Other Worlds Through The Yawning Portal – Episode 4: The Goblin Massacre
As the group awakens from their rest, they begin to gather their goods and eat their rations to start this next day, or night, they cannot tell anymore having been in this Citadel where no light is able to penetrate through. They soon notice that Kormac is missing and that the barricade on the door leading back the way they’d come seems to have been disturbed. Everyone immediately readies themselves in case something has happened to Kormac.
Daar grabs the body of Calcryx and hoists it over his shoulders, grunting at the weight of the wyrmling. The party moves the barricade off the door leading back to the Kobold encampment. As they party moves back through the hallway, at the end they notice Kormac’s trident stuck in the wall, with his wineskin with the fire breath potion hanging from it. The party realizes what has happened, that Kormac decided to leave them behind, although they’re left with many questions. Greg decides to take the trident and add it to his growing weapon collection. Leylin who’s gotten to taste the power of the fire breath greedily grabs for the wineskin, excited to get another chance to use it.
After collecting Kormac’s item’s left behind, they continue moving back through the now empty hallways, passing through the unfortunate goblins, now corpses, that stood in their way. The halls are eerily quiet, causing the group to be wary of what might be hiding in the shadows. Soon they came back across the room with the fountain and the skeletal door. The dragonborns, Greg & Daar stop a moment to look at the fountain and wonder if there’d be anything left of the fire potion, but Daar remembered that it appeared to be the last of it when they last made a go of it. Meanwhile Erky was drawn to the skeletel door, feeling the magical spell that was upon it.
“Hey lads, is the door you talked about before? This be a right ominous looking door if I do say so myself.” Erky bemused as he studied the door.
“OH! Right! That door!” Leylin remembered at Erky’s comment. “Right, that’s the door. We figured out we need to use a spell or something that turns the undead. You mentioned that was a skill of yours right?” He questioned of Erky. The group now turning and seeing what their new gnome companion can do.
“Aye, that I can do. Step back boys, and m’lady, let’s see what happens!” Erky cheerfully calls out. He then turns to the door, holding out his hands, and begins uttering a prayer and making motions with his hands. The door begins to glow as it reacts, then there is a loud, low thunk sound, and a whoosh of cold air as the door slowly opens and swings open inward. Erky steps back and to the side, turning back to the group. He makes a half bow, motioning with his arm towards the door, “After you gents, seems that was all it took.”
Leylin is first to enter and carefully scans the room. Five dusty sarcophagi, three to the north and two to the south, stand on end in this silent chamber. Each of the carved stone coffins resembles a noble, elf-like humanoid in ceremonial robes. An altar, with images of dragons carved into its black obsidian, is set in the center of the west wall. A single candle burns brightly on the altar. Next to the candle are a small whistle and a crystal flask. Leylin smells a trap waiting, but can’t find anything solid to go on. Greg and Erky enter into the room next, leaving Daar and Azreal outside keeping watch. Erky was fascinated by the sarcophagi that line the room, investigating them. Greg however moved to the altar and picks up the glass whistle. As he picks up the whistle, the sarcophagi in the room begin to rumble, and suddenly the tops of them open up, and a skeleton soldier emerges from each of them.
The skeletons immediately begin attacking, but they are unable to hit Greg, who has no trouble smashing their bones and taking them down. AzReal rushes into the room and uses her burning hands spell to shoot forth flames from her hands, torching the skeletons, burning them to a crisp. Unfortunately in her haste, her flames also scorched Erky, who was in the grasp of one of the skeletons and couldn’t get clear in time. Erky gets burned a bit, but the skeleton took the brunt of the flame and quickly released him. The rest of the battle goes quickly as the skeletons are too weak to make a formidable assault on the party, and are dispatched quickly.
After the battle they can finally investigate the other items on the altar, and Greg examines the whistle he picked up to trigger the fight. This whistle is carved from transparent crystal, and it resembles a tiny dragon curled up like a snail. The name Night Caller is etched on the whistle in Dwarvish runes, upon examination by Erky, he remembers hearing of this whistle in an old book about the undead he had studied long ago. He recalls lore that says the duergar made several such whistles for various groups in an age past. The whistle when blown, casts an “animate the dead” spell, which will animate and control a corpse for 24 hour, but only when in darkness or under the night sky. Daar takes the crystal flask which contains a potion of fire resistance, and Leylin took the candle, which had a spell of continual flame on it, causes it to burn without end. Erky takes a closer look at the altar, discovering a secret compartment in the side and takes out six peridot jewels carved in a likeness of a dragon, to which he passes evenly to the group.
After making sure they’d checked everything, the group continued on back to the Kobold colony, bringing back Calcryx. As they get back to the room in which they’d first encountered Meepo weeping by his bedroll, they find a Kobold guard keeping watch. They quickly shout “Ticklecorn!” to announce they are not enemies, in case this one did not know who they were. He relaxes at hearing this, but when he sees Daar enter, carrying a dead Calcryx, his eyes nearly bulge out from their sockets, and he quickly turns and runs off to tell Yusdrayl. The group yells “Ticklecorn!” again as he runs away, fearing that he may not have understood. However they have no choice but to continue forward at this point. They enter the Hall of Dragons where and approach the throne and lay the body of Calcryx in front of Yusdrayl.
“So you have returned, however I see you have failed to bring back Calcryx alive. I also notice you are short one of your own Dragonborn, I hope no harm as come to him. Yet, I’m hesitant to ask, for I may know the answer, but what has happened to Meepo?” Yusdrayl says in a serious tone, looking at the dragon collar in Leylin’s hands.
“Unfortunately there was no way for us to take Calcryx back alive, he was furious and vicious. He went after Meepo first and killed him. We tried our best to stop it, but we could do nothing in time to save him.” Leylin explained forlornly, and then offered the dragon collar that Meepo carried to Yusdrayl, a token to show his respect for Meepo and Yusdrayl. She bowed and accepted it from Leylin.
“Thank you brave ranger. Thank you all for fulfilling your charge and honorably returning Calcryx to us. For this I will fulfill my end of the bargain and offer you your reward. You may choose any two of the magical items here,” she motions to the alter behind her, “or instead you can take the key to the Dragon door that lies near the entrance to the Citadel. I leave the choice to you.” She motions with her arm to the alter that the group may look closer to decide. AzReal moves up to the altar and takes a look. The items assembled on the altar include a wooden token with a feather attached to it, three spell scrolls, and a small flask. The group debated on the items, and decided that the spell scrolls and flask would be the most useful. however they did not want to leave the key behind either. Yusdrayl noticed that they seem to be eyeing the key as well says to them, “I will agree to let you take the key as well for 50 gold pieces.” The group checks their pouches and are hesitant to give up that much money for a key that may not be worth it. AzReal tries to negotiate with Yusdrayl, however she only agrees to lower the price to 40gp, noting “The rooms the key has kept locked have been sealed for many years, longer than even I have known since I have been here. It is very valuable and we cannot let this key go to just anyone, as a matter of respect I cannot lower the price any more.” the group agrees and AzReal pulls some gems out from her coin purse and hands them to Yusdrayl, who accepts them. Before they leave, AzReal asks Yusdrayl about the door the Kobold elite guards seem to keep a close eye on at the other end of the Hall. “Ah, yes, that is the main corridor between us and the goblins, they often try to sneak through there and attack us. So they guards keep a close eye on it in case they are to come through.” That is enough for AzReal and she rejoins the rest of the group at the foot of the altar.
“What will you do with Calcryx’s body?” asks Daar, concerned with the way the slain dragon would be interred.
“We will take care of it, we have a special burial ceremony we will perform once we’ve prepared the body. Thank you for your concern.” Yusdrayl answers, then motions for some kobolds who come from an adjoining room and pick up Calcryx and carry it’s body away.
“OH! I almost forgot!” Yusdrayl exclaims, she quickly barks an order to one of the Kobolds who runs off to a nearby room. The group is confused and unsure of what is going on. Soon the Kobold returns, this time bringing a prisoner with him. The prisoner is a tall thin wood-elf, appearing to be some sort of cleric. The group eyes this prisoner cautiously, except for AzReal, who begins to laugh at the sight of the wood-elf in manacles being led into the room. Yusdrayl is now the one confused as the laughter. “Why do you laugh tiefling? Do you know this elf? We captured him sneaking through the halls, he claimed he was here to join his friend on a grand adventure. We kept him prisoner until you returned to see if you knew anything of him.”
“Yes, yes, I know who this is.” AzReal manages to get out between giggles. “This is Ascari, he is an old friend of mine. I sent word for him to come find me here when I was in Oakhurst. My apologies for not giving you notice of his arrival.” At this explanation Yusdrayl nods to the guard, who then releases Ascari from his bonds. Ascari rubs his wrists as he walks up to Ascari and gives her a big embrace as only old friends seeing each other after a long time would know.
“I’m glad I found you, and I’m glad these kobolds are on your side. They got the drop on me and I was worried I’d have to try and fight my way out”. Ascari tells AzReal. AzReal turns and introduces him to the rest of the group. They each welcome him and welcome him to the group, glad to have more help and support. They finish their pleasantries, and then turn to Yusdrayl, thanking her and bidding their leave. Yusdrayl wishes them well and they make their long way back to the room where they killed Calcryx, filling Ascari in on their quest to find the missing Talgen & Sharwyn Hucrele.
Once there, they now carefully open the other door from the trophy room, and carefully enter. Several torches mounted in crude sconces burn fitfully around this chamber, filling the air with a haze. A double row of marble columns carved with entwining dragons runs the length of the hall. There are multiple doors leading off from this hall, one to the east and west, as well as 2 to the northwest, and one more to the southwest. Daar leads the group through the room. He asks Erky to watch the door to the east, and he gladly obliges. He then asks Leylin to help him spread the caltrops they’d gathered earlier in front of the northern and southern doors in case anyone was to come through there. Daar then focuses attention on the west door, from this side he can hear the voices of many goblins on the other side. He whispers to the rest of the group that there a lot of goblins behind the door. He then gives Greg a wink and asks him if he wants to do the honor of charging in first. Greg answers with a huge grin and a nod.
The rest of the party readies for battle as Greg gets ready to burst through the door. Leylin stands behind Greg, readying his bow ready to fire an arrow through the first goblin he sees on the other side of the door. On Daar’s count, Greg charges the door, slamming it open and roars as he charges into the room. But stops short as he’s suddenly aware he’s charged right into the home base of all the goblins and is completely surrounded by goblins.
What might once have been a cathedral is now a goblin lair, thick with the filth of years of goblin life. Scores of wall- and floor-mounted sconces filled with violet-glowing fungi provide illumination. Dozens of goblins go about their daily business, which involves a lot of rudeness and violence. Along the southern wall is a heaping pile of assorted items, including wagon wheels, broken armor and rusted arms, chests, small statues, antique furniture, and artwork. All the goblins stop what they’re doing and instantly turn to the dragonborn that has charged in. Leylin however does not hesitate, letting his arrow fly, and it squarely strikes one of the goblin warriors in the chest. At this the entire room erupts into chaos.
Of the goblins in the room there is about twenty goblins too feeble or too fearful to defend themselves; they try to flee through the northernmost exit. This stampede dominates the first moments of battle as they run for their lives in every direction, trying to avoid the party as they charge into the room and begin battling with the goblins that try to stand and fight. 10 of the goblin commoners stop and stand their ground along with four goblin warriors. Daar and Greg begin fighting their way in, slicing through goblins as they run in every direction, trying to concentrate on the ones who are standing to fight. Ascari & AzReal provide the ranged support from behind the dragonborn front lines. Leylin also takes their inspiration and runs into the room and takes out his shortsword to battle up close. The fighting is vicious, especially as Daar seems to be unstoppable as he cuts down multiple goblins with each swing, also taking a drink from his wineskin of fire breath potion, and breathing the flame bursts out torching any goblins his sword did not cut down. With one of his swings, he cut off the head of the goblin with such force, that the head flew into the air, and came back down, landing on the body’s shoulders, before they both fall to the ground. Greg unleashes his own dragon breath of poison, causing several goblins to go down, clutching their necks as they fall to the acidic poison they were sprayed with.
As they non-combatant goblins finally are clear of the room, only a few goblin fighters remain, but one seeing his brethren being cut through so viciously, runs off to call more help. Soon more goblins come charging into the room, as well as from the hall behind the party, running over the caltrops as they attack Erky who is in the back first. Ascari quickly turns and tries to help save Erky and fight these goblins, but is too slow to react as one of the goblins who seems much more experienced than the others cuts him down. AzReal & Leylin turn and begin to fight the three goblins flanking from behind, but they have trouble hitting them as the intense battle ensues in the tight hallway.
Back in the main chamber Greg & Daar continue to fight through the goblins, however as Greg turns one of the goblins head into a fine mist with a swing of his morningstar, he does not see one of the reinforcement goblins fire an arrow, which strikes a mortal wound, downing Greg. Daar quickly runs to engage with this goblin and get vengeance for taking Greg down. Back in the hallway the group is finally able to dispatch the goblins there, having the most trouble with the experience goblin fighter who seems impossible to hit. Erky was able to revive Ascari, who after being picked up, and helping finish these goblins off, runs into the main room and sees Greg down. He quickly utters a healing word, causing Greg’s wounds to heal and bringing him back up. Daar gets to the last goblin, the archer who shot Greg, and grabs him and flips him upside down as Daar spreads his wings and carries him high into the air, near the top of the cathedral ceiling, and then throws the goblin back down to the ground with all his strength. The goblin is disorientated as he falls, screaming and trying to turn himself right side up, but it is of no good, as he lands flat on his back, shattering his spine, and his skull splits open as it hits the ground, killing him instantly.
The group gathers in the main room, looking at the carnage and dead goblins everywhere. They look at each other and are relieved to have made it through what has been their biggest battle yet. They look towards the other door in the northwest of the room and hope there are no more goblins through there, but know that is unlikely. Having very little time to catch their breath, they prepare to finish this fight with the goblins for good, knowing they still have yet to come to the goblin leader, who must be nearby.