Session 4 – 12/06/16
Campaign Day 3 – 18th Eleasis – Morning
The party spend their first night in the town of Nightstone camped out in the Nightstone Inn. They still aren't sure they trust Kella, and they have a live goblin prisoner as well, so there are two people awake on watch at any time both at the inn and in one of the town's guard towers. The night passes uneventfully.
The day dawns on the 18th day of Eleasis (Highsun), the eighth month. The party and Kella wake up and eat an improvised breakfast in the common room, while they divide the loot they have collected. The dwarf-sized armor won't fit anybody so they keep it aside for now. Siero takes the potion of healing that they found on the big goblin, because he's mobile and hard to kill, so he's a good choice to reviving party members who go down. Silas takes the potion of heroism that they found upstairs in the inn, in case he needs to be a hero!
Captain Morgan is drinking a liquid breakfast and chatting with Kella. He claims that "if we're going to be travelling together, we should turn over a new leaf and establish a friendship", but the conversation turns into something of an interrogation.
Morgan: "So why exactly did you come to Nightstone? I can't see any reason why anybody would travel this far out."
Kella: "I told you, I came to visit the Temple of Lathander. Also, the Nightstone has some spiritual significance for me. Did you know that it radiates magic? Nobody has ever figured out what it's for."
Morgan: "Did anyone send you here on their behalf?"
Kella: "No, I just decided on my own to come."
Morgan: "And you have no memory whatsoever of the attack?"
Kella: "Unfortunately not, it all happened while I was upstairs, and I was knocked out by the rock that crashed through my room. So I never saw anything."
Morgan: "So how do you explain the goblin that we found dead here in the inn, with a crossbow bolt in his back that matches the ones you were carrying?"
Kella: "Um… I don't explain it."
At this point Captain Morgan casts Charm Person on her, hoping to gain her trust. Kella is caught off guard and succumbs to the spell.
Morgan: "Siero, can you bring that crossbow bolt over here? …. Look, it has grey fletching on it. Let's compare it to the ones that you have."
Kella: "What crossbow bolts?"
Morgan: "The ones in your quiver right there."
Kella: "Oh, THOSE crossbow bolts. Here you go. They do look very similar."
Morgan: "So how do you explain the goblin getting shot with your crossbow, if you were unconscious?"
Kella: "I don't know."
Captain Morgan is frustrated that his magical rapport with Kella doesn't seem to be sufficient to let him fully into her confidence. He drops the line of questioning and wonders what's going to happen when the spell wears off and she realizes what he did to her… but he isn't really one to dwell on consequences.
Meanwhile, the party is getting ready to head out and investigate the town further. Old Tom has taken off his leather armor and isn't wearing it any longer, claiming that his god has granted him "the mystical armor of the deep". Siero is quite impressed. The rest of the party eyes Tom nervously.
After girding themselves and gathering weapons, the party heads to the keep. There's no sign of movement in the abandoned town. They reach the keep and find that the only access to it is over a large bridge, about seventy feet long and ten feet wide. However, a rock has smashed into it and destroyed a large section in the middle. Captain Morgan uses his sailor's knowledge of timber construction to determine that the bridge looks relatively sound and should hold their weight. He makes an Acrobatics check to leap across and catch himself on the far side. Silas throws him a rope that he ties off, and the rest of the party use the rope to jump across. Tom is not very acrobatic, but he somehow manages to make it over the gap!
At this point the party realize that they forgot about Kella and the goblin prisoner Derp, who are still on the far side of the gap. Captain Morgan goes back to talk to the goblin in broken Common Tongue, while the party waits impatiently.
Morgan: "Why come town?"
Derp: "Hark send."
"Where cave? Which way?"
"<point at rock> What happen?"
"Did you see rock fall?"
"Hark cave. How many?"
The goblin looks confused. Morgan uses some coins as props to indicate numbers.
The goblin eventually understands and makes a pile of about 30 coins.
"That many goblin."
"You tell Hark. Stay away. Or we kill him."
"Me tell Hark?" (wide eyes) "Me no tell Hark."
"We live here. We kill goblins."
"You kill many goblins!"
"You tell goblins. They come here. We kill them."
"You go now."
The goblin hurriedly scampers away and leaves town by the main gate.
Captain Morgan helps Kella and they both come back across the gap. Meanwhile, Nivah has been scouting ahead stealthily to see what lies within the keep. There is a large circular stone wall around the keep, roughly eight feet high. The bridge terminates at a gatehouse, and the gates are closed.
Silas gives Nivah a boost so that she can sneakily look over the wall. Seeing no enemies, she climbs up onto the parapet adjacent to the gatehouse. There are two gate towers on either side of the entrance, and the one nearest her has been smashed by a rock, its broken stonework walls gaping open to reveal a guards' barracks. There are at least three dead human guards on the ground lying amongst the rubble and broken bunk beds. Nivah calls down "There's nobody here, they're all dead".
Tom tries to open the gates, and they open easily; they're heavy but not barred. The party walks into an open courtyard surrounding a central keep. Numerous rocks have come crashing down and struck the courtyard and keep; there is a lot of structural damage and part of the keep has collapsed. There are no other buildings in the courtyard, just the parapet surrounding the keep. It is eerily quiet with no sign of movement.
Tom, Silas and Captain Morgan search the gatehouses. They find common guards' possessions, clothing and some simple weapons. Captain Morgan helps himself to a spare set of studded leather armor and three daggers, reasoning that he's helping to defend the keep, so that makes him an honorary guard, doesn't it?
The party approaches the keep, wending their way through the corpses of several more guards that have been killed by falling rocks. Silas opens the front doors to reveal the great hall, whose roof has collapsed. Over half of the hall is buried in rubble, and more dead guards are here. There might be a body wearing noble finery sticking out from under a rock near the head of the hall. It's quiet with no sounds anywhere. Captain Morgan calls out loudly "Hello – any survivors? We're here to rescue you!" Nivah hears a reaction – there is a shushing from the left door and the sounds of rummaging hastily suppressed.
Silas moves over to the door, and tries the latch, but the door doesn't move, it's blocked by an object. He calls out "We're here to help! Is anyone in there?" After a bit of diplomacy, the suspicious residents are convinced that these newcomers aren't goblins, and they decide to open the door. Inside, there are five civilians, a dwarf wearing fine clothing, and a wounded guard lying down and receiving healing.
The party enters, and the dwarf runs up to them, exclaiming "Thank Lathander! You ran off all the goblins! Are you sure you got them all?". Silas takes the lead for the party, starting to question the dwarf.
"Who am I speaking with, sir?"
"I am Morak Urdray!"
"I'm afraid to say, sir, there's been a bit of structural damage to your town. We think the town is now clear of enemies, at least as far as we know, although we haven't swept every single building. The goblins have already attempted one counter-attack, but we laid a trap for them and repulsed their force. Was it just goblins that attacked your town, sir?"
"No, there was an attack by giants earlier yesterday, and then the goblins attacked shortly thereafter. We were the few who were lucky enough to be close to the keep and could get inside when the attack started."
"Morak, we found this woman in your inn. Do you know each other?"
"Yes, she's a guest of mine, and has been staying there for a few days. What's the condition of my inn?"
"There's some damage to the upper floor, but it should be salvageable. Where is Lady Nadar, sir?"
"Sadly, she was in the Great Hall when the giants attacked, and she was crushed by the rockfall when the roof came down." (Captain Morgan winces when he hears this.)
"What did you see of the attack?"
The civilians chime in at this point. "We didn't see a lot before we ran to the keep. There was a cloud flying against the wind, with some kind of keep on top of it. That makes us think of cloud giants, but we haven't heard of cloud giants in this area for hundreds of years! Several giants came down and attacked the guards, quickly overrunning the town, while others secured the Nightstone."
"Can you describe these giants? What do they look like?"
"We were all too scared to spend much time looking at them. They were huge, throwing rocks, and killing people!"
"Why do you think these giants would want the Nightstone?"
Morak says, "We've been trying to figure out the Nightstone for generations. We know it's magical – it's warm to the touch, and mages are always interested in it – but we don't know anything about it. We haven't noticed anything that changed about the Nightstone recently."
"Did you get any warning before the attack?"
"No – just the cloud moving before the wind."
"Are there any strangers who arrived in town recently?"
"Just this woman Kella, who showed up a few days ago. We had a couple of hunters who come by every once in a while."
"Did you get a sense for where the goblins came from?"
"We've been having goblin problems for a while … not just goblins, but hobgoblins and bugbears, as well. We know there's a cave somewhere to the north, but we don't know exactly where."
"What's your plan at this point, what's next for all of you?"
Morak says, "My roots have been here in Nightstone for far too long. You say the inn looks salvageable – if we can make it work here, we're going to try and stay. We'll need resources and people, though."
Silas looks through the sack that he's been keeping the party's loot in, and finds the items that were taken from Morak's room at the inn. He gives Morak back his dwarven chainmail and helmet. However, Morak refuses to accept the potion, gemstones and the money, saying that the party should keep them as a reward for liberating his inn. The party decide that they should help the civilians make sure the town really is clear. Nivah asks Kella what she wants to do. She says she'll tend the wounds of the guard, he needs skilled attention to recover.
The party decide to look through the other rooms in the keep. It's suffered significant damage, but there's a kitchen, a den, a library, an upstairs hall with rich carpets and paintings, and coming off the upstairs hallway are some large locked double doors. Morak says that the locked doors lead to Lady Nadar's master bedroom. Captain Morgan takes some time to poke around the kitchen looking for run, but it's pretty destroyed and he winds up frustrated. Meanwhile, Silas and Tom look through the library to see if they can find any books about the Nightstone. It's a huge room with several tiers of shelves covered in books – it would take multiple days to do any in-depth research.
The party regroups at the locked doors to the master bedroom, and Nivah uses a set of thieves' tools to pick the lock, raising a few eyebrows. When asked how she knows to do that, she mutters something about a misspent childhood. Opening the doors, the party find a nicely appointed room, with tapestries and oil lamps on the walls. There are wolfskin rugs on the floor, and a large bed with an ornate headboard sculpted with images of roses and foxes. Around the walls there are four wardrobes; there's a large wooden chest at the foot of the bed; and a nicely made longsword mounted above the door.
Nivah opens the wardrobes and finds a lot of nice, fancy women's clothes. She takes a slinky red dress in case she needs to "do any spy stuff later". Silas opens the chest; as he does so, the sword that was hanging over the door flies into the air and attacks him!
Thomas tries to grab the sword with a tentacle, which fails to grab the sword as it dances and jigs in the air. He decides the safest place is for him to retreat back through the doors. Silas draws his weapon and tries to attack the sword, but it dodges his flailing attack, slashing him on the shoulder for 6 points. Nivah casts Hunter's Mark on the sword, and shoots an arrow at it, which misses completely. Captain Morgan tries to slap the sword out of the air with his rapier but fails. Siero leaps up and tries to grab the sword, which Captain Morgan cheers on with Bardic Inspiration. He grapples the sword and successfully holds on for dear life, hanging on to the sword as it flies around the room – now more slowly with a gnome dangling from its hilt!
Thomas again tries to grab the sword with a tentacle but fails. Silas swings and connects with the sword for a solid smack, dealing 13 points of damage, which staggers the sword and flings it back across the room. Siero hangs on for dear life! The sword flies back and attacks Silas, but he dodges it. Nivah takes a steely aim down her Hunter's Mark, and nails the sword with an arrow dead center. It drops to the ground and lies still.
Siero is very confused about what's happening with the flying sword. "So it's dead now? Was it always dead? What's going on here?" Tom investigates the sword and says "The magical essence that animated this sword has dissipated, my diminutive friend."
Inside the chest, there's a velvet sack with 160sp, a silk pouch with four 100gp gemstones, and a silver jewelry box (worth 25gp) with a beautiful gold necklace in it (worth 250gp). Captain Morgan searches the chest for hidden compartments but finds nothing. He is quite surprised there isn't more loot in the room of a minor noblewoman.
The party take the money from the chest, and head downstairs to tell Morak that the keep is clear. Morak suggests that the party should split Lady Nadar's money with the townsfolk. Captain Morgan isn't comfortable with this. "These poor people had their livelihood wiped out, all of their family and friends are dead. We shouldn't steal from them. They don't even have any rum."
Morak tells them that actually, not very many people were killed in the goblin raid, that the majority of the surviving townsfolk were kidnapped and taken prisoner by the goblins. The goblins also carted away a bunch of the dead bodies, which makes the party quite uncomfortable. The best information that they have is that goblins are coming from a cave system that's in the hills, maybe 5-10 miles to the north. There's also an old ruined elven fortress to the northeast. The elves of Ardeep Forest live in the forest to the southeast maybe 2 miles away.
The party resolve to try and rescue the prisoners from the goblin camp. Morak says they're going to try to send a messenger south to Waterdeep and let them know what happened. They will try to rebuild the town as best they can, hoping another goblin attack doesn't happen. Kella says that she will stay with the townsfolk and help them put their town back together again. Captain Morgan thinks this is probably for the best, seeing as his Charm spell on her is going to start wearing off very soon…
It's now mid-morning. The party heads north out of the town, continuing along the forest road. Nivah finds the tracks of a large group, possibly 20 or 30 goblins, plus 20 or more humans. The track veers slightly to the west away from the road. After a few hours' travel, the tracks are starting to get a bit fresher, and as dusk approaches the group can see some smoke rising from what might be multiple campfires, maybe a quarter of a mile away. Captain Morgan climbs a tree to look out; he can see maybe four distinct fires, in what looks like a few clearings in the forest. There don't seem to be any caves nearby.
The party circles around to the west side of the tracks, with Nivah and Captain Morgan sneaking up ahead of the main group, about 40 feet in front. They think this should be far enough that Silas' armor clanking won't alert anyone. Crawling towards camp, Nivah and Captain Morgan can see dozens of figures moving around near campfires. As they get closer they start to make out a few goblins moving around on sentry duty, with some larger humanoids by the campfires; a handful of hobgoblins, and a couple of bugbears. As they get closer, they can make out a large gathering through the trees; at least a couple of dozen goblins, three or four hobgoblins, a couple of bugbears, a bunch of chained prisoners, five or six humans who aren't chained and have horses, and some kind of shadowy figure in a black robe. They can see some kind of parley going on between the shadowy figure and the hobgoblins, but they aren't close enough.
Nivah and Captain Morgan return to the group and let them know what they've seen.
Captain Morgan: "Let's take out the goblin sentries silently so we can get close enough to listen to the parley!"
Silas: "Wait, what's the worst case scenario here? You could pull down forty goblins on us!"
Tom: "I vote for murdering necromancers! But… this is more goblins than I've ever seen in one place together at once."
Siero reveals that he has some ability to mimic the shape of forest creatures, and he thinks he could get closer if he was to turn into a squirrel. Nobody seems to bat an eyelid at this newly discovered power, and everyone thinks it sounds like a great idea. Captain Morgan says he will steathily provide covering fire for Siero, and that he will make the sound of an owl hooting three times to alert the rest of the party if there is trouble. On the basis of this hasty plan, Captain Morgan and Siero sneak up to the goblin camp.
The goblins ignore Squirreliero as he clambers through the trees. They are speaking in the Goblin tongue, which none of the party understand, but it appears one of the humans has some smalls kill with it and is crudely negotiating. The figure in a dark robe is also involved, who appears to have a hobgoblin face, yet a skeletal hand protrudes from its sleeve. Squirreliero is close enough to determine that some kind of slave trade is being executed, both for live prisoners, and also there's a cart full of dead bodies with eight goblins guarding it. As he approaches, the humans give money to the goblins, and the dark-robed hobgoblin also gives money to the goblins. The transaction doesn’t go smoothly, he can hear the name "Hark" mentioned a few times, also the name "Komdor". The bugbears and humans get a bit aggressive and almost get into a fight, but eventually the transaction is complete.
As Squirreliero watches, the imprisoned townsfolk are divided up – two going to the hobgoblin with the skeletal hand, three going to the humans, and eight remaining with the main group of goblins. All of the groups make preparations to leave – the hobgoblin and his escort take the cart of dead bodies and their prisoners to the east, while the humans on horses lead their prisoners southwest. The large group of goblins starts to pack up camp.
Squirreliero scampers back to the group, comes out of squirrel form, and quickly explains what he's seeing. Faced with a choice, the party makes a snap decision to follow the humans on horseback and attempt to free the prisoners!