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]
Outnumbered six to one, with only the fallen Jester for company, Kalashnikov reacted quickly to the goblins’ attack, diving into cover and casting fiendish vigour upon himself. His skin was rapidly covered with a translucent purple barrier, which would take the brunt of at least a few strikes, buying him some time.
“’ow I ‘ate to rely upon these idiots…” he muttered to himself, looking over at the arrow sticking out of Jester’s side.
Eyes ablaze with anger, Drenk ran into the columned room, to take cover behind an ornate pillar. Judging the distance of the room, he realised he wouldn’t reach the goblin group in time, so he unhooked a javelin from his pack. Holding his weapon a little too tight, his release was a little off, and the wooden shaft flew a little high, spearing a pillar instead of a goblin.
Two goblins jumped at the attack from a new side, and hastily responded in kind, lobbing javelins at the new assailant, but their reflexive throws missed, and Drenk yelled a war-cry as they skittered away along the stone floor.
Hearing the half-orc’s bellow, Burian allowed his body to shift form, his stance hunching and his limbs lengthening. A grunt of pain transformed into a feral growl as his vocal chords changed, a fur sprouted all over his body, engulfing the equipment he had strung about. His run shifted into a bounding lope, and when he pulled away from Knott and the gnome, they were scared to see a gigantic tiger sprinting down the corridor.
Having transformed into a peak predator of the mystical forest around his brewery, the cat-that-was-Burian emerged from the corridors with a snarl, then lurked in the shadows, readying its claws.
Recovering a little faster than Knott, the gnome followed the tiger into the room, staying relatively safe towards the back of the room.
Sensing the danger its master was in, Logan turned from the doorway where it had greeted Drenk, and marched over to Kalashnikov, standing directly in the way of any more javelins.
It was a good thing Logan did that, as two goblins lobbed more javelins to attack Kalashnikov. The skeleton raised its shield, blocking one incoming javelin, but the other grazed Kalashnikov along his hip, sparking off his magical barrier. This did save him from a dangerous blow, but he still felt horribly exposed.
<Logan, be a lamb, shoot the fucker> the warlock commanded before unleashing a terrible hex on one of the goblins. He followed his curse up with an eldritch blast, alternating red, yellow and blue in strobing colour, but his shot went high, hitting around human-head height on a pillar.
The goblins giggled at his awful shot, to which Kalashnikov shouted “Shut it! I add atmosphere!” in protest.
A fifth goblin dropped his javelins and ran over to the fallen body of Jester, and let out a loud goblin-speak swear when he missed with his slash on a stationary foe.
Last to reach the columned room, Knott ran in, saw the chaos and moved to get in a better position to defend Jester, dashing from pillar to pillar.
Within striking range now, Drenk charged in melee with the group of goblins, pushing separating the small monsters into two pairs. “Here’s my magical, big-hitting ability” he called out in a weak one-liner, then wailed on two of the goblins, knocking both back and snapping chainmail rings into goblin flesh.
Lurking in the darkness, Burian-as-a-tiger loped into the fray, speeding up until he pounced at the two free goblins. He practically flew at them, but such was his speed that when his intended target ducked to pick up a javelin, he went straight over their head. Snarling, he quickly turned to face the goblins, attracting their attention as they tumbled round and dropped their javelins when face with a gigantic predator so near.
One of these goblins soon regretted his turnabout, as an arrow fired from Logan punctured its buttocks. The goblin yelled, and turned to see the skeleton gesturing rudely for hurting its master.
The gnome saw that Jester was under assault from a greedy goblin, and braved his blade to cast spare the dying upon the fallen rogue. Having completed that urgent task, the gnome raised the dagger Jester had lent him, and took position over the half-elf to protect him.
Hissing at the gnome, his goblin assailant brought his blade across in a forehand strike, cutting the gnome lightly, before fouling up a backhand attack, missing the gnome and Jester.
Initially pleased with himself for making Logan swear at the goblins, Kalashnikov was soon dismayed when the two goblins near Burian threw Javelins into Logan. The javelins scattered around the floor, but they had done considerable damage to the skeleton.
Angry at his minion’s damage, the warlock cast a navy red eldritch blast, garishly bright at the goblins. Unfortunately, he missed again, skimming over them at dwarf-head height, but he felt like he was zeroing in on the far targets.
From the dark depths of the haze, Knott threw a dart into the melee around Drenk, and struck one of the goblins in the shoulder, the razor-sharp tip plunging deep into its shoulder. He moved again, keeping hidden while moving closer to the fight itself.
Drenk tried to take advantage of the yelping goblin’s plight, but as he brought his maul around the troublesome goblin grabbed its friend and pulled it into the path of the maul, shielding itself. That goblin fell to the floor, but feeling a surge of anger pushing him onward, Drenk attacked again, missing the goblin capering around its comrade.
Giggling and dancing around the two goblins around Drenk picked themselves up and attacked as a duo. One grazed him in their first strikes, but he parried their second ones with the shaft of his weapon, laughing back in their faces.
The druid-tiger rounded on his opponents, but even with them distracted he couldn’t seem to strike with his feline claws. The unfamiliarity of this form chafed, but now that the combat had moved towards the centre of the room, he saw that a dead goblin was propped up near the entrance by its own javelin. In some catastrophic twist of fate, the goblin had managed to plunge the javelin into the back of its head while trying to throw the weapon.
Once again, an arrow fired from Logan’s bow buried itself deep in a goblin, and to Kalashnikov’s twisted mind, it appeared to resemble an advertisement poster for his brewery, showcasing a particular beverage they called Strong Bow. The punctured goblin swayed, but kept upright, for the moment.
The goblins pincered between Burian, Kalashnikov and Logan dropped their last javelins, and charged into combat, one heading to Logan and the other to the sturdy warlock. Unable to react too quickly, Logan was struck by a goblin sword, rattling as it pierced the hide costume and bounced around the bones inside. Kalashnikov could deflect most of the strikes from his attacked, but the goblin finally shattered his protective spell, the purple glimmer sparkling out as Kalashnikov was cut.
<Logan, it’s time, for all these knives man! Slice and dice buddy> the warlock commanded, before firing a lime green eldritch blast into the chest of his hexed opponent from point blank range. The goblin spluttered, and looked down to see that its chest was dissolving around a burn hole accidentally shaped into the Dwarvish runes for seven up.
Back at the bitter fight over Jester’s body, the gnome was holding his own, cutting the attacker with his knife, until the goblin dazed the gnome with a pommel-smack to the head. The gnome collapsed, and the goblin hacked him twice across his chest.
Before it could do further damage, Knott emerged from the haze, and engaged the goblin, shouting “I will avenge that gnome! Though I don’t know his name!”. His strikes were far too fast for the goblin, and he managed to puncture the goblin’s shoulder, pulling his sword out and bringing it back to bear.
Just trying to finish these goblins off, Drenk tried again for the jolly goblin, but his crushing blow was instead met by the goblin’s friend’s body. It had pulled the same trick, running from danger and using its mate as a meat-shield, and it now found itself only holding bloody remnants of its friend, the rest of the body now lying smashed on the floor.
Picking its scimitar back up from its hasty manoeuvre, the goblin attacked Drenk timidly, missing with its first try, but putting a little more effort in and nicking Drenk with its second.
Since he was now only defending against one goblin, Drenk was able to get a look at the battlefield, and watched as tiger-Burian finally managed to connect an attack on the last goblin assaulting the skeleton. The great claws of the tiger scratched down the goblin’s back, but only staggered him, prompting Drenk to call out “I think you’re doing tiger wrong, Burian.”
<Logan, activate blade-storm> rang out inside the skeleton’s skull, and Logan dropped its bow and drew its two scimitars, driving the goblin back and catching it with several deep cuts. Now trapped between the whirling dervish of an incensed skeleton and an ineffectual-but-still-terrifying tiger, the goblin turned and attacked the tiger, slashing the beast twice with deep cuts.
His hex now released from the holed goblin, Kalashnikov applied it to the goblin attacking his brother, and he tried to cast a pale yellow eldritch blast into the mix. For some reason, the colour was a little off, producing a rose gold glow, but the blast did strike his target, and the goblin fell retching as its flesh sloughed off its bones in a grotesque death.
Fallen on top of Jester, the gnome convulsed underneath his goblin victor, gurgling blood and his breath getting more and more shallow. Seeing the slow death of the gnome, Knott Important was filled with an all-consuming rage and started striking with a speed that the goblin couldn’t hope to match. His opponent swiftly turned into a pincushion, such was the ferocity of Knott’s attack, and the goblin body rolled into the darkness of the room.
“Parley?” the last goblin asked after seeing all its companions fall, but Drenk was having none of it. He brought his maul down with an almighty slam, finally ridding himself of this wretched creature. The fight was finished, but it had not gone well, with two members of the party down, one of whom appeared to be fading fast…