Monday, January 22, 2007

Tales of Saltmarsh Towne: Chapter 1--The Goblin Pits of Io-Rach

I found these journals while going through the last remains of a scout, supposedly from the wooded regions surrounding the burgeoning city of Saltmarsh. Considering that there are no woods around the greater Saltmarsh area....these tales are difficult, at best, to verify.

The party begins with a meeting with Ranger Iborion of the Hool Watch at 3pm, but decide to hang around The Lizard's Boat inn and tavern to eat some lunch and to get some information on the local peoples.

Amadis asks for the best calamari but instead opts for the cheaper third best. The rest order a simple dish of cheese and bread.

After finishing lunch, the group heads to the lizardfolk embassy, with the intent to find out more information about the Hool Marshes, home to several lizardfolk triebes..
Brighid, Artiorius, Azumi and Amadis decide to stop next to the embassy to purchase some swamp boots, but Harvinion mocks them for their weakness in traversing such a swamp.

At the Embassy they are directed to the Stenographer by the lizard embassy guards to get a pass of safe passage through the Hool marches.

Lizard Stenographer Silark - "This will give you safe passage through the Hool marshes. Be sure not to bring harm to my brothers and sisters in the swamp."
Amadis - "On my honor, my blade will not harm your brothern."
Silark - "Ha, Manlings have not much honor."
Amadis - Turns and walks out the door.

The party gets to the Hool Watch tower and ask about the need for a Tower for the Hool Marshes, only to find out that there is enmity between the people of Salt Marsh and the Hool
Marshes. It seems that some parties within Saltmarsh desire to see the lizardfolk eradicated...

The party is led to the 3rd floor where they are given a plate of sweetswith no chart of what is
what. Brighid bites into a coconut sweet and tosses it onto the floor, and then hides it in the corner.

10 minutes later, Ranger Iborian comes in with his cold lunch, and proceeds to chow
down on it sloppily, then lights up a big pipe. After smoking for a moment, he proceeds to explain that the High Councilmen need help with a problem of refugees being jumped by bandits of some sort. The bandits are goblins with a bleeding eye symbol on the bottom of their shields. The party is to investigate and eliminate the problem.
Amadis knows of the goblins somewhat--the goblins are those of the Io-Rach tribe, which roughly means "Bloody eye lying smashed on the ground" in Goblin.

Iborian tells us that the goblins are not typical gobbos. He then gives the party a map showing
where the raids are happening, which happens to be along a familiar road to Brighid, Artorius and Azumi. In fact, this was the very road upon which they arrived in Saltmarsh.

In return for completion of the task, Iborian says that the group would get to keep any salvage found and gives each member a pouch with 25 gps, as a down payment, with another 250 gps for after the task is accomplished.

Amadis's eyes immediately light up with thoughts of more sturdy armor, and Brighids's thoughts go to a composite bow.

After a short exchange about the cannibalistic tendencies of the native lizardfolk, during which Iborian mentions that the lizard folk like elf meat, the party heads out the door and onto the road.

The party heads down the road, led by Harvinion then Azumi, Brighid, Antonius and Amadis leading his "steed," a pack mule.

Along the way Harvinion spots something moving in the trees, has Amadis give him
the letter of safe passeage, and holds it out bravely. The rest of the party sheathes their

A lizard barbarian swings out in front of the Harvinion and, after looking over the letter of safe
passage, tells the party about a slaughter up ahead in the road. He then walks back into the marsh and the party continues on the road to the spot of the slaughter.

During the march Antonius is chatted up by Brigid about his past. Harvinion, meanwhile, spots a tree that looks like a naughty bit, but the others do not want to stop and take a look.

A few short miles later, the party comes across the scene of the slaughter which is made up of over 3 overturned wagons and lots of blood all over. The place has obvious signs of being scavenged but surprisingly enough there are only 3 bodies. Not even the bodies of the horses can be found.
Brighid notices that the bodies have been gnawed on, but only after being stabbed to death. She also notices that one of the bodies is plague ridden. A quick check reveals that the other
two bodies are plague ridden, as well, but with a disease that can't be recognized.

Harvinion looks for where the bodies have been dragged and but instead finds an arrow ridden double-sized bloated gobbo looking corpse lying in the swamp. The corpse has large tumorous growths and is holding a blood stained cleaver.

However, a sudden cry interrupts the investigation. "Rititah Cratch!" is suddenly heard by Amadis, who becomes aware of 5 gobbos rummaging about in one of the wagons.
The rest of the party is alerted to the gobbos when Amadis charges at them. The gobbos toss a few javelins at Amadis but miss him. Amadis then shouts a knights challenege to one of the
gobbos, then deftly slices into it, causing it to stagger back and then collapse.

Two goblins chuck spears at Artorius and Amadis but miss them.
Artorius chants the words to an arcane ritual, and his hand glows in crimson.

Brighid, Harvinion and Azumi join the fray, and make short work of the goblins. However, one of the creatures wounds Harvinion sorely and he requires a healing spell from Brighid.

Luckily, one of the goblins was only knocked into unconsciousness, and Brighid immediately takes to interrogating the creatures. It awakens and then spits on Brighid, who kicks it in the head knocking it out again. Brighid heals it to awaken and then spits on it, and then speaks to it
Abyssal asking it where its warren is.

The goblin is, at first, uncooperative, but soon succumbs first to Brighid's interrogation, then to sweet oblivion. The party has their goal--a small cave nearby in the depths of the swamp.

While the group discusses their next move, they search the goblins and the caravan wagons. Artorius finds a well-made dagger in amongst the the wagons, while Brighid examines the goblins for disease, finding nothing.

Harvinion slogs over to the cave enterance and sees nothing of worry, waving the party over. The others slog over as Harv enters inside a bit, as Brighid touches Amadis's belt causing it
to glow.

The rest follow Amadis in, but he promptly screams "I shall fight you in honorable combat!" As he heads in, he continues to rant challenges, and suddenly trips over a hidden trip wire that sounds a bell.
At a fork in the path, the group waits for goblins to appear in the light of a guttering
torch in a wall sconch.
At the end of the right fork, Harvinion and Artorius spot things moving around but not
coming closer.

B translates Amadis's rants and challenges into Abyssal, and Harvinion wings a rock down the right fork but nothing happens.

At least, that is until a small ball rolls into the area which lets off a loud crack, and
Harvinion, Azumi and Artorius become deafened. Amadis rants about "underhanded tricks instead of honorable combat" and heads down the right fork after the goblins.

However, that is when the goblins' ruse truly struck. From the left-hand passage, three normal sized goblins emerged, but behind them were two of the massive, bloated brutes, dripping pus and filth from their corpulent frames with each step.

The goblins open with a salvo of javelins, and one of the larger creatures steps in to focus on Azumi. Catching the warblade off-balance, the creature nearly cleaves Azumi in twain. The second attempts the same with Brighid, but its blow deflects off of her heavy armor.

The battle looks poor for the heroes immediately, with the mighty Azumi already felled and the group surrounded, but the tide swiftly begins to turn. Summoning eldritch sorceries, Artorious injures one of the goblins assailing him, and Amadis quickly steps to defend the unconscious Azumi.

Harvinion flitted from foe to foe, stabbing frantically with his dagger, but was injured direly by a thrown javelin. Brighid stepped in immediately to fell his foe, then to heal the scout.

Between the efforts of Amadis's swordplay, Brighid's archery, and Artorius's magics, the party slew all but one of the goblins, the last of which retreated down the left passage, wounded direly in the thigh.

Injured severely and, in the case of Azumi, near death, the party discusses where they will hole up for the evening, while Harv just keeps his eye down the right passage. The party heads out and arranges the 3 battered wagons into a "quasi" fort to protect themselves for the

Azumi takes first watch, Amadis takes second, while Harvinion takes third with the others sleeping through the night.

On Amadis's watch he hears some 'voices' in the trees that are a bit almost chanting noise. He awakens Azumi to tell her of the chanting, but she doesn't hear a thing.

Amadis quickly claims "Wait here I'll go and investigate!" then he sloshes off into the
marsh. He does not hear the chanting over the sloshing noise he is making, and he heads back to the"quasi-fort."

Amadis then wakes up Harvinion, who also does not hear the chant, and the young scout hands Amadis the safe passage letter to put it onto the fort. The rest of the night passes without event.

As the next day dawned, the party prepared themselves for another venture into the goblin warrens. Brighid cast a light spell on Amadis's sword giving him a "glowing sword of righteousness!!!"

The party then heads forth back into the cave with Amadis leading the way, ranting again, and this time cutting the trip wire with his glowing blade.
Amadis and Harvinion choose the right passageway this time, followed by Brighid, Artorius and Azumi, in that order.

The passage forks again, and the party takes the left passageway which heads down instead of the right way which is level which ends in a room that tapers into a steep downward passage. The party decides to go back and take the right passage instead of trying to go down the steep way.
The right passage ends in a cold and smelly room, with refugee bodies hanging from the ceiling, with the sound of rushing water in the room.
Artorius and Amadis cut down the bodies which Brighid then examines for diseases but
doesn't find anything of note. She still cautions them from touching the bodies.

Harvinion finds a mallet and the party grabs it and some of the rope and cobbles together them in an attempt to booby-trap the deep slope. The attempt fails miserably and is quickly abandoned.

The group then heads back to take the first left passage way, which splits again, and they go right. This ends in a large living cavern with goblins beds and the like.

After finding nothing they go back to the other passage. There they find a cooking room with empty pots. Harvinion makes "Knudgeon Dowledge" check to find a small cabinet that doesn't look right. Harvinion opens it up and finds a passage in the west wall after about 20 minutes of fiddling with it. Air rushes into the kitchen that is dank and gross.

Within the passage, a slope leads down. Amadis heads first down the slope until the water at the bottom reaches up to the top of his hipwaders. After raising his sword high up he spots dry land on the other side of the water.

Artorius starts to swim half way across to the other side and comes back when he can't see much more.
Brighid lights up Artorius's backpack and he swims across to the dry land. There, Artorius finds a trove which seems to have been kept by the chief goblin.

The hidy hole contains:
- 480 Gold in a small coffer
- dwarven war-axe (which glows with faint transmutation magic)
- 3 small statues of a nude succubus in various poses
- An ever burning torch

The party quickly splits the gold up amongst each other and then head back to the downward slope they passed earlier. They quickly puts some ropes together and head down the slick slope.

As the group makes their way down the slope, a few in the party notice that towards the bottom, the walls are undulating a bit. Amadis chips away at the wall with his dagger, and a
green puss leaks out of the small hole.

As the group reaches the very bottom, they encounter a stiff wooden door. With no one available to pick the lock on the door, Azumi steps forward, asking for the dwarven waraxe. With a mighty swing, she crushes the door beneath her might.

Inside, four goblins lay prostrate, praying to some sight outside a rough-hewn window. The party quickly leaps into action, slaying them without hesitation.

Outside the window, though, in a larger cavern connected by a curving stairwell, lay a hideous sight. Down within the cavern's depths, the party watches a goblin being lowered into cauldron of "liquid" flesh by two bloated goblins, while a half-wolf/goblin monster watches. The goblin
is dropped into the cauldron, and when the cauldron is tipped over, the goblin emerges, transforming into a bloated goblin.

Brighid and Harvinion sneak down the stairs in order to fire an few arrows at the wolf monster
while the rest of the party readies their attacks against the abominations. With the first shots fired, the fray is joined.

With the battle joined, moments were tense for the party. The wolf-like creature immediately chanted some obscure words, and appeared in the prayer room in the midst of the party's rear guard.

The party faces difficulties at first, as the wolf-creature proves resistant to the party's blows. However, the dwarven war-axe, found within the chamber earlier seems to penetrate the creature's thick hide with ease, and Azumi's blows strike true. However, the bloated creatures' blows prove just as strong, felling Artorius and gravely wounding Amadis. Harvinion landed several solid blows, but was taken out of the fight partway through, as a fell incantation crushed his will to fight.

It seemed, though, that the savagery of the goblins' bloated kin was their undoing. One of the bloated creatures, consumed by rage and trapped behind his compatriots, destroyed two of his injured comrades in his blind haste to enter combat. With these combatants removed, the party prevailed.

Following their victory, the party chose to investigate the lower chamber further. It seemed that the cauldron, made of black wrought iron and writhing with filth and waste, was inlaid carefully with a stylized copper scourge several times around its brim. With this in mind, the group searched the bodies, and exited the foul area, ready to research this strange symbol.

In addition to the party's earlier loot, the goblins provided:

- 600 gold pieces
- 180 Platinum
- A nice looking steel Javelin
- Half-Plate for Amadis
- Masterwork longsword taken by Harvinion

Using one of the ruined wagons as a barricade and pyre, the party barred the entrance to the Io-Rach cavern, and collapsed the way in, sealing it forever.

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