The party rested for the night, but in the middle of it a large section of the roof of the cave broke loose and squashed Kragsheer. After rolling the boulder off of him, the party recovered his +2 battleaxe and the mithral chain. Havic wanted to take him to bury him, but there was very little left, so in the end they just rolled the boulder back and said a few words. Barrish took the chainmail, and Raylene took the axe. Lisri initially wanted to wander further but realized that the fighters were seriously compromised and he would have little or no protection. Kragsheer was dead, and Griffon was nowhere to be seen (his player did not make it that night). “I’ve changed my mind,” he explained, “Let’s go back to town and get some armor.”
As they reached the first level, Havic heard a great deal of noise ahead. It proved to be the goblin chief Morg, about 20 warriors, and about about 100 females and young ones, heading up the kitchen chimney and fleeing the mines. Upon seeing the party, Morg signaled his men to drop his chest, then threw down the magic longsword he had captured, and had his lieutenant throw down the magic mace. Then he retreated with his warriors and formed a wall around the females.
Havic spoke to him in Common, and Morg told the dwarf that they had won, and the goblins were leaving. Havic told him not to come back, and the party allowed the goblins to flee up the shaft. While they did, Raylene took the +1 Longsword and Barrish took the +1 Mace. Then they explored the chest and found 4 ep, 497 gp, 3,391 sp, 20 cp, 1 malachite gem worth 10 gp, 1 Alexandrite gem worth 100 gp, 1 peridot worth 250 gp, 1 Emerald worth 500 gp, Chunk of mithral worth 25 gp, 5 diamonds each worth 125 gp, a chunk of mithral worth 450 gp, and a golden ladle worth 100 gp. Raylene even found a suit of plate mail that would fit her.
NOTE: I had written up Morg’s Tale so I could better play him and his tribe. I’ll post right after this one. I let the players read it, and they enjoyed it and appreciated Morg more afterwards.
The goblins had removed the rope, so Havic had to climb up. When he got to the top, he found the rope gone (his rope!). He was reluctant to climb down again so Lisri stood on Raylene’s shoulders and threw up the 10′ pole with another rope tied to it. Havic missed the catch, and it fell towards Lisri’s unprotected head, but luckily he dodged and it slammed into Raylene’s helmet. The second throw was successful and the party climbed up. Outside, they found the goblins had slaughtered Stella (Raylene’s horse) but had left the rest. The party watched them moved north towards the swamp, with the warriors serving as a front and rear guard.
The party returned to Castle Mukos, losing only one more horse to the giant owl (Barrish’s). Havic didn’t even bother waking them up, which infuriated Barrish in the morning. They exchanged much of the jewelry, gems, and money at Castle Mukos, then went to Reyneld to sell the mithral chain. Once there, Lisri sought out the magician Mattilic the Magnificent, an 8th level human mage. They swapped a few spells and Lisri paid for a few more. Lisri got Armor, Slow, Fly, and Leomund’s Tiny Hut. The party chipped in to buy Invisibility 10′ Radius. Havic bought two 50′ lengths of spider silk, and Havic, Raylene, and Barrish each bought a healing potion. Havic had a heavily embossed bandolier made to hold 20 darts, while Barrish bought plate mail, spell components, and 3 guard dogs (Pawl, Jowlfrey, and Ruffus). Everyone bought more horses and mules.
After a debate about whether to wait three weeks for Brewfest, they decided to head back before winter hit. The trip to Castle Mukos was uneventful. Anticipating another attack from the giant owl, Barrish pasted a Continual Light on the mule Grumpy to make him the primary target. After all, it was Lisri’s mule, not his! The owl never made an appearance. Instead the party was attacked at night by three ghasts. Only Barrish and his dogs were on watch; the rest of the party was enjoying the tiny hut. Three naked humanoids rushed the cleric, their talons scraping the earth in their loping run. Their rank smell of carrion nauseated two of the dogs, but not Barrish nor Pawl, his one faithful guard dog. Two of the ghasts tore the dog apart, causing the other two guard dogs to retreat even further, barking furiously. Barrish backed up to the hut and warned the others, but then was struck and paralyzed. Havic was the first to exit, and snuck around one of the ghasts to backstab him as the three ate Barrish alive. Havic was successful but did not put the ghast down. Lisri cast a Magic Missile at them, wounding one of them badly. Barrish was only barely alive and was relieved when the ghasts turned their attention on Havic, paralyzing him as well. Raylene emerged and engaged one of the ghasts, and was also paralyzed. Lisri cast another Magic Missile from the hut, killing one. The other ghast was infuriated but failed his intelligence roll and could not decide where the attack came from. Instead, the ghasts attacked the horses, killing Target and Breezy. Eddie the Mule broke free and bravely (insanely?) attacked one Ghast, but was killed himself. Snowdrop (another horse) had a heart attack from the fear (she only had 1 hp) and died. The ghasts then begin feeding on the horses while Ruffus barked away from a safe distance and Jowlfrey hid. Lisri managed to drag Havic into the hut and revive him using Cure Light Wounds.
NOTE: We had to do some research on how long the paralysis would work, and how the players could save themselves. R. Nelson Bailey’s The Ghoulish Touch summarized a lot of the early (and conflicting) rule sets, and we decided on a middle road of paralysis lasting 2d6 rounds. All of the players rolled at least an hour for their paralysis. Not good! Then we looked for potential solutions. Remove Paralysis is what most references talked about, but the cleric was paralyzed and didn’t have it prepared anyways. Finally we looked at Paul’s Gameblog, and he listed Moldvay’s rule that Cure Light Wounds might be used to remove the paralysis, IF the players did not also heal hit points. That worked for us, and Lisri began to act on that.
He unparalyzed Havic, then pulled Barrish inside and did the same. Barrish then drank an invisibility potion and pulled Raylene in. Lisri cast Mirror Image. All this time, the ghouls were missing their notice rolls, apparently because they were so busy stuffing themselves with horse. Barrish started healing people and the party waited just a little too long to renew their attack. One of the ghasts noticed that all their victims were gone, and the two remaining ghasts charged the hut. They again paralyzed Barrish and then Havic, while Lisri fled and Raylene retreated, firing arrows. One of the ghasts was killed by Lisri’s last Magic Missile, but Raylene kept failing her attacks but luckily making her paralyzation saves. It was very tense, but finally the mage hit with one of his darts and killed the last ghast. Everyone was vastly relieved. Rather than waste more potions, they waited for Havic and Barrish to recover. Ruffus and Jowlfrey (the other two dogs) returned and licked the cleric to help him recover. Barrish swallowed a good deal of dog slobber before he could push them off again.
When the others had recovered, Raylene made her intelligence roll and realized that the creatures probably had a lair nearby. The party wasn’t sure they wanted to look in it, but ultimately the ranger (Raylene) tracked down the lair, a very primitive stone tomb in a cliff wall, probably quite ancient. Havic took a swig of the invisibility potion and hesitantly went inside. He was gratified to find no more ghasts, but instead a good deal of gems (26), a ring, 3 potions, and a lot of copper coins. As a result, Raylene made 5th level Ranger, Lisri made 6th level mage, and Havic made 5th level Thief.
NOTE: This was an exhausting session for everyone. The party was understrength and when the ghasts attacked, it didn’t look like they would survive. It was very touch and go. When Lisri hit the last ghast with a dart, it had one hp left after taking damage, and I almost declared it dead right then. Honesty forced me to keep it going, and I was terrified that I would kill the entire party AGAIN. Instead, Lisri came through with one more lucky hit, and the victory was sweeter for that.