Greyhawk's Lesser Known Heroes

Session 3: Harbek's Mine, Part 2, Deghulan, and High Top

The session resumed with our heroes having just left the Myconid chamber.

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They decided to go back and ask the Myconids if there were any other threats, or if there was anything else they could do to help—there was none, and the Myconids just wanted to be left alone. They learned, though, that the Myconids were here before the dwarves, and saw that there was a tunnel leading out of the chamber that was impassible due to a cave-in. Bidding farewell to the Myconids, the group crossed the bridge, back to the shaft, and crossed over to the mushroom garden. While there, they gathered six of each type of mushroom, one for each member of the party. At that point, they then began going up the elevator shaft, and on the way up, one of the three riders noticed something unusual on one of the walls—the faint outline of a door. After some exploration, the members found a catch/mechanism that opened the door. Three of the group worked their way into the hallway beyond, while they lowered the elevator for the second group. As they waited, the explorers in the hallway heard what appeared to be footsteps—metal on stone. Within a few seconds, they saw two fiery eyes at roughly chest height—and as it approached, they made out what appeared to be a lightly armored undead dwarf carrying a pickaxe, with shining red eyes—and it charged towards them. Eventually, the undead thing reached out and touched Cullen, who felt a chill run down his spine—but he was otherwise fine. After some hard blows, the dwarven wight turned and ran.

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The group followed him, with Gregor in the lead, and they came upon a small room, with a metal ladder going upwards—which the wight was climbing. They followed suit, and found that the ladder led to a larger chamber, this one populated with zombies—some dwarves, one human, and one goblin. The dwarven wight, wounded, received some help from the zombies, but it was not enough. The group quickly dispatched them, with Storen braining one, Angus roasting another with a flaming spell, Cullen crushing one, and Yesunge shooting one in the head. The wight fell as well, and the group took a short rest.

Exploration revealed a brass mug with a jade inlay that is worth 250 gp in the wight’s lair, and the pickaxe was of fine quality (nonmagical, but +1 to hit and damage). The zombie room, which had nothing of value, had another exit—a spiral staircase leading upwards, which the party followed to a smaller room that was covered with broken items, garbage and filth. As they crossed the room, Cullen cried out, and fell into a pit, which was about 10 feet deep. As he stood up, a giant centipede crawled on him and attacked, biting him (but somehow managing not to poison him). Gregor quickly lowered himself into the pit, grabbed the centipede, and tore it in half. Turns out the “pit” was actually a storage vault (with a ladder), and the trapdoor above it had rotted. The vault had a small leather backpack in it (in poor shape) with 20 gold, 50 silver, three vials of acid, 50’ of silken rope (in good condition). The group pocketed the loot and, instead of heading back from where they came, followed the tunnel upwards to the point where they saw sunlight—but also a natural cave branching off from the tunnel. In it, they saw a sleeping black bear, which they did not wake, and left alone.

After heading out of the tunnel, they walked around the hill to the mine entrance, and then headed back to the road. There they found the rest of the group, which had buried Felipe and the albino, Nick Paulus, in graves on the side of the road. Since they were so close to the Cracked Tankard Inn already—not having made it very far—and it was getting late, they decided to go back. When they arrived, they spoke to the barkeep, advised him of Nick’s fate, and hit the sack. The next morning, they headed out, and after a few days, arrived in Deghulan (the rest of the trip being uneventful). Otto told them that they would have about a week before the rest of the caravan arrived, and that they would not need to head out to Womtham until then, so they had some free time. The group spoke with the gate guards to get the lay of the land (and literally got a map of the surrounding area), also visiting some shops to sell off some goods and explore what was available for purchase.

In the evening, the group went to Falco’s Tavern, where they had some drink and played some darts. Angus challenged Falco himself to a game of darts, only to find out that Falco was amazingly good—much to Angus’ dismay (and his coin purse’s). Falco, seeing that Angus was young, only kept half of the money that Angus had wagered. As they sat and drank, they heard some rumors at the bar, specifically that: (1) there’s an old monastery where monks dedicated to St. Cuthbert used to live about a day’s hike south of town on High Top that has been abandoned for over 50 years; (2) the Lord Mayor’s cousin Gunther was a fierce warrior that used to carry a big axe, and he hasn’t been seen in about six months since he took a journey to the hills in the south; (3) there’s a druid that lives in a hut near Kelman Woods who comes to town sometimes, and he doesn’t like hunters who hunt just for sport; and (4) there’s a bunch of evil gnomes that live in Chestnut Grove. Someone also warned them that (5) "I saw some hyena-looking things that walked upright once near Flym Peak, but they didn’t see me. They looked really scary—I’d stay clear of there if I were you.” Also, a drunk patron told them, in slurred words, that (6) "Nobody believes me, but a few years ago, I saw this thing that looked like a cross between an owl and a bear near the Wild Woods. Everybody says I’m just a stupid drunk, but I didn’t even have anything to drink that day!”

One of the serving wenches—a plump, busty woman in her mid-40s—took a liking to Cullen (perhaps overly so!), and the rest of the group thought that perhaps Cullen would have a very interesting evening. After having enough to drink at Falco’s Tavern, they decided to head to the Grinning Imp Pub, which was a far lower-rent and rowdier establishment. Sure enough, they found Otto and some of the other crew there, and enjoyed some drinks there. They also heard another rumor that (7) Falco’s Tavern is run by two slave traders. Ultimately, the group decided to spend the night at the Golden Stag Inn, a middle-of-the-road establishment.

When they woke, they decided to explore the hills to the south, looking for the old monastery. On the way, they were surprised by a constrictor snake, which dropped down on Angus. The group quickly dispatched it, though, and it was a non-issue. Setting up camp that evening, the group were attacked by wolves in the middle of the night—a pack of six. Four of them were quickly killed, and the remaining two, also injured, fled.

The next morning, with the monastery in sight, they began heading up the hill. However, on their way there, they spotted what appeared to be a body in a copse of trees. Approaching it, they found that it was a hobgoblin—a dead one. It appeared to have been rent by claws to the chest, and had half of its face eaten (as well as other parts). A search of the hobgoblin turned up no coins, but did reveal a scroll containing a note, which was written in common and read as follows: “Gaiax: We have found a suitable location for our new base of operations. We have also found a complication and obstacle—but one that will please you no doubt. For now, we have it contained. —Krug."

Gaiax_Krug_Note.png

Heading up to the monastery, the heroes could make out a cloister as they approached, which had a second level above it. They also found that it was surrounded by a ravine, and whatever bridge once led to the monastery was now broken and in disrepair, and the ledges were fairly far apart. The group decided to rappel down the ravine, and managed to make their way up to the entrance of the monastery without much inconvenience.

End session

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Session 2: Harbek's Mine
Eliminating the Goblin Threat

The session begins in media res: Gregor chasing the wolf-rider, and Atticus chasing the other goblin. The wolf, exhausted, tumbles in the chase, sending its rider flying. Gregor quickly cuts him down with his glaive. The wolf attempts to flee, not attempting to fight and somewhat cowering. But Gregor, fearing that the wolf will alert any other goblins to their presence, dispatches the wolf before it can get away. He searches the goblin, finding a few coppers, and heads back to the road with the wolf carcass (which he will then skin for its pelt). Atticus, meanwhile, is able to chase down his goblin, and after he attacks the goblin a few times, it thinks better of its plan to fight and falls prostrate to the ground, throwing down its weapon. Atticus carefully binds him and gags him, bringing him back to the road.

Otto surveys the damage—one death (Felipe) and some slightly injured horses. He suggests that the specialists find out if there are any more goblins, and eliminate them—they cannot afford an ambush of Halmaro’s caravan. After discussing it a bit, the group heads out—Yesunge is able to find the goblins’ trail. After several hours of hiking, the group spots a hill where there appear to be some stone columns and a cave. Upon closer inspection, it is an old mine. There are four stone columns, but only three are standing. There are dwarven runes on them proclaiming that it is “Harbek’s Mine.” The mine entrance has two iron gates locked with a chain and padlock, which look somewhat old. There is enough play in the chain to allow very small creatures through, but not anyone dwarf or human-sized. After inspecting the lock, and determining that it is not magically warded, Gregor decides to attempt to break the chain with his glaive. The metal-on-metal sound clangs and echoes in the mine entrance; after two chops, the chain link breaks, and the padlock and chain crash to the ground. They push on through, the gate squeaking as they move it.

Atticus casts a light spell on Gregor’s glaive head, and heading in, the group explores the first group of rooms, finding broken tools (pick-mattocks and wheelbarrows), some broken bunk beds, broken tables, and a caved-in fireplace. In searching the room, Atticus encounters a rat, who attempts to bite him (unsuccessfully) and flees, heading into a crack in the wall. Delving deeper, the group finds a mineshaft with an elevator and pulley system. Cullen lights a torch, and Atticus casts light on a pebble and drops it down the shaft. It falls for quite some time before they lose sight of it; they’re not even sure they heard it land. They illuminate Gregor’s glaive again to have two sources of light.

Atticus, Gregor and Storen head down in the elevator, which can only hold three people. It groans a bit, but does not give way. About 30’-40’ down the shaft, as best they can tell, there is a horizontal shaft/tunnel. Gregor gets out, as does Storen and Atticus. They look down the hallway, and cannot see where it ends. Atticus casts light on a crossbow bolt, and fires it down the hallway. They see the light quickly zoom away, and it eventually clatters some distance away, leaving a very faint glow. Storen suggests that they see how deep the central shaft goes, while Gregor waits here (after Angus again casts light on the glaive). Storen gets Cullen from above, leaving Yesunge and Angus at the top. The three of them descend lower into the shaft, and Gregor decides that he doesn’t just want to wait here and do nothing. (One of his flaws is, “If there is a plan, I’ll forget it. If I don’t forget it, I’ll ignore it.” He heads down the hallway, dropping lit torches every 30 feet or so. At the same time, the elevator is moving in 30’ increments, roughly at the same speed.

As Gregor drops his third torch, two objects zip by his head—arrows, bolts? He charges into the darkness. As he does, he sets off a tripwire, and is suddenly engulfed in a net that has pieces of metal and glass attached, which creates a huge noise. Gregor now calls out to the group for help. Storen and Atticus think they hear something, and feel something fall past them. They quickly start moving back upwards. Meanwhile, Gregor is, once again, nearly shot twice, but he luckily is missed both times. He tries to get out of the net, and now can see four goblins approaching—three that are holding scimitars, and one wielding a heavy, wicked axe. Gregor yells out again, beseeching Storen & company to hurry. Meanwhile, some objects fall past them again as they are pulling themselves upward.

Storen, Cullen and Atticus get of the elevator just as Gregor frees himself from the net. The goblins meet up with him just as he does, and he is wounded, but not badly. The wound drives him into a rage, and he lashes out and kills a goblin. Meanwhile, Yesunge is pulling the elevator up while everyone else closes in on Gregor. A tight battle ensues, as the corridor is fairly narrow. Gregor gets hit a few times, and the group quickly dispatches another goblin, but the axe-wielding one, also in a rage, proves to be hard to kill. Angus and Yesunge also get in on the action, and eventually the combined efforts, and notably Atticus’ axe, fell the remaining goblins.

After shortly patching themselves up, the group decides whether to continue further down the corridor, or head back down the central shaft. Ultimately, they head down the corridor to find the goblins’ barracks (empty, and with little coin), and the goblin leader’s room, which actually has a bed (as opposed to straw mats). Under the bed, Gregor finds a sack that has a fair amount of coin—200 coppers, 60 silver, 50 gold—as well as a woodcut of a goblin, and a strange, roughly 2" diameter bronze sphere with runes on it. Neither Angus nor Atticus can decipher the runes, and Angus notes that it is both warm to the touch and magical.

The party eventually heads back down the shaft, finding two corridors that branch off to the left and right. Cullen disembarks on the left, holding his torch and sword, along with others. Atticus, Gregor and Angus go to the bottom of the shaft, only 30’ or so further down, to find a pool with cave fish. Atticus tries to probe the bottom with his glaive, and sees something at the bottom of the pool. Stripping down to his breeches, he dives in, and finds a watertight scroll case. Before they can open it, they hear a cry from Cullen. Storen and Yesunge wheel around to see a very large, segmented and tentacled insect-like creature crawling on the ceiling above Storen—who is quickly attacked by its tentacles.

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He immediately feels a numbing sensation, but stays on his feet. The group in the corridor attacks, while the others in the elevator quickly attempt to get up to the landing. Storen is also hit with the tentacles, but does not succumb to the poison. After the group wounds the beast, it turns to flee, but they manage to slash and crush it, and it falls to the ground, dead. Gregor, with the assistance of Yesunge, attempts to “milk” some of the venom/coating into two vials—whether it has any potency remains to be seen.

Advancing down the corridor, they come to an iron bridge over water. Shortly thereafter, they find a hole in the ceiling. Gregor climbs up to investigate, and finds that it is sticky and appears to be a lair, with some bones—those bones also near a suit of chainmail, a fine-looking shield, and a warhammer. He brings them down to the group; Atticus believes that they are dwarven remains. He heads up to the lair, and says a ritual to cleanse the place and give the dwarf an appropriate resting place.

Finally, they make their way to a large cavern with stalactites, stalagmites and large fungi. As they approach, one of the fungi moves and opens its eyes. The party does not attack, and the fungus send a puff of spores in its direction, engulfing both Gregor and Angus. They quickly find that they can communicate within the spores. A conversation starts, and the learn that the myconid have been here for many years. The myconid learn of the demise of the goblins and carrion crawler, and this pleases them. They tell the group that they wish them to leave, but that they can have some mushrooms from their garden on the other side of the shaft, explaining that the black caps are invigorating; the purple caps difficult to swallow and painful, but tasty; and the yellow caps bringing them to a higher state of consciousness. The party abides by their wishes, and heads back to the central shaft.

NOTE: The characters have each gained 308 xp at this point: LEVEL UP!

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Session 1: The Caravan
Where it all started...

The adventure begins in Cordrend, where various individuals hear that Halmaro the Red, a merchant guild master, is organizing a caravan. His daughter, Kira, is getting married to a high-ranking official in Womtham. A large caravan with many wagons is headed west to that city, and he is recruiting various hirelings/experts for the caravan. Various recruits show up: Storen Wolfgast, a hedge knight, and his retainer/squire, Cullen Ashcroft; Atticus Goonyaxe, a dwarven cleric of Pelor and armorsmith; and Gregor Ironwood, a barbarian raider from the Frost Barbarian tribe with a checkered past. They learn that Halmaro will not be taking all recruits—only those who can prove their mettle!

Gregor signs up to be a guard; he fights with a wooden weapon, and no armor, against a few other recruits, and does quite well. Meanwhile, Storen tries out to be both an archer (requiring him to shoot his crossbow at a target in competition with other archers) and an animal handler (requiring him to shoe a horse, ride a horse around obstacles, and lead a mule to water and make it drink). Finally, Atticus proves his worth as both a physician (diagnosing and healing various ailments) and as an armorsmith (repairing certain armor failures). After a long day of tests, Halmaro’s right hand man calls out various numbers, and tells them their role: “Number 19, Laborer! Number 42, Guard!” and so on. Storen is one of the first chosen, serving as both an archer and animal handler (and earning 3 gp/day as someone who does double duty—Halmaro saves 1gp/day on that deal); Cullen can come as well, but won’t get paid (Halmaro’s a bit shrewd that way). “Number 3, scribe!” is called out, and a thin young man, Angus MacIver, steps forward. Gregor is hired as a guard (2 gp/day), and Atticus as the armorsmith/physician (3 gp/day). A one-eyed half-orc named Yesunge is also hired as an archer—the best one in the competition. Several more people are hired as laborers (Pedro, Ramon, Angel, Juan), animal handlers (Miguel, Joaquin) and a guard (Felipe). The group learns that they will lead the advance force to Womtham, scouting out and clearing the way for the large caravan. The advance force will be led by Otto, a small, wiry man who Halmaro explains is one of his best men.

The new recruits get together at the tavern that evening (drinks are on Halmaro!) and learn a bit about each other. Atticus, Gregor, Storen and Cullen sit together, and after Atticus invites him, Angus joins in for a bit as well (previously reading a book in the corner). Otto explains that they will stop at a small town, Deghulan, first, which is on the way, and that the trip to Womtham will take a total of 10 days. He then heads up to bed, as they’re getting an early start. Cullen and Storen decide to also call it a night, and as they are headed to their rooms, a large, drunk man bumps into Storen and spills his beer everywhere. The drunkard is irate at the loss of his brew, and yells at Storen—it appears he is looking for a fight. But Storen calmly apologizes and states that he’ll buy the man another two beers—and the drunk then gives Storen a hug with a great smile. Eventually, the group hits the sack.

In the morning, they head out to great fanfare. Once outside the town limits, Otto gives a look back and then quickly pulls out a flask and starts drinking some alcohol—“some” being an understatement. He enjoys the trip, singing some bawdy songs and getting roaring drunk. When some of the laborers ask him questions, he responds, “How should I know? Figure it out yourself.” Storen silently disapproves. The first day is without incident, and they camp out for the night, sitting around two campfires, one of which has all the laborers and animal handlers, and the other with the specialists. Atticus inquires with Angus about his book, but Angus is not offering a lot of details. On a hunch, Atticus asks if he knows anything about magic, and with a bit of thamaturgy, makes the fire where the laborers are sitting burn green! They cry out in alarm, but eventually settle down. Angus whispers to Atticus that he can do some tricks, too, and uses a cantrip to perform similar acts of hijinks with the laborers’ campfire.

Otto, drunk, falls asleep and is snoring. Off in the distance, though, Storen can hear what appears to be a young child crying. He gets up, and Cullen follows him with a torch and his sword. Advancing down a path, Storen can see nothing—until he gets kicked in the chest by a deer-sized animal. It has the body of a stag, the head of a badger and a leonine tail. It has bony, yellow-gray ridges for teeth and burning, feral red eyes. While its body is largely tan colored, it darkens to black at the head. Storen can smell the stench of rotting corpses surrounding it, and its breath reeks of the grave. Further down the path, Storen can see another creature—the same kind, only larger—and hears the sound of a crying child coming from that beast’s mouth! Gregor, Atticus and Yesunge jump into action, and within moments, they badly wound the creature. As it turns to flee, it kicks out again, but cannot get away, and is felled by the group. The larger one flees, and is not pursued.

Atticus performs some surgery and removes the lower jaw, careful not to slice open his fingers on the sharp ridges. The laborers ask for the carcass to cook the meat, despite its foul stench. Otto briefly wakes up, looks around, and then falls back asleep. The rest of the night passes without incident.

Otto wakes up the next day with a nasty hangover, and they head out again. After a day or two, they arrive at the Cracked Tavern Inn, which is surrounded by a very small hamlet. They stay there for the night, and speak to the tavern keeper, who seems to be short-staffed and hectic. He explains that one of his workers, Paulus, is missing and didn’t show up to work today—unusual for him. Atticus, Storen and Gregor tell the owner that they’ll look into it, and do some investigating (including entering Paulus’ small home). They find no clues in Paulus’ home, other than it looks like someone who didn’t intend to be away for long. The next morning, before they head out, they speak to his neighbor, an old crone, who explains that it isn’t like Paulus to be missing. She describes him as very fair skinned—almost white like a ghost—and with blond/white hair.

As the advance force gets moving, a few miles out of the hamlet, they see something in the road. Gregor and Felipe get out of the wagon to take a look. As they get closer, they see it is a body, with a black-shafted arrow in its chest. The man is very pale, and very blonde. As they turn to go back, Felipe jerks backward, and an arrowhead protrudes through his throat. He clutches it and falls to the ground. It’s an ambush!

The group quickly finds themselves surrounded by goblins—a few with missile weapons, such as bows and crossbows, others with scimitars, and one riding a wolf. Two of the four horses attached to the wagon take arrows, and the animal handlers quickly attempt to calm them while the specialists engage the enemy. The group makes fairly short work of the goblins, Gregor cutting some down with his glaive, Storen with his sword (with Cullen helping), and Atticus with his axe. Angus shoots at some with a fiery bolt and misses, lighting a tree on fire, while Yesunge returns fire. Within moments, six of the goblins are cut down, and the remaining two flee—including the wolf-rider, who injured Storen. Atticus chases down one on a horse, while Gregor chases the wolf-rider. As Gregor chases, the wolf is able to duck and dodge as they head to the Flinty Hills, and Gregor nearly loses his balance as a small herd of deer gets surprised and bolts in front of him. But the wolf is tiring, and Gregor seems to be gaining, but will he catch him?

Until next time!

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