A couple of days pass, and the team wraps up their shopping in town. One morning we head to the briefing room for our next mission. Twelvin comes in, followed by a strikingly tall and strikingly blue creature – a Deva. He’s got a complex pattern of white tracery on his skin, and white eyes. He’s introduced as Altranon, and blesses the party in the name of Barronar. Twelvin lets us know that he’ll be joining the party.
Twelvin lets us know that he has a job for us. (Hopefully without lots of death and the end of the world.) Lord Caldly of the Delta Lands, a small province to the east of Gao. He hired the heroes guild to help him with a problem – goblins coming out of the swamp. The pay is 2000 gold, and any items we find we can keep. The closest town is Astrid, which is a day’s ride out. We should speak with the mayor there – Daltron. Twelvin thinks it should be pretty straightforward, and says that hopefully nothing tries to kill us other than the goblins.
The group heads to where they know the teamsters. They find out there is a merchant headed towards Astrid tomorrow. Some of us can ride with the merchant, and we’ll have to rent a few horses. So with that done, the heroes head off to a bar. The gnome demonstrates that gnomes can’t hold their beer – so Bulwark dumps him into a sack and puts him over his shoulder. Meanwhile, Asalie tries to cadge a free beer from the bar patrons.
Early the next morning the team arises and arrives at the teamster’s yard by 6:00. The team is introduced to a female half-orc. She can fit 4 regular people and the gnome in her wagon. The team gets 3 horses “on the house” and heads out. After a long day we roll into Astrid, a small town.
The heroes seek out the mayor. Entering the inn, all heads turn towards the door. A female Halfling is running the bar. We ask after the mayor and get pointed to a half elf nearby. The mayor is enthusiastic to see us. He lets us know that the goblins are lingering. He tells us about the castle of Astrid. It was plagued with all manners of ill things and accidents. Unfortunately the Lord who built the castle had both his wife and child die within a year. He passed away not long after, and the castle was abandoned. Long ago the castle fell into ruins. Now there are goblins camped at the castle. The new lord will never use the castle, but he doesn’t want goblins in his lands. Helna Featherheart – a swamp farmer – will lead us to the castle in the morning.
He points out Finster – another swamp farmer – and says he’s a good man to speak to too. Eleira, the hostess, will be more than happy to provide food and drink. Glespo approaches Finster and introduces himself and listens to Finster’s stories. It’s called the “Labyrinth swamp” because there has never been a successful mapping due to how the river flows in different directions and wipes out landmarks.
Before retiring for the evening, the heroes debate strategy – do we kill the goblins instantly? Or try to negotiate with them.
In the morning Helna is waiting for us. After some banter the team heads out. Helna lets us know that the goblins showed up a few weeks ago. The goblins don’t usually come out this far. As we start to get closer Asalie goes out to scout. The underbrush is pretty thick, but she can start to make out details. As she gets closer she can see a camp and some goblins. She sees a goblin who is carrying a staff.
After she returns to the party we continue the debate about whether or not to attack first or try to negotiate. The party decides to try to negotiate first. But as a “backup” Asalie, Nals and Glespo circle around the castle and get ready to charge in from the side.
The rest of the heroes approach from the front, seeing hobgoblins guarding the entrance. They challenge us, and Dalaan starts trying to negotiate. The negotiations weren’t going well, but we were still trying when Nals stands up from cover and blasts one of the goblins, surprising us all and starting combat.
Nals hits the goblin with a chaos bolt, killing it. The enemy responds, and arrows fly – barely missing Quiz. The hobgoblin soldiers charge, but miss the front line. In response, Grae shoots the leader, poisoning him. Dalaan blasts a soldier, while more arrows fly from the archers, striking Bulwark but missing Dalaan.
The hexer fires a vexing cloud over Bulwark and his companions at the gate. A hobgoblin thumps Dalaan, slowing him. Asalie throws her dagger at the hexer, striking him and bloodying him. Grae summons her caustic wall, putting three enemies within its range. Bulwark uses thorn strike on a nearby hobgoblin, pulling it towards him.
The archers change targets and fire at Asalie, one hitting her. Then the hexer drops from the poison running through his veins. Nals immediately fires a chaotic bolt, hitting an archer and taking out a goblin. Another goblin strikes Dalaan. Alternon responds with a bolt of light to one of the soldiers, and Bulwark strikes the same one. Dalaan takes down a goblin and a soldier. Seeing this carnage, one of the archers runs, but the rest stay and one shoots Asalie, bloodying her. Nals responds by blasting a nearby archer.
A soldier tries to attack Dalaan, and dies. Grae & Astranon both blast a nearby soldier. Then an archer stabs Asalie on the ground, while the other two archers shoot Nals. Glespo attacks two archers in return, dazing one and killing another. Alternon kills the last soldier, while Bulwark charges and hits the dazed archer. Dalaan blasts the dazed archer as well. One archer shoots Dalaan, while the other tries to run. Before the runner can go more than a few steps Bulwark chops him down. Finally Nals fires a chaos bolt and takes the last archer down.
As the team rests, they eye the tunnel entrance warily, knowing they’ll have to delve there next.