin

Quest Location Found out about it Started Finished
Old owl trouble Edermath Orchard    
The Banshees Bargain The Shrine of Luck    
Orc Trouble (Butterskull Ranch, Westor’s Logging, Wyvern Tor) Townmaster’s Hall    
Finding Cragmaw Castle Townmaster’s Hall    


The Shellfell Mountain Range "A map of the Shellfell mountain range"

South Bariande Forest "A map of the south Bariande forest"