On the Tail of the Goblin Mob

Session 1
Clearing the Beggar's Cellar's cellar

Alodia arrived in the tiny settlement of Ironthorpe, stop-off point for those headed to the Deephold iron mines.

In the local inn, The Beggar’s Cellar, she met the innkeeper, Arlent Bene. Inquiring about news related to the Goblin Mob, Bene pointed her to Belia, a Halfling farmer, and resident of Ironthorpe.

Belia explained that her livestock were being slaughtered each night, and she was desperate to discover the cause. She agreed to share any knowledge she might have, if Alodia was willing to help.

Having agreed to help the harassed Halfling, Alodia sought lodgings at the inn. Arlent Bene was initially difficult, proposing to charge an extortionate amount to the half-elf in need of a place to stay. Eventually, he relented, offering to cover Alodia’s room and board, if she agreed to clear the rat infestation from his cellar.

Agreeing the help with the infestation, Alodia descended into the inn’s cellar. Closing the cellar door behind her, she was greeted by the sight of a writhing mat of rats on the cellar floor. Descending the old, wooden stairs, she lost her footing, and tumbled down the last few steps, landing on her face. As she tried to catch her breath, she was assaulted by an ungodly stench, and nearly lost her lunch.

Regaining her composure, Alodia stood, and surveyed the room. Noticing a crack in the back wall of the cellar, she investigated it as the possible source of the rat infestation. Prying open the crack with her crowbar, she was almost overrun by a trio of zombified dire rats. These undead triplets were no doubt related to the stench, and were put down in short order at the edge of Alodia’s greatsword.

Crawling through the now enlarged crack, Alodia was surprised by more undead vermin — skeletal dire rats. These creatures, faster and deadlier than their zombie cousins, proved to be an even match for Alodia, and forced her to retreat.

Safe from the gnashing teeth of the skeletal rats, Alodia informed Arlent Bene that the magnitude of his problem was greater than he had assumed. Bene confessed that the inn had been an unlucky purchase for him, and that these undead horrors could possibly be linked. His only good luck since opening the inn had been in his gambling. Bene suggested that Alodia consult the village cleric, Garvin Forth, about the best way to handle the undead in the cellar.

Making her way to the chapel of Erastil across from the inn, Alodia was greeted by Silvian Harald, an acolyte of Erastil, and cleric in training. She informed Alodia that Garvin Forth was away on church business, and would not return for a week. Seeing Alodia’s dishevelled state, she offered to tend to the half-elf’s wounds. While healing Alodia’s wounds, Silvian noticed that the wounds were infected, and promised to deal with the infection the following day, before the symptoms would appear.

Alodia’s cuts and bruised sufficiently tended to, Silvian searched for information on combating the undead in her master’s library. After a time, she was able to learn that undead skeletons were susceptible to blows from heavy, bludgeoning weapons.

Alodia returned to the inn, with the acolyte in tow. She asked Arlent Bene for the use of any bludgeoning weapon he could muster, and he presented her with a club, and buckler. Attempting to recruit fighting men to help her, she acquired the services of the mercenary Saxon. The tall, uncouth human accompanied her to the basement, and together they smashed the skeletal rats that bested Alodia alone.

Pushing past the broken shards of the skeletal rats, the pair uncovered a burial chamber, and were immediately assaulted by the ragged, animated skeletons of four humanoid warriors. In the fray, Saxon was badly wounded by a blow from a skeleton’s clawed hand. His carelessness in combat had come back to bite him, and he collapsed to the ground unconscious. Left alone, and in poor condition herself, Alodia had to face down the last, chittering, grasping skeleton. With a mighty blow from her club, she crushed the skeleton’s skull, releasing whatever foul energy animated the monster, and the lifeless bones fell to the floor with a crash.

Surveying the burial chamber uncovered several valuable items on the alter at the centre of the room. Set into the far wall of the chamber was an imposing black oak door. Scooping the treasures into her backpack, Alodia returned to the inn proper, and requested the aid of the acolyte in dealing with the injured Saxon.

After the acolyte and Saxon’s mercenary comrade-in-arms had whisked him away to the chapel for treatment, Alodia and Arlent Bene inspected the chamber. Bene proposed sealing up the chamber until Garvin Forth’s return, and suggested that Alodia seek the help of his son in appraising any jewels she found, and the local wizard, for help identifying any possibly magical items. Bene suggested that Alodia shouldn’t mention that she had made Bene’s acquaintance.

In the inn’s kitchen, Arlent’s son, Jonty Bene, introduced himself, and appraised the jewels Alodia had recovered from the tomb.

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Session 2
Behind the Black Oak Door

Alodia Vilad had escaped the battle with the undead warriors with her life, and some hard-won treasure. Now she needed the expertise of a magic-user to identify the various vials and arcane scrolls retrieved from the crypt.

On the advice of the innkeeper Arlent Bene, Alodia sought the help of Ironthorpe’s resident wizard. The wizard’s run down wooden hut stood facing the inn, separated from it by the dusty, dry earth of the coach road. Knocking on the boards of the flimsy door produced no response, and it was only after Alodia opened the hut’s side window that the lone occupant took notice of her. After brief introductions, the impatient young man in tarnished robes confessed that he could not aid Alodia in identifying her eldritch trinkets, as he had lost his spellbook in the last, and most dire, of a series of ill-advised bets made with Bene, the innkeeper. In order for him to be able to offer his services, he would need to repossess his spellbook – a daunting task considering that he lacked the coin to settle the debt. Alodia struck a bargain with the wizard, offering to intervene with her friend the innkeeper on the wizard’s behalf. Desperate for a solution, the wizard agreed.

Retrieving the spellbook proved easier than expected. Arlent Bene was in a state of distress, convinced that some evil lay behind the black oak door in the tomb beneath the inn. In return for Alodia’s promise to investigate, Bene returned the wizard’s spellbook.
The wizard was delighted to retake ownership of the spellbook, and identified the magic items in short order. Upon learning of the quest on which Alodia had agreed to embark in exchange for the return of his spellbook, the wizard offered to accompanying her into the tomb.

To bolster their chances of success in the event of further dangers, the pair visited the temple of Erastil next door, seeking out the acolyte Silvain. They found her ministering to her new patient, the injured warrior, Saxon. Alodia inquired as to his condition, and Sylvain affirmed that the mercenary would make a full, if slow recovery. Alodia informed Sylvain of the dangerous investigation the half-elf intended to carry out, and the young acolyte was quick to offer her services.

Sitting by Saxon’s bedside during all this talk was the lumbering form of his mercenary comrade. The hulking giant, introducing himself as Grognac, spoke of his remorse in allowing Saxon to enter the crypt without him, and insisted he be allowed to accompany the party.

It was at this time that Alodia realised she had never thought to ask the wizard for his name. “Ragastus Doyne,” was the reply to her belated inquiry.

The party now assembled, all four would be tomb raiders returned to the Beggar’s Cellar, and made straight for the kitchen, and the cellar and crypt below.

The tomb was much as it had been when Alodia has last seen it; bone fragments littered the smooth stone floor, shapes in the dust of the central platform showed where Alodia had collected her treasure, and there, at the back of the chamber, stood the black oak door.
Magical analysis by Ragastus revealed the door to be made of mundane, if antique, wood. With long centuries, the fibres of the door had warped and twisted, and now it was stuck fast in its portal. With crowbars and brute strength, Alodia and Grognac forced the door open. Opening the door did not reveal the expected grand hall, but rather a small space ending abruptly in a smooth stone wall. Before any of the party could investigate, they were taken off guard as two ghastly creeping hands dropped from the ceiling and attacked.

The two rotting appendages moved with spiderlike quickness, darting across the floor, and leaping for the exposed throats of the nearest living creatures. While Alodia and Grognac attempted to skewer one hand, the other found purchase around the throat of Ragastus, choking the wizard, and preventing him from casting a spell to defend himself. A slash from Alodia’s greatsword split the evasive hand in two, and the warriors turned their attention to their distressed comrade, carefully dispatching the decayed gripping his windpipe.
The danger past, the party took the time to inspect the revealed space, and noticed an odd pattern of blood on the rear wall. Closer investigation revealed that the rear wall was in fact a concealed door or panel. Again, Alodia and Grognac set to work, this time working much harder to pry open the stone door. Inch by the inch the barrier moved aside, until with one final push the pair forced it aside. In reward for their feat of incredible strength, a mob of zombies poured in from the chamber that had been revealed.

Lead by a curious zombie lacking hands, the swarm of rotting flesh threatened to engulf the unprepared company. Entering into a combat rage, Grongac drew his heavy flail and forced the zombies back into the room behind them. Swinging his heavy metal polearm, Grognac obliterated the undead amputee, and tore into his companions, before being overcome by the beating pressure of fiendish blows.

With Grognac lying unconscious, it was up to Alodia and her other adventuring partners to defeat the zombies. Struggling with the cramped architecture, the wizard and acolyte were unable to effectively contribute, and if not for the steady hand of the half-elf ranger, all might have been lost. Cleaving through rotten flesh, Alodia fought her way to Grognac’s prone form, and quickly administered a curative potion, pulling the barbarian back from Death’s precipice.

While she was tending to the barbarian, the wizard and acolyte fared less well, both succumbing to the advances of the shambling wrecks, not before Sylvain, in a panic, threw Alchemist’s Fire at the creatures, accidentally injuring Grognac in the process.

Her companions disabled, Alodia was alone against the two remaining zombies. Calling upon her last reserves of strength, she backed into the corner of the room, preparing to mount her final defense. With astonishing power, her greatsword rent through the advancing monsters, averting catastrophe at the very last moment.

With the creatures dispatched, Alodia worked quickly to save her dying companions, administering potions and first aid to staunch the bleeding, heal the terrible wounds they had suffered.

Her new friends were stabilized, and so Alodia sought the help of the inn’s occupants to haul them to safety. Whatever lay further into the tomb, it was well guarded.

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Session 3
Madness at Midnight

Her comrades laid low by the mindless menace of the ancient tomb, Alodia Vilad once again found herself alone. After taking some well-deserved rest, she realised that she had broken her promise to the halfing Belia to investigate the disturbing slaughter of the farmer’s cattle.

After visiting Belia, and renewing her promise to investigate the mysterious attacks, Alodia searched the scene of the crime. There she discovered that the wounds dealt to the animals appeared to be made by a manufactured weapon, and her skill as a woodsman allows her to locate vaguely humanoid tracks leading into the field.
The attacks had occurred at night, so Alodia decided she would stakeout the field, and watch for the return of the assailant.

Nearing midnight, Alodia grew weary from hours of hiding in the branches of a nearby tree, when she heard the sounds of a very one-sided conversation approaching. Keeping still, she watched as a young man in simple clothes walked beneath the tree in which she was ensconced. The young man hold aloft a fine longsword, and it seemed to Alodia that the sword was the silent partner in the conversation.

Dropping deftly to the ground, Alodia made herself known to the odd young man, who introduced himself as the son of another of the handful of farmers that make up the bulk of Ironthorpe’s population.
Question the boy about his motives revealed that the sword he held had spoken to him, and told him that slaying Belia’s beasts would complete a ritual that would release the dark god Zomasticar from bondage. The sword promised the boy glory and power for performing the dark deed.

Alodia tried to persuade the boy that the only result of his actions would be the ruination of poor Belia. After some dangerous back and forth, she managed to convince the lad to drop the sword, and return home to bed.

The mystery solved, Alodia visited Belia with the news, much to the halfling’s delight and confusion. The young swordsman Alodia had met was indeed the son of Belia’s neighbour, a troubled young lad.
Although Alodia lived up to her end of the bargain, Belia couldn’t live up to hers. Confessing her ignorance of the Goblin Mob, the farmer offered a small amount of gold, and the name of her cousin as recompense. The cousin, she said, was a lawman in far off Falcon’s Hollow; if anybody knew of the Goblin Mob, it would be him.
Retrieving the sword, and bringing it to Ragastus the next morning for inspection, Alodia learner that the sword was entirely mundane, and that the so called dark lord was an invention of the troubled lad’s mind.

Resolving to continue her investigation of the Goblin Mob, Alodia decided to depart Ironthorpe, and visit the lawman of Falcon’s Hollow. Her experience in the ancient tomb had taught her the folly of going it alone, and so she asked Arlent Bene, the innkeeper, to put out a call for would-be adventurers, willing to accompany Alodia on her journeys.

By dawn of the next day, Alodia had secured a travelling companion in Geoffrey Yournes, a roguish young fellow out for adventure, and intent on investigating a haunted ruin by the name of Weson Keep.
The coach packed and ready to depart, it looked like the pair would be facing the dangers of the wilds by themselves, until the appearance of Silvain the young acolyte of the church of Erastil. Declaring her desire to see the wider world, and dragging Ragastus behind her, Sylvain pledged herself to Alodia.

The party of four assembled, the coached pulled away from the Beggar’s Cellar. As the familiar inn receded into the distance, perhaps for the last time, the four newly-minted adventurers thought ahead to the struggles to come. A long carriage journey to the remote town of Falcon’s Hollow would have them craving excitement by the time they arrived.

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