The Howling Horde (a warmup adventure for the campaign)
Answering a historical peace agreement with a neighboring kobold tribe, the Blood Claw Clan shaman prepares to send a small force to answer a call for aid. Unfortunately, with the majority of the Clan's higher ranking heroes away on a quest, he is only able to find three worthy individuals in the lair. These three brave tribals were left out of the prevailing quest due to their inexperience (i.e. left behind with the other lvl 1 npc's) and are fairly chomping at the bit for action.
The PCs are called before the shaman, Darkboot (a Cleric/Dragon Shaman), and informed that the neighboring Short Tooth tribe is reporting raids by bands of goblins. They are to travel to the Short Tooth tribal settlement and investigate, take any action deemed feasible and report back. The PCs, already well acquainted with one another, gather their gear and set out immediately.
The following day, half a day from the Short Tooth settlement, they hear sounds of battle on the trail ahead. Rushing forward they spy a group of at least three goblins attacking a small kobold band traveling by wagon. Only one of the original defenders is still standing. As the team rushes forward, they witness the remaining kobold defender throw down his spear and flee, only to be laid low by a javelin to the back.
Team all run forward.
Goblin1 and Goblin3 spot them coming and yell out a warning to Goblin2, then all wait for team to come within javelin range.
All three kobold use the surprise round to move forward in preparation for melee, firing their bows. Gutter and Rue hit one of the Goblins, killing it (with Rue, the level 1 Kobold Sorceress delivering the killing crossbow bolt).
One of the Goblins moves forward, throwing a javelin at Gutter but missing. In the return fire only Gutter lands a hit on the second Goblin while Rue reloads her heavy crossbow.
Gutter is hit by a second javelin throw, while Toerag lands an arrow on a Goblin finally, killing him. More interestingly, Rue lands a critical with her crossbow bolt and drops the last Goblin. [The players got a laugh out of the fact that the party Sorceress dropped two of the three enemy combatants in their first fight and the Barbarian didn't kill anybody.]
As the team moves forward to loot the bodies and check the kobold defenders they find that two of them are still alive. Toerag attempts to tend the injuries of both of them and determines they'll both live. The team sets about looting the corpses before checking the contents of the wagon itself. They then find one survivor hiding among the overturned barrels and crates, a kobold merchant named Sthyri. Once assured the team aren't going to kill her and that the goblins are gone, she offers payment, of a sort (50gp credit on her trade goods), for an escort to the Short Tooth settlement. As they're traveling that way anyhow the team readily accepts.
Sthyri is unaware of recent events with her clan, having been away trading and scrounging for some time. She can offer that the goblins laired in the nearby hills have never caused them any trouble, as far back as she can remember anyway, or at least not enough to warrant her tribal leaders asking another clan for help. The team sets about turning the small wagon upright, reloading the goods (and the two wounded guards) and they set off for the settlement.
They have no trouble until they come within two hours of the Short Tooth settlement, at which point a spear-wielding goblin with a flaming hand and a (relatively) huge wolf at his side bursts from the bushes to attack.
The Goblin Druid moved forward and tosses his Produce Flame at Gutter, missing him, while his animal companion (Bloodfang) took advantage of the surprise round to dart through the ranks and take up a flanking position on him. Neither of them hit Gutter.
The Goblin Druid moved into the flanking position that Bloodfang provided, passing through Toerag and Gutter's threat space. Only Gutter's AOO hit him (though, come to think of it, I don't think I should have allowed that as they were surprised. Ah, well.)
Toerag drops her bow and draws her sword, attacking the Druid and scoring a hit.
Bloodfang then ripped into Gutter and managed to knock him prone as well with a trip attack. That was bad enough but, as it was his turn then, he stood up and was hit by Bloodfang's AOO. That knocked him right into disabled status.
The NPC Sthyi the merchant leapt out of the wagon and hid during her round.
Rue ended up the round by tossing a Magic Missile into the Goblin Druid and disabling him.
Pretty much death walking now, the Goblin Druid headed for the tree line he'd sprung from hoping to get some cover. Toerag then turned her attack on Bloodfang trying to get him off the already badly hurt Gutter.
Being a crazy Kobold Barbarian, Gutter naturally attacked the gigantic (from Kobold perspective anyway) wolf Bloodfang, landing a solid blow but knocking himself out. Gutter was now dying.
Rue, knowing that Gutter was down and that the wolf wasn't likely to gnaw on him much more, launched a second Magic Missile into the Druid. He, in turn, was down and dying.
While Gutter the Barbarian and the Goblin Druid both lost another hit point from bleeding, Toerag whacked Bloodfang again and knocked him down and out.
With their enemies now both KO, the team rushes to tend to Gutter's wounds and successfully stabilize him. They then run to loot the body of the Goblin Druid hoping for a healing potion or some such to aid Gutter. They find a Wand of Cure Light Wounds and use it to bring him up to full hp. They stow the other loot for trade at the settlement.
Having found the Goblin Druid still alive but dying they spend a round tying him up and gagging him, then use two charges of the wand to bring him around. Once he's lucid Rue orders Gutter to kill Bloodfang (who's already dying). Gutter plays along and Rue uses the ruthless act to successfully Intimidate the Goblin Druid. Removing the gag (but keeping Gutter and Toerag close at hand) she interrogates the Druid. The Goblin Druid tells them:
* The location of his tribe's lair.
* A tiny black dragon has moved into their lair and taken over. This dragon, Noak, demands the tribe supply her with treasure. Hence, the increased raiding recently.
* A hobgoblin named Darax has killed the former chief and taken over, promising Noak the tribe's allegiance.
* The tribal shaman, Rurven, left in disgrace and it is unclear when (or if) he will return.
The Druid balks at providing details concerning guard postings and the layout of the place and the team figures they've learned all they can. They gag him again, check his bindings and prepare to move off toward the settlement again with their prisoner (who probably has quite a nasty fate in store for him at the hands of the kobolds his tribe have been terrorizing).
The team finally arrives at Vignarwaere ("Ashcave"), the home of the Short Tooth Clan. There they are well received, once it becomes clear who they are and why they've come, and their prisoner is gleefully taken away for "questioning". The team spends the next two hours at leave in the settlement, disposing of loot and doing a bit of shopping.
In due course they make their way to Sthyri's alcove to make good use of the 50gp credit they were promised. Once they've done their bartering and shopping Sthyri leads them across the cave complex to Ulhar's cave. There they meet with the tribal elders and discover just how desperate the situation is for the Short Tooth's. When offered the 250gp reward for eliminating the threat to the tribe, they are slightly shocked that they're being offered, essentially, the tribe's entire cache.
The team rests for the night before heading out for the lair of the Howling Horde the following morning. Once they travel to within sight of the Howling Horde's lair they immediately break off, trying to stay out of sight of the cave entrance, to come at it from the side and avoid being spotted. They don't spot the sentries within who, fortunately, don't spot them either. As they approach the opening to within 30', however, they are spotted and they hear a dog begin barking wildly from just within the cave entrance.
With two Sentries stationed at either side of the entryway, in alcoves, either one could cover the spot well enough with the Guard Dog. So Sentry1 headed for the Guard Room to summon reinforcements while Sentry2 threw a javelin at Gutter (hitting for 1 hp). The Guard Dog just stayed and barked. He was well trained and there mainly to providing flanking anyway.
As Sentry1 opened the Guard Room door and shouted inside Sentry2 threw his javelin at Gutter, missing. Toerag ran completely around Guard Dog in order to prepare to flank with Gutter. She provoked an AOO which hit with a critical (though Sentry2's AOO thankfully missed). She missed her attack.
Sentry1 tossed another javelin at Gutter, missing, as Gutter ran up and took a swipe at him and Rue fired her crossbow. They both missed as well.
Guard1, alerted by Sentry1, races out of the Guard Room and toward the entrance to the lair. Moving into Toerag's threat range, she whacked with a solid AOO. Sentry1 ran along beside him and took advantage of Toerag's lack of AOO's to flank her.
Sentry2 stayed in his alcove, trying not to get flanked by anyone while he still had javelins, and tossed one at Gutter, missing.
Toerag, meanwhile, was beginning to realize her tactical mistake and turned to attack Guard1, the first of many Goblin who would be coming to attack the closest target (her). Her blow was true, though, and dropped the Goblin Guard.
Gutter, too, had a nice bit of luck and scored a critical on the Guard Dog for a whopping 24 points.
While Rue reloaded her huge crossbow, Guards 2 and 3 ran out of the Guard Room and into the Sentry Cave where all the fun was being had. Only Guard2 managed to engage an opponent (Toerag, of course).
Guard4, meanwhile, ran the other direction heading for Big Bronk the Bugbear to alert him.
In this round Sentry1, Guard3 and Guard2 all attacked Toerag with only Guard3 hitting. Toerag did land an AOO on Guard3 as he moved into range, though.
Sentry2 landed a scratch on Gutter while Rue fired at him and missed.
Guard4, meanwhile, reached Big Bronk and informed him of the kobold invasion at the front door.
Sentry1 hit Toerag, disabling her (she was fairly convinced she'd be dying soon as it looked like a long fight was coming on). Sentry2 hit Gutter for 1 point of damage.
Toerag performed a Withdraw, moving at half speed back toward Rue and some hope of being healed. Gutter, meanwhile, retaliated against Sentry2 for the indignity of the scratch with a solid blow that disabled him.
When Toerag reached her, Rue's turn came up and she snatch the wand of cure light wounds she had tucked into her belt to heal her for a whole 7 points.
Guard3 then moved into the spot Toerag vacated in order to concentrated on Gutter. This brought him not only into Gutter's threat range but the freshly healed Toerag's range as well. Both missed though, which had their players a little frustrated. Guard3 missed his attack on Gutter.
Guard2 then moved into a flank position, preparing for Sentry1 to engage on the opposite side. Guard2 then attacked Gutter, missing.
Finally, Guard4 dashed back toward the fighting, leaving Big Bronk jumping to his feet to snatch weapons.
[The players by now had gotten the idea that the whole horde was going to come down on them, believing that alarms were being issued all through the lair. They were feeling fairly desperate to drop as many goblins as quickly as possible before they were completely overwhelmed, making it a pretty intense first level fight.]
Sentry1 moves into the flanking position Guard2 provided. Gutter's AOO missed but so did Sentry1's attack.
Sentry2, disabled from Gutter's blow, withdrew to safety behind the small band of Goblins still attacking Gutter.
Toerag attacked Guard2, disabling him, while Gutter disabled Sentry1.
Rue reloaded while Big Bronk the Bugbear finally had his weapons in hand and dashed for the Sentry Cave, hot on the heels of Guard4.
Guard3 attacked Gutter, wounding him slightly.
Sentry1, now disabled (and seeing that the fight is probably going to end badly for their side) withdraws toward the Guard Room along with Sentry2.
Gutter disabled Guard3, followed by Rue tossing a crossbow bolt into Guard2 and killing him.
Guard3, disabled, withdraws while begging for mercy from the maniacal kobolds slaughtering everyone.
Big Bronk is still running for the Sentry Cave but Guard4 now arrives, sees the nightmare of death and destruction at the doorstep of his tribe's lair and hurls a javelin at Gutter, the biggest of the three blood-splattered Kobolds. He misses.
Sentry1 and Sentry2 both reach the Guard Room, seeking shelter from the horror.
Toerag flat out charges Guard4, hitting and disabling him while Gutter comes from the side and drops him.
Big Bronk finally arrives, full of piss and vinegar, and hurls a javelin at Gutter. He misses.
Guard3, disabled but still a gung-ho Goblin soldier, is inspired at the sight of the Bugbear storming in tossing javelins. He moves to engage Toerag from behind, attacks and wounds her. The strain is too much for him though and he falls out, dying soon after.
Sentry1 and Sentry2 are still in the Guard Room, having allowed Big Bronk to pass on by. They've seen the unstoppable Kobold juggernauts outside and have little hope the Bugbear can stop them. They begin barricading the door as best they can with chairs and whatever else they can lay a hand to.
Toerag's in bad shape again but rather than fall back to Rue she moves close enough to move in quickly on the bugbear, calling for Rue to come up and heal her.
Gutter, of course, makes straight for Big Bronk who's AOO misses him. Gutter's attack misses too, though.
Rue scurries up as quick as she can to heal Toerag with her wand.
Big Bronk's attack on Gutter misses.
Sentry1 and Sentry2 keep working on their makeshift barricade, hampered by the fact that they're disabled and terribly wounded.
Toerag moves to Big Bronk's flank. Both his AOO and her attack miss.
Gutter attacks and scores a hit on the big Bugbear with a nice 7 damage.
Rue fires her crossbow and misses, as does Big Bronk against Gutter.
Sentry1 and Sentry2 are still hard at work.
Toerag and Gutter both miss Big Bronk.
Rue tosses off a Magic Missile that she was hoping to save until they at least got inside the lair proper. But, you know...bugbear. She hits, though, so it's all good.
Big Bronk misses Gutter.
Sentry1 and Sentry2, still going at it.
Toerag ends the combat with a very nice critical on Big Bronk, killing him outright with 12 damage.
Once Big Bronk falls and the team gathers together again they hear the sounds of Sentry1 and Sentry2's feeble attempts to barricade the door to the Guard Room. Rue uses a charge from her Wand of Cure Light Wounds on Gutter and he springs for the door to shoulder it open, doing so (luckily just before the two half-dead sentries were able to push the thick oak table in front of it).
Gutter grabs one by the neck while Toerag grabs the other. Rue attempts to Intimidate the two goblins, cowing Sentry1 immediately. Sentry2, however, simply curses her and sneers. Gutter draws his blade and kills him. The team then ties the Sentry1's hands behind him and takes him with them deeper into the lair.
When their "guide", Khung, informs them that Big Bronk's room is down the right tunnel they opt to go there first. They don't find anything of interest, though. Next Khung points out the tribe shaman's room, warning them that no one dares disturb it for fear of the shaman's magic. The team natural opt to check it out.
Toerag and Rue both check the doorway and the curtain hanging in it but find nothing. Gutter then strides bravely into the room, triggering the trap. He fails his Will save and takes 6 damage, at which point the undead on either side of the doorway attack him for entering the room. Expecting trouble he is not surprise and gets the initiative.
Gutter draws his blade and misses the Skeleton who, in turn, misses him.
Toerag leaps right over the trapped area in the doorway. The Skeleton's AOO hits her, though.
The Zombie, who missed his AOO against her, hits Toerag with his attack and disables her.
Rue, still in the doorway, issues ominous warnings to their captive Goblin to dissuade him from taking advantage of the distraction of combat to attempt escape. She fires at the Skeleton, hitting, though not for much with her crossbow bolt.
Gutter attacks the Skeleton and hits. Despite the lack of bludgeoning the damage is sufficient to destroy it.
Toerag decides jumping back through the doorway for Rue to heal her and simply making an attack are equally dangerous and only one likely to help end the fight more quickly. She attacks the Zombie for a solid blow but is KO and dying.
Rue reloads her crossbow.
Gutter attacks the Zombie for a solid hit, destroying it.
Rue jumps into the room after ordering Khang to do the same. She uses 3 more charges from the wand to cure Gutter and Toerag.
After looting the room and taking some parchments that none of them can read (Goblin tongue), they continue across the hall to the shrine. There they find, from their guide, that the shrine existed here long before the goblins came. They just desecrated it and converted it to Malubiyet. Examining the room reveals nothing though they do notice the alter has been plastered over. After consulting a moment they decide to clear away the plaster. Once the beautiful altar beneath is revealed, Rue verifies one of the most prominent symbols on the original altar is that of Moradin, a dwarf god. Searching the alter, Gutter and Toerag both notice a secret compartment.
After some debate Gutter is elected to open it and dutifully receives 4 damage from the Shocking Grasp spell trap on the compartment. Inside they find several scrolls in Dwarven which they can't read as well as a mithral holy symbol, an axe, armor and three more unidentified potions.
The team then decides to fall back to the Shaman's room to rest (and level up). Avoiding the trap at the doorway they bind and gag Khung before resting themselves.
Gutter takes another level in Barbarian
Toerag take her first level of Rogue
Rue take another level of Sorcerer.
Khung heals 1 hp and is no longer disabled.
Moving on to Howling Caves, despite the warning from Khung, the team checks the southwestern air vent and brushes the webs in the process. The Monstrous Spider is now aware of them and begins to hunt. As the team moves around the eastern tunnel the spider comes around from the north and west behind Rue. Successfully sneaking up on the group it attacks her.
The Monstrous Spider moves up to Rue and sinks it fangs into her. It only manages 1 point of damage and Rue make her save so her luck is holding true.
Rue, well aware that she was standing between the party's two fighters and a giant poisonous insect, withdraws opposite them to let the heavy hitters have their fun.
The Spider moves on up to the next tasty morsel, Toerag, who's no longer surprised and lands a critical on her AOO. The Spider attacks Toerag in turn but misses.
Gutter moves up, dodging the resulting AOO and misses.
Toerag levels her first two-weapon attack ever, landing both strong hits and killing the Spider before it can withdraw and start stalking them.
The team scours the Howling Caves for any more spiders or other dangers that sneak up behind them but finds nothing. When they find the tunnel leading to the Elite Hobgoblins room they can hear the faint sounds of the two practicing. They elect to move quietly down the tunnel and observe. Once they approached closely enough to see the two hobgoblins without being noticed they decide to seize the advantage and attack.
Gutter bounds forward into the room and attacks Hobgoblin Guard1, hitting him with a critical and killing him.
Rue fires and hits Hobgoblin Guard2 before Toerag dashes up and lands a critical of her own on him, killing him as well.
Thrilled at their overwhelming victory the kobold team decides to move on immediately. However, Khung has become increasingly anxious as the team continues to cut a bloody trail through his clan's lair and has reached the point of near hysteria. Rue is forced at last to simply gag him and bind his feet (his hands already bound behind him), leaving him in the Hobgoblin's room while they move on.
The team then sneaks into Darax's room, with Gutter opening the door quietly. Having entered without drawing Darax's attention they attack.
Gutter and Toerag both move up and attack Darax, with only Toerag landing a blow. Rue fires and hits, though.
Gutter attacks again, missing, while Rue tosses a Magic Missile over his head and hits.
Darax, already wounded enough to cause him some concern, decides discretion is the better part of valor and opts to get the dragon to kill them for him. He withdraws for the door on the opposite side of the room.
Toerag moves to engage, dodging Darax's AOO, and takes a swipe at him but misses.
Gutter runs after Darax, dodging his AOO, but has to run too far to make an attack as well.
Rue moves, trying not to get into melee range, and casts another Magic Missile into Darax.
Darax withdraws from Gutter and Toerag into Noak's Lair, yelling all the while in Goblin tongue for the dragon to, for crying out loud, kill these crazy kobolds.
Toerag moves after him, readying a tanglefoot bag for Darax. She's within 15' of Noak the Black Dragon but doesn't spot her.
Gutter moves into Noak's Lair, spots the Dragon and maneuvers to stay out of melee range with it.
Rue moves just inside the entrance of the lair and casts a third Magic Missile into Darax.
Darax sheaths his sword and readies his longbow, assuming the Dragon is about the engage the kobolds and that he'll be able to provide artillery support.
Toerag, now spotting Noak, charges straight at her and hits her with a decent strike.
Noak performs a Flyby Attack on Toerag, scratching her up a bit.
Gutter, meanwhile, charges Darax. He hits and kills him.
Rue tosses a Magic Missile into Noak while Toerag charges again and lands a nice critical.
Noak, in response, performs another Flyby Attack on poor Toerag.
Gutter moves to engage Noak, who misses with her AOO. Gutter then attacks and lands a mighty 10 point blow.
Rue summons a Celestial Dog near Noak as Toerag charges again and hits for 8 more points.
Noak, faced with Darax's death, a howling Kobold Barbarian, another that keeps charging her and refusing to die and now a glowing dog, makes the smart move and bugs out. She withdraws down the southeast pit in the room and escapes.
Returning to the Hobgoblin's room and finding Khung still there they question him until they're confident they've eliminated the heavy hitters in the lair. Leaving him there they set about looting the Noak's lair, Darax's room and the Hobgoblin's room itself, with Khung in tow. Knowing they require some kind of proof to claim the 250gp reward from the Short Tooths, the team takes the time to remove both Noak's and Darax's heads. Once this is done they free Khung and elicit his assurances that the goblins will make peace with the Short Tooth tribe (having too few warriors now to offer much of a threat anyway). Khung escorts them to the Common Room where he negotiates a peaceful meeting with the handful of goblins there (preferring to avoid introducing the team to the goblin wizard as they've just killed her lover).
The goblins are dubious until they learn the kobold team has not only driven off the dragon but slain Darax and his hobgoblin bodyguards as well. At that point they practically beg the team to intervene for them with the Short Tooth clan. Having gotten assurances that the raids will stop the team departs (watching their backs on the way out) and heads immediately for the Short Tooth settlement.
Once they arrive, produce the heads and convince the Short Tooth elders that they've more or less reduced the small goblin band to a handful of mere grunts the elders fork over their reward.
The team decides to rest overnight before going home. They dispose of some of their loot at the settlement that evening, converting it to coin. During the night they can overhear plans by the local kobolds to raid and seize the weakened goblin lair but decide it's not their concern. The following morning they head out even as the local warriors gather outside to hike out and slaughter the remaining goblins.
After a day's travel they arrive home. Unfortunately any hope of arriving to a hero's welcome is lost as the tribe's warriors have arrived just before them. Most of the tribe is already gathered around the band of higher level warriors as they howl out their victory and display their war trophies. The PC team, fatigued from their own efforts, simply shrugs and head off to their individual shacks, deciding to check in with the shaman after all the excitement dies down a bit.
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