This crazy session started innocuously, but the dice apparently had other plans, which included greatly accelerating the escalation of the looming conflict with the kobolds, something I was saving for a week with a large group. Enjoy!
On Monday, September 16th, the same party that made contact with the Nekolyns gathers again for an expedition, two of them still fatigued from wounds sustained in the latest delve into the Wraecliff ruins. They are
- Frank (PaT): Level 1 Dwarf Brawler
- Lonir (MaC): Level 2 Elf Thief
- Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 3 Human Fighter
The party agrees that it’s about time to go back up the East Confluence Tributary (familiar ground for Verdis and Lonir) and come to a more permanent solution for the contaminants there. They pack 3 days of food and 50 pounds of mortar, distributed primarily among the two stronger members. It’s slow going and they end the first day shortly after sunset about 9 miles north of Confluence.
The night passes uneventfully and they set out again. At around 11 AM they come upon a bear, which Lonir sees from a long way off (rolling straight sixes). They ambush it and triumph unscathed despite a prodigious movement speed. They decide to cook as much as they can and build a bonfire to do so. (I decide that there is a 20% chance that local Kobold patrols take notice and roll an 87. A stealthy party follows them when they move on.)
By sunset they’re 21 miles up river and considering making camp when Verdis rolls straight sixes on perception and spots the flickering lights of a campfire on the river bank ahead. They go into the trees, creeping into range for Verdis’ mighty 80# war bow, and Lonir creeps to the edge of the woods, counting three kobolds around the fire and a fourth watching the woods intently from a perch away from the fire. (It was about a 30% chance they meet something else on the river bank after the bear, but once the encounter was rolled the chances of it being another kobold patrol were only 4%, and then I rolled maximum numbers. Wild animals were by far the most likely, but allies and potential allies were more likely than kobolds. And of course they already had kobolds following them.)
They wait until it gets darker, stashing their mortar and other non-combat loads before preparing to ambush the camp from three sides. As they’re getting into position, Frank in the woods hears a suspicious bird call and hesitates to give the attack signal. The others from their archery positions on the bank see the camp perk up and another kobold join the three around the fire. There is another bird call and the five kobolds in the camp move suddenly toward Frank while he feels a dagger in his back, hurting him badly.
The battle proceeds with Lonir engaging the three archers from the camp and Verdis rushing to aide Frank, who finds himself fighting defensively and still entering dangerously low health. His dog, Jabba, keeps him alive with a kill on the one who stabbed him before running to force the archers in the woods to drop their bows. Verdis joins Jabba to prevent any of them fleeing and soon is able to relive Frank of his final foe before Lonir drops the last kobold with a throwing knife as it runs.
They gather their supplies again and make camp at the kobold fire. The night passes uneventfully for the watches (there’s 1% chance per hour of something coming upon them normally, but with the events of the day and them using the defeated kobold camp I added 2% chance that a lone kobold arrive to check on the outcome of the ambush; I rolled a 99) but near the end of the second watch I roll that a kobold arrives, unseen by Lonir, observes the aftermath of the battle and withdraws.
In the morning on the 18th, they search the area around their camp and Verdis finds fresh tracks arriving and withdrawing, from the dew determining that they were left 3 or 4 hours before. They debate whether or not to leave Frank (a dwarf with lower travel speed), but determine to stash their mortar under the bear pelt, rocks, and branches before all setting out at a forced march following the tracks. Verdis is able to keep the tracks easily and can tell they are gaining quickly as they wind Southeast through the hills. He is confident they will overtake the kobold during the fourth hour, but instead they come upon a rocky, flat hill with a palisade and door blocking entry into a ravine on their side.
Two kobolds guard the small door and a third is on watch atop the hill. They figure at most 15 or 20 could fit in the ravine and after an hour of observation see a change of the sentry and guards. They don’t want word of the return of dwarves and elves to make it to the lizardfolk and they consider it vital to destroy this post.
Lonir makes a pass in the woods surrounding the hill and gets an idea of the size and shape of the formation, noting several good places to climb up. He rejoins the others and they wait until the next watch change.
Lonir climbs up shortly into that watch and with a very high stealth roll and 4 sixes on his backstab dispatches the sentry atop the hill without a sound. Looking into the ravine he sees no kobolds, but three caves cut into the ravine, destroying their estimate of the size of the enemy force. He signals to the others and they loose very well placed arrows that drop the two guards without arousing the attention of anyone else inside the compound.
They approach the door and open it, stepping in while Lonir starts to descend the ravine. They hear a loud voice from inside the largest cave, seemly angry and directed toward Lonir, but in the lizard tongue which none of them speak. Verdis and Frank can see a few kobolds in what look like an armory on one side and a mess on the other and withdraw through the door. The voice continues and starts to draw nearer the cave entrance. It is a 25’ white dragon!
It doesn’t see Verdis and Frank, but upon seeing Lonir, it blows him prone atop the hill with a powerful breath of wind. Verdis fires an arrow that passes through a partially incorporeal body and draws a little blood. The dragon rounds on them, but can’t see them, and pulls itself up onto the palisade to look down on them, beating its wings and knocking them both prone as well. They flee, Lonir running to the edge of the hill and dropping down as quickly as mostly safe. Verdis and Frank make it to the woods as the dragon closes the distance at flight. They turn their course in the approximate direction of Confluence and as the furious winds of the dragon buffet the trees. The dragon loses track of them and they regroup, pushing fast for Confluence.
They only rest once in Confluence, already late at night, and then continue to Citadel where they rouse Matthias and inform him of the garrison and the dragon. He alerts the guard to greater vigilance and sends word to the other villages to increase awareness. In the morning, the 19th, Taren (last seen beating Verdis senseless) is dispatched to monitor the garrison, sending back reports with his eagle companion.
Frank and Lonir level up, reaching level 2 and 3 respectively. If a large group can be rallied the 23rd, there will likely be an effort to act on Taren’s intelligence to remove the perceived threat.