After defeating the kobolds standing watch in the ruins of the keep, the party decides to press on. Ryu leads their careful descent down the stairs. As he reaches the bottom he steps on a loose flagstone, which thumps back into place. The sound startles a lone goblin warrior, who was walking away down a hall. Ashdown takes initiative and attempts to shock the goblin with a clever limerick cataloging its many inadequacies. Unfortunately the goblin fails to grasp the subtlety of the message and shrugs off the harassment. Zelathoth reacts and rushes to silence the goblin before it can shout for help. His hasty advance is halted when the floor suddenly drops out from below him. The hidden pit trap swallows Zelathoth, where he lands flat on his back and surrounded by a swarm of hungry rats. Ryu, now seeing the trap, uses his eldrich power to fly across the room and engage the goblin.
“That trap really is something isn’t it? I know it’s cliche but a well designed pit trap is the mark of a master. I keep those rats down there by tossing old meat into the pit. I think they like me. I kept one in my room for a while, until Bob got mad at it for stealing some coins. Hate that Bob! I made the covering for that trap myself. It looked good but I talked my friend Jassik, he’s a kobold… they are really good at traps. Though, not as good as me. Jassik is a wyrmpriest, he made that old tarp look just like the floor. I really liked Jassik, he was a nice kobold. I’m not sure he really wanted to be here. He had a pretty mate… or so he said, not really my type, and a clutch of koboldlings. He told me all their names but I forget them, there were lots though. Shame you had to murder him. I’m sure his kids will be just fine, you know… growing up without a dad and all.”
Finally regaining its wits the goblin unleashes a shrill cry for help… Jigjo translates it roughly as “Unholy depths of the nine hells! Guys, get up here… there’s a whole bunch of asses to kick! Oh, and Nob, you owe that Splug 5 gold… his trap got one!” He spits all this out in seconds while swinging wildly at Ryu, to no effect. The team spends several seconds moving into position or trying to fight off the gnashing teeth of dozens of angry rats. They are quickly joined by 3 more goblins. Two sharpshooters plug away with hand crossbows, while another warrior enters from an adjacent hallway. The fall and the rats wittle away at Zelathoth until he can get a breath and kill or scatter the rats.
“Sucks about the rats, they were really nice. They make great pets you know, really smart and super sneaky. I trained one to clean up people’s rooms, you know. He’d pick up little items people left cluttering their rooms and bring em to me. Bob stomped him though, accused him of stealing. Bob’s a jerk!”
The fight drags on a bit as both sides seem to find new ways to miss one another. The party uses the time to improve their positions and finally start to get the upper hand. The goblin warriors are the first to fall. This allows Ryu and Jigjo the freedom to close on the sharpshooters. The sharpshooters make a go of it, shifting and shooting their way around their barracks. It’s only a matter of a few seconds though before the party is able to surround and take out one of them. The last goblin, bloodied and scared… takes off down a side hall.
“That would be Nob, he’s a real stooge. HEY! Nob owes me some gold! …oh, guess I won’t be getting it now will I?”
Half the party runs around a corner and sets up to ambush the fleeing goblin. Ryu and Jigjo give chase, harrying the goblin as he runs… head on into the ambush. The party straight up murders “Nob, his name was Nob!”
Nob ending the fight and establishing a foothold under the old keep.
“You know if you are going to write this story you need to make it more interesting. I’m trying to help but this reads like instructions for darning socks. I hate darning socks, you know… that’s kinda hard. We should write a book to help all those poor goblins
erm‘folks’ that get stuck darning socks for a whole gang just because they forget to give socks back when they borrow them. Oh, yeah writing… your story needs some dragons, you should add some dragons. You know what, you could call it Dungeons and Dragons… we’ve got plenty of dungeon. Hey look a rat…”
A Giant Dragon roars and charges into the hallway that houses our heroes. A small goblin (that isn’t Jigjo) gets casually stomped on as the mighty beast lumbers into the room. Shocked at the foul squish on it’s terrifyingly taloned toe, the dragon takes flight up the stairs picking the stain off its foot as it departs.
“Fine, FINE! no dragons!”
Ahem, where… ah yes. Our heroes find themselves in a baracks/guardroom. A quick search yields very little in the way of loot. Tossing the two cots reveals nothing more than a couple bedbug infested goblin mattresses and nasty many-stained sheets. Having explored the rooms, the party turns it’s attention to their next course. Jigjo quiets the party and listens to the sounds of the keep. From one hallway goblin voices can be heard, from another the sharp ring of metal. After a short deliberation the party decides to head towards the goblin voices.
Zelathoth, clearly drawing on tactical experience gained in the Last War, determines that the situation is ripe for an ambush of their own. He directs the party to take positions behind the walls and pillars of the room at the bottom of the stairs from the outside. Jigjo is tasked with drawing the other goblins out, and down the hall into the the ambush. A quick scouting reveals that the voices are coming from behind a door at the end of a long hall around a corner. After returning for a quick costume change with the help of Ashdown, Jigjo moves back into position. He shouts a warning in goblin, beseeching the goblins beyond the door to help in an attack. “Help, enemies in the keep! They are in the barracks, quickly you must help.” This has the desired affect of getting the attention of a surly hobgoblin and his retinue. After berating Jigjo for disturbing him yet again, the hobgoblin orders his squad to follow Jigjo. Hastily, Jigjo beats a retreat to the ambush room… leading the goblin squad into the trap. One of the goblin warriors charges ahead after he catches a glimpse of Ashdown in the room. Unfortunately for him, Zelathoth is waiting around the first corner and slices him as he runs by.
“I sure wish I could’ve seen the look on Bob’s face… Bob’s the hobgoblin. I don’t really think his name is Bob. I just call him that because he won’t tell me his real name. Bob is terrible at cards, but he’s good at making things squirm and tell their secrets. I really hate that guy. He killed a rat that I had as a pet. Got me locked up by accusing me of cheating at cards and taking all the ale rations. Imagine that! Me Cheating! I don’t cheat, it’s not my fault people keep dealing me 5 towers! He’s a sore looser… and a jerk too! Hate that guy! Where was I… oh yeah, that was a great trap. You guys are really smart. I sure am glad I decided to join up with you guys.”
The party trades blows with the goblins as they move down the hall. Ryu blocks their advance but takes a beating and briefly goes down before being healed back up. The Hobgoblin wields a red hot poker, a bad attitude, and some very special armor. His armor is able to delay his inevitable demise, shrugging off a volley of Marc’s arrows. However, eventually he is brought down by the combined efforts of the party. With the hobgoblin down, the warrior and two sharpshooters soon follow. One lone goblin sharpshooter, clearly brighter than the rest has been peppering Ryu with shots and ducking back around a corner. With the hallway cleared, Jigjo is able to rush down and engage the goblin. This last goblin doesn’t last long once the rest of the party is able to join. He goes down putting and end to this fight.
“See right here, you should describe Bob’s fangs. He’s got these disgusting yellow fangs and horrible breath. He breaths through his mouth and his breath is fetid even for a dungeon. What about Bob’s armor, he had this magic armor he was always braging about… though I guess it didn’t help him out in the end. You didn’t even mention that the Ryu guy was lit on fire by Bob’s poker. You should always mention when people get lit on fire. Stories with heroes on fire are always better than those without. What kinda thing is that Ryu anyway? I’ll have to ask him. He’s always so quiet but he didn’t suggest killing me so I guess he’s my friend. This next part is my favorite part.”
Horrible whining and crys for help can be heard from the room the hobgoblin had occupied. Investigating the sounds the party locates a sniveling husk of a goblin who introduces himself as ‘Splug’. Splug explains that he’s been incarcerated unjustly, accused of cheating at cards and various other infractions against his fellow goblins. Splug makes his case to the party, pleading for freedom. He explains that he knows the secrets of traps throughout the keep, and knows ‘passwords’. His barrage of information overwhelms even the just Zelathoth and executing Splug is briefly considered. In the end, the party decides to keep Splug close, figuring he may be able to prove valuable… somehow.
“Come on now, they knew how helpful I’d be right from the start. That’s why they asked me to join up with them. They even gave me Bob’s poker and let me grab some armor. We are going to take out that fat bastard Balgron. That’ll teach him to lock Splug in a cage!”
Splug’s fate determined, the party turns their attention to another of the goblin’s prisoners. One of the cages contains an unconscious kobold. Marc bandages the kobold, restoring it to consciousness. Awakened but confused, the kobold mumbles incoherently for a bit before regaining his wits. Under Zelathoth’s skeptical questioning the kobold reveals that his name is Issithik and he was the leader of the kobols south of winterhaven until recently. Kalathel ordered him replaced when he wouldn’t agree to use his tribe in more direct attacks against the settlements in the area. Issithik new that his people would never survive the task regardless of Kalathel’s promises. Ultimately he was unable to convince the party that they needed to immediately help him regain control of his clan. His commitment to end the attacks on Winterhaven fell on deaf ears. The party didn’t feel he was trustworthy and decided to stay focused on finding and stopping the ritual Kalathel is purported to be conducting.
“Jassik didn’t want to talk about this Issithik guy. He seemed surprised when I told him about him and asked if he was still alive. He got uncomfortable when I mentioned he was. I forget what else he said, I was talking to him about this cool idea I had for a pit trap. I’m glad we decided to continue after Balgron and not run off after the kobolds. Winterhaven is a crappy little town anyway. Only one tavern and it has a horrible selection of ale. Won’t be missed when it’s burnt down.”