Sons of Thunder Campaign – Keep on the Borderlands
Report contributed by AKW
January 21, 2011 10:30pm – 4:00am
RNC / DM
AKW / Narundis / Half-elf / Clr2
CMS / Hanja / Human / Ftr2
JFV / Dirk / Elf / Thf2
ZK / Maglor / Elf / Rng1
NPC1 / Larry / Human / Ftr1 / Controlled by JFV
NPC2 / Darryl / Human / Ftr1 / Controlled by AKW
NPC3 / Harold / Human / Ftr1 / Controlled by CMS
Having just returned to Garmel’s Keep from a successful tunnel-clearing in the valley of the Caves of Chaos, Narundis, Hanja, Dirk and the hireling brothers Larry, Darryl and Harold take refuge at the Green Dragon Inn for several days to lick their wounds and partition their spoils. While most are content to drink and/or spend time in quiet research, Dirk has different ideas. He has seemingly forgotten the terms (as nebulous as they may be) of the deal with Brother Petroneus of Zeus that released him from the bond of his cursed sword, and thus seeks vengeance for a compulsion that was apparently laid upon him to aid in the defense of Garmel’s Keep. So, for great vengeance, Dirk and his disinterested-looking fighter friend, Hanja, head toward the temple to confront the priest.
On their way to the temple of Zeus, Dirk and Hanja encounter a weatherworn and confused-looking elf(Maglor) who has just come through the gates. Straight away, an unobservant man in mud-splattered blue robes plows into the elf. The man’s monocle goes flying, as does the elf. After dusting himself off, the man identifies himself as Dennis. He confirms that he is a “dabbler” in magic, who is proficient in identifying the specific properties of magical items – what luck! Maglor relates all he knows of himself to those present, which is not much, considering he is suffering from a bout of amnesia and has just wandered into Garmel’s Keep by chance. Hanja suggests Maglor should seek the help of the clerics of Zeus and invites him along. Hanja then directs Dennis to the inn, where he can rest, calculate the going rate for identification spells and… drink his milk.
Dirk, Hanja and Maglor continue on to the temple of Zeus, where Narundis is currently praying and studying scriptures. An acolyte directs the group to Brother Petroneus in the main chapel. Dirk is angry and attempts to whack the brother on the head, but sudden feelings of peace, love and admiration render him unable to do so. In addition to these sensations, the unknown compulsion makes Dirk forget the reason he came to the temple in the first place. The other party members relay Dirk’s bitterness over the compulsion to the Brother, who apologizes to Dirk and sends a heretofore and henceforth unnamed acolyte for the Chronicle of Thartooth to clear up this confusion. The Brother finds that as the artifact necklace utilized to remove the curse was employed, a bead from it disappeared, and thus a compulsion was laid on the beneficiary to help the bearer of the beads in any way possible. The duration will extend until something of import is accomplished. Nebulous, indeed.
Maglor then speaks with Brother Petroneus concerning his amnesia, but the brother tells him to come back in the morning, so that he might have time to pray for a spell to help. Dirk seems to think that Maglor’s elvish accent places him in a region to the west, but can’t be completely sure. Hanja spars a bit with Maglor (who wields 2 swords) to see if that will bring back any memories of his former existence. Maglor is obviously experienced at two-handed fighting, but no memories are regained.
The Green Dragon Inn and Tavern:
The party members, including Narundis, head back to the tavern at the Green Dragon Inn. The tavern is crowded, so Lon (the barkeep) and Sandy (barmaid, lady of easy virtue and Lon’s daughter) are quite busy. Dennis is spied drinking his milk and the party engages him in conversation about elvish accents, the human city-states and the price of magical item identification. Dennis is able to identify 5 items at a time, with a 50% chance of success for each item. The terms of this agreement are thus: 500 GP is the cost per spell OR 100 GP will be charged for the cost of the spell (except in cases where the party is able to provide the requisite large pearl) and Dennis will be given any scrolls or books of magic that the party finds in the Caves of Chaos. The party agrees to the latter deal for the first instance of identify, hand over 5 items (Zanzer’s ring, Deathfist mace, Hanja’s shield, a quiver of arrows, Dirk’s boots) and wait until the next morning. Dennis successfully identifies Deathfist as a footman’s mace +1 and the arrows as +1. He indirectly identifies Dirk’s boots as Boots of Elvenkind, because he threw them across the room in frustration (after a failed identification) and noticed that they made no sound when they hit. The shield and ring remain mysteries.
Temple of Zeus:
Maglor arrives at the temple at 11am, as promised, and Brother Petroneus casts two spells on him to hopefully discern something about him or his past. Unfortunately, all the brother uncovers is that Maglor is not evil and his memory loss was probably not caused by magical means. He will simply have to wait for his memories to come back naturally. Maglor thanks him, makes a small donation and leaves.
Caves of Chaos:
The party informs Larry, Darryl and Harold that they will set out tomorrow morning for the Caves of Chaos. They take their 10gp each, in advance, and head upstairs for one last night of bliss with Sandy.
The following autumn morning is overcast and foggy, typical for the chilly temperate forest region where Garmel’s Keep resides. The party begins the trek on the eastern road that follows a small river. The river and road soon wind north up to a ravine, where the Caves of Chaos are found. The hike takes about an hour. After some discussion, the decision is made to enter one of the lower caves on the right side of the canyon, next to a tree. Maglor and Dirk scout out the mouth of the cave, which appears to delve 30 ft into the cliff before coming to a “T” intersection. The party enters, with Dirk leading the way. He checks for traps as he approaches the “T”. Seeing none, he steps forward and pokes his head around the corner. This triggers the trap he didn’t find, and he, Larry and Harold fall into a pit that springs open where the tunnels intersect. All three take some bruises from the fall, but Larry is promptly knocked unconscious. The lid immediately springs shut, trapping them under the floor. All the commotion alerts the inhabitants of the cave – giant rats to the left and kobolds to the right. The kobolds pull a lever on the wall to disengage the pit trap, and then come rushing forward. In the first clash, Darryl gets hit by a spear with such force that it knocks him unconscious. With all three hirelings and Dirk neutralized, the rest of the party must continue the fight, taking down many giant rats and kobolds whilst taking minor wounds. The kobolds are dispatched (6, in all) and then, having hewed through 17 giant rats, Hanja deals a fatal blow to the boss giant rat. The dead bodies are looted and cleared from the top of the pit trap. The party throws the lever in the guard room, which opens up the pit trap. Dirk, Larry and Harold are hauled up out of the hole, and Narundis heals the critical party members with his spells. Harold will hold vigil over his unconscious brothers in the guard room, while the rest of the party continues on. The trap is reset to guard the entrance tunnel.
The members head down the right tunnel and find that another tunnel splits off to the left, then T’s. Maglor volunteers to keep watch at the left tunnel while the party continues straight down the main tunnel toward an entrance to another room. As Dirk approaches that room, kobolds appear out of the entrance. The party prepares for another fight, when Maglor alerts them to the presence of larger, more heavily armed kobolds (axes and bows) in chainmail at the end of the left tunnel. The kobolds were well prepared. Wounded, outnumbered (20 kobolds have been spotted) and outgunned, the party sprints back to the guard room, yelling for Harold to lock the pit trap. The unconscious hirelings are hauled out of the cave, and Dirk rearms the trap to cover the escape. Kobold laughter echoes in the tunnel as the party departs the cave. The adventurers head back to Garmel’s Keep for lack of rest, supplies and, most importantly, strategies.
As soon as the party reenters Garmel’s Keep, Hanja heads for Mallory’s shop, hoping to sell the silver necklace with gem that he obtained from the leader of the giant rats in The Caves of Chaos. He is escorted to the lounge, where rotund Mr. Mallory and his large dog sit behind a desk. Hanja manages to barter the jewelry for 225 gp and leaves. He drops by the Temple of Zeus for two Cure Light Wounds potions on the way back to the tavern.
The Green Dragon Inn and Tavern:
The party stocks up on supplies (lamp oil, caltrops, Greek fire, cure light wounds potions, fishing net, etc) and returns to the inn. After an unsuccessful attempt to recruit Dennis and his magical talents for the next expedition into the Caves, everyone decides to heal up for a couple days and develop a solid strategy. The decision is made to return to the same cave, armed with enough fire-making apparatus to smoke out the remaining kobolds. Dirk will sneak in, set the fires, disarm the trap via the lever and sneak back out. As smoke engulfs the cave and its inhabitants flee out the entrance, the party will pick them off from the safety of the woods just outside the cave.
Caves of Chaos:
The party makes its triumphant return to the Caves of Chaos and sends Dirk down into the cave to carry out the first part of the plan. The plans go awry immediately as a handful of kobolds drop down out of the trees at the entrance of the cave, surrounding Maglor and trapping Dirk in the cave. Kobolds in the cave, with spiked clubs, quickly approach Dirk near the trap and unleash a brutal attack, nearly knocking him unconscious. The rest of the party abandons the failed plan and sprints to the rescue. Harold is quickly knocked unconscious. As more kobolds pile in behind those already attacking him, Dirk is unable to dodge a three spear salvo that sends him deep into unconsciousness and to the brink of death. The kobolds, holding a knife to Dirk’s neck, attempt to bargain his life for the party’s mercy on their clan. Every party member, except the dim-witted fighter, Hanja, seems to understand the delicacy with which this situation must be negotiated. Over the protests of his brothers-in-arms, Hanja rushes the eight goblin captors, eliciting the immediate execution of the comatose elf. Maglor, having seen the execution of his poor comrade, wastes no time in making his death a valiant one. He throws a flask of flaming oil upon Dirk’s body, igniting it and the bottles of oil it carried. Hanja follows suit with his flaming oil, then bull-rushes his way up the tunnel to rejoin the others. The fiery battle rages on, with many kobolds falling to the adventurers’ blades, maces and arrows.
After killing off all kobolds in the first part of the cave, the party decides to feed the existing inferno with wood from the forest, in order to fulfill the original goal of smoking out the inhabitants. Maglor spreads four bags of caltrops in the tunnel in anticipation of the kobold evacuation. This proves to be an excellent strategy, as more than a dozen kobolds die on the caltrops, in the fire or from a combination of the two. A resourceful female kobold runs to the lever panel, reinserts the pit trap lever (that had been removed), opens the trap and drops the caltrops into the pit. Hanja takes out several female kobolds as they try to put out the fire. As the fire is finally extinguished due to kobold efforts and lack of fuel, the females of the tribe are sent out in a final suicidal rush. One by one, they fall to the adventurers. The boss kobold makes his final stand and dies as the rest.
All told, 56 kobolds and 18 giant rats were killed. Looting commences and a key is found on the boss. This key opens a door that houses foodstuffs at the back of the cave. Another unlocked door reveals dirty tapestries, 50gp and locked chest. The same key opens the lock on the chest, which yields copper, silver and electrum. The hirelings are given three good sets of chainmail found in the cave in return for their service (and in the hopes that they will henceforth require less healing).
As the party departs the scene of the massacre, four orcs come out of the copse of trees near the cave mouth. Hanja attempts to bribe them, as he speaks orc, but they laugh and fire off a salvo with their bows. The adventurers dispatch them with ease. After looting the bodies for shortbows and arrows (given to the hirelings), they head back to Garmel’s Keep to recuperate and distribute their loot.