The group did the right thing and avoided the fight with the cavern BBG as it would have most likely mauled the group. Not all fights require you to bash the bad guy in the head - you can also avoid it if possible.
As for the dragon at the end, that was a shock to me. Rolled for wandering monsters in a mountainous area and for the first time since I've ever remembered DMing as far back as I can, a god damned dragon came up. On the sub-table it was 2 points away a Chimera, instead came up Copper Dragon.
Write up follows:
We gave the area around the burst open box a careful once over, cognizant that there was also some subterranean man-beast down here as well. The box had a number of air holes drilled along what would have been the top but the box was lying on its side and would normally stand 8’ tall. Einar looked cautiously inside, noting a number of those hairs like we had seen earlier, some gouges on the inside of the wood, and the bottom was covered in feces. Since it appeared the box was lying on its side, the feces would have rained against whatever was sitting inside’s feet and legs. Most foul.
As for the body parts and clothes, it was pretty much standard miner gear, no real identifying pieces – except for the green cloth. We managed to fish it out and flip it over – it was 2/3rd of a page’s tabard, not something that a miner would be wearing at all. In addition, it had a specific looking braid marking sewn into it, identifying it as belonging to House Brinster – one of the 6 main mercantile houses/clans/guilds that does work and trade in Thak – where the party is currently living and employed. We made sure to wrap it up to take with us.
Einar wanted to have a better handle on where the beast was, so called to Frey to allow him to detect animals in his presence, a spell that would eventually be draining mentally as long as the half-orc concentrated upon it. However he almost immediately got a hit and feeling for the beast – 80’ south west of where the party was standing. The longer we waited, the more Einar was able to tell – primarily that the creature was large (over 800 lbs), angry, afraid, and waiting. He was able to tell when it shifted its weight and when it wandered back in forth in place as it listened to and stalked us.
We had weapons drawn just in case, staying bunched up near the end of the cave while we finished our investigation which included flipping over the burst off box top and reading the shipping manifest stenciled on the other side. “FR: Bork Keep, Ter Dung Live Specimen. TO: Thak, Merch H Brinster. SHIP: Birth 1, 190 A:30, ARRIV: Birth 12, 190 A:30” This was three days ago.
Someone shipped this …thing, up here to the Brinsters, who then brought it here to Fingelt’s Mine which is being sponsored by House Darbeard – and it killed everyone? Including a page or delivery guy? There was still many things missing – but we wouldn’t find them out by staying here. It was time to leave and return to the bottom level. Briefly it was thought to fight the beast, but we decided there was no reason to and we should just go.
Einar kept us abreast of the beast as we left, noting that it eventually returned to the box and sort of waited there. At the lift, Merica dropped a light spell on the edge of the shaft here and the rest of us went down to the 4th level and climbed off. Larry, Einar, and Dizzy all stayed behind in order to watch for the beast should it dare to approach, as well as to listen for any K’Morat kobolds who might have finally dug their way in.
Conall, Merica, and Avulstein all went off to Korsdotter to see how the digging was going. They had made it most of the way through, an hour or two tops and we could get out. This was greeted with much thanks and appreciation all around.
At this time, Merica’s spell finally faded and Dizzy seriously wanted to replenish the light spell but Einar asked the dwarven priest to Sif to wait. And sure enough, according to his locate spell, the beast was creeping closed to the end of the corridor on the 3rd level. When it was AT the edge (but in the dark according to us) and we were unsure of its intentions, Dizzy called out a fast light spell and let it fly.
It hit the corner perfectly, flooding the area with light. The beast was light blinded, staggered, and tripped…falling 68 feet down with a twisting roar to crash into the elevator lift with a crushing bouncing rocking force. The wood cracked and the lift seemed to lean a few degrees over. The beast was very dead, the fall had slain it.
Everyone gathered around and the digging stopped as we gave it a serious once over. Yeah, it looked like something that would have torn the group apart. And it was here…not in the Terror Dungeon. The group then went back to digging while a few of us were hacking it up for trophies (heart, balls, teeth, hand…and its penis – that went to Merica).
At this point we took the lift (broken but still functional) back to the 3rd level, gave it one last look over to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and then returned to the elevator shaft. We could hear the K’Morat picking and shifting stones echoing far above, and we wanted to make their potential approach here almost impossible. So we applied the bear grease lotion to a half dozen bars, then did the same one more bars with a flask of oil. We also unbolted three of the steps (keeping the 18” shaft of metal and the huge nuts) and also bent one of them off line to further make descending the ladder practically impossible.
We rode the elevator to the bottom and most of us went back to the exit to help with the clearing out of the final bit of rock. But the K’Morat had arrived and we could feel the lift ropes and chains shifting as they came down not only the ladder, but the ropes as well. That would not do. SO it was hacking and slashing and chopping and then the ropes separated and whizzed up into the dark as they unwound from the pulleys. The sound of screaming kobolds was mixed in with the collapsing lift ropes and chains as they raced up and down the shaft and eventually 12 of the K’Morat had died from the efforts.
Satisfied, we left the area, it was time to go. The group all made their way out of the cave, it was about 1ish and the sky was clear. We were in a ravine about 25’ wide at the base, over 140’ tall – it ran roughly n/s and we knew that Thak was SE of here, so we set off in that direction, noting that none of the K’Morat far above us at Fingelt’s Mine had noted us yet.
The water was only a foot or two deep in the middle and the short members of the group were able to stay to the side and avoid getting wet. But we didn’t know where we were in the scheme of things and just wanted to get some distance from the K’Morat for now before trying to climb out of the ravine.
About 45 minutes into our walking noted a cave entrance on one side of the ravine, 30’up. Pretty sizeable, 12’ tall, 30’ wide. As we drew closer we heard a voice beckoning to us and wondering who we were and what was going on. From the timbre and the sight of the huge brownish/red tinged taloned leg sticking out and its tone we knew it was a FUCKING DRAGON in the damned cave. What kind? What the hell? Damned wandering monster table is bullshit!
We had some talk with it, it wanted payment to go past and was taking od things, but did grow wroth with Dizzy for not giving up his holy symbol and told the group to kill the dwarf or they would all die. So he was assaulted, shot Avulstein in the chest and dropped the mage, and then slept by Merica with a handful of rose petals. The dragon allowed the group to not kill the dwarf, just toss his holy symbol up here along with the other goodies we promised (we did). Avulstein was healed and we talked a bit more – learning it called itself Herodotus and when it stuck its head out, we were happy to see the metallic color to its scales (copper!). It was a collector of items holy to the gods and would be willing to take, buy, or trade anything the group might find like that in the future.
We awoke Dizzy who learned of what happened, was pissed that his symbol was taken (and swore right there to one day take that EXACT one back) but we left the dragon’s lair and moved on through the ravine in our quest to get the hell out of here and make our way back to Thak.