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]
Now supplemented by a masked minion, the wary adventurers re-joined Meepo outside the sepulchre, and he stayed well-clear of their recent addition. They turned to continue down the darkness-laden corridor, and found a second door on the left a little further along than that of the sepulchre.
This one was much simpler, just a standard wooden door, and the group gathered here as Jester motioned that he would sneak a little further along the corridor, to see if there was anything worth exploring. Within 30 feet or so, the rogue came across a series of worn wooden doors, slightly ajar, 3 on either side of the corridor.
The was a slight smell in the air, of animals and faeces, a bit of a musky effect overall, and he paused to inspect the floor before moving onwards. In the gathered dust, he could see lots of small tracks form by rodents, with a few humanoid sets of prints mixed into the set, which seemed to be less recent than the rat tracks.
Deeming it a little dangerous to go on alone, Jester traversed the corridor quietly back to the group without incident.
“I suggest we try this door. It seems a little rat-infested down that way.” Jester said, then looked for traps around this wooden door. The half-elf couldn’t discern any, but the group were a little ore suspect since he had missed the gigantic scythe blade at the last door.
<Go forward and open this door, my X-man minion> Kalashnikov commanded, and Logan pushed the door open and stepped into the next room. When no spears thrust into him and he didn’t fall into a pit, the group followed him in, finding a plain room filled with only broken stone, dust and rat droppings.
The only feature of this room was another wooden door, leading out the other side, and Jester approached this door to check it for traps as well. A cursory glance assured him that no danger lurked through this door, and feeling rather over-confident, he opened the door and strolled though, cursing quietly when he put his foot down on the other side, while a single bell rang through the corridor.
“I did another bad thing guys…” the rogue called out, then retreated into the room with the rest of the group. They waited for a few minutes, not hearing any movement, while Jester pulled a caltrop out of his boot.
Struck by inspiration, the dwarven brothers each grabbed a hide and gathered it around the end of their long weapons, Burian’s staff and Kalashnikov’s spear respectively, while the group looked on in bemusement. Burian carefully opened the door and broke the bell off, pocketing it before considering the corridor.
What must have been hundreds of caltrops littered the floor between their door and the exit at the other end, but there was a low wall built just in front of the far doorframe, cutting off the view for the short dwarves. Taking care not to make much noise, and with mercifully little bickering, Kalashnikov and Burian managed to sweep a path clear of caltrops up to the low wall, gathering a couple small bags of caltrops in the process.
Burian passed his bag over to Jester, thinking the rogue might have more success setting traps than finding them, while Kalashnikov started loading caltrops into a portion of Logan’s costume.
“This way we can send him out to lay them for us! Or, you know, shoot him to empty the caltrops on t’ floor, at least.” Kalashnikov explained to the confused group, then the brothers went back to clearing out the caltrops from the room. Burian insisted upon this, as “there ain’t no reason to leave this lying about when we could use ‘em.”
Back in the room where the taller members of the group were resting, more adventurers found their way into the gathering point, a tall human clad in sturdy armour and an elf in more lightweight but still resilient clothing.
“Ho. I am Levan Dawnbreaker, and I am looking for my companion, Luna Wit, along with my compatriot-in-arms. Have you perchance seen an elven ranger in these parts? We got separated on the way to this blasted castle.” The human spoke out, lowering his voice in response to the frantic shushing of the weary adventurers.
“Hello Dawnbreaker, my name is Drenk, and I can’t say we have, but we are looking for a ranger ourselves, Karakas I think their name was. You’re welcome to join us in exploring though, if you like. Can I ask your mate’s name though?” the half-orc replied,
“My name is…not important, orc,” the elf responded, “is this all of your group?”
“Oh, hello Knott,” Drenk said, completely missing the point, and the elf shuddered at his incomprehension, “well you’ve got me, Enna, Jester and our guide Meepo out here, and the dwarf brothers Burian and Kalashnikov clearing out that corridor,” he continued, pointing out members of the group, “oh, and I can’t forget our newest addition, Logan. He’s behind you!”
At this, Levan and Knott looked round and jumped as an elaborately-costumed skeleton was revealed to be in the dark corner of the room, and Levan made the symbol of his god over his chest.
“You travel with…the undead? Heathens.” he spluttered, and Knott appeared just as shaken.
“Well, he is a recent element, and I admit I’m not the happiest about having him around either,” said Enna, an uneasy smile on her face, “but I’m sure it’ll work itself out in the end. Eldath knows it normally does.”
Moving on into the caltrop-covered corridor, Levan and Knott were introduced to the Roundtree/Rowntree brothers, who were just finishing clearing the floor. All in all, Burian was left with a very large bag full of caltrops, that he fully intended to use, which he attached to his pack.
Now that the corridor was clear, the brothers, Levan and Knott headed up to the low wall, but the dwarves were unable to see over the wall, and of course neither would help the other up. What they could tell though, was that the wall itself was of shoddy workmanship, with mortar loose and bricks haphazardly stacked, and irregularly-placed crenellations.
“Pfff, gotta be goblin workmanship this,” Burian said derisively.
“Ha, more like workmanshit brother!” responded Kalashnikov, overly pleased with his vulgar pun, “what’s over there, new guys?”
The darkness of the room ahead meant that Levan was really struggling to see, so he simply turned to look at his companion with much more sensitive eyesight. It was immediately evident to Knott that the room was a regular goblin haunt, with filth and stains covering the area, as well as worn hides and a well-used fire pit. Sleeping on some hides were two goblins, oblivious to the intruders.
“Oh, nothing of importance, go right ahead dwarves.” Knott replied, a slight smirk on his face that the brothers caught.
“Ah, don’t play with them, Knott. Knott Important here neglected to mention the two sleeping goblins curled up over there, I’ll go deal with them.” Jester said, then jumped over the wall, and Knott had a sinking feeling that the unintentional nickname was going to be sticking around with these people.
Jester ran silently over to the goblins, and before the paladin could even make a sound to stop him, he slit the throats of the sleeping, defenceless creatures. Drenk and Enna had just approached the wall as well, then despaired at the slaughter as a strangled cry died in Levan’s throat at the callous murder of (mostly) innocent beings.
“All clear!” the half-elf rogue said with far too much joy, then checked over the corpses of the goblins and returned to the wall with two putrid wineskins. He threw one each to Burian and Kalashnikov, the druid dropping his after touching it, and the warlock stashed it for possible tasting later.
“Let me through, I’ll get rid of this wall,” Drenk said, clearing a small area then breaking the wall apart with his maul. The wall seemed to crumble in on itself after one hit, having no structural integrity whatsoever, and the dwarves spat on the shoddy work as they traipsed into the sleeping quarters.
A quick inspection found no useful items, but Jester showed off a design feature he had built into Logan’s costume. Now that they had six more hides gathered from this room, he illustrated that the hides could be stuffed into Logan’s ribcage, underneath the caltrops bag, to form a makeshift dispenser of the hides. Kalashnikov, unsurprisingly, loved this additional feature, and stuffed most of his hides inside Logan while the others looked around the room.
Meepo broke the concentration of the group by saying “We’re in goblin territory now. I would have taken you round the back way, but I suppose we can assault the front.”
This was met with more than a little confusion, as Meepo hadn’t really been leading anywhere the group for quite some time. But looking onwards, there was only one door out of this room, so the group clustered up about it.
“Jester, look past the door. No homicide.” Drenk whispered, his inner watchman fuming at the reliance upon the stealthy rogue.
Waiting upon Jester again, the group watched as the half-elf slipped through the door and disappeared into the next room.
A few minutes of heart-in-the-mouth tension later, the door opened up and he reappeared.
“It’s a long corridor ahead, curving round to the end of a larger room. There were dozens of broken arrows on the floor, and three human-sized things being shot at from behind a barricade! We’ve gotta help them!” he said with an uncharacteristic determination, but it spurred the group into action.