Session 9: Caverns of Calamity Part II

Caverns Full

(This adventure was run in January 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure continues immediately after Session 8: Caverns of Calamity Part I).

Having completed their mission for coming to these dastardly caverns, the party was now free to finish exploring what else lurked within these dark bends and twists.  Jana’s regular intense bearing seemed to dissolve into a calmer repose, yet no one in the party would doubt her lethality, especially with her giant glaive.  Tanin asked her what she would do now that Dragomir was dead.  She said for the time being she would be willing to follow wherever the party led.

Turning back from whence they came, the party now realized they had a group of rescued prisoners they needed to take care of.  Asking what they knew of the caverns, the prisoners said they only knew of the spurs of the cavern system that the party had already explored.  They only saw goblins and hobgoblins from the time they were captured until their recent release.  Velnius agreed to escort the prisoners back to the cave entrance and guard them near the horses until the party had finished exploring the caverns.  One of the prisoners, Knack, asked to join the party in exploring the rest of the caverns.  He explained to the party that he was a wizard and could help assist the party in facing any dangers further throughout the caverns.

The party headed back towards the central cavern that branched towards all four cardinal directions after Velnius had escorted the former prisoners away.  The party decided to drag the cage behind them to block their rear in case any foul beasts were planning on flanking them.  The cage ended up getting lodged as the corridor narrowed.

As the party reached the central cavern, a group of eight goblins attempted to surprise the party with an ambush.  Unleashing arrows on the party, archers took up areas of cover behind walls where corridors branched from the main room.  Beefier goblins armed with spears moved up to engage the party in melee.  As the battle raged, a goblin shaman appeared from behind a wall and murmured something in an arcane tongue as he lit something he was holding in his hand with a taper.  Instantly, Xrax’s plate mail turned red hot and he cooked within.

The party hacked at the goblins, reducing their number.  Xrax continued to bash heads with his maul despite the scorching pain he was enduring.  Kulo moved up to get a shot on the shaman who was still hiding behind the corridor wall.  He successfully hit the shaman causing him to lose concentration on the spell and giving Xrax some relief from the burning he endured.  Two goblin archers seeing the tide of the battle had turned bolted for the corridor leading out of the caverns.  The party decided not to pursue, instead focusing on the shaman who had now retreated to his lair.  As the party entered the cavern room, four giant rats, companions of the shaman, attacked.  The shaman unleashed a thunderous clap against the party members who were mostly in a straight line from the shaman.  But despite the mixed success of the spell, the party skewered the shaman and put the giant rats to the sword.

After searching through the goblins’ moldy bedding for loot, the party returned to the central branching cavern.  As they emerged into the room, a small goblinoid-like creature suddenly appeared out of thin air, picked up a rock from the floor, and chucked it at the nearest party member.  It sailed harmlessly over the head of Kulo.  The goblinoid laughed and then turned and ran down the southern corridor.

The party followed in pursuit.  The goblinoid jumped into a void 15 feet down the corridor.  The party came to a stop at the chasm.  Looking down they could no longer see the creature.  The chasm dropped about 40 feet down and looked to be an irregular stone floor like the rest of the cavern system they were exploring.  The remnants of a bridge jutted out into the void about 5 feet.  A corridor branched to the west and a second corridor continued south.  A stalagmite rose from the floor at the opening of the corridor to the west.

The party decided to finish exploring this floor of the cavern system before going to the lower level to find the creature that had thrown the rock at them.  Belladore, having knowledge of horrid creatures that look like stalagmites but were not, suggested to Kulo to shoot the stalagmite with his crossbow before the party head down that corridor.  Kulo’s crossbow bolt struck true and ricocheted off the stalagmite down the corridor.  The party feeling confident that this rock mound was just a stalagmite, threw a grappling hook around it and climbed over to the corridor from the broken bridge.  Kulo decided to stay and guard the rope so that no goblinoid creatures emerged to cut their rope.

Edging down the corridor as it bent sharply to the north and around to the east, the passageway became choked with thick cobwebs.  Xrax taking the lead became stuck in the webs.  His attempts to free himself from the sticky strands attracted the attention of the webs’ spinner: a giant spider emerged from the dark recesses of the ceiling to partake of the squirming meal below.

The spider bit at the restrained Xrax.  Most of the party still was behind the bend of the corridor.  Knack relayed what had happened to Xrax and then moved up to engage the spider.  The spider turned its attention on Knack.  A bite to Knack’s shoulder allowed the spider’s venom to course through his veins.  Knack keeled over dead!  Xrax, meanwhile, had extricated himself from the sticky web and dealt some blows with his maul against the spider.  Tanin, Belladore, and Jana moved up to kill the giant arachnid.  Kulo abandoned his guard post at the stalagmite to offer his crossbow in assistance.  As the attacks mounted, the spider’s eventual demise was merely a matter of time.  Whether bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing made up the final stroke, the giant spider died.

The party examined Knack more closely, his body showing the virulence of the spider’s poison.  Knack’s face was frozen in a rictus of pain.  The party dragged his body to the entryway of this spur of the cavern system near the stalagmite.  Looking at the grappling hook and rope, Kulo shook his head in disgust at finding the rope severed near where it was tied to the grappling hook.  Those little goblinoid creatures sure were a pest, he thought.

Caverns Part IInew

A couple of the party members carried the lifeless body of Knack back out of the caverns to where Velnius was guarding the horses and looking after the former captives.  The faces of the former captives looked crestfallen as they saw the slain body of their friend.  One of the former captives stepped forward and asked to join the party in further exploration of the caverns.  His name was Bao, a monk from the orient.

The party decided to explore the southern corridor next.  Using a different rope, they fastened the grappling hook to it and managed to lodge the hook into metal remnants of  the former bridge over the chasm.

Climbing over to the southern corridor, the party with torches ablaze, cautiously explored the length of the corridor.  Not wanting to make the same mistake they did before, Kulo retrieved the grappling hook and rope.  They marched nearly 50 feet before seeing a depression in the corridor about 20 feet in front of them.  The corridor turned to the east at this point as well.  Not seeing anything in the lower depression, the party continued around the bend to the west.  The corridor continued around to the north but ended in a deep chasm.  The gulf opened up into the sky–the party looking up could see the blue sky of day but it was a steep ascent.  Across the chasm was a small outcropping of stone about 15 feet long with a stalagmite at its closest edge.  A glint of metal could be seen on the landing.

Xrax landed a grappling hook around the stalagmite and began to climb over to the landing when a group of spear-beaks descended from the opening in the ceiling and began to attempt to feed on the party.  Tanin used his sleep spell to great effect again.  Four of the stirges plummeted down the chasm in a magical slumber.  The remaining three were easily sliced and diced by the party.

As the battle with the spear-beaks was coming to a close, Belladore suddenly found herself being attacked by an ooze.  The ochre jelly had followed the party as they had made their way down this corridor, waiting to attack when one of the party members was largely isolated.  Belladore happened to be hanging back as the party fought the stirges.  She cried out as a pseudopod bashed her.  The party came to her assistance once the spear-beaks were mostly slayed.  While it was a long, hard fight the party prevailed.

Climbing over to the landing, Xrax found that the glint of metal came from the old, rusted armor of the remains of a dried husk of a goblin, a victim of the spear-beaks’ blood-sucking feast.  The goblin body had just a few coins of copper, otherwise everything else was worthless.

The party decided they could use a short rest to patch up their wounds and prepare themselves for the final leg of the caverns.  They retraced their steps back to the depression which would give themselves a good defensive position should any wondering monsters come down the corridor.  As they prepared to relax, green slime fell from the ceiling onto Jana.  Luckily the party was able to assist her in scraping it off, but it’s acidic touch damaged her breast plate so as to be unusable.


Terrain and Giant Spider Webs: Fat Dragon Games

Giant Spider: Printable Heroes

Crafted Torches: DM’s Craft

 

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Session 8: Caverns of Calamity Part I

Caverns 1new

(Note: This adventure was run in January 2017.  In terms of campaign time, this adventure took place the day after Session 7: Drow Spider Caves).

Searching Tasha’s corpse after felling her in a dramatic chase outside the Drow spider caves, Belladore found an interesting book.  The book appeared to have information about many of the merchant-nobles and members of the different thieves’ guilds in Cyr.  After burying the doppelganger in the woods, the party made their way back to Edgewood.  Along the way, Belladore persuaded Erik, the woodsman, to foster the children, Tommen and Flower.  He was happy to take the kids in and teach them hunting and trapping skills.

Returning to the Axe and Saw Inn by the evening, Belladore, Xrax, and Velnius relayed their adventure to the bleary-eyed crew of Kulo, Jana, and Tanin.  Jana was still in high spirits despite the lingering effects of her hangover.  When Belladore mentioned the rescue of Tommen and Flower from the clutches of the goblinoids, Jana’s demeanor changed abruptly, becoming very serious and sober.  Jana asked if they found out who the goblins were working for.  Belladore told her what they had learned from the goblin captive.  When Belladore mentioned the name of Dragomir, the leader named by the goblin prisoner, Jana’s eyes widened and she slammed her fist hard against the table.  The impact was so loud that Kulo jumped at the sound.

Jana looked serious and implored the party to join her on her quest to find the goblin caverns she and her group had been looking for when they were ambushed by the orcs almost two weeks ago.  She told the party how she knew this Dragomir, a hobgoblin.  When she was a child, Jana’s village was raided by goblins.  Her family and most of the village adults were slayed.  The goblins decided not to kill her outright.  Instead, they threw her in a circle formed by the jeering crowd of their fellow goblins.  As they hooted and hollered, a rat master appeared on the side of the circle and opened a cage containing a giant rat.  Whispering some words of encouragement to the rat, the goblin released him towards the child, Jana.  She froze in fear as the rat scurried towards her.  She tried to run away but was pushed back by the crowd of goblins.  When she fell to the ground, the giant rat attacked, sinking its teeth into her arm.  The pain was intense.  In a blur of rage, Jana grabbed the giant rat and bit its neck, biting down as hard as she could until she tasted blood flowing down her chin.  She stood up and threw the dead rat at the feet of the rat master.  The crowd of goblins silenced, then the jeers and boos picked up and they signaled to the rat master.  He brought forth two giant rats this time as the goblins cheered.  This time Jana didn’t hesitate.  She grabbed the nearest rock and lunged at the just-released giant rats.  They squeaked in terror . . .

The goblins didn’t kill her.  The leader of the band, Dragomir, took her down south to the fighting pits of Yor.  There she became a gladiator.  She was sold to a slave master who brought her around the various arenas where she became a champion.  On one excursion to a distant arena, Jana killed her master and all his guards, using the one token Dragomir left her–a hobgoblin glaive that became her signature weapon in the fighting pits.  She now wanted more than anything to gain her vengeance for her family, people, and her own life against the hobgoblin bastard!

The party agreed to find the caverns and root out Dragomir.  After a night’s rest, the party departed south from Edgewood to the Hammer Fall Mountains.  The first day’s travel was uneventful, peaceful even.  Jana appeared grim the whole day, speaking little.  As they approached the mountains the second day, the party heard a magnificent cry from some large bird of prey overhead.  Crashing into Tanin’s horse a griffon attacked, lured by the succulent meat of his steed.  The force of the griffon’s assault threw Tanin from his horse.  The party reeled in their horses and set themselves for defensive positions against the griffon.  There was some talk among the party members–they were clearly reluctant to kill such a magnificent beast but the griffon attacked Tanin’s horse hungrily.  With a number of salvos, the party fended off the griffon.  Tanin’s horse bled freely from several deep wounds from the griffon’s talons.  As the griffon flew away, Kulo and Velnius brought it down with two crossbow bolts, deciding to avoid having the griffon attack again while they were in the mountains.

Griffon3

After the brief fight with the griffon, the party continued onward led by Jana.  Nearing the entrance to the caverns, the party dismounted from their horses and crept to within viewing distance of the entrance.  The cavern entrance was at least 40 feet up the mountain cliff.  The party waited to see how heavily guarded the entrance would be.  Over several hours, two goblin guards were exchanged by different goblin guards.  Kulo, Velnius, and Jana sneaked up within range and dispatched the two goblins with  crossbow and longbow shots.  The party found a good place to tie off the horses and proceeded to the cavern entrance.

Cavern Entrance3

The party made its way cautiously up the cliff face following a worn path that snaked up to the entrance of the cavern.  Listening at the entrance, the party could hear goblin voices just within.  The goblins seemed preoccupied, bickering over a game of dice.  The party rushed in catching the goblins by surprise.  Tanin and Velnius, aided by their darkvision, took out both goblins, leaving one unconscious to interrogate.  The captured goblin, once revived, revealed that there were many of his kind in the caverns, more than he had fingers and toes.  Tanin pressed him further for information.  He did mention his boss Dragomir and two other hobgoblin guards.  The party stripped him of his weapons and released him, threatening him that they would find him if he ever harmed the good people traveling along the Cyrian road.

The light from the entrance diminished considerably this short distance in the cave so Xrax lit a torch.  The party could see the cave continued for a short distance before splitting in half around a rock wall.  Moving cautiously forward, the party scanned the walls and ceiling for danger.  Passing beyond the split in the corridor, two giant rats sprung from the darkness and attacked Xrax.  As Xrax bashed their heads in with his maul, barking from up ahead grabbed the party’s attention.

The worg was chained to the wall in a crevice.  Nearby four goblins played dice on top of a crate.  They grabbed their weapons and charged forward.  Before they could get very far, Tanin cast sleep causing three of the goblins to fall to the ground in a deep slumber.  Velnius moved up and hacked at the worg.  The final goblin was slayed.

Worg and Goblins3

After looting the goblins, the party moved on turning a sharp corner that brought them to a rickety bridge over a deep, dark chasm.  The bridge was poorly made and seemed doubtful it could hold much weight.  Tanin flipped a copper piece into the chasm and the coin struck the side of the gaping hole a couple times before disappearing into the gulf.  They never heard it strike the bottom!  On two rocky outcrops about 10 feet from the bridge grew red, glowing mushrooms.  Belladore ventured onto the bridge.  It held her weight just fine despite creaking ominously in a few places.  The rest of the party crossed one by one making it to the other side of the bridge unscathed.  The bridge shifted and creaked the worst for mighty Xrax in his plate mail armor, but it held.  Xrax came close to losing his balance and falling into the gulf in a brief moment of terror.

The cave snaked around a bend before opening up into a large multi-leveled cavern with three exits.  Eight goblins that seemed to be roused and on the hunt for the noise that was coming from the last fight sprung into battle against the emerging party members.  Tanin, once again, changed the dynamics of combat with a sleep spell that immediately sent five of the goblins to their slumber.  The remaining three goblins, two that were burlier than the rest, tried to stand their ground but were quickly eviscerated.

The party quickly examined each of the branching corridors from the cavern they just fought from.  The corridor to the south continued for 15 feet before ending in a chasm to depths unknown.  A stalagmite rose from the floor right before the chasm.  The chasm spanned about 25 feet with a corridor continuing after the gulf.  A branching corridor to the west of the chasm could also be discerned with a stalagmite again rising from the floor right in front of the chasm.  Returning to the larger multi-leveled cavern, the party next investigated the corridor to the west.  After moving 10 feet down the corridor the party members could see two mounds on the floor at a bend in the corridor.  The party pulled back to the room that branched off in all four cardinal directions and decided to head down the corridor to the east.

Heading down the corridor, the party could make out metal bars of what appeared to be a cage near the far wall.  Some movement could be seen within.  The party continued down the corridor.  In a small side spur, a goblin lashed out with his spear.  The party took him on.  As they began to fight the first goblin a second one emerged from next to the cage.  As the short fight continued, loud barking began from the bend of the corridor to the south.  The party skewered and smashed the goblin guards and turned their attention to the barking and growling worgs.  They were chained to the wall but with enough length to reach the party and block their access to the part of the corridor they were housed.  Despite some nasty bites, the party slayed the two worgs and put an end to their racket that surely must have alerted anyone further within this part of the cavern system.  Belladore spoke with the captives inside the cage, a disheveled group of adult humans, telling them not to fear.  They were about to be rescued.

Worgs2

Belladore picked the lock of the cage, releasing the prisoners but suggested they wait in that part of the corridor while they finished investigating the branch of the cave.  The party continued down the corridor cautiously knowing that anything down that way would surely be aware of their presence due to the barking of the worgs.

The cave rose in elevation by 15 feet entering the final chamber of this spur.  Behind a column of stalagmites, the party viewed their final prey: a goblin, two hobgoblin guards, and their apparent captain.  As soon as Jana saw the captain, she screamed his name in anguish tinged with the sharp edge of vengeance.  “Dragomir!”  The captain inspected her and her glaive before the look of recognition crossed his face.  A smile crossed his lips as he said, “Look what you’ve become, little one.  I made you a champion.  You have a place by my side as my co-captain.  Help me slaughter these foolish adventurers.”

Jana looked at her companions and back again to the hobgoblin captain.  Her grip tightened on her glaive and with a look of grim determination she strode forward and joined into battle with the nearest hobgoblin guard.  Her mighty swing of the glaive had the intent of cleaving through the guard so that she would have an opening to Dragomir.  Her companions, her friends, came to her side to help her fulfill her quest for revenge.  The battle was intense.  The lone goblin fell quickly.  The hobgoblin guards shortly thereafter.  It was only a matter of time before Dragomir succumbed.  His dual blades whirled and sliced the party, but finally the killing blow was dealt by none other than Jana with her hobgoblin glaive.   The look of surprise intermingled with relief filled her face and Jana dropped to her knees, emotions overwhelming her sense of being.

Dragomir2


Cavern Terrain, Cliffs, and Cage: Fat Dragon Games

Goblins and Hobgoblins: One Monk/Mayhem in Paper Miniatures and Printable Heroes

Griffon: Sanity Studios Miniatures

Worgs: Brave Adventures Miniatures

Hobgoblin Captain: Kev’s Lounge/Papercraft Dungeon

Crafted Torches: DM’s Craft