The party surged forward to battle the surviving kobolds, who promptly turned and fled. Thonn was quicker, however, and grabbed one of the blighters for questioning. Another of the kobolds was slain, but the final one—the sole survivor—escaped down a passageway leading south. Shortly thereafter, the characters heard a horn being blown frantically.
The party now questioned their prisoner and discovered some worrying facts. It transpired the kobold belonged to a large tribe numbering at least 50 and that there was essentially no way to reach the surface from the kobolds’ lair. Further questioning revealed this not to be completely true: there was a way out to the south, but that a red dragon—Xasoth—laired that way! This news did not go down well with the party, although the kobold’s description of “piles of treasure” certainly whetted the heroes’ appetites…
Bodrum vaguely recalled the dragon’s name from a century-old tale, but sadly the specifics eluded him, and so the party was left with no more knowledge than that the dragon was (probably) at least 100 years old.
After a hurried discussion, the heroes decided to offer the kobold tribe an alliance: they would gift the kobolds treasure if they would allow the party through their territory. Their prisoner was despatched with the offer.
About ten minutes later, the kobold returned with his chief’s terms. The party discussed the terms, and then slew the kobold out of hand—much to Bodrum’s outrage—for the chief had asked for too much.
With this (unsurprising) change of plan, the party plotted what to do next. Clearly, a great mass of kobolds awaited them to the south, and so they headed east into an area of seemingly abandoned caves and passages. Eventually, they came to the bottom of a gentle 50-foot high slope strewn with boulders and scree.
Cautiously, the party climbed upwards, Thonn in the lead. While the slope proved easy to climb, danger—in the form of a huge albino serpent hiding in a hollow under a large stone—lurked amid the boulders. The huge animal tried to bite Thonn, and only the half-orc’s warrior-reflexes saved him from a nasty bite. Battle was joined, and as his friends struggled to manoeuvre to help him, Thonn was bitten twice; although the half-orc’s preternatural vitality helped him stave off immediate death, the situation seemed grim…