Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Moral Dilema of Killing (Kobold) Children

June 16, 3430, Age of Kings

Note: Boots's player is once again on a month long work excursion, so... let's say Boots is just studying in the dwarven study or somethin'...

*   *   *

Our brave adventurers then headed out of the doorway past the dead shrieker and back into the great forge hall. They crossed the expansive chamber and through the double doors on the east wall. These doors opened into a long corridor lined with doors (3 on the north, 2 on the south) and ending in a set of double doors.

Sitting in front of the doors at the far end of the corridor was a strange contraption of kobold-make: a frame of wood and iron holding several tubes of iron, with several leather bellows' at the rear, and copper wires running down into the floor—obviously a devious trap of some sort.

So Audrey and Grabby immediately stepped into the hall.

This immediately caused the contraption to shudder and a bellows compress, launching a dart at Audrey, striking her in the arm and causing her to become poisoned. At this point they decided to be more cautious. Taking Broak's shield for cover, Grabby dashed down the hall towards the strange device, with the occasional dart flying out to harmlessly hit the shield. Once behind the device he set about dismantling it, only to discover all of its ammunition had been fired.

With the hall now safe, the rest of the group moved in and they began systematically checking the doors for traps and seeing what lay on the other side. The 3 doors to the north led to the remains of ancient dwarf dormitories containing nothing of value. 

The first door to the south was another dormitory, but this one was the resting place for several dwarf corpses. Broak said a little prayer.

The final door led to yet another dormitory, but this one had been mostly cleared of debris. In the center of the floor, drawn with soot, was a large dragon skull encircled by several unlit candles. On the south wall the kobolds had also drawn an image of a dragon in a strange and alien-looking city-scape in a mixture of soot and dried blood. The party couldn't make anything of it. Partly because of the crudeness of the drawings, partly because of bad rolls.

Not seeing anything of value, they decided to press on towards the double doors to the east. At this point Grabby stayed behind in the room and drew mustaches on the two dragon images with his Ander's chalk when everyone had left.

Grabby caught up with the others as they entered the room beyond the double doors. Here they found the mine's mess hall and kitchen. A small compliment of iron cookware was scattered about (obviously used by the kobolds) and in the center of the room was a small cooking pit, with two giant rats on spits cooking over red hot coals. Doors to the north and south led out of the room.

Beyond the doors to the south the sound of kobolds could be heard, but it sounded as if they were attempting to be quiet. The group moved into position and Audrey moved to open the door... Before she could get any closer a door swung open and a she-kobold leapt out brandishing a cleaver, waving wildly at Audrey.

She quickly dispatched the creature and moved into the room. Within they found a cask room filled with broken and smashed ale casks. In one corner another she-kobold stood in front of a huddled group of 4 kobold whelps. Ander quickly notched an arrow and struck the she-kobold in the neck, killing her outright in front of the (kobold) children.

Not wanting to kill the whelps (and Grabby not being pleased with Ander's willingness to kill them) Audrey and Grabby moved in to try and subdue the whelps by grappling them with bedrolls. Naturally the creatures would have none of it, and carried on quite loudly, which of course atracted more kobolds to the area. Soon 3 kobold warriors were entering the room through holes in the walls.

The party managed to fend off the small attack force, killing 2 of the kobolds, but not before Audrey fell to a few well coordinated attacks from the kobolds. Bloo the war dog rushed in to subdue a kobold whelp (but wound up snapping its neck) and Broak grabbed a whelp with his shield hand while Grabby escaped the melee to the mess hall with Ander after seeing Audrey fall unconscious.

The last kobold warrior scurried off back into his tunnel seeing he was outmatched, with 2 of the whelps following soon after. Broak, still holding the screaming, clawing whelp, let it go as not to draw any further attention to their location.

Rousing Audrey and letting her consume a healing potion, the group moved into the room to the north—the mine's larder. This room was now be used by the kobolds to store their food stuffs: skinned rat carcasses hanging from meat hooks, jars filled with writing worms, and sealed vessels of animal blood. With nothing of interest to be found they moved out of the area and back into the great forge hall, and continues through the last set of double doors in the south-east.

They entered a long, wide hall with a long slope in its middle. A breeze of wilderness air could be felt coming from down the hall, as well as the sound of chain swaying in the breeze.

The ramp seemed to be coated in a thick layer of animal fat—obviously a time-consuming process for the kobolds. This made traversing the ramp down very treacherous. The jagged iron spikes planted at the base of the ramp made it even more treacherous. Helping Grabby move carefully down the ramp with a rope, he attempted to remove a section of the spikes to no avail. This led to Audrey descending the ramp to smash away at the jagged iron with her sledgehammer. Eventually she cleared away a small portion to allow a safer descent down.

At the bottom of the ramp were to statues of Moradin looking over a vast expanse of blackness. A rough-hewn staircase spiraled down to the west into the darkness below as chains dangled from above.

*   *   *

After a long descent down the party found themselves at the bottom of a deep pit. The ruin of mine carts and equipment lay scattered all about. A large pile of rubble—the remains of smelters—lay to the south of the room. To the west a roughly carved (but well lit) cavern extended to the south and a storage chamber for equipment lay to the north.

The storage room held nothing but the long dead remains of 20 or so dwarves.

The party carefully made their way down the cavern hall to the west, coming across an opening that they could see several kobolds within, and hear even more around the corner. They decided to try and sneak past, but they had a noisy dwarf in chain mail with them...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

"I stick my purple mushroom in the bottle" –Grabby McSnaggems

June 15, 3430, Age of Kings

We find our heroic dwarf fighter, Broak, wandering away from the party to be by himself and cry into his beard while the other decide to take a short rest on the (assumed) safety of the secret sarcophagus chamber.

Broak made his way out into the great forge hall where he sat and moped in the corner and questioned his lot in life. Close to an hour later, a small group of kobolds snuck up on Broak's position and launched an attack. Knowing his only hope was to escape back to his friends traveling companions, he started to fall back towards the secret door, felling kobolds as he went.

But even the somewhat mighty Broak was quickly overrun by kobolds as he tried to make his way down the corridor he suffered a bloody wound that weakened him and he fell unconscious, swarmed by yipping, barking kobolds—his allies unable to hear the melee through two layers of stone secret doors.

*   *   *

As the party's rest drew to a close, Grabby's conscious started to eat away at him as he wondered what had become of Broak, could he leave his friend to certain death in the bowels of the Orespire Mountains?

Boots was fine leaving Broak to whatever fate might meet him in the darkness, but Grabby managed to convince the others to go looking for him. Sliding the open the secret doors, they saw Broak's unconscious form on the floor in the hall, surrounded by kobolds looting him. Broak's allies rushed in to defend the helpless dwarf, killing and driving off the remaining kobolds, some of which managed to make of with Broak's backpack and warhammer (luckily Ander happened to have an extra).

The group (except for Boots who stayed back in the secret room) helped Broak to his feet and helped back to the safety of the secret chamber where he patched himself up.

The group, reluctantly together again, moved down the web-filled corridor to the north which turned to the east and ended in a secret door which led to a study chamber, its walls lined with shelves filled with hundreds of ancient and dusty tomes. To the south a crudely bricked up doorway was visible, and to the east was a short corridor that led to a set of doors. In front of the doors was the corpse of a long dead orc warrior, out of it's body grew an oddly shaped purple mushroom as tall as a man. Not wanting to get to close to the strange fungus, they decided to begin hammering down the bricked up doorway.

Audrey made short work of the crude bricks, revealing a small chamber filled with tables and shelves filled with glass vials and other vessels, many of which were smashed about the room.

At this point, they decided to deal with the strange purple fungus in the short hall. Ander let an arrow fly, striking the mushroom. Immediately the shrieker began emitting an ear-piercing wail that echoed off the stone walls. He fired more arrows at the fungus and its wailing began to subside. Withing seconds the sounds of a kobold force could be heard making their way toward their position, drawn by the sound of the shrieker. The party fell back into the alchemy lab in hopes of forcing the kobolds into a bottleneck.

As they fell back, Audrey was left behind trying to repack her sledge hammer as kobolds opened the doors to the east and poured into the chamber. Left alone to defend herself, Audrey engaged the kobolds with her halberd, cutting through their numbers. Rushing to the aid of his friend, Grabby rushed out past Audrey to engage the kobolds head on. In doing so, as he weaved past Audrey, Grabby tripped over the barbarians polearm as she swung it, causing him to trip and fall forward, releasing his grasp on his magic dagger, Mr. Shiney, which skipped along the floor. Grabby's folly also forced Audrey to drop her halberd to the ground, which a kobold quickly grabbed and pulled it behind him. Even with an unarmed barbarian and a prone halfling thief, Ander and Boots managed to give enough support to finish off the kobolds.

Once the dust had settled and they were sure the area was secured, Grabby—not wanting the possibility of food going to waste—grabbed a bottle from the lab, drew his dagger and approached the dead shrieker, sliced a piece off, to which his player proclaimed, "I stick my purple mushroom in the bottle!"

Mushroom secured, the party sifted through the lab and found several jars of various coloured liquids that seemed to be inert potion ingredients. To the west was another short hall that ledt to another part of the lab. Again, mostly filled with smashed or empty glass vessels, but the party manage to find a few vials of potions. Broak was called in to read their dwarvish labels: Healer (x2), Dragon's Breath and Vapors.

Note: At some point Boots found a scroll of Detect Magic in the study. Using the scroll, Ander ran back to the chamber with the animated iron statues, cast the scroll and only detected the statues—at some point they also destroyed one of the statues that they had seriously damaged in their previous encounter. Back in the alchemy lab he also detected a very faint source of magic from the ingredient jars, as well as the potions they found. I can't recall just where these things happened.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

June 15, 3430, Age of Kings

Note: There's about two weeks between the session and me writing this, so there may be some details simplified, omitted, or maliciously fabricated.

*  *  *

We discover that Boots had remained back in town for an extra day to do further research on the mine the party was heading to. There, he discovered the mine's "moon door"entrance, as well as, as far as he could tell, the Forge Hammer had never left the mine.

Armed with this tiny bit of information (and his flute) Albrecht assigned three of his guards to accompany Boots up to the site to join up with the rest of the party.

Conveniently arriving at nightfall, Boots and the guards easily found the door. While two of the guards set up camp nearby, Boots entered with one of the guards—named Horace— to search for the group.

*  *  *

Shortly after dispatching a small group of kobolds in the Great Forging Hall, the party was met by Boots and Horace. Boots caught them up to speed (it didn't take long, he didn't learn very much). Once done they decided which way to set out.

The hall had four exits, two on each side. The party decided to enter the double doors in the south-west wall. Through the doors they entered a long hall ending in another set of double doors and a set of doors on either side of the hall halfway down. 

Once they made their way to the single doors they opened each on in turn and found the same thing on either side: old weapon rooms, now filled with rusted and decrepit dwarven weapons covered in cobwebs and dust. Most noticeably, however, both rooms were covered in long dead creatures—mostly kobolds, dwarves, and giant rats. A blanket of ominous fungi carpeted the floor and bodies. Not willing to tempt fate, they party closed the doors and moved on towards the end of the hall.

Moving on they reached the end of the hall and swung open the double doors at the end of the corridor to find a equipment storage room lined with rusted blacksmith's tools and old shelves. in the north wall of the room there were also three kobold holes in the wall. Soon after entering the room the sounds of kobolds moving through their tunnels could be heard. 

As kobolds attempted to attack from their holes both Horace and Audrey struck them down as they entered the room. From the north "fungus room" a group of kobolds spilled out into the hall that Ander and Broak attacked and the party's sole spell caster was finally able to use his mastery (well, first level mastery) of the arcane arts.

During all this excitement Grabby decided to just hang back and search the room... which paid off! He found a secret door against the west wall.

Once the dust had settled and several kobolds lay dead, Grabby pointed out his discovery to the others. The party readied themselves then moved through the secret door. They found themselves in a short, narrow hall ending in another secret door. Passing through the second door they entered a small room, lit only by their torches. The chamber was filled with a thick layer of dust and webs—obviously the dimwitted kobolds were unaware of this area, as it had not seen any traffic in what must have been hundreds of years.

In the centre of the room was a wide stone sarcophagus with a relief of a dwarf warrior lying atop its lid, carved lying down, at peace, with his battle axe grasped in his hands. Pitch black corridors extended to the north and south.

Thinking that the Forge Hammer might (or other treasure) be withing the resting place of the dwarf warrior, the party—particularily Boots—felt it would be wise to pop it open and take a look.

This did not go over well with Broak.

Tired of arguing, Boots decided to take matter into his own hands and began smashing the top of the sarcophagus, damaging the carved dwarf image.

This also did not go over well with Broak, and resulted in a swift punch to Boots' kidney, dropping him to his knees. 

After a long argument discussion they decided to leave the sarcophagus undisturbed, for now at least. They decided to then move on down through the cobweb infested south corridor while leaving Horace in the room to watch their rear. Eventually the hall opened into a long room. Set into the floor were the lids of six more sarcophagi, also with stone images carved into their faces of dwarf warriors, weapons clasped in their hands. Obviously warriors of great renown. In each corner of the room were iron statues of heavily armoured dwarf warriors armed with massive weapons. On each of their breast plates were a different carved single dwarvish ruin of unknown meaning. 

Again, another discussion began on opening these tombs to see what they held, and again, Broak would have none of it, preferring to respect the peace of his dead brethren. When Broak finally began to realize he was on the losing side of the debate, he did what any respectable warrior worth his dwarvish salt would do: he stormed off in a huff back towards the secret door they had entered, with Grabby running after him to convince him to stay.

With the dwarf leaving, it was time to crack open some sarcophagi. 

When Audrey and Boots began prying open the first sarcophagus, the runes on the iron statues began to glow with an eerie arcane light and slowly the statues came to life.

A melee quickly ensued as the animated statues moved in to defend the tomb and Horace moved up to help his allies. As blow after blow to the statues seemed to do very little damage, the party decided they might be outmatched so they started to fall back to the other tomb chamber.

As they fell back, Horace started to fall behind as he continued to attack the statues then found himself surrounded. Despite his heroic attempt, he was seriously wounded by the statues' attacks before he could fall back to the rest of the party.

As all of this was going on Broak was still continuing on his way out, but as he entered the hall, he opened a door to be greeted by a group of giant centipedes (an ill-timed wandering monster encounter).

As Broak and Grabby fought off the centipedes, the rest of the group engaged the statues in the tomb chamber, their attacks seeming to do little, but they did manage to concentrate their efforts on one of the aberrations to damage it significantly.

Overpowering the group in cramped quarters, the statues managed to fell poor Horace and trample over his crumpled corpse as they pressed their attack. Seeing this the group fell back further to join in the room with Broak and Grabby. The dwarf and the halfling eventually managed to kill all of the centipedes—probably with the help of some of the other, I can't recall.

Once the party had all entered the room through the secret passage, the statues seemed to pause then cease their attack. They then turned around and mindlessly shambled off down the hall, presumably to return to their eternal posts. Audrey and Boots cautiously returned to the smaller chamber to crack open the sarcophagus, slid the lid open only to find... nothing. Barely a speck of dust.
The dungeon then fell silent, only the sound of Broak shuffling off back down the corridor could be heard, nursing the critical hit to his feelings...