The night started pretty late this time. Three of the players were unable / forgot to come that night. The three remaining players and I decided since everything was already set up we’d just go for it. They would each take on one of the characters of the missing three players. They were simply going to go through some other parts of the dungeon crawly section of the keep without much important story going on anyway…
At least, that was my hope. If they had zagged instead of zigged, as it were, it may have turned out very different. But that’s all for a later post.
As we left them last time they had just cleared out the goblin guard room with the pit of rats and were needing to decide whether to pursue the fleeing archer or not.
They decided to take a short rest since everyone had used quite a few of their encounter powers and Typhus was stabilized but not doing very well. After a breather they took a look around the room and found some small treasures including some fancy buttons, a couple of gems, some small change and a really nice sword that had been decorated with silver flames.
Then things got…. Kind of gruesome. Orla had the idea to kill the rats in the pit. She thought they would get some experience points for doing so. The others said it really wouldn’t be worth it. So then she had the idea, presumably because she’s a druid…? Or something…? To FEED them.
By throwing all the dead goblins into the pit.
So, they did.
And just kind of stood around the pit watching as they rats gorged themselves on hobgoblin flesh in an orgy of viscera.
There was some talk of hiding the bodies so as not to cause alarm as justification after that. Not a bad idea, really, had they had it before they threw them in there and watched the spectacle. As it is, I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with a party whose sole goal by level 30 is to usurp the most horrid demons and sit their thrones in ecstatic glory, holding court in city sized abattoirs in the nether regions of the Abyss.
Maybe not though, who knows?
ANYway, after their little diversion they decided to continue in the direction the fleeing goblin went. Opening the door they saw a very long hallway. About 65 feet away they saw the beginnings of the excavation site and the glow from the torches therein. Around thirty feet away on their right they saw a dark stairway leading down into more darkness. Standing in the doorway Orla decided to make a perception check on the hallway. The very, very long, very dark hallway. From the doorway. Thinking she may not be able to see very well down a 65 foot hall with no light sources she remedied that…. Kind of…. By standing of Thorfin’s shoulders while making the check. Still from the doorway.
Somewhat needless to say she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. So, everyone decided to head on down towards the light. As they get close they hear goblin voices having some sort of argument. Thorfin decides to stop a bit and glance down the dark stairway. Using his dwarven eyesight and dungeoneering he saw that the caverns beyond were natural concavities, obviously older than the tunnels they were in. Other than that he couldn’t determine anything.
Lia attempted to sneak up to the doorway leading into the excavation area. She saw that the floor of this large room had been torn apart. The majority of the area was ten feet below the original floor with small 10×10 foot small “mesas” of the original construction jutting from the lower level. Strewn between these pillars were some planks of wood to act as extremely rickety bridges. There were a couple of rough ladders leading from the lower level to the original level on some of them. Directly in front of the hallway was a wooden ramp leading down to the lower level. In the corner furthest from her she saw a hobgoblin soldier yelling at something on the lower level.
She took this all in moments before she kicked over some empty tankards that were stacked in the corner. At the sound the arguing voices stopped and the soldier looked up. When he saw her he screamed something that none of the non-goblinoid speaking party could decipher but it was undoubtedly a command to attack!
As the hobgoblin raised his sword and pointed, screaming, Caldera rushed past Lia and ran down the ramp straight into the heart of the fray. She took a tight left turn, straight for the raised area the soldier was standing on. Lia followed but continued straight towards a corner behind one of the raised areas. At this time everyone else in the party, including the major damage dealing Thorfin, the battlefield controlling Orla, the distance caster Leucius and the healer / supporter Typhus were still pretty far back down the dark hallway. So no help there with these tactics.
The unseen arguers made themselves seen soon enough. A cadre of hobgoblin archers and their attendant guard drakes were lurking behind the pillars of unexcavated room. The archers fell back and immediately started throwing arrows in the direction of Caldera who was pretty much running straight into the middle of the room. Another came around the corner and shot at Lia. Meanwhile the drakes, small dog-like lizards, ran straight at Caldera, snapping jaws and snarling the whole time.
The rest of the heroes had come around the doorway by now but were still at the top level and not actually in the fray. Leucius fired off a couple of spells and did some damage to an archer, Orla converted to boar form.
The goblin soldier tried to run across one of the planks but the flimsy wood proved no match for his scale armor. He got half way across when a mighty crack! was heard and he fell down hard taking some damage.
Thorfin thought to slide down the slope of the excavation to the lower level but got caught in a mini landslide and went prone. A drake nipped at him while an archer tried to pin him down with arrows but being small already and then again on the ground proved too hard a target to hit.
Caldera then went down, being stuck with multiple arrows and taking the brunt of the assault from two drakes. Typhus went over and was able to heal her back to pretty good shape. He also managed to help out Thorfin with some healing surges. This, along with Orla’s Barkskin spell, allowed Thorfin to make a pretty good showing against the drake and the archer.
Another archer in the middle went down thanks to Leucius’ spells and the bloodied drakes ran, wimpering away, to be cut down by opportunity attacks.
Meanwhile, Lia fought on bravely with the archer in the corner, alone for the time. But help, in the form of Leucius, was coming up behind her.
The soldier, having scrambled up and thrown off the splinters of the makeshift bridge, ran over to a large sack stuffed with alchemical bombs. They had been using them to blow out parts of the floor so the excavation could continue. He now used them as grenades against the party. Fortunately for the heroes, fire does little damage against Tieflings. Typhus and Leucius were unaffected by the blasts.
At this point Thorfin busted out with an amazing power and got some kickass rolls as a result.
Unfortunately his damage rolls were not so good..
Orla successfully ran down the slope and made a vicious charge attack killing two enemies at once. This gave the party the breathing space they needed and they closed in on the soldier and dispatched him.
Moving to mop up one of the two last archers and drakes they heard Lia’s scream from the far side of the room as she went down, dying. Leucius killed him the turn after and stabalized Lia.
They searched around and found some treasures in a pile. Obviously excavated from the room. They also took the remaining alchemical grenades as their own. Deciding to climb to a “mesa” in the corner and throw down all the plank bridges and ladders the party decided to take an extended rest. Orla called upon her spirits to help them and many sprites set up a hidden camp for them. Some goblins did enter the room during their rest but they couldn’t see past the camouflage set up by Orla’s ritual.
Once healed and refreshed the party went back into the long hallway. Standing in the actual hallway they performed another perception check and, GASP! were actually able to see stuff this time!
The discovered a secret door leading into a small stairway. They followed it up to the top which ended in another secret door. Opening it after having made a group stealth check they saw a small, curtained off area containing a cot with a large hobgoblin fast asleep.
Standing in the doorway, hidden as yet from conscious enemies, they wait and decide their next course of action…