D&D 5E – “Lost Mine of Phandelver” Session 18 Recap

A final showdown with the Black Spider, meeting the leader of the Undead, and finding the Forge of Spells brings Wave Echo Cave and our four-month long campaign to a close.

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Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

A final showdown with the Black Spider, meeting the leader of the Undead, and finding the Forge of Spells brings Wave Echo Cave and our four-month long campaign to a close.

First the party had to deal with the flameskull. Though the guardian undead lay defeated, they learned it would rise again in an hour. Without the proper spells or tools to prevent its rejuvenation, the party had to go into D&D: Mythbusters mode involving the nearby smelter.

I don’t exactly have the extended lore or concrete details regarding flameskull regeneration other than if it’s destroyed the pieces will reform. However, I imagine if you can trap it in an effective manner, it would still be trapped. The flameskull has access to powerful fire magic, but that does it little good when its melted into liquid metal!

I was impressed with the way the party came together to work the smelter and agree on how to deal with the flameskull. It was a great act of improvising a solution, and I definitely allowed it to work – later teasing that the creature was banging against the inside of the smelter in impotent rage.

The task dealt with, the PCs retreated to the nearby barracks for a Short Rest. They planned on continuing East and dealing with the flameskull’s master, presumably another powerful undead. But the Black Spider wasn’t idly sitting by. One of the advantages with having a live DM is you can make a dungeon a truly living, breathing thing that reacts to the party’s actions.

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In this case I had the doppelganger disguise as Nundro and lead the party back to the temple, where the Black Spider could properly thank them for eliminating the Flameskull and its army. Fake-Nundro melted into the doppelganger form, briefly taking on Vhalak’s persona to give the party further aggravation and surprise. I got my nice little villain speech in from Nezznar the Black Spider, and we rolled for initiative!

I was quite worried about this one. The Black Spider is a mage with four giant spiders, two bugbears, and the doppelganger – an army that totals well beyond the “Deadly” rating for a party of four level 4 PCs. To make matters worse the party had only Short Rested; they were not nearly at full strength.

But Fog Cloud is a hell of a spell, and my players are nothing if not resourceful. The fog cloud rendered the giant spiders and Nezznar useless for several rounds while everyone dealt with the bugbears and doppelgangers – all of whom got in some powerful attacks on Miri and Kalinaar.

The PCs heard the door opening and realized Nezznar might be fleeing to the South. Talus and Kethra dashed back out and around to meet him there. Splitting the party in the middle of a fight is not something we’ve really done yet, and it made for a neat dynamic as two different battles were waged.

Somehow Miri and Kalinaar stayed alive – barely, and the doppelganger, bugbears, and one of the giant spiders lay dead at their feet. The fog cloud proved critical in keeping the spiders at bay. The monk and paladin would retreat back around to join the others.

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Meanwhile Nezznar popped out of Invisibility and tried to mow down the rogue with Magic Missile – not realizing the rogue was also an Arcane Trickster armed with Shield. A back and forth spell battle ensued between he and Talus, which at one point devolved into staves bonking into each others’ shields.

Nezznar took heavy damage, including a crossbow bolt from Kethra and a spear from Kalinaar, and his spiders joined the fight too late to save him. With his dying breath he warned the players about the coming apocalypse, and how his people needed the Forge to fight what was to come – a tease for our next campaign!

Afterward it was a simple manner of cleaning up the spiders, and the party proved triumphant in one of their most difficult and protracted fights yet. It took over two hours! An epic boss battle indeed, even if the actual boss was not nearly as deadly or frightening as the flameskull.

Since any self-respecting party searches for loot after a big battle, I highlighted the glowing emerald eyes of the large dwarven statue in the temple. The rogue immediately scampered up the statue to pry them out. I gave her a free investigation roll but didn’t let on why. She didn’t make it, and prying them loose triggered the collapse of the entire temple, nearly downing half the party. Thankfully nearly everyone made their saving throws…except Kethra (shades of the fireball last session, though she didn’t go down this time).

Talus investigated the emerald and saw it was a fake, but our ever optimistic rogue thought to keep it in case she could swindle a merchant into buying it (they only found one, the other was lost in the rubble).

The damage was scary but ultimately the party could retreat back to Gundren and Nundro at the entrance for a Long Rest, and relay their battles with the dwarven brothers.

All that remained was the Eastern side of the mine. The party satisfyingly passed by the smelter with the angry but trapped Flameskull inside, and found the scorched buildings. Sensing a slight tingling of undead in the Southern building, they entered and found Mormesk. Mormesk was a former wizard of the mine turned evil wraith. He was none too pleased, though he tried to task the party with killing the guardian of the Forge for him.

Kalinaar would have none of it, of course, and unleashed a huge amount of damage with his various Paladin spells and abilities – over half the wraith’s life. Despite Mormesk getting to go first, Talus used a divination die to force the wraith to miss with his powerful attack, and it was destroyed before even making it a full round. The party looted his chest full of coins and found a mysterious map of the Dessarin Valley, and a Dwarven stronghold called Tyar-Besil.

d&dTo continue our clean-up of the mine the party headed north and found a spectator guarding the Forge of Spells. Spectators are basically low-level beholders, which still makes them quite the threat. This one however was slightly deranged, and believed the mine to still be in use despite all the undead roaming around.

The party caught on quickly to the situation, and Kalinaar calmly told the Spectator that its services are at an end. A successful Deception check later, and the Spectator nodded and simply disappeared. “The last wizard has died….of natural causes!” The Forge was theirs, and the nice loot that came with it.

Wave Echo Cave has been cleared. The Forge finally lay open to the Rockseeker brothers, the Black Spider has bee eliminated, and the undead forces laid to rest. The PCs have made an important impact to Phandalin as the mine can be reopened for use. Most importantly, we finished our first complete Dungeons & Dragons campaign, had a blast.

Tune in next week for a brief epilogue and a full recap of our four-month long adventure next week!

Watch our sessions live on my YouTube channel every Sunday night beginning at 9pm Central. Subscribe and catch up on previous episodes!

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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