Summoned to the offices of the Wilberforce Adventuring Company by Conrad Hauser, the Company’s Sergeant-at-Arms, five heroes for hire are asked to investigate a rash of cattle mutilations in the farm holds east of Sandpoint. From “Bill the Farmer,” appointed to make the trek to Sandpoint and plead their case, the party learned that in the past few weeks, 14 cattle have been found torn to pieces, and apparently melted. Recently, a small group of farm children were exploring in the hills and came across the carcass of one of the cattle in a small valley. Stuck was a long black fang, which he produced for the adventurer to investigate. Conrad added to the farmer’s story that the Black Fang Goblins were known to use charred fangs and claws of large beasts as daggers and spear heads. Plans were made, deals were struck, and for 1000 gold, the party agreed to investigate the mutilations.
As they left Sandpoint, riding a cart Bill the Farmer brought to town, party traveled along the south edge of plateau known as the Devil’s Platter, and to a chalky path leading into the Tors, a small range of low mountains—hills, really, that marked the eastern edge of the Sandpoint region. After trekking up a rocky mountain path, the party discovered the box canyon Bill described, the mutilated body of a single cow, and a moss-covered, well-weathered statue of a ceremonially-armored Minotaur. Closer inspection of the Minotaur revealed an unknown symbol carved into its armor, a circle with a crescent turned sideways atop it. As the party began to inspect the walls of the box canyon, a high-pitched giggle was heard, and it became clear that the mossy walls were not rock, but rather the draped moss concealed a cave, from which three goblins burst, their wickedly curved short swords at the ready. The adventurers were able to make quick work of them however, and moved into the cave to explore, finding their ratty bedrolls and a heavy stone door, slightly ajar, through which a golden light shone.
Through the doorway, the party found a square room, in the center of which stood a gently-glowing fountain. A search of the room revealed a rough-hewn cavern leading off to the northwest; from that direction came nasally, high-pitched voices. Another well-carved stone door was hung in the southeast corner, fixed tight. Arcane runes glowed on the fountain, which Cora was able to decipher as, “With a golden offering to Vex, goddess of chance, one will receive a boon.” The party, with the exception of the devout paladin, Bellum Pacifica, tossed a coin into the fountain and received a variety of blessings.
Through the cavern door, the sound of bickering, high-pitched voices grew louder. Sneaking around the corner, Kyras discovered a small group of goblins bickering. In order to pacify them, the bard entered, singing an epic. The enthralled goblins hummed along, as the party entered to parlay with their king, Fathead I. It seemed Fathead’s sister ran off with their holiest of relics, representing their draconic god. It also seemed Fathead could not count above three. The party agreed to retrieve the icon in exchange for free passage through the “throne room.”
The party retraced their steps through the fountain room and through the stone door into a rectangular room in which two statues of Minotaurs flanked a raised dais and altar, upon which a fist-sized ruby sat. The adventurers quickly learned the room was trapped, as they approached the dais, a sheet of flame engulfed the room, singing Kyras and sending Crysomer into shock. Kyras was able to disable the trap and retrieve the ruby, noting along the way that the Minotaurs had the same crescent-over-circle emblem the statue outside bore. The ruby provided resistance to energy-based attacks once per day. Quickly pressing forward, so the trap would not reset itself, the party found itself in a room draped with spider webs. Small spiders scurried among the web, and as Kyras searched through the sticky mess, a giant spider dropped on him until the rest of the party was able to slay it. Wrapped in spider silk was a desiccated goblin body, on which the party found a small toy dragon, designed to flap its wings when the tail was pulled. Also on the goblin’s body was a wand, identified as a wand of magic missiles.
At the far end of the spider’s lair, the party entered a narrow natural cavern, in the middle of which stood a pillar, again carved with the same crescent-over-circle symbol. Scratched into the wall were the words, “The wyrm’s breath drips death,” in Elvish (oddly, it still rhymed). On the far side of the pillar lay the skeleton of an elf, upon which the party found enchanted boots and gloves. The adventurers camped in this room for the night; to provide a chance to heal and regain spells.
The sound of flowing water could be heard as the party squeezed through a narrow passageway and into a large chamber; an underground stream bubbled through this cavern and a conveniently-placed treasure chest lie across the stream on a small rise. A shadow could be seen moving in the depths of the stream, but Kyras tied a rope around himself and dove into the chilly water. In the chest, he found an ornate long sword, and a hefty sack of cash. As he was nearing the home shore, he felt a tug at his leg; a reef claw, something akin to an eel with a crawfish’s claws, had grabbed the rogue, and was pulling him under. With assistance from the party reeling him in, Kyras was able to land on the bank, and the party slew the reef claw. Cora’s analysis revealed the sword to be a Dragonsbane Longsword.
A tunnel led out of the stream cavern, and wound around until the party found themselves back in King Fathead’s “throne room.” The goblins rejoiced when their “totem” (the dragon toy) was returned to them, and warned the adventurers about the room above, and the dragon beyond, confirming what the party had long suspected, that a dragon was behind the cattle mutilations. A quick climb led up the sheer rock wall at the far end of the throne room, and into a crypt, where five skeletons were interred. Four rose up to combat those who would defile their crypt, most simple wielding ancient scimitars and shields, but one in ornate, but aged and damaged full plate. While they battled the undead, the party could hear “oohs,” “aahs,” and cheers from the goblins in the room below, as the creatures listened to the sounds of the fight and were occasionally entertained by flashes of magic. Putting the skeletons to rest for good, the party again chose to camp, remaining in the crypt. Throughout the night, the sounds of heavy wings and the occasional screech could be heard from the tunnel that led away from the crypt.
The next morning, the goblin throne room was silent; looking over the edge, the party found it abandoned. Again pressing on, the tunnel away led down a carved flight of stairs, through a worked stone chamber; the smell of open air refreshed the party. A collapsed wall in the worked room led into a large natural cavern, which opened to the sky above. Daylight cast shadows on the ground, and one large shadow slowly unfurled its wings and turned to face the party. With a hiss, black acid spat from its jaws, catch the party full on; Cora went down, the others burned in pain. With an acrobatic roll, Kyras was able to flank the dragon, Crysomer drew upon her inner strength and battered it with a flurry of blows, and upon Bellum’s swing of the Dragonsbane Longsword, and the beast took flight through the open ceiling live to fight another day. The party was able to claim the dragon’s small horde, and returning to their point of entry, found Wilburforce the donkey missing!
Somewhere, a goblin boss has trained a war donkey to carry him into battle…