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.