Out of the Frying Pan…
A loud roar was all the warning the party had before the beast threw its bulk against the barricaded door. The door frame shook and the top part of the door broke away revealing a beaked face with large eyes.
“That’s an owlbear!” cried Asterin, recalling some of the illustrations she’d seen in her books. The beast roared again and tried to push its head through as the door slowly began to open. Merric was having none of that and added his own strength to the door in an effort to keep the beast out, Wendel immediately joined him and between the two of them were able to keep it closed.
The beast roared in fury and vented its anger once again at the door, a decade of dust fell from the ruined ceiling showering the party. Realising it wasn’t getting into the room any time soon the owlbear left the party to their own devices and took the opportunity to escape the tower. Tracing the same steps of the party it smelled fresh air and ran out of the corridor.
*There were a few ways this could have gone, from the ceiling caving in to the Owlbear breaking in. However, the party had some very successful rolls with barricading the door with furniture last session as well as adding their strength to holding the door closed. It didn’t seem fair to start having the ceiling cave-in just because they couldn’t think of another way. The Owlbear’s agenda was to attack to defend itself as it was a prisoner, its secondary agenda was to escape. From its perspective it couldn’t get to the party and was therefore no threat, so it moved to the escaping agenda. *
Pausing a moment to catch their breath they took stock of themselves. Wendel immediately drank a health potion just in case and everyone had a quick discussion on how to proceed. They had succeeded in find their old employer Gundren and had the map in hand, the party felt it was prudent to make a quick exit and get Gundren to safety.
*Hmmm they snuck in and killed the Cragmaw’s leader without subduing any of the other occupants and allowed one hobgoblin to escape. The entire castle knows they are there. *
Checking to make sure that the owlbear was gone they removed the obstacles from the door and made their way back into the corridor heading towards the hidden entrance in the storeroom. Wendel noticed that Gundren was limping and offered him his staff to act as a walking stick. Gundren gratefully accepted. Trying to be as stealthy as possible *there was no point they all know they are there* Merric and Wendel acted as scouts and entered the storeroom.
They were immediately fired upon by several goblins from the adjoining corridor with several arrows narrowly missing the two halflings as they dived for cover behind the old barrels. Looking out they could see 3 goblins armed with bows taking aim. From the goblin’s position it was clear they didn’t know of the secret entrance, but it would mean that the party would be fired upon while trying to escape. Not liking their choices Merric ran down the corridor towards the goblins with Wendel close behind.
As he passed some of the fallen rubble, a Grick that had been hiding within jumped out at them, lashing out with its tentacles scoring a hit on Wendel. Merric continued and slashed at the goblins further down the hall making short work of two of them, while Wendel started to beat down on the tentacled beast. Not wanted to let the boys have all the fun, Aurelia rounded the corner and let loose an eldritch blast upon the beast, dealing massive force damage. Asterin stayed back to guard Gundren.
Three rounds later the goblins and Grick were all dead, but the party wasn’t taking any chances immediately making a beeline for the secret entrance before any more goblins showed up. Outside, their attempts at stealth were unsuccessful as several arrows shot forth from the castle wall. Throwing caution to the wind the party sprinted towards the tree line.
*I swear my dice rolls all night have been terrible. Not one single arrow hit anyone. *
Concealed beneath the trees and out of range of the castles’ arrows, the party caught their breath. It wasn’t to last however, as a loud horn sounded from the castle shattering the peaceful quite of the woods. An answering horn sounded from the East. Gundren quickly informed them that he had overheard talk from the Cragmaw leader of the returning warband of hobgoblins. At least 30 in number.
*Let the chase commence. *
Realising that they wouldn’t have any chance of rest, the party retraced their footsteps around the west side of the castle taking care to remain out of sight and range of the castle’s bows then quickly headed off south amongst the trees.
First group survival check was a failure, so the group was unable to remain on the correct heading and veered off to the south east. The group came upon a stream that they don’t recall having crossed in their earlier passage. As the group attempts to cross the shallow stream, a hobgoblin scout fires upon them backed up by a pair of trained wolves.
*Not a terribly difficult encounter, it was designed to give a sense of urgency to the group and to make decisions quickly. It succeeded. *
The clash of steel and a few spells later the hobgoblin was dead, their two wolf companions lay dead by the stream. Horns sounded once more coming from the North and answering horn from the West surprised the party. They were trying to surround them.
The survival check was successful this time and the party realised that they had been turned to the south east, correcting their heading they hurried towards the south once more.
30mins later they detected some movement in the brush ahead and prepared for an ambush. 3 hobgoblins and 3 wolves broke through the brush descending upon the party. Forewarned the party unleashed a round of range, taking out a single hobgoblin and the one wolf, but it wasn’t enough, and the remaining mobs struck out in melee against Merric and Wendel.
*Finally, I hit something. *
More determined this time *mainly lucky dice rolls* the hobgoblins held steadfast and after two rounds they remained steadfast but both wolves were now down.
Two arrows flew from the nearby brush, taking one hobgoblin in the throat and he keeled over. A mighty roar filled the clearing as a familiar looking brown bear crashed into the remaining hobgoblin from behind, their cries cut short as the bear bore down on their throat. Meadhead lifted its muzzle to growl quietly, as Lesri stumbled into the clearing.
*Ah Lesri, I’ve missed you.*
“Bloody hell you guys! Did you kick a hornet’s nest or somethin?” the drunken dwarf demanded. “The entire woods are full of these buggers and you’re about to be overrun!”
Lesri has now re-joined the party, surely her drunken antics can’t make things any worse… or can they? Find out next session.