Friday, November 14, 2014

PBeM: Chapter 3.5: The Squatters in Onyx: Part 1

In which the party decides to take the fight to the kobolds and enter their first proper dungeon...

Note: Much of this post is discussions between the characters Hrud and Yamtwit. If you have trouble following the conversations use Google Translate to convert it from Javanese. The players inform me that strange syntax and mistranslations are intentional.

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Yamtwit/Frantiska
Hearing Hrud’s response, Yamtwit pipes up, “Taek! Hrud, alon mudhun kanggo kita. Kita lagi teka.” He whistles for Rast and quickly informs the others, “Our barbarian friend has decided that if the kobolds are not coming to us, he is going to the kobolds…and he seems disinclined to discuss the matter.” The goblin mounts up and rides after their rash friend.

Frantiska smiles. “Aku di,” she yells after Hrud and Yamtwit. “I think Hrud has the right idea. If we want this over quickly and decisively, let’s just take the fight to them…”

Lyra
Lyra ducks into the wagon and emerges with an extra quiver of arrows and a stack of boards under one arm. “Do you think we should bring these?”

Donovan/Winona/Rye
Seeing Hrud suddenly become visible as he abandons the rest of his unit, Donovan groans and rests his head in his hands. «That…was not the response I was expecting…» he mutters in elvish. “Fine…” he waves to the mounted archers, unable to see the other riders, “We’ll have need of your horses!” Seeing Lyra come out with the boards, he smiles, “Yes! Definitely!” He quickly gathers up his spell-books and a couple extra cases of crossbow bolts…and two extra bows for good measure…and mounts up.

Winona lets out a strangely mirthful and mildly frightening laugh and leaps onto the back of one of the horses as the peasant-archer is just barely clear of the mount. “Come on Bunny!” She spurs the steed down the hill after Hrud, calling “For Justice!”

Go on, the kobolds deserve it, says a voice in Ryesha’s head which is not her own. She sighs and extends a hand up to Winona, swinging into the saddle as she rides past. At least one of us thinks this is a good idea…

GM
Rant grabs the back of Amara’s collar as she starts running for a horse. “No, Donovan and Frantiska were right about one thing, have you be part of a preemptive attack on a kobold army definitely violates the nature of their agreement. You’re staying right here…” There is an audible “awww” from the little girl, but she does not resist.

Teldicia, who’s progressively worsening migraines have left her locked in a darkened house, quietly and irritably resting for most of your time in Gildenglade, rises from where she has been waiting the night out beside the village foot-soldiers. “احساس می کنم مثل سر من در حال رفتن به لعنتی منفجر شود، اما ضربه اقامت در اینجا من حدس می زنم!” she groans, and takes off at a trot after the party, her unnaturally long, bounding strides easily keeping pace with Hrud’s pony.

The trail of muddy dog-like footprints and disturbed grasses is clear and easy to follow. Judging from the spacing of the tracks, the meandering path, and the occasional discarded bone, the kobolds were in no hurry and not concerned with stealth, stopping many times to eat, chat, or relieve themselves.

The trail wanders over hills and through fields, then cuts directly into the swamp. Mounted, you easily cover in one hour what took the lolly-gagging, short-legged kobolds five or more. As the ground grows wetter, Teldicia leaps onto the back of Donovan’s horse, hugging him tightly around the waist to avoid falling off. The kobold trail remains easy to follow, following the tops of several muddy embankments beaten flat and almost hard by the repeated passage of large numbers of the creatures, avoiding the worst of the bogs and allowing you to keep your mounts.

Donovan
Donovan accepts his new rider with relish, though he finds it hard to concentrate on guiding his mount, a thing he not exactly an expert at, with the distraction of the beautiful, not-quite-elvish woman’s ample breasts pressed against his back…

“Yamtwit,” Donovan says as they ride along the kobold’s trail, “would you please inform Hrud that I laud his initiative, but ask whether he has a plan for what we should do once we find the kobold’s home?” Donovan quietly prays that the answer is not charge in the front door…

Lyra
Lyra shifts her pile of boards, not quite fidgeting. “Am I correct in assuming collapsing entrances won’t do much against kobolds?”

Yamtwit
Yamtwit pipes up, “Hrud, putih-kepala heaps gedhe memuji marang Panjenengan sirah anjog serangan iki ing asu-pasuryan, nanging kamulyan yen sampeyan bisa marang kita rencana.” Then turns back to Lyra, “Rocks can kill kobolds as easily as anything else, but if you don’t hit them with the rocks, they are very good at digging…”

Hrud
“Nyelinep nang. Mateni pimpinan.” Hrud grunts, as they follow the trail. This is how it should be, he thinks, hunting, not waiting to die. Though he wouldn’t admit it, Hrud allows himself a moment of relief as the others come after him.

Frantiska/Yamtwit
“Hrud suggests that we sneak inside and kill the leader…” Yamtwit says dubiously. “Hrud, apa yen padha ndeleng jaran teka? Pripun kita ngerti kang siji pimpinan? Apa yen asu-pasuryan tresnani pimpinan lan matèni kita kanggo nyababaken pimpinan?”

Frantiska stops Thistledown, “A half dozen horses coming in on what is clearly the equivalent of a road for these creatures seems like a very poor way to gain the element of surprise.”

“That’s what I just said,” Yamtwit quips. “Is it possible that our barbarian friend is not particularly smart?”

Winona/Donovan
Winona looks at them all and rolls her eyes, “We’ve already lost the element of surprise, so let’s just do this thing. In through the front door. Move fast. Kill them all…”

Donovan facepalms and mutters, “Glad I loaded up on sleep spells.”

Hrud
Hrud slows his pony to a trot, letting the others pull up along side him. “Bisa wae sampeyan nggunakake Piandel kanggo nggawe kita hard kanggo ndeleng?”

Yamtwit/Frantiska
“Anyone got another mass invisibility in their back pocket?’ Yamtwit asks, “…didn’t think so.” Yamtwit shakes his head at Hrud, “Aku kita perlu sethitik cah wadon Amara yen kita arep kanggo njupuk kauntungan saka kuwi trik. Winona ngandika kita ngirim mung kick ing lawang ngarep lan matèni sakèhé asu-pasuryan kita waca. Putih-rambute ngandika bisa nggawe akèh turu asu-pasuryan.”

Frantiska tries to follow their conversation. “Saya pikir kita mungkin harus bermain dengan telinga. Tunggu dan lihat apa situasi dan pertahanan mereka ketika kami tiba.” She loosens her sword in its sheath, draws her bow, and rides with an arrow knocked from here out.

Hrud
“Dog-pasuryan teka ing wayah wengi, ya? Yen kita lumaku saka kene, kita bisa nyekel wong-wong mau turu.”

Yamtwit
Yamtwit nods decisively, “Apik tenan. Ayo kita mindhah metu.” He whispers something to Rast and the wolf quickens its pace. “Come on. Let’s get this over with…”

GM
Another mile or so into the swamp, the trail goes cold from age, though the well-beaten path continues. Ahead of you, on a low rise, is a massive stone carving of a dragon, hundreds of feet long, lying on its belly, mouth agape, and wings spread out to either side at odd angles. After a second glance, Frantiska is able to inform you that it is not a carving, but the actual petrified remains of an ancient dragon—probably black she guesses from the horn structure. The path seems to lead strait up and into the creature’s mouth, which is open wide enough for a man to walk upright in. No creatures are visible in the area around the dragon, but Hrud’s keen eyes spot the head of a kobold peaking out through one of the beast’s empty eye-sockets.

Frantiska
Frantiska whispers, “We can’t take the horses in there. Let’s back up a bit and find a safe place to tether them…”

Hrud
Moving back a bit, out of view of the ‘statue’, Hrud dismounts and says, “Ayo kita teka watara saka konco. Aku bisa menek munggah lan njaluk kobold ing mripat – utawa Frantiska bisa njupuk karo dheweke gandhewo.”

Frantiska/Yamtwit
As the others dismount under the cover of the trees, Yamtwit motions towards the eye. “Elf-girlie, the barbarian says you should shoot the kobold in the brain-case in the brain-case, then we should circle around the back and see if there is another entrance. Maybe not in that order.”

Frantiska tried to ignore the goblin’s lack of manners. She knocks an arrow and begins siting it in for a long shot at a small enemy under cover. “If, as I suspect, this was at one point a living dragon, I have very little desire to go in through the ‘back door’…” She takes a breath to steady herself and lets fly at the kobold.

Yamtwit turns to Hrud, “Cahaya panggung nyonyah ngandika dheweke ora pengin ngetik lumantar naga kang bokong.” He draws a club and gets ready to rush the mouth.

GM
The arrow strikes home, taking the kobold crouched in the dragon’s eye in its own eye. Two more kobold heads suddenly pop-up, looking alarmed, then duck back down.

Hrud
“Yen kita njaluk kepunjulen, mundur menyang desa.” Hrud says, as he snatches his shortbow from where it hangs by his saddle. Nocking an arrow, he rushes toward the dragon, mentally urging the kobolds to stick their heads out again.

Donovan
Fearing that the kobolds may raise an alarm, Donovan raises a hand, flinging a handful of rose petals towards the dead dragon, and speaks a quick word of power.

GM
The kobolds look out the eye-hole, panicked by the sudden dispatch of their friend, then, just as suddenly, yawn widely and slump to the ground, as does the fourth who was inside preparing to blow his gemshorn. You all hold your breath for a long minute, but no warning or ruckus seems to be forthcoming…

Hrud
Seeing the kobolds slump down, Hrud shoulders his bow and starts to climb up to the eye socket where they were positioned.

Winona/Ryesha/Donovan
Winona and Ryesha jog in step behind Hrud, giant flail and knives out respectively, scanning the area around the dragon’s maw for signs of other kobolds before heading in. Donovan follows reluctantly behind, a loaded crossbow at the ready (and two more strapped to his pack)…

GM
Hrud easily climbs up to the open eye-socket, an oblong hole almost three feet in diameter and slithers into the dragon’s braincase. Four kobolds lay on the floor (the creature’s hard palate), one with an arrow through its eye, the others sleeping, next to a large gemshorn and a pile of ammunition for the shortbows which rest, untouched against the side of the braincase. The spinal column appears to have been hollowed out, making a long corridor running the length of the petrified corpse. The passage is only a couple of feet high, such that any of your party, except perhaps Ryesha, would have to belly crawl through it.

Winona leads the way into the mouth, which stands open tall enough for her to easily stand up. Most of the teeth have been removed, making the thing look very sad on close inspection, like the mouth of an old man barely able to chew. The throat opens up to a similarly long corridor, this one easily large enough to walk through. A glaringly obvious pit has been carved out where the back of the thing’s jaw meets the ground, punching a hole through the neck and down into the rocky hill on which it rests. The pit runs the width of the throat and looks to be about twenty feet deep, but has a two foot wide ledge on either side to allow passage. The passage is warm and dark, and has a strong acrid smell.

There are signs of a large number of kobolds having tramped all around the area, but the clearing made by the draconic corpse is bathed in bright sunlight this late in the morning, and there are no signs of any of the light-averse creatures out and about.

Yamtwit/Frantiska
Yamtwit and Rast hurry up to the others. He calls out to Hrud in a hoarse pesudo-whisper, “Punapa punika ing sirah?” The goblin hops off the wolf and looks at the pit, “Rast is going to have some trouble with the ledge…” he mutters. “Rastli sotekaou panseoufè?” The wolf walks up to the edge of the pit and stares down into it for a while.

Frantiska heads for the mouth a moment after the goblin, motioning for Lyra and Teldicia to follow.

GM
The pit (and ledges) are twenty feet in length. The neck alone is more than a hundred feet long and follows the curve of the hill on which the head rests, causing it to arc upward slightly after the pit, then, judging by the outside, probably descend sharply towards the main body.

Hrud
Hrud uses his sword to slit the sleeping kobold’s throats. After checking over their belongings, he tosses their bodies out the eye-socket window. The shortbows and bundles of arrows soon follow.

After scouring the nest for anything of note, Hurd lowers the horn out the opening, then follows after to rejoin the others at the mouth. As they stand around discussing the situation, the barbarian unstrings the kobold shortbows. He then takes the horn over to where his pony stands waiting behind some tall brush, ties it to his saddle, before returning.

“Aku ora duwe tali.” he grunts quietly, before starting to make his way down the spiral ledge.

Yamtwit
“Ana tindakan liya ing tengkorak?” Yamtwit asks. “Punapa punika nganggo tali keur?”

Hrud
“Cukup sungu.” Hrud whispers in reply.

“A tali bakal wis luwih gampang kanggo njaluk lan metu … Mungkin.”

Lyra
Lyra finishes stripping leaves off of a pair of long sticks. “Whoever is in front will want one of these to test for … unpleasant surprises. And based on the acrid smell, we might be in for another unpleasant surprise when we make it to the lower esophagus and gizzard. But surely the elemental energy would dissipate after death? We may want to find and remove the fundamentum and heart to be certain. Mother would be quite interested in them for research purposes.”

Hrud
Hrud watches the young woman strip the leaves. Unimpressed, he walks back to his pony, grabs the spear strapped to its side and returns. “Iki kelet wis titik luwih apik ing iku.”

Then, feeling that they are loosing daylight, he begins to descend into the maw of the dragon-cave.

Yamtwit/Frantiska
“Hrud says his stick is better than yours…” Yamtwit shrugs and turns back to the cave. He presses his back against the left-hand wall of the throat and begins inching over the ledge across the pit, trying not to look down even though it is actually quite wide relative to his size. Rast trots confidently along behind the goblin.

Frantiska looks into the pitchblack throat-tunnel and runs over the ledge opposite Yamtwit to catch up with the Barbarian. “Hrud, dapat Anda lihat dalam gelap?”

Yamtwit, hearing Frantiska’s comment scurries up and waves a hand in front of the human’s face, “Dheweke takon yen sampeyan bisa ndeleng ing peteng.” Hrud notices that the eyes of the elves, goblin, halfling, and the two half-breeds all glow slightly red in the pitch-blackness of the tunnel. “Kowe kudu lampu?”

Hrud
“Ya?” Hrud replies. Hrud shakes his head, “Ora ana lampu. Ora bisa ndeleng ing peteng.” He pauses, looking down into the pit. “Bisa padha?”

Donovan/Winona
Donovan sucks in his gut and scurried past the pit. “Come on then, let’s get this over with…” He allows his eyes to shift into the infrared spectrum, noting the heat signatures of his friends and left by passing kobolds, then takes a small pebble and tosses it as far as he can down the throat, allowing his eyes to adjust further, mapping the tunnel by the small reverberations of sound from the pebble.

Winona notices her companion’s eyes begin to emit the tell-tale red glow of infravision and sighs. “I guess I’ll stand watch out here, no sense announcing our presence…” She groans suddenly, and clutches her head as the now familiar headache returns briefly, then looks around astonished to find that she can see fine… “On second thought…” It takes her a few moments to overcome the confusion of having sensory information coming from the wrong source, but her conversations with Donovan help a bit.

GM
With your heightened, and unusual senses, you are able to make out much of the tunnel. First, from the faint reverberations, you are able to tell that the esophagus which makes up the tunnel is slightly longer than the exterior neck, opening into the dragon’s stomach/gizzard which seems to have many exits from it. Between your current position and the stomach, you can make out three more open pits, just as deep vertically, but about half the length of the one you just passed. You detect faint light filtering in from above the pits, presumably from holes into the spinal column above, and to there from the eyes and brain-case. This aural mapping is made easier by the faint sounds of high-pitched voices echoing through the corridor, from where you cannot tell.

Yamtwit
Yamtwit nods gravely, “Luwih apik ing peteng, tinimbang urip ana ing cahya, ing kasunyatan.”

Donovan
“Aren’t kobold traps supposed to be hard to find?” Donovan muses. He takes a deep breath and steps out in front of Hrud, crossbow at the ready.

Hrud
Hrud frets for a moment, trying to figure what to do about the darkness. Apparently, everyone else has some kind of magical sense that … wait a second. Hrud pauses, remembering. He then reaches down and pulls the hammer out of his belt. A blue light begins to glow. The barbarian grins at no one in particular.

GM
As the hammer comes out you hear a sudden shriek from the passage below and the sound of tiny feet scurrying up the spinal corridor above you.

Hrud
“Terus iki.” Hrud says, shoving the hammer into Yamtwit’s hands, “Tetep cedhak.” Grabbing the spear with both hands, he thrusts at the first sign of movement above them.

Donovan/Ryesha/Winona
As the lights come on, Donovan points to the three-foot deep, foot-wide shafts in the ceiling over each of the pits, making a point of staying well back from the rather obstructed line of fire they would provide. “It sounds like there are at least six kobolds up in the spine.” He thinks for a moment then adds, “It also looks like they’ve invested quite a bit of infrastructure into defending rather obvious looking pit-traps. Either these kobolds are morons, making pits that no one will stumble into and putting murder holes that can only attack the pits…or else the pits are not traps at all. Maybe the pits are actually passages to some lower caverns…”

Ryesha looks where Donovan is pointing. Her lips move for a moment, as if she is carrying out some silent conversation, then nods emphatically. “Lyra, can you make a door so that Yamtwit and I can get up there? We should fit okay, and can probably deal with a handful of kobos…” Her lips keep moving but make no sound for a bit, then. “We’re pretty sure we can take them actually…”

Winona smiles broadly at the sudden sign of bravery and initiative from her protégé. She swings the big flail off her back. “Little ones up and the rest of us down then?”

Lyra
Lyra’s head is cocked, listening at the faint sounds above. “I think I can do a bit better than that. Open the door into the spinal passage, open fire with bows, and then send in Sister Ryesha and Mr. Yamtwit?”

Yamtwit/Frantiska
Yamtwit takes the hammer from Hrud, looking quite out of place holding the huge thing. “Iku amba amba…” When Rye starts suggesting that just the two of them go up into a tight corridor to battle a large pack of kobolds, his eyes get very wide. “Ummm…”

“Don’t worry,” Frantiska says, hearing Lyra’s suggestion and putting arrow to string, “there should not be that many left…”

Lyra
Even with the time it takes Lyra to establish the doorway, you still look through it to find six kobolds, each holding a burlap sack that squirms in a very disconcerting way, crowded around the shaft of the murder-hole above the pit, looking down expectantly. The blue light from the hammer filters up through the hole quite brightly, illuminating their dog-like faces. When that same light suddenly shines even more brightly on them through the dimensional doorway bisecting the passage, they look up in slack-jawed amazement.

Donovan/Ryesha/Winona
Donovan aims a light crossbow over Hrud’s shoulder and fires through the dimension-door at one of the confused kobolds. After firing, he drops the crossbow by his feat and grabs a second loaded crossbow from his pack to be ready to fire again.

Ryesha draws her long-bladed skinning knife and charges through the psionic doorway, springing at the back of one of the unsuspecting kobolds.

Winona, unable to fit into the narrow spinal-corridor above, takes a few steps down the throat passage and watches, flail at the ready in case any additional enemies should come from that direction.

Frantiska/Yamtwit
Frantiska lets fly a stream of arrows through the portal ahead of her two small companions.

Yamtwit stands by the opening to the dimension door, club in hand, waiting to see how his companions’ onslaught goes before committing himself to melee.

GM
The kobolds’ look up in stunned silence as a hail of arrows come pouring through the opening, followed by a thrusting spear, and a gleeful halfling. The first three are taken down quickly by a crossbow bolt, a spear, and a knife in the back, respectively. The others, waiting on the opposite side of the murder-hole, are silenced by arrows protruding from their throats. In the passage below, you see a pair of bags fall from loose hands, down the hole and past you into the twenty-foot deep pit, spilling out a handful of large and agitated centipedes at the bottom. The other four bags, up in the spinal column with Ryesha, remain cinched thankfully closed by their former bearers.

Ryesha
Ryesha carefully shoves the other four bags of creepy-crawlies over the lip of the murder-hole and down into the pit, then steps back through the portal to rejoin her friends. “That was easy, where to now?”

Hrud
Hrud reclaims his hammer from Yamtwit and reaches into the opening to drag out the kobold corpses. The ones further back he hooks and drags with the hammer.

Yamtwit
Yamtwit watches in confusion as Hrud pulls the kobold corpses out through the portal. “Terbaik apa yang anda akan lakukan dengan badan? Mengapa tidak hungkul ninggalake wong?”

Hrud
Hrud shrugs as he loots the bodies, “Mbok padha duwe apik item. Ana titik ing ngeculke iku pindhah menyang sampah.” Once he’s done (and anything of value taken), the barbarian tips the corpses into the pit.

GM
Hrud rifles through the kobold’s remains, coming up with a couple pieces of crude jewelry (bone spurs shoved through the skin as piercings, cut and hollowed sections of bone as rings, and necklaces made of uncured leather thongs with a variety of random pieces of organic and inorganic detritus strung on them), a handful of dull grey mushrooms of questionable edibility, one pitted iron dagger, a set of knuckle bones with some markings carved into each side, and the tattered scraps of cloth and leather which barely served to hide the kobolds’ modesty.

Hrud
Slightly disappointed, Hrud pockets the knuckle bones and kicks the rest into the pit with their former owners. Taking up his spear and navigating by the light of his hammer, he begins to make his way around the edge of the pit.

Yamtwit
Yamtwit stares at the trash Hrud is taking off the kobolds with obvious derision, “Apa sira nyana, Hruď? Kobolds adalah hama. Mereka tidak bisa komo mengais bener.”

GM
As the third kobold hits the bottom of the pit, the floor of the pit collapses, falling away in four sections and depositing the kobolds, the bags of centipedes, and an assortment of other trash another 20 feet deeper. By the light of the hammer you can see a pair of still-quite-fresh lizardman corpses lying at the bottom of the now fourty-foot deep pit. From the echo of the wet splattering sound of the falling corpses, Winona and Donovan inform the rest of you that it sounds/feels/looks like there is a side passage exiting from the bottom of the pit.

Frantiska/Yamtwit
Frantiska looks into the pit, then back down the throat. “So we have a few options: Down there…” she points into the pit, “three more pits with similar exits down this passage,” she points deeper into the dragon, “or on up the throat and into the gizzard and stomach…”

Yamtwit quickly translates for Hrud then pipes up, “I don’t really feel like climbing down there with the pile of corpses.”

Donovan/Winona
Donovan picks up the crossbow, reloads it, and stows it on his pack next to the others. I must get Frantiska to teach me to shoot a bow some day, he thinks, the ability to fire so many shots so fast is remarkable. He tosses bits of kobold trash down the pit and down the throat, to get a better “look” at the layout, then points to the passage. “I concur with Master Yamtwit. Climbing down there with riled centipedes and rotting lizards does not seem particularly pleasant. Likewise, Lyra’s suggestion that the acid glands in the fundamentum might still be functional makes exploring the rest of the beast’s digestive track less than appealing. Judging from the sounds, it seems like each of the four pits has a lower exit…perhaps they had to tunnel into the hill to expand the available living space. I say we find the easiest to traverse pit and start poking around the lower tunnels…and hope that those pits do not have similar surprises to this one.”

Winona nods along with Donovan’s suggestions then clanks up the passage. “If the barbarian is going to walk about with the light out, at least have him come up front with me so we can see them coming better…”

GM
The throat passage slopes slightly upward for a couple yards, then drops rather precipitously, descending at a steep angle. After sixty feet, you come to the next pit. This one is open, twenty-five feet deep, and only six feet long, though the sharp downward slope of the passage would make it quite difficult to avoid if you were not forewarned by Winona and Donovan’s enhanced senses. A quick inspection of the pit reveals small handholds running down both the near and far sides, stopping about 8 feet from the bottom where a passage leading out of the left side. The bottom of the pit is littered with splintered wooden planks. Like the last pit, a one-foot diameter murder-hole opens into the spine above, though there are no signs of kobolds lurking above.

Donovan/Winona
Winona looks down into the pit. “No rotting corpses, easy handholds, exit at the bottom. Looks like everything we asked for. All in favor of trying this one?”

Donovan furrows his brow, “Given what little we know about kobolds, and the false bottom on that last pit, I am suddenly rethinking my criteria for what constitutes a safe pit. It looks too easy, which means its probably a cunning death trap of some kind…”

Hrud
Hrud spends several minutes in contemplation. Finally, deciding that the kobolds probably cannot jump across the pit, decides to use the handholds and climb down into it. The barbarian leaves the spear behind, easing down into the pit. Upon reaching the last handhold, remembering how the floor of the previous pit fell away, Hrud keeps his hands firmly in the handhold and reaches down with his foot to poke at the floor.

Hanging from the last rung by his fingertips, Hrud tests the floor of the pit, first with one foot, then both. It seems sturdy enough. Guided by the light of his hammer, and keeping to the edge of the pit, Hrud cautiously makes his way around to the opening in the wall.

Donovan/Winona/Ryesha
Donovan stands at the edge of the pit for a minute, watching Hrud for test the floor, before making up his mind to follow. As Hrud nears the exit, he takes Hrud’s spear, whistles to get Hrud’s attention, and, carefully as he can, drops it down for the barbarian. He then stows the crossbow he is carrying on his pack, unwilling to part with the extra weapon, and climbs down quickly—dropping the last 8 feet, as he lacks the barbarian’s height.

Ryesha hesitates, mumbling under her breath and staying as far from the ledge of the pit as the sloped tunnel floor will allow, her demeanor very much like a frightened rabbit.

Winona, not relishing the thought of trying to climb down the wall in her heavy armor, picks up her apprentice, whispers a prayer to Tyr, and steps out into the open air. “Anyone else need a ride down?” she says, falling slightly, then slowing considerably as a sudden updraft catches her robes—lowering her to the floor not exactly gently, but better than if she had jumped the twenty-five feet unassisted.

GM
Winona, despite being buoyed up by the winds, lands with a not insignificant amount of crashing, clanging, and jangling from her armor.

Yamtwit/Frantiska
Frantiska and Yamtwit both climb down after the others. “We’ve given them plenty of notice that we’re here,” Frantiska says, eyeing Hrud and Winona with a hint of annoyance, “We should practice extra caution..”

Lyra
Lyra carefully climbs down, trying to listen for sounds above that might indicate that thrown and/or falling objects from the murderholes above may need to be … displaced slightly.

GM
As Lyra reaches the bottom and turns around, she sees a flash of fur and teeth, as something long and sleek darts its head out of the side passage. The thing moves almost faster than you can see as its sharp-teeth latch onto the back of Hrud’s thigh, sinking in deep and refusing to let go. Once locked on and mostly still, you can see that it is a weasel or similar mustelid, with sleek, dark fur, save that it is nearly seven feet in length!

HrudHrud very nearly roars out in pain and anger, but manages to stifle his reaction at being chomped on to a loud hiss through tightly gritted teeth. Whipping out his sword, Hrud attempts to teach the creature a lesson.

Yamtwit/Frantiska
Seeing the blur of beautiful fur, Frantiska utters a quiet curse under her breath.

Yamtwit blurts out, “Try not to bloody it up too much! The hides on those things are worth thousands!”

Frantiska drops her bow and pulls out her shield and Sir Guy’s Spoon. “Alright then…the bow is no good this tight of a space anyways…”

Yamtwit watches the fighters go at it, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of skinning the marvelous creature.

Donovan/Winona/Ryesha
Donovan, huffing and puffing after the climb down, looks suspiciously into the passage. “Too sneaky…” he says quietly. Then louder, “Don’t weasels hunt in packs?” He pulls out his largest crossbow and trains it on the opening, ready for any more that might show up.

Winona whips the flind-bar off her belt and sets it whirling, taking two rapid strikes at the thing, trying to dislodge its jaws from Hrud’s leg.

Ryesha’s eyes go as wide as saucers. Her nose twitches rapidly. She begins whimpering and jumping for the rungs on the wall, trying to get out. No amount of coaxing from her combat-loving, sentient cloak can convince her to go an inch nearer to the giant rabbit-snatcher…

GM
Hrud’s sword stabs deep into the giant weasel’s mid-section. Judging by the amount of blood and the pained cries from the creature, several vital organs were likely involved. As its jaws open in pain, Frantiska’s thrust of her blunted blade catches it just below the eye, snapping its head back directly into line for Hrud’s hammer to finish it off, caving in the weasel’s skull. Winona’s somewhat slow follow-up with her flail is a light pat by comparison.

With many an angry hiss, three more of the things coming darting out of the side passage.

Hrud
Hrud uses his momentum to plow into the nearest foe. Momentarily distracted by thoughts of what weasel meat tastes like, a poor first strike brings his mind back to the matter at hand.

Yamtwit/Frantiska
Yamtwit cries out in despair as Hrud commences stabbing, then realizes that he forgot to tell Hrud. “Hruď! Palu ora pedang! Kita bisa ngedol bulu!”

He then realizes that he prepared for such eventualities. “Tunggu! Aku duwe keajaiban kanggo mungkasi serangan mereka!” He says a quick prayer to Chauntea in his native tongue, “Lajan pouyopotaka noukese konsa, kalme kòlèyo epiyo plen gen anba vant kiteyo. Nou manjeap sispann belèt fache kitesayo. Manman Benediksyon,” and casts calm animals. He them remembers that the others don’t speak Hrud’s langauge and yells, “Don’t hit them, I got this!”

Frantiska turns to strike at the next weasel coming through, then, hearing Yamtwit’s cry, pulls her swing up short and instead brings her shield to bear and steps forward into the breach, hoping to draw the next attack.

Donovan/Winona
Donovan pulls the trigger more out of shock than strategy as the other weasels come barreling in. The shot goes wide, naturally, clattering against the wall. Seeing so many of the things, he drops the crossbow and fumbles in his belt pouches for the sand to cast a sleep spell if Yamtwit’s play should fail.

Winona, hearing Yamtwit’s yell, steps back to place herself in front of the still-panicking Rye, keeping her weapon spinning in case the weasels advance more.

Lyra
Lyra draws her green-bladed broadsword and tries to keep between the panicking priestess and adorable giant fuzzy things.

GM
Teldicia leaps down into the pit, kicking out with her feet and literally bouncing off the walls to slow her decent. As she lands, she casts a sharp look at the nearest weasel, blood seeping from her eyes. The weasel which is the target of her glare is hurled bodily backwards, careening off the walls of the side passage, accompanied by many sickening thuds and the sound of crunching bone.

The next weasel lunges at Hrud, only to get jagged slashed across its nose. Then…they just…stop. The two weasels, one injured, just sit down on their haunches by the opening to the passage and stare at Yamtwit expectantly.

Lyra
Lyra sheathes her sword and also looks expectantly at Yamtwit. “Can … can I pet it?”

Yamtwit
The goblin shrugs, “They should remain calm as long as we don’t threaten them further…presumably the kobolds had them at least somewhat domesticated, so they probably won’t take a touch as being hostile…” He looks at the two battered ones and does a little happy dance.

Hrud
Hrud sheathes his sword, gripping his hammer with both hands. “Bisa aku kenek iku?”

Yamtwit
Yamtwit shrugs again, “Yen sampeyan mencet mau, priksa manawa sampeyan matèni wong cepet lan resik. Digunakake bakal cokotan maneh.”

Yamtwit grins broadly, “Hey Bunny-girl, can I borrow your skinning knife?”

Hrud
Hrud stands there, planning to raise his hammer and deliver (what he hopes is) a killing blow, but is himself struck by a thought. “Apa yen kita dilatih loro mau kanggo tindakake kita?”

Yamtwit
“Lagi mbokmenawa terpatri ing anjing-rupa. Mungkin yen kita temokake enom cerpelai kita bisa melatih mau. Aku duwe kaelokan sing bisa bantuan, yen kita bisa ngenteni nganti sesuk kanggo nyoba ajar.”

Hrud
Hrud’s brow furrows, “Supaya … mateni utawa ora matèni?”

As the group stands around contemplating what to do with/about the giant weasels, Hrud realizes his leg is burning uncomfortably. Looking down at the puncture wounds and the blood streaking his leg, he asks, “Bisa njaluk sandi wentis waras?”

Yamtwit
“O taek! Ya, kene …” Yamtwit blurts out. He hurries over and lays a hand on Hrud’s thigh. “Leti manje apre pou tout tanlite kapab. Manjeap resevwa nan sòtl’l’ padonnen, epiap koule tankou dlo san arè kitea. Fwin yonpa Mòdeteki moun sòt janm nansaa geri tanpri. Manman Benediksyon.” he prays. The wound closes completely.

Lyra
Lyra walks gently over to one of the weasels, tossing it a bit of jerky from her trail rations.

GM
The weasel shows almost no reaction to either Lyra’s proffered food, nor the girl’s attempts to pet it, save for a slight twitch of its nose and following with its eyes.

Teldecia, leaning against the wall and looking either very upset or very sick, makes her way past the weasels and into the passage. “Yamtwit. Will your spell last long enough that we can leave them here to deal with later?”

Hrud
Hrud spends a moment glancing about the remains of the bridge that fell into the pit, trying to figure out why it might have fallen. Then, seeing Teldicia wander off, follows her into the passage.