Player Characters Present
Next morning they continued on and soon reached the river lock. The men-at-arms/bargemen reminded them that the river worked its way right through the mountains via locks such as these; built by unknown parties in the distant past, they were largely automated, although occasionally the merchant guild sponsored craftsmen to maintain them.
Having gained about 50 feet in altitude, they continued on up river, following the path many long years of weathering had carved between the mighty walls of the mountains on either side.
They reached the place of openings in the cliff wall to their right; and picked the same spot as last time to beach their craft, then assigned two of the men at arms to guard the vessel.
|River Dungeon Level 1
The corridor, carved out of the stone but long weathered to remove any but its most basic features, went west, branching off to the north west after 10', and continuing on 50' before opening into a 40' square chamber. They went north west and found the room there, which previously some fire beetles had taken refuge in, was now empty.
They went west out of this room and soon found another chamber with packing crates stacked up in the middle of it. As they examined these, oil spilled out from somewhere in the ceiling, followed by goblin laughter. A dropped cinder then set fire to Lance and to the crates as well; which continued to burn even after they had seen to Lance.
The first round was decisive, with one skeleton getting turned by Marty O'Tool and the other was smashed by Lance (although, as he used an edged weapon, the damage was half normal). Follow up attacks finished the wounded skeleton and then the other one, having pushed open the door behind it, was off running (I think it picked up a hit as it did so). It raced through the next room and continued west, down a short corridor, into another room, then south.
Slapp Dashinton caught up to it here and gave it the coup de grace (see the x). As the corridor they were in continued south out of the range of their light, they decided to go back and examine the two rooms they had run through. In one were pallets of shipping material, apparently for tools; in the other was a large and dilapidated tapestry that ran all the way along a 30' wall. The image was faded; but appeared to show very large human looking creatures moving about these very same halls.
They pulled down the tapestry (which fell into rotten pieces) and searched the wall behind for secret doors, finding none. Having used up a fair bit of time here and having to light new torches (and a negative encounter check) they continued exploring down a southern exit, which lead to a long corridor.
|Click to Enlarge
After bypassing a side passage and noting another, they chose to investigate the latter and came upon...goblins! This was the special room. Within the 30' by 40' area, and only 10' from where the party were standing, was to the top of a well. Six goblins, stripped of their armour but still armed, were sitting around the rim of the well; apparently they were getting ready to jump in. Just past them were six more goblins still in their disgusting, smelly but quite effective armour.
Neither side were surprised and the party chose to move up and attack (since they were within 10' of the enemy this can be done without needing to charge), focussing on the naked goblins, who in turn engaged them while they armoured fellows closed from around the well. It was a free for all, goblins and PCs slashing left and right. The party had the benefit of Lance's 10' Protection from Evil, but that wasn't enough save Slapp from getting hit with a morning star for 2 hp.
One of the goblins fell in the well as he was killed, shortly followed by the sound of a splash and the disgruntled chatter of more goblins from below. As the enemy casualties hit 25% they narrowly failed their morale in the range of 1% to 15% "fall back, fighting". What does this actually mean? I ruled that they spent a round stepping back 10 feet to regroup, after which they could continue fighting.
The party advanced and re-engaged, as they passed the well they caught a glimpse of water and the movements and sounds of goblins down there. For two rounds they exchanged blows, with some minor damage taken on the party's side; though not minor for Slap who had only one hit point left and was hit by a 1d6 short sword, he again was hit for 1hp and lucky to be only knocked unconscious.
Even with the monk down, the goblins had lost more of their number which this time triggered a rout. Out of that rout only one got away, racing down the passage to the east which linked up with the beach.
Lance wasn't going to let that one get away; but as he finished him off, and Marty O'Tool was force feeding Slapp some whiskey, the voice of one of the bargemen rang out with a warning that Goblins were attacking the barge, "They're coming up out of the water!"
This was the cue to withdraw, but as they left the room they spotted a tell-tale glint of coins in some open crates near the exit. There was no time to collect it!
Once the party got back to the barge they could see what the man at arms was referring too; about thirty goblins were treading water around the barge and jeering obscenities, working themselves up to attack. There must have been some connection between the well and underground access to the river that the little buggers were using to swim out; maybe this was their method of stealing things from passing traffic?
Now there was a stand off as the the Paladin's intimidation kept the goblins at bay, but the party were loathe push off and leave without the treasure. Larry volunteered to return and get it, relying on his speed and luck to get in and out. So he ran back to the "well room", noted the gold and platinum coins in the crate, and got out a large sack. Now, as the only player this week that had not experienced my amazing "poisoned treasure" gambit from last session (and apparently not having poured over the session report where I went over it in detail) he then began scooping them into a bag, causing some disquiet among the other players whose characters couldn't do a thing about it.
Yes, just like last session, this treasure too was poisoned, with the same crude sticky contact stuff that had nearly done for Slapp; but, where as Slapp had noticed to poison, Larry missed his 80% change to detect it and so had to make a saving throw. To preserve the suspense I made these rolls for him and merely described was happened next over the 2-5 rounds onset time.
While this was going on, some of the goblins had reached the shore, untied leather strips they were wearing around their waists, and began to collect stones from the shore; clearly something had to be done.
Lance and Rowan went down on to the beach and dealt with four goblins that were just fitting stones to their slings. The others were fast learners and stayed in the water where they were safe, but if reinforcements arrived they would be able to join in with them.
The moments stretched out. With the luck of the Elves in his blood, Larry survived the poison and made it back in time for his comrades to urge him to wash his hands post haste.
Then they pushed out into the river until they could move past the goblins and set off for home, making it back to Minas Mandalf without incident to fight another day.