November 19, 2016
Session 3: The Dripping Caves
With the Zhentarim defeated and their leaders captured, the party spent the rest of the day exploring the abandoned village. The hour was too late for a journey eastward to look for the citizens of Nightstone that had fled and no one wanted to be within the forest at night. During the search of the village, the group discovered a stash of valuables the goblin marauders had kept in one of the buildings, including some nice elven leathers that had an odor of pitch. After appropriating the treasure and finishing the search, the hour was winding its way into evening so the group ate a modest dinner at the keep. Guards were posted on a rotating schedule for the night and everyone settled in for some sleep with plans to find the Nightstone citizens on the morrow.
Unbeknownst to everyone, during the night the two captives managed to break free of their bonds and escape the keep. The next morning both Jaelyn and Janus attempted to find traces of the path Xolkin and Kella had taken to get away. They discovered the Zhent agents had crossed the river and entered the forest surrounding Nightstone heading in a southerly direction. A minor debate resulted amongst the group of travelers once the escape of their Zhentarim prisoners was discovered. Okkam shared his desire to track and eliminate the escapees once and for all but others countered that it was more important to find the surviving citizenry of Nightstone and get them safely home. After some more back and forth conversation, it was decided to travel east and look for the survivors allowing the Zhents to escape.
The journey eastward into the Ardeep Forest was uneventful and after a few hours the party came upon a rocky, tree covered hillside. A short distance up the hill there was a clearing of the trees and a twenty foot wide gaping mouth of a cavern. As stealthily as they could, the party made their way to the cave searching for anything that might be guarding it. Nothing was discovered but when they got to the cavern’s entrance some of the more perceptive members of the group could hear something or someone attempting to sing in a deep voice. With the only other option being to depart, the group of travelers entered the cavern.
In short order the party was attacked by goblin archers on ledges to either side of the entrance and a large ogre that exited a mud pool to engage them. Aggressively Janus charged forward and attacked the ogre but a second ogre joined the fray surprising the group and landing a painful blow to the half-orc ranger. Using his nature magic, Jaelyn created a thick fog that blanketed much of the cavern, severely limiting sight and foiling the assault of the goblin archers. With their foes’ ranged advantage cancelled the group of travelers focused their attacks on the two large humanoids and it wasn’t long before the two ogres and the half dozen goblin archers were lying dead.
After the initial battle, a great cry rose up from the nearby caverns surprising the party and causing them to prepare for another assault. No more goblins or ogres arrived despite the continuing noise . Moving to investigate the group discovered a series of smaller caves near the entrance where numerous female goblins and their young fled their approach screaming. After a brief conversation with Okkam strongly stating that he would not slaughter noncombatants, they moved north escaping the cacophony of cries and looking for any more threats or survivors from Nightstone.
Soon thereafter they encountered a group of goblin warriors protecting their two leaders. Initially there was some dialogue and negotiations but when one of the goblin leaders refused to release the captives from Nightstone, a source of food for them, a battle ensued. The fight was not overly long, the magical power and weapon expertise of the party of strangers overcoming even the tough leaders of the goblin tribe. With all viable foes either killed or fled, the group thoroughly explored the complex of caves, taking anything of value that was found. One mundane item, a torn piece of a recently created map drew the attention of Ghent. It was determined the piece of map was of a northern city called Bryn Shander but what caused the white haired human to pause was that it bore the mark of his father whom he had believed killed almost two decades past. The sorcerer took the ripped piece of paper and, uncharacteristically for him, remained quiet as the cavern was finished being explored.
In one of the last sets of caverns in the complex the party discovered the survivors of Nightstone. Many of them had lost family to either the attack by the giants on their village or to feed their goblin captors and the two ogre guards. A dwarf named Morak Ur’gray spoke up for the survivors and expressed immense gratitude for their rescue. With nothing else worthwhile in the complex of caves, the party of travelers escorted the rescued people back to their damaged but still standing village. Over the next couple weeks most of the party spent time assisting in the repair efforts for the walls and buildings of Nightstone and helping the citizens recover.
Storm King's Pathfinder
November 19, 2016