Session number 4, here we go!
After the dust from the fight had settled, Bran, Malagoth, Aera, Stark, and Kella gathered to discuss their options. The goliath looked around the main cave, noticing several passageways leading off of the circular cavern. Bran used Primeval Awareness and detected a large gathering of goblins to the southwest and only four goblins to the northwest. As they continued to plan their next move, Bran and Aera noticed a female goblin, heavy with child, observing them from a partially hidden passageway.
Following her into the southwest tunnel, the party finds a maze of passages, an three pregnant goblins cowering in an alcove. Angry over the goblins presence, and worried that they would cause harm to the party later, Aera executed the humanoids, which angers Malagoth. The goliath, who has had enough, threatened the aarakocra and told him such death was unnecessary and would only bring more trouble down on their heads. Aera stealthily scouted the rest of the tunnels, finding the rest of the goblin's warren, including more mothers and a large group of young ones. Many were infants and only a few of the goblin children had even begun to walk. Aera quietly left the warren alone and returned to the chamber.
The goliath broke off a large stalagmite from the floor of the cavern and used it to partially seal the entrance to the goblin's warren. The group decided to enter the west passageway, returning to the cave that Bran and Stark used to enter the complex.
The party returned to the north tunnel, stopping at the four foot round stone that was blocking a westward leading path. The group examined the stone and listened carefully. Smoke heard squeaking coming from the north and growled softly, alerting Bran.
Headed to the north, Bran and the others stumbled across Boss Hark's chamber. The large muscular goblin sat upon a large broken chair, flanked on either side by two large female goblins named Ratcha and Zukluk. Surrounding them, seven large giant rats played in the floor beneath their feet. Hark demanded to know what the party was doing invading their home.
Malagoth countered by demanding if he had sent the raiding party to Nightstone. Hark told the goliath that he took the villagers captive after they tried to move into their caves. Once Hark found out about what had happened in Nightstone, the chief sent a force to pillage what was left of the village after the giant's attack. Hark told the party that he would release the villagers to them if they did the following three things: 1. pay Hark a one gold piece ransom for each villager. 2. Give the goblin chief a working padlock. (The group looked very confused over this request.) 3. Go to the caverns to the southeast of the main chamber and kill "the Blob". Malagoth pushed for more information and was told that the chambers to the southeast contained the goblin's food storage and water supply. The party asked Hark what the Blob actually was. Hark responded that the only thing he knew was that a large shadowy misshapen creature had been killing off goblins as they moved through the chamber.
The party demanded proof that the villagers were still alive, and Hark commanded Zukluk to retrieve a prisoner who was being kept in the back of Hark's cave. The bodyguard brought out a red-haired young woman in a nightgown who told the party that she was named Daphne Featherstone. Daphne told the adventurers that there was a group of almost 30 villagers still alive when she last saw them. Daphne, a lady in waiting for the Nandar family, also asked them if Lady Velrosa was okay, but Malagoth brushed that line of questioning aside. The group talked it over for a minute while the giant rats edged closer, sniffing and squeaking at the intruder's feet. Boss Hark gave them Daphne and the party agreed to the goblin chief's terms.
Returning to the central chamber, Stark and Aera scouted the tunnels leading to the goblin's larder. Bran, Malagoth, Kella, and Daphne stayed behind, trying to decide on a better plan for rescuing the villagers. Daphne told them that the villagers were kept in a cave filled with bats and that if they tried to escape or even make a sound, the bats would fill the entire cave and devour them.
Meanwhile, the bird and the dragon stealthily made their way through a strange stalagmite and stalactite filled chamber. The pair found a rather large stalagmite that was pitted with holes, and found a pair of useless, badly corroded, scimitars. Continuing to the southwest, Aera and Stark found a room containing food supplies and a waterfall that fell from the ceiling and pooled in the southern corner. Stark cautiously threw a rock into the room, hitting some of the crates, but nothing happened. Seeing nothing else, the pair returned back the way the came, but were ambushed by a large black tentacle from a dark gooey blob hanging on the wall above the western passageway.
Stark, a dragonborn with black dragon parentage, spit acid at the creature. Aera raked at the monster with his claws, slashing across its slimy body, which had the side effect of splitting the creature into two. The two puddings attacked the adventurers with a pseudopod, missing Stark but striking Aera square in the chest. The black puddings were acidic creatures, and the powerful blow damaged Aera's leather armor in addition to nearly killing him further with its acid. The pair made a tactical withdrawal, outrunning the slow moving monsters and leaving them behind in the chamber with the giant stalagmite.
Returning to the main chamber, Aera and Stark found the rest of the party searching the northern section of the main chamber for the cave where the villagers were being held. Kella surmises that Boss Hark tried to send them into a trap, to be killed by the Blob.
After a short time, the reformed group found the cave. It was a large chamber with a large sinkhole in the middle of the room that seemed to lead to another chamber. Looking closer, the party could see writhing black forms flitting about in the darkness. Along the north, east, and south walls of the chamber were alcoves containing the villagers, who were huddled against the back wall, trying to remain as still and quiet as possible. The adventurers decided to rest and regain their strength before entering the cave.
Aera with his long wingspan was able to reach up to the ledges and help the villagers down off of the ten foot tall alcoves. Most of the villagers were puzzled by the appearance of the aaracokra, but were able to move quickly and quietly into the main chamber. A cowardly priest of Lathander nearly tripped and fell, but Aera reacted quickly and caught him.
A shield dwarf by the name of Morak Ur'gray, owner and proprietor of the Nightstone Inn, approached the party, speaking for the villagers. Morak asked if Lady Velrosa had hired the adventurers to come to their rescue. Malagoth informs him of Lady Nandar's demise (to the shocked looks of a couple of villagers who overheard the conversation). Morak tells them of the families who survived the attack and the goblins, and of those who didn't make it. In addition to Morak, Destiny Featherstone, Hiral Mystrum (the priest of Lathander), and six grievously wounded town guards, the families are:
Destiny Agganor, a tiefling midwife and her son Grin, who worked in the stables.
The Delfryndel Family, who own the windmill: The surviving family members are Renarra (father, age 64), his youngest son Zalf (age 40), his wife Elize (age 37), and their two adolescent children, Darson (age 17) and Hildy (age 14). Renarra's oldest son Olaf was killed by the goblins.
The Hulvaarn Family, who are potato and turnip farmers. The surviving family members are Godrick (age 32), his wife Prennis (age 30), and their three children: daughter Jehanna (age 12) and twin sons Ellis and Ghalt (age 9). The children lost their grandfather, Nestor, in the giant's attack on Nightstone.
The Nesper Family, who are pumpkin and squash farmers. The surviving family members are Yondra (age 15) and her brother Sarvin (age 11). Their parents and an older sister named Sylda were killed by the goblins and ogres.
The Osstra Family, who are wheat farmers. The survivors are Thelbin (age 52) and his husband, Brynn (age 52) and their good hearted nephew, Broland (age 23). Brynn lost his elderly mother and younger sister to the goblins.
The Summerhawks, a family of strongheart halflings. Taela (age 28, an apothecary) tends four young children, Barley (age 10), Midge (age 8), Nincy (age 6), and Dollop (age 3). Taela's husband, Larlow, was killed in Nightstone when a rock fell on their house.
Also killed during the events of the past few days: Semile Southwell, who was killed in the giant's attack; the Xelbrin's, an elderly couple who lived alongside the south palisade wall and was killed when a rock crushed their living room; and Darthag Ulgar, who ran the Lionshield Coster. Destiny saw Boss Hark give the middle aged woman to his giant rats.
After escorting the survivors outside of the cave and into the treeline, the adventurers decided to lure Boss Hark out into the main chamber and into an ambush. Aera disguised Malagoth to look as if he barely survived being attacked by the Blob. While the rest of the group hid in the main chamber, Malagoth entered the tunnel to Boss Hark's lair. As the goliath neared his destination, he noticed that the round stone that had been blocking a tunnel had been rolled to the side. The chamber inside was small and had a rather large open and empty chest inside. Mal squeezed inside, finding a scattering of silver and copper and several empty sacks. A large rusted and broken padlock leaned against the side of the chest, causing Mal to nod in understanding of Boss Hark's strange request from earlier.
Leaving the treasure chamber behind, Mal walked north, into the goblin chief's lair, only to find it completely deserted. A quick search yielded nothing, though he was able to find a natural chimney that opened up to the night sky. Boss Hark, his bodyguards, and his pet rats had fled into the night. Mal returned to the group, telling them of what happened.
The party escorted the survivors back to Nightstone, arriving just as the sun was rising over the palisade walls. The large group approached the raised drawbridge, and they could see guards stationed at the tops of each guard tower. As they reached the bridge, the villagers sighed in relief to be home. However, from the top of one of the towers, a struggling body fell, attached by a rope to its neck. The form came to a sudden stop with a loud crack. The villagers cried out, screaming in dismay, seeing the unmoving body of one of Lady Velrosa's guards, Sydiri Haunlar, hanging dead in front of the entrance to Nightstone.
From within one of the towers, Xolkin Alassandar's voice called out, "Give us Kella Darkhope!"
TO BE CONTINUED!