Ill Met In Phandalin
Phandalin is a small frontier settlement of several hundred miners, tradesmen, and farmers, precariously located on the edge of the wild forests claimed by the various uruk tribes that make up the Cragmaw Kingdom. Built upon the ruins of an older settlement destroyed by hordes of uruks and wildmen who came streaming out of the east several centuries before, prospectors and other brave settlers have returned to the area the last few decades, following the discovery of large veins of gold and platinum in the surrounding hills.
Phandalin has no real functioning government, though a townmaster is elected every year from the local citizenry to coordinate projects deemed important to the public good. The most recent townmaster is the local silversmith and moneylender, a fat, pompous fool named Harbin Wester. Three years ago, Wester succeeded in hiring mercenaries of the Redbrand Brotherhood to help protect the town against predations of the Cragmaws. The Redbrands, however, saw the small, poorly organized town as a personal fiefdom, terrorizing the townsfolk, demanding ever larger payments from merchants and travelers they “protected”, and punishing any perceived offense with impunity.