The Krosven Steppe

Session Two: The Man in Black (and Red) (Robes)

in which Our Heroes narrowly escape Death by Skeleton

As Our Heroes and the soldiers begin to close in on the ruins, the sounds of kobolds in the distance causes the Peacekeeper Mykom to rally the troops. He gives Vall six weak healing potions and requests that they descend into the ruins while the other remain on the surface to kill the remaining kobold horde.

Our Heroes descend a low, narrow tunnel dug out of the stone debris that once was this chapel or temple or whatever it was. The tunnel opens up into a fragment of the basement. Two kobolds, dead on the floor, swarms of rats nibbling on their corpses, and beyond, a passageway leading down and a door leading to the right. Many of the skitter away upon seeing the party, but some are just too hungry to leave.

Vall leans over to investigate the kobold bodies when the rats attack! Two large swarms surround him and Valcoria, and three very large rats (one might say giant, in fact) attempt to bite at Vall. The party manages to make short work of them, and Valcoria discovers a new talent: as he shoot an arrow at one of the swarms, a hail of thorns erupts, pinning many of the rats to the ground. Guidance attempts to whip a rat out of the swarm so he can capture it, but it falls behind him and skitters off. In the end though, the party makes short work of the rats fairly quickly.

Guidance gets to work collecting specimens while Vall investigates the kobolds and Cori goes to the entrance of the stairway to scout. She hears kobolds below, splashing in water. Vall notices that the kobolds’ feet are bloody and that they are wearing cheap amulets that seem to have something embedded in them that exploded. Didn’t seem to kill them though. He also notices bits of a magenta colored gem that he collects.

Vall bashes open the wooden door with his shield and is greeted by a stench that nearly makes him vomit. Inside the room is a couple of barrels, some sacks, a table, and a small moldy chest. One of the barrels is filled with dead rats who fell in rainwater and couldn’t escape. Guidance plunges his hand in there investigate and takes some of the disgusting rat water with a lambskin, then takes his rats and water off to the carriage.

[It should be noted, too, that since Jayc didn’t ask what was going on on the surface when he got up there, that Guidance doesn’t know—he was so invested in his rats that he basically didn’t notice anything else.]

The box contains silver coins—some cheaply stamped with a hammer and other more professionally minted—a worn dagger, and two copper rings. Guidance uses Identify on the dagger (not magic) and one of the rings (fire resistance + firebolt 3/day). He keeps that ring and Vall takes the other, which remains unidentified.

Cori stealthily tries to descend the staircase, but slips on one of the steps and clatters down, managing to stop herself from being revealed entirely. Vall and Cori peek their heads into the entryway, revealing catacombs lit by magical light. The walls of the catacombs are just dug earth, with long, deep nooks dug out for bodies to be interred. Vall and Cori also notice that there are eight kobolds who are all looking directly at them, weapons drawn. A short skirmish ensues: the kobolds are easily bested by the party and each one that dies is subsequently ripped to pieces by small black fish inhabiting the six inches of standing water (definitely water—Guidance checks) in the catacombs. Fortunately the fish don’t seem to care about living tissue—or they are hindered by boots. Guidance also manages to capture a nearly dead kobold, as well as a fish.

At the end of the catacombs is a short hallway and a door. The door had a eyehole slit which is slightly open. Vall looks through the slit and sees a small mausoleum. Nearest the door is the back of a person in black and red robes, standing in front of a sarcophagus. On the sarcophagus is a bowl, which is being filled with the blood of a dead baby, hanging upside down with rope. Behind the sarcophagus is a hobgoblin captain, his guard, and a wolf, chained up to the wall.

The man in the robes is berating the hobgoblins, and Vall recognizes the speech as a sort of vulgar Old Elven (also known as Pyrnx). Vall gestures for Cori to shoot through the slit. Cori readies her bow and shoots an arrow at the bowl; the bowl flies up and spills blood all over the hobgoblin captain.

Then, very quickly, the robed man grabs the bowl (or the bowl comes to him), touches the baby corpse, and disappears. The hobgoblin captain comes storming for the door. His guard starts unchaining the wolf. And, perhaps worst of all—the skeletons in the catacombs come to life.

A grueling battle begins: Vall holds ground against the hob captain; Cori manages to take out the hob guard so that the wolf remains chained; and Guidance, stuck between a rock and a hard place, grabs his dick and shouts “GET OUTTA HERE” which makes one skeleton straight up die, and another one run off, never to be seen again. Still, the skeletons swarm him and Cori and Cori ends up getting slashed nearly to death. While fighting for her life, Guidance has little choice but to run to aid Vall, attempting to slide underneath the hob cap’n’s legs so that he can get to the wolf. He fails and then tries to stab the captain in the balls, but also fails that too. However, Vall manages to kill the captain, who falls back into the mausoleum.

Now Vall is fighting off skeletons and Cori manages to stabilize herself (barely!). Guidance attempts to calm the wolf down and notices the dead hob guard had treats, in the form of dried humanoid ears. He feeds one to the wolf and it is calmed, and he uses the wolf to fight the skeletons. Now the skeletons are bottlenecked and Vall, Guidance, and the wolf make short work of them.

After the battle is over Cori is healed and the party investigates the mausoleum. Vall attempts to figure out if he can tell where the robed man went, with no success. Guidance starts gathering the leaves and herbs in the room. Cori checks the sarcophagus, finding inside a skeleton that wasn’t raised, a nice (and likely magical) greatsword, a ceremonial shield, an amulet (which Vall takes), and 300 gold pieces.

Upon returning to the surface, Cori finds herself surrounded by spear points. A group of elves in furs and tattered fabric are above them, their ears abnormally long. The leader of the elves, Vahk, beckons them out of the tunnel. The elves are leery about Cori, surprised about Vall (and his short ears), and VERY leery about Guidance.

Vahk is curious as to who they are and why they are fraternizing with a dragonborn. Vall explains who they are and where they come from, and Vahk thanks them for taking care of the kobold problem. When Vall explains that there was a man in robes in the mausoleum, the elves all perk up and Vahk says, “Come, we must talk.”

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