Real World Info
Four adventurers and their hired help explore a lost Dwarven mine, but are captured by Goblins. Forced to serve the Goblin King, several members of the group die in a rockslide, but they manage to win their freedom by rescuing the Goblin Queen from one of the other factions in the mine.
I. Outside the mine, arguing
After Tosh listens at the entrance and hears the sounds of goblins and wolves, tactics are discussed — do we charge in? Lure them out? Seeing no immediate way to seize control of the party from the Froderic-Maduro bloc, Tosh chooses to bide his time and take control after the monsters winnow his competition.
II. Overwhelmed by wolf cubs?
We seize the element of surprise, flinging in flaming oil and using its light to bombard the area with missile fire.
III. Surrounded by goblins! Bargaining for our lives
Upon entering the first large cavern, we're encircled by goblins! Elphy, being the only one to speak their foul tongue, starts negotiating. He persuades them not to attack, and to take us to their leader.
We're brought before Weevil, king of the Tooth-Gnasher Clan, who seems all too willing to allow free passage if we perform a task for him. We agree to rescue his wife Weevilla, along with a number of other goblin women who have been kidnapped by Bargle's men and taken to the lower levels.
Elphy shamelessly takes advantage of his fellow adventurers' ignorance of the goblin tongue during this negotiation, going so far as to persuade Froderic to accept the dubious aid of the goblin witch-doctor's leechcraft. The pleasure he takes in deception suggests a strong Chaotic streak in his character…
IV. Lowered to second level! More arguing!
The goblins lower us to the second level of the mine on a dwarven elevator device. We linger at the second level elevator landing for a time, discussing which of the three passages available to us we should take.
V. What do you do with a drunken hobgoblin?
We opt to try the warden's room first. Bursting in, we surprise and slaughter a drunken hobgoblin, then loot the room. When we return to the elevator landing and argue further as to what to do next, a swarm of fire beetles wander in. Preferring not to squander our strength on bugs, we wait until they scuttle into the warden's room, then lock them in while they consume the hobgoblin's corpse.
VI. Freeing slaves
Sneaking down the southeastern passage, Elphy observes a pair of hobgoblin overseers managing a group of chained goblin women. By imitating the voice of the drunken hobgoblin we'd just killed, he lures the overseers into the passage, where they are slaughtered quickly. Unfortunately the flush of victory is soured as during the fight Tosh accidentally fires an arrow into the back of a hireling, killing him instantly. Some time must be taken to reassure the remaining hirelings.
We free the goblin women; Weevilla takes an immediate shine to Elphy, impressed by his cunning.
Elphy would like to add: She also shares with Elphy the location of a secret treasure in Weevil's throne. Elphy promises to adorn her with the jewels therein to the extent that they match her unrivaled beauty. ;)
VII. The deadly cliff
Continuing to the south, we reach a pool of water bordered by a crumbling ledge. The chamber marked on our maps as containing treasure is, alas, high up out of reach, but the ledge extends to another room to the west. But when we're halfway across, the ledge crumbles! Tosh and the hirelings all plummet into the dark water below. Some are killed outright by the impact, and Froderic's squire James is dragged down by his armor and drowns. The rest scramble up a thrown rope to rejoin the party…
VIII. The treasure, a ghoul, the end of Tosh
… except for Tosh. The thief decides to climb the east wall toward the treasure chamber. But the place is guarded by a hunched dwarven ghoul! Tosh attempts to distract it with a bottle of wine, but the only fluid it craves is human blood. When it charges at him, Tosh leaps to the side, and it plummets to its doom! But Tosh fumbles his own grip on the stones, and he joins its fatal plunge.
IX. Zombie dwarves!
Sorely weakened by our losses, and (in Froderic's case) saddened by the tragic loss of James, we retrace our steps to depart. But our way is blocked by a pack of zombie dwarves! With no way around, we have no choice but to face these groaning, stumpy monstrosities head-on. Maduro calls upon the Builder for succor, but his faith fails him in this dark place. But the stout arms of Froderic and Elphy, aided by the slings of Maduro and our hirelings, prove sufficient to the task, and all five of the zombies are destroyed.
X. Bargaining with Weevil for our escape!
With Weevilla and the rest of the goblin women in tow, we return to the elevator and ascend to the first level. There, Elphy once again handles our negotiations with Weevil. Chaotic as he is, the goblin king is sufficiently besotted with his shrewish wife that he holds to our arrangement, allowing us to leave the caves with our meager loot — not to mention our lives.
XI. Total losses/loot
Next: Return to the Lost Mine
Art by Jeff Dee, copyright 1980, used without permission under fair use rationale.