During our second session, the adventurers explored the village of Bronby a bit and met various residents before heading back to the haunted keep. They learned the mayor trusted pretty much no one, the constable was ready to arrest them for trespassing at the haunted keep, the Golden Grain Inn was much cleaner with a more gregarious staff than at Odgi’s establishment, and that the whole village had a bit of an eerie vibe to it. At the keep, they found goblins! We pick up this session with some goblins attacking the party below the break.
Jon was missing this session and so Jason played Alok. My DM comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Haunted Keep from the Moldvay Basic D&D set, The Haunted Keep from Dragonsfoot, and N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God.
Before the last of the goblins that had ambushed the adventurers fell, it yelled out for help. Noise could be heard from beyond the yet unopened door that Alok stood in front of. Not surprisingly, the door opened and more goblins attacked. Although the goblins were pinned in the room by the small corridor and adventurers outside, the adventurers were hampered by the close quarters as well. The fierce fight–with goblins standing atop fallen comrades to get at the adventurers–was quick and ended abruptly as surviving goblins took a the opportunity of a brief lull in the fight to close the door and, from the sounds of it, shove something fairly heavy against the door. The goblins did not “retreat” before casualties to them and some success on their part, both Alok and Thorbird were incapacitated from goblin swords and knives but not mortally wounded. Both were revived by Gabor’s divine magic.
Leaving the goblins be for now, the party pressed on by opening the door that Thorbird had been examining when the goblins first ambushed. Beyond was what was most likely a bedroom at one point. A large though rather dirty bed was within along with a wardrobe. The room was fairly dusty and some goblin-sized tracks could be seen in the dust. The floor in front of the wardrobe was suspiciously less dusty than the rest of the room. Dragging it forward, the party found a trapdoor. Opening it revealed stairs leading down into the darkness. Deciding the rewards might be worth the risks, the group headed down. [If I recall correctly, the group was pretty beat up and out of healing spells at this point.]
There corridors leading in two opposite directions, east and west, at the bottom of the stairs. The western passage turned south while the eastern had stairs leading even deeper down. Heading to the west, the turn south also revealed stairs leading deeper down. Continuing that way, the party came to a rather large passageway, some twenty-feet across and heading east and west farther than they could see in their flickering torchlight. A door was in the northern wall a short distance to the west.
Singing, a male voice, could be heard from beyond the door. After some hushed deliberation, Edda knocked. The singing stopped and a woman answered. Inside was a large room dimly lit by braziers scattered about. Rugs and large, comfortable pillows were scattered about. Lounging on some of the pillows was a relatively slight and scrawny man. A female goblin was rubbing his feet. Two massive rats, the size of large dogs, sat to either side of this man, his hands resting on their heads. An armed armored woman, with a wolf’s head medallion, had opened the door. The party was invited in and struck up a conversation with Eldwin Rustad.
Eldwin informed the group that they were trespassing and that his family had never abandoned the keep. His features were definitely similar to those of the faces carved in the walls of one of the rooms above (elongated, sharp features) and so the party did not really question this claim. [I believe that one of the players mentioned something about ratlike features instead of the demonic that they had thought when they first saw the carved faces.] He was curious as to why the party was trespassing. The party informed him that it had been at the request of the mayor…by exploring the keep, dealing with any threats, and reporting back, they could prove their trustworthiness to the leader of the village. The conversation ebbed and flowed but the key details are as follows:
- Eldwin would prefer that they mayor not yet know that he is here.
- Eldwin has concerns about what is going on in the village. Bronby, after all, is his family’s home. He is aware of the lizardfolk in the fens and, in fact, there is an envoy (three troglodytes) from them visiting him.
- The lizardfolk were involved in changing the villagers.
- Laila [I think] asked something about a giant, many-headed lizard being in the marsh or a dragon or something. Eldwin cautioned against wishing for dragons as they are often closer than one might think.]
- Eldwin would like for the party to “deal” with this envoy.
- Eldwin would prefer that the group not return to town until they’ve proven their trustworthiness to him.
When it was pointed out that the party was in no real shape to “deal” with the envoy, Eldwin said he could provide safe lodgings where they could rest. They could simply return up to the ruined keep and camp there. He sent the female goblin to inform the goblins, who work for him, to not attack the group.
Returning to the “bedroom” above, the party rested. While the goblins would periodically peer into the room and make rude gestures or comments, they never attacked.
In the morning, the group returned to Eldwin’s. His “bodyguard” was not there. The group took the offer to “deal” with the envoy. Heading down the stairs of the eastern corridor, they came to a large circular chamber. A large pit or well of some sort dominated the center of the room. Of more immediate concern, however, were the three lizard like humanoids moving to attack. The creatures gave off a horrible stench of rotting meat that nauseated those nearby. Despite the odor, the party defeated the creatures. Beheading them, they took the heads back to Eldwin as proof.
Less than happy, Eldwin insisted that they take the heads away. Not only was the stench disgusting, he also wanted nothing to make it appear that he was involved in the death of the troglodytes. Gabor and Laila obliged, effectively splitting the party.
Meanwhile, employment was discussed. A pouch of coins was tossed and Thorbird caught it. Eldwin wanted the party to “deal” with the bandits that were hiding in the keep. If the party would work for him, he’d no longer need to keep the bandits in his employ and their leader was less than competent. Plus, the party could return to town and tell the mayor that they had dealt with the bandits as they had promised. He wants the party to make the mayor think that they are still working for him when in reality they are working for Eldwin. [I’m not sure that Eldwin is going to get what he wants.]
With that, Eldwin suggested that the party returned back to the village and rest. He instructed the party to return to him when they were ready to go after the bandits. [He was their boss now, right?] The party headed back to Bronby with Thorbird heading to Odgi’s and the rest to the Golden Grain Inn.
[That’s where we ended the session…with the addition of a new power player in whatever is going on in Bronby.]