28-29 of Highsun, 1481 DR
The Heroes of Phandalin fought their way through Wave Echo Cave searching for the Black Spider, hoping to wrest control of the mine and the Forge of Spells from his grip. After chasing a drow assassin up some stairs and into a hallway, they found themselves at an entrance to a large room.
Pimpernel drank his potion of invisibility and snuck into the room. There, he found Nezznar, the Black Spider and two bugbear lieutenants. One of the bugbears had Nundro Rockseeker at dagger point. After reporting this back to his party, the group made their grand entrance.
Nezznar was not surprised to see the group, as he had put a spy on them to track their progress. He hoped they would roam the entire cave and eliminate the undead creatures his bugbears couldn’t seem to defeat. However, he was confident that he could strike a deal with the party: Nundro’s life in return for their service clearing out the cave. The party refused, so Nezznar struck his spider staff on the floor, summoning four giant spiders from webs all around the room. The battle was on.
The spiders quickly surrounded the party, but couldn’t seem to cause much damage. One of the bugbears lost his nerve and began to run away. The other bugbear kept a dagger to Nundro’s throat, backing up to the back wall of the room. Nezznar watched with arrogance as the party dealt with the spiders.
Claudius was the first to challenge Nezznar, causing a bit of damage but one of his strikes was deflected when Nezznar cast Shield. It was then that Pimpernel made his presence known with a shortbow shot to the bugbear holding Nundro. Critically wounded, the bugbear let Nundro go, but Nundro quickly revealed that he was not Nundro at all, but a doppelganger that had previously disguised itself as the drow the party wounded and chased into the room.
The doppelganger immediately went after Orrick and gave the dwarf a hearty beating, but Orrick’s battleaxe easily bisected the wounded creature. Orrick then set his sights on a spider, and then Nezznar.
Nezznar finally decided to join the fray after Danial mocked him. Nezznar used his spider staff to create thick webs on the floor, attempting to trap Danial, Xidas, and Bart. He only successfully trapped Danial, and Bart began his pursuit of the Black Spider.
Nezznar moved to the far side of the room and as Orrick, Claudius, and Bart surrounded him, he cast Invisibility. However, Xidas had cast Hunter’s Mark on him, and with a keen eye, shot Nezznar, who was attempting to spider climb the wall. Nezznar fell to the ground and landed prone. The fleeing bugbear was also dispatched before it could escape.
With their enemy on the floor and vulnerable, the two paladins and the Eldritch Knight surrounded Nezznar and began to pummel him. However, it was Pimpernel who ended Nezznar’s life with lightning from his Chromatic Orb.
With Nezznar’s charred body lying on the floor, the looting began. Bart found an iron key and looked around for something to open. He saw a previously unnoticed door on the far end of the room. He and Orrick went to the room to find a tied up Nundro. They freed him and the group collected a bag of Nezznar’s money and his spider staff. They made their way out of the cave, retracing their steps.
Once back in Phandalin, Townmaster Wester praised the group for clearing out the cave and bringing an end to Nezznar’s plot. Gundren was reunited with his brother, and Nundro told Gundren about the fate of their other brother, Tharden. The party settled into the Stonehill Inn for the night with the promise of a proper reception in the morning.
The party was instructed to meet Wester at the Town Green, and they were surprised to find the entire town waiting for them. With a moving speech, Wester thanked the group for helping restore Phandalin to prosperity and granted them the deed to Tresendar Manor as a token of the town’s thanks.
Gundren also offered to restore the manor and supply labor and materials for free. He also struck a deal with the group to give them 10% of the Forge’s earnings once they were up and running. Then the town had a massive breakfast feast, celebrating the seemingly secure future of Phandalin.