Following the goblins’ trail, you come across a large cave in a hillside five miles from the scene of the ambush. A shallow stream flows out of the cave mouth, which is screened by dense briar thickets. A narrow dry path leads into the cave on the right side of the stream. After a long rest, the party moves in.
On the east side of the stream flowing from the cave mouth, a small area in the briar thickets has been hollowed out to form a lookout to form a lookout post or blind, Wooden planks flatten out the briars and provide room for guards to lie hidden and watch the area—-including a pair of goblins lurking there right now! The goblins don’t immediately notice the characters until they cross the river and they get the jump on the goblins meant to be guarding the cave entrance before they can get any meaningful surprise shot off at distance
Once the goblins are defeated, the characters notice that just inside the cave mouth, a few uneven stone steps lead up to a small, dank chamber on the east side of the passage. The cave narrows to a steep fissure at the far end, and is filled with the stench of animals. Savage snarls and the sounds of rattling chains greet the characters’ ears where two wolves are chained up just inside the opening. Each wolf’s chain leads to an iron rod driven into the base of a stalagmite.
The characters decide to sneak past as they assume the goblins hear the wolves fighting and barking so often they assume nothing is out of the ordinary. There is a fissure at the east end of the room with the wolves that appears to be a garbage chute and leads up about 30 feet . The characters decide to avoid trying to calm the wolves and ascend the shaft due to too make risky variables.
The cave is now dark enough that those without darkvision must use torches to see their surroundings. The main passage from the cave mouth climbs steeply upward, the stream plunging and splashing down its west side. In the shadows, a side passage leads west across the other side of the stream which the characters choose to sneak across and enter. Those with darkvision looking in the shadows of the ceiling to the north can just make out the dim shape of a rickety bridge of wood and rope crossing over the passage above them. Another passage intersects this one, twenty feet above the floor. Anyone who can see this bridge may also notice the goblin guarding the bridge with a WIS Perception check against the goblin’s DEX Stealth check result.
The characters choose the western passage, avoiding being seen by the goblin on the bridge. This passage is choked with rubble and has steep escarpments and is very rough terrain.
This large cave is divided in half by a ten-foot-high escarpment. A steep natural staircase leads from the lower portion to the upper ledge. The air is hazy with the smoke of a cooking fire, and pungent from the smell of poorly cured hides and unwashed goblins.
The Cragmaw raiders stationed in the hideout use this area as a common room and barracks. Six goblins inhabit this den, one of them being the leader. The five ordinary goblins tend the cooking fire in the lower (northern) part of the cave near the entrance passage while the leader rests in the upper (southern) part of the cave.
The characters notice Sildar Hallwinter being held prisoner and is securely bound on the southern ledge of the cavern. It is clear the goblins have been beating him and he appears to be very close to death, so the characters arrange an ambush so that Sildar won’t be killed outright.
The characters arrange an ambush to funnel the goblins into the steep, uneven ground while Skunk hides around a corner in the path to the north in order to surround them.
After a very quick round of combat the goblin leader, Yeemik sees that the characters are getting the upper hand and he grabs Sildar and drags him over to the edge of the upper level. “Truce or this human dies!” he shouts.
Yeemik wants Klarg’s head and his positionas leader of their crew. Klarg is a bugbear who runs things and lives at the end of the cave. The adventurers agree to parley. Yeemik convinces them to kill Klarg in the section at the very end known as Klarg’s Cave, promising to release Sildar once they bring back Klarg’s head. Sildar groggily warns the characters not to trust the goblin the entire time.
Where a high tunnel passes over the stream, the goblins have set up a bridge guard post.As the characters approack from the west side of the bridge, catching the goblin off-guard, they notice another set of uneven steep steps below bending eastward as well as a waterfall sounding out from a larger cavern somewhere ahead of them. The rickety bridge spans the passage, connecting two tunnels twenty feet above the stream.
The characters successfully spot the hiding goblin standing watch on the bridge by succeeding a WIS Perception check against the goblin’s DEX Stealth check. As the guard is lazy and inattentive, so the characters put out their torches, succeed their DEX Stealth checks against the goblin’s passive WIS Perception, surprising him before he is able to signal the alarm to the others, which the characters find out later would flood the cavern with water from a dammed up stream that pools further up the cave and would wash anything unfortunate enough to be standing in the cave’s main path out of the mouth of the cave.
Twin Pools Cave
After crossing the bridge as stealthily as possible, they enter a cavern with two pools filled with water fed by a narrow waterfall high in the eastern wall and which can be drained out the western end of the chamber to form the stream that flows out of the cave mouth below. Low fieldstone walls serve as dams holding the water in, set up in such a way that the stream running through the main passage through the cave can be flooded. A wide exit stands to the south, while two smaller passages lead west. The sound of the waterfall echoes through the cavern, fortunately making it difficult for Klarg and his dog in the next room to hear the characters fighting the three goblins guarding this cave. This does not, however, prevent the goblins from running to warn Klarg if they are not subdued quick enough. These goblins are quickly dispatched before they can either warn Klarg or release any of the wolves from their den.
The leader of the goblinoids insists on keeping the bulk of the raiders’ stolen goods in his den. The Cragmaws’ plunder from the last month or so of raiding and ambushing caravans is here.
Sacks and Crates of looted provisions are piled up in the south end of this large cave. To the west, the floor slopes toward a narrow opening that descends into darkness. A larger opening leads north down a set of natural stone steps, the roar of falling water echoing from beyond. In the middle of the cavern, the coals of a large fire smolder.
Klarg the bugbear shares this cave with his mangy pet wolf, Ripper, and two Goblins. Klarg, being a mighty warlord still at the beginning of his conquest, has delusions of grandeur and is not entirely sane, referring himself in third person (“Who dares defy Klarg?” or “Klarg will build a throne from your bones, puny ones!”) After the goblins and wolf are killed, Klarg attempts to climb down the chimney, past the tied-up wolves, and attempts to flee the cave complex. However, a well-timed and well-placed critical attack takes Klarg’s head directly off.
Tying Up Business
Returning with Klarg’s head to Yeemik makes him very happy, but still tries to force them to pay a rich ransom for the return of Sildar Hallwinter even after completing their part of the bargain. The characters soon intimidate and overpower him, forcing him to release Sildar and divulge useful information regarding the goblins. Sildar, upon release, picks up a shortsword from a defeated goblin and is anxious to reach Phandalin and is willing to pay the party 50gp to provide escort although he has no money on him he assures he can secure a loan.
Yeemik tells the characters that:
* Klarg answered to King Grol, chief of the Cragmaw tribe, who dwells in Cragmaw Castle, about 20 miles northeast of the Cragmaw Hideout in the Neverwinter Wood
* Klarg received a messenger goblin from King Grol a few days ago. The messenger says that someone named the Black Spider was paying the Cragmaws to watch out for Gundren, capture him, and send him and everything he was carrying back to King Grol. Klarg Followed his orders, Gundren was ambushed and taken along with his personal effects including a map.
Yeemik carries a pouch containing three gold teeth (1gp each) and 15 sp. He does not have Sildar’s gear as it was taken with Gundren Rockseeker to Cragmaw Castle.
Upon deeper searching, the piles of sacks and crates are mostly marked with the image of a blue lion— the symbol of the Lionshield Coster, a merchant company with a warehouse and trading post in Phandalin.The captured stores are bulky and the characters bring the wagon to the cave in order to load up the supplies for transport. If they return the supplies to the Lionshield Coster in Phandalin they earn a reward of 50GP and the friendship of Linene and her company.
In addition to the stolen provisions, Klarg has a treasure chest containing 600cp, 110sp, 2 pot. of healing, and a jade statuette of a frog with tiny golden orbs for eyes (40gp) The frog is small enough to fit in a pocket or pouch.
The party decides not to go directly to Cragmaw Castle to look for Gundren, instead deciding to escort Sildar to Phandalin; bring the pre-agreed-upon goods to Barthen’s Provisions, and return stolen goods to Lionshield Coster. Details contained within characters’ backgrounds might prompt them to seek out specific types of NPC’s in town; It’s also possible players might decide to immediately strike out in search of Cragmaw Castle after taking care of business. Either way, they are back on the road to Phandalin.
Exploring Cragmaw Hideout and defeating Klarg and his allies is a milestone, meaning each character is awarded 275 XP, which should put everybody at level 2.