SC5.05: Treachery at Mountain’s Toe

The level five Silvers for this session

Dakeyras, wood elf rogue/Assassin, wielding Whisper his longbow;
Garth, mountain dwarf fighter/Battle Master, wielding the Ungart Hammer;
Richlen, high elf paladin, wielding Alagondar his longsword;
Vernon, human wizard, rocking a Hat of Wizardry

Escorting Don-Jon Raskin, NPC mine manager to the Mountain Toe Mine;
ably supported by Rage x Dove, NPC professional caravan guards

The Silvers begin 71xp from level six and end on 50

The story so far

Don-Jon Raskin is a no-nonsense overseer fresh out of Neverwinter with a contract to manage the Mountain’s Toe gold mine. The Silvers agree to get him into the mine which, word has it, has been taken over by wererats! Don-Jon’s original two road guards Rage x Dove also agree to stay on the payroll until the mine is set to rights.

The Silvers carry off half of a plan, managing to kill one of the wererat sentries. The other flees, sounding the alarm! And now we join our heroes in the aftermath.

The white flag

As Dove hustles out to check if Rage is OK, Rich and Garth move forward and examine the mine entry. Dak stays in position concealed near the same entrance. Way back near his Rope Trick, Vern looks back, checks that Don-Jon is safe at the wagon, and stays where he is.

About a half-minute later a white flag of parley flaps from the mine entrance.

“Surrendering already?” Rich mutters, walking to where he can see clearly.

Dani the were-rat has been sent out to see why the Silvers are attacking them.

Rich explains.

Dani tries a couple of unconvincing lies about what they were able to move in and how they lost their original home, until Rich, growing impatient, bids her begone.

Dani pulls back and a strong-built were-rat, with wavy dark hair and a scimitar dashingly thrust through her waist-sash, swaggers out to take over the negotiations. This is Zeleen, boss of the whole warren. Aside from a pinkish tinge around her eyes, she appears a fairly attractive true human.

The Silvers know that one of the reasons that were-rats are so abhorred is that they can easily pass as normal travelers on the road, and specialize in sneak attacks on unsuspecting civilians. The other reason is that their bite carries the were-curse.

Garth’s stone-wise knowledge tells him that the mine is set in a spur of the mountain – hence the “toe” moniker – and there could be back ways in around the other side.

It’s a win-win, or, I kill you

Rich recapitulates his proposal. Zeleen frowns.

“Thing is, we’re here, and we’ll fight for our new home with our lives – do you really want that?”

“I’m sure we can find a price that will get you out, and the miners in, in some way,” Rich replies.

Zeleen rubs her nose in a furtive way and suggests that the Silvers can show good faith by getting rid of ghouls that have gotten in by way of a path to a graveyard out east.

“And if you can do that then, for sure, we’ll move out,” she concludes.

“You know if you’re lying to me I can just kill you, right?”

“But you’re going to have to kill the ghouls in any case,” Zeleen laughs, “so what difference does it make?”

“Hmmm. I’m gonna consult.”

“I’ll leave Gini here, yell for her when you decide.”

Garth and Vern are skeptical. The last deal they had, their allies betrayed them at the first opportunity. “There’s no deal here – they just haveta leave,” Garth rumbles. “We can just give them some gold…” “WHAT?” “…I can give them some gold. How much for a move? Ten gold?” “You can give me ten gold then.” “I don’t see that clearing ghouls would have any impact on their decision,” Dak adds, “they should just go.”

Rage walks up, idly looks at the dead guard, checks if any decision has been made.

“I’m trying peaceful first, paying some money,” Rich explains.

Dove points out that neither she nor Rage has a silvered weapon: her arrow pretty much bounced off the guard she hit.

“Stay with Don-Jon then, just watch him,” Dak advises.

Rich calls to Gini.

“The easy way, take some gold, find somewhere else, or, take the hard way, we kill you.”

“How much gold?”

“Fifteen.”

“Fifteen! Why we musta lost a thousand in that cave!”

“Wait what? A thousand?” Garth exclaims.

“Uh, I’ll take over Gini,” Zeleen says. “Up there at Wyvern Peak we had a sweet set-up, our own hand-barrow – a chest full of coins – everything we worked hard to build. It took us years – our life savings was there! Surely a thousand gold would be suitable?”

“If you take the gold and leave, we will take care of that dragon, and then you can move in.”

“What about the orcs?”

“Didn’t you say the dragon killed them?”

“Uh, we found some dead orcs, but didn’t go all the way up.”

“Orcs won’t be a problem either! We’ll get a team in. And if you’re still alive we’ll contact you, you have your home back, we have the mine.”

“Well that sounds pretty decent. So: let me run over the terms of the deal. You kill the dragon, clear the orcs from Wyvern Peak, you come back and say it’s all done, we leave.”

“No. You go somewhere that isn’t here and isn’t Wyvern Peak. We kill the dragon and orcs. Then we’ll let you know when we’re done.”

Dak and Garth break in with amendments and Zeleen mocks them for lacking a leader.

Garth attempts intimidation from a distance, and surrounded by his friends, he is convincing.

“I think Dak is right, we can move them to Savras Shrine or Old Owl Well.”

Zeleen has been listening and agrees. Rich tosses 15 gold, but she does not venture out to pick it up, saying:

“Can you give us a day? It’ll take a while to pack up.”

“Deal.”

Garth makes a spasmodic move towards the fallen gold.

“Don’t you dare! That’s my gold,” Rich says firmly.

Downpour and forting up

Walking back to let Don-Jon know what the good news is, Vern glances up at a leaden evening sky. It means little, until they begin improving the wagon’s campsite by some makeshift fortifications. Rain! It hammers down vertically from a still sky, blotting out any remaining dusk and limiting all visibility.

Garth lends a help with a STR check and Dak and Rich make good Survival checks. After two hours, they have a series of foxhole-ditches marking a rough outline around 2/3 the perimeter, the remainder being made safe enough under the lee of a rockface. The oxen are safe against the same rockface.

“I think we can do more,” Rich encourages them all. “Let’s keep at it.”

Two more hours work, and the foxholes are almost fully joined, save for two points where the defenders can sally out. The trackways fore and aft of the wagon are sealed with lumber barricades, and a decent tarp has tripled the size of shelter by the wagon.

Now they are all fairly tired be it from standing guard or heaving with pick and shovel, and the previous night’s rest was cut short by harpies. It’s time to snatch some rest.

“Hopefully nothing happens during the night,” Vern says, raising the death flag.

Watches: Rich+Rage; Garth+Dove; Vern+Dak; Rich if needed

Something’s out there! Make that a lot of somethings!

It’s the third watch, and Dak has had a good rest already. Vern had not been digging so he too is in fine fettle, his Darkvision still in effect. Movement around the perimeter!

The others shake out and take position. Dak remains under cover, facing east, Dove beside him to spot for him. Rich and Rage take the north barricade, Garth and Don-Jon the south. Vern clambers up to a very wet perch among the crates and chests in the wagon.

The were-rats attack by sending in a wave of giant rats to sniff out weak points! While the defenders are distracted a south wedge rushes the barricade, and Zeleen skitters along the cliff so as to leap down inside. Finally, a second wedge waits for the rats to find their way in and follows up.

Battle in the night rain

It is a fierce battle, but luck is not on the side of the treacherous! Were-rats bounce off the barricade or fall into the ditch, and Zeleen loses her balance, allowing Vern to get a good shot in. With Dove spotting Dak quickly deals with three eastern threats, then turns his attention to where some have worked their way in through the sally-gaps. Rich finds that no-one is attacking the north, and hurries south to sort Zeleen out: but by that time were-rats have scrambled past the ditch and are flanking he, Garth, and Don-Jon. Dove bravely rushes out to support Rich, and gets badly stabbed for her trouble. A were-rat leaps atop the wagon for close-combat! Things are looking grim!

The Garth pulls a full Battle Master stunt, supported by Ungart Hammer! Two Attacks with Sweeping! Ungart Damage! Action Surge! Two attacks!

Were-rats are slain outright or knocked back into the ditch, and the tide of battle has turned just like that. Rich puts Zeleen down. Off in the rear, Dani sneaks quietly away. Two final were-rats die and a were-rat and buddy giant rat flee.

“Let them go!” Garth cries. “We have wounded that need treatment!”

Rich still has Paladin healing and with his aid, the puffy infected rents and scratches on Don-Jon, Dove and Vern are made whole again.

Dawn finds the crew picking over the dead for treasure and deciding on how soon to roll into the mine.

Loot: 60 gold coin between the fallen were-rats, plus a few silver (counted in cavern loot) and trinkets. The trinkets include 7 wedding rings or lockets, very obviously looted from dead miners. The Silvers will gain some rep if they manage to get these to the families of the dead, but lose some rep if they cold-bloodedly sell them to Halia. But the good news is that there are 15 small gems, no doubt prized off larger jewelry but now, happily anonymous. (Garth Dak and Don-Jon can ascertain these are all around the 25 gold coin mark.)

There is also a sketch-map made by Zeleen, showing roughly how the mine is laid out, and three doorways on the east side marked with danger signs.

XP: lvl6-51, for a very tough challenge made much easier by diplomacy, plus bonus xp for gaining the mine.

Let’s search this dump!

The vote is to get the wagon up there asap. Lumber is hauled away and the oxen guided into the entrance.

While Don-Jon and Rage tend the beasts and hunt out any un-fouled food and water, the others all take part in a treasure hunt!

Were-rats are not good housekeepers. Mess and fouled gear are everywhere. But, they take their time and Vern is a fine searcher. The best haul comes from behind a skeleton of a human miner. Tucked under a loose chunk of ore they find Goggles of Night. With these, all four Silvers will have Darkvision!

Elsewhere the common room and bunkrooms return them loose low-value coin that the were-rats chose not to burden themselves with: 644 coppers’ worth. This is shared evenly among all seven. They also find ten “jewelry rock” grade ore chunks.

I pick door T for Tentacles

To the east end of the mines they search. Two doors are blocked – as per the map – by rubble. “That’d be the ghouls then,” Vern observes. Clearing the rubble will take time and make quite a lot of noise. So in the meantime…

One further door is clearly – if sloppily – marked “DO NOT GO.” They go. Midway along an up-sloping damp passage Rich is grappled by a gigantic tentacled creep-crawly! Garth Vern and Dak are ready and Rich merely needs a good deep bath and armor-cleaning.

XP: lvl6-50

The passage leads up and out, looking over a graveyard. And as ghoulish shapes among the graves shift about in the pre-dawn and begin to sniff the air, the session ends.

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