Campaign Day 4.
Crossing the large chamber, Valbin notices the carcasses of the giant fire beetles where he had left them. Thinking it best to leave as few clues as possible, the halfling quickly gathers them up and hides them within the other abandoned mine carts.
The party expeditiously headed back to the hidden chamber with the unconscious hobgoblin carried by Nogrite. Before entering the secret door, Raelyn cast another arcane sentinel spell coving the area around the secret door in the main hallway.
Once back in the chamber with the door secure, the team set about evaluating needs for rest, and setup shifts for guard duties. They decide on 8 hours to fully rest, heal and renew spells. During the second watch, Raeylen sensed her sentry spell on the eastern staircase trigger: 2 small creatures. Approximately 5 minutes later, the arcane sentinel spell in front of the secret door triggered in her mind with the same count of creatures. Placing her ear too the door, she was unable to discern any noise through the thick stone door.
After another 15 minutes, the same count of creatures passed by the door again, and shortly after they triggered the stair way spell as well. Raeylen passed the information amongst the group that was awake, but allowed the others to remain asleep.
Another hour passed before the stairwell arcane sentinel triggered again in her mind: 2 medium, 1 large and 2 small creatures passed by. Another 5 minutes and they passed by the secret door. After another 15 minutes, both Gribdunk and Nogrite stir from their sleep and sit up looking around and then to each other. Both have a strong familiarity with the underground and felt the distinct feeling of a cave-in. From their quick evaluation the chamber appeared to be structurally sound and their best guess is that the small tremor felt was from the entrance.
Having advised the rest of the party of their suspicions, they rouse everyone and discuss the situation. At this point they remember their captive and move to check its unconscious body. Applying a minimum of medical attention to its wounds, they revive the hobgoblin. The interrogation takes several hours of both intimidation and persuasion. It becomes evident that the hobgoblin is little moved by intimidation and that he is prepared to die for his clan. Further, he has a strong loyalty to his leader Balgor. He has little knowledge of Harold other than where his cottage is located and his skills in healing potions.
After further open discussion and negotiations, he reveals an interesting fact: when asked if he knew if Harold had any enemies, he smirks and laughs slyly. Istan in the Hamlet of Rashtan is a known competitor in the region. Further the hobgoblin offers a counter offer for negotiation. He knows that Balgor also has a strong hatred for Istan. He reveals that Istan had accepted a contract to provide healing potions to the hobgoblin clan for a steep fee. However, upon use of the supplied potions found that they provided minimal healing and often led to further sickness. He suggests that although he has no idea on Harold’s whereabouts, there is a strong chance that Balgor would be willing to put a contract on Istan, with the premiss that Istan is most likely responsible for Harold’s disappearance. The party decides this may be their best option to discover Harold’s location and allow them to avoid battling the entire clan.
Other information gathered: the clan within the mines are only a vanguard here to locate new shelter for their clan. They are not a war party but rather a scouting party for a colony that has been displaced from the events in the east. In regards to the suspected cave in: most likely he suspects Balgor has likely discovered the dead sentries and has ordered the main entrance collapsed. With the entrance collapsed, the vanguard can defend the area from a warparty if needed. (they would have no true idea of how large the party truly is) They had foraged heavily and would have sufficient stores for a period of time. His name is Twyn and he offers to negotiate a parle between the party and Balgor in exchange for his life.
The party now fully rested prepare themselves to investigate the cave-in. Securing the bindings on Twyn and blindfolding him, they cautiously exit the hidden chamber. Finding no opposition in the hall, they proceed back to the entrance and find that indeed the mouth of the mine has been collapsed. Recalling their entry to the mine the party remembers that the mouth was already near collapse. Further investigation reveals two heavy ropes coming out of the rubble. Close inspection by Oryn reveals a narrow opening at the top that they will be able to belly crawl through to the outside.
Confident they can get outside, the party decides to release Twyn as planned and tell him they will parle with Balgor out side the mouth of the mine entrance. Twyn stretches his previously bound limbs and looks about. ‘So, there must be a secret room…some 80’ down the hall behind, to the left 40‘ish and hidden within the right hand wall…You could have at least spun me around’. He sniggers at the party’s obvious green nature. Twyn then told them that he would set up the parle specifically between Balgor and Valbin. Reaching down amongst the rocks, he proceeded to cut open his right palm on a jagged rock and extended it for Valbin to shake. Valbin pondered shortly at the gesture and then realized that it was to be a blood pact. He drew our his knife and proceeded to cut his palm (unfortunately the infantile squeal as he did so was less than inspiring). The two shake hands on the pact to parle outside the mines. The party hand Twyn an offering of silver pieces and an authentic healing potion before he departs down the western passage.
The party crawls through to the outside. Surprisingly the halfling being the only one to get stuck and require assistance to clear the tunnel. After reaching the outside, he made reference to an old legend of a bear named Pooh in passing.
Having reached the outside, they party plans on setting up a defensive posture. Raelyn sets up several arcane sentinel spells via ritual in a V pattern from the entrance. After an hours work, a series sentinels are in place and the party dispersed amongst the available coverage nearby.
Another half hour passed when they saw a white cloth poke out the tunnel mouth tied to a broken spear. The white flag was then waved and thrown out the hole followed by two spear and shield wielding hobgoblins. The two spearmen took up defensive positions forward and flanking the tunnel mouth. Finally a third larger figure emerged in chain mail armour. Balgor stood arms spread wide. Slowly, with his left arm he draws a small scroll case from his waist belt and throws it down towards Valbin who stood in the open.
Opening the scroll case, Valbin found a note: “Here are the potions and magical axe I promised you. Also included is a map to the mages home. Remember he will not give up the hiding place of his magical stash easily.”
Balgor stated that this is his evidence of Istan’s ill stance in relation to the hedge mage Harold. Due to the fact that Istan’s shipment being completely useless and fraudulent, Balgor will accept a further parle with the party within the mines. He has taken Twyn’s word as their word (gesturing to the spearman on his left who the party now recognizes as Twyn). He confirms that he never accepted Istan’s contract on Harold as the first offering of potions and axe were all useless fakes. Reaching down to a sharp boulder, he too cuts open his palm and swears this to be true on his blood. (followed by a high pitch feminine squeal) He states that he will offer a counter contract on Istan’s head. If the party is interested, they were to follow him back into the mines where they can discuss the details. Turning, Balgor crawled back through the hole, eventually followed by the spearman and finally Twyn. Having a debate amongst themselves, the party decides to attend the meeting in the mine. Proceeding back into the tunnel, they find Twyn waiting within. Twyn then guides them through the mine down to the second level and through a hall on the centre of the south wall. As they walk down the hall, they notice a luminescent moss on the mine walls that provides dim light enough to see without lantern. Proceeding down the hall 100’, the hall opens into a 50’ x50’ dining hall.
Sitting at the end of the central table was Balgor. Behind his seat he was flanked by two spearmen. Gesturing to the seats beside him the party cautiously proceeds to take seats. Balgor outlines the reasoning behind his desire for Istan’s elimination. His group is a vanguard of his tribe. They have headed west from their homelands ahead of the tribe seeking shelter. Looking to Gribdunk, he points out that a cleric could be of use. Having no clerics amongst his vangaurd, casualties are particularly vulnerable in combat, and survival rate is low. Further, to make the mines habitable, the hobgoblins must clear chambers and have found two troubling areas: one with a nest of stirges and a second tainted with undead. Balgor offers that if the party clears these two areas of dangerous creatures, he will offer them safe passage out of the mines and to keep the scroll implicating Istan in Harold’s predicament. If they return with evidence of Istan’s departure from the mortal plane, he offers a payment of 250 gp worth of gold nuggets.
Sitting back and steepling his fingers Balgor waited on the partys response. Sensing this as a limited time offer, they quickly debated their options. Finally, the decision is made to take Balgor’s offer to clear the rooms and go from there. But, they add a further request: considering the situation, they ask for additional hands to support the success of the mission. Valbin suggests that Twyn join their ranks to help clear the rooms. Twyn in response returns an evil eye. Balgor however seems amused and agrees and offers two archers as well.
Having come to an agreement, the party is lead further down into the mines through the hall opposite where they entered. Shortly they come to another room with 5 more halls: two to the east two to the west and one to the south. Twyn stops and asks the party their choice: stirges or undead.
End Scene Day 4