Mischievous Monsters: The Eastern Cave

We played our second session last week, wherein the three PCs went off following the tracks of the rat-goblins.

The tracks led the party of five (Callum, Young Alf, and Magnus, together with Horace and Jacob the mercenaries) across the fields and over some rolling hills, until the tracks split off in three different directions: one set, the lightest went North towards a forest in the distance. Another set lead to the curved arm of the same forest, to the West, whilst the three and highest set of tracks turned East towards hills just visible over the horizon.

Believing that the heavy tracks meant that the rat-goblins, or Fir Darrig as the captive goblin called themselves, were carrying the largest goods they’d stolen, the party headed East. It took several hours for them to reach the hills, but it was the height of Spring and despite the lateness of the day, it was still a few hours before the sun would go down.

The tracks led them to a cave in the side of a steeply sloping hill. Trees and shrubs dotted the hill and land, and it would have been easy for something as small as a rat-goblin to hide themselves away. Leaving Horace and Jacob to watch over the cave, the others began to scout the area, moving through the trees to see if there were any other ways in: they were rewarded when they found another entrance, smaller with a lower ceiling, leading into a twisting tunnel that snaked away inside the side of the hill. Fetching the two mercenaries, they moved into the tunnel, Magnus summoning his Mage Light to light the way.

The tunnel twisted and turned, the floor uneven, the ceiling often low enough that they had to duck. There was no chance for the mercenaries to use their bows in such confines, so they drew their axes and followed the three friends into the darkness. Alf scouted ahead, and soon heard squeaking voices from beyond the turn of the tunnel, past a side tunnel that disappeared deeper into the hill. Motioning the other to stay back, he carefully approached the voices, moving in darkness to avoid being spotted.

A slim beam of fading sunlight filtered through a cave entrance, but revealed little more than vague figures standing about in a cave, arguing in a squeaking language that he did not recognise. Deciding that a surprise attack was the best option, Alf charged into the cave, thrusting the broad-head of his spear at the nearest figure: but his aim was misjudge, the darkness working against him, and the attack went wide.

The rat-goblins shrieked in surprised and drew blades, while the party followed Alf into the cave, as best as they could, spreading out as Magnus’ light illuminated the scene: a cave, four rat-goblins, and a pile of trade goods that had been stolen from the inn.

Before blows could be exchanged, Magnus stepped forth and spread his fingers wide: an utterance of arcane words and a fan of flames burst forth from his fingertips, incinerating two of the goblins instantly. Their ashen remains collapsed.

The remaining goblins turned and fled. Alf and Callum gave chase, Horace and Jacob grabbing their bows and letting loose with arrows over the heads of their allies. They grazed their enemy, sent one stumbling, but the to small creatures were fleet of foot and were soon out of sight, disappearing into the tall grass.

The party returned to the caves, exploring the tunnels and finding a couple of smaller caves inside: one had recently held crates, but these had been moved to the main cave. Another held a trap: a crate full of rats. That proved nothing more than an annoyance. They pulled all of the goods together, set a watch, and made camp for the night.

in the morning, laden with the stolen goods, the party made the slow journey back to the inn. After half the day had gone, the five men spotted figures in the distance, crossing the hills that they had crossed the day before following the tracks (the party had decided to take a more direct route back to the inn, across the plains): small ones and several larger than human ones. At their current speed, this group would reach the inn maybe minutes after, or even before, the party. They therefore decided to drop the goods (making sure they had a good idea where to find them later) and hurried to the inn, arriving with maybe an hour before the goblins and their larger allies reached them.

Once inside, Alf wasted no time to organising the defence of the inn, after quickly filling in the innkeeper and patrons about what was happening. Those unable to fight (the innkeeper’s family, the minstrel and the old man/mage) were sent into the cellar, while the others were divided up: upstairs went Alf and the two bowmen, Horace and Jacob. Callum, Magnus, the trader and innkeeper moved through the inn, barricading doors, shutting and barring the windows, and then assembled in the taproom, listening as Alf relayed what was happening from the top of the stairs to the first floor; there the three warriors watched from the only open window as the goblins and, yes, ogres approached the inn: there were maybe a dozen of the rat-goblins, one larger than the others and wearing a top hat and obviously the leader, and the three ogres, dressed in monk’s robes and looking like giant toads walking upright, a few feet taller than any of the humans in the inn.

As soon as the goblins were in range, Horace and Jacob fired their arrows at the leader, but their aim was poor and only one arrow grazed the creature. Then the goblins scattered, moving out of sight around the inn, while two of the ogres headed straight for the front door.

End of Session

A quick explore of a cave and a fight that showed how powerful spells can be, the rest of the session was planning for a siege. Next session (tomorrow night) will see the goblins attacking the inn whilst the PCs defend it.