From where we left off, Gareth had just chased down the last of the goblin warriors that had attacked the rear of the outpost. He alone was in the front area of the outpost while the rest of the party followed close behind…
Turning the Tide
From out of the ruined threshold of the gnome outpost, a bleeding, horribly wounded Dragonborn drives off several intimidated goblin warriors, who withdraw farther down the hill. The darkness of the deep wood is dimly lit by the burning trees and fortifications around the small clearing and the group catches fleeting shapes in the shadows and hears the ugly language of the goblins as the creatures regroup.
The dragonborn gives in to his wounds and collapses outside the threshold. Three gnomes, two in leather armor and one in dark green robes, rush out from the broken doorway. One gnome bends down to check on the dragonborn and, belatedly, notices Gareth standing at the edge of the darkness. The gnome snaps a hand crossbow and takes aim. Gareth raises his arms, attempting to placate the panicked gnome. “Hold! We are allies from Rockfall! We’re here to help you.”
The gnome hesitates and the green-robed gnome peers at Gareth. The holy symbol of Melora, goddess of the wilderness and the sea, is visible and the elder gnome sags with relief. “Well met, sir. Please! Help us retrieve our wounded before these foul devils get organized.”
Gareth raises an eyebrow at being ordered around by a gnome but, given the circumstances, he holds his tongue. He signals the rest of the group to come forward and they all start checking the fallen gnome warriors. When Rhonarr sees the fallen dragonborn, he feels an odd twist in his heart. The only dragonborn Rhonarr has known are his father and uncles. Gareth, who has some skill in the art of healing, examines the fallen dragonborn. Unfortunately, the warrior is dead and Gareth moves on. Everyone is busy checking for survivors and finding none. In once instance, Devlin’s sharp eye is drawn to a particularly fine shortsword still grasped in a dead gnome’s hands. Despite a deep dislike for gnomes, Devlin does not loot the weapon.
Everyone does their part and they retreat back into the relative safety of the outpost. The main doors have been sundered and the surviving gnome warriors quickly go about repairing what they can, piecing together planks and table tops to reinforce the shattered doors. Inside, the toll of close-quarters fighting is evident. Most gnomes are dead from javelins and spear strikes. Several goblin corpses are riddled with crossbow bolts. Alkar and Gareth notice the goblins wear ill-kept clothing bearing the faded symbol of Orcus, a demon prince and self-proclaimed god of the undead. This is an unwelcome sign that a cult of murderous demon-worshipers are at hand.
The Tale of the Lost Tomb
While the group takes a short rest before the imminent goblin attack, the green-robed gnome introduces himself as Orex Gwillem. He is a chief servant of Lucceia, a prominent elder of the local gnome enclave. Along with Mixelplix (Lucceia’s apprentice), they had come to this outpost to observe the fantastic claims of an adventuring group. This team declared finding an ancient ruin that had very strange murals and writing inside.
The leader of the group, a gnome named Silverthimble, believed this tomb concealed a great secret. He did not explain his theory but he certainly believed it to be very important. He enlisted some adventurous gnomes and “outsiders,” including an elf named Crow and Gorn, the dragonborn mercenary. They had set out for this tomb twenty days ago. They were supposed to have returned after no more than ten days. Long overdue, Orex Gwillem had given the adventurers up for lost.
Then, late yesterday afternoon, Gorn, wounded and exhausted, had been sighted by scouts. They brought Gorn to the outpost. The dragonborn spoke of a harrowing escape from a large force of goblins that ambushed their campsite. Silverthimble seemed to know what they were after…pages of symbolic writing they had copied from metal tablets found in the tomb. Silverthimble divided the records between himself, Crow, and Gorn. Gorn said he got separated from the others while crossing the Silverlight River and did not know what became of the others.
Then, this night, the goblins struck the outpost. Gwillem does not understand how they got so close without any warning. Regardless, the outpost was suddenly fighting for its survival. Fire beetles burned trees and burrows. Javelins rained heavy and thick in the darkness, driving down the surprised defenders. Unexpected magic confused and disoriented the defenders. During a lull in the action, Mixelplix chanced a ritual scroll to activate the magic circle and get help.
At this part of Gwillem’s exposition, Rhonarr and Gareth inform him that Mixelplix died in the attempt to bring them here. Gwillem nods in weariness, accepting the bad news. The gnome warriors gather weapons and bolts. They hand Alkar a pouch with three potion flasks inside. “These are healing potions. You’re going to need them,” says a gnome warrior. Alkar accepts the potions and gives one to Devlin, one to Elrohir, and one for himself.
Gwillem notices that Devlin is interested in the fine shortsword. He offers Devlin the blade. “The gnome who owned this sword would hate knowing that his beloved weapon is in the hands of the River Folk. Please take it and use it well, sir. We need every advantage we can find.” [DM Note: +1 Duelist’s Shortsword]
To Rhonarr, he suggests that if he has need of it, Gorn’s chainmail armor seems very fine and is already suited for a dragonborn. Rhonarr sees the wisdom of this and he puts on the armor. [DM Note: +1 Exalted Chain Armor]
Outpost Assault, Goblin Style
Devlin and Elrohir climb stairs to the “roof” of the outpost (which is disguised to appear as a forested hillock) and conceal themselves among the trees and bushes, looking for targets. Alkar does the same on the opposite end of the hill. The two gnome warriors take positions at narrow windows facing the goblins, hand crossbows at the ready. Rhonarr steps up to the battered doors. They will not likely hold and he wants to be ready to force back intruders. Gareth stands ready to assist Rhonarr or aid the gnome warrior.
Even in the darkness, the orange light of fires lets Elrohir, Devlin, and Alkar glimpse the approach of goblin warriors. One particularly wicked goblin holds a rod with a small humanoid skull attached to the end. “Give me the box! Have the dragon-thing bring it! Do it and I spare you! Do not and you all die by fire!” the creature says in Common.
Rhonarr glances at Gwillem, who is pale with fear. “Come in and get it!” replies Rhonarr. The goblin leader growls in anger. He barks a command and the shadows come alive with darting forms. Goblin warriors advance, leap-frogging from tree to tree, hurling missiles as they climb the hill. Javelins hit the outpost walls, their points sinking into the hard wood. A gnome warrior is slain by a lucky hit. Gareth picks up the gnome’s hand crossbow and takes aim, returns fire.
Two large fire beetles trudge up the hill, their red bodies glowing like a stoked forge. Devlin plans to sneak around the initial wave and strike from behind. He drops down off the wall and moves stealthily through the shadows. Elrohir does not have a clear shot and follows after Devlin, though when he’s down, he gets an angle on the goblin leader. Elrohir fires two arrows. It looked like the leader would take both arrows but at the last moment, he drags a goblin warrior in front of him, using him as a meat shield. More javelins fly. The leader uses the rod to throw some kind of spell upon a window. The last gnome warrior shudders and sags from the magical hex. Alkar casts flaming sphere in a cluster of goblin warriors, burning them as they huddle behind a tree.
Devlin skulks between trees, moving quickly and (for the most part) stealthily into position. From his new vantage, he sees that there are two more goblin sharpshooters hiding in the shadows, waiting for an opportune moment. Elrohir fires two more arrows at the goblin leader. With no more minions about him, the arrows fly true and bloody him. Gareth fires a crossbow bolt but the missile flies wide of the mark. Annoyed, the paladin drops the hand crossbow, cursing all such weapons and their like.
The goblins drive the fire beetles ahead of them, right up to the threshold. A blast from the goblin leader’s skull-rod breaks down half of the door to the outpost before Elrohir kills him with a critical hit. Rhonarr moves out of the threshold, positions himself, and breathes lightning at the fire beetles and goblins gathering to bust through the main entrance. Two goblins die instantly in flashes of blue arc light and thunder. The fire beetles are terribly wounded. Rhonarr’s axe comes crashing down against the nearest fire beetle, killing it. Gareth follows Rhonarr out and positions himself to flank the last fire beetle. He strikes out at the giant beetle but misses.
Rhonarr uses his inspiring word to invigorate his allies. Devlin fires his crossbow at the sharpshooters but misses. Elrohir swings wide, keeping the sharpshooters in his range but staying out of theirs. Two arrows fly but they impact the trees. Alkar maintains his flaming sphere spell and maneuvers it through the goblin’s line, burning a few more to death. Rhonarr teams up with Gareth to concentrate their attacks on the fire beetle. The creature sprays fire at them but they dodge it. Rhonarr brings his axe down on the wounded brute and slays it. To make sure it’s dead, Gareth drives his weapon into it.
Devlin sees an opportunity and he charges out of the darkness at the sharpshooters. By some quality of his new sword, he strikes the goblin, drawing blood. Rhonarr sees Devlin’s plight and moves to back him up. The tide seems to have turned in favor of the party. Elrohir, however, sees a troop of goblins approaching the rear of the outpost. He shouts out into the darkness “Back door!” and sets off to pursue the goblins. Alkar fires a magic missile at a fleeing goblin and slays it. Hearing Elrohir’s warning, he falls back to guard against an attempt at the back entrance to the outpost. Gareth also decides to help Alkar and he maneuvers into position to guard the door.
Rhonarr and Devlin exchange flanking with two goblins. Devlin keeps slicing away at the goblins but they also score a series of hard hits that bloody the halfling. Rhonarr damages the sharpshooter but not before the other goblin warrior drives his spear into Devlin. The halfling falls to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. Rhonarr cuts down his opponent and shouts a command at Devlin. “Get up and fight!” Even from the depths of unconsciousness, Devlin responds to Rhonarr’s commanding voice and he opens his eyes, sees the goblin warrior that cut him down filling his vision, and he slices open the goblin’s belly, dropping him.
Deliveries to the Back Door, Please
By this time, the goblin troop that Elrohir discovered begins hammering down the back door. Gareth readies himself to hold off the goblins while Alkar prepares some magical mayhem. Gwillem, completely in a panic, huddles in a nearby corner. The goblins burst down the door to find a paladin of Melora waiting for them. A goblin bull-rushes Gareth and succeeds in pushing him farther into the room, clearing the way for the other goblins. One by one, the goblins surge into the outpost. Gareth hacks and swings at each goblin as they dart past him. He misses everyone. The goblins begin to mob Gwillem, scratching and clawing the box from the gnome’s hands.
Gareth and Alkar attack the goblin mob. Gareth misses and Alkar’s scorching burst fills the room with smoke and flame, killing two goblins. After a struggle, the goblins prise the box away from Gwillem and beat a hasty retreat toward the back door. Once again, the survivors run past Gareth, dodging his wild swings. Alkar slays one more goblin before it can exit the door, but the goblin carrying the box gets away…
...and stops short when it runs into Elrohir, who draws back his bow. Before it can respond, the elf ranger drives an arrow through the goblin’s skull, slaying him. With the acrobatic skill and grace that only the elves possess, Elrohir dives forward, scoops up the box, and starts to run around the outpost building. Gareth fills the back doorway and sees the last goblin warrior. The goblin has had enough and flees. Gareth, weighed down by his heavy plate armor, does not pursue.
The group has succeeded in eliminating the goblin assault.
Dawning of a New Day
It is a somber mood when dawn breaks. Reinforcements have arrived both from the gnome enclave and from Rockfall. The group has helped gather the fallen gnome warriors and has piled the goblin bodies in a heap.
Gwillem has received instructions from Lucceia to deliver the arcane writings to the Learned Society in Rockfall in the hopes that they can decipher it. Gwillem, grateful to you for saving his life, politely asks you to deliver the box to the Learned Society. Also, the gnomes are eager to discover what happened to their scouts. They must abandon this outpost and are already making plans for a new site. Though the Rockfall citizens have honored the Accords, the gnomes are now fairly eager to be rid of “outsiders” and to salve their wounds and grieve their dead in private.
However, before the group follows the Rockfall elders to the teleport circle to return to their own city, Lucceia thanks the group for their valiant efforts and rewards them for their bravery and quick action. She gives them a pouch of gemstones (6 100gp gems), a magical cloak [+1 cloak of resistance], and a satchel of Everlasting Provisions. Any other items, such as the sword, the armor, and the potions, the party also gets to keep.
With grace and dignity, the party takes their leave of the gnomes and returns to a heroes’ welcome back at Rockfall. The Elder Council and the Learned Society all listen to your story and congratulate you on your success. The Elders are very interested in the news of a potential Cult of Orcus in the vicinity. Also, the Learned Society swarms over Silverthimble’s documents and begin debating what they could mean.
Each PC should have a total of 1,100 XP…LEVEL UP!
+1 Cloak of Resistance
+1 Exalted Armor (Chain)
+1 Duelist’s Weapon (Shortsword)