Lost Mine of Phandelver

This week's blog article goes over the Lost Mine of Phandelver. This module is the adventure featured in the Starter Set box and is also available on D&D Beyond, Roll20 and other digital platforms. This article is written with Dungeon Masters in mind, and has lots of spoilers and DM information about the module. If you are a player or someone who thinks that they may play this module in the future I would advise against reading so the game is not spoiled for you. The article below talks about Lost Mine of Phandelver and I hope you enjoy the article. If you just want to see my DM Guide click here (link will be added when all 4 sections are finished) or find the link below.

Lost Mine of Phandelver is a page booklet with a complete adventure module written in four parts. The adventure itself is pages 6-51. Appendix A focuses on Magic Items and is a resource for the Dungeon Master. Appendix B holds a great importance as it has all of the stats for the monsters that are presented in the module itself. This appendix makes it possible to run the adventure without the need of a monster manual. The first two pages of Appendix B is a break down of what all the terms mean and a resource for new Dms working on their encounters. Pages 56- 63 are all the monsters that are featured in Lost Mine of Phandelver. The last page of this booklet is a Rules Index that gives page references to important rules that can be found in the Starter Set rulebook.

The Starter Set Module

Here is some of the basics about the module. Lost Mine of Phandelver has a written in adventure hook that gives an NPC interaction to help make sure that all of the players are on the road together to make their way to Phandalin. In one group I have run I had someone say they were a dwarven cousin to Gundren, in another they were all complete strangers just completing a job together.

The first few pages are the introduction with a basic DM tutorial on how to run an adventure and an overview of the game. The book is broken into four main parts that go over the different sections of the game. Part One has the information of what happens on the way to Phandalin; Part Two has everything that happens in the town including the NPC's, and the little quests that can happen when interacting with the people of Phandalin; Part Three has locations of the quests players could have picked up in Phandalin; and Part Four has the confrontation of the BBEG in Wave Echo Cave.

In Phandalin the areas that can have interactions include: Stonehill Inn, Barthen's Provisons, Edermath Orchard, Lionshield Coster, Phandalin Miner's Exchange, Alderleaf Farm, Shrine of Luck , The Sleeping Giant and the Townmaster's hall. Depending on their actions and the quests they complete the PC's can be approached into joining the Order of the Gauntlet, the Zhentarim, the Lord's Alliance or the Harpers.

The players have a few bigger "quests" from clearing out the Redbradn Ruffians from the town of Phandalin, possibly saving Gundren Rockseeker and Sildar Hallwinter along with taking down the Black Spider.

New Dungeon Master Friendly

As a "Forever DM" I love seeing things that are friendly for those new to the DM seat. In the introduction there are some really great rules to game by for new and veteran DM's alike to read and remember. I love the reminder that DM's can made things up and is in charge of making the game overall fun and that everyone is having a good time. There is also in the introduction a glossary and abbreviations that dms will come across. There is also information on improvising abilities check, because players will always want to do crazy and things that are not written about in the campaign books. The adventure itself is also pretty well written and is easy to follow for those who have not been behind the Dungeon Master screen before.

My Experiences

Lost Mine of Phandelver has been on my table rotation for two separate groups. My first group with this module was with DM Bork, a player who I had at my Pathfinder table who wanted to learn 5th edition and two players new to table top gaming.

My second table is one with a DM Pie learning 5th edition with his wife and two boys. All four of them are new to 5th edition and their first campaign.

The book says the content is written for 4-5 adventurers starting at first level. I have run it for two group of 4 and I feel that it had a good pace and flow. I can see why 5 players would be the max. If you only had three players I think the module would be doable just challenging at parts when there are larger mob encounters.

Wolfsfox's DM Guide for the Lost Mine of Phandelver

My DM guide is not a replacement for the actual modules. I wrote my DM Guide as a tool to help enhance the game and as a way to take notes on what worked/didn't work for me. I will be the first to admit that I personally love adding my own flair to the games that I run. I cannot say that I have ever run a module as written with no changes to it. To me modules are the starting point for an adventure, something to be built off of to make sure everything becomes unique and special to each individual group that you run it for. In my guide I break things down by section and have two columns. The first column is notes from the printed campaign, and may not make sense to those who do not have the printed material in front of them or for those who have never read through the campaign. The second column is all of my personal notes and thoughts about the campaign. I have made my DM Guide to Lost Mine of Phandelver: Starter Set Module in google drive and when all the sections are done I will add a link to make it viewable to the public through Google Drive.

This is Wolfsfox’s DM guide to Lost Mine of Phandelver. This has my notes from reading through the module, my thoughts and add ins and any changes I thought needed to be made to the game to make it run more smoothly. Everything written in the right column is purely her opinion and thoughts and can be used to your own discretion. This is NOT meant to replace the module and the information here is to help enhance your game play with your purchased material. All of the referenced material comes from Lost Mine of Phandelver (Baker, Richard; Perkins, Chris. Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014.

How to use this guide: Each section featured in the module has its own section presented here with the things that I didn’t want to forget, added notes, and how everything connects.

Notes From/About the Written Material


  1. Adventure is written for 4-5 1st level characters.

  2. Game focuses on the Sword Coast Region.

  3. Background:

    • Phandelver’s Pact- Over 500 years ago the clans of dwarves and gnomes made an agreement to share the riches of Wave Echo Cave which had mineral and magical wealth.

    • Human spellcasters allied themselves with the dwarves and gnomes to build the Forge of Spells

    • Powerful orcs with evil mercenary wizards attacked the Cave. The humans, dwarves, and gnomes destroyed much of the cave to protect the forge. They buried the cave.

    • Phandalin changed from a prosperous town to a rough-and-tumble frontier town.

    • The three Rockseeker brothers find the entrance and they plan on reopening it but the Black Spider is trying to take it for himself.

  4. Overview: story has 4 parts.

    • 1. Party is ambushed by goblins on the road 2. If the party follows the trail they find a cave and can rescue Sildar.

    • Phandalin: the players arrive in town where the Redbrands has taken over led by Glasstaff. Here there are NPC’s, rumors and people to send the party on other quests and missions that are part 3

    • Part 3: The Spider’s Web. The party follows leads and quests that take them around the region. Cragmaw Castle where Gundren Rockseeker is being held is a main focus so players can rescue the important NPC and retrieve his map that leads to 4

    • Part 4: Wave Echo Cave. This is where the players encounter the BBEG and the stuff that was mentioned in the background section.

  5. Adventure Hook. As written in the campaign book players can invent their own reasons for visiting Phandalin. Each of the pre-made characters also come with their own motivations and reasons for taking this trip

Meet me in Phandalin: Players are to start in Neverwinter when their dwarf “patron and friend” Gundren Rockseeker hires them to escort a wagon to Phandalin. Gundrin and Sildar leave earlier than players. Players offered 10 gp each when deliver wagon to Barthen’s Provisions

Wolfsfox’s Notes


  1. I love this game specifically for brand new players to ttrpgs. It is well written and easy to follow as a great starter game. I have run this game for two groups of four. With this game I do say stick to the suggested level 1 start.

  1. Oh Sword Coast… the only part of Faerun that everyone knows. This module could be placed elsewhere if you are not playing in the realm of Faerun. Phandalin is a good starter town but could be renamed or repackaged with a little bit of effort.

  1. This information is supposed to make it sound like no one remembers what happens. Dwarves live 250-350 years so it could be a rumor/hint passed down from a dwarf's grandfather. An elf can live up to 750 years meaning an elf could have been around during that point of Phandelver’s Pact.

  1. All of my detailed notes for each section are written in their appropriate spots.

  1. The Adventure hook Meet me in Phandalin with the offer of gold is usually promising enough for players to agree to this angle. I have had dwarven players say that they are distant cousins to the Rockseeker brothers. I have also had a player who had family connections in Phandalin and were going because they were getting harassed by the Redbrands and the PC was going to support their family. As stated before all of the pre-made characters also have written in Phandalin based motivations that can also be given to those who are creating their own characters. During our session zero I talk about Neverwinter in brief and is when I introduce Gundren Rockseeker and his companion Sildar Hallwinter in a very brief pre-game encounter to engage players in session zero and get them ready for the campaign session one when they are already in transit to Phandalin.

Part One: Goblin Arrows

Notes From/About the Written Material

Part 1: Goblin Arrows

My players have done this dungeon in the order of: 1, 2, 3, 8, 7, 5, 6 and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 6

  1. Intro to Game/ first page

    • Read the introduction paragraph as printed.

    • Give players time to introduce and describe what they see

    • Establish marching order

  2. Goblin Ambush

    • There are printed things to read

    • Investigation checks for identifying horses & perceptions for goblins

    • Encounter: 4 Goblins

Stealth = d20 + 6 vs passive perception

Establish if players are surprised or not.

Booklet has everything neatly written out for first time dms.

2 are melee, 2 are ranged

*When 3 of the 4 goblins are defeated the last goblin will attempt to flee up the goblin trail.

** if players are defeated they are left unconscious and have been looted along with everything in the cart. Players can go to Phandalin to gain new gear and return.

*** If a goblin is captured pg 8 has “What the Goblins Know” sidebar.

  1. Goblin Trail. DC 10 Survival to find.

    1. Snare

  • Passive perception or perception roll of 12 spots it.

  • Dex 10 on fail spot. 1d6 bludgeoning damage on failed save.

  1. Pit

  • 6ft wide by 10 ft deep

  • Passive perception or perception roll of 15 spots it.

  • Dex 10 on fail spot. 1d6 bludgeoning damage on failed save.

  1. Cragmaw Hideout

General features described on pg 8 along with what the goblins know if the players interrogate or capture any of them.

  1. Cave Mouth- description. If players are noisy alert area 2

  2. Goblin Blind-

Encounter: 2 goblins. Can be snuck up on. Goblins have half cover from thickets

  1. Kennel

Encounter: 3 wolves

  • Wolves are chained up and unable to reach players on the steps

  • Goblins ignore the sound of the wolves, as they fight all the time.

  • Animal handling DC15 to move past, or if given food DC 10

  • Wolves goaded or not handled go into frenzy. Each round players are in sight make a DC 15 strength to escape. Success 1st time loosens rod and DC goes to 10. 2nd success they are freed to attack.

  • If passed by a goblin or hobgoblin can free the wolves

  1. Steep Passage.

  • This is where it starts to get dark and players need to have either a light source or dark vision.

  • Darkvision and light sources can start to make out the bridge ahead. If there is a light source the bridge goblin goes to release the flood.

  • Perception check of players vs. Stealth of goblin to see it on the bridge

  1. Overpass:

Encounter: 1 goblin

Trigger for FLOOD!

Roll for Gobo Stealth vs. Players Perception (or passive perception if they know of the bridge)

  • See light or hear players then the goblin triggers the Flood in area 7.

  • Bridge AC 5 and 10 hp. Bridge collapse is a DC 10 Dex save or fall taking 2d6 bludgeoning damage & landing prone

  • Walls 20 ft high and need DC 15 Athletics to climb.

  • FLOOD! - Clears out the whole passage. DC 10 dex save to avoid being swept away for anyone 10 ft of the disused passage or on the stairs leading to 3.

DC 15 Strength to hold on to avoid being swept away

Those swept to area 1 take 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

  1. Goblin Den

Encounter: 5 regular goblins

1 Buffed goblin (12hp)

Sildar Hallwinter (1 hp)

Sildar Hallwinter - read 11 for the roleplaying and what he knows

  1. Twin Pool Cave

Encounter: 3 goblins

Waterfall is loud enough to prevent area 8 from hearing the fight.

This is where the floods can be released

  1. Klarg’s Cave

Encounter: Klarg the Bugbear

Ripper his wolf

Two goblins

Fire pit (1 fire damage)

This room has the supplies from the Lionshield Coster from Phandelver that can be returned for a reward

If warned the encounters of this room hide behind things and cannot be surprised.

What’s Next?

  • Paid 50gp by Barthen’s Provisions (pg 16)

  • Sildar Hallwinter escorted to town = 50 gp. After he rests he has quests for the party at Townmaster's Hall (pg 18 &19)

  • Lionshield coster things can be returned (10 gp each)

  • Find the way to Cragmaw Castle (pg 35)

Wolfsfox’s Notes

  1. It is important to note who is driving the cart but I also put up on the map the wagon so players can tell me exactly where each of them are in relation to the card. I also note if they are talking loudly/singing/making obvious noise to alert the goblins far in advance. I also use this time to note each player’s passive perception and AC and write it down in preparation for the ambush.

  1. The ambush is the first combat. I have seen both great rolls and terrible rolls. Both tables I have run for had high enough perceptions to spot at least one goblin before rolling for initiative. I have also had one group that used their persuasion/deception rolls to talk their way out of combat in a very “Three Billy Goats Gruff” style of conversation. As this was their first combat there were a lot of explanations for new players. This first encounter is pretty cut and dry. If things are too terribly easy (everything gets killed in round one) I have added an additional 2 goblins to come to their fallen comrades aid but only do this if the players kill everything in the first round and have taken no hits.

  2. One of my groups absolutely rocked the perception checks on the snares. Another one had the first triggered which then helped make them alert enough for trap 2. The traps are not meant to be lethal but if both traps are triggered by the same person that is a total of 2d6 damage and can be a lvl 1 character’s max health. I use the traps as a good moment to rp. Describe the traps, if triggered give a brief story of what happens including damage.

  3. As only areas 1 & 2 have light it is important to note which characters have dark vision (explaining that everything is in greyscale) and note who needs to have a light source. Light sources warn goblins of the players coming. If light sources are used stealth is not an option as you cannot hide a light source in a dark cave.

    1. Cave Mouth/ Goblin Blind: Can also be used as an RP opportunity. In one group a Kobold player challenged them to a game of cards as a distraction for the other party members to sneak up on them.

    2. Kennel: The main point of this room is in the very back there is a fissure leading up the wall that is currently being used as a trash chute for area 8. Players can attempt climbing using a DC 10 athletics check. I have had one player successfully climb up and enter area 8 causing the big bad to become alerted to the intruders in the cave. Most people will be discouraged from doing a 30 ft climb at half movement speed, but if they do then area 8 is alerted who then alerts 7 and the goblin on the bridge and all sorts of chaos ensues. The other major thing I have encountered with this area is players who want to befriend the wolves. I describe them as hungry and dehydrated crazed wolves who are only distracted for the moment's animal handling check. Only really amazing rolls (nat 20s) or druidic spells would cause me to allow players to befriend them.

    3. Steep Passage.

** There is the western passage that is difficult terrain. The ledge can only take 100 lbs before it falls. It is more of a danger to the players than a variable way to travel. DC 10 dex save vs 2d6 bludgeoning on a failure can be a character death especially if they have taken previous battle. I do my best to describe the hazard to prevent the people from using it.

One of my groups was able to go in with darkvision on everyone and it makes this cave much easier. My second group had a party member who needed a torch. That fire light poses quite the problem for the group and the Flood is a beast when released.

  1. The Flood is more of an annoyance to the players than a terrible danger but if they go back in a second time after being swept away without changing tactics a second flood can be triggered.

  2. Goblin Den: The main thing is Yeemik wants to oust Klarg and wants to parley. It is important that as the DM you try to do speaking through Yeemik to try to get that RP portion of the encounter.

**If the players continue Sildar gets pushed off the cliff and then goes down to 0 hp. There is still a chance to save him as Sildar still needs to make death saving throws.

This is an area where players can decide to take prisoners, and try to get information from the goblins.

  1. Twin pools. This is where the Flood comes from. The waterfall is important to describe as loud. There are only three goblins here but the last one standing can run to Klarg’s Cave for backup

  2. Klarg’s Cave: there is a variety of treasure here and pieces that can be brought back to Phandelver.

This is another area where players can decide to take prisoners, and try to get information from the goblins/Klarg

Most of my players have made their way straight to Cragmaw Castle. One group did drop off Sildar before continuing straight to the castle.

Premade Characters

I can definitely appreciate the inclusion of pre-made characters in the Starter Set. Sometimes creating a character can be very overwhelming with all of the options and it is nice to have the ability to pick one of the five characters given as a starting point.

We are given the options of a human fighter noble, a human fighter folk hero, a high elf wizard acolyte, a halfling rogue criminal and a hill dwarf cleric with a soldier background. Each character sheet presented is balanced, each player having a ability score of +3, two +2, two +1, one +0 and one -1. If you buy the starter set there is a printed copy of them, if you purchased the module from D&D Beyond there is a pdf copy of each of the pre-generated characters and in Roll20 there are digital versions of the characters.

On the back of each of these sheets are the printed information about the race, class and background for the character. There is also explanations and guides on how to level up each character through 5th level. The back also has some suggestions for names appropriate to that race and what makes that character special such as their personal goal in relation to the module.

Last Thoughts

I personally like Lost Mine of Phandelver as a starting module and think its a good introduction to Dungeons and Dragons for new players. Each time you run a module you will always have different experiences as each party will come up with new and clever solutions to problems. I personally have not used the premade characters and have used this module as a intro to everything D&D 5e including a session zero where I run players how to build their own character and go over rolls and rules. This adventure module can be run in a variety of ways but don't expect to do every single page. There are a variety of side quests in Part Three: The Spider's Web and though I recommend as a DM to give all the hints/rumors/pushing you can for the other areas it is still ok if there are things that your players miss. Over all the most important thing is are your players having fun. One group only did one area (Cragmaw Castle) out of all the section three options and I am guessing with how overall goal focused my second group is we may only cover one or two of these encounters vs all six options. The amount of loot as written in the book is low for players who are used to video games and 3.5 D&D and it was commented on so as a DM you may want to add a few things here or there. I like dropping random loot for the monster (fish head, half eaten biscuits, bone dice, cards, etc.) so players get something when they loot every body without over loading the players with money or treasures.If you are hoping to run Lost Mine of Phandelver I hope you find the guide helpful and I wish your table fun with this adventure.

This article reviewed Lost Mine of Phandelver which is a product of Wizards of the Coast. Copy right 2014.