At this point I had the adventure sort of going to and ending up in Cornelius' Tower - based upon how written. Focal point in town, 15 years untouched, suddenly open and promise of something good/cool in there - leading to the end of the adventure name, "The Gathering Dark".
The party instead went a different direction and wanted to go back to the original Goblin cave on Berrycleft Hill and kick some ass, raiding THEM in response for them raiding us. If we pressed on and ran, we could beat them there before they came back that evening and ninja our way back to town.
So we geared up and ran to the hill, and as you can see - a room filled with goblin kids and teens doesn't mean that the Murder-Hobos needed to slow down over the speed bump that was their corpses and bodies.
Write up follows:
In the aftermath of the raid we heard goblin horns calling retreat as the greenskin forces were frightened off after the light column roaring show that Mahr’s minion produced. It would be some time until we could verify the damage done to the Homesteads but for now we hoped it was little. Our forces were putting out the last of the fires along Northgate and the party itself was looking over the battlefield (as it was) for clues.
As for Mary – she was reduced to some dusty crystalline powder that rapidly dispersed in the breeze. While walking around and taking note of things, we noticed that Cornelius’ Tower, formerly known as Redbrick Tower, sealed during the goblin occupation and unable to be opened for the last 15 years…the front and only door was open!
While the town watch was coming back, we dared to look at the tower, noting it was dark inside, and the door was ajar – but the feeling of ill will was still there – just lesser. We picked up a loose cobble from the battle and propped open the door, just in case the magic came back on and the door closed.
From here we brought Kilven back to the Hall of Heroes and laid him out, the ensorcelled sleep he was suffering under holding him fast. The group spoke at length about our ordeal and there was talk about going into the tower tomorrow…But instead a counter plan was brought up and the group as one agreed with it.
Beat the goblin force that was heading back to the caves loaded down with booty and plunder and loot their caves! We all agreed and decided we would leave tomorrow after checking in with the Captain and the Baron. Healing was passed out and the group went to sleep.
Most of them.
Erd went off to the Militia where we spoke with the guards there and was allowed to talk with Scarene. He spent some time with her, talking charmingly and with light bantering wit, trying to set her at ease as well as foist the feeling of interest on the elven (half goblin???) woman. It seemed to have an effect after many hours. Eventually he went back to his home where he picked his way through the Homestead squatters he had put up for the night and got to bed.
We awoke the next day where the party raided the equipment piles for torches, shirts, arrows, and rope – everything we might possibly need. We had also paid to have breakfast delivered to the militia’s office and Captain Thragrial for the next few days. We had learned that a group of 60 men and women were going to ride out and harry the retreating goblin forces and make their return to their caves difficult at best. The Marshall Westwinter was spearheading this and it was known that Kalt and the First Son’s of Shakun were anxious to be a part of that group.
Kilven was still unconscious and Avidius was ill, after hiding in the mud puddle we had come down with a pretty nasty cold so his wife Senna had wanted him to stay in bed – and the group agreed. So down two members, we set off: Flimflam, Tranis, Steiner, Erd, Geld, Marcus and our 4 animals: Ringer, Princess, Brutus, and Whosea. Small group, fast moving. 8:30 we were gone and kept up as much of a run as we could, jogging when we grew winded.
By almost 12 we had arrive at the cave in question and spent some time observing it and the hills surrounding it. There were no watches we could see, but there was a faint haze from cooking fires in the cave along the far end of the hill and after some time, a smaller, thinner goblin (teen?) came out of the cave, looked around, and snuck back inside.
We crept in the grasses to the hill and then discussed the merits of setting the grasses on fire and escaping vs. NOT doing that. An inordinate amount of time was spent on this before it was shelved for now and for many of the group – a very last last last possibility. For others – no way at all.
Without Avidius we had no way to check for traps so Steiner called to Apollo to help him see any – and then he crept up to the entrance and peered in. The corridor went in and sloped down for 20-30’ but there was definitely a deadfall trap set up in there. A rope led from the center beam down to the room below. Way to go Steiner.
We needed to cut that rope but didn’t want to risk getting in the cave to do it. That’s when Flimflam stripped down and shape changed into a mouse. He crawled into the cave, made his way to the rope, and started to chew through it. He had to stop when some cat got close to the slope and was looking up there but eventually was able to finish the job and then return to the party.
So we all drew weapons, lined up, and took a deep breath before racing into the goblin cave and entered the first sizable chamber. 6’ ceilings, 60 odd feet deep, maybe 30’, a few fires and candles. And over a dozen younger goblins in here along with 2 older females. No weapons to be seen. A couple of goblin rat dogs and a feral cat playing with the children.
And we slaughtered them. Taking advantage of their surprise, we charged across the chamber with spears and swords flailing. Maces crushed windpipes, arms were lopped off, spears punctured throats and legs. Our dogs only added to the carnage by savaging the yelling goblins with a wild ferocity. From the moment we raced into the room until the last goblin was silence by a deadly cut across their chest, the entire combat took about the same length of time it took to read this paragraph.
Our presence was now known and surprise was lost – but that would be for the future as we had Marcus place an Alarm spell on the cave entrance and Tranis was debating setting up the deadfall again – using the intestines of the fallen goblin children as tripwire rope.