The dwarves of Alehead Spire have been harried by goblins of late and talk around Blackwall is that they are posting a reward for locating and dispatching the little buggers. The goblins are hurting their business and worse, stole the latest batch of ale.
Among the many rumors swirling around Blackwall, the goblins could be in any of a handful of locations in The Burn. Most of the seasoned adventurers seek greater treasure than the paltry reward offered by the dwarves. Two bands of inexperienced adventurers have hunted for the goblin den and came up empty each time.
As the party lounges in Blackwall spending their loot from Zenopus’ Tower and looking for a solid rumor or promising treasure map, Mulgar put his mind to finding the goblins. More than a week passed until he found a young shepherd boy who claims to have seen something while searching for a lost sheep; small, evil looking creatures lurking near the abandoned slave pit in the eastern hills. After pressing the boy to describe the creatures in detail, Mulgar is convinced they are goblins.
Mulgar gathered the party at the Hunter’s Horde Inn, told them of his investigation and rallied them for travel on the morrow. Harg used the time to collect additional rumors at the Muddy Boot. A one-eyed adventurer talked of a magic axe that was taken from the dwarves when the goblins absconded with their brew, but description of events varied with each additional drink. At the Pit & Spike a rather scholarly looking mage claimed to have been to the slave pits to sample chaotic ichor reported to be in the depths of the pit. He was driven off by mutated slaves that were left behind when the place was abandoned. The mutants were completely insane and barely recognizable as human, bearing grievous wounds on their skin. Undoubtedly they are preserved, or cursed, by some unholy ritual – though are surely not undead.
Using the directions provided by the shepherd boy, they struck out in The Burn. At the dwarven tower they turned east and reached the Kale Hills at sundown. The party keeps a double watch, knowing that goblins were reported and that camping in The Burn is assuredly dangerous.
Alarm is raised when Harg catches the reflection of eyes in a nearby copse of trees. Fearing goblins the party circles the fire peering into the night with weapons at the ready. Lunk moans at not having donned his armor. Growling precedes two charging feral dogs dashing toward Ingsay as he turned to light a torch in the fire. Lunk intervenes, driving them off with a swipe of his burning branch. This put the dogs off, though the party gets little sleep as the pack circled the camp for a good hour before losing interest.
The next morning they search the hills and after a few hours, discover the abandoned slave pit. Harg spots two goblins in a tree overlooking the gully. The party sneaks into position, breaking into a charge upon being spotted. Kathay and Lunk arrived at the tree before the goblins can climb down. In two deft blows both of the little buggers are slain – no alarm is raised.
Without a light source, Ingsay leads the party down the hidden staircase inside the hollow tree. In the empty chamber below another set of stairs lead further down. Loud arguing and commotion drowned out the party’s approach. Led by Harg, each member quietly dropped behind a stack of barrels from an opening in the ceiling.
The goblins shrieked in surprise, as the party charged out from behind the barrels. No goblins fell in the initial assault who quickly retreated into the mouth of huge demon carved into the rock. Pursuit was met with a hail of arrows and a resurgent front of goblin footmen. The battle stalemated at the mouth of the demon until Mulgar broke the goblin front, felling two of the creatures and allowing Kathay to widen the breach with her sword. With the front rank split, the goblins were slain before they could retreat further, across the bridge.
Feeling confident the party walks boldly across the creaky bridge. The midday sun shined straight down into the gully, casting a fair amount of light into the chambers at either end of the bridge.
Entering the large chamber on the far side, the party paused in the entrance to the room as their eyes adjusted to the darkness. Cautiously the party approaches a spiral staircase on the far side of the chamber. While they wait at the top of the stairs six goblins drop from a hole in the ceiling, everyone is surprised. Lunk and Kathay are sorely outnumbered with three goblins each. There is no choice but to fight. Wounds are delivered on both sides, sending Mulgar into a healing frenzy. The goblins yield ground backing toward the bridge. The party follows, though Ingsay comments that is odd they would retreat toward the sunlight. At precisely that moment six more goblins charge in behind the party from the stairs. Mulgar and Harg fight for their lives.
Fortune smiles on the party as Kathay and Lunk finish off the first goblin detachment before suffering casualties, creating a safe haven for the mage and thief to retreat behind the fighters. The goblin leader drops from the hole in the ceiling behind his fellows and proves a difficult foe. The battle rages for a good long while, with each chipping away at the other until only the humans remain standing.
The party descends the stairs to find the barracks unoccupied. They toss the room and return upstairs to investigate the hole in the ceiling. Harg deftly ascends tying off a rope for the rest of the party to follow. A thorough search of the goblin lair turns up a goodly amount of copper and electrum, plus a potion and a scroll.
With treasure in hand the party descends into the stair room, this time Ingsay senses something odd about the back wall. He finds a pattern of loose stones in the wall revealing a secret door. Lunk steps in first only have his shoulder crushed by a falling stone. The room beyond is bathed in a yellowish light from two swords on the floor. Lunk takes a sword, hoping it is magical. He soon finds out it is does nothing to promote his melee skill, only provide light.
Up a short flight of stairs they find a musty storeroom filled with corroded weapons. The crystalline statue of an elf comes to life and assaults the weary party. Kathay singlehandedly destroys the statue suffering only minor injuries. The healing staff is spent for the day, yet the party still hangs by a thread. Heroicly, or perhaps foolhardily, they press on.
They descend past the spiral stairs, through the lower barracks and ultimately to a door bolted from the outside. Slowly they descend a narrow set of stairs spiraling into the flooded chamber below. From the dark pool a freakish creature breaches. It is a fleshy mass constantly sprouting and absorbing appendages as it rises. Terror fills Lunk, Mulgar, Kathay and Harg as they frantically retreat up the precarious steps. Ingsay keeps his head, but retreats all the same – bolting the door at the top. The door rattles from heavy blows, yet remains intact.
In time the party regains its composure and opts to camp in the secret chamber for the night. Though uneventful, Mulgar dreams of the creature, created in some dark ritual with its banishment achieved through holy flame. With this inspiration they agree to brave the creature again, each armed with oil flasks and torches.
They descend once again to find the door intact. Mulgar blesses the party, bolstering their resolve. Cautiously they unbolt it and peer down into the flooded chamber. Mulgar pours a vial into the water below – a slick spreads across the surface. The creature again surfaces, crawling its way up the steps. Kathay and Mulgar cannot take the sight of the creature and flee again.
Lunk and Harg toss lit flasks at the creature setting it alight. Its skin bubbles as it burns creating a horrible stench and an equally horrendous hissing noise. Standing their ground, Ingsay blasts it with a fiery spray drawn from his magic scroll. The three remaining heroes give ground to the slow moving creature, lobbing their remaining oil at it as they retreat up the stairs. Ingsay tells Lunk to drink the potion of fire resistance, douses him in oil then sets him alight.
The burning man engages the weakened creature. A large appendage strikes Lunk, leaving a sizable dent in his armor. The dent bubbles rapidly, becoming pitted and brittle. Lunk’s blade bites deep, but does no damage – its brittle blade snaps off in the creature’s body. Desperation overtakes him and he pounds it with his mailed fists. It feebly blocks his blows with its pseudopods as the gauntlets flake away from Lunk’s fists like dried mud. The bones of his knuckles show through his dissolving skin.
Mercifully the creature succumbs to the bludgeoning and fire, collapsing in a twisted, ichor-oozing heap.