Castles & Crusades Diary: The Dragonclaw Barony Campaign.
Hobgoblins, Orcs, Oozes, Crab Spiders, Fire Beetles, and an unconscious dwarf – a busy day of gaming!
Yesterday a new player joined my group, a player I hadn’t gamed with in 17 years (I ran my D&D 3E campaign in his garage on a 10′ x 4′ table which he covered in green felt, and to which I added my supply of tree and rock outcropping terrain and dwarven forge dungeon sets – I went through a terrain phase back in 3E). But thanks to new online gaming opportunities like Discord, he has rejoined my game after many years, now, of course, playing C&C.
This group left off in a simple and rather below average underground complex located beneath an old ruined fortress. The underground complex, like the fortress above it, was hastily put together, which the characters are discovering as they wander through the corridors (the dwarves are almost constantly shaking their heads at the uneven stonework. They can also see that on some of the walls a new corridor was begun and then abandoned).
But why is the group here? They are seeking out a gnome sage named Fonkin. He went missing, and the last people heard was that he was exploring this ruin. In previous game sessions the group encountered goblins seeking a place in the eastern portions of the underground area, and kobolds attacked them from the south. They left off last time with hobgoblins attacking them from the north. They decided to continue their explorations north.
The first room they explored was an apparently empty 40′ x 40′ room that had some dust and rubble around the edges, but was clear in the middle. While some remained in the corridor, others entered through the north door and headed south down the east wall of the room examining the wall. Unbeknownst to them, a couple clear oozes moved in and cornered them in the south east corner, and when they turned to head north again they stepped in the oozes and the acid began eating through their footwear! Hurled flasks of oil and fire took care of them within a few rounds, but not before two characters nearly went down!
After getting healed they continued north and found a locked room. Unlocking it they discovered why it had been locked – it had two large crab spiders within! During the fight the paladin critically failed and the blade of his bastard sword snapped in half, and a barbarian then critically failed and got his two-handed sword lodged between the door and the wall beneath the top hinge). The noise this caused attracted the attention of eight pig-faced orcs! A sleep spell took care of six of them and the rest were dealt with more easily. Exploring the spider room afterward they learned that the orcs had been ambushed by the spiders (some of them lied dead within) and they had closed and locked the door to keep the spiders in and retreated to a different location.
The group continued north. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they encountered more of the military precision and two weapon fighting style of the hobgoblins that were situating themselves in this portion of the complex. The adventurers did succeed in fighting them, but in just exploring four rooms characters had fallen unconscious and weapons had been broken. The clerics were all out of healing spells. They decided to barricade themselves in the hobgoblin room to rest up (the hobgoblins had recently brought in fresh deer and rabbit meat from the surface, so the group had some fresh food to eat).
The next morning they headed into a small room in a dead-end passage just south and encountered four fire beetles. They killed them, but when the nature-oriented barbarian tried – and repeatedly failed – to successfully remove the glands above their eyes that produce a glowing red light in a 10′ area, only one of the glands was successfully removed.
They ended the adventure entering the furthest north room in this complex and discovered an unconscious and manacled dwarven cleric/fighter of Thor. He had been a teamster leading a supply wagon from the town of Heatherleigh to Dale when Hobgoblins had ambushed them and taken their supplies. The room also provided a stairway to the surface, so the group now has another access point. In the next game session (two weeks from now) they will continue to look for the missing gnome, Fonkin, only now they have another person capable of fighting and healing.