The band rested, giving themselves barely enough time to heal their many wounds. A scrawny kobold messenger interrupted their brief respite.
“Trustee Sniv demands an audience . You are to attend immediately.”
Once again they were ushered into Sniv’s not so impressive throne room. The kobold leader presented them with their newest slaves/henchmen. The acquisitions were a Nubian priest from far away lands and two warriors named Goodman and Gary. They had been taken captive after their original band had been butchered by ogres while exploring the entrance to Stonehell. The Nubian had only rudimentary common however Frank was pleased to discover that the helmet, he had recently looted from the Khan, gifted him with the ability to speak Nubian fluently and indeed comprehend any language he so chose.
The Nubian had an interesting tale involving the siphoning of uncaring gods powers and a unique insight into the falsehood of the conventional pantheon. Sadly all this would be wasted as followers have a tragic tendency to die horridly and quickly when working with Frank and Wilhelm.
With new followers in tow the band risked a brief foray back into the hobgoblin redoubt in order to retrieve some maps the Khan had on display in his war room. Recovering the maps proved an easy task and some rudimentary exploration revealed that the kobolds, or perhaps other dungeon denizens, had begun the task of looting all the hobgoblins gear.
Deciding additional manpower was required before venturing deeper beneath Stonehell the group retreated to the surface. As they neared the familiar lift the group passed through the fungal garden. Wilhelm had unpleasant memories of the place as it marked the site where his initial followers had been crushed like papier-mâché beneath the hind claws of giant cave locusts. Frank had pleasant memories of the place as it was here that he had first acquired his mushroom sombrero.
A motley rabble of desperate bandits along with their pet Myhkrian war lizards (think reptilian Rottweilers) had concealed themselves amongst the giant mushrooms. They accosted the group asking for a toll to use the lift. The bandit leader greedily eyed the large chests the heroes were lugging around.
“Hold on a moment. Let me just get your toll.” Wilhelm insisted when it became obvious communications had broken down. He reached behind himself and unslung his heavy crossbow firing a bolt into the bandit leaders shoulder. Combat ensued and the Nubian and Goodman were felled during the chaotic melee. Cursing their constant employee turnover the survivors limped their way to the surface and headed to Drellin’s Ferry.
In town the group purchased three mules to haul their hard earned loot from future expeditions. They had considered the idea of purchasing oxen, armouring them and potentially riding them through the dungeon corridors. The gods however did not favour their plan as oxen became mysteriously unavailable for purchase.
Armour was purchased for a child with the intent of handing it over to their sole remaining goblin henchman Forgath. Frank arranged for his plate mail armour to be modified so that it could mount the decanter of endless water they had retrieved from the Khan. Finally Wilhelm acquired a toy sword so he could train the orc toddler dubbed Cecil whom the deluded noble hoped would one day become his squire.
Forgath had been assigned guard duty over Wilhelm’s grand pavilion that the band had set just on the outskirts of town. Forgath was at one point to light a bonfire to scare away animals. This order he had enthusiastically accepted eying the undergrowth for things to burn. The goblin only half listened to the other instructions like keeping out of sight, remaining in the tent and wearing a big cloak at all times. Upon consideration it was decided that it might be best if no blaze was lit as it would attract unwanted attention. This made Forgath sad.
Back in town Wilhelm and Frank visited the inn the Bearded Goat hoping to encourage others to take up the rich and rewarding life of an adventurer. Sadly it seemed that tales of their previous henchmen’s spectacular short lifespan proceeded them. They were directed to a man named Hagan who dealt with the contracts for prospective dungeoneers. Hagan was a grizzled mercenary leader with extensive military contacts. His men where of the highest caliber or so he assured the hero’s. Brief interviews with the two warriors available for hire convinced the group of their worth. Wilhelm was particularly involved in the interview asking “How many fingers am I holding up?” The rather simple recruit struggled with the math to which Wilhelm replied “Excellent your hired.”
Frank looked puzzled. “But this one cannot count past two?”
“All the more treasure for us.” Wilhelm whispered back.
The final stop on the itinerary was the witches hut. As it transpired Tina the witch was an alleged witch and insisted on being called a herbalist. A number of ‘natural’ remedies were purchased and Frank parted ways with the pixie kings corpse which he had been holding onto for close to a week now. Even a week old it still showed no signs of decay. Remedies of note included one that could make the imbiber fly and another that rendered them invisible. Truly these were remarkable natural balms and not in any way magic. The transactions were conducted in Tina’s garden with the heroes’ never allowed to see inside the herbalist’s cottage, which incidentally lay 1 mile from Drellin’s Ferry.
Tiring of town adventuring, which involved lots of talking and shopping and no killing and looting, the band set forth once again for Stonehell. On the way down into the depths they picked up five goblin recruits from the tribe that was friendly to them. They had after all saved these goblins from certain destruction at the hands of the orcs and where therefore owed a significant favour.
Further exploration revealed a door barred and nailed shut from the corridor side. Clearly something was being contained. The party tried to parley through the door but received no response beyond a dull thumping at the door. A glimpse under the door made out the vaguest hint of booted feet. Unsure how to proceed the group left the door alone for the time being.
Their scout Forgath came running back. He had disturbed a nest of winged raven like beasts with lengthy razor sharp beaks. With barely a moment to spare a flock of stirges set upon the group in the corridor. Combat was swift and the stirges routed after bloodying only a single retainer. His wounds were swiftly bandaged and the group proceeded.
Returning to the barred door the group set about removing the barriers. Beyond they found a scene of horror as a swarm of undead attempted to mob them. Perhaps the zombies and decayed skeletons would have succeeded in their mindless plan were it not for Frank and his decanter of endless water. Frank hit them with a blast that sent them reeling. Under the relentless water pressure the zombies were picked off with missile fire. Only one managed to force its way amongst the group taking a goblin follower with it before being mercilessly put down.
With the undead dispatched Wilhelm and Frank ordered their retainers to remain in the corridor while they searched the room. Frank approached a soggy burlap sack while Wilhelm ran interference shielding the scene with co-incidentally enough his shield. This rather odd behaviour can be explained. The contract the group had signed with their retainers stipulated that they be paid a half share of any loot. Wilhelm and Frank were determined to pay only the most miserly of wages and so conspired to keep any wealth discovered a secret from their hirelings. “Oh darn. This sack is empty!” Frank bellowed surreptitiously transferring handfuls of coins and gems into his pack while Wilhelm ensured the looting remained concealed.
Continuing on the group discovered a chamber housing a single barrel. Forgath was promptly sent in alone with orders to check the barrel for traps. Forgath was a tough goblin. He had survived a great deal and had been with the group for some time now. He was too valuable to be considered a throw away henchman, he was almost one of the band. All that was about to end as two crab spiders dropped from the ceiling. One of them sank its fangs into his arm and Forgath promptly collapsed poisoned and dying. Righteous vengeance was smote upon the arachnids but alas Forgath was fading and there was little the Frank could do. Wilhelm offered to amputate the goblins arm but it was too late for that. The spider’s venom had done its job and the plucky goblin henchmen’s life was at an end.
Frank was shocked at Forgath’s sudden and cruel death but the hero’s nevertheless pressed on. They skirted a bunch of giant toads leaving them to their beetle feast. They went on to discover a scythe trap and used a grappling hook to retrieve a coin laden table. The coins were annoyingly stuck to the table and too difficult to retrieve. They were therefore deemed hireling treasure and gladly given over to the new recruits to pry off. Incidentally Wilhelm had also offered the hirelings a discovered anvil as their share of the loot though the thing had been too heavy and impractical to pack on a mule.
The band soon discovered a hunting party of lizard men armed with crude spears. They had claimed a portion of the dungeon as their sacred ground and warned the party away. After some discussion the hero’s offered to help them kill the giant toads which the lizard men sought to supplement their diet. The battle with the toads was short with the notable events being the chewing of a goblin retainers head along with an amazingly ineffectual volley of hurled lizard men spears. Content with the giant toad corpses the lizard men led the band to a lift which allowed access to deeper levels of Stonehell. Accepting the challenge the group used the lift to travel not one but two levels deeper. They now adventured on the hazardous fourth level of Stonehell knowing that with greater risks comes greater reward.
An initial foray from the lift found the group in a rough natural cavern not at all like the flagstone lined corridors they had early explored. They soon discovered a cave containing an oddly tinted blue pool. Here they encountered a band of howling beserkers. Battle was joined and it looked to be an evenly matched affair though their hirelings were struggling to hold their own. The last of the goblins fell causing Frank to lose his nerve and pull the trigger on one of his most potent potions he had looted earlier and hoped to save for an emergency. Sculling the brew he assumed control over several of the beserkers frenzied minds. Frank set them to hacking into their comrades. With the tide turned they made short work of the beserkers with minds unclouded by magic. Knowing that his control over their minds was for a limited time Frank set about learning as much as he could from his new ‘friends’. It turned out the beserkers lair was to the west, that there was a giant deadly fish in the cave they were currently in and that ogres lair to the west. Figuring they would have to kill the beserkers sooner or later Frank and Wilhelm laid into their charmed buddies. The beserkers didn’t go down without a fight and took out the last liberated slave Gary with a well timed axe blow.
Heading in the direction of the ogres the group encountered a hastily scribbled warning indicating that the Marrow Suckers were near. Figuring that some scouting was in order Wilhelm discarded all encumbering items, shockingly this included all his clothes bar his boots of levitation, and drank the potion of invisibility they had earlier purchased from the witch. Wilhelm then set off into the dungeon sky clad while Frank and the remaining henchmen holed up in the elevator arm on the lever ready to head back up should something dangerous come along. Frank would soon pull the lever sending the elevator up and out of reach of some clacking clawed noises he heard approach. Better safe than sorry.
Wilhelm’s scouting discovered a cave locust farm, an ape wrestling room full of drunken ogres, an ogre camp presided over by a larger than normal ogre wearing mangled dwarven armour and an ogre shrine replete with obese ogre priestess. Wilhelm’s caution was exemplary till he came across a glowing iron spike lying innocuously in the middle of a small cave. Taken with the shiny object Wilhelm reached down to pocket it when a large arachnid form dropped beside him flailing its legs about in order to strike an unseen foe. Wilhelm picked up the glowing spike and began to run. The arachnid beast, a harpoon spider, gave chase and spat a horrid fang attached to a fleshy tendril at the unarmoured Wilhelm. Unfortunately he had nuded up in the name of stealth prior to setting forth on his scouting expedition. Naked and impaled Wilhelm slashed desperately at the attached tendril as the beast began hauling in its catch. Sadly Wilhelm had been cursed with a meager strength at birth and a life as a warrior had done little to improve his physique. His blow failed to cut himself lose and the beast wrenched him closer and took a hefty bite out of the stricken warrior. Howling in pain and close to death Wilhelm struck out again severing the cord that held him captive. He then drifted towards the roof of the room in which he had been caught as his levitating boots did there best to save him. The harpoon spider scurried up the wall reaching tentatively for its prey. Wilhelm panicked and desperately drank his potion of flight. Fleeing the scene he stopped momentarily to shout a hurried “I shall meet you back in town!”
Frank stared in astonishment as a battered naked Wilhelm flew past leaving a trail of blood in his wake.
Summary dot points (to be deleted)
Small bit of scouting hobgoblin area before retreat to kobold markets and ultimately a trip back to Drellin’s Ferry.
Discover invasion plans for hobgoblins.
Slaves recruited – Goodman, Granger (?) and Hades.
Fungus room and a bandit + lizard ambush.
Take goblin with them to carry stuff and disguise, bonfire instructions?
Blacksmith brace manufacture as well as a sword for juniors.
Mules purchase and the consideration of dungeon oxen.
Followers recruited – from here and there. How many fingers am I holding up?
Hagan the union boss.
Wilhelm’s inability to communicate with the people in the tavern.
Tina the ‘herbalist’ trading the pixie king for a potion.
Back into stonehell via the hobgoblin entrance.
Recruit goblin allies – all of whom would die
Trapped undead blasted with the water cannon
Crab spiders – kill Gorgut with poison
Toads left alone
scythe trap + table with glued on coins
lizardmen trade food for information
elevator down, skip level 3 and straight on to 4
depraved beserkers and the potion of human control
nude scouting run – while invisible of course
Ogres – drinking, fighting and rutting
Harpoon spider and the glowing spike
A flying and fleeing Wilhelm.