Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 39
|Kuqhir of the Wastes||Magic-User level 2||A thin, tall, dark skinned man with a magnificent beard that tickles his bellybutton. Dresses in silk robes and tightly folded turban embroidered with names of all known angels.|
|Amanka||Cleric level 1||Dour, glum, tight-lipped, and baggy-eyed cleric with a gravestone-shaped talisman. She reveres the Fallen One, a petty god of fallen warriors and unsung heroes.|
|Rad||Thief level 3||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Oberon||Figher level 3||A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.|
Sunstrong 11th, Airday
Having stayed behind for the last expedition, Sam decided to lead his own party to the bandit camp. If anyone could determine there were no valuables left behind, then that was him!
Lady Luck was on his side, and he managed to recruit Kuqhir, a grand wizard hailing from the Wastes; Amanka, a cleric whom he already knew; and Oberon, a mean looking headhunter.
Norvin the Ranger was happy to lead them back to the Circle of Stone where bandit camp was. Doubly so, because Ithiel, a child Eccy has saved, claimed there were others like him...
Rad and his retinue reached the camp by noon.
Oberon the Stag demonstrated his usefulness by scouting up ahead. Due to his amazing skill he became nearly invisible in the foliage. He discovered a camp full of arrow-ridden corpses, just like Rad had expected.
The quarter scanned the camp once more, just to double check if any valuable have been left behind.
Rad couldn't find two tiger-face beasts that Eccy and Rhovar spoke much about. There were bandit corpses, there were hobgoblin corpses, and there was Finegan's beheaded corpse... But no large beasts.
“Let's head down the cave tunnel. This is where Finegan and monsters charged out from.”
“Wait, I have a brilliant idea.” Oberon interjected. The headhunter picked up the lightest bandit corpse and threw it down the tunnel.
“You always have to check for traps! Dungeoneering 101!”
He continued kicking the corpse down the tunnel.
Neither Amanka, nor the others, objected.
Kuqhir lit up the lantern, as they descended into darkness.
Another decapitated corpse. It was lying one the cave floor, with its belly facing down. The arms were outstretched forwards, as if the person tried to crawl away from something.
The corpse did not react to Amanka's holy words. Nor to Rad's arrow. Finally, Oberon took the corpse he was kicking, and threw it on the decapitated one.
“Eccy did mention that Finegan came out holding a chopped off head. Maybe it was his?”
The corpse was at the corner of a T-shaped junction. To their left was another corpse, sitting on a broken bench. This unlucky bastard was split in half, from groin upwards. If it was to judge by the chunks of hanging flesh, the wound had to be inflicted with a saw-like weapon.
There was little else of interest besides the corpse. The party turned to their right, carefully moving forwards. This led them to a cavernous chamber too big for their light sources.
Rad stepped forward, checking for traps. Just as he was to turn around and inform his men about the absence of obvious traps, he managed to trip on a string of something.
An audible clank could be heard, and a stiff corpse fell right in front of him, forcing him to unleash a not-so-manly scream.
A lifeless, naked man hung in front of him. The hands were tied behind his backs. The man was covered in many bruises.
Looking up, the party couldn't see the ceiling. The rope the man was hanging from was tense.
“Whomever had place this is now aware of our presence. Tread lightly.”
Looking ahead, the party was at a junction. They could see clear paths forward, to the right, and to the left. Right they went, hugging the cave wall.
Pressing onwards, they quickly realised that cave wall on their left was in fact a large pillar—and that they were in a truly cavernous chamber.
They eventually stumbled upon a shabby looking bench and a rotten barrel. Just beyond them were two more benches. Several dice laid on the low table just between the benches.
Rad picked up on muffled cries to the west.
Heavily armoured Amanka took the lead.
The source was quickly found.
A bound and gagged person sitting on the cave floor.
It was dragged into darkness just as the party approached it.
In that split second they had clearly seen the person's terrified, tear-smudged face.
“This is a trap.” the mage announced stoically.
“At least we are not facing the undead.”
“Hey, we might be facing intelligent undead!”
“Trap or no trap, we must rescue this poor soul.”
Gritting his teeth, Rad pressed on together with the party.
They followed the muffled cries, as well as the blood trail left by the poor soul being dragged naked along the jagged cavern floor.
Now they entered another cave chamber, still too large to be illuminated with a single lantern, but noticeably smaller than the previous one.
The victim was dragged northwards.
Kuqhir quickly examined the cave chamber, just to make sure no surprise would come from the flanks. Amanka was focused on saving the person as soon as possible. Rad took the center position so he can make a good shot. Oberon was surprised with six javelins from the darkness, with three striking.
The hunter suffered greatly, collapsing to the ground. One of the javelins lodged quite deep, breaking several of the ribs in the process. Barely conscious, he crawled up against the cave wall.
The javelins, as well as low grunts, came from behind the party—the chamber they came from.
“Illuminate them, and I shall lay Waste upon them!” Kuqhir demanded, as he weaved the arcane powers.
Rad ran to the edge of darkness, lit up the oil flask, and chucked it towards the grunts. Although hitting none, the spilt oil caught fire and illuminated a gang of four squat goblins.
Amanka clasped her hands, uttered holy words, and pointed at the large stone beneath one of the monsters. It lit up, and shone bright light on the surroundings.
Kuqhir could now clearly see six goblins and two tower tiger-faced monsters. By the time he said his words, did his moves, and pointed his fingers, all of the monsters hit the ground in deep slumber.
Another tiger-faced monster, followed by two goblins, came out of darkness to the north. This was the direction the naked person was dragged from.
The large monster spoke in broken Common:
“You. Leave. Or I kill!” pointing at the downed hunter.
Expert negotiators they are, the party shot an offer consisting of an arrow, an pebble, and an oil flask. The monsters counter-offered three javelins for Oberon.
Monster's offer missed the mark.
On the other hand, the party's offer was a great success, leaving monsters floored.
Rad and Kuqhir rapidly executed the sleeping monsters, while Amanka pressed on to find the person used as a bait. Oberon was quietly trying to stay alive.
Mario was the name used as a bait. He was in absolutely horrible shape, with chunks of flesh and muscle hanging from his arms, legs, and back.
“Save my children, please, I beg of you” he cried and pleaded.
“Uh huh, it's a trap.”
“If it is, he definitely seems committed to the act!”
“Please, my seven children, please...”
The man told the party everything he knew about the place. The bandits camped outside, while the monsters were here. Ransom victims were held in the large cave to the northwest.
Amanka was firm. She will help this man, even if it is a trap. Kuqhir decided to accompany her. Rad helped Oberon get out.
Mario limped badly, bleeding profusely. His children were the only thing he talked about.
“Just around the corner.”
Amanka strolled in confidently.
A tiger-faced monster was facing them.
It stood tall, with both arms outstretched.
Countless oil flasks hung around its neck and arms.
Seven bound kids laid by its feet.
“Stop. No close. I kill all.”
“Put down the weapons and let the children go.”
“Lay down your weapons, liberate the kids, and we might let you live!”
“You want child? 100 gold coin each.”
“OK, that's enough.”
Betting a lifetime of guilt, Kuqhir once again did his slumber-inducing routine.
The beast swung its arms, as if to clasp them.
Luckily for all involved, Kuqhir was quicker, and the monster fell down on its back, failing to ignite anything.
Mario ran up, untying his kids with bloodied fingers. They cried and hugged their dad.
The chamber was littered with iron manacled. It reeked and was caked with body waste.
“Come, let's get you out of here.”
Leaving them all, including badly wounded Oberon, with Norving, Rad, Amanka, and Kuqhir returned to the caves.
Unopposed, they explored all the chambers. Two were of particular interest.
To the northeast was a large chamber, nearly the size of the one with pillars. It had just over twenty soiled bedrolls of varying sizes. Oh, and there was a narrow tunnel leading further into the darkness to the east.
Besides an assortment of junk, the trio recovered many usable weapons: 21 javelins, 8 spears, 12 clubs, 2 shortswords, and 1 longsword. They also found a rotten chest with 3000 copper coins.
To the southeast was a chamber with a large bearskin rug, bed with solid wooden frame, and a desk. The cave walls looked as if they were regularly assaulted with a serrated weapon. Southern wall was filled with nonsensical scribbles and drawings, which Amanka labelled as chaotic.
One of the desk drawers held several reams of parchment papers. On them were lists of what seemed to be names with numbers next to them. Elan was written next to many of these numbers. The chamber had a rather disturbing atmosphere.
Mario, the bait and father of seven children, on their way to Kestizar unfortunately passed away from his wounds.
“Thank you...” were his last words to Amanka.
Illustrations by Idle Doodler.
Discuss at Dragonsfoot forum.
Subscribe to get the latest post in your inbox. No spam.