Want to apologize for the long delay in posting this one - been a screwed up May!
So the party was falling for the most base of all allures - the unfinished plundering of the treasure room. The chatter around the table had always been that they were never rich and when they amassed and scrimped maybe a thousand crowns to their name they were feeling well off. Now here it was they had hauled out tens of thousands of crowns of merchandise and coins and they were STILL feeling poor even though some of their sheets were showing in excess of five or six thousand gold pieces per at their disposal.
And that's just what I wanted. Sure. Go back down. Try again. The gnolls were not "ready" for them but their continued presence down in the Folley had NOT gone unnoticed and Sakath, the gnoll leader, although a coward, was not stupid. It didn't take much to deduce where the party was heading each time and some steps were put in place to be ready for the group's presence.
It was when the stairs were compromised on the way out by a weak version of a Horn of Blasting that the DM in me was clapping for joy and grinning ear to ear because it was going to make my job on the going forward that much easier.
But that's not until the next write-up
Write up follows:
The following morning we went back into the depths of Dargan’s Folley, both of our new hirelings along for the trip. We had made this trip many times and within a short period of time we found ourselves back once again in the dungeon depths. There were no gnolls near the guard room this time and we picked our way carefully along the darkness until we came to the side roads. A trip through the alleys had us dodging a few gnoll patrols but it was easy for us to make our way to the city itself.
Coruth’tae provided us some cover with illusions as needed but what was surprising to us this time was the pair of guards in the hall. Not directly in front of the treasure vault but some 15 paces past it, they were in a state of semi-readiness and unless they were neutralized there was going to be no way for us to get past them. That meant that we would have to sneak us as close as possible and take them down.
The grey elf made an illusion of the hall in front of Karis and followed behind a few paces from the half ogre and our two hired swords. The remaining members of the group kept pace beyond and after a few minutes we were close enough to engage the gnolls – our subterfuge taking them both by surprise. Swords were plied and a brief cry was uttered, attracting two more gnolls who were coming up BEHIND the party. The battle was short, brutal, and bloody – but there was little doubt in our skill and it was over swiftly.
We opened the vault door with the runekey and dragged the fallen bodies in with us, not being able to do anything about the bloodstains on the floor.
Once inside we strung together what rugs, carpets, tapestries and busts we could, spreading out the wares amongst the group and readying ourselves for what we assumed to be a fast run back to the surface. Karis was loud that this would be our last trip in and we have done what we could, gathering the riches and we should be content with our haul. Coruth’tae used an ESP to “listen” through the doorway and encountered a 6 count of gnolls, 5 bothered and upset and one very animalistic and angry.
They were about the exit area and it was going to be a running fight for us to take them down and quickly. The door was opened and the party charged out, spells and weapons hacking and tearing through the gnolls. The “angry” one was the same priestly one that Coruth’tae had seen with Tasolde in the cell block – wearing Zoltan’s long missing portaling cloak. He fired spells at the party and the group returned in kind, the half ogre roaring for everyone to get out of here and now.
We charged down the hall and the priest used the cloak to portal away – his whereabouts unseen for now. The lumbering group charged for the exit and sloping corridor out of the gnolls portion of Wodenvarelse, a pair of gnolls blocking our way. There was no stopping as he hit them, a few giving chase now from down the main corridor. The “locked” door was thrown wide and rabid hyenas and feral gnolls armed with flail like bars hit the group on the flank but Bellomeade and Geezer tackled the new threat and blunted the monster’s effect.
Damage was beginning to pile up and the group wasted no time in carving an exit for themselves, one by one the party slithering up the sloping corridor to the other side of the dwarven city, gnolls howling behind us and giving chase. In the narrow confines their numbers were blunted and the closest ones were taken down without pause.
Up top on 3rd street we took stock of ourselves and fast healing was handed out – Detheron advising us to make as much haste as possible for down the distant corridor was heard echoing barks and cries of giggling gnolls. We shouldered our treasures and ran on past alleyways and roads, trusting to the dim lights Coruth’tae held aloft to guide us only a half dozen jogging paces ahead.
There were still pursuing gnolls but we had outdistanced many of them and after arriving at 1st street we made a break for the stairs out in the grand concourse – and there we learned that the Slavertongue gnolls were waiting for us. An 8 count of them were situated on the steps and had their heavy crossbows at the ready. The volley was swift and punishing, with Karis, Geezer, Bellomeade and Gwyn taking the brunt of the impact. Shields clanged and armor clattered as the shafts flew off and against the group.
We barely paused, intent on closing the distance as fast as possible. Arrows were fired in return and the party charged onward, taking more blows from the gnolls. We had to detour and take refuge behind the stately columns, hoping to avoid any more debilitating crossbow bolts. Spells were sent and Karis withdrew his Raven’s Horn and blew a loud blast.
The walls shook, the floor quaked, the sound was deafening. Cracks shot up through the columns, across the stairs, and rubble fell as the 90’ tall expanse of steps had the bottom 4 courses turned to gravel and the entire steps groaned as they settled lower. A few of the gnolls were battered by the fallen rock and trapped by the collapsing steps. The column some of the group was using as cover began to sway and torn from the vaulted ceiling above, sliding backwards.
The party charged the demoralized gnolls and the hyena-men broke, running and yipping and giggling in fear. We scrambled up the scree of ruined stonework and took to the steps without pause and the majestic column behind us collapsed to the group with a gong-like thunderous crash and tore tons of stone from the ceiling above. Our last view as we ascended was the gnolls scattering and shouting and rocks dropping from the roof like rain.
We emerged after two hours from the Folley covered in rock dust and filthy, but alive and with our riches in tow. We loaded the wagon and bid farewell to Goloriana eventually making good time to Ponyboro and Cymbarton beyond. We paid Geezer and Bello their share of the treasure, earning a very positive relationship with the guild, and spent the next 3 days pawning our found treasures and wares with the local shops.