After what felt like a small detour, albeit an important one, this last session feels more like we went back on track for the main mission. If we are lucky we might even be able to finish it next time as this wasn’t supposed to be more than 3 or 4 sessions.
Just one note before getting into all this. I am going to refer to the artifact as a horn instead of a claw because that is how we were referring to it during the last session. Frankly I am not sure anymore if it is a horn or claw anymore and perhaps I should clear it up with the DM. So if if by next time it is written as a claw again then you know what the answer was. :p
Oh, and my usual warning that English is not my native language. Although I can read and write it well enough, my hearing and listening skills are at best at about 90%. That and I have a really terrible memory. This means there might be mistakes in this post and if that is the case I will point them out in the next one.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain
As always the session started with our heroes gathered at the Octagonal Table to discuss their next move in this mission. It was agreed that they had to capture or, failing that, kill the enemy army commander, Rockgut. The only question was how to do it.
Kaimir proposed that they try to infiltrate with Lam disguised as the Banderhopp, Kaimir disguised as one of the monster’s henchmen, #1 and Erl pretending to be captured and Flick hiding inside #1’s chest for a “Kobold Surprise Attack”.
Unfortunately this plan had a few flaws and was quickly discarded. Now in my defense, and this is something I’d probably should have explained too during the session, this was the only way I could think of to get everybody involved in this part. It was also because I always expect everything to turn into combat eventually and if things went south and it turned into a combat encounter I wanted everybody to be there to raise our chances of survival.
If it weren’t for those two factors I’d just suggest for the stealthiest of our characters to pull a Solid Snake on this mission. In the end things went much smoother than I expected with the new plan but I am getting ahead of myself.
After some discussion the party settled on a new plan. Lam would still disguise herself as the Banderhopp and Kaimir as her henchmen to infiltrate the enemy camp. However Flick would be put under a invisibility spell by #1 and follow them there. Meanwhile Erl, #1 and Shadow (Lam’s pet) would be on standby not too far off. If things went badly they would immediately run in to help kill Rockgut and evacuate. To help further #1 would monitor the situation with his owl familiar.
We’d also bring our squires to help out. However since they aren’t that strong in a fight their purpose would be to wait in another spot, wait for a signal if things went badly and then cause a distraction so we could escape.
It was at this point that Lam revealed that she is actually a Changeling, by changing her shape to that of someone they knew, right in front of their eyes. Erl felt betrayed by this revelation as she understandably doesn’t like being lied to. The rest of the party were surprised but overall seemed to accept it without much fuss.
Now that they had a plan all they had to do was execute it. During the evening they went to where the orc camps were, looked around and found the one that seemed to be most likely to have Rockgut’s tent.
Off they went and as soon as they approached one of the orcs that were getting ready to march asked who they were and what was their business there. Fortunately Lam was able to impersonate the Banderhopp well enough to fool this orc, convincing him into letting her go into Rockgut’s tent.
While Lam went inside, Kaimir stayed outside the tent pretending to just be guarding the entrance and Flick went to the back of it.
Inside the tent what Lam found was a female orc, who we recognized from a previous encounter, and a hobgoblin around a table with some maps. The orc, that clearly was Rockgut, saw Lam and asked what Lam was doing there as it was too early for the Banderhopp to report back.
This is the first point where my memory fails as I don’t remember what exactly led to this kind of information but Lam found out the hobgoblin was Rockgut’s squire. Anyway, the orc was obviously suspicious and asked the changeling what they were doing there.
Once again Lam succeeded in her persuasion and convinced Rockgut that they needed to speak alone. The orc then ordered the hobgoblin to leave, which they did by disappearing in a puff of smoke. Outside Flick noticed the hobgoblin appearing about 30 feet away from the tent and then dashing off somewhere.
As soon as they were alone, Lam told Rockgut that someone betrayed them by telling the knights about the Banderhopp. When the orc was about to ask who did it Lam took the opportunity and knocked her out. Unfortunately as Rockgut fell down she knocked one of the oil lanterns starting a fire in the tent.
The orcs outside immediately noticed it but with some clever use of distraction from the party (and some successful sneaking rolls) they managed to escape with the unconscious Rockgut back to Vulcanhold. It was actually a lot more tense than that but I need to summarize things a bit for the sake of this post length.
They left Rockgut in the city’s dungeon with specific instructions to leave her in a place with lights at all times. They were also able to request help from the priests in the form an artifact that creates an anti-magic field near to be placed near her cell. After that the knights went for a much deserved night of rest.
The next morning it was time to interrogate the new prisoner. They even met the queen on the way, who was eager to join them and find some answers.
The orc obviously wasn’t feeling like cooperating much at first but curiosity got the best of her and she agreed to answer a question for a question. From these the knights found a lot of the information they have been seeking:
Unlike the people of Vulcanhold, the orcs seem to still remember how one can get knightly powers. According to her, everybody has magical power inside of them and they can willingly share them with others. That is how Rockgut got hers, as her clan just gave her enough power to essentially make her into a knight. Not only that but a Knight can also decide to share their powers with a squire as she did with the hobgoblin.
As for the orcs’ ultimate goal it is pretty much what we thought: to use the horn to summon Tiamat. In return the dragon-goddess was supposed to help the orcs’ deity, Gruumsh, to win a celestial war against his enemy, Maglubiyet, god of the goblins.
Her mission, and that of her army, was to retrieve the horn from the red dragon, either covertly or by force. In the end the dragon end up attacking them and we know how everything went after that.
A new information though is that the horn was supposed to grant wishes. Although how and at what cost wasn’t specified.
At this point the discussion started to become heated, Rockgut got so angry that she tried to cast a spell on the queen while #1 tried to cast Counterspell. Nothing happened but the orc decided to try attacking the warforged instead. As this was happening Erl was able to trip Rockgut and #1 decided to sit on top of the prone orc for a bit.
Once Rockgut was feeling slightly less murderous they put her on a chair and tied her up.
As the interrogation continued the orc revealed she has two sisters who are also knights, even saying in a threatening voice that they will be waiting for our heroes.
Another revelation was that Rockgut’s father to be the leader of their clan with more knowledge about knighthood than she.
About their whole plan to summon Tiamat, that was a story that was passed on for generations. It was just recently they thought they were strong enough to act on it. Although she admits that perhaps they were wrong about it.
The last bit of information they got was that the horn was supposed to grant wishes. Although the details of how or at what cost was not explained.
As the interrogation continued, Rockgut became increasingly more deflated as the group pointed all her failures and the holes in the orc’s plan. Erl might even have convinced her that Tiamat would certainly betray them, that all the dragon-goddess cares about is destroying everything, including the orcs.
When the interrogation was done and they were heading out, Flick decided to confess she knew about the horn’s supposedly power to grant wishes. Apparently some of the other kobolds told her about it but Flick thought it were just legends and didn’t say anything before.
The knights didn’t mind that much, after all none of them are stupid enough to try using an obvious evil artifact to get their wishes granted.
In any case they had another important matter to settle: how to track the horn in case the enemy got their hands on it.
They decided to visit the gnome who offered to help with it, despite #1 and Flick’s disdain for the race.
This time it was only Erl, Flick and Kaimir who went to take care of it. Lam and #1 decided to stay behind just in case.
The gnome’s name, and I am sure I am getting this wrong, was Glimby Glampools. They met him on his shop, a place called “Greatest Magics and Baubles”.
The first impression the knights got was that Glimby was a really arrogant gnome, thinking his time was more important than theirs. That impression didn’t change much as the negotiations went on.
As for his offer, it was a crystal ball that would allow the user to see the location of any object, person or place they were familiar with. Glimby was willing to lend it to the knights in return for the rights to study #1 for two months.
The knights agreed but under the condition that this kind of work would be under Erl’s supervision at all times, starting from the moment where the gnome got in front of their headquarters.
When #1 received the news he wasn’t too happy about it but he reluctantly agreed to it. Flick even did some tinkering so the crystal ball would be inside #1’s chest cavity and attached to him so that the warforged won’t need to take it out to use it. All he will need to do is turn his eyes inside to use crystal ball.
That was it for our last session. Hopefully on the next one we’ll destroy the horn once and for all, saving the day and our heroes will get some much deserved R&R.
P.S.: In case anyone is wondering why Rockgut wasn’t kneecapped like every other prisoner we got so far, well, Flick wanted to but Erl didn’t allow it. The dragonborn however offered to take Flick to a shooting gallery so the kobold could deal with her need to shoot things.