This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meet 62, Adv 4, 9/20/14

We had some absences at the table this night, meaning there were fewer than normal players for tonight's meeting. The side effect of this was the fact that the party got a lot accomplished even though everyone was doing double duty and handling additional characters.

We got a chance to see how damage reduction affects the party's effectiveness as well. The Field-Fiend had DR:2 and on the surface, not too terrible, but coupled with the AC: 22 it meant that as a group we had limited effectiveness.

I am a fan of DR and appreciate the simple symmetry it offers in combat. I don't assign it to many foes, only those that seriously need it.

Write up follows:

We had just arrived in Dairymeade, a small village between Timberton and Heatherfield, on Watermonth the 15th, around 6:30. The Thorpe probably held less than 100 people. The largest building was the Laughing Cow Inn where we were located, with a smithy, cheese maker, leatherworker, and chandler making up the other buildings that were not residential homes.

We entered amidst the sound of people chatting and then it grew quiet. From there we went up to the proprietor where we arranged accommodations for the night. The place was simple, the people hard working, and the atmosphere was cautious yet optimistic.

We conversed with the proprietor for a while and learned that there was a problem in town. Something the locals were referring to as “The Field-Fiend” was assaulting their livestock (cows, lots and lots of cows – with some goats). Attacks at night, and only the livestock. If we were really interested, we could talk to the proprietor’s uncle and village’s most important citizen – the Cheesemaker.

So we went and spoke to him, Boris Cokinstock, and learned more of what was going on. A number of cows have come in from the field with red and painful whip-like sores on their flanks. No one has seen what has been accosting the cows, but it’s slowly playing havoc on the bovine population. We went to Harold the leatherworker next with Boris where we got a look at Ethel, the latest victim.

The slashes were maybe no longer than 4’ in length and crisscrossed up and down the legs and flanks of Ethel. Boris and Harold were uncomfortable in us (posing as regular guards) going to find the Field-Fiend, but with some glib tongue and a bit of magic, we convinced Boris to give us a shot. Dairymeade was not a wealthy locale, but they were willing to part with a 15 lb wheel of 2-year old Dairymeade Jack cheese, 10 yards of prime grade calf-skin raw leather, and 4 pairs of butter-rubbed calf-skin high soft boots. We took the job.

They lent us Ethel and we travelled to the northwest of town, perhaps ½ a mile or so away. The cows of Dairymeade were semi nomadic and were never penned at night, so our cow was not unexpected. We however, were. So we positioned ourselves about 60’ away from Ethel and at the lee side of a faint rise of ground, hiding in the tall grass and waited. The idea was that if nothing happened by midnight, we’d go back to Dairymeade with Ethel and concede defeat.

For a little over an hour, nothing happened. The cows fell asleep, only their lowing and farting breaking the night quiet. Eventually we heard movement in the dark and it was growing closer. At the extreme limit of those with infravision’s sight, they saw three bipedal humanoid figures walking closer and closer to Ethel. Do we attack? Wait?

They struck, hitting Ethel on the side and knocking her over. She awoke with an indignant “moo” and righted herself up while the three figures were bent over laughing their asses off. Three youths from Dairymeade – tipping cows. The party was disgusted and Marcus hit them with a sleep spell, knocking them out instantly.

We were deciding what to do next when something 8’long, 4’ tall, 6’ wide, and 300 + lbs smashed into the back of Ethel and pinned her leg with an oversized crushing mandible. It was the biggest damned beetle anyone had ever seen. And it was whipping its antenna back and forth across her legs and flanks, drinking the blood that was running down her skin with its tongue.

Ok, that we’ll fight.

Arrows and spears went flying as we charged the Field-Fiend, Quintus opening up with a salvo of magic missiles and Flimflam calling out a Fairy Fire spell, bathing the armored beetle in green and blue dancing flames. Many of our arrows missed, and those that did hit, bounced off its incredible armored carapace with little if any affect. Even the magic missiles were less effective, the beetle shrugging off most of the lower impacting blows.

We closed to melee range, slowing down long enough to see the beetle FLY at us incredibly fast. It hit Marcus but was unable to get a solid grip on the elven fighter/mage with its mandibles. It’s whipping antenna did however tear into the elf, lacing his skin open like a scourging whip and causing him to reel back in order to defend himself.

The battle was difficult but we stabbed, hacked, and beat at the damned field-fiend with all we had, whittling its vitality away with each swing. And then we heard from the darkness (only Zeta being vaguely aware before it struck) a growling voice shouting in a pidgin of trollish and goblinoid, “Stop a’hurtin’ my girl!” before the 9’ greenskin monstrosity slammed into us and drove us back from the beetle. It was clad in rags and its body was a mass of green and brown thick horny folds of skin. A mop of greasy hair swung from its head but its limbs were just too long and too misshapen to be normal. Its first attack was a blazing fast sweep of blows, claws, and bites which reduced the ranger Tranis from healthy to a single hit point – his face torn open and body suffering from countless body blows.

We circled the beast and tried to keep him from doing another cycle of blows but we quickly deduced that we were outmatched. Even worse, the wounds we were doing to the monster were slow healing before our eyes! More spells were fired and the howling monster ripped Marcus next, shredding the elf and causing him to stagger. Potions and goodberries were being passed left and right but we deduced that we were a bit overmatched. Flimflam called on Demeter and summoned a Black bear which appeared behind the troll and savaged it with it claws, lifting it off the ground and hugging it, tearing it’s chest open.

Coughing and growing weak it stumbled and the group plied all we had left to dropping it and dropping it now. It fell over but even “dead”, its wounds continued to close! Tranis was stabbing it again and again, yelling at the party to “burn it! Burn it now!” Tinderbox, flame, oil, and “WHOOSH!” the figure was ablaze and cooking, the group backing away from the greasy black flames and choking smell.

What of the field-fiend? Thanks to Flimflam’s fairyfire spell, we were able to see it running off to the northwest – so we followed it!. Eventually we tracked it to a hillside and a hole where the light was inside and we circled around, drew ourselves up, and then stormed the cave. 9’ wide, 8’ tall, and deep, we were in the troll’s warren and the field-fiend was here too – along with an amorphous orangey 10’ or so diameter writhing blob larval egg-sac. Fucking great!

Thankfully it was already wounded so we hit it head on with all our strength. Zeta tried to sneak around behind it but attracted the egg-sac thing which detached from the wall and tried to engulf his leg! He danced and hopped and jumped, barely staying ahead of it as it sought him out. Whosea was taking the brunt of the field-fiend’s attacks, the huge dog staggering from the amount of blood loss and wounds hitting him. But the last blow fell and the beetle dumped over – and we had won. But not until we doused the egg sac thing with oil and set it ablaze as well – burning it and 100 larval-stage versions of the same beetle we had just killed.

Zeta warned us that the beetle most likely had a mate somewhere but we did a good thing removing it and killing the Class-6 mutant that assaulted us. Troll, said Tranis. Yes, Class-6 mutant, said Zeta. Ooookay.

We then rooted through the warren and spent almost an hour gathering up the troll’s treasure. Over a thousand coins (the majority of them brass bits), a smattering of simple jewelry, a handful of simple weapons, many yards of filthy silk and linen, over 60#’s of raw tin, 2 wheels of hard cheese, and a traveler’s journal from someone named Trulane Septimus from 15 years ago.

We fashioned sacks and drags, went back to claim Ethel (the boys were gone, and so were the spears and arrows we had used in the battle here) and went back to town. Boris was thankful of our efforts and we made a deal with him where he kept some of the goods we found and we kept the coinage (worked for us). At this point we admitted that we were the adventuring party out of Shakun and he was nice enough to write us a commendation note to take to Heatherfield.

So the next day we awoke early, broke our fast, and paid the caravan a silver and a half to let Whosea ride the cart, the dog was feeling ill from the field-fiend’s attack and Flimflam announced that regular rest was needed.

The area from Dairymeade to Heatherfield is a mix of revitalizing landscape and blasted hellhole. Most of the onetime Estate homes are a dilapidated and burned mess. Many of the fields are wildly overgrown and even years later, there are great swaths of burned and blasted roadway and lands that are nothing but black earth that nothing grows in. Many of the great stone dividing walls have been smashed and stick up here and again like misshapen teeth.

However, there are many many sheep in the area, and the group saw lots of rye and barley being grown, most of it one time wild, but now being tended to and harvested. Hayswains and other early fall signs of harvest are taking place. We did note that there is not nearly enough people working to bring in all the crazy rich bounty that is obvious to the area.

We arrived @ Heatherfield about 6ish that night, got paid and bid the caravan farewell, and made our way down the block to eventually the Sheriff to announce ourselves. He suggested we stay at the Mane and Tails and would let the local lord, Gelus Kayzer, know we were here and could set up conversation with him then.

We dropped off Whosea @ the temple of Demeter and arranged sleeping @ the Mane & Tails. Zeta and Tranis slept in the common room and it mostly was locals doing their best to get a night of cheap sleep. However, late that night a barbarian from the Beastly Hills came in and slept naked, not caring about the people around him. Zeta noticed the figure a tattoo similar to his own. So at breakfast he had conversation with the man who identified himself as Calharag. They talked about the symbol and Zeta tried to call it the Nek’Tar – and Calharag corrected him, saying the pronunciation was Netarg. He was on a vision quest for his shaman to go to the Endless forest and kill 50 goblins, bringing their bits and teeth back as proof. Then he would get to go to Netarg for the 8th time. Zeta made note of all his details and wished him well.

At this point we realized that Heatherfield had very few elves in it, which had Marcus with his hood up. However, half-elves were in abundance (1 in 5). We met with Lord Kayzer and talked about the banditry, giving him the letters from Baron Taugis and Boris Cokinstok and getting a heads up on what we might be facing. The bandits don’t strike constantly, often targeting lone travelers.  They seem to have honor and haven’t killed anyone – taking their belongings. The worst of the assaults is a grey misting blowing into the face/eyes which causes temporary blindness and allows the robbers a chance to get away without being traced/tracked. He arranged for us to meet the last three who were robbed so we could interview them.

Tellium Ditchdigger – He and his son were robbed 2 months ago. They were hunting for quail. Half a dozen or so attacked him and his son. Took his quail, clubbed him when he got mouthy. He was difficult to talk to, taking offense with much of the party – did come back at the end of the interview and was going to go with the group to “get those bastards” tomorrow.

Deliusi Arbandotter – Was herding her sheep back late 5 weeks ago. Bandits took the oldest and fattest sheep and whatever coins she had. Five of them, they seemed to be either Helfs or Humans, and they had 2 really big shepherds with them. Strangest thing, they gave her a leather cloak to wrap around her since it was raining that day and were very courteous.

Ionus op Heatherfield – Strung out came to mind on meeting with this one. “2 weeks ago they took my damned cheese I went all the way to Dairymeade to get. 5# block of salted Cheddar! I tried to fight them off, but they beat me about the head until I fell off Old Bessie where they kicked me until I passed out. How many? 10 I would guess. Yeah, 10. Otherworldly looking (points to Zeta) sorta like that one but without the fucked up hair color.”

We thanked Lord Kayzer for putting it together for us and left, assuming we were going to investigate north of town @ all the abandoned estate houses on the morrow. It was now 9:30 AM on Watermonth the 17th and we were on our way back to the Mane and Tail to discuss our exact plans.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meet 61, Adv 4, 9/13/14

We had a change of people at the table after not playing for 22 weeks and that meant the roster of characters also changed as well. So we had three new characters get introduced and had to weave them into the story and game accordingly.

I am not one of those DM's that says what you can and can't play - as long as you understand that your unique snowflake might not fit in to the rest of the world/group/setting - and will have to suffer through it accordingly. So I have a new player who rolls up his guy and declares that he wants his half-elf to be a "Space Elf" - from somewhere completely different - somehow transported here and trying to find his way.

I do have Spelljammers and have had the Barrier Peaks impact on my world before so this isn't outside the realm of possible - but I am not going to just hand it to him. His character looks and is exactly like a group of half crazed Helf we liberated when we complete Candlewick Keep - and there is no reason to think he is NOT one of those Helfs.

But he also isn't, having a full knowledge of some sort of Edgar Rice Borrough's/Gama World sort of life before now. I am walking a fine line and something planned (actually 2) in the future around this assuming he lives. We'll see what the party does with it.

Write up follows:

The party met with the representatives from the Argosility Mage’s Guild, the high master present was named Derin Longfire. The group spent a few days going over all the items found, gathering prices for them, deciding what needed to be sold off, and arranging a trip to Ferron to sell the mundane gear there since the current Trading House which was once Sern’s was still in the process of being stocked and changed over to the new merchant family, Marig.

Towards the end of the 3 day visit, the conversation turned to one of Derin’s assistants, a young magic-user of some skill named Quintus. Quintus was once a child of Shakun but had been squirrelled away after his 14th birthday when he developed magical ability and almost burned down the family home. He has spent the majority of his time in Gul and Argosility, training and refining his control and craft. As of this time, Master Longfire has declared Quintus no longer either a neophyte nor an apprentice, and releases him from his need and requirement to return to the Chapterhouse in Argosility.

The conversation then turned to the Mage’s Guild reestablishing ties with the long forgotten “west”. It has been over a quarter of a century since they’ve had any chapterhouses West of Gul and by having a Chapterhouse Mage working with one of the first Adventuring Groups that has been reestablished is not only exciting, but a boon for recruitment for future wizards as well as allowing the guild to have some sort of presence out here. Plus they are willing to pick up the 35 crown Charter fee.

The party was happy to welcome Quintus and he was escorted with us back to the Hall of Heroes where he met everyone and was then given a room assignment. As a final, Master Longfire asked the party (since they were always looking for “adventure worthy goals”) to be on the look out for 4 different magical items that had been in the Chapterhouse inventory before the Goblinwar, but had been either lost or stolen during that time. These items are marginally dangerous and require some care if found. A bounty was placed on each item (from 400 crowns to 2,000) should the group uncover the items in question and bring them back to the Chapterhouse.

At this time it was decided that Auri, Mummus, and Taryn would all be travelling east to Ferron and Gul to sell off what wares we could before returning. We told them that we would be most likely heading to Heatherfield and on their return, should meet us there next. They left with a hand cart laden with trade goods and hoped to return soon.

A few days later we were requested to meet with Father Gavilerin @ the Temple Grounds. It seems that for the last month or so he has had a strange Half-Elf who had been suffering from some wounds as well as malnutrition at the Hospice. Identified as Zeta, he had a fanciful story that he was a Space Elf (or Helf) who had been the victim of a dragon-sorcerer’s phase shifting singularity spell and wound up here on this primitive planet in some keep that had been burning – about 2 months ago. He then wandered the woods, eking out a survival in the Endless Forest when a goblin patrol stumbled upon him. Using the only weapon he had with him, an item he referred to as a Vibrodagger – he killed the goblins, took their strange metallic rocks, and kept walking south. Eventually he was found and brought to Shakun where Father Gavilerin has been taking care of him for almost a month.

He is “healthy”, although still only half convinced that he belongs here and is not a Space-Elf. Father Gavilerin wanted the party to meet with Zeta because a number of his descriptions of where he had been matched the stories and locales the group had said was Candlewick Keep. When we first met him, Zeta looked very familiar (with the green hair and red eyes) to the crazed half-elves who had been deep under the Hestian curse @ Candlewick, and Geld, who originally lived there, was 100% sure that Zeta was one of the half-elves. However, Zeta had no idea who the group was and knew things that were either such a delusion or so far removed from this plane of reality that there was little way of knowing with 100% accuracy if he was indeed a Space-Elf.

The Temple grounds was able to pay for the Charter to have Zeta join the party, his skills as a fighter already proven by his scars and survival;, his scouting and exploring skills implied by his tales. We also brought him back to the Hall of Heroes (freeing up a much needed bed @ the Hospice) and helped him become indoctrinated with the party.

We had already had conversation with Baron Taugis about going after the next bandit enclave – this one between Timberton and Heatherfield. Doing so would open up the trade roads a bit more and allow much needed horses and ponies to be traded with Shakun, Orland, and Timberton. We accepted the mission and according to Baron Taugis were given 75 crowns up front for food and supplies, with another 75 to come @ the end on completion. Also, there was a 25 crown bounty for each bandit we were able to bring in (alive).

So many of us were completing our training and equipping for this adventure when we received a visitor. A ranger names Tranis from Sorkajot (all the way on the other side of the kingdom, north of Gul and near the border with Daro) had come here after his 2 year stint as a border guard was up. He wanted to opportunity to make more of himself and the Adventuring Group’s existence and the promise of the open west appealed to him. So he took the trip out here and was hoping to be hired on. Since we knew that we wanted a Ranger in the group, especially one who was a certified King’s Man (even if of the lowest tier) would only further enhance our standing and authority. He was welcomed with open arms and we went to Town Hall where we filled out a new Charter and had it registered.

As the days progressed, Marcus had a late night visitor. A white and yellow plate mail clad elven person named Speaker Delarrin Othicari. He wanted an accounting from Marcus as to exactly what happened to Fist’al and where he thinks he might be. There were obvious holes in the official story (a bounty for a donkey?) but Marcus was forthright (if full of shit) and unwavering in his answers. Delarrin then went to the Hall of Heroes to talk to Flimflam, getting the same sort of answers there. He left thanking everyone for their aid and promising to be in touch in the near future.

Finally, Watermonth the 11th, the party was ready and gear was handed out as needed to our new and former companions. We left during the crisp fall day, the temperature over 60 and the sky clear. It took us the majority of the day to make it to the Roaring Treant Inn where we split up into the Common room as well as some purchased bedrooms. We had seen many travelers during the day, but the most bothersome was a dozen elves on horseback, clad in white and yellow, heading west towards Shakun. For some reason, we felt good to be out of town when we did.

We slept in, Quintus enticing one of the bar wenches to help warm his bed (it was a miserable time, she just lied there). The next morn was a mass of pounding rain and wind, cold temperatures in the 50’s. We opted to stay here another day.

We left the next day (the 13th) and made it to Timberton before more inclement weather struck. Timberton was a logging town – perhaps 800 or so people, a couple of mills, lots of work – most of it dirty. Watching our coins we did not want to stay in the Inn, instead getting room and board at the Dowager Merrins home. We stayed the night and also the next day, the weather working against us.

Finally on Watermonth the 15th we trekked our way south towards Heatherfield. There was a Thorpe between the two towns called Dairymeade where we hoped to make before evening fell. Our only major travelers on the road was a group of men travelling south, hoping to be one step ahead of the tax collectors and not appear on the census rolls. In doing so, they will avoid paying taxes for this quarter. We wished them well and kept going.

It was just before 6 PM on Watermonth the 15th when we came upon the small village of Dairymeade. An earthen work surrounded the maybe 15 or 20 buildings, a pair or rolling barricades could act as gates if need be. There was a large inn on one side of the road and a prominent cheese maker was on the other. The party stood before the inn named “The Laughing Cow” and then proceeded toward the front door.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

9/6/14 - One Shot B/X

This was 21 weeks after our last meeting and before rolling into our normal game, I set up a one-shot B/X dungeon crawl through a modified and shortened version of B5 - Horror on the Hill. I planned on a full compliment of 7 players, expecting to have less at the table. Four were on time, 2 showed up a bit later. It made an interesting mix since we had 2 groups doing the dungeon, not working together and approaching the adventure differently. As typical - the adventure was not "completed", but the party had a great time.

The write up follows:

The town of Bordersbridge has been under a terrible yoke of despair for the last few weeks. There is an evil that has reawakened in the decade long destroyed Monastery that was once a safe haven for the followers of Ares. Whatever that has taken root there once more has preyed upon the people of Bordersbridge. First there was the assault on the town’s Orphanage – 16 children taken and a 500 crown ransom. The town paid it and the children were returned.

A week later the guild hall was assault and 25 guild members and their family were taken. This time the ransom was for 2,000 crowns to be delivered to the Monastery or they would be killed – the Baron paid it and the guild members were released. A week later there was a fire at the granary and when it was over, 34 members of the Baron’s family and staff were taken – with only the baron himself left behind – killed and split in half, the upper portion impaled on a spike. A letter pinned to his chest said we had a week to pay the 5,000 crown ransom of they would be killed.

The council of lords opted to take a different stance and send out a call for Adventurers to hunt down and bring back the Baron’s family. 7 of them answered and said they would go. The adventurers opted to get their own followers as well and the day to set out came – 4 of the 7 gathered. Fighter, Cleric, Dwarf, and Elf – along with 3 followers. The Halfling, Magic-User, and Thief were late. We opted not to wait for them and set on our way.

The land on the way to the former Monastery shows former signs of devastation and destruction from whatever evil occurred here a decade earlier. It was a few miles of walking until we arrived and beheld the location. It was 10 Am at this time and the Monastery sat quiet in the still air. The grounds were maybe 400’ by 350’. The outer walls were in bed shape, perhaps 4’ in height top and crumbled. The original gates were long gone, rotted or stolen away. Inside the grounds we saw a small garrison building on the southwest, a crypt on the south, some sort of deep pool/pond in the center, and the main building taking the majority of the grounds from the northeast. A faint mist or haze was rising from the grounds. Sickly yellowish vines were growing all around the walls. We could see drag of path-made marks from many walking people through the two former gates. However the entire grounds were quiet. Eerily quiet – no bids, bugs, anything.

The party did not want to enter the grounds and after some deliberation opted to circle the grounds from the outside and maybe see if they could enter the Monastery from the north through a window or something similar. It was while walking around the north side of the grounds that they saw a possibility. The walls of the Monastery here were 12 or so feet high and along the furthest northeast corner were 2 windows, each 15’ wide and 3’ tall – the glass that was once there long gone. Also, the number of yellow vines were much less around here.

There was some conversation on who would climb up and investigate – the concern was that the thief and the Halfling were not here. The dwarf nominated the elf to climb and take a long, which had the elf reply, “Does that wall look like a tree? It’s stone, you’re a dwarf, you climb it.”

This much closer, we also noted that in this final area of the building, there seemed to be no roof along the final 80’. Looking through the window, we could see the sky beyond it. We looked around the ground; there was no broken roof either. Where’d it go? What happened here? The Fighter drank his potion of Flying and took a look himself. He flew 20’ over the top of the wall and looked down.

There was an open area – 160’ long, 80’ wide. 9 stunted birch trees surrounded the perimeter. A 40’ wide bowl, 4” deep, fed by a fountain in the center, ran to a long pool, 3” deep. The grounds inside were covered with yellowing flowers and grasses – very thick. There was a door on the southwest corner of the big room that led further into the Monastery proper. The fighter had picked up the elf and ferried him over the wall and to the door – careful of the grasses and distrusting of their look. They lowered the rope to make sure that nothing was in the grasses (it seemed clear) and then went to the ground. They did note the earth felt strange. It was with some steps that they were able to detect the missing glass from the ceiling had fallen and had 10 years of growth over it.

Listening to the door (which showed some sign of former burning – but was cool now) had nothing on the other side. The fighter used his strength but could not get the door opened by himself, the elf helped him and it popped open with a loud screech.

Inside was at one time the library, it was old and burned. A mound of old books and dirt – various garbage. There was another door on the north wall. The feeling is that the garbage was at one point used as a rat’s nest – but there was nothing here anymore.

The Fighter went out and started ferrying the other party members over. During the transfer, there was a building rumbling and the smoky mist grew denser and then a 40’ wide, 100’ tall steam vent blasted out. We watched it as it lasted for a minute before ending.

Once all inside there was some discussion about maybe drinking from the fountain, with the party split on trying it out. We tried to convince the followers to do it, all of them declining. The elf wandered around the library, looking for any secret doors – not finding any but did find a hidden scroll case. Inside were 4 scrolls with two cure light wounds and 2 other clerical spells.

We then went back to the fountain, this time the dwarf deciding to take some. It was very smoky and lights flashed. He drank it down and every attribute dropped 1 point. The elf then asked, “Is…uh…anyone going to drink that?” The dwarf went to drink another time, and it was now – ok for him.  We were able to convince the hireling to take a drink; this one was able to gain 2 permanent hit points.  The Cleric went last, gaining a +1 to his Wisdom. At this point, no one wanted to take a drink.

We went back to the library and listened to the other door, hearing nothing. With care we opened it and looked. A long corridor went off to the left, well over 100’, a side passage 30’ ahead and running to the right. There was a door in front of us, closed. Down the hall were 3 more doors. Maybe 4 torches were lit and we talked about what to do next. The Fighter opted to fly to the corner and check around, seeing the corridor went 80’, with another side passage on the left, half way down.

Meanwhile, the Magic-User had overslept and arrived at the inn to go on the adventure about 40 minutes late. He and his two hirelings then raced off to the east once they found out the other 4 members had already gone. Then, about 10 minutes after that the Halfling and the thief had met up and decided that this was a stupid idea. The Halfling was leaving Bordersbridge, going to the next village of Hommlet to hang out and wait for the thief who was going to meet up with the group and try to either steal something of value, or grab 1 piece of treasure and jet. The thief stayed behind the mage and his 2 helpers, keeping them in sight but not wanting to fully meet up or commit.

The mage had gotten close enough to the Monastery to see the Fighter flying over the wall for the last time after the geyser had gone off. He and his two followers worked their way to the back to the grounds and contemplated how they were going to possibly get over the wall.

Inside the Monastery, the group had made the decision to go down to the side corridor and check out that direction when the detected a noise from the door opposite the library. Some listening revealed Hobgoblin voices, and quite a number of them. Shit. What to do? Fight them? Avoid them? The vote was to leave them where they were for now; however the door opened into the other room, not the hall. The Fighter had a bright idea of tying the two door handles together – the Hobgoblin room and the Library room. It should slow down and hopefully stop/prevent the Hobgoblins from coming out should we inadvertently alarm them.

Ropes tied in place we then snuck down to the right corridor and followed it to the left. There were two doors there. We peeked in the first one, door was ajar, and it was the entrance hall of the monastery. Five large statues of Ares were present and we could see the front door, closed but in good condition. We then listened to the next door and heard two deep bass voices within. They were speaking a strange language and we were going to go in and take them down.

Outside the wizard and the two followers were messing with the yellowy rotten-melon smelling vine when it burst and sent sticky sap all over the henchman’s club – dissolving it away! From there we threw rocks at the remaining vibes we could see in order to break them and remove the potential threat. They wanted to get over the wall and were talking about who would be best. One of the henchmen made it to the top, braced one leg over the window sill and reached down to help hoist up the wizard.

At this point the thief made his presence known and the four of them talked. The thief went up with his rope tied to the wall outside, through the window, and then down the other side tied to the base of the nearest birch tree. With the rope in place, it was much easier for everyone to climb up and over, entering the gardens/fountain area.

Inside, the dwarf smashed the door with his shoulder, battleaxe at the ready. The room was large and there were two 9’ tall, 750 lbs Ogres inside, sitting on their benches at a table and playing dice. On our entrance they stand up and yell. The Fighter goes first, flying in, leaving the dwarf filling the doorway. One of the ogres hurls the bench at the door, and it smashed into the dwarf, knocking him down. The Fighter hacks into the first Ogre with his sword, and the two of them are in melee. The elf drinks his potion of Growth and swells to 10’ in height and very wide.

The rest of the party tears into the room and hits the Ogres with all they have. The dwarf gets up at the end of it and the joins the fight. The Ogres are very strong and do terrible damage, most of their attacks at the dwarf. However, at one point one of the hirelings got in the way of a club blow and went down screaming – barely alive. The two Ogres held their own but the Fighter and the giant Elf are going at them – killing one. The last Ogre tries to escape, running away, but the Dwarf and Fighter beat him before he can escape.

Once dead they look around. Some key, various coins, a few sacks of cold, trunks and boxes. They opted to open the trunk (key and unlock), 5 jugs of wine and a leather sack was here. The sack jingled, but inside it was filled with Silver. When they were combining it all together, the realized there was a lot more in the bag than expected. Bag of Holding. We consolidated our treasures and then looked around the room. There was another door on the left hand side of the room, closed and locked.

Out in the garden, one of the henchmen wanted a drink, getting a bonus to his Str and Dex. Then the one who lost his club was going to break off a branch – but the Wizard begged him not to. The Wizard took a drink and received 2 to his Dexterity. The Thief was not going to drink it no matter what. The four of them went to the Library and gave it a good once over. They gave the garbage a pass, working past it to the door on the north wall.

The door was held by something and the group plied their strength together, ripping it open with a lot of noise. The ripped the rope that was holding both doors closed and the other door opened – revealing 6 goblins and 6 hobgoblins. At this point, not being able to talk each others’ language, but the Hobgoblins able to understand Common (if not able to speak it), they are under the impression the group is supposed to be here. Through very favorable reactions and good luck, they were able to show that they were not a problem and should be taken down to the Hobgoblin king below. So…the Thief, Magic-User, and 2 hirelings were escorted into the Hobgoblin room, down the stairs, and into the Hobgoblin catacomb lair – to meet the king.

The rest of the group used the key on the last door and found 4 Neanderthals inside. The dwarf was able to relate to them and used the keys to free them. The cavemen were swayed by us and opted to follow us along. We equipped them with whatever clubs we could find (no armor or club) and had 4 new front line fighters. The Cleric then used 2 of the scrolls of Cure Light Wounds – healing the Fighter and Dwarf closer to full. The Fighter was no longer flying. We went back to the main hall and began walking down towards the three doors in that direction. Not noticing the broken rope in the dim torch light. There was one room that was an altar to Ares, we moved on to the next one.

The Thief, Magic-User, and 2 henchmen were led down into the catacombs and began walking. They passed many many hobgoblins, an arena where the Baron’s family and henchmen were being kept, and other places where we assumed there was some smithy work. There was a closed door where we were let past. Some calls went out and we heard ‘Password’ and then we were allowed beyond. Here the Hobgoblins were much better armed and armored. And then we were led to the Hobgoblin king and leader.

He was a large heavily muscled specimen and there were a half dozen well armed and definitely leader type-hobgoblins about. The conversation between the king and the party went difficult as he would often issues commands that the thief or magic-user would try to follow, only to have him bark a slightly differing or countering edict that they would scramble to obey. Eventually it was explained to him that the town of Bordersbridge had sent a party of adventurers here to kill him and take the humans back and that the Thief and wizard had come to warn him.

He looked favorably on them and told the group to lead 10 of his best warriors against the party upstairs and they would be richly rewarded for helping him. He gave the thief one of the original Ares blessed spears that was once in the vaults of the Monastery, a +2 glowing weapon – advising him to “kill as many of the scum that you can”.

They now had 10 hobgoblin warriors and 6 goblin bowmen at their beck and call – and they were then led/leading the mass of 20 of them back through the catacombs and towards the stairs to the 2nd floor.

The upstairs party continued their exploration, eventually coming across the armory and supply room. Everyone who could grabbed crossbows, shields, more spears; just getting ready for what they thought was going to be a fight with whoever would be in the room they had tied shut.

The hobgoblin party had come up the stairs and were going to lead the group to “team up with the Ogres” when they noted the noise and light down the hall, seeing the party down there sort of plundering the stores. A quick plan was put in the place and the goblins and hobgoblins sprung into action. They filled the hall and bows were slung back, arrows flying down. Only one actually struck the “good” party – striking one of the Neanderthals. The hobgoblins then filled the hall, staying to the right, hoping to throw spears as soon as possible. The thief and magic user (and hirelings) tried to stay in the back of the group. The wizard cast Shield on himself.

The elf raised his hands and pointed down the hall, casting sleep. It hit the lead goblins, dropping five of the goblin archers immediately. The Neanderthals ran up, clubs raised, and the fighter let loose his crossbow, hitting one of the hobgoblins, wounding him. The Cleric then cast hold person on the lead hobgoblins, freezing two of them in place. The hirelings let loose their own crossbows, dropping another hobgoblin.

The lone goblin then shot and the hobgoblins ran closer around the mass of people, hurling spears. Neanderthals began dropping and the battle lines crashed. Clubs and spears were plied left and right and more crossbows were shot. The thief pulled out his potion of Invisibility and sucked it down, hiding in the library. No one noticed.

Hobgoblins in the back threw spears while the lead ones stabbed. The good party charged closer and blows were traded back and forth. One lone hobgoblin was trying to get the Mage and hirelings in the fight, accepting the fact that the thief was actually somewhere in the fight (and not running away – making it to the garden). The mage then cast Charm Person on the rear-most hobgoblin, ensorcelling him. He was convinced to attack, hurling his spear, letting the magic-user and the two hirelings to make their way to the library.

At this point the battle turned against the hobgoblins and they made the attempt to flee. The party hacked and swung, dropping hobgoblins left and right and another one was hit by flying oil. A burning hobgoblin managed to make the corridor and ran for the stairs.

The group tried to talk to magic-user and find out what was going on, but there was lots of distrust and the Fighter assumed the Magic User was an evil one. Especially since the hobgoblin (charmed one) was defending him and on his side. So the wizard cast web on the Fighter and held the doorway closed. Then the hobgoblin was running with the wizard and henchmen trying to make it for the far end of the garden to use the rope to escape. Meanwhile the thief had already climbed over (invisible) and was on his way for the town.

The cleric poured a potion of Fire resistance down the fighter’s throat and they set the web on fire – eventually getting him free. The hobgoblin was holding the door closed between the garden and the library, ordering the rest of his group to run. The dwarf and his Neanderthal were running for the main entrance of the Monastery and hoped to cut the fleeing wizard off from the outside.

Eventually the fire burned the fighter free and the elf ran past, hitting the door and tore it out of the hobgoblin’s grasp. The hobgoblin pointed north to the fleeing magic-user and two henchmen and said, “I give up! There they go!” The elf and Fighter ran past. The Wizard had reached the top of the wall, his hirelings coming up behind, when he cut the rope behind him (What the fuck!?!?!) and dropped to the other side to try to run back to town.

Not wanting to see him get away, the elf cast “Floating disk”, popped the fighter on it, and being affected by the growth potion, his stride was much longer. He ran down the length of the pool, the two hirelings standing there in shock at being abandoned, the fighter bouncing along ahead of him on the magical disk, loading a crossbow. Meanwhile the dwarf and Neanderthal had reached the outside and were tearing for a break in the northern wall. The wizard was running away, but the giant elf pulled himself up a birch tree, and sent his disk rocketing ahead of him to max range, bringing the fighter close enough to fire his crossbow at the “evil” mage – hitting him. He stumbled and slowed, trying to flee – but a second bolt hit him and he slumped over – fading away just at the same time the Neanderthal caught up to him and beat him to death.

Meanwhile, the Cleric and remaining henchmen were talking to the two that had been abandoned by the wizard where they heard a tale about the thief (no one on the “good” side ever actually saw him), spear of Ares, Hobgoblin King, and the sheer number of hobgoblins that were going to be coming up from the catacombs VERY soon since one of them had escaped the battle. The Cleric convinced everyone to leave the Monastery now and head back to Bordersbridge to let them know what’s going on and to be forewarned about the trouble stirred up here and coming their way.

The thief? He took his magical spear, bypassed Bordersbridge entirely, and headed off not to the next village of Hommlet to meet the Halfling, but elsewhere to sell his treasure and put his time and experienced behind him.