The group finally decends to the Grove Below and finds more opposition and Goblin gardeners. The on-going GURPS saga of five unlikely companions attempting to unravel the mysteries of Mystara.Mysteries of Mystara
A Long Climb Down220423
After another good rest, the group makes up its decision to finally descend to the lower level that has been dubbed “The Grove Below” by some of the other denizens of the Sunken Citadel. Preferring to be safe rather than sorry, Lucky and Stephen both take their time climbing down and their companions reach the bottom before they are even halfway down. Unfortunately, Erky takes the quick way down and falls the last 30 or so feet, smashing into the ground hard.
Once on the bottom, the group encounters a strange underground garden with several skeletons shoveling compost into wheelbarrows. Two Twig Blights also inhabit the room and they immediately attack, the Skeletons backing them up. They are dealt with quickly but then another threat reveals itself. A Bugbear hunter with two dire rat pets begins throwing javelins from a side tunnel then moves to engage in melee but somehow manages to drop and break his weapon just as he is about to strike. A few quick retaliatory blows sends him fleeing back into his lair.
The chase is on but the Bugbear and his rats prove to be just fast enough to escape down a dark and twisting tunnel. He is pursued for a bit but that is given up in fear of an ambush up ahead. The tunnel is guarded for a bit while caltrops are spread across its entrance to dissuade him from returning. Finally, Lucky and Stephen make it to the bottom and rejoin the group.
The group then moves through a door to the east which opens into a large common room area with many partially closed doors leading off of it. Examining these rooms shows some sleeping Goblins, which are assassinated, a pair of Goblins repairing some armor, a few Goblins making some disgusting Goblin Brew at a distillery, and several other Goblins performing unnatural experiments, attempting to graft branches and moss to a living, and quite unwilling, dire rat. All of the Goblins are engaged and eventually defeated. Further examination reveals an armory room with stores of food and Goblin weapons and another storage room with a crack in the back wall that leads to a narrow tunnel.
Following the tunnel leads to a natural cavern area of the compound which bisects one of the flagstone passages. Obviously some substantial seismic activity had done some damage years before. Finally, another stone carved Dragon-Door is discovered, though this one is not quite shut all the way, but still jammed. With some muscle and a crowbar, the door is opened revealing another strange Dragon temple. Much poking around was done, but nothing interesting could be discerned.
On a whim, Malachai retrieves the jeweled Dragon-dagger that was recovered from the Dragon-Priest’s tomb and places it up on the Dragon-altar. No one is quite sure what happens, but something happens, as the dagger now feels, somehow, different. The next space explored is another nearby natural cavern with strange 1’ holes in the stone floor. One of the holes has a fiery orange light pulsing out of it. A closer investigation reveals what Erky calls a Thoqqua, some sort of fiery hot worm creature that moves through solid stone by melting it. The thing appears to be quite territorial and aggressive, though quickly dispatched. Erky explains that natural gemstones sometimes form inside their digestive tract and, once it cools off, it is dissected and several valuable stones are extracted.
The group then heads back into the clearly Goblin-inhabited area in search for this ‘Grove Below’ and its expected dark druid keeper. Entering a large and probably formerly well appointed hall, the several doors are examined, starting with the one to the south. The door opens to another underground garden area being tended by a handful of Goblins.
They initially attack with bravado, but once one of their number is put down, they give up, pleading for mercy. After a brief discussion about prisoners, it is decided to release them, getting their word that they will climb up the vine tunnel to the upper level, then leave the Sunken Citadel area, never to return. The Goblins agree and are escorted back to the exit and watched as they climb out.
Session NotesAnother good session, mostly exploration and combat, though some NPC interaction occured with the Goblins that surrendered. Still far too long before I was able to get the Session Report typed up and posted. I will try to do better next time. In fun news, one of our players has made his RPG publishing debut as the artist for a new Troika! campaign setting book, the Academies of the Arcane.
Cast of Characters:Malachai, Feytouched, Wilderness Defender - played by JeCorey H
Talyn Dilectus Vanyilam, teenage Celestial warrior on the run - played by Don K
Panya Masika, a Nithian monk stranded out of time - played by Carol C
Vlajic Savago, the Lucky Savage, a Traladaran bard - played by Dan E