Friday, October 22, 2010

Verden: Assault on Fort Goblinton

This session happened Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

Adventuring Group:
Artemis (half-elf rogue)
Arthus (half-elf paladin)
Book (elf rogue)
Gilgamesh (uffnik artificer)

Having learned much and gained vital gear at The Library, it was now time to deal with the goblins and Gil’s missing pony. Most of us were certain that the pony was dead and eaten by the goblins, making this a reprisal rather than a rescue. We were all good with that.

We pulled out all of our gear and ran a full inventory prior to planning our assault. I finally opened the wizard’s book and gained four castings of elemental body I from it. I could definitely use that. The fire elemental gem figured prominently in our early planning, as did Gil’s new device that would turn us invisible and grant us flight. We set the following terms of the assault:

Goal: Kill all the goblins
Primary Target: goblin leader (healer)

Our base plan was to fly over the fort, Gil would lay down a barrage of fireballs, I’d swoop in and drop the fire elemental to rampage, and then the rest of us would attack any goblins still standing. A very basic plan, but with no map and days since the others were last there, it was the best we could make until we got there and scouted the area a bit.

Along the way to the goblin fort, we ran across The Hunter, relaxing and having a smoke break. We discussed what was about to happen and asked him what he knew of the area. Apparently, the goblins had been very busy over the last several days, pulling in patrols and setting out guard posts. Additionally, the goblins were allied with the lizardmen in the hills to the west and had called in a favor, so there were lizardmen at the fort now. Next, the goblin healer was not the leader but the second in command. The actual leader was a goblin wizard. Finally, the goblins and the lizardmen kept the undead population down in the area, so if they were completely eliminated, the number of undead would go up.

Great. Just great.

When we asked how many goblins their were total, The Hunter said there were about 400-500 goblins and a similar number of lizardmen, but the fort couldn’t hold anywhere near that many. After some further discussion amongst ourselves we decided to continue on with the planned attack with the following revisions to the terms of the assault:

Goal: Kill all the goblins at the fort
Primary Target: goblin healer
Secondary Target: goblin leader (wizard)

We asked The Hunter if he was interested in joining our plan of action and he agreed with the proviso that we needed to provide him with a way out as we did not have enough flight spells. I agreed to this, thinking I could use elemental body to turn him into an earth elemental and he could earth glide away. Being a wizard is terribly handy. I wish I’d thought to do some studying earlier in my life. Ah, well.

As we got closer to the fort, we discovered two sets of goblin scouts and dispatched both groups before word of our arrival could be given. That was the last of the good news for a while. When we reached sight of the fort, we discovered that the fort was now ringed with 15-20 lizardmen and two sleeping giants.  Actual giants! Needless to say, this led to another revision of the plan. Now, after Gill hit the inside of the fort with two fireballs, I would fly down and plant the tree feather token to block the gates. This should keep the lizardmen out of the fight until the giants awoke, after that - all bets were off. The Hunter volunteered he had a way to keep the giants busy for a while, but it meant he would not be involved with the fighting inside the fort. We decided that anything that kept the giants off our backs was a good thing.

We stationed Jonathan back away from the fort, to keep him safe. We would need to fly out to him for any healing greater than our cure light wounds potions could grant, but it would keep him safe as we did not have enough flying or invisibility as it was. We put together a banner pole for him so we could find him. The minimal risk of the enemy spotting him would be significantly reduced, if not eliminated, by our flashy aerial assault.

As ready as we could be, Gil turned us invisible and granted us flight, then drank our only potion of stoneskin. [NOTE: the DM gave us this as a magic item before realizing that it was illegal to make stoneskin into a potion. We had been hording it ever since.] We kept close via holding onto each other until we were above the fort and could see in. Here we got our last piece of bad news.

The goblins had a pair of ettins guarding the leader’s house.  A pair of ettins!

Goblins plus lizardmen plus TWO giants plus TWO ettins was starting to be a daunting task. Oh, plus the goblin healer was riding a worg, not a “large wolf” as Gil stated when he first told me about the goblins, a worg. At this point I was starting to suspect that we would not achieve our goal of killing all the goblins. After some quick whispering to direct where Gil’s fireballs needed to land and confirming that if nothing else, we needed to take out the healer, we moved into position for the assault.

Gil started raining fireballs on the goblins (plus the linked scorching ray and magic missile, which targeted the healer specifically) while I cast enlarge person on Arthus so he could dance with the ettins. This was a good thing because after the first fireball, Gil was visible and the ettins targeted him with their javelins. If not for the stoneskin potion Gil would have died right there.

Gil’s second fireball (plus linked spells) cleared the inner fort of most of the grunt goblins and set the tents on fire, allowing me to fly in completely unobserved and plant the feather token by the gates, blocking the gates from opening with a sudden 60-foot oak tree. At the same time, Arthus attacked one of the ettins, drawing its attention from Gil, while Artemis started clearing the walls of archers. Outside the walls, an elephant and a griffin suddenly appeared and charged the two sleeping giants, keeping them occupied and mostly pinned in place. The lizardmen rallied, but did not attack.

The leader of the goblins and his two bodyguards charged out of his burning house and started shouting orders. The ettins concentrated on attacking Arthus, hitting him multiple times and forcing him to retreat to Jonathan for healing. I crushed the fire elemental gem, releasing the fire elemental inside, and ordered it to attack the goblin leader. As I was still invisible, this attack came as a surprise to the goblin leader. Gil continued to rain down his fireball/scorching ray/magic missile combo, eventually taking out the goblin healer, but not his worg mount, which picked up the body and fled.

In the meantime, with a large fire elemental fighting the goblin leader and fireballs raining from the sky, the ettins apparently decided that they had had enough and fled, one making it over the walls and running while the other sat on the wall and waited to see what happened next. The lizardmen also surrendered at this point. I think they realized they were being excluded from our attacks and wanted nothing we were dishing out. I verbally accepted their surrender while assisting Artemis in clearing the walls of the last of the archers.

The goblin leader cast invisiblity on himself and ran from the fire elemental, into his burning house, I think because it backed to one of the walls of the fort. To me it looked like jumping out of the fire into another fire, with no frying pan in sight. The fire elemental was able to track him into the house and blocked the only exit – until the goblin leader created another by using lightning bolt to blow out the back wall. Arthus was just returning at this point and had the hand of glory, which allowed him to see invisible. He flew down the goblin leader and killed him. (For a paladin, Arthus can be kind of vicious at times.)

Gil returned from chasing the worg and reported that it got away. He was down to only his magic missile device, having used up the fireball combo device on the fort. Taking stock of the situation, we realized we had won!

I talked with the leader of the lizardmen a bit. They had been contracted to help defend the fort by the goblins, not fight a war for them. When we bypassed them and kept our attacks on only the goblins, he (the lizardman leader) had decided that the contract was over. Respecting our obvious strength (and not knowing that we were about out of fight), we were granted an invitation to (a peaceful) visit to their city in the hills. We graciously accepted the invitation and sent them on their way.

After they left, we got to talking with the last ettin, who was still sitting on the fort wall. Gil and Artemis spoke the giant tongue and translated what he said. He had noticed that every goblin who fled was attacked and killed and wanted to avoid that fate himself as he was heavily wounded. I was going to give him a healing potion and send him on his way when Gil suddenly attacked him with magic missile, killing the ettin in cold blood!

This did not set well with any of us, particularly Arthus and The Hunter. The Hunter just stalked off without another word. Arthus and I demanded to know why Gilgamesh had killed the ettin. Gilgamesh’s only defense was, “He hit me with a javelin.” I believe Gilgamesh belatedly realized he had gone probably too far. If he had not been a reliable travelling companion up until that point, I think Arthus would have struck Gilgamesh down as a murderer right there and then and Artemis and I would probably have agreed with him.

Not wanting to talk with Gilgamesh very much at that point, I turned to the goblin leader’s house. It was on fire, but it was still the best place to find the goblin’s treasure. I used elemental body to turn myself into a small fire elemental and went in and searched the structure. I was able to pull out a chest that was not burning, despite a burning log falling on it. This seemed promising.

Artemis disabled the trap and unlocked it (with some minor assistance from me). Inside we found a set of very well made leather armor and a ring. Arthus had taken a ring and a headband off of the body of the goblin leader. We set these all together and had Gilgamesh check for magic and identify them. They were all magical [leather armor +2 of light fortification, headband of intellect +2, ring of water-walking, and a ring of jumping]. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the pony was still alive and still had our chest (although the dart trap had been sprung at some point). After chasing it so long, Gilgamesh decided to name it Amy.

With the sun setting, we made camp near (upwind of) the burning fort, fairly confident that nothing would attack us while the fort burned. It would have been almost pleasant if it were not for the smell of burning goblins when the wind shifted. Then it was wretched. We were undisturbed for most of the night. The red dragon flew around, very high up, during third watch, but made no effort to land or even get close. I think it was curious.

The next day we made our way back to the waystation. It started raining heavily about mid-day and the red dragon flew by again near sunset, but we hid from it and it flew on. Due to the mid-day rain slowing us down, we had to camp in the debris field. On my watch I noticed a small boat in a debris pile. Curious as to what a boat was doing this far from water, I investigated. Inside was a dead body wearing a pristine cloak. I suspected the cloak was magical and took it off the body. The next morning Gilgamesh identified it as a cloak of the manta ray. Very puzzling item to find out here, but I am becoming less and less surprised by this place. After another hour we arrived at the waystation for a good long rest.

*End Session*

[This was the last session of Verden I was able to attend. I missed the final session due to a bad combination of a cold and allergies. The DM is now moving to Ohio, so there will be no more Verden posts, which is a shame as I was very much enjoying playing in that game. I would have liked seeing if Gilgamesh could re-earn the group’s trust after his cold-blooded murder of the ettin prisoner. Plus, we were looking forward to tracking down the “Locked Saltwater Grave” to see what was there. This game (and the DM) will be missed. Good travels Kyle.]

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