Thursday, April 7, 2011

[D&D] The Mystery of the Missing Mage (part 5)

My kids made it to the dungeon's level 3 the other day, which is primarily a huge natural cavern that's become the home to a tribe of goblins. The goblin guards on level 2 were dead, as were the orc guards and orc families on level 2 and 1. Now they'd reached the heart of the community. Within the enormous cavern are many ramshackle huts that serve as homes for the goblin families. There's also a large stone circle surrounded by torches and braziers that gives the appearance of being an altar of some sort. Beyond that is a fine home - many orders of magnitude nicer than the hovels scattered about the cavern - raised high above the rest of the cavern on a tall stone platform. And near the center of the space, the object of their quest - Heather, the missing farmgirl.

Dozens of goblins of all ages and genders came and went through the cavern.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, my daughter the rogue decided to sneak off and backstab some. It actually worked pretty well for a short time, but there were so many goblins, there's simply no way she wasn't going to be seen. And so she was. The alarm was raised, and suddenly 50 goblins are descending upon our intrepid heroes, while a handful race up the wide stairs to the manse. To her credit, my daughter guessed correctly that they were going to alert the chieftain of this enclave, who happens to be a half-goblin, half-orc shaman. I have no idea whether half-orc/half-goblin combinations are even possible, but it's in the module so I left it.

Remarkably (and with a small amount of indulgence from ye olde Dungeon Master), the kids managed to rescue the maiden and escape the clutches of the goblins, discovering and slipping away through a concealed passage that the goblins had long since forgotten about. Now, yeah, I had to arrange the goblins in such a way that they players had a shot at getting across the cavern. But the kids did the heavy lifting. They made the plan to get the girl, they coordinated their efforts, and they recognized that the one unknown feature of the caverns - a wooden structure that turned out to be abandoned stables (why there were stables three levels underground, I haven't a clue. I try to make my dungeons a bit more organic, including things like ease of egress, sources of water, storage for food, chimneys (natural or otherwise) for smoke, and other necessities. This dungeon largely seems to lack those, and puts some odd things in places where I can't explain them. Meh - what can I say? It's a decent dungeon and I didn't have time to make one myself. You'll recall that my kids rolled up characters on a Saturday and demanded we start to play on Sunday. I hadn't even read the whole thing at that point!) - ahem, I digress there parenthetically. Back to the stables - and it so happened that the module called for the entrance to level 4 to be concealed in those very stables.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't note that my youngest son's warrior got in some pretty decent rolls, hacking his way through a swarm of goblins while his siblings rescued the girl and busted through the concealed opening. They made a great team, made some thoughtful decisions, and the dice were reasonably kind to them.

So now they've fled through a dark, deeply-sloped passageway to a whole new level of rooms and corridors, barring a thick door behind them and hopefully buying some badly-needed time to escape the goblins. Next - they explore the lost chambers of an evil sorcerer and perhaps even solve the mystery of the missing mage.

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