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.
[Before reading, please be aware that there may be spoilers ahead for the D&D campaign books. Equally, our stories are fluid, so things may not follow the books too directly]
A miasma pervaded this new room, and torches could be seen sparking throughout the smoky haze. Columns could be made out in two rows down the length of the room, extremely similar to those in the kobold tribe’s home, made of marble and engraved with entwined dragons. From behind one of these columns a tall figure came out, bow drawn and arrow trained on the biggest of the group.
“Drop your weapons. I can kill you all in ten seconds.” rang out a strong, feminine tone. Drenk raised his arms in surprise, but Levan was quick to react, stepping in the line of fire.
“Is…is that you Luna? If it is, please, come out of the smoke and drop the arrow. These folks have finally brought us back together!” the paladin said quickly, and Knott came up beside him to show support.
“Levan? Knott? I carried on without you. I’m not surprised you needed the safety of a group to catch up with me, I’ve always carried you two.” the woman spoke, and as she lowered her bow, she stepped out of the dark cloud.
Levan and Knott’s partner was a wood elf ranger, her slender elven form belying the muscle she had evidently honed to back up her threats. Her large eyes flicked constantly between the party members and the environment, constantly scanning for threats to her, and she introduced herself to the party.
“My name is Luna Wit, and I’ve been helping these two hapless fools traverse this dangerous dungeon. By the look of you, I figure you lot are simply going for strength in numbers?” she looked each party member up and down slowly before continuing, “sensible enough strategy, though leaves me wondering whether any of you can fight on your own.”
At this, the group finally reacted, first with a variety of broken retorts, but some order naturally came about and they introduced themselves, with Burian finishing the explanation.
“An’ this ‘ere is my bastard of a brother, Kalashni…wait where is ‘e? Oh, that…grrr…he’s only gone and wandered off. Well, this’ll give us a short while’s respite from ‘is mania, but ‘e is a little bit of a mad warlock. You’ll probably see ‘im later.”
Familiarity with each other established, Luna pointed out the many doors to this room, as she had been here a little while, resting in the corner before they arrived. Three doors were spaced along the northern wall, while the southern wall had just one, closer to the opposite end of the hallway. They had come in the eastern end of the hall, and there was one last door in the centre of the western wall.
“Wait, wait, wait, so you came past me, while I was asleep no doubt, and you DIDN’T let me out?” the gnome realised, and started gesticulating rudely at the wood elf’s back. Jester clapped a hand on his shoulder and leant down, shushing him.
“Of course she did, she’s trying to be stealthy,” the rogue whispered, implying that he would happily have done the same, “but since you’re here now, have you by any chance been here before?”
“Umm, no, no I haven’t…” the gnome whispered uncertainly.
“I didn’t think so. Now shut up while we’re in goblin territory,” Jester advised, before saying more loudly, “this guy’s worse than Meepo, right?”
“Oh, stop teasing him Jester,” the much more reasonable cleric, Enna, said, “we should fan out and look at all these doors. And Jester, don’t go opening any just yet!”
Jester snuck down to the southern door, while Drenk and Levan walked the length of the hall to the western door and Knott, Burian and Luna split the northern doors between them. Enna herself kept to the eastern door, drawing her weapon and guarding it whilst the others checked their entrances.
The paladin situated himself directly in front of the door, shield raised while Drenk slowly approached it and pressed his ear to the wood. Through the door he could hear a hubbub of voices, scratchy and irritating, chattering in goblin-tongue. Wincing, he sat back, and shook his head to the paladin, before the headed back to the centre of the room.
Burian and Luna reached their northern doors together, and neither of them could hear anything from the rooms beyond. Looking around the door knobs, they didn’t appear to be locked, and a slow twist confirmed this fact, and seemed to imply that the doors were not locked.
Knott, on the other hand, could immediately tell that his northern door, the easternmost one, was fairly securely locked, but heard nothing from behind the sturdy door.
Finally, the rogue approached his door stealthily, and he immediately heard a few voices speaking I what he assumed to be goblin. They hadn’t noticed anything happening in the hall, and when the half-elf brought his eye to the keyhole he could see at least four goblins, brandishing weapons in what appeared to be a game of charades.
Retreating from the door, he moved back to where the group was gathering, and they each reported back on their findings.
“It seems that our best bets for now are the northern doors, as we don’t want to be fighting goblins any time soon, and Drenk, you said that western door sounds like a big goblin hideout?” Enna summed up, “and I’m going to assume everyone wants to try breaking into the clearly-locked-for-a-reason room before trying the simpler doors? Agreed? Let’s go.”
Enna led the group over to the north-eastern door, and pointed to Jester to go about his job. He assessed the door for a minute, not seeing anything trap-like, before kneeling and producing his lock-picking kit….
Five picks later, Enna was tapping her foot as the rogue seemed to fumble more and more often, before he just gave up and admitted he wasn’t going to get into this particular door. The group looked disappointed, but Burian turned to the door and attempted to bash it open.
He took one big swipe with his quarterstaff, but instead of opening the door he managed to clang himself on the head with his own weapon. Drenk sighed, as was happening far too often nowadays, then stepped forward with his crowbar.
“If you want something doing,” he muttered, before applying a large amount of pressure on the lock system, “You’ve gotta do it yourself!” he puffed out as the lock snapped and broke off the door entirely.
The door fell open on its own, and Drenk led the first members of the group inside. Jester and Burian followed him, while Enna stepped in and shuddered looking at the walls. The room was evidently a form of trophy room, but with accumulated scraps littered around the floor and smashed up furniture it had seen better days.
There were many trophies on the walls, but none were of special note, mostly the heads of cows, large rats, dogs and other farmyard animals, all badly mounted. A few kobold heads were dotted around the bloody mounts, and the companions winced at the idea of hunting sentient creatures for sport.
“Oh, this must be where the dragon we are looking for was being held!” Enna remarked, having seen a large patch of frost covering some of the walls and floor towards the back of the room. Another iron bar was driven into the floor about centrally, and broken chains indicated where the dragon had been kept hostage.
“Ah, I’ve got a great idea,” Drenk said, spotting a bull’s head on the wall and walking over to grab it, “If I get this, pull the mounting fluff out, I can pretend to be a minotaURGH! AHH!”
The others looked over to see why Drenk’s idea had been cut short, and the reason was somewhat evident. Attached to his arm, large teeth driven deeply into the muscle, was a large dragon wyrmling, and it didn’t seem like it was letting go any time soon…