The adventurers started off escorting a wagonload of provisions from Neverwinter to Phandalin, hired by a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker. Gundren, revealed nothing of the trip, except that he had found “something big.” He was paying 10 gold pieces per person to bring the provisions to Barthen’s Provisions, a trading post in Phandalin. Travelling for a short while on the Triboar Trail, the adventurers-to-be found two dead horses, which they recognized as those of Gundren and Sildar Hallwinter, the human who went ahead to Phandalin with Gundren. Jerrick Retherstone (Robert/Jan) examined the site, finding an empty leather map case. It was at this moment when 4 goblins ambushed the wagon! The goblins used their brute strength to almost defeat the party but ultimately perish at the sword.
The adventurers found a large cloth sack tied off with rope behind one of the thickets that the goblins were hiding. Doing the only rational thing, Drook decided to swing at the bag with his hammer. Despite the fact that the bag was stationary and in the open, Drook whiffed. Jerrick decided at this time that they should simply untie the bag. Lo and behold, there was a surprise Qetsil Lishaaron. A small and peculiar creature, slightly larger than a goblin, but lacking the thick red skin and poor hygiene. And then…it spoke! It spoke common!
The party wasn’t sold that this Qetsil character was trustworthy, despite the fact that many had known another person who went by the name of Qetsil for many years (see Renowned).
Jameson’s investigation of the ambush site led to the realization that there was a trail that about a dozen goblins and used and there were signs of two human-sized bodies being hauled away from the ambush site.
After placing two goblin corpses on the front of the wagon, holding the reigns and covering the wagon, the party decided to explore this trail. With Qetsil leading a few minutes ahead, the party set off. About fifteen minutes later, they noticed a small halfling sitting in a tree “hiding.” After much confusion, Qetsil was convinced to trust them, despite Drook’s previous attack. With Qetsil scouting only a few minutes ahead, the party was able to successfully disarm a snare trap and a pit trap. They were disarmed by throwing a stone onto the rope and fake ground, respectively.
After about five miles, the party reached a small cave with a river flowing through it. When they were going inside, they noticed two goblins (doing an absolutely terrible job of) being lookouts. Despite Vex and Jerick’s requests for the goblins to surrender, they fought. But fate was not on their side. Just like Swizzlenik (an earlier goblin killed), Dox Cragmaw perished. But Mebarx Cragmaw was not so foolish. After seeing Dox die, Mebarx waved the not-so-proverbial white flag and surrendered. Upon interrogation, he revealed much. The following passage has been translated from unintelligible goblin-common to a language that uses both a subject and a predicate in a sentence.
Inside the cave were under 20 goblins and their pets (“Growl Growl”). The leader of the cave was a bugbear named Klarg whom Mebarx was not fond using, using big words like “oppress” and “mean.” Klarg was answering to King Grol, Chief of the Cragmaw tribe, who gave his orders from Cragmaw castle. Unfortunately, Mebarx lacked land-nav skills and only knew that the castle was about 20 miles Northeast. Klarg had recently received word from the castle that someone named the Black Spider was paying the Cragmaws to watch out for the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker, capture him, and send him and anything he was carrying back to King Grol. Klarg’s daily life didn’t change. He continued to ambush wagons and travelers. It was convenient that Gundren passed by the goblin’s favorite ambush site, because he was captured and taken along with his personal belongings, including a map, back to Grol. However, the dwarf’s human companion was still in the “eating cave.”
Then, the party debated how they should best utilize Mebarx, ultimately deciding to put him on a rope and have him lead them throughout the cave. When Mebarx got nervous, they would know a trap was ahead.
Right after entering the cave, the party met Mebarx’s pets. Despite the arrow shot at one of the wolves, Jameson decided to try and talk to the wolves. His kind words were met with kind snarls and bites. After killing the wolves (and I contacted PETA) the party climbed the trash shoot at the end of the pet’s quarters to find a room with a bugbear, a wolf, and two goblins. Qetsil snuck up on Klarg and pwnt.dat.n00b (with a natural 20). After also killing the wolf, the party convinced the goblins to surrender. And surrender they did. The party and Mebarx spoke to the two goblins, Skat and Gzed. After much berating about his name’s origin, Skat spoke of his profession,“Skat no etymologist”.