This is part of the ongoing narrative of our D&D campaign, which is graciously being run by Proud Lion, a fantastic comic shop in Cheltenham. Their RPG Encounters nights are a lot of fun, and give me some entertaining material to work with.
Tales of the Yawning Portal:
After the companions regrouped and stopped their bickering, they headed down the left-hand tunnel, intent on rescuing any farmhands still alive and in the goblins’ grip. A sense of unease pervaded the group as they could detect a faint smell of unwashed people, and some low laughter echoed down the corridor. Torchlight from the next chamber flickered against the wall and the companions crept into the latest chamber, wondering what they would find.
The group entered into the largest room yet, lit reasonably well, and could see that both tunnels they could have traversed ended in this room. They had arrived on the left-hand side of the room, and directly ahead of them was a large table, surprisingly well-made and sturdy looking. It beggared belief that this table could even have been brought through the narrow cave system, but a larger tunnel stretched away at the back of the room. Two more side tunnels left on the further side from where they entered, but nothing could be seen up any of them.
The central tunnel was situated between two large pens, in which the companions could spy possibly 12 humans. Directly in front of the tunnel, and in the path of the group, was a large, ragged throne, which had been set upon a dais for some time. All of this was eclipsed though, as the companions realised the danger presented by the figure relaxed upon the throne, a large beastly humanoid, a bugbear with a crude wooden tiara on its head. Capering around him were 3 goblins, entertaining and supplying the bugbear with food.
“Alright, alright, why don’t you let us have them humans to take back with us?” Kalashnikov’s voice boomed out across the cavern, “And then we won’t have ta kill you!”
The group’s stealth ruined, they spread out a little and tried to puff up their chests in bravado, some much more effective than others. Enna took a step back, then retreated into the tunnel, realising that since Burian had naively used his higher spells on talking to his new “pet”, her healing skills might be vital after the coming fight.
“PahahahaHA!”, came the rumbling response, “They are mine! Grolenk will be eating well tonight, with all these bits of meat joining us.”
With that, the bugbear gestured at the goblins, who came scuttling towards the companions, drawing scimitars and raising crude shields. Jester reacted instantly to the coming threats, drawing his two throwing knives from beneath his cloak and launching them at the closest of the goblins. One knife wedged itself between the eyebrows of a goblin, dropping it instantly, while the other plunged into the side of another, only forcing the goblin to stumble a little in its run.
Kalashnikov, still buoyed up by his own threat, sized up the bugbear and summoned forth the energy of his Eldritch Blasts, casting the purplish energy straight towards the bugbear. This did little more than attract the attention of the monster, his bulk still ensconced in the throne. Grolenk’s angry brow furrowed further as he raised himself from the throne and jumped on top of the table, bringing his morning star down at Kalashnikov. The blow caught the robed dwarf across his shoulder, and knocked him backwards.
At this, Drenk surged forward, shouting “You’re resisting arrest!”, and swung his maul at the legs of the elevated bugbear. The effort proved to be fruitless, as the bugbear raised his foot just before any connection could be made. Supporting his comrades, Burian cast Thorn Whip while calling Francois in to help in the melee, and large roots erupted from the group around the bugbear, causing some flesh wounds before dissipating.
The goblins, recovered from Jester’s initial throws, sprinted into combat between the rogue and Drenk. Jester found himself pushed back as his previously-impaled enemy pulled on the hilt in its side and started stabbing at the rogue with his own dagger, scoring a light hit while missing with the much more dangerous scimitar that it carried. The last goblin got a quick jab in at the half-orc while flitting around the combat, grazing the leg of Drenk.
With all the commotion, Francois followed Burian’s call and came up and stroked himself along the druids legs, watching with disinterest. Jester continued his assault on the goblins, drawing his rapier and impaling the goblin while ripping his knife back from out of its hand. Exerting himself further, he threw that knife into the chest of the last goblin, blowing the wind out of its lungs.
Kalashnikov, realising the danger he had left himself in, retreated from the monster in front of him and quickly Hexed the strength from its arms, and could see the Bugbear droop as the spell took effect. he hastily blasted another Eldritch Bolt at the bugbear, but the haste forced his shot off-course and it spiralled up into the ceiling. Cackling with mirth, the bugbear launched itself into a swing at the troublesome dwarf, but his muscles felt slack and his swing went wide. Drenk took advantage of the bugbear’s balance issues and swept the creature’s legs from underneath it, and the heavy impact of its back upon the table was felt around the room.
“There’s your next meal!” Burian cried to Francois, gesticulating at the final goblin as his fingers rattled a complex rhythm on his quarterstaff, calling his Shillelagh power to the fore. He charged in and took a huge swipe down at the prone bugbear’s head with the empowered staff. His shot missed by inches, and splinters rained from the table edge where he had struck. The final goblin looked in terror at the huge wolf bearing down upon it, missed with a panicked swipe as its head was engulfed, and its frantic movements were cut short with a sharp neck snap from Francois. He then settled down to his new meal…
Just before the wolf gobbled down a perfectly good knife embedded in the goblin’s corpse, Jester darted in to reclaim his knives, then stabbed at the downed bugbear with both rapier and knife, cutting deep. Kalashnikov, scoffing at his brother, exclaimed “THIS is how you do it!” and stabbed at the monster with his spear. He, like his brother, ended up damaging the table rather than the imminent threat, and moaned a little in embarrassment. His own blood was trickling from his scalp, getting in his eyes and ruining his upper pelts, distracting his aim.
Surrounded now, but never giving up, the bugbear righted himself and stood up, then brought his morning star down at Drenk, but the half-orc did manage to dodge out of the way of the blow.
“No, no, no, that’s not the way you do it! Stop resisting arrest!” Drenk taunted him, but similarly missed with his attack, breaking more chunks from the beleaguered tabletop. Burian, now behind the bugbear, attempted to incapacitate the bugbear with an upward shot between the legs, planning on distracting the monster with pain. With further misfortune, his crotch shot went wayward and he found himself falling backwards. His anxious retreat was pounced upon by the bugbear, which sent him flying with a backhand swing of its morning star. Burian found himself slipping out of consciousness over by the bugbear’s throne, his eyes fixed on the final moments of the fight.
Jester finished the bugbear with an upward thrust of his rapier, running the huge monster through its guts. The bugbear finally fell, its corpse collapsing onto the table and finally splitting the weary tabletop in half. The companions had finally defeated the leader of these goblins, and could catch their breath, while their comrade was bleeding out on the floor…