Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rise of the Runelords Recap # 14 [RPG]

[5 Lamashan 4707 continued]

The adventurers open the door across the hallway from Orik Vancaskerkin’s room to find a bedroom with a faint musty odor and a stack of birds’ feet heaped on the blood-stained floor.  A search of the room turns up nothing further of interest, but by the time they’re done they hear Orik moving about and getting ready to start his day.  A quick whispered conversation is held, and the adventurers agree on a plan: “kill him!”  The moment Orik steps out of his room, the adventurers attack.  Nedrin begins to shimmer for a moment and then stabs Orik through the abdomen with his longsword, and the others pile on.  Orik tries to make a deal as he fights frantically for his life, but no quarter is given and the “Heroes of Sandpoint” slit his throat once he falls unconscious.  Arnald takes Orik’s bastard sword and heavy steel shield that has been designed to resemble a human face. The other rooms at the end of this hallway also turn out to be bedrooms.  Nedrin finds a chunk of obsidian he considers quite valuable, and underneath it are drafts of plans written by Tsuto Konjiku for the initial raid on Sandpoint.

As the adventurers leave the area and reach the point where they slew the bugbear Bruthazmus, a goblin strolls to the bottom of the stairs with a tray in its hands.  When it sees the puddle of blood outside of the harem room and an elf (Shalelu) standing next to it, the goblin shrieks, drops the tray, and bolts up the stairs!  The adventurers don’t react quickly enough to stop him, so instead of chasing him they prepare for the inevitable goblin counter-attack and take up defensive positions.  Nedrin hears a booming voice from above shouting in the goblin tongue to “send the fodder down with the hounds”, and, sure enough, four goblin dogs and three goblins charge down the stairs.  But the adventurers are ready for them and let loose with a barrage of arrows.  The skilled archery of Nedrin and Shalelu, combined with Arnald’s massive great axe and Felix’s fists of fury, quickly create a pile of dead assailants at the bottom of the stairs.  The heroes emerge from the battle unscathed!

Shalelu shouts “let’s finish this!” and charges up the stairs with the others at her heels.  The adventurers find themselves in a trophy room of sorts, as poorly preserved horse and dog heads are mounted along one wall while a large pair of black-feathered wings are tacked to another wall with several daggers.  A large pair of double-doors, barred from the inside, indicate the front exit of the stockade.  The intruders first scout down a western corridor to find a guard tower that’s empty except for a stashed jar of half-eaten pickles.  Turning north and moving further into the stockade, the party reaches an open-air courtyard.  Doors along the southern wall lead to rabbit cages and a food storage room.  To the north, two dead goblins lay slumped on the ground near a door that has been nailed shut.  Hearing thumping from within, the adventurers prepare for battle as Arnald cuts the door down with his axe.  He’s surprised to see a black and white horse inside, starved nearly to death, frantic with fear and hunger.  It bites Arnald before passing out from sheer exhaustion.

A search of the seemingly empty stockade continues, as the adventurers find a filthy latrine (“we’re not searching through that!” says Felix), a barracks, a planning room, and more.  When they reach a locked door, Felix puts his ear to it and his keen hearing picks up whispering on the other side, which Nedrin then translates: the goblins inside know the adventurers are coming.  Rather than force the issue now, the group decides to continue searching the rest of the stockade.

When the group reach the eastern guard tower, Nedrin scales to the top and sees the body of the sentry he so aptly targeted when the group made their seaborne approach to Thistletop.  Nedrin takes a careful look to ensure the group’s rowboat is still tied to the cliffside, but instead he spies something very different: Lyrie Akenja has somehow gotten free of her bonds and is rowing the boat towards the mainland!  The adventurers are not about to let a former captive escape with their best way off the island, so they unleash a volley of arrows at the ill-fated scholar.  She’s pierced through and through with arrows, and although she somehow survives long enough to jump into the water to try to swim for safety, Arnald finishes her off with an expert shot and her body floats gently on the waves.

Warchief Ripnugget
The determined adventurers return to the first subterranean level of Thistletop so that Felix can scale down the side of the cliff and then swim out to recover the boat.  He also pulls Lyrie’s body on board and (after fending off and throwing her cat familiar into the sea) strips the body of possessions, including going so far as to remove the woman’s pearl earrings.  He dumps the corpse, along with a thick book she was carrying, into the water and rows the boat back to the island.  There, the group work together to secure it again. The adventurers return to the stockade on the surface of the island and prepare to attack what they surmise is Warchief Ripnugget’s throne room.  Arnald chops down the door to reveal Ripnugget mounted on a giant gecko.  Ripnugget’s planned trap is foiled when Felix notices three goblin commandos hiding behind spiked timbers and a warchanter crouching behind the throne.  Ripnugget tries to lure Felix further into the room, but the Shoanti warrior is in no mood for conversation.  The battle begins!  Arnald charges into the room and is quickly surrounded before falling prey to a malicious enchantment cast by the warchanter, which leads the mercenary to fall into bouts of hysterical laughter!  Nedrin doesn’t leave his ally defenceless, however, as he enters the room and kills Ripnugget’s mount with a single arrow.  Felix also enters to fight next to Arnald and taunts Ripnugget, but the powerful goblin chief responds by stabbing the pugilist in the belly.  As Shalelu fires arrow after arrow, Nedrin draws his sword and lands a telling slash on the back of Ripnugget’s neck.  The battle is over almost as soon as it began, and the entire Thistletop goblin tribe has been wiped out.

After looting the corpses and completing a search of the stockade (finding an armoury and a butchery in the process), the adventurers return to the lower level.  After further exploration turns up the keys to the cages, Felix shows mercy by putting the goblin females inside along with the infants.  The adventurers continue their exploration and open a door that turns out to be the southwest entrance to a chapel dedicated to the Mother of Monsters, the demonic goddess Lamashtu!  Along with stone fonts, a black marble stone altar, and a ten foot tall statue of Lamashtu, the chapel is home to two unearthly hairless canines that fly and exude an air of menace and cruelty.  Sensing intruders, they let loose with a terrifying, uncanny howl that echoes through the entire complex.  Nedrin manages to stand firm, but all of his companions flee in panick!  The hobgoblin wisely retreats, shutting the doors to the chapel behind him.  The creatures, known as yeth hounds, begin slamming their bodies against the doors to break free.

Yeth Hounds
The adventurers come to their senses and gather their courage to make a stand in the prison chamber just seconds before the yeth hands break the door down.  Nedrin and Arnald are knocked to the ground repeatedly by the hounds’ unrelenting bites.  Shalelu fires a veritable quiver-full of arrows to kill one of the creatures, while Arnald’s axe opens huge gashes in the other before Felix manages to finish it off with a punch into the back of its throat!

The adventurers have triumphed over every obstacle so far, but they’re beginning to get worn down.  Yet their task is unfinished, as the true mastermind behind the assault on Sandpoint has not yet been brought to justice . . .

Director's Commentary (7/05/2017)

Felix's remark about the latrine, "We're not searching through that!" will prove amusing to GMs who have run this chapter.

This iteration of the party was quite bloody and brutal!  Slitting poor Orik's throat and drowning Lyrie's cat are good examples.  I was actually really surprised they managed to see Lyrie rowing away with the boat, as I had expected they would go to leave and be surprised to realize that the boat was gone.

The battle against Ripnugget was pretty easy.  As this point, goblins just weren't going to be a threat against the adventurers.  Yeth hounds, however, are a whole 'nother kettle of fish.  Will saves were not the PCs' strong suit, and this would prove their undoing next session.

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