26 Oct

Quail Valley Session 7 (SW)

In our last session, the party had gained access to what appeared to be some sort of way station for the Birds of Prey. A stairway led to another small complex that was “infested” by goblins. Shafts of some thirty-feet in length connected various levels of this complex. Fleeing goblins kept pulling the ropes up after them. Eventually, the group had dispatched many of them, captured one, and needed to ascend another shaft to reach the final goblins. Cailana had climbed up, narrowly avoiding a falling goblin (pushed), and had reached the top only to face a swarms of hornet darting right for her! That’s where we pick up after the break.

This recap is from Muse. We had all players, including Claudia, in attendance. As usual, my GM comments are in [brackets and italics]. There are potential spoilers for The Vault of Larin Karr below the break.

After narrowly avoiding several swarms of hornets, Cailana tries to grab the staff from the goblin but misses, allowing the goblin to let loose another round of swarms which incapacitate the elf, who drops unconscious to the floor.

The rest of the party meanwhile is trying desperately to reach Cailana, shimmying up the rope as quickly as they can, with Faelen changing to a lizard to make one less to have to use the rope.

[The players worked together with Wink using an elemental manipulation to form a hook on the wall of the shaft and Cailana had looped a rope around it before continuing on her way up.]

Raspin is the first to reach the upper level and upon seeing Cailana lying unmoving on the floor, grabs the goblin by the neck in a fit of rage. Not out of concern for the elf, but because Cailana owes him 2 free drinks and Raspin is keen to collect on what is owed to him.

[Claudia has thoroughly embraced Raspin as a heavy drinking mercenary type.]

The goblin breaks free as the rest of the party make it to the top and Serena charges the goblin, bashing it over the head with her mace. The goblin, perhaps thinking twice about taking on the party, tries to flee [through a door in the chamber], but Raspin and Faelen stop his escape. Along with Wink, they finally defeat the goblin. Serena stabilizes Cailana, whose injuries were severe enough the elf was in danger of bleeding out. Indeed her ribs are so damaged, they will never properly heal.

[Cailana was incapacitated by the goblin’s attacks. Unfortunately, Muse failed the Vigor check and so Cailana’s injury is permanent…battered ribs with Vigor reduced by a die.]

Raspin yells at Cailana not to die as Faelen does a search of the goblin’s body and find a key which the party can only assume is for the “treasure” room.

[The goblin captured in the prior session had explained that the “boss” had a treasure room in the chamber above (the one the party is now in).]

With Serena still working on healing Cailana, the others unlock and investigate the treasure room. What they find is not exactly the treasure they were looking for. Wink discovers that the treasure is actually two naked female goblins, who are chained to the wall.

Aghast, Wink decides he wants no part of this sort of treasure, and begins to shut the door, but Raspin, in a fit of chivalric behavior, says oh hell no. He talks to the females, trying to find out who they are, and why they are there, but they only look at him in confusion. Raspin does not understand their customs and sets them free, only to watch them run and cower in the corner.

[Goblins are evil, treacherous, psychotic creatures. Their gender relations are no different. These goblins explained that they had been taken in the forest, hooded, and held in this room. They had no information about the complex or much of anything else for that matter. The party left some clothes–from the slain goblins–for the pair and left them to their own fate.]

During this exchange, Faelen joins Serena, and between the two manage to heal Cailana of all her wounds, though the elf is still a bit sore and tender from her ordeal.

Wink creates a new stone hook and the party descends back to the lower level to find that their captive has disappeared.

[This level had a leering demon mouth about an archway that led to a gully. A rope bridge crossed the gully to another archway. The captive goblin had explained that there was an exit through a tree into the woods on the other side of the bridge.]

Deciding that it is time to depart this place, Faelen moves and steps out through the Demon’s mouth opening, spotting a tree [above] growing out of the gully and a rope bridge across. He sets off to cross the bridge when he hears the whistling of an arrow as it slices across his neck, and another follows before Raspin is able to grab him and pull him back inside.

[The arrows appeared to come from the willow growing out of the side of the gully. Later a couple of goblins were found to have been hiding in the tree.]

Serena tries to heal his wounds, but her ordeal with Cailana has left her shaken and powerless, Faelen manages to heal himself, but at a cost, he too is shaken by the ordeal and unable to use his powers further.

[We are using a no power point option for spellcasting in this campaign. Backlash for those with Arcane Background (Miracles), like Faelen and Serena, results in the caster being shaken and unable to use their powers until they’ve spent four hours in prayer to atone (or spend a benny). For whatever reason, they’ve offended their deity in some minor way.]

Raspin meanwhile hears a voice taunting them in goblin, saying “Hey Big Mean People…Goblins Rule!”

Raspin then breaks out his powers of intimidat….ermm…persuasion and strikes a bargain with the goblins. We will leave and they get the female goblins, and we will have safe passage out. Raspin, perhaps in a fit of spite, neglects to tell the goblins that the two female goblins are unreachable since we left them cowering in a corner on the upper level, with no way to get up or down.

[Wink had dismissed his “hook” and the rope had been recovered by the party. Perhaps the goblins aren’t the only evil and treacherous ones in the complex with little regard for female goblins.]

We quickly leave before they discover this fact, crossing the bridge and coming to another demon door [archway I think], through which we find a room with a small archway across the way. Pressing forward through the archway, we find a long room lined with a double row of pillars down the center and yet another demon door, through which Cailana can make out a pair of stairs leading up.

The room strikes a memory in Wink, who pulls out the map. Sure enough there is a notation that a room with pillars is a good place to rest, which the party decides to do. Except for Wink, who decides to go exploring and goes up the stairs, where he finds another empty room of pillars and another pair of stairs going up.

After four hours of rest [and prayer], the party presses on, going up both pairs of stairs and finding a door that once open, leads outdoors, into the middle of the forest, and that we are climbing out of a tree!

To get her bearings, Cailana climbs the tree, noticing that to the south of their location, the forest seems to clear. A quick search of the area shows where the gully and the rope bridge are and Cailana makes a note of the surroundings should they ever need to visit this area again.

Closing the tree door, the party heads south and back to town, being careful once we start to recognize the area, to avoid the Baroness’ manor, and head straight towards the Drake.

[The tree was of interest. It was taller and significantly larger than all the other trees in the area, like an old growth tree surrounded by younger growth. The stairway led to a small chamber built within the trunk of the tree. The door, when closed, was completely undetectable. Obviously magical and confirmed as such by a quick detect arcana by Wink. None of any stories or legends of anything like the tree. The complex below was expertly constructed as well…despite being occupied by goblins.]

Inside we find it empty save for Willow, Bruno, and a group of four dwarves. Willow and Faelen are soon up to old habits and are toking it up, while Raspin, having had enough of sobriety, heads straight to the bar. Wink questions Bruno about the dwarves, learning that the leader is Durgis, and they are the Dwarves of the Shattered Axe.

Meanwhile, drink in hand, Raspin sits close to them, staring at them while he tries to listen in to their conversation. The rest of the party has a quick pow wow and decide that we need to go to Származás Keep in the morning, and to go and see the Baroness before dinner to apprise her of what just happened and to also get the map of the area she had promised.

At the manor, we ask to see the Professor and Maiesse, and then the Captain of the Guard.

After checking on the Professor, we meet with the Captain, who is in no way happy to see our merry little band of adventurers, nor is he happy to hear there is a second band of adventurers in his midsts, the dwarves. Raspin, perhaps still dealing with his “lengthy” bout of sobriety, gets a wee bit feisty with the Captain and is escorted out, meanwhile, Serena, unable to help herself, spills the beans about everything we have been through. We make a request for the promised map, and hope that by morning it will have been delivered.

[Serena has the Big Mouth hindrance.

The Captain was not pleased to hear that some of the goblins had been left alive.]

Back at the Drake, one of the dwarves approaches Raspin, who invites the quartet of dwarves to join him for “free” drinks! Bruno scurries over to clear up the misconception and clarifies that the free drinks apply only to Raspin and our band of adventurers.

That cleared up, Raspin, although more than a little inebriated at this point, still manages to hold a semi-coherent conversation with the dwarves who invite Raspin to join their group. Raspin declines and the dwarves make several jabs about how they will find the vault first. The party is weary after a rather eventful day and so we retire for an uneventful night of sleep.

The next morning we find that the dwarves have already left. We are wishing to do the same, but the promised map has yet to be delivered.

[The Captain did say that he’d talk to the Baroness about the map, but he never said when he would do that.]

We decide to take matters into our own hands and ask Bruno for any info regarding the keep. He mentions an overgrown trail that runs near the Baroness’ manor. We head out that way with Cailana using her skills to locate the trail, whcih she does, along with a more traveled foot path. She suggests the overgrown trail is most likely the one we are looking for and we head down the trail with Cailana leading the way. Several miles [around two to three] in she asks the party to wait and starts to look for signs of the ruins of the keep, spotting them in a clearing up ahead. Keeping to the tree line, she skirts the front of the keep, noticing that although in disrepair, it appears relatively intact. Getting a little closer she notices a sudden well worn path leading straight from the forest to the partially collapsed gate at the front of the keep.

[Note that the path in the forest was not well-worn…it was only after it exited the forest that it became well-worn.]

She hastens back to the party to alert them to what she has found and that she is going to try and peek inside the gate and get a look. She begins to sneak forward and is almost to the gate, but is so focused on not being seen that she missteps and the ground beneath her collapses. She just barely manages to leap back away from the pit that has opened beneath her, and scrambles back to the tree cover as a horn sounds.

[The pit was fairly large, extending about twenty to thirty feet parallel to the wall and in front of the gate. Cailana also heard the sound of breaking glass as the pit was revealed. A pretty well constructed trap or defense.]

The party hides in the trees and watches as the tops of half a dozen helmets appear atop the wall of the keep. The party doesn’t want to risk trying to retreat while the alarm has been sounded and so they hunker down to wait. Faelen shifts to a hawk and takes to the air to try and find out more info about the keep and how many more might be inside. He makes two trips, learning the layout of the keep as seen from the air, and that he only sees the six hobgoblins still maintaining watch atop the wall.

[The front wall of the keep that the party had already spotted was the most intact portion, with a gatehouse and two towers. The walls on either side were mostly collapsed as was the wall to the back. Some portions were still standing as was another tower. One building within the keep looked relatively intact but the rest looked to be in ruins. The woods on the side and rear of the keep had been cleared away, relatively recently. Wood had been stacked at intervals in the clearings, like a bonfire ready to be lit. The woods are actually closest to the front wall.]

An hour or so passes and the party decides upon a new plan. Faelen and Cailana will sneak down the path to a nearby bend and will set up an ambush so that if the rest of the retreating party is followed, we can get the drop on them.

Wink and Raspin manage to slip away silently to join Faelen and Cailana, but Serena is not so lucky. Her escape is noticed and the horn sounds again as Serena dashes towards the safety of the party.

We take to the trees to hide as we hear the sounds of approaching hobgoblins coming down the trail, swords banging on their shields. Two pass and two come even when the winds rustle the leaves, causing a beam of sun to glint off the arrow Cailana had drawn. The ruse is up and they’ve been spotted.

[And that’s where we ended the session.

So far, the party has now discovered the following under or near Presov:

  • An orc burial ground just below the Lonesome Drake.
  • An infestation of cockroaches–both normal sized and gimungous!–in the caverns and tunnels in the area.
  • A deep chasm that “blocked” the way of the party in continuing down one of said tunnels.
  • An underground “safe house” that appears to have been for the Birds of Prey.
  • A complex with goblins squatters, demon-faced archways, and an arcane door indistinguishable from a tree.
  • Hobgoblins occupying Származás Keep…or at least what is assumed to be Származás Keep.

Now there might also be a rival adventuring group, the Dwarves of the Shattered Axe, in town.

Beer Log: Beers shared this session using, as always, our hit, miss, crit, and fumble rating scale.

  • Ology Sensory Overload: Thanks to Forest! A nice New England IPA from a Tallahassee brewery. A hit.
  • Proof Black Currant Aronia Kissing Giants: Amazing! The fruity sourness is perfect with the slight saltiness of the base gose. A crit!
  • Alesmith Speedway Stout: Thanks to RJ! It has been too long since I’ve had a taste of Speedway. Nothing wrong with this stout…just a solid, solid beer. A hit.

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