You met as 5 strangers in the huge city of Neverwinter on the Sword Coast, in a popular pub called the Leaking Cask. You were drawn together by your common desire to do something more exciting than enter the trades; something more…adventurous; something that would secure your names alongside the legendary heroes you hear so much about. One of you, a dwarvish cleric named Tarben—who had been recently suspended from active duty in a company of mercenaries—had 3 cousins, the Rockseeker brothers, who needed some help. The job didn’t seem particularly “adventurous”…it was a fairly standard escort job. But you figured it would get your foot in the door, and earn some coin at the same time. Along with Tarben was a halfling rogue named Amranth, a human fighter named Evon, an elvish wizard named Althaea, and a human fighter named Salazar. Your task? Simply escort a wagon filled with supplies from Neverwinter to a village called Phandalin—about 70 miles away. One of Tarben’s cousins, Gundren Rockseeker, along with his bodyguard, Sildar Hallwinter, would go on a day ahead and meet you in Phandalin. Gundren was somewhat secretive about details, but he seemed very excited about having found “something big!”
But what began as a simple task soon turned into something different when you encountered 2 dead horses filled with black-feathered arrows in your path. You immediately recognized the horses as having belonged to Gundren and Sildar, and shortly thereafter, you were attacked by a party of goblin ambushers. Questioning the lone surviving attacker revealed that while the goblins of this region frequently ambushed travelers for profit, they had recently been given a special task by a mysterious Black Spider who wanted Gundren captured.
Hoping to find and rescue Gundren, you coerced the captive goblin to lead you to the cave which served as the hideout of the Cragmaw tribe, deep in the woods. You had a nasty run-in with a trap which flooded the passages with water, but ultimately, you explored the entire cave and defeated its inhabitants…including their leader, a bugbear named Klarg. You also found and rescued Sildar, who informed you that Gundren had been transferred—along with a special map of his—to someplace called Cragmaw Castle. However, Sildar had no idea where this castle was, and in the following days you had a very difficult time finding anyone who had heard of it, let alone knew its location!
Thus started a collection of short, investigative ventures that gave you some vital experience, but also some clues as to the whereabouts of Cragmaw Castle. You investigated Old Owl Well, and the mysterious wizard who seemed to be poking around there. You sought out and received information from a banshee. You defeated a band of orcs who had settled near Wyvern Tor. Perhaps most significantly, (at least to the inhabitants of Phandalin), you defeated the gang of Redbrands who had been oppressing the village, and were able to capture and bring to justice their leader, Iarno “Glasstaff” Albrek. You also discovered that Iarno had been working with the same Black Spider as the Cragmaw goblins.
Finally, you made you way to the abandoned village of Thundertree, to seek out a druid named Reidoth, who you’d been told might know where Cragmaw Castle was. But you found Thundertree to be overrun by evil creatures, not the least of which was a young green dragon named Venomfang. Evon, whose family had been from Thundertree, felt a particular duty to cleanse the town, and after a couple of brushes with death, you managed to chase Venomfang away! Reidoth did indeed know the location of Cragmaw Castle, and so you set out to find it. The castle was populated with all manner of goblins, hobgoblins, an owlbear, and a bugbear named King Grol, but you defeated them all and rescued a badly beaten, but living Gundren Rockseeker!
Gundren was able to direct you to the fabled and recently re-discovered Wave Echo Cave, in the hopes that you might rescue his two brothers and defeat the evil Black Spider, who intends to use the legendary power of the cave’s Forge of Spells for his own evil purposes.