29 March 2023

Tomb of the Serpent King 5e, session 6

Yanzar makes a new friend!

Dramatis personae:

  • Gour-Gash, a goliath barbarian 3. Collector of various weapons who understands the better part of valor.
  • Trollin, a hill dwarf cleric 2. A red-robed inquisitor with a hidden agenda and a cunning tongue.
  • Yanzar, a dark elf druid 2. Very sneaky, except he loves loud, thunderous spells.


Followers:

  • Schmee, a goblin famulus. A little cowardly. Likes bonsai trees and tea.

 

Dungeon cucumber

 

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Yanzar wakes up on the floor of Xiximanter's cage room. From the moment he was paralyzed and abandoned by the rest of the party until now, he remembers nothing, and his head is throbbing in pain. Xiximanter stands over him, hands clasped behind his back, skull turned slightly to the side as if in thought.

“Fascinating,” he says, “I don't see any Dark Ones in your memories. We disappeared. We were all-powerful and eternal — and then we just disappeared. Isn't that funny?

Maybe I closed myself off too much from the world. I lost an entire empire, and I didn't even notice!" He laughs. "But that just means I was right. And my work is just that much more important."

He then looks at Yanzar: "Say you, little elf, would you like to die or live?"

"Ehm, Lord Xiximanter, I... I would definitely like to live. I would definitely like to make up for any damage or problems we might have caused, too!"

"Yes, everyone would like to live! To live and not to dwell on death. Never to think about death. To live forever. Why should one die, anyway?"

He stares at Yanzar for a moment, as if pondering something, then fishes out a vial from the folds of his robes. "Drink this," he orders.

Yanzar slowly takes the vial - it is full of clear, rose-scented liquid - and resignig himself to his fate, drinks it in one gulp. It's warm - first in the stomach, then all over the body. Yandar's pupils start to dilate. He's absolutely bursting with energy. He looks up at Xiximanter and stammers: "I thought your- Ehm, I did not expect... this... sir. With all due respect."

It nearly looks like Xiximanter's smiling, although it's hard to tell from his bare skull. But when Yanzar goes to hand the bottle back to him, he suddenly squeezes Yanzar's hand. A strange shimmering feeling washes over Yanzar's wrist and a tattoo in the shape of a runic cobra appears on his skin.

"Appearances are not always deceiving," Xiximanter says. “I don't care what you and your party do in this crumbling crypt. You can't do any harm.

I am interested in your original task, though. Your master sent you to find a certain Malévol. I, too, once knew a Malévol. Médard Malévol robbed me and then disappeared. But it seems that during the years I was lost in my seclusion, the cockroaches stopped being afraid and came out into the light. I want my property back and you will help me. If you find out anything about the Malévols, any Malévols, let me know. Just press my sigil and I will hear you. Find me the Malévols, or better yet, find me Médard Malévol."

"I'll definitely let you know whatever I can find." Yanzar rubs his hand with a frown.

"Now, do you think your friends will come back for you?"

"I don't know. What do you intent to do with them?"

"We shall see," Xiximanter says, waving his hand to summon a gust of wind that sends Yanzar sliding into one of the cages. The cage door closes and the lock clicks. "We shall see."

***

From the diary of Trollin, 26th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
Although I didn't like it, I had to order my goblin women to get off me and to give me and my one remaining companion a moment to think. Although I have known Yanzar for barely any time, my conscience and especially my god would never let me rest if I left him in the clutches of that dead sorcerer. If he really is a Dark One as Gour-Gash claimed, Yanzar would be in for a very unpleasant fate. I had to hope that I can appease the lich with copious compensation for the damage my party caused, and some deference. The former won't be a problem.

I ordered a dozen goblins to follow me and led them to the alchemical workshop. Though scared and grumbling, I managed to force them to obey by sheer intimidation and having Gour-Gash at their back to kill any would-be runaways. Janek went with Gour-Gash to provide him with light, but the magister and Schmee were left with the goblins for the time being, despite their obvious unease.

I knocked on the lich's door and then he was standing there. Xiximanter, a Dark Lord. So it was true. No wonder only Gour-Gash returned from this misadventure.

I had to choose my words very carefully. Fortunately, my training taught me humility, even if feigned and insincere. But still, I flattered the Dark One. The goblins were accepted as a replacement for those left loose in his workshop, but he demanded my shield, blessed by Miri, in exchange for Yanzar's release. Though my blood was boiling, I reasoned with myself that if I refused and made him angry, it wouldn't help me nor Yanzar nor anyone at all. May the Three-That-Are-One forgive me. Xiximanter returned Yanzar to us and before we retreated, he told us that he would pay handsomely for every magic-user we bring to him.

"What a reasonable skull guy," Gour-Gash said.

Now, though, nothing awaits me here in this tomb. I rescued Yanzar and found out about the whereabouts of a surviving Dark One. Just as high priest Vatek feared. Now I must get back to Balalán as quickly as possible and report my findings. We returned for the magister and though She-Bull was loath to let me go, I convinced her that I shall be back in just a few days. Well, it might take more than a few days, but hopefully I shall be back, with an order of holy warriors to raze this place.

We also took the golden statuette that was the goblin king before me, and the magister decided to try his depetrification mushrooms on a petrified head, so we brought it to the inn as well. It worked, and it was bloody and ugly. We drank to our dead comrades and the now dead head.

But I had my mission and no more time to spare. The only thing left to do was offer an apprenticeship to Janek. He has proven his mettle and will make a fine addition to the Church's finest. His father was reluctant at first, but he soon understood the opportunity that his son has within his grasp.

We slept until the morning, said goodbye to Gour-Gash and the others, and joined an Ugrathi caravan headed to Balalán. May Miri guide and protect my companions until I return with fire and blessed blades.

***

From the diary of Yanzar, 27th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
In the morning, we (Gour-Gash and I) said goodbye to Trollin and headed back to the dungeon with Schmee on our heels. Although I knew Trollin for a very short time, he saved my life and I will never forget that.

We stopped for more of the miraculous anti-petrification cucumber-fungus-things and went to decide which statues we could bring to life. The magister was excited by the idea that he could talk to someone who actually lived centuries ago. (There technically was Xiximanter, but who in their right mind would want to talk to him?) We searched through the statue room and found the least damaged ones - a lady dwarf in heavy armor, a belligerent-looking human woman, a robed elf, a (possibly) human with horns and decorative armour, and three statues entangled in an embrace, an orc and two gnomes. Starting with the least burly one, we had Schmee crush the cucumber and carefully smear the elf statue with it. After a while, the stone cracked and crumbled away. An orange-yellow-gold elf emerged from the dust - he was literally all tinged in autumn colors; his skin, clothes and all. He was clearly still shaken from his stony sleep and he immediately drew a crossbow at us. After a bit of calming down, we learned that he is one of the Sidhe. He spoke Elvish with a very strange accent and seemed completely oblivious even to our calendar.

Meanwhile, Gour-Gash and Schmee managed to revive another statue - the human fightress. Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that she was once loyal to Xiximanter, so a scuffle broke out until we managed to tie her up.

Our new golden friend then told us that he was petrified on his way to assassinate Xiximanter, and that he was a part of a hit squad. We found one of his brothers-in-arms - one headless statue lying nearby - and he insisted on trying to revive it even though the head was nowhere to be found. It turned out quite predictably and our golden friend had a small meltdown. On reflection, we might have taken the head of this statue with us yesterday, to experiment with...

Gour-Gash had the perfect idea to use our captive as a guinea pig for one of the unopened tombs, so we took her there. On the way past the terracotta statues sitting on the three thrones, however, the prisoner managed to momentarily slip Gour-Gash's grasp and crack one of them. Gour-Gash cracked her neck in retaliation. She still had released three skeletons from inside the statues, but even though the crown-bearing skeleton was throwing some strange black fire about, we quickly subdued them all.

Before we returned to the village for a dinner, I persuaded the others to make a quick detour to see Xiximanter. I had some questions.

Arriving at the village was unexpectedly grim. Something foul had clearly happened and the village had been ransacked, as if people dropped everything they were doing and ran away. Splashes of blood were left on the ground and the inn had a huge hole in the wall. No birds nor other animals could be heard.

Just behind the door of the inn stood a statue of the innkeeper.

***

Yanzar knocks on Xiximanter's door. Nothing happens for a moment, then the door opens slowly and silently. No one is behind them.

The alchemical workshop has been somewhat cleaned of the havoc wreaked by the party and a skeleton covered in orange slime is kneeling under the table, scrubbing the floor which still has a slightly greenish-gold tint to it. On the table in the center of the room now lies some kind of a silvery orb roughly the size of a human head.

"Come on in, little elf," Xiximanter calls from the warehouse. "Why did you come? You couldn't get results that fast - so what do you need?"

"I would like to know if you can tell me anything about Runcius Malévol, as I know nothing about him except that he is somewhere in these mountains. It would be quite helpful in my search for malévols, if you could give me any information."

When Yanzar enters the warehouse, he sees Xiximanter standing in the middle of the room, hand splayed, a goblin hovering in the air in front of him. The goblin is rolling his eyes, his arms are outstretched and his chest is open. Organs are slowly flying out of his chest cavity and landing in prepared containers set on the ground. The rest of the goblins are cowering in three cages and not even breathing as they're trying to disappear from notice.

"I don't know your Runcius Malévol, but I know the Malévols. Once upon a time, they served the Storm King and served him well. Many generations of Malévols served him and they won glory and power for themselves in his services. They were even appointed the magistrates in Balalán and the surrounding lands under the mountains. They began to consider themselves a powerful noble house and eventually rebelled against the poor old Storm King."

Xiximanter laughs and the goblin's still beating heart flies out of his body. The goblin gasps and stares at the drops of blood swirling around the heart.

"As far as I know, the Malévols made a deal with the Aunian Empire and invited the Triune Church to Balalán. That's when the slaves of the other Dark Lords started rebelling. I was travelling a lot back then and didn't have time to deal with such trivialities.

Once when I was away from my palace, however, Médard Malévol broke in and stole my grail- He stole my property."

Xiximanter finally turns to Yanzar. The goblin falls to the floor and crawls away from Xiximanter, groping at his body in terror. His chest is still open and now completely empty.

"The Malévol family had many members, and I'm sure it didn't just disappear. They must have estates, mansions, residences. Find any Malévol and he might be able to tell you more about Médard. Or about that Runcius of yours. And if the first Malévol doesn't know anything, kill him and try a cousin. One of them must know something."

"Ehm... Thanks for the information, I guess... I'll go then," Yanzar mumbles and slowly inches away. "I don't want to keep you from important things..."

“One moment, please,” Xiximanter slides closer, as if examining something on Yanzar (in Yanzar?).

"Can I... help you?"

"Try feeding this to one of your companions," Xiximanter says. One of the glass containers with goblin pieces rises from the floor and floats through the air towards Yanzar. Who knows which organ is it - maybe the spleen? - but it pulsates slightly. It seems that Xiximanter lost interest in this interaction. He swoops over to the poor goblin, poking at it with a skeletal finger as the goblin tries to crawl away.

"Uuh, should I be worried about something? What effects will it have?"

"I'm curious, too."

"Well, you created it. You must have some-"

Xiximanter stands up and turns around, robes billowing. "Do you know what a mutation is? A random change in an organism. Sometimes beneficial," he motions to the disemboweled goblin who won't die, "and sometimes less so. Mostly much less so. But the most interesting and least predictable results are always when using multiple subjects from different races. Mutagenic hybridization."

"Aah, then... I'll definitely... Yeah. Ehm, so... Thank you and nice talking to you?" Yanzar says as he backs out of the room.

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8 March 2023

Tomb of the Serpent King 5e, session 5

The mysterious master of the Tomb is encountered and angered, with predictable results.

Dramatis personae:

  • Gour-Gash, a goliath barbarian 3. Collector of various weapons who understands the better part of valor.
  • Trollin, a hill dwarf cleric 2. A red-robed inquisitor with a hidden agenda. Also horny.
  • Yanzar, a dark elf druid 2. Very sneaky, except he loves loud, thunderous spells.
  • Zeru, an air genasi warlock 2. A gentleman and a scholar, sent by his genie patron to learn about the barbaric customs and traditions of the far West.
  • Zyl, a half-elf rogue 1. Curiously honest and helpful for a wanted criminal.


Followers:

  • Janek, a linkboy. The son of a local innkeeper who will be mightily cross is he learns where the adventurers took his child.
  • Schmee, a goblin famulus. A little cowardly. Likes bonsai trees and tea.
  • magister Kryštof Harant, an alchemist and archeologist. Very easily distracted with any historical artifacts. Or strange creatures. Or herbs of any kind. Or nice-looking pebbles.


If any of the players have by sheer chance found this recap, do not read any further, please.

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From the diary of Trollin, 26th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
We defeated the stone cobra guardian. A flawless victory.

After the fight, I advised Gour-Gash not to tease any further statues, or they might try something, too. But I don't think he was really listening, as he seemed really keen on finding that one shield from the hundreds placed on the walls that would perfectly fit his style and looks. Anyway, we were all exhausted, so we sat down for a quick breather until a click snapped us out of our slumber. It came from the stairway slide, which became a staircase again.

We gathered our things and cautiously went back up. At the top of the stairs, a stranger greeted us with a crowbar in his hand. He warned us about the hidden mechanism that sets off this trap. Right behind him, I recognized Janek and Zeru, so I didn't question the stranger at the moment. From Janek we learned that the magister and Schmee have been kidnapped by the goblins again and that Janek ran all the way back to the village, where he recruited both Zeru and the stranger to rescue all of us. Also the stranger expected payment. From me. After a bit of back and forth, we agreed that no payment will be provided at the moment, given that we needed no saving, but that he may share in any treasures we shall uncover. The stranger's name seems to be "Not important", so he's probably a foreigner. I've heard that the elves of Draja name themselves in such an incomprehensible manner.

I had an inkling where our two victims might have been taken to, so we all went through the hidden passage to the hall with the dead basilisk. To our surprise, the hall was well illuminated by several bonfires and full of goblins. In the middle, a square was marked out with the basilisk's chain, a fighting arena. Magister Harant and Schmee were tied to a pillar.

The goblin commander I challenged was already waiting for me. He apparently calls himself Face-Your-Death, probably because he soon will be really dead, when I finish with him. We got in the arena and exchanged the customary insults. But I didn't pay that much attention to him, as there was a she-goblin by his side, probably a shaman who came to preside over our duel. She shall be mine.

Combat was over fast. He managed a few hefty blows, but nothing I couldn't heal later. On the other hand, with the favor of Miri, I inflicted horrendous wounds upon him, until he fell dead. The goblins immediately began proclaiming me their new king, and it seemed that even She-Bull (the goblin shamaness) favored me now.

I ordered the two poor fools released from the pillar and arranged for some of the goblins to get out of our way and go on errands, while the party will be led by She-Bull to the goblins' treasure room. "Not important" also finally admitted that people usually call him Zyl. I must say, his art of eloquence could be envied by many. He coaxed ten gold from the magister as a reward for his rescue, more than the rest of us saw even though we've already rescued him the second time, and he agreed that we can keep the artifacts we find in the tomb as a part of the payment.

She-Bull led us to the muddy cave where we first met Yanzar and where the goblins were now busy picking mushrooms. The magister spotted some rare "dungeon cucumbers" and gathered a few. Yanzar, on the other hand, noticed some gold coins and would have taken them for himself, had Zyl not forced him to share. It will take more to earn my trust, but this is a good start.

We continued through a cave that could be classified as a kitchen and a dormitory in one to the goblin throne room. She-Bull dethroned their temporary king, a golden snake-man statue, and motioned for me to take my rightful place. In that moment, Zeru also handed me a serpent crown they've previously found with Gour-Gash, and I realized that it pulses with powerful magic. I just held it in my hand for now, enjoying the feeling of sitting on a throne, even if it's just a chair in a goblin cave. It's good to be a king.

She-Bull then described the tomb to us, or at least the parts the goblins have been to, and revealed all the treasures they have - some food, some silverware and the golden idol. Truth be told, I expected more, but then she introduced me to my new harem. I decided to have some fun while the others return to exploration, but I sent a couple of goblins with them as guides just in case.

This next part was only recounted to me by the shaken Gour-Gash:

They've made their way to the richly decorated gate beyond the basilisk hall and to the smaller, locked door next to it, because with Zyl they now had new options. Zyl opened the smaller door without a problem and inside, they found a very well-equipped alchemical workshop. They looted some potions, but also noted a bright orange potion being currently prepared in a complex apparatus, so it was painfully obvious the laboratory was not abandoned.

Another door lead them to a room with several cages and crates. Six goblins were locked in one of the rune-covered cages, and they immediately pleaded with their brethren still accompanying the party and asked to be rescued from the boogeyman. Zyl let them out and all the goblins immediately ran away, scared. The party is not so easy to shake, though, so Zeru calmly inspected the runes on the cages and found them to bind and counter magic. Gour-Gash discovered a silver circle set into the floor and a small cask of saffron, which he gladly appropriated.

Further explorations had to be put aside, though, because the magister and Schmee have drawn the party's attention to a skeleton covered in some kind of orange liquid that walked into the alchemical lab. It seemed more confused than hostile at first, so Yanzar tried to distract it and lead it away, but the skeleton remained impassive, which unfortunately also meant it blocked the exit. Then everything when wrong when the magister tried talking to the skeleton in the Dark Speech, at Gour-Gash's urging. The skeleton suddenly got interested in the magister and tried to push him into one of the magical cages. Yanzar barely managed to push the skeleton off and pull the magister aside.

At that moment, everyone has drawn their weapons and they try to neutralize the skeleton. Unfortunately, no matter what they try, they are unable to hurt it. It is as if the orange sludge was blocking any and all harm. In all this confusion, Janek tries to throw random things from the alchemical workshop at the skeleton, but nothing works and he ends up shattering the massive glass apparatus, leaving a violently fuming puddle on the floor. Finally, they tie up the skeleton and throw it into a cage.

Another door leads from the room, which Zyl opens after a bit of struggle. However, a cloud of golden-green smoke begins to spread from the alchemical workshop and Gour-Gash is unwilling to risk staying any longer. He pulls a bit of cloth over his face and runs out to the corridor. They then close the doors to the lab from both sides, trapping the smoke inside for the moment.

Zyl and the others explore the last room, which is full of bookcases and locked chests. Zeru and the magister inspect the literature, while Zyl shares a flask of foreign coffee, miraculously still hot, with Yanzar. Then, a hooded stranger appears within the silver circle.

The stranger is confused as to what is going on, he order them to explain why are they here, where they came from and what do they want. He introduces himself as Xiximanter, the Serpent King. It is pretty clear to the group that he wields powerful magic. They bumble up an excuse of being a diplomatic mission seeking to pay him a tribute, and he tells them to make an appointment next time and to get lost from his sight. Things take a turn for the worse when they try to leave, only to reveal the havoc they wreaked in his laboratory. Janek, the magister and Schmee flee immediately, while Xiximanter is distracted by lamenting over his equipment, but Zyl decides to cover the retreat of the group and whips out his crossbow. He shoots at the lich, but the quarrel dissolves into dust before it can hit. Distracted, Xiximanter makes a minute gesture and Zyl drops dead on the spot.

Seeing this, Zeru discorporates into blue smoke and flows into a small lamp he always carries on his belt. The only one left is Yanzar. He tries to run and Gour-Gash is still waiting in the corridor, ready to shut the door behind him, but he fails to avoid Xiximanter's touch and suddenly cannot move. Finally, Gour-Gash realizes that all is lost and runs, too.

GM Commentary:
Here is the stat block for Face-Your-Death:

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28 February 2023

Tomb of the Serpent King 5e, session 4

The adventurers encounter the goblins for the second time and have to flee again, so they go and pick a fight with a statue.

Dramatis personae:

  • Gour-Gash, a goliath barbarian 2. Strong of muscle, weak of head. Collector of various weapons.
  • Trollin, a hill dwarf cleric 2. A red-robed inquisitor who curiously surrounds himself with outlanders and strange types. Definitely has a hidden agenda.
  • Yanzar, a dark elf druid 1. Very sneaky, except he loves loud, thunderous spells.


Followers:

  • Janek, a linkboy. The son of a local innkeeper who will be mightily cross is he learns where the adventurers took his child.
  • Schmee, a goblin famulus. A little cowardly. Likes bonsai trees and tea.
  • magister Kryštof Harant, an alchemist and archeologist. Very easily distracted with any historical artifacts. Or strange creatures. Or herbs of any kind. Or nice-looking pebbles.


If any of the players have by sheer chance found this recap, do not read any further, please.

Goblin Archer by Paul Abrams

 
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Yanzar had a mission. He had a quest. His quest, indeed, was of utmost importance. He had to do his best to find the secret lair of the black druids, a cabal that his teacher and friend Belfinas had long been hunting down.

Unfortunately, that lair could be anywhere in the Trollish Mountains, so their little circle of druids has decided to split and cover as much ground as possible individually. Even more unfortunately, this meant that now that Yanzar found a hidey-hole with clear signs of someone regularly using it to slip in and out of some underground area, he had to investigate.

He sighed.

He climbed in.

After a short and clastrophobic squeeze through the gaps between massive tree roots, he emerged between broken stone blocks of some ancient structure. A stairwell descended deeper into the hill. Though torchless, Yanzar had no fear, for his dark-elven eyes would serve him well until even the very last sliver of light disappears. He made his way down the stairs and then down the following corridor. A faint glow could be seen ahead.

The corridor suddenly ended, caved-in a long time ago, but the ground gave way too and a muddy, rocky slope went down to a long, mud-filled cavern from where the weak phosphorescence emanated. Fungi of all kinds and shapes were filling the cave, some that even Yanzar as a druid didn't recognize. He slid down the slope and jumped from one rock to the next, easily crossing the cavern clean-footed. At this other end, the main part of the cave took a sharp upturn and a small tunnel split from it, going eastwards. But before he could investigate further, Yanzar had to hide in the shadow of a large boulder, for a gaggle of goblins started to pour out of the tunnel, squabbling and cackling and stinking.

Yanzar gripped his scimitar, but the goblins seemed oblivious to his presence. Then, a terrifying voice boomed out from behind him, startling him and sending the goblins to a panicked scramble.

***

From the diary of Trollin, 25th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
Facing the puckered, goblinish faces peering at us, I didn't hesitate. Making a simple thaumaturgical gesture, I yelled at the goblins in the cave below, my eyes flashing and my voice booming. They were immediately spooked and ran off, further into the darkness. Little cowards.

Our group carefully made it down the muddy ramp where the corridor collapsed into the cave below, to the edge of the thick mud covering the entire cave floor. All manner of mushrooms and molds were growing there, some even glowing slightly. I sent Janek to scout ahead, to find a safe path to the other side. He quickly clambered over the rock outcroppings and boulders littering the cavern, stopping at a particularly large boulder near the southern end of the cave, where it branched into a tunnel disappearing east and a rocky slope going up to another cavernous hall. He waved his torch to give us a signal to follow him, when all of a sudden some stranger emerged from the shadows behind him and put a saber to his throat.

Janek was frozen with fear, but Gour-Gash leapt to action and threatened the stranger with unspeakable cruelties should he do any harm to Janek. In a quick verbal showdown, we learned the name of the stranger - Yanzar. He apparently came across the back entrance that we've just investigated. There wasn't much time for further chit-chat, though, because goblins appeared atop the rocky slope, led by a rather capable-looking commander. The little goblins were once again armed with nothing but some silver forks and knives, but their commander was in ramshackle armor with a bow ready in hand.

We exchanged a few choice words, but the whole situation inevitably resulted in a fight. "Face your death!" the commander screamed. While Gour-Gash rushed towards the commander and was overwhelmed by a group of goblins, Yanzar began to conjure up a remarkable magic. Various vines and thorny brambles began to slide out from the ground, not only slowing down the oncoming goblins, but even trapping some of them and breaking their charge. In the meantime, Janek retreated back to me but still managed to fire his sling, while Schmee of course was getting ready to run.

The goblin commander decided to retreat to a safe distance from the menacing Gour-Gash, but not before Gour-Gash landed a crushing blow to his shoulder. The rest of the goblin horde then completely blocked his path, though, and forced him to retreat with a fork stuck in his forehead. Yanzar, on the other hand, got stabbed under the ribs with a sharpened spoon and fainted from the pain and blood loss*. His magical roots and vines immediately began to dry up and break, releasing the restrained goblins. I ordered Janek to drag Yanzar to safety while I myself went to help Gour-Gash, who was having a lot of fun smashing the goblins' heads against each other, but got quite wounded in the process. I sent him back to the others and tried to cover the retreat of them all.

Amazingly, Yanzar required no help. Though bloodied and cursing under his breath, he staggered to his feet and limped back to where we came from. I have no idea where Schmee got the courage to crawl up to the front line, but out of nowhere he tried to pull magister's alchemical satchel we had just found off my shoulder. I backhanded him into the mud at first, but when he started sputtering something about magic potions inside the satchel, I relented and he started rummaging through it, wide eyed and panicky.

And so there I stand, alone against massive odds. When I wasn't deflecting the commander's arrows or dodging goblin attacks, I turned my head and saw Yanzar and Gour-Gash sitting in the safety of the end of the collapsed corridor, eating something that Yanzar called "good berries". Or gooseberries? Anyway, all that was missing from the scenery was a checkered blanket and a basket with a bottle of wine and some foreign cheeses. I shook my head and was brought back to reality by a fork thrown by one of the goblins that got stuck in my shield. I plucked it out and threw it back to the original owner, catching him in the eye, then Janek took down another one with a hit in the balls. Schmee finally found something useful, taking out a tiny bottle and throwing it towards the goblin commander. On impact, thick smoke started to fill the cavern, shielding us from the goblins. We took our chance and began to retreat.

But before we got away, the goblin commander emerged from the smoke and mocked our supposed cowardice. "Face your death with dignity, you sun-dwelling scum." I had no choice but to challenge that bastard to a duel. One on one, to the death, tomorrow, in the basilisk hall. He seemed immensely pleased and retreated with his henchmen deeper into the caves.

On the way out of the tomb, Gour-Gash procured a new spear from a hidden room we found previously and Janek was literally enchanted by Yanzar being an elf like the ones from his grandma's tales. Magister Harant was already waiting for us in the inn. He was very grateful that his bag was returned and paid back my gold. Good. In exchange for a basilisk claw, Gour-Gash arranged to be taught literacy.

Then we drank.

***

From the diary of Trollin, 26th day of Harvest, 198 Aureum Diem
In the morning, the magister greeted us with two healing potions as a reward for saving his hide and a request that he would accompany us today. We breakfasted and went to the tomb, but hadn't been underground for more than five minutes and the magister had already managed to crack a statue and douse himself with poison gas. He might turn out to be just another dead weight that we have to lug around.

We returned to the octagonal room and glimpsed an unknown figure slipping away to the room with the petrified people. I took a quick look but found nobody, so I stood guard while magister Harant and Schmee were doing their thing with all the statues and frescoes. Gour-Gash and Yanzar decided to explore the other door left ajar, but with a click, the staircase turned into a slide and they disappeared into the darkness. When I called down to them, though, they claimed to be perfectly fine, so I let them be and thought about the fight that awaits me instead.

I was snapped out of my musings by a thunderous echo that came from the stone slide. The sounds of heavy fighting were coming from there, now. I instructed Janek to take the magister back to the inn and jumped to my companions' rescue. I slid down and emerged into a massive, vaulted room decorated with countless shields. Yanzar and Gour-Gash were fighting with a huge snake guard statue, but before I could do anything, the fight was over and the statue kneeled down, resting its spear on the ground.

But Gour-Gash got carried away and kicked the motionless statue, which brought it back to life. He managed to steal the statue's spear, but then it knocked him down and backhanded Yanzar so strongly he flew halfway across the room*. I tried to burn it with sacred flame and it launched itself high in the air, crashing onto me and pounding me into the ground. But Yanzar and Gour-Gash had my back and distracted the statue for the moment I needed to crawl away. The rest of the fight was a whirl of shields being magically pulled from the walls and slamming into us, the statue flipping and backflipping around like crazy, until finally, with the help of the Sun Lord, I managed to melt the statue into a puddle of slag.

GM Commentary
Yanzar was reduced to 0 hp twice this session (*), but made his death save both times.

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10 February 2023

Trash and Rubbish

What was left in an abandoned hut? What's lying on the ground in a random back alley? I search that pile of trash!

 
d100 Useless Things

  1. pot lid
  2. pottery shard
  3. blunt knife
  4. scratched commemorative medal
  5. fake jewelry, obvious
  6. counterfeit "gold" coin, obvious
  7. half a copper coin, foreign
  8. cat skull
  9. live cat
  10. chewed bone
  11. bits of offal
  12. snail shell
  13. rusty needle
  14. faded note reading "...later, but do not tell..."
  15. torn envelope addressed to the chancellor
  16. waterlogged letter
  17. mouldy book
  18. booklet of risque stories
  19. writing quill
  20. chewed pencil
  21. half of a shield
  22. dried flowers
  23. fish skeleton
  24. jawbone, human?
  25. shrivelled apple
  26. one arrow
  27. one sock
  28. used handkerchief
  29. child drawing of a woman and forest
  30. toy soldier
  31. teddy dragon
  32. candle stub
  33. glass eye
  34. peg leg
  35. oil-soaked rag
  36. ball of blue yarn
  37. seashell
  38. nice-looking pebble
  39. rock with eyes and a mouth painted on
  40. shoelace
  41. long piece of string
  42. ruined hairbrush
  43. dry, crumbling mascara
  44. letter opener
  45. chess piece
  46. empty bottle
  47. mummified mouse
  48. seventeen dead cockroaches
  49. corkscrew and two corks
  50. playing dice, scratched
  51. tooth
  52. sketch of a naked dwarf
  53. bent spoon
  54. bent hairpin
  55. metal shavings
  56. sawdust
  57. painted beads
  58. bird skulls stringed on a leather cord
  59. reddish-brown mushroom
  60. toe
  61. shed snake skin
  62. handful of live bugs
  63. manure
  64. broken broom
  65. spectacles with cracked lenses
  66. jar full of crow feathers
  67. lump of flesh-colored wax
  68. rotting vegetables
  69. leather glove, left, no pinky
  70. mouldy sheepskin
  71. whistle that doesn't work
  72. embroidered linen bed sheet with multiple holes cut into it
  73. horseshoe
  74. measuring stick
  75. pouch full of salt
  76. rough iron amulet engraved with an eye
  77. flower pot
  78. playing card
  79. live frog or toad
  80. red string tied in intricate knots
  81. pouch with the bottom cut out
  82. sprig of mistletoe
  83. big slimy disgusting slug
  84. pouch of rusty nails
  85. fist-sized gneiss orb
  86. garish clothes, worn through
  87. colourful bead
  88. perfume phial, nearly empty
  89. stuffed mink
  90. simple wooden cup
  91. beautiful teacup, chipped
  92. potato
  93. burnt-out torch
  94. broken shackles
  95. flint and steel
  96. undergarments
  97. foppish hat
  98. noose made of fraying rope
  99. stinky stain
  100. minor magical item