Stonehell and its surrounds

Session 3 - Stonehell

"I say this portcullis is most inconvenient." - Wilhelm

Frank and Derek Schiller were recuperating after a successful expedition against the Stag lord Zorrel Gnast. They shared the table of Markus the Bürgermeister of Drellin’s Ferry. Derek could barely conceal his contempt at the quality of the wine. It was nothing compared to the fine Estalian blends he had copiously consumed while ‘studying’ in foreign lands at his fathers expense. The Bürgermeister probed Derek’s loyalty to his father looking for ways to gain the noble’s trust. Derek would have none of this however and instead pursued rumors of the notorious Stonehell dungeon. All the talk in town centered on the presence of a burning skeleton deep within the dungeon. Slaying the Stag lord had gained Derek some fame, though it was fame he had to share with his somewhat untrustworthy sister Gwen. If he were to slay the burning skeleton then he would gain further standing and perhaps a position in his father’s court.

The failed state of Eisen’s main export, since the stagnation of it’s war stricken economy, was soldiers . This made recruiting some mercenaries and arming with bows an easy task. While trawling the taverns the heroes managed to recruit a disaffected son of a noble known as Wilhelm. This well dressed warrior had his very own shield bearer and someone to carry his blade. Wilhelm claimed to be someone important and he certainly looked the part.
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The band entered the box canyon housing Stonehell via the narrow path they had used to reach Zorrel Gnast’s bandit redoubt. Frank’s dog, inventively named Poo, began barking furiously as it became apparent that they were being stalked by wolves. A vicious battle erupted amongst the rocky and narrow path with the large band of warriors jostling for position all eager to bloody their swords. The wolves were put to flight with just a single canine escaping. The corpses yielded little of value beyond their pelts.

Continuing into the box canyon the group scouted some ruins before turning their attention to a small wood. Within the wood they spied some bandits. An overheard conversation indicated they were survivors of Zorrel Gnast’s band. After a quick skirmish that saw many bandits dispatched, the two survivors were pressed into service. In honour of this occasion Frank renamed the survivors Wee and Vomit. This shouldn’t have been so surprising considering his own surname was Poxblast.

With new recruits the band changed tack and decided to enter Stonehell via the ‘lift’ found in Zorrel Gnast’s lair instead of using Stonehell’s front door. They lowered themselves down only to find themselves in a cavern full of giant mushrooms. Frank immediately made himself a giant mushroom hat. Poo (the dog) began barking alerting his master to danger. Sadly the warning came moments too late as panicked giant cave locusts lept into the midst of the band. Two of Wilhelm’s retainers were crushed under the giant insects legs. Spurred into action the band made short work of the insects. Wilhelm stood stunned in the aftermath of the skirmish, clearly affected by the sudden deaths of his hirelings. “I had asked for healthy and strong retainers but it seems I have been sold shoddy merchandise.’ Wilhelm complained before muttering something about being made of paper-mache. Frank just shrugged as he was used to seeing men die, it came with the job.

Exploring the caverns further the band came across a mob of kobolds harvesting fungus. After a hurried discussion a kobold called Pim, who seemed smitten by Wilhelm, agreed to become their guide and show them not only to the lower levels where the burning skeleton was rumoured to reside, but also to the Kobold’s community where they could rest and resupply. Pressing on the group encountered a magnetic cavern which proved a slight annoyance to those in chain armour.
A sphinx
Leaving the natural caverns the group entered the worked stone corridors of Stonehell proper. Within a small chamber they discovered a statue of a sphinx who challenged them to answer its riddle. ‘If you have it, you want to share it, but if you share it, you don‘t have it. What is it?’ Frank answered ‘a secret’ and Wilhelm rather cleverly answered ‘virginity’. As both answers were correct the group earned some treasure including some potions.

Flexing his substantial muscles Frank hefted the portcullis which guarded the corridor their kobold guide insisted would lead them to the lower levels. Pressing on the band stumbled across some orcs roasting a beetle in a ruined hall. The group surprised the brutes but failed to kill them all as a sole survivor fled for safety. Frank gave pursuit continuing bravely on despite the failing light as he ventured further and further from the groups lantern light. Groping about in the dark Frank heard many orc voices and figuring fighting in pitch darkness a foolish option hastily retreated to warn his fellows.

The group prepared an ambush for the oncoming orcs and executed it and the orcs very well. Ominously the orcs kept on coming and one by one the hired help began to fall. Wilhelm’s nerve broke and he ordered his surviving retainers to retreat with the orcs in close pursuit. His panicked flight was blocked by an inconveniently closed portcullis and so Wilhelm had to turn and face his orcish tormentors. A desperate battle ensued with the hero’s scraping through with a win though their retainers had been whittled down to just Vomit the ex bandit whom Wilhelm had purchased from Frank earlier in the venture in order to have someone carry his shield. With the battle barely over the group heard an ominous clicking sound of many segmented legs scuttling across stone. Determining discretion was in order the group hid in a nearby antechamber as a group of fire beetles arrived. With so much fresh meat the insects settled in for a feast. The party chose that moment to rest and recuperate.

With the beetles gone and feeling refreshed from a quick nap the band pressed on scouting out a recently abandoned orc watchpost. Further scouting revealed a silent human figure who lured Derek into a pit trap before fleeing. While annoyed the party chose not to pursue the soundless figure. Instead they explored a room full of rancid straw. Suspecting a trap Frank encouraged Vomit to explore the room first on the proviso that, should he succeed in searching the place, he would be allowed a proper name. Sadly Vomit set off a bear trap which tore his leg off as soon as he set foot in the room.
‘Who just leaves a bear trap in a room?’ Frank shouted shaking his fist at the gods. ‘This is stupid! Only idiots would trap a room with nothing in it.’
‘Oi ooman. Ooo you calling an idiot?’ responded a goblin voice from down the hall. ‘You fell for a Wolf Gang booby trap. We set it to punish the orc tribe that stole our lands. Make sense now stinky human?’ At that point a band of helpfully explanatory goblins ambled up the corridor towards the party. Some pleasantries were exchanged and the goblins seemed eager to enlist the groups help in defeating their hated orc rivals. The heroes had other plans and set off for the nearby kobold community and the stairs down which their now deceased kobold guide had promised them was close.

Indeed they were close. Apart from discovering a secret cache of treasure, including a magic mace Skull Crusher, the journey to the kobold community was uneventful. At the entrance, after avoiding a rather obvious dead fall trap, the band had their weapons taken. Frank protested loudly and managed to secure their weapons with a padlock he had purchased in Drellin’s Ferry. With coin to spend the band hit the slave market. They are currently in possession of 2 humans, 4 goblins, 3 kobolds and an elf. Fresh meat for the grinder.

Comments

350 XP each for Frank, Derek and Wilhelm

Session 3 - Stonehell
Iron_DM

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