Castles & Crusades Diary: Dragonclaw Barony Campaign, Session 14

Summary:
The adventurers battle tricky kobolds, bring Elven thief Valanunthe back to the town of Dale for arrest and punishment, resupply, and head off to Rodemus Keep to find a top secret map that is still missing.

Underneath these old ruins is where Valanunthe set up the HQ for her and the Black Fist Mercenary Company she hired to assist.

Game Diary:
Last session the players captured Valanunthe and took down her bugbear, hobgoblin, and renegade dwarven mercenaries in a session long fight. What remained, however, were two characters lying chained-up and unconscious in a 10 foot pit (the player was absent, so this location was a convenient place for his characters to be during his absence). There was also a new player joining this session, and so it was decided he had been captured and was going to wake up in the pit with the other two characters. All three characters had arcane abilities (half-elf cleric/wizard, human wizard, gnome illusionist). Once awake they could hear the sounds of kobolds above them outside the pit moving about. They kept silent and began intelligently looking for ways to break free.

Meanwhile, several corridors away in another room, the large group of half-orc barbarian, paladin, ranger, half-elf rogue, fighter, and gnome druid healed each other, finished tying up Valanunthe, and headed off to find their friends. The kobolds were aware of their presence, however, and with the ranger carrying Valanunthe over his shoulder, and the fighter carrying a treasure chest, that left the barbarian and paladin to lead the group with the rogue and druid next in line. The kobolds (which in my campaign are a corruption of the gnomes, and thus are very clever and masterful illusionists), cast daze several times on the paladin and barbarian and laughing at them. This irritated them and they moved forward, only to fall unconscious from well placed color spray and then shrouded in magical darkness. The druid and rogue came forward and dared enter the darkness, but along with needing a dexterity check to step through their sleeping friends, the kobolds had also placed ball bearings in the darkness. People began falling down prone on the ground with failed dexterity saves, and as they stumbled forward just outside the darkness, the kobolds were waiting with their daggers, and darted in to stab them, slowly wearing the characters down.

It was once again made clear that although these little beasties only had around 2 hit points, a good choice of cantrip and couple 1st level spells could completely upend a party. The players are aware that this campaign will eventually end with the AD&D 2nd edition box set Dragon Mountain, which along with having an obvious dragon or two, has kobolds – lots of them! So, encountering kobolds is not just going to be an occasional threat.

The characters did persevere against the kobolds, since when they were hit by a character that was enough to take them down. The wizardly characters also broke free of their bonds and escaped the pit trap by putting a couple kobolds of their own out of commission with a well placed sleep spell and then reunited with the rest of the group.

Making their way back to the town of Dale, they turned in Valanunthe, had a good meal, got rest, and the next morning met Fonkin, the gnome sage that had sent them on their mission and Captain of the Guards Luke Mattind. They thanked the group, gave them reward money for their work, and then showed them a map where they think a renegade named Girck might be located with a secret document that revealed information about a local Baron’s keep and its secret entrance. Rodemus Keep is where the group needed to go next if they chose to accept the mission and continue to help the barony. They accepted! Now it had to be decided how to get there: (i) follow the border of the Llancrest Wood and Dragon Lake, (ii) cut through Llancrest wood, or (iii) go by boat up river and through Dragon Lake. The first two options would take 3 days by foot, and option three would take 2 days by water. They chose option 3.

Captain Mattind told the party that they could buy whatever supplies they wanted at half-price. A boat was also supplied as the group decided to recruit the help of Thorthic, a dwarven barbarian/cleric of Thor who had previously traveled with them (the group decided they wanted extra healing).

Halfway through their first day on the river a flock of 25 creatures that were a cross between a bat and a large mosquito – stirges – smelled their blood and swarmed in on them. A sleep spell took down half the flock, but that still left a dozen, and a tough battle ensued as they attached to the characters at awkward places and slowly drained them of their life-blood. The stirges were eventually dispatched and the clerics got to work healing. The day ended with the characters camping at the point where the river met Dragon Lake, and that is also where we ended our game session. Next session the group will arrive at Rodemus Keep to find Girck and the secret document that is missing!

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