Saturday, May 19, 2018

They Killed the Goblin King! (Greyhame 30)

They began descending the stair that wound around the shaft down to the third and fourth levels of the dungeon beneath the Howling Tower--the Goblin King's lair lay somewhere below, and within, presumably, the Star Child prisoner ...

The party included:
Baby-Face (thief 6)
Valor Justice (Elf 2)
Aethelwulf (paladin 4)
Ham (cleric 5)
Thaddeus (fighter 3)
Torag (ogre 1)
Blackleaf (Elf 4)
Koko (woman-ape 2)
Little Bob (travelling-man 5)
Maira (magic-user 1)
June (cleric 3)
Able (paladin 1)
(the party was a damned army, alerting everything ahead of them of their coming!)

There were two doors on the landing to the third level. Both were locked. Baby-Face picked one; it opened onto a goblin armory. But he failed to pick the other. The party began to smash it open; the noise attracted attention ...

From below, the party heard a familiar voice raised in anger: "Why do you continue to invade my house?" cried the Goblin King from the bottom of the shaft. And looking over from above, there he was, surrounded by a bodyguard of four spiderlings, and with Calirath, an Elfin-seeming woman with white hair, clad in nothing but her own coal-black skin.

"Well if you weren't such a dick!" Maira called back from above.

"Come and fight me!" the Goblin King answered.

Confusion ensued. Without a caller, the party talked over each other. I want to cast a spell, I want to shoot an arrow, what's going on? I called for initiative without spells--an arrows was loosed, and so battle was joined.

The Goblin King and crew won; the Goblin King himself, a straight-backed, strikingly handsome goblin with a weird Elfin shadow that moved independently, quaffed a potion and grew in size; his djinni, Calirath, began to transform into an aery form and a wind picked up in the room. The four spiderling bodyguards around the king stepped up to the foot of the stair, taking defensive positions. And from the back of the party, the silent demon spider crept down and attacked, but I rolled shit for attacks.

A party of dogs attacked the demon spider, all to no avail despite having silver-lined tine in their mouths--as a demon, it was immune to any attacks except those with a magic weapon. Koko moved back to attack the spider, using her ape ability to kind of climb the wall to get into the melee with the dogs, using her magic sword.

Aethelwulf, Little Bob, Ham, and some dogs moved down the stair to attack the spiderlings, while arrows were cast down around them at the Goblin King, to no avail. But even as Aethelwulf reached the middle point and cast his first javelin, fires lit up from the runic trap on the stair, engulfing all the front rank in fire for 1-6 damage; these fires would cover the entire stair on the next round.

Spells were prepared. The party won initiative, and Ham got hold person off on the Goblin King and his bodyguard. I rolled a 3 for him, but the spiderlings saved (third villain in three villain-encounters to fail his save against hold person, this is getting frustrating); Blackleaf also webbed the King; meanwhile, June attempted to hold person the rising whirlwind, but Calirath not being a "person", she was not affected.

Seeing the fires roaring toward them, several characters jumped. Able, June, and Little Bob each took 1-6 points of damage as they leapt. Meanwhile, Koko used her apish "feat of strength" ability to wrestle the spider off the stair--she tried to throw it at the Goblin King, but didn't quite succeed in that. As the spider was cleared from the back, the rest of the party moved up the stair and away from the rising fires (hmm, I should have dealt fire damage to Ham, Blackleaf, and June, since spells can't be cast if you move, but I didn't--oh well!) Baby-Face meanwhile used his thief "climb sheer surfaces" ability to descend from the stair without harm.

The demon spider was discombobulated for a round, then began to climb back up the wall; the spiderlings stayed where they were, holding the foot of the stair for the entire encounter; Calirath continued to transform into a whirlwind (5 rounds altogether is painfully slow).

Meanwhile, Koko charged back down the stairs through the fire (1-6 damage) to engage the spiderlings in melee alongside Aethelwulf. She managed to kill one, but also received a number of hits, including two critical hits, one of which she warded off by breaking her shield. And I should note that Aethelwulf, wearing his Ring of Fire Resistance was hanging out in the fires, immune to their damage (they were only dealing damage as "normal fires").

Ham, Torag, and Thaddeus all elected to jump off the stairs to take 1-6 falling damage each, and then gang up on the paralyzed Goblin King.

At about this time, the demon spider got back up to the stair and began munching on dogs (rolled randomly, characters or dogs/hirelings). Boar One (Ham's dog) failed his save against poison. Later, Duke (Maira's dog) would be killed by brute damage, while Whesker the Weasel (Baby-Face's snake-killing weasel) also succumbed to poison. And Astix (June's Celtic hireling) was knocked to 0 hp (just knocked out, even for a mere hireling), and made his save exactly to avoid death-by-poison.

Meanwhile, Calirath was finally fully formed into a whirlwind. She moved through Aethelwulf and Koko, dealing 2-12 damage to each, and Koko was KO'd, while Aethelwulf was forced to lay hands upon himself. But!--Valor Justice had a scroll on his character sheet, and nothing to identify it otherwise. He used it, and I rolled its effect randomly from the treasure-tables. Protection from Elementals! And reading the description, it creates a circle of protection 10' into which elementals cannot move or attack. And what's a djinni but a spirit of the air? I judged it effective, and the whirlwind Calirath was unable to affect the party at the top of the stairs with her howling winds.

During these rounds, Torag, Ham, and Thaddeus were beating up the Goblin King (normally I allow automatic kills against held opponents, but in the confusion of this combat, I was just granting +4 to attack) and doing some decent damage to him, but were attacked by his animated shadow; and so Baby-Face and Little Bob began to attack the shadow and deal damage directly to it with their magic weapons, until finally it dissipated (and the Goblin King looked pretty badly injured too).

Around this time, June happened to loose an arrow at the frozen Goblin King--and he rolled a 20! He took the King down to 1 hp; initiative was rolled, and the party won. I let June go first. Another hit, and the Goblin King is dead, slain by an arrow cast by a low level character, his eyes rolling up in his head even as his body is held in a magically rigid paralysis.

The whirlwind howled, moved down to attack those around the Goblin King, and KO'd Ham with the damage dealt. Then she began to wind down, returning to her woman-form.

Only the demon spider and the spiderlings remained ... the spiderlings were quickly dispatched; but the demon spider continued to fight (see casualties above), its armor class and magical nature keeping it proof against most of the creatures it was facing. Until Aethelwulf, Little Bob, and Blackleaf engaged it in melee with their magical swords (the fire had died down by then, but as Little Bob went back up the stairs, they reignited, dealing 1-6 damage to him). The spider managed to KO Little Bob, but the magic swords arrayed against it proved too much, and it expired on their swordpoints.

Lastly, the whirlwind was still winding down; as it did so, Ham attacked it, thinking it still an enemy--but Baby-Face, who had counseled against killing the Goblin King in the midst of the battle, now leapt in the way of the blow. He took the hit, but saved Calirath. And when the djinni had fully reformed, she turned to Baby-Face and declared, "If you can save the Goblin King--if you can get him raised from death--I will give you anything you want."

So the party marched out of the dungeon, Calirath carrying the slain form of the Goblin King--and what wandering monster would dare attack such a procession??

Back in town, the Goblin King was successfully raised by Lailith; and because Baby-Face asked Calirath to serve him, she pointed out the ring on the fallen Goblin King's finger to which her spirit was bound, and bade him wear it ... and now Baby-Face is a Thief 6 with two Rings of the Djinni.

Which means it's time for me to step up the challenge!

We were out of time ... we'll figure out the ramifications of it all next session. But all in all, very fun. There was a lot of nail-biting on behalf of the players, and a lot of me thinking "oh man, I'm going to kill all the low-level characters." But some fortuitous rolls (my bad save, a good roll on the scroll-type) turned the tide of fortune.

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