Monday, August 18, 2014

"MEEK!" Chapter 2 of the Lost Mine of Elder Flinch

This week, we continue to play D&D Fifth Edition. The party explores the goblin caves searching for their employer. They make a deal with a devious goblin, get smacked around by a really tough bugbear, are double-crossed, then deprive an enterprising ogre of his occupation.

Our party consists of:
  • Varis, a Level 1 Sylvan (Wood Elf) Druid
  • Fitong, a Level 1 Half-Orc Barbarian
  • Braxton Hicks, a Level 1 Hillfolk (Lightfoot Halfling) Ranger 
First, a minor change. Last week, Scott's elven druid was killed in the first round of combat before he even got an action. Scott usually plays fighters. He made a druid in order to branch out. When the druid died, his replacement was an elven fighter. His character in AD&D was an elven fighter/magic-user and he had essentially made the exact same character. Since the replacement fighter had done nothing but fire one arrow into a sleeping goblin, we talked it over and I allowed Scott to replace his new fighter with another druid. 

The party, having dispatched the two goblins sleeping at their post outside the cave entrance, entered the cave. 

Wolves in the Dark
A cavern opened immediately to the right. They entered the cavern and heard the threatening growls of three hungry wolves. Luckily the wolves were chained to the wall. Braxton easily calmed them down and the party explored the cavern. Braxton found a natural chimney over a pile of debris on the floor. He shimmied up the chimney with a boost from Fitong.

The chimney opened into another chamber. Within Braxton spotted two goblins, a large hairy brute, a bugbear by reputation, and a pet wolf. The bugbear spotted the tiny ranger and ordered his goblins to grab him. Braxton managed to avoid their grasp and retreated back down the hole. The goblins then threw rocks down the hole before piling large stones on top of the opening.

The part headed back into the stream passage. Ahead of them, the passage grew taller, over twenty to thirty feet in places. They spotted a timber bridge about ten feet up, crossing from one side of the passage to the other. Atop the bridge was a goblin lying on his stomach, watching them. Fitong unsuccessfully tried to climb up to the bridge while Varis and Braxton ineffectually loosed some arrows at the goblin.

They quickly abandoned the lurker on the bridge, however, when the sound of stones being tumbled echoed from deeper in the cave, followed by the rushing of a great mass of water. The trio barely managed to scramble into an adjoining passage to the left when a rushing torrent scoured the cavern behind them.

Fitong Falls
A new passage lay before them. The passage climbed a steep ten foot escarpment. A few seconds later, they heard a second rush of water pour through the cavern behind them. Fitong took the point and climbed the escarpment. The top, however, was loose and collapsed underneath him. Fitong fell back down in a tumble of loose stone and dirt, injuring himself in the process.

The entire collapse was loud and echoed through the caverns. Fitong picked himself up and brushed himself off. The party continued to climb the now loose debris of the cavern.

Doing a Goblin a Favor
At the top of the rise was a passage to the right and a large cavern to the left. The rear half of the cavern was elevated ten or more feet by a wide ledge. The party entered the cavern to find five goblins, alerted to their coming by the rock slide. One of the goblins, obviously a leader, stood atop the ledge at the rear. He held a human captive as a hostage. It was Sildar, the human warrior that accompanied their daro (dwarf) employer.

Before anyone could act, the goblin leader shouted, "Stop there or these ones are killed! You make talking with Yeemik, yes? You have these ones if you do Yeemik, how you say, a solid!". Yaris reluctantly parleyed with Yeemik. Yeemik asked the party to kill the bugbear Klarg. If they do this, he will return the hostage.

The party, hedging, asked for goblins to help. Yeemik demurred, "If goblins help you, goblins will be killed! If goblins killed, then no one of to be chieftain! No!"

The party persisted, and Yeemik compromised, "Okay, you have Palok! Him on bridge. Go tell Palok that Yeemik want him!"

Braxton went to the bridge, catching the goblin on watch by surprise. The little goblin shouted, "MEEK!"

Braxton simply pointed a thumb back to the cavern and said "Yeemik!" to which the little humanoid replied "MEEK!" and scampered past to the goblin den.

Within the goblin den, Yeemik ordered Palok to guide the party to Klarg. Palok fearfully replied, "MEEK!"

Palok led the party over the bridge to a large cavern with a waterfall. The stream at the base of the waterfall had, until recently, been contained by two small fieldstone dams. Three goblins were hiding behind stalagmites watching the stream entrance. The party caught them completely by surprise.

Fitong cut one goblin down while Braxton fired arrows into another. Varis used his druidic magic to cause small fireballs to burst on the third. During the slaughter, Palok was jumping around, grabbing hold of Varis' arms and clothing, trying to stop them, desperately shouting "MEEK! MEEK! MEEK!" . It was too late, all three were quickly dispatched. Palok stamped his foot and slumped his shoulders in disgusted frustration.
The party quickly realized what they had done and apologized to Palok. Palok just crossed his arms and pouted like a four-year-old. He angrily pointed his finger towards a cavern entrance to the right.

Who's Ambushing Whom?
The entrance to Klarg's chambers rose steeply and opened into another large cavern filled with stolen trade goods. A fire smoldered in the center. Braxton stealthily approached, followed by Varis. Fitong waited in the waterfall room next to Palok.

Braxton looked around. The chamber had no inhabitants. A closer inspection revealed two goblins hiding among the stolen goods in the rear of the room. The goblins had not noticed him yet. He approached, cat-like.

Suddenly, Klark burst out of his hiding place behind a stalagmite, followed by his wolf pet. His surprise attack was a failure but his follow-up connect and sent Braxton to the ground. Varis fled the room to alert Fitong.

Fitong rushed into the room and engaged Klarg in battle. Varis cast a magical enchantment on his staff and lent his support to Fitong by clobbering on the wolf.

Meanwhile the goblins had dragged Braxton's body away and were bickering over his possessions.

The wolf was quickly defeated, followed later by Klarg. The goblins stood to fight but were quickly killed.

Varis worried that Braxton may be dead. Fortunately, Braxton was simply unconscious. Fitong found a chest among the stolen goods. Within the chest he found two bottles conveniently labelled "Vitality and Health". He administered one to Braxton who was soon back on his feet.

The Deal Goes South
The party made their way back to the goblin den with Klarg's severed head. They were met at the entrance by wary goblins. Yeemik still held his weakened prisoner atop the ledge. The party demanded he fulfill his agreement. Yeemik doubled down, "No! New agreement! You pay Yeemik... fort- no, FIFTY gold for these ones!" The party balked and attacked. Yeemik threw the human prisoner over the ledge with a sickening thud.

Varis was grievously injured in the melee but Braxton quickly administered the second healing potion. The goblins were soon defeated.

Varis and Braxton rushed over to the dying human prisoner. Varis provided first aid and saved the warrior from expiration.

They carried the human on a makeshift stretcher back to their wagon on the road. There they made camp and recuperated from the day's actions.

Sildar's Story
The human prisoner, Sildar, thanked his rescuers. He related the story that led to his employment with the daro (dwarf) named Gundren Rockseeker and to his capture earlier that day.

Sildar is a human male in his forties. He has graying hair. He is an agent of the archon of Thither. He is often assigned to accompany caravans to and from Horek. He met Gundren Rockseeker in Horek.

Apparently, Gundren is one of three Rockseeker brothers. The brothers had recently located the entrance to a long-list mine near the village of Flinch. Sildar agreed to travel with him to Flinch because Sildar also hoped to learn the fate of his friend Iarno Albrek. Iarno is a human wizard and also an agent of the archon of Thither. Iarno who traveled to Flinch and was never heard from again.

Anyway, Gundren was carrying a map to the secret entrance of the lost mine. Klarg somehow knew this ahead of time and set up an ambush. Sildar heard the goblins say that Gundren was taken to something or someone called the Black Spider, but that the map he was carried was taken to somewhere else called Cragmaw Castle, wherever that is.

Sildar asked the party to help him make it to Flinch and offered them 50 gold if they did so. They agreed.

The Enterprising Ogre
The next day, the party encountered an ogre constructing a makeshift roadblock out of boulders. The ogre failed to noticed their approach and the party attacked with bows and javelins. The Ogre threw his own homemade javelins in return. Fitong charged the ogre followed by Varis wielding his empowered staff. Fitong climbed the rocks and fought the ogre face to face. The ogre was soon defeated and the boulders were moved from the path.

Later that day, the party arrived at the great gate at the eastern entrance to the Defile of Castragon. They hailed a raft to ferry them across the lake and arrived in the mountain town of Flinch.

The village of Flinch

It had been a few months since the sack of Flinch by the Red Orcs of Zinnober. The town had been repopulated with settlers from Swallow. Some of the buildings were still destroyed but others were being rebuilt or had been recently completed. Children played along the road winding up the hill to the ancient walled village. The gate was open and they were met by no guards. Security was surprisingly lax in lieu of the recent troubles. A surly figure wearing a red tunic was leaning against gate absently chewing on a sliver of wood. He eyed them suspiciously as they entered the village. He threw away the sliver and skulked away.

To be continued...