Sunday, April 27, 2008

Episode 4: 4/26/08

(We have just converted to the Pathfinder rules set, which is put out by Paizo, because like most other D&D gamers, we think 4th edition is totally lame.)

The Party:
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger-rogue/1-1
Haroldur, human cleric/2
Nineve Floret, human knight/2
Sarek, human wizard/2

After the excitement dies down a bit, we hear goblins yelling to each other from the north side of town. Since we were heading that way anyway, I go out to do a little recon. I find 3 goblins holding a human female hostage. I also notice 3 goblin archers peeking through the windows of the 2nd story of the inn - an inn we'd have to pass in order to get to the goblins with the hostage. This is obviously a planned ambush. I return to report my findings, and Nineve is confident that the ambush poses no real threat, so we decide to attack. As Nineve rides out into the street, the goblin leader yells in broken common that we must surrender to him or he'll kill the hostage. We're not particularly concerned about a random female commoner, so Nineve charges forward. The goblin finishes off the hostage just as Nineve and her horse close the distance and slam into him. Haroldur and Tamklar rush (relatively speaking) down the street into the fray, while I, still unseen, try to snipe a goblin sniper. Unfortunately, I'm too far away to do any serious harm, so I run forward and hop into the inn building through a broken 1st floor window. Tamklar, still trundling bravely onward, is getting peppered with arrows from the goblin snipers when a pair of goblins riding an enormous spider lunges toward him from an adjacent burnt ruin. He slams into the spider with his hammer, and Haroldur is right behind him, channeling the dread power of Wee Jas into the spider and making it bleed. (Nice trick!)

Tamklar finishes off the spider and faces down the goblin riders, while Nineve finishes off the leader and starts chasing down his fleeing lackeys. Meanwhile, Sarek strides calmly into the inn, unnoticed in all the commotion, walks up behind a goblin sniper, and using a death touch granted to him by Wee Jas, suddenly turns the sniper into a lifeless husk. (Wow!) We clear out the remaining goblins and I find a cache of human prisoners, which includes Alastair's retarded stable boy, Jimmy.

Jimmy was quite skittish at first, but with some gentle coaxing I find that Alastair's been missing for about a week. However, his assistant Brolan was captured in the goblin attacks, and has most likely been hauled off to the mines. We wrap up with the villagers, and head off to the goblin mines, with Tamklar leading the way.

As we approach the mines, we notice the entrance is blocked by greenery which Tamklar says is new. We walk up to the mine entrance and we're attacked by plant zombies and a yellow musk creeper (that we mistook for harmless greenery earlier)! During the fight, Nineve is hit by a cloud of spores & compelled to stand in the plant! Fortunately, Sarek and I finished off the creeper before it has a chance to eat her brain. We mop up the rest of the plant zombies, and enter the mines. Tamklar knows these mines like the back of his hand, so he attempts to guide us through carefully, so as to avoid any more confrontations with zombifying plants.

Unfortunately, Sarek stumbles at just the wrong moment and we are surrounded by musk zombies and their parent creeper. Haroldur walks right up to the creeper, as if inviting the spores-to-the-face that he then receives. The plant almost kills him trying to dig out his brains while he stands there, completely transfixed. Luckily, we dispatch it just in time. Haroldur now has the intelligence of Jimmy the stable boy, and is barely capable of speech. As such, he insists we press on despite the fact that Sarek has been out of spells for several hours.

We continue on, but Nineve's incessant stomping attracts another group of creeper zombies. We mop 'em up and veto Haroldur's "chop 'till we drop" agenda. Tamklar finds us a nice, secluded area to rest up in. After the break (elves NEVER nap!), I'm feeling much less poisoned, and Haroldur seems to be regaining his wits, albeit rather slowly... The next morning, we're all feeling stronger from our experiences!

We quickly find the point where the miners first encountered the goblin menace, and find ourselves in the middle of a goblin and zombie creeper patrol. We dispatch them and take a goblin hostage to lead us to the captive villagers. As the goblin leads us down the passage, I notice a black crow flitting just ahead of us. When I aim my bow at it (because crows don't hang out in caves!), it squawks "Treasure!" and flits down the corridor. We eventually come to a large cavern with an underground lake and some really cute, fat purple creatures that I recognize as ferocious, deadly cave squiggs!

True to their bloodthirsty reputation, they attack viciously, severely wounding myself and Nineve. We defeat them, but their gnashing death throes tear chunks of flesh from my body, rendering me unconscious. Fortunately, I fall next to Haroldur, who heals me immediately. As I'm getting up, I spot a goblin scout spying on us from a nearby ledge. In a flash, I draw my bow and kill the scout... I think everyone else just thinks I'm paranoid. It's not my fault they have crappy perception....Speaking of which, the goblin captive has capitalized on our moment of distraction and made his escape. By the time we notice he's missing, he's long gone.

Just as things are settling down, that crow appears on Sarek's shoulder, squawking again about treasure. Suddenly, the crow disappears and up ahead on the sandy shore of the underground lake, an imp appears, rolling around and laughing maniacally, promising treasure. The imp vanishes as quickly as he had appeared, but we can hear him giggling to himself down the hallway. We follow the winding passages to a goblin dining area and another squigg. I snipe two of the goblins before they have a chance to react, then the rest of the team mops up the survivors. In the midst of the gore, the imp appears again, reveling in the bloodshed, and he and Sarek share a special, evil moment. Then, the imp vanishes again and continues muttering off down the hallway.

We proceed to a recently abandoned common area, with hastily discarded food and cards scattered about. I use my Improved Sift ability to replay the immediately preceding events. I see the goblins lounging around, carousing, when a red-robed goblin with a staff bursts into the room and barks at the others to quit screwing around and get ready to defend against the intruders. She storms out of the room, and the goblins scatter like quail. Thus forewarned, we manage to avoid being surprised during the planned ambush. Sarek makes quick work of the fight by successfully casting Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the red-robed leader. That imp appears again, and is positively giddy. His name is apparently Hezzrak, and it seems the red-robed goblin leader was his master or something. I didn't really have time to listen to the story, as he was sitting there expostulating right in the middle of the skirmish.

We kill about half of the goblins, and the remaining ones, realizing that they've lost the advantage, suddenly become very helpful. They are easily convinced to lead us to the captive humans.

We are brought to a cavern with a barred gate corralling about 30 dirty, half-staved villagers. We ask if Brolan is among them, and a tall, bookish-looking middle aged man with huge, round, cracked spectacles steps forward, blinking. I have Haroldur mend his glasses as we discuss Alastair, the goblins, and our options. Brolan tells us that he hasn't seen Alastair in several weeks, but he managed to salvage most of his employer's notes before the goblin attack. The goblins confiscated everything, of course, but Brolan is relatively certain he can lead us to the cavern where they are kept. The villagers beg to be released, and express a great deal of fear regarding the "thousands of goblins!".

We quickly decide that Tamklar will lead the villagers out of the caves, and can make preparations to collapse the cavern entrance from the mines once we're out. We part ways and Hezzrak appears, emerging from Haroldur's pack, proudly claiming it as his own. He winks out of sight and flits down the corridor, singing to himself.

Brolan accompanies us as we continue down the passage and come to a large door standing ajar. Hezzrak is lounging in front of it, eating something slimy. He indicates the treasure is through the door, then disappears.

We pass through the doors and find ourselves in a chamber lined with 6 sarcophagi. Haroldur discovers that the center of the room is trapped (spikes!). When we enter, 4 of the skeletons emerge and attack us. We fight bravely, but the skeletal guardians prove to be formidable foes. Haroldur gains control of one of them, evidently called "One-Eye"(by Hezzrak), and it joins our entourage. Eventually, we manage to slay the other 3 skeletal guardians. Hezzrak jabbers throughout the combat, talking to the skeletons and calling them by name. He gives me 2 to 1 odds on the skeletons, a bet I take for 10gp (he totally owes me!). When the first guardian falls, he seems upset, yelling "Slim! Noooooo!" He flies over and cradles the skull, sobbing until he becomes bored with it and tosses it discompassionately over his shoulder. As we focus our attacks on the next guardian, Hezzrak brags that we'll never beat Champ, he always wins... when they play chess?!? (Aren't skeletons unintelligent undead? I decide at this point that the little guy is seriously unhinged.) Indeed, Champ proves to be a challenge, but we at last manage to take him down. At this, Hezzrak flies over and screams "Checkmate, bitch!" over and over, and kicks Champ's skull across the room. The guardian he calls Bonehead falls shortly thereafter, but Hazarak hardly notices...

From all the goblins and creepers, we've found some loot:

a silver whistle engraved with tiny spiders
a teak bowl (10 gp)
earrings (50 gp)
scroll (D) Bull's Strength
MW heavy steel shield
ornate wooden box (75 gp)
MW breastplate
jade idol (100 gp)
2 scrolls (D) Lesser Restoration
potion - Shield of Faith +3
a small chest containing 150 sp
scroll (A) Light
bag of onyx (50 gp total)
wand of CLW
tiger eye turquoise (25 gp)
scroll (D) Silence
a pouch containing 30 pp
MW studded leather armor
climber's kit
crystal of screening, Least

Of course, there's no time to divvy loot now...


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