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The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #137 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 2.


Dark Squad in the Forge of Fury

Session #014 Inconceivable!

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 2
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 3
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 3
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 3

Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 3

This is session 14, and another cracker.

This was a glorious session- towards the end the players were screaming for Buggles’ skeleton friend, Gwen, to hit- they were that caught up in the fray- every attack roll mattered, but we’ll get to that...

This is the Forge of Fury proper then, although just to recap the Dark Squad have been peppered (mostly misses) by orc archers en route to the Mountain Door, and then (most of them) have rushed on through the undefended portal into a chamber containing two small ledges bisected by a yawning chasm, spanning which is a treacherous looking rope bridge.

So, first the dash by the slowest members of the PCs (et al) to get to and then through the Mountain Doors, and hopefully to catch up (a bit) with the more express adventurers.

Only one injury sustained in the rush- Gwen, Buggles’ skeleton companion is hit by an arrow firing orc, she’s already wounded, and so reduced to just 1 HP- this is significant.

However, instead of waiting for his colleagues to catch up Newt decides to press on ahead, this after Buggles’ pointed aside- “if a cat can’t cross it [the rope bridge] we may as well just go back to Neverwinter and retire.” All the goading New Tricks needs.

Halfway across the rope bridge the tabaxi suddenly sees an orc dodge out of cover and onto the very edge of the ledge ahead, his destination. A moment later the javelin the orc was formerly hoisting slices across Newt’s side and he has to hang on to the ropes for dear life.

But that’s not enough to deter the tabaxi with his feline agility, the warlock rushes over and makes landfall- meantime Buggles shoots the newly revealed orc (with a readied action), while Newt finishes it off in an instant with his hellish rebuke (for 25 fire damage).

Ramshambow follows the tabaxi across the bridge- it’s easy for the agile rogue, he spots and charges into the second orc on the far ledge, and leaves the brute mortally wounded.

Note Ram is a swashbuckler- he gets his sneak attack once/turn every turn- more or less.

The foul brute retaliates and swings its greataxe, but the rogue is much too quick.

Buggles also traverses the bridge, and again with ease, the wood elf also makes it to the action.

A third orc, in the passageway beyond the ledge, hears and sees his compatriots fighting and falling, and so skedaddles sharpish, alas the lone brute is spotted by Newt who is still moving fast. The orc is dashing off to get its friends- the warlock eldritch blasts it, and the now the terrified fellow is running very quickly indeed (and down to 2 HP) it races out of sight.

Ram meantime finishes off the second orc on the ledge, the way forward is now clear…

Garumn, Vincenzo and Gwen follow on, taking it in turns to safely traverse the rope bridge, the trio can hear the bow-wielding orcs- now well behind them, shouting to each other from their respective arrow slits, they seem to be a little upset- their targets have escaped them.

However, as the last of the Dark Squad make it across the rope bridge and to the far ledge, a pair of secret doors grind up and open, this back on the Mountain Door side of the great chasm. The bow wielding orcs that peppered the adventurers earlier step out of the gloom and decide to join in the fun.

Lots of orc bow attack rolls, all misses, later.

Buggles shoots one of the orcs, but the newly revealed quintet shoulder their bows, and one by one begin the scramble to get over the rope bridge, and to the Dark Squad.

Meantime however Buggles, Vince and then Garumn have continued to race on ahead, the trio spill into a rough-hewn orc sleeping chamber- a natural cavern with a myriad exits, also with a wooden fenced and barred prisoner compound. At the bars are Geradil, a 50-something small fat wheezing human who for the next two-and-a-half hours will shout “Inconceivable!” at nearly every instance (see his token for the joke). Also trapped here is Courana- a terrified and screaming, early 30’s, human maid. It gets loud in here, even when Garumn uses Shatterpsike, his magical blade, to cut the wood stave prison open.

3.31 The Prisoners.jpg

The Prisoners.

Geradil presses the Dark Squad for an answer- how are they going to escape this hell-hole? Vinnie’s explanation, of course, proves to be “Inconceivable!”

Somehow, Newt and Ram have got left behind in the mad rush forward, and are therefore the first to face the now greataxe wielding (formerly bow-wielding) orcs that are making their way over the rope bridge. One of the quintet almost falls off the treacherous span, but manages to grab-a-hold and hang there for a while, before finally hauling itself back up and making it to the action.


A little help! Guys? GUYS?

Newt hits the first of the charging orcs to make the ledge with his burning hands, but for not much effect at all (both orcs save, and low damage rolls), Ram however cuts one of the wounded orcs down- which just leaves four furious orcs heading their way.

The pair start yelling for help.

Garumn hears his comrade’s shouts and races to the rescue, note the NPC paladin of Moradin (played by the energetic and virile DM, that’s me) prefaces every one of his attacks, in his lilting Scottish tones, with something like- “dinnae fret fellers, I’ll tek care of these”, and then rolls something below a ‘5’. Then the dwarf calls immediately for… “a little help, guys? Guys? I’m struggling here… yer ken? Guys? Guys?” That kind of thing.


Two maps into one- Garumn the Tank, and the rescue of the prisoners.

Garumn’s dice have a mostly shocking night.

Back to the action- Garumn swings heartily at an orc and misses by a mile.

Newt to the rescue, the tabaxi eldritch blasts the already wounded orc now swatting at Garumn- and it’s dead.

However the next orc off the rope bridge smashes Garumn down, with a greataxe Crit for 24 damage, the brave paladin is left slumped on the floor and bleeding out.

Time for Ram to save him, the rogue gets close and then glugs a potion of greater healing down the paladin’s throat, Garumn blinks open his eyes. The remaining three orcs however close in for the kill- therefore with an inspiration point the rogue spins out a dagger with his off hand and critically wounds the nearest.

Back in the rough cavern ahead, and there’s plenty of noise coming from the northern passage, suddenly another gaggle (actually another quintet) of screaming orcs hove into view. Vinnie reacts in an instant and fills the passageway with his deadly spike growth. The lead orc rushes on regardless, screaming in agony as its feet and legs are shredded. The brute almost makes it to the adventurers, Buggles shoots it in the face just as it gets clear of the passage- it’s dead.

A second orc caught in the spike growth attempts to rush on towards the beckoning (and grinning) Vincenzo, seconds later and the brute is hurt badly, it therefore turns and attempts to flee back the way it came- the foolish sod dies just as its about to emerge from the spikey terrain terror.

Back at the bridge and chasm Garumn levers himself back to his feet just in time to employ Shatterspike to gut the orc leering over him.

Just two of the brutes left standing.

There is much in the way of cheering, the Dark Squad are managing to hold their own, just.

Newt eldritch blasts the next orc over the bridge, it manages to stagger to the Dark Squad’s side of the chasm, however the last orc in the gang rushes past its colleague and… buries its greataxe in Garumn.


The paladin flops to the floor for the second time- and gets back to dying, Ram arrives just in time to critically wound the orc, and then to stand over and defend the re-sprawled dwarf.

Newt eldritch blasts one of the wounded orcs dead, the other slams its greataxe into Ram, and now the rogue is just about bloodied- payback time, the rogue skewers the beast and the orc threat here is ended.

Moments later Ram grabs a potion of healing from Garumn’s belt and forces it down the paladin, his eyes flick open- the dwarf grins and thumbs up the rogue.

The trio rush to catch up with their comrades, with Garumn glugging down another (his last) potion of healing, and then casting a cure wounds on himself en route.

Back in the rough cavern with Buggles, Vincenzo, Gwen (the skeleton) and the newly released prisoners- the orcs are now approaching from a different passage, having abandoned the spike growth route. Buggles fires and arrow into the first orc to come screaming into the chamber, Vinnie hits it with his produce flame, and it falls.


Garumn dirt-naps, while the rest of the guys clear out the orcs.

Two more of the brutes however rush in to action, it gets to melee- Gwen even gets in on the act with her rapier, but its Buggles’ scimitars that are the stars of the show- snicker-snack.

Then the other members of the Dark Squad make an appearance, Newt eldritch blasts an orc- at which point the PCs are suddenly aware that a large snarling, growling beast is rushing towards them from the north passage- through the spike growth, this bastard must be tough.

It’s a massive dire wolf, and it almost makes it, five feet away from the Dark Squad the multiple spike growth hits take its toll- the ferocious beast falls.

Seconds later and more growling and shouting is heard, there’s a second dire wolf it seems- and someone or something in charge of the hound(s).

Note there are still two orcs in the chamber, both swinging and missing- Buggles cuts one down and then with his off-hand leaves the other critically wounded (with a Crit), Vinnie’s produce flame finishes it off.

Just to say the Dark Squad have accounted for twelve orcs and a dire wolf so far in this session, nice work.

At which point the second dire wolf comes rushing into the chamber and the PCs (and players) start to panic a little, particularly as something large and loud- and shouting threats in a tongue they don’t understand- giantish, seems also to be approaching.


Make ready for some hot wolf-on-wolf action.

Great Ulfe the Ogre switches to common and turns the air blue, he- it seems- is not at all pleased that the guys have killed his dog.

Gwen fires an arrow into the racing, snarling, snapping dire wolf- and it’s a Crit.

The show stops for more rousing cheers, never have I witnessed a skeleton so wildly celebrated.

Newt hits the wolf with a hefty eldritch blast, Buggles leaps out of his hiding place- behind a stack of crates, and slices the beast- and now the second dire wolf is critically wounded.

Furthermore the dire wolf is looking in a mirror, well almost- Vinnie is now Vincen D. Wolf, the wildshaped druid dashes in and tears the throat out of the beast.

Alas Vinnie, or if you like- Vincen, has had to cancel his spike growth spell in order to transform into his new form, and so at this point a bunch more orcs come rushing into the cavern from the northern passage.

My but its busy in here.

Garumn hits the first orc with a flung hand axe, it doesn’t stop the brute, however the orcs prove not to be the Dark Squad’s primary concern.

Great Ulfe the ogre arrives, and wades into action- shouting, swearing and making threats about who he’s going to eat first. His opening attack, with his massive greataxe, is a Crit for 28 damage which leaves Vincen D. Wolf a mewling wreck, and the other players gasping- and littering the thankfully just post-watershed VTT with a string of profanities.


Great Ulfe- my but, he's a looker.

Gwen skewers an orc with her rapier, Buggles finishes it off- what a team, and then with his off-hand scimitar the wood elf rogue stabs Great Ulfe in the rear.

Vincen D. Wolf bites the tough ogre, but fails to shake the brute off his feet.

Newt hits Ulfe with an eldritch blast, the warlock used up all of his spell powers by the third turn of this fight… that was thirteen rounds ago.

Meanwhile still more orcs are joining the fracas, this is getting real nasty, although Ram guts the next orc brute to rush into the cavern.

Note, there are a lot more attack rolls happening here- mostly orc attack rolls, but also lots from the PCs (particularly Garumn- see later)- but I’m only telling you about the hits.

A moment later Ram critically wounds yet another orc, while the roaring Great Ulfe decapitates Vincen D. Wolf, which instantly transforms back into the badly bleeding Vincenzo.

Gwen stabs Great Ulfe in the back with her rapier, and the ogre is bloodied at last.

Buggles goes to work with his twin scimitars, and now Great Ulfe is heavily wounded- thank the gods for sneak attack, eh boys.

Vincenzo recovers slightly, gets clear of the mess, while Newt uses an inspiration point to reroll a miss- and Ulfe gets hit by yet another eldritch blast.

The orcs in the cavern continue to swat and swing their greataxes, note I have missed with six attack rolls so far- and the PCs are not that well armoured (save for Garumn).

There’s a pocket of silence around the VTT every time I announce that, “Orc N swings heartily at [insert name of good guy] and… misses”, followed- always- by a collective sigh of relief.

But the Dark Squad are stoically ignoring all enemies except for Great Ulfe.

Ram skewers the ogre, and rolls more or less max damage on his dice- including for sneak attack, the great brute staggers and then slowly collapses.

There are several hissed “YES!”s from the crowd.

The killer rogue than flings a dagger with his off hand and leaves another orc critically wounded.

Just to note, Garumn is still missing with all/most of his attacks- he has the best to hit and damage in the group, and he’s wielding the only magical weapon the gang possess- Shatterspike. He, of course, is still making speeches prior to every one of his attacks, he’s doing this so often- and missing so often, that the players are trying to persuade me to cease and desist, they figure that somehow my little Garumn speeches-

“Dinnae worry fellers, I’ll tek care of this orc scumbag”, attack roll and a miss, “… a little help here fellers.”

Are cursing/hexing the paladin.

It’s also worth noting that throughout this fight, and as stated earlier, Courana is still screaming on her turn every round, and Geradil is still proclaiming that various things are “Inconceivable!”

Remarkably this gets a laugh every turn- there’s a lot of nervous tension it seems.

Buggles critically wounds yet another orc, there are still three of them left swinging and constantly missing in the busy cavern chamber.

Vincenzo kills a badly wounded orc with a little more produce flame.

Newt eldritch blasts another- it too is now critically wounded.

Garumn (a miracle) heavily wounds the last.

Ram finishes both of them off- it’s what he does, he’s a stone cold killer.

And suddenly, oh so suddenly- the Dark Squad are alone, and unassailed (at least for a bit).

Buggles and Ram take a corridor each, get into hiding, watch the way and ready their attacks- as does Gwen, the skeleton has survived for just shy of fifteen turns (and six orc attacks) on just 1 HP.

Meantime Vincenzo and Newt are clearing the prisoners out- which Geradil finds “Inconceivable!”, note Courana stops screaming. The Dark Squad pair discover a sprawled, badly beaten but still breathing, gnome in the dark recesses of the prison chamber.

Vincenzo glugs a healing potion down the gnome’s neck, and seconds later Spandwick the Magic Gnome is back in the land of the living.

“Bel? Where’s Bel?” Spandwick wants to know.

Vinnie and Newt quickly ascertain that Bel is Spandwick’s gnomish wife, and that she was captured with him but… is very obviously not present here.

[Death to lots of orcs, two dire wolves and Great Ulfe the ogre 1950 XP]

Alas the rest of this discussion is for another time.

“What do you want here?” Old Yarrack, the platemail wearing orog wants to know- and before coming to the fight the veteran fighter has rounded up a few more orcs (five of ‘em- all that’s left in the complex), and Burdug the shaman (eye of Gruumsh).

Note the Dark Squad are not aware of any of the above, only that someone is shouting at them.

Newt and Vinnie shout threats and replies for a short while, the rogues however stay silent and remain hidden.

It’s a short back and forth- the PCs are not for leaving, and Old Yarrack is not for letting them stay where they are.

Note while this is going on Garumn makes use of his lay on hands, and also dishes out a bit more healing (particularly for himself- he took a beating earlier and has been on less than 10 HP ever since).

Then the chatter peters out, and once more the enemies rush in.

Ding-ding, round two.

The first charging orc is caught in Vinnie’s entangle spell, courtesy of his wand of the same name.

Newt eldritch blasts it- the tabaxi needs a new trick, it seems.

More orcs race into the cavern chamber.

Surely they can’t keep missing the PCs.

As it turns out- no, they can’t.

Garumn gets hit by a pair of orc greataxes, and reduced to 4 HP, so much for all of that healing.

Buggles dives out of hiding and slaughters an orc.

Ram repeats the trick, but with an additional stab to yet another orc, with his off-hand dagger.

Garumn slices an orc with Shatterspike, and then rolls minimum damage.

Which, as it turns out, is “Inconceivable!”


Old Yarrack, he's a big tough bugger!

Spandwick the Magic Gnome reveals himself to be a user of magic- alas he misses an orc with his fire bolt, at which point the Dark Squad get to meet Old Yarrack, the v. tough orog. The pantomime villain proclaims his dislike of all things dwarven, and then throws a javelin into Gwen- and shatters Buggles’ skeleton companion.

“The “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” is probably still echoing through time somewhere.

Note, just to make clear Buggles, back in Neverwinter, bought equipment and armour (he carries around with him) to dress Gwen to look like a regular dwarf, complete with full helm- hence Old Yarrack thinking he was attacking a dwarf.

Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh, already has her bless spell running, next she next conjures her spiritual weapon- a ghost-like spear, and then fails to stab Ram with it.

Buggles spends an inspiration point to turn a miss into a Crit- and thus critically wounds yet another orc. Vincenzo wildshapes into Vincen Bear, and then bites the head off the newly wounded orc.

Note, throughout the fight Courana and Geradil continue their usual commentary, although the pair’s signature verbalisations are much less noisy as they’re situated back at the chasm ledge- watching the fight from afar, and not wanting to risk using the treacherous rope bridge.

My point, the players are giggling furiously every time they hear a whispered “Inconceivable!” still.

Newt has seen enough, the tabaxi grabs out a scroll- scorching ray, and then makes a number of injudicious comments about “pulling out the big guns”, he then proceeds to miss the heavily armoured Yarrack with all four of his attacks*.

*Four attacks because he spent an inspiration point to miss again.

Ram kills an orc and then with his off-hand flings a dagger into Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh, and another Crit- she’s not best pleased.

Garumn (at last) gets into the fight, and with Shatterspike and a bunch of divine smite (for 23 damage) he leaves Burdug beginning to doubt the wisdom of coming to Old Yarrack’s aid.

At which point Spandwick flings a fire bolt at her, and Crits, and rolls 19 fire damage- the eye of Gruumsh is very suddenly reduced to 1 HP.

The Dark Squad are cheering furiously.

Buggles adds- “All hail the NPCs!”, and then cuts another orc down.

Note, that was the last of the orcs to fall- there’s just the named orc enemies left here.

At which point Old Yarrack smashes his greataxe into Vincen Bear, but the ursine is made of sterner stuff- he takes it.

But not for long- the orog swings heartily again, after a few more curses, and Crits (for 27 damage)- an instant later and the bear is gone, and Vincenzo is back, the shifter druid is bloodied and beyond.

Just to note Old Yarrack is AC 19 and has not taken a hit so far, he has approx. 45 HP, so- we’ve a way to go yet.

Also note, while the PCs are otherwise occupied Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh (on 1 HP) runs off.

Buggles stabs his scimitar into Old Yarrack, through a join in the orog’s armour- and then sneers at the great brute, and then rolls just 5 damage.

Vinnie meantime scrambles away and shifts into his more bestial form- he needs the temporary hit points.

Ram stabs Old Yarrack and Crits, and then follows up with another Crit with his off-hand dagger, and all of a sudden the brutal orog is well beyond bloodied.

Old Yarrack smashes his greataxe into Buggles, the wood elf is very suddenly bloodied too.

Then lots of N/PCs launch their attacks and continue to miss the orog (he’s AC 19 remember)- including Newt, Garumn, Spandwick and Buggles.

It’s getting edgy as the initiative tracker starts ticking back around to Old Yarrack once more.

Then relief as the hefty brute also misses with both of his attacks, and now Vinnie has a better idea, the druid bathes the orog in faerie fire.

Newt launches yet another eldritch blast… and Crits, and rolls 17 damage, which coincidently is exactly the same number of hit points as Old Yarrack has left.

There follows a lot of high pitched wailing and shouting as the orog falls.

But we’re well over time for this session, already.

The entire session, save for a moment or two of temporary reprieve- between waves of attackers, and except for the five minutes of threat and chatter with Old Yarrack, all of the rest was bloody mayhem and action.

Loved it.

Last word.


[More orcs, Old Yarrack the orog, and the fleeing Burdug 975 XP]

The Dark Squad need an extended rest, they’re out of everything, and have enough XP for level 4. If I had landed a few more hits with the orcs… but that was edge of the VTT stuff.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan.
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Playa Playa

The Dark Squad's premier poet is back in action...


Old bones with no heart, no body and no soul

A shrill whistle calls you to another patrol

You venture alongside us with courage and tenacity

It’s no wonder our hearts you have stole

Oh Gwen

Do you remember when

You lived a full bodied life

Could it be, that one day, you will do so again?

From the pen of Ramshambo

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


Dark Squad in the Forge of Fury

Session #015 Have you found Bel?

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 2
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 3
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 3
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 3

Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 3

This is session 15, and lacking the terror and trepidation of the last one, but still another good ‘un.

The fighting is done (for now) and before the adventurers are the bodies of nineteen orcs, two dire wolves, a platemail encased orog (Old Yarrack) and the ogre- Great Ulfe, all strewn liberally around the small cavern and corridor space that the Dark Squad have occupied and defended with their lives.

We start with a little bit of backslapping- “We’re great!” that kind of thing before the debating team gets into action, the Dark Squad have a decision to make. The choices are, simply put (I wish)- retreat and relax, get after the badly injured shaman orc (an Eye of Gruumsh) that got away, interrogate the orc’s former prisoners, or… Well, it gets very chatty- everyone it seems has a different take on what the Dark Squad should be doing next.

Meantime the corpses of the fallen are given the once over, some coin and a few more items of interest found, the orog’s platemail is removed- Garumn will have a go at re-sizing the stuff- if and when he finds a forge. He’s a smith remember, also don’t forget the Dark Squad are here to find the lost forge of Durgeddin the Black, so- it’s a distinct possibility.

Oddly, the same orog was wielding another (fake) Durgeddin the Black handaxe- the same design as the handaxe that Erky sold to Big Al, the halfling thieves’ guild gang leader, way back in Neverwinter. In conclusion- some bugger is making knock off Durgeddin the Black’s.

Eventually, after much more chatter (and healing from Vinnie’s Healing Spirit)- and also many more interruptions from Spandwick the Magic Gnome, the PCs decide to try to find the trail of the wounded orc shaman, or else the trail of Bel- Spandwick’s missing wife. Who, according to Courana- one of the other rescued prisoners, slipped between the bars of their cage maybe a day and a half ago. Obviously, Spandwick is distraught, and the Dark Squad (some of ‘em) have kind hearts.

[Much chatter about what to do next, and info from the prisoners 150 XP]

The adventurers, accompanied by Spandwick, tramp around the orc caves for a bit, with the sneaky pair- Ram and Buggles stealthing a little ahead, and then calling the other PCs forward. It is however Newt (on a little bit of a solo wander, curiosity killed the what…) that finds an open (formerly) secret door, and within the chamber of the orc shaman. Or at least that’s what the Dark Squad think after taking a look around inside. The musty, dirty chamber has a variety of skulls and the like dangling from the ceiling, alongside other items of ornamental viscera.

A couple of sacks of silver coins are also found, and more importantly a blood trail- the missing orc went this way.

Note, like an annoying seven-year-old Spandwick asks repeatedly- “Have you found Bel?”, like every five minutes or so, he concentrates his efforts on bothering Buggles. Why you ask, easy- because Buggles always answers back, he’s possibly the most annoyed by the gnome’s constant yabbering.


Don't leave poor Spandwick behind!

The blood trail leads into a massive chamber- the grand stair, Ram thinks, remember the ancient verse (extract follows)-

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

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

So, the Dark Squad are on their way- they’re three lines in.

Note the massive high-ceilinged chamber has the decrepit remains of stone carved dioramas on the walls and ceiling, all depicting dwarven smiths hard at work at their anvils. The chamber stretches ahead to another great stone door, there’s also a rough iron gate on the west wall- most odd. However, the largest feature in the space is the aforementioned grand stair, a dark opening that almost runs the length of the eerie location. Carved into the undressed stone are a myriad wide but shallow steps that descend into the dark unknown.

The Dark Squad however have a trail to follow, and quickly discern that the bleeding orc shaman fled along the west side of the stair, she stopped once to do a little dance (seemingly) and then rushed on to the stair proper and down below.

A mystery- why did the orc seemingly stop a while to jig, why did it not take a more direct route to the grand stair.

Traps and concealed things are looked for, repeatedly- nothing. The iron gate investigated- rags and straw and… anything really, has been shoved between the bars of the portal- seemingly to seal the opening. Also, the great stone door ahead is surrounded by the skeletal remains of at least four dead orcs.

[Tracking the Eye of Gruumsh, and other investigations 150 XP]

We spend a good twenty minutes here, the players spit-balling ideas, trying to work out what it’s all about. More investigations follow, more cautious activity- until the PCs eventually make it to the stairs, and by doing so discover what made the orc shaman dance. Stirges, at least half-a-dozen of the little bloodsucking buggers swarm from the opening and set about their feast.


"Stirges!" repeat x 10 (and then some more, it seems no-one has a nice word to say about Stirges. They need a make-over/rebranding).

Buggles & Ram (both wielding bows) and Vincenzo (produce flame) account for the first three enemies to flap into view, the fourth pest to appear however makes a beeline for Vinnie, and darts the shifter with its proboscis (and a Crit).

Buggles to the rescue, the wood elf shoots and kills the stirge attached to Vinnie’s chest, while Newt eldritch blasts a fifth stirge into bloody pieces, Vinnie’s produce flame ends the last.

That was easy.

[Half-a-dozen stirges 150 XP]

Ram is sent forward to investigate the stone door to the north, around which the orc skeletons lie- no trap is found on the door (the trap is in the walls either side of the door, also Ram’s dice are broken). The fiendish DM even makes the door stiff, heavy and hard to open, but eventually Ram and Buggles wrench it free- which, of course, triggers a fiery response. Alas Vincenzo has also wandered close to the action, all three are therefore caught in a fiery blast as liquid flame spews from a myriad nozzles set in the walls around the portal. The trio are also set on fire.


Alas the flaming inferno trap was much too fast for any of the VTT screen-shooters to snap a picture of it. The image above therefore depicts our heroes just prior to being set on fire.

There follows several comedy moments as the two rogues drop, roll and scream in an attempt to put the flames out, but not before taking a little more flaming damage. Newt controls flame and extinguishes the fire on Vinnie- classy.

[Having hot fun with the fire trap 125 XP]

Then, however the great stone door goes to grind back shut- Newt, with a little feline agility, races hard and dives into the small stone chamber beyond the door.

The curious tabaxi is keen to find what great treasure is held beyond the trap- but there’s nothing, just the trap mechanism- which the tabaxi eventually breaks (or at least beaks part of it) so that he can wrench the stone door back open and escape his confinement.


"Meee-OH! Buggerrrrrrr..."

[Newt investigates the fire trap up-close 125 XP]

Note Ram is back to being just about bloodied, which is the normal state of affairs for the rogue- he never stays uninjured for very long. The adventurers therefore decide to back up a little while and get in a short rest, mainly so that the warlock can get his spell powers back- but also for a little more healing.

Then down the stair, and again with the rogues sneaking ahead and investigating the way. The grand stair descends for a good long while, the Dark Squad tramp on for almost thirty minutes, they’re below the earth according to Garumn- under the mountain.


The stair ahead is bisected by a shallow but fast flowing underground stream, just a few feet wide, which spews from a crack in the rock and spills down a second watery route ahead, into darkness. The stairs continue their descent. The rogues pull back to their comrades and chat a while- the decision is made to follow the watery route.

The going is tough, at least for Ram- the rogue trips and falls in the descent, although its only minor cuts and bruises (see, told you- he never stays healthy for long). The rogue however spots a cavern with a low entrance into a small but high-ceilinged chamber ahead, and stops outside of it to listen intently- he thinks he can hear the flapping of more stirges (he’s right) however he can also see a corpse within, and so ducks inside.

Note, just a reminder- Spandwick is still constantly enquiring, “have you found Bel?” Which is not at all annoying. Not at all. Just ask Buggles.

Back in the small chimney like chamber, the stirges Ram heard earlier make their presence known- descending upon the rogue. Buggles, and then the other adventurers come running, several more of them duck into the small chamber, they have to- the action is happening up above in there.


Ram locates a pair of flying exsanguinators (rebranded Stirges)- great for kids parties!

Buggles shoots a stirge dead- there are eight of the little buggers in this encounter (mostly arriving in pairs), alas another of the pests gets to the wood elf and begins to drain his blood. Ram stabs the blighter formerly attached to Buggles- dead, while the wood elf accounts for another with his scimitar that gets a little too close.

Newt gets stabbed by a proboscis and bled briefly, the tabaxi’s hellish rebuke incinerates the unlucky stirge.

Then Ram gets bitten and bled, again briefly, he skewers the offending stirge with his rapier- dead, and then with his off-hand dagger ends yet another that swoops too close.


The Stirge Disco- Ooooah-Ooooah-DUM-DUM-Ooooah-Ooooah-DUM-DUM. Thumping bass (and falling stones) courtesy of Newt's Eldritch Blasts.

Buggles cuts another dead, while Newt’s eldritch blast ends the last- that’s all eight enemies accounted for.

[Eight more stirges destroyed 200 XP]

The small emaciated body in the lonely cavern turns out to be that of a long dead dwarf- exsanguinated by the flying stirge menaces, the corpse however has a little gold.

Note Ram, at first, thought the body could have been Bel’s, the DM may even have hinted at such.

The adventurers however have seen (and had) enough, they climb back out of the stream passage- back the way they came, and then spend a little while chatting about where to go next. This after Vincenzo is convinced that while there are signs of the orc shaman passing in this direction (down the stairs) there are however no signs that Bel took this path.

And Spandwick is, of course, still asking- “have you found Bel?”

The decision is to head back up the stair and search the orc’s lair properly, Bel is probably hidden there somewhere.

Note this decision is reached because Spandwick has now graduated to shouting, every now and then, “BEL!” at the top of his voice.

Even after he receives a stern lecture from Vinnie about the danger inherent in such actions.

The DM delights in this activity it seems.

Funny that.

And at the time I noted that many of the players were laughing, so...

The Dark Squad therefore head all the way back up the grand stair, and then back into the orc caves- they search their way through several large cavern chambers, there are piles of mouldering crates and boxes here- the collected (mundane) stolen goods of the orcs. Vinnie even encourages Spandwick to shout and call for his wife- there are lots of places to hide here, particularly if you are a small frightened gnome.


A store-chamber cum orc bedroom is investigated and more semi-hidden treasures found- gold and gems, an impressive haul. A little further on in the passageways and a hefty great wooden door is located, with a human skull impaled upon the portal, the Dark Squad scoot into action- Ram and Buggles looking for traps and tricks- none found.

However during the manoeuvres a statue of a stout dwarf with sword and hammer is discovered just around the corner, Vinnie chooses to investigate the stone art, and in doing so triggers yet another trap- the result of which is the shifter is bathed in a cloud of greenish poison gas, expelled from the stone statue’s mouth.


However, Ram shares a dose of his elixir of health, and soon after Vinnie’s poison condition is gone.

[The stone dwarf with poison breath trap 150 XP]

The Dark Squad return their attention to the great portal and eventually shove their way into yet another chamber, this one by the smell of it the former home of the ogre- Great Ulfe, and his dire wolf hounds (Vak & Thrag). Yet more treasure is found and included in the haul is a beautifully made rapier, an actual Durgeddin the Black made blade.

Later Ram will attune this weapon, it’s given name- Deadend is revealed, as is its purpose- the blade is magical and bane of the undead.


Investigating Great Ulfe's stinky bedroom, note the poison breathing dwarf statue to the north- and look, that's the chasm!

[More treasure and more investigations 100 XP]

Still however no sign of Bel.

Yet another orc barracks is located, the chamber looks to have been home to nearly two dozen orcs- certainly the PCs have found the sleeping spaces for just over thirty orcs so far within the complex. I’m making this clear here on the off-chance that one of the players will read it- the PCs have only encountered and killed 20-something orcs so far.

The area is searched thoroughly, and another cache of treasure found- more gold, however the prize goes to Ram who finds a hidden panel on the western wall, which Garumn eventually wrenches open. There’s an ancient crumbling and long unused web-filled passage beyond. A secret door leading to a secret passage, and after closer very cautious investigation (no giant spiders here) the short passage ends in yet another secret door. This too is wrenched open; it leads into a long chamber containing the arrow slits and orc firing stations- the spot from which the orcs rained arrows down on the Dark Squad when they first arrived.

The adventurers search through the newly revealed chambers, and again there are more orc bedrolls here- the passage leads all the way around to the chasm chamber, to one of the secret doors there, from which the orcs with bows exited earlier to attack the Dark Squad from the rear. There’s a similar chamber with another arrow slit on the opposite side of the chasm ledge, this too is investigated- empty.

[More exploring and searching 200 XP]

Still no Bel.

Poor Spandwick is distraught, however the Dark Squad have really had enough now, and its ten minutes until cut off time for the end of the session, therefore a long rest is needed. All of the secret doors are sealed shut, camp is made- Spandwick consoled (slightly) and the Dark Squad set watch and then sleep to level up.

The night passes without incident, the adventurers rise and shine Level 4.

But that’s for next time.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan and the Dark Squad.
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Playa Playa

A mighty fine little ditty-

Stirges – a Haiku

Deftly swooping flight
Piercing parts yearning for blood
The flappy bastards

From the pen of Ramshambo

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


Playa Playa

A Buggles interlude, the wood elf while having lost Ashardalon's in the Neverwinter Forest pays a visit to home..

Buggles, accompanied by Gwen, had tracked Ashardalon the Dragonkith to the northern edge of Neverwinter, but the trail had gone cold. Before he had to return to Neverwinter to rendezvous with the rest of the Dark Squad, he decided to look in on his adopted family back at Willow Grove. He was greeted by Mother Willow, Grayum the Gruff, the sprites Flit and Wit but was surprised to see that Aunt Ingrid was also there. Ingrid was a particularly spiteful and ugly Hag who dwelled in the northern reaches of Neverwinter Wood.

The last time Buggles had seen Ingrid was a few years earlier, when he was sent to stay at her dark abode while Mother Willow and Grayum were summoned to attend a meeting of the Summer Court in the Feywild. It was not a pleasant experience. Ingrid's hollow tree-stump home was dirty and smelly, with various bits of animals and bone effigies strung up all over the place, and a cauldron out front constantly bubbling and emitting horrid smells. Ingrid, like other Hags, practiced dark woodland magic. In better times she would have been burned as a witch, but these were not better times.

Buggles remembered that summer as he caught sight of Ingrid and her feral cat, Nosiarys, who regarded him with baleful yellow eyes. Nosiarys has been catnapped by some Boggles, evil little grey fey monsters who drag their knuckles on the ground. Ingrid has been frantic to get her cat familiar back safely, and had set about a ritual to pinpoint his location. Buggles meanwhile had looked for tracks in the forest where Nosi liked to spend her time when she wasn't meowing around the cauldron, and picked up the trail of the Boggles quite easily. Following them to a secluded camp, Buggles had watched as Nosiarys was tied to a small altar by a group of Boggles, who set about gathering various skewers and bone knives. Buggles didn't think, he leaped into the fray to save Nosi, catching the Boggles quite unawares. A whirlwind of scimitars and teenage angst, Buggles cut down the first two Boggles with ease. The other three had grabbed small weapons and made a fight of it (well, the last one surrendered, which was not accepted), but in the end Buggles stood surrounded by bits of Boggle, Nosiarys mewling pathetically on the makeshift altar. Untyng her, Nosi immediately lashed out at Buggles with her sharp claws, giving him a scar on his cheek which he still bore to this day. Undeterred, Buggles had stuffed Nosi into a sack, and rushed back to find Ingrid just completing her location ritual. Amazed and delighted at the return of her beloved cat, who jumped up and purred around her shoulder, Ingrid had remarked to Buggles, “Well it seems like you have your uses after all” which was probably the nicest thing she had ever said to anyone.

Back in the present, Ingrid waved Buggles over, she looked even more hunched and ugly than he remembered. Her clothing was tattered and dirty, and Buggles was pretty sure he remembered some of the stains from the last time he saw her, some three years prior.

“Aaaaah Buggles, the savior of the forest!” she rasped, dripping with sarcasm and spittle in equal measure.

“Hello Aunt Ingrid, looking lovely as ever“ Buggles replied.

“Humph!” Ingrid snorted, “Come inside, we must speak”, she gestured towards a cross between a hut and a tree, which was clearly her home from home. Her cauldron bubbled away in front of it, filling the Grove with its noxious fumes.

Buggles and Gwen followed Ingrid into the lair, with Nosiarys purring around his feet. Nosi was a black cat with a white face, and a habit of making the most awful shrieking sounds.

“Hello Nosi” said Buggles, stooping to give the cat a tickle. Nosi purred loudly as Buggles tickled behind her ears, then ran off with a meow out of the hut towards the pond.

Ingrid sat hunched across from him, looking like she had fallen asleep.

“What brings you to the Grove, Ingrid?” asked Buggles.

Ingrid woke with a start. “You, actually. Or to be precise, that thing standing next to you”

“Gwen?” Buggles said with surprise, “What about her?”

“Why are you cavorting with the undead? I thought we raised you better than that” Ingrid seemed angry, but it was hard to tell.

“Just by chance really” Buggles replied, fishing the magic whistle from around his next, “I found this in the Sunless Citadel” he offered the whistle to Ingrid, who took it and peered carefully at it using some sort of spyglass which magnified her bloodshot yellow eye quite horribly.

“What do you know about it?” she enquired, never looking up.

“Not much really, it summons Gwen, she's a Duergar, that's a dark dwarf” he added cheekily.

“I know what a Duergar is you young fool!” Some spittle missed Buggles by inches, “What are you planning to do with it?”

“I hadn't given it too much thought, but I'd like to somehow free Gwen from this curse. I know she came from a Duergar city called Gracklstugh, somewhere in the Underdark. I thought about going there, but then Duergar aren't exactly friendly and since Gwen got turned into a skeleton there in the first place, that might not help at all. I don't know if she can be returned to life, or perhaps just laid to rest. Either way I want to help Gwen, I'm just not sure how”. Ingrid offered the whistle back, and Buggles took it and hung it back around his neck. Gwen shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably.

“You might be right there” Ingrid rasped, “I cannot undo this magic, perhaps you should seek a necromancer or a powerful cleric”. At that moment Nosiarys rushed back into the hut, carrying a small duckling.

“For naughty word sake” Buggles muttered, “Is that one of the ducks from the pond?”

“She's a good cat” purred Ingrid, Nosi deposited the dying duckling at her feet, hissed at Buggles, and fled the hut once more.

“Seek your answers among the wise of Neverwinter” Ingrid said, reaching down and grabbing up the duckling, “But be careful, not everyone appreciates necromancy. Oh and good work with that druid fellow, he was causing more trouble that even he realised”

“What do you mean?” asked Buggles.

“The Feywild and this world are connected young Buggles, and his efforts here were rippling back there. It's a good thing you stopped him when you did but remember...”

“Oh no, don't say it” interrupted Buggles, for he knew what was coming.

“The fey aren't out of the woods yet!” she finished triumphantly, holding out her spindly arms to either side and cackling maniacally, which quickly turned to a hacking cough.

“naughty word hell” groaned Buggles.

~ The Tales of Buggles ~

DM aside- right, I'll see what I can do with this plot strand... Top work, Stu.

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


Dark Squad in the Forge of Fury

Session #016 Harryhausen’s Wet Dream aka Vinnie’s Day.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 3
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 4
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 4
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 4

Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 4

This is session 16, and yet another bloody cracker, we seem to have found our groove.

The Dark Squad rise and shine to a new day, and they’re Level 4 now- the other thing of note is it’s the Feast of the Moon, the solstice- I tell you this because it becomes important, later.

This fact, maybe, prevents a (semi) TPK later on- see now you’re interested, but we’ll get to that.

The evening begins with much chatter, mainly just to re-orientate ourselves- just to be clear we had a week off last week as I had to have a little operation. I am now the proud possessor of a hole in my leg slightly larger than a golf ball- nice. It smarts!

The Dark Squad are trying to figure out what they need to do next, the rescued prisoners- Courana and the “inconceivable” Geradil are also quizzed and later invited to have their say, as is Spandwick- although, he just wants his wife (Bel) back.

The two ex-prisoners are very unhappy at the thought of being left behind by the PCs, they fear orc patrols returning to the lair, or else other wandering terrors. In short the pair have decided they are coming with the adventurers, wherever the Dark Squad go- they go too.

Which is hardly ideal, and annoying for the PCs (and players)- Courana screams a lot, and Geradil says “inconceivable” all of the bloody time.

Oddly this session it’s Vinnie who is the most pissed off about this.

While Spandwick constantly asks “have you found Bel yet?”

[Chatter with the ex-prisoners 120 XP]

The decision eventually is Vincenzo is going to use a locate object spell to try to find Bel’s wedding ring- this after the object is described to the druid in great detail by the forlorn gnome. It’s a long shot, and… it doesn’t work.

Either the object is too far away, or else… well, the spell fails for some other reason.

The Dark Squad suck it up and head back down the grand stair, back into the deep dark below, and eventually into a high-ceilinged chamber with several exiting cavern passages, and a shallow but fast-running river rushing through it.

The rogues go for a sneak about, there are no threats to be found here- they confidently state, there are of course but the stirges are high up on the ceiling- the rogues don’t look up there. Vinnie however finds tracks left by the fleeing orc eye of Gruumsh, the only known survivor of the earlier massacre of the Mountain Door’s defenders.

[Sneaking and searching 75 XP]

However, it’s at this point that the stirges make themselves known- the first of the little bastard’s swoops down and stabs its proboscis into Courana, she’s screaming again- and down to 1 HP in an instant.


STIRGES! They all hate stirges.

It gets messy very quickly as my stealth checks for the stirges are collectively pretty bloody great- seconds later and Newt is also stabbed and partially exsanguinated by one of the little buggers, and then by a second- and with a crit. The tabaxi is very quickly meowing furiously and beyond bloodied.

Ram stabs one of the attached stirge’s dead.

Then Buggles gets stabbed and drained too- the wood elf grabs his stirge attacker in his hands and pulls it free of him, and then dashes it against a nearby wall- remarkably the little creature survives, later it even gets back into the air.

Garumn meantime skewers the second stirge attached to Newt- the warlock is now free of the winged vermin.

Courana saves herself- the feisty ex-prisoner follows Buggles’ lead, grabs the stirge draining her blood and wrings its bloody neck (it only had 2 hp).

Ram stabs another stirge dead- there are only a pair of the little blighters left- Garumn flings a hand axe and accounts for another, the last (having just escaped Buggles) manages to flutter off and out of sight.

Garumn gets to Newt with a bit of lay on hands, the warlock is less than happy… although all of the PCs are a bit grouchy- they REALLY hate stirges.

Vinnie heals Courana- the druid has ‘such gentle hands’, according to the now slightly smitten ex-prisoner.

[Stirges 150 XP]

There follows lots more chatter- this after Buggles raises the following point- “Why, exactly, are we tracking down the surviving orc eye of Gruumsh, to what end?”

The discussion rumbles on particularly after Ram re-reads the ancient dwarven scroll they found back in the Sunless Citadel-

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

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

So, they’re looking for the ‘tombs of the ancients’, there’s much much more chatter- but no decisions getting made, and so Ram- itching to explore, decides to check out where the river south goes. Answer, it passes through a low tunnel into yet another large cavern.

The daring rogue scurries off to see, wading through the river and into another large stinking cavern- the place smells of death, and close by are the remains of a pair of orcs, a cursory check reveals that the closest body is that of the missing eye of Gruumsh- mystery solved.


Some chat... others do- Ram, making a bee-line for danger.

Just to note that while Ram is doing his thing the dastardly DM has two sneaky (and camouflaged) troglodytes moving quickly towards him, at which point (of course) Kev playing Ram calls for an active perception check and rolls a ‘20’ (total ‘27’), my trogs have stealth ‘23’.

Ram spots the threat and scarpers just in time- rushing back into the river and through the low watery cavern and to his friends. The gasping rogue gets the rest of the Dark Squad up to date with events, he also identifies his would-be attackers with a successful monster knowledge check (available as a free action- remember to use this fellers).

[Ram explores 100 XP]

The Dark Squad cluster around the river passage and soon after spot a heavily camouflaged trog heading towards them, alas the creature retreats as soon as the PCs close in.

Ram thinks quickly, and then with help manages to dump a flask or two of burning lamp oil into the stream, there’s no danger to the trogs- waiting on the other side of the opening, but it’s enough to make the pair scurry back a way- leaving the opening free for a swift Dark Squad excursion.

Nice plan, and good roll.

[Ram clears the trogs away from the river passage exit 50 XP]

Buggles scrambles through the low watery passage, he spots a retreating trog and cuts it in half (almost) with a scimitar crit- dead. Garumn follows the wood elf through and repeats the feat (nearly)- with another crit, although just not enough damage to kill the second enemy.

Newt is next to the action and into the new cavern- the warlock ends the fleeing trog with an eldritch blast.

[Trog guards dead 100 XP]

The two troglodyte guards are despatched, the rest of the Dark Squad (and company) come through the river passage while Garumn guards the way. Buggles meantime searches through the rotting remains of the two dead orcs- finding a flask of alchemist’s fire on the eye of Gruumsh.

Here’s the thing- there were three trogs in the large cavern chamber, the last enemy (camouflaged and stealthy) has in the meantime crept back to the tribe’s lair to tell his friends. As the adventurers congregate and continue their investigations, the tribe are creeping forward to meet them.

But the DM is foiled again- Ram decides to keep a close watch on the far end of the chamber, the rogue therefore is the first to spot the trogs slowly, stealthily advancing- or at least a few of them, there are actually more than half-a-dozen of the nasty creatures approaching.

What follows is a difficult fight for many of the PCs, simply because the trogs with their natural camouflage and stealth are for some of the Dark Squad almost impossible to spot (certainly using their passive perceptions). It’s not until they get to attacking that they become visible to many of the PCs.

And so...

Ram screams a warning and cuts the nearest trog down dead, Buggles ends another- the rogues have sharp eyes and senses. This fact however doesn’t stop the wood elf from getting surprised by another pair of the beasts, he’s bitten and clawed repeatedly. The trogs are in the fight- and the wood elf is quickly well beyond bloodied.

Vincenzo burns another trog with his produce flame, Newt finishes it off with an eldritch blast.

Ram scurries forward and with his magical rapier kills another- that’s four down already.

Garumn badly injures yet another, Buggles finishes it off and then gets his second wind, the Dark Squad are a killing machine.

At which point a ten foot long giant lizard skitters forward to join the fight, the PCs are a little freaked to see the new enemy.


The terrifying GIANT LIZARD! It was actually the weakest monster in the encounter.

They panic a little- truth be told the giant lizard is hardly any threat at all.

Vincenzo drops a faerie fire onto the new attacker, and a close-by trog- to cheers from his comrades.

Too soon!

Kaarghaz, the trog chief, suddenly makes himself known- this after shooting three scorching rays at Garumn- two of them hits, and the dwarf paladin is bloodied in an instant. The trog boss, scuttles back and away, chirruping and clicking his battle orders.

Newt hits the giant lizard with a hex enhanced eldritch blast, meantime the remaining trogs concentrate their efforts on clawing and biting Garumn.

Ram, poisoned by the troglodyte’s stench, rolls and crit-cuts another (faerie fire bathed) trog down, and then for good measure also stabs the giant lizard.

Garumn badly wounds yet another trog, while Buggles leaves the giant lizard critically wounded, alas Vinnie’s produce flame is still not enough to end the jaw-snapping over-sized reptile.

There are only two trog warriors left in the fight- both still trying to tear Garumn apart, the dwarf is on maybe 15 HP.

Buggles is all action however, he spots a gap and races forward to get in the trog chief’s grill, alas Kaarghaz’s shield spell keeps the wood elf at bay. Seconds later the trog chief scurries away from his attacker. He gets some space to work his magic, and then hits Buggles with two out of three of his scorching rays, the wood elf is left critically wounded (on 7 HP).

Newt blasts the giant lizard with another hex-enhanced eldritch blast, and at last- it’s dead. It had a lot of HP (30+) but a very low AC, and a very weak attack- it never hit once.

Giant lizards are very underpowered- maybe?

We’ll see…

Ram and Buggles rush after the trog chief, they’re hunting the nasty fellow down, the wood elf necks a potion of greater healing en route to the task- Kaarghaz’s shield spell however keeps the pair at bay once more.

Garumn cuts the last but one troglodyte warrior in two- with a massive crit.

At which point the co-star of the show (you’ll meet the other star of the show in a short while) makes his appearance- Vincen G. Octopod aka the return of Vinnie’s wildshape giant octopus option.

This after Vinnie (on purpose, so he says) fails to wade through the fast running stream here and ends up sliding down the water-course on his backside.


Vinnie goes "WIBBLE! WIBBLE!"

The last trog warrior is tentacle-grabbed and battered almost into unconsciousness.

Keep in mind that Vincen G. Octopod cannot speak, save to say he shouts “WIBBLE WIBBLE” every time he swings into action- it’s amazing how much information you can communicate with a “WIBBLE WIBBLE”. James, playing Vinnnie/Vincen G. explores the full gamut of the expression.

Kaarghaz employs a little more magic- a sleep spell, hoping to put one of the rogues double-teaming him down- alas they both have at least a soupcon of elven blood in them. Newt, a little behind the rogues, therefore suddenly flops to the floor and gets in a much needed cat nap.

Garumn decapitates the last trog, which is being held before him- grappled and restrained, by Vincen G. Octopod. The dwarf then scurries forward to help out the rogues- who have still not managed to land a hit on the trog chief, Kaarghaz.

Vincen G. joins in the fun- but still no hits.

Kaarghaz claws and bites Buggles, repeatedly- and the wood elf is back to critically wounded (8 HP).

But then the tide turns, the still poisoned Ram manages to cut the trog chief deep, and then Garumn finds the sweet spot with a divine smite, Kaarghaz is hurt bad- the trog chief is bloodied and worse. Buggles forgets his wounds and joins in the take-down, and now the trog is critically wounded (down to 6 HP).

Time to depart.

Kaarghaz… vanishes.

Which causes more than a small amount of upset.

Moments later a desperate Buggles spots the trog’s escape route, a splash and surge of water from a nearby deep looking pool of water, at the very end of the cavern.

The rest of the Dark Squad scurry over to see what’s going on, directed to the spot by the yelling wood elf.

The adventurers note that there’s a cavern passage exiting on the far side of the pool- the river continues on this way. Several of the PCs attempt to creep around the edge of the water- Newt desperately trying not to get wet (he’s a cat- he hates water). He fails and has to wade and yowl through the wet.

That is until Vincen G. Octopod catches up with the action and spladooshes into the pool, and then drags himself out the other side again- following the river on to see where the critically wounded trog chief has gone. They’re as certain as they can be that the trog’s no longer in the water.

Note, Vincen G. Octopod has almost 60 HP, James is feeling very confident.

At which point the giant subterranean lizard (a huge creature with nearly 80 HP, and over twenty feet long snout to tail) darts around the corner hissing, and then whips its tail hard into the giant cephalopod. Seconds later- as the other members of the Dark Squad watch on- open mouthed in horror, the octo-druid is grabbed up by the huge reptile and crushed and chewed in the massive reptile’s jaws.

Here’s a giant (huge) lizard with attitude- and the other star of the show.

Vincen G. Octopod is beyond bloodied- and also restrained, and grappled… oh, and somehow prone- his tentacles flailing in the air.



Giant Octopus! Giant Octopus! HA! I naughty word 'em!

Buggles sinks an arrow into the huge lizard’s snout- and a crit, for 25 damage, that hurt- the giant reptile remembers this slight for later.

Vincen G. Octopod somehow fights back, he manages to grapple and restrain the huge reptile in his tentacles.

It’s at this point with the two giant monsters locked in a death grapple that Stu (playing Buggles) reminds us of the great works of Ray Harryhausen, the fight continues to be described in a stop-motion/clay-mation style.

Newt, having being woken up by Courana, who is/was staying close to Vinnie- although she can’t seem to spot the ‘lovely man’ at the moment.


Followed by…


The giant (huge) subterranean lizards opens its jaws wide and… GULP! Swallows Vincen G. Octopod- that got nasty very quickly. The great lizard then slithers into the cavern pool and brings its tail up and over- smashing the appendage into Buggles, the wood elf is down and dying.

Just to recap- Garumn is on maybe 12 HP, Buggles is dying, Vincen G. Octopod is almost dead (and at present being digested), while Ram and Newt are bloodied.

A second later and Buggles fails his first death save.

There’s a lot of groaning and moaning going on around the VTT.

Meantime the acid stomach of the huge reptile is burning Vincen G’s tentacles to tent-a-nubs, the cephalopod is now critically wounded.

Newt fires another eldritch blast into the great reptile (and then rolls minimum damage), the players are screaming and shouting.

There’s also a fair bit of swearing coming from the VTT.

Even Spandwick tries his luck with a firebolt, and that’s a ‘1’.

Ram dares again, the rogue races in to face the huge reptile down, and then misses the thing with his magical rapier, only stabs the beast with his off-hand and much-more mundane dagger. Alas now Garumn can’t get close enough to attack the beast with his equally magic sword- the only spot left in range of the enemy is in the pool- not advisable in his heavy armour. The dwarf paladin therefore flings his hand axe into the reptile’s snout, and now the lizard is critically wounded (and with just 8 HP left).

There’s a lot of cheering when I announce this.

Note I don’t tell the players how many hit points the creature has left, just that the beast is critically wounded.

But my super-lizard is not done for yet, it swipes Ram with its massive tail- knocking the rogue prone and into the deeper part of the pool, and then snatches up the flailing half-elf- crushing him in its jaws.

And now Ram is unconscious and dying.

Buggles fails his second death save in a row, one more and he’s gone.

At which point Vincen G. Octopod deep within the giant subterranean lizard’s gut also expires, and with enough damage transferred over to just about bloody Vincenzo the druid. Who suddenly finds himself immersed in stomach acid, in very cramped dark place, and being crushed, while restrained and blinded.

But Vinnie has an idea- it’s the Feast of the Moon today, remember I let you know about this earlier on.

Well, Vincenzo is a druid of the Moon.

This is his special day.

The druid also has an inspiration point to spend- can he please cast a Moonbeam spell down onto the giant subterranean lizard, please Mr. Kindly DM-sir?

The benevolent DM is happy for Vinnie to try it.

Suddenly a burst of moonlight spears down from the highest point in the cavern, the shaft of golden glory spotlights the scaly back of the huge snapping reptile- and it radiant burns. The giant beast however is contentedly crunching and crushing Ram in its salivating maw.

It makes its save.

Cue lots more swearing, shouting and groaning from the VTT (actually discord).

Half damage only- 2d10, and… ‘8’ and ‘10’- half of that’s 9.

But, that can’t be- my wonderful lizard friend has only got 8 HP left.

The giant subterranean lizard suddenly looks up from its rogue-feast and sniffs the air, cranes its neck around to see the source of the smell- the moonbeam is cooking its flesh.

“Urp!” The creature announces and suddenly, simply, collapses.


There is screaming and cheering as Vinnie pops his head out of the newly radiant burnt hole in the great creature, the druid scramble-crawls out of the beast’s belly, and then slithers into the pool- to wash the burning gut-acid away.

Seconds later Newt gets to Buggles with his healer’s kit and manages to stabilise the wood elf.

A moment later and Garumn grabs the now drowning and dying Ram from the pool and lays on hands, the rogue blinks- chokes, and with help from his dwarven friend scrambles away from the water and lizard mess.

Still floundering in the pool Vinnie manages somehow to maintain his concentration on the radiant burn of the moonbeam.

The druid spots that the DM still hasn’t dropped the action out of initiative.

At which point Kaarghaz, the trog chief, appears in the river passage just beyond the moonbeam’s radiant haze- grunts once or twice at the sprawled and gasping members of the Dark Squad, and then scurries off to fight another day.

The Dark Squad get the (collective) feeling they’ll be seeing Kaarghaz again.

Then the scramble to grab out healing potions et al, as the adventurers (and company) back away quickly from the water’s edge.

And we’re out of initiative- at last.

[Troglodytes, a giant lizard, and a giant (huge) subterranean lizard 1500 XP]

[Titanic fight with great action 200 XP]

And that’s about that- the Dark Squad (and company) are swiftly in retreat- they can see where the entrance to the trog’s lair is but… they’re not heading in there, they’re partially broken. They head all the way back to the grand stair, halfway up the rise they make camp, or at least settle down for a short rest, and to spend a few healing HD and glug down a few more potions.

Careful fellers- a healing potion may be all that stands between you and death in future sessions, keep a few in hand.

For now however they’re spent.

It’s very likely there’ll be more of this kind of thing next time.

Stay safe and well.

Cheers goonalan and the Dark Squad.
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Hello Goonalan

Well, having re-read a couple of your older threads (the Lost Boys and the Goodman Gang), I've now turned my attention to this one - and I'm enjoying it immensely (as expected), especially the players' poetics.

I've read up the end of the Sunless Citadel stuff so far, and I've loved the tweaks you've made to adventure as written - very effective.

I have fond memories of that module myself as, back when 3e was fairly new I used it to introduce my (then teenage) two children to the delights of D&D. I don't remember too much about how they handled it to be honest, but I know that like you're doing here we moved on to Forge of Fury. Sadly we never finished it, for reasons that I don't recall - but probably because back then I felt compelled to check that they'd done any outstanding school work before we played, and (especially in my son's case) it very often hadn't been. :rolleyes:

Funnily enough lockdown inspired me to start up another campaign with them and a third player - this time 5e of course - over Skype (none of your fancy Fantasy Grounds stuff I'm afraid). We're just wrapping up the Lost Mines, during which I managed to kill both my kids' characters in the encounter with the Black Spider. Even though they're now in their 30s, my daughter did not take this well!! :LOL:

keep it coming!


Hello Goonalan

Well, having re-read a couple of your older threads (the Lost Boys and the Goodman Gang), I've now turned my attention to this one - and I'm enjoying it immensely (as expected), especially the players' poetics.

I've read up the end of the Sunless Citadel stuff so far, and I've loved the tweaks you've made to adventure as written - very effective.

I have fond memories of that module myself as, back when 3e was fairly new I used it to introduce my (then teenage) two children to the delights of D&D. I don't remember too much about how they handled it to be honest, but I know that like you're doing here we moved on to Forge of Fury. Sadly we never finished it, for reasons that I don't recall - but probably because back then I felt compelled to check that they'd done any outstanding school work before we played, and (especially in my son's case) it very often hadn't been. :rolleyes:

Funnily enough lockdown inspired me to start up another campaign with them and a third player - this time 5e of course - over Skype (none of your fancy Fantasy Grounds stuff I'm afraid). We're just wrapping up the Lost Mines, during which I managed to kill both my kids' characters in the encounter with the Black Spider. Even though they're now in their 30s, my daughter did not take this well!! :LOL:

keep it coming!

In truth there wasn't a plan, I just winged it to where we got too, or at least my only proviso was I wanted to make them do everything, visit everywhere. But it's easy to shape these things because you've mostly got a week between sessions to figure out three or more possible directions to take it, and then when you do something different in game, another week to join all the bits back together again.

It's a great little environ to scuttle about in though, just like Forge of Fury, which is also why I liked them so much the first time around.

These are some tough bastard PCs here though, I mean I just kept flinging goblins at them and they didn't bat an eyelid, mind you a druid that just turns into a 30 or so HP bear and at the end two rogues- gah!

By the time we were about six sessions in I'd figured that Ashardalon was going to be coming back, and much too tough for them to handle- they got that, very quickly- so I had to drop the ceiling/raise the citadel just to up the jeopardy. In truth I hadn't planned that until about half-an-hour before the final session started... still, it seemed nicely low level epic.

I also like to leave the PCs with a bit of a look back- what did we do now? Just so they ask the question, and fidget a little when they try to shape the answer.

In Forge... well, I thought I was going to kill them with Great Ulfe and the gang, I genuinely expected a TPK- and kinda had a plan for it, I even made clear my warnings to the Players prior to several of the sessions- this could get bad very quickly! But the bastards just kept on hitting (and my guy's kept on missing) and at the end... they endured.

But, there's a way to go yet, and I've done much more planning with this one... there's a few more stories to tell here.

I'm loving it by the way, and the guy's are really in the groove.

Thanks for taking the time, always appreciated.

Stay frosty.



Dark Squad in the Forge of Fury

Session #017 The thing about genocide is… chatting with Buggles.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 3
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 4
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 4
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 4

Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 4

NPC hangers-on, rescued prisoners of the Orcs
Geradil the 'Inconceivable', aging trapper (Male Human)
'Screaming' Courana, lady’s maid (Female Human)
Spandwick the Magic Gnome, ex-stage mesmerist (Male Gnome)

This is session 17, and another bloody cracker, although only a short session because the heroic DM had a bit of leg surgery the other week and is struggling. But y’know, bravely battling on, against the odds etc.

Last we left the Dark Squad they were back on the grand stair, resting up after a titanic battle against assorted troglodytes, followed by a Harryhausen-esque monster mash between Vincen G. Octopod (and the rest of the gang) and a (huge) giant subterranean lizard.

Victory for the Dark Squad but at a price, hence the time out being taken.

Oh, and there’s a lot of Buggles in this session, not because he’s MVP (he always is, right Stu?) but just because his habit of saying the wrong thing at the right time (that’s a compliment) just hit the spot most all the time. At least, that’s how it appeared to me.

So, back to it, and after a brief chat the adventurers (and their followers- the ex-orc prisoners) head back to the scene of the fight- into the troglodyte caverns, and after the rogues declare the way clear- into the lair of the troglodytes, which it quickly becomes apparent has been abandoned.

[Back to the scene of the fight 100 XP]

The trog lair is very cautiously investigated and given a thorough going over, the following discoveries are made-

a) Various sleeping/eating/childcare quarters.

b) The spellcaster-leader’s chamber is a mess but a chest full of silver coins is eventually located- nice.

c) Someone- a trog, has been back here, possibly while the guys were resting up on the grand stair.

[Search the trogs lair 150 XP]

During the search of the trogs lair Buggles, this after rolling a ‘4’ on his nature check, declares that trogs make nests from twigs et al, actually he states- “nests dude, classic trogs”, his comrades in arms laugh heartily, as does the DM. Although this in part is because the wood elf then goes on to declare that trogs later in life, “grow wings and just fly awaaaay!”

He may have been thinking of troglodytes troglodytes.

He’s not great with his nature checks is Buggles, I honestly don’t remember him rolling anything above a ‘5’ in seventeen sessions.

After the laughter the next chamber in the trog lair is investigated and… there are nests shown on the map. Buggles has the last laugh.


"Classic trogs, dude. Classic.”

[Classic trogs dude 50 XP]

After exiting the lair the collective Dark Squad’s decision is to head on- across the cavern pool and into the chambers from which the giant subterranean lizard emerged, and through which the trog caster/leader fled.

Note while the following is going on an extended debate is also taking place, the subject of the debate- genocide, natch.

The thing is the Dark Squad are not that fond of the trogs, and vice-versa one would imagine, and they have a collective hankering to see the lot of them slaughtered- the debate actually starts up after the Squad discover signs that there were young/juvenile trogs in the lair. So, the question is- do we slaughter the lot, including the kids?

Vincenzo is, naturally, agin it- as is Garumn but the dwarf mainly keeps his peace (because the DM is otherwise busy) however Buggles, Ram and Newt are much less black and white in their approach to the trogs (and to genocide).

They all have their say on the matter, however Buggles’ reply serves as the benchmark, in summary it’s this- “if the trogs are not looking to get killed then I’ll not kill them, if they’re uppity and violent- well, count me in”. In conclusion the wood elf adds (or at least a version of following) “the elves do not have a word for genocide, however let’s not rule out killing every single one of ‘em.”

He’s an enigma is our Buggles.

[The genocide debate 100 XP]

Back to the action…

The watery way ahead however involves getting around the deep cavern pool traversing a narrow ledge (if you don’t want to get your feet wet) which mostly goes well, except of course for Newt. The tabaxi hates water, and so it’s no surprise that he (very briefly) belly-flops into the pool.

Newt hated the trog lair- “it smells like Garumn’s boots in here”, and he dislikes water intensely, Bear is really having fun with the roleplay in session. They all are this evening.

[The tabaxi blues 50 XP]

Eventually the group make their way around the pool but not before Buggles makes a discovery, there’s been a rockfall or collapse on the northern side of the cavern here, the wood elf clambers about a bit and finally finds a location he can spy through and into the chamber beyond the obstruction. He can see a sarcophagi, and there’s enough light- just, to make out the hefty stone construction, which in itself is odd. The area is tagged for future investigations, but not yet…

[Buggles spots a sarcophagi 50 XP]

Buggles (mostly) and Ram are sent ahead to investigate the watery passage further- which necessitates a bunch more athletics and acrobatics checks, the way is dangerous as the river is running much faster (and much deeper)- and the passage descends steeply for a while. The tunnel, Buggles discovers, leads on and into another large cavern, and there’s the roar of the water somewhere ahead.


Don't draw monsters on the map whoever you are Mr Cartographer sir, pretty please.

However there’s also a spur off the main passage- into another cavern, which turns out to be the former lair of the giant subterranean lizard. Within- in the creature’s crude nest are a pair of massive sea chests, which are investigated- lots more silver coins, and another pair of potions- one of which is identified by Newt as being water breathing.

[Investigate the giant subterranean lizard’s lair, claim its treasure 100 XP]

Then forwards again- pressing on, through the difficult to negotiate watery passage, which involves lots of jumping and scrambling. The last section of the river tunnel requires several of the adventurers, and all of ex-orc prisoners, to be tied on- with Buggles holding the rope, just in case things go badly during the leaping and scrambling.

[Buggles forges the way through the river passage 100 XP]

Things go badly, and in particular for the “Inconceivable” Geradil, the ex-trapper fails a jump and falls into the fast flowing river, and is duly swept away- except of course that Buggles takes the strain and prevents that from happening. The Dark Squad scramble into action- although all the while the PCs (or rather the Players) are questioning the wisdom of saving Geradil.

Just to remind you about the three NPC hangers-on, every round (when we are in initiative) and also at other times-

Geradil remarks that something or other is “inconceivable”.

Courana screams, or else compliments Vincenzo- she has a crush on the druid.

Spandwick asks “have you found Bel, yet?”

Apparently after three or four sessions of this it can get a little wearing, to be honest I’d not noticed, I was having great fun with it.

Eventually Garumn grabs hold of the rope and hauls Geradil out of the fast flowing river, the ex-prisoner has taken a few bangs and bruises but is mostly okay, “that was…” he remarks with a grin- between puffing and panting, “in-huh-huh-con-huuuuh-huh-ceivable!”

There, normal service is resumed, to groans.

[Rescue Geradil 150 XP]

The large river cavern is investigated by the rogues- it’s mostly empty, but dangerous looking- the pair discern that the fast flowing river rushes on and into the abyss- down a sinkhole. Hang on says Ram, haven’t we been warned about this place, here’s part of that ancient dwarven ditty again-

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

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

So, this is the sinkhole- and there are steps leading down alongside the plunge, although the way is made dangerous because the area around the river is very slippery- as discerned by the still frightened Newt.

[Find the sinkhole 200 XP]

However the tabaxi, while the rogues et al continue their checks, spots another set of stairs heading down, and there’s a light below. The curious cat creature descends into a massive cavern, with a high ceiling dotted here and there with shimmering flowstone, and eerily illuminated from below by a myriad varieties of phosphorescent fungi- the place is a natural/nature wonder.

Then the tabaxi plunges on, there are carved steps nearby that lead up onto a raised area- and sarcophagi, dozens of them up here. Newt shouts for Garumn, he’s found the ‘tombs of the ancients’, see the rhyme above.

The Dark Squad are excited, they descend en masse to take in the new vista- the massive glittering (ahem) fungi cavern, and then soon after filter up the steps to the sarcophagi. Although Vincenzo is actually more concerned with the fungi- apparently he likes to eat the stuff.


The glory of the underdark, a massive sepulchral cavern abuzz with the waft and fragrance of fungus spores, illuminated like some great cathedral to... Oh. Oh, hang on- the PCs just ignore the glories of under-nature and sprint off to see if they can lever any of the sarcophagi open... I don't know why I bloody bother...

Alas the druid’s investigations are not all plain sailing, he spots a violet fungi inching towards him through the great swathe of tuberous vegetation, and so begins shouting for his comrades in arms- just prior, of course, to bravely fleeing the scene.

Newt eldritch blasts the enemy fungus, Garumn rushes in and chops at it with Shatterspike his magical longsword, and then Ram dashes to the dwarf paladin’s side and finishes the plant creature off with Deadend, his equally magical rapier.



"Fungus Bastard!" Vinnie yells before soiling his pants and scarpering- oh so very brave Mr Druid.

At which point however Buggles spots that there are two more of the (potentially) violent violet fungi making their way towards our heroes, he moves to intercept and with his scimitars leaves the nearest fungus fiend critically wounded.

Not enough, the violet fungi lashes out with its extending (ten foot long) tendrils and scourges the wood elf and Ramshambow, with its rotting necrotic whip-like appendages, not pleasant.

Then the third violet fungi gets into action and lashes Garumn- with a crit, and the paladin is bloodied in an instant.

The fight goes up a gear.

Newt eldritch blasts another of the fungi-bastards to pieces, while Vincenzo wields his shillelagh and wades in clubbing at the last fungi-brute.

“He’s so brave…” Courana says to no-one in particular, but for everyone to hear.

Garumn makes a grand speech about finishing the last enemy off, and then rolls a ‘1’, “guys… a little help here, guys?”

Ram duly obliges and dashes to skewer the last violet fungi dead.

[Violet fungi go dead now 150 XP]

Alas the rogue needs a little healing after the fight, ain’t it always the way Ram?

After a brief scout around- no more enemies seem to be approaching, the Dark Squad hustle up the stairs and onto an elevated space containing twenty-three sarcophagi, the area is thoroughly investigated. The results are as follows-

a) Of the twenty three sarcophagi twenty of them are open, i.e. not sealed- which Garumn states means thta they are uninhabited- empty.

b) The rogues check them out anyway- they’re empty, told you.

c) There are therefore three sarcophagi that are inhabited, Garum explains that this can discerned because in death the name of the incumbent is engraved on the exterior. The three dead and interred dwarves are- Borgol the Old, Gharin Orc-Doom and Numik the Unlucky.

d) Garumn however insists that the occupied tombs should not be opened, unless the Dark Squad are really desperate, or else it becomes apparent that something important to their quest may be hidden within one of them. Note Buggles attempts to find a way around Garumn’s pronouncement… by telling the dwarf that Newt has discovered the possible presence of a magical key (or some such) hidden in one of the sealed tombs… but that doesn’t work. The tabaxi is unwilling to further Buggles’ lie, and none of the other members of the Squad take up the baton.

e) There’s nothing magical hidden in the sealed tombs, Vincenzo is certain- he’s checked.

f) There’s an exit from this chamber that heads directly back into the grand stair cavern- the way back up to the Mountain Door, the Dark Squad have gone the long way around.


"What do you mean they're empty? That can't be right- check again."

Last bit, and here’s the oddity- engraved on twenty one of the sarcophagi are the various images of your typical dwarven smith, all ages, both sexes… but all very similar- all with forge tools at their belt, some wielding weapons, but all of them… well, your typical dwarf. Which just leaves two exceptions-

a) A hefty looking dwarf wizard, robed and complete with staff in hand, and

b) A very small dwarf, half the size of the other carvings- this individual is clearly not a juvenile, just a… well, a very (very) short dwarf, or else… well, who knows?

Most odd.

Garumn further explains that dwarves, when they think they are going to die in a place- maybe because they think they are never going to want to leave that place, or else when the place is full of danger; then they build their tombs- ready to be interred should their end come.

These twenty three individuals were/are the dwarves that followed Durgeddin, Garumn concludes.

[Investigate the tombs of the ancients 400 XP]

The Dark Squad ponder this for a good while, and then while looking from their high perch over the massive glittering fungi cavern they make yet another discover. Perhaps ‘discovery’ isn’t the right word- maybe it would be better to say that they just figure it out.

The glitterhame referred to in the ancient dwarven rhyme IS the glittering massive fungi-filled cavern.

They’re definitely on the right track.

[Find the Glitterhame 200 XP]

Soon after Buggles however chivvies the adventurer’s back into action. There was a third cavern passage from the massive chamber in which the grand stair exited- let’s take a look in that direction before venturing further into the glitterhame.

Once again the rogues sneak a little way ahead of the group, edging along a rocky passage which leads into yet another large cavern- at which point they spot a pair of troglodytes spying in their direction, the creatures do not seem to have seen the sneaky duo.


"What's the plan?" Ram signals in thieves' cant, as Buggles puts an arrow through the throat of the closest trog- "Plan?" Buggles swiftly signals back.

Therefore the rogues, instigated by Buggles, open fire on the would-be trog watchers, one of the trogs is dead in an instant while the other is left critically wounded and making panicked whirrs and clicks in its strange language. There’s plenty of movement in the chamber ahead, although Buggles is swiftly in retreat, and so it’s only Ram that hangs around to see the action.

Seconds later, after a great echoing roar, a twelve foot tall cave bear comes staggering out of the darkness ahead- Ram starts shouting for his friends and retreats a bit- then more trogs rush in and it gets to fighting proper.

Note there are over a dozen trogs in and or about this chamber, all of them hidden (mostly) from sight, including a still badly wounded Kaarghaz, the trog leader/caster. That said I had some really low stealth checks here for the trogs (and all rolled with advantage).

So, here we go again- trog fight part two.

Genocide? Or just a good ol’ massacre?

Garumn rolls his usual ‘19’ on initiative and rumbles to the front of the queue and straight into action, flinging a hand axe into the already wounded chirruping trog- it dies.

Two down.

A trog rushes around the corner and attempts to bite and claw at the sturdy dwarf, not likely- Ram kills it quickly, while Buggles ends another trog rushing forward with a shot from his longbow.

Four down.

Vinnie hits another trog with his produce flame, at which point the cave bear finally lurches into action, and is swiftly hexed and eldritch blasted by Newt.

The massive roaring ursine swipes at Garumn but the paladin ducks and dodges, and then stabs the beast as close to its heart as he can reach- with Shatterspike, and a hefty helping of divine smite, the cave bear is critically wounded in an instant.

Seconds later and Ram is at the bear and… skewers the beast through its brain with Deadend his magical rapier. A trog instantly rushes over the body of the fallen bear to get at the ex-pirate, he stabs it with his off-hand dagger and then ducks as Buggles fires an arrow into the cavern dweller’s face, and that’s another trog dead.

Five trogs dead, and my approx.. 40 HP cave bear killed in seconds.

But still there are more of the stinky bastards, another half-a-dozen or so trogs rush into the action, Garumn is quickly surrounded, and clawed repeatedly- the paladin is left heavily wounded.

A swathe of the trogs are suddenly stopped in their tracks as vines and roots burst from the cavern floor to entangle a clutch at them- courtesy of Vincenzo’s magical wand of the same name.

Newt takes pot shots at the restrained creatures with a trio of scorching rays- all hits, the last a crit, although only one more enemy actually succumbs to the fire.

Six dead trogs.

Suddenly the Dark Squad spy the trog leader/caster Kaarghaz- their demi-semi-(atm)-nemesis. This after the trog’s fire bolt (even with advantage) slams into the cavern ceiling just above Garumn’s head- “get that bastard”, the surly dwarf declares. However the paladin is then clawed some more by the (mostly restrained) trog throng, he’s now critically wounded (on 6 HP). Ram also gets clawed and bitten.


The Dark Squad are enraged that Kaarghaz has had the temerity to come back for more... this after they had invaded the trog homelands, slaughtered half the tribe, all of their best lizards, and left the shamed leader mortally wounded and fleeing for his life in the last session. The cheek of some of these creatures, they're... monsters!

Note three of the PCs have had to make saving throws against the trog’s foul stench- all successes so far.

Back to it- Ram slaughters another restrained trog (the seventh), Buggles flails wildly with his scimitars, and Vincenzo screams for Garumn to retreat- the dwarf paladin is happy to disengage and get back to the home team.

At which point the druid of the moon, still on his special day- the Feast of the Moon, remember; unleashes his moonbeam- and there is screaming, several trogs (most of ‘em already badly wounded) are incinerated in the radiant glare.

Nine trogs dead.

With the trog front line cleared out Newt now has a bead on Kaarghaz, the trog leader/caster- he shifts his hex over and then eldritch blasts the bastard- with a crit.

The badly wounded Kaarghaz flees to the north gibbering in his strange tongue as he goes, several more trogs attempt to follow suit- there are only four of the trog foot soldiers left standing, only one gets away- this after Vincenzo continues to concentrate on the moonbeam’s radiant burn.

Twelve trogs dead- that got nasty very quickly, or else was just remorselessly nasty throughout, you decide.

The track stars of the Dark Squad give chase- Ram spots a cavern passage heading north and races down it, quickly catching up with the last to flee badly wounded trog. A second later and the creature’s escape attempt comes to a bloody end, courtesy of Deadend.

Buggles chases harder and faster, follows and then overtakes Ram- then lashes his scimitar into the back of the fleeing trog chief, but it’s not enough to stop the gibbering beast’s exodus.

“Meow! Make a hole!” Newt screeches, the two racing rogues instinctively crouch as an eldritch blast skims just above their heads and smashes into the back of Kaarghaz’s skull, shattering the offending article in its wake. The headless trog leader falls, as Newt grins and yowls his pleasure.

That however was the last action of the session.

[Death to Kaarghaz trog leader/sorcerer, over a dozen trogs and a cave bear 1300 XP]

Stay safe and well.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
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Well now I seem to have caught up to the current state of play here. All very enjoyable as ever. But now I'll have to find something else to distract me when I'm supposed to be working, which is .... inconceivable!

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