Play Report: Into the Caves (Stormguard Sessions 10-12)

Having finally captured Warqua and turned him over to the elves (who occupied the manor at dawn), the remaining party members have resolved to go deeper into the mountain pursuing more of the purple crystals.

  • Hilbrent Firebrand: Human Magic-user, Level 4
    • Don “Juan” Ashe, Human sailor (soldier) henchman, Level 2
  • Benquil Barrison Del’Armgo: Half-Drow Thief, Level 4
    • Mickey Heron, Human sailor (padfoot) henchman, Level 2
  • Lamila Umdril: Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter, Level 4
  • Matchitihew: Half-Lizardfolk, Half-Ospryte Cleric, Level 4

Once down in the caverns, they realize that their lantern only has a few hours of oil left. They send Benquil and Mickey up to the store rooms where they find a large bottle of lantern oil to take with them into the caverns. The estimated that the half gallon of oil would last about 150 hours.
They set off immediately, though tired, getting in an hour of walking before stopping to make camp. They sleep 9 hours, keeping the lamp lit during all shifts in case of an ambush. Now well rested, they proceed deeper into the mountain. The lantern light barely touches the tunnel walls on either the side as they walk down the center. From time to time a tunnel wall falls away into darkness, whether a brief widening of the tunnel or a branching tunnel, the explorers do not bother to investigate. They are carefully following the wagon tracks in the mud. As long as they do not turn, neither will the party.

Eventually they reach a stretch where there are many such tunnels deviating on either side. As they walk carefully along, they hear a rumbling approaching. As it grows nearer, they are able to ascertain the source in a tunnel wall to their left. They rush forward, taking position in some side tunnels up ahead to await the coming beast. The Karza bursts into the tunnel and is quickly killed in the party’s powerful ambush.

After taking trophies, they continue down the tunnel. They come upon a group of goblins and a short conflict results in the death of all goblins, despite Lamila’s desire to take prisoners. Going on, they find a side tunnel that seems to let in a breeze, presumably from the surface. They make camp at the tunnel, opting to camp in the main tunnel to ensure that no wagon can pass them unnoticed.

During Benquil’s watch, giant bats return to the cave from outside and seeing their cave occupied attack. They are quickly dealt with as the party awakes to Benquil’s cries. They return to sleep, still recovering from some residual fatigue due to a full day or so of action at the manor.

They continue another 8 hours before taking another break, sleeping 8 hours. They then continue onward. They come to a fork in the tunnel where for the first time wagon ruts run down both forks. They send Benquil forward to investigate the right fork, where he sees many goblins up ahead. He doesn’t think they see him, but they are preparing a defense, presumably hearing their discussion or seeing their lantern light. They decide not to go that way and Benquil circles around to the other side, seeing that it rejoins the other side as both open into the same large cavern. He also sees a wagon with two large lizards harnessed to it.

Lamila perks up at the sighting of the wagon and wants to seize it immediately. Benquil calms her down and moves to creep toward the wagon. The goblins see him and he is struck by a slung stone from the dark before running to the cover of the wagon. He escapes a volley of arrows which rattle against the wagon.

The others remain in the light of the lantern and Matchitihew begins summoning a devil to go fight the goblins in the darkness. Benquil empties a flask of whisky (which he stole from Captain Retinue’s quarters during their shipwreck) onto the wagon. He uses his flint and tinder to set fire to the dowsed wood and the wagon becomes a bonfire, illuminating the cave enough for the others to join the battle.

The group rushes in, Matchitihue’s Dusien taking most of the arrow fire from the entrenched goblins. The goblin captain, riding a lizard like those on the cart, charges Lamila, striking her with his lance in passing as she counters with an ax blow. The lance wound isn’t bad, but her arm goes partially numb as he continues onward.

While Lamila and the Dusien slaughter the bulk of goblin footmen, Benquil runs toward a cliff seeking the source of a goblin voice casting a spell. Meanwhile, Match, Hilbrent, Don, and Mickey start to move toward the battle. Hilbrent gets down among the stalagmites where Lamila and the Dusien are fighting, but the others turn away to engage a small band of goblins rushing their flank from the shadows.

Lamila and the Dusien make quick work of most of the goblins as they trade bows for sword and shield. A couple engage the Dusien, only to find themselves choking and vomiting from it’s acrid cloud of noxious fog. Up above, the goblin slinger moves away from the cliff edge. Benquil, still looking for the goblin caster, dodges the goblin captain’s lance as he rides by, circling. The lizards, panicked by the burning wagon to which they are tethered, see a fellow lizard running free and pull the wagon free of its chucks to pursue. As the bonfire begins to move, Hilbrent cooks a pair of goblins in a point blank fire ball, counting on his own robe of fire resist to keep himself well. He takes an arrow from the dark for his trouble, all but killing him. Meanwhile, Match, Don, and Mickey quickly bring down the four goblins attacking them.

Seeing the wagon in motion, Lamila leaves the battle and chases the light. Benquil quickly climbs a bank, coming up over the top expecting to see the mage, but there’s no sign of him. He continues down the cave in search, itching to fire off the powerful, magic-encharged bolt Hilbrent had given him. Gravely wounded, Hilbrent blasts the archer that shot him with a burst of fire then casts a healing spell meant to heal him up over the next several turns. Don and Mickey join Lamila in pursuit of the wagon while Match rushes back to get the lantern before the battlefield goes dark. Seeing Benquil creeping along the back of the cave, the wagon drivers rush him, but he’s saving his bolt for someone special.

His target soon reveals itself. A gout of fire pours down from the open air high up in the vaulted cave, engulfing and destroying the Dusien. Benquil fires at the spot where it came from and lighting sprouts from the well-shot (and magically guided) bolt, enveloping a goblin shape in the air that falls roughly to the ground.

In a far section of the cave, Lamila catches the burning wagon, cutting it free from the two beasts only to be stabbed in the back by a goblin hiding nearby. Again numbness runs through her, making her breathing hard. She turns and cuts the goblin down before using her ax to sweep the contents of the burning wagon out onto the rocks, finding two purple glowing crystals among the wreckage. While Lamila stops to experiment with the crystals, Don and Mickey continue down the passage, seeing Benquil in the light from the burning wagon out the other end.

Benquil, meanwhile, fends off the two wagoners, maneuvering himself to put the them between him and the captain who is again riding down on him with lance set. He evades the charge, but one of the goblins takes a mistaken hit as he passes. The wagon lizards follow on behind, still yoked together, and engage Benquil beside their drivers.

Despite being hard pressed, Benquil avoids all incoming hits, striking back and killing a wagoner. Match meanwhile swoops in with the lantern. The high light leads Mickey up onto the cliff above the battle and gives Hilbrent a glimpse of the lizard rider coming toward him. He casts immediately with a burst of fire rushing toward the captain. The goblin captain slides alongside his mount for cover and the spell kills it, sending its rider to the ground.

While Lamila continues to experiment fruitlessly, Benquil cuts down the other wagoner, parrying and evading attacks from the lizards and the last goblin footman as he joins the mob. As the captain limps back to the battle, lance still in hand, Match circles back to the cliff, joining Mickey. Hilbrent follows him, staying in the light.

Frustrated, Lamila charges toward the sounds of battle while Benquil finishes one of the lizards and the other succumbs to his paralyzing poison. Match meanwhile communicates a plan to Hilbrent in which he flies down from the cliff, dropping the lantern to him before gliding into the captain, wrestling him to the ground. Lamila soon joins him in pinning the captain.

The battle won, they attempt to interrogate the captain, administering some of Benquil’s truth serum. The goblin speaks only goblin and none of them are able to communicate with it. Match’s solution is to summon a devil that is likely to speak goblin. He tries for an occult devil, but doesn’t have a lot of control over type and instead gets an outcast devil, a Yaoguai. He asks if it speaks goblin and it answers in the affirmative, inquiring after the next two questions. Realizing his error, Match attempts to extract more information before banishing him. He then summons another, again getting a Yaoguai, who he gives the task of getting information about the crystals out of the captain.

The Yaoguai speaks goblin and holds a long conversation with the captain, who is quite pliable under the effects of the truth serum. (Hilbrent listens intently, trying to learn goblin.) The Yaoguai returns to the circle and reports what he’s learned, including the knowledge that deeper down the direction they were going is the home city of the goblin god Rukarah. It is here that the Sarpin crystals are mined. While the captain knows little about the process of using the crystals, goblins in the city will know.

Considering his value spent, Match kills the goblin captain. They then load their packs on the paralyzed lizard, rousing it in order to bring it with them toward the city.

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