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EoD 12: Plans & Explorations

Elmo managed to get severely bitten by several tiny vipers lurking in another rubbish-filled chamber
EoD 12: Plans & Explorations

After a wet night and an extensive discussion, the party decided to try and ingratiate themselves with the bandits with a view to winning their trust and friendship before betraying and slaughtering them.

To that end, they quickly returned to the scene of the goblin ambush they had defeated three days ago. There, they culled the goblins’ ears to sell the illusion that they were goblin hunters.

Returning to the ruined keep, with Theoden masquerading as the group's leader, they made cautious contact with the bandits. The bandits seemed to believe the party's deception and, furthermore, seemed, at worst, ambivalent to the group's presence and perhaps even happy that someone had come to eradicate the goblins. The gang's leader—a black-haired half-elven woman who bore more than a passing resemblance to one of the wanted posters the group carried with them—promised the heroes her friendship if the adventurers slew the goblins.

With this quasi-alliance made, the characters cautiously approached the ruined keep. All inside seemed quiet and abandoned, although first appearances proved deceptive!

Some of the rooms were empty and abandoned, but the group quickly discovered a straight staircase leading down into the hill below the keep. While keeping watch there, Polumya managed—ironically—to set off an explosive fire trap that set his cloak and hair aflame! Lion’s quick action saved Polumya from serious injury, but the sound of the explosion and Polumya subsequently rolling a magic light pebble down the stairs likely forewarned anything lurking below that intruders were in the keep.

Much of the rest of the ruined ground floor was abandoned, filled with rubbish and had likely been looted multiple times. Irrespective, however, the party found some small amount of wealth and an intriguing set of iron-chained double doors. Lion was keen to open the doors to see what lurked within, but cooler—or perhaps more cautious or cowardly—heads prevailed.

Giant rats—placated by Dimble’s speak with the animal ability—laired in another room while Elmo managed to get severely bitten by several tiny vipers lurking in another rubbish-filled chamber. If it had not been for Polumya's healing magic, the redoubtable half-orc could—perhaps—have ended his adventuring career then and there.

This encounter caused the party to pause. Several of them had expended considerable resources exploring the upper level, and it seemed likely goblins yet lurked below. While some of the group rested, Helmia assumed giant rat form and snuck down the long stairs to see what lurked below.

At the bottom of the long stairs, she discovered a large room—although she could not see the whole chamber as it seemed to extend back and behind the stairs upon which she stood. A fire smouldered on the floor, and slender pillars held the ceiling aloft. Four goblins lurked here; they had overturned their table and chairs and made a barricade of sorts. All four intently watched the stairs…

This post is a session summary from my weekly 5e D&D Edgelands of Darkness campaign set in the Duchy of Ashlar.