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Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel #006 Monsieur Buggles.

Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Sunless Citadel

Session #006 Monsieur Buggelz.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu, confusing isn’t it) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 1
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 2 (see below)
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 2
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 2

NPCs
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 2

Left back with the Kobolds
Erky Timbers Male Gnome Priest of Tymora


So, session #6, and here we go again- last we left the Dark Squad they were holed up in an out of the way chamber in the subterranean section of the Sunless Citadel- the Twilight Grove, although maybe not quite yet.

In the last hour (and in the week between sessions) Ramshambow (or at least Kev, playing him) has translated the ancient dwarven scroll they found in Cornflake’s lair, the scroll says-

"Khundrukhar

That which is sort first is found last

Seek the stone tooth
Climb to the mountain door
Descend the grand stair
Pass the tombs of the ancients

To the glory of the glitterhame
Wary of the sinkhole
There you find the door
Within… the foundry of Durgeddin the Black

By the sword by the flame
By the hammer by the forge
By the axe by the fire

Dumathoin content sits by the fire
Feet almost in the flames
Hotter now

Arundil
High Wizard"

Then, silence- the group pass around Ram’s translation… until, eventually (after a little chivvying from yours truly) the penny drops.

“What comes first is found last?” Garumn grunts, and then repeats the last line of the translated message- “Hotter now?”
And then the dwarf says the word again, only grinning this time- “Hotenow! Khundrukhar’s somewhere near Mount Hotenow!”

The big dwarf gambols to his feet, about to break into a celebratory reel (as if there were any other kind), when the door to the chamber is yanked open, which causes quite a bit of consternation. The Dark Squad scramble to their feet en masse, and then grab for their weapons.

Standing in the doorway is a dishevelled and somewhat plain looking elf- dressed either for the woods or for adventure- possibly for both. “I am Buggles and I seek heroes… I believe you are they.”

The newly arrived stranger, soon after (and thereafter) referred to (constantly) as Monsieur Bugglez by Vincenzo, is guided through the admissions procedure- it’s very thorough. First of all he’s asked to surrender his weapons, and then is thoroughly searched (get the gloves, Vincenzo is looking for signs of taint and corruption), and finally he is required to explain himself.

A full explanation of Monsieur Buggles’ motivations can be found in his character profile (way) above, but in precis- lots of bad things have happened in and around Buggles’ village in the Neverwinter Forest (he’s a wood elf). The cause of these bad things were eventually tracked back to an evil druid- styling himself as the Outcast. The Outcast’s trail (in a round-about way) has lead Buggles to the Sunless Citadel, he entered the ruin and then followed the Dark Squad’s path of destruction to this location.

Buggles’ goal, to kill the Outcast for what he has done to his home, his friends and his family...

The chatter continues for a good while, Vincenzo and New Tricks have lots of questions to ask, however everything checks out- Buggles is further interviewed to ascertain where his skills lie (he’s cagey), the wood elf also has his own questions to ask.

So, Stu’s back- playing Buggles, his Tuesday night has become free again- but he wanted a new PC, a voila- but we’re also keeping Garumn for now. The Dark Squad are still the Dark Squad- only now there are five of them.

Introductions done- time to get on, but be prepared there’s lots of fighting this session.

[Intro & interview with Buggles 100 XP]

Rested the Dark Squad head out again, this time following the crevasse to the north east- Ram, thinks the passage will lead them back to the goblin chambers they snuck into earlier, and so it proves.

The rogue (full time = Ramshambow) leads the group back into the dragon-columned goblin chambers. Alas mere moments later Newt manages to almost kick a table full of gardening equipment over as he’s stealthing (‘1’) into a ready position.

Several green or brown smock wearing goblins come rushing out of their rooms to see what the noise is all about- the shouting and screaming starts, and then, of course, the bloodletting.

Note, the goblins down here, the Dark Squad observe during the fracas, are acting funny- they’re fearless, but not foolhardy. They jabber away in their filthy tongue (which none of the PCs can understand) but also- every now and then they take it in turns to yelp the word “Tree!” in the common tongue.

As I say, most odd.

Now back to the action…

2.jpg

Note- the players are sending me screenshots now, so that I don't accidently reveal unexplored parts of the map here on ENWorld in my piccies. The above image should be properly viewed while accompanied by a bright-eyed Julie Andrews singing "Getting to Know You".

Vincenzo’s features shift to the feral and the sometime wine merchant, other times ferocious killer, rips the throat out of the nearest screaming goblin.

Garumn throws a hand axe into the chest of the next chirruping goblin, but the bastard takes the hit and keeps on screaming- more goblins are exiting the chambers all the while.

Note there are 14 goblins distributed between the four chambers here- although 10 of the 14 are goblin commoners (low AC, maybe 4-6 HP each and armed with clubs = 10 XP each).

So, the fight gets busy quickly.

Ram sidles up to a goblin and skewers the little bastard dead with his rapier, Buggles swings into action with his longbow and another goblin falls- gargling briefly on its own blood- dead.

Garumn stalks the hall warhammer in hand- he smashes a fourth goblin down dead- and my bad guys have still not landed a hit. Newt Eldritch Blasts a fifth to a boneless mess.

Then, at last, the goblins get into action- Garumn is clubbed twice in quick succession (both Crits but for only 8 damage in total- still, it’s a start), seconds later Ram is left clutching his right arm after a stinging blow.

The rogue is offended- he skewers his attacker dead, and then slices and badly wounds another goblin with his off-hand dagger attack.

Buggles switches to his scimitar and guts a seventh goblin dead.

And the players are grinning and making jokes- too soon.

A goblin pops his head out of a doorway, clutched in his hand a shortbow- he fires, and another Crit- Ram is struck mid-chest and flops to the floor, unconscious and dying. The goblin ducks back into the chamber and a moment later is replaced at the doorway by a similarly bow-armed comrade, he pulls the trigger (lets go of the bowstring) and sinks an arrow into Newt’s left thigh.

Concentration levels go up around the VTT- also, it gets quiet for a bit.

The feral Vincenzo tears into a goblin but the creature somehow survives the ordeal, and then moments later stabs the shifter right back (with yet another Crit- that’s my fourth so far).

Newt backs off quickly, he’s in too close- the tabaxi is clubbed again as he retreats, he eldritch blasts his attacker dead as he finds cover, and then with an inspiration point he repeats the act- and another goblin is atomised (rolls max damage).

Ram uses his inspiration point to trigger a healing hit dice (house rule) and opens his eyes, there’s a goblin stood over the rogue and beating on Vincenzo (who‘s clubbed again), the rogue attacks from prone- stabbing up with his rapier and… well, he pierces a place best left unpierced (subject to the reader’s peccadillos).

The goblin dies and Ram scrambles back to his feet and then quickly retreats- getting the hell out of dodge.

Buggles goes snicker-snack with his twin scimitars (I’ve read that somewhere before, Stu?) accounting for two more of the goblins- who are now very thin on the ground, although still not for surrendering- oddly.

The last goblin hold outs- both warrior variants- the pair with the bows, now switched to scimitars are chased down and slaughtered, the final honours going to Vincenzo and Garumn respectively.

The fight is over- that got tense, briefly.

[Lots of goblins 300 XP]

The dragon carved columned chamber, and the six rooms off it are investigated- thoroughly, believe me this mob do thoroughly. The following things are discovered/learned/noted-

1) The goblins had a little silver- snaffled.

2) The goblins are all marked on their foreheads with the image of a gnarled and twisted tree- carved into their skulls- it’s in deep. Several of the goblins display signs of a bark-like growth around the ritual wounds- most odd. Vincenzo and Newt are very interested.

3) The various goblin chambers contain- a fungus brewery, sleeping quarters, a repair room, a very limited armoury and lastly a room in which a giant rat is strapped to a table and seemingly being fed some strange poultice. Can you guess which one of the rooms elicits the most interaction?

[Initial investigations 25 XP]

While Newt and Vincenzo get on with their autopsies (you read that right- see below) Garumn, Buggles & Ram either stand guard, heal, search and/or chatter.

First under the knife is the already strapped down giant rat, second is one of the tree-etched goblins- it takes a while, nearly an hour, but eventually Vince and Newt are done. Their conclusions, some combination of magic and tainted nature have been joined to affect both creatures, the giant rat experiment seems to be in its infancy, the goblins have been much more profoundly affected by whatever malady rules here. The Outcast, the pair suspect, has created some way to infect the goblins and by doing so to control them- to bend them to his will.

The various members of the Dark Squad take it in turns to reiterate their individual reasons for wanting the Outcast to pay (with his life) for his perverted nature.

[Further investigations and examinations 65 XP]

After a quick chat it’s time to move on- Ram leads the way through a pair of doors and an anteroom into a long barrel-ceilinged chamber, it has the look of a place of worship- although perhaps in ages past. The warm and damp chamber is illuminated by swathes of glowing fungi and is home to many more growing beds from which sprout a variety of dwarfed and stunted shrubs and plants.

Newt takes a peek through a close-by door, to the north is yet another of these chambers (and they’re big rooms- see the map), also (as far as he can see) uninhabited.

Then Ram, back in the first chamber, almost manages to slip and slide onto his backside while attempting to silently approach another door to the east. His yelp brings company- the Gardener (imagine Steven Segal saying it).

4.jpg

Titchmarsh, the Bugbear Gardener, spots Buggles messing with his hydrangea, "It's weeding time!"

The Gardener is a bugbear, in a smock and bee-keepers hat, but wielding a scythe almost as tall as he is (over six feet). The creature starts screaming and shouting up a storm in its foul tongue- which none of the PCs understand. Ram quickly retreats- while calling for his friends, and we swing into action.

Moments later a pair of bow wielding goblins race into the chamber from a door far to the south- but not, alas for Ram, too far away. The artillery open fire and the rogue takes an arrow to the shoulder. Only just recovered from his last dirt nap Ram is almost down in an instant.

Garumn (he rolls ‘19’ for initiative approx. 50% of the time) trundles forward and puts his Warhammer in the bugbear’s face, Buggles follows the dwarf paladin in and slices the beast- that hurt, but not as much as… THIS!

The Gardener scythes Buggles right back and almost guts the wood elf- from full (19 HP) to 1 HP in a bloody second.

There’s a lot of ‘oh sheeeeee…” going on around the VTT.

Newt fires up the feline agility, skirts the bugbear fracas and goes racing for the goblin artillery, and then with a burning hands incinerates one of the pair and leaves the other scorched and regretting its life choices.

“Zmite it, monsieur Garumm. ZMITE IT!” Vincenzo yells, and so Garumn does- and that’s all she wrote for the bugbear gardener.

Dead-dead-deaditty-dead.

Buggles meantime gets his second wind (3 HP back, a minor victory) while Vincenzo helps the wood elf out with the last of his spells- a cure wounds (for another 4 HP back, them dice).

Suddenly, down the southern end of the chamber Newt starts shouting for help- three more goblins (they’re only commoners, don’t panic) emerge from the chamber there and rush the tabaxi, hoping to beat him down with their wooden clubs.

5.jpg

New Tricks calls up a 'tank'- just prior to departing at speed, Garumn trundles forward- it's what he does.

Ram grabs his bow out and shoots one of the newly arrived goblins dead, Newt however is taking hits.

Garumn continues to trundle forward, en route to saving the tabaxi, he smashes another goblin down and then offers himself to the remaining irate goblins as an alternative target, while Newt gets the hell away. The paladin meantime gets clubbed (he’s AC 19 for Moradin’s sake, and these buggers- goblin commoners, are only +1 to hit) repeatedly.

Buggles rushes to the dwarf’s side and cuts another goblin down- there’s just one of the little bastards left, and its smart enough to dodge in and out of the southern chamber to fire its bow- Garumn stops an arrow- the paladin is left staggering (on maybe 2 HP).

Only the next time the goblin dodges out of the room there are three adventurers lying in wait for him, and more importantly with readied actions- the last goblin warrior doesn’t last long, an eldritch blast from Newt snaps the creature’s head clean off.

The fight is won.

[Bugbear gardener and a bunch of goblins 330 XP]

Garumn has to use the last of his spells (on himself) to allow him to go on, the Dark Squad are pretty beaten up, and save for maybe one healing potion between the five of them, have nothing more in the way of healing.

The newly revealed chambers are investigated- two of them, the one the bugbear came out of- to the east, and the one the goblins exited to the south. Both prove to be densely populated growing areas- more plants and fungi. Although, Ram- sneaking about, quickly realises that the chamber to the east bears more signs of the presence of a fire worm, investigations here are therefore swiftly curtailed.

[Avoid the fire worm 25 XP]

However Vincenzo determines to attempt to find some form of healing plant or fungi in any of the (safe) chambers- after a long search, with help from several of his colleagues, the druid finally finds several doses of a fungi called ‘brewbark’. A poison of sorts, with a minor healing ability.

Note Vince’s nature check was a 22, and the players were desperate for a little help… so, what the hell- although Brewbark is indeed a poison- anyone chewing the stuff for ten minutes has to make a DC 10 Con save (else something untoward happens, I’m not telling you what- see below) but also recovers 1-3 HP.

Vincenzo finds enough for five doses- that’s one each, funny that.

Garumn (two doses), Buggles and Ram all benefit from chewing the fungi, and none of them are affected by the poison.

[Finding healing fungi 50 XP]

That done the Dark Squad heads on- north, into the mirror chamber- another long thin barrel-ceilinged growing chamber, and with yet another growing chamber to the east. Ram, stealthily pokes his head around the door into the eastern room- he spies four robed skeleton gardeners at work on the plants here.

After a short debate it is decided to leave these new enemies to their own devices, the Dark Squad are still too beaten up, and very low on resources- they can’t afford anymore big hits.

[Leave the skellies be 25 XP]

The Dark Squad move on- north yet again, and into yet another growing chamber- the theme here is much damper, and much warmer, and therefore more fungi-orientated. The room is a riot of sickly coloured mushrooms and toadstools (et al).

There’s a fair amount of trepidation for a short while here- Ram just doesn’t like the look of the place, eventually Vince reassures the rogue- Ram heads on- nothing untoward happens, phew. There’s another door out of the chamber, to the south.

Onwards and into a much spookier chamber, a short corridor opens out into a high-ceilinged, half-domed room- the walls are dragon tiled, and in the centre of the space a fifteen foot tall statue of a red dragon rearing over a circular tile before it. The statue dragon’s eyes exude a red mist, which also illuminates the aforementioned tile.

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Most of the areas explored so far- there can't be that much left to find...

But that’s all we have time for this week, another session done and the Dark Squad are much (much) close to the end of this adventure (I tell them this), and they also need less than 100 XP each to reach level 3.

They understand (I think) my reason for making this last statement.

See you next time.

Stay safe.

Cheers goonalan.
 
Last edited:

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Goonalan

Adventurer
Supporter
Playa Playa
The ‘Ranger’ – A Haiku

Fleet-footed dash.
Deadly twin blades flash.
Hides in a bush.


From the pen of Ramshambo

DM Note- in the last session Buggles stated that he was going to hide in some foliage, the DM pointed out that the foliage in question was very low to the ground- maybe only three feet tall or so, and sparse, and very twiggy- so not an ideal hiding spot. The wood elf therefore needed to roll well... he rolled an adjusted (obviously) '27' and duly disappeared from sight.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the DM.
 


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