The group began their various plans for the next stage of the fight. Dok went around collecting ears while several others took on the less savory task of collecting the bodies. The river actually made this less difficult than expected as quite a few of the goblins had died midstream and floated off to points unknown downstream. The group would have some work to do if they wanted to get those bodies - either to burn or for the bounty. Soon a large fire had been built and another pyre was sending a tower of greasy black smoke skyward.
Thaoran went into the entrance to the cave (All the way up the gulley - it will put you well out of sight and hearing from the rest of the party. Clarify if needed.) to bond with his weapons. The group watched him move up the gulley.
When plans to get the twins back to Botkinburg were discussed, SIlver spoke up. "I have had enough of goblins. And this little venture has lasted longer than I had hoped. I have pressing matters to deal with. So I will be heading back to town. I would be happy to escort the twins back."
The twins looked at her and nodded. "We have no desire to go back in the cave. We would if we had to, but back to town seems good - but there are still goblins out there." Here they looked around at the woods and river. "They scattered and didn'st seem to all go North. If we cross the river and go North there we likely wouldn't meet many. Or hopefully any."
Since Tann elected to make a new character, Silver is going away. This provides an easy escort for the twins back into town. You are free to argue against this if you wish. If the twins do go with you into the cave should anything dangerous be found they would not fight unless personally attacked.
Only one person mentioned the pyre, so if others wish to offer an alternative solution we can back that part of the post up. I'm just trying to keep things moving.
"I suppose I'd go look for the bodies that drifted downstream while we wait for this sword bond then", Gerdar began to follow the river, keeping an eye on dead goblins, "Don't go burning them before I come back, I might be bringing more fuel for the fire."
(Just searching until roughly half of the hour has passed then coming back and if I find goblins taking as many as I can with me.)
Dok decided to help escort the Twins back to Botkinburg with Silver in case there were any further Goblin problems!
The Hill Dwarf Cleric of Helm explained to his fellow adventurers that he would cash in the Goblin Ears and collect the reward for finding the Twins; then he would find a safe place in town to hold the rewards in escrow in the names of one and all who had a hand in routing the common enemies and rescuing the Twins!
Dok will stay in town for the foreseeable future, taking the opportunity to patrol the areas around town and help repel any further Goblin raids that may or may not occur!
It seemed the small band had come to a crossroads. Dok and Silver would be escorting the twins back to town while the rest remained at the cave. With goodbyes said and well wished given, Hornet returned to the task at hand. "I'm going to search the cave. Anyone who wants is free to join me,"
As the battle wound down and the cleanup began the group split up for a few different actions.
Dok and Silver took their leave of the group, at least for now, and headed back to Botkinburg. They would bring the Twins along with them.
Thaoran went a little way up the gulley (Assumed far enough for privacy but not all the way to the cave entrance.) to perform his ritual with his weapons. He sat peacefully for a while and once the bonding was done, got up and rejoined the group.
Gerdar, meanwhile, headed downstream a bit to see if there were more goblins to collect. Most seemed to have been far enough midstream that they were carried well along by the current, but it wasn’t far before he found a pair of corpses tangled in the branches of a tree that had fallen into the water. Scanning the water carefully for signs of danger he waded out a bit and dragged them to the shore. Between them they only carried 8 silver pieces, but they did have full sets of ears. He trimmed the ears and left the bodies. (This was vague – if you want to bring them back to be burned tell me what exactly you are doing. Also, if you wish to do anything with the other bodies you saw that were further out or on the other side of the river.)
The rest of the group spent about an hour continuing to burn the bodies of the goblins and gnolls. The smell was awful, and a black smear of smoke towered upwards. When Thaoran and Gerdar returned from their tasks everything wasn’t yet burnt, the stack of bodies was too large, but it was at least burned down a bit.
At that point everyone left (Thaoran, Hornet, Uthal, Gerdar, Fenris, Soledad – did I miss anyone?) prepared to enter the cave. It was late in the afternoon, almost evening, and the group passed back up the gulley they had fled down the day before. Signs of their previous battle were everywhere: broken arrows, broken branches, dark stains on the ground, a few dropped weapons and torn up earth. When they reached the entrance the ashes of their original fire (to smoke out the goblins) had been scattered by countless feet but smoke stains remained on the back wall of the gulley over the entrance where the door hung open.
The caves had clearly been abandoned in a hurry. As the group moved through it some things became quickly obvious. First, the place was fairly large and could probably have held twice as many goblins as you had yet seen. As expected, it was an older garrison site from the age of the Horned One. These rooms were fairly well made – clearly carved and shaped and not simply natural. Second, They had been abandoned and anything of significant value had been taken. Yet a fair amount remained. There was one ox cart near the main entrance (but no oxen) and you could easily locate enough stolen trade goods (cloth, food stuff, tools and cooking implements and such) to fill it a couple of times over. There is also some furniture – although none of it is in great shape. Third, the throne room contained a few surprises. Fourth, there appears to be a natural area further in.
The throne room is fairly large and holds a large slate throne. The floor was a checkerboard of colored tiles – a row of black down the middle and blue and red alternating along the sides. The group discovered quickly that the black tiles were safe, but anyone stepping on the red or black tiles suffered various negative effects. Temporary paralysis was the most common effect, but illness (temporary) and small injuries also happened. But once they realized that the black tiles were safe the room was easy to search. There was nothing there but a secret passage to what was likely a side temple.
That left the deeper region of the caves. Having gone to the furthest back of the rooms there was a large iron door that opened (with a loud creak) to what seemed like a guard room. There was a spot for a small cooking fire, a couple of spears and a few stools in this room. Nobody remained to guard it. On the far side of the room a natural (meaning not carved and shaped by miners) passage went about twenty feet and then opened into a chamber about 60’ across. It was likely that wide as well, but a part of the room to the right (East) was hidden from view as the room bent around a corner. But the main feature of the room was water – A large pool filled almost the entire room. There was a small dry area on the near side of the pool and a small area on the far side, but no way around without getting very wet. On the far side a tunnel extended into the darkness.
I can provide details of the main caves if desired, but since the goblins had abandoned the place, it didn’t seem worth taking months to go through. However, this back cave looks different and requires you to decide if you want to cross the water to keep going and thus it requires your input. It is also worth noting that there is no light in the caves if anyone in the group is lacking darkvision.
With the fight over and introductions for the most part taken care of and having decided to stay with the rest of his rescuers, Fenris moved through the bodies of the dead hoping to find his missing gear and to gather anything of use or value. As he searched each body he came to, he in turn helped to gather the bodies for burning. With his searching for his swords and gear seemingly unsuccessful he found himself for the moment only with his cantrips. Until a long rest the Rogue/Wizard would be at a quite disadvantage in a fight. However he was not one to turn away from adventure and somehow he knew an adventure was lurking just out of sight…..
Posted on 2022-07-31 at 23:34:00.
Edited on 2022-07-31 at 23:34:39 by TannTalas
The party searched the cave and found little of value other than Fenris' missing gear. A pool of water blocked an interesting looking path. "We seem to have a choice of crossing the water or going back to town. Either way, I think a long rest is in order as it has been a tough day. Maybe afterwards we an gather some pieces of wood to use to help us get across the water. No fancy raft, just flotation devices so we don't sink. Any other ideas?"
After a long rest, Hornet woke refreshed and set to work preparing for the water crossing. He looked around for a door to use as a float aid. "I'll go first. Wait until I am across before you enter the water just in case." Hornet placed the door in the pool and then lay on top of it using it as a kick board.
Posted on 2022-08-03 at 06:34:09.
Edited on 2022-08-04 at 19:06:18 by Keeper of Dragons
Uthal entered the cage with a burning torch in hand. After surveying the area and ending up with their progress impeeded by a pool of water, he agreed with Hornet about it being time for a rest. "Uh huh." he said.
OOC: Asuming all went well with the rest...
Uthal wakes feeling all the better for it and sparks up his torch and eats some food (rations). He also looks for some materials to follow Hornet and the others accross the water. He awaits the Hornet's call.
Before settling down to rest, Soledad began to move along the perimeter of their encampment, tracing its borders with leaps and twirls as she intoned ancient words of power. Fey rhythms audible to the witch alone were the beat of her ritual dance and she used their pulse to draw threads of magic into an alarm covering their encampment. If anything came upon them as they rested, she would know of it. With the magical alarm in place, Soledad slipped into the dreamlike trance of the elves.
On breaking camp, Soledad joined the others in finding a flat wooded board amongts the debris to aid her in crossing the pool. While the witch did not relish the idea of a dip in a cave pool, they needed to cross. So she followed Hornet's lead to float and kick over to the other side of the water. The very moment her feet found dry lad again, Soledad banished every bit of dirty and wetness from her person with a bit of magic. One had to have standards.
((OOC: Ritually casts Alarm. Casts Prestidigitation. This post assumes everything goes okay with the rest and crossing the pool.))
After a quick search of the caverns the group concluded that the goblins had completely abandoned their former home and run for it. The upper chambers were all empty of anything but debris and some trade goods. But that left whatever was on the other side of the water.
Before crossing the group decided to take a rest to recuperate and get back their spells. It turned out that there was a room just off the path to the water room that had a nice solid lock and door. The room had piles of bedding – but not of a type that non-goblins would use so this was pushed to the side. It also had a couple of torches (unlit) in sconces and a cooking pot and fire-spot to one side. It made an ideal place to close the door and hunker down for the night. This the party did. As the group got ready to rest Tharoan noticed a secret door – a shortcut to the passage to the water room and a second way out of the chamber. (Nothing else of value with the secret door – it is just a short passageway between two places you already know about.)
Nothing happened during the rest. The alarm spell that Soledad placed around their little shelter never went off. From within the closed off room the Vargolg was completely silent. In the morning (And it truly is morning) the group went back to a could of the other chambers in the area and removed the doors. They looked like they would float and the plan was to use them as rafts. With doors in hand, they headed to the water room to see what would come of the crossing.
The chamber appeared just like they had left it – I was about 60’ in each direction, although nobody would call this room square. The water filled all but a couple of feet on the close and far sides. The only way across was over the water. The task of crossing first was given to Hornet who would take a door across and let the others know if it was safe.
He put his door down with a small splash and watched to see if anything happened – it didn’t. So the elf climbed on top of the little makeshift raft and tried to find his balance. The door was not made for this and was hardly stable, but he got the hang of it. Using another board as an oar of sorts he slowly moved out over the water. It seemed to be going well.
Just as the elf reached the mid-point of the chamber a low howling noise erupted from the tunnel at the far end of the room. Nothing appeared but the noise filled the room. Hornet paused in his paddling as the noise started. As he did so the water also seemed to be aware of his presence. Ripples started to spread out (from no one discernable source) and the water thrashed a bit. As Hornet held his position he realized that nothing else seemed to be happening. The water splashed a bit, but not enough to tip the door. And no ripple-making monster appeared. After a brief pause, he continued on his way forward while the ripples and howling continued.
With a bit more paddling he reached the far shore. A rocky shore led into a tunnel that went further into the ridge. He got off the door and pulled it up into the tunnel. Ahead the tunnel went about 20’ and then there was a T intersection. To the left, a natural cave tunnel winded its way into darkness. To the right, the stone was smoothly worked and finished.
As he looked at the tunnel Hornet realized that the howling had stopped and, looking back, that the water had stopped moving. Looking back at the others he waved them across. The rest of the group carefully clutched their doors and started across in a similar fashion. It was not easy and a couple of them almost fell in, although none did so. Again, at the midpoint of the chamber a howling emerged from the far tunnel (Hornet, standing at that entrance, can not detect a source for the noise.) and the water started to ripple and thrash. But nothing else happened to follow up these ominous occurrences. The group made it across with no major problems.
As the landed everyone prepared to go deeper. For Soledad this meant her typical cleansing ritual. For Uthal, it meant a torch. Now they face a choice – to the left into the natural looking tunnel twisting its way into the ridge? Or to the right down smoothly worked tunnels that would also take them deeper? As you stand contemplating your choice the howling dies down and you are left in silence again.
I could have stopped and let Hornet decide what to do about the noise (And in hindsight – next time will probably do so with a message to the one player involved.) but since he was stuck in the middle of the room and nothing actually happened, I decided that he would go on as that seemed to be the plan. Likewise, for everyone following. This is the sort of adjustment I think is needed for a weekly posted game. If I ever make an assumption you don’t like, feel free to let me know and we can back track as necessary.
So now, where do you go? There is the proverbial fork in the road. Also, should there be more forks in the road, if there is no big difference between the passages (At which point I would need to make a post.) how would you decide which way to go?
"Well the right path certainly looks more refined. Though since we're dealing with goblinoids I doubt they'd really care - so there could be anything at the left path too", Gerdar once again ran his ginrers through his beard as he pondered, "Unless anyone has seen a clue that I've not, shall we just flip a coin?"
Soledad moved through her preparations as the group prepared to head onward into the Varlog. With fey magic the witch banished dirt and grime, then spun the eldritch threads around her person into a protective skin of magical armor. She ritually shaped the power into an invisible force that would follow her command and attuned her senses even further to the presence of magic.
Nodding in agreement the witch spoke, "We are here to discover the secrets of this place and its inhabitants. The path of worked stone will reveal more of that to us. Let us move onward."
((OOC: Cast Prestidigitation and Mage Armor, ritual cast Unseen Servant and Detect Magic))