The Half-Elf in the Room
With the party congregated in a clearing outside of the entrance to Cragmaw Hideout, a dank and dark cave set into the side of a hill, they had to discuss what to do with the half-elf that was apparently following them. He introduced himself as Dominique Pendragon, a bard from the city of Silverwilde, and claimed that he overheard Gundren talking about his discovery and the group he hired to escort his wagon south to Tumbledale. Sensing an adventure worthy of a song, he tailed the adventurers all the way south, hoping to write great deeds of their exploits that will make him famous.
The party was understandably skeptical of the new arrival and proceeded to interrogate him, with Torbjorn doing most of the actual questioning. They determined that he was mostly harmless and kind of a little bumbling, but because he stalked them for the last few days without introducing himself they were not ready to trust him just yet.
However, all talk of trust and deception ended abruptly as the adventurers were peppered with arrows once more. A pair of goblin lookouts were hidden among the trees across the clearing, and had noticed the party while they were standing in the clearing arguing. The trees and brush provided thick cover but Adeline, the halfling ranger, had no trouble traversing the difficult terrain to line up another headshot, and both goblins were dispatched without too much trouble.
Once the scuffle was over, the party’s goblin hostage pleaded for his release, a promise that the adventurers had made in exchange for being shown the way. Knowing that leading the party to the Cragmaw Hideout would be considered a betrayal by the rest of his tribe, he begged for the party to let him go so that he could run away in time to escape any retribution. The group decided to tie him to a tree instead, and they left him there as they proceeded to enter the cave.
Darkness, My Friend
The party entered the cave cautiously, as there were no light sources within and Torbjorn was the only member with darkvision. Just within the entrance to the cave was a small room housing three wolves chained to a stalagmite. The sight of the party whipped them into a frenzy, and they started pulling at their chains in an effort to attack the strangers. As the group discussed how to best deal with the animals, the piton holding the chains to the stalagmite started to come free, loosened by the wolves’ violent attempts to get to the party. Adeline quickly entered the room and approached the alpha, calming it with a firm touch and a few soft words. The beast would not have been considered friendly, by any definition of the word, but he retreated to a corner of the cave with his two companions. They eyed the party warily, but were no longer a threat.
Continuing down the passage, Torbjorn was able to spot a goblin lookout on top of a wooden bridge that ran across the path about twenty feet up. It appeared to be slinking away, so the dwarf took out his handaxe and attempted to stop it before it could escape. However, he missed. He relayed what he saw to the rest of the party, and they stopped for a minute to talk about what their options were. Unfortunately, a huge wall of water came rushing down the shallow stream that ran along the bottom of the cave, and Aurora was not able to hold on. She was washed away down the stream, back to the cave entrance, being bludgeoned against the rocks on her way down. The rest of the party collected themselves, and then sat down and waited for her to pick herself back up and return to them. Torbjorn took this opportunity to smoke a pipe while he waited for the human.
As soon as Aurora rejoined the group, a second rush of water came down the tunnel. However, this time everyone in the party was able to hold on.
Hesitant to travel up the main causeway any further, the halflings took the time to explore a side passage that looked like a collapsed old pathway. The escarpment was not difficult to scale, but the weight of more than one halfling caused the rubble to shift, and Adeline was injured as she fell back to the rock below.
Death From Above
Torbjorn was now adamant about avoiding the side passage, and instead decided to scale the walls and climb on to the bridge where he originally saw the goblin lookout. When he got to the top and looked down the tunnel where the lookout escaped, he came face-to-face with the goblin lookout, creeping back to his position on the bridge to see if the adventurers had been defeated by their water trap.
What followed was an awkward and clumsy fight in a cramped hallway between Torbjorn, three goblins, and eventually Rask and Adeline. Aurora provided light with her dancing lights spell, but most of the party was still unable to hit anything, and were constantly pushing each other out of the way to get within attack range. Adeline and Torbjorn were eventually able to dispatch the goblins in the hall, but another had begun to charge down the main tunnel towards Aurora. Dominique was able to step in and stall the goblin with his rapier, but their attacker was still approaching.
As the goblin passed beneath the bridge, Rask vaulted off, bringing his dagger down into the base of the it’s spine, silently breaking his fall and killing it instantly.
By now the party had become quite weary. After agreeing to take a short rest and recover before pressing on into the darkened cavern, they returned to the cave that served as a kennel for the wolves, leaving the goblin bodies wherever they had fallen.
The creatures were initially not thrilled to see the adventurers again, but one look from the ranger and they went back to not caring. The party hunkered down and tended to their wounds. They tried to get some rest, but it was difficult with the sound of frantic voices drifting down the chimney shaft in this area. They couldn’t understand the words, but the urgency in these voices made the situation very clear…
The rest of the cave was now expecting them…