Our prior session somewhat marked a shift in focus for the campaign. To date, most sessions were centered on exploration of the nearby moat house and clearing it out. Having pretty much succeeded at that task, the party is now seeking the lead evil NPC, Leighton, who has moved on but left a trail for the group to follow. This trail has led to the Dunridge Quarry. Armed with some information about a potentially unguarded entrance and joined by four new (and rather enthusiastic) recruits, the heroes were last left as they prepared to enter the quarry or, perhaps more properly labeled, mines.
Muse was missing from this session and Rachel played Brenwyn. There are potential spoilers for T1 The Village of Hommlet as well as A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry below the break. This recap is from RJ and my comments, as usual, are in [brackets and italics].
The party was at the top of the mine at the hidden entrance. The entrance is a ventilation shaft [with thick heavy bars blocking access], we had pried up some of the bars so we can get in. There was a discussion of who should go down first and Labaash, being the lightest and able to see in the dark, was elected. Labaash wasn’t sure it was the right move since he would be…alone in the dark! [Inside joke…too long to explain.]
Haemon volunteered to come right behind Labaash [not that Labaash found that to be very reassuring]. There was a discussion about signals by pulling on the rope. Labaash suggested that they just pull him up if he starts screaming. One end of the rope was tied to the still anchored bars and the other end to Labaas. Poul began to lower the gnome down, joking that they’ll be sure to bury his body and something about time to go fishing. The latter confused Efan as he noted that there was no water around.
About forty or fifty feet down, Labaash spotted, a further thirty feet, another grate! Jerking on the rope, Labaash was hauled back up since a single fifty-foot rope would not be long enough. [I’m still not sure how you jerk on an already taut rope. 😉 ] As another rope was tied on, he shared the news about the second grate before being lowered down again. Another set of ropes were prepared and Haemon was lowered down.
Labaash reached the second grate. The bars are quite a bit smaller and riveted together in an interlocking grid. Labaash listened intently and could hear faint mining sounds. There appeared to be no movement below the grate so he signaled for Haemon to come down. The grate wouldn’t budge when Labaash tugged on it or when both he and Haemon jumped up and down on it. There also appeared to be grease on the bars. Haemon tried using a small crowbar to bend a bar but with no success. Labaash tied the rope to the crow bar, slid it between some of the interlocking bars, and then tugged on the rope to signal for Poul to pull.
As Poul strained to pull the rope up, he commented that it was stuck or that pehaps he had caught a “dungeon fish.” This prompted Efan to ask if a dungeon fish is evil. Molly pointed out that there is probably no such thing as a dungeon fish as Poul chuckled.
Molly asked for the four warriors to help with the pulling. Efan asked why they were pulling; was it for honor? Another asked if it was for justice. Molly shook her head in disbelief but indicated that it was as Poul chuckled. With the additional force, one of the rivets popped, tinged against the bars, and then fell to the chamber some fifteen feet below. As there was no reaction from below, the group moved from rivet to rivet until they are able to bend the bars up enough so that even Brenwyn would be able to fit through.
Signaling up that it is safe to start coming down, Labaash climbed down into the chamber below. Another grate is nearby in the floor. The chamber is a dead end with a passageway to the left [to the east]. The sound of mining is from that direction. The gnome also saw a light far down this tunnel but little more.
Everyone else came down with the exception of Heylin and Gilbert who remained above to guard the way out. A torch was lit. After some discussion, it was decided that Labaash should sneak around and get a lay of the land but only after the regular [day shift] miners leave. A little later, Labaash headed down the passageway, taking his time to be as quiet as possible. Another passage heads to the left [north] mid-way down this passage.
Sneaking down this new tunnel, Labaash came to a large cavern that extends farther than he can see. To the right [east] is another tunnel and he saw light coming from that direction. He is surprised that he hasn’t seen any mining equipment. Labaash explored a bit deeper into the mine and found various tunnels and chambers as well as the direction from which the mining sounds were the strongest.
Labaash returned back to group and told them what he had found out. He decided to then head toward the light [originally spotted] and scout that way out. As he headed down the hallway, he realized that the light is no longer visible. He quietly sneaked farther down the passage and spotted a chamber with a chair. Getting closer, he spotted another chair and what looked to be a bed. He realized someone is lying in the bed, stopped, and started to back up slowly. As he reached the limits of his darkvision, a smaller humanoid sat in the chair. Labaash continued backing away quietly, made it back to the party, and relayed what he saw.
The party decided to try and sneak to the first passageway and head to the mines, hoping to avoid being spotted by the humanoid. To aid in this, jingly armor was removed and packed away [think The 13th Warrior]. Poul, Efan, and Francis stayed back. If they hear any sounds of fighting, they were to come running to help. Haemon asked Efan and Francis to light torches but the pair have none. Poul handed them torches even though he is not happy staying behind with Efan and Francis but not unhappy enough to shed his armor. Molly reminded Efan and Francis that justice is sometimes patient and silent. Poul just shook his head as one of them said something about justice always prevailing.
Molly, Haemon, Labaash, and Brenwyn headed down the hallway quietly in total darkness. Labaash led they way with Brenwyn leading the others. Brenwyn [given her superior darkvision] stopped Labaash, putting her hand on his shoulder and whispering “Goblin.” [The small humanoid in the chair is just that.] Creeping a little closer, Brenwyn spotted a second goblin in a second chair as well. Labaash moved down the tunnel that the group planned going down and then the others will follow. The plan, if caught, is to bluff the goblins by saying we are new mercenaries sent from Glyrthiel [the elven second-in-command at Dunridge Quarry whom the party had met on their initial visit days ago].
As Brenwyn reached the passageway and started to turn the corner, she kicked a small pebble or rock and the goblin looked up, demanding to know what the group was doing. Haemon responded that they were just leaving and it was no business of his. The goblins got up and one went to wake whoever was in the bed. They continued to challenge what the group was doing down here, noting that they weren’t supposed to be here and wanting to know how they got where they were.
Haemond responded that they were the new mercenaries and the Glyrthiel had set them down but they had gotten lost in the tunnels. [Good thing the goblins didn’t think to ask about why the stupid humans didn’t have torches. 😉 ] The goblins were a bit disgusted by the stupid humans and a dwarf but offered to lead them to the guardhouse. Two other goblins were in the chamber when the group came in as well as two humans who had been sleeping in the beds. A lamp mounted in the wall was lit to reveal all of this as well as a couple of beds, a desk, and the already mentioned chairs. An other tunnel led out of the chamber.
Various insults and banter is tossed back and forth. One accusing the party of coming to steal from them and another checking its pouch. The goblins started to lead the group out this other tunnel to the guardhouse so the “sergeant” can deal with them. As the group passes through, one of the human guards told Molly that she needed to stay behind and told the others to continue on their way. Molly declined to remain and even drew her sword. The guards backed down but noted that the sergeant would her about her actions.
As the group headed away, they moved away from the lamp’s light and started heading into darkness. Haemon stopped and demanded to light a torch since he couldn’t see in the dark. The goblins were amused by the stupid human would get lost in the dark again [stupid goblins still not putting 2 plus 2 together] but let him light the torch. After lighting the torch, Haemon pretended to stumble and drew his sword and stabbed a goblin in the back, killing it. It fell and made not sound as it did [magic sword…hooray!] The other goblins saw this and shouted to kill the group.
Molly turned to fight the humans in the bed chamber. Brewynn stepped up and started fighting the other goblins. Labaash came from down the tunnel in which he had remained and stabbed one of the humans in the back, killing him, before Labaash moved back around the corner. The fight goes in the party’s favor as their foes are falling but then a wolf’s howl is heard. Molly yelled for Poul, Efan, and Francis to come running.
Two wolves with goblins atop attack from opposite tunnels, one coming at Labaash and one coming at Brenwyn. Someone yelled, “For Honor!” as the armored trio came charging in. The foes were defeated and Brenwyn tended to the wounds that the group had suffered.
Searching the bodies, the only thing of interest found as the pouch of the concerned goblin that contained a finger bone. The group searched the room but didn’t find anything of value or any information. There was then a discussion about getting Heylin and Gilbert to buttress the group’s forces but instead the decision was made to explore deeper. Before leaving, all the bodies were dragged into chamber.
Eventually the explorations led to a tunnel that slants down. Moving down, more sounds of mining could be heard. It was decided that Brenwyn and Labaash would go ahead and scout. Tunnels lead in various directions. The mining sound could be heard coming from one direction. Looking around a bend, the pair saw four goblins digging at the end of a tunnel. The pair headed back to go down another passageway.
They found a large chamber with a floor of packed sand, tendrils of smoke writhing along the ground, and a rank odor of muddy filth and a sharp tang of resin. A dusky grey stone spire, thin and rising to a point, marbled with the color of ghastly white dead flesh dominated the chamber; a staring eye carved upon it. On the floor near the spire are some pits with glowing coals on them, the source of the smoke. An ochred-robed individual, some sort of priest perhaps, was stoking some coals in the pits.
Brenwyn and Labaash backed away slowly and returned to the others to fill them in on what they saw. It was decided that the pair would explore a bit more before a plan would be devised.
Brenwyn and Labaash came upon a chamber with fungus and a man size hole [meaning about as far across as a tall man]. They decided not to explore much farther but did also spot another opening from which they heard more mining sounds.
The party discussed various plans before adopting Haemon’s suggestion to try to sneak up on the priest and get some information. At the least, he was alone, hopefully would be a quick battle, and the sounds of mining might cover the sound of a quick battle.
Haemon and Labaash sneaked back to the evil temple room to find the priest kneeling by the spire. Labaash quietly moved over to a tunnel in the chamber and peered down it. Empty as far as he can see. The pair moved towards the priest hoping to take him unawares, but the sand shifts and crunches under Labaash’s feet. The priest turned and saw Labaash inching towards him. Labaash leaped to attack to only learn that the priest was wearing armor under his robes. The priest responded by telling the gnome to die with a magical attack but Labaash resisted.
Haemon struck the priest from behind, killing him.
A noise, like water sloshing off, and crunching in the sand alerted the pair as two creatures came charging out of the darkness. Like a cross between a lizard and a shark, each had a tail and fins, razor sharp teeth, and dragging themselves along by their forearms. Haemon and Labaash took one look at each other and ran for the rest of the party as the lizard shark things started “swimming” through the sand towards them.
Reaching the others who were rushing forward, Labaash rushed behind the others. One of the creatures let loose with a roar as another robed figure came from the “temple” direction. As one of the monsters approaches the party, it generates an electric burst that hits everyone but Labaash. Those with metal armor and metal weapons were magnetized by it as well as damaging those struck. The second “priest” casts a spell and Molly, Efan, and Francis all flee. Francis heading down the passage in which Labaash was “guarding the rear” while Molly and Efan blindly ran down another into darkness.
The second “priest” casts another spell, firmly telling Poul to die and Poul collapsed to the ground.
Labaash chased after Francis and tried to stop him from running but Francis shakes him off and escaped down the tunnel.
The others stand their ground and defeat the priest and shark-lizards things but not before another electric burst incapacitates Labaash and Poul.
Meanwhile, Molly stopped running but had no idea where she was in the total darkness. She saw a brief flash of light as a hairy creature lit a cigar. Molly yelled for help as she heard the clinking of a lock and a door opening. As she backed away in the darkness, a gruff voice asked where she, “sweet meat,” was going. Getting a torch lit, she could see a bugbear moving through a jail type door towards her. It said she had to go back to her cell. When she responded that she hadn’t been in a cell, the bugbear said she would be now. The bugbear pulled out a mace and struck Molly. As she lost consciousness, she heard the brute say something to the effect of getting a hefty bonus for this.
The rest of the party heard Molly’s cry for help and ran towards the sound. As they arrived, they saw Molly being carried on the shoulder of a bugbear behind some metal bars like a jail door. It turned and locked the door. Labaash yelled at the “fur face” in the hopes of antagonizing the bug bear but it remained calm, noting that it had to put Molly up and then it’ll come back. It turned a corner and disappeared with Molly as the others reached the door. Haemon quickly pulled out his tools to start picking the lock but before he can get to work the bugbear loudly yelled for some goblins to “Get out here!”
[And that’s where we ended the session…one unconscious and captured, a few others damaged, two–Efan and Francis–missing, and possibly pinned between a locked door and an unknown number of goblins. Good times…good times. 😀 ]