So now it's up to the "fighty half" of the group to effect a combination rescue mission.infiltration of the bad guy's lair and do their thing.
Write up follows:
The group took their time making it towards the treeline which appeared as a darker shadow that grew closer as we approached in the faint moonlight. However, some 30-40’ shy of the treeline, the grasses grew sparse and ready cover disappeared. Meaning we would have to risk running across a sizable amount of clear ground and risk being seen by the watch towers on the city.
In addition, we could see many signs of older cuts and harvesting that had gone on here, many older spongy stumps were littering the ground in places, and there was still sign of juniper, sticker bushes, and other trash ground plants that were preventing the grassland from easily claiming this area. We decided to stay to the grasses as cover and make our way further north until the natural curve of the forested area would hide us from the kobold Warren.
Connal and Barb were having the worst of the time, the two tallest members having to alternately crawl as well as crab walk to stay below the tops of the grasses. Barb and Gryg also had the group spaced out to prevent us from leaving a trail in the grasses as much as possible.
Finally once far enough away, we crossed the clear area and hit the forest proper, making our way some two dozen paces in before we felt we were far enough away from the edge to be seen and changed our marching order to single file and plotted our course into the trees. Gryg had the feeling where the “lumbering” encampment and slaves might be, and from our location we were going to have to walk some distance into the trees (900+ feet) and then again south (over 1,000 feet).
The forest was mostly pines and firs, with the occasional oak or elm as a rarity sticking up. Most of the trees were very mature or old and the spacing between them was in some places 5’, and in others barely a foot and a half. The forest was dense. So we linked up, lined up, and made our way through the gloom and dark, Barb walking point and taking us on a curved trail that started veering north before turning south.
It was slow going, the party being as quiet as we can and picking our way through the trees and brush. After some 6 or 7 minutes of walking, it was Merica whose foot stepped on something sticky that lifted up against the forest floor and adhered to his boot. Leaves, dirt, vines, twigs – it was all stuck to his sole and we waited for him to draw his sword and scrape it clean. It then stuck to his sword edge and we had the chilling sense it might have been a cast of bit of fan webbing. Typically the spiders who give off fan webbing don’t give off nearly this much – which only heightened the groups worry. Eventually getting his blade clean on the side of a tree as well as a healthy dosing of oil, we discussed options and looked around.
According to infravision, there was nothing within range…BUT there had been something fairly big and amorphous not too far from here in the recent past in the trees. There was also a sound of a branch snapping in the forest, ahead of us and in the foliage. We discussed options and decided to turn south from here. We continued on, walking with greater care and eyes peeled. Eventually, after some time, we came up a stump of an oak that had been chopped down less than 6 months earlier. A bit further on, we spied another one. It seemed the kobolds had been harvesting oak trees, leaving the pines and firs. This provided us small pockets of clearing where the moonlight and starlight from above illuminated ragged circles of the forest floor.
As we continued on, Barb stopped us. At the edge of her infravision range, she saw an area of a tree where something large had been perched, then climbed down, stayed at the bole of the tree and then moved off. And it had to be only a few minutes ago tops given the sign was still there via heat source. There was some frantic whispering on what to do next and we changed direction almost 45 degrees towards the southwest and moved on. And after a dozen steps, stretched between two trees was a line of uncommonly thick webbing and Barb stepped right into it.
She stopped, pulled back a bit, and the strand separated from her and “twanged” in the silent dark.
We counted to 3…and heard movement on the trees overhead, lots of movement, and it was just outside our infravision range but getting closer.
Time to move and now.
The party made to run, when Barb was snagged around the hair and right arm, and then hoisted in the air by SOMETHING overhead. Connal jumped up and wrapped his arms around the half-orc, arresting her rise. Similar tendrils came down around Dizzy and Merica who were dancing about to avoid getting caught. Grygmiir jumped up and helped Dizzy, knife flashing and cutting the web free.
Meanwhile Dizzy fired off a light spell straight up, illuminating one of the arachnids, and Salarahadra whistled around the battlefield firing off fire bolts at the webbing to drop the party’s friends.
During all of this, we spied a figure higher in the trees, humanoid, grey and brown in coloring, a distended lower jaw, leaning out of the tree and watching it all – working with the spiders. Connal whisked himself up on Barb’s shoulders and used her like a springboard to Jackie Chan himself part of the way up the tree.
Dizzy and Merica were hoisted up again, spinning quickly through the sky. Merica whipped out his sword and tried cutting the webbing, getting his blade tangled up in it, while Dizzy had his knife fouled for his efforts. As he was pulled closer to the arachnid, Dizzy called out a summon monster spell and a skeleton appeared. He had it show up just above him on the web, and then since it came with an axe – HACKED the web up there.
It cut! Who hoo!
And he fell 40’ out of the tree where he landed with a bone jarring crunch and stopped moving – dropped to -5.
Merica tied the free end of the rope around his waist and flung the other side out and around the trunk of the tree, holding it tight and stopping HIS rise up to the arachnid – the middle of a tug of war so to speak.
The spider assailing Barb dropped out of the tree while the humanoid figure charged at Connal down his own tree – and spit some sort of spray at the monk while giggling. Connal lost consciousness and fell – and Barb who was dodging the spider jumped and caught the monk, lowering him to the ground before whipping around and barely holding the spider back.
Avulstein had another spider drop by him after it made short work of Dizzy’s skeleton, where the beast tried to poison the wolverine who dodge away and turned to face it, his back by Dizzy along with Gryg. A healing draught was administered and Dizzy stopped losing hit points but they were having a rough time. Finally Avulstein fired off a Flaming Sphere spell, and a 6’ tall spinning ball of fire raced forward and caught the spider on its side, causing it to shy away.
Merica was having almost no luck until the spider let its web go and he fell 12’ and bounced on the tree – he then rappelled himself down as the spider dropped down the trunk and hit the dwarf like a piñata, spinning him wildly. He tried to hit the spider on his return but was ineffective. Meanwhile Avulstein spun his burning sphere across the floor again, setting the spider on fire some more. His efforts though were igniting the forest floor and the flames were starting to spread.
Barb was tackled from the side by another spider and then stabbed by the stinger – where she froze up and collapsed – three down.
Merica was then buffeted again and as he fell, was hit by the spider’s stinger and dropped – four down.
Salarahadra doused her flame, grabbed hold of Avulstein’s ruff as Gryg flipped Dizzy onto his back and the two (three..four??) or them RAN in what Gryg swore was the way out!
Crashing behind us were two of the giant spiders and from the trees above, the humanoid figure was leaping from branch to branch, laughing and giggling. This left 2 spiders back with the unconscious Barb, Connal, and Merica – but there was nothing we could do about it.
Avulstein kept pace with Gryg as the 2 of them ran – but the spiders were closing distance behind and getting closer with each labored breath. Just before they got too close, Gryg hoisted his arms up, and flipped Dizzy off his back and into the path of the running arachnid – who flipped end over end and spun about – furious and screaming behind as we ran off with only 1 on our back.
Breathing was getting labored and Gryg was dodging the blows of the arachnid as it tried to bat him about – each attempt momentarily slowed it down and the dwarf ran on. Avulstein was barely ahead but running in the darkness he tripped on a mass of roots and flipped end over end, plowing into the dirt and ending up under a mass of spilled branches and underbrush.
Gryg ran right past him and Salarahadra – and the spider kept pace! Didn’t even notice Avulstein who was digging into the forest floor as fast as he could, leave and needles mounded over him and the doused mephit. They stayed quiet and listened to the running Gryg, spider, and tree leaping humanoid as they got further and further away and then Gryg’s one lone scream and then quiet – followed by a victory cry from the humanoid.
The two of them stayed quiet, falling into an exhausted sleep as the rest of the party was rounded up and injected by the spider’s venom and then wrapped in layers of webbing and dragged away.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group had been positioned on the slope of Whitetop Mountain, waiting to see if any fruit came about from the “sneaky” team and their forays. It was some time later they saw lights in the forest, and then movement. So did the kobolds who issued forth a 40 to 50 group of warriors who emerged from the gates and went down into trees.
We waited, aghast as a half hour or so later – MANY more figures emerged, along with a 6 count of humongous spiders. They were toting bound up figures with care, leading them to the walled city were more kobolds came to meet them, eventually they all went into the city and the group could look on as our friends were now in the K’Morat clutches. Eventually we saw the spiders leave along with 8-20 figures, heading back to the woods.
We returned to the crack cave and thought long and hard on what happened. We needed to rescue our friends as the consensus was they were brought back as if still alive – so that’s what we were going with.
We awoke later the next day, tired and started going through plans and ideas. Thalin, Hjalgrim, Shimlagesh, Darius, Negan, Sybil, Einar, and Percy – could we assault the Warren? It seemed suicidal.
But we did remember the traveler had left us some scrying weed from the Aurora – and Hjalgrim lit it, asking rhetorically to the powers that be – what is the best way to rescue our friends.
He had a disturbing number of views in which each possible way into the Warren ended up with the group slaughtered and lost. The best way in that had any chance was going in through the temple, TAKING a kobold in a purple tabard with us, then going through the birthing caves and NOT killing any juvenile kobolds – and then after something with a bear, emerging into the streets, waiting for nightfall, and getting to the main keep where we fought our way to the High Shaman and either traded a purple tabarded kobold to it for the group or fought the High Kobold for our friends.
When the vision ended and it was shared with the party, we went over plans to attack and rescue and it was then that Avulstein and Salarahadra showed up! Exhausted, filthy, tired, they joined us at the cave and we all shared what we learned together.
The rescue for our friends was going to happen and happen soon.