Friday, October 31, 2014

The Third Party: Session 6 (GM's notes)

18 Marpenoth

The day after receiving this note from the mysterious Tamn the Thrice-Betrayer, warning of an imminent attack on Kryptgarten Keep, Melastasya and Traith, went into Phlan with four large wagons to purchase weapons and supplies to last-out a siege. Their first stop was to try to convince Vasyl, the beekeeper, to move out to Kryptgarten. Sadly, the taciturn old Melittologist was even less inclined to talk than usual.

The next stop was Jerome of Melvaunt’s, the leading fence and pawnbroker in Phlan’s slums. Mel walked in to find Jerome being interrogated by a haughty-looking elf about hobgoblin religion, and where he might find a hobgoblin priest in Phlan. Mel stepped right up and interrupted the elf, laying a solid-gold candelabra, weighing more than three pounds, on Jerome’s counter. The black-bearded dwarf’s eyes went wide behind his thick horn-rimmed glasses. Mel explained that she needed “metal”, “preferably pointy things”, but that “pig iron would be fine too”.

Jerome opened the door behind his cage, asking his half-orc assistant, to bring out “the special wares”. Ce Pavuz came out with four large crates filled with bladed weapons of all kinds—axes, swords, daggers, spearheads—obviously hot and not all in the best of condition. Traith came in and examined the goods as Mel and Jerome haggled, eventually settling on two full crates, filled to Traith’s liking. Traith selected the best spear-heads, and blades which could be easily converted to such, and loaded them in the train of wagons that Mel had brought from Kryptgarten. Along with all the caltrops that Jerome had available as well.

Mel chatted with Ash a bit, learning about his vague, but pressing, interest in the hobgoblin clergy. Jerome suggested that Ash should seek out Grishnak, the hobgoblin high-priestess, but Mel dismissed her as a charlatan (or genius, as apparently the two words are interchangeable in the boat-people’s tongue). Mel explained that she was acquainted with the incarnation of the Hobgoblin’s “demon-dragon-god-thing”, and that there was a much more accessible hobgoblin priest at Kryptgarten whom Ash could possibly speak with.

Mel sent the wagon full of weapons back to Kryptgarten and she, Traith, and Ash took the other two wagons into the city-proper. They stopped at Councilman Urslingen’s home to find him drilling a number of very exhausted looking guardsmen. Mel introduced him to Ash and “Traith” and intimated that they had some pressing news for the old captain. Werner dismissed the soldiers and listened as Mel told him of the impending attack they’d been warned of, asking if he’d like the opportunity to “see the Kryptgarten troops he’d been training in action” and other such side-ways suggestions that they’d like him there. He agreed, since he was heading out to the keep that afternoon to oversee the training anyways, and said he’d invite his son Francis to come along as well.

The party excused themselves and stopped by Ian Cockburn’s Grocery, where they learned that Martha had been found dead in the slums after being missing for several weeks. They purchased a wagon-full of provisions, and another wagon-load of dried straw. They then made their way down to the docks, where they purchased two large tuns of tar from the ship-builders.

They then headed back to the keep with the three wagons. On their way out of town, they spotted another caravan assembling outside the Training Hall, only two wagons, but with more than twenty guards—all apparently pulled from the student-adventurers of the Training Hall, judging by their miss-matched accouterments. They were stopped at the gates by a pair of gnomes from the Temple of Gond, who presented them with a crate full of plush crocodile monstrosities.

The journey back to Kryptgarten was uneventful, until about a mile from the keep, when Melastasya noticed that they “had a tail”. Specifically, she noticed a very large arm peaking out from behind a tree. She sent the wagons on ahead, and the party back-tracked to intercept the follower. Traith disappeared into the trees while Ash and Melastasya took the more direct route.

The man, who looked very much like a fellow gypsy, aside from his right arm which was nearly as large as he was, stepped out to greet Melastasya, speaking as if he had known her all his life and had come to settle at Kryptgarten. The familiarity immediately set Mel on edge, and Ash’s questions regarding whether the man was a Yagnoloth pushed it over the edge.

Mel lashed out and kicked the man in the groin, so hard that his testicles ended up somewhere about the vicinity of his ears. The giant-armed man reeled backwards and passed out. At the same time, there was a deep bellowing cry of pain from the trees. Ash turned and saw a very-large, blue-scaled lizard man with one of Traith’s arrows sticking out of him. A trio of the giant-armed man’s companions—the lizardman, a kobold, and a halfling—had been sneaking around to flank the party at the same time that Traith was circling them.

Ash attempted to put the assailants to sleep, to no avail.

Three more kobolds, or three more of the kobold, appeared, and the four of them begin dancing around with hands joined, summoning a “dust devil”, a minor air elemental which they sent after Ash. The halfling drank a potion of some kind, then not-too-menacingly, moved towards Traith wielding nothing more than a broken oar-handle.

The lizardman rushed at Traith, dealing a wicked blow with its axe, only to be dropped in its tracks by two swift strokes of Traith’s scimitar.

Mel shot at a kobold with her crossbow, hitting it cleanly in the head and dropping it with one hit. Ash then fired a barrage of magic missiles at the other kobolds, dropping two and leaving one looking very surprised. The remaining kobold dropped a silence spell on Ash, who drew his longsword and charged in response, leaving the kobold even more surprised that the wizard would engage her in melee.

Traith snapped his fingers, summoning his very-large, enchanted, two-handed sword and moved to engage the halfling, but the blade passed right through the small fellow as if he didn’t exist. Traith threw aside the blade and lashed out with his shield, taking the halfling by surprise and knocking him on his ass.

A small rat leapt off the kobold’s shoulder, biting at Ash’s face, as the dust-devil came up from behind, kicking up a cloud of debris and rendering the combatants deaf, dumb, and blind. Mel leapt into the fray and helped Ash knock out the kobold, dispelling both the silence and the summoned elemental. On seeing this, the barely injured halfling threw down his stick and offered his surrender.

Mel moved to stabilize the three incapacitated attackers, despite Ash’s protestations that they should just kill them all, while Traith tied up the halfling and began depriving them of their weapons. After some questioning, they learned that the halfling was the same Tamn who had written the letter of warning to them, and that he and his companions represented the advanced scouts of the incoming army—with orders to sneak in the secret entrance and neutralize the keep’s leaders before the main force arrived, and that the main force of 250 kobolds and hobgoblins was coming that night.

Ash, again, argued for their death. Mel and Traith decided otherwise, offering the halfling a job defending the keep, and taking the others prisoner—except the lizardman, who the halfling suggested was likely to rip their faces off without talking. They let Ash kill that one.

They arrived back at the keep with the three prisoners in tow late in the afternoon to find that Urslingen and his son had already arrived. Melastasya ordered a feast for the visiting Councilman, and ordered all of the citizens of Kryptgarten to withdraw into the keep and close the drawbridge.

They sought out Grinkle and had he and the cultists haul all of the cauldrons they had up to the battlements over the gate, where they began boiling honey (because its sticky and has a high boiling point) to be poured onto attackers. They passed out spears and pikes to the less trained settlers, set the Urslingen-trained soldiers on the walls with bows and swords, spread tar and straw covering the courtyard and the secret passage (to be set on fire if either filled with enemies), and stationed another group of archers behind a barricade by the pit at the opening of the secret entrance.

Next time…the Battle of Kryptgarten!