The Spider Shows Its Fangs
In single file the party headed west down the corridor. Turning a corner, they encountered a strong metal door in the side of the corridor. A quick look over the door by Aurelia determined it was indeed locked. Merric’s face split into an unsettling smile as he held up his lock picking tools and pushed Aurelia to the side as he got to work. A few clicks later and Merric pushed the door open with a clang.
Inside was a small square room with a narrow bed and a small brazier towards the centre. A familiar clicking sound came from further up the corridor, several red beady eyes appeared, approaching the party. The giant spiders had heard the group and had come to investigate, however, all four of them had failed terribly on their stealth rolls and the party knew they were coming.
*Stealth rolls of 4, 7, 9, 11…. I can’t make this up. To make matters worse, the spiders then proceeded to roll under 10 for all their initiatives.*
What did surprise the party was Asterin, who won the initiative round and raced forward to intercept the spiders. *The rest of the party was surprised that the cleric was in melee, presumably they had forgotten that she was a tempest cleric.* Summoning green flame to her scimitar Asterin bought it down on the first spider and the flame leapt to the neighbouring spider. Aurelia stood back and provided eldritch blasts to support her sister. A combination of blade, flame and eldritch energy leaving one spider a crisp corpse. Pleased with her contribution Aurelia stepped into the unlocked room.
Merric pulled out his own scimitar and joined the fray beside Asterin. Gundren quickly followed Aurelia into the adjacent room retreating behind the wall for cover. The spiders focused on Merric but were only able to score a couple of hits. Unfortunately for Wendel, Asterin and Merric had blocked the corridor, and opted to back them up by pulling out his short bow.
*The dice gods had abandoned me in the fight, the spiders rarely got any hits in and when they did, dealt minimum damage. Fortunately, they are only fodder.*
With Wendel and Aurelia backing them up with range damage, Asterin and Merric quickly felled the remaining spiders. The corridor was now clear to proceed. A genteel, male voice beckoned from the large room beyond.
“If you’re quite all done, would you kindly step forward.”
“I’d rather not!” immediately replied Asterin.
“But I insist, unless you don’t value this Dwarf’s life at all?” the male voice said.
Looking at each other, the party paused for a moment, before they could speak to each other, Wendel strode forward into the room.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” said Wendel.
Asterin immediately followed after Wendel, Merric sighed as Aurelia made her way to then follow Asterin but had sense enough to keep Gundren back out of harms way. The group entered a stone hall with six pillars lining the walls. At the north end stood a nine-foot-tall statue of a dwarf seated on a throne, a mighty stone warhammer across his lap. Large emeralds gleamed in the statue’s eyes.
The dust and debris covering the floor has been swept to one side, and a campsite of sorts was now spread in front of the statue. Half a dozen bedrolls and packs are neatly arranged around a rough-built fire pit. A wooden table stands on the west side of the room between two pillars.
Two bugbears stand by the table, flanking a dark elf dressed in black leather armor and robes. He clutches a black staff with a carved spider at the top and frowns as he sees the party. Standing before him, a blade at his throat was a familiar looking dwarf, it was Nundro… again?
*The original boss battle was supposed to include 4 extra spiders and not Nundro. However, the events of what happened in the gorge had alerted Nezznar the Black Spider who had been able to avoid a fight by using Nundro as a bargaining chip. The four spiders had already left the room, instructed by Nezznar to go see what was taking the party so long (short rest & unlocking the door). If the party hadn’t allowed for any stragglers at the gorge, Nundro would have still been safely in the locked room. I added 2 more giant spiders to the room… in typical fashion they failed their stealth rolls and were positioned up at roof level near the statue.*
“Glad you could finally join us, and what an entrance. So, who the hell are you?” asked Nezznar. None of the party spoke, Merric walked into the room and keeping his distance and staying alert he moved over to the other door. Asterin kept her position at the corridor entrance. Gundren stiffened at the site of Nundren.
“Ah I see we have another Rockseeker with us. You should be dead,” said Nezznar gesturing towards Gundren. At last, the party had come face to face with the one responsible for causing all the trouble in the area, the kidnapping of Gundren, the Cragmaw goblin tribe and patron of the Redbrands.
“I imagine you want to keep this other Rockseeker alive, so I propose a deal,” began Nezznar. He began to detail the terms of the arrangement for safe passage for Nundro. Nezznar wants to the party to clear out the remaining denizens of the mine so he can have access to the Forge of Spells. Unlike the party, he had been unable to access the eastern part of the mines with encounters with several undead.
*Its amazing that the party had completely circled around all the undead in this mine, accessed another route and still arrived at Nezznar’s hideout. Nezznar had been trying for weeks what the party did in 4 hrs. Although the mine is still unable to be claimed without destroying the monster who is leading the undead.*
Aurelia began to discuss the potential arrangement, by immediately stating that they would receive royalties for clearing the mine, Nundro included. She was quickly cut off by Gundren who franticly reminded her that any deal would be off if she chose to gamble with his brother’s life.
Wendel attempted to talk people down attempting to explain that they had already cleared out the Forge of Spells. Nezznar’s eyes widened in surprised but quickly narrowed in suspicion. However, Wendel’s earnest face was clear to read. Nezznar enquired about the undead forces in the smelter area to ascertain the party’s movements, but the party were unable to confirm clearing this area. Nezznar reiterated the deal pressing the blade at Nundro’s throat.
The group seemed to be at an impasse, unsure how to proceed. A successful insight check resulted in Wendel having serious concerns that Nezznar wasn’t trustworthy and was lying. Asterin raised the possibly of another Doppelganger and suggested that Gundren would need to confirm Nundro’s identity before agreeing. Nezznar agreed and allowed Gundren to step closer to inspect Nundro’s right sleeve.
Aurelia looked at Merric, using her Awaken Mind she spoke into his mind “If you think we can take them, put your hand behind your back.”
Whilst all the talking had been occurring, Merric had continued to inspect the far door which was unlocked and looked beyond the corridor, seeing nothing he returned back into the room approaching the BBEG slowly from the other side. One of the Bugbears raised a javelin threateningly, and Merric stopped at 30’ to avoid a confrontation. He raised his arms, then put one of them behind his back.
*OMG! To handle the sudden shift into combat from alert positions, I had Aurelia roll a sleight of hand check to see if she could surprise them…. But failed hilariously. Fortunately, the party won all of the initiative order.*
Merric rushed forward straight at the drow, the bugbear had a readied action and launched their javelin but missed the halfling. Stepping to the side of Nundro, Merric used his superiority dice to use feint as a bonus action for feint attack to gain advantage on his next attack, however, was countered with a shield from Nezznar. Not to be thwarted Merric burned his action surge for a successful 2 hits scoring 24 total damage.
Aurelia launched off an eldritch blast straight at Nezznar narrowly avoiding the Dwarf and damaging the Drow for a further 13 damage. With only two player actions down, the Drow was already at half hitpoints.
Gundren, concerned for his brother’s safety, rushed forward and tried to grapple Nezznar’s blade away, however, he failed terribly and lost his footing right at the feet of the enemy.
*Natural 1 on grapple check.*
Wendel raced up to the side, lining up Nezznar and two Bugbears he raised the Javelin of Lightning. *Chucking a cheeky Javy with a dirty 20!* A streak of lightning shot from Wendel hands and passing through the three targets… then promptly rolled a total of 6 on 4D6 dice. *Epic moment lost.*
Not deterred Wendel moved toward the Bugbear in sight. Using his second attack dealing 7pts of damage, following through with Hands of Harm for another 9 points and finally burning a ki point to deal a further 10 points, felling the Bugbear. Leaping over the fallen Bugbear he flung out a flykick at the Drow… but missed.
Asterin was up next. She flung out a firebolt toward Nezznar but unfortunately also missed. It was now the Drow’s turn.
*Well there goes all my boss strategy out the window… thanks guys.*
Glaring at the group, Nezznar smiled evilly, and slit Nundro’s throat showering Gundren with the blood of his brother. Nundro’s body collapsed to the floor, his lifeblood flowing out upon the flagstones.
“Nooo!!” screamed Gundren attempting to crawl to his dying brother.
What has the party done? Will Nundro survive? How will Gundren handle the death of his brother? Find out next session.