One of the smoke-snakes had been captured alive, and since most of the people in the surrounding area were unconscious or dead or had run away from the thickened smoke haze, they decided to tie him up thoroughly, put him in a sack, and interrogate him. They managed to get him to talk, but he didn't know what they wanted, which was 'what does the seed do'. Or, well, he knew that it was supposed to destroy a city when you planted it, but not how. The snakes had been planning to use it to destroy Rally so that they could free themselves from orcish oppression -- apparently, the orcs had opened a giant permanent portal to the plane of smoke, subjugated a city there, and were using it as a focal point for some huge construction that they were forcing the snakes to build.
They considered investigating that, and possibly trying to free the smoke-snakes from the orcish yoke, but eventually figured it would be too much trouble. Instead, they'd go talk to the elves about the seed.
But before they got far, Blip showed up and told them excitedly that he'd found some mermaids to work the flooded coal mine.
Blip: "Well, not mermaids, exactly. Mermaids don't like tunnels. But there are some Sahaugin who already *live* in tunnels and they're really nearby."
Alex: "And they agreed to work in the mine?"
Blip: "Well... no, they tried to eat me. That's why we need you to negotiate with them!"
Ironhoof: "What do we have to offer them?"
Blip: "Diamonds maybe? We just need the coal, but the dwarves keep finding diamonds in it."
The Sahaugin were '115 jumps that way' and then 'three hops below the surface'. Not three full-range jumps; three controlled teleports to safe locations. They did the math and figured it was about a day's travel (thanks to the mountain pass being extra-slow to travel through) and was on their way anyway, since they'd planned to head back across the pass.
On the way they were attacked by a pack of fire drakes, who swooped down and tried to fireball them in passing. There were some scattered boulders for cover, though, and Alex with her Sniper Goggles was dangerous enough at range that the drakes swooped down to melee, which didn't work out so well for them.
There was an orcish fort guarding the pass just a few hundred yards from the entrance, so they spent the night there uneventfully -- the garrison was able to scare off everything that wandered by in the night. In the morning, they followed Blip to the cave entrance and found it completely clogged by boulders.
Ironhoof: "We can't clear 1200 feet worth of boulders."
Blip: "No no no the hop to the *safe* place is only 115 feet that way and 140 feet that way."
Ironhoof: "Which will take how many weeks?"
Blip: "It's not full of boulders all the way. It's mostly full of kobolds."
Alex: "So how far *is* it boulders?"
Blip had to check, but it turned out it was only 10 feet, which was reasonable for them to clear in an hour or two even without wanting to use any special tactics. They were helped by the horde of zombies just inside working to clear the blockage to get at the tasty blink dog who'd vanished 'into the wall'.
It was a narrow choke point, which was going to make for a tedious fight, so they entangled the zombies (there were some not-quite-yet-dead plants growing in the cave) and sent Artican in to turn them all (to dust). This accomplished two things -- first, it turned most of the zombies into dust. Second, it lured the will-o-wisps who'd been hiding in the cave out of hiding to attack the tasty tasty cleric separated from his friends by three surviving zombies and an entangle spell.
They didn't *quite* kill him. The party was quick to finish off the zombies and come to his aid, and one of them fled with a few hit points left. The other (unhurt) one turned invisible and tried to follow Artican out of the cave to zap him to death after he reatreated, but half the party was ready for that and they killed him in a massive volley of arrows and magic missiles before he could strike.
There were three exits from the zombie cave, all of them hidden past a gooey lake with slippery banks that the will-o-wisps had been hovering over before Artican lured them into attacking early. They picked the middle one, and found themselves in a ruined dwarven barracks full of undead. Luckily, the undead were all barred into their rooms and couldn't attack the party -- and using a small drill Alex had they were able to peek through the door and see this before removing the bars. Alex also noticed that the bars were rigged to drop at a remote signal, and went around disabling them all to make sure the zombies and ghouls and wights stayed locked in their rooms. Then they headed to the only unbarred door, and...
It was locked. And trapped. And barred. And barricaded. Alex took care of the first two, then Ironhoof bashed down the bar, letting it open wide enough for Alex to sneak through invisibly to scout around. There she found four sneaky kobolds with bows trained on the door. She whispered to the party, through the door, that kobolds were lying in wait -- and the kobolds heard the whisper, and unleashed a volley of tanglefoot bags, which she managed to dodge, and then a barrage of arrows, which she was no longer in place to get hit by. She backstabbed one of the kobolds to death, and the battle was on.
The battlefield was a small balcony over a dark room, with barricades made out of chairs and enough debris lying around for the kobolds (and Alex) to hide in as long as no one was actually adjacent to them. Lilia, Artican, and Ironhoof decided to wait safely behind the door to make sure no one snuck up behind them, while sending the dragonne and a summoned demon that could see invisible in to help out Alex. No one did sneak up behind them, although they heard a chorus of clicks as someone tried to disengage the bars and let out the undead. Unfortunately for the kobolds, Alex had disabled them all.
The dragonne faced off against two of the surviving kobolds, mostly escaping three tanglefoot bags and some alchemist's fire to keep chewing on the surprisingly chewy kobold warriors, that kept trying to trip it and Alex with their glaives. They were good at tripping! They were not good at doing damage, though, and although it took some time the party was obviously going to defeat them. The demon also spotted a will-o-wisp hovering in the middle of the room, but it wasn't doing anything so they ignored it for the time being.
Just as the last kobold fell, the reinforcements arrived. Two of them kept the dragonne and demon occupied (and tripped) in one wing of the balcony, another hung back with a bow, and the fourth charged Artican (who'd decided to start casting spells when more enemies arrived) and drank a silence potion, shutting down all three casters for as long as it took Ironhoof and Alex to kill him, which was approximately six seconds. This wouldn't necessarily have turned off the silence, but the demon had dispel magic as a spell-like ability and was able to get rid of it, and being dead the kobold wasn't about to drink another potion.
But that was just the visible ones -- there were two more kobolds who could turn invisible and sneak attack, and they badly hurt Ironhoof when he charged into the room to try to assist his dragonne. Artican shut off their invisibility with Invisibility Purge, but that made him a target for the will-o-wisp, which was almost entirely healed from leeching off the fear and pain of dying kobolds. The two fought an aerial duel in the middle of the room while the party tusseled with the kobolds... but between Ironhoof and the Dragonne's high AC, Alex's sneak attacks (although they didn't work on the dangerous rogues), and Lilia's Eidolon managing to not quite die to three flank-based sneak attacks somehow, the party managed to finish off the enemies before Artican was killed. This time they managed to finish off the will-o-wisp before it could run away and come back to zap them AGAIN.
The last surviving kobold *did* manage to run away. Ironhoof, in raptor form, chased after it, but it ran through a door rigged to slam shut and lock (or possibly, with kobolds waiting behind it to slam it shut and lock it) and got away from him. They stripped the loot from the kobolds they *had* killed, and took a minute to rest up, heal, and decide what to do next.
last session | next session