Where were you guys? And where’s the kobold?
Grim and Alex return from the tunnel entrance to find the allied adventurers huddled and fomenting scurrilous rumors about Grim’s interest in Alex. Borrox is irate about Wretch’s desertion but Grim shrugs. Without actually saying anything, Alex supports Grim so Borrox drops the subject.
A Secret! Ow! More than one!
A few minutes have elapsed since the fall of Gloopy. We have now reassembled outside Gloopy’s chamber. Ulf and Borrox, keeping their large shields well up, conduct a general search, then begin more detailed searches: Borrox using Grim’s 10’ pole to probe around for more concealed pits, and Ulf searching a rough piece of wall in the far north-east corner. Grim joins Ulf and wiggles a stone – it could be false, or some type of mechanism!
Charmaine is called over, and opens it. Grim peers down at the coarse-strewn grit floor of the narrow, low tunnel leading north. Tracks suggest use. Ulf pushes in but has to drop his main gear to do so. He draws a dagger, though not without a grumbled complaint.
“Hey Conlin – ya got two swords, maybe loan one ta Ulf here!” – Grim
The allies – Denn acting very much as boss, even of Jern – have by now spread around the room, and Alex is also inside, covering the still-open doors on the south wall, safely behind Jern and Clifton. Gafley is standing near the middle of the chamber, near enough to support Denn and the two fighters. As Conlin passes Ulf a short sword, Gafley cries out as a crossbow bolt from some unseen sniper hits him! [5 damage] But Alex has seen what happened: the bolt came from the blank east wall!
Grim rushes along the east wall, scraping his three javelin-points along it low down, hoping to “spear a fish” as he puts it. Charmaine makes an excellent Spot [DC20] and points to a particular patch of wall that the javelins went right by.
“Loook! Oi see wheere that theere boolt caame fram!” – Charmaine [who for reasons best known to the GM speaks like an extra off The Archers]
Alex rushes to the tiny aperture, reaches through and slaps a Light spell on the far edge. Borrox scans around for other murder holes [reaches DC12] and fails to see any. But Charmaine continues to search, and locates a key brick, which opens a secret door in the east wall. The Light spell illuminates a short, narrow and low tunnel running east, with a north exit. Borrox, not needed in this task, fetches the sheet of iron that remains from where Gloopy ate through a west door, and he, Clifton and Jern use it to properly block the southern doors.
Meanwhile, Ulf probes forward. Conlin can’t see him in the dark tunnel. Having shucked his pack and ax, Grim pushes past Conlin and works along, doubled over, dagger ready. Ahead of Grim but still out of his line of sight, Ulf enters a wider space, on a slightly higher level than the tunnel. He catches sight of a kobold, which squeaks and flees down a shaft to the north by grabbing a ladder and doing a sailor’s slide down in. Ulf does NOT pursue but awaits Grim who leapfrogs Ulf’s position and checks west, finding another exit, this the reverse side of a secret door. Alex also passes Conlin and attempts to find out where the lads are.
Having secured the south, Clifton Jern Gafley and Charmaine check the eastern tunnel, finding a north exit in it: another ladderway down. But then Alex relays the “found more tunnels” call from Grim back to Borrox and Denn, who, becoming nervous about the expanding parts of the force, call the rally.
Level Three! Tally Ho! Ouch!
We limit access from the two ladderways by wedging a large shield across each tunnel and make ready around the western secret door. Gear has been handed along the tunnel – we are not leaving anything much for kobolds to loot. Charmaine opens the door. Beyond is a very low room featuring a brick flue-like construction – perhaps an oven or incinerator – and a ladder going up to a trapdoor. The trap proves to connect through to the weasel stable; the brick feature is probably an oven; and there are no other secrets found. We leave and move on to the north ladderway.
Grim has been warned privately about this type of set-up by Wretch. He fetches a rock from the tunnel, drops it down the chute, and watches closely [Spot 22]. The rock bounces off the floor – but so do a few other pebbles around it – it’s a false floor, no doubt over another pit.
Ulf ungraciously accepts a rope being tied around him, clambers down the ladder, is struck by a crossbow bolt [4 damage, drops to 5hp] and leaps clumsily across to the tunnel he finds leading east, in pursuit of the kobold marksman. But the kobold races away round a southward turn and is lost to sight. Ulf points out the unkindness of fate to any who will listen.
Panic at the Harem
Over the next minute or so, gear and adventurers clamber down and Ulf aids them onto the tunnel. Gafley orisons Ulf, returning him to 6hp. Ulf probes forward past the corner and sees a sheet of fabric blocking the tunnel ahead. Beyond, he can hear excited or panicked kobold yaps.
“Gonna burn that sheet down – then maybe I’ll get some payback” – Ulf
With bow now at the ready, Ulf has a lit torch passed up, and lobs it against the sheet – which catches! After a short while the smoke and flame clear, and Ulf can see the tunnel broadens and heightens. The area has cleared of any ambushers however. Ulf probes forward, tapping the tunnel floor ahead. The noise from further down the chamber continues unabated: it’s now pretty clear that female kobolds are panicking and trying to evacuate. Ulf peeks round the next corner:
Surprise round: Three kobolds standing ready shoot their bolts and Ulf is hit [6 damage – drops to 0hp!]
Formed, dressed stone buttresses a large chamber, pierced in the west and east by large arched exits. We enter from the north, which is narrower and again divided from the main chamber by a large arch. Nearest to hand the north end is dominated by a pile of cushions and a low, crude wooden trestle. A heavy arch of stone connecting the “harem” to the “hatchery” provides some cover on both sides against the wider hatching-chamber beyond, which is lit. There, perhaps ten kobolds stand ready to defend the many females, who are scurrying around gathering eggs or generally panicking.
- Ulf [later drops to allies init]
- Borrox [later moves to allies init]
Round 1: Grim rolls forward and into cover on the far side of the harem chamber: the kobolds roll back. The others save for Ulf move forward, Ulf pulls back.
Round 2: Grim rages, charges, and slays a kobold. Some kobolds flee outright, some pull back in good order left and right, through a broad arch on either side, after shooting [missing Grim]. A kobold wearing a wizard’s cap sends a splat of acid into Grim’s hide [5 damage] and flees. Grim is left amid females and eggs. He bellows for water or wine. Alex follows in, and catches up to Grim. Borrox orisons Ulf, returning him to the fitness of 1hp.
Round 3: Grim dilutes the acid, avoiding the follow-up damage. Kobolds continue to flee. Alex readies his crossbow and moves left to the broad arch in what’s probably the east wall. Beyond, he can see a stub corridor leads to a T-junction, a north-south tunnel. Back at the rear of the party, the last ally (Charmaine) is off the rope and away from the ladderway.
Round 4: Grim leaves Alex to guard that exit, and heads right or west, through or around the last few fleeing kobold females. Beyond the arch in the western wall, a tunnel doubles around to a kitchen. Three kobolds have taken refuge there, along with four non-combatants. Grim’s rage continues but he halts and signals for the pack with the oil bombs to be brought up. Jern begins seeing to that chore.
“Gaah!! How did I suddenly get to be the point man? I’m a lover not a fighter!” Alex, pulling back hastily
Round 5: Denn marshals his team forward; Charmaine begins searching the pile of cushions while Borrox stands ready to mash any hidden kobold with his mace.
Round 6: As Grimm lobs the now-lit bomb, the three kobolds shoot, but all miss. The bomb is accurate, and one kobold shrieks horribly as it catches. The others flee. Reggie suddenly appears in the southern half of the chamber, shoots at Ulf (missing) and flees – but Alex has been waiting for the opportunity attack and nails the tough kobold hero [6 damage]! But Reggie is not down, and keeps legging it out the east tunnel. Conlin Clifton and Gafley pursue, Conlin shoots, and Reggie is down! Borrox and Charmaine end their search and enter the main chamber.
Rounds 7 and 8: Grim pursues the two fugitives, vaults the flame [no check needed] and rushes through the kitchen to find them trying to scale a ladderway. He slays another, then the last as it tries to get higher than his reach, and fails. Alex moves right down the chamber to the south wall. He looks along it for murder-holes, but fails to see any [low Spot]. Ulf is still standing guard with his shortbow ready, but marks Reggie’s corpse for Charmaine to search. He is not positioned to return fire as a kobold rearguard, fortified behind a barricade of timber and shields, catches Gafley Conlin and Clifton. Gafley is hit hard and drops to 0hp. Clifton is also hit [4 damage] and is in poor shape, not having received much healing from Gafley after his pit fall. Borrox follows Grim’s exit and attacks the four kobold non-combatants.
Round 9: Grim, now out of rage, rests and looks about for food. He neither interferes in nor approves Borrox’ massacre. Alex rushes to Gafley, but the cleric is still on his feet and soon orisons himself to 1hp. All surviving kobolds have now fled.
Spoils of War
We search, Charmaine taking her time over Reggie’s corpse.
“You search good? Find magic?” – Grim
“Oi did searrch, yeas, but oi found nowt, only theere weere this plaace wheere a ring moight ‘a beeen, on his tooe, loike” – Charmaine, adjusting her bodice so the Half-Orc loses his train of thought.
The north-south tunnel expands into a number of tunnels. One western branch leads to a well and beyond that a treasure store where we recover original equipment, plus various Goblin and Bugbear weaponry and armor. Sadly, there’s no sign of Nitron’s spellbook. Borrox recalls the low trestle from the “harem” area – it had the marks of books having been hastily removed. No doubt Marshall has a number of kobold flunkeys toting his precious documents out.
We decide to focus on shifting loot rather than on pursuit. Timbers are removed from the makeshift barricade, and three lengths sorted as being long enough for two men to carry each. On these the various armors shields weapons and packs are tied or hung. Then with Ulf (who is far too short to tote a pole, and who can see in the dark) in front and Conlin (who is the best shot) scouting ahead a little, Charmaine a (very close) rearguard, and Denn tucked into the middle, we wind our course back up. Opening the blocked doors to Gloopy’s room is easy for people of our bulk, and we set off up the steps to the entry passage.
The Last Trap
Ulf and Conlin round the corner leading left to the entry tunnel and there just on the other side of the pit, posed dramatically, is Marshall:
“You have destroyed my tribe! But I will wreak my revenge! Curse you, curse you a thousand times!”
Both Ulf and Conlin loose at him but sadly their aim is well off. Marshall scampers away and up the scarp of dirt at full pace. Conlin decides not to pursue into the dark, but Ulf, with only a short bow, decides to get a second shot. Behind him Grim turns to Denn:
“Ten gold?” – Grim
“Done! Get him!” – Denn
Grim drops his end of the balk, seizes out his Greataxe and dashes around the corner: in time to see Ulf slip on the timbers spanning the pit and tumble in [Reflex DC16, made 3]. The Dwarf’s squawk of alarm is abruptly cut off as he hits the Silence spell zone. Grim races to leap over the pit but he too slips. The area is mysteriously Greasy thanks to Marshall’s parting spell! With a desperate twist back [Reflex DC16, made 18] Grim slams his axe-blade into the passage floor, preventing himself from a very intimate introduction to Gloopy.
The 5 remaining oil bombs are brought up and Gloopy is reduced to oily soup, which drains away leaving the non-perishable bits of Ulf’s equipment. We rope down, shake out the nastier remains, and remove the scale, dagger, Dwarven Waraxe and coins. Borrox may have insisted on us carrying the remains of Nitron and Beadle out but he utters not a syllable mourning Ulf. [Just sayin’.]
To Market! To Market!
Our return trek to Garrotten is uneventful.
In Garrotten, Alex orchestrates a Dutch Auction between Krak and Turric. Krak can’t resist the gear, or most of it: he still won’t touch Goblin and Bugbear armor. It’s time to divvy up the dibs, as rogues might put it.
We start talking about recruits. We sure need a fighter, but maybe we need a wizard too. And how about a really good rogue?