Eberron: Echoes of the Past

The Outcast's Reckoning
Sul, Llarvion 27th, 998 YK

Last time, the party was preparing to leave the room with the large dragon statue when a lucky brush of the wall by Fenora uncovered a hidden cache in the wall behind the statue. They head through the door to the north where they find what looks to have been some sort of library, though the shelves have long since crumbled away, leaving behind the tattered and crumbling remains of books. A thorough examination does uncover a couple of intact scrolls, which they add to their inventory before continuing on.

They find a stairway leading down an to the east, and as they take that path, the party realizes that the tunnel passes below the fungus room above, as they see some of the room’s luminous fungi growing from the ceiling. Emerging on the other side, a long hall leads to two doors. The first of the two doors opens onto a study, its walls lined with shelves of books and handwritten ledgers recording agricultural norms for the surrounding area going back several years.

Bored, Garl picks up a book that he notices is written in Draconic, opens the book and flips a couple pages. A glyph begins to glow brightly before bursting forth with freezing cold energy, severely wounding everyone. Realizing the extent of their injuries, they decide to camp for the night, backtracking all the way to the dragon shrine. Their rest is interrupted as some goblins attempt to break into their hiding spot. After a short tussle, the party returns to their rest and spends the rest of the night undisturbed.
The next day, you awake refreshed and ready to continue on.

Erky Timbers: I feel we are getting close to the end of this cursed place.
Quinton Greymane (stretching his back): Okay, even my back is beginning to get tired of these stone floors.
Garl Auraspeaker: Haha! Exactly! It’s not just me.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Everything hurts. My back, my neck, my p…
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha, I think she’s making fun of you, Quint.
Quinton Greymane: Well, that’s just not neighborly.
Erky Timbers: Whatever we are to face today, I would advise caution. Between Garl and I, our heals are finite, and I worry that our adversary may be more than we can handle.
Quinton Greymane: Well regardless, I think it’s about time we get moving.
Civic: Morning everyone! I feel stronger today. Like I have renewed energy and I’m ready to take on the world. Also, I think I figured out a couple of spells I’ve been toying with for a while now.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: We ready to head out?
Fenora Finnley (stands up spryly): I’m ready.
Erky Timbers: I am ready.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s get moving then.

Moving the dragon statue out of the way, they begin making their way back through the tunnels, returning to the large room where it seemed the bugbear was farming the local fauna. Realizing three doors leading away from the area remain unopened, Gishkaa begins working on one of the doors.

Quinton Greymane: Good idea, let’s check out some of these doors while we’re here.

Gishkaa unlocks the door in short order, and finds the room beyond to be filled with similar growths to that which lines the walls of the main room, only what grows within the chamber appears to be scorched and dead. The odor of burning wood and scorched earth hangs thick in the air.

Garl Auraspeaker: Smells charming. Like a burnt toilet.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (gagging at the smell): Gross. I’m going to go check the other door.

The next door is open slightly. Gishkaa opens the door to reveal a large room that is filled with similar growths and fungi found in the main room. Buckets half filled with picked fungi sit in a small group in the middle of the chamber, as if they’d been hurriedly abandoned.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, not sure we would want to rummage around here.
Civic (eagerly): Guess we head back to the reading room.
Erky Timbers: It would appear that these goblins have been growing their own food here for quite some time. Interesting.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well doubt they’ll need quite so much of it since we’ve killed so many of them.
Erky Timbers (shrugs): True.
Quinton Greymane: Guess it’s back to the library. <glaring> And don’t touch anymore books!
Garl Auraspeaker (puts his hands up): Hey, I learned my lesson. I’m leaving the reading to smart people now.
Fenora Finnley: Anyone else hear that noise?
Quinton Greymane: What noise?
Fenora Finnley (peeks inside the burned room): There’s a hissing coming from in here.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm. Usually when we find something odd about this place it tries to kill us.
Erky Timbers: Such is the adventurer’s life, eh?
Fenora Finnley: Sounds like a big snake or something.
Civic: Interesting. It definitely sounds serpentine. The glottis of the snake carries a certain vibrato quality to it that seems to transcend specific species and is to date completely unique to serpentine creatures.
Erky Timbers: Simply saying “sounds like a snake” doesn’t work for you, does it?
Quinton Greymane (dryly): I feel smarter everyday we’re together.
Garl Auraspeaker: Maybe so, but if we’re so smart maybe we should just close the door and walk away?
Civic: When you give invocation to your god does it suffice to say, “thanks divine thing for whatever?”

As they discuss the strange hissing noise, in the center of the room, a small hole in the ground, about 2 feet across, has begun to glow with increasing intensity, as if something was approaching. The hissing also seems to be getting louder.

Quinton Greymane (points): Well, whatever it is it looks like it’s about to pop out of the hole over there.
Fenora Finnley: I think we should leave it in there.

Fenora pulls the door closed slowly until it clicks. The hissing noise cuts off as the door closes on its lair.

Quinton Greymane: Good decision.
Erky Timbers: Probably a wise move, leaving that creature alone. If it was another of those fire snakes we encountered before…
Erky Timbers shudders at the memory.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, I’m glad that we left it alone.

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Satisfied that nothing of further note or usefulness can be found in this area, they make their way back to the study where Garl’s boredom was almost the end of the party the previous evening. They continue onto the other door, finding it to be locked, though with a few twists of her tools, Gishkaa quickly unlocks and opens the door.

Twigs and roots are piled on the floor of this sagging chamber. The collapsed southern wall opens into a vast cavern. Luminescent fungus on the rough walls and the high roof loom over a twilight grove of sickly briars, bushes, saplings, and other woody plants. Ruined walls and hollow towers protrude from the briars.

Four goblins that seem to be sorting the fungus into baskets all look up as the door opens. With a shout, they grab their weapons and prepare to attack!

Gishkaa and Erky wade into the combat with blade and spell, but their attacks miss their targets. However, Civic and Quinton get off their own attacks, wounding a couple of their opponents. Fenora fires and arrow into one of the goblins, sinking the arrow into its eye and killing the goblin instantly. A pair of the goblins gang up on Quinton, slashing at the fighter with their weapons, but Quinton easily dodges their attacks. A third goblin fires a crossbow at Quinton, and pierces his shoulder with a bolt. Garl breathes a line of electrical energy, catching two goblins in the line, severely wounding one and incinerating the other. Civic’s weaves his hands in complicated arcane motion, his spells slamming into the chest of another goblin, blasting it backwards to fall to the ground dead. Seeing its companions fallen, the remaining goblin yells out, “Aid us, Protector of the Twilight Grove!” just as Quinton’s blade and Fenora’s arrow find their targets simultaneously. As the last goblin falls, the snound of snapping twigs and branches echoes through the area as from the south four twig blights emerge.

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The party surges forward, cutting and slashing through the twig blight in their path as the head south. They destroy one group of the creatures only to encounter more the further on they travel. But still they continue on, and before too long, they reach the edge of the briar-filled area to find a walled clearing. The walls are about twenty feet high, which is less than half the height of the cavern’s ceiling. Several varieties of plants grow around the perimeter of the clearing, including a few suspicious-looking saplings, but their importance pales before that which stands at the courtyard’s center.

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Beneath the fungal light grows an evil tree. Its blackened, twisted limbs reach upward, like a skeletal hand clawing its way out of the earth. Before it stand a few twig blights; a heavily armored, young human male with a shield and sword; a blonde, young human woman in a robe fit for a noble; and a middle-aged, bearded human male wearing a hooded brown robe and armed with a staff and sickle.
The younger humans have black eyes and gray skin with the texture of bark.

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Garl Auraspeaker: Well, I think we found the kids…
Belak: Hold a moment, you know not what you do!
Quinton Greymane: Well, friend, what do you suppose it is we’re doing?
Belak: I am Belak, called the Outcast. My circle expelled me, the fools. Why? Because I dared to expand nature’s reach in ways they couldn’t grasp. I have found what I sought in the Gulthias Tree.
Civic: What did you seek?
Garl Auraspeaker: I’ve heard that line before. I’m sure everything you’ve done has been totally “innocent”.
Belak: I seek to spread the seeds of the fruit of the Gulthias Tree, of course.
Civic: What makes this tree special?
Belak (looks up at the gnarled tree): It’s beautiful, no? It lives, though it looks dead. In an age long past, someone staked a vampire on this very spot. The stake took root. And so grew the Gulthias Tree, reverberating with primal power for those who can tap it.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, regardless if it’s true or not, it looks suspicious as Khyber.
Belak: Under my care, the Gulthias Tree has born much fruit, the seeds of which have been spread across the lands above. And in time, they will return.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: What did you do to these people? What’s wrong with their eyes?
Belak looks at Gishkaa, narrowing his eyes at seeing her goblin form, before answering.
Belak: They were the first supplicants. The Gulthias Tree has accepted them, and they are mine to control, just like the twig blights. You can’t save them.
Erky Timbers: You said the seeds will return. How so?
Belak (to Erky): Have you not guessed, little one?
Erky glances at the nearby twig blights in horror.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (whispers to Quinton): Are they the kids?
Quinton Greymane (whispers): Yeah, it looks like them.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (to Belak): We’re going to need those two back, so the tree is going to have to find some other people to be weird with.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah we can’t save them? We’ve heard that one before.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: You can keep the twig things though. We don’t need any kindling.
Belak: They belong to me. As soon, so shall you all.
Garl Auraspeaker: The only person that needs saving around here is you. Can we toast this guy already? He’s starting to annoy me
Belak: Though your remains would enrich the compost, you’ll serve my needs better as supplicants. You shall retain your lives, after a fashion. Surrender and submit peacefully, or perish!
Quinton Greymane: Well, that sounds like a threat to me. I agree, Garl, I think it’s time we took care of this guy.

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Belak moves back to stand closer to the tree, as the others move forward, placing themselves between Belak and the party. As the party prepares to attack, Civic speaks quietly to the group.

Civic (whispers): Based on what he said, it sounds like he loses control of the ‘supplicants’ and the twiglings if the tree is destroyed.
Garl Auraspeaker (whispers): Yer? Well, well…

As they discuss their plan of attack, the twig bligths have begun to move in closer. Seeing their approach, Fenora nocks an arrow to her bow and fires, reducing the closest creature to splinters. Belak begins to move his hands in an elaborate pattern, the motions of casting a spell. His skin appears to turn brown and rough as the spell finishes. The armored male, presumably Sir Braford, moves in to attack Quinton, but misses. Erky begins to mjutter a prayer, calling down a blessing from the Host onto Garl, Quinton, and Gishkaa, before moving behind a wall.

Garl, meanwhile, takes out another of the twig blights with his spiritual weapon as the blond female, Sharwyn Hycrule, blasts the dragonborn with a spell, wounding him. Gishkaa moves quickly along the outer edges of the battle to come closer to the evil-looking tree, hiding behind a large boulder. Sensing the armored human to be a bit of a threat, Civic casts a sleep spell, knocking him unconscious. The twig blights continue into melee, one of them scratching at Quinton to no avail, exploding into splinters as fenora’s arrows again finds its target. Belak attempts to use magical vines and weeds to hold Garl and Civic in place, but the two easily pulls themselves from the grasp of the clutching vegetation.

A giant from emerges from the tree’s branches, leaping into the fight, where Erky slams into it with a blast of holy fire. Garl attacks Sharwyn with his spiritual weapon as he simultaneously send a blast of holy fire to explode against the trunk of the tree. The wounded Sharwyn casts a spell, sending a blast of icy energy rocketing toward the unconscious Sir Braford, but the pain in her wound hand causes the spell to fizzle. Lepaoing form her hiding spot, Gishkaa dashes forward and tries to sink her knives into the trunk of the Gulthias Tree. She looks up in dismay as her attack has no affect, he blades seeming unable to pierce its bark. Quinton and Fenora focus on the strange giant frog, finally killing it before moving in closer to the melee.

Having seen Garl and Gishkaa both attack the tree, Belak himself wades into battle, swinging down with his staff in an overhead blow at Gishkaa, but his aim is off and misses entirely. Erky blasts Sharwyn with another burst of holy fire as Garl attacks the tree with his spiritual weapon, followed by a blast of holy fire. Sharwyn fires a magical missile at the prone Sir Braford, waking him back up for the fight.

Gishkaa attempts to attack the tree again, this time with her rapier, but trying to dodge away from Belak’s attack knocks her off balance, and she misses by inches. Civic weaves his hands in arcane movements, and a trio of illusory Civics appear behind him. Quintn joins Garl and Gishkaa at the tree, leaping into the air to slash his sword through its bark, scoring a nasty wound on the trunk. A shudder seems to go through the tree, its branches shaking as if in a silent scream of agony before falling still, then begin to crumble into dust.

Belak: NOOOOO!!!!! You’ve ruined everything!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Your tree isn’t looking too good.
Garl Auraspeaker: Awww, so sad…

Fenora fires an arrow at Belak, sinking an arrow into the druid’s shoulder, and he casts a fireball near Civic and Garl before dashing across the floor to the northern wall. Meanwhile, Sir Braford slashes down at Erky, hitting the gnome and knocking hm to the gorund. The dazed gnome tries to send a blast of holy fire at the man, but the spell fizzles. Garl slams his spiritual weapon into Sharwyn, using restraint to knock the girl unconscious instead of killing her outright. Dashing after the fleeing druid, Civic and Quinton attempt to slow his pace with their attacks, but fail to hit. Fenora, however, finds her target again with her arrows, catching him in the shoulder and making him stumble against the wall. Desperately, Belak uses a healing spell on himself to stave off the inevitable for a little longer, as Sir Braford brings down his sword on the prone gnome, knocking Erky unconscious. Seeing Erky’s dire situation, Garl quickly mutters a soft prayer, returning some of Erky’s healthy vigor and mending the worst of his wounds.

With a face filled with righteous anger, Gishkaa advances on Belak, who cowers against the wall. She slashes out at the man’s throat with her rapier, the movement so quick it seems as if she may have missed her target. But a heartbeat later, a thin red line begin to form across Belak’s neck. Blood begins to pour freely from the wound across his throat, his hands pressing to his neck in a futile attempt to staunch the flow. Gishkaa watches in satisfaction as the man dies before her, as behind her, the others finish off Sir Braford.

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The Book Was Better
Sar, Lkarvion 26th, 998 YK into Sul, Llarvion 27th, 998 YK

Last time, the party continues deeper into the sub levels of the Sunless Citadel. Having disposed of some of the goblin residents, the party searches the area, coming upon a strange sight: a diseased giant rat is strapped down to a table. With the aid of a ritual, Civic determines that the concoction in a nearby vial is likely the source of the rat’s condition. Civic collects a sample from one of the rat’s many tumors before putting the creature out of its misery, as the rest of the party collects anything else of use in the area before continuing on into the next area.

They find themselves in a large area that seems to be used as some sort of farm. Luminous fungi clings to the ceilings and grows along the walls and floors. Their presence does no go unnoticed, and they are attacked by a furious female bugbear. They quickly dispatch the creature before moving into the northern-most room, finding it to be filled with a wide array of flora common to the Underdark, or Kyber. Finding nothing useful here, they move through the door to the southwest.

In the next room, they find a carved statue of a red dragon, with glowing eye sockets. It’s unfurled wings cast a large swath of darkness behind it, which they soon discover hides a shadow creature, which attacks the party recklessly. Unperturbed, the adventures quickly dispatch the shadow, turning their attentions to the statue and the strange circle of draconic glyphs in front of it. Reminded of the fountains they’d encountered before, Garl utters the draconic phrase aloud while standing within the circle and is bathed in spectral flame. The flame leaves him unharmed, but Garl does feel himself to be more eloquent as a result. When the same result fails to happen for Gishkaa, the bewildered party moves on.

Erky Timbers: So now what?
Quinton Greymane: Let’s just open doors until we find the boss around here.
Erky Timbers (shrugs): Sounds a bit reckless, but okay.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, we could sit on our hands and wait for them to come to us.
Quinton Greymane: Well, let’s just be careful and watch out for anymore surprises. Seems like the further in we go, the more dangerous it gets.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, getting a bit tired of this nonsense.

As Gishkaa sets to working on the locked door to the north, Fenora stares up at the dragon statue, awesome by the size of the thing. She walks around the statue, taking in the scope of its size, and accidentally knocks loose a stone as she bumps against the wall in the tight area. Looking closer, she finds that the stone covered a small niche, in which she finds a couple of flasks and a small pouch of coins.

Fenora Finnley: Hey! Found some goodies!
Quinton Greymane: Oh, nice find!
Fenora Finnley (emerges from behind the statue, tossing one of the flasks to Garl): What do you think it is?
Fenora Finnley opens the pouch to count the loot, not waiting for an answer.
Garl Auraspeaker (shrugs): Seems like Civic’s department. <passes> What you think?
Fenora Finnley: 32…33…34! Not great, but not awful. Got a total of 34 gold pieces here.
Civic (looking at the flask’s contents closely): Looks like alchemist fire to me. It looks old. You can see the phosphorescence from the fungus used as an ignition source has lost some of its photonic qualities, but based on my reading that sparkle isn’t actually the quality needed for ignition and it is still viable for quite a long time.
Garl Auraspeaker: So it’ll still burn stuff. Got it.
Fenora Finnley (chuckles as she hands the other flask to Garl): I’ll let you hold onto this, then.
Garl Auraspeaker: Okay, sounds good.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (gesturing to the now unlocked door): You all done playing with fire? Can we move on?
Fenora Finnley (sheepishly): Sorry, Gishkaa.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: You’re fine, Fenora. That was directed at these two.
Gishkaa sighs and goes through the door, muttering in goblin under her breath, “Men are useless.”

Leaning and fallen stone bookshelves fill the next chamber, though a clear path connects wooden doors on opposite walls. Torn and burnt pages, bindings, and scrolls form disordered piles in the corners. Civic sees the crumbling bookshelves and runs in.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm. Looks like some sort of library?
Civic: Oh no. What’s happened to these poor things? Are any salvageable?
Fenora rolls her eyes.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, well we can take a look around.

The adventurers all enter the small chamber, making it even more cramped with the addition of so many bodies. They search the shelves carefully, moving debris out of the way where needed, trying to find anything worth saving. While much of the shelves’ contents crumbles at the slightest touch, they do find some things of value: a pair of spell scrolls, and a worn tome bound in what looks to be dragon scale. The text on the tome’s pages is in draconic.

Civic: Hmm a book on dragon sexual positions. Not the most useful knowledge, but it will be valuable to some collector’s I imagine.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, well, well… Let’s not be hasty there..
Erky Timbers stifles a snort of laughter.
Quinton Greymane (shakes his head): You’ll never grow up, will you?
Fenora Finnley: Maybe we should keep moving before Garl decides to get freaky.
Quinton Greymane: Agreed. Let’s keep moving.

The other door leading from the room is not locked, and opened onto a musty and moldy smelling hallway. Damp and crumbled steps descend sharply. With Quinton in the lead, they descend the stairs to enter a long hallway. The scent of mold and damp is cloying here, and the way is dimly lit by some luminous fungi on the ceiling… the same fungi they’d discovered in the northernmost chamber above. They quickly realize they must be passing directly below that chamber before they at last emerge on the other side. Another set of stairs leads up to a hallway that continues another 30 or so feet before turning sharply to the south.

Garl Auraspeaker (sighs as he tries to work the kink out of his back): Bloody tunnel to nowhere!
Quinton Greymane: Hah, stairs getting to you then? You should have kept up your daily exercises.
Garl Auraspeaker rolls his eyes.

Continuing down the hall, two doors on the eastern wall emerge from the darkness before the tunnel ends. Gishkaa stops to inspect the first door, which she finds to be locked. However, a fine wire attached to the upper hinge gives her pause.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: The door is locked. Looks like it’s trapped, too.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s step a ways away.

As the rest of the party moves back to give her room, Gishkaa gets to work with her tools, carefully snipping the wire and rendering whatever trap it was connected to inert. With the trap dealt with, she begins to work on the lock, but has trouble getting the tumblers to line up. She breaths out a sigh of frustration.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: This is a good lock.
Fenora Finnley: Want me to try?

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Gishkaasticks ignores her as she sticks her tongue out for the extra concentration power that gives her. A minute later, an audible CLICK! can be heard. Fenora looks crestfallen as Gishkaa opens the door. Inside the room, a layer of soil covers the floor. Rough wooden shelves, filled with a scattering of tomes and scrolls, line the north and east walls, and a rough-hewn desk stands in the center of the chamber. Fungus on the ceiling provides light, apparently in sufficient quantity to nourish several small bushes and pale saplings that grow in the soil.

Civic: I need to collect some of this glowing fungus before we leave. It’s light output is very impressive.
Fenora Finnley: I don’t know if we have any more jars, Civic.
Garl Auraspeaker: Could just pour out the alchemists fire,I guess.
Erky Timbers (looks aghast at the notion): Um… I do hope you are in jest, my friend. That would not be wise.
Garl Auraspeaker (smiles an odd toothy smile): What? I’m always serious.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shrugs): Seems like a good plan to me.
Erky Timbers: Very well. Just give me enough warning before you do.

Civic moves into the room and starts examining the books on the shelves. Crowding the shelves are several ledgers tracking records of growth, precipitation, harvest, and similar notes for the surrounding lands for the last dozen years.

Civic (turning pages): Hmm these records are meticulously kept.
Quinton Greymane: From what you’re saying, that sounds a bit odd. Why would someone have these records at the bottom of a dungeon?
Erky Timbers: It is odd, but I do recall my captors talking about some sort of harvest, but I did not know to what they referred. Obviously it was something of some important for there to be scuh extensive records being kept here.
Quinton Greymane: It seems so. Must be some sort of evil plot, then.
Garl Auraspeaker (picks up a book randomly): Hmm…Looks like it’s in draconic.

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Garl opens the cover the the book and flips the first couple of pages. A large glyph fills the entirety one of the pages, and as Garl looks down at the page, the glyph begins to burn with an alarming intensity. Before he can slam the book shut, an explosion of light bursts from the page, blasting them all back off their feet with icy energy. As the dust settles, the party pick themselves up off the floor, brushing dust off their battered and bruised bodies.

Fenora Finnley: Dammit, Garl!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shivers and wraps her arms around herself): Fucking hell, Garl!
Garl Auraspeaker (a wisp of smoke floats up above his brow): …whoops.
Quinton Greymane: Well, we should probably take a rest now.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (still shivering): I’m okay with that.
Erky Timbers: I think that would be for the best. We might wish to find some place to secure and hold up for the night, that way I can recover some of my healing abilities. Especially if we can expect accidental surprises like that one again.
Erky Timbers glares at Garl as Fenora mutters, “Doppleganger,” under her breath.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Where do you think we should hole up at?
Fenora Finnley (shrugs): Here, maybe? Though I worry we may be closer to the source of dangers here then we would want to be while resting.
Quinton Greymane: Probably by the dusty dragon statue. Seems like no one goes that way.
Erky Timbers (nods): I agree. And if I recall correctly, it did not seem like there were many access points to the room, so we might be able to lock it down suitably to get some rest.

The party backtracks through the halls, making their way to the small shrine chamber far to the south. Once there, they secure the door and bed down for the night with Civic standing watch over those sleeping. A couple of hours pass as most of the party sleeps, while Civic sits on the floor near the dragon statue, reading though a book he pulled from his pack. Suddenly, he is startled to alertness by the sound of the doorknob being turned.

Civic (looks up): Ope, umm, door’s on the other side… Quinton…<nudges> Quinton, I think we have company.
Quinton Greymane (grumbling): Grrr. Never a moments peace here.

As Civic moves to wake the others, a heavy SLAM! shakes the door in its frame.

Garl Auraspeaker (whining sleepily): Nooooooo! One more minute…
Fenora Finnley (leaps to her feet, slapping Garl with her bow as she does): Oh shit…

SLAM! The hinges on the door start to give way.

Erky Timbers: They’re coming in, whether we like it or not! Best prepare!
Garl Auraspeaker (grumbles):: Fine, dammit!

The surly dragonborn stomps over to the door, mace in hand, roaring in anger as he throws it open wide.

Garl Auraspeaker: Okay, who wants to die?!

Three goblins stare up at Garl in surprise, before in unison they yell and attack! Gishkaa leaps forward in a flash, sinking her blades into the throat of the lead goblin, killing it instantly before it has a chance to act.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: You knocked on the wrong fucking door today!

One of the other goblins slashes at Gishkaa, slicing a nasty wound across her chest. Reeling back in surprise, the pain overwhelms her and she falls down unconscious. Quinton slashes down at the goblin with his sword, slicing the little creature in half from the force of the blow. Fenora fires an arrow into the chest of the remaining goblin, the arrow sinking to the feathers, but the goblin still weakly stumbles forward, sword raised to attack. Civic steps forward, stomping a foot to the ground, sending out a wave of thunderous force, blasting the goblin against the wall, where it finally falls down dead. With the last enemy defeated, Erky dashes to Gishkaa’s side and begins attending to her wounds.

Erky Timbers: She’ll be okay, but that was a close call. Maybe we should move that statue in front of the door?
Fenora Finnley: Couldn’t hurt… assuming it can even be moved.

With a little effort, they move the statue in front of the door, effectively securing the only way into the room. Satisfied that not further incursions to the room are forthcoming, the party returns to their rest.

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The Goblin Gardens
Sar, Lkarvion 26th, 998 YK (early afternoon)

The party continues deeper into the bowels of the Sunless Citadel, seeking out the one they’ve heard referred to as “the Outcast,” whoever he or she might be. Following a tunnel off of the chamber they’d descended into, they find a rift (likely caused by the cataclysm that befell Cyre) has torn the tunnel apart, shifting the southernmost section several yards west. They begin exploring the rift to the west, and come upon a flaming serpent which attacks them angrily with tooth and tail. The beast almost manages to kill Garl before it is finally put down, but some timely invention from Erky gets the dragonborn back on his feet to continue on.

Further on, they find a room filled with draconic iconography, which is surmised to be the remnants of the dragon cult that once assembled here. The tunnels go no further, so they return to the main chamber and head north into a large chamber filled with filthy rags and the stench of animals. As they begin exploring, a bugbear accompanied by a pair of giant rats emerges from a tunnel to the north and attacks. Once the enemy is defeated, the party begins to follow the tunnel from which the bugbear arrived, but Fenora senses that the tunnel leads into the depths of Kyber, a place they do not want to go into.

After a short rest to bandage their wounds, they try the remaining door off the main chamber, and emerge into a room lined with columns carved with dragons, and several rooms attached. Within the rooms they discover many goblins in residence, and though they allow two to flee the space unharmed, the ones that remain are not as lucky once they begin to attack the party. As the last goblin falls, the adventurers look around the room, and consider their next move.

Quinton and Garl begin by searching the adjoining rooms as Civic and Fenora consider the contents of the barrels in the southwestern chamber, which they determine is actually a type of wine made from fermented fungus. After a fair amount of searching, they manage to uncovered several piled of silver coins hidden among the bedrolls and other detritus in the various rooms.

Garl Auraspeaker: Ah good, we found a bit of silver here.
Quinton Greymane (to Civic): So what did you find in the cauldron there?
Civic: Just looks like some kind of wine. I can’t determine anything unique about it. Although, fungus used in wine is extremely rare outside of the Underdark, but the Underdark is the only place I know of with fungus that is rich in the sugars essential to the fermentation process. A key factor for any true zymurgist
Quinton Greymane: Well, Fenora did say that other passage lead to the Underdark, so maybe it is. Never heard of zymurgist before. Sounds mighty fancy.
Fenora Finnley: Well, I don’t know for sure, but it smelled that way.
Quinton Greymane: That’s good enough for me. Don’t want to go messing with the Underdark. Went down there once to search for a stolen idol from a church. Let me tell you, Underdark hospitality ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shouts from the next room): Civic! Come look at this thing!

diseased_rat.png

The party quickly moves to join Gishkaa in the next room, reeling back in disgust as the sight that greets them. The room features a single table, on which a giant rat is tightly strapped down. The creature is obviously horribly diseased, huge tumors covering its body. The tumors look woody and vaguely fruit-like, completely unlike anything they’d ever encountered before.

Fenora Finnley (covers her face with her hands): Ewwwww!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I know!
Civic: Fascinating!
Garl Auraspeaker: Meh, what is it?
Civic: I’m going to need a few minutes to cast detect magic to get a better idea.
Quinton Greymane: Well, go for it.

As Civic begins preparing the components for hit ritual, Garl, who is still in the larger room, glances at the materials on the nearby tables, noting that several containers contain mashed leaves, fungus, barks and powdered roots. Oddly, the materials all seem to be from various plants and shrubs that grow in the region, thought they have a pronounce pallor, as if they’d never seen the sun.

Garl Auraspeaker: Hey Civic, don’t know if this matters or not, but looks like there’s some plants or something on here. Look, I don’t know, like maybe they’re from the Underdark or something?

Seeing that
Civic is deep into his ritual casting, Erky joins Garl at the table and looks over the contents that Garl indicated.

Erky Timbers (looks up at Garl): Ooh, nice collection, that. Could be useful, lad.
Garl Auraspeaker (shrugs): If you say so. Looks like a bunch of stuff that food eats.
Erky Timbers (chuckles): And ye call yerself a cleric. Lad, sometimes ye can’t depend on the gods to save your tail, you gotta use what nature give ye to do the job. Look…
Erky holds up some of the crushed leaves.
Erky Timbers: Sage root. Excellent for stopping bleeding. And this, mallow bitters. Good for fighting disease, sometimes can minimize the damage from poisons. Looks to me, ye got a decent healer’s starter kit, for sure.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmmmm, I see. Well, ya know, I ain’t heard about it with all these like, base ingredients. I’m used to like the medical names and stuff after you mix everything together.
Erky rolls his eyes, muttering about “what do they teach these children these days.”
Erky Timbers (collects ingredients and hands to Garl): Here, take it all. It’ll come in handy.
Quinton Greymane: Sounds like it might be something useful, indeed.

As the others gather up the medicinal materials, Civic finishes his spell and takes a look at the creature and scans the room. With the senses granted by his spell, he notes that the rat is glowing with a sickly green aura. In the corner of the room, he notices a similar aura emanating from a small glass vial sitting on a stand.

Civic: Hmm, there is a greenish aura around this tortured beast and the vial there shares that aura. It is a transmutation magic. I assume the potion in the vial is the source and the reason there are strange growths throughout it’s body. Almost like some type of tumor. I don’t think this was the intended result. At least I hope not. I think I’m going to hang onto the potion for now. Maybe I can learn more from it later.
Quinton Greymane: Well, guess we’ve found everything around here. Seems like there is only one way left to go…

The rat on the table shifts its head. Seeing that the poor creature is still alive, Civic draws a dagger and quickly dispatches the creature, which lets out a weak squeak as it is put out of its misery. Civic takes a closer look at the growths on the creature’s body as he sheathes the blade.

Civic: The skin of these growths is very similar to what we’ve seen in the strange tree-like creatures we’ve encountered previously. It has similar color, with just a tinge more green to it. If you look here the striae along the surface is growing in the same fractal pattern.

Gishkaa, familiar with the warforged’s scientific bent, knows Civic will want to collect a sample of the growths. She quickly dashes to the table in the main room, returning with a jar large enough to contain one of the the fruit-like growths on the dead rat. She hands the jar to Civic just as he’s begun searching for just such a container.

Civic: Ah, thank you, Gishkaa!

Civic begins trying to cut one of the tumors from the body, but finds the combination of the thick bark-like growth and his metal fingers makes the task exceedingly difficult. His first cut slices right through the growth, ruining the sample.

Civic (sighs in frustration): Does anyone have a steadier hand that can get a better sample?
Erky Timbers: I can give it a go, if ye like.
Civic (moving aside for Erky): Can’t do worse than I did.
Erky Timbers: How much did ye want? Just a sliver, or the whole growth?
Civic: I’d like an entire growth that can fit in the container there.
Erky Timbers nods and begins to work.

In a matter of moments, Erky deftly excises the largest of the tumors and deposits it into the container Civic provides.

Erky Timbers: I don’t mind saying, lad, that is disgusting.
Garl Auraspeaker: Indeed.
Civic (secures the sample and tucks it away with his alchemy supplies): I think we’ve done all we can here.

While Civic and Erky have been dissecting the rat’s tumor, Quinton and Garl have been completing their search of the remaining chambers, finding a couple of weapon racks in the northeastern room laden with several crude and badly tended goblin weapons. Finding nothing else of use, the party reforms and prepares to continue on, converging on the door leading from this room. Gishkaa inspects the door, and finding it to be locked, sets to work with her thieves tools. In a few moments, the lock clicks open and the door opens up onto a tiny square chamber with another door on its opposite side..

Civic: That is a very small, useless looking room. I wonder why the architect would include it in their design.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Maybe a choke point or a room meant to trap intruders.
Erky Timbers (nods in agreement): Extra layer of protection, perhaps.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Looks safe though.

Gishkaa moves forward to the other door, taking a moment to inspect it for traps before she realizes that the door is slightly ajar. Looking back over her shoulder, she looks up questioningly at Quinton as she indicates the open door.

Quinton Greymane (whispers): Keep going, I say.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (grins widely): I concur!

fungus_garden1.jpg

Gishkaa kicks the door open with a flourish, dashing into the next room as it opens fully.
Nodules of luminescent fungus hang from the ceiling and walls and grow in clumps on the flagstone floor. The light illuminates portions of grand bas-relief carvings on the stone walls that aren’t covered with the fungus. The carvings depict dragons in various stages of raining fire down upon terrified people. Soil and compost cover half the chamber’s floor, which allows a variety of feeble plants to grow. A bench containing simple gardening implements stands along the west wall.

Civic: Simply amazing that these bio-luminescent fungi can support the growth of plants, albeit the plants are diminutive and obviously starved for a greater source of light. I would love to see if more fungi could be arranged and grown in such a way that they could support a healthy yield
Erky Timbers facepalms.
Garl Auraspeaker: …or we just kill all the jackasses who live down here. To-may-to, to-mah-to
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moving into the room and heads south): Yes, yes. It’s fascinating. Now can we move on?
Quinton Greymane: So north, south or east?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (calls back to the group): We’re already at this door, may as well go this way.

The sound of the rapid approach of heavy footfalls echoes throughout the chamber. From the darkness to the south emerges a bugbear brandishing a wicked looking sickle-like blade. She roars in challenge as she moves in to attack!

Erky sends a bolt of divine force at the bugbear, which the goblinoid easily shrugs off to no effect, as Fenora fires an arrow that goes widely over the bugbear’s head. As the party races forward to meet the bugear headon, Gishkaa dashes past them, leaping out and sinking her blades into the bugbear’s shoulders, slicing a critical wound into its flank. The bugbear roars in pain and fury as it attempts to swing its weapon down at Gishkaa, but the little goblin rolls out of the way with a sneering grin and a taunt of, “too bad, so sad.” Fenora nocks another arrow to her bow and quickly fires another arrow at the bugbear. At the same moment the bugbear swings down at Gishkaa, an arrow suddenly appears in its throat. The bugbear’s eyes grow wide as it grabs at the shaft of the arrow, then it falls backwards to die on the stony ground.

Erky Timbers: Nice shot, as always, m’dear.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: To the north?
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, sounds good.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (to Fenora): Yes, very impressive. Wait, lets see what he has on him.

Gishkaa quickly searches the fallen bugbear’s body for anything useful. In a satchel on its belt, she finds a single potion of healing. She holds up the nasty bladed weapon the bugbear was swinging, something like a cross between a sickle and a longsword. Its curved blade was likely used for cutting the grasses that cover much of the floor in this chamber, but it makes for a nasty weapon with an impressive reach. No one seems particularly eager to give up their current weapons of chouce, so they leave the blade behind as they continue to the north. The door on the northern wall is neither trapped nor is it firmly closed, and the party passes on into the next chamber.

fungus_garden2.jpg

Beyond the door, they find another chamber similar to the one they currently stand in, with luminous fungi on the ceiling and walls, and pale grasses covering the floor. There are doors on both the north and the eastern walls, both of which are firmly closed.

Erky Timbers (peeks around the door frame into the room): After you, lads.

Entering the chamber, the party cautiously works their way to the center of the room without incident. A table is placed in a corner near the northern door, its surface littered with an assortment of garden implements in various states of disrepair. Gishkaa unlocks the nearby door, beyond which is a huge chamber filled with all manner of plants and fungus, much of which is radiating a soft radiance filling the room with dim light.

Civic: Odd. Many of the species of fauna growing here are native to the Underdark. I know of no way such examples of the Underdark’s native plant life could make it’s way to someplace like this. Clearly this was done intentionally. And done by someone very knowledgeable on the Underdark, and the plant-life there.
Garl Auraspeaker (pointing to the table): Well, looks like there’s like gardening tools and stuff around.
Erky Timbers: Odd is an understatement.
Quinton Greymane: Seems like we got a green thumb on some of those goblins. I mean, aside from their thumbs actually being green.

They enter the fungus-filled room to investigate the only other door present. Opening the door, they reveal a wide hallway which opens up into a larger room about thirty feet in.
Dragon-carved granite blocks line this chamber’s walls and ceiling, though many are crumbled and broken, leaving stony debris on the floor. A huge marble statue of a rearing red dragon stands in the curve of the western wall. The eye sockets of the dragon are empty, but a red glow lingers there, providing reddish light throughout the chamber. The radiance casts an inky shadow behind the statue’s wide wings. A five-foot-diameter, circular tile of dark stone is set in the floor in front of the dragon statue. Runes are carved around the circular tile’s inner edge.

dragon_statue.jpg

Civic: The red glow tells me something magical is happening here. I’m going to recast my detect magic spell.
Garl Auraspeaker (looking atthe runes): Well, not sure what it’s all on about, but the writing says, “let the sorcerous power illuminate my spirit.”
Quinton Greymane: Civic, maybe you could magic something up? Sounds like it needs some arcane casting to make it do whatever it’s meant to do.

Civic ignores Quinton’s request for the moment, instead focusing on preparing his spell to discern the nature of the magics he can tell are in place in this chamber. A few minutes later, he looks up from his work.

Civic: More transmutation magic with a red aura. It’s emanating from the statue.
Civic (looks at the statue with concern): I don’t see anything else, but there seems to be something odd about the shadow behind the statue. I can’t tell why it strikes me as odd though.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Looks like a shadow, ya weirdo.
Garl Auraspeaker: Sounds odd.

As Garl utters that last word, an unholy moan echoes through the room. A vaguely humanoid figure emerges from the shadow behind the statue. The figure seems to be made of shadow itself, its arms outstretched toward the party as it emerges fully from the shadows.

shadow.png

Gishkaa gives a shout, “Ga! The shadow is alive!” as she races forward, manifesting her blades as she leaps off the base of the statue at the shadowy creature before her. Amazingly, her blades find purchse, scoring a critical hit on the creature, which howls in pain from the blow. Quinton swings his blade at the creature as erky tries a blast of holy fire, but both attacks miss the creature as it easily moves out of the way. Garl moves into position and with a mighty swing of his mace, ends the creatures existence, as the shadowy form discipates.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Do shadows have pockets? Maybe it has loot.
Garl Auraspeaker: Don’t think so.
Quinton Greymane: I think we should finish looking at the dragon statue. I’m interested what might happen if we cast a spell at it or in the circle.
Garl Auraspeaker: Har har.
Civic: Well, the circle itself doesn’t appear to be magical, so I’m curious why it is here. I guess someone thought it looked nice and lent an air of mysticism to the statue. The statue is obviously meant to do something though.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, maybe, maybe not. Aint my particular area of expertise.
Civic: Maybe a spell that sheds light? I don’t have anything that does that at my disposal.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Well, if you say the circle is safe…

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat steps into the circle. She begins to shake, her eyes wide open as the shaking intensifies.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I can feel the dragon’s power flowing through me. Passing its might into my very soul! <stops> Just kidding. Nothing happened. This statue sucks.
Garl Auraspeaker: Blast it! Don’t joke around like that, you trickster bastard!
Quinton Greymane: Still pretty sure it needs some magic, maybe divine would work, too?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: What about the sorcerer’s light thing? Either of the clerics able to cast some kind of light spell?
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmmm, could do.
Civic: Hmm, you know the previous dragon statues functioned from speaking the words that were written. You said nothing happened when you spoke the words, Garl?
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, that’s right.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: You weren’t standing in the fancy circle though. Maybe read it again while you’re in there. That circle seems significant and Civic is right, that’s how the other ones worked. Or you can get out of the way and tell me what it says. I’m not afraid of a dumb dragon statue.

Garl Auraspeaker shrugs as he steps into the circle, the speaks aloud the words written in Draconic runes at the statue’s base. As he finishes, a blast of flame erupts from the dragon’s mouth, bathing him in flame. Garl tenses up instinctively, anticipating the searing pain expected, but strangely, the flame does not hurt at all. The flames continue to wash over garl’s skin for another 30 seconds, before they eventually cease. Garl looks amazed as he stares around at the stunned expressions of his companions.

Garl Auraspeaker: Ah ow, ooch eech, oww. Wait… what?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: That was scary! I thought you were done for!
Garl Auraspeaker (pats himself down): Me too!
Quinton Greymane: Don’t go giving us a scare like that! I thought you were a goner, too.
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha ha, sorry, old buddy.
Civic: You seem unharmed.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, guess I am. Feel a bit funny, though. Like, I don’t know, it gave me some temporary blessing or something.
Erky Timbers: If the flames did not burn you, then I am curious what its purpose actually was. Perhaps this was some sort of initiation chamber? This was the home of a draconic cult, after all.
Garl Auraspeaker (nods in agreement): Might be, Erky.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I want to try it! What do I need to say?

Civic coaches Gishkaa through the words. Gishkaa recites the words and nothing happens, except that the poutiest face to ever grace a goblinoid suddenly appears.

Garl Auraspeaker (apologetically): Maybe it’s got like a timer or something.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (snorts if irritation): Whatever. We done here?

View
Fire and Wine: Goblins Break Bad
Sar, Lkarvion 26th, 998 YK (morning)

Having defeated the leader of the goblins in this area of the citadel, the party discusses their next moves. Erky points out that if they wish to look into this “Outcast” character, they will need to make camp and rest for the night, as his healing abilities are tapped for the day. Realizing the wisdom, and risk, in this plan, they quickly search the bodies of their fallen enemies, discovering a pair of scrolls, and retreat back to the recently vacated dragon’s lair.

A couple of hours into their rest, Civic, who has been keeping watch, hears goblins approaching their refuge, and before long the creatures begin to try breaking down the door to the chamber. Rousing the rest of the party, they throw open the door and face the goblins head-on, quickly cutting their way through the lot. Concerned that their camp has been discovered, there is discussion about moving to a different location. However, as nothing nearby provides adequate protection, and not wishing to retreat all the way back to the citadel’s entrance, they choose to instead double the watch. Thankfully, the rest of the night passes uneventfully, and they awaken the next morning refreshed.

After an amusing exchange where Fenora (jokingly?) accuses the early-rising Garl of being a doppleganger, the party returns to the site of the goblin town, making their way into the next chamber to find a chest containing the deceased goblin leader’s gear. A shaft in the middle of the room descends to the lower level, clinging vines providing the means to climb down. The descent is easy enough with the vines, but a vine lets go in Fenora’s grasp, and she begins to fall. With a quick hand, she manages to grab at the vine, and slams back into the shaft wall, knocking the wind out of her. They reach the floor below, where they encounter some more twig blights and an odd pair of robed skeletons. They deftly defeat the skeletons and twig blights, and decide on which way to continue…

Erky: Which way, lads?
Quinton Greymane (indicating a door to the south): This way looks as good as any.

Quinton opens the door onto a long hallway. The light from the curiously illuminated chamber just barely penetrates the gloom ahead, but it looks like the hall opens up onto a larger chamber. Quinton motions for Garl to proceed

Quinton Greymane (grinning): Age before beauty.
Garl Auraspeaker (mutters grumpily): Stupid smarmy humans…

the_rift.jpg

Garl begins leading the way into the hall, Fenora following closely on his heels with an arrow nocked to her bowstring, the rest of the party following behind her. A short ways down the hall they encounter a rift in the tunnel, its debris-strewn floor two feet below that of the corridor. No phosphorescent fungus grows in the rift. The corridor continues past the rift, though the opening of the rift has caused it to shift 10 feet to the west. A number of two-foot-diameter holes riddle the floor of the rift. The smell of burnt earth hangs in the air.

Fenora (wrinkles her nose in disgust): That doesn’t smell so great.
Garl Auraspeaker (sniffs): Smells fine to me. Maybe your nose just needs to toughen up a little.
Fenora: Maybe you need to shower more.
Garl Auraspeaker (winks): Not according to the ladies
Fenora: According to THIS lady… yeah, you do.
Erky unsuccessfully tries to stifle a snort of laughter.
Quinton Greymane (ignoring them as he looks around): Hmm, not a fan of those holes everywhere. Who knows what could pop out of them?
Civic: Looks like damage from when the Mournland was born. I’ve never seen damage from that event so well preserved. Terrifying.
Quinton Greymane (nods in agreement): Could be, Civic.
Erky: Well, we are not far at all from the Mournlands, lad. All manner of strange magics seep from the borders of that cursed place. I have heard tales of fields of fallen soldiers, perfectly preserved as if they had just fallen, rather than killed in action those years ago. It’s not beyond reasoning to surmise similar affects are at play here.
Garl Auraspeaker (shrugs): Well, we going to stand around gabbing all day or look for some Outcasts to send to Khyber?

Without waiting for an answer, the surly dragonborn stomps past everyone, continuing down the rift itself to the southwest. Gishkaa sighs heavily as she rolls her eyes.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: I better stay close to him, because stupid dumbborn dragon wanna-be is going to get himself killed.

Gishkaa quickly but silently rushes to catch up to Garl as he continues up the rift. The rift itself widens, creating a cavern-like chamber. Small, two-foot-diameter holes riddle the node. A dim fiery glow shines out of one such hole. As they reach the reach the edge of the tunnel off the main rift, a hiss echoes through the narrow space. The glow grows brighter as a slithering creature seeming to be crafted of living fire emerges from the tunnel and casts a hateful eye in their direction. Hearing the hiss, the rest of the party hurries to join Garl and Gishkaa.

fire-snake.jpg

Quinton Greymane: Dammit Garl, ya never listen!
Garl Auraspeaker shrugs innocently
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Yup, I knew it.

As the rest of the party catches up, Civic and Erky both start off by casting spells at the fiery creature, with no effect. Gishkaa extends her hands to her sides, her psionic blades manifesting before she dashes in to slice at the creature. She feels the blades connect with its hide, but the blow does little to damage the creature. The heat from the flames covering the creature’s body radiate through her blades, burning her hands. Fenora looses an arrow to fly into the creature’s flank, scoring a hit that does less damage than expected, as the creature lashes out with its toothy maw to bite at Garl. It sinks its teeth into Garl’s shoulder, gnawing at the flesh as the dragonborn screams in agony before falling to the ground unconscious. Releasing Garl, the fiery serpent flicks its tail at Gishkaa, slamming her into the wall beside her as flames burn along her torso.

Quinton desperately throws a handaxe at the creature, scoring a minor hit as Civic again attempts a spell, scoring a minor wound on its flank. Not sure what to do, Erky calls out to Garl, who’s eyes flicker open as a pained groan escapes his lips.

Erky: Garl! I can heal you!
Garl Auraspeaker (moaning): No, I’ll take care of myself, heal Gishkaa!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Probably a good idea. He’s pretty squishy.
Garl Auraspeaker: You know what, heal me after all.
Erky (healing Gishkaa): Watch yourselves, lads! This is only the second fight we’ve encountered, and you guys are already getting scraped up. Can’t keep the heals going all day!

Gishkaa runs past the fiery serpent, slashing out with her blades to score a hit on its flank. Once past the creature she leaps up, plants her feet on the wall and springs back away, twisting in the air to avoid it’s attempts to strike her. Gishkaa lands lightly on her feet as Fenora fires an arrow over her head. The arrow sinks into the fire snake’s eye, all the way to the feathers. With a shrieking hiss, it flails its body from side to side, ultimately succumbing to death.

Fenora (grins widely): And THAT’S how it’s done, boys.
Erky: Impressive, young lady. Most impressive.

With the fire snake defeated, the party takes a moment to look around. The room looks to be empty, save for a pile of debris gathered into one of the nooks to the south of the chamber, making a nest of sorts.

Quinton Greymane: We should check out that nest over there.
Erky Timbers: Are you sure there’s no more of those creatures around? That one seemed nasty.
Quinton Greymane: We’ll be ready.

Quinton roots around in the detritus that makes up the bulk of the nest in the corner, eventually emerging with a couple of rough gems. He holds them up to show the others.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, well, looks like I found a couple of gems. Look fairly decent to my eye, too.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’d say. Pretty much the epitome of decent
Erky Timbers (unimpressed): That’s nice. Now what?
Quinton Greymane: Guess let’s keep going.
Civic (nods): Makes sense to fully explore this direction before heading back in the other direction.

They return to the jagged rift, hiking back to where the hall had shifted from some earlier earthquake or other catastrophe. The hall continues south a short way before turning to the east. They continue creeping down the hall, turning to the south again, then to the east once more, before they find themselves before a closed stone door. The door does not appear to have been opened in quite a long time. Gishkaa tries to open the door, but the door doesn’t budge.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Seems pretty stuck.

In a fit of pique, Gishkaa grabs the door’s knob, bracing a foot against the door frame, and begin pulling with all her strength. Hergreen face gets a bit ruddier from the effort, but after a moment or two, the door begins to move. With a final heave, Gishkaa pulls the door open fully.

Erky Timbers: Your goblin friend is quite impressive, I must say.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (panting from the effort): Nothing to it.
Quinton Greymane: Heh, thought you weren’t going to make it there for a second.

dragon_shrine.jpg

Within the room, faded mosaic tiles still decorate parts of the wall, but most have fallen to the dust-covered floor and shattered. Situated at the center of the chamber stands a slim pedestal of rusted iron shaped like an upright dragon. In the dragon’s mouth rests an empty tray. The party eyes the statue with suspicion.

Quinton Greymane: Not suspicious at all.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, better proceed with caution.
Civic: I wonder what goes on the tray?
Erky Timbers (peeking into the room): Or rather, what was on it before? Although, given the state this room is in, if there was something on that tray, it was certainly not removed recently.
Garl Auraspeaker: My first thought was putting something on the tray too.
Quinton Greymane: Well a closer look might sort that out.

Quinton cautiously steps up closer to the statue, and begins looking it over carefully from all angles. Much of the statues features have begun to rust away. Dust coats the surface in a thick layer, small clouds of which waft into the air from their breathing. The statue might once have been quite a nice piece of art, but now is virtually worthless, even from an historical standpoint.
Quinton Greymane: Well whatever this room was for, it ain’t got much going on now.
Garl Auraspeaker: Kind of like you, hahahaha.
Quinton Greymane (glares at Garl angrily): Well, don’t go throwing your back out laughing there. I say we check out the other path from the main room.

As the party begins to file out of the room, Civic, who has been also examining the statue closely, speaks up.

Civic: Ah, this is clearly an idol created by the dragon cult that once occupied this place. You can tell by the pattern of three horns on the head with the one asymmetric fourth horn on the left side that it is an effigy of Ashardalan. A very powerful dragon who was much worshiped by the Dragon Cult. The most interesting part of his story for me is that the Cult worshiped him for his raw power, but there is strong historical evidence that his anger was all because of his infertility. <chuckles> He couldn’t get it up and the Dragon Cult saw the emotional reaction to that physical shortcoming as a symbol of power. <shakes> They are not the brightest shards in the depths.
Everyone stares at Civic in silence before wordlessly leaving the room, leaving Civic to rush to catch up.

The party backtracks to the cavern they first arrived in when they descended from above, moving this time through the open tunnel to the north to emerge into another large chamber. The floor of this rough cavern is stained and smells of blood and animal musk. Light from glowing fungus reveals the eastern niche, which holds a pallet of matted furs, a wide wooden board on which a variety of weapons are affixed, and a great cloak of patchy black fur hung on a slender pole. To the edge of the niche are two large nests made of hair, dry fungus, and refuse.

bugbear_nest.jpg

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Looks perfectly safe…
Quinton Greymane: Maybe it’s some of them dragon cult Civic been gabbing about just now.
Civic: I doubt the Dragon Cult are still here. It was long ago that they occupied this citadel
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm, does make sense. Though I’m like 50% sure you’re making some of that up.
Civic: I assure you, the Dragon Cult is very real.
Quinton Greymane: Well I think we’ll find out one way or another if we have any of their silliness to deal with around here.

Reaching the center of the room, movement from the northern tunnel startles them into silence. A high pitched squeaking echoes from the mouth of the tunnel as a pair of giant rats emerge, followed closely by a hulking bugbear. The bugbear stops short when it sees the adventurers, lifting a nasty looking morningstar above its head, as it bellows a challenge.

balsag.jpg

Bugbear [in Goblin]: Get ready to meet the cook pot!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [sneers, in Goblin]: Hi The Cookpot, my name is Gishkaa.
The bugbear roars in anger and charges!

Seeing the bugbear charging forward, Gishkaa nocks an arrow to her shortbow and fires, sending an arrow flying at the enraged bugbear. The arrow flies past its face, slicing a narrow furror into its cheek, causing it to bellow out in pain as it pauses its charge. The bugbear grabs a javelin from its back and throws it back at Gishkaa, slamming into th goblin’s shoulder. Fearing for his goblin friend, Civic casts a spell at the bugbear, opening a nasty wound across its meaty bicep. Fenora fires an arrow at one of the rats,
the arrow slamming into the rat’s flank to send it squeaking to slam into the nearest wall. The impact paints the wall in red gore.

Erky grabs Gishkaa’s arm lightly as he quickly mutters a healing prayer, as Quinton tries unsuccesfuuly to deal with the remaining giant rat. Seeing Gishkaa still bleeding copiously form her wounds, Garl aids Erky with healing the goblin, who dashes forward at the bugbear, her psionic blades flashing. She scores a bloody hit, but the bugbear spins in place, knocking Gishkaa through the air with a backhanded swing of its morningstar. With Gishkaa down, the rest fo the party doubles their effort, cutting through the remaining rat to get close enough to score a couple of hits on the bugbear. Meanwhile, Erky slips through to give Gishkaa another healing spell. Roused back to consciousness, the goblin leaps to her feet and dashes forward to slice at the bugbear.
Her blade slashes through the bugbear’s throat, a fountain of blood spraying from the wound. Thee bugbear drops its weapon and clamps its furry hands to its throat, trying to staunch the bleeding. Its eyes grow wide as it realizes its death is imminent. The party watches in satisfaction at it finally collapses face down on the cavern floor.

Garl Auraspeaker: Getting real tired of these rats.
Quinton Greymane: Well, let’s take a quick look around and rest for a minute. I think we all could use it.
Erky Timbers: Aye. And what was the bugbear on about?

On the weapon rack is a wide assortment of weapons, none of any great quality, but serviceable enough. Under the furs in the northern-most niche Quinton spots the edge of a box peeking out.

Quinton Greymane: I got a box here!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (warily): We should check that for traps.

Quinton shrugs and opens the box easily, its hinge well oiled considering its previous owner. Inside the box sits two large leather sacks, one filled with gold coins, the other with silver coins.

Quinton Greymane: Got two sacks of coins here!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I wouldn’t have expected it to have so much. What does he need all that for? Didn’t look like he was one to visit the market square get some sticky buns.
Garl Auraspeaker: Probably just greedy. Dumb people usually are.
Erky Timbers (clearing throat): I must say, if we run into much more resistance as we continue on, we’re going to lose someone. My healing abilities are tapped for the day, lads. The bugbear was a harder opponent than expected.
Garl Auraspeaker: Eh I still got a bit left. We should be okay as long as we’re careful
Quinton Greymane: Yes, let’s just be careful.
Erky Timbers (nods at Garl): Very well, then. I will resort to offensive cantrips instead, hopefully that will help some.

The party spends an hour resting and bandaging their wounds as they discuss which way to go next. They then gather up their gear, and begin to make their way through the narrow tunnel leading to the north. It winds around a bit, eventually heading in a western direction. A chill breeze blows past them from deep within the tunnel.

Fenora Finnley: Ewww…do you guys smell that? That smelly smell smells…smelly…
Erky Timbers gawks at Fenora.
Civic: Is the dead hobgoblin already turning sour?
Fenora Finnley: I don’t know if we want to any closer to whatever that smell is….it’s giving me goosepimples
Garl Auraspeaker (grumpily): I don’t smell.
Civic: Interesting…did you know that while dopplegangers can take on any humanoid shape, they don’t have sweat glands and their magical nature doesn’t shed skin like other creatures. Because of this they have little to no scent.<narrows>
Garl Auraspeaker returns Civic’s glare,
Fenora Finnley: It’s coming from down the hallway. I think this leads into the depths of Kyber!
Erky Timbers (eyes widen at mention of the Kyber): Are you certain?!
Erky backs out of the tunnel quickly.
Fenora Finnley: I mean…I guess I can’t be certain, but it’s giving me the heebeejeebees.
Erky Timbers: I for one do not wish to take the chance that you are correct, Miss Fenora.
Quinton Greymane: There’s plenty of other places to look around here anyway. We can return back here if we don’t find anything.

goblin_lab.jpg

Having agreed not to press further into the tunnel toward Kyber, they return to the main cavern, and approach the remaining closed door, which they find to be locked tight. The lock gives Gishkaa some trouble at first, but the tenacious goblin jams a couple more picks into the lock before she finally is able to maneuver the tumblers within. The door opens to reveal two rows of dragon-carved marble columns march the length of the hall, most completely covered in luminescent fungus. The cobbled floor is cracked and stained, and on it sit many small wooden tables. The contents on the tables include mortars and pestles, small tools, bowls filled with crushed leaves, chopped fungus stalks, and other plant specimens. The many doors leading off this hall are all partly open.

Quinton Greymane whispers): Stay cautious, people. Could be something around those corners.
Civic (whispers, curiously looking at table contents): Looks like quite the industrious alchemical project here.

Outside one of the northern doors, Quinton suddenly puts his fingers on his lips to let everyone know to be quiet. The sound of soft snoring can be heard from within. They carefully creep into the room, which is ripe with the overwhelming stench of unwashed bodies in an enclosed space for too long. Three goblins are in residence, sleeping in ragged blankets around the room. Only one of them seems to have a weapon, a rusty scimitar resting at its side. Quinton Greymane slowly jabs his sword in one of the goblin’s direction, indicating the sword. Gishkaa steps forward carefully and without a noise, removes the blade from reach before bending down to whisper into the now unarmed goblin’s ear.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Quietly wake your friends and leave, or we’ll kill you and not take mercy on any of your other kin who we find in here.

The jostled goblin slowly opens its eyes, locking gaze with Gishkaa as she speaks. It nods as it cautiously moves over to its companions, putting a hand over the mouth of each as it whispers in their ears in its guttural language. Once the three are awake, they creep out into the main room, hugging the walls as they maneuver their way past the rest of the party into the previous chamber, disappearing into the darkness.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks at Quinton): Sorry, I really didn’t want to go with outright murder. I wanted to give them an option to live.
Erky Timbers: A noble gesture, lass, but you know they may just return with more.
Quinton Greymane: Well, what’s done is done.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks uncomfortable): I know…
Quinton Greymane: You gotta make decisions you can live with. I’ll trust your judgment here, Gishkaa.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: It’s unsettling how different they are than the Goblins I grew up with in Sharn.

As they continue exploring this strange chamber, Quinton opens the door to the room to the southwest, startling a pair of goblins that stand barefoot in a large tub, squashing what looks to be roots and fungi into pulp. Nearby, a dirty straining tub strains the resulting liquids into a cask, with several similar casks piled along the back wall. The goblins stare back at Quinton in fear, before yelling at the top of their little goblin lungs.
The doors to the remaining chamber fly open, as several goblins emerge.

Quinton Greymane (shrugs): Oh, well…
Garl Auraspeaker: Great, more goblins
Goblin [in Goblin]: Intruders!! Intruders!! Must warn Belak!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: We’re just here for the fungus juice! No one needs to get hurt!

One of the goblins dashes to the rear of the large room, disappearing through the door to the northeastern chamber.

Erky Timbers: This is not going to go well, I think.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (sneers): Not for them…

A goblin emerges from the center room on the south wall, a scimitar brandished in its shakey hands.

Goblin [in Goblin]: You not belong here! You go!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: I think we do belong here. Try to change my mind.

The goblins race in to attack. The two startled by Quinton grab nearby clubs and charge at him, both missing wildly with poorly aimed swings. All around the room the poorly armed goblins try to land even a single blow on the party, but are instead quickly felled by arrows from Fenora’s bow or minor spells from Erky and Civic. Quinton and Garl face off against their own foes, both which fall to the swing of sword and mace. Facing off against the final goblin, Gishkaa snarls a threat which goes unheeded. In a fury she leaps forward and plunges the blades of her psychic weapons into the goblin’s cheat, killing it instantly. As the silence falls again on this chamber, the party surveys the damage they have wrought.

View
The Depths Below Us
Far, Lharvion 25th, 998 YK into Sar, Lkarvion 26th, 998 YK

Last time, having defeated the white dragon wyrmling after its deadly attack on their kobold guide, Meepo, the party decides that, rather than killing the dragon outright, they would set the creature loose outside of the citadel, leaving it to its own fate. They drag the unconscious wyrmling to the balcony rats nest, and retreat back toward the goblin areas of the citadel.

They pass through a door way into a smoke-hazed hall lines with stone columns. As the rest of the party ponders the strange chamber, Gishkaa enters to inspect some doors to the north, and discovers that they loop around in an empty hallway. As she stealthily works her way around the room, attempting to sneak up on her companions, she kicks a loose stone which clatters against the southern door, alerting a trio of goblins to their presence. After a brief scuffle in which the goblins are killed, the party retreats to the previous chamber to attend to their wounds.

After their rest, they return to the columned room to discover another goblin busily inspecting the fallen goblins they had fought. Seeing the party enter the chamber, it dashes through the door to the west. In a fit of impatience, Garl storms over to the door and slams it open. Beyond the threshold is a score of goblins, who look up in surprise and fear. As the bulk of the creatures flee from the room to the north, some remain behind to engage the party. The adventurers cut through the goblins easily enough, but before they can take stock of their surroundings, they are set upon by several hobgoblins, including one which seems to be the leader of the goblin clan.
The battle is fierce, with some of the party taking some severe wounds, but ultimately they emerge victorious as Erky Timbers blasts the head from the final hobgoblin’s shoulders with a ray of divine power. Now to deal with the rest of the clan…

Garl Auraspeaker (breathing heavy): That was tougher than I expected
Erky Timbers: I hate to admit this, lads, but if we’re planning to look into this grove and “Outcast" fellow, we’re going to need to rest up some. I am fresh out of healing spells, and if we get overrun…
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, yes, who would have guessed the goblins were being lead by several hobgoblins.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shrugs): Seemed easy enough.
Garl Auraspeaker grumbles.
Fenora Finnley (holds up a hand red with her blood): Not that easy.
Civic: Do we need to retreat and get a full nights rest?
Erky Timbers: I believe retreat might be wise.
Fenora Finnley: We could set up camp in Calcryx’s room again. I don’t think there was another way into the room. Not that I remember, anyway.

The party agrees to retreat and rest for the night, but take a quick moment to search the fallen. They find a decent amount of coins between the goblinkin, and a host of useful items on the hobgoblins, most notably a pair of scrolls possessed by the goblin shaman. Civic takes a closer look at the scrolls to determine their use.

Civic: This one can be used to allow the caster to move faster. The other scroll is of a magic I’m not familiar with, however, perhaps one of the clerics in the group would know it.
Erky Timbers: I can take a look, if you wish.
Quinton Greymane: That would be appreciated.
Erky Timbers (takes the scroll and looks over the contents): Ah, yes, definitely divine magics. It looks to be a scroll of Faerie Fire.
Erky Timbers hands the scroll to Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker (looking over the scroll): Hmm. Yer, could be useful.

Fenora Finnley stands nearby watching, her hand pressed against her wounds. Garl notices the halfling is still bleeding and presses a hand to her wounds, casting a healing spell. The color begins to return to Fenora’s face as the party, satisfied they’ve found everything of use in this area, retreats back to the wyrmling’s former lair. They have not yet been resting a full two hours before Civic hears the sound of guttural voices drawing closer to their camp, followed by the sound of scratching at the door and the rattling of swords.

Civic (nudges Quinton to wake him): Quinton, I think I hear goblins approaching. Of course, it could be kobolds investigating the lack of goblin incursions of late, but I believe the particularly sharp ringing sound I heard were from the short swords the goblins use. Also the grunts aren’t quite high enough pitch…
Quinton Greymane (sighs heavily): Dang nabbit! Everyone get up, we’re under attack!

A sudden loud slamming thud comes onto the door.
SLAM!

Garl Auraspeaker (sleepily): Garrrr, why?! Need sleep!
Fenora Finnley leaps to her feet, grabbing her bow.
Erky Timbers: Try not to die, lads. Ain’t had enough time to recharge the heals.

SLAM!

Quinton Greymane: We’ll do our best, Erky.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks at Quinton) Did he just say “Garrrl, why?” Does he talk to himself a lot?
Quinton Greymane: Haha, sometimes.You get used to it, I guess.
Garl Auraspeaker (looks at Gishkaa and Quinton bleary eyed): Hey! Are you talking about me?

SLAM!

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat stands up, gives a big yawn and a stretch and, as she lowers her arms back down, psychic blades spring from her hands.
Erky Timbers: They seem to be impatient.
Civic: Who is it? No solicitors!

SLAM! The hinges on the door give slightly.

Garl Auraspeaker: Grr, these guys are taking so long, I even had time to put my armor on!
Quinton Greymane: Alright, guess we should let our guests in.

Quinton Greymane moves to the door and after making sure his companions are in position, throws the door open in one motion. Behind the door, a trio of goblins leap back in surprise before brandishing their weapons in front of themselves, attempting to threaten Quinton. Behind Quinton, Gishkaa brandishes her own psionic blades as she yells out angrily.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: You knocked on the wrong door, mother fucker!

Dashing forward, Gishkaa slashes her blade across the throat of the nearest goblin before doing a back flip to her original position. A spray of blood erupts from its throat, the goblin’s hands attempting to staunch the flow as it falls down dead. The other goblins, overcome with shock at the viciousness of Gishkaa’s attack, swing their blades wildly at Quinton, who easily avoids the attacks. A pair of the strange twig blights also scratch at Quinton, but he manages to stay just outside of their reach.

Garl steps forward and fires his crossbow, sending a bolt into the next goblin’s face, killing it instantly. Quinton swings his blade at the remaining goblin, but the creature ducks out of the way. Fenora fires an arrow at the nearest twig flight, landing a critical blow and shattering the creature into splinters. Erky blasts a ray of divine energy from his hands at the remaining twig blight, incinerating the creature in holy fire. Civic attempts to cast a spell on the remaining goblin, but the spell fizzles. Still enraged, Gishkaa dashes in, her blades a whir of motion as she stabs at the goblins, piercing its head from either side. With a final grunt of disgust, she withdraws the blades form her target, flicking the blood from the blades before allowing them to fade. As the goblin tumbles backwards and is finally still, silence returns to the chamber

Erky Timbers: Impressive, Gishkaa. I do not wish to get on your bad side.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’m pretty easy to get along with.
Civic (wipes away the blood Gishkaa just flicked his way ): Umm….
Fenora Finnley (looking concerned): Maybe this room isn’t so secure?
Quinton Greymane: Well the door held, but maybe we are too close to goblin territory. Not much to be done for it, unless you wish to stay with the kobolds, or leave the citadel entirely.
Quinton Greymane: Might be tempting at this point
Garl Auraspeaker: Psh, to Khyber with that! ‘m going back to sleep. Getting too old for this shit. Rude little buggers coming in the middle of the night.
Fenora Finnley: Hate to say it, but I agree with Garl. If we leave now, that’s just going to give the goblins more time to prepare, and gather their forces. As it is, they already know we’re here.
Civic: That is a fair point Ms. Finley. This room is something of a main thoroughfare for them. Isn’t there a room just back a little farther that has one way in and out and can be barricaded?
Fenora Finnley (wrinkles her nose): You mean the stinky one?
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah, I agree with Fenora, that sounds like a terrible idea.
Erky Timbers: There IS something to be said for having the two entrances. If we get overrun at one, we can retreat thru the other. If the other room only has the one door, we could find ourselves trapped. We just need to be extra vigilant. Perhaps Civic should have help standing guard?
Quinton Greymane (agrees reluctantly) I suppose it could do. We can do a rotation with him as well for the last half of our rest.
Fenora Finnley (nods as she settles on the floor near the eastern door): I’ll take a shift.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I can go after her.
Erky Timbers: And I shall get back to sleep so I can recharge my healing spells. I fear we are in for a rough go of it when we get below.
Garl Auraspeaker is already asleep

As everyone else drifts off to sleep, Civic and Fenora stand guard. A few hours later, Fenora gently nudges Gishkaa awake for her shift before turning in herself. The remainer of the night passes uneventfully, and the party awakens shortly after dawn, ready to take on the day and whatever else the Citadel has to offer.

Sar, Lharvion 26th, 998 YK

Garl uncharacteristically is one of the first to wake up. Fenora and Gishkaa glare at Garl in suspicion as the dragonborn yawns and stretches, rubbing his back.

Garl Auraspeaker (grumbling): It’s this bloody floor, it’s hard as a rock!
Fenora Finnley: Who are you, and where is the real Garl? DOPPLEGANGER!!!
Fenora draws her dagger and advances on Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker (glares at Fenora in return): Listen, miss smarty pants…
Fenora Finnley: There’s no way you’re really Garl. Awake? Before everyone else? At DAWN, no less?
Garl Auraspeaker: Hey, you have no idea if it’s dawn or not! I hate being underground.
Fenora Finnley: I’m a ranger, Garl. I think I know dawn.
Garl Auraspeaker (to everyone else): Are we going to spend all day listening to halfling conspiracy theories?
Civic: It is very suspect, but I don’t see how a doppleganger could have snuck out the real Garl and taken his place with two people in here awake at all time.
Erky Timbers (chuckles): It is amusing, for sure, but your dragonborn friend is right. Best we get started with this business. The sooner we can leave this blighted place, the better.
Quinton Greymane (nods as he grins): Agreed there, Mr. Timbers. We should be heading out in a few minutes.
Erky Timbers (grins widely): Please. Mr. Timbers was my father. Call me Erky.

Fenora Finnley sheathes her dagger, still eyeing Garl suspiciously. Meanwhile, Gishkaa goes through some stretching exercises as the party prepares to break camp. A short time later, they leave the room to head back to the large goblin area from the previous day, paying particular attention to the door on the northwestern wall. Beyond the door, they find a large, forty-foot diamete chamber with a domed ceiling over a circular shaft which takes up a large portion of the floor. From deep within the shaft, dim violet light softly illuminates the walls, revealing sickly white and grey vines that coat the shaft’s wall completely. Four lit wall torches add to the room’s somewhat dim lighting, allowing the party to see the room’s meager furnishings: a crudely fashioned stone throne on the northwestern wall; a large iron chest which serves as the throne’s footstool; and a sapling in a large pot sitting next to the throne.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moves forward cautiously to inspect the chest): Not at all ominous.
Quinton Greymane: Nope, not in the least.

As Gishkaa checks out the chest, Civic moves forward to inspect the plant. While there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly interesting about the sapling, Civic notices that it seems to be growing rather well given the lack of sunlight in the Citadel’s darkened halls. Civic does note with some concern that the sapling bears an uncanny resemblance to the twig blights they’d encountered so frequently on their journeys of late. Meanwhile, Gishkaa finds that the chest is locked and begins using her lockpicks to attempt to open it. However, she misses a small needle trap embedded in the mechanism, thought it only barely manages to pierce her skin, causing her to yelp in pain as the lock clatters to the floor.

Quinton Greymane: You okay there, Gishkaa?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (sucking on her bleeding finger as she opens the chest): Yeah. It had a trap I didn’t spot, but it didn’t do much.
Quinton Greymane: Well, glad you’re okay.
Fenora Finnley (peers into the chest): Looks like a nice score.
Garl Auraspeaker (rubs his hands together eagerly): Yer, that’s a good sack of coin right there!

Quinton reaches into the chest and pulls out a large sack filled with coins, as well as a pair of onyx gems. As he places the items into his backpack to be distributed later, Erky stands at the edge of the shaft and looks down into the darkened depths below.

Erky Timbers: Looks like this be the way down. Can’t say it looks an easy path, though.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, Wonder how we’re supposed to get down?
Civic (still considering the potted plant): Strange how well this is growing in here with no real light source.
Garl Auraspeaker (ignoring Civic): I’m not sure I trust these vines.
Fenora Finnley: I dunno, looks like the vines might be strong enough to climb down. Maybe Garl should go first? He’s got to be the heaviest of us, right? If the vines can support him, then should definitely support the rest of us.
Civic (returing to the group): Could probably attach a rope to this chair. It looks heavy enough to support the weight of one person at a time.
Erky Timbers: Separating the group might not be advisable, my friend, especially since we are likely about to encounter the true villain here.
Garl Auraspeaker (rolls his eyes): Har, har.
Erky Timbers (chuckles): I do not mean you, Garl. I mean this “Outcast” person.
Garl Auraspeaker (snorts): Yer, bit interested in meeting this “Outcast” person. Sounds like he needs a good mace to the face.
Erky Timbers: It is very likely we will encounter him… or her… below. Along with whatever may ally with him or her.
Quinton Greymane: Civic has a good idea. We’ll tie a rope in case Garl is right and the vines aren’t strong enough
Erky Timbers (nods): Securing Garl in his descent is wise.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’ll climb down here.
Civic: I’ll go down over here.

Securing one end of a rope to Garl’s waist, and the other end around the stone throne, the party spreads out around the shaft opening to prepare their descent. As Garl begins to carefully climb down into the shaft using the vines, he is surprised to discover that the vines easily support even his considerable weight. Satisfied the vines will hold, the party begins to descend into the pit. The climb is easy enough, but not flawless, as Fenora discovers when one of the vines gives way beneath her feet. She begins to fall but a deft hand quickly reaches out and grabs at the vine wall, halting her plummeting fall, but slamming her back into the wall, knocking the breath from her lungs.

Quinton Greymane: Fenora, you gave us a real scare there!
Fenora Finnley (gasping in pain): That…. hurt… a lot. And I might… have peed… a little.
Garl Auraspeaker (smugly): Well that’d serve you right for waking people up in the morning.

Fenora scowls angrily at Garl as the party resumes their descent. Before too long, the emerge into a large chamber, the ends of the vines trailign down to the floor before the shaft. Luminescent fungus, shedding violet light, clings to the walls and ceiling of the wide cavern. The air is damp, chilly, and redolent with the odors of loam and decay. A layer of earth, mixed with rotting vegetation and the remains of cave animals, covers the floor. Several varieties of mushrooms and fungi grow on the detritus, as well as a few saplings.

Quinton Greymane: Phew, good job team! Glad we made it mostly intact.
Garl Auraspeaker: Glad there’s some light at least here. Getting tired of seeing only by my light spell.

As the party looks around the massive chamber, movement near the center of the room catches their eyes as from the darkness emerges more twig blights followed by a pair of robed skeletons. Springing to action, the party makes quick work of the twig blights, reducing them to kindling before facing off against the undead creatures. Though the skeletons do manage to get in some damage, they are quickly decimated, laying their bones to their final rest.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Quite the welcome party.
Erky Timbers: Could have been worse. Anyone hurt?
Fenora Finnley: Little scratched up, but think I’ll be okay for now.
Quinton Greymane: Alright, we can probably head on out.
Fenora Finnley: Which way?

View
Goblin Town
Far, Lharvion 25th, 998 YK (late afternoon - early evening)

Last time, having escorted the group of freed kobold prisoners back to the kobold areas of the citadel, the party decides to bring their new friend Erky back to the locked door that barred their way previously. Erky determines that one of his clerical spells may help, and after casting a spell on the door, the door does in fact unlock, revealing what appears to be a tomb with an altar and several sarcophagi present. Civic decides to inspect some items on the altar, as the rest search the room, where Fenora finds a small collection of carved jewels. Determining the items on the altar to be magical, Civic removes the items from the altar, which awakens the tomb’s residents—a group of undead skeletons. The undead creatures prove to be no match for the party, and they are quickly returned to their rest.

Returning to the northern tunnels and the goblins’ domain, the party checks out some of the other doors they’d seen before. While moving to inspect one of the doors, Quinton overlooks another trapdoor, and is tumbled into a pit filled with rotten flesh and bones. The fall doesn’t hurt much more than his ego, however, and with an assist from Garl, climbs out of the pit. Between Quinton and Meepo, they secure the hatch in place, and inspect the door, which opens to reveal several goblins who attack on sight. As before, the goblins prove no match for the heroes, and they are quickly slain.

Beyond the other door in the area they find a much more elaborately, though shabbily, furnished room, filled with broken furniture and several taxidermied animal heads. An iron spike in the middle of the room draws their attention, as well as the coating of ice on several surfaces. Moving into the room, a shuffling noise reveals itself to be a white dragon wyrmling, which Meepo identifies as Calcryx as he moves in to the greet the dragon. But the young dragon belches a blast of ice, which freezes Meepo solid. The frozen goblin crumbles in place, killing him immediately. The dragon accuses the party of allying with the kobolds, and attacks. The heroes defend themselves, but not wishing to kill it outright, they manage to defeat Calcryx by knocking the creature unconscious.

Now, what do they do with an unconscious, yet extremely angry baby dragon?

Erky Timbers: So, now what?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: If we’re taking this thing back to the kobolds, how are we dragging it there?
Erky Timbers: What would be the point in doing so?
Civic: All in favor of taking it back for the kobolds to keep as a pet?

Civic does not raise his hand, as he looks around at the rest of the party.

Garl Auraspeaker: I vote we heal him and drop him at the kobolds’ doorstep. See how they like a dragon that’s not chained up.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’m not a fan of slavery for thinking creatures.
Fenora Finnley: Agreed, this poor thing deserves a little revenge for how it was mistreated.
Civic: Ok, all in favor of killing it out right?
Gishkaa frowns and shakes her head
Erky Timbers: And even if you were to heal the creature, there’s no guarantee it would last long to do… what you expect it to do. After all, the kobolds must have overpowered it once before.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (snorts in disgust): Probably overpowered it when it was in its egg, still.
Erky Timbers (shrugs as he nods in agreement): Perhaps.
Civic (looks around at the others): All in favor of relocating it someplace where it can recover and is close to the kobolds, where it can choose to get revenge if it wishes?

One by one, the adventurers raise their hands to vote for this new plan.

Civic: Very well. Let’s give this beast something it hasn’t had so far in it’s life. Choice. The rats nest we cleared out has a route out of the citadel if it chooses. It’s in an area the kobolds don’t seem to go, which would make it safe for a time, and we’re clearing out the goblins in the area. That could make a good home, temporary or permanent for it.
Erky Timbers: I don’t know where you mean, but if it gives the creature a chance at a free life, then it would seem the kindest measure we could take.
Fenora Finnley: Hmmm, I was a little worried about it not having time to recover before throwing it in with the kobolds.
Quinton Greymane: That seems the fairest way. I don’t feel right giving him over to the kobolds since they’re just making a slave of him.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Well unless someone has major concerns with that option, lets get to it. It isn’t going to be out forever.
Garl Auraspeaker (grumbles): Well we can still kill the kobolds, though, right?
Quinton Greymane: We’ll give them a talkin’ to, that’s for sure!
Civic: We may end up in conflict with them for not returning the dragon. We’ll see.
Erky Timbers: I can’t imagine they’ll look too kindly on your having set their pet loose. Or having allowed their friend to be killed.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moves to the dragon and lifts it’s tail): This thing isn’t going to move itself.

scroll_case.jpg

With that, the rest of the party move to aid in moving the unconscious dragon into and down the hallway. Civic lags behind a few steps, taking a moment to give a quick search of the chamber, suspecting that the baby dragon may have begun a hoard while it was hidden here. Beneath the table from where it had emerged, he find a collection of items: some fine silverware, a goblet of crystal, a jade statuette of a dragon, and an elaborately carved scroll case emblazoned with runes along its side. He gathers the items into a small piece of cloth, and hurries to catch up with the others, opening the scroll case as he walks. Inside the scroll case is a rolled sheet of parchment. Unrolling the paper, Civic finds that age and water damage have destroyed most of it, but the remnants a runish script still remain.

As a group, the party push and pull the unconscious dragon to the recently vacated rats nest. Several times, the dragon snorts and moves in its sleep, but remains unconscious. It take about 45 minutes to successfully move the dragon to the balcony room. They drag the dragon to the center of the room, then quickly dash into the hallway, closing the door behind them.

Quinton Greymane (noticing Civic’s bounty): So what you got there?
Civic: I found it’s hoard. Should we leave it for the dragon to hopefully gain some good will if we encounter it again, or add it to our loot?
Garl Auraspeaker (growls angrily): We beat him fair and square. He’s lucky we don’t kill him!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Honestly, I don’t know if it’s smart enough to understand a gesture like that.
Erky Timbers: I don’t know much about the dragons, but my studies have indicated that the white variety are not known as the smartest of the lot. At the very least, you have given the creature a chance. It is more than it would have offered you.
Civic: That’s true. I feel we’ve done well with a difficult situation.
Garl Auraspeaker (rolls up his sleeves): Yep, now all we have to do is kill some kobolds.
Quinton Greymane: ahem
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks at Quinton and nods): We should get back to searching.
Quinton Greymane: I think we should find the kids before running off on a genocide.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hehe, alright, fair point.
Erky Timbers (ignores Garl): At the very least, you’ve done the best you can under the circumstances. While it is likely to mature into a cruel, vicious creature, no living being should be the slave of another species.
Quinton Greymane: Well said, Erky.
Erky Timbers: So now, which way?
Quinton Greymane: Let’s head back to the dragon room and keep looking.

The party makes their way quickly and quietly back through the tunnels, heading back to the dragon’s lair room. Once there, Garl impatiently opens the door to the south. Beyond the door, several torches mounted in crude sconces burn fitfully around this chamber, filling the air with a haze. A double row of marble columns carved with entwining dragons runs the length of the hall. As the party peers into the haze-filled room, Gishkaa moves stealthily ahead of the group in the shadows cast by the pillars. She gives the nearest door a thorough once over, and, finding it to be unlock and free of traps, she opens the door onto a short hallway which seems to open into a larger area just around the corner. Unseen, she dashes into the hall as the rest of the party enter the columned chamber.

haze_hall.jpg

Civic: The craftsmanship is quite impressive
Quinton Greymane: It looks nice, but we got more rooms to check as well.
Garl Auraspeaker (mocks Quinton with his hands): Blah blah blah. Let’s just open the next one.
Quinton Greymane (nods): Guess we’ll check it out.

gishkaas_hallway.jpg

Meanwhile, Gishkaa has moved through the adjoining corridor, and carefully makes her way through the door to the south, entering the haze-filled room. With a sly grin, she begins to make her way around the edge of the room, intending to sneak up on the rest of the party. However, as she skirts past the door to the west, she strips over a small stone, which skitters across the floor to clatter against the southern door. Garl and Quinton whip around, their weapons drawn.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (grins, hands out): Boo…?
Garl Auraspeaker (chuckles): Great surprise…

As Gishkaa sheepishly moves to join the rest of the party, the southern door suddenly flies open, and a trio of goblins run out and attack! Garl slams his mace into the first one, badly damaging the creature’s shoulder, as another slices at Quinton with its rusty scimitar, cutting a jagged slash across the man’s torso. The third fires an arrow into Garl’s stomach, blood bursting from the sudden wound. The goblin Garl hit with his mace retaliates with an attack of its own, slicing it’s blade through the meat of the dragonborn’s thigh. Civic points at the injured goblin and the sound of a distant bell rings out. As it does, the goblins wounds seem to tear open even further and the goblin falls to the ground, dead.

Fenora fires an arrow at one of the goblins, but the creature is moving too quickly, and the arrow flies wide. Gishkaa dashes in and slashes a blade of psionic energy through the throat of one of the goblins. It clutches at the deadly wound, as it falls to the floor to bleed out. Erky steps forward and thrusts a hand out at the remaining goblin. A bolt of radiant light erupts from the palm and slams into the goblin’s chest, blasting it back into the column behind it. The goblin collapses dead at the pillar’s base.

Quinton Greymane: Sneaky goblins. Let’s take a breather for a minute.
Garl Auraspeaker (clutching his wounds): Yeah, bloody goblins got me good that time.
Quinton Greymane: Serves you right for running in and thinking with your mace instead of your head.
Garl Auraspeaker (rolls his eyes): Yes, dad.
Quinton Greymane (shaes his head): Some dragonborn never learn.

The adventurers retreat back to the dragon’s lair, taking some time to patch up their latest wounds. Close to an hour later, their wounds staunched and bandaged, they prepare to move on.

Erky Timbers (to Garl): You’d best be careful going forward, my friend. I have but one healing spell remaining, until we can find a safe place to camp for the night. I would hate to fail in keeping you alive.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’d also hate that.
Garl Auraspeaker: Ah, I’ll be fine, Quinton is just a worrywart. Has been for 20 years.
Erky Timbers: Quinton wasn’t the one on death’s door step, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker (waves his hand dismissively at Erky): You’re just as bad as Quinton.
Civic: Are you only 20 years old Quinton? I thought you were older, but I’m not good at judging age.
Quinton Greymane gives Civic a look.
Civic: What? He said you’ve been a worrywart for 20 years…I just assumed that was your natural state since birth.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hahaha!
Quinton Greymane (sighs): I’ve known Garl for 20 years.
Garl Auraspeaker: No, no, Civic makes a good point. You’ve been a worrywart for 39 years.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: And they haven’t killed each other yet. Impressive.
[in Common] Regulators, mount up!

As they enter back into the haze-filled corridor, movement towards the western end of the hall draws their attention. A goblin crouches over the bodies of its fallen brethren, inspecting its wounds. It hears the party’s approach, its head snapping up startled, before it dashes through the western door, slamming it shut behind it.

Quinton Greymane: Well, guess we know where to head next.
Garl Auraspeaker (eagerly): I’m all for slapping a few goblins around.

goblin_town.jpg

Garl stomps across the hall to the western door, throwing it open with a snarl. Beyond the door, what might once have been a cathedral is now a goblin lair, thick with the filth of years of goblin life. Scores of wall and floor-mounted sconces filled with violet-glowing fungi provide illumination. Dozens of goblins go about their daily business, which involves a lot of rudeness and violence. Along the southern wall is a heaping pile of assorted items, including wagon wheels, broken armor and rusted arms, chests, small statues, antique furniture, and artwork.

As Garl’s form fills the door way, the room full of goblins turns to stare at the dragonborn. At a glance, it is clear that most of these creatures are in no shape to fight, being elderly or infirm. With a chorus of scared yelps, they begin moving toward the northern part of the chamber.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Run, you idiots!
Quinton Greymane: Well looks like all them goblins are heading for the hills
Erky Timbers: Aye, probably for the best. Most of them looked feeble. I do not think my patron would look too favorably on my aiding in harming the helpless.

As most of the goblins begin to flee, four remain behind, snatching up their weapons as the move to engage with the intruding party. By now, the party has a good sense of the goblin’s tactics, and quickly cuts through their meager defenses. As the last of the goblins flees the room, a peaceful silence falls over the room.

Garl Auraspeaker: I wonder if they won’t have any of their friends come back this way. We should keep an eye out.
Quinton Greymane: True, but better than killing a bunch of people that can’t defend themselves.

As Gishkaa moves to the pile of goods on the southern wall, a roar of anger echos through the halls. The door on the rounded wall to the northwest suddenly bursts open, as several creatures emerge. As they see you standing there, they raise their weapons in challenge, and move in to attack!

Garl Auraspeaker: Told you so.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (grins eagerly): Looks like the entertainment has arrived.

hobgoblin.jpg
goblin_shaman.jpg

A trio of hulking hobgoblins enage the party, along with a wrinkled gnome shaman and one of the strange trig blights they’d encountered before. A well aims arrow from Fenora shatters the twig blight to kindling as it dashes into the fray. Gishkaa slashes at the nearest hobgoblin with her psionic blade, but narrowly misses the beast. Erky says a quick prayer, calling down a blessing on his friends.

Erky Timbers: Try not to die. I’m tapped, lads.
Quinton Greymane: I think we’ll be alright.

The gnarled goblin shaman dashes forward, extending a palm in Fenora’s direction. A plume of noxious green gas erupts from the wrinkled hand, catching Fenora in the face, leaving the halfling coughing and gasping for air. Garl catches the shaman and the hobgoblins with his breath wepon, singing the armor of two, while the shaman and one hoblin manage to avoid the attack. A large hobgoblin, the leader it would seem, appears framed in the doorway. With a snarl, he dashes in to flank Quinton, but its attack goes wide as Quinton dodges under the sword’s swing. An attack from the other hobgoblin catches him in the side, though, and slices a narrow wound on the side of Quinton’s torso.

As Garl tangles with a pair of hobgoblins, catching some serious wounds from their sword attacks, Fenora fires an arrow at the shaman. The arrow flies true, sinking a good six inches into the goblin’s face, killing her instantly. Gishkaa kicks off a nearby broken table, sinking her psionic blade into the chest of the nearest hobgoblin, slicing up through its rib cage as she withdraws the blade The creature’s guts spill out onto the floor as it falls down dead at her feet. Civic casts a spell, sending a wave of thunderous force through the room, knocking the remaining combatants off balance. Seizing the opportunity, Garl, Fenora, and Gishkaa manage to drop more of their enemies, as Erky steps forward and releases a bolt of radiant energy bolt from his hand, slamming into the remaining hobgoblin’s head, blasting it from his shoulders. The body crumples to the floor, where it lies twitching as blood pools on the floor.

Civic: Well done, Erky!
Garl Auraspeaker: Yeah, nice shot!
Erky Timbers (turns green as he see what he did): Oh my! That’s never happened before.
Quinton Greymane: There’s a first time for everything
Erky Timbers turns and vomits.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I think you’re safe with the Host. [in Goblin]: Since they’re a figment of your imagination…
Garl Auraspeaker: Yea, and I think the Host will forgive you for killing a few goblin scum. No offense, Gishkaa.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat rolls her eyes.

View
A Cold Day in Hell
Far, Lharvion 25th, 998 YK (afternoon)

Last time, the party made it to a door that had been rigged with a small bell, a rudimentary alarm for intruders. Past the door, they find a short hallway littered with caltops, ending at a short wall with another chamber beyond. Fenora and Gishkaa work together to clear a path to the wall, which Gishkaa tried to climb over. Her foot slips, and she stumbles in her climb, but not before she is spotted by a pair of goblins in the space beyond the wall. The goblins attack wildly, and when one’s attack misses, it retreats through a nearby door while the other continues the fight. The party quickly overwhelms the remaining goblin, and rushes to catch up to the one that retreated.

They quickly catch up to the goblin, as well as several of his friends, who wait to ambush the party. The goblins loose arrows as the party comes into view, scoring a few hits. But the angered adventurers rally and quickly slay the lot. A quick search of the bodies turns up a rusty metal key, which turns out to fit into one of the locked doors in the chamber. Unlocking the door, they move into the next room.

The filthy room seems to be a prison, and it holds several occupants. A small group of kobolds are bound together in one corner, while a small cage on the far side of the room holds a gnome. Gishkaa picks the lock on the cage, and the grateful gnome introduces himself as Erky Timbers. An adventurer himself, he explains that he’d been taken prisoner by the goblins a month ago, and had been held here ever since. He relates to the party that he had seen the Hercule kids as well as their companion Sir Braford, but they’d been taken away a while ago, and had not returned. He believes they have been taken to a mysterious grove on the floor below to see “the Outcast”, but he is unsure. He does, however, agree to accompany the party to find out.

The party helps the kobold prisoners escape, and escorts them back to the halls home, before they continue deeper into the goblin areas of the citadel.

Quinton Greymane: Erky, I think there’s something we ran into you might be able to help us out with.
Erky Timbers: Really, now. What might that be, lad?
Quinton Greymane: It’s a door with an inscription that said something to the effect of “rebuke the spirits to show the way”
Erky Timbers (furrows his brow): Hmm, that does sound interesting. Lead the way, then. I’ll see what I can do.

Eagerly, the party leads the gnome back to the room with the dragon fountain, and stand before the door that denied them passage the day before.

Garl Auraspeaker: Well, here we are.
Erky Timbers (moves closer to the door and inspects the inscription): Hmm, let’s see what we got here… “Rebuke the dead.” Hmm, hmmm, “open the way.”
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Careful, there is a blade trap.

Erky looks up as Gishkaa points at the slot where the blade comes from above the door.

Erky Timbers: Oh, thank you, that looks like a much closer shave than I’d be used to. Okay, I think I got an idea here. Stand back…
Garl Auraspeaker (chuckling): Ha, he’s funny. I like him.

tomb.jpg

Erky stands back from the door about five feet or so, holding out a symbol of the Sovereign Host as he closes his eyes in prayer. The holy symbol glows with a soft blue light as Erky reaches the end of his prayer and opens his eyes. The door begins to glows as well, and after a moment, swings open silently. Peering into the revealed chamber, the party sees that five dusty sarcophagi, three to the north and two to the south, stand on end in this silent chamber. Each of the carved stone coffins resembles a noble, elf-like humanoid in ceremonial robes. An altar, with images of dragons carved into its black obsidian, is set in the center of the west wall. A single candle burns brightly on the altar. Next to the candle are a small whistle and a crystal flask.

Quinton Greymane (claps politely): Good show!
Erky Timbers (grins widely): Thank the Host. They work through me when needed.
Garl Auraspeaker (grumbling): Graves, it’s always undead, isn’t it?

Civic moves into the room, heading to the altar to inspect the candle.

Civic: This must be magical to still be burning after who knows how long behind this door.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s be careful now. Like my pappy used to say, “don’t go out of your way to kick the hornet’s nest.”
Garl Auraspeaker (makes the blah blah blah motion with his hands): Sure, sure. So what’s the deal with the candle then, Civic?
Civic: I know this has to be magic, but I’m going to use detect magic just to get a sense of what type of magic it is.

Civic begins the ritual to detect magical auras. As he reaches the end of the ritual, he scans the room to see if anything registers as magical. As expected, the altar’s contents glow with an aura of magic. 

Civic: Ah… okay… so let me just… focus on the candle first. There are three magical items here.
Quinton Greymane: Take your time.
Civic (focusing on the candle): The candle is evocation magic. Next I’ll look at the whistle.
Civic (turns attention to the whistle): The whistle seems to be necromantic in nature, which fits in with the whole motif of this little tomb. Finally, the flask.
Meepo looks up at the nearest sarcophagus with curiosity.
Civic (focusing on the flask): It has liquid radiating abjuration magic. I really wish I had the identify spell.
Meepo: You take, we go?
Civic (nods): I’d suggest we take these with us and re-examine them when I have the spell to learn their function.
Meepo: Sound good to Meepo. We go find Calcryx now, right?
Quinton Greymane: Well, hold on, maybe we should check for traps before touching them. People tend to trap magical items
Civic: Ope! Good idea! I was just about to grab them and put them in a pack.

The party takes a few moments to inspect the room and the area around the altar for traps, but their search reveals no traps in the area. However, Fenora, who has been carefully inspecting the wall nearest the door, finds a small panel behind which she finds a small box.

Fenora Finnley (opening the box): Hey! Look at these jewels! They look like tiny little green dragons.
Fenora holds up one of the gems for the party to see.
Civic: Exquisite craftsmanship.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (shrugs, annoyed as being shown up again) They’re alright. Probably worth a fair bit, though.
Civic (grabs the three magic items off the altar): I assume these aren’t trapped then.

As Civic removes the three items form the altar, there is a rumbling coming from all around the room. Suddenly, the sarcophagi explode open, as their occupants emerge in fury!

skeleton.jpeg

Garl Auraspeaker: Told you! Always undead!
Meepo: ACK!! Boney man! Bad!! Stay away!

The skeletons attack the party recklessly, lining themselves up for some nasty attacks from Fenora, whose arrows find weak spots in the ancient boney frames; and Quinton, who slams one fo the skeletons to fragments with a swing of his longsword. Garl lines up several of the skeletons for his breath attack, critically damaging some of the enemies, just as Civic takes a serious blow from one of the skeletons. He grunts in pain as he turns to the dragonborn.

Civic: Fascinating display, Garl. I read a book about dragons and learned an interesting fact about their breath weapons, which has been found to be true for the Dragonborn, as well. The organs that create their breath weapons are surprisingly located in their tails and is a unique mixture of magical and biological factors that create the liquid that reacts with air to create the breath effect unique to each color of dragon.
Meepo stares at Civic.
Garl Auraspeaker: Kill skeletons now, lecture later!

Erky presses a palm to the side of Civic’s chest, his hand glowing as he heals the warforged’s wounds. Meepo attempts to attack a skeleton, but manages to stick his blade between two ribs. In return, the skeleton slashes its blade down at the little kobold, who catches the full force of the attack, knocking him unconscious. Another of the skeletons manages to hit Giskaa with a serious blow, throwing the goblin to the ground, also unconscious. Civic casts acid spray at the nearest skeleton, doing minimal damage, while Garl quickly casts a healing spell on Gishkaa. Back on her feet, the goblin slashes her blade through the skeleton that knocked her known, shattering the undead creature into fragments. Erky quickly moves in to heal Meepo, who leaps to his feet and charges the remaining goblin with a feral roar, his wild attack missing spectacularly. The skeleton attempts to slash at Quinton, who answers with an attack of his own, which shatters the creature.

Quinton Greymane: Everyone alright? Looked like they dished out a couple of good hits there.
Garl Auraspeaker: I’ll live.
Meepo: Thank you, Erky. Boney man hurt Meepo bad.
Erky Timbers: Quite all right, young kobold. You should be more careful, though. I only have one more healing spell left until we can rest.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yer, all out here myself.
Civic puts the whistle and flask in his pack and carries the candle as a light source.
Meepo: Meepo stay back, away from bad things now. Stupid dagger not work. 
Garl Auraspeaker: Don’t worry, let the real dragons take the lead.
Meepo rolls his eyes as he sticks his tongue out at Garl.
Quinton Greymane (shakes his head): Well suppose we oughta head back up to that storage room, only ways to continue are back there.
Erky Timbers: Sounds good. Lead on, lad.

The party makes their way back to the goblin camp to the north. As they travel, Gishkaa walks along, distractedly. She’s opening and closing her hands a lot and slowly moving them in front of her. Once they arrive at the camp, they consider the way forward.

Garl Auraspeaker: So we head through here, or through the storage room? Which is it?
Meepo: Not look at Meepo. Meepo follow you.
Quinton Greymane (points at the nearby door): I say we check for traps and head through this door.

Fenora and Quinton work together to carefully inspect every inch of the door, but do not find any traps. They do notice, however, that the door itself is slightly ajar. Satisfied that it looks to be safe, they move through the door, which open up onto a non-descript corridor. Two doors lead off from the hall, one to the north and one on the western wall. The floor is coated in a thick layer of dust, disturbed in areas by the passage of several feet, likely the goblins that reside here.

Garl Auraspeaker: Guess we keep moving.
Quinton Greymane (shrugs): Suppose so, let’s head left this time.

As Quinton approaches the door, the floor in front of it falls out from under him, dumping him into a pit. He falls several feet down, landing in a pile of rotting flesh and animal bones.

Garl Auraspeaker (calling down into the pit): You alright down there?
Quinton Greymane (coughing): Nothing hurt but my ego, and my clothes are a bit gunked up.
Meepo: SHHH!!! Make too much noise! Goblins hear you!!
Garl throws down a rope for Quinton to climb up.
Quinton Greymane (reaching top of pit): Thanks, old friend.
Erky Timbers: Our kobold friend is correct. We must be quiet.
Quinton Greymane: Well, no offense, but a bit of a moot point now. Best we just be cautious and keep moving. I’ll try the other door now. Carefully.

goblin_camp1.jpg

As Quinton begins inspecting every inch of the door, it suddenly flies open and he finds himself face to face with a goblin. It snarls as it raised a rusty scimitar. As Quinton leaps back in surprise, Fenora looses an arrow straight into the goblin’s face, killing it immediately. The goblin was not alone, however, as other goblins charge from deeper within the room. Gishkaa gives an adorable tiny goblin roar, throws her hands out to the sides and blades of purple energy burst from her hands as she charges the goblins. She spins like a dervish, her purple manifested blades slashing through the throat of one of the goblins, which falls to the ground, dead before it lands. Civic finishes off the remaining goblin with a well-timed spell, and they take a moment to look around their surroundings.

The stench, garbage, and carrion here are evidence of years of use by unsanitary tenants. Tattered hides stretched on frames form six unstable hammocks around a much-used firepit. Battered cooking equipment is mixed indiscriminately with broken or worn arms and armor.

Garl Auraspeaker (in disgust): Yeah, I’m real tired of these goblins and their filthy hovels.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (nods in agreement): These goblins are very lazy.
Quinton Greymane: That my friend, is an understatement. Well, we should still take a quick look around before moving on. Might be something useful here.
Meepo: Meepo tell you. Make too much noise, goblins hear you. Come kill you. Maybe. You kill them quicker. Make Meepo happy.

They search the filthy room and find very little of worth. Putrid jerky, wine that has gone off to the point where it’s practically vinegar, and a pile of worthless clutter take up the majority of the floor space. However, in one of the piles of refuse, they find a grubby leather sack, heavy with silver coins. Civic lifts his hand and a 3 foot stick appears in his hand. He pokes at some hides strewn across the floor.

Civic: These must be the local rats. It’s impressive how large they grow here and there are so many of them. I’m surprised there is enough food here to support their population."
Erky blinks at Civic’s recitation, as Civic drops the stick after prodding the pelt and it vanishes.
Civic: Meepo do the rats kill many kobolds?
Meepo (looks back at Civic and shrugs): Sometimes. If catch one of the People alone, then might kill kobold. Kobold usually hunt them, though, get meat. Only in groups, bad to hunt alone.

The party moves back into the previous room. Meepo crosses the room to look over the pit.

Meepo (looks up at Garl): Meepo think maybe like other pits, from before?
Garl Auraspeaker considers the pit, then nods.
Quinton Greymane: Well, I got one more dagger.

As Quinton Greymane and Meepo try to rig the trap door as they’d done previously, Gishkaa keeps periodically looking at her hands and grinning.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [whispering in Goblin]: Fucking awesome…
Erky arches an eyebrow at the enthusiastic goblin’s exclamation.

dragon_lair.jpg

In short order, Quinton and Meepo have secured the trapdoor over the pit, locking it in place. Satisfied with their work, Quinton opens the door to the next chamber. Mounted and stuffed animal heads adorn the walls. The mounting job is sloppy, and the assortment of heads includes cattle, rats, and other not particularly impressive specimens. A few grisly trophies share the wall with the animals, including a couple of kobold heads. Smashed and broken cabinets and small tables litter the periphery of the room, mute victims of some sort of rampage. A rusted iron spike stands in the center of the room, trailing a broken chain. Thin patches of frost coat sections of the walls, floor, and debris. Quinton goes over to look at the iron spike and kneels down feeling the ground.

Quinton Greymane: Yep, cool as ice. Betting this was done by your wayward dragon, Meepo.
Civic: Their taxidermy…umm…skills, leave something to be desired.

As the rest of the party enter the room, they quickly notice their breath fogs before their faces as if they stand outside on a winter day. They hear a shuffling noise of something shifting beneath the table on the western wall. Suddenly, a flash of white emerges as a blast of cold air shoots into the room.

Garl Auraspeaker: Oh, Khyber… We’re in it now!
Meepo: Calcryx! We found you!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]:Oh shit!

calcryx.jpg

As Meepo advances toward the small dragon with his arms wide in greeting, the dragon snarls and belches out with frosty breath! Meepo is engulfed in the dragon’s freezing breath. The party stares in horror as the little kobold flash freezes, then cracks in several places before finally crumbling to the floor. Calcryx then turns a feral stare at the rest of them.

Calcryx [in Draconic]: If you ally with the kobolds, then I will enjoy making you my next meal!

The dragon moves in to attack, as the party fans out and takes their own attacks. Fenora fires an arrow into the creatures flank, as Quinton slashes wildly with his blade, managing to score a hit to the dragon’s shoulder. Gishkaa and Garl move in for an attack, but the dragon shifts too quickly, causing both their attacks to go wide. As the dragon angrily stares around at the party, they back up a bit, fanning out to surround the creature.

Garl Auraspeaker [in Draconic]: Ally is a pretty strong word. More like haven’t decided to kill all of them yet.
Calcryx snorts.
Garl Auraspeaker [in Draconic]: Sounds like you have a grievance with the little wyrms.
Calcryx [snarling, in Draconic]: You come into my presence with my jailer. Alliance can be inferred.
Garl Auraspeaker [in Draconic]: Well we didn’t know you were being held their against your will. We just assumed you were working with them.
Calcryx roars with fury.
Garl Auraspeaker: Guys I don’t think this dragon really wants to be taken back to the kobolds.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I wouldn’t want that either.
Fenora Finnley: Why not? Don’t they care for him?
Garl Auraspeaker: Doesn’t sound like it. He referred to Meepo as his jailer. Plus he just killed Meepo pretty good.
Erky Timbers: Not to question your intentions, but are we killing this creature or what?
Civic: I’d rather not. These are rare and majestic creatures. It would be a shame to have one less in the world.

The furious dragon continues to lash out at whoever gets too close. Fenora fires another arrow into the beast’s side, scoring a critical wound. As Calcryx roars in pain, Garl dashes in and swings down at the dragon’s head with his mace. As the blow lands, Calcryx’s eyes roll up into its skull as it falls to the floor, exhaling a frosty breath as it collapses.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: What do we do with it now?
Garl Auraspeaker: Good question
Quinton Greymane: So Garl, what did the dragon say exactly?
Garl Auraspeaker: Well it wasn’t totally clear.
Erky Timbers: It did seem to want to eat you for dinner, though.
Garl Auraspeaker (ignoring Erky): But it was something to the effect of the dragon being held prisoner by the kobolds and that we were also working for the kobolds. So that’s why she attacked us. Plus she didn’t like Meepo, pretty easy to understand why.
Erky Timbers: She did say he was her jailer.
Quinton Greymane: Poor Meepo.
Civic (nods): It was a fair point. I probably wouldn’t have been fond of people who held me prisoner, either.
Erky Timbers: But it does beg the question, what do you plan to do with her?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: If we leave it here, unconscious, it is going to be a problem when we leave.
Garl Auraspeaker: Well, we ain’t sending her back to the kobolds, that’s for sure.
Erky Timbers: Even if you could collar her, how do you plan to bring her through the halls without her attacking us?
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, well now that’s a pickle.
Erky Timbers: Not to be too brusque, but with your kobold companion’s demise, why do you wish to keep the creature alive?
Garl Auraspeaker: Companion is a strong word. More like, rat that follows you around and you’re too lazy to kill it.
Erky Timbers (shrugs): Whatever. My question stands.
Civic: The kobolds presented us with an ultimatum; help Meepo return their slave <points> or be dealt with as hostile.
Erky Timbers: I see.
Civic: Based on what we’ve seen the dragon appears to be the wronged party to me, but we didn’t have a lot of options.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Why not return her…
Quinton Greymane (turns to Gishkaa): Why do you want to return her?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I was just thinking that she deserves to seek some vengeance if she wants it, but she would be weakened, so never mind, it’s a bad idea.
Garl Auraspeaker: Haha, I like that idea!
Erky Timbers: You’ll need to make a decision soon. She won’t be out for long.
Civic: We need to either kill her, relocate her to where we won’t encounter her on the way out, or rouse her and convince her we aren’t enemies.
Quinton Greymane: Well that just sounds rude.
Garl Auraspeaker: Don’t think that last one would work unless one of you is more persuasive than I am.

  • Just a note to the reader. It was realized a little too late that both the age and the type of dragon Calcryx was made speech, let a lone intelligible speech, a virtual impossibility. Just got caught up in the moment after killing off Meepo, and didn’t think to clarify my knowledge of the dragon. I’m sure it won’t be the first mistake I make. :-)
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The Devil You Know and New Friends
Far, Lharvion 25th, 998 YK (morning)

Last time, having found themselves in what appears to be the nest of the giant rats they have been encountering in their travels through the Sunless Citadel, the party encounters the largest of the rats they have seen so far. After eliminating the threat, Meepo mentions having seen the largest rat before, and surmises that she is the nest queen and mother to all the rats that reside in the Citadel. Amongs the refuse of the nest, they find four humanoid bodies, one of them a human ranger that Fenora identifies as Karakas, a ranger who traded furs and other goods in Oakhurst.

Exhausted, the party considers making camp for the evening. Meepo suggests returning to the room where they’d first met him and bar the door against intruders, making it safe to rest for the night. They agree and return to his camp. As they settle in, they discuss the situation, particularly in regards to the goblin invaders and how best to deal with them should they encounter them. Meepo posits that the goblins have been aiding someone he calls “the Outcast,” an unknown character mentioned previously by Yusdrayl. These concerns running through their minds, the party rests.

The following morning, after a somewhat rude awakening for Garl, the party departs their camp and heads back down the hall they traveled the previous day. They run into a small goblin patrol, which Gishkaa attempts to parley with, but the goblins immediately attack. They party quickly cuts through the enemy, leaving one alive to question. However, when they attempt to tie the creature up, the goblin wriggles free and attacks. Disgusted, Quinton slashes at the goblin, killing it instead.

caltrops.jpg

Moving on into the next room, they find a door rigged with an alarm bell. Gishkaa removes the bell and pockets it, opening the door onto another hall, its floor littered with caltrops leading up to a crenelated barrier wall. Gishkaa and Fenora silently enter the room and carefully sweep the caltrops to the sides of the hall, making a small path down the center of the room.

Gishkaa grabs the edge of the makeshift wall and attempts to pull herself up. The filth on the floor, stains on the walls, shabby hides, and firepit attest to the years of use this room has seen at the hands of creatures unconcerned with hygiene. On the eastern side of the southern wall is a crudely mortared half-wall, complete with crenellations. As Gishkaa notes all these details, her gaze suddenly locks eyes with a pair of goblins in the northwestern corner. As the goblins look at her, she smiles in an unfriendly way, pulls out the bell from the door and rings it at them. The goblins leap to their feet in surprise, grapping their weapons. Gishkaa’s foot slips from the wall, tumbling her back toward the others.

Meepo: What happening?

A goblin appears at the wall, and narrowly avoids being decapitated by a wild swing of Gishkaa’s rapier. Gishkaa is not as lucky, as the goblin swings down with its rusty scimitar, slicing her arm with a critical blow. The other goblin fires and arrow blindly over the barrier, missing everyone by wide margins, then flees through a nearby door.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: He’s run for backup! Get up here!

Fenora and Quinton rush up to the barrier and leap over it, Quinton swinging down with his handaxe into the remaining goblin and killing it before it can defend itself. Civic, Garl, and Meepo join the rest of the party, where a furious Fenora kicks the open the door, causing it to fly open on its hinges and slam against the stone wall behind it.

training_room.jpg

Beyond the door, dozens of blunted and broken arrows lie on the cracked cobblestone floor, and a few protrude from three crudely sewn, human-sized targets hung along the center of the south wall. The northern third of the room is separated from the south by a crudely mortared and crenellated half-wall. A permanent camp of sorts lies north of the wall, complete with a fire ring and several small iron cook pots.

The party has mere seconds to take this all in as they dash around the corner, where they are confronted with a group of goblins, one of them the one from the previous room, all with shortbows trained in their direction direction. Almost smugly, Civic begins to wave a short wooden wand in intricate patterns as he hums a lullaby. Three of the four goblins fall to the floor, soft snores filling the sudden silence.

The remaining goblin kicks one of its companions awake, who in turn awakens the next and so on until the goblins are all back in the fight. However, it’s all for nothing, as the party quickly dispatches the creatures using spells and weapons.

Garl Auraspeaker: I’m getting real tired of these goblins. <turning> No offense.
Meepo: HA! Welcome to Meepo’s world.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s look around and see if they had anything of value.

They make a thorough search of the last two chambers, and the bodies of the fallen goblins. Each of the goblins carried a handful of silver pieces. One of the goblins carries a silver flask of what appears to be dwarven craft, filled with a foul smelling yet potent wine. Another goblin has a rusty metal key hanging from a leather cord around its bony neck.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (checking the nearby door): This one is locked. How about the one down there?
Meepo: I check!

Meepo dashes enthusiastically down to the southern door, while Fenora inspects the northern door and finds it unlocked. Quinton stands by Gishkaa watching her progress.

Quinton Greymane (helpfully): Try the key in it?
Fenora Finnley: This one isn’t locked.
Meepo (pulling on the southern door’s handle): This door locked too!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Which should we go through first? Let me try the key here.

Gishkaa fits the key into the lock and turns it. CLICK! The door opens a couple inches.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (pushing the door open): It worked!

prison.jpg

Squalor reigns in this low-ceilinged room. A large iron spike is driven into the floor near the door, and a small iron cage is set farther back. Several sets of corroded manacles are connected to the walls, and some still bind a few crumbling skeletons. In the darkness some quiet moans and whimpers can be heard.

Quinton Greymane: Looks like their prison.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Still has some skeleton guests. <hears> And they’re haunted!
Garl Auraspeaker (chuckles): Some live ones, too, from the sound of it.

Garl Auraspeaker heads into the room, activating his light spell as he enters with Gishkaa behind him, looking around at everything suspiciously. Fenora anxiously darts into the room behind Quinton, but stumbles over the threshold, falling into Quinton.

Fenora Finnley (looks down in shame): Sorry.
Quinton Greymane: Heh, it’s alright, you got some fancy footwork there. Sure it will come in handy soon enough.
Fenora Finnley smiles politely at Quinton

Garl’s light spell fills the area, revealing three kobolds that turn away from the light with a chorus of yelping cries. They are bound with a crude rope tied to the iron spike near the door. In the cage on the far wall sits a battered and bruised gnome, who eyes the party’s approach with fear and curiosity.

erky.jpg

Meepo (from the door): What you see, false dragon?
Garl Auraspeaker: I see a kobold about to get a mace upside the head.
Garl Auraspeaker: Looks like a couple of kobolds in chains. They haven’t insulted me yet like every other kobold I’ve met.
Meepo: What?! Kobolds?! Let Meepo see!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moving toward the cage): And a gnome.

Gishkaa tries to see if the key unlocks the cage, while Fenora tries to help in any way she can. Finding that the key does not fit into the lock, she gets to work on the lock with her lockpicks.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Let’s get you out of here and get you something to eat and drink.
Gnome [in Goblin]: Thank you, I think?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: You’re welcome. We’re not with the goblins here. They seem to have lost their way. Not exactly with the kobolds either, but they don’t seem ALL bad so far.
Gnome [in Goblin]: Do you speak Common, my dear? I do find the Goblin tongue rough on the throat.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Yes we all speak common.
Gnome (smiles widely): Oh, that IS a relief.

As they converse, Gishkaa continues to work on the lock, mumbling all the while about “useless keys”, and soon manages to unlock the cage.

Gnome (helpfully): The goblins always hung the key on a hook near the… oh, never mind. Excellent work, dearie.
Quinton Greymane: Yes, didn’t catch most of that. Who are you?
Civic: How did you end up down here in a cage?

The gnome steps out of the cage, standing straight then arching his back in a stretch.

Gnome: Heavens that feels divine! Name’s Erky… Erky Timbers. And may I learn the names of my rescuers?
Civic (calling from behind Garl): My name is Civic!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’m Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat.
Quinton Greymane: Well, nice ta meet ya, Erky. Name’s Quinton.
Fenora Finnley: Finora Finnley, it’s a pleasure.
Quinton Greymane: And back there is my friend, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker looks over and waves
Erky Timbers (smiles at Fenora): The pleasure is all mine, I can assure you of that, my dear. Been cooped up in that damned cage for entirely too long, and even for a lil guy like me, not being able to stand straight was the absolute worst. Well, aside from being a prisoner of them goblins, of course.
Garl Auraspeaker: Of course.
Civic: How did you end up their prisoner?
Quinton Greymane: Indeed, a might curious about that myself.
Erky Timbers (grins up at Quinton): Aye, that ‘s a bit of a story, m’boy. Months past, I was on my way to seek my fortune and took the Old Road. My bad luck that the goblin bandits caught me; I’ve been here ever since. My deity’s blessings have kept me healthy; otherwise I’m sure I’d be dead from starvation and abuse.
Quinton Greymane: Sounds like a rough one
Erky Timbers: Aye, no lie. Yours is first friendly faces I’ve seen in over a month.
Civic: I’m surprised they kept you alive and decided to keep you around. Seems like you were quite fortunate.
Erky Timbers shrugs.
Quinton Greymane: A month? Well maybe you’ve seen the people we’re looking for. We’re looking for three humans, two men and a woman. One of the men would have been older than the other two.
Quinton Greymane gives a brief description of the kids.
Erky Timbers (looks surprised): Aye, I know who you mean. The goblins caught three human folk over a month ago, and they were held here with me for a while. They said their names were Talgen, Sharwyn, and Sir Braford. The goblins kept them in there only about a week, I think, before they removed them. Belak wanted them, and that’s the last I’ve hear about that.
Garl Auraspeaker: Looks like the kobold queen thing was right. They did go this way.
Erky Timbers: Wish I could tell you more, but haven’t heard anything about them since they were moved.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, don’t sound good. But at least we know they came through here. That’s quite helpful.
Garl Auraspeaker: Who’s this Belak guy? Goblin king person?
Erky Timbers: I don’t know, exactly. I have heard the goblin talk about the Twilight Grove down below. A wicked old human called Belak—a spellcaster, I suspect—tends an enchanted garden and harvest fruit from something the goblins have been referring to as the Gulthias Tree, but they speak of it only in the most terrified of whispers. The enchanted fruit grows on the Gulthias Tree.
Civic: They’re afraid of the fruit?
Erky Timbers: The fruit, not likely. But by the reputation this Belak seems to have, I would surmise that they are scared of him.
Fenora Finnley (perks up hearing about the fruit from the Gulthias Tree): Have you heard anything else about the tree? Like where it might be?
Erky Timbers (looks at Fenora): As I said, the tree is in the Twilight Grove, below this level. At least, that I what I have gleaned from the snippets of conversation I hear when the goblins think I can’t hear or understand what they are saying.
Fenora Finnley (excited): So it is inside of the citadel? And just one level down from here?
Erky Timbers: As far as I understand it, yes.
Quinton Greymane: Must be some powerful fruit there.
Garl Auraspeaker: Eh, still prefer bacon.
Erky Timbers (looks at Quinton in surprise): You have not heard of the fruit??
Civic: I’ve heard something about a magical fruit, but I’m not sure what its properties are. One rumor I heard is that it increases flatus.
Quinton Greymane (ignoring Civic): Can’t say that I have.
Erky Timbers: Well, well, m’boy. ‘Tis an interesting story, the fruit. I know not what causes it to be so, but the tree produces fruit only twice a year. The fruit that is produced in the midsummer restores spirit and vigor to those who eat it. The fruit that comes in the middle of the winter steals the same. Belak allows the goblins to sell the fruit on the surface, but I know not why.
Fenora Finnley (anxiously): I think we should try to find this grove next.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (nods in agreement): This Belak person sounds like someone who needs to be dealt with.
Garl Auraspeaker: Yep, probably going to have to kill him.
Erky Timbers: If you don’t mind me tagging along, I must admit that I have a mighty curiousness about this tree, and the fruit it produces. I can carry my weight.. to a degree. I can at least help keep you lot on your feet, maybe turn away undead hordes should we chance upon them.
Civic: I’d not turn away any help.
Quinton Greymane: I ain’t got a complaint.
Erky Timbers (smiles widely): Then I be your man… er, gnome. I’ll be stickin’ to the back, though, as I got no gear.
Garl Auraspeaker: Wait, we just met this guy. No offense, but what if he’s a goblin in disguise or something? Or an evil gnome that eats puppies?
Erky Timbers (whispers to Fenora): He always this paranoid?

In the corner, while everyone else has been talking, Meepo has been tending to the wounds on the bound kobolds, ignoring the rest of the room. Seeing that everyone is occupied chatting with Erky, Meepo snarls in annoyance.

Meepo: You done talk with funny short man yet? Maybe help Meepo? 
Erky Timbers (looks over at Meepo in the corner): Hmm, you worry about me… but you travel with a kobold?
Garl Auraspeaker: The devil you know and all that.
Civic: What do you need help with Meepo?
Meepo: Help get friends out of here!
Kobold prisoner: No, no, Meepo! No free! Goblins promise give back to the People, if the People no attack and give tribute.
Meepo: Bah! All goblins lie! It all they know how to do!
Kobold prisoner looks past Meepo at Gishkaa.
Garl Auraspeaker: It’s true, can’t trust goblins. No offense, Gishkaa.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat rolls her eyes at Meepo, but shoots a hateful glare at the dragonborn.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: I can’t believe I gave you my pocket bacon.
Meepo (to the kobold prisoner): Not be stupid, Jup-jup! Meepo and Meepo friends set you free, take you home. No need tribute, then.
Jup-jup : But goblins block way. Jup-jup never get through alive.
The other kobolds nod in agreement at this statement.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: We killed all the goblins between here and your territory.
Jup-jup looks at Gishkaa.
Jup-jup [to Meepo, in Draconic]: She kills her own kind?
Civic [in Draconic]: She kills bad people. She tried to talk to them first, but they’re bad people.
Meepo (looking at Gishkaa with something akin to respect): Metal Man speak true. The goblin is fierce warrior, try to talk with goblins first, but they try kill her. She show no mercy after that. Do not fuck with her.
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, didn’t work out too well for them.
Jup-jup (considers, then nods): Jup-jup agree. Let us go, take us back to the People.
Meepo (looks at Gishkaa): Gishkaa, you help? Claws tied with rope, but feets bound with chain. Can you pick lock?

Meepo pulls out his dagger and begins working on the rope binding the kobolds’ hands, as Gishkaa pulls out her tools and sets to work on the kobolds’ chains. In short order, they have released to kobolds’ bindings. The three kobolds stand up, rubbing their wrists as they stamp some feeling back into their legs.

Jup-jup : Jup-jup thanks Meepo friends. So strange that you travel with Meepo, but we grateful you help.
Garl Auraspeaker: You’re welcome. Also tell your friends to stop calling me a false dragon.
Jup-jup (snickers): No listen to Meepo. He think he funny. He not, but he good kobold otherwise. That why he made dragon guardian, watch over the People’s dragon, Calcryx.
Meepo looks down at his feet.
Quinton Greymane: Bit of a sore subject there
Jup-jup (looks at Quinton curiously): What you mean?
Meepo: Never mind! Never mind!
Meepo shoots a glare at Quinton and bares his teeth in a snarl.
Erky Timbers clears his throat.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: We should probably keep moving.
Erky Timbers: Not to rush you lot, but while you may have cleared out some of the goblins in this area, I can assure you, there will be more. We may wish to leave… like, right now.
Meepo: Funny tiny man right. We go now!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (annoyed): That’s what I just said…
Jup-jup : Take us home, Meepo! Jup-jup can’t wait to play with Calcryx again. Jup-jup miss him so much!
Meepo pales as much as a kobold can.
Meepo: Okay, we go now. Come, come…

Meepo dashes out of the room, leading the way through the halls past the small goblin camps and barriers, all the way to the room with the potion-giving fountain. It takes roughly about 30 minutes to travel that distance with the weakened and bruised kobolds and Erky. Once you arrive at the fountain, Meepo stops and points to the south as he addresses his kin.

Meepo: Okay, Meepo need to leave you here, go with friends to finish… something. Just go through that door and thru hall, come to Meepo’s camp. Bar the door when you get there, keep goblins from getting in. Meepo return soon.
Garl Auraspeaker: Ha, he said we’re friends. Can’t take that back
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: He’s really come a long way to put his dislike of false dragons behind him.
Meepo glances at Garl and rolls his eyes.
Jup-jup : Jup-jup thank Meepo and Meepo friends. Goblins be mad we not prisoner no more, but Kyber can take them. Hope see Meepo soon.

The three injured kobolds slowly make their way thru the southern door and out of sight.
Meepo sighs heavily as he watches them walk away.

Meepo: Meepo feel bad. Should have told about Calcryx, but they only kobolds not mad at Meepo. They be mad now, tho.
Civic: They’ll move past that once we bring Calcryx back.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Unless all we bring back is a corpse.
Civic (elbows Gishkaa): Be nice.
Quinton Greymane shakes his head
Erky Timbers (chuckles): Ready whenever you lot are.

storeroom.jpg

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat tries the rusty key in the other locked door, but finds that the key doesn’t fit the lock. “Of course it doesn’t work,” she grumbles, as she pulls out her lockpicks and starts picking the lock. After a couple of minutes, the locks opens with a CLICK! And the door opens a couple of inches. Beyond the door, the north and south walls of the chamber are stacked halfway to the ceiling with ill-made barrels, boxes, and crates. A clear path allows easy access between the west and east doors. Searching through the various barrels and crates in the room, they find little else but water, wine, and food, none of which is of good quality. Much of it smells slightly to completely off, and none of it is worth taking. They do, however, find five pints of oil, along with a few small barrels with labels written in a slopy Goblin script. Gishkaa translates the label aloud: “Elf Pudding.”

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (sniffs at the barrels): Hmmm…
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: I wonder if this is any good…
Civic: Gishkaa, that’s gross. Put them back!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: What?! I wouldn’t eat it..
Civic (explaining to the others): The barrels say “Elf Pudding.”
Erky Timbers: Oh my! That sounds… foul.
Garl Auraspeaker: Erghhh! Yeah, gross! Even I don’t think I’d eat anything out of here.
Civic: I doubt it’s made of elves, that’s probably some colloquial term for a type of spice. I think there is a ginger-like spice to the south that has flowers which sort of look like pointy ears.
Quinton Greymane: I can’t tell if he’s being serious.
Garl Auraspeaker (whispers): I think that’s his thing.

Gishkaa and Civic both take a flask of the oil, and Quinton takes the rest.

View
Just No Talking to Some People
Zor, Lharvion 24th, 998 YK (early to later evening)

Last time, having been brought before Yusdrayl, the leader of Meepo’s kobold tribe, the party is charged with the task of locating and rescuing Calcryx, the tribe’s pet dragon, from the clutches of the goblins that also reside in the Sunless Citadel. Much to his dismay, Meepo is ordered to accompany the party, with the admonishment that they are not to return without the dragon. Reluctantly, the party agrees, and heads back the way they came.

Meepo leads them into the goblin’s domain through a barred door in the room the party had first encountered the little kobold. Meepo warns them to be quiet going forward so as to avoid alerting the goblins to their intrusion into their territory. As they pass, they notice several tracks in the dust on the floor, several of them humanoid made in the last month or so. In one of the chambers, they find a fountain with a draconic inscription on its base which, when read aloud, causes a fluid to pour from the mouth of the fountain’s dragon ornamentation, which turns out to be a potion of fire breathing. Collecting the potion, they continue on.

To the north, they enter a foul-smelling hallway which leads to a room with several cells. As they continue past the cells, they are accosted by several giant rats, which they quick eliminate before moving on. A trap door stands open at the end of the hall, with another one across the room near yet another fountain. The party leaps over the trapdoor safely (all but Garl, anyway, who almost tumbles into the open pit), and inspects the fountain. Civic finds and reads the draconic inscription he expected to find, only this time it was not beneficial. A cloud of poisonous gas erupts from the fountain, sickening everyone in the room except Meepo. The party rests for a minute or two to heal up, before they continue into the next room.

The next chamber is a filth-laden mess, with bones and scraps of flesh littering the floor. As they move into the room, a snarling hiss is heard as a giant rat emerges from the nearly picked clean rib cage of a dead goblin. Answering hisses echo through the room as more rats emerge from the shadows!

Meepo yelps in surprise as he narrowly misses being bitten by the rat closest to his foot. Quinton advances, attempting to slash at the rat, but the verminous creature scurries out of the way. Fenora steps up to the door an unleashes an arrow into the largest rat, scoring a critical blow. Garl dashes into the room, unleashing a ray of lightning breath which scorches the wounded rat and one if its companions, as Gishkaa skewers another rat with her rapier. The biggest rat bites at Quinton, scoring a blow but failing to infect Quinton with its diseased saliva. Quinton retaliates, and slices through the beast with his longsword, ending the creature’s existance. Civic unleashes a spray of acid on the remaining rats, singing the hide of one and causing another to leap out at Gishkaaa, teeth gnashing in a fury. Before it can bite the goblin, Meepo unleashes a stone from his sling, killing the rat in midair. As the kobold cheers his kill, Quinton wordlessly ends the last rat, and silence falls in the chamber.

Quinton Greymane: And that’s that.
Meepo: HA! Gotcha, stupid rat!
Garl Auraspeaker: Bloomin ‘ell, he got ’em!
Meepo looks at Garl smugly.
Garl Auraspeaker (ignoring Meepo): Phew, these rats are persistent!
Quinton Greymane: They sure are. I think we need to scout out a good spot to rest for a while.
Fenora Finnley (looking around in disgust): Preferably not near the dead rats…
Meepo (pokes at the corpse of the largest rat): Meepo seen this one before. Nest queen, Meepo thinks. Rats in citadel her pups.
Quinton Greymane: Maybe that’ll keep the rat attacks down a bit now.
Civic (looks around): This seems to be a fairly secure room, though. Should we maybe just move the rats out and use this room?
Meepo (looks at Civic): We can if you want, but Meepo think rat nest pretty stinky. Even for kobold, it yucky.
Garl Auraspeaker (nodding in agreement): Yer, just because you don’t have a sense of smell doesn’t mean we don’t.
Meepo: Have idea, if you want.
Civic waits patiently to hear Meepo’s idea.
Fenora Finnley: What are you thinking Meepo?
Meepo: Even if rat nest not smelly, bad idea camp here. In goblin territory. They scout halls, kill anything that not goblin. Kill many Meepo kin. So sad.
Meepo looks down at the closest torn apart body and starts when he realizes it’s a kobold.
Meepo (points at dead kobold): See!?! Kobold dead, like Meepo say! Stay here, BAD idea!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: That one looks like a victim of the rats.
Fenora Finnley (turns away in disgust): Rats probably got to him after he was dead…
Quinton Greymane: Still, it’s a good point.
Meepo: Best idea, go back to Meepo’s camp. Can bar door, keep out smelly goblins, come back tomorrow.
Civic: Do you propose we go back to your area to rest, because your queen made it clear we’re not to return without your dragon.
Quinton Greymane: I reckon that makes sense. Let’s give the place a once over before we move on, though.

The party makes a thorough investigation of the rats’ nest, and discovers that the remains strewn across the floor are of four humanoid creatures: two goblins, a kobold, and a human male. The human is wearing tattered green and brown leathers of the type often associated with forest folk or rangers.

Civic: Is this…ah…is this corpse one of the children we’re searching for?
Quinton Greymane: Don’t look like it to me. Dressed all wrong for one of the people we’re searching for. Too bad for him, though.y?
Fenora Finnley (sadly): No, Civic. I recognize him though. He passed through town every so often selling hides and such. His name is… was… Karakas. He was always very kind to me.
Civic: That’s good. Well, not good that he died, but good that this isn’t one of Kerowyn’s children.
Garl Auraspeaker: Local ranger or trapper or something?
Fenora Finnley (nods): Such a generous person, I can only imagine he must have come here to try and help Lady Karowyn find her children…
Garl Auraspeaker: Poor sod.

As the rest speak, Gishkaa manages to find some adventuring gear (likely belonging to the late Karakas) as well as a collection of coins and gems. She separates the gear from the money, as calls over everyone to see what she’s found. Meepo’s eye land on a pile of daggers, and he eagerly snatches one up.

Meepo: Good, now Meepo can fight close if need to. Stupid rats.
Quinton Greymane: Well, best we get to headin’ back before we run into any other trouble.

The party travels back toward Meepo’s campsite, taking a moment to wedge a couple of the newly found daggers into the southern trapdoor to keep it closed should theyu need to pass this way again. Arriving back at the camp, they prepare to bed down for the night.

Meepo (snapping at Garl): Dragonborn, help Meepo block door!
Garl Auraspeaker: Oh, so now that you need manual labor, I’m a dragonborn.
Meepo grabs one end of the heavy brace as he rolls his eyes.
Garl Auraspeaker (grabs the other end of the brace): Ready when you are, short stuff.
Meepo: One…two… THREE!

Together, Meepo and Garl place the bar into the brace, securing the door from intrusion. The deed completed, Meepo brushes his hands together in satisfaction.

Meepo: Okay, you do what you need to, Meepo going to sleep.
Quinton Greymane: Alright, we’ll head out in a few hours.
Civic (watching the others make camp): I’ve traveled some among the goblins. I’m hoping they aren’t as violent as Meepo makes them out to be. In my experience, they are a kind people in general.
Quinton Greymane pulls out some trail rations and begins eating them.
Garl Auraspeaker: Don’t match up with my experience. More than my fair share have decided they’d taken a personal issue with them not having my stuff.
Meepo (nods in agreement): False dragon right. Goblins nasty.
Garl Auraspeaker (snorts in derision) : Not like kobolds are anything to write home about.
Meepo (shrugs): The People protect what’s theirs. Not like goblins, who kill and take everything.
Civic (mumbles softly): That is not historically accurate.
Meepo: This place dragon home, so naturally belong to kobold, being closest to dragon kin. Goblins invade and not leave. The People do what can to survive, keep stupid goblins from taking all of dragon home.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Every race has some place in their past where they take what isn’t theirs, claim it as their own, and then try to rewrite history to make themselves justified in their actions. All of these lands once belonged to my people. We’re a shadow of what we were before the others came and took it from us.
Civic: Hmm, maybe I’ve just been lucky then. But I don’t think so.
Quinton Greymane: Maybe, but there’s all types everywhere.
Meepo: Meepo not know why goblins come, but hear talk say they help the Outcast with funny tree. But Meepo not know for sure.
Garl Auraspeaker: Who’s this Outcast, anyway?
Civic: Who is the Outcast?
Meepo (shrugs): Meepo not know for sure, but heard Outcast like this one… (points at Quinton) …and does strange magics in the deep of citadel. Yusdrayl know more. No one tell Meepo nothing, cuz Meepo nothing in tribe, really. That why got stuck watching Calcryx.
Quinton Greymane: A human, ay? Hmmm, could be a necromancer.
Meepo (shrugs): Not know necomasser, but Meepo hear bad juju.
Quinton Greymane: Either way, sounds like they’re not going to be friendly.
Meepo (shakes his head emphatically): Not friendly, for sure.
Meepo yawns a wide toothy yawn.
Meepo: Meepo go sleep. You all be quiet now.

Meepo pads over and flops down on his bedroll, covering himself with a scrap of a blanket, as the rest of the party makes their way to their rest. The night passes peacefully and without incident. Early the following morning, they awaken and gather their gear, everyone ready to continue on deeper into the citadel. Almost everyone…

Garl Auraspeaker (snores): zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Civic: I find it so interesting that you all just sit there for hours at a time not really doing anything. It seems so wasteful.
Quinton Greymane (yawns): Beats the alternative. We ain’t all made out of magic, or whatever warforged are made out of. You know, never really figured out what the deal was with warforged.
Civic: We have no need, or urge to sleep.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks at Fenora): You going to let him get away with all that sleeping?
Fenora Finnley (looks up groggily): I could use more sleep too… not exactly a comfortable inn here.
Meepo (holds up his dagger): Meepo wake him up??
Quinton Greymane: Alright now, that’s a might bit too far.

Meepo walks up to Garl’s foot with a (slightly evil) grin, and jabs Garl’s foot with the tip of his dagger. Garl Auraspeaker scrambles out of bed with a shout.

Garl Auraspeaker: Bloody flamin’ Khyber’s bones! The abyss is wrong with you people?!
Meepo (looks up at Garl innocently): What happened? Time to go?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (snickers as she mutters in Goblin): This kobold is not going to last long.
Garl Auraspeaker (narrows his eyes at Meepo): Time for Meepo stew, is what it is!
Garl Auraspeaker spits out a spark.
Civic: Oh my! You may be right, Gishkaa. We should be more gentle in our wake-up calls in the future.
Meepo: Meepo dunno why you so moody. Meepo just walk by and false dragon kick Meepo’s dagger.
Quinton Greymane (puts his hand on his head): Y’all are just too much. We got some kids to find, remember?
Garl Auraspeaker (growls): Fine.
Meepo: And Calcryx! Don’t forget, you find Meepo’s dragon!
Garl Auraspeaker (points at Meepo his finger shaking): One day, Meepo…
Meepo: One day what?
Quinton Greymane (interupting the brewing confrontation): Yep, we’ll find Calcryx too alright. Alright let’s head out now.
Meepo: Good. We eat now, then go find dragon.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (pointing at a closed door in the room) What’s in here Meepo?
Meepo: That is guard room, where guardians of the People sleep when there is possible goblins in area. No one been there since Meepo got sent here watch Calcryx. Not know if anyone in there now, though.

Meepo walks over to the door and throws it open wide. A small pit of embers, built of broken masonry and portions of shattered stone sculptures, smolders in the center of this chamber. Arrayed around the pit are several small rugs woven of matted hair and dead fungi. The room is unoccupied.

Meepo (sighs heavily): See? No one here. Leave Meepo all alone, they did.
Garl Auraspeaker (whispers): I can’t imagine why….
Meepo snarls.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: What jerks!
Civic (unbars the door): Shall we continue our explorations ladies and gentlemen?
Meepo (angrily): You ready to go?!

The little kobold stomps over to the door and opens it in a huff, leading the way back into the corridor. As everyone begins to follow, Fenora nudges Gishkaa and points out a small pile of silver coins on one of the tables in the watch room. The goblin dashes into the room unseen and snatches the coins, before she and Fenora quickly catch up with the rest of the party, heading back in the direction they’d traveled the day before. As they reach a turn in the hallway, they can hear some guttural speech in the distance. Meepo stops suddenly, putting up a claw to call for a halt.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I hear goblins ahead.
Meepo: Meepo hear them too. Think they know we were there.
Garl Auraspeaker: Let’s just run in and bash ‘em good!
Civic: Should we send Gishkaa ahead to greet them? Maybe bloodshed is unneeded.
Meepo (eyes widen in alarm): BAD idea, metal man! Goblins know their kin. Kill all outsider. I mean… sure, let her go ahead.
Meepo side-eyes Gishkaa.
Quinton Greymane (whispers): Yeah not sure that would be too good for Gishkaa’s health.
Meepo: It don’t sound like there a lot of goblins. Maybe we surprise, kill them quick?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat just stands there looking angry as everyone talks about how horrible goblins are and makes plans to kill them in cold blood.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’d at least like to give them a chance to talk before we just fill them with arrows.
Meepo [in Draconic]: Your funeral.
Quinton Greymane: Well, if ya want to try, we’ll back you up.
Meepo (sighs, slips a stone into his sling): Meepo think this big bad idea, but Meepo back up goblin lady if need to.

Gishkaa walks around the corner, calling out a greeting in her native tongue. Entering the next chamber, she can see that the door on the other side of the room is still open from the previous day. Further down the hallway, she sees a single goblin standing with its back to the door. Gishkaa calls out again, and the goblin whips around with a snarl, stomping down the hall toward Gishkaa.

Goblin [in Goblin]: Who you!?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [inGoblin]: My name is Gishkaa. I was sent by the Sharaat clan to investigate what is happening here. There are reports that your clan has run into troubles of some kind here.
Goblin [in Goblin]: Sharaat clan?! We know no such clan! You not part of Durbuluk tribe, you not belong here! Intruders die, feed tribe.

The goblin draws a rusted scimitar from its belt, and steps slowly into the room, advancing toward Gishkaa. She spins on her heel and runs back around the corner.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I was wrong. They are horrible.
Goblin [in Goblin]: Get her! She must die!

The goblin dashes up behind Gishkaa, stopping short as it finds himself nose-to-nose with Meepo.

Goblin [in Goblin]: Uh oh…

The goblin attempts to slash at Meepo, but the little kobold deftly avoids the blade. Meanwhile, suspecting the goblin’s companions may be nearby, Civic slips past to the door and sees a pair of goblins and some twig blights advancing.

Civic (waves wand around and sings): Hush, little goblins don’t make a sound, we’ll wait to kill you on another round.

The advancing goblins begin to yawn widely as they both drop to the floor asleep. The twig blight, however, are unaffect by Civic’s spell, and continue to advance. Meanwhile, Gishkaa engages the goblin in the hall, snarling angrily in its face.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: You’re giving goblins a bad name and you should be ashamed!

Fenora advances to the door, and aims an arrow at one of the prone goblins, piercing its skull and killing it instantly. Quinton slices cleanly through a twig blight with his blade, as Meepo engages another twig blight, managing to wound the strange creature. Civic uses a spell to hit the twig blight with acid, melting the creature away, as Garl moves behind the goblin engaged with Gishkaa and finishes it off. With their enemies eliiminated, the party moves into the next room, and surrounds the remaining, but sleeping, goblin.

Civic: Well we now have a captive if we want to find out more about their disposition of forces in the rooms ahead.

Gishkaa takes the sleeping goblins weapons away as Quinton attempts to tie up the goblin. The movement jostles the creature into consciousness, and it begins to wriggle, attempting to escape! The goblin shifts wildly, managing to pull its hands free from the ropes as, with a backwards roll, it throws itself against the back wall.

Goblin [in Goblin]: I’ll kill you all!!!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat rolls her eyes.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Yeah, that’s not going to happen, dumbass.
Goblin [glares at Gishkaa and snarlsin Goblin]: Traitor!
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Traitor? You attacked me! I’d tied you up so you couldn’t do anything foolish like threaten to kill us all. Look at your buddies. Look at us with not a scratch on us. What are you going to do?

The goblin dashes forward in a fit of rage, and Quinton steps in, slashing down with his longsword. The goblin’s forward momentum carries it through the slashing cut, severing the goblin’s head form its body. As the head comes to a rest as his feet, Quinton sighs.

Quinton Greymane: Damn shame. Didn’t have to go this way.
Garl Auraspeaker: He was an animal, Quint, an animal. There weren’t nothing for it.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Ok, I guess there is no reasoning with this tribe.
Garl Auraspeaker: Glad we’re in agreement
Meepo (dashes into the room, swinging his sling in a wide circle): Let Meepo at ‘em!
Meepo (stops short when he see everything dead): Oh. Now you know why Meepo say need be quiet here. This just a scouting party, tho not know what stick things are. More goblins as we go, not so easy next time.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat [in Goblin]: Shut up MEEPO! Nobody asked you.
Garl Auraspeaker: Good, I’m ready to kill some goblins

They make their way past the fountain and the carved door, which Gishkaa gazes at longingly as they pass, to the next passage. There, they find the door to the next chamber wide open, likely left that way by the goblin party they just encountered. The chamber is home only to rat droppings, crumbled flagstone, and stains. Entering the the room, they move toward the door on the far side of the room. Gishkaa and Fenora take turns inspecting the door frame for any traps, and Fenora discovers that a small bell is attached to the door about three feet off the floor.

Fenora Finnley: There’s a tiny warning bell here. Gishkaa, think we can we cut the piece out to silence it?

Gishkaa steps in and easily manages to unhook the wires used to attach the bell to the door, rendering it silent for its intended purpose. Once she has the bell loose, she wraps it in some cloth before tucking it in a pocket. The alarm now rendered silent, she opens the door. The ten-foot-wide hall beyond the door is liberally strewn with sharp caltrops. On the northern wall, passage to the room beyond is partially blocked by a roughly mortared, three-foot high wall, complete with crenelations.

View
Oh, rats...
Zor, Lharvion 24th, 998 YK (late afternoon)

Last time, the party dealt with a pair of mephits that had been trapped within a metal keg in a chamber of the Sunless Citadel. Within the keg they find several small gems, which Civic informs them that are often used to bind extra-planar entities to the material plane. Continuing on, they enter a larger chamber where they find a ruined cage, a large fire pit, a makeshift altar, and a creature hiding and crying in the folds of a bedroll.

The creature is Meepo, a kobold who informs the party that he was stationed there to watch after his tribe’s pet dragon, Calcryx. The dragon, however, has been stolen by the goblins that also reside in the Citadel, and Meepo fears the punishment from his tribe when they learn he has lost their pet. The party offers to help him rescue the dragon in exchange for information regarding Kerowyn’s missing children. Meepo doesn’t know their whereabouts, but believes Yusdrayl, the leader of his tribe may, and offers to bring them to meet her if they promise to be nice. An agreement reached, they head off.

Meepo leads them through several hallways, calling out a strange phrase in Draconic, which he explains is the password that will keep the tribe from killing the party on sight. Eventually they reach a large hall, where they are brought before Yudrasyl, who is understandably angry that Meepo has brought strangers among the tribe, as well as for failing to protect the tribe’s dragon. She does, however, give the party a lead regarding the missing Hucrele kids, stating that they’d gone to fight the goblins but never returned, either having been killed by the goblins or something she calls “the Outcast.” Seeing that their goals align, the party reaffirms their intent to rescue Calcryx in exchange for a favor. Yudrasyl agrees, and offers Meepo’s aid in the task, much to the kobold’s dismay. He reluctantly agrees, and the party prepares to depart.

Yusdrayl (returns to throne): Now go. Find our dragon. Do not return if you fail.
Meepo (sighs and looks up at Quinton): We go now. Come. I show you way.
Garl Auraspeaker (to Yudrasyl): Don’t worry, we never fail.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s get to moseying, then.
Civic: This is very exciting. I’ve never seen a dragon before. This is a very unique opportunity.
Garl Auraspeaker (pointing at himself and Quinton): We’ve seen a dragon before. Ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. At least underground the flight shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Civic: But this one is apparently domesticated, which I didn’t even imagine was possible. Just think of all the valuable research that could be accomplished with a domesticated and compliant dragon.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, true, would probably be quite helpful.

The party follows Meepo as he leads the way back down the hall toward where they’d entered. The kobold looks backs over his shoulder.

Meepo: Calcryx not ‘mesticated. Calcryx wild dragon, scary. Keep ugly goblins out of kobold home. Eat goblins that get too close.
Civic (alarmed): Not domes….hmm…this endeavor does not seem wise.
Garl Auraspeaker (chuckles): You’re catchin’ on now, friend.

They reach the room with the fire pit where they first encountered Meepo. He leads the way through the room, grabbing a small backpack from the floor as he passes. Continuing to the northern door, he pauses.

Meepo: We need be quiet going through here. Goblins close by. They kill us they hear us, find us. So shh.
Garl Auraspeaker (indicating his armor): Uhh, I ain’t exactly the stealthy type.
Meepo (looks at Garl and points to a large wooden beam that bars the door): You, fake dragon, move beam!
Garl Auraspeaker (snarling angrily): How about I move my fist to your face, Meager-po?
Quinton Greymane: Simmer down there, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker (points at Quinton as he moves to the door); This is all your fault, you know.
Quinton Greymane just simply shrugs in amusement.
Garl Auraspeaker easily lifts the beam out of the door and and sets it aside.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: How did they steal the dragon if the door was barred?
Meepo (looks down in embarassment): Meepo move bar, not put back right. Goblins stick blade through and lift beam, then barge in to beat on Meepo, steal dragon. Not want to talk about it!

goblin_area1.jpg

The door opens onto a nondescript hallway that runs about 25 feet before turning towards the south. The floor is littered with debris, mostly small stones and crumbling masonry. A thick layer of dust covers the floor, though it’s fairly easy to see that some of the dust has been disturbed. The party moves through the hall as quietly as possible, though as he warned, the walls echo with the sound of Garl’s armor as they pass. The hallway turns again, heading further east for about 40 feet or so. Meepo silently leads the way to the single door to the north, which stands ajar.

Meepo (whispers): Stupid goblins musta left door open when come steal dragon. Make easier to get through, but goblins probably expect it. We need be careful.
Civic suddenly thinks of something and pulls out his journal to make note of it.
Civic (chuckles to himself as he writes): As if you could actually calculate that… just ridiculous, Civic!

As they continue on, they find empty rooms littered with rat dropping, dust, and debris. Garl notices some tracks in the dust and quietly points them out. A closer inspection reveals that many of the tracks belong to rats, very likely part of the brood which they’d already encountered. Some of the tracks, however, look to have been made by three to four human-sized humanoids moving to the north of the citadel. The differences in the tracks allows Garl to determine that the humanoid tracks are at least a month or more old.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, looks like our people may have gone this way. Good eye, Garl.
Garl Auraspeaker: Of course, dragons are known for their excellent eyesight.
Meepo (shrugs, muttering in Draconic, as he moves to the door): Still doesn’t have a tail.
Civic (in Draconic): Why do you refuse to acknowledge his tail? Is this a cultural thing among the kobolds?
Garl Auraspeaker: I think Meepo is just bitter he lost his dragon.
Meepo (ignoring Civic’s question, tries to open door): Uh oh. Door locked.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (moves up, pulling tools from her pack): Let me try to open it.

Gishkaa sets to work with her thieves tools, attempting to open the simple lock. In no time, an audible CLICK! Can be heard. Meepo looks impressed.

Meepo: Not bad… for goblin.

Gishkaa smirks as she slowly cracks the door open and peeks through, revealing dust and odd bits of stony debris and rubble lie scattered on the floor of a medium-sized chamber. An ornate fountain is built into the eastern wall. Though cracked and stained, the fountain’s overarching carving of a diving dragon retains its beauty. A relief-carved stone door stands on the western wall.

dragon_fountain.jpg

As they enter the room, they notice the same tracks as before continue through this area. Some of the humanoid tracks lead to the door to the western door, then continue on to the north. The tracks continuing to the north are less distinct, mostly obscured by the passing of the rats. Garl and Fenora move over to inspect the fountain.

Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm anything interesting about this fountain?
Fenora carefully inspects every inch of the fountain, which is dry save for a thin layer of scum in its basin. On the face of the basin, she finds a well-worn inscription, which she is only able to make out after she wets and wipes away a layer of grime and dust.
Fenora Finnley: Fire? Why would a fountain have anything to do with fire? It says here “Let there be fire” inscribed in the basin.
Meepo cocks his head to look at Fenora with curiosity.
Civic moves to take a look.
Garl Auraspeaker: Hmm, that sounds suspicious.
Quinton Greymane: Yea, I’d stay clear of that thing. If it’s about dragons, maybe it does just spit fire.

As Fenora reads the last word aloud, reddish liquid begins to the well from the diving dragon’s mouth, slowing accumulating in the basin.

Fenora Finnley (backs away from the fountain): Uh oh…
Quinton Greymane: Might want to get out of here!

After a minute, the flow ceases, leaving the fluid pooled in the bottom of the basin.

Quinton Greymane: Hmm, alright. Seems like it hasn’t exploded just yet.
Civic: I’m curious about this fountain. Would a small break be allowed while I attempt to detect magic?
Quinton Greymane: Just be careful, ya hear?

Meepo looks into the basin, then dips a claw into the fluid. He touches his fingers together, noticing the viscosity of the fluid, before he puts his fingers to his mouth. Fenora looks at Meepo, horrified!

Garl Auraspeaker: Or eat it, that’s an option too.
Meepo: Mmmm, spicy!

A sudden spark of flame ejects from Meepo’s mouth.

Meepo (fans at his mouth as if he’d eaten something very hot): ACK!!!
Civic: Oh my! That could be useful. Must be a potion of fire breathing. Does anyone have a container to put this in?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (looks around at the others.): If no one else has anything, I can use my waterskin.
Garl Auraspeaker: Uhh, yeah, sorry. Nothing that could really be used for that.
Meepo (produces a small jar of green dye from his pack): Meepo guess you can use this.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Thank you Meepo.
Meepo: You give back later, right?

Gishkaa takes the jar, empties it, rinses it out and then scoops up as much of the liquid as possible. She replaces the jar stopper and adds the potion to her pack as she looks up at the others.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I’d like to see what’s behind the fancy door. Fancy doors are the most likely to be trapped, though.
Quinton Greymane: Well, based on what we saw with the tracks, I’d wager the goblins might have gone left and our people went straight ahead. Just a hunch though.

As the party approaches the western door, they are taken aback by the carved skeletal dragons on its surface. An inscription is carved into the surface between the dragons.

Civic (moves to examine the door and its inscription): The craftsmanship is remarkable. “Rebuke the dead, open the way.” What an odd saying.

Gishkaa approaches the door, putting out a hand to check the door for locks. As she touches the door, she quickly pulls back her hand. The door is definitely locked, and oddly, its surface is freezing cold to the touch.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Well, it is locked, and just feel how cold it is!
Garl Auraspeaker (concerned): Ya alright there with your hand?
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (indicating the door): It’s cold to the touch.
Garl Auraspeaker: Sounds funny. I don’t like it, guys. I don’t think going that way is a good idea.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Want me to try to open it? It’s so fancy. There is probably good stuff in here.
Quinton Greymane: Hmm, what do you think, Civic? Fenora?
Civic: Do you know what is behind this door, Meepo?
Meepo: Meepo never go this way. Goblins usually here, fight clan when they come thru. That why keep door locked. Stupid goblins bad.

Meepo looks at Giskaa out of the corner of his eye, who just responds by rolling her own eyes back at him.

Fenora Finnley: We should at least try and check it out before we open it…shouldn’t we?
Quinton Greymane (sighs): Alright then, let’s try opening it. Just be careful, Gishkaa.

As the others have been debating, Civic has been busy casting a spell to detect magic. He sense a fading magical residue from the fountain, likely the remnants of the fluid they’d collected from the basin. He is alarmed to find that the western door registers with some foul energies. Unaware of this, Gishkaa grabs her thieves tools, sticks her tongue out the side of her mouth in concentration, and gets to work.

Civic: There is some necromantic magic emitting from the door.

As Civic calls out this warning, a hidden sythe swings down from the ceiling, cutting a deep slice across the top of Gishkaa’s wrist. With a cry of surprise and pain, she jumps back from the door, glaring up at the ceiling where the scythe trap is hidden.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I didn’t notice that when I was inspecting it.

With the trap spent, Gishkaa tries the lock again. Unfortunately, the pain is too distracting, and she is unable to unlock the door. With a snort of disgust, she returns the thieves’ tools to her pack and glares at the door.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (annoyed at her defeat): We’ll be back, fancy door.
Meepo creeps further to the north, waving a clawed hand as he reaches an intersection.
Quinton Greymane (following): What’s around here Meepo?
Meepo (looks up at Quentin): Goblins. Duh. Be quiet so they no hear.
Quinton Greymane (whispers): Alright, lead the way, then.

To the east, the wall crumbles into a pile of large boulders and crumbling masonry. To the west is another door. To the north, this section of hallway contains six doors, all slightly ajar. The air is filled with a musky, animal-like odor.

As the party continues to the north, they notice more of the tracks they’d seen earlier. Oddly, although the humanoid tracks that moved north came from four figures, it would appear only three returned to the south. There are considerably more rat tracks here, as well, some of them made perhaps only minutes earlier.

They reach the end of the hallway with what appears to be several cells. The thick, musty, animal smell hangs cloyingly in the air, mingled with the stench of rotting meat. From the open cells ahead, a chorus of feral hisses emanates as several giant rats emerge.

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Rat.jpg

The rats leap to attack. The first is killed instantly as Fenora fires an arrow into its skull. One of the rats bites into the flesh of Quinton’s hand, but Meepo fires a small stone from his sling, hitting the beast squarely between the eyes and kills it instantly. As the final rat squares up to attach Garl, Gishkaa slips in from behind and skewers the beast. As they tend to their wounds, Meepo boasts about his kill.

Meepo: Meepo did good! Kill rat with one stone!
Fenora Finnley: Good job. Meepo!
Meepo puffs up his chest with pride.
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, that was a good shot.
Civic: Meepo the slayer!
Garl Auraspeaker: Psh, anyone could have done that…
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat (grumbles in Goblin): Garl, the complainer.
Quinton Greymane: Let’s take a quick look around. Look for any treasure or any more rats hiding about.

With a thorough search of the cells, they find two small gems and a handful of silver pieces hidden among the rats’ nests. Unimpressed with the meager find, they continue on to the north. As they reach the end of the line of cells, they find themselves standing at the edge of a pit. The trapdoor that would have hidden the pit seems to be held open by a short metal rod. The pit appears to be some 20 or so feet deep, its bottom littered with rat bones, rusted metal bits, and miscellaneous filth.

Across the room, they can see that another trapdoor stands open in front of a door leading west. The north wall holds a dry fountain carved with an overarching diving dragon. The faint rotten stench from the rats’ nests pervades the room. Fenora eyes the fountain warily.

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Civic: Do we need to go this direction? There is another door back there.
Meepo (shrugs): Meepo not know. Never been this far into goblin territory. Only know how to get here, not where it go. I follow you now.
Quinton Greymane: Well, if we know the pits are there, we can just climb in and out of them if needed. Though opening that other door might be tricky, looking at it.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I have some rope we could use. Although, it’s not that far. We could jump it.
Quinton Greymane: Probably.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat squats a couple of times and shakes her legs out to limber them up.

One by one, they all make the leap over the pit, everyone landing safely on the other side. Except for Garl, who stumbles as he reaches the edge. As he begins to fall into the pit, he twists his torso, and just barely manages to grasp the lip of pit and keep from falling to the bottom. Meepo laughs as he points at Garl.

Garl Auraspeaker (grunting in pain): Argh! Oof! That almost really hurt.
Meepo (laughing, in Draconic): Ha ha, fake dragon!!
Garl Auraspeaker grabs the ledge on the other side and pulls himself up
Garl Auraspeaker: Damn Khyber, that was close!
Civic: Ouch, you almost made it, but your tail was weighing your hind end down and dragged you in.
Civic (distracted): A similar fountain…
Quinton Greymane: Think it does the same thing then?
Civic (looking for an inscription): It’s worth a try.

Civic inspects the entire surface of the fountain and its basin. After a couple minutes, he at last finds the inscription in Draconic he’d expected to find.

Civic: I wonder what kind of potion “let there be death” would create.

As Civic speaks the words aloud, the fountain begins to emit a gaseous green cloud which quickly fills the room in front of the fountain. Everyone but Meepo is enveloped by the cloud, and they all begin to cough uncontrollably.

Fenora Finnley (grimaces and covers her nose): Ughh what’s that smell??? It smells like rotting meat!
Meepo (looks horrified): What you do?!
Civic: I just read the words, let there be…wait, I should probably not say it again.
Meepo: Good idea.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat backs away from the fountain and takes a seat with her back against the wall.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: I don’t feel too great
Quinton Greymane: Yeah, this doesn’t look good.
Garl Auraspeaker: Let me heal Gishka. We could all probably use a rest.
Civic: I’m sorry everyone. I wasn’t expecting such nonsensical design in a place that one fountain would be beneficial and another a trap.

As Garl heals Gishkaa, and the rest recover from the gas exposure, Meepo inspects the pit in front of the door. He pokes at the rod that is wedged in the trap door.

CLINGclangclingcling clang!

As the metal rod falls into the depths of the pit, Meepo stands up, putting his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. The others turn around in time to notice the trapdoor has sprung back into place.

Quinton Greymane: What you doing there Meepo?
Meepo: Meepo not do it!
Quinton Greymane (chuckles): Smart
Civic: Any way we can jam it in this position?
Civic (after inspecting the trapdoor): I think if we wedge some daggers in the corners it might be enough to get across.
Quinton Greymane: Sounds like a plan.
Meepo takes out a rusty-looking dagger, and wedges it into the corner closest to the door.
Meepo: Meepo help. But now Meepo not have close weapon if goblins come. 

Gishkaa wedges one of hers opposite it, then tentatively tries to put her weight onto the trap door. The daggers seem to do the trick, keeping the door from opening when weight is placed on the area. However, she realizes it would not be wise to spend much time in the area, either. She moves to open the door, and discovers it is not locked. She pushes against it and it opens easily.

Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: It’s open, and the floor seems sturdy enough.
Garl Auraspeaker: Alright, good luck.

An oppressive smell suffuses the air, rising from chewed carcasses of cave rats, smaller vermin, and a few humanoid-looking creatures. The bodies lie upon a floor of filth, old bones, hair, and fur that combine to make a particularly large and vile nest.

Garl Auraspeaker: Looks inviting over there
Meepo: Smell bad.
Gishkaa Khesh’Shaarat: Ok. it’s really really gross in here, guys.
Quinton Greymane: Still, we should investigate in case the kids came this way, unlikely as that may be.
Garl Auraspeaker: You can go check it out then, I pass.

Gishkaaa shrugs and begins to move deeper into the chamber, followed by Meepo and Quinton. Near one of the bodies, Gishkaa feels movement near her foot and looks down, startled. A giant rat emerges from the chest cavity of the closest half-eaten body and snarls a challenge. Answering snarls echo throughout the room.

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Quinton Greymane: Well, looks like that was a bad idea…

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