02: Return To The Lost Mine

Real World Info

This session was played on April 2, 2008, featuring Elphy, Froderic and Maduro; Froderic's squire William; and a sizable pack of additional hirelings, including four "normal men" with spears, two acolytes, an apprentice wizard and a young rogue called "Fingers".

Summary

Having learned the location of the Goblin King's treasure trove, the adventurers return with a larger force and exterminate the Goblin clan, and impress the Goblin Queen into their service. They uncover a small fortune in jewels, and rescue some bandits trapped in the lower levels.

I. Wolf cubs revisited
After sending Fingers to listen by the entrance, we attempt a similar maneuver to our first entrance to the mine. Well, that is until Elphy decides we need some food to throw to the cubs to distract them. After some impromptu hunting, we gather a few rabbits. Tossing the dead rabbits into the middle of the cubs (and one guard), Elphy slips in and circles round the back to cut off the enemy from retreat, then Maduro readies to toss in a flask of burning oil. While the enemy is distracted, Froderic charges into the middle of the room while the hirelings sidle along the flank, their slings at the ready.

The fight is quick and brutal, mainly because the goblin never lifts his head from the food we tossed in. The lone goblin is surprised and slaughtered, along with one of the dire wolf cubs. The other three cubs immediately descend on the goblin corpse and chow down. Seeing that the chained cubs cannot reach the cave's west wall, we follow the narrow safe path without attacking the remaining cubs, so as not to set up a howling fracas that's certain to alert the goblins elsewhere in the mine.

II. Opening the vault
Moving on to the next cavern, we find it deserted, with little of interest other than scattered mine carts, an ogre-sized skeleton, and a sealed vault door to the east. After some debate, we force the unlocked vault door open and investigate the room beyond. Elphy browses through the stacked dwarven ledgers, giving us some insight into the mine's former inhabitants. It turns out that they had betrayed their fellows and turned to the service of the Dragon Army!

We find little else of note, other than a copper wire attached to a desk that vanishes into a hole in the floor. Fearing that it is a warning signal or a trap, we choose not to meddle with the thing and move on.

III. Laying our ambush (or, The Froderic Maneuver)
We worry that the silence and emptiness of the mine means that the goblins have laid an ambush. Elphy scouts down the northern passage; what he sees and hears suggests that the goblins remain unprepared for our attack.

After he returns, Froderic takes charge of the tactical situation. At his direction, several overturned mine carts are stacked at the mouth of the northern passage to form a bottleneck, and are drenched in oil to be lit when the goblins try to clamber over the carts to reach us. Froderic, Elphy and William then move down the passage, fling flaming oil into the goblin throne room, and retreat while Elphy taunts them in their own tongue. Enraged, goblin king Weevil whips his disoriented minions into line and sends them charging up the tunnel after us.

IV. The ambush is sprung
The advance team reaches the barricade and pushes the last mine car into place just before the howling horde of goblins comes into view. Froderic, Elphy and William crouch behind the barricade, melee weapons drawn; Maduro and the hirelings array themselves in back, slings at the ready. A dozen goblins, running two abreast, close the distance…

… and just as they clamber onto the barricade, William touches a lit torch to the oil. Whoomph! The lead goblins fall back, aflame and screaming. As they collapse, the slingers lay a barrage of stones into the goblins behind them. The remaining goblins press forward, but the ones who don't burn themselves to death are laid low by missiles; none come close enough to engage in melee.

After a few moments, another wave of goblins advances on our position, and we deal with it handily. Other than a thrown spear giving Elphy's hired mageling a light wound, we suffer no casualties, while the goblins are firmly put down. We wait, and the fires die; in the distance, we hear the gobble of goblin voices, but no new waves of attackers approach.

V. Victory!
Froderic, Elphy and Maduro climb the barricade and advance carefully down the tunnel. There they find chains strung low between holes in the sides of the passage, presumably meant to trip up charging attackers so that the goblins can attack them more easily. Maduro throws flaming oil into the holes, eliciting cries of pain; the chains drop to the ground as the goblins holding them flee.

We hear Weevil shouting from the main goblin chamber, demanding a status report from his minions. Imitating a gruff goblin voice, Elphy replies that the goblins are winning, but that they need the reserves called in to finish the job. Weevil falls for the trick; he brings out the last of the goblin warriors, leading them from the rear. Falling back to our barricade, we devastate the front rank of the goblin reserves. We demand surrender from the survivors. They accept, throwing down their arms.

VI. Dealing with the survivors
There is some debate as to what to do with the survivors. Elphy bargains with Weevil to open the possibly-trapped treasure chest that Weevilla reveals under the goblin throne. Elphy makes a promise to Weevil, who only wants to be with his queen, as his condition to opening it. Other members suggest using other goblins to open it for us. The party decides that they need Weevila as a guide, so she is kept. Elphy informs Weevil of this unfortunate turn, stating that he would "have to" break the promise he'd just made.

Elphy and Froderic lead Weevil and his guards outside the dungeon to be 'freed'; in fact, they execute the goblin prisoners and hide the bodies so as not to distress Maduro. This is the first mention of a directly chaotic act on Elphy's behalf; Elphy claims he has been nothing but honest with Weevil. Elphy also blames the illiterates he parties with for his lack of more humane options.

VII. A cry from the elevator
As we gather back in the goblin chamber and paw through the loot in the treasure chest, we hear noises from the elevator room. These turn out to be cries for help from a deeper level of the mine, from people claiming to be adventurers imperiled by bugbears. A brief negotiation ensues as we shout replies down the elevator shaft.

The adventurers admit to being in Bargle's service, but claim that he's abandoned them and that they are no threat. Further, when pressed, their leader offers a pouchful of opals as payment if we raise the elevator to take them out of danger. Screams mingle with their desperate pleas as the bugbears attack the adventurers (or so they claim).

Although we are nervous about a possible conflict with chaotic adventurers, we are compelled by soft-heartedness and greed to raise the elevator. Nonetheless, we stop it ten feet below the top level and demand that Bargle's ex-minions divest themselves of all weapons and armor; once they've done so, we lower a rope and let them climb up one by one.

Sadly, there are no opals; they were merely a ruse to win our aid. But after binding the adventurers, we raise the elevator all the way and gather their equipment, which should sell well in town. Then we depart the mine, prisoners in tow, and return to the town of Threshold to bring them to justice — and spend our newly earned riches.

VII. Losses & Loot


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