The next youth meeting took place on a Saturday a few hours before my normal group got together. The new girl, Ashley, could not make the meeting since it was her sister’s birthday (as she indicated – she’d rather be over playing D&D) so I pulled her character out for the time being while the rest of the party revisited the goblin cave and pressed onward.
Write up follows:
The hobgoblins kept pace with the fleeing party for some time before giving up and turning back, their laughter taunting us as their voices echoed behind. As one, the party had retreated all the way back to the main entrance by the garbage pit and took the time to catch their breath and decide on what was to happen next. Proserpine was the most winded and freaked out, so we allowed her to leave, the elven spellsword making her way out of the caves and ravine, where she would meet with us at the wood line in a few hours after the party was ready to leave for the day.
One down now, the four remaining members went over our choices and decided going back to the hobgoblins now that they were aware of us and most likely prepared would be foolish. Instead we opted to head to the right corridor, which we knew led back to the goblin guard post and at some point the ogre that had been working with them.
So torches lit and swords and hammers at the ready, the party moved their way down the hall until they arrived at the “T” intersection – the right opened up to the goblin guard room (now dark, quiet, and empty) and the left led down a corridor we had never been at before. Discussions were hissed back and forth in the gloom but it was resolved we would look left and see what was down there.
Charlotte went first, checking for traps as we went. The corridor went 15 paces or so and turned to the left again, but at the end of the hall were over a half dozen large barrels and at least two oversized shipping crates. We approached with care, noted the shipments were all still sealed and had markings from Lyon on it – trade goods and quite some distance from here.
Looking past the stored goods the corridor went another dozen paces or so and ended at what seemed to be a dead end. A chipped and weathered water fountain took up the back wall and at the base of the fountain was a wooden chest banded in iron straps, latched and locked. No one wanted to touch the fountain (water was only trickling down the face) and the chest was inviting, but we were concerned.
It was decided that William and Loq would guard the “T” section of the hall while Charlotte and William went to work on what we’ve found. The barrels seemed to have wheat and rye – not flour, the seeds and chaff. As for the end of the hall, after 10’ poling the area and splashing the water a bit – it was assumed that there were no traps. Charlotte also couldn’t get the chest lock opened no matter how hard she tried. We discussed options and settled on William beating the wooden chest near the hasp with his sword for a bit until it gave way. This was going to make some noise – but we figured a minute or two tops and then the hell with it.
The problem became apparent after 30 seconds when we realized that we were making a REAL hell of a racket. So much racket that Loq and William were very worried. So worried that they kept looking back down the hall towards the main entrance – and that’s when they saw over a dozen small dog-faced lizard looking creatures coming down the hall towards us armed with bone knives and fire sharpened sticks. When they saw us at the end of the hall, the leader of them pointed at us, arced his head back, and roared something in his language long and loud – which inspired the rest of the kobolds to charge us.
William and Loq together took two of the flasks of oil off William’s backpack and hurled them at the ground by the entrance of the “T” – and then set it alight. The flames roared up but the spreading oil let us know that this wasn’t going to last very long. So we backed up down the hall, and the four of us shoved the barrels and boxes into a sort of barricade to slow the kobolds down.
But before we could finish it, a crazy kobold was hurled over the fire, rolled to a stop, and screamed his head off charging the party. And then another one followed. And another. They were tossing/leaping their warriors OVER the fire – and they kept on coming in 2’s and 3’s!
Arrows were shot, swords were swung, and the barrels actually helped to slow down the first few who died at the end of the corridor. But there were others, and they kept coming. And the dead and wounded were mounding up, which made the next jumping leaping lizard-like dog men easier to get to us. And there were lots of them.
One of them actually cleared William’s head, landing in the back ranks with Loq and Charlotte, bone knife slashing. Corg was holding his own but at one point we had 5 of them pressing our front rank and one of them behind us. Charlotte switched over from her bow to her enchanted dagger we got from Martigan the man holy man and his mountain lion. As she drew it and began to swing, a wave of peace slowed over her and she noted she was not as worried, at ease and calm, and moving a tick faster than the world around her – making her blows that much more likely to hit and hit a vital area.
As the combat went back and forth, it seemed that at one point the kobolds were going to break and run, but the fire died out and the last of them behind the flames joined the fight and the dog-faced monsters morale was renewed.
One of them ran to the goblin guard post and returned with a chair that he held on to his shoulders for some reason. We didn’t know what and why until one of the kobolds jumped onto the chair and brought his crossbow to bear against the party. And another kobold still at ground level did the same. This would allow them to shoot into the party AND still have one of them hit the back ranks.
Like Charlotte and her Leather Armor.
The bolts fired and William’s shield took one quarrel while Charlotte managed to dodge one that whizzed by her head. Loq’s Warhammer smashed one of the kobolds that was dancing on a barrel and stabbing at Corg while the party was finally getting the upper hand against the monsters, whittling the numbers down.
And then William was shot in the chest and his new platemail breastplate failed. The bolt punched in, dropping the warrior almost to 0, forcing William to man the front line alone. Charlotte swapped to her bow while another crossbow bolt just missed her by 4 inches. Loq had a healing elixir ready and was trying to yank the bolt out without killing the party’s fighter and leader. And the kobolds kept on attacking and shooting us.
Charlotte’s arrow only wounded the aloft crossbower who returned the favor again – and missed our thief again!! Corg finished off another front line kobold and William was finally stood upright, the minty taste of the healing elixir fresh on his tongue. The party rallied back and a lucky shot from Charlotte caught the held aloft crossbower in the neck, knocking him from the post and falling to the ground. Down to only a few, the kobolds looked at one another, spoke in their own language unhurriedly, and turned to leave – and from our biggest fears – to get a shit load more of their clan and kill off the group.
We could not get over the barricade of barrels, boxes, and dead bodies nearly fast enough and were bemoaning that we would have to leave and leave now, giving up all the found barrels and chests and what not when we heard the sounds of combat down the hall and then a few pitched screams. Light came around the corner and we beheld a wandering party of armed and armored gnomes coming towards us, lantern held high and long spears pointed ahead.
There were 6 of them and they were here to try and make their fortunes here at the caves. They killed the leaving kobolds and we talked a bit. Honest and friendly, forthright and lawful, they discussed what they had seen, took the crossbows and bolts as a thank you for their efforts, and were given a heads up of the hobgoblins down the left hall since they indicated they wanted to go that way.
On their leave we decided to take the barrels and boxes that we could carry, and the inside of the chest had three cotton shirts dyed in a striped red and brown pattern that made no sense to us. Shirts? In a locked chest? We took it with us and then left.
Rejoining Proserpine we had a slow hoof back to the Keep, the trip taking longer due to our belongings. Upon arrival back at the keep we “gave” the trade goods we had rescued back to the Castellan who rewarded us 30 crowns (we split it up). We also learned the shirts were the daywear of a troupe of priest of Ares who had been missing from the area now for 2 weeks.
Resting for the night, we wanted to seek out other adventurers who had been further through the caves to try and get their heads up on what might be ahead of us and what we might see. Lastly, it was noted that Loq and Charlotte had performed pretty well in the caves and their skills seemed to be better that we gave them credit for. Loq was going to pray to Zeus as he felt a higher connection with his god and we hoped that this would help us out and pay off for us on the next trip out to the caves.