The party had initially set out to try to find the main entrance to the kobold caves overland. I tried to do this via a skill challenge. We didn’t really understand how to run one very well though and it devolved into a series of die rolls that ultimately failed. One good thing was when Caldera thought to use streetwise as a skill. She succeeded and found out from some kids that there was a cave somewhere in the wilderness and got the general idea of where it was. The main problem was that I told them it was a skill challenge so they just started yelling out skills and their rolls with no concrete idea of what was happening and they got more failures than successes. It had no narrative structure and was a flop. I have a much better idea on how to run this sort of thing now and wish I could go back and do that one over.
They decided to just go back to the big doors and go in that way.
In the hallways they found a rudimentary trap on the floor. Really just some boards covering a pit. The floor of the pit sloped down into the darkness… One by one they tried to jump over it only to fail and fall in, sliding down to who knows where. Leucius finally made the jump and tried to face off against some kobold cooks that had come round the corner at the sounds. Then a rather imposing looking fellow with a giant cleaver came round the corner and smiled menacingly. Weighing his choices Leucius decided he’d have better luck going down the hole than facing those guys alone. After watching everyone else fail their rolls and fall into the pit, Orla decided to willingly leap into it as to not be stunned at the bottom.
On the slide down into darkness Caldera thought to herself, “Shit! Why the hell didn’t I just Feystep over the fucking thing…?”
They found themselves in a large cavern with huge roots crossing the room. Every surface was covered in a thick, mucky slime and thin rope-like roots dangled from the large boles everywhere the party could see. As they stepped onto the large roots, the smaller ones would start whipping about and doing small amounts of damage to them. They were the roots of a corrupted tree and had tremorsense. The small roots would whip prey to death then the tree would drink the blood of the victims and thus be sustained in its evil existence. They could see three humanoid corpses that had suffered that same fate. Fucking evil tree. Also, there were multiple entrance holes. Some had the detritus from the kitchens around them and another had broken, dead bodies, the sliding tunnel slick with blood. Having made it across the room without taking too much damage they found the freshly disposed bodies of dwarves and one of the human guards they were sent to find.
As Caldera paused on the other side of the room, stinging whip marks bleeding through her tunic she thought to herself, “Shit! Why the hell didn’t I just Feystep over the fucking things…?”
They climbed up the bloody tunnel and found themselves in a large chamber with columns along the sides and a dark altar to their right. A kobold wyrmpriest was chanting and about to perform a ritual whereby he would stab an evil dagger into the heart of the prisoners trussed behind him. Their life energy would enter the dagger and be redirected to one of the fossilized dragon eggs on the altar bringing them to life and hatching the evil spawn within.
They busted in, had a good fight against some already hatched dragons, the wyrmpriest and some guards. They didn’t manage to save the last of the humans but the other Coppernight brother was saved and all the evil lizards were vanquished. Finding some vats of oil they rolled them into the pit and threw a torch in after it. A great gout of flame erupted from the hole and thus the evil tree was destroyed as well. There was much guffawing and high fives and raucous cheers. Fire reduces the collective intelligence of the party from “moderate” to “backwoods redneck hick.”
Of course, the pit had other entrances and the eruption of flame and smoke alerted the kobolds in the other chambers that something was up. But hey, fire.
Still, they did a pretty good job of cleaning out the rest of the caverns. Some holes were not traversed any better than the first time around but they got the job done well enough.
Having secured the area and saved the brothers they were promised welcome, meat and mead should they ever pass by there again, and indeed word was sent to Hammerfast of their deeds.
The dog tags of the human soldiers were brought back to the village and they were thanked for the information.
Asking about Kenneth and Melinda they were told as much as the village knew or was willing to tell. This, along with a mysterious note to the kobolds asking for troops from someone known as Balgron the Fat, led them to travel Northwest to the small village of Winterhaven.