- Triochmerin, a halfling swordsman
- Cunimund, a dwarven thane
- Jivko, a local archer
- Camphor, an archer from somewhere in the Duchies
- Orion, a priest of Stendarr
(Cunimund and Camphor had previously had a run-in with a boar, some crows, and a thief in the haunted village of Tryavna, but that’s for another story – or maybe a return visit?)
Arriving on the first day of spring, they were granted entry around noon, subject to satisfying Curate Adamantios of Orion’s bona fides and Orion’s taking responsibility for the others.
In a couple of hours of asking questions around the fortress, they determined that the caves they sought were a few miles down the eastern road, off of a ravine. They heard that each cave held a different kind of monster, that there were large dog-men living in the upper caves, and that a powerful magician would slay intruders. A knight – named perhaps Sir Fragobert – had led a large party eastwards a week or more previously, but apparently had been heading toward some ruins rather than the caves the party were planning to investigate.
They set out impatiently, found the ravine and its macabre flooring of bones, and entered the first cave on the southern slopes. As they reached the second intersection into the tunnels, they were charged by a half-dozen goblins, with a half-dozen more in the darkness beyond throwing spears at them. Most of these were dispatched, the remnants fleeing their guardroom up some stairs and barring a door. After binding their wounds, the party pursued them, breaking down the door at the top of the stairs to find the refugees being tormented by a room full of hobgoblins. Although Cunimund offered them peace, a female hobgoblin offered instead to eat the adventurers – after she was quickly struck down, the other females retreated, and after only a few seconds’ combat the surviving males followed. Camphor spiked shut the door they left through to give the party some breathing space.
Feeling badly injured, the party returned to town, laden down with weapons scavenged from the goblin guards and a pittance in coins. Orion and Triochmerin lent some funds to help Cunimund buy splint armor; even with Orion’s prayers, it took them three days to feel ready to fight again, which was enough time for the armor to be fitted to the dwarf. Cunimund also hired a quartet of mercenaries who’d been sharing the common room and the tavern with them – Eburhart, Gisfrid, Hrodo, and Irmengard – and returned to the caverns the next morning.
Heading into the same cave, they turned the other way this time, only to meet six more goblins and an ogre. The goblins hung back and threw spears, while the party’s marksmen concentrated on the ogre; the ogre was clumsy, and after several exchanges of blows, Gisfrid brought him down. At that the goblins broke and fled back through the ogre’s lair. The party followed only a little way, brought up short by the sight of a sleeping cave bear. Instead, they searched the area short of the bear, finding the ogre’s treasure.
Although Eburhart was too badly wounded to fight, the party went back into the goblin warrens. There were many goblins in the next chamber, who heard the party coming and started to build a barricade of their furniture. Orion tossed a couple of flasks of oil onto it, then Cunimund tried to light it with a hurled torch, but his cast fell short. Before Gisfrid could follow up, the goblins’ chieftain charged over, followed by three guards; the next torch sent most of the barricade up in flames, preventing the others from following their leader.
Orion, Cunimund, and Gisfrid fell back before the goblin elites, pulling them out into the hallway where the rest of the party waited; arrows made short work of the goblins, albeit not before Orion lay once again unconscious on the ground. The remaining goblins offered the contents of the chieftain’s chambers in return for their safe passage, and when the party agreed, nearly three dozen of the short, twisted fey filed past them.
Once again returning to the fortress, the party sold what they could of the loot they’d found: a tapestry, a keg of brandy, some swords and spears…