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Hunger in the Darkness - Expedition to the Mines of Zolurket (Inactive)

Game Master Mark Sweetman

A desperate attempt to reclaim the ancestral Dwarvish mine of Tar-Urkatha from the darkness that has engulfed it....


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|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"I believe the strip of brush to the north east is our best bet. We don't want to use the forest this close to the caravan lest they track us back."

I vote for 2.


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

Dolgrym nods. "I think Padrym is on the right track here. No reason to bring them knocking at our door, if we need to regroup."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"I think the thing to do to start with is find out how often they send out patrols, and where they go to. Put a few eagle-eyed watchers in the forest to spy out their comings and goings while staying hidden. I would volunteer, but...well." Cynara shrugs her shoulders, then mutters an imprecation in musical Elvish as she drops a stitch and has to pull the row she's working on.


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"I'm not terribly eagle-eyed either Cynara, but I think that is a good idea. Otherwise, I'm in agreement with the plan laid out by Padrym."


Primordial Ooze

Discussions continue a while, but it is clear that the way ahead is set. Gaelthrin insists on coming with the group for the ambush, as she has need of seeing the mine for herself. You are able to make your way relatively stealthily and unseen around the rim of the clear space - once again seeing little sign of movement during the day. You make it to the copse just as the afternoon turns into evening and long shadows start to be cast across the valley.

Fickle Wind of Fate:
1d100 ⇒ 85

You settle in with a good line of sight across the face of the fortifications while remaining hidden by brush and hidden from the camp by the wall of the fort itself. As the afternoon darkens you begin to hear louder signs of life echoing out from the camp.

Watch order?
And did everyone come or did some stay behind? - as I understand it this is a recon first, target of opportunity second?


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

Khepri would come in case things go south he would want to help them defend. (Unless his clunky presence would actually aid things in going south)


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Cynara isn't much good at reconnaissance, but she'll go if Nabo does, mostly to be another friendly face to keep him company.


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

I don't want the scouting party getting too big. Dolgrym's lack of stealth and perception will not help any, so he will stay behind.


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

Love is going.

To Dolgrym "C'mon sparky. We'll need you when this goes south."


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

"If you think I would be helpful, of course, I am in."


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Padrym nods.

"None of us are as adept at stealth as Love, so we will do our best not to get in his way, but he'll need some backup nearby."


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"If this first mission is just going to be reconnaissance, I will stay behind. Staying hidden is not one of my talents. If some of you are stopping nearby for backup, I will join you."


Primordial Ooze

For clarity - if you stay to the trees, you're pretty much safe unless you choose to make yourself conspicuous.
I'll have the first recon report post up tonight.


Primordial Ooze

The scouts settle in for a night of watching the walls. As night falls, the activity within the fortifications starts to increase. Torches are lit and placed in various points along the Southern fringe of the camp and walls. From this distance you can make out none of the specifics of the conversations, but you can note both the guttural tongue of the gnoll as well as the yips and yowls of their faithful hyena.

The night passes with only sporadic motion at the Southern fringe of the camp. You can spy several guards overlooking the valley, but they do not appear very vigilant - and do not seem to care or notice when a pair of gnoll cross into the broken ground just after midnight. From the pained and pleasured sounds emanating from the pair you'd gauge that they are engaged in a congress that they wished hidden from the rest of the camp. Mercifully the act is short and you are not assaulted by the sounds for long.

In the near dawn, you see perhaps an opportunity. From the East, a group of roughly eight gnoll and three hyena approach the camp. Keeping quiet and hidden you remain unknown to them. The gnoll within the encampment challenge them for a few hands of seconds, but they are granted access shortly thereafter.

Knowledge Local DC 15:
Comparison of the arrivals and those within the encampment leads you to believe the clans are aligned - but not the same. Perhaps this is an envoy from the gnoll tribe to the East?


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

DM, just want to note I made some spell changes for today.

Normal spells are:

0-Detect Magic, Light, Message*, Ray of Frost
(4+1)1-Ear Piercing Scream, Enlarge Person*, Toppling Magic Missle x2, Shield
(2+1)2-Bull's Strength*, Fire Breath (Ref DC 15), Glitterdust (DC 15)
* means Transmutation Spell

Today's spells are:

0-Detect Magic, Light, Message*, Ray of Frost
(4+1)1-Ear Piercing Scream, Enlarge Person*, Toppling Magic Missle x3,
(2+1)2-Bull's Strength*, Glitterdust x2 (DC 15)
* means Transmutation Spell


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"Too bad we can't disguise ourselves as gnolls...I fear we would not make a very convincing go at it." Cynara mulls over the report further. "I don't think they're sending out patrols as such at all. If small bands come and go to and from the east and south often, they may rely on the bands for reports of what's happening in the area. Which means that if we have the good fortune to capture the mine head and not leave any survivors, we can expect to deal with at least a small group of visitors in short order...." The tall elf idly scratches the back of her neck with a crochet hook. "I wonder if they're taking anything out of the mine? Let's stay here and see if a group leaves anytime soon."


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

"The next patrol that leaves maybe should not make it back east to their camp."


Primordial Ooze

Gaelthrin pipes up "Them that arrived look a bit different than those that greeted them... might be a foray from the Eastern village?"

The crew stay put for the day watching the camp for further activity... and spy that the same group that arrived in the morning is departing. Their packs don't seem any heavier or lighter for the visit. Once again there are no patrols sent to the South - merely the guards upon the fort walls.

If you wanted to go the disguise route - one of Sangvit's crew just might have the capability to cast it...


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"It's possible. The ones we killed were marked with a brand under their arms, and I believe their hyenas were also marked in the same way; we haven't had the chance to compare them with the gnolls who've occupied the fort." The tall elf pauses, then looks down at Gaelthrin. "How is it with you, seeing Tar-Urkatha with your own eyes?"


Primordial Ooze

Gaelthrin measures her words, and her scarred face is difficult to get an emotional read on as she replies "It's more than I'd hoped and less than I'd dreamed... though no doubt the true grandeur lies in the lower halls"


Primordial Ooze

Back to Sangvit or watch for longer?


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"If we have the supplies, let's stay here for a while longer. All we've seen is one group coming and going."


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"We've learned one important thing Cynara. They trade with the tribe to the East. They may have learned of our actions there, though they do not know it is us. They will be more alert, and may be respond to the wagon in more force than we anticipated."


Primordial Ooze

The party beds in for another night and finds that the routine is unchanged. There are no patrols sent out; though just after midnight the pair of gnolls move out for another secretive tryst.


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

"Well, it seems we have learned all there is to learn about the group, unless we want to view more gnoll porn. I suggest we head back to the camp as finalize our plan."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Cynara tsks at the rotund dwarf. "Hardly. Though we now know quite a lot more about their posture, we still don't know how often other gnoll bands happen by, nor do we have any indication how many are in there." She pauses, struck by an idle thought. "Love, given the presence of the distraction, how close do you think you could get to the walls unnoticed during the night? For that matter, how close do you think that someone like Feigr or Khepri could get at the...most opportune time?"


Primordial Ooze

Love would wager he could get to the outskirts of the camp safely at night without being made, but those less stealthy would have a few issues.


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"I won't be able to sneak Cynara, it's not something I'd covered yet in my training."

Female voice: We're wasting time.


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"I'm not very good at sneaky either. Let's hit our couple-in-love when they come out and make a big racket. Then we can fall back and see what comes out."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"We should have everyone we can spare up in the woods before we start, though. If we have too few to fight what they send out, we can't outrun them, and if we can kill them quickly we can immediately attack the camp. Gaelthrin, are there any other dwarves with the caravan who are any good at quiet scouting?"


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue
Cynara wrote:
Cynara tsks at the rotund dwarf. "Hardly. Though we now know quite a lot more about their posture, we still don't know how often other gnoll bands happen by, nor do we have any indication how many are in there." She pauses, struck by an idle thought. "Love, given the presence of the distraction, how close do you think you could get to the walls unnoticed during the night? For that matter, how close do you think that someone like Feigr or Khepri could get at the...most opportune time?"

"Well the heyenas don't seem to roam that much, which is a blessing. I'd say I could easily reach the camp and maybe poke about a bit in the outer tents with a bit of luck. The rest of you..... Well I'd say charging distance from the outer walls easy. Even closer if we could get a good wind or even some rain to cover the sound."

"As far as a fight. I think bright eyes here has it. Make them come to us as much as we can. One advantage we have is our weapons. The dogs favor throwing spears that just do not have the reach of a good crossbow."

"...Hmmmm. Our major problem is not knowing how many there are. <sigh> Looks like I'll have to be one to sneak in and take a head count." "Feel free to talk me out of this.." Love looks around the group. "...anyone?"

Barring opposition Love will try to reach the walls tonight. Trying to get a good look at the camp or even infiltrate the edges if he can. Setting out to hit the walls a couple of hours before dawn. Maybe some of the Gnolls turned in early.


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

With them ignoring the south side can we muster there? As much as Khepri will want to kill off the gnolls, should we wait to kill the midnight lovers? I feel like we afre wasting an opportunity for something here, but maybe we don't have the right group to take advantageof it.


Primordial Ooze

I'll retcon the Love scouting into the end of the 2nd night; so you've already gained the information below.

Love sneaks near to the fortifications during the night and gets a good look within. From a tent count you can reckon that there are maybe thirty odd gnoll camped outside, a mix of men, women and a few juveniles... but you also see some movement near to the entry to the mine. They are armed and armored well enough, similar to those that you have fought already and they have but a few hyena at their disposal. You cannot spy any gnoll that appears to be a leader or priestess, though there are some that remain in their tents or the fort.

You can pry a little closer, but I'll need a stealth check for it.


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

In for a penny
Love carefully edges past the sign reading "Angels stop here".

Stealth is +8,not sure if you want me to roll the check 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

You're not rushing in, at least.


Primordial Ooze

Love stalks in as quietly as a cat in a kennel, and he does not draw the ire of any watchers. More clearly now you gauge that many of the gnoll at the surface are not experienced warriors. They have far too few scars and do not walk with the confidence that won battle brings. It looks like the chief or some figure worthy of deference dwells in what remains of the main fortification as Love spies a gnoll rush from it to return with a bottle and some food.

The tent city is relatively ramshackle and the entrances are in different directions - which gives the thought that the tribe at the surface is not too unified. The hyena pens are placed to one side - away from the fort, which would limit their noses use in predicting the approach of those that would wish the gnoll ill intent.

You do spy one more grizzled warrior - skin criss-crossed by scars and sporting a more weathered looking set of metal armor. He seems to be barking a few orders before he moves back within the mine entry followed by a couple of younger gnoll. The younglings return after five minutes or so with a few heavy sacks of goods.

Specific points of interest or questions?


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

Thinking "hmmm what are they taking from the mine?"

Pushing his luck Love shadows the young and laden Gnolls. Taking the odd glance into any open tent as he passes.

Looking for anthing that passes for their food/water store. Might be worth a but o' sabotage on a seconsd trip. Mainly want to know what is in those sacks. However if the younglings head too deep into the camp then Love will not follow, not worth the risk.


Primordial Ooze

As the younglings pass through camp one is stopped by an older gnoll who reaches into it's sack and pulls free a lumpy item that it then proceeds to start eating. From this distance it isn't clear... but you'd wager it was some kind of fungus or mushroom.

Another scan of the camp shows a couple of open-topped barrels that you guess would hold water and you can see some ill-prepared skins similar to the lizards that the cave giant kept.

My assumption is that the next step is to ambush the midnight rutters?


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

That sounds like a good plan. Arrows or close range?


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"I suggest sending Love around to cut off their retreat first, then attacking at range. If they run, Love can finish them off."


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

"If Love is open to that, that would proably be the best course of action. If one of them got back to camp, our plan would be ruined."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"That plan, maybe, but if one gets back to the camp and reports that there are hostile dwarves in the area, that'll make them more likely to take the bait if we stage the wagon breakdown."


Primordial Ooze

The peripheral perception of rutting gnolls is pretty low, you could probably walk up and give em a tap on the shoulder before they knew you were there... just sayin...


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"Yeah, I think we want them chasing us. Sneak up on them. Should be easy enough with their activities. Kill one, let the other go back to draw a larger group on us. Wagon trick or just them chasing after us. Either should draw a big enough group out for us to weaken them."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"If they make enough unusual noises, it may draw more out just to see what's happening. From Love's report, it sounds like most of the gnolls on the surface aren't terribly competent; they may set themselves up to be defeated in detail."


Primordial Ooze

Having seen enough the party makes back to Stonebrow and informs him the state of play. He nods somberly at the news "Aye, taking advantage of the tryst is crude... but likely our best option at this point. Though given that it is the dark of night we'd be better off without any subterfuge of wagons and trails... at least if they take the initial bait that is. Where do you want my men?"


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Let's put them where we were hiding? We'll flee in that direction and draw the others into an ambush, then march back into camp and defeat the defenders, then take out the other scouts when they return?"


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"Aye,that sounds like a good plan Padrym."


Dwarf Transmuter 4 | AC 10 (14 w/MageArmor)/10/10 | HP 33/33 | F+4,R+2,W+5 | Init.+0 | Percept.+0 | SenseMotive +0

Dolgrym nods in agreement. "That sounds like our best option. I am ready when the group is."


Primordial Ooze

Sangvit nods his assent to the plan, leaving Gaelthrin to collect an even dozen of stout dwarves to accompany you. Each of they that are selected bear scars and look to know their way around the battlefield. As a group you move cautiously, though with ill intent into the protective copse of trees near to the fortifications. Nightfall comes soon enough, and after some tense hours - Love is the first to spot the noisy trysters moving from the camp to their favored hollow...

Have at thee!

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