Have Sword, Will Adventure

Goblin Gully
Recover stolen brew for the dwarves of Alehead Spire

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.

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Blackwall
A boom town of adventurers and entryway into The Burn
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Haven
The party travels to Haven in search of further adventure

Haven free city0001

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Portown
On to new adventures

(more to come)

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Zenopus' Tower dungeon
Part 3

Party: Lunk, Thudknuckle, Ingsay, Mulgar and Harg

With the dreadful business of funerals behind them the company returns to the Green Dragon Inn to plot their next move. Scouring the typical adventurer haunts in the city yields no leads for hirelings or aspiring adventurers. Three days pass before a wide-eyed young cleric finds his way to the party. He introduces himself as Mulgar the Merciful. He attended the funeral for Aughest and was moved to take up the deceased cleric’s quest after a vivid dream; no-doubt a sign from his deity. He required an equal share of the treasure for his services and swore his loyalty to the fellowship until the task of Zenopus’ Tower was complete.

Wallowing in the back alley and down to his last few coins they find a stranger from a far away city that appears to possess the burgling skills they seek. The thief’s awful smell precedes his introduction. He calls himself Harg of the City Afar in a rough hard to understand accent. After some debate and a bath he is offered a half share provide burgling services for the party. It is apparent right away that he has distaste for brutes and creates a wide berth around Lunk and Thudknuckle.

Return to the Tower dungeon

With a good map in hand, the party makes haste through the still empty rooms until just beyond the spider’s lair. In the hallway two barbaric looking men stand guard. Mulgar immediately earns his keep by convincing the Berserkers that the party is in fact new recruits returning with vital intelligence for the “big boss.” The party is allowed to pass uneventfully. Further down the corridor turns, where oddly erect three skeletons block the way forward. Before the battle is locked Mulgar turns the creatures away by brandishing his holy relic. The party follows the fleeing bones.

Further down the finished stone corridors give way to rough natural passageways. A large cavern reveals two small rowboats on a stony beach. Saltwater ebbs out a concealed outlet to the sea. A small band of pirates intercept the party before they can destroy the skeletal watchmen. As is his signature move, Ingsay casts a spell of slumber over the pirates ending the engagement almost before it began. Quickly they are bound while the cleric forces the skeletons into the sucking undertow and they are swept away. Muffled screams come from one of the boats. There they find a beautiful maiden bound and gagged. Once her bonds are removed she introduces herself as Lemunda, the daughter of a wealthy Portown merchant. She claims her father will grant them a reward for her safe return. She is very spunky and swears she can fight as well as any man and stubbornly demands to carry a weapon and spits on the captive pirates. Lunk is willing to trust her with only a dagger and a shield for the moment. Hoping to avoid more pirates they investigate another side passage.

Inside another natural cavern they find a swift flowing river heading out to sea through low tunnels. Without warning the sand erupts as a giant crab bursts from its hiding place under the sand. Many hard blows are turned away by the crab’s sturdy shell. Lunk is the first to find a tender spot after much prodding. Thudknuckle stands in front of the beast hurling insults and ill-placed axe blows. In one fell move the crab catches the dwarf in its claws crushing him in a sickening crunch. As if inspired by the loss of yet another companion, the party makes short work of the giant menace. Eager to be done with this place the party retreats with the body of their courageous dwarf. With the passing of Thudknuckle the line of the Silvervein clan is ended.

Hastening through the corridors back to the entrance they finish their map of the place without incident for a good long while. As they neared the last few rooms they catch a party of kobolds puzzling at the door to the statue room. Lunk and Mulgar hack through the small vermin without as much as a scratch. The small kobold weapons are unable to pierce the strong steel plates. One last encounter with skeletal denizens ends in typical fashion with Mulgar’s holy symbol aloft and bony legs making haste in the opposite direction.

Armed with a thorough map of the tower dungeon and a lead on the pirate hideout they return to Portown.

Treasure is divided and a well deserved rest is in order. The party honors their fallen companion, giving Thudknuckle’s body and his full share of the treasure to passing dwarf merchants so he will be buried with dignity in his family tomb surrounded by his treasure.

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Zenopus' Tower dungeon
Part 2

Party: Lunk, Thudknuckle, Ingsay, Aughest

Refreshed from their rest the party gathers up and descends into the dungeon again. This time they are without their good burglar Cornankle.

They wind their way north to the site of the orc battle; the bodies are gone – something else is still within the dungeon. The door opens into a large crypt dominated by six sarcophagi. A crumpling wall is marked with many small tunnels and it is surmised they are more giant rat tunnels. It takes all four heroes to open the first sarcophagus. The mood brightens as they find a skeleton clutching a fine magic sword. As the lid is removed from the second sarcophagus a skeleton rises, slashing with its scimitar. Aughest quickly turns the creature away. It runs cowering in a corner where the party pelts it with stones until its skull is crushed by a well place shot. The third yields more treasure. The fourth brings ill fate; upon hefting the lid a noxious gas cloud is released. Everyone succumbs to the slumber it causes.

The dwarf is the first to awaken. He is greeted with the sight of poor Aughest being gnawed on by a bloated giant rat. With a deft axe blow the rat is dead and the cleric is confirmed to have met his end. So ends the adventures of Aughest the servant of St. Carmichael.

Return to Portown

Having suffered their second loss the party agrees to search the room before returning to Portown where they can perform the last rites for their dead companions.

The fifth sarcophagus appears to yield treasure, but as soon as Lunk reaches for the jeweled dagger it flies from its scabbard and attacks. It swoops menacingly. After some sparing, Lunk manages a careful blow that stuns the animated weapon. He quickly claims it as his prize. As he examines the blade it suddenly wiggles from his grip for another sortie. This time a quick retaliatory strike disables the blade. Without hesitation the party puts the dagger back in its scabbard and hastily replaces the sarcophagus’ lid. The final sarcophagus offers more treasure and the party is off to a safe haven.

Back in the relative safety of Portown the party makes arrangements for the burial of their former companions. The chapel accepts Aughest’s body for a burial that is commensurate with his chosen dogma. In exchange for the thief’s share of the treasure a small childless couple of local halflings offer a place in their family crypt to inter Cornankle.

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Zenopus' Tower dungeon
Part 1

Party: Lunk, Thudknuckle, Ingsay, Aughest, Cornankle

The party approaches the rubble-strewn hill. “Yep, the stairs are right where the innkeeper said they would be,” says Lunk in a confident voice. Despite his lack of experience, confidence is in ample supply with the burly fighter. “Better get a torch lit, it looks dark down there, he continues.” “Speak for y’self Laddie,” is the retort from the armored dwarf at his left. The rest of the group remains anxiously quiet; none have been in a dungeon before.

With the two stout fighters showing the way the rest of the fellowship descends the dark stone steps. Lunk’s torch sputters and pops in the damp air. The shadows of Ingsay’s pointy elvish ears and hat dance on the wall, amusing the halfling thief in tow. Another human bringing up the rear coughs at trailing smoke.

Twenty feet beyond the stairs the party is confronted with its first decision point, a four-way intersection. “If you go right, you’ll never be wrong,” says the cheerful halfling. Without any argument the party takes the right corridor then another side passage on the right.

Shouldering a swollen door open two slouching forms look up and charge the intruders. Recognizing them as undead, Aughest barks commands at the ghouls, shouting in the name of Saint Carmichael. Nothing happens, the battle begins. The ferocity of the creatures catches Lunk off guard; a well placed claw freezes his limbs locking the panic in his eyes. Thudknuckle swings his dwarven battle axe in deadly arcs, wounding the creatures at every turn. Two misplaced splashes of holy water and Aughest takes up the fight with his mace. Fierce frustration and imploring prayers to his patron guide the cleric’s aim. Soon the battle is won. The party secures the doors while the cleric chants soothing prayers over the burly fighter. Slowly life returns to Lunk’s limbs; after the numbness subsides sufficiently they proceed to the south.

Beyond an empty room and two long corridors the party enters a gloomy room. The dwarf calls out the alarm as rats the size of large dogs charge from the scattered rubble. Without a proper formation, the party is attacked from all sides. Thudknuckle’s eyes and axe are equally keen as he fells three of the beasts. A smile cracks his lips when he discovers Lunk only killed one. The flicker torch light reveals the gleam of a silver dagger discarded among the rubbish.

Nursing minor wounds they decide to continue south. Another long corridor and an empty room, but wait there are sounds and light in the room beyond. Bursting into the room with weapons at the ready, the party catches two men unawares. The robed man shouts the order ‘kill them’ to the fighting man who immediately charges. In his haste to escape the robed man fumbles with a scroll that falls from his pocket. Ingsay quickly incants a spell, a sudden slumber takes the mage before swords are clashed. Lunk and Thudknuckle fell the fighting man without receiving a scratch and bind the sleeping man. As a reward for delivering the killing blow, Lunk takes the fighting man’s magic sword. The robed man awakes and curses his bad luck at being bested by a lesser magician. The robed man is Zoc, a Thaumaturgist. The captive provides little information beyond his name and claims that he will soon control the creatures in this dungeon. With a chuckle Lunk tosses Zoc over his shoulder and the party heads west.

They reach of round basement of a tower. A giant snake strikes suddenly from the darkness. Lunk reels from the pain and backs away into a defensive stance. The fight is dizzying as the snake weaves in and around the combatants. A sword hack here and an axe chop there precede the killing blow of a well placed dagger strike. Ingsay seems unfazed by his maneuver, but the dwarf stands in utter shock, “Wouldya look’a that,” is all he Thudknuckle can muster. They argue over who will claim the snake skin.

Up they go. Through the open door on the ground floor they see the rubble filled lane that leads up to old Zenopus’ Tower where they stand. Onward and upward they find Zoc’s study. A caged ape goes bananas upon seeing the Thaumaturgist. Ignoring the ape’s shrieks a search of the study turns up Zoc’s book of spells and a scroll of flesh to stone. Uplifted by the easy treasure they decide to release their prisoner. With his hands bound the humbled Thaumaturgist scurries off through the ruins disappearing into Portown’s streets.

Back in the tower basement they turn north and find a room with a statue at its center pointing at them. Unable to any other door they are puzzled, but when they discover that the statue can be rotated the solution is understood. Continuing north they reach a huge room with beds and other debris. Five goblins rally and charge the adventurers. The battle is drawn out while the goblins put up a good show, but cannot pierce the armored front of the party. Cornankle opens a clinking chest releasing a cloud of gas. He succumbs to its effects and falls unconscious for a good twenty minutes. The party bars the doors in preparation for more goblins that never come.

Further bolstered by their success the party presses on. In the very next room their fortunes change. Heavy webs conceal the ceiling and its deadly surprise. Just as Lunk lifts his torch to burn the webs a giant spider, bigger than the Halfling, drops onto the dwarf. The spider’s stinger withdraws from Thudknuckles arm leaving a nasty wound, but thankfully his dwarf constitution staves off any further effect. With its attention squarely on the dwarf, Cornankle sneaks up for a devastating blow they would fell any normal creature. The strike does get the spider’s attention. The eight-legged creature leaps, plunging its stinger deep into the halfling’s chest. Cornankle squeals in pain before turning a sickly green color and collapsing to the floor. Frantically the party swipes at the deadly creature. In time enough our heroes find their mark and the spider does not. In retaliation for his fallen friend, Thudknuckle continues to crush the lifeless arachnid with his boot until nothing but a gooey mess is left. Amongst the gore he finds a pristine dagger with runes along its blade. The find does not ease the pain caused by the death of their fellow. Rest in peace Cornankle, the best burglar of Buttonwillow!

With heavy hearts they press on to the north. While moving cautiously they turn a corner standing face to face with a trio of orcs in the corridor. Thudknuckle launches into a vicious act of bloody vengeance. He singlehandedly drops the orcs crying out, “for Cornankle!” all the way. The orcs were transporting significant treasure. Inside two heavy chests the party finds a many gold pieces, a staff, a magic ring and a potion.

With the loot in hand it is decided to recuperate in the tower. Back in Zoc’s study Aughest uses the newly acquired Staff of Healing to cure their many wounds. Now that the ape has grown accustomed to their presence they rest peacefully for the evening.

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