Shenanigans! How could the DM change the map? I had memorized B2 and the layout and monsters before this and thought the DM was being unfair. It was then that Dan informed us that we had been out of the caves for a week and the monsters were not going to leave the uninhabited room completely empty and abandoned. It was "natural" that they would migrate into the areas we had cleared and maybe new monsters would come into the cave system from outside (or even under the ground).
To my 13 year old self this was surprisingly novel, grand, and amazing. Why would a dungeon remain static?
Here it is, almost 30 years later, and I'm still "updating" a dungeon after the party has come in and played Ginsu-warrior with the residents within.
Write up follows:
It was 2 in the afternoon on Birthmonth the 6th and the party had gathered outside the hill on which Malven’s cavern was underneath. The outside appeared to be undisturbed, no different to the way it looked when we were here a few days earlier. With some care we approached the actual entrance and peered in. Again, no difference. We attempted to enter when 4 steps down we felt something strange underfoot. We looked and noted that 3 of the stairs had been painted with glistening layer of animal fat, making it terribly slippery.
No wanting to risk falling and breaking our neck, we burned it off (it took some time and smelled terrible) and continued down. Tempi was first at the step’s base when his hard soled boots and careful walking encountered our 2nd issue, caltrops – lots of them. He cleared a path with his sword and then the party using torch light and some care gathered up almost 6 pounds of the metal spikes and put them in the half-orc fighter’s purse (yes, don’t ask.).
The original rolling supplies cart doors were not here anymore so we were forced to travel down the sloping corridor. As before, we had come to an area where there were a number of rocks set up to cascade down and warn those below, but this time the goblins had used animal fat just before the rocks, which would have meant anyone not paying attention would have slipped down slope and into the stones. We used some bedrolls and baladranas to make a pathway for us to cross the hazard and continued on.
A bit further we found three dead goblins. They had been killed maybe 2 days earlier (by us!) and left here. We noticed some chalk symbols beneath them and Fergus advised us NOT to touch them as they might animate. We tried a variety of tests but nothing had the goblins arise. Eventually it was established that we could move them, so we dragged them to the wall and using a hunk of the paladin’s rope, began binding them together. It was here that Hagan, one of our hirelings, decided that we should remove the goblins’ arms and proceeded to butcher one of them for two solid minutes until he was able to remove one at the shoulder.
This had the party wondering what the hell he was doing and ordered him to stop it and to put the arm back in the goblin pile. Fergus finished binding their arms and legs to one another and we continued down. Eventually we arrived at the first room and noted that most of the barricade had been taken down, leaving only a small token piece across the hallway. We pushed it aside and there was a brief flash as we broke the chalk line below the timbers and back up the sloping corridor, the three goblins became animate.
We trekked back up there and proceeded to beat them to hamburger meat, ensuring they were very dead (again) and no threat. From there we returned to the first room and moved on, watching every step with exaggerated concern. Malven had to know we were nearby and we didn’t want to tip him off that we were here now.
We gross the chamber to the other side and continued along until we came upon the room that had the undead chickens. There were now small mounds of corpse fungus covering the floor. We were going to enter but it was thought to toss some rocks in first, in case the fungus was poisonous. Instead, we set off two shriekers around the corner we did not see. The 3’ tall purple and pale yellow mushrooms were bellowing out the wailing shriek that they were named for and we raced in to silence them.
However it was already too late as coming around the corner were three goblin zombies. Fergus and Tempi confronted the walking dead while Thrish and Codron hacked at the shriekers (which were tougher to wipe out than we expected!). Swords hacked and arrows flew and Tempi was badly wounded by one of the zombies. Flimflam and Whoesa raced into the fight and Marcus came up as well as the number of goblin zombies increased to 5.
At this point one of the shriekers fell silent followed by the second. When the battle was over Fergus and Tempi were sporting aching muscles and new bruises that even a few goodberries was not going to make go away. We shouldered our gear and plodded on, further into the goblin warren.
We eventually came to the area where the corridor had a 4-way divide, and this time we suspected that there were not only zombie goblins nearby, but live ones as well. The corridor had a painted layer of slick fat upon it and no one wanted to risk walking on it. Were there zombies in the dining room? We wanted to flush them out. We sent Thrish back into the shrieker room where he dragged a goblin body over. We lifted it and tossed it across the hall and into the entrance of the dining room.
Sure enough 2 zombies emerged, beat the unmoving body a few times and then went back around the corner. Could we lure them out? We got a 2nd body and repeated it. We noted that the zombies seemed to stop and stare, head tilted like they were listening to something, and then returned. This time we tried it with a third body and the zombies didn’t take the bait. Instead they wandered to the entrance of the room, looked at us, and went back into the dining room.
When they came back a few moments later, they were sporting one of the dining room tables like a tower shield as they came towards us. We held our ground as the zombies came at us but come not stop them from getting any closer. And then we heard coming down the hall more goblins, these were the “living” kind. Deciding not to get caught we turned and ran, leaving the zombies and goblins there.
We regrouped at the shrieker room and waited. We heard nothing. Flimflam dared to go back down the corridor, the gnome sneaking to the corner. He saw nothing, no wavering heat sources. He tossed a stone, then a second, then a third. A few moments passed and it was returned. Feeling brave he hurled a handful of them and then ducked back. Something heavy scraped upon the floor and hurled down towards him. He ran back to the group and they all waited, a new torch lit.
Eventually they went back and looked. The table had been tossed down the corridor at them, lying on its front. We debated on using it and had Codron and Thrish pick it up. Holding it in front of them he marched back towards the 4 way intersection when three fire arrows flew out of the other room, two of them hitting the table front. The table that had been liberally soaked in oil. It flared huge, causing the two men to drop it and cover their scalded faces. Thrish actually broke and ran while Codron held his ground.
A sleep spell was fired off into the next chamber and we heard a variety of figures drop. Charging in, expecting to see zombies as well, we were surprised to only find 5 goblins here (none of them undead). One was a cleric, another had a battered claymore. We killed 4 of them, leaving the cleric for last. As he woke up, Marcus hit him with a Charm spell and we had some answer sessions with him.
There were not many goblins left. In the temple was Malven and his 3 subordinates as well as a goblin zombie or two, as well as the Subaltern (a goblin fighter mage) and 2 or three guards. As for others, there was a sleeping chamber outside the “elf” room where 2 goblins, 4 camp dogs, and maybe half a dozen goblin zombies waited. Outside in the guard chamber where the party had their big fight 4 days ago were 2 goblins whose job it was to wait for the group to arrive where they would bang the doors and shout out how many of us they saw. And in the elf room was most likely a cleric and guard.
Were there any other zombies? Yes, 3 hidden in the kitchen in the stove. They will sneak out and cut us off when we get to the narrow corridor. Malven had some way of seeing and hearing through the zombies he created. And finally how to get in the elf room there was a 2nd secret way that can be found with infravision (wall is a degree or two warmer that the surrounding area) but it was tight, 4’ tall and a foot and a half wide.
We gathered the information and then dispatched the goblin cleric. First we went to the kitchen where we dragged the heavy counter to the over door and blocked it, then lit the firebox underneath and waited until the wood was burning. Eventually we smelled some cooking meat and considered our job here done.
Then it was to the water chamber where Fergus informed us we crossed a marked line under the water and would have woken up the zombies in the oven – but they were neutralized as a threat for now. We continued on until we arrived at the narrow corridor and then our mage snuck through, followed by Flimflam on his dog. A sleep spell was fired off and it dropped one of the goblin guards. The 2nd was unsure what was going on and stepped forward when Flimflam and Whosea took him out swiftly and silently.
The group filtered in and we located the secret door. Our goal was to rescue Fist’al and the other captured elves. Our secondary goal and ONLY to be done is we had a terrific chance of success was to assault Malven, but truly we felt a bit overmatched attempting to take on the goblin cleric in his place of power.
As for entering the room, that was going to be Marcus and Flimflam, it was too narrow, small, and risky for anyone else. Marcus put on the cleric’s Hades headdress and we got the two of them into the secret chamber while we stayed quiet and guarded the doors.
Marcus and Flimflam/Whosea crawled down the 20’ to the opposite end where the door was opened and our elven fighter/mage was able to look in. The room was very sizeable and for a moment, Marcus couldn’t see clearly past 10’, and then like a fog clearing, was able to see and hear the entire chamber. There were 6 elves chained to the walls by ankles and necks, one of them Fist’al. A single goblin cleric was tending to a series of tables and changing stations in the center of the room, and along the south wall near an alcove was a single guard.
Gripping his sword firmly Marcus took in the sight of the goblin cleric and charged across the room, allowing Flimflam and Whosea to come in next. To the gnome, the room was not visible beyond 10’, apparently the veil was lifted by the wearing of the Hades headdress.
Marcus hit the goblin full on and the two of them struggled, upsetting the tables and the elf hacked into the goblin with wild abandon. Eventually the goblin was able to pull out a mace to better defend himself and the two of them traded blows back and forth. Meanwhile Flimflam and Whosea crossed the room slowly, unable to see beyond 10’, until they eventually came in sight of the guard. The lunged at him as he turned to assault the gnome and guard dog and was laid low at roughly the same time Marcus buried the length of his sword in the goblin’s gut.
The two of them freed the elves and equipped them with what weaponry they could find. There was a rod that manipulated the chains and a few knives the elves had pointed out the goblins used for getting the heart’s blood. A couple of potion gourds and they all left the “elf” chamber and returned to the rest of the party.
It was almost 5 PM and we had heard from the cleric that had been charmed earlier that at that time the portal to Duuk Tsarith would open and some goblin women and supplies would come through. We had to be gone before that. We raced out of the cave, through the water, past the intersection, the shrieker chamber, guard room, up the slope and out into the evening air. From there we gathered our horses and fled the goblin’s cave making the long 5 hour trip back to Shakun where we met with Baron Taugis and told the lord of our successes.
The bounty was paid and we went back to the Hall of Heroes where the group as one just collapsed in exhaustion, while the 6 elves were taken to the Hospice where they would receive a few days of much needed care.