(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cavern Terrain, Cliffs, and Cage: Fat Dragon Games
Griffon: Sanity Studios Miniatures
Worgs: Brave Adventures Miniatures
Hobgoblin Captain: Kev’s Lounge/Papercraft Dungeon
Crafted Torches: DM’s Craft