Dok suspected that the Goblins would run deeper into the tunnels of the mysterious Blacktooth Ridge, but he had refrained from voicing any contradictions to what his Elf companions had for the most part planned to do at the Vargorg.
The Hill Dwarf Cleric of Helm had silently decided that it was best for his companions to discover first-hand that the Goblins would penetrate deeper into the tunnels of the Ridge, but he also held out a slim hope that he might be wrong and his Elf companions may have been right.
So Dok took up his position at the rear of the company as they decided to enter the Vargorg, making sure there was no suprise attack from the rear, while he also observed how his Elf companions especially would deal with any enemies inside the confines of the Ridge tunnels.
As the Goblins easily burned away Soledad's webbing, it was clear they were not coming out. “Well s***” Silver spoke to no one specifically. Turning to Hornet with a smile she moved to the entrance and looking at him, then the rest of the party one more time
With Hornet at her side and just a little behind her, she entered the cave in full stealth mode, rapier and scimitar at the ready.
The surgeon general warns that smoking is bad for your health
The group watched as their careful plan went up in smoke. At least one let out a quiet curse, while doubtless others thought similar things. The goblins appeared to have retreated into the cave and not run out into their trap. Now the door into the cave loomed before them filled with smoke and haze. And, presumably, goblins. Goblins that now knew that they were there. But at least one less goblin then there had been previously.
The various archers all put away their bows as one and seemed to decide that the best plan was now to invade the cave. Sure, the goblins knew you were there, but they didn’t know you were coming in and they wouldn’t be able to see. At least that was what the plan said. And a dancing lights spell could keep 4 torches dancing ahead of the party hopefully illuminating any goblins before they got to the group. Perhaps the group could function in darkness while the enemy fought blind. It was a plan anyway, and plans always worked, right?
The group moved forward and prepared to enter the cave. The tunnel in was about 10’ wide, so Hornet and Thaoran, blades drawn, entered first. They were followed by an equally prepared Silver. Next came Soledad, maintaining the dancing lights about 20’ or so in front of the two leading elves. Last came the dwarf, the rear guard and designated skeptic.
As soon as the group entered the cave the first flaw in the plan became apparent. The smoke was fairly thick and breathing was difficult. It wouldn’t be long before the group started to cough and have trouble breathing. But they moved forward, unsure how far the smoke would last. About 20’ feet into the tunnel things started to widen out. Just as the group noticed that they saw motion in the smoke ahead. A group of goblins came scampering out of the darkness towards you, running low on all fours, apparently attempting to stay below the smoke. (Staying below the smoke was impossible as the whole tunnel was filled, but it was noticeably thinner down low.) They stumbled a little when they found themselves suddenly outline by the light of the dancing lights, but it was hard to see much beyond simple shapes and motion in the smoke. Their motion kept the leaders charging right up to the leading elves.
Thaoran and Hornet acted as one and each of them managed to put their blade into the lead goblin, one from the left and one from the right. The creature had no chance and with a smoky cough it slid off of their blades to the ground. But there were others behind it in full charge.
Overview: You are about 20’ down the tunnel -you think in a larger room but it is impossible to be sure. One goblin is dead on the floor in front of you. At least 4 or 5 more are in charging at you through the smoke – they had been running forward and apparently did not expect ot see you. The number is a guess. You can’t see far.
*Smoke is a problem. It is hard to breath. You will need to make con saves (I’ll roll) – after the second failed con save you will suffer from the “poisoned” condition. (Disadvantage on attack and ability checks) Two more failed con saves and you lose consciousness.
The first kill happened as a result of a surprise round because your plan essentially worked. But now it is a more regular round.
The situation was worse than Dok had realized as the smoke was working against the group, rather than in their favor!
The Hill Dwarf Cleric of Helm, positioned in the rear, decided to head back out of the Vargorg as fast as he possibly could, to take up a position of defense in a more favorable atmosphere of breathable air.
He was hoping that his deity, Helm, would grace him with favor as he made a dash for breathable freedom, hoping that his comrades had sense enough to exit the smoky trap, while there was still time to regroup on the other side of the entrance.
A few more goblins fell to the blades of the party but then the real enemy raised its head. The smoke made it hard to breath and Hornet felt himself getting dizzy from lack of oxygen. "Perhaps it is time to return to the outdoors. If we stay here we will die from the smoke rather than the goblins. If it is that bad for us it should also force them to flee as well. Looks like we are back to the origional plan of waiting at the entrance." Hornet used his thief skils to back away from the attackers, turned and moved back to the opening of the tunnel, sheathed his rapier and readied his crossbow once more.
OOC: Bonus action of disengage then action of full move to the entrance
Posted on 2021-06-21 at 11:31:07.
Edited on 2021-06-21 at 17:18:51 by Keeper of Dragons
Following along behind Hornet and Thaoran she entered the cave in full stealth mode, rapier and scimitar at the ready. The first few goblins encountered were no match for the two in front of her and she found herself with almost nothing to do. However it quickly became apparent that the goblins were not the biggest threat at that moment, the smoke was.
With Hornet calling for a withdrawal Silver found she agreed and made haste to once again gain the outside air. Sheathing her swords and instead arming herself with her bow, she covered the entrance as Hornet and Thaoran quickly exited the cave. What the party would do next she had no idea.
Soledad was more than happy to oblige the calls for retreat. Moving from her position at the rear, the witch backed out of the tunnel as quickly as she could to return to the breathable air. She would happily hurl bolts of magical fire at any nasty goblin that got too close.
As the party entered the cave, they hadn’t really considered how their smoke screen would act against their own desire to breath clean air. But it very quickly became obvious that breathing would be a problem soon. Even as those in front were recognizing the danger to their lungs they were suddenly confronted by a group of goblins coming at them out of the smoke. The little buggers were running low and crouching, trying to stay under the smoke. It didn’t seem to be working.
The lead goblin quickly fell, but now the group was confronted by several well smoked goblins in a very hazy setting 20’ or so into the entrance of the cave. Recognizing the folly of trying to fight in the smoke the group turned to run out of the cave. Hornet easily disengaged and ran up the cave tunnel. Thaoran moved with him. A goblin blade flashed through the space he had just occupied, but missed by several feet. As the party moved back into the fresh air several arrows flew through the air around them, but didn’t seem to have been aimed so much as shot wildly up the tunnel. None found their mark.
As the group exited the cave and quickly made their way across the 20’ or so of open group to the tree line they could hear shouting and some snarling from behind them. The group reached the limited cover provided by the brush and spun to see what was following them. For a moment that was nothing, but then with more yelling, snarling and the clang of weapons the cave’s denizens spewed out of the opening at them.
(Technically that is the end of the round. A few of them are just coming out of the cave. But as your plan was already stated, I don’t see much reason not to give the next round. There isn’t much you can do to change the basic premise. If you wish to change something please tell me, but this should be following what I think you posted.)
The group didn’t know exactly who or what was in the Vargolg to say nothing of their numbers. They knew they had killed two goblins so far. (One in the web and one in the tunnel.) But that wasn’t much. They didn’t seem to have chased right on the heals of the group when they retreated, but only a moment later there was a large charge. Multiple goblins sprinted out of the smoke. All seemed to be holding a cloth over their mouths in an attempt to stop the smoke. It appeared to have worked better for some than others.
The first goblin out of the cave was hacking badly from the smoke but never got the chance to breath clear air. As soon as he emerged from the smoke an arrow from Thaoran took him in the throat, spun him around and dropped him to the ground. The second faired no better as Hornet’s bolt pierced its eye – an almost perfect shot. For Hornet, not for the goblin. The third goblin was also gasping from the smoke and paused as it exited the smoke to gulp down clear air. The surprising stop might have saved its life as Silver’s arrow now bounced off of its armor instead of finding its home in the creatures neck. The goblin gasped in surprise and moved forward as others behind it pushed it onward. It charged directly into Soledad’s firebolt. The creature was staggered, but not killed. (5 damage.)
Dok was the only one not to take action yet. He had set himself up as a rear guard. He was a little bit behind the others, but it seemed the action would soon come to him. As he looked up at the cave entrance it became obvious that a goblin horde had been roused. They kept coming. Two lay dead from arrows and another was badly burned. But they were quickly replaced by a half dozen more. Behind the goblins, and towering over them, out of the smoke the dwarf say two large humanoids that look more like walking hyenas than anything else. They were ugly – and the source of the snarls the party had head as they ran. He knew what they were – gnolls. Ugly, vile and dangerous gnolls. The monsters charged directly at the party.
The big picture:
There is about 20’ of space between the cave entrance and the tree line. It is quickly filling with beasties. At about the point of the tree line the gulley is about 20’ across, maybe a bit more. The five of you could stand across it if you wanted to do so. Dok is currently a few steps back in rearguard mode, but could easily move up or whatever. There is a path about 5’ wide meandering down the center of the gulley and brush more than trees throughout the rest. The sides are fairly steep and would be a challenge to climb out of.
You said you would run out and prepare arrows – so that is what you did. Clearly the creatures stopped for a second after encountering you and then charged again. This gave you one round of shots as they poured out of the cave – not quite on your heels, but close. Next turn they will be upon you for melee, not just arrows. Silver, Thaoran and Hornet rolled very high initiative and will get to go first. Dok and Soledad might follow some of the monsters.
Right now you can see 7 goblins (one badly burned) and two gnolls. You can’t tell if anything else is coming as the gnolls are only now emerging from the smoke. It appears that you have roused the fortress for a battle.
Hornet easily withdrew from the fight with the clumsy goblin and made his way out of the tunnel into the fresh air. Making his way to cover he knocked a bolt and watched the entrance. In moments a goblin appeared and a bolt found its mark. That was the good news. The bad news was that several goblins appeared and behind them came a pair of gnolls. Goblins were not much of a threat but the gnolls could be another story. "Target the gnolls! They are the greatest danger and if we kill them the goblins may flee!" Hornet sent a bolt flying towards a gnoll and then disappeared back into cover.
OOC: If a spell targets a gnoll Hornet will target the same one. If not he will aim at the lead gnoll. Bonus action: Hide
Thäoran muttered a curse under his breath as he saw the wave of enemies rush out of the Vargolg. It seemed they kicked a hornet's nest! They were vastly outnumbered and a he felt a rush of panic wash over him, but he quickly supressed it. He had to remain calm and focussed otherwise he'd only make things more difficult for himself. A hungry, vicious snarl came from the wall of acrid smoke before the, swiftly followed by another and what emerged threatened to make him panic all over again: two slobbering, growling hyena-people rushed forward to meet them, eager to tear them limb from limb. The gnolls were covering the distance between them and the party at an alarmingly fast pace, as were the many goblins scrambling around the beasts' feet.
Thäoran heard Hornet's cry to fell the gnolls first, which the other elf hoped would scatter and cause the goblins to lose morale and flee upon seeing their strong fighters fall. Thäoran agreed that this was a good a plan as any, so he nocked an arrow and loosed it at the left gnoll from the elf's hiding place among the bushes, aiming for the beast's eye. He then swiftly ducked behind the bush for cover before any goblins looses a volley of arrows in retaliation.
Soledad hissed as the goblins and gnolls began pouring out of the smokey cave. This whole event had grown entirely too irksome. It would have been far more preferable to find a single stupid gnoll to drive into a complete, obliterating madness. Alas, the wretched creatures were not being cooperative...
Spitting a dark incantation into the air, the golden witch spun the gossamer threads of magic into a sticky web to entrap the vile beasts and block any more from pouring out into the clearing.
((OOC: Casts web. Primary goal will be to cover the area where the gnolls are and to catch as many as possible, ideally getting the tunnel entrance as well. Obviously the goal is to avoid trapping allies. If this all proves impossible by the time it is her turn then switch to sleep))
As Dok stood ready with his silver-coated battle axe to defend himself and others against the onrushing Goblins, the Hill Dwarf Cleric of Helm decided it may be better to unleash a Guiding Bolt into the Vargorg, after his other companions were in the clear.
However, when Dok saw the two Gnolls charging and snarling from the smoke that was obscuring the mouth of the Vargorg, the Hill Dwarf Cleric of Helm made a quick decision in the heat of the impending battle.
Dok unleashed a 1st level Guiding Bolt spell directly towards the Gnoll that was on his right-hand line-of-sight as Dok faced the Vargorg, praying a battle-inspired prayer to Helm, as the Hill Dwarf Cleric prepared to follow up with another spell if time allowed, or at-the-ready to defend himself with his silver-coated battle axe, depending upon the results of his companions-in-arms!
Silver cursed under her breath as her arrow hit and bounced to the ground doing no damage, thanks to the goblin's thick armor. However seeing the two Gnolls just now emerging from the smoke, her target changed as she let fly an arrow at the nearest larger creature. She could only hope that this time her arrow was not a waste.
(Firing at the nearest easist seeming to hit Gnoll)
The group fled the smoke-filled tunnel back out into he fresh air. They made quick work of the first two goblins to follow them out, felling the pair with well placed arrows. But it seems attempting to smoke out the goblins was similar to ringing the doorbell. The Vargolg, a barracks of the Dark One of old, now disgorged its occupants at the party. They didn’t know how much the caves held, but apparently a large chunk of it was coming at them out of the smoke. Half a dozen goblins led the charge followed by 2 gnolls. More? They couldn’t tell.
Hornet followed up his excellent first shot with another hit. Aiming over the heads of the goblins he called out to the party that the gnolls should be targeted first. But gnolls are hardier than goblins and his bolt struck the creature, but did not bring it down. (-6 hp). Silver, angry that her first shot had missed, shot at the same time as Hornet and grinned as she saw her arrow drive into the creature shoulder and stagger it backwards. (-9 hp) The next to fire was Thaoran and he also hit his target. (-5hp) The gnoll was badly bloodied, but not quite down.
At this point several of the lead monsters charged at the group. There was no hiding. They were only a dozen feet away and quickly closed to melee with the party. As they charged the party did notice that their smoke plan had produced at least some benefit. A couple of the goblins were coughing and sputtering from the smoke. But they could still wield blades and swiped them at the party.
The first leapt straight for Thaoran but struggling for clean air made the blow weak and the elf was able to step to the side barely avoiding taking a scimitar to the head. The second went for Hornet and was quick enough to get inside the elf’s defenses. The creatures scimitar opened a gash along one arm as the elf attempted to use the brush for cover. (-5 hp for Hornet) Silver was the next to get targeted but the creature was so busy coughing and hacking as it came that it stumbled and actually cut off a chunk of its own boot. Silver was hardly threatened by the swing, but she was now in melee with the coughing and stumbling creature. Dok and Soledad did not escape the party unmolested. Another goblin went straight for the dwarf, but found his attack easily parried by the dwarf’s axe. Soledad was not so lucky. The goblin she had earlier burned was angry and brought his blade down hard on the spellcaster. She didn’t go down, but the blow was one she would not soon forget. (Crit hit for -11 HP)
But the party wasn’t done. The last two moves by the party came almost simultaneously. Soledad had prepared a web spell for the enemy and didn’t let a little thing like a scimitar to the ribs stop her. At the same time Dok fired a firebolt at the injured gnoll. The thing was lit up by a blast of radiant light and collapsed. Or, at least, it would have collapsed had its corpse not been held up by the sudden appearance of a web.
Web is a spell that sometimes gets overlooked, but in the right circumstances it can be quite effective. It creates a 20’ cube of webbing. The webbing isn’t solid, but the terrain becomes difficult and vision is slightly obscured. Plus, its big effect is that those caught within its grasp are in danger of being restrained. It seems the builders of the Vargolg, by intention or not, had crafted their entrance in a location that was perfectly suited to a web spell. At this point the gulley was roughly 20’ across and the space between the entrance and the tree/brush line was just about twenty feet. Soledad’s spell completely filled the area with entangling webs. Struggling in the sticky mess were half a dozen goblins and one angry gnoll.
You are spread out in a line across the gulley. All of you are in melee and will no longer be able to use bows unless something changes.
The 5 goblins that attacked you got far enough from the entrance of the cave and close enough to you to NOT be caught in the web. So there are 5 goblins on your side of the web. One of them is injured. (The one facing Soledad.) Within the web you can see about 6 goblins and a gnoll. All told you can currently see 12 goblins – more than you could see last turn. Creatures caught in a web do get to make saving throws each turn to try and break its grip. But it is difficult terrain (half movement still) and they must get out of its area or risk getting entangled again. Web is also a concentration spell, so if Soledad takes damage she will need to save to avoid losing the spell.
You are lined up across the gulley in the following order: Hornet, silver, Dok, Soledad, Thaoran.
Well, this is a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into...
Thäoran swiftly replaced his bow back in its pinewood tube as further ranged attacks would be useless for their enemies were uoon them. Drawing his father's rapier, the elf parried a blow from the attacking goblin. Luck, it seemed, was on Thäoran's side as the creature was still coughing and spluttering from the pungent smoke and therefore was unable to focus enough to properly aim its blows. The elf sidestepped and narrowly avoided getting his flesh rendered by the foul creature's blade. Thäoran knew he had to end this confrontation swiftly for if he was too slow to dispatch his enemy, he strongly suspected more would join the fray and he could very well be overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
With a determined growl, the elf thrust forward the silver blade, the elf-steel winking brightly in the warm rays of the beaming sun. ((OOC: I'm assuming the weather is bright and clear. If not, tell me. I'll edit my post))
A plan formed in his mind, then. Maybe he could further disorient the goblin by blinding it with the light reflecting off the surface of his blade? He hesitated briefly-if it failed, it could very well leave him exposed and vulnerable, which, no doubt, the goblin would take full advantage of.
He made up his mind: angling the blade, he refracted the sun's rays so, he hoped, they directly entered the creature's beady cruel little eyes.