(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.
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