Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Forge of Fury #3: Into the Glitterhame

Our heroes for The Forge of Fury include:
  • Raven Flare, female tiefling rogue 3 (assassin, urchin)
  • Kalitni, female human ranger 3 (beast master, hermit) with Daikitsu, wolf companion
  • Xuri, female blue dragonborn sorcerer 3 (wild magic, sage)
  • Sir Dain (NPC/guest-PC), male hill dwarf paladin 3 (oath of devotion, knight)
  • Erky Timbers (DM-run NPC), male forest gnome cleric 3 (life domain, acolyte)

(Warning: Spoilers for The Forge of Fury follow.) 

Last time, our heroes finished clearing out the rest of the orcs from the first level of the dungeon, and descended into the natural caverns that lay below. There they fought many stirges, then encountered a couple of troglodytes and their captive brown bear. They slew one of the reptile-men, but the other troglodyte escaped, taking a tunnel to the south. Kalitni used a spell to befriend the bear, and persuaded it to leave and be free.

The heroes then took a short rest, before exploring the tunnel to the north that the bear had taken. This passage went on for about 500 feet before exiting on the far side of the Stone Tooth from where they had approached the hill. On this side, they could see a small lake to the east, at the foot of the 'Tooth. They turned back, and investigated the tunnel the escaped troglodyte had taken.

This passage branched a couple of times, but led generally south. After a short time, it opened into a large natural cavern lit by phosphorescent fungi. Bright flecks could be seen in the rock walls and high ceiling. The cave had some high ledges to the east, south, and west, with a small forest of giant capped stalks, puffballs, and other fungi in between. They could also dimly see a door to the east. Dain proclaimed that this space must be the Glitterhame spoken of in the stories of Khundrukar that had led the party here.

As much of the Glitterhame as would fit on one map sheet

The western ledge
The troglodyte's tracks led south and west along paths through the fungi, so the heroes headed that way. As they came closer to the large ledge to the west, they could see that it held several large boxes intricately carved in dwarven style. The tracks led towards a small passage to the south, but they decided to take a look at this area first. Stairs had been cut up to this area, which held almost two dozen stone sepulchres, each carved with the likeness and name of a dwarf on its lid. Three of the sarcophagi--of Borgol the Old, Gharin Orc-Doom, and Numik the Unlucky--had been marked with dates of death and a summary of the named dwarf's great deeds; these also had warnings not to disturb the dead. Xuri could not contain her inquisitiveness, and with help from her companions, opened one of the boxes that did not contain the additional writing. It was empty, as were all of the others. Over Dain's grumbling, the party then opened the three with more complete information, and found remains of a dwarf in each. All had been interred without much funerary wealth apart from the exquisite sepulchre itself, but one body bore a gold ring in the shape of a dragon, and another held an ornate, jeweled warhammer. Numik lived up to his name "the Unlucky" by having no wealth.

At one end of this gravesite, a tunnel had been blocked with rubble and mud. The heroes decided to leave the crude wall intact until they had explored further, and found the troglodyte they sought. They left the ledge, and pursued the tracks south through a short, narrow passage into another large natural cave.

This space was long and narrow, with a stream passing through it, entering from the northwest and running swiftly to the east, where it plunged thunderously into a large shaft at the end of the cave. Kalitni noticed that the floor sloped down toward the stream, and was slimy from the mist thrown up from the waterfall. However, a narrow path along the north edge was safe footing. Just in case, the party took some time to rig ropes, a grappling hook, and pitons to give themselves some safety lines in case they slipped and fell into the stream.

The tracks led west, and went into the water where the cave branched. Both branches opened into new chambers, one of which was blocked by a large pool that fed the stream they followed. The other led to a chamber where a huge albino lizard was chained to the wall, guarding two iron chests. Kalitni used animal friendship to calm the lunging reptile, which allowed Raven to get close enough to use her tools to free it from the chain. The ranger then persuaded the lizard to leave the cave, and it headed downstream into the chamber they had just vacated. The chests held a great pile of silver coins, as well as two potions. The heroes took the potions, and used the chain and rope to secure the chests until they could come back to reclaim them.

Kalitni befriends the giant subterranean lizard
The heroes then continued to the chamber with the pool, which was about 20 feet across, and an unknown depth in the middle. The cave continued north and west beyond the reach of their light. Raven swam across the pool to scout ahead, and spotted a troglodyte watching her from where it tried to blend into the wall. Dain followed her, and spotted that reptile-man as well as two more a bit further inside the room. They called warnings to their friends just before the troglodytes attacked the rogue and paladin. One hit Raven, whose hellish rebuke slew the monster. She then moved around to flank another and killed it with a sneak attack. The third troglodyte, wounded by now, disengaged and moved to call a warning where a plug of mud and wattle sealed off another passage. Then Kalitni's arrow finished it off.

Dain moved to guard that crude door while the others crossed the pool. He heard hissing voices and other noises beyond it, and guessed that the troglodytes were blocking the passageway further. Kalitni and her wolf Daikitsu had some trouble crossing the deep water, as neither is a skilled swimmer, but made it across after a couple attempts. Meanwhile, Raven, Xuri, and Erky searched the chamber, which held nothing of note beyond the butchered bodies of some game animals (and a couple orcs).

With the party reassembled, Dain forced open the mud door and saw a troglodyte hiding in the room beyond. Kalitni, right behind him, spotted three, and wounded one with an arrow. Raven entered the room, saw five of the reptile-men, and stabbed the closest before dodging back behind her companions. Xuri cast blur and moved forward, and Erky killed a troglodyte with a sacred flame. The other wounded reptile attacked the sorcerer, hitting once despite her spell. Dain then moved to the front and killed the troglodyte. The other three stayed hidden, but soon realized they had been spotted when Raven stabbed one and Xuri hit the others with a thunderwave. The rogue and sorcerer moved forward and saw another chamber beyond where a large number of hatchlings cowered behind a half-dozen adults. Xuri moved to the entrance of that room, and tried to speak with the troglodytes, to convinced them that she was not going to attack them. They did not understand any of her languages, but stayed where they were, between her and the young, ready to attack if the intruders moved closer. [In 5E, troglodytes speak their own language instead of Draconic.] 

Angry, desperate troglodytes defending their home
Meanwhile, Kalitni and Raven had scouted some of the other chambers branching off of this one, and the ranger found another mud-and-wattle door blocking one of them. Dain kicked in the door, and saw a pony-sized giant lizard, which attacked him. Erky moved up behind the paladin to provide some healing. Then a troglodyte suddenly appeared--it had been invisible--and cast sleep at the party. The spell put Xuri and the wolf Daikitsu asleep, but could not affect the others. Erky worked on waking them while Dain used a divine smite to slay the lizard. Raven rushed in after the paladin, and moved behind the spellcaster--whose shield spell failed to deflect the rogue's attack. Dain hit the troglodyte with a divine smite, wounding it severely. It cast invisibility on itself, but then the paladin heard it move past him towards the door. He followed, and bumped into something, and tried to swing at it, but missed. Kalitni, however, managed to shoot it with an arrow, and a moment later the spell ended, revealing the dead troglodyte.

Troglodyte boss fight
The giant lizard and its master
The heroes searched the room, finding a chest of silver coins in plain sight, and a hidden piece of silk in which was wrapped a small ruby. They left the hatchlings and their guards in peace, and left with the treasure. They badly needed to rest, heal, and regain spells, so only stopped to collect the chests from the albino lizard's former room before trekking back through the caves up to the orc barracks room where their other bulky loot was stashed. (They caught glimpses of the huge white lizard hunting in the Glitterhame as they passed through that cavern.) At the barracks, they hid their treasure in the secret passage, barricaded themselves in, and settled in for a long rest.

Our heroes know of at least three more tunnels, plus a door, that they need to investigate when they descend again to the Glitterhame. They have yet to locate any of the fabled forges and weapons of Khudrukar itself.


The original four heroes have now reached 4th level. (Erky lags a little behind his rescuers on XP.) We're using the optional feat rules, and all four chose feats in place of their Ability Score Improvements: Dain took Heavy Armor Mastery (raising his Strength and reducing the damage he'll take from nonmagical weapons), Xuri took Spell Sniper (which increases her range and ignores most cover when using ranged attack spells), Kalitni took Observant (raising her Intelligence and passive Perception and Investigation scores), and Raven took Dual Wielder (so that she could fight with both her rapiers at once).

Tales from the Yawning Portal: Past Columns

The Sunless Citadel

#1: Down into the Ground
#2: Lost Dragon
#3: Through the Dragon Door
#4: Goblin Boss Battle
#5: Through Pallid Gardens
Campaign Update
#6: Belak, at Last

The Forge of Fury

#1: Orc Gruel
#2: Bloody Stirges!

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