After over a month of looking and interviewing, we replaced one person at the table, the new player coming in as a paladin and starting at 4th level. This brings our compliment of players to 4 around the table, with one observer for now. Of the 4 we've had poor attendance from Gwyn the dwarf, which makes the group problematic at best and underpowered in regards to role playing.
There is room for 1 more, maybe 2, and I have some more interviews next week which will get us back up to speed and strength. Looking around at the group we are thief light. A cleric or wizard wouldn't hurt either (no offense to Detheron or Coruth'tae!).
Bringing a new player in is always a jarring experience - whoever it is starts at a disadvantage in regards to level, camaraderie, knowledge of house rules, and play style. I had remembered reading in a few places a sort of "rules" or "guides" on player etiquette at the game table - pretty sure it was in some Dragon magazine or Blog somewhere. I'll have to go look it up and tweak it so that it better conforms with our group.
I am sure it will all work out and know that all will be richer for the diversity brought to the table. :)
I figure the group has 3 more meetings (give or take) in Byfortevile before I slap them into some dungeon crawling fun. Which will be good because it will give everyone a chance (new and old) to do a last bit of "towning", try to gel a bit as a group, and then get right to spelunking the dim and dank darkness of the world below on their way to the distant surface and Dragonhole above.
That reminds me - I really need to draw out Dragonhole one day soon. Chuckle - typical DM.
Write up follows:
We rested up, feeling good about ourselves and our situation. We figured that our part in the bar brawl was not our fault and that we should keep trying to be in King Yikzarch’s good graces for as long as we could.
We spent much of the morning eating lightly from our food stores, honing our weapons, and going over our belongings while awaiting word from either Undertaker Solon or Burghermeister Grix. It wasn’t more than a few hours before we had a knock at the door and we met a young human male named Damian sent to us from King Yikzarch.
Damian had been smuggled out of the Vault of Madness, a large citadel on the center island of some importance to both Kashtir Bristlestone as well as the Outsiders. It seems that Damian was a paladin of Baldur and had been portalled there almost 2 months ago by Vanir and some other mage clad in fire. He had attempted to stop the two men from burning an Orphanage in Dragonhole, the young children that were being consumed had their souls sucked into glass spheres that Vanir was holding. He spent 2 months under the yoke and lash of the demonics and had been freed almost 5 days ago by Duergar seeking to weaken Kashtir’s position with the Outsiders and hopefully be replaced by an Underthane.
Seeing our paths conjoined for the time being we opened ourselves up to the paladin and then all went to see Grix together. The goblin Burghermeister had heard about our bar brawl and noted that we accorded ourselves well during it; also following his prohibition on unnecessary slaying.
There were a number of battered goblins in Grix’ office and we learned of our next mission. The goblins here were part of a gang called the Split Skulls, a group of 20 or so toughs that work the docks as longshoremen, filching goods and cargo from those boats and skiffs loyal to Kashtir. The operated out of a warehouse along the eastern docks near the Spider Paddocks and had proven themselves to be quite lucrative to the goblins of Byfortvile.
There have been a number of gnolls over the last few weeks migrating down here since Sakath’s power was broken in Wodenvarelse above. Two days ago a band of 8 took it in their heads to tangle with the Split Skull goblins – and beat them senseless. The leader, Jarul, was captured by the gnolls and the rest of the gang was beaten to an inch of their life and sent running.
Grix wants the party to go to the warehouse and “visibly and publicly teach those gnolls that Byfortvile is a GOBLIN city and not their playground.” We took the mission and went off to check out the situation.
The warehouse in question was the last in the line, maybe 30’ from the water’s edge, three stories tall, perhaps a hundred and fifty feet wide by seventy feet deep. There was one sliding double door for loading and unloading, two other main doors, and one smaller back door. We talked about a number of plans discarding them one after the other, until it was decided we just go up to the place, make an ass load of noise, and then call them out – fighting in the street.
Gwyn readied a crossbow bolt with his Wyvern venom, Detheron called on Frey to fill Arnog with holy strength, and Coruth’tae cast a shield spell around himself. Damian and Arnog put a couple of barrels in front of one of the doors to slow down anyone attempting to come out. And then Coruth’tae cast a glamour that made it sound like a dozen goblins were shouting their heads off for Flitch (the gnoll leader we were told, who also had a cat) to come out. The main doors slid opened and gnolls started pouring out into the street, half of them clad in armor and wielding morningstars, the other bare-chested (no cat so far).
Coruth’tae used his Staff of Power and sent a Fireball streaming into the building blowing the gnolls about and knocking a few of them down, but most of them were able to block or roll away from the bulk of the fire. Detheron called on Frey’s will and a horde of a thousand rats boiled out of cracks, holes, and from down the street massing in front of the druid and ready to charge forward into the packed gnolls. Gwyn swapped from his crossbow and precious poisoned bolt to his regular bow and fired at the unarmored gnoll.
Only to see his arrow knocked out of the air. A second shot followed and the gnoll snatched it with his fingertips and broke it with one hand. Fuck.
And the door behind us shook and banged as someone on the other side tried to push it opened, the barrels slowing him/them down briefly. We stayed together and got ourselves ready as the other door exploded opened and out stepped two more unarmored gnolls, one of them his fur dyed orange and striped in black. And then a growl echoed as a 300 lb tiger stepped out and snarled at us.
Detheron sent his swarm against the 6 count of gnolls and let his concentration wane, the maddened rodents impeding and biting and crawling wildly over the gnolls. Gwyn took up his crossbow and fired it at what we identified as Flitch – only to see his precious poisoned bolt sent away with a palm blow from the preternaturally fast monkish gnoll. The dwarf then growled and said, “No more missile weapons I guess, it’s sword work time.” He and Arnog stepped forward and took the fight to Flitch and the other monkish gnoll there.
Some of the gnolls mixed up with the rats broke away and tried to run elsewhere in the building, but one of them kicked his way free and raced toward Damian. The young paladin joined the battle and calling on Baldur wildly he channeled his own power into his sword and “smote” the gnoll full on, slaying the evil beast with a single stroke of his great sword.
Detheron called on Frey and tried to dominate the tiger, his will encaging the cat and forcing it to obey his wants, attacking Flitch! The gnoll was wroth and forced the tiger into submission with a brutal blow to the head, knocking the cat out for a few minutes. He then turned to the druid and said, “I’m going to KILL you!” and charged. Damn.
Arnog couldn’t stop him as he was still struggling with the other gnoll but Gwyn jumped in the way and scimitar ahead of him got a singular lucky shot against Flitch’s chest, bringing him to a stop. Coruth’tae made himself appear to be covered in lightning and pulling his dagger free also tried to intersperse himself between the gnoll and druid.
From inside the warehouse one of the gnolls tried to come out the window but Damian was there with sword and did brutal fight with the giggling beast. Others came at him from the other side, morning star crashing against his splint mail and he struggled to beat back the next gnoll.
Detheron yelled for Frey and a lion appeared in a flash, assaulting Flitch and raking the gnoll hard. Seeing Coruth’tae as the easiest target he went to attack the mage and was surprised to find his blows turned aside by the combined powers of the Shield spell and the Mage Armor! The gnoll was getting beaten badly and with a lucky blow Gwyn hacked into his chest and Flitch went down dead. Not believing it Arnog tried to whack off Flitch’s head but the gnoll was playing possum and kicked Arnog hard in the leg and ankle, hurting the young fighter.
Another gnoll came out of the warehouse and Detheron called on Frey once more, summoning a hippogriff to take out the new threat. The gnoll leader was slain at long last and seeing this the last few gnolls charged Detheron looking to take vengeance against him. Damian finally took down the last one he was fighting and tried to help as did Gwyn. Coruth’tae made it appear that entangling ropes were binding the two gnolls but only one of them fell for the illusion.
Gwyn tackled the “bound” gnoll and the dwarf and gnoll went over the side of the shore line where the gnoll sunk to the bottom and Gwyn was able to swim enough to keep from going under, holding onto the side wall for purchase. The last of the fight ended swiftly and we gathered ourselves together. Detheron was pretty badly hurt as Damian, Arnog, and Gwyn were also somewhat wounded. Healing was dispensed and the druid then cast a number of spells on the tiger, binding the animal to him.
We had amassed an audience and felt sure that our activities would be reported favorably. We looked over the warehouse, it was filled with some stolen cargo and three unconscious, badly hurt goblins. Detheron used the healing unguent we had and soothed the worst of the wounds, rousing the three from their stupor. One of them was Jarul and we talked about the gnolls, what happened, our actions, and Grix’s feeling of the Split Skull’s importance. He gave us a necklace of a dog’s skull that had been dipped in silver, sort of an important badge of office for the goblins.
Detheron had removed Flitch’s head and had it on his boar spear and we took our time getting ready to head back to Grix when a large, very large, goblin came up. Strong and wide, he was dragging a low flat-bottomed cart behind him. Other goblins gave him a wide respectful berth as he went to each gnoll, picked up the dead body and slung it on the cart.
Coruth’tae asked if he was Undertaker Solon (he was) and the goblin had little interest in talking with us. It took some conversation and convincing and eventually showing the soul sphere before he agreed that he knew about it. Would take us to see the “slimy man” when he was done with his duties. No we can’t see the slimy man now; no he won’t tell us where to go. He’ll find us later.
We went back to Grix with Jarul and the other goblins where we were thanked for our efforts. Grix would talk with the leader of the Split Skulls and come up with a fair reward for us for our efforts. Until then we were on our own until at least tomorrow. There was talk about climbing Ironbeard Stalagmite but we wanted to sit and talk about it first before making any such gesture.