A Few Heroes

If you go down to the woods today...
Adventure Recap 1

Noon dawned over Fallcrest as our hardy bunch of misfits adventurers who had known each other for minutes weeks introduced themselves to each other in, of all places, the local tavern.

In the desire for loot, glory and random things to butcher our hero’s mingled with the crowd to see if they could determine any good leads on adventures to be had.

Shall we do kobolds was the offer. Too small said one.
Shall we do a mage quest was suggested. Too hoity was the answer.
Shall we go visit the sad tragic ruins of a members family was raised. Why yes that gives a chance to abuse support another member and a chance for loot.

So the goal was set and the intrepid party set off for the ruins of Kalton Manor.

Pausing the journey at a way station on the Kings Highway close to the road to the manor our hero’s settled in for the night.

During the second watch an eery howl raised the attention of our stumpy doughty warrior who raised the camp to the nearby presence to howly type things.
Upon waking our heroic ranger did identify them as wolves and the party readied themselves for the attack, which duly came.

Arranged in defensive pattern, with the range on the roof and the melee in front of the meal cart that battle was joined.
The first round opened with the comedy of one of the wolves shrugging off what could only be described as the warriors rubber g-string.
Not a group to be distracted however our heroes duly dispatched the wolves with a well placed rapier to the head, an arrow to the skull, a bolt to the spine and a shield to the face.

The next day dawned, something, and the journey was continued to the manor.
Which was a bit of a dump quite frankly, it was like someone had torched the place.

Investigation revealed the presence of goblins, and their defeat by elves, so the decision was made, warily by some and more positively by others, to got into the nearby Harken Forest to defeat the goblin scourge that had only manage to repel the Elven residents of the forest for the past 200 years.

On the way through the forest our adventurers were contacted by some of the local elves who, while showing great restraint in the face of a tirade of abuse from one of the flatter members of the party, gave directions to the party on the way to one of the entrances to the goblin lair, while also warning of a new danger to the forest in the form of their darker brethren the Drow.

Approaching the entrance the scouting Ranger spotted a number of lookout platforms. While discussing the plan our warrior with the slightest prompting of one the rogues, and fully giving into his ADHD, decided to sneak blunder up to the closest platform and almost give the group away.

Luckily with an arrow here, and a goblin not learning to fly fast enough there, the danger was nullified before the alarm was raised.

The entrance awaits…

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Letters to Uncle Goatbender I:
The Goblining

Dear Uncle Goatbender,

This is why you can’t trust humans and halflings. Having tracked the mud of the undertunnels half way across the overworld, I had fallen in with a group of what could loosely be termed ‘adventurers,’ though I’ve yet to see much evidence of a thirst for adventure in them. We have a big fella with a burned up face, a couple of halflings- one of them wouldn’t stop going on about his special bacon, and the other claimed powers of magic. I saw tiny Halfling pigs, which admittedly looked delicious, to back up the claims of the first, but nothing more than glowing rocks to back up the latter. There was a woman, too, but she kept her thoughts to herself. In truth, they were all fairly quiet except the little butcher.
Looking for adventure in Fallcrest, we decided to seek out the ancestral home of the big human, Baurim, Bacim, something like that. Human names tend to roll unpleasantly around the mouth like week-old meatballs. Regardless, we endured a wolf attack during the night as we travelled the King’s Road- some king, I say. Everything above ground seems pretty transient, and the ‘safety’ of the road meant that the poor starving creatures sought their last meal from our cart, and we were forced to slay them. Unfortunate, but the pelts may sell if we can get them scraped and stretched.
When we reached the manor, it was burned down- poorly constructed, I suspect, but humans don’t build to last. The party was so reluctant to seek out the goblins who had slain our companion’s whole family, that it took me aback. I know that surface folk have strange concepts of honour and courage, but it seemed that all courage left them at the first sniff of green blood, and they had to be cajoled to even consider seeking out the greenskins. Some elves turned up, and talked to the human a while in their chirping birdsong language. Whatever they said, it seemed that at least we could seek some combat at last. If they’ve been fighting the goblins for 200 years, and we can raze the keep in a few days, they’ll hear me laughing all the way to the Granite Halls.
We tracked the goblins to one of their bolt-holes, and while we dithered, the little butcher refused to climb the platform that housed the goblin scouts, because “he was too little to climb.” Well, I don’t need to tell you, my blood fairly boiled, and it was clear to me that this group, so frightened of a few goblins (they barely outnumbered us! Six to five! SIX to Five! One apiece if you count Rumbles!) that they betrayed the colour of their livers. If only to get the stench of fear from my nose, I climbed one of the platforms and slew one of the goblins, while the human killed the other. Took an arrow, but returned it with interest.
I fear for the future- although I am eager to storm the Goblin Keep, I am concerned that I am doing so largely alone, as none of the others have demonstrated much fortitude for a real fight. With only goblins for enemies though, I haven’t much hope for a noteworthy battle, but I will write you when I can, all the same.

Your devoted nephew,
Mal

PS- Rumbles is well, but his horns are starting to peel a bit. Is that normal?

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Dungeon Delicatessen
Diary Entry 1

A few days ago I awoke at my normal 3am and went to the shop to open up. There I spyed Garrick and some of the city watch already gathering. Thankfully Fen, our accountant, managed to intercept me and informed me that Garrick had forced him to fiddle the books to make it look like I was laundering money from the company. I was to be arrested on the spot and thrown in jail to await trial.

I managed to get away, but by the time I had worked out what was going on and managed to get the four best pigs we owned, the watch were at my house. Without being able to get in I had to flee with the clothes on my back and whatever I could carry.

But perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. A few years ago I had a great idea for exotic meat – if we were able to sell the meat of monsters or animals fed on monsters, we would be able to charge a premium for the cuts! People would pay more out of interest for the rare meat and we wouldn’t have to pay much, if anything at all.

Because of Garrik’s actions I have decided to put this idea to work and, in a stroke of luck, I met four others who share in the idea of adventuring. There have already been some good meals for the pigs and they have fed well on wolf. It is my hope that they will soon be gorging on goblins, which they can finish while I promote the idea around town.

The others in my new party do not seem to share the same love for the business, but they are happy to let the pigs eat the spoils of combat. When I make enough money I will go back to Fallcrest and challenge Garrick on the charges he has laid against me. With luck I will win and be able to take the business back for myself. Until then my dreams of becoming the entrepreneur starting the worlds first alternative and exotic butchery has taken a big leap forward.

I am wary of some of my comrades, however. Malachite the Dwarf is quite hard to reason with and seems to hate everyone. However he has already felled two goblins and is leading the charge into the castle where they live. If we plan it right he may be the driving force behind my first pig food glut – if Branic, who he persistently derides, doesn’t kill him first!

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Letters to Uncle Goatbender II:
All the best sorcerers are dead

Dear Uncle Goatbender,

Mixed results this time, Uncle. After killing the rest of the goblin guards (just like mother taught!), our group made an advance towards the hole that served as an entrance to the beasts’ lair. It was set in the side of a big hill, and there was a bit of a cave-stream coming on out of there. Though we kept our eyes peeled for traps, we found none- assuming that the greenskin tribe was perhaps too primitive to construct traps. As you know, each tribe seems to operate under its own rules.
Regardless, after a bit of argument around who should go first (I can’t get used to the surface folk and their not being able to see in the dark- it’s such a hassle!), we made our way into the cave. Found a chamber with some mangy wolves tied up- we took pity on the beasts, and fed them some of the goblins from the outside. Should have put them out of their misery. Found a crack at the back of their cave and climbed up, after a couple of false starts, but think we alerted the critters at the top. Beefy bugbear and his lackeys attacked me. I managed to toss the bugbear down the crevasse, but he had hands like glue, and managed to catch on. Rest of the fight is a bit of a blur for me, because one of the damn wolves took me down. Good job I carry the healing potion. Well. Carried. Must get another.
We lost little Oz in the fight, but in the end the elves came good and managed to bring him back- say what you want about their appetites, the elves know their way around magic.
After some mucking about, we got back into the goblin-hole, and as we crept on through, the blighters set off their trap- must have had a few supports around a reservoir, because we near got washed down the passage. Still, we managed to get clambered up onto a rope bridge that ran across the passage above, and avoided the worst of the danger. Poor wee Ozzy nearly drowned though. Not sure if he’s cut out for adventuring, to be honest.
As I write, we’ve just finished fighting a bunch of goblins that we encountered down the passage from the bridge. Surprised that they had a big fella, taller than me, who wasn’t scared of a fight. It’s true what they say, a goblin can be cunning or brave, but not both, and I’ve to clean his blood off me hammer after I finish up. Anyhow, the rest of the party are eager to be moving, so I’ll write more when we get a break again.
Your nephew,

Mal

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They dug a hole...it's filling with water.
Adventure Recap 2

Feeling flush with that mighty victory the party decided there was no time to waste so they stormed the first 20’ of the goblin lair before deciding it was to dark for storming so some sneaking might be in order.

With that an advance scout party was sent ahead to investigate the entrance that went off to the left of the main tunnel, which upon investigation turned out to be on the right side of the tunnel.

Here they discovered three slavering wolves staked to the ground guarding a small cave.
With the warrior, who felt it would be unfair, and the Ranger, who felt the call of the wild, (and the remaining adventurers proffering no strong opinions either way) the decision was made not to kill the poor wolves regardless of their disadvantaged imobility.

Our ranger decided to use his nature skills to befriend the beasts but only one of them was amenable to this (he would name him Boo but didn’t have time to tell the others) with the other two rudely rebuffing his attempts to appease them.

Seeing there was no chance of repprochement the warrior decided that if smooth words wouldn’t work then food would so hiffed some of the previously killed goblins to them for a kai. After all you don’t bite the hands that feeds you right?
As it turns out technically no, those hand’s weren’t there to be bitten. Another’s throat was, but more on that later.

With the wolves distracted the taller of the two rogues and the warrior investigated the side room and found a chimney that ascended into the darkness.
Being the best climber in the group the warrior volunteered to climb the gap but unfortunately, mishearing the shorter rogues guidance as ‘climb it Ginger worrier style’ due to the sound of the rushing water, slipped while halfway up.

Unperturbed the warrior attempted the climb again and this time aced it, with the help of the giant mitt that grabbed him as he approached the top.
‘Who are you sneaking into my lair’ demanded the massive bugbear as he held the warrior helplessly off the ground.
’I’m the one who’s here to toss you down that there hole’ the warrior defiantly retorted.
‘Haha as if you coul….oh shit’ the bugbear replied as the warrior dwarkido threw him down the chimney.

The finely co-ordinated team then swung into action while the enemy leader was at his weakest and did proceed to hit him while he was down…

…This was the high point of the first foray into the lair…

But what goes up must come down.
Well it doesn’t have to, but usually it does.
And this time wasn’t one to buck a trend.

In that moment, while the warrior was savouring his throw and the others were celebrating their vicious attacks, several things went wrong.
And in the dungeoneers dictionary wrong means, at least on this day, all things wolf.

Firstly our warrior gets savaged from behind by the bugbears accompaning giant wolf (we only have his account to it’s size but we humour him) while at almost the exact time (it’s hard to time gurgles with water in the background) one of the wolves at the cave entrance threw it’s stake and pounced on the sorcerer throwing him to the ground.

With the reactions of a 10 second window the remaining three adventureers went to work to save the situation.
The ranger drew his swords and discovered that two blades of 12" steel somehow seemed to do more damage than his yard long arrow tipped by three ounces of steel. It seems that size does count.
The taller of the rogues went to save the warrior but unfortunately it took her a while to fint the ‘texture’ in the wall.
The shorter rogue did stuff that wasn’t enough for the ranger to notice while he wriped the blood from his eyes.
The fallen warrior and sorcerer bled a little.

Time stood still, except for those that didn’t, which at this point was everyone.
One bled a little and then got picked up by a goblin and thrown down the chimney*
One unfortunately had a bleeder.
One got savaged by another wolf that threw it’s peg and then introduced said wolf to his two little friends.
One, having found some texture, climbed half way up the chimney *and caught a dwarf
One did something else.
The bugbear fell.

In a flurry of activity the adventurers thought this might be their time…to leave.
The more burdened of the two rouges managed to slide down the chimney with the warrior and administered his emergency healing potion while the shorter of the two rogues finished off the bugbear while the ranger did something else.

With 80% of our party restored it was time to leave before the pursuit was raised so it was time to introduce the last remaining wolf Boo to his last name, F’king Hoo, and the party high tailed it out of the tunnel.

Not far from the cave the party was again encountered by the local elves.
The warrior, no doubt now realising that the goblins weren’t the pushovers he thought, did pasionatly entreat the elves to use their healing arts on the sorcerer to revive him from his eternal slumber.

Touched by the turn around of the most right wing of the party, and given that they had been out gathering mushrooms at the time, they agreed to take the unfortunate soul to their healers who performed some wonders that only Osbourn the White will know.

After a night of recuperation the group decided some revenge was in order so back to the goblin cave they went.

Working their way through the lair the adventurers came to a larger cavern with a rope bridge above them.
As the rogues went forward the more observant of the two did hear a mighty rush of water and shouted out a warning as he scampered back from the danger.

Forewarned the warrior scaled the walls of the cavern while the two humans feebly looked for texture in their attempts to find safety.
The two halflings realising their height disadvantage ran for a side passage the had spied earlier.

As the humans fumbled around like numpties the warrior threw down his rope and managed to pull them to safety while the shorter of the two rogues master yoda’d his way to the top of the schree pile.
Osbourn trusting in serendipity f’cked around at the bottom of the schree.

As the water rushed towards him Osbourn’s party members got more desperate and tried varying methods to save him.
Bobby being the most optimistic of the party threw him a rope, which Osbourn grabbed but then utterly failed to hold onto.
Mal being the most pessimistic of the party threw out a lasso which Osbourn then failed to escape.

Gathered together again the slightly damn martial members of the party, and the caster with the blow-dryer, then headed further into the lair.

Hearing goblins ahead the two rogues and the ranger decided to sneak up to surprise their hosts.
Unfortunately the ranger decided to go Fool of a Took and kicked a helm into the room.

Having had their surprise blown the warrior and the taller of the rogues ran into the room while the two shorter members of the party thought that it would be more fun to use the ranger as a walking shield.

In the room the vista unfolded as a Gerry Brownlea like Goblin overlooking his domain while the rest of his minions waited certain death, except for the smack down they were giving to the party.

While the warrior and the shorter of the rogues were engaging the great goblin the rest of the party, with arrows, swords and liquid hot magma took out his supporting cast.

And then there came pain…well for the great goblin anyway…

See the tag. I did say long sorry

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Dungeon Delicatessen 2
Lots of feed!

My plan to open Dungeon Delicatessen is gathering speed. Not only do I have several of the finest pigs I could bring, but now a fair number of goblins to feed the pigs: Malachite saw to that, by brazenly attacking the first few goblins himself! Perhaps he would do well in the Delicatessen with a meat cleaver in his hands, though I fear his cuts would not be the finest…

We found a rather sizeable passageway that led underground. I went as far ahead as I could with a couple of the guys before the darkness started to hinder me too much. It annoyed Malachite of course, as he can see in the dark, but as it turned out we made it rather swiftly to a side passage where we found three wolves tied up. Despite our best efforts to placate them, they will be food for the pigs. Wolves, twice now – they are very well fed!

Added to that we found a Bugbear, or rather he found Malachite, who was climbing up a small opening like an underground chimney. He fought well, but there was also a giant wolf up there that savaged him from behind. It has made me realise that, sooner or later, the pigs will feast on a companion or two that isn’t as lucky as our Dwarven friend.

After this we continued on our way down the passage past a corridor that had partially collapsed. Rather wisely we decided not to pursue that route. The passageway opened into a wide room with a rope bridge above us and a small stream to the left. Little did we know those cunning Goblins had made a large water trap that aimed to wash us away!

With some deft footing I sped my way atop the rubble in the corridor we just passed in time for the water to flood past me. Oz was apparently not so lucky and, while the others climbed to the rope bridge above, he had to be lassoed from the water.

I was helped up to the others and angrily we headed further into the depths of their lair. Soon we found more of the creatures, who met a quick death. However these were not the Goblins responsible for the attack on our lives. When we find them, I will enjoy watching the pigs feast…

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Who's this then?
Adventure Recap 3

As our mighty adventurers took a breather after their victory over the rotund goblin leader they suddenly noticed a before missed prisoner trapped in a cage suspended off the ground.

Quickly (well for them) the adventurers let the poor soul out of his cage to taste sweet sweet freedom once again.

“Who and what are you?” the question was asked of the stranger.
“Why I am the elvish cleric whose name is written large on countless character sheets across the land, but apparently no where handy” was his response.
He continued “I would be honoured to join your band if you would have me, just tell me where I am most needed”. Everyone then pointed at the sorcerer.

Having taken time to familiarise themselves with their new party member the group then headed off back across the bridge and into the far passage they had still to explore.

A short travel up the passage they came across a room with two pools, one filled with water while they other had a gap opened out oneside and was quite empty.

It was quickly determined that quite possibly this was the source of the flooding from earlier in their explorations but not seeing anything else of interest there they continued along the passage.

As they neared the end of yet another corridor the warrior heard a familier growl.
“I’ll have you this time mutt” he yelled, or something possibly quite different, his accent is often unintelligble, as he raced off into the room.

Being slightly less intune with their need for suicidle charges the rest of the group followed at slightly slower pace to find the warrior in battle with a couple of goblins and what the rest of the group were to charitably assume was the ‘giant’ wolf the warrior spoke of from during their encounter with the bugbear the previous day.

A brief but short and victorious fight followed as the group pounded their hapless opponents into the ground with minimal damage. Or possibly moderate damage.
There was some pounding done anyway :)

Taking a quick survey of the aftermath, aka looting the room, the more eagle eyed of the group discovered a secret door in the wall of the cavern.

After opening the door a stairway was revealed leading down to another passageway.

As our adventurers travelled down the latest passageway they started to notice a green glow ahead of them that brightened as they went.
Eventually they discovered a room with what looked to be a well in the middle from whence the glow emated, and also a few goblins milling around it.

“Surpise!” cried our merry band as they lept out in ambush of the goblins.
“Gob gob” went the green goo as it lept out and burnt a couple of our suddenly not so merry band.

The battle was then joined where yet again our mighty heroes dealt justice in the form of indiscriminate death to the probably guilty but too late now if they were peacenik goblins and their ally the green burning thing that reminds you of the time you visted the girls at house where the busty women work and then had trouble peeing the next day.

Being a vigorous fight the handy new member of the party then set about patching up those members who were injured sa best he could be quickly exhausted himself in the process.

Not to be put off the party continued but were quickly confronted by a portcullis blocking the exit to the room.
With a mighty heave the warrior lifted the gate above his head while the rest of the party got down and crawled through the resulting gap.
The lever to raise the gate was quickly found on the other side and switched so that the gate then raised.

Another set of stairs was then discovered going down where the start of another opened out before them.
But the adventurers didn’t have too long to ponder this as the pair of ever present goblins at the bottom of the stairs let loose a barrage of arrow (yes I believe singular) at the party.
“Haha missed” taunted the sorcerer as he started scratching the arrow sticking out his chest.
“Crap” or something similar was exclaimed as he started performing the first part of his now familiar yoyo impression.

The taller of our two rogues charged down the stairs in a fit of rage and savaged one of the goblins at the bottom with the Ranger attacking the second with arrorws.
At which point more goblins charged up and attacked the rogue savaging her in return while another ran off to ‘release the hounds’.
The warrior then charged down to aide the rogue, passing her as she ran up the stairs bleeding profusely.
The shorter of the rogues and the cleric joined the battle in some form or other while first aide was delivered to the sorcerer in the form of a potion of healing at which point performed the yo to his yo and stood up hand all on fire and stuff.

The battle was then completed with the party releasing a surprisingly large amount of ironmongery onto the floor of the cavern while also slaughtering the remaining goblins, including spitting the hound releaser with a well placed arrow.

A quick apparaisal of the groups position found them in what looked to be jail of sorts complete with trapped wolves, while in no sort of state to safely wage any further strenuous battles so the decision was made to retreat up the stairs to a more defensible position and take the opportunity to rest.

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Letters to Uncle Goatbender III:
Killing slimes, doing crimes

Dear Uncle Goatbender,

Well, we’re taking something of a premature rest in this stinking goblin-hole, but it’s a fair shake of the hammer, I suppose, because Ozzy is tuckered and run out of magic, and –would you believe, we picked up an elf in here in a cage, a priest at that. Not that I’ve love for elves, but I’ve a love for finding survivors in goblin torture-rooms, and he doesn’t seem much worse for wear. In fairness, many dwarves would have scampered out of there as soon as they were free, and he takes up his armour and asks to come along with us, so he’s all right in my book, and it doesn’t hurt that he can do some healing magic.
So as I said we’re laid up for a few hours, and I’ve to go for my stand of guard shortly, but here’s what’s happened since I wrote last.
After we rescued the elf (can you credit that his name is “Perilous”) we crossed that rickety rope bridge across the stream-cave, and lo and behold, we found the room as they had flooded us from- one big empty pool hole, 4 goblins, and a full pool. Needless to say, a scrap developed, and the bloody pool turns out to be a jelly or ooze or something, but small knives are sharper, as the saying goes, and with the help of the halflings we made short work of the lot of them, if you’ll pardon the punne.
We did a bit more exploring after that, and finally, FINALLY, we found the entrance to that bugbear’s lair, the one we slew in my first letter. The bloody goblins and that damned sneaky wolf were still in there, so as you can guess, I was out for a bit of revenge, and with a little help from my friends, I got it in spades. Next time you see me, I’ll be wearing wolfskin.
We’d a big portcullis to get through at that stage, so I ended up lifting it up while they snuck underneath- took their bloody time too! Still, I reckon it was a new personal best for squat lifting, so I’m happy all the same. A bit more delving and at the bottom of a set of steps, we nearly lost the human woman to more damned goblins, and they’d a bunch of wolves in cages. Long and short of is was that we went through them like a packet of elf-bread, and took no chances with the wolves this time. I hate to slay a helpless creature, but they were already crazed and after the last episode, let’s say I’ve a respect for what they can do if they get the drop on you.
So now we’re resting up, and I must say I feel stronger, like I could take approximately twice as much damage before I collapse as I could before, at least I hope so.
Your nephew,
Mal

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Dungeon Delicatessen 3
More meat for the grinder

We haven’t made much more distance into the cave, despite the fact that we have spent a lot of time trying. I am starting to get worried about the pigs and hope that they are fending well enough for themselves. I know left to their own devices they will be fine, but I wonder if thieves (or worse – wild animals) may find them first.

Despite that, we are amassing a large amount of food for them to much through when they get here. Having been on the defensive for the last while, we went venturing back into the cave on the attack and across the footbridge the others had clambered upon to avoid the water trap earlier. We immediately found an elven priest by the name of Perilous, who was living up to his name having been kidnapped by the enemy.

I thought he would be happy to flee, but hats off to him: he was out for revenge! Lucky then that a handful of goblins were in the next room by a pool, which we did not know contained some kind of jelly that may well be good in pies and for preserving meats. I will have to find more of these creatures and try their viscous bodies out in a variety of meals…

After a brief struggle we overcame the foes and, after a long debate and search, found the secret entrance to the bugbears lair, the ones that our dwarven friend was nearly killed by. Malachite was also out for revenge and the goblins and wolf fell fast. At least now we know Malachite was telling the truth about what all was up there! No wonder he took a dive down the well…

This room was separated from beyond by a portcullis that Malachite lifted for us. Travelling down a set of stairs we found more wolves in cages (what is it with goblins and wolves? Are they just for guards or food as well? I will have to try to make a few wolf meals for the group and see what they think. They will be a good test for my new line of Dungeon Dining).

Unlike last time, we were not going to be kind to these wolves as it had stung us before. Having killed the lot, Ozzy was low in magic and a few of us were hurt so we have decided to take a rest.

Now that I have updated my diary, I had better collect a sample or two of that jelly and some choice cuts of wolf for dinner. If any of the lads should enjoy the meals I prepare over the next few days I will note them in my Dungeon Cookbook.

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Dungeon Delicatessen 4
Magical food

Today I witnessed first-hand the strange forces of magic! I wonder if the creature will have any magical effect on the taste buds?

It all started after we ascended the dungeon, with Vasadi and myself sneaking into a bedroom of sleeping Goblins. I have to say that I am not happy about what I did, but I know that it was the only way we will rid these lands of Goblins, for they always fight and if the tables were turned they would do the same to us.

With the Gods looking on, I slit two of their throats. Vasadi did likewise, allowing us to creep into their lair. As if that were not enough, the very next room held more of the creatures, which we were also able to ambush. However this room was fascinating as they were cooking with strange ingredients, condiments and apparatus! I managed to steal away a recipe book that someone will have to translate, some odd cutlery and a good few Goblin herbs and spices. I look forward to jerking the beef with that tonight ;-)

After that we continued down a wide corridor. I tried to sneak into a side room that I thought had sleeping Goblins in it. Boy was I wrong! I noticed only at the last minute that a blade was falling towards my head as I peered into the darkness and managed to pull my head out of the way with less space than thinly-cut wafer-thin ham!

Three of the foes came at us, but we managed them through the doorway single-file and the creatures were too stupid to realise their mistake until it was too late. Their bedroom was empty of valuables, but this is where it gets interesting…

The room on the other side had a magical darkness upon it! Light could not penetrate, inside or out, so Malakai of course decided that blindly stumbling into darkness was our best solution to this problem, and without hesitation he disappeared into the black. However this was not just a magical darkness but also a deafness – neither he nor we realised that we could neither see nor hear each other!

Despite my assumption of his confidence being bravado and quite useless, he proved me wrong by reappearing and telling us of an evil temple on the other side with an Elf about to be sacrificed. Forming a chain so we could stay as a group, we moved into the darkness not knowing what stalking creature was in the black.

This time I stayed at the back, as I felt that this was still a fools errand, and I paid the price. A foul magical octopus that lives out of water made for me and attacked without warning. Rising from the brick wall it sped towards me like a Kraken. I have named this brick-Kraken a Krick, and it grabbed me with it’s tentacles meaning to make me his dinner. Luckily my small demeanour allowed me to escape it’s clutches and, with Peralious’ help, we hit the creature a fair few times.

The Krick had a very tough skin and no matter how well I stabbed the beast it failed to damage as I expected. It was as if the creatures skin was tough like armour, lessening the impact of our strikes. Luckily the chain we made allowed the others to know that something was wrong when we were attacked. Somehow, the others knew to rally and push the foul creature out of the darkness. Once we moved it into the light it was much easier to strike and we made short work of it, although it did strike me rather hard.

Again Peralious aided me with healing. I know this is also magical, but he covers the area with his hands so I have never the magic at work. However my wound closed up under the pale blue light of his Gods divine healing and I was made whole again. I must cook him a ham some time…

Again we tried to make our way through the darkness, this time with me at the front. As we felt our way through to the evil temple, we left the darkness and walked into a large room with a sacrificial altar in the centre just as Malachite had described. He, Vasadi and myself charged the priest, but he had already cut a hole in the heart of the Elf, who now lay bleeding profusely into the large rune below.

As his blood ran it started to glow a bright red the more the rune was filled. Unfortunately we had to deal to the Goblins first and, while we made short work of the fiends, we were not able to save the Elf. Peralious tried his best but there was an evil magic trying to suck the soul of the Elf to some kind of Goblin hell.

Peralious drew a small rune in chalk right in the centre of the rune and both he and Malachine prayed hard. Eventually he said that the soul had gone to the right place, but you could tell he was unhappy at not being able to save the Elf. We all were – that was no way to die.

With steeled determination we moved into the next room as quietly as we coould, but they had heard us and expected our approach. As we looked into the room we could see a Bug Bear, large even for one of his kind, and a Dark Elf. Her skin was a deep grey colour, something I have not seen on a person before. They stood arguing above a map with no sign that they had a clue what was coming.

But they did.

As we neared the room a Dark Wolf attacked Malachite, which prompted him to charge into the room. Sometimes I wonder if he wants to die or if he is just too stupid to understand the risks he is obviously taking. I have never met someone so brave, or maybe foolhardy. I am yet to work it out, but on this occasion it was not smart.

He was beset on two sides by the Bug Bear and the Dark Wolf, which mauled him terribly. With his ribcage in its large jaws it shook him, tearing its teeth through his armour and into his flesh. I tried to help, stabbing twice with my shortswords. One missed but the other sank deep into the wolf’s hide.

My success was not long-lasting though and before I had pulled my blade out the Bug Bear hit be full on the side of the head, sending a ringing noise through my ears and stunning me. As I staggered back the wolf turned its attention to me and savaged my arm. It was only by luck that I tore it free and that it was still attached – I could feel the animal’s jaws closing around my shoulder joint like a butchers cleaver removing the shoulder in a clean sweep.

Despite this, Malachite pulled himself to his feet and swung back into combat again. Whether it was guts or nuts, I was not going to find out and I fell back out of combat and into the healing hands of Peralious. Covering my shoulder with his hands I once again felt my wounds undo with just as much pain as they were caused but in reverse. This brief moment of pain was quickly overcome by the fact that I could now see my arm, covered in my blood but somehow healed.

In the meantime I was unaware that Vasadi had been magically held, or that he was looking over the dead body of a Dwarf. Apparently the Dark Elf reached into his pockets and stole something of importance from him, something worth risking combat for. The next thing a portal opened and the Dark Elf disappeared through it like walking through a dark mirror.

Branic, seeing what was happening, made the choice to stand between Malachite to protect him from the Bug Bear. With more skill than I have credited him with Branic dispatched the Bug Bear in two good swings, allowing us to focus on the wolf. Little did we know that, without the Dark Elf being present to keep the magic going, Vasadi was released and could once again move. Unfortunately the dark portal disappeared at the same time, so she spun towards the wolf and struck out with deadly accuracy, sliding her blade through the rib cage and into the creatures heart. She would do well in my abattoir when my business is up and running.

Peralious had already started healing Malachite, who was not in good shape. It took some time for us to stop the bleeding and eventually he regained consciousness. After some care by our great priest he was up and swearing like his good old self.

We now stood in an enclosed room, with no exits bar the one we came in through. While searching for things of interest, we managed to reveal a well-disguised door in the wall that somehow leads to a forest. I’m not sure if it is a portal to somewhere else on this world or if there is a second world inside this door, but as usual Malachite wants to charge in so it’s likely that we will journey there some time soon. For now it’s best we prepare ourselves and talk through a strategy – we can’t afford another fight like the last or it may be our last.

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