Session 13 - A Bone to Pick
Down below the slums of Estegarde in a subterranean hollow of filth and desperation, after hazardous encounters with dripping slimes and swarming vermin, our band confronts the vicious goblin gang and hunts for a deadly monster that has crushed several bands of would-be heroes...
OutcomeThe players entered the slums, discovering that the populations of the slums had been driven out of the Warrens and were now on the tipping edge of abject poverty and potential outbreak of plague. The problems had started after a sudden violent thunderstorm weeks before, flooding parts of the Warrens people had been squatting in and sending waves of verminous creatures through the network...and rousing a mysterious monster that crushes people to death and is never seen clearly. The party met Elia of the guild Exile Candle and learned of the guild's efforts to stop the plague, and gathered more information about what they faced, including the vicious goblin Bone Pickers and the horrifying unseen monster. After Alston determined that it sounded like, indeed, a form of Shambling Mound, the party made their plans and entered the Warrens. Dropping down a ladder in an old mine shaft, they entered a sodden world of claustrophobic tunnels, filth, rubbish, and patches of floodwater. They soon discovered the half-melted bodies of two previous adventurers in the tunnel to the north, and learned the hard way that the narrow corridor was infested with patches of green slime along the ceiling. After a goblin ambush with a crude homemade bomb went awry - for the goblin - but nonetheless managed to shake the tunnel enough to cause the slimes to drop, Aribaeshra and Alston's mech suffered serious damage, but the party managed to use fire to destroy the slimes and moved into the next room. Seeing large mounds of rubbish in this partially flooded chamber, the party decided to test for the ambushing Shambler by firebolting two of them; unfortunately, this agitated the rat swarms nesting in the rubbish piles, leading to the party suffering even more damage from the swarming, panicked rodents, but eventually dispersing both swarms. Deciding that they needed to rest to recover their strength in the room - and painfully aware of the goblins watching them - they explored their surroundings and took a short rest. The goblins warily gauged their presence but did not ambush them whilst they were all together. Alston discovered a hidden treasure, a scroll in a damaged dresser, and some spell components in the pouch of a slain adventurer in the next room - the mangled bodies Alston discovered seemed to be victims of the Shambler, hinting that it had been moving in the southerly direction. Osborn decided to try to parley with the goblins, narrowly surviving the nasty bug trap on their door - to their raucous amusement - and then engaging in a perilous chat with Noggy "Fingerbones" Thrukk, their cruel, cunning boss. Thrukk seemed unconcerned about the Shambler, but offered to let the party pass if they wiped out a nest of 'skulkers' who are 'very quiet and can see in perfect darkness' and had killed some of Thrukk's 'boys' in the southeast corner. Thrukk offered safe passage and a share of the treasure the boys had been carrying if the party removed the threat. As the party considered Thrukk's offer, Lili noticed the cages under the goblin boss's platform, and used Control Flames to flare up the torches in the room to shed a little more light - revealing that Fingerbones had several children, including both Warrens folk and other goblins, imprisoned in the cages. Questioned by Aribaeshra, Nuggy gloatingly admitted he was preparing them to be the main course at the victory feast. The lizardman's grim reply was to ask Nuggy to prepare himself for death, to which the goblin responded with immediate hostility; battle was joined. As the fight began, Lili and Alston hurled magic at Nuggy's platform, only to discover that not only was he concealing himself behind a straw dummy during their negotiations, but he was more than willing to throw his own minions in the path of attacks aimed at him. Goblins emerged from boltholes in the walls to take sniping shots at the party and then disengage, whilst Nuggy's shaman Scrawp snuffed the torches in the room, plunging the party into darkness. As the chaotic battle unfolded, Osborn tried the desperate ploy of concealing himself, Disguising Self as Nuggy, and emerging to throw confusion into the mix by claiming the goblin king was an imposter, convincing some of the goblins to halt their attack until the furious Nuggy rendered him unconscious with a thrown green-slime grenade. But as Ari waded through the goblin ranks to heal the dying Osborn, lucky shots from Lili and Alston seriously wounded Nuggy, downing him before his comrades' eyes. Though loyal Scrawp leapt to heal his Boss and Nuggy got back to his feet, the shock of his near-death experience was too much for Nuggy's nerve and the cowardly goblin boss broke and fled through a bolthole behind his throne. With Nuggy gone and several of their number reduced to paste, the Bone Pickers saw discretion as the better part of valour and fled en-masse through their escape holes, with only Scrawp trying to hold the line until a scorching Firebolt from Lili sent him yelping after Nuggy with his tail between his legs. With the goblins defeated the party saved Osborn, freed their prisoners and discovered three injured humans two dwarves and a halfling child as well as three small goblin children in tattered theatrical garb. These were the children of Berk of the Wee Green Gang whom Nuggy planned to eat as a victory feast once he'd claimed the whole territory for himself. Deciding to retreat from the warrens for now and return their new charges to safety the party left the underground behind...but not without noticing disturbing signs that the shambler had been silently watching them all along. Lili also caught a glimpse in one of the tunnels of an eyeless horror lurking in the dark...The 'skulkers' Nuggy had mentioned made their presence known. The party regrouped above ground, taking the refugees to safety with the clerics of Exile Candle. After being healed and giving Elia their information about the denizens below, the party split and Osborn and Alston took the goblin children back to the Beggar and Chalice where they were eventually reunited with their parent. Once the party had rested and told their story they regrouped and made a plan to go back down and take on the deadly skulkers...
09 Nov 2019
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