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I'm running the Lost Mines of Phandelver, and my party has managed to take Klarg captive rather than kill him - he's currently being held in a Phandalin jail cell and they plan to interrogate him in the morning.

The thing is, it isn't clear to me from the module if Klarg himself knows the exact location of the hideout - he's not listed with the other Bugbear who knows the location, but if the party were to manage to charm him, could he potentially reveal the location to them?

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Klarg certainly knows where Cragmaw Castle is

In the WHAT THE GOBLINS KNOW sidebar

If the characters capture or charm any of the goblins here, the goblins can be persuaded to divulge some useful information:

  • Fewer than twenty goblins currently dwell in the lair.
  • Their leader is a bugbear named Klarg. He answers to King Grol, chief of the Cragmaw tribe, who dwells in Cragmaw Castle. (The goblins can provide basic directions to Cragmaw Castle. It’s about twenty miles northeast of the Cragmaw hideout, in Neverwinter Wood.)

In addition to this, in the Cragmaw Hideout introduction, the description states (emphasis mine):

The leader of the Cragmaw bandits lairing here is a bugbear named Klarg, who has orders from the chief of the Cragmaws to plunder any poorly defended caravans or travelers that come this way. A few days ago, a messenger from Cragmaw Castle brought new instructions: Waylay the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker and anyone traveling with him.

Taking both of these together, it would be incredibly surprising if Klarg does not know where Cragmaw Castle is, given all of his underlings have a rough idea where it is.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My only reason for not assuming he knows where it is himself is that everything in this text suggests he is receiving orders from the other bugbears, and sending things off there, but it doesn't explicitly state that he knows how to get there himself. Whereas for the Redbrand hideout, it does explicitly state the bugbears know the way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 14 '20 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zibbobz canonically, bugbears are middle management in the goblinoid hierarchy, with goblins being at the bottom and hobgoblins at the top. If the goblins Klarg is in charge of know where the castle is (which they do), then so does Klarg. It's called out specifically in the Redbrand section because, from a module structure point of view, if those bugbears don't know, then the PCs have no way of finding out where the castle is short of a grid search. The goblin cave is an opportunity for the PCs to shortcut the Phandalin chapter (and the module explicitly calls this out at the end of the... \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 14 '20 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... section containing Klarg). Ultimately, these modules give you just enough info to run the module, without explicitly defining everything (so you as a DM have some room to fill in the gaps with your own creativity). \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 14 '20 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just because Klarg is receiving orders from someone else, doesn't mean they aren't privy to the information their superiors know. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 14 '20 at 17:07
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“I'm running ...”

The answer is on p.6 of the PHB: “The DM narrates the result of the adventurer’s actions.” You’re the DM. So, why are you asking us?

This is not intended to be flippant or disparaging: it’s intended to remind you that you have the DM hat on and one of the jobs that gives you is deciding what happens in response to the player’s actions.

Furthermore, earlier on the same page, it says: “The DM describes the environment.” Klarg is (part of) the environment. Describe him how you like. The fact that he was inspired by the module’s author and the cool picture of him is neither here nor there, he’s your prop now so you get to do what you like with him.

In fact, it’s irrelevant if the author had told you in the text, you get to decide whether to agree with or disagree with the author - you’re the director of this little production which means you don’t have to listen to the script writer if you don’t want to.

It’s also important to remember that NPCs like Klarg are part of the environment and they exist solely as obstacles for the PCs to overcome, or as background colour if they aren’t antagonists. While it can help to ascribe personality and motivations to NPCs it’s important to remember that they are more like props than characters.

So ...

Given that the players have “described what they want to do” - interrogate Klarg with the help of. Charm spell, your job is to narrate the result.

First, decide if he knows the answer. If he doesn’t then the players fail. Now, if you take this option then it doesn’t take a genius to guess that the next thing the players will want to do is find out why not.

Second, is this something Klarg would tell them if he wasn’t charmed? Probably not.

Third, is this something Klarg would tell them if he is charmed and now considered them friends. The possible answers are yes (if charmed, he’ll tell them), no (Klarg is the consummate agent and will never reveal a confidence even to his friends), or maybe. If maybe you need to set a DC.

When you have decided this, and depending on the result of Klarg’s saving throw and the player’s Charisma (Persuasion) check, you know how to narrate the results.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Generally I agree - though I would like to know if it's explicitly stated in the module too - though the general advice here is very good. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 14 '20 at 15:55
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Given that Klarg is a high ranking member in the Cragmaw clan, and recieves his orders from the castle it seems very likely that he knows its location

If you check under the Cragmaw Hideout heading you will find

The leader of the Cragmaw bandits lairing here is a bugbear named Klarg, who has orders from the chief of the Cragmaws to plunder any poorly defended caravans or travelers that come this way. A few days ago, a messenger from Cragmaw Castle brought new instructions: Waylay the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker and anyone traveling with him.

checking What the Goblins Know

The dwarf and his map were delivered to King Grol, as instructed.

delivered implies someone took them to the castle from the cave.

And then if you check Roleplaying Sildar

Gundren had a map showing the secret location of Wave Echo Cave, but the goblins took it when they captured him. Sildar believes that Klarg sent the map and the dwarf to the chief of the Cragmaws at a place called Cragmaw Castle. Sildar doesn’t know where that might be, but he suggests someone in Phandalin might know. (It doesn’t occur to Sildar immediately, but a captured goblin might also be persuaded to divulge the castle’s location. See the “What the Goblins Know” sidebar above.)

with all this in mind I think its pretty clear the authors intend the Goblins to know the location of the headquarters. It also feels a bit inauthentic for them not to.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for the spoiler tag Purple Monkey :) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 14 '20 at 23:13

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