Player DM: Xenarchy
Younger - Human - Barbarian/Rogue 4
Esilwary - Gnome - Bard 3
Galadhir - Wild elf - Cleric/Ranger 2
Aegremar - Giantborn - Barbarian 2
Pit Trap - CR 1
Stone Fall Trap - CR 1 (avoided)
Zippo - Kobold Rogue 5 - CR 4 (mostly non-hostile)
Kobold Fighter 3 - CR 1
Kobold Cleric 3 - CR 2
Kobold Wizard 3 - CR 2
Boulder Trap - Narrative (no CR)
The Scene Begins
In the wake of Alexandria's return, new efforts have been made to investigate the lands surrounding it. Word has started spreading that formerly unknown underground ruins have been uncovered. The adventurers guild has recruited a small band of capable sorts to make sure the place is safe and to bring back any interesting relics (for a suitable fee, of course)
The site looks like a quarry at first. It's been uncovered in layers, the soil has been removed in broad sweeps to uncover much of the ruin's upper portion. The stonework is ancient and weathered, with uncountable nooks and crannies. One major entrance has been marked with chalk, and darkness lurks below.
Galadhir has arrived with little complaint. In fact, the further from the city they got the more cheerful he seems to have become. This all changes once the actual vision of the entrance lies before him. "I don't know why I entertained the hope that the word 'underground' was an exhaggeration." He offers to no one in particular, following it with a mild sigh. He unslings his bow and gives the string a testing pull.
Esilwary's reliability is questionable. Fortunately, he's fair at talking his way into things. The gnome accompanies his newfound comrades to the unveiled ruins, his eyes roaming all the while over the exterior architecture. "Heh. I doubt I'd be able to identify the origin from this," he remarks, attention shifting from the stonework to the mouth of the subterrane. In a cheerily light tone, Esilwary says of what lies before them, "Oh, nothing to worry over. I grew up in a burrow. If it weren't for the ghastly horrors living in there, this place would no doubt feel like home." Wait, what? He takes in a breath and looks over his shoulder, noting, "Whenever we're ready, I believe I can rustle up a bit of light. Looks a bit dim in there, even for my eyes."
The Jotun, Aegremar, is silent when counted amongst the others. The hulking creature has said little for the journey though his demeanor is not unpleasant and he has made brief candid replies to any questions asked of him.
Upon arrival to the quarry he pauses with the rest and leans greatly forward to scrutinize the entrance which has been chalk marked and to the darkness further past. With a heavy sigh he shifts at Galadhir's statement and nods at Esilwary's statement, "Let us hope the Golems slaved in the depths beyond." A comment for his own size and a notion of rapidly narrowing tunnels.
Cigar smoke. Younger. The broguish, rattling voice of his cutting into the ears, "Aye, ifn' dis ain' the place." He claps his hands once, in finality. Looking around, with that thick cigar jammed between his teeth, he focuses his gaze on the entrance. "Aye, der she is. This'n's in'eres'in' already..." He rubs his palms together, and looks to the others, "Look alive, now, aye?" He slurs, through his cigar. Lookiing down at Esilwary, offering no addition to his words, but then looking to the others, "Oi'll take da poin'," He puffs on his cigar, tapping his nose as he blows smoke out of it. "Essulwurry, ye stick wif me. The big'un shoul' plug up the hin'en's, der, an' ye," He gestures to Galadhir, "Hope ye goo' wif dat... Dun stick me wif none ah them errahs." He means arrows. He grins, some form of joke.
Galadhir offers a shrug to Younger. "If quarters become too tight for it, I am prepared for grittier fighting. You have not to worry. Nor from the unliving. The Hunter shall ward us against that." He has no great argument against Younger's proposal and so merely glances to the Jotun to get his take on it.
Esilwary brandishes about the biggest grin he can muster towards Younger, "Stick with you? Heh. I knew you cared!" The gnome giggles at his jab whilst turning to regard the entrance to the ruins. He lifts his closed and, after a moment's time, unfurls his fingers to reveal a wisp of bright light. It divides then into four, two of which float slowly ahead, positioned to illuminate the hall just ahead of the party's leader. The other two remain behind, keeping their rear visible. "That should do us for a little bit. Uh, meaning not very long. Should move." Esilwary removes the fancy composite bow slung across his torso, holding it at the ready.
Aegremar's massive frame turns itself to look upon Younger his beetled brow tensing as if the man required some greater amount of focus than the rest. A second passes when the fellow finishes and wordlessly the giant leans to shift his cloak aside and then reaches back to pull a great cudgel free without protest for the idea of him filling the rear.
Heavy loping strides are slowed and he falls in behind the rest.
The digging efforts have cleared the way in the entrance, and signs of scraping show digging tools were used up to about twenty feet of depth before they stopped. Beyond that is old, crudely worked stone untouched in aeons. There are older marks on the surfaces, maybe pictographs. They're very worn. Beyond, the corridor is barely ten feet across at its widest and the ceiling is rougher than the walls. The taller members of the party will have to watch their heads.
GAME: Younger rolls perception: (6)+9: 15 GAME: Esilwary rolls Perception: (6)+8: 14 GAME: Galadhir rolls perception: (16)+10: 26 GAME: Aegremar rolls perception: (4)+9: 13
To Younger and Galadhir only: You find only the traces of the workmen that dug this place out. Beyond the entrance, no feet have stood here for a long time.
Aided by Esilwary's magic, Younger is able to proceed at the front of the group. His cigar smoke drifts back across the party as he proceeds, his eyes flicking here and there. "Aye, keep movin' now." He says, over his shoulder, and moves ahead...
Esilwary doesn't seem to require any concentration to maintain the lights. That's a good thing, given his short attention span. "This is fascinating," the little scholar declares. "It's too bad these illustrations have suffered such wear. If they were a little clearer, I might recognize something about the builders." He chuckles lightly as he pulls an arrow from his quiver, remarking, "Knowing my life, they're still here, only now they're of the 'walking while rotting' variety."
Galadhir follows the Gnome into the digsite, ducking his head slightly and changing his favored bow for something a little more close quarters. In this case, it is a curved elven longblade of prodigious size. "I hate dungeons..." He mutters to no one in particular. "But at least we're the only ones down here.. for the moment."
The Jotun does not hesitate for the "low" ceiling if only for his birth in the mountains of Dran. He moves with slightly stooped shoulders even if it is not always necessary though a battle between stone out cropping and his thick skull might prove to be a close one indeed.
With his immediate attention focused on the cavern he sees no tracks nor does he seem to care for the marks or pictographs upon the wall.
The giant continues silently forward even as the trail of acrid cigar smoke drifts about his head.
GAME: Younger rolls perception: (19)+9: 28
To Younger only: You put your foot down and notice the stonework start to give. You're quick to spot it. The floor in this section is unstable, with some hollow space below a thin sheet of stone flooring.
Younger comes to quick stop, flashing a signal to stop to those behind him. "Aye, da floor be sof'ere. If'n we walk o'er it, likely it be tah fall in... 'Oo knows wha's below it." He laughs, looking up, "Ye almos' got me." Twisting, he looks to the group, "It's lookin' loik ten feet, mebbe a li'l less..." He seems to consider options, smoke rising in front of his face.
GAME: Esilwary rolls Knowledge/Dungeoneering+2: (1)+10+2: 13
"Honestly couldn't tell you whether or not it's a deliberate trap," says Esilwary, sucking air through his teeth as he examines the floor and surrounding stonework. "Probably not. I mean, if it was, it'd make getting in and out a little difficult for the original owners. Well, unless they could float." He's seen stranger things. "Eh. Hmm. Hey, Younger, didn't I see you tie a rope bridge once? Got us down the slope in that ice cave." Casually, the gnome clarifies, "The one with the ice-sludge-arcane-spirit-thing."
Galadhir glances back to the Jotun then to the pair before him. "I'm afraid this is out of my element. While I might occasionally hunt Carcaroth's spawn into their burrows... it is hardly a common experience for me. I have rope, if that will help."
Aegremar stops without colliding into Galadhir though the suddenness of the gesture makes it close. Even stooped he is able to easily watch the happenings up front and regards them with a stern interest though his attention falls to the man in front of him when he is addressed directly.
Then nodding, "I do not want to fall into a pit." His deep voice swells in the cavern, "Remove the floor." He says then, "If it will not hold us then why do we need to guess where the danger ends?"
Younger flares his nose, looking down at Esilwary. He seems to listen to the Gnome, not even assaulting him, verbally or otherwise. "Aye. This'n's a bit tougher'n'at'ne." Looking away from Esil to Galadhir, he just gives him a contemptable look. And then looks back toward the problem again, putting one hand on his waist. He looks more like an engineer on a job site than an Adventurer, "Oi'd need tah piton dah wall's or somethin, tah anchor da ropes..." He scratches his chin. "Oi dun see..." When the Jotun speaks, Younger nods. He likes his logic. "Aye." With that, he whips out his club and brings it down against the floor...
Crack! The ground gives way easily. The thin stone falls apart, showing it was only held barely and any force would have made it collapse. The stone tumbles down to form rubble on the floor of another similar corridor below. This corridor travels perpendicular to the one above it.
It's about twenty feet down, quite a drop but the rough stone shouldn't be too hard to climb should one wish to descend.
GAME: Younger rolls climb: (14)+11: 25
Wasting no time, Younger quickly knots off a rope (for those less climbing-inclined -- No, it's not because he /cares/!) and anchors it nearby. Sliding down into the murk, he seems to have little regard for the unknown, seemingly intrepid to a fault...
GAME: Esilwary casts Feather Fall.
Esilwary peers down into the exposed hole, assessing the considerable distance between this floor and the one below. "Do I want to deal with this magically, or shall I be adventurous and maybe crack my skull?" The gnome opts for the former, in one of his more rational moments. His small work of magic seems to come naturally, rendering his body - and those of the two behind him - unnaturally light. As all of the wispy lights drift ahead and dive into the hole, so does Esilwary, dropping to the floor below with the aid of feathery goodness.
Galadhir is accustomed to magic, albeit from other sources, and accepts the token with a vaguely amused smile. Trusting to Eluna's guardianship of the arcane, he steps out into space and allows himself to drift safely to the bottom. "Thank you." He offers to Esilwary with a nod.
There's a sense approval in the Jotun's gaze when Younger decides to strike the floor though he says nothing of it aloud. As the stone gives way he resists the momentary urge to muscle his way to the front to see what was revealed though leaning over them he is not blind to what occurred.
When Younger seems to make it down without a hitch the largish being can then get even closer though he waits his turn to descend into the darkness. Though enchanted the Giantborn is not immediately inclined to forgo his strength to rely on the spell craft and thus re-slings his cudgel attempts to climb. The cushion of magic still buoys his efforts, however, and so its not really a great test of him anyway though he feels better for trying.
Finding "ground" again he pulls the great bashing instrument out again and continues at the rear of things.
As the light shifts, the extent of the corridor becomes more visible. It extends one way long down into the dark, beyond the reach of the lights. In the opposite direction, it opens up into a wider chamber. The floor slopes upward and the chamber appears to be on a slant.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+15: (3)+15: 18 GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+5: (3)+5: 8 GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+4: (14)+4: 18 GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20-1: (18)+-1: 17
GAME: Galadhir rolls perception: (15)+10: 25 GAME: Esilwary rolls Perception: (10)+8: 18 GAME: Aegremar rolls perception: (10)+9: 19 GAME: Younger rolls perception: (16)+9: 25
Just at the edge of the light, there are three, maybe four small figures trying to move stealthily. They're reptillian in stature, with little tails sticking out behind them. Kobolds! It's hard to make out right now, but their silhouettes are unusual. Two of them appear to be wearing hats of some elaborate construction.
GAME: Aegremar rolls intimidate+4: (20)+6+4: 30
The Jotun's eyes adjust to the dim conditions and then immediately make out the forms of scrabbling creatures ahead. His square jaw sets with a grimace and wide shoulders square to fill the tunnel a slow intake of air causes powerful chest to swell.
"Hey!" His voice echoes like a great peal thunders through the cavern his powerful arms bringing the great cudgel upward and pointing it over the heads of his allies and towards the scampering creatures ahead, "Take off your hat and come here." He commands with the brutish force of his ancestors, "Or I'm coming over there and taking it and your head off." He glowers as if annoyed to have to walk in there after him.
GAME: Galadhir rolls sense motive: (11)+10: 21
To Galadhir only: They don't look like they are here for a fight, but they're ready to defend themselves.
Wary to a fault, Galadhir has no great love for kobolds. On the other hand, he could care less about human archaeology. He takes a step forward and makes a point of making eye contact with the stealthiest of the lot. "I think neither of us wishes to die this day. Our purpose is to explore this ruin for.. some bookish sorts. What is yours?" He has a rather wicked looking two-handed blade in his hands but its not pointing at anyone.. yet.
The kobolds squeak, taken aback by the roar of Aegremar, even those who were not targeted by the full force of his threat. The one in black leathers and little shortswords in both hands hops up on a rock. He makes a dramatic flourish with his blades, cutting a 'Z' in the air and announces, "I am Zippo, saviour of Solmnus and hero of all the peoples of Alexandria! Do not turn your wrath on us, for we are great and heroic adventurers!" He gestures at his fellows. "We got here first, so the prize is ours!" The little performance is quite confident and stylish, for a certain sense of style.
GAME: Esilwary rolls 1d20+2: (10)+2: 12
Esilwary's more of an orator, himself, but he's seen plenty of theatre in his time. "Savior of Alexandria, huh?" He scratches thoughtfully at his jaw as he remarks, "Haven't met many kobolds who'd make that claim? Are you sure you didn't just, say, sneak in and try to ferret out the prize before the Guild could?" His suspicion's a bit cynical, but then, gnomes and kobolds don't exactly have a history of getting along. As Esilwary engages this Zippo in conversation, the floating wisps of light slowly drift apart, better illuminating the corridor - and the remaining reptilefolk, ideally.
With the light spread out a bit more, it's clear that there's a primitive idol sitting upon a pedestal at the end of the sloped chamber, at its highest point. The thing is old and worn, with some shiny metalwork on it. It's probably immensely valuable to a museum.
The most heavily armoured kobold steps up beside the rock and pulls the visor of the helmet down. It's a funny shaped helmet, to fit over a kobold head. The lizardy warrior readies a heavy shield and miniature longsword. There's a squeaky grunt, but no words. This one isn't a talker.
GAME: Esilwary rolls Spellcraft: (12)+9: 21 GAME: Galadhir rolls spellcraft: (19)+5: 24
Esilwary and Galadhir recognise the cleric is casting bless.
The kobold in the white mitre steps up behind the fighter and lifts a silver holy symbol, intoning a prayer. "Blessed Nest Mother, Guardian of Eggs, aid us and guide us!" The divine light spreads out and suffuses softly into the kobold party.
GAME: Galadhir rolls knowledge/religion: (19)+5: 24 GAME: Esilwary rolls 1d20+2: (6)+2: 8
To Galadhir only: It's a bit obscure, but the kobold may be a worshipper of Althea, in a koboldy way.
"Listen up!" Younger calls out, stepping forward a bit. He's still unarmed. He looks first to the little Zipper, or whatever. "Loo'ere, ye li'l runt. Ge'outta our way, get all ye s crawny li'l cretin's outta my way. Oi'm ah fun-lovin', bleedin' Explorah, wif an official article ah inc'pration, spacifically authored fer my exploration an' reclaimation ah the entirety ah this 'ere ruins." He takes a breath, casually pulling out his club, as if he were a maitre'd presenting a fine champagne. "So, Oi'm gonna give 'e til da coun' ah five," He grins, holding up his left hand. He ticks the thumb down, "Four. Ye bes' get runnin'. Yew dunno me yet, li'l cretin, but Oi'm Bruce Da Younga. T'ree." He ticks another finger down... "One. I ain't too good at countin'... I'm real good at killin' an eatin' kobolds, aye." He grins at the their little Fighter, how cute! He gives him a little wink, showing one gold tooth.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+2: (3)+2: 5
"Wah! I don't wanna die!" The kobold in the pointy wizard hat (with stars and moons on it) and robe hunches down behind a rock and launches a spell over it. A beam of red hot light sears past Younger, missing him in part due to the kobold's terror.
GAME: Aegremar rolls melee+5: (9)+6+5: 20
By his very nature the Jotun does not seem disinclined for violence though the statement of 'no one wants to die' merits Galadhir a glance before looking up the passage to the kobolds again, "I don't wanna fight.." The hulking creature admits, "..but I'm not gonna get stuck either." He says for Zippo's flourish with the blades.
His heavy gaze falls to the Wizard who runs and begins hurling fire.
A flash of anger knots upon the giant's features and he shoulders down and charges the expanse swinging the Earthbreaker sideways if only because the room will not allow him to bring it above his head.
The Earthbreaker impacts upon the boulder sending rocky shards flying.
GAME: Galadhir rolls diplomacy: (15)+6: 21
"Hold!" Galadhir yells in a somewhat vain attempt to out'loud' the Jotun. "There is no need for bloodshed this day." He looks pointedly now to the wizard and Aegremar then sweeps to the other kobolds. "I realize that this one has the diplomatic skills of a rock." There's a nod to Younger. "But I have no desire to slay a priest of the Mother nor a servant of the Platinum Dragon, either. Nor, I think, do they wish harm to a priest of the Beast King." There's a sobering glance now to the clerical kobold and the eloquent thief. "So we have a choice. Slay allies of the light for a petty trinket. Or find a way out of this without bloodshed."
"You speak wisely!" Zippo sheathes his blades and hops down from the rock. "Zippo the Amazing and his faithful band choose not to defeat you in combat today!" Zippo gives the wizard and Aegremar significant looks then dashes up to the idol and plucks it off its pedestal with a bit of effort. Something goes click. There's a rumbling above. "Uh oh."
"Wait. They worship ...?" Esilwary seems to not immediately believe what he's hearing from Galadhir's mouth. Still, given a perfectly good opportunity to strike, he doesn't take it. The gnome steps aside and watches the little kobold snatch the idol, apparently setting off something unpleasant in the process. "Hero of Alexandria. Right." He remains exactly where he is, not moving an inch in light of the rumbling sound. Where's he to go?
GAME: Aegremar rolls melee+3: (14)+6+3: 23 GAME: Aegremar rolls 2d6+6: (6)+6: 12
Oblivious to the 'click' and uncaring for the diplomacy of a man he does not know the Jotun pivots as the other two rush past and bodily connects with the cleric. There is a sickening crunch as he buries the weapon into the creatures chest.
( Younger had to leave at this point. )
The wizard takes advantage of Aegremar's distraction. While the barbarian cleaves into the cleric, the kobold arcanist casts a spell of invisibility and vanishes. Next comes the sound of little clawed feet running down the corridor.
Though the cleric still lives the immediate severity of the trauma causes the Jotun to dismiss him and look wildly to the rock only to witness that the Wizard has vanished.
He huffs angrily at this and then finds Zippo perched idol-in-hand. The rage still within him his muscles are right as shoulders rise and fall with each breath.
Yet Zippo is unarmed, the rage begins to subside as no threat is obvious and with a hesitance he takes a wary step backward to the newly realized rumble, "We should leave." Then looking to the battered cleric, "I will carry you if needed." He offers his aid there but does not apologize for the force of his swing.
Galadhir eyes Zippo then the cleric. "For devotees, I find your lack of faith disturbing. But we will deal with that another day, shall we?" He gestures down the corridor with his blade as if to make a suggestion then begins making his own retreat.
GAME: Xenarchy rolls 1d20+12: (10)+12: 22
"Hey! Hey, wait for me!" Zippo is the last kobold in the cavern, all the others already fled down the corridor. He looks back to see the wall shudder and a smooth, rounded boulder crashes through it. "Aaack! Why does this always happen to meeeee!" Everyone has got a head start on escaping and the tunnel leads straight out a cliff face and into a lake. All the kobolds are good swimmers, splooshing into the water to get away. The cleric spends a moment to heal some wounds. Zippo runs just ahead of the boulder and spots a hanging rope at the last moment. "We'll meet again!" He calls out, swinging acrobatically to carry himself up the vertal shaft.
Esilwary seems at first confused by the outburst of violence nearby. He holds up a staying hand as he rather pitifully pleads, "Uh, wait, we can work this ..." And there goes the big guy's hammer. The gnome's efforts at diplomacy trail off, his attention drawn to the sudden appearance of a boulder where once there was a wall. "Nevermind. Time to run!" For a fellow with such short legs, the scholar can really haul ass when he needs to. He goes, and goes, and finally leaps out into the open air above the lake. Esilwary's descent is a pleasant, feathery one, magic providing a parachute until he achieves touchdown.
The Jotun looks to the approaching bolder and there is that half-moment of consideration where he debates whether or not even his greatest feat of strength could stop it. Surely -that- would be a feat worthy of a heroic tale.
Deciding that the greater possibility of death was not worth the slim chance of success he turns and rushes after the Kobolds. Long strides power him through the wide corridors his long legs and barbaric unbringing allowing him to likely outpace all except Younger.
Reaching the cliff's edge he does not hesitate but leaps out across the expanse and plummets into the lake. Whereas he might have had trouble with the boulder his titanic strength allows him to easily swim in chain and he does so, to safety..
Boom! The boulder shoots out of the tunnel mouth like a cannonball, flying far into the lake and landing with a tremendous splash. Nobody is harmed, but Zippo got away with the idol! Fortunately, the caverns themselves have now been 'detrapped' and the safety for the archaeologists will certainly earn the party a fair sum for their troubles.