Their 3rd member came back for today’s game but the first part of it was a bit off since they had to resupply and were on an emotional high from the TPK and death of their friend from the prior meeting. And the 3rd person at the table did not have ANY of that angst – so the entire party was clunky and unfocused at the start.
However, once they were out of the Keep and back on the road they managed to reconnect with the adventure and gel again as a group.
Write up follows:
The three friends arrived back at the keep where they were brought to the Castellan’s office for a meeting, debriefing, and the find out what has gone to pass in the intervening 2+ months. Loq was going to make sure the Corg’s remains (read: head) went back to his family as well as whatever riches and coins had been squirreled here at the Keep before we had gone out (very little, but it was there).
While we were given some clothes, and a chance to wash up, a page had gone to the Pig and Whistle to find Proserpine (their elven companion from a prior trip) and invite her to the Castellan’s chambers. She agreed, noting the sorrowful state of her purse and her need to get back out there or admit this trip from the Greensward Forest was a failure and return home.
Prosperpine was thrilled to see William and Charlotte again and once the reintroductions wound down the Castellan was able to talk to the party. Long and short, he was willing to bankroll the party’s losses and re-equipping – but ONLY if they agreed to two caveats: 1) they willingly accept the title of Vassal to the Baron (meaning they are answerable to him and eligible to be called in times of war, need, and civil unrest) and 2) they donate half of any coinage treasure found until they have paid back the loans given (which have a 10% penalty on them). And even though Proserpine was not there at time of capture, she also had to agree to the terms because if anyone skipped out on their debt or vassalage, the other members of the party would be held responsible.
So we hit the markets and purchased just about everything we thought we would need, and then turned in early on the assumption we would be heading off the next day early.
It was Airmonth the 4th and after loading our ration bags and our waterskins we were out the main gate by 8 that morning and on our way to the ravine and the Caves of Chaos. The road was quiet, the fog already burning off, and the air was cool and clear. We arrived at the ravine and crawled our way through the wreckage until we arrived the mouth. The trees were budding and we noted a vulture (the same one from so many months ago?) was winging lazily to another tree and croaking out at the late morning sun.
The group then spent some time discussing our options – returning to the goblin cave and kicking ass or trying another cave? Although we wanted our revenge – we knew that as of 2 months ago there were at least 30 goblins in 1 direction…and 13 hobgoblins (according to the gnomes) in the other. And we were still only 4. Nothing was materially different. So we opted to NOT go to the goblin cave for now, instead to try one of the caves on the opposite side of the ravine but still near the mouth where the dangers should be less.
There was one close by, some 30’ upslope but not too difficult for us to get to. So we crawled over to it, inched our way up the slope, and then had a chance to look into the cave. It went straight into the mountain at least 30’ and then seemed to “T” at the end. After discussing the matter amongst ourselves we decided to risk it.
With torches lit we made our way forward, the smell of the place reminding us of a cross between a locker room and burnt bacon. We heard some noises from ahead but couldn’t place where they were coming from. However, at the end of the “T” were a number of niches and alcoves, in which severed and rotting heads of various creatures were displayed.
It seemed macabre and we talked about what to do and where to go when we heard a “whish” and “Thump” coming from the right – and what seemed like a burger attached to a grappling hook was tossed to us. When we went to reach out and take it, arrows flew down the hall and we had to retreat.
Burger? On a hook? Trap, yes. But we still didn’t know what we were facing. So, with his shield held out like a wall, William darted out and hacked the rope just at the end of the grapple and cut the burger free. We then goosed the grapple and burger back and took a look. Ok, burger. Grapple was a bit rusty and old, and the sandwich was driven through one of the prongs. As we were feathering the burger off the grapple the voice from the right was calling out in accented common that it wanted the grapple back.
Proserpine assured us it was orcs talking to us and from the sounds, less than 5 of them. We discussed what we knew of orcs and determined they were about as tall as humans, but definitely wider and stronger on average, had some porcine features, but were sloppy and not disciplined. Emboldened by our exchange, we accepted that we could parlay and came out into the hall to talk.
The orcs were asking us odd questions that seemed to require the group to answer many of the questions when Charlotte heard a faint noise and whirled around to see…4 more orcs sneaking up on the group from the left corridor.
Trapped between two orcish fronts.
The party immediately lined up back to back – Loq and Proserpine (who was suffering from the effects of eating the burger – which was not only made of rat – but was laced with a cramping poison as well!) tackling the newer orcs, while Charlotte and William went toe to toe with the other orcs charging at us.
The combat was furious and without pause, both fronts whittling away at each other until the party managed to put down a few of the orcs with some really brutal blows and the remaining 3 (still in the far room) asked the party to parlay and discuss terms for surrender (or at least to stop hacking their hurt and dying friends to pieces).