The party has come upon the 2nd warren now, a one time Randari Keep that had been the victim of a dwarven assault a century ago, repurposed by the enterprising kobolds for their efforts. The deduction is there are 25, 30 kobolds within - too many for the group to face head on but with some forethought and some planning, they should be able to address the problem and resolve it in smaller bites and doses.
Right now, it's problem one - how do we get inside without the kobolds knowing we're there? The longer the party can keep their presence a secret, the more effective they can be in whittling the enemy down.
Write up follows:
We spent the rest of the day with Dinka the Cyclops and it was on the morning of Firemonth the 22nd that we bid our farewell to Narnul and Dinka, Einar accompanied by the carnivorous sheep which we nicknamed “Shog” affectionately. We left the tower and remains of the keep and made our way north and west to the huge tunnel carved into the base of the Long Ridge Mountain. 40’ wide, 30’ tall, vaulted with roughly 15’ height clearance on the sides, emblazoned across the top in orcish script and common were the words “Eskerton Tunnel System, Praise to Kaiser Gruntuush”. The walls were sound and the dwarves in the party gave the tunnel (at least this part of it), thumbs up for safety.
We entered with care, our footsteps echoing ahead of us as we walked along. Roughly every 300’ was a small carve out on the right hand side where an alcove had been placed and a simple long stone bench was located. There was a dripping somewhere in the gloom and nothing else but a cool breeze ahead of us. The tunnel was so long that we saw nothing down at the end of it, just a long black expanse.
We walked along in our globe of light until even the light behind us to the entrance grew smaller and then faded away. We had already walked over 3,000 feet and the temperature had cooled to a mid-50’s as we trod along. Food and drink came out and we walked and ate with quiet care.
At around 4,700 feet (according to the 3 dwarves in the group) we could see a seam where the tunnel was canted to the right by an inch or two. It was deduced that the ancient orcs dug from both sides and this is where the two tunnels met. For almost a mile, even the dwarves were grudging in their praise for only being a couple of inches off from perfect.
We continued on and at 6,000 feet we could see a tiny pinprick of light ahead, letting us know the tunnel was open on the other side as well. As for denizens or anyone else in the tunnel? We did come upon a 9’ ogre sleeping off his walk in the tunnel, but doused our light, gave him a wide berth, and continued on our way without waking or disturbing him. It was about 10 AM when we emerged from the tunnel on the other side of the ridge and had a chance to look around.
Before us was the remains of an orcish keep reduced to rubble from the long ago dwarven assault and the passage of time. The ground sloped down to a valley ahead of us some 1,000 down, with a kidney shaped lake about a mile and a half long and half again as wide. From the distance we could see reed boats pulled up to the shore at the northern end. The ground was a thick mass of scrub and small trees interspersed with needle-like tall grasses. The slopes of the nearby mountains were festooned with Douglas fir trees, the ground beneath them thick with pine needles and juniper bushes.
We decided to look for an acceptable base camp on this side of the tunnel, going almost a mile from the entrance and heading partway up the ride to look for a natural cave we could use. The area was promising and with Einar’s guidance and the three..no four dwarves (Merica, Dizzy, Hjalgrim…and Percy!) we came upon a cave that would do for us. We swept it clean of old scat, gathered some branches and fallen timber for a fire tonight and then by 12, were ready to head to the north end of the lake and try to find the K’Morat Warren from there.
The trip overland was without issue, only the difficult terrain slowing us down being the culprit. Eventually we arrived at the north end of the lake and looked over the boats. Half a dozen, thick reeds and low in the water type, bound together with natural woven hemp fibers and the larger reads capped with a sticky tree tar to give them extra buoyancy. We suspected they were kobold boats and for our size we could, if need be put 3 of us in each boat.
From here we did note many kobold tracks and followed them from the lake to the west and northwest, heading into the thick canopy of trees as we did our best to find the kobold Warren. It was almost 4 when we stumbled upon the still standing walls of an Orcish keep. The Outer Bailey walls were 20’ tall, the tops rounded and no longer crenelated. There were three towers, with only the northeast one still fully standing at 45’ in height, the northwest and west towers looked like they had been compromised sometime in the past and stood open at the tops at 35’ and 30’.
Some places in the thick walls showed huge gaps that had been repaired with cut lengths of tree trunks, rubble, and mud. We could see over the wall the inner keep itself and there was a barbican near the front with part of a portcullis hanging down and after a few minutes of watching, at least 2 kobolds hiding up there and looking over into the woods. The trees themselves had been cleared from the walls to a space of 40’, giving anyone watching an unobstructed view of anyone approaching.
We circled the keep, staying to the woods and watched for an hour or so as the afternoon waned on. From the northeast tower we did note that crows were seen entering and exiting, giving up concern as to what the K’Morat Shaman might have at his disposal. We also were able to hear occasional porcine noises within, so a boar or the like within? Finally as the sun was setting, a lone kobold walked the parapet and set up metal nest sconces every 30’, illuminating the wall itself and allowing them see approaches and/or attempted scaling.
Enough. We decided to not head back the 3 hours to the original cave we had chosen for base camp, and instead went up the slope north and east of the keep to the craggy areas where we sussed out another cave, this one 6-7’ high and perhaps 20’ deep, covered by a leaning tree and root ball. We cleaned it, set up bedrolls, ate our meal and discussed our options.
The end result was we’d go back tomorrow (the 23rd) and scout the place out. Perhaps set up a distraction and see how they respond. Count how many leave or come during the day. There was also talk of climbing one of the western towers and entering that way. Was there possibly an underground entrance?
We set up a tent near the entrance of the cave and littered the group with caltrops to deter visitors before the party went to sleep. No one bothered us during the night and when we awoke the next morning we broke our fast, gathered up the caltrops, cleaned the place, broke our fast, prayed and studied and were out of the cave on our way back to the Warren/Keep by 8:30.