3Oaks #4: Storming the kobold lair

Real-world date: September 4, 2006
Hanorian date: StockTend 10th.
Moon phase: 5/7ths full.
Season: Late summer
Weather: Afternoon showers, building into thunderstorms about 50% of the time.

OK, when last we left our intrepid group, Euha was wounded and unconscious, and Butterchin, Alec and Belven were trying to figure out what to do as the sun was setting.

They quickly searched the kobolds they had dispatched in the evening’s festivities, discovering one kobold with a significant amount of platinum and gold. A search of the bodies by Alec turned up a pair of goggle-like devices with dark lenses. Kobolds don’t have ears like humans do, so the goggles appear to buckle onto the head using some of the bumps and protrusions of the kobold skull to keep them in place. Alec also discovered a small glass vial containing a fluid with the general viscosity of honey. He also discovered a ring made of a whitish metal with a bright red stone. The ring is very beautiful. As this was going on, rain began to fall and thunder was heard moving into the valley.

After scalping the kobolds the group sent Alec to see if he could find some place to shelter from the storm and hide from more kobolds. Alec reported he had found a shelter that was large enough to keep the group dry. They used Euha’s bedroll as a makeshift stretcher and Belven and Butterchin managed to carry Euha the 1/4 mile or so to the shelter.

The weather intensified as they moved, and by the time they got to the shelter the rain was pelting the group, visibility was down to a few yards in any direction, and lightning was flashing continuously. Between lightning flashes the area was plunged into complete darkness, making Alec and Belven effectively blind. This continued for several hours. The group decided to split the watch up into four hour increments and due to the blackness of the night, Butterchin took the first watch.

A little more than three hours into his watch, Butterchin heard a snuffling sound outside as the rain finally let up. As the clouds moved on, the moon began to provide more illumination. Butterchin woke up Belven and Alec and risked a quick peek outside to see what was making the snuffling noise. At about 200 yards distance he saw two kobold-like figures walking behind a quadraped that was apparently sniffing the ground. The quadraped and kobolds were systematically searching the area between the road and the north face of the steep rock walls. They were steadily making their way towards the shelter the group was in.

After serious discussion about their options, the group decided to try to ambush the kobolds. By now the moon was providing significant light, enough light for Alec to clearly see the kobolds and their “dog.” Their “dog” appeared to be some sort of small dinosaur. Alec took one quick step out of the crack between the boulders, took careful aim and fired a single crossbow bolt at one of the kobolds. The kobold dropped like a rock. The remaining kobold took one look at his fallen comrade, one look at Alec, and then turned and fled at his fastest speed in the other direction. The dino-dog was left behind where it initially stopped and simply looked around. Alec took a shot at the dino-dog and missed, but the dino-dog did not seem to notice the shot and simply turned and sniffed the prone kobold. Then it ambled off in the direction it had come. Alec had to move out about 20 yards to get another good shot and missed again. The dino-dog continued to amble. Alec moved out another ten yards and took a final shot, which also missed. The dino-dog was then left to wander off into the night. Alec then searched the dead kobold finding some more copper pieces. (DM note: Did you take his scalp? I don’t recall…)

The group reconvened in the crack hoping that Euha would wake from his stupor, but other than some vague mumblings, Euha remained unconscious. The group returned to its routine and Butterchin completed his watch. Alec took the next watch. For over an hour nothing happened, then Alec was surprised to hear a “pssst!” sound from outside, followed by a human voice asking “are you alright in there?”

Alec awakened Butterchin and Belven. As they shook off their slumber, a figure entered the crack. It turned out to be the same travel-worn man they had seen two nights before in the Raven’s Nest Tavern on their first night in 3Oaks. He informed the group that he had come from the Galloping Pony tavern a few miles down the road. The tavern had been under siege from kobolds until earlier that night when he discovered that something had caused the kobolds to recall those who were threatening the tavern. He had been searching the valley for the cause of the change of kobold tactics and had discovered several dead, scalped, kobold bodies. He had tracked the group back to the boulders and was now offering to help them get to the Galloping Pony and relative safety. He gave them his name as “Lupe” (pronounced “loopay”). Realizing that one of the party was unconscious and wounded, Lupe grudgingly offered a potion which Alec more or less forced into Euha’s mouth. But it worked, the healing potion awakened Euha and returned him to full capacity. Lupe then advised a quick retreat, telling the group that additional kobolds were in the area and would be hunting them down.

The group agreed to follow him. After several minutes of following him dodge and sneak behind boulders, a sudden screeching squeal was heard from their left, near the road. Realizing they had been seen, Lupe advised them to follow him to an abandoned bear cave he knew about. They all went to the cave where Lupe had them set an ambush of their own for the kobolds. Soon three kobolds appeared heading for the cave, Lupe had them pick separate targets, with him taking the middle, Alec taking the right, and Euha, Belven and Butterchin taking the one on the left. Lupe hit his, dropping it, Alec hit his, dropping it, and Euha hit his, dropping it. Lupe decided that this would give them a chance to break for the Galloping Pony again, and they headed quickly off to the east, again hugging the rocky hillside. A few hundred yards from the tavern, Lupe signaled a guard and they were allowed to go inside.

Inside the tavern the group gave a quick synopsis of why they were on the road, but mostly they all just went to sleep. The tavern had gained four Keep infantrymen as guards apparently left behind the day before by the large group that had headed through to get to Arich.

Awakening the next morning, Stocktend 11th, Lupe asked them lots of questions and informed the group that they owed him 5 platinum pieces for the healing potion. Alec handed over the 5pp he had taken from the dead kobold the night before. While Butterchin and Belven were preparing their daily spells, Lupe was trying to convince Alec and Euha to help him clear out the remaining kobolds from their lair, which he believed to be somewhere northwest of the tavern, north of the road, but along the hills. Alec showed Lupe their badges and copies of their signed papers deputizing them as agents of 3Oaks. When Butterchin and Belven joined the group, they all agreed to help Lupe. Alec then asked Lupe if he would help them get to Arich, but Lupe refused, saying he had specific orders from the agent of the King who was coordinating the activities against the kobold incursions in the area. As this was going on Belven examined the ring, the goggles and the vial of liquid Alec had discovered on the kobold with “detect magic” and did in fact detect a small amount of magic on the vial. The vial after further examination revealed that it had a small aura of abjuration.

As Lupe was trying to set up the days activiities, Butterchin began casting heal spells on Euha, who was still far from healed. Lupe seemed enraged by this. He said that they would now have to wait another day because they could not possibly storm the kobold lair with a cleric who had no remaining heal spells. So they stayed behind while Lupe went out to further scout for the kobold lair entrances. Mostly the group rested and ate free food offered by the tavern’s proprieter.

The next morning the group awakened, prepared spells, ate breakfast with Lupe and then headed off with one of the Keep guards left behind to help defend the tavern from the kobolds. Lupe laid out a plan for him and the Keep guard to storm one entrance of the lair, while the adventuring group stormed the other. After pointing out the hidden entrance to the kobold lair, Lupe and the guard disappeared telling them to wait ten minutes, then go in.

Alec scouted the area and found a tripwire trap that they left alone. They then crept up to the hidden entrance, which was essentially a five foot diameter hole hidden directly under a large boulder and obscured by underbrush. Unless you were right on top of it, it was essentially invisible. Euha crept up and took a quick peek in. In the hole he saw the tops of the heads of two kobolds in a small room 15 feet down the hole. He reported this back to the group. The group decided to tie a rope around Alec and lower him into the hole with his crossbow loaded and ready. Alec took another look down the hole right about ten minutes after Lupe had left them, and he only saw one kobold, who seemed to be looking down a corrider and talking to someone.

Alec then scrambled down the hole, took an ill-aimed shot at the kobold, and the kobold hit him with his spear as Alec hit the floor. Alec’s plan was to raise the ladder along the wall of one side of the room so that the rest of the group could climb down, and he managed to get the ladder up while the kobold continued to attack him. Euha joined Alec quickly and the kobold was dispatched, just as another kobold joined the fray. By then Butterchin had managed to get down the ladder and the three of them managed to flank the second kobold and kill it too. A third and fourth kobold also came into the corridor, but as one was quickly killed, the other turned and fled down the corridor where the group heard it close a door.

The group then organized itself, and Alec searched the short corridor for traps. Finding none, Euha opened the door, revealing a larger room. A quick look inside revealed two kobolds, one on each side of the door. Unwilling to attempt to fight the kobolds around the corner, where each would gain the benefit of cover, Euha moved through the door, narrowly avoiding a trap that he managed to set off, but avoid (nice natural 20 roll there) falling into. Inside the room two kobolds fought the group until each was killed.

So, with the night’s activities, and the initial foray into the kobold lair, the team accomplished the following:

8 additional kobolds killed
1 trap found and avoided
1 trap triggered, but avoided through a successful reflex save
1 successful body search
This was over the course of 3 “encounters” (one for the kobold searchers, one for the guards in the entryway, one for the kobolds in the second room).

8 kobolds is 600 xp the two traps are worth 50 each, as is the successful body search, which brings the total for today’s activities to 750 xp. Divided among the four of you, it comes to 187.5 xp each, rounded up to 188 xp. Added to the 343 you already have, your total xp is now 531xp after six encounters. This is slightly ahead of the “13 encounters per level” rule, but not too bad. To try to speed things up, searching the dead kobolds in the lair will turn up 17pp, 32gp, 24sp and 12cp. You also find another set of goggles and another vial of liquid like the first one. You find a simple gold ring and a metallic necklace on one kobold which holds what appears to be a set of human teeth.

OK you are now more than halfway to level 2.

DMs notes:

1. Just in case you are wondering, Lupe’s appearance was not some sort of “rescue” I contrived, Lupe has been asked by the king’s agent in the area to keep an eye on the area for situations just like this one, just as he told you. He was coming down the road regardless what happened to your group. Also, the fleeing kobold fled because he failed a DC check based on the fear factor you have given this particular group of kobolds.

2. The kobolds in the lair have been by far the most inept kobolds you have fought. I think they only got two successful hits on you in the entire battle. I wouldn’t count on the dice remaining that friendly to you.

3. You are now in a classic “dungeon crawl” situation. Do any of you have “Knowledge (dungeon)” as a skill? It might help if you do.

4. Lupe asked your group a lot of questions. He volunteered that the situation along the road to the east got worse as you headed east. None of you aked him for any information about what he was doing, or any details about what “worse” meant.

5. Not everything I do has a reason, but most of it does. Especially if you notice repeating patterns. One thing you might think about as you roam about the dark underworld of the Hanorian wilderness is that information you find might be of value to someone, somewhere.

Ravi’s advice to Von to hold off on his spells was pretty good advice. The team definitely took more notice to arrange flanking opportunities for better combat tactics. In general I would say that a longsword is better for close combat than a crossbow, even if you are a really good crossbow shooter. Besides the need to reload, both reloading and shooting a crossbow invoke attacks of opportunity.

One final note. It should be clear that the kobolds were caught off guard by the simultaneous assault on two entrances. The remaining kobolds may regroup and fight more effectively. We’ll see.

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