Wednesday 27 November 2013

WB1, Session 3: The Battle of the Cold Heart Mines

Session 3: "The Battle of the Cold Heart Mines"
Tuesday 2nd, March 1001 AC

And so the party had arrived at the Cold Heart mines but a horde of goblins was hot on their heels...

They knew that they only had seconds before the first worg riders arrived, possibly snaring them into a fight that would allow the rest of the goblins to get even closer. Immediately, the companions looked for some protection and Grom and Serrin moved to the out building. The busted lock, wood walls and broken crates inside showed that this would not much safer than outside and as the riders arrived, they started running toward the mine entrance itself.

The goblin on the worgs started throwing bolas at Grom and Serrin, catching them in full run, sending them tumbling in the snow. Urist stepped forward, trying to protect the more vulnerable members. Radiant flames soon erupted, adding to Serrin's bolts but the worgs proved strong. As Grom and Serrin struggled to cut their restrains and stumbled back toward the mine entrance, Danik decided it was finally time to intervene and charged toward the worgs, letting loose a thunderous "BOOOOM" as he unleached his Thunderwave, sending some worgs and goblins alike flying.

Shaken and surprised by the mage's power, one rider retreated to the safety of the incoming horde but another lunged toward Danik. Fear and panic paralyzed the mage who instinctively let loose a minor cantrip but that was not enough. As Urist was screaming at Danik to disengage away while he stepped forward, the worg brought down his massive claws across the mage's torso...

With Grom and Serrin almost into the mine, urging their friends to hurry and shaken by Danik's demise, Urist brought down his trusted hammer on the last worg's head with rage, bashing it in. A small healing prayer brought the mage back to some semblant of life and the party entered the dark mines, as the goblin horde closed in...

The mine was a dark place and the two humans were at first blinded, forced to use torches. The entrance tunnel showed fine dwarven work but very quickly, the party noticed blood on the floor, broken bolts and spear: a big fight had happened here not long ago! With no route but deeper into the mines, they reached a strong locked metal door barring the way.

As the screams of the goblins echoed into the tunnels, Serrin made quick work of the lock and Danik, still shaken by his near death experience, busted through with strength he didn't know his body could muster, pushing aside the corpse of a dwarf resting on the other side.

The room there were in now also had traces of battle. The dwarf, clearly one of the miners, was dead and beyond hope. All around there were crates, some broken, their ore content spread on the rock floor. As the party heard the goblins entering the tunnels behind them, they started organizing their defenses, locking back the door, moving in crates to block the way.

Waiting for the coming battle, they used precious seconds to check their surrounding and found that their only way out was through a tunnel blocked by heavy iron bars but the mechanism to open them had been smashed, apparently by the dead dwarf, as in a suicidal attempt to stop the goblins. Seeing that this was their only way to escape alive, Danik started conjuring a complicated spell, trying to meld back together the broken mechanism. This would take time however, time the party did not have!

Finally, the goblins were at the door, bashing, pushing, yelling! Tense seconds passed as the Grom and Urist tried to stop the goblins from breaking down the door. Serrin was ready behind some rock cover a bit away from the door, crossbow in hand. Danik, sweat rolling down his face, kept concentrating on his spell...

...the hinges on the door started breaking loose. More and more goblins were pilling up on the other side! Eventually, part of the door gave in, creating a small opening. Serrin fired, but missed, Grom and Urist readied their weapon and soon, goblins on the other side, apparently totally crazed, where trying to slide through the little gap while the rest kept putting more and more pressure on the door.

What happened next was pure chaos!

The door finally broke down and a wave of goblin washed into the room, stumbling down and falling onto the crates that Grom and Urist had set up. For every goblin the half orc stabbed, another slithered through. For every skull bashed by the dwarf, one tumbled by. Goblin archers in the tunnel started shooting through bodies, broken door and whatnot. There was no end to them it seemed and it was only a matter of time before the companions were washed away in a torrent of goblin bodies, spears and arrows!

Serrin realized that the situation was desperate and decided to trust the half orc instincts. A bit earlier, Grom had felt an odd draft that was seemingly coming from a wall but the urgency of the goblins prevented him to investigate further and he had to shrug the feeling. The bounty hunter was an expert in noticing little details nobody usually paid attention to however and very soon, he found it: a secret passage in the wall! With a little more investigating, he also found the mechanism to open it then sprung into the tunnel now revealed.

Grom didn't waste any time either and followed suite. As Urist retreated as well, he was hit by a lucky arrow and almost fainted from the pain but, stumbling through bodies, hoping his armor would deflect more blows, he also reached the tunnel.

Danik was still concentrating on his spell when he realized that he was now split from the group! The goblins were pouring into the room and he was on the far side! Knowing that he had to act now, he leaped forward, dodging between goblins and spears then squeezed past his friends into the tunnel. His trusted raven, scared in this cramped tunnel unfamilar to him, flew through the iron bars and disappeared.

Meanwhile, in the room, some goblins noticed the dwarven corpse and a feeding frenzy started. Some, more interested in the fresh food trying to escape them, followed the companions into the tunnels but Urist, after using a quick healing prayer on himself, regained composure and stood like a rock, blocking the passage.

As Serrin moved ahead, he stopped at the entrance of a room that seemed to serve as a resting area of some kind. He noticed intact crates, a couple small beds as well as a tunnel sliding down deeper into the mines. Grom moved past Serrin and entered the room itself but with no two step inside, a loud "CLICK" was heard as a pressure plate lowered under his weight: A bloody trap! Two huge blades erupted below Grom and one of them cut deep through one of his legs!

While the blades from the trap were slowly returning to their original position, Serrin, Grom and Danik moved into the room, looking for a way to close down the secret wall on this side, while Urist was doing his best to stop the flow of goblin from entering into the tunnel behind them. Finally, Serrin found it and as he stomped on the small stone, the secret wall closed with a loud "THUNK", crushing down goblins, not 2" from Urist's face.

With a big secret wall between them and the goblins, the party used whatever precious minutes they had to search the room, prepare defenses and an escape route through the sliding tunnel if needed. Minutes passed...

Danik thought he heard some battle sounds coming from past the secret wall. Focusing his hearing, he then heard people talk in Dwarven, obviously fighting the goblins. The miners! Not wasting any more time, Serrin opened passage once again and the party dashed back into the main room, taking the goblins in flank between them and three dwarf miners who apparently came from the tunnel that was previously blocked by the iron bars.

The fight was brutal, quick but overall one sided. The goblins soon were dead or running...

And so the battle of the Cold Heart mine was over. Goblins corpses were everywhere, guts, blood and brain littering the room. The rest of the evening was like a daze.

Urist organized a burial ceremony for what was left of Jothar Ironmaster, the dead dwarf who has sacrificed himself to save the others.

Serrin collected whatever could be from the goblins, then helped clean up the bodies outside:

  • 5 gold, 3 silver and 12 copper 
  • 3 small bows of poor quality and about 30 arrows 
  • 2 bolas 
  • 20 goblin fangs 
  • The rest was of too poor quality or broken to be of any use. 

Grom helped as well though his mind was soon distracted by the lone wolf the party had heard previously, howling in the distance for some time.

Danik helped best he could, still shaken.

Once the work was done, everyone sat down around a meal, the dwarves apparently hadn't eaten in days. During the evening, many things were discussed and learned:

  • The dwarves are Matholim, Lotek and Jandaem. Jothar was the current mine manager. 
  • A road ranger (Ulfar Icepelt, an heldaner) came by bit more than a week ago and was told the caravan would soon leave for Pflenzen. The ranger also mentioned that some goblin and orc tribes seemed to be migrating south, out of the Mengul Mountains, for some reason and that the dwarves should be careful. 
  • Another Heldaner named Vigfus Raknarson came asking about an expedition and, having learned what the dwarves knew, decided to leave with the caravan. 
  • The expedition mentioned was apparently led by an Heldaner young woman named Asnia Ottdotir, the daughter of Ott LongReach, and Sigur Rafnasson, the captain of Pflenzen militia, a good friends of Ott LongReach. They had about 10 soldiers with them as well as a lot of provisions on a couple carts and some horses. 
  • Asnia was looking for a place called the Cross Maw caves. The dwarves weren't certain about the loation but Jothar shared what he knew and the expedition was off after that. 
  • A week ago, the caravan left for Pflenzen in the morning, with the humanVigfus. With it was Yomick(apparently the corpse the party found) Hurbim and Reighobelle. 
  • The caravan was carrying the first load of ore as well as a small chest containing all the accounts and logs for the past 2 years. The papers were supposed to be send by Randers Grayhorn (the dwarven smith in Pflenzen) back to the guild in Freiburg. Without these, the mine would most certainly be closed due to lack of support and funds and the dwarves sent packing. 
  • A couple hours after the caravan left, a horde of goblin raided the mine and the dwarves had to fight for some time but finally retreated into the back tunnels. Jothar, the only real fighter, managed to close down the bars, broke the mechanism then pushed the goblins back, closing the door...and dying soon after. 
  • Since then, the three dwarves miners kept into the safety of the mine but were about to come out because of starvation when some crazy bird (kilek, Danik's familiar) came flying in and yelling weird things and that's when they met the party. 
  • Twice during the evening, tremors were felt by everyone. The dwarves shrugged them off, saying that it happened sometimes in this area though usually it was barely felt at all and rarely happened more than once a month if that. The fact that it indeed seemed to be getting stronger and happened more often did seem to intrigue them. They didn't really know of any volcanoes in the area. 

And so the evening passed and so did the night, strangely quiet after the chaos of the day. When morning came, dark clouds were gathering once again in the northwest but it seemed that spring might finally arrive and the air was not as cold as before...

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