Chapter 06: Task Complete?

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Session Number: 19
Date: Sunday 21 September 2008
Venue: Craig's
PCs & Players:

Baelor Ftr3 (Alain) (kills: 1 door)
Catria Rgr2 (Tammi) (kills: none)
Nuff Mage1/Drd2 (Densial) (kills: 2 goblins)
Sack Thf3 (Fergus) (kills: 2 goblins)
Sigil Ill1/Thf2 (Craig) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: nil, and the natives are getting restless…

The party head back to the T-intersection on their way to the kidney-shaped room. They extinguish the lantern and enter the room, Nuff guiding Catria in the darkness. About half way into the room, when the hole in the wall comes into view, Sack hears hushed barking sounds in a language he does not understand. The sound seems to come from the far end of the room, but whether it is from the hole or the corridor, Sack cannot determine.

Sack quietly crosses the room and stops before the hole and corridor, listening. The hushed conversation continues and Sack pinpoints it as coming from the hole. He sneaks into the hole to investigate. The noise stops abruptly and quiet ensues.

Sack crawls through the narrow hole, following it as it climbs up, levels off and starts to descend again. He peers down and notices the shaft exits into a room. He crawls down and gingerly pokes his head out of the hole…

…Where a goblin waits on a ladder below! The goblin grabs the front of Sack's shirt and pulls him out of the hole. Sack allows the affront and the goblin deposits Sack onto the floor 5' below where three of the goblin's friends are waiting!

"Help!" cries the suddenly outnumbered and outmanoeuvred Sack, as he tries to tumble beyond the reach of the goblins' wicked-looking short swords. To no avail - two blades slice deep and Sack is in trouble!

Nuff scrambles into the hole after hearing Sack's cry. Sack continues to duck and dodge as the first goblin enters the fray, boxing him in. Luckily, the goblin blades hit nothing but air…

Nuff reaches the far end of the tunnel and sees Sack's plight. He gets the drop on the goblins and clambers down the ladder, readying his one-and-only offensive spell. The goblins, however, strike out at Sack first and he goes down, bleeding badly. Meanwhile, Catria unhoods the lantern and she and Sigil help Baelor climb into the hole.

Nuff's Burning Hands spell erupts from his splayed fingertips, catching all four goblins in its wake. Two of them drop to the floor, chargrilled. Sack avoids the conflagration merely because he is on the floor, dying already!

The two remaining goblins turn to see their attacker, smoke pealing off their injured forms. Nuff brandishes his staff menacingly, then figures he may as well actually use it and strikes out at the nearest goblin, missing. The goblins take stock of this, notice a dwarf appear from the hole, figure that their odds just grew a lot longer and flee.

Nuff takes another bash at a goblin's retreating backside but misses again. Baelor flicks a hand axe at the other goblin, but the cramped conditions foil the throw. Baelor drops out of the hole as the goblins exit through a narrow passageway.

Catria and Sigil rejoin the party as Nuff administers a number of healing spells upon Sack. He regains consciousness and together the party continue the pursuit.

The narrow passageway leads to a teardrop-shaped chamber with a large pool of water to the left. The only visible exit is off to the right. Baelor notices no wet footprints and makes for the passage to the right. Sack quickly checks the pool of water, finding no visible exits. The water itself is moving, but not briskly. Catria notices that the water smells particularly bad, in an organic sort of way.

The party continue after the fleeing goblins. Each choice of corridor soon leads to many more - this area is one giant cavernous rabbit warren! The party follow corridors that broadly speaking lead away from Sack's ambush point, noting that the path also gently but steadily descends. One such corridor turns to the left, back upon itself, then opens quickly into a huge cavern. Its floor plunges down, mirroring the ceiling above. Stalagmites and stalactites dot the floor and ceiling, and the sound of trickling water echoes everywhere.

The group follow a narrow path that hugs the chamber's left wall. Around 30'-40' later, Baelor stops, having seen a length of rope on the wall at eye-level. Baelor's eyes scan upward, following the rope, noticing that it is fixed to the chamber's concave ceiling at regular intervals with pitons. The length of rope continues upward and outward beyond the lantern's illumination.

While investigating, Catria hears a faint grunting echoing about, out of sight. Heeding Nuff's suggestion, she covers the lantern to allow the other party members' infravision to function. Sack and Sigil see two figures seemingly attached to the ceiling, climbing away hand-over-hand. Sack readies his bow, and Nuff asks for Catria's. The two archers loose arrow after arrow at the slow-moving targets. Sack's missiles strike true and the two figures plummet to the cavern floor below, screaming to their deaths.

Sack notes where the bodies fall and climbs down to investigate. One broken figure rests on the floor, the other is at head-height, skewered on a stalagmite. Both are goblins and have burn injuries in addition to arrow wounds and falling trauma. They're really dead.

The party circumnavigate the cavern and learn that they have been here before - the other side exits to a small circular area that forms the bottom of the 100'-deep chute. A couple of rotting stirge carcasses still litter the floor.

The group re-enter the maze of caverns, following new passages that gradually climb upwards. They stop briefly at an intersection, recognising the chamber off to the right as the one where Sack was recently ambushed. The group push on. A littler farther on, Baelor notices a slim passageway in the left-hand wall. It is so narrow that the majority of the party must move sideways in order to follow it. The passageway continues for 40' or so, then becomes more worked, more finished, for another 40' before terminating at a narrow door. The door is made of thick hardwood timber bound in dark iron. There is a keyhole in the left side, surrounded by a dark iron backplate in the shape of a starburst.

Sack investigates further, first checking for traps before looking through the keyhole. He sees nothing. He then pushes on the door. Nothing happens. He tries to pick the lock, but is unsuccessful. He makes way for Sigil, who is also foiled. Sigil however notes that an arrow will not pass through the keyhole but rather hits something about 3" in. Strangely, he cannot make out what it is.

Sack and Nuff smell a rat - perhaps this is an illusion? If it is, it's a good one. No-one can make sense of their perceptions.

Baelor steps up and carefully feeds one of his treasured beard hairs into the keyhole. The hair bunches and disappears into the hole, snags on something as it is pulled out and breaks.

Catria approaches the door and examines the keyhole with her mirror. It reveals more of the locking mechanism, but little else.

Finally, Baelor pulls out his battle axe and chops away at the door. Minutes pass and Baelor's axe pounds out a loud, rhythmic beat. Half an hour later, Baelor's axe has chopped a large V-shaped groove in the door roughly 3" deep when it strikes something metallic. The sweaty dwarf gives up and heads back to the rest of the group. Together they continue onward.

The passage turns a soft left then straightens up again, after which a large pool of blood is spotted on the ground. Nuff investigates - it appears to be nonhuman in origin and is at least days old. Cautiously, the party continue. The passage opens into a squarish chamber that the party recognise as a previous ambush point the goblins used. Its only other exit leads back to the kidney-shaped room via a short worked corridor.

A quick reconnoitre of the remaining cavern's passages joins up the corridors. It seems that this area is clear. The party head back to the kidney-shaped room and head down the previously-ignored straight corridor.

The passageway continues arrow-straight for about 120' or so before stopping at a curved wall. Nuff and Sack are suspicious that there might be hidden exits about, and spend a good while looking for some. Baelor joins in, lending his expertise in underground construction. The two half-elves find nothing, but Baelor senses that a short section of ceiling about 20' from the end of the corridor is "thin"… and while exploring it, he hears a faint, rhythmic scratching noise coming from above…

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