Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Crumbling walls and arguing ogres


'Six down and ninety-four to go.' - Milgos keeps tally of the deceased hobgoblins.

Dawn arrived and Ugh’s watch was done. He shook the Halfling priestess Jana awake. Fang was already up and busy scratching himself in the corner. Camping so close to the ruins made the half orc nervous. He would have preferred to rest back at the city but the forest was huge and finding this place had taken so long that he took a chance and camped on the ruined temples doorstep. His gamble had paid off as while there had been plenty of noise and activity about the ruin; no creatures had taken a direct interest in them over night. Breakfast was a simple affair of dried jerky and nuts, the typical ‘iron ration’. They ate in silence, Jana wasn’t one for conversation and even though Ugh could understand Fangs growls he found the hyena a poor conversationalist. The quiet was interrupted by a slurred shout ‘Open up. It’s me Milgos. I have arrived.’ The band had barricaded themselves in an abandoned dormitory; Ugh moved some furniture out the way and swung open the rickety door. Beyond stood his disheveled companion Milgos, bottle of Dornish red in hand. The dark elf reeked of liquor. 
‘How did you get here?’ Ugh asked making way as Milgos barged in. 
‘I remember being at a party thrown by The Associates of the Three-eyed Skull. Those wizards know how to drink. I remember togas, and wine, plenty of wine. I passed out and when I came to I found myself here, in this decrepit ruin out in the middle of no-where.’ Ugh explained the situation and the group, including Milgos’ henchmen who had also been fortuitously teleported, set out to explore.
stealing the gems
Two intact ruins beckoned. The closest was a small tomb. It’s doors carved in the visage of some great demon reaching out to grab those who beheld it. Opening the door the group saw a worn statue similar to the demon on the door; its statues eyes caught the light revealing themselves to be gems of worth. About the statue were a dozen closed doors. Suspicious of a trap the seasoned adventures left the statue for the time being and began opening doors. Pushing open the first door seemed to set off a chain reaction as the other doors burst open. Into the chamber poured a dozen skeletons and battle was joined. Jana’s turning saw the conflict swiftly resolved. Milgos set about looting the gems and in the course of giving the place a thorough search uncovered a potent magical dagger.
a hobgoblin
The conflict had not been a silent affair. The noise had attracted some of the temple residents. Betty, who was watching the entry while her companions did a thorough search, gave a cry of alarm for she had spotted a warband of hobgoblins moving in from the temple proper. She took up an ambush position behind the tombs door. The hobgoblins were swiftly dispatched by a sleep spell. Their rest did not last long as Milgos and company began slitting throats. One hobgoblin was left alive to interrogate. Milgos gave the brute a sharp slap ‘Wake up dog. Do you know my kind?’ 
The hobgoblin shook his head ‘You look like an elf only with darker skin, maybe you have some sort of skin disord…’ Whack! Milgos gave the hobgoblin an open handed slap. 
‘Fine, you don’t know about the vicious reputation of dark elves but I assure you before this conversation is done you will be most familiar indeed.’ Milgos gestured to the cooling hobgoblin corpses drenched in a growing pool of blood. ‘You had best talk. What is your name and those of your companions? Who do you work for? How many of your kind are there?’ As Milgos learnt the names of the hobgoblins a planned formed in his mind, a plan that involved the polymorph wand he carried. The group also learned that the Hobgoblin Khan was in charge and that he planned to raid the human lands. He had close to a hundred hobgoblins at his command. With the knowledge gleaned Milgos stabbed the hobgoblin in the face ending the creatures life. Where once Ugh might have been shocked now he simply shrugged. ‘That’s six down and ninety-four more to go.’

The band approached the larger building, the temple proper. It’s crumbling façade offered numerous handholds that gave the dark elf an idea. ‘Wait here.’ Milgos instructed. ‘I’ll scout around the outside walls and peer through the windows. Get the lay of the land.’
‘What out in the open? Are you daft?’ Ugh responded.
‘Do I have to do all the thinking? Find some cover or hide in a shadow or something.” And with that the elf shimmied up the wall with the ease of a spider. He peered through a number of windows finding similar tales of ruined finery. One chamber seemed to be infested with rats and another covered in yellow fungus. In the interim Ugh had grown bored and wandered around towards the temples entrance. 
‘Here, you can’t do that!’ shouted Burne the torchbearer. ‘Milgos said to wait.’
The half orc turned sighing. ‘Your new so I’ll explain things. The elf thinks he gives the orders but no one tells Ugh what to do. Ugh goes where he wants and waits for no man. You can cower here in the shadows or you can come with me and we will kill things and take their stuff.’ 
With things settled the group set off only to be ambushed by zombies lurching up from the unhallowed ground at the temple entrance. Once again Jana made the encounter a joke through her divine intervention. The zombies fearing the wrath of her god lurched away towards an overgrown field. The party chased them down. Betty discovered that she had a bow and so decided to test it out firing shafts into the zombies retreating backs. As the pursuit neared the field there was an earsplitting war cry. A horde of ravening goblins sprung their ambush causing the heroes to retreat but only momentarily. The band quickly worked out that there really weren’t that many goblins after all and horde was probably too strong a word to describe them, more like an unruly mob. And so they turned and butchered the goblins. Some looting followed where Ugh discovered a magic shield with a unicorn design on it. ‘Unicorns are for girls.’ He grunted as he handed the shield to Betty. ‘Ugh not be caught dead with shield like that.’

While the goblins were being put to the sword Milgos had scouted a chamber in which dwelt two ogres. Deciding to have some fun the dark elf cast a ventriloquism spell, which is a tricky thing to do while hanging off the outside wall of a temple. With the spell complete he then made various insulting comments mimicking the ogres own voices. His comments concerned the parentage of the brutes and their preference in partners. Things rapidly got out of hand and the ogres set upon each other with savage ferocity. Their ferocity was marred however by the excessive amount of drinking they had been doing and so rather than land solid blows with their clubs they instead wailed ineffectually upon each other till one landed a lucky blow and knocked the other out. Chuckling with delight the dark elf returned to where he had left his companions. Frustrated that they were not where he had left them Milgos was relieved to find them close at hand. ‘Hurry my friends. We must strike at the ogres while they are injured.’
‘What ogres?” replied Ugh.
‘You’ll see.’ Said Milgos as he flung the temples double doors in.

The interior of the temple was full of demon statues, though this time without the gems for eyes. There were no doors in the walls and no obvious way to reach the other rooms of the temple. Figuring there must be a secret door somewhere the band began searching and was rewarded. Throwing open the secret door the party raced to where the ogre room lay. There they surprised the one conscious ogre running him through in a simple fashion. The unconscious ogre was even easier to dispatch. The ogres had quite the haul though Milgos was particularly suspicious of the magic sack they had found as he had heard rumors of magic sacks that devoured all that was put within. This however was a nice sack and not a sack of devouring.

The band pressed on searching the halls. Soon they found another secret door, this time leading to a secret garden. The garden served as a sanctuary of sorts, a place watched over by benevolent gods. The residents of the temple, if they knew of the gardens location, shunned the place. The band stopped to rest in this blessed place. Prior to setting the first watch Ugh decided to partake of the refreshing waters in the gardens fountain. He found the effects invigorating. Being familiar with magic fountains he invited the rest of the band to partake and each was granted a boon except Betty who foolishly blew her nose into the fountain, treating it like she would the nearby bowl of water one keeps by the bed to refresh oneself in the morning. Her actions angered the gods who stole some of her vitality. For the party overall there was more weal than woe. The band then set up camp within the bounds of the garden.

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