The Obsidian Portal page for this campaign: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/acks-new-pangea
We had our second play session of ACKS last night, and it went rather well. A nice short dungeon with lots of excitement, some naughty comedy, and the respect of a small village earned.
Setup: The heroes have been sent by their patron lord to enter a recently uncovered Lemurian temple to retrieve the Eye of Aboath. After some goblin trouble in the first session, they decide to take a detour to the village of Ravensmound.
Dory Thistle - Lawful Blade Dancer 1 (played by my wife Ivy)
Ghul Bonecaller - Chaotic Cleric of Aboath 1; cursed in the first session after stealing a platinum circlet from a tomb. (played by John)
Destiny Roguestar - Chaotic Nightblade 1 (played by Beckah)
Claymor - Neutral Fighter 1 (played by Greg)
Valmar the mage’s player couldn’t make it, so we said the mage was sick after eating some bad mushrooms.
Into the Ogre’s Den
Our heroes made their way to Ravensmound, a small village of Woodsmen. Several of the sod-and-stone houses showed signs of damage. The heroes quickly volunteered to help with repair, earning the trust of the suspicious villagers.
At the village mead-hall, Ravenmound’s headman, Boren Strong explained to the heroes that an ogre had been plaguing their village in recent weeks. One of their best and brightest young warriors, Martha Redraven, had gone out to slay the beast. She has not returned. Martha’s parents want the PCs to find their daughter and slay the ogre. If Martha is dead, they want the heroes to bring her spear and shield home.
Meanwhile, Ghul speaks to the village shaman, Waverly Blackcloak, looking for a way to lift his curse. Waverly is not powerful enough to lift the curse, but directs him to Masandra, the shaman who trained him.
The heroes spend the night drinking and carousing with the villagers. Dory and Claymor lead a drinking song, while Destiny manages to get two young men into her bed.
The heroes leave in the morning. After getting turned around a but in the woods, they find the ogre’s lair as the sun sets. The beast ha made it’s home in an old temple of Celeste (goddess of the moon and elves) built into the side of a cliff. In the main chamber, the heroes find a quartet of kobolds chained to the wall who beg for release. The heroes try and bargain with the beastmen, but their failed “good cop, bad cop” routine backfires, and the kobolds panic, screaming in fear and awakening the ogre who sleeps in a back room.
The fight is on, as the heroes must battle an enraged ogre while panicked kobolds nip at their heels. Destiny manages to trip the ogre with her whip, but Dory’s axes only knick the beast. Ghul’s curse keeps him from landing a solid blow with his falchion.
Then, tragedy! The ogre smashes Claymor right in the face, shattering his four front teeth and dropping him like a bag of hammers. The party considers retreat, but makes the decision to fight on. With a stroke of luck, Ghul lands two devastating blows that breach the ogre’s defenses. The beast goes down, and Ghul takes his head to return to the villagers.
Ghul check over the unconscious Claymor, pouring some of Lakshmi’s potion down his gullet. The fighter will live, but his teeth are ruined and will require a week of rest.
With the main threat eliminated, the heroes continue to explore the temple. Dory finds a small circular door hidden behind a pile of trash, too small for the ogre to have fit through. Before they heroes can explore the door, though, they hear a high-pitched male voice yelling for help down a further hall.
At the end of the hall is a gnome in a sack. Kipper the Gnome is a brewer and cook whose caravan was ambushed by the ogre on the way to Magekeep. He was bonked on the head and woke up here. (This was an NPC I added mid-game so Claymor’s player would have someone to play while his PC wsa out of commission.) Destiny quickly reminds everyone of her chaotic alignment as she physically and emotionally bitch-slaps the gnome into submission.
Back to the door, Dory identifies the room beyond as a meditation chamber. The walls are all painted black, and small holes in the walls once held diamonds in the patterns of constellations. A spear of antique make (Martha’s) lies on the floor in here (the kobolds threw it inhere to piss off the ogre) as well as several giant centipedes. The heroes smush the bugs, but not before Ghul gets bit and becomes ill. This is humiliating for the wicked cleric who was so proud about killing the ogre just minutes earlier.
In an adjoining room, our heroes find a dwarf skeleton slumped against the wall wearing fine armor with a rent in the side. He hold a note, written in Dwarvish, which Kipper translates.
“I’m sorry, Khord. The gut wound was too much for me. I hid your share of the treasure under…”
The message trails off. It is a mystery for another time.
Leaving the meditation rooms, the heroes return to the main chamber and back down the hall where the Ogre came from. In one back room, they find a well. Climbing down with a candle clutched in her teeth, Dory finds the discarded corpse of Martha and her shield as well as many silver coins under a pile of skeletons. The heroes return the body to the main room, and Dory prepares Martha for later funerary rite.
In another room, they find the Ogre’s bed—a pile of raw skins that hides a cloth sack holding several hundred small gold nuggets. A large stucco mural of Celeste walking the sky decorates the far wall of this room. Destiny’s elvish senses detect a secret door behind it. The heroes destroy a priceless work of art as they tear away the centuries-old plaster to batter down the door.
Behind the secret door is a small shrine to Celeste, lit by blue continual light crystals. A life-size statue of the goddess rests on a pedestal, made entirely of silver. It is too heavy and big to move, but the heroes vow to return for it later. They also find several vials of holy water in engraved silver flasks of beautiful make.
With the small temple thoroughly explored, the PCs make camp for the night and discuss plans to make this temple their new secret headquarters. While the rest of the party sleeps, Destiny seduces Kipper the Gnome and recruits him as a henchmen the best way she knows how.
Come the dawn, the heroes leave for Ravensmound. They leave Kipper with food and arms to guard the temple until their return. The party reenters Ravensmound as heroes, returning Martha’s body and gear to her parents. The party also give Martha’s parents 100gp from the ogre’s stash as recompense for losing their only child.
Our heroes spend the week recuperating as guests of Ravensmound. Destiny recruits the two men she slept with earlier as henchmen (bringing her total to three, the only PC with henchmen so far). Destiny also buys a small buy as a temporary home should she return to the village. Ghul manages to interest a few of Ravensmound young people in his fell god, Aboath and builds a small shrine hidden in the woods outside of town.
As the PCs prepare to leave Ravensmound and continue their search for the Eye of Aboath, Martha’s parents approach them and present the party with Martha’s Spear (Spear +1). “May her spirit guide it. May it serve you better.”
OP Adventure Log: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/acks-new-pangea/adventure-log/into-the-ogres-den
The Obsidian Portal page for this campaign: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/acks-new-pangea
That’s really cool. Thanks for sharing the play report!
Out of curiosity, how are the female players in your campaign liking the Bladedancer and Nightblade so far? Those two classes have enjoyed very broad favor with the women in my gaming group, so I wonder if there’s something to that.
I am really curious how the party is getting along with two Chaotic characters. To my understanding Chaotic is not simply evil, but unimaginably depraved and unspeakably unspeakable.
Lawful - It sure would be nice if it stopped raining, maybe I will utter a prayer and the Gods will smile down on us.
Neutral - Riiiiight. (rolls eyes).
Chaotic - If only we had the liver of a small child. I hear if you eat it you can mildly affect the local weather patterns. You must make sure to harvest it from a living child who is hanging upside down while watching thier favorite teddy bear being burned, however. Oh look, an orphanage!
Lawful and Neutral - Stunnded silence.
As I understand it Neutral and even Lawful characters can be “evil” (small e). Killing, stealing, being dishonest, setting up elaborate schemes and plots, oppressing a population as a ruler - all within the realm of possibility. Chaotic characters go well beyond that and really, REALLY, do not play well with others. They seek to dismantle society and possibly even reality (or something like that).
Alex, Tavis, other Autarchs - any comments?
Thanks for the props, gang!
Regarding my female players…
Ivy usually winds up playing mages or rogues. She enjoyed finally getting to play a character that got to mix it up in combat with a blade in each hand, while still being notably feminine (Ivy is a tomboy who wears skirts). She’s never played “The Big Dumb” hero before (Dory has a 7 INT). She’s really enjoying playing a female version of the Tick. I am not sure how much she’ll like it once she gets to higher levels and the clerical aspect starts to outshine the fighter aspect. Paladin might end up working better for her. Time will tell.
As for Beckah and her Nightblade, this is the first time I’ve played with her, so I’m not sure what she’s used to. She seems to enjoy being able to seduce anything she can’t kill and kill anything she can’t seduce. She’s acting like Chianna from Farsscape. I shudder to think what will happen once she gets hold of charm person/monster.
Honestly, I’m curious as to how the alignment dynamic works out too. I like inter-party conflict as a role-playing exercise, so we’ll see what happens.
Right now we have two chaotics (The Nightblade and a Cleric who straight-up worships a Lovecraftian horror), one lawful (Bladedancer), and two neutrals (Fighter and Mage).
The current setting is a mostly-neutral frontier realm. The heroes’ lord is a formerly chaotic mage who switched to neutral after the Hag’s War, so their boss is pretty tolerant (for now).
Within the party… The cleric’s player is very good at playing subtle evil. He’s playing him like Wormtongue. Obviously sinister, but not doing anything overtly evil in public.
The lawful Bladedancer and chaotic Nightblade are best friends with a kind of Bender/Fry dynamic. The Bladedancer has an INT 7 and Ivy’s been playing her as just-too-damn-dense to notice that her friend is evil. “She no help the way she is,” she says. The Nightblade’s mostly been sort of a power-hungry anarchist.
So far, the game has revolved around killing monsters and taking their stuff, and the cosmic war of Law and Chaos hasn’t been a real issue.
Kill orc. Take gold. Discuss the relative merits of civilization vs. savagery later.
Once they get higher levels and start making more of an impact on the world, we’ll see where that goes.
We’re still feeling out the differences in alignment in ACKS vs. D&D. I made the argument that young Conan–fresh from Cimmeria with his “Civilization makes you weak!” attitude–would be a good example of a Chaotic hero. I might be off-base there.
To be QUITE honest, once a few characters die and are refused services from Lawful churches, I think alignments will eventually swing toward Neutral and Law (as I read happened in the original ACKS playtest game).
Our bladedancer (Zeodare) in the original ACKS campaign had an INT of 8. Since a bladedancer needs to have a decent STR, WIS, DEX, and CHA, they almost always end up with lower INT, which is a hilarious emergent property. It began to be a running joke that bladedancers were always hot but dumb…
As far as alignment, early Conan was at least neutral and might have been Chaotic. The suggested description of the Cimmerian pillaging of the Aquilonian frontier is pretty brutal.
In my White Sandbox campaign, alignment looks back to OD&D - it’s more like “which side wants to recruit you to fight for them in the cosmic conflict,” where the Lawful powers support the ordained working of the cycles of the age of creation, where the gods get to decide when to hit the reset button, bury the world under a rain of stones, and start anew; Neutrals want to preserve the current age; and Chaotic powers want to overthrow the gods who ordain the cycles of creation.
Since the cosmic conflict isn’t generally happening in the here and now it’s more like Casablanca, where Axis and Allies can mingle in a cantina without automatically coming to blows. Chaotic characters are, like Nazis, theoretically acting on behalf of superiors whose deeds are unforgivable, and if they’re called to the front they will have to shoot at their friends of other alignments, but whether they themselves take part in despicable deeds is up to them. Some of the players of Chaotic characters are generally well-behaved, others get into amoral mischief when given the chance. Everyone, regardless of alignment, tends to see NPC Lawfuls as potential allies and NPC Chaotics as likely enemies because it’s usually a safe bet that Lawfuls will keep their word and many of the Chaotic types emulate their nether masters that it’s a good idea to be wary of them as a whole.
I tend to use alignment similarly to Tavis - as “whose side are you on in the cosmic struggle” and less about a straitjacket on behavior.
I’d actually suggest taking alignment out of the picture when it comes to acceptable behavior at the table, and make it a conversation for the players out-of-game regarding what’s fair play; if you want to run the kind of game where players work together instead of screwing with the other players, make it a consensus agreement and move on.
Then the players know, regardless of alignment, stealing from the other players or otherwise messing up the chemistry in-game is not in bounds play. Common sense boundaries on behavior aren’t often addressed in “how-to DM” books, but it’s good to make sure everyone has the same expectations on the type of game you’re running.
We had a very memorable, but totally desipicable, Chaotic magic user in a game. He’d consistently use Charm Person in towns and villages to get his way, leaving behind a string of cheated merchants and jilted “charmed” girlfriends, all now bearing grudges. He’d have a list of places he did something slimey, “Hmm, Luln, that’s another village I can’t visit again…” The player knew that I didn’t mind evil characters as long as their capers were never directed at other players, so when it was time to hit the dungeon, he was a team player. That’s not to say his antics didn’t generate enemies and cause the group some moments of anxiety, but that just kept things interesting.
It occurs to me that I wrote several columns about these topics. This might be useful:
Overall, I trust the players at my table let alignment differences create some interesting roleplaying tension while not derailing the game with backbiting ans sabotage.
Once we get to 9th level or so, and the chaotic cleric wants to raise armies of the dead and recruit hordes of beastmen, he may have to have a serious sit-down with the lawful characters.
“Look guys, have you ever considered the possibilities that chaos might offer you…”
Our brave band of ne’er-do-wells continued their adventures this week, finally reaching the Temple of Aboath. Still no PC or henchmen death, though it came close once again, and we lost a familiar. Claymor and Ghul both hit 2nd level at the end of the night.
Obsidian Portal page here: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/acks-new-pangea/adventure-log/into-the-temple
Our heroes have fully recovered from their assault on the ogre’s lair and leave the village of Ravensmound and head south towards the supposed Temple of Aboath. They have two fresh new henchmen in tow, and Valmar the mage has recovered from his bout of mushroom poisoning (his player could show up). Ghul the cleric is still cursed. The PCs make a quick stop at the ogre’s lair to resupply Kipper the gnome (who they insist on calling “Kibble.”) After a night’s rest, they head south towards the Temple.
Making their way through the forest, the ground has been disturbed and tossed up, as thought by a massive earthquake. Many trees are toppled or bent, and large boulders and rocks jut up from the soil. Coming over a rise, our heroes come upon a small group of bandits gloating over their latest kill. A couple of unfortunate woodsmen traders lie dead at their feet as the bandits root through their goods.
The heroes get the drop on the bandits, and Valmar’s sleep spell takes out all of the bandits except for their leader. The rest of the party dog-piles on the bandit chief, and the results are quick and bloody. The victorious party dispatches all of the sleeping bandits but one, who they decide to question.
Apparently the bandits are working with a tribe of goblins, somewhere to the south. The bandits pay a percentage of their loot to the beastmen for the privilege of prowling the area. That seems like unusual activity for goblins. The bandits have also encountered the Temple, but are terrified of it. “Strange, pale non-humans live there. They eat people!”
The party offers the bandit mercy in exchange for accompanying them to the Temple. The bandit scoffs and says “I’d sooner die than go back to that accursed place!” The heroes are quick to oblige him.
Continuing on, our heroes finally discover the Temple of Aboath. The area around the temple is turned up and twisted. Strange, twisted, jagged spires of rock jut out of the ground and glow with an eerie black-light radiance. The entire side of a large hill seems to have sheared off, and the temple is built into the rocky side. The structure is made of a greenish marble veined with purple, with short towers on each side. Two massive iron doors rest beneath a serpentine arch. The left door stands half-way open.
Before the heroes can approach, they are attacked! Lanky, chalk-white humanoids with bone-yellow hair red eyes, and shattered teeth run howling and shrieking out of the shadows. Their skin is covered with spiral patterns painted with blood and soot. They throw bone spears and swing stone clubs.
Ghul tries to use his Command Undead powers upon the creatures, assuming they are undead. He discovers that they are quite alive(1). Blows are traded on both sides, and Destiny’s henchman Damien goes down to a spear thrust. Eventually the party is victorious and damage is assessed.
Damien is alive, but will be comatose for some time. They set up a tent for him outside of the temple and leave him to the care of his brother. Ghul examines the bodies of their assailants and notices that the patterns of their warpaint resembles symbolism from ancient sects of the Lemurian gods.
Destiny sends her cat familiar, Stardust, through the door to investigate before the party enters. The cat returns reporting a lot of dead bodies, a large statue in a fountain, and a giant maggot!
The party cautiously passes through the iron doors of the temple and into the main chamber of the temple, using the blue illumination of the Continual Light crystals they found in the shrine to Celeste. A massive (20 feet across and high) bronze statue of an open-mouthed frog sits in the center of a pool of brackish water. The glint of jewels and treasure can be seen in the water. Ghul recognizes this as an image of Gaarouuk the Frog God, a lesser deity of ancient Lemuria.
Pale dead bodies litter the floor, with signs of physical and magical all around. Someone else was here, and recently! Behind the frog statue, a giant maggot-like creature(2) chomps on a dead body.
The Carcass Scavenger seems more than content to eat the existing bodies rather than attack the party, and the heroes almost choose to let the beast be. Then they realize that if they have to leave the temple quickly, the monster might block their way out. Also, they have an unconscious henchman outside guarded only by another 0-level henchman. Prime targets for any monster. The beast must die.
Destiny starts the battle with a solid blow to the beast’s head, but doesn’t drop it. Fate is not with the part, though, and while they needle it a bit with weak attacks, the Scavenger’s eight tentacles paralyze almost the entire party within two rounds.
Only Valmar, the 1st level, wounded, spell-exhausted mage remains. He frantically backs away from the monster, throwing dart after dart at the beast. Eventually, the Scavenger collapses. The panicked mage drags the party to a corner of the room, sets up a circle of torches around them, and nervously waits for them to revive, holding his staff with a white-knuckled grip.
After an hour, the everyone is up and moving again. The women immediately run for the pool to grab some treasure. The men’s shouts of “Nooooo!” fall upon deaf ears.
Of course there’s a water weird in the pool. Why wouldn’t there be?
Dory gets drug underwater by the elemental and begins to drown. Destiny’s axe has little effect, but Claymor’s massive hammer seems to work fine. The party realizes that blunt weapons seem to be the key here, and they batter the weird into submission with crowbars and shield bashes.
Ghul drags the unconscious Dory from the water and administers CPR(3). Valmar and Destiny begin plucking gems and jewelry from the water while Claymor watches for trouble. Valmar grabs the last bit of treasure just as the water begins to bubble and stir once more. Claymor shouts a warning and everyone backs away from the pool and out of the weird’s reach. The pool settles back down, as if waiting. Our heroes move on.
In the next room, the party discovers a dark altar illuminated by glowing shards of obsidian that shed a weird purple light. On top of the altar sits a black-bladed kris with a bone handle. Everyone looks to Ghul.
Ghul plays it smart and uses his Prophecy power to commune with his god (Aboath) to see if the dagger is safe to touch. It. Is. Not.
While Ghul is communing, Destiny sends her cat into another room to scout it out. That room is empty save for some iron shackles on the wall and some ancient stains. Several of Destiny’s teammates point out that this is dangerous for the cat, and if her familiar dies she’ll suffer psychic backlash. Destiny is certain that Stardust’s stealth and trap finding skills will keep her safe.
Back at the altar, the heroes decide to leave the sinister kris alone when Destiny’s elfish sense detect a secret chamber under the altar. Using some teamwork, the heroes shove the altar aside, revealing a shallow cavity full of goodies. Of course, the kris falls of the altar and lands on top of the pile. Ghul panics.
Dory uses an axe to flip the kris out of the cavity and it lands with a clatter on the floor in the center of the room. It lies there, as if mocking and daring them. The heroes watch it for a few moments, expecting it to explode or something, before turning back to the cavity and retrieving the jewelry, coins, and potion it contained.
They move on yet again. Against the rest of the party’s advice, destiny sends her cat to scout ahead yet again. In the chamber room a stone well sits in the center of the otherwise empty room. I have Destiny make a surprise roll for her familiar. It fails.
A couch-sized blob of amber goo(4) drops from the ceiling and lands right on the cat, engulfing it. Destiny can see her familiar, suspended in the jelly, looking at her pleadingly for three seconds before dissolving to bone then nothing.(5) Luckily, Destiny makes her save and doesn’t take any damage, but now we have a fight.
Claymor’s mighty maul hits, but only splits the jelly into five smaller jellies. Not wanting to split the creature further, the heroes decide to use fire against the monster. Liberal application of oil and torches quickly dispatches the little jellies.
A quick peek down the well shows that it drops tot he next level of the dungeon, a level that looks carved out of living stone. They can see the slime trail where the jelly crawled out of the well. The party decide to come back to it later.
The next door is spiked shut from the other side. Someone must be here. It must be the party led by the Man in Yellow! The group that stole the dryad’s comb! Claymor batters down the door and the party charges up the ramp beyond to the top of what turns out to be one of the towers.
The Man in Yellow and his party are waiting for them, though (the PCs were not quiet). There are three people in the rival party. An ace-wielding dwarf, foaming at the mouth in rage and bloodlust, an female human archer, and the a man in brown armor with a yellow surcoat bearing the symbol of the King in Yellow. The fight is on!
The yellow cleric casts Cause Fear and sends Claymor running. The Dwarf’s axe quickly cuts the fleeing fighter down. Ghul moves in to engage the rival cleric, while Dory jabs at the dwarf with Martha’s Spear. Destiny keeps the archer occupied while Valmar (who already cast his only spell way back at those bandits) swings his staff at anyone who comes near.
The dwarf and the archer go down fairly quick, but the cleric’s Sanctuary spell protects him while he tries to escape. Eventually, the spell is breached and the cleric falls after smacking Ghul with his flail a couple of times. Ghul takes his head, and they let the other villains bleed to death, rather than waste healing potions on them.
Ghul and Valmar attend to the unconscious Claymor. He’ll live, but will be out for a couple weeks, Now he’s also got a missing eye to compliment his missing teeth.
The others loot the bodies and search the room. There is no sign of the dryad’s comb, but the nymph’s had said there were four people in this party, and they’ve only got three here. It looks as though the NPC party had been camping in this room for some time. They only had about one day of rations left.
With a comatose fighter and henchman, our heroes decide to return to Ravensmound to recuperate once more before delving deeper into the dungeon.
(1) They were, in fact, morlocks, a monster I’ve never used before.
(2) One of my old-school players passed me a note that read “Carrion Crawler?” I told him that that name is trademarked by Wizards of the Coast and I would never put such a thing in my dungeon.
(3) Keep in mind that Ghul has been described as looking like a less-charming version of Wormtongue.
(4)“It’s a jelly, and it’s ochre colored,” I say knowingly to the veteran D&D players at the table.
(5) Stardust had 3hp. The Ochre Jelly did 12hp of damage with it’s attack. We had to stop the game for three minutes, the other players (especially Ghul) were laughing so hard.
Absolutely awesome! Sounds like a splendid session.
Sounds like a great campaign, I’m really enjoying reading this.
Thanks again for the kind words, gang!
And yay! Our Obsidian Portal page got it’s first fan. Huzzah!
It was only a short session this week, but the we begin to see the stress of chaotic alignments within the party…
OP page: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/acks-new-pangea/adventure-log/gnome-stew
Destiny Roguestar (Elven Nightblade 1, Chaotic)
Dory Thistle (Blade Dancer 1, Lawful)
Ghul Bonecaller (Cleric 2, Chaotic)
Claymor (Fighter 2, Neutral)
Xander (Fighter 1, neutral)
Damien (Fighter 1, neutral)
Belyorn the Short (Explorer 1, neutral)
The party spent two weeks recovering from their first foray into the Temple of Aboath. Ghul recruited his first henchman–a foul, ugly little man named Belyorn the Short (Charisma 6!) who claims to be the greatest tracker and navigator in the land. Claymor, who has already lost an eye and several teeth, acquires a heavy helm (from the Players Companion) in an attempt to quite literally save face.
Rather than go back to the Temple, the party decides to seek out the Masandra the shaman, hoping to get aid lifting Ghul’s curse. On their way out, they stop back at the ogre’s lair to stash treasure and check up on Kipper the Gnome.
Kipper’s been busy decorating the former ogre’s lair. He has named it Little Gnomington and declared himself mayor. It’s possible that he’s been spending too much time alone in the wilderness. His loyalty score has been suffering badly, so Destiny makes sure to bring him extra gold and presents to keep him happy.
The party heads out in the morning and makes their way into the mountains. After sveral hours of searching, they discoverer what they assume is the solitary Masandra’s camp—a hut made of skins, fetish poles, and hundreds of crows and ravens watching from the crags above. After poking around for a bit Masandra appears, perched lightly on top of her tent.
“She has to be older than she looks, but Masandra appears as a girl in her late teens with short black hair with a feathery texture. Her large eyes have huge black irises. Her mannerisms are very birdlike. She wears little but a large cloak of black feathers and several bone-and-feather fetiches.”
Ghul explains how he was cursed because he stole a piece of jewelry from a tomb. Masandra explains that Great Raven approves of stealing shiny objects from corpses, “something your stupid Eastern gods wouldn’t understand.” She agrees to help him if he will help her. A troop of goblins (again with the goblins) has been active in the area. They have a new leader who’s been riling them up, causing trouble and ravaging the forest. If the party removes them, she will help Ghul remove his curse.
The parry agrees, and Masandra happily marks the location of the goblins’ lair on their map.
A day later, the PCs locate the lair. Two caves lay in the bottom of a gully. Our heroes are not sure which one hold the goblins. The team positions themselves near the top of the gully and fire flaming crossbow bolts into the first cave. The sounds of surprised goblinoid arguing drifts from the cave mouth. A bat-like face pokes it’s head out of the darkness, blinking in the sun. The party charges, and make quick work of the five guards with flaming oil and steel.
Our heroes scamper off to the other side of the gully and check out the other cave. This entrance leads to a single chamber full of goblin bones and a handful of fire beetles. The beetles chomp Claymor good, but are quickly crushed. The PCs harvest some spiffy glowing antennae, and Claymor ties two to the horns on his helmet, keeping his hands free. Ghul casts his first Cure Light Wounds spell. Since he follows the Fell Gods of old Lemuria, the wounds he heals leave scaly scars. Claymor’s looking rougher and rougher each fight.
Clearing out the beetles, the party returns to the other cave and enters the cavernous tunnels. They smell smoke, and follow their noses to the goblin kitchen. A goblin sub-chef stirs a large stewpot with the help of two assistants. A pile of discarded clothes and small pointed caps sits in one corner. The fight is on as the party charges in! An extra-large goblinoid with a wild mane of hair and a bear-like snout (a bugbear) runs in from a side passage half-way through the melee, but the heroes make short work of the monsters. Between the pointed caps and the small skull that bubbles up from the pot when Destiny takes a taste, the PCs determine that the goblins were cooking gnome stew. Destiny fills her waterskin with broth. Her henchmen watch her, uncertain what to think.
Continuing on, our heroes find some prisoner pits. Claymor takes out three guards with one swing in a series of cleaves. Destiny takes a bad hit and goes down. Ghul’s quick medical attention rouses her, only slightly stunned. While unconscious, she saw visions of her dead familiar beckoning her. “I’m at a beautiful farm up north with the other familiar! Come join me!”
Three gnome prisoners sit in the bottom of the holding pits. Dory helps them out, and Destiny offers one of them some broth, which he immediately recognizes as gnome stew (the nose knows). He is gravely offended, as are the other gnomes. “You tried to feed us out brother?! What is wrong with you?!”
The gnomes were on patrol from Gnomesylvania (the vault where Kipper is also from). The PCs determine that the gnomes are too weak to help them with the goblins, so they tell them to get out and go wait outside with their horses and pack mules. Destiny tells them that if they steal their horses, bad things would happen to the gnome they have holed up in the ogre lair. The gnomes don’t seem to take this threat well, so Destiny sends one of the fighter henchmen with the gnomes to watch them.
After the gnomes leave, another group of goblins attack the party, attracted by all the shouting. These goblins are also quickly dispatched, and the session ends.
So the PCs are deep in a goblin lair while a group of three angry gnomes are left alone with the party’s horses, gear, and one pretty dumb henchman. This should turn out well.