Further Expeditions to the Mines

After an expedition into the Nashkel Mines, the Troupe was forced to retreat back to the surface to rest. Scores of traps and kobolds lay beneath the mines past the carts filled with poisoned ore. Now well rested, the Troupe enters the mines again, determined to discover why the kobolds are sabotaging the mines.

25 Kythorn 1368

We make our way back through the mineshafts. We don’t encounter any kobolds along the way. Either they’re sleeping too, or we made too much of a dent in their numbers. We cross the bridge over the chasm, Montaron making sure they haven’t reset the traps. On this side of the chasm we find where the kobolds have been hiding.

They go for Xzar. Emily tries to distract them from attacking the mad wizard.

Montaron protects his companion from the aggressive kobold.

More of them join the fight.

We know how this goes by now. Xzar puts most of them to Sleep.

The remaining kobolds start to break after we kill one of their guards.

Emily moves in to finish the rest and spots another commando.

A crossbow bolt tears through its neck.

The kobolds wake up as Xzar’s spell wears off.

They’re easy to slaughter.

We search their cave, wary of any traps that may be around. We only find more kobolds.

One of the kobolds stabs me. I draw my Hammer of Corrosion.

Despite my wound, they die easily.

I heal myself before we move on. We encounter more kobolds, but we have an Emily.

These kobolds need to learn that running into our weapons is a bad idea.

Then Xzar learns that running into their weapons is a bad idea as well.

This commando is giving us trouble, and a rotting corpse of a ghoul is lumbering in to see what the noise is. We deal with the kobold and turn to the ghoul. Finch attempts to turn it while the rest of us attack.

Finch succeeds, and the ghoul is compelled to retreat.

Emily draws her crossbow and shoots it in the back.

Montaron gathers up the wizards things while we check the bodies. The usual arrows, gems, and trinkets. But Emily finds some magically preserved body parts among the decaying flesh of the ghoul.

We need to find a temple to resurrect Xzar before he’s too far gone. Our nearest temple is Nashkel…

At the Temple of Helm we pay Nalin to raise Xzar. He needs to stay here to recover, and Montaron insists on keeping an eye on him. He claims to hate the wizard, but I’m still not sure.

While we are here we buy some more Potions of Healing. Finch and I don’t have enough power granted to us to ensure we are always healthy.

On our way out we run into the mayor. He notices Finch’s holy symbol.

Finch: Yes, oh, yes! That would be me! Finch Bloomwhiffle at your service, sir!

Berrun Ghastkill: The library will be housed in the northern part of town until we can construct a new building. Lord and Lady Fenric have agreed to open a wing of their manor for the time being, and their servant, Trask, will oversee the administration. You will need to speak with him to complete the arrangements.

Do not trouble the hosts too much, please. They’re a bit squeamish about the prospect of the common folk treading mud on their floors and such. I’m afraid too much pestering will make them call the project off altogether.

Since we’re in town, Finch insists we visit the manor to check things out. Why not? We could use a break from the constant barrage of arrows.

Wait. Bloomwhiffle?

On our way we talk to Oublek. Time to turn in the bounty for Prism’s emeralds.

Rose: I’ve come to turn in a bounty and collect the reward that is duly mine.

Oublek: A 300 gold bounty for the emeralds! Well, you’ll make quite a name for yourself among the bounty hunters if you keep this up. Whether it is for better or for worse, I do not know.

Gold in hand, we make our way to the Fenric Manor to find Trask. We are greeted by a cat with no Trask in sight. He walks into the room as we are petting it.

Trask: I know a cleric of the faith when I see one. Tell me, good priest, have you collected all the books for the new library yet?

Finch: No, Goodman Trask, not yet. We are doing our best, though!

Trask: Best not to linger here until you have the lot, then. The lord and missus are a might bit prickly yet towards strangers.

We leave as he suggests, but I’m curious what books Finch needs to finish her library.

Aegon: Finch, what kind of books will the library in Nashkel need?

Finch: Hmm. I have a few copies of things already, but it would be nice to include something suitable for children, something relevant to the local industry, and something of historical relevance to Nashkel. We should not forget a cookbook, either. People love cookbooks! Oh, and it would be delightful if we could find something special for them to enjoy. You know, romantic and entertaining enough to escape the humdrum of everyday life!

I know I am not being terribly specific, but when we find a book that matches what I need, I shall be sure to let you know! I promise!

It’s a shame we can’t return home. I’m sure we could find all the books she needs in the Keep’s library if we had the time.

Trask’s cat reminded me of my familiar. He’s been cooped up in my backpack for too long. It’s about time I let him out again.

Aegon: How are you? Everything okay down there?

It looks up with dark eyes, seemingly content to just be near me. It sighs and looks away briefly.

Cat: We are connected, you and I. If you are well, so am I.

But since you ask, I am possessed of a craving for food. Procure some for me, and I shall allow you to pet me for a while longer.

We will have to hunt some game on the way back to the mines. I’m sure Cat would appreciate some rabbit meat.

On our way back to the mines we are ambushed by hobgoblin bandits.

I try to put some of them to Sleep, but only one of them falls unconscious.

One of the bandits is impaled on Rose’s spear.

Cat takes out a second. Good, they are no longer flanking us.

An arrow strikes my shoulder. It stings, but I only need one arm for this sling.

Finch kills the hobgoblin that caught me.

Cat and Emily kill the remaining bandits.

A thought passes through my head. Could the bandits be working with the kobolds? Why else would they be on the path to the mines? To steal inferior ores?

I shake off the idea. Bandits are opportunists, not an organised crime syndicate. We loot the corpses and move on.

We find the mineshafts mostly empty, just as we left them. We are unhindered as we descend into the caves beneath the mines again.

We see a strange looking man, almost as if his skin is made of slime. We don’t have time to take it in, when we see a living corpse with razor-sharp claws. The ghoul lets out a raspy howl as it lumbers towards Emily.

We distract it by sinking a few missiles into it’s dead body, while Cat sneaks up behind and finishes it off.

The ghoul was wearing a nice necklace, but as with most of these creatures, it carries little else of value.

The strange man just stood and watched motionless the whole time. Emily approaches it, and it begins to talk.

You do not have the stench of this place about you… Perhaps we share a common purpose?

Emily: That would depend – what is your purpose?

Mur’Neth: I have been sent on a mission from divine Ghaunadaur to investigate the problems these mines are having. My deity finds it most displeasing…

Emily: You mean the corruption of the iron ore?

Mur’Neth: The iron itself is of no concern to Ghuanadaur, but the poisons they are using are killing the beloved oozes and moulds native to these caverns. I have been charged to put a stop to this outrage!

Will you help me in this task? I sense you have a similar purpose to mine.

Emily: Tell us more about yourself. Who is this Ghuanaduar?

Mur’Neth: You do not know the name of most sacred Ghuanaduar? ssssskrlllmmmm….

That Which Lurks is the holy deity of the beloved ooze, slime, mould and jelly. From deep cavern to forest floor to city alley live his servants, watching. I am honoured to be a Ghaunadan, a race of His servants, special among the oozes for having Ghuanadaur’s divine favour.

Though I appear as a human, this is not my true shape. Ghuanadaur has seen fit to bless our race with the ability to change form, so we can better serve him…

Emily: We need all the help we can get. Please, join us.

Mur’Neth: With the eye of Ghuanadaur on us, we shall surely succeed in our most holy task.

The ooze steps into line. It’s appearance is strange, but it is vaguely human-looking.

It is, as it said, a Ghuanadan. A kind of ooze priest.

It has an uncanny ability to make Friends.

It can also poison its targets with its paralytic slime.

It can morph back into slime form any time it chooses, paralysing its enemies with its attacks in this form.

We look through the Bag of Holding for better equipment for it. It takes the enchanted light crossbow and an enchanted dagger.

As soon as we have our ooze friend equipped, another ghoul wanders out the darkness of the caves. Rose kills it with ease.

We wander deeper into the caves and find another ghoul’s nest. Only this one smells a lot worse.

It moves a lot faster as well, charging down the caves through our bolts and bullets. This must be a ghast!

Cat holds it back and Emily places a crossbow bolt through its skull.

After fighting these ghouls, Finch says she feels closer to Deneir.

We find other denizens in the caves. Spiders! Larger than the one’s at Landrin’s home in Beregost.

They give us less trouble than we expect. Emily, with Thorgensons Mace, and Cat hold them back as we cover them.

There are two more in the nest. Emily kills one with a single shot.

Cat distracts the other while Rose gets the kill.

There is only one cavern left unexplored now. We proceed down it carefully, checking for traps along the way. The dark tunnels make Finch ponder what it would like to be blind like an ooze.

Mur’Neth: Your dependency upon crippled methods of fleshling communication demonstrates your weakness. Ghuanadaur’s blessed creations have no need for your awkward speech of your limited vision beyond teaching the wisdom and glory of That Which Lurks.

Finch: You… you are the crippled one! You cannot understand the joy and wonders to be found in turning the pages of a book! All we, err, fleshlings need to learn can be found in the written word. By Deneir, the Gods would never allow it otherwise! Reading is a gift!

Mur’Neth: You are imprisoned by these objects, these books, and by the squawking of your throats to make these carcasses of ideas known. Your paltry exchanges of knowledge can only aspire to mimic the divine form.

The air thrives with secrets, yet you fleshlings are blind to the web of scents that reveal all. You know nothing of the total awareness that comes from being absorbed by the will of the great Ghuanadaur. This will change. Gggghhhhaaarrr…yes.

Finch: I don’t like the sound of that. I want no part of your slimy master!

Mur’Neth: You shall… sssggtthhh…see.

Emily tells them to be quiet. This is not the time. We move down the last cavern.

Kobolds again. Of course.

It runs into its death. But where there is one, there are many. We ready our weapons.

We let them come to us, and their yipping is silenced along the way.

A group of commandos line the other side of a bridge. Rose starts burning.

Time for another Sleep spell.

They fall unconscious. We take out the commandos first.

The last kobold manages to wake and launch an arrow before it dies. It hits me in the shoulder just as my bullet cracks its skull.

This bridge feels like a chokepoint. Knowing kobolds love of traps, Cat and Mur’Neth check it before we cross.

After some time they call it as safe and we move across. We meet more kobolds on the other side.

I am hit, as kobold guards move in closer to us, Gnome Stikkas in hand.

Emily is poisoned as the commando tries to take out our archers with their Arrows of Fire.

I Slow the poison in Emily’s veins and turn toward the commando.

One of the guards dies, and I destroy the command with some Magic Missiles.

One of the guards runs and we let it go for now.

Mur’Neth kills the other, and Emily finishes the last one off with her crossbow.

A kobold commando nearly kills me. I’m glad we have these Potions of Healing.

We kill it, only to be confronted by a shaman protected by more commandos, and their Chieftan.

Cat and Emily distract the shaman with claws and maces.

A Chieftan strikes me with another arrow. I must look like a pincushion by now. Finch heals me back to full health this time.

I Hold the Chieftan in place with Corellon’s blessings.

We kill the shaman, and Emily and Cat finish of the paralysed Chieftan.

Beyond this cavern we see another mineshaft. Someone has dug tunnel into these caves from the other side! Cat tells us he can see some traps protecting the mineshaft.

He is able to disarm them easily with his cat-like reflexes.

Who built this tunnel? It must be how the kobolds got into the mines. Did they build it just to get to the mines? Why would they do this?

There’s only one way to find out. We enter the mineshaft…

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