Hard Core Adventurers- KOTS 20.06 The Cathedral of Shadows


KOTS Part 4: The Kobold Lair- Irontooth.

[sblock=Party Line Up]

The Hard Core Adventurers Level 1


[sblock=Picture- Through the waterfall…]


Gokan charges in to the thick of the kobolds, screaming for all he’s worth. The terrified creatures react badly- not at all like front line soldiers, they shriek and yap fumbling for their weapons, their defences down. The half-orc lashes out with his battleaxe as he rushes forward, a kobold minion falls, and with his hand axe, and another falls, then pulls up short before a worthy enemy.

[sblock=Kobold Minion]

Kobold Minion
Minion Level 1


The kobold skirmisher stands his ground not in the least intimidated, or else frightened by the snarling barbarian- Gokan winks at the kobold, who for a moment is at a loss. Then he swings his hand axe, full force, the skirmisher juggles its spear and with great skill intercepts Gokan's attack. It yaps, and is about to wink back when it notices for the first time the trajectory of its enemy’s battleaxe.

[sblock=Kobold Skirmisher]

Kobold Skirmisher
Skirmisher Level 1


Gokan's almost lazy over-hand swing comes down, crunches in to the kobold's skull and splits its head in two, the skirmisher flops to the cold stone floor.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan leaves a trail of destruction]



Gokan Crits with his brand new +1 Vanguard Battleaxe for 33 HP damage, the Kobold Skirmisher had 32 HP- bingo, result!


Hedda pokes her head through the waterfall, ahead of her- with its back to her -is another kobold minion. She taps the reptilian on its shoulder, it jumps with fright and turns around only to meet the minotaur priestess’s terrifying gaze. The minion's legs turn to jelly; Hedda with her hand still on the creature's shoulder applies just a little pressure, drawing the petrified kobold towards her. She deftly steps aside, the kobold keeps on coming, and with a flick of Hedda’s wrist the reptilian is ushered through the waterfall and over the edge- crashing down on to the rocks below, it lies still.

Hal charges a little way in, swishes once with his greatsword and cuts another kobold minion down; Jimmy steps in to the chamber and spins a dagger out- and yet another minion falls. Sigur grumbles, mumbles and invokes and a single ghostly hand appears and gets to work, the last kobold still standing is tagged- it bursts in to ash, scorched by radiant energy.

The cavern has a number of shadowy exits, barely visible in the guttering torch light.

Gokan sniggers and crouches- footsteps, more kobold defenders approach, the half-orc turns to shush his compatriots.

[sblock=Picture- The surprise is over…]


A pair of kobolds lurch around the corner, straight in front of Gokan, the half-orc whirls and smashes in to them, but not before being stabbed in the thigh. The first kobold- a minion - falls, the second- another skirmisher - is left bleeding, bruised and battered. Gokan howls- ecstatic in the thick of battle.

The skirmisher however has other ideas, it lances its spear forward at just the right moment and skewers Gokan through his shoulder, the half-orc gulps and staggers as the blood spurts and gushes, he breathes in hard and then growls and screams some more.


Gokan is bloodied


Another minion rushes in from one of the myriad exits from the chamber, Hedda tries to shout a warning but spots movement close to her and has to turn away. Gokan is speared again- this time in his left thigh, the half-orc staggers and almost falls.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan takes a beating]


The minotaur priestess of Bahamut, having taken a few steps in to the chamber, has to suddenly give ground, as out of another of the exits a third kobold skirmisher comes running- spear in hand. Too slow, the minotaur is much too slow- she takes the full force of the blow and is left flailing, gasping for air.

But there's no time, another minion follows the skirmisher’s rush, this time Hedda is ready- her mace deflects the reptilian’s spear, even as she gives ground again- she can feel the cold of the water on her back, one more step and she's over the edge.

Hedda scrabbles at her chest, grabs her holy symbol and holds it aloft, she bellows as glowing rays spring from the symbol of the platinum dragon. The nearest skirmisher ducks just in time and is merely singed, the other targets are either much too quick or else the minotaur’s aim is off.

Yet another minion dashes in from the opposite side of the chamber and Hedda is speared again, she lurches forward but stays on her feet- slightly away from the edge, “Bahamut preserve!” Her healing energies wash over Gokan; she sacrifices herself so that the half-orc can carry on his work.

[sblock=Picture- Hedda takes a beating]



Hedda is bloodied


Gokan has no time to acknowledge the minotaur’s aid, the half-orc is struggling to keep his enemies at bay, alas he fails and is speared again.

Hal rushes over to help Hedda, the metal man lashes out with his greatsword, and in one stroke almost severs the kobold skirmisher’s right arm, which is left broken and cut to the bone. Hal reverses his blade, and suddenly stabs behind him, a kobold minion is skewered, and falls.

The reinforcements arrive just in the nick of time, while Gokan continues to hold the line, one of Jimmy’s daggers suddenly appears in the middle of a kobold minion’s chest, it slumps to the cold wet stone floor- dead.

In the same instance yet another trio of ghostly radiant hands are invoked, one misses its target, another takes out the last minion left standing, the third hand leaves the skirmisher Gokan is facing with radiant energy burns- yawping and staggering, and not long for this world.

Sigur marches in to the centre of the chamber and shouts for all to hear- “Is that the best you’ve got? Is it? Pathetic.”

[sblock=Picture- Hard Core back in control]


Over the sounds of battle Gokan, by far the furthest forward, can hear yet more hurried footsteps approaching- the battle is clearly far from over.

Gokan stares at the staggering kobold skirmisher before him, the creature sways under the half-orc’s gaze, he grunts, looks right- a shadowy cavern leads further in to the cave complex, sounds. Gokan listens intently- just for a second, he can hear the sound of footsteps, armoured footsteps, worthy enemies- in the moment he decides.

The half-orc glances over his shoulder, spots Hal and nods back towards the staggering skirmisher he was fighting, the metal man nods back and moves forward to engage the creature, Jimmy meanwhile rushes to Hedda's side to take Hal's place.

Gokan lopes forward, into the darkness; the half-orc disappears from sight.

Hal grips his greatsword tight and faces the skirmisher, which staggers, and yet somehow manages to connect with its spear- the metal man is again scratched and dented, not happy he cuts with his blade and the skirmisher falls.

The last kobold skirmisher, facing Jimmy and Hedda, tries for the smaller less well-armoured attacker, but the Halfling rogue is much too quick. The kobold's attack provides the minotaur with the opening she needs- her mace arcs up, and swiftly down, smashing in to the kobold’s chest, caving in its ribcage and sending it sprawling to the floor. The creature wheezes and tries desperately to suck in air, to no avail, like a fish out of water it flops and wriggles for the next ten or so seconds and then lies still.

[sblock=Picture- The chamber is clear]


Gokan follows the passage, there are lights ahead; around a corner, he turns in to a smaller torch-lit cavern chamber. Two short sword wielding kobolds dressed in scale armour- denwardens, adept soldiers, approach- yapping and snarling. Over the far side of the chamber, standing in an opening to yet another cavern is a skull-mask wearing kobold wyrmpriest. Gokan recognises the creature, from the first encounter with the kobolds on the road to Winterhaven.

[sblock=Kobold Denwarden]

Kobold Denwarden
Soldier Level 2


Bad Derek is back.

[sblock=Kobold Wyrmpriest- Bad Derek]

Kobold Wyrmpriest
Artillery Level 3


Gokan smirks, makes a rumbling sound in his throat and then bursts in to action, rage fills him and he is lost to the world- he becomes a killing machine. The half-orc leaps at the denwardens, his battleaxe whirls low, smashing into the reptilians’ armoured legs, the pair are sent sprawling on to the floor.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan locates some worthy enemies]


The half-orc lurches over and between the stranded prone denwardens, he continues to whirl, his blades oscillate high and low, both kobolds are smashed, and bashed, and slashed- they flounder, moan and pathetically wave their blades.


Gokan unleashes his Macetail Rage on the Kobold Denwardens, his Daily power, followed by an Action Point and Whirling Frenzy- four attacks, four hits. The Kobold Denwardens take 27 HP damage each, and are both left prone.


Jimmy, having followed Gokan out of the chamber, peeks around the corner to watch the half-orc in action.

The wyrmpriest reacts quickly, yaps and gestures furiously; a shadowy protective layer outlines the denwardens on the floor. The creature continues to shape and circle its hands- an all too familiar looking acid green ball is conjured. The kobold spell-caster launches the energy orb at Gokan who, flat-footed by his rage, is unable to dodge the burning missile.

Gokan screams in pain as the acid burns, he looks up but the wyrmpriest is gone.

In the main chamber, now empty save for Hedda, Hal and Sigur, all breathing hard, and looking triumphant, the moment of respite is suddenly shattered. Screaming from one of the darkened passages comes a... goblin, armed with a pair of nasty-looking battleaxes, the charging terror looks half-crazed.

[sblock=Goblin Chief- Irontooth]

Goblin Chief- Irontooth
Elite Brute Level 3


The goblinoid smashes in to Sigur, who takes an axe blow to his chest; the dwarf's armour suddenly shines brilliant purple and strikes back, although the goblin seems not to notice. Sigur flails wildly, and staggers, trying to stay on his feet.


Sigur is bloodied, in one hit.


Hal dashes across the chamber, slams his greatsword in to the goblin’s side, spinning the creature around to face him- “Fight me squishy one!” The warforged intones with all the threat and menace he can muster. The goblin seems immune- to pain or threat, it blinks once, twice in reply, and then curtly nods.

[sblock=Picture- Irontooth!]


“Irontooth kill.” The goblin simply states.


Several of the players around the table (three to be exact) have been through KOTS before, they know all about Irontooth. I don't mind this, and I didn't want to change the encounter- it's a terror. I figured- who cares that they know what's coming; it doesn't make Irontooth any less of a killer. Which is why Hal opened up with his Daily- Lasting Threat on the goblin, and for 20 damage, it seems the metal man is keen to take some hits- let's see how that works out for him.


Sigur, hammer in hand, spins like a top- mumbling odd-shaped words as he does so- his warhammer turns to solid stone in his hands, it thumps in to Irontooth, with all the force the dwarf can muster. The goblin barely reacts to a blow that would have sent any one of the other enemies sprawling.

Sigur's face betrays a new emotion- fear, or else trepidation. The dwarf takes a step back, out of the melee, concentrates hard- desperately trying to figure out what to do next. The dwarf gets his second wind, and then looking up to the damp stone ceiling, he intones angular words- a thunderclap sends flecks of rock spitting out as it bursts above the crazy goblin- Irontooth doesn't even blink, Sigur's invocation has no effect.

Jimmy, still peering around the cavern corner at Gokan in action, decides that now is the moment- two daggers fly in out quick succession- both denwardens are hit with pinpoint accuracy- in their faces. The effect is nearly too much for Jimmy, the halfling almost has to look away; the creatures are wailing, screaming, flailing- blinded by their own blood- or worse.

Jimmy shrinks inside a little, makes himself look again at the terrible wounds he has inflicted- “hard core”, the halfling whispers, and then launches a third dagger which catches one of the denwardens in the throat. It stops screaming and flailing, forever.


Jimmy goes for his Daily- Blinding Barrage there, to great effect.


The remaining denwarden waves its short sword feebly, vaguely in Gokan's direction, the half-orc snarls and watches the pathetic display, treads on the kobold's arm and with his other foot stamps down on its hand- breaking fingers and smashing the reptilian's wrist- the kobold spills its blade.

Gokan hawks, and spits at the pitiful, but seemingly not pitiable, broken reptilian.

[sblock=Picture- The Kobold Denwardens suffer]


Gokan stares down, grins and smashes his battleaxe in to the blind and broken denwarden. The half-orc still overcome by blood-lust lopes forward- searching for the wyrmpriest, Jimmy gulps and watches him disappear in to the dark of the exit opposite.

Hedda bellows, “Bahamut preserve!” Many of her wounds instantly heal over- she mutters a simple prayer to the platinum dragon and then unleashes her best shot. The minotaur priestess’s mace leaps in to furious flame, she dodges left and then swings heartily- thumping the blunt weapon in to Irontooth's side, the goblin's armour blackens and begins to burn, seconds later the creature is on fire.


Hedda goes for her Daily power- Avenging Flame and hits Irontooth for 16 damage and ongoing 5 Fire- good hit.


The minotaur swings again, her follow up attack thumps in to Irontooth's opposite side, the goblin's eyes flicker rapidly, its grin fades a little, for the first time the terrifying creature looks worried, if only a little.


Irontooth is bloodied.


The goblin reacts with fury, its twin battleaxes lash out in a flurry- the first blow crashes in to Hal, cutting clean through the metal man's right arm and following through to rip in to his chest. The lights go out of Hal's eyes instantly, he concertinas and collapses.


Hal is down again, and on -7 HP after being hit for 23 damage with one attack. Irontooth's battleaxes deal 2d8+6 damage with an extra 1d10 when, as now, the goblin is bloodied- nasty.


The next axe attack is aimed at Hedda, the minotaur blocks with her mace but it’s not enough, her weapon is shattered and broken. Irontooth's axe thuds in to the minotaur's chest, splitting her armour- she staggers.


Hedda is bloodied, actually reduced to 7 HP, after being hit for 18 damage.


Hedda bellows forlornly, tries desperately to turn side on, to make herself a smaller target, her eyes widen as she watches Irontooth's battleaxe come again- she has no defence, the blade crashes in to her shoulder, she falls.


Hedda is on -9 HP after taken a second hit for 16 damage- Irontooth rocks.


Sigur, now alone in the chamber with Irontooth looks terrified, the goblin- still burning, stomps forward as the dwarf scuttles back.

[sblock=Picture- Sigur vs Irontooth]


“Irontooth kill.” The goblin simply states as his armour continues to blacken and smoke.

Gokan dodges around another corner, staggers out in to yet another large torch-lit chamber; an acid green energy orb bursts on the cavern wall a few feet to the half-orc's right. Gokan spies the fleeing wyrmpriest- lopes off after the deadly spell-caster.

Jimmy meantime scurries back along the passage, back towards the first chamber- the halfling crouched low spies within and takes in the scene of destruction- only Sigur still standing, with a strange looking goblin stalking the dwarf.

Jimmy reacts in an instant, his dagger flies and thuds in to the goblin's back, Irontooth stops, looks back over his shoulder at the halfling and grins.

“Irontooth kill.” The goblin points with one of its axes at Jimmy, the halfling’s legs quiver and shake, like jelly.

“You will fall!” Sigur suddenly declares, with certainty- Irontooth turns back to the dwarf as a hazy red curtain blasts out from the wrathful invoker. The goblin takes a hurried step backwards as its mind is suddenly filled with terrifying bloody visions- Irontooth's broken bloodied body shattered and bleeding on the cold stone floor.

For a second, perhaps less than second, Irontooth doubts. Then the goblin grins and begins to spin its twin battleaxes.

“Irontooth kill.” The goblin reaffirms and stalks forward.

[sblock=Picture- The final confrontation]


Ahead of Gokan the kobold wyrmpriest scurries in to the waterfall chamber, and once again around a corner and out of sight. Gokan stops, shakes his head, flecks of spittle fall from the half-orc's lips, he can see the destruction meted on his friends.

Screaming, Gokan lurches in to a charge, full pace he smashes in to Irontooth's back- both axes biting deep and levering the flaming goblin to its knees.


Irontooth is on 6 HP after being hit for 28 damage by Gokan's Howling Strike combined with Takedown Strike to knock the Goblin prone- surely the end is in sight...


Hedda meantime lying on her back blinks her eyes open- staring up at the stone ceiling of the cavern, she coughs and chokes, the minotaur is surrounded by a slick of her own blood.


Hedda fails her first Death Save.


Irontooth is not beaten however, the goblin levers himself to his feet- fighting Gokan every inch of the way, the half-orc trying desperately to push the goblin back down. The goblin’s armour is still smouldering and burning, at last Irontooth stands- facing Gokan.

“Irontooth kill.” The goblin declares one more time and lashes his twin battleaxes round in a low arc. The leading blade smashes in to Gokan's legs, shattering one of the half-orc's knee caps. Gokan falls- thumps hard on to the cold stone floor, unconscious before he hits the deck.


Gokan is on -10 HP after taking 22 damage in a single hit, note each time Irontooth connects, the goblin heals 5 hit points.


The kobold wyrmpriest grins and sends yet another acid energy orb thudding in to Sigur's chest, the dwarven invoker staggers backwards- his robes and armour burnt, blasted and smoking.

“Surrender and my master will let you live...” The wyrmpriest states in perfect common.


Sigur is bloodied, again.


Jimmy, still hidden from sight, makes his decision- the halfling creeps forward and with both hands plunges his dagger deep in to the crazy goblin's back. Irontooth blinks once, and then without a sound falls forward and slaps hard on to the wet stone-dead.

[sblock=Picture- Irontooth is dead]


Sigur staggers backwards, the dwarf mumbles and grumbles again as a shadowy red curtain bursts from him and engulfs the wyrmpriest- the kobold suddenly looks terrified as it experiences dark visions of its bloody death, the moment passes in an instant but the creature still looks panicked.

“Throw down your weapons, you stupid stinking lizard.” Sigur spits and snarls.

The kobold wyrmpriest looks left at Jimmy, then right at Sigur- the mouthy dwarf, its hands all the while circle and shape to form yet another green orb- the creature lets fly and moments later the acid missile bursts on to Sigur's body.

The dwarf looks down at his singed and blackened form, his armour and robes now completely burnt away from his chest and upper body, Sigur opens his mouth as if to speak, looks up at Jimmy, and then topples forward and crashes head first in to the cold stone floor.


Sigur is on -2 HP, it’s just Jimmy and the Kobold Wyrmpriest left.


Jimmy gulps, grips tight to his dagger, dashes forward and stabs out- the kobold wyrmpriest twists and turns and avoids the blow; Jimmy pulls up just short of the waterfall, close to the edge. To the right of the halfling Sigur violently and suddenly shivers and shakes, the dwarf convulses, his body and spirit almost fatally broken.


Sigur fails his Death Save.


Jimmy takes a step to his side, intent on trying to do something to aid the fallen dwarf.

“I wouldn't do that...” The kobold states, again in perfect common, the creature grins and stalks forward drawing a jagged-edged vicious looking dagger from its belt.

“Two can play that game, little one…” The wyrmpriest spins the blade from hand to hand, expertly.

[sblock=Picture- Jimmy vs the Kobold Wyrmpriest- Bad Derek]


Jimmy and the wyrmpriest manoeuvre, the pair circle each other- both having to step gingerly between the myriad fallen bodies.

The wyrmpriest with its vicious-looking curved dagger darts forward and strikes, Jimmy twists and turns and avoids the blade. The halfling stabs back but the wyrmpriest is no slouch, the kobold's reactions are lightning fast- it dodges the halfling's deft strike.

The pair break and go back to circling, a few feet away from Jimmy Hedda suddenly coughs and splutters, lets loose a slick of dark red blood- it sounds like she is choking, drowning.


Hedda fails her second Death Save.


Jimmy looks terrified as he watches the minotaur's dying breaths. The kobold wyrmpriest stops too, to take in the moment.

“You could try to save her.” The wyrmpriest nods at the fallen Hedda, “or we could watch her die?”

Jimmy turns back, grimaces at the wyrmpriest, who smiles back and spins its dagger in its hand, the halfling watches, waits, and then pounces...

Jimmy catches his foot on a dead kobold minion's bloody hand, the halfling stumbles, and the wyrmpriest darts forward and slashes with its vicious blade. The two desperate combatants collide, Jimmy's off hand grips tight to the kobold's wrist- preventing its blade from completing its terrible arc. The kobold's free hand is likewise employed- keeping Jimmy's dagger at bay.

Jimmy pushes, grits his teeth and strains, the kobold pushes back, the pair wrestle and circle, the kobold's blade inches closer to Jimmy's neck. The halfling suddenly shifts his weight, trying to turn the blade aside; the wyrmpriest however is ready and twists in time to the halfling's movement.

Its vicious dagger inches closer still, until its keen edge pricks the halfling’s skin. This time it’s the kobold which shifts and redistributes its weight, drawing a line of red across the halfling's throat.

Blood wells, and drips, or rather slicks in a curtain down Jimmy's leather armour- the halfling gasps as his blood bubbles and froths in his throat.

“Noooo!” Jimmy screams and suddenly lurches forward. The pair clash, and then as suddenly pull apart; Jimmy staggers backwards clutching at his wound, blood seeping through his fingers.

The kobold takes two steadying steps backwards, and grins as the halfling staggers.

“Not long now...” The kobold spits out, and nods towards Jimmy, “there's no shame- you fought well.”

Jimmy sinks to one knee, looks down at the pooling blood, then looks up, breathes hard, and nods at the kobold- the wyrmpriest follows Jimmy's gaze.

The halfling's dagger is lodged deep in the small reptilian humanoid's gut; the wyrmpriest drops his vicious blade, staggers backwards and forlornly hisses. The kobold takes another step back, now clutching on to the hilt of the blade- with a gasp he draws Jimmy’s dagger out, gasps, and steps backwards through the waterfall and off the edge.

[sblock=Picture- The end of the Wyrmpriest]


Jimmy drops to one knee, then all fours, and then somehow with the last of his strength propels himself forward towards salvation- Hedda.

Jimmy arrives just in time. Hedda's eyes blink open, the minotaur grabs out and clutches the halfling's hand, with an iron grip, she chokes and spits, and speaks in a harsh wet whisper “the keep... cultists...”

The minotaur's body suddenly shudders, as if seized and squeezed by some terrible foe. Jimmy struggles to control the convulsions- Hedda gasps, her eyes suddenly wide-open in absolute terror, and then she dies.


That’s her third failure and Hedda is gone, Stu needs a new PC.

But we’re not finished yet…


“NOOOO!” Jimmy screams again, louder this time, his tiny fists thump in to Hedda's chest- the great bull-headed priestess does not stir. Jimmy cries- great jagged sobs, goes to strike Hedda again and then suddenly looks about him- Gokan is the next nearest.

The halfling, now with a greater impetus, crawls over to the half-orc as fast as he can, desperately feels for a pulse, his hands shaking, it takes a while. Jimmy works methodically now, he fetches out water and bandages from his pack, his hands search out Gokan's wounds- staunch the flow of the half-orc’s slick red blood.

The result is startling, Gokan stirs, blinks hard and then nods, very slightly, at the halfling- Jimmy grins and sobs.

Through his tears Jimmy looks up to see Sigur, slumped in the corner, the dwarf's eyes suddenly blink open- he goes to speak but as with Hedda is beset by tremors. The dwarf's head thwoks repeatedly in to the stone cavern wall, the quake passes and Sigur’s eyes close again. The dwarf slumps forward- no longer breathing.


Sigur fails his second Death Save.


Jimmy is back in action, the halfling shuffles over as quick as he can to Sigur, behind him Gokan manages to roll on to his side, and then slowly, with one leg hanging limp, crawl forward. The half-orc follows Jimmy over.

The pair combine their efforts, Jimmy having already ascertained that Sigur has a pulse, although it’s fading fast. The pair work together, quickly and quietly, to patch and staunch the dwarf's myriad wounds, and yet...

Sigur seems not to be responding, his pulse continues to fade, now and then it skips a beat.

Jimmy's tears come again, the halfling rocks back and forth making mewling sounds as he continues to work.

And still Sigur's pulse fades, and fluctuates.


Until it’s gone.

The forlorn pair, the halfling and the half-orc look down at Sigur's broken body. Jimmy continues to rock back on forth, still crying quietly.

Gokan slides himself next to Jimmy, the half-orc's expression serene.

“He's gone.” Jimmy snuffles.

Gokan suddenly and unexpectedly acts; the half-orc with lightning speed locks his hand together raises them high above his head and then thumps them down, as hard as he can, on to Sigur's chest- a thudding hammer blow.

The effect is instantaneous.

Sigur coughs.



And then blinks open his eyes.

“Do that again, and I'll kill ya.” The dwarf states in a voice with such menace that even Gokan's face registers, for a brief moment, fear.

Then Sigur grins.

[sblock=Encounter #4 Synopsis, PC XP & DM’s thoughts]

Encounter #4 The Kobold Lair, starring-

Kobold Minion (Minion Level 1) x10
Kobold Skirmisher (Skirmisher Level 1) x3
Kobold Denwarden (Soldier Level 2) x2
Kobold Wyrmpriest (Artillery Level 3) x1
Goblin Chief- Irontooth (Elite Brute Level 3) x1

Total 1250 XP for a Level 6 Encounter.

The same as the module, why mess with this encounter when 75% of the time it’s a PC killer.

That said I did dock the PCs 150 XP- why you ask, well that’s because Bad Derek the Kobold Wyrmpriest… well, you’ll see.


220 XP each for a total of 689 XP in total (PCs Level 1).

DM Thoughts-

It’s never dull the Irontooth encounter, but for this run it played out like a dream. In game the guys were constantly aware that the big bad goblin- Irontooth, would be coming out to play some time very soon- and they knew I’d fixed the damage (more not less). As I’ve stated previously three of the players have been in this encounter before, although for one of them it proved to be terminal. The other two players were aware of this encounter also- it seems to have taken on an almost legendary (good or bad- you decide) status.

A fantastic outcome, I couldn’t have asked for any more- obviously the death of Hedda is a bad thing, but in some ways I enjoy it when one or two PCs die, particularly at low level, it emphasises to the players just how tough the game can be. The fact that the encounter was almost a TPK- but for Jimmy none of them would be around was also excellent.

The encounter lit a fire beneath the players- no bad thing, you’ll hear more about this in the story. The guys were mad (Hedda’s dead) and excited (I killed Irontooth/Jimmy saved us) in about equal quantity.


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KOTS Part 4a: Aftermath.

“What will you do?” Jimmy asks staring over the fire at Gokan.
The half-orc shrugs and goes back to poking the embers.
“I mean, we've got Douvern back...” Jimmy tails off as he notices Sigur's stare.

Jimmy follows the dwarf's gaze, in the back of the cave Hedda's body lies, wrapped in blankets; the minotaur priestesses’ horns protruding slightly from the make-shift burial shroud.

Hal, breaks his reverie, the metal man's eyes light up, slowly- flickering slightly.
“We should return to Douvern, tomorrow. He will know what to do. We should take the priestesses’ body home... Wherever that is.” The metal man falls silent, then turns and goes back to reconnecting the various strange metallic ropes and cables which twist and snake within his exposed upper arm- now reconnected to his body.

Sigur nods.

Jimmy shrugs. Then nods.

Time passes oh so slowly, just the sound of the fire and the plashing susurrus of the waterfall, every now and then a toenail of the moon shines and shows through the blue-silver curtain of water.

“What about this stuff?” Jimmy grabs out a clutch of crudely written notes- found earlier in the search of the lair, along with a chest containing more gold than any of the assembled adventurers has ever seen.

“Who's behind this- don't you want to know?” Jimmy continues to wave the papers, anger in his voice, the halfling's eyes blazing.

Gokan and Hal stop to stare at Jimmy.

Sigur awkwardly gets to his feet, gingerly- clearly in a great deal of pain, the dwarf circles the fire and his friends till he stands next to the halfling.

The dwarf kneels gritting his teeth in pain, then sits.

“What are we going to do?” Jimmy asks again, his anger directed at Sigur.

The dwarf says nothing just levers one of his massive arms around the halfling's shoulders and leaves it there. Jimmy sobs for a good while longer.

Every now and then each of the adventurers takes a moment, when they think their friends are not looking, to stare again at the broken Hedda.

Then, beset by nightmares, in terrible pain, hungry and desperately sad, they eventually sleep.

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KOTS Part 4b: Back to Winterhaven.

The journey back to Winterhaven is slow going, Gokan and Hal tote a make-shift bier, lashed to which is Hedda, or rather Hedda's broken body. They make regular breaks, only Sigur looks impatient to get back to the fortified town, all of them are quiet.

The only chatter comes at the start of their journey, while exiting the waterfall cave...

Gokan points at a scuffed and stained patch of grass, and then wonder of wonders, speaks- “blood trail...” The half-orc shields his eyes in the low morning sun, scans the clearing and the tree-line.

Jimmy looks about him, slowly at first, cautiously, the halfling's pace quickens until he's frantically searching for something, or rather someone.

“The wyrmpriest's body is gone.” Jimmy finally offers, exasperated.
“Current took it.” Sigur states with a shrug.
The quartet scans the stream for a while.
“I don't know.” Jimmy worries.

The halfling rests his hand on the ornate and vicious looking dagger at his belt, the wyrmpriest's blade- magical, Sigur has already ascertained.

“Come on.” Sigur states, remarkably calmly, and then leads them off...

The guardsmen at the gates to Winterhaven jump in to action the moment they see the approaching adventurers. After much shouting a pair of men race out to help the wanderers home- and are duly shooed away by Sigur.

The dwarf glares at the pair when they attempt to wrest the bier from Hal and Gokan, the guardsmen scurry off back to the gate.

Rond is quickly found, as is Sister Lenora, the pair crowd around. The market place falls to silence as the odd-looking group trudges across the cobbled area to Wrafton's Inn. Douvern emerges just in time to open the door.

“Oh Erathis!” The old man exclaims and is quickly to the stretcher, it soon becomes apparent to the ex-adventurer that Hedda has paid the ultimate price.

“Oh Erathis!” The old man continues to say at regular intervals, between clutching Jimmy to him, patting and tenderly touching Gokan and Hal, and every now and then looking sad-eyed at the dour looking Sigur.

The group head inside, bringing chaos with them.

There's a lot of fuss, a lot of townsfolk ferrying drinks, and food, and kind words, and... Jimmy eventually finds a chair by the fire and falls asleep. Gokan excuses himself a little later and heads upstairs, Hal on the other hand shuts down soon after entering the Inn.

The metal man stands as still as a statue in a shadowy corner while people continue to come and go, to worry over the body of the minotaur priestess.

Only Sigur stays awake, keeping a close eye on the activity in the Inn, the locals however give the dwarf a wide berth.

And so it goes for the rest of the day, the 21st day of the third month of 2012 passes, a terrible landmark in the lives of the Hard Core adventurers.

Last edited:


KOTS Part 4c: Decisions.

The 23rd day of the third month of the year 2012, after sleep, after food, after healing, after rest, after the funeral- then comes the argument.

“We should investigate further.” Douvern states.
“We?” Sigur harrumphs.
“You’re not going anywhere dad.” Jimmy finishes.

Douvern looks crestfallen, and yet...

“We're taking you home- to mom. The next caravan out of here.” Jimmy adds.
Douvern bangs his tankard down on the table, rises and heads off to the bar.

Silence, then...

Gokan grunts and shakes his head.

Jimmy gets the feeling he's being... somethinged, mocked maybe.
“What?” The halfling snaps at the half-orc.

Gokan rubs his chin.
“Dad's right.”

Jimmy exhales loudly leans hard back in his chair, exhales again- louder still.

“Oh and you know best?” The halfling states leaning forward and staring at Gokan.

The half-orc shrugs.
“Dad's right.”
It’s as simple as that- or so it seems to Gokan.

Sigur drains the last of his tankard, looks over at Douvern at the bar- his friend appears suddenly to have grown old- very old, and... he knows it. The dwarf looks down at the spider's web of straps and bandages which cover his chest. I know how you feel, Sigur thinks.

“We should send him back. On the next caravan. Like you said.” Sigur states.
“Then what? Investigate? Us?” Jimmy does little to hide the sarcasm in his voice.
“Yes.” Sigur and Gokan chorus back.
The halfling goes to speak- thinks better of it, he closes his mouth.

Jimmy stares at his father, at the bar.

Gokan and Sigur follow his gaze.

Outside it’s raining, although the market is in full swing.

Jimmy gets up and wanders over to the window, wipes a pane of glass with his sleeve and then stares out.

Eventually the halfling turns back to his companions, he’s smiling, “he's still stood there.” Jimmy declares.
Sigur rumbles- laughter, he chokes briefly and coughs loudly all the while holding his chest, the dwarf's eyes water a little.

Gokan doesn't know quite where to look, the half-orc grins, makes a strange-strangled noise, a shivering hissing sound, then puffs out his cheeks and desperately tries not to laugh out loud.

Jimmy bends double, his tears sting as he is overcome by lilting giggles.

“He's still stood there.” The halfling repeats, when he can, and slip-slides on to the floor, clutching at his sides.

Out in the market place, in the driving rain, Hal stands- waiting, patiently.

The metal man has been trying, and repeatedly failing, to purchase a 'long weight' for the last three-and-a-half hours. Hal is however, as always, determined.

The 24th day of the third month of the year 2012, and the adventurers are still at the Inn. Although decisions have been made, in many ways it has been an odd day.

It all started very early, before anybody, and in particular the night guard at the Winterhaven gate, was ready...

“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of Bahamut...”

The armed and armoured dragonborn tuts, and rattles the gate - again. It's the third time he's repeated his speech in the last fifteen minutes, and still no-one comes.

Tantalus stands outside the gates of Winterhaven, which are firmly shut- it being only a few minutes after sunrise. In the rain- that fine rain which seems not to penetrate clothing, but on closer inspection has in fact soaked you to the skin.

The dragonborn rests his head on the gate, and sighs.

It continues to rain, somewhere beyond the walls of Winterhaven a cock crows.

“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of...”
CLUNK! Tantalus looks up, a badly dressed guardsman yawns and looks down on him leaning over the battlements above. “What?” The guardsman casually asks.
“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant...”
“Yeah. Got that. What d'you want?” The guardsman asks and yawns again.
“I wish to enter; I bear important communications from High Priest Nedveid Allastor...”
“Who?” The guard spits on his hand, removes his helmet, and proceeds to slick his bed-head hair down.
“High Priest Nedveid Allastor Fortunata...” Tantalus tries again, and once more fails to conclude his speech.
“We open in thirty minutes...” The guardsman suddenly moves off, out of sight.

Tantalus looks confused, the dragonborn has lead a sheltered life, surrounded for most of it by his fellow adherents- Tantalus was born in to the service of Bahamut. He is used to order, bound by rules, tradition and faith.

“Hello...” Tantalus tries again.


“Hello...” And again.


“I said 'Hello'” Tantalus adjusts the volume, from loud to very loud.

A sound, the guardsman appears once more, leans his folded arms on the battlements and yawns again, and eventually asks, “what?”
“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of...” Tantalus gabbles in a rush.
“We open in the thirty minutes, I told you- don't make me come down there...” The guard warns and looks cock-eyed at the dragonborn. The guard goes to move away.

“You are not fit to wear the uniform, you rude and irritating little man.” Tantalus states, and stares up at the guardsman. “Now open this gate or I will be forced to open it myself.”

The guardsman goes through a dozen emotions very quickly, the first and most prominent of which is good old 'anger'.

“Go on then. Open the gate.” The guard finally states when he has mastered his thoughts.

Before the guard can finish his sentence Tantalus takes a step back, breathes in, and then breathes out- with devastating effect. Bolts of lightning fizz and crackle- spat from the dragonborn's maw, they smash in to the gate. Wood splinters and shatters, the damage is superficial but the effect is instant…

“Why you, dirty...” The rest of the guard's words are lost as the human scurries out of sight. Moments later from the other side of the gate comes the sound of fast approaching footsteps, followed by more sounds, a great mechanism being unlocked or else...


The next bit happens very quickly. A crack of light appears in the centre of the gate, Tantalus slams in to the gate with all his might- the newly unlatched gate in turn slams in to the human guardsman standing directly behind it.

The guardsman slumps to the cobbled stone floor, and does not stir.

The next bit is a little more leisurely, Tantalus slips in to Winterhaven- pushes the gate shut, reapplies the latch and then drags the guardsman's unconscious body out of the rain.

The dragonborn looks around, spots the Inn, and marches over to it.

The door to the hostel is shut.

“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of Bahamut... ” The dragonborn states, and then trails off, “... forget it.”

He plonks himself down on the front step of the Inn, fetches out a pipe, wraps his cloak around him and on his third attempt lights the briar. It’s going to be a long day- the dragonborn decides.

Several hours later, after a brief visit to the authorities, an argument with an upstart young human Lord, and a series of humble apologies Tantalus finds himself at last in the right place, upstairs in Wrafton’s Inn.

Seated around a tastefully decorated living room, belonging to Serena Wrafton- owner of the Inn, are Jimmy, Sigur, Hal, Gokan, Douvern, Rond and Lord Padraig; standing before them is… Tantalus, of course.

The dragonborn tries again.

“I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of Bahamut...”
“What?” Jimmy stares.
The dragonborn replies, slowly- “I am Tantalus Orontor Ne-an Koriolis Arbon, second lieutenant of the holy order of the Knights of Bahamut...”
“Never mind that, get on with it.” Douvern waves his hand impatiently.
“I was sent here by High Priest…” Tantalus trails off for a moment, and then plunges on, “I was sent here by my order, to root out the evil cultists who have infected this region. My masters fear that some event is about to take place here that will have far-reaching consequences; I have been sent to guide you brave adventurers in to the depths of the Shadow Keep. There we will risk all to turn the tide, to battle unholy abominations in order to bring an end to the terror that broods there.” Tantalus finishes his dramatic speech.
“Abom…” Gokan wonders.
“Did he say Tantalus?” Jimmy asks still uncertain.
Sigur grins, Hal doesn’t even blink- just stares straight ahead.
Lord Padraig and Rond look worried, Douvern beats them all to the next line.
“Why turn up now?”
“My comrade, Hedda, has fallen- yes?”
Douvern nods.
“My master was monitoring her progress, he sent me… as a replacement.” Tantalus finishes.

The room falls silent for a moment.

The moment stretches.

“What cultists? There are no cultists around here.” Lord Padraig starts with a question and ends with a statement.
“My Lord the cultists are within the Keep, foul creatures- goblins mostly, although we believe a number of undead are also present. The leader of the cult is alas unknown to us, and yet he lurks there- within the shattered remains of the Keep, we are certain.”
“This is nonsense…” Padraig splutters, Rond looks less sure.

The silence returns, for a while.

Eventually Sigur fetches from a pouch at his belt a bunch of papers, the dwarf grunts and then proffers them to Tantalus.

While the dragonborn reads, Sigur speaks- “they’re orders, to the Kobolds, actually to the kobolds’ leader- Irontooth, the goblin, the one that we told you about- the one who slew Hedda.” Sigur looks suddenly sick.

“They’re all signed with a ‘K’. They could be from the Keep, I reckon they’re from somewhere close by. They’re orders for attacks on caravans, and in particular on adventurers, in fact anyone wanting to get to Winterhaven.”
“I didn’t…” Lord Padriag starts, “let me see those…” The young Lord is passed the papers.

Sigur goes on, “when we fought the gnome and the humans, when we rescued you my friend”, Sigur nods at Douvern, the old man smiles back, “a spectral figure appeared- a human, he ordered the gnome to attack us.”

Jimmy, Hal and Gokan nod.

Sigur has more, “the gnome was told by the spectral figure that he would be visited by goblins…” The dwarf leaves it there.

Gokan nods then grunts. “We should at least find out.” The half-orc states.

“That’s what Hedda meant…” Jimmy whispers, to stares, he elaborates, “before she died, Hedda said something about the Keep… and cultists.”

The silence returns.

Hal suddenly stands, “I am unsure of the veracity of your statements”, Hal addresses Tantalus, the dragonborn nods- while Jimmy looks confused and mouths the word ‘veracity’. Hal continues, “but I fear there is some semblance of truth- I think it behoves us to venture in to this place and reconnoitre the locale.”

It’s Gokan’s turn to look confused- the Halfling and the half-orc share questioning glances and shrugs.

Sigur shakes his head, grumbles, and translates, “the metal man reckons we should pay a visit on this ‘K’- kick his backside.”

Hal nods.

Jimmy and Gokan nod too.

Douvern looks concerned.

Suddenly the dragonborn draws his longsword, which leads to a flurry of activity; Tantalus however swiftly kneels, bows his head and prays, aloud.

“Lord Bahamut, protector of the innocent, I swear this day to lead these stalwart adventurers…”
Jimmy looks at Gokan, the Halfling points at himself- the half-orc nods his head, Jimmy grins and mimes laughter.
“… in to the hellish depths of the foul construction known as Shadow Keep. I will lead them valiantly to victory against the abominations that lurk there- I will not turn from the light oh Lord…”
Jimmy makes circling movements at the side of his head.
“… I swear this Lord, with my heart, with my soul, with my blood- for I am Tantalus Oron…”
“Got it- Tonka.” Jimmy shouts, the dragonborn looks up. “What?”
“Tonka- Tantalus-whatsit-whatsit-whatsit-whatsit. Your name- Tonka.” Jimmy looks around the room, encounters only grins.

Sigur breaks the spell. “Come on then… Tonka. Get done with your praying, we’re going to the Keep tomorrow. And you.” The dwarf motions towards Douvern. “You’re going home- to Gerda.”
Douvern bows his head, but says nothing.


Tonka, Male Dragonborn Inspiring Warlord Level 1

Played by Stu


And so on the 25th day, of the third month of the year 2012 the adventurers, after teary farewells to Douvern, set out for the Keep, led by Tonka- whose grin is a mile wide.

Before heading out they of course spend a little time and money in town- replenishing supplies, finding out what they can, and making ready for the trials ahead.

They procure two healing drafts from Sister Lenora at the church of Avandra.

They visit briefly with a local sage by the name of Valthruin who, for an extortionate amount of money, tells the tale of the Keep- centuries old, a bastion of the old Nerath empire. The fortress fell to internal strife over a century ago when the master of the Keep- Lord Keegan, ran amok and slew his family and many of his men. The Keep's salvation came in the form of the terrible Lord's deputy, whose name is alas lost to history. The unnamed hero, it is said, rallied the men left alive and contrived to corner Lord Keegan in the catacombs of the Keep. They trapped him there, collapsing the exits, entombing forever their former Lord. The Keep was soon after abandoned- considered cursed and haunted, even before the great wars and the fall of the Nerath empire.

They also learn a little more from Douvern, before the old man heads back to Fallcrest on the weekly trade caravan. It seems the mirror Agrid the gnome and his men found at the burial site is an heirloom of the Keegan family. Although certainly not a possession of Lord Keegan, it is a child’s trinket.

The adventurers put two and two together- 'K' for Keegan, entombed in the catacombs of the Keep- it looks increasingly like Tonka knows what he is talking about.

The journey is easily accomplished in only three hours, directions having been obtained from Rond, Lord Padraig's man.

The Keep, when they see it, is disappointing- an ancient ruin, overgrown by brambles, thistles and long grasses.

Tonka backs away a little, whispers his new colleagues over, crouched a hundred or so yards from the haphazard piles of broken stone, the dragonborn begins his speech- “I suggest a diamond formation, I am unfamiliar with your individual strengths and weaknesses…”

Jimmy looks at the faces of his companions- Hal seems to be listening, Gokan already looks confused, while Sigur looks… irritated.

Tonka continues “… we need to consider our spacing when it comes to close quarters, that’s where a good tactical deployment will serve us best. We nee…” The dragonborn suddenly draws to a halt; having taken account of his compatriots’ confused looks- perhaps he needs to simplify…

“Jimmy, when it comes to fighting where will you position yourself?” Tonka asks plainly.
The Halfling draws the vicious magical dagger the wyrmpriest left behind, “behind you.” Jimmy states and grins as the blade catches the light.

[sblock=Jimmy Hoofenburger]

Jimmy Hoofenburger, Male Halfling Trickster Rogue Level 1

Played by Dan

Now with +1 Vicious Dagger


Gokan nods once, and moves forward at a crouch, towards the ruins of the Keep.

“Where’s he…” Tonka begins.
“Shut up or I will burn you.” Sigur states without a flicker of emotion.

Five minutes later the half-orc returns, and leads the group quickly and quietly through the tall grass to a set of stairs leading down in to the darkness.

“Wh…” Tonka starts, but is silenced instantly by a duo of menacing stares- courtesy of Gokan and Jimmy, and a rabbit punch to the gut- courtesy of Sigur. Hal all the while watches the stairs.

Jimmy grins, fingers the edge of his blade briefly, and then heads down in to the shadows...

Last edited:


KOTS Part 5: In to the Shadow Keep.

[sblock=Party Line Up]

The Hard Core Adventurers Level 1


Jimmy scans the stairs ahead, spots a number of scattered dried bones on the steps- points them out to his compatriots and then, hugging the wall, descends out of sight.

The halfling emerges in to a square chamber; perhaps thirty or more feet to a side, four great stone pillars support the ceiling- ancient and crumbling. The floor of the chamber is heaped with rubble in places and pooled with water in others.

There are three exits, darkened corridors to the east and west, the third corridor heading south is faintly highlighted, the glow of torches further down the passage- it seems to open out a little way ahead.

Jimmy takes a step forward and then suddenly stops, there's something in the south corridor- something on the floor, an animal.

Jimmy squints to see, he can't make it out, with tiny steps he moves forward- towards the nearest pillar.

He makes it.

Takes a moment and breathes hard, he can smell something odd, an animal smell, like wet fur. Jimmy keeps his eyes on the stairs and his back to the pillar- the halfling watches as Gokan creeps silently to the bottom of the steps. The half-orc grins, and nods towards the southern passage.

Cautiously the halfling leans around the pillar and looks again- wolf, it’s a wolf, a mangy hound but a wolf all the same.

[sblock=Wolf Packmate]

Wolf Packmate
Minion Skirmisher Level 1


Jimmy gulps air, holds it, and with cheeks puffed nods at Gokan- the half-orc raises his hand signalling to those behind him.

The halfling rogue quietly steps out from behind the pillar and flings his new found vicious dagger.

The dagger spirals madly in the air and then thumps in to the mangy wolf's side; the animal yowls once, half-rises and then slumps to the floor.

“Yesss.” Jimmy hisses and pumps his fist.

Rising from the shadow of the wolf is another equally mangy beast. The second wolf yowls- again and again, and then launches itself towards the now terrified halfling, bounding over its fallen mate, to get at Jimmy.

[sblock=Picture- Brother Wolf]


The halfling's new magical dagger suddenly reappears in his hand, just at the moment the wolf packmate snaps, bites, tears and shreds Jimmy's right thigh.

It’s the halfling's turn to yowl.

A third wolf suddenly appears in the southern corridor, trots forward, and then breaks in to a charge- Gokan surges from the stair, hollering and screaming at the top of his lungs. The half-orc en route to his enemy slashes out with his hand axe, which thumps in to the flank of the wolf latched on to Jimmy- the creature lets go of the halfling, half-turns and then falls, whimpering- not long for this world.

Gokan rushes on towards the fast approaching lupine, which leaps... and is swatted out of the air by the half-orc's magical battleaxe- the dead wolf lands some fifteen feet away, just short of the corridor exiting to the east of the chamber.

Gokan slows his pace, and squints ahead, there's definitely another chamber down the southern passage, and something moving...

Suddenly skittering in to the corridor comes yet another wolf, this one however is a proper wolf, at least that's what Gokan thinks, a massive snarling grey furred beast. The beast lopes forward, spurred on by the martial looking goblin riding on its back.

[sblock=Goblin Beast Rider mounted on Grey Wolf]

Goblin Beast Rider & Grey Wolf
Skirmisher Level 1 & Skirmisher Level 2


The goblin rider readies its javelin, like a lance, and digs its heels in to the wolf’s flanks, the creature yowls and charges forward. The terrible duo burst in to the first chamber and smash in to Gokan, who is much too slow.

The goblin's javelin skewers the half-orc, the tip of the makeshift lance protruding from the rear of Gokan's left shoulder. The goblin beast rider lets go of its weapon as Gokan staggers back, the half-orc coughs and splutters, and then vomits blood. The goblin fetches out another javelin from a quiver strapped to the wolf's flank, the small humanoid snarls.

“Durty Orc. Yes? Die soon. Yes!” It struggles with the common tongue but makes itself understood, all the while manoeuvring its mount so that Gokan is left pressed hard against the wall.

[sblock=Picture- My Little Pony, sorry- Wolfy]



Gokan is bloodied, taking 16 points of damage from the charging mounted Goblin Beast Rider.


Jimmy scurries between the pillars, unseen- behind the wolf and its goblin rider, the halfling braces his dagger and then leaps, twirls his blade in a jagged arc. The vicious blade cuts deep in to the beast rider's back- the goblin yelps and tries desperately to steady his mount as Jimmy's dagger arcs down and slashes at the wolf's rear, leaving a great tear in the beast's flesh.

Jimmy comes full circle, breathing hard, he's not done- the halfling clasps his off-hand around the handle of his blade, leaps up, and two-handed plunges the vicious weapon in to the goblin rider's back, again.

The jagged edge of his dagger rips through the goblin's rib cage and chest, cutting the foul creature's heart in two en route. Jimmy lands perfectly, his momentum levering the dead beast rider from his perch, the goblin thumps on to the floor and sprawls and bleeds.


Jimmy with an Acrobat’s Strike, followed by an Action Point Sly Flourish, the later for 23 points of damage to the Goblin Beast Rider, killing the creature.


Sigur stomps down the stairs, the dwarf has only one target- a ghostly hand suddenly appears, scuttles forward and slaps and burns the wolf's rear- the lupine staggers, twists and turns, and yowls in terrible pain.

[sblock=Picture- Hard Core in action]


Hal rushes from the stair way, Tonka following on behind- there's no way in to the fight with the wolf, the pair run between the pillars, out of the now flailing, snarling wolf's reach, and on...

Down the southern corridor the pair clank at speed, and in to another chamber- a guard chamber, in slightly better shape than the pillared entrance. There are bunk beds against the north wall, a pair of half-opened doors on the east wall- leading in to what looks to be a large store room. A short corridor to the west ends in another pair of doors, although these are tight shut. Guttering torches illuminate the place, and two of the goblins who lair here.

The first, the closest- dressed in leather armour fumbles with a hand crossbow, vainly attempts to load the thing. The second leaps from one of the bunks and scurries away- towards the far doors, the creature wears dirty robes and has some sort of rod or wand in its hand. The strange goblin also seems to have faint glowing runes somehow etched in to the side of its face.

[sblock=Goblin Sharpshooter]

Goblin Sharpshooter
Artillery Level 2


[sblock=Goblin Wizard]

Goblin Wizard
Artillery Level 2


Hal completes his dash by thumping his greatsword in to the goblin sharpshooter, smashing the hand crossbow from the creature's grasp, the goblin bleeds and scrabbles furiously trying to draw its short sword.

The doors to the store room suddenly open wider, a third goblin hoves in to view, armed with a spear and wearing thick wolf hides, with a patch over one eye.

[sblock=Goblin Beast Marshal]

Goblin Beast Marshal
Skirmisher Level 1


“Make dead- quick, quick.” The goblin beast marshal declares.
“For Bahamut!” Tonka counters and slashes with his longsword, the dragonborn cuts the goblin, although only a glancing blow.

The creature retaliates, instantly, stabbing its spear through Tonka's right thigh, the dragonborn yelps and snarls.

[sblock=Picture- Hal & Tonka find some new friends to play with…]


The robe wearing, rune etched goblin wizard folds and shapes its hand, as if gripping tight to some invisible force- the creature lurches forward, as if pushing something quickly away from it. Tonka and Hal are engulfed in a fiery blast, which somehow stings like acid- miraculously neither of the scalded pair are badly hurt. The goblin wizard continues to back away- heading for the closed doors.

The goblin sharpshooter finally locates its short sword and frees the blade, it stabs hard at Hal - and would have scored a terrible hit, but for the fact that at the last moment a platinum dragon adorned shield suddenly appears to block much of the force of the blow. Tonka smiles at Hal, and then continues to mutter prayers to his holy master.

The dragonborn however pays the price, the goblin before him whistles sharply and a fourth member of the wolf pack darts out of the deep shadows in the storeroom and bites Tonka, ripping a hunk of flesh from his side.

Tonka has to grab at the wall to stop himself from falling.

[sblock=Picture- Reinforcements needed]



Tonka is bloodied.


Back in the entrance chamber Gokan, grimacing terribly, levers himself away from the wall- swings once with both his blades, screaming all the while- the grey wolf skips aside, but fails to account for the half-orc's follow up slash.

Both blades come again, slam in to the lupine’s skull and right foreleg, severing the later and smashing the former, the dead body of the beast slaps hard in to the cold stone floor.

Gokan gurns, grips tight to his twin blades, and then with his hand axe shatters the haft of the javelin that still protrudes from his shoulder.

Jimmy's face shows the pain that Gokan feels, but does not register. The halfling looks away, down the corridor, and then sneaks forward, hidden in the shadows, toward the second chamber.

Tonka it seems is having a little trouble with the spear-wielding goblin beast marshal, and its pet wolf. Time to even the odds, Jimmy thinks, and spins his vicious dagger out again. The goblin is caught off-guard, the blade THUNKS in to its chest- the creature visibly sags as its blood spurts. The beast marshal staggers, as if suddenly intoxicated, a moment later Jimmy's magical blade disappears leaving a great rent in the goblin’s body. Another gout of blood bursts out, the goblin’s legs seems to slip and slide suddenly, the creature THUDS in to one of the storeroom doors, only just manages to keep its feet.


Jimmy’s Sly Flourish with added Surprise Strike leaves the Goblin Beast Marshal Dazed, as well as nearly dead.


A ghostly hand suddenly appears before the wretched goblin, and slaps it in the face; the creature screams- drops its weapon and clutching desperately at its radiant burnt face manages to collide with every hard surface available on its way down to the floor.

[sblock=Picture- Thinning the pack]


“Dirty little goblin scum.” Sigur mutters as he stomps forward past Jimmy. The dwarf winks at the halfling, strides on, and then shouts- at no one in particular, “DIRTY!”

Hal's greatsword smashes in to the goblin sharpshooter, now reduced to fencing with the metal man, the creature screams as Hal goes to strike again... but something catches his eye.

The goblin wizard has had enough, its steady retreat turns in to a rout- it turns and runs for the secured set of double doors. Hal reacts instantly, he charges- parrying the sharpshooter’s feeble attempt to slash at him, alas his effort is all for nothing.

Hal's overhead greatsword blow, the culmination of his heroic charge, never materialises- the warforged is over six feet tall, his greatsword almost as long again- the ceilings of the chamber are about ten feet overhead. Hal's greatsword THUNKS in to a crevice in the ceiling and is ripped from his hands- which continue their forward arc. From a distance it looks like an act of devotion, the warforged bowing low to the goblin wizard, his hands clasped together as if in prayer.

Meanwhile Hal's greatsword juts down, firmly lodged in the ceiling. The metal man spins to look about- scanning the floor nearby, desperately trying to spot his lost weapon.

Tonka, meantime, makes short work of the last wolf, and then with fancy footwork turns and menaces the bewildered short sword wielding goblin sharpshooter. The dragonborn states in a loud voice, “Bahamut preserve!” His wounds close over- healed.

The warlord cuts and parries, at last finds a weak spot, and with his longsword runs the sharpshooter through, just one enemy left...

The goblin wizard looks behind him, at the closed doors, then ahead at Hal- the metal man has his back to the wizard. The small humanoid shrugs, and then tip-toes over to the massive metal golem, and touches it.


Hal attempts four different dance steps at once, and then moments later takes to smoking, from his ears.

“Rabbits! RABBITS!” Hal declares, loudly and with as much menace as the word can muster.


Hal is hit for 15 Lightning damage by the Goblin Wizard's Shocking Grasp, a Crit, the metal man is bloodied, actually reduced to 6 HP.


The goblin wizard turns tail and rushes back to the doors, and freedom.

[sblock=Picture- The Wizard’s getting away...]


The goblin wizard turns the handle on the door and opens it...


The terrible noise starts quietly, and builds, and builds, and builds.

And builds.

Until the small goblinoid turns around to see- and is instantly smashed down by Gokan's twin axes, the half-orc has covered just short of eighty feet to arrive just in the nick of time.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan arrives]


The wizard falls to its knees as a grinning Gokan uses his axes to lever the creature around and away from the doors.

Hal finally rips his greatsword from the ceiling, and is briefly showered with dirt, sheepishly the warforged strides past Gokan and the goblin to the open door- takes a brief look beyond, a set of stairs leading down in to yet another corridor, and then shuts it.

Hal stands behind the wizard, folds his arms and leans on his greatsword- menacing.

Jimmy and Tonka saunter forward to stand next to Gokan, the trio stare down at the forlorn looking wizard.

Tonka is suddenly shoved aside, the dragonborn shuffles to make room- Sigur hoves in to view, stomps up to the goblin wizard, until the creature has to tilt its head all the way back to see up to the dwarf's face.

Sigur grins.

The goblin gulps.

[sblock=Encounter #5 Synopsis, PC XP & DM’s thoughts]

Encounter #5 The Goblin Guards, starring-

Wolf Packmate (Minion Skirmisher 1) x4
Goblin Beast Marshal (Skirmisher 1) x1
Goblin Beast Rider (Skirmisher 1) x1
Goblin Sharpshooter (Artillery 2) x1
Goblin Wizard (Artillery 2) x1
Wolf Grey (Skirmisher 2) x1

675 XP Level 2 Encounter

Again only a few changes- mainly just bulking out the encounter and making it a little different from previous plays- I did away with the pit trap and added in some doggies for fun.


135 XP each for a total of 824 XP in total (PCs Level 1).

DM Thoughts-

Not much to say, a simple low level encounter with a variety of Goblins and their lupine friends, now the PCs are in the ‘dungeon’ proper I wanted to give them a chance to play through a few encounters.

It obviously suited my purpose to have the Wizard surrender, I do this a lot, or else at least when I have something to say to the PCs- usually setting up the next set of encounters or adding to the story.


Last edited:


KOTS Part 5a: We need to talk about Sigur.

The goblin wizard goes to speak...

“Shhhh!” Sigur puts his finger to his lips.

“Now listen. We're going to ask questions.” The dwarf nods his head, the goblin nods back.

“And you're going to answer them.” Sigur continues to nod; the goblin continues to nod back.

“And you're not going to lie, or try anything stupid- you're just going to answer the questions.” More nodding from both parties.

“Truthfully.” Sigur adds, with menace, and stops nodding his head- the goblin stops too.

“Good. Because if I think you’re lying, or not telling us everything...” Sigur grins, “I'll hurt you- bad, real bad... Understand?” The goblin wizard, bright for his race, nods back furiously, enthusiastically.

Sigur grins and then punches the creature in the face, smashing its nose and rocking its head back, the goblin flops on to the floor.

“I think we're going to get on.” Sigur remarks, and then grabs a crate to sit on, “he's all yours...” the dwarf declares magnanimously.

Fifteen minutes later Gokan and Jimmy are back on the surface, a little way from the ruins of the Keep in the thickest part of the brambles, the hog-tied and gagged goblin wizard is tethered to a tree, unconscious, its arm bent at an unnatural angle.

The pair finish their work.

Gokan turns to head back to the lair; Jimmy grabs the half-orc.

“He's...” Jimmy desperately racks his brain trying to find the right word to describe Sigur.
“...on our side.” Gokan finishes, and strides off back in to the catacombs.

But for how long- Jimmy worries and then rushes to catch up with Gokan.

Back in the entrance chamber the bodies of the wolves and goblins are gone, as are all signs of the melee, save the splatters and pools of blood.

Sigur, Tonka and Hal are waiting.

The dragonborn speaks, “... and so in summary- east a bunch of goblins digging for something, what something we don't know alas...” Tonka winces a little remembering the noise the goblin's arm made when Sigur broke it, the first time.

“... to the west a torture chamber, not good, with a hobgoblin commander in charge there...” Tonka shakes his head disapprovingly, “... through the doors to the south, a bunch of 'rotten humans', I can only think our goblin friend was referring to zombies- best guess.” Tonka shakes his head.

“Also not good. But best of all there's a goblin chief around these parts- apparently charged with protecting the entrance to the catacombs...”
“Balgron...” Jimmy adds.
“...the Fat.” Tonka completes his summary.

“So...” Tonka is about to ask.
“Digging.” Hal states, and not waiting for a response moves towards the east corridor.

Leaving his compatriots slightly confused- Sigur shrugs, “makes no difference to me- they're all going to die...” the dwarf adds, and follows after the metal man.

Gokan, Jimmy and Tonka head off.

The adventurers trail after the metal man.

“He was dug up.” Jimmy whispers to Tonka, and nods towards Hal.
“What?” Tonka whispers back.
“Dad, dug him up.” Jimmy whispers again, and nods towards Hal, again.
“Your dad dug who up?” Tonka hisses- not getting it.
“My big brother- Hal.” Jimmy replies.
“Oh.” Tonka remarks, and thinks about Jimmy's last statement- my big brother?

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KOTS Part 6: The Excavation Site.

[sblock=Party Line Up]

The Hard Core Adventurers Level 1


Jimmy looks around the corner again, the chamber ahead - illuminated by torch light - is strange indeed. The large chamber, sixty or more feet square, has been excavated- the floor dug away- mostly, leaving odd islands of stone- connected by long planks of wood. A ramp of packed earth seems to lead down to the lower level, which is mostly obscured from Jimmy's view, the angles are all wrong.

Sounds of digging come from the lower level, or at least some-things are scrabbling around down there, again Jimmy can't be certain.

What he is certain of is the goblins- there are three of them; on the closest island- maybe twenty five to thirty feet away from the halfling is a warrior or guard of some sort- armed with a nasty looking spear, and wearing metal armour. The other two goblins are on the island furthest away- the pair seem to be in discussion, or else one of them seems to be issuing orders.

The one being ordered about appears to be another sharpshooter, a crossbow wielding specialist- a menace. The goblin giving the orders looks pretty frightening, the same strange runes on the creature's face, and its wearing robes- a spell-caster no doubt, Jimmy thinks.

The halfling waits a while longer, it seems the discussion is over on the far island, the sharpshooter hands something over to the goblin caster, the volume goes up- the caster seems displeased.

Jimmy shrugs, sneaks back to tell his friends.

[sblock=Picture- Jimmy spies Goblins]


A minute or two later and Jimmy is already back in situ, at his corner, peering in to the room- the goblins are in the same places as previous.

Behind Jimmy the four other adventurers creep forward, trying to get as close as the can to the corner, around which, Jimmy peers.

Jimmy holds his breath.


Freeze-frame, Jimmy turns to see- Gokan, Sigur and Hal are all starring at Tonka, the dragonborn's shield continues to rock back and forth on the floor- where he dropped it.

“Sorry.” Tonka mouths.

Jimmy turns back, the sounds of digging continue, at the far side of the room the two goblins are still in discussion. The goblin guard however is staring in his direction; the halfling draws back, for a moment, and then looks again. The goblin is already across the wooden plank and on to the ledge on which Jimmy and his fellow adventurers await.

The goblin comes on, maybe fifteen feet from the corner now.

[sblock=Goblin Guard]

Goblin Guard
Soldier Level 2


“Oh... fiddlesticks!” Jimmy hisses, and steps out and flings his vicious dagger- high, wide and handsome, a terrible shot. The goblin guard screams.


And everything goes bad.

The uninjured goblin guard scurries forward a little further, and thrusts out its spear, low- at Jimmy's feet, the creature is clearly adept with the weapon. Jimmy dodges and hops from foot to foot, trying to avoid the creature's stabs, it gets frantic quickly- the guard is determined.

Finally the goblin sweeps young Jimmy's feet away with a sideward manoeuvre, the halfling sprawls, having landed hard, but almost instantly bounds back on to his feet and takes a step back.

Jimmy's magical dagger, having reappeared in his hand, spins out again, and again the halfling misses.

“Dammit!” Jimmy screeches.

Sigur steps forward a little, mutters, a thunderclap bursts above the creature's head sending down a shower of soil and stone- none of which seem to have any effect on the stalwart goblin.

“Dirty Goblin bastard!” Sigur adds, frustrated.

Luckily Gokan is at hand, the half-orc swings around the corner- howling and screaming, his axes dance and smash in to the goblin's breast- shattering its armour, both axes wedged in to the creature's chest.

Gokan levers the goblin to its knees, and then at lightning speed rips free his battleaxe and swings again, decapitating the guard. The half-orc kicks the remains of the goblin off the ledge and down in to the excavated section. The creature crashes down, out of sight.


Gokan hits with a Howling Strike, combined with his Furious Assault and Takedown Strike- the Goblin Guard is smashed for 26 hit points damage, and is bloodied and on his knees. A second Howling Strike finishes it off.


Jimmy looks relieved, but only for a second, staggering up the hard-packed dirt ramp is a foul wretch.

“Demon!” Tonka yells, and points with his sword.

[sblock=Demon Dretch]

Demon Dretch
Brute Level 2


The demon is not that impressive; standing only four or so feet tall the grinning, horned humanoid-shaped elemental is surrounded by a cloud of buzzing angry flies. The creature’s great clawed shovel-like hands, ideal for digging, drag along the ground, seemingly too big for its body.

[sblock=Picture- Demon!]


“Mow-mow-mow.” The wretch sounds, making chewing like noises, it rushes on and flails wildly at Gokan- the half-orc is momentarily outmatched, he has to give ground, desperately parrying the squat brute's threshing blows.

Jimmy gawps, backs in to the wall, trying to get away from this new and terrible adversary, THUKKA, a crossbow bolt thunks in to the stone, inches above the halfling's head, and ricochets away.

[sblock=Goblin Sharpshooter]

Goblin Sharpshooter
Artillery Level 2


Jimmy scans the chamber, the sharpshooter has moved to a closer island, the other goblin - the caster - scurries after the artillery expert, drawing forth a nasty looking carved knife and a wand en route; Jimmy's worst fears are confirmed- another caster.

[sblock=Goblin Cursespewer]

Goblin Cursespewer
Artillery Level 2


The cursespewer steadies itself a second, and then gabbles strange broken words, only the last of which is audible-

“... DOOM!”

[sblock=Picture- Goblin DOOM!]


A billowing black fog bursts around the demon; Sigur and Gokan begin to choke and cough, flailing wildly in the poisonous gas.


Taking ongoing 5 Poison damage from the Goblin Cursespewer’s Goblin Doom power.


A second dretch stomps up the ramp and rushes forward, this time at Jimmy- the halfling is no match for the creature, its great claws tear through his leather armour and in to his flesh.

For a brief second Tonka's shimmering shield appears and fends off a blow or two, but the respite is short-lived, Jimmy sags, and staggers.


Jimmy is bloodied.


Hal and Tonka are unable to act, the pair are bottle-necked in the corridor leading to the chamber proper, the dretches have effectively formed a fleshy demonic barrier.

“Kill one of them!” Tonka shouts, alas Sigur, Gokan and Jimmy seem somewhat preoccupied.

“Let us in!” The dragonborn demands.

But the three are not listening- they're fighting for their lives.

Hal and Tonka make ready to rush forward in to action should the opportunity arise.

Sigur chokes, this shouldn't be happening, the dwarf thinks- he trundles backwards, elbows out, shoving Tonka and Hal out of the way.

The dwarf mutters, mumbles and grumbles- his favourite ghostly hands are invoked, both dretches are rapped or else slapped, the demons burn with radiant hurt. Sigur nods to himself, satisfied with his skills, the dwarf repeats the trick- conjuring another pair of ghostly hands, and to the same effect.

Although battered and burnt the demonic brutes hold the line- they don't back down, or give an inch.

“Step aside Jimmy, step aside little one...” Tonka shouts over the hullabaloo, the halfling obliges- trying desperately to cover his mouth with his off-hand, there's poison in the air.

Hal steps in to the gap, swings his greatsword, backhand, forehand carving in to the demonic wall- both creatures are sliced, they bleed some foul green smoking viscous fluid, which pools and begins to burn through the tiled floor.

Both dretches simultaneously descend in to some mindless scrabbling fury, their attacks come on apace- the pair flail wildly at the adventurers’ front line, although only Hal is scratched and clawed.


The Dretches Sickening Miasma (Aura 1) delivers one hit point damage to PCs making a move or standard action, cumulative if the PC is in the aura of both Demons. Some of the guys are taking 4 HP damage/round (Move & Standard) as well as the ongoing 5 Poison- not good.


Hal is desperate to clear the way; he cuts again with his greatsword, cleaving his blade from one creature in to the other. More smoking green gunk spews from the demons’ wounds, and yet the pair fight on, although both are staggered, and seemingly less accurate with their attacks.

Jimmy skitters and dodges and stabs at the nearest demon's side, and yet more smoking gloop spills out, the halfling tries again; the dretch suddenly staggers and lurches back a little, causing Jimmy to miss his attack, but breaking the demonic barrier.

[sblock=Picture- The Demon wall is broken]


Gokan, still choking, coughing and spluttering, begins to whirl- he gathers speed and then smashes in to the demons; the effect is beautiful and frightening. The half-orc's blades whirl, and slash, and whirl, and cut, and whirl, and slice- it's like some terrible hypnotic dance.

At some point critical mass is reached within the demons, as Gokan's axes continue to bite - one, then the other, explodes. A shower of fizzing, frothing, stinking, smouldering green goo bursts out and over the adventurers- the smell is... even Sigur wretches, eyes watering, the dwarf screams his fury.



When reduced to 0 hit points the Dretches explode with Vile Death, a Close Burst 1 zone- doing 5 Poison damage to any creature in it.


A vast greenish cloud engulfs the ledge, engulfs the adventurers- the goblin sharpshooter and the cursespewer scuttle closer, to the next island along- trying to see in to the choking poisonous mist.

Suddenly bursting from the sickening cloud, screaming all the way, comes Gokan- the half-orc rushes forward to the edge of the ledge- a flimsy looking wooden plank bridges the gap to the next island, on which the two goblins stand.

The half-orc leaps, and expertly lands on the island- avoiding the flimsy plank altogether, he slashes and bashes madly with his blades. The goblin cursespewer is cut once, twice- and staggers back, almost over the side, it looks nearly beaten, certainly broken and battered.


Gokan with a natural ‘20’ on his Athletics check.


Gokan shakes, growls and howls some more- glad to be out of the poison cloud- the half-orc sucks in lungfuls of fresh, or at least fresher, air.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan leaves a trail of destruction (again)]


“Bahamut preserve!” Tonka nods at Jimmy, the halfling's hurts fade, the dragonborn lifts high his longsword, and screams.

“For the platinum dragon!”

Then charges forward to the edge of the ledge and out on to the flimsy plank- which bows and strains, and...

“I bring you… Vengeance!”

Tonka leaps the last ten or so feet on to the island, as the plank shatters and tumbles down in to the excavated area. For all his effort Tonka's attack is way off the mark, and yet the dragonborn isn't done, he lurches forward- sword and shield together- smashing in to the goblin cursespewer, which has nowhere to go, except over the side.

The goblin lands with a sickening thud, neck broken.

“For Bahamut!” Tonka reaffirms.

[sblock=Picture- Tonka, the destroyer]


The last goblin standing shuffles back a way, or rather as far away as it can get, back to the furthest island. The sharpshooter sets itself, and then opens fire at its nearest enemy. The bolt slams in to Tonka's shield, lodges there- the dragonborn grins and rages- pointing with its longsword at the goblin.

“I come for you.”

Back in the poisonous mist Sigur harrumphs and mumbles- “bloody Bahamut this, Bahamut that...”, clearly unimpressed.

Sigur stumbles out of the poisonous mist; the grumbling dwarf seems to have suffered little harm, his race’s inbuilt immunities keeping him safe. Yet another ghostly hand flutters forth and attempts to slap the goblin sharpshooter, illuminated in the torch light over the far side of the chamber.

The goblin alas is much too quick.

Sigur grumpily mumbles as Jimmy and Hal follow the dwarf out of the poisonous haze. Jimmy tries with his dagger, even though he's at an incredible distance, it worked against the wyrmpriest in the stone circle, the halfling remembers.

His blade clatters well short, and soon after reappears back in his hand.

Hal is much too far away, the metal man thinks for a moment, and then shouts over at the sharpshooter, in an oddly piping voice- “I would advise you to lay down your weapons, any further actions which could be interpreted as manifestations of violence will be met with force, this could have dire consequences for you.”

“Wha...” The goblin manages, and then Gokan smashes in to it, the half-orc's battleaxe removes the lower six inches of the goblin's arm and hand- the one that was formerly clutching its crossbow.

The creature screams “Surrender...” and stares at its newly acquired bloody stump.

“You were warned.” Hal adds.

[sblock=Picture- Gokan comes in handy]


Even Sigur grins.

Moments later the dwarf calls over to Gokan, “bring him over- it’s question time.” Then sits down on the edge of the ledge, looking down in to the excavated depths; he swings his stumpy little legs and whistles a happy tune.

[sblock=Encounter #6 Synopsis, PC XP & DM’s thoughts]

Encounter #6 The Goblin Excavators, starring-

Goblin Sharpshooter (Artillery 2) x1
Goblin Cursespewer (Artillery 2) x1
Goblin Guard* (Soldier 2) x1
Demon Dretch (Brute 2) x2

*Converted/Adapted Town Guard- I think.

625 XP Level 2 Encounter

Again just a change of personnel really, I think the addition of the Demon Dretches also upped the ante with atmosphere- first level PCs battling Demons seems suitably heroic to me.


125 XP each for a total of 949 XP in total (PCs Level 1).

One more encounter and they’ll have enough XP for level 2.

DM Thoughts-

I got lucky bottle-necking the PCs in the corridor; it just fell right in the initiative order, reducing Hal and Tonka to bystanders for a round of the action.

Gokan however is proving to be a terror, there’s almost nowhere on the map that the half-orc can’t get to, particularly if it involves an Athletics checks en route.

It also suited my purpose to have the goblin surrender again, it also just makes sense to get the fight finished sooner rather than have it drag on.


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KOTS Part 6a: We need to talk about Sigur, revisited.

Twenty or so minutes later Gokan and Jimmy are back above ground again, tying their second goblin prisoner, similarly bound and broken et al to a different tree.

“He's a bit of a nutter though.” Jimmy talks as he ties.
Gokan shrugs.
“Did dad ever say anything about him?”
Gokan shrugs again, although with less emphasis this time.
“Go on...”
Gokan shrugs again, and looks away- deliberately.
“Gokan... ”, the half-orc reluctantly turns back.
“What did dad say about him?” Jimmy whines.
Gokan goes to shrug, stops himself, and sighs.
“He said he was a bit of a nutter.” The half-orc plainly states.
Jimmy grins.
“I told you.”

The pair head back to the catacombs.

Just in time for their second lecture; back in the entrance chamber Tonka is again in full flow- “...so, there's another one of those cursespewer-types in with the hobgoblin commander in the torture chamber- that's really not good.” Tonka states.

“Balgron the Fat it seems is really very fat, and deadly accurate with a crossbow- that's certainly worth knowing. We should endeavour to avoid this character until we can get close to him- in to melee range, if at all possible, got that.”

Gokan grunts, Jimmy nods- Hal and Sigur stand stoic, the latter barely listening- the dwarf is far more interested in the item he holds in his hands, a magical rod, he has already determined, of immense power.

[sblock=Sigur of Hammerfast]

Sigur, Male Dwarf Wrathful Invoker Level 1

Played by Steve

Now with +1 Rod of Absorption.​



The +1 Rod of Absorption was recently located by the Dretches and Goblins while excavating the chamber, but that’s not all- read on.


Sigur turns the thing over, and over in his hands- admiring it from all angles.

“Nasty.” The dwarf adds and chuckles, and then stops, suddenly aware he is the centre of attention.

Sigur clears his throat- “you were saying...”

“The demon dretches were summoned by someone 'below', sent to help the goblins search for 'old shiny stuff'- it would have been so much better if we had kept the spell-caster alive don't you think?” Tonka looks hard at Gokan.
The half-orc looks confused.
“You killed the caster.” Jimmy states, helpfully.
“Yes, I mean. Yes. Sorry. I did didn't I- and what a hit that was...”

Tonka draws his longsword and cuts and slices, in mock battle, the onlookers stop to stare.

Jimmy shakes his head.

“Bahamut's bloody trousers, put that thing away and get on with it...” Sigur shouts.

Tonka, a little disappointed, complies.

“Yes, well... They were looking for 'old shiny stuff', like this... Which they’d apparently just found.” Tonka opens his hand to reveal an ancient looking tarnished silver bracelet, sized for someone with a very small wrist.

The piece of jewellery, Sigur has already ascertained, bares a remarkable similarity to the mirror found at Douvern’s burial site. Certainly it appears to be the same age, style, and as with the mirror- made for a child.

“So... Where does that leave us?” Tonka asks.
“Torture chamber.” Jimmy states, “torture is...”, Jimmy suddenly realises he's staring at Sigur, the dwarf for his part seems not to have noticed, or else is unconcerned. Jimmy trails off, then picks up the thread again, “... bad. Torture is bad.” The halfling adds, certain.

They head off, this time down the western passage.


It needs to be said at this point that none of the players make mention of the set of stairs leading down in to a natural cavern from this chamber, even though I pointed out this fact out once or twice, nor is the goblin asked about them- an oversight?

The players are so wrapped up in finding out all of the Goblin enemies identified by their first prisoner; they seem to have dismissed all other options.


Last edited:


KOTS Part 7: Torture is bad.

[sblock=Party Line Up]

The Hard Core Adventurers Level 1

Sigur now toting his +1 Rod of Absorption.​


Jimmy and Gokan take the lead, the pair get a head-start on the other adventurers, moving as silently as they can down the western passage, which soon turns to head north. The corridor ends in a slightly more open area with three possible exits- Jimmy and Gokan get to work as the rest of the group stay back- observing and watching the rear.

Finally the two return to the fold.

“Well?” Sigur barks.
“No noise from the door to the east and west- dunno about them, door to the north sounds of goblins- having fun, exactly as both goblin prisoners said.” Jimmy reports, and mock salutes Sigur.
The dwarf lets it pass, although as usual fails to look happy.

“Torture chamber- north then...” Sigur states.

The adventurers creep forward as best they can, although with a closed door and the sounds of a creature shouting orders beyond the door, they're pretty safe.

They form a half-circle around the door- make ready their weapons, or spells, and one-by-one nod to Jimmy to indicate they're ready for action.

Hal is the last to confirm.

Jimmy has already checked the door is unlocked, the halfling barges it open and leaps in to the chamber...

The torture chamber is large but poorly appointed, Sigur is a little disappointed.

[sblock=Picture- Jimmy steps in…]


There are only four goblinoids in sight- the closest armed with a short sword and wearing leather armour, further back another hand crossbow wielding goblin sharpshooter. In the centre of the chamber is a rack behind which are a third goblin- similarly armed and attired as the first goblin, except also clutching a shield in its off hand.

The fourth goblinoid, also behind the rack- formerly barking orders it seems, is a hulking hobgoblin commander- clad in thick scale armour, toting a heavy shield and grasping a wicked spear.

“Time to kick ass!” Jimmy adds, somewhat mischievously...

Jimmy's dagger thuds in to the closest goblin, the blackblade; the creature is mid-turn to face the halfling, it staggers backwards, flailing- trying to stay on its feet.

[sblock=Goblin Blackblade]

Goblin Blackblade
Lurker Level 1


Gokan surges past Jimmy, covers the distance to the goblin cutthroat in an instant and unleashes hell; the half-orc's axes take the goblinoid completely by surprise. Gokan's hand axe smashes in to the goblin's spine, his battleaxe in the cleft between the creature's shoulder and neck.

[sblock=Goblin Cutthroat]

Goblin Cutthroat
Skirmisher Level 1


The cutthroat's eyes flutter madly, “a battleaxe”, it mutters- looking down at the blade, and then flops to the floor to slither in its own blood for a little while.


Gokan does a massive 37 hit points damage with his Charge Howling Strike and Furious Assault.


Gokan, grinning and howling, moves on- slashes at the hobgoblin, and growls his displeasure. The commander is made of sterner stuff; it somehow finds the wherewithal to parry a majority of the half-orc's attacks.

[sblock=Hobgoblin Subcommander]

Hobgoblin Subcommander
Elite Soldier Level 2


“Fight me!” The hobgoblin roars, and puffs out its chest.
“I am!” Gokan hisses.

Tonka lurches in to the chamber, dashes forward, “for Bahamut!” the dragonborn screams, as it cuts down the already injured goblin blackblade.

Sigur grumbles and the room is suddenly rocked by twin thunderclaps, the two remaining goblinoids suffer in the explosions; both are sent spinning backwards, scrabbling furiously to stay on their feet and pointing in the right direction.

Hal heads in full pelt; the metal man vaults the rack and then smashes his greatsword in to the hobgoblin commander, although the goblinoid is adept enough to deflect much of the force of the blow with its shield.

[sblock=Picture- The opening charge]


“Fight me, squishy one.” Hal simply states.

The hobgoblin maintains its calm demeanour- it merely nods and grunts at the metal man.

Jimmy is all action, instantly spotting the opening, the halfling scurries forward- crouched low beneath the rack, and the hobgoblin commander's eye-line. Then forward again- the halfling pops up unseen and unheard behind the great goblin- and stabs it in the back. The creature staggers, drops its defences, and seems incapable of standing still- woozy on its feet.


Jimmy's Sly Flourish with added Surprise Strike leaves the Hobgoblin Subcommander Dazed.


The creature yells out- “To me!” Staggers some more, as if drunk and thrusts its spear in Hal's general direction, the metal man easily parries the weak attack. Gokan continues to menace the hobgoblin, but the creature has enough about it to avoid the half-orc’s bumbling attacks.

The sharpshooter scuttles back, leaps on top of a table, screaming all the while- “ABRAKEBABRA!”

[sblock=Goblin Sharpshooter]

Goblin Sharpshooter
Artillery Level 2


Its hand crossbow sings, Jimmy suddenly clutches at his arm, although a fast fading shield bearing the emblem of the platinum dragon seems to have taken much of the force out of the shot.

Jimmy hollers- “nice one Tonka.” But the dragonborn has other concerns...

Tonka spies west, a passage heads from the torture chamber, with a myriad cells set on the north wall- that's not the problem however. The problem is the goblin with a wand in one hand and a nasty looking knife in the other. The creature has the same ritualistic runes tattooed on its head.

[sblock=Picture- Tonka spots the Cursespewer]


“Wizard!” Tonka screams, which gets more or less everyone's attention.

[sblock=Goblin Cursespewer]

Goblin Cursespewer
Artillery Level 3


“Abrakebabra!” The sharpshooter on the table leaps in to the air and clicks its heels together, in celebration.

Tonka lopes forward, chewing and swallowing furiously en route to the goblin caster. The dragonborn pulls up short and violently exhales- great jagged bolts of lightning buzz and harry the goblin, although when the smoke clears it seems almost unhurt.

Tonka shrugs, and the charges the foul creature, which ducks and dodges just in the nick of time, the dragonborn is forced to quickly manoeuvre to save himself from rushing on. Tonka skids to a halt, and then with shield and sword to the fore, turns and slams in to the cursespewer, the goblin lurches and yelps and grumbles- bruised and battered.

Sigur bumbles forward, positions himself deliberately in the centre of the chamber, and swiftly invokes a trio of ghostly hands- each of which streaks to its target. All three goblinoids are slapped and scorched by the invoker’s radiant appendages.

“If you want a job doing...” Sigur grumbles and repeats the trick- with similar results, it seems the dwarf has his eye in.

The effects of Sigur's invocations are terrible- for the goblins. The sharpshooter is left clinging on to the table and its life, the cursespewer has one arm out braced against the wall trying to prop itself up while it keeps Tonka at bay with its dagger- no mean feat.

The hobgoblin, already dazed and drooling after Jimmy's strike, is now possessed of dancing legs and feet. It looks like it could collapse at any moment, and worse still one side of its head and face smokes as its flesh burns and crisps in the shape of one Sigur's radiant hands.

A lesser creature would surrender, but that word is not in the hobgoblin subcommander's dictionary.

“To the death...” The creature mumbles.

And is duly cut down by Hal.

“Affirmative.” The metal man confirms.

[sblock=Picture- Hal slays the Hobgoblin]


The goblin cursespewer manages to push itself away from the wall- back on to its feet, it scrambles backwards, avoiding Tonka's wild swing.

The cursespewer does what it does best- chants and curses, directing its sting at Tonka, for a second nothing happens as the goblin finishes its strange garbled phrases and points at the dragonborn.

Tonka stands statue.

Then looks about himself.

“Nope. Nothing.” The dragonborn grins and stomps forward, longsword in hand.

The end is nigh- for the goblins.

Jimmy turns to face his assailant; the sharpshooter continues to make hard work of standing on a table. Suddenly the goblin sprouts a dagger from its chest, it stumbles, fumbles and spills its weapon, then sits down hard on the table to bleed out, and die.

[sblock=Picture- Jimmy takes out the Sharpshooter]


Gokan kicks in to action, screams and howls and launches himself around the rack and down the corridor. The cursespewer frantically yelps and attempts to unleash its foul magic as the half-orc barrels down the passageway towards it.

While the goblin is distracted, Tonka shuffles forward and to the side of the spell-caster and runs it through...


[sblock=Picture- Tonka takes out the Cursespewer]


Gokan slows to a trot, to a walk and then finally to a saunter as he reaches Tonka and the last fallen goblin.

The half-orc grunts and nods at the dragonborn- satisfied, it seems Tonka has earned his stripes.

Tonka beams.

“Right then- clear this place up, and search the bodies...” Tonka declares and claps his hands for emphasis. Sigur gives the dragonborn a long hard stare, and then thinks better of it- the dwarf gets busy.

[sblock=Encounter #7 Synopsis, PC XP & DM’s thoughts]

Encounter #7 The Torture Chamber, starring-

Goblin Blackblade (Lurker 1) x1
Goblin Cutthroat (Skirmisher 1) x1
Goblin Sharpshooter (Artillery 2) x1
Goblin Cursespewer (Artillery 3) x1
Hobgoblin Subcommander (Elite Soldier 2) x1

725 XP Level 2 Encounter

Again just a change of personnel really, I hoped that the 3rd Level Cursespewer, hidden away, would prove its worth- alas the PCs never really missed an attack.


145 XP each for a total of 1094 XP in total (PCs Level 1).

Enough XP for Level 2 but the players are on the Goblin’s trail… after a short discussion they decide to press on.

DM Thoughts-

I, of course, realise that some of these encounters are proving to be very one-sided affairs- but the tough ones, believe me... well, they're tough- it does the PCs good to think themselves invulnerable every now and then. It also plays quick around the table with all the guys getting a chance to unload multiple attacks and kill a bunch of bad guys.

As you can see we're still pretty much sticking to the story-line in the module, as I said earlier it gets weird later on. Also so far we've played the encounters like delves-

1) Kobold Ambush, followed by 2) The Ancient Burial Site, then on to 3) Outside the Kobold Lair, and inevitably 4) The Kobold Lair.

We're obviously doing the same again in the Keep-

5) The Goblin Guardroom, followed by 6) The Excavation Site, and 7) The Torture Chamber, which obviously leads us to 8) The Goblin Chief.

Which is where we're going next, be aware however I'm still going to push them to the limit, make it tough going, as you'll see.


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KOTS Part 7a: Tonka is accepted.

The goblins have little of value, the hobgoblin a little silver and gold, but that's not what Tonka is over-joyed about.

Moments earlier, Jimmy- while inspecting the cells down the western passage, spots something shinning on the floor in one of them. The halfling breaks in to the cell in moments- even though Sigur has the keys, taken from the hobgoblin in his search.

He discovers an ornate brooch, what's even more surprising is the fact that Jimmy tells his friends.

The item turns out to be magical, and specifically attuned to those who practice the healing arts; and so it comes to pass that Tonka wears a magical brooch. The dragonborn rubs and shines the emblem often, he sees it as a token of his acceptance- a rite of passage has been endured, the dragonborn continues to beam with delight.


Tonka, Male Dragonborn Inspiring Warlord Level 1

Played by Stu

Tonka polishes his +1 Healer’s Brooch, and grins a lot.​


“We should check the other two doors- Jimmy, if you would.” Tonka orders.
“Aye-aye cap'n.” Jimmy salutes the dragonborn.

Sigur shivers and shakes his head.

While Tonka smiles some more.

The first door leads in to a store room, which is given a thorough inspection. Apart from some mouldy food, a scattering of well-used weapons- short sword and spears mostly, and a pile of festering goblin-sized leather armour- the chamber is empty.

Jimmy meantime has opened the last door to be inspected, the halfling shuffles in- silent as the grave; there are lights ahead, around a corner, Jimmy spies…

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