With those disgusting brain-beasts destroyed, the stalwart band of delvers turned their attentions back to the huge doors. Yona went first, opening the massive portal just enough to squeeze through, but Thorzin pushed it the rest of the way open and marched right in.
They could see a huge hall at least 30 feet wide leading off into the darkness, though there was light coming from around a corner ahead. Yona and Thorzin moved on in to the corner, and the heavily-armored dwarf wasn’t exactly sneaky. They spotted (and were themselves spotted) by a pair of goblins, far across the huge room labeled as Marble Hall on their map.
The goblins stared for a shocked moment, then split. Both were ridiculously – even comically – overloaded with weapons. One disappeared through a nearby door, while the other took off west into Marble Hall, screaming “CHOGCHOGCHOGCHOGchogchogchogchogchog…” as it ran.
Yona took off to attack the retreating goblins, while Thorzin spun around confusedly for a moment. She ran out into Marble Hall and spotted the western goblin… and the humongous pile of furs, clothing and blankets that had begun to shift as its occupant stirred.
Yona watched in awe as an enormous, deformed giant rose from the pile of bedding. The thing had a hideous, lopsided face with a grotesquely bulging eye, and it stood at least fifteen feet tall!
“Umm, guys? There’s something big here!” she called back to her companions. The rest of the delvers began to hurry forward. Unfortunately, her shout also drew the attention of the giant. It picked up a boulder and chucked a four-foot rock at the rogue! Yona tried vainly to dodge, but the boulder struck her with deadly accuracy. Her companions watched in horror as she crumpled in an unconscious heap.
Aendir was the first to reach her, and quickly pulled her out of the hall and out of the giant’s line of sight. Mos peeked around the corner and saw that the giant was about 200 feet away, with only one remaining boulder. The crafty little warlock cast a mirror image and stood just close enough to the corner that one of his illusionary images stood in the giant’s view, and proceeded to gesture and taunt the giant as only Mos could.
It worked, too. The giant threw a frighteningly accurate boulder at him, obliterating the illusionary halfling and throwing away his only remaining missile weapon.
Everyone could hear – and feel – the giant’s footsteps as it began lumbering toward them. Aendir used a healing potion to get Yona back on her feet, and then all of the companions took turns leaning out around the corner and taking shots at the giant as it charged forward. Mos zapped the giant with a ray of enfeeblement, and Chesh cast a protection from evil spell on Thorzin, just before the impatient dwarf charged out to meet a foe almost four times his height!
The huge, malformed creature bellowed, “CHOG SMASH!” as it swung its gargantuan club. Thankfully, the fleet-footed dwarf was a bit too nimble for the weakened giant. Thorzin took one weak initial hit from a club the size of a tree, and proceeded to give a LOT more than he got. Aendir joined in the melee as well, while everyone else fired their ranged weapons from beyond the giant’s reach.
Nethwen realized that the goblin was still standing at the far end of the huge hall, cheering for his big ally, and sent Kemnebi to go dispatch the cackling little pest. The look of terror on the goblin’s face was most satisfying as it saw the panther streaking toward it…
Thanks to good tactics and good fortune (and bad attack rolls from the GM), the doughty adventurers were faring well against the giant. Until finally, the dwarf’s luck very nearly ran out. Had Thorzin not already been the recipient of a bolstering aid spell from Chesh, the sweeping blow from the giant’s club would have surely killed him on the spot!
But Chog could not withstand the full fury of the delvers, and the final blow came when Yona buried an arrow in that bulging eye and brought the giant crashing down dead!
After administering healing to the dwarf, the Looting began. In a sack tied to his belt, Chog had a 25-pound chunk of blue quartz worth 200 gp. After digging through the giant’s bed pile, they came up with a set of Lothianite ceremonial robes worth another 150 gp, three dire wolf pelts worth 75 gp apiece, and two magical cloaks: a bright red cloak of protection, and a gray-green cloak of elvenkind.
Meanwhile, Chesh went to check out the door that the other goblin had run through. According to the maps it was a dead-end set of rooms, and after listening carefully she heard the sound of movement within. But she also heard a goblin voice coming from the door opposite that one – which just happened to have a 4-foot boulder leaning against it – saying “Can you guys let me out now?” A conversation with that unknown goblin ensued, with the apparent prisoner promising lots of treasures if they’d let him out. They didn’t. They left him in there.
The other door led to a room filled with the loot taken from the giant’s victims. A side room was obviously the goblins’ latrine, but the next room held the missing goblin and two of his looting buddies. The three of them were so loaded down with weapons that they could barely fight, but one tried (unsuccessfully) to shoot Thorzin point-blank with a MASSIVE pistol. The hand cannon went flying off behind the goblin when he fired it, not that it mattered, All three died quickly.
This was obviously where the goblins lived, as they had a bonfire going, and they also had all of the choicest loot in here with them. A literal mountain of weapons was in here, along with a surprising amount of coinage. They also unknowingly had a magical dagger (later identified as Dashin Vaine, an Efficient Quiver, a Periapt of Proof against Poison, and a +1 Shield.
Mos was very unhappy to discover that the goblins had been using the pages of a spellbook as kindling for their fire. The open and nearly-completely destroyed book lay next to the fire, with only three pages left. The remaining pages are blight, hold monster, and scrying.
With all this phat loot, they decided it was time to get to the waystation for some rest. They checked out a couple of rooms between here and there, and found a magically clean room that we (unfortunately) figured out was being used as a latrine by the giant.
They then entered to the waystation, where they put almost all of the weapons, armor, and other loot they’d found with the goblins, and settled in for a nice, long rest.
Yona volunteered for guard duty, and several hours into her shift she was surprised to hear the waystation’s secret door open and voices as someone else entered the hidden safe house. She woke the others, and they had a tense but brief conversation with the unseen newcomers as everyone prepared for a possible fight.
With the white flag of truce agreed upon by all parties, the other delvers entered the room. Nethwen was shocked to realize she recognized the leader of the newcomers as Anton Khatru, son of Dorant Khatru and heir apparent of House Khatru. He and four others – all rather disheveled themselves – had come seeking shelter here.
Anton also recognized Nethwen, and immediately dropped a scathingly horrible remark about her grandfather being in the Prison. Thankfully he did retract that pretty quickly (in his condescending way), but then there was some confusion about how everyone had made their way to this waystation.
Anton and the Company of the Iron Fist said they had come here from the Giant’s Citadel Waystation, which is a long way from here and two levels deeper within the Lost Mines. They were shocked to hear that there was a connection to the Lost River Caves nearby, and displayed a bit more (begrudging) respect for Nethwen and company.
Everyone agreed to share the waystation, and proceeded to go back to sleep (with guards posted, of course). We high-tailed it out of there before the other delvers were awake, and headed back toward the surface with our hard-won loot.
It was easy, right up until they got to that secret door on the Ogre Stairs. They knew where this door was, but had no clue how to open it from this side! Yona began frantically searching for the door’s opening mechanism while everyone else tried to be quiet. Of course, they failed miserably, and they heard one of the ogres up the stairs call out. Mos was again able to use auditory illusions to fake the voice of an ogre, but they could hear one of them tromping closer as he called out inquiringly, “Bubba?”
Yona found the switch in the nick of time, and everyone piled through and shut the secret door just before the ogre arrived. They listened with trepidation as the ogre stomped down the stairs past them and yelled again for Bubba (??), then returned back up while muttering, “Bubba’s an asshole.”
They then easily made their way back to the Hall of Bones in the Rat Folk warrens, where they waited (with a big bag of gold) to be noticed. It didn’t take long.
A pair of the larger Ratmen negotiated with Chesh, and grudgingly agreed to let them pass back through for the meager price of 300 gp (though they’d originally wanted 1000 gp and Kemnebi dead!). They also made it clear that these interlopers would NOT be welcomed the next time they showed up. It may be time to start a-hunting rats.
End of Session.
GM’s Note: Once again, that was FUN. It was muchly needed after a really crappy work week! It was great to finally get back to the action, and I can’t wait to see what happens in two weeks!