After three sessions the adventurers manage to capture the Elven Thief Valanunthe after an epic battle that lasted over an hour, and they only barely survived since five of the seven adventurers had been rendered unconscious!
When we left off last time the party was split into three groups, in the first group Juhraveal the half-elf rogue and Magnus the gnome druid had been charmed by kobold illusionists masquerading as gnomes. In the second group, Sir Sandwyche the paladin, Gwar the half-orc barbarian, Eliam the half elf cleric/wizard, and Malcolm the human wizard had been rendered unconscious by a color spray and woke up without armor, weapons, and equipment in a 10 foot pit with a bugbear guard keeping an eye on them from above. And in the third group we had Bitters the dwarven cleric/fighter, Tobias, the human ranger, and Endur the human fighter keeping an eye on Valanunthe’s room unaware that the other group members had been captured. In actual fact, the three players who run Bitters, Endur, and Tobias were unable to game last time so it was decided to leave them behind in the room to explore and guard it. With the other two groups ending up last session in a state of charm, or imprisoned in a pit, this third group now ended up being one of the only chances for them to escape!
Trying to run three different groups will always be a challenge, but this ended up working out. The three characters in Valanunthe’s room were back this week and they chose to have their characters trace their friend’s tracks from last time. Following their trail they discovered bound up dwarven mercenaries (Urias and Cagbral), who their friends had tied-up, gagged, and blindfolded. They were ungagged and questioned, and the dwarves tried to barter for their freedom but this group, like their friends before them, didn’t buy it and re-gagged them and moved on. Exploring the corridors for their friends they came to a door and when they opened it a fire trap went off scorching Bitters, Tobias, and Endur’s faces and once the fire and smoke cleared at the doorway Valanunthe and four hobgoblins with bows fired at them.
Switching to Juhraveal and Magnus, the illusions and disguises of the kobolds faltered, Magnus made his saving throw vs. the illusion, saw them for what they were, and since he was at the doorway to their room, grabbed Juhraveal by the collar, yanked her out, shut the door, shoved a dart in the lock mechanism to keep it shut, and then headed down the hallway. They made a couple of turns, saw a flash of light as flames reflected off the stone walls in the distance, heard the shouts of pain from their friends, and headed to their aid.
We then switching to the characters in the bugbear pit, where Sir Sandwyche and Gwar convinced the bugbear that he needed to speak with Valanunthe. As soon as he left the room the barbarian (Gwar) easily climbed the pit, shut the door to the room, and grabbed equipment.
Returning to the battle with Valanunthe, Juhraveal and Magnus joined Tobias at the doorway while Bitters and Endur charged into the room. Valanunthe took on Bitters and Endur in melee while the two hobgoblins on either side of her fired their bows at the Ranger, Rogue, and Druid in the doorway. The battle was tough, for although the hobgoblins missed most of their initial bow attacks, Valanunthe took down Bitters with her powerful blows (she wore the Amulet of the Fist which enhances her strength), and repeated her action when she rendered Bitters unconscious in a previous encounter, giving him a little wink as he fell to the ground unconscious at -3hp. Moments later Endur slumped to the ground at -1hp. Magnus rushed into the room to see if his friends needed healing, but the Druid was rendered unconscious as well.
While this battle was going on inside the room, the bugbear arrived to speak with his leader, saw the combat and snuck up behind the paladin, barbarian, and ranger, and attacked them (area 10E in the diagram). With bow fire from the hobgoblins in the room and the bare fists of the bugbear, the ranger fell.
Seeing the threat was nearly over, Valanunthe motioned for the four hobgoblins to tie up the four downed characters while she took on the final barbarian and paladin with her bugbear. As she approached doorway and looked around the corner where the bugbear fought the Gwar and Sir Sandwyche, she saw the bugbear go down. It was now them vs. Valanunthe and as she fought the hobgoblins paused in tying up of the unconscious characters and approached her as the the final two adventurers rendered her unconscious. The hobgoblins were not expecting her to fall, and closed for combat, but a might blow from Gwar dismembered the leg of the hobgoblin leader, Gwar then intimidated the remaining three hobgoblins, and failing their morale check they fled to the door in the north east corner. The players had somehow prevailed!
This was a combat with many highs and lows. Initially the hobgoblins missed their attacks and some characters charged in, then one by one characters dropped to between -1 and -3 hit points. Seven characters were reduced to just two, so it made sense to think that Valanunthe was going persevere, and then, miraculously, the tide of battle shifted and in short succession the bugbear brute, Valanunthe, and the hobgoblin leader went down, shaking the remaining three hobgoblins who were not expecting such a tide shift in fortune.
Everything is now complete and the adventurers somehow managed to become victorious! Or did they? Eliam and Malcolm began this adventure in the bugbear pit unconscious (player who portrays them couldn’t make this game, so to explain his absence it was decided they were unconscious). Are they still okay? And what about the six kobolds that Juhraveal and Magnus escaped from? Can a dart stuck in a door lock really put six very intelligent kobolds out of action? (remember that in my world kobolds are the corruption of the gnomes, and as such they are master illusionists as well as being masters of traps). Where are the kobolds and what are they doing? We find out in the next game!