Saturday, May 9, 2015

Expedition to the Borderlands: Session 4: Kobolds!

Session 4, May 2, 2015

The party consists of:
Melvin the Magnificient (male wizard) David
Dalip (male elf) David
Spider (male thief) Justin
Raph (male fighter) Justin

These four manage to hire a somewhat reluctant farmhand by the name of Oliver as well who joins them to improve his lot in life.

The heroes decide to not dare the Cave of Confusion and instead head into the woods to the west trying to locate the kobolds rumored to lair there for some "easy money" as it were. Luckily they don't have to wait for long, they "surprise" a group of kobolds bickering in a tiny clearing (over someone else's old campfire, a fact which may or may not be important for another session). Between many swords and one of Melvin's infamous sleep spells, the kobolds really don't have a chance. So the party ends up with five kobold captives, one of which is wounded.

Running into communication problems once again, they then decide to arrange the ropes that hold the kobolds in such a way as to allow the wounded one to flee. They continue through the woods and for a while the kobold seems too scared to run off. Eventually, however, he does disappear from sight. And since he's still bleeding, he's relatively easy to trail and leads the party to a small ravine.

Spider does some initial scouting and locates a cave mouth hidden behind a strangely arranged copse. The party ties the remaining kobolds to a tree 60 feet from the entrance and then descends into the darkness. After about 25 feet, Raph promptly encounters one of the classic denizens of early 1980s dungeons: The pit trap. "Argh!" and down he goes as a bunch of kobolds jump around a corner and barrage the intrepid group with javelins. Spider tries to shoot the kobolds with his crossbow as Oliver helps Raph out of the pit and Melvin is trying to illuminate the scene with his lantern. The next round has everyone clash in melee but then Melvin hears feeping noises from the other side of the corridor and decides that this has to end quickly: The second sleep spell of the day! All six kobolds fall either under blades or from the sleep spell and the party quickly gathers up the javelins. Instead of investigating the noise that startled Melvin, however, they decide to go the other way, heading further east.

Raph and Spider now use javelins to carefully probe ahead, weary of another pit trap. As the party approaches another T-intersection, their paranoia of another trap is sadly disappointed as nothing dangerous whatsoever appears. They head further east and detect kobold voices far ahead, many of them. Melvin guesses around 20. Yikes! They shut off their lantern and have Dalip inch closer to take a look with his Elven eyes. Sure enough, there seems to be a large cavern with many, many shapes moving about. Time to be wise and turn the other way: back to the intersection to go north instead.

Much to the party's chagrin they come to yet another "dangerous" t-intersection after about 30 feet. But once again there doesn't seem to be a trap anywhere. To the west they can see a sturdy wooden door reinforced with iron bands set into a mortared wall, a strange sight indeed in a mine-like dungeon. Not wanting to make a lot of noise they decide to skip the door and once again head east.

As Spider peeks around the next corner, he's confronted with an arrow speeding towards his face. Luckily the kobold sniper didn't do so well with his attack! Spider thinks he has seen a total of three rather large kobolds in the next room, and the party decides to wait for those guys to rush in. Which doesn't happen, the kobolds apparently being keenly aware of their advantage. After about half a minute of quiet, the party decides to attack so they jump around the corner and throw javelins or run at the kobolds with swords as the case may be. The fight ends quickly, lucky rolls be praised, but one kobold gets away and flees to the north, slamming another sturdy iron-bound door behind him. Our heroes quickly loot the two big kobolds and collect two bows, 40 arrows, and two relatively shiny axes. Oliver finally has some real weapons!

Not wanting to attack a room full of kobolds already prepared for them, the party decides to backtrack to the other door. After a failed attempt by Dalip, Raph smashes in the door just fine, making a lot of noise in the process. Total sadface however because the treasure-hunters have stumbled into the kobold's larder, not a copper piece around. Just pickled meat, healthy-looking veggies, and partially eaten (demi-)human remains (maybe a delicacy?).

A brief discussion ensues enumerating their options. The decision surprises everybody: Attack that room the big kobold fled into, the one they didn't want to attack before. Reasons? Who knows!

On their way back, however, they get ambushed again at the exact same spot as before, the kobold who ran away earlier having taken up his sniping position again. Apparently someone gave him a good talking-to and got his morale back up? He doesn't last too long, but at least he's teaching the party another valuable lesson about life in the deeps: Spider passes out after being hit by one of his arrows, brought to 2 hit points. :/ The party, always caring deeply for their mortally wounded companions, stashes him comfortably in a corner of the guard room before heading north. (Reminder: I still have to roll for the mortal wound here!)

Finally, the ominous door! Strangely enough it's open and from what they can see in the dim light of their lantern (or with Dalip's infravision when they extinguish the lantern temporarily) it's deserted. Not a kobold soul in sight! The party inches towards the door carefully and Raph slowly makes his way in, followed by everybody else. They find a whole lot of trash, a large bed with curtains drawn all around it, and an alcove in the opposite wall across which an old blanket has been stretched curtain-style. Raph inches towards the bed, and Dalip decides to take a shot (literally) at the blanket. CRITICAL HIT! After a loud, deep roar a HUGE kobold jumps through the blanket and rushes Dalip with an equally huge axe.

At the same time Raph pulls back the curtain around the bed only to be jumped by five (!) kobold wives with tiny little kobold daggers. Both Dalip and Raph are lucky again, only Raph gets hit by a single dagger for almost no damage whatsoever. Dalip lands a lucky blow on the kobold chieftain who immediately decides to parley, offering the chest in the corner of the room as the price for his life. The party accepts the bargain until they realize that the chest is mostly full of copper pieces while the chieftain is hiding something large and glinting under his chainmail armor. Not wanting to be tricked out of that well-deserved wealth, they attack once more, killing the chieftain and four of his wives. One, however, makes it out of the room and down the corridor, screaming for her life.

Finally something worthwhile to pick off of a dead monster: The gold chain the kobold chieftain was wearing has a huge gem attached to it, and everybody is very excited about their (most likely) improved financial situation. Now they just have to make it out of the dungeon alive, which could prove challenging if the kobold wife made it back to the large group of kobolds near the entrance. So everybody tries to sneak out very quietly indeed.

As they get to the t-intersection turning south, the adventurers hear a big commotion. They shut down their lantern to take advantage of Dalip's infravision again. Much to everybody's surprise, the kobolds seem to be fleeing. Apparently their morale broke after hearing that their chieftain is dead and all they want to do is get away! The party waits things out and after the last kobold has run past their position they slowly sneak further south. Crickets. They sneak to the east where they discovered the large cavern earlier. Still crickets. They toss the place, now abandoned and empty. Still nothing. Oh wait, they find a curiously wrapped package that contains a dark red silk gown, something the kobolds apparently took off of an unlucky merchant at some point. Otherwise: Crickets.

It slowly dawns on Melvin and his stalwart band (including Oliver who's dragging a passed-out Spider along) that they might actually have won big here: More treasure than ever before and an entire tribe of "dangerous" humanoids vanquished? Vana should bless a poet with a tale like that!

Nothing is between them and the exit, literally nothing. But yet, there is still the room on the other side of the pit trap, the room that Melvin heard noises out of during the initial kobold ambush. Should they leave, richer and presumably safe? Or should they investigate yet another dangerous part of the dungeon?

The party enters a smelly chamber full of trash and refuse, probably kobold excrement as well. There are various heaps of "stuff" around the room, especially around the outer walls, that do not at all seem inviting. Still, the group makes their way to the center of the chamber to get a good look around when...

A loud shriek out of the northeastern corner of the room sets off a strange commotion: The heaps of "stuff" start to tremble and all around the player characters giant rats work their way up out of the goop. As Melvin turns his lantern to the northeast, a giant rat-like monstrosity, standing upright and holding a sword, let's out another blood-curdling shriek. The giant rats set upon the party as they try to beat a hasty retreat. Melvin and Raph get gnawed on briefly but the "rat king" doesn't press his advantage and let's the party get away.


The journey back to The Keep is uneventful. Bringing the head of the kobold chieftain with them the Captain of the Guard praises Melvin and his compatriots for their accomplishment. He even helps them obtain a Potion of Healing for Spider from the Curate running the keep's chapel. Selling the kobold chieftain's gold chain to the traveling Jewel Merchant nets them 800 gp, and they make another 50 gp from the dress they found which fits the Jewel Merchant's wife perfectly. Melvin immediately sets up a headquarters in one of the apartments that's available for rent.

And scene! :-)

Session report written by Peter the DM.