DGA7.13: Stoney Creek part three – Double-headed jeopardy

The characters for this session

Phoenix, level 7 barbarian:
Cat, level 7 warlock;
Vir, level 7 ranger; and
Seck, level 7 rogue

The Long Roaders are 5xp from level 8

I’ll have some choking with my fishbites thanks!

By judicious use of the goblin corpse still laying where they left it, the Long Roaders distract enough of the arrow-fish that they struggle and gasp their way to an inner lake, surmounted by a rock shelf at one end.

It’s time for some scouting into what Cat can see are two underwater tunnels, and Phoenix chooses the broad one he is sure to fit down.

The Long Roaders come up with the solution to lightless underwater traverses: Phoenix, who can breathe underwater, helps Cat, who can see in the dark, who in turn helps navigate Phoenix. Once they know where they want to go, Phoenix can also help (with disadvantage Athletics) comrades who begin struggling.

DM

XP: lvl8-4

A four-headed taste of things to come

After some judicious scouting the Long Roaders sputter their way up to a hot, humid cavern several times the size of the last, and as they scrape arrowfish off, realize that the two twin-headed troll-like guardians of the place are not, as first appeared, prevented from attacking by the chains fastened about their necks.

Although vicious – perhaps insane – there are only two, and are but a speed-bump in the path of the Long Roaders. There seems to be another pool on the far side of their cavern, and while Vir and Seck empty more oilskins to burn the ettin-trolls, and Cat slops around in the slimy offal and detritus of the lair, Phoenix scouts into a forked, half-lit water-filled tunnel.

Cat picks up a dagger (DM code 9b) and a brooch (DM code 12.1)

XP: lvl 8-3

A Brooding Mud King

The more promising fork leads Phoenix to one end or corner of a yet vaster cavern – perhaps near as big as the great cavern concealed behind the waterfall – and in the light around a mighty stone throne sees a brooding figure, large enough to tower above the four scrags squatting nearby. A few diminutive figures appear to be goblin servitors. The cavern echoes to a bubbling noise, perhaps another waterfall or rapids.

The second fork has two more options. One is dark, the other part-lit. Phoenix tries the latter and comes squarely before the same scene: and is immediately seen by a goblin!

He swims quickly away!

Seck muses on the report:

“You know… that hag had, hmm, some type of command over the scrags. That hulking figure might not be too pleased about that. It might be someone we could bargain with.”

Conscious of the time pressure, since those scrags will be pretty much healed by now, the Long Roaders opt for the dark fork, hoping it is a better option than confronting all four scrags, some goblins, and a brooding statue/giant/super-troll, plus or minus a hag.

XP: lvl8-2

The Triple Twins

Exploring the dark tunnel, the Phoenix-Cat duo discover a phosphorescence-lit passage ascending through crude steps, curving up to the left. A chesty grumbling overlays a boyish sobbing.

Phoenix fetches the other two as Cat strains his ears to learn more. There are too many echoes…

Meanwhile Phoenix shepherds the other two to join Cat and Seck arrives choking and spewing some water he swallowed. Vir catches sight of a huge figure about to hurl an object at Cat!

Inits: Cat, ettin-trolls, Vir, Phoenix, Seck

Round 1: Cat ducks under water and takes a lessened blow, though still painful! Whatever it was sinks immediately to the bottom

DM code 4, 3+4

With a ravening howl the huge creature – which the low-visioned among the group can now see has two heads and a huge clumsy club – bounds down the steps. Hard on its heels come two more!

Vir takes a cut under his chin as the lead ettin-troll claws him. Cat takes more clubbing damage and Misty Escapes up the steps and well behind the antagonists. Seck too takes a club to the shoulder and Uncanny Dodges to reduce that. Phoenix uses his Shield to avoid one club but takes some piercing damage from a claw.

Vir leaps into action and wields Ulruf, cutting the first and higher-positioned. Phoenix battles the second pair, allowing himself to move around them. Seck draws Red Whisper, engages the one Phoenix is nearest to, and clambers out of the water, then Dashes past the whole melee, ending at Cat’s side.

Round 2: Cat gazes around in the dim, seeing a complex intersection of caverns, a terrified goblin off to his left, and not much more. He turns, sights down on the lower pair of monsters, and hurls them back into the water with Repelling Blasts.

Vir takes one club to the ribs, while the water-positioned pair surge back up and onto Phoenix, not particularly successfully, though he takes two club-blows.

Vir feins being badly hurt, mincing away part-way to Cat and Seck, then cutting the troll under its guard. It is more annoyed than anything else. Seck uses his Skirmisher boots to get a great Sneak Attack, weakening the troll.

Vir gains Inspiration for knowing his team’s strengths.

Phoenix can see what just happened, but stays tanking up on the other two. The more weakened of the two staggers, badly hurt.

Up above Cat, Seck sums up the same situation Cat has seen, but also sees and smells a bubbling cauldron and well away from himself, some still water. In terms of opponents he can now only see the same troll he weakened. So he gains line of sight and hurls Maelsauga, and the troll falls.

Round 3: Cat moves down the steps to get line of sight, and hurls the trolls back to the water again. The troll Phoenix weakened falls back with the Repelling Blast, sinking.

Despite losing its fellow-guards the troll attacks Phoenix, slamming him like a rag doll against the rock wall. He staggers, on his last legs.

Vir races back down over the downed troll to shield Phoenix, slicing the troll. It is annoyed! Phoenix picks himself up off the wall and keeps the attack up, chopping heavily into the troll which is drastically hurt. Phoenix hastens up the steps, past Cat, right up near Seck. Who finishes the fight by gaining line of sight and hurling Maelsauga, killing the troll.

Victory!

XP: lvl8 gained!

Pirdo speaks of Shadowfell

“Push them into the water,” Cat advocates. “It looks like these ones might drown.”

While those who are reasonably hale see to that, and Phoenix swigs another potion, Cat opens negotiations with Pirdo the goblin slave.

“Of course I can be of use noble master,” Pirdo insists. And explains that a year ago a strange man that had been sprung from a cage on the trail entered the service of the Mud King. An ex-prisoner, it seems, who was shown mercy by the hag in the boiling lake, in exchange for bringing souls to misery in her service.

The hag has granted Roeburr – if that is he – power from the Shadowfell!

Exploring the larger of the complex of caverns here, the Long Roaders find Liam – who has had an evil spell cast upon him!

The Long Roaders are level eight!

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