Adventure Log: Desnus 16, Year 4712 AR, Sunday
Kimi and Edgrin begin stripping the kobolds of weapons and armor, strapping it on and adjusting the straps to fit as best it can. As the party pokes around, another boy, Mikra, whom Kimi described as “not the sharpest knife in the block”, pokes his head out of the kitchen.
Kimi describes the dispositions of her three other friends, one, Savram having fled north when the kobolds attacked, a second, Jurin, having been snagged by mysterious chains shortly after they reached this level, and the last, Hollin, having been grabbed by kobolds before they exited the lower caverns.
They proceed north into an ossuary with many iron-barred niches, where they find Savram hiding behind a very large anvil. Kimi coaxes the boy out from his hiding place, at which point the large number of dwarven skeletons in their niches along the wall animate and begin to claw out of from behind the bars. Guy quickly makes some makeshift longspears using some 10-ft. poles and the kobold spears, and Maurit and Hugh systematically prod the skeletons from a safe distance until they stop moving.
They make their way out of the ossuary, now with three children and a goblin in tow, and head down a branching corridor. Ed informs them that the left passage leads to “scary dead things” that he and the children ran from before. Guy hears kobold voices from the doors at the end of the hall, apparently plotting rebellion against their ruler, a kobold named “Merlokrep”. Guy suggests that they should ally with the kobold malcontents and set up a new kobold king that listens to them. Ed suggests that he would make a good kobold king and runs back up the hall to fashion a mask out of a severed kobold face and Guy hands him a “fancy scholar’s hat”.
Ed knocks on the door and is greeted by Kerrdremak, who is clearly not taken in by Ed’s disguise. After some spluttering between the kobold and goblin, Guy steps in and negotiates a deal with Kerrdremak, to kill the kobold king, whom apparently acquired a “red-metal pointy-thing” that changed his behavior and caused him to order the eradication of all milk-suckers, and set him up as regent. He informs them that they caught one of the escaped children, who was being held downstairs, and that the other was dragged off by fire-breathing dogs.
Kerrdremak heads back into the room, and they hear a heated discussion with at least a half-dozen other voices, who are soon joined by several others, one of which seemed to object strongly to regicide. The party pushes into the room to “convince” the kobolds, Maurit puts an arrow through the loudest dissenter’s left eye.
The kobolds take the party “prisoner” at Guy’s suggestion and lead them north, down a rudimentary elevator, and on to king Merlokrep’s throne room, more kobolds joining the procession as they go. Kerrdremak offers a bag containing the cursed, animated dwarven chalice. The king, an imposing, muscular, red-scaled paragon of a koboldhood, rises and spits a glob of fire at Kerrdremak, calling him a moron for leading prisoners into his presence armed. The kobold honor-guard fan out blocking the other kobolds from engaging.
Maurit and Guy fire at the king, their weapons glancing off his hide harmlessly. Merlokrep swings at Kerrdremak, and misses, lodging his massive axe in the stone wall. Hugh steps up and cleaves into the king with his sword, followed by Maurit who comes in behind and paralyzes him. Hugh promptly removes his head.
Enraged by the death of their king, seven other red-scaled kobolds push past Kerrdremak’s escort and charge the party. Guy chucks the bag full of cursed mugs at one’s head, braining him and spilling the animated mug out to attack. Hugh takes a hit, but cuts his assailant in half with his counterattack. The party quickly dispatches the remaining assailants.
They hear a scream from up a corridor and Hugh and Guy charge off in that direction just in time to witness an old, white-scaled kobold cut the hart from the chest of a blond human man strapped to an altar and two others holding a red-haired boy, ready as a second sacrifice. Hugh storms in and cut all three of them to pieces before they could blink. They recover the boy, but find him to be catatonic and unresponsive.
Meanwhile, Maurit looted the king’s body, finding a long shard of coppery horicalcum which radiates an overwhelming aura of illusion magic. She carefully wraps it up and stows it away without touching it.
Guy claims the king’s crown and the party installs Kerrdremak as regent. A blue-scaled female kobold immediately comes on to Hugh, who rebuffs her, only to have her change her interests to Guy, who wears the crown who adds the koboldess, Vreggma, to his managerie.
They head out of the kobold warrens and back up the elevator, from whence they turn down a rough, smoke-choked corridor heading east. Peering through the smoke, Hugh spots a hellhound just before it attacks. Hugh takes a flaming bite and the brunt of the things fiery breath before chopping it up.
They press on into a room filled with a giant wall-sized forge. The choking odor of smelted steel tinged with burnt hair and flesh wafting on a foul wind. The jangling of heavy chains echoing ominously. A hulking dwarf wrapped in heavy steel links stood at the forge, pounding out a new link to the heavy chains that bind it. Black smoke rising from its smoldering beard, framing its freakishly contorted face in ashy darkness. At the foot of the anvil, whimpering and bound in chains is the last of the children.
Maurit identifies the thing as a forge spurned, an undead creature bound to collect souls for Droskar, the dwarven god of toil. Guy offers the thing the souls of Merlokrep and the other dead kobolds in exchange for the boy…
Next time: bargaining for souls…