A dubiously less TLDR summary of the twelfth episode of the Keep on the Borderlands play-through.
Character Recap Edit
Andrew’s PCs:Nymeth (Elf)Liftomancer Bluebigail (Magic-User)
Dave’s PCs: The Shadow (Thief), Rolph the Younger - (Cleric)
Hilary’s PCs: Thistle Turnipsworth (Halfling), Glasap Icli (Fighter)
John’s PCs: Chunk Flunkins (Dwarf), Serta the Somnomancer (Magic-User)
The Shitbog of Your (Hobgoblin) Afterlife Edit
Buying rumours with beer, Thistle Turnipsworth' and Glasap Icli encourage Coalstad th'e GraveDigger to regale them with war stories from his time in the 32nd Expeditionary Force. From these circumlocutions, our heroes glean a rumour of a historic massacre perpetrated by a tribe of strange web-fingered Kobolds led by larger, darker, more powerful creatures that reside deep within the swamp.
The next morning, after outfitting hirelings, and receiving a blessing from Yorick the Curate, The Shadow and the rest of our foolish footpads brave the bitter cold and take the well-worn road to the Caves of Chaos. Enroute, they pass the remains of the caravan, largely stripped of its wood and bearing claw-marks far too large to be that of Kobolds. Though they reach the caves unmolested, our spirited superstitionists can’t shake the feeling that, from the swamp to the South, some malign intelligence is watching their progress.
Upon reaching the quiet of the ravine, Glasap Icli urges the party to explore deeper past the scorched remains of the former Goblin caves. Inside, our brave brigands come upon a crudely barricaded staircase; but hearing the rumble of Hobgoblin voices coming from upstairs, Nymeth suggests they first secure all the caverns at their current elevation, before turning their attentions to the level above.
Backtracking past the cave entrance, our plucksome pillagers run across a band of seven Irontusk Orcs readying to enter. Boisterous Chunk Flunkins attempts to drive them away with braggadocio, but misspeaks; and the hot tempered Orcs draw their weapons, charging forwards to rend his flesh. Serta the Somnomancer however, swiftly intercedes, and in a fearsome monotone recites ‘The Incountation of the Morphian Sheep’, causing all seven Orcs to fall to Sleep. Thus unopposed, The Shadow and Thistle Turnipsworth make short work of slaying their slumbering foes, claiming in the process a fine fur pelt, and a heavy bag of gold still stained with the blood of its original owners.
Some time later, having thoroughly explored the lower reaches of the Goblin caves, our swaggersome skirmishers return to ascend the barricaded staircase. Seeing the passage leading from the head of the stairs blocked by a sturdy door, The Shadow makes the mistake of sending Buildo forwards to investigate. The loquacious housewright natters so loudly, as to alert the Hobgoblin occupants in the room beyond, and earn himself a Halfling tongue-lashing (or possible gastronomic' debate,) for his stupidity, from Thistle Turnipsworth. Not one to have his sneakiness compromised, The Shadow rapidly improvises a trap. With nefarious use of ball-bearings and a stick of lard, he slicks the stairs to deposit any hasty pursuers into a small fortune’s worth of lamp oil, which Liftomancer Bluebigail might then set alight.
With the trap set, and our insufferable instigators tactically positioned, Nymeth, Thistle & Chunk call out, goading one of the cautious Hobgoblins to tumble down the stairs. The Hobbledehoy-goblin raises the alarm to call his brethren, before meeting his end at the sharp-end of one of Chunk Flunkins’ crossbow bolts. Moments later, three more Hobgoblins round the corner. In the rapid exchange of missile fire that follows, one of foes hurls a lit flask of oil, singeing Chunk and igniting Liftomancer Bluebigail’s greasy ‘fuse’, which in turn sets the entire landing beneath the Hobgoblins’ feet aflame.
Seeing their path forwards blocked by an inferno of burning oil and Hobgoblin corpses, our artless arsonists rush out of the Goblin caves, keen to seek out another route to their enemies; and not be trapped with their backs to the fire. Back out in daylight, Nymeth spots a half-dozen Hobgoblins descending the rocky wall of the ravine, heading in the direction of the party, and wastes no time putting them to Sleep. The Shadow climbs a tree to keep watch, while the others clamber up the incline towards their slumbering adversaries, stopping short when another group of nine Hobgoblins emerges from the cave mouth. Reacting quickly, Chunk Flunkins, The Shadow and Thistle Turnipsworth fire upon the group, killing four of the newcomers before they can react; but in the exchange that follows, Thistle is gravely injured, catching a crossbow bolt with her arm. Seizing an opportunity to wield great power, Liftomancer Bluebigail unfurls her scroll and casts a tremendous Fire Ball onto the attackers. With all five standing Hobgoblins completely consumed by the explosive conflagration which results, Thistle Turnipsworth blithely takes her revenge on their sleeping kin.
Pressing the advantage, and fired up by their blazing victory, Glasap Icli and our scrappy scavengers decide to storm into the Hobgoblin lair. Hastening to the highest cavern in the complex, our coin-hearted crusaders confront the remaining dozen or so Hobgoblin non-combatants. In heated tones, ireful Chunk Flunkins, forces them to give up their Chieftain’s location. Escorting them to the cave exit, he agrees to spare their wretched Hobgoblin lives, so long as they swear to leave and never return. Cautious of any hidden traps, The Shadow leads our heroes to the West. Pausing but for a moment, to expertly defeat a formidable lock, our rakish rogue pushes open the stout door to reveal the well-stocked Hobgoblin armoury. Here, Liftomancer Bluebigail begins to scribe an arcane chalk circle on the floor; but Rolph the Younger, undistracted by the fortune’s worth of arms and armour surrounding him, puzzles out a secret mechanism that opens a cleverly concealed portal leading out of the cache, and deeper into Hobgoblin tunnels.
Rules & Rulings from this Episode Edit
- 0’31” On any given day, paying 5 GP to the town crier increases the potential number of recruitable hirelings available. (DM Ruling)
- 0’46” If a 0-Level retainer in service of a 2nd level PC survives a significant adventure, they become level 1, and can start earning XP. (DM Ruling)
- 0’46” Equipping a hireling (eg. with plate armour and weapons,) grants that PC a +1 bonus to any morale checks they make for that hireling (DM Ruling)