This was the last Tuesday of the Christmas break and my daughter had invited one of her friends over to play, a girl who had never played any game like this before (short of Heroquest the prior month during a sleepover). She rolled up an elf, dug around for a name in some Roman books, and was ready to go after a short purchase of equipment.
Write up follows:
Charlotte spent most of her time at the archery range with the fletcher in order to continue the making and balancing of fire arrows. This activity took up much of her time until the sun was beginning to set. William however wandered the Keep in order to help out those unable to function or who were down on their luck. He didn’t hand out coins; instead he lifted water from the well for the older women with the bent backs. He carried wood for the carpenters and pallets of stones for the masons. He made himself available to anyone who needed some help and was unafraid to get his hands dirty. It was noted by many of the denizens of the Keep William’s actions and besides a large amount of thanks, he was also given small tokens of appreciation. Not limited to a small platter of just made chocolate chip cookies.
And in true William fashion, he shared those as well.
At the tap room that night; William, Charlotte, Loq, and Corg discussed going back to the Caves of Chaos tomorrow and if they should look for a 5th to help out in the endeavor. This came up mainly because there were some new want-to-be adventurers who showed up at the keep over the last few days, and one of them was a dusky skinned elven spellsword from the Greensward Forests of Northern Genevosa. The four-some approached the exotic looking demi-human and introduced themselves. Within a few minutes the group had made the newcomer, Proserpine, feel welcome although she did appear to be quiet and a little guarded while surrounded by the humans. However, she was very interested in joining us tomorrow and made an effort to let us know that we would see her in the morning.
The next morning the party joined William at the Moneychanger where he cashed in his large supply of silver for gold coins and then after topping off the water skins, the group set off down the Eastern Road. It wound through the swamps and trees, curving ever more northward as it was swallowed on both sides by the thick forest before the came to where the western side of the roadway was flattened and upset, the mound of earth and wood leading up and then down into the Chaos Ravine and the caves there.
It was quiet here, sun was shining but no birds were in the sky. The grasses in the ravine were getting taller, up to calf height now, but as for movement there was none. Charlotte suggested the party wait here at the tree line while she went down to the entrance of the goblin cave again and checked it out. We felt it was dangerous and most likely stupid for her to go alone but she was adamant that she wanted to make sure the place was ok. So we watched her as she kept to the side of the ravine, darting from grass to bush to tree until she stopped at the cave. She looked in for a bit, disappeared inside a few moments and came back out motioning Proserpine only to come forward.
Not nearly as quiet as Charlotte since she was clad in platemail and sporting a clean elvish made sword, Proserpine still moved with other-worldly elven grace and in short time was standing by our thief. Charlotte let Proserpine know that she could not see beyond the entryway due to the gloom and darkness and hoped the spellsword’s infravision would let us know if the place was clear. So she walked in half a dozen paces, her vision snapped over, and she assured Charlotte that there were no living figures to be seen nearby.
We motioned the last three members over and then we entered and lit a torch. As before, we had three choices and this time we looked down the center one. The hall was sloping slightly and covered in garbage, leading to a hole in the back of the slope. There was talk about going forward and checking it out but it was obviously a garbage chute the goblins must use – and when a fat pink tentacle stuck itself over the rim of the pit and went questing for more “garbage” to pull in and eat, we backed away and rethought our choices.
This time we decided on the left passage since it had been sort of cleared by us in the past, eventually leading up to a set of stairs and a doorway with hobgoblin voices and a mentioning of dinner. So we went ahead until the passage split, the left side covered in webbing and smelling musty and rank. While we were looking around for secret doors and Charlotte was verifying that the next chamber was indeed empty, Proserpine and her keen infravision noticed a heat source on the ceiling was crawling around and getting…closer. And closer.
And then the group came back with the torch, spoiled her vision, and all we saw were webs on the ceiling hanging down like dusty drapes. She told us what she had seen so Charlotte…set the webs on fire with her torch.
This startled a LARGE number of spiders to drop from the ceiling into two decent swarms and then run toward the party. At the same time a very large spider the size of a small dog dropped down and launched itself at the group. It bounded onto William and scrabbled across his armor, spewing venom everywhere while Corg and Proserpine tried to fight it off. The swarms though charged the group and Charlotte threw herself up and out of the way, clambering up the nearest wall as the spiders passed below her feet and washed up Loq’s legs.
The big spider on William was eventually cloven in twain and the swarms were chased away. Some light wounding to the entire party but nothing that we couldn’t fight through. After making sure all wounds were bound and we were ready, we moved onward through the cavern.
The former guard room was empty, nothing of value left except for a copper brazier. There were thoughts about taking it but when we tried to move it it dumped over, spilling warm coals everywhere and making a butt load of noise. The group ran back and away, a door opened somewhere else in the complex ahead of us, a voice called out in hobgoblin asking who was there (Proserpine translated for us) and then closed the door and went back to whatever they were doing.
After making sure the coast was very clear, we all went back to the former guard room, climbed the stairs, (both sets), and made out way to the end of the hall where an imposing door was and had a note above it that they would love to have us for dinner. We weren’t amused.
We drew up into battle formation and then, opened the door. It had an 8 count of tall, orange haired green skinned hobgoblins! And they were NOT amused to see us. We bottlenecked the doorway and stood shoulder to shoulder, weapons out and met their charge head on. William was under the impression we were going to run, so was surprised to see everyone engage the hobgoblins as he tried to back away, eventually reversing his direction when he realized combat was occurring.
Two of the female hobgoblins ran back down the corridor in the back of the chamber, yelling as they ran about needing help. The rest of them hit us and hit us hard. Swords and axes cut, spears stabbed, and in no time we were fighting too damned many of them. Loq held the 2nd rank and was swinging his war hammer with surprisingly deadly aim and accuracy, the cleric calling out to the gods as he laid into the enemy one swing at a time. As our hit points whittled away, elixirs came out and kept the party standing upright and terrible; our own blows dropping the poorly armored greenskins with steady cadence, freeing us up to bring the fight out of the hall and into the room, widening our front and getting three of our fighters to the front line now.
But we did hear voices in the back of the cave and more hobgoblins were called to arms. And from the clattering noises and scraped and squeals, we assumed those coming down the distant corridor towards us were better armored and more militant – something our group did not want to face in such a short period of time. So we redoubled our efforts and the number of hobgoblins before us fell to three, then two, then finally one. He refused to surrender, struggling arm in arm with Proserpine, the two of them wailing away at one another until finally he fell.
And with the growing roar of the charging hobgoblins almost upon us, we turned and ran from the room and back down the stairs, trying to make our way to the entrance in hopes that the sure to be more than dozen greenskin monsters were going to give up the chase before too long.