After some discussion about our priorities, the NVPA (Nentir Vale Provisional Autority) decided to go in pursuit of Balgron, the goblin chieftain, in the hopes that he would have more complete information about the slave-trading hobgoblin Bloodreavers.
We headed back into the section of the Keep with the torture room and focused on the double doors that we tied shut earlier. Merric untied the ropes that held the doors shut, then listened for noises from the other side, hearing a couple of voices conversing in goblinese some distance away from the door. We then sent him through the doorway to do some recon. The halfling returned a moment later, reporting that there were two goblin warriors playing cards at a table in a room about 30 feet down the hall. He also saw a small hand bell on the table, presumably for summoning reinforcements from one of the room’s three other entrances—something we wanted to avoid, if possible.
We decided to try to lure the guards out past the double doors, where we hoped to take them down quickly so we could then surprise Balgron and the rest of his lackeys. Moirae made the quite reasonable suggestion of just dropping some shit on the ground to make a suspicious noise, but other members of the group wanted to take a more Michael Bay-ish direction. So we stacked up a bunch of refuse from the storage room across from the double doors, and we started a fucking fire.
The hallway in which we stood quickly filled with smoke, which caused the party to make endurance checks against being overcome by the smoke. In a vagrant display of how the luck of the dice can cause things to happen that are beyond reason, everyone made their check except Merric, the halfling and shortest of us all, who lost two healing surges in the process. Apparently he is allergic to smoke. Which was a drag as he really didn’t have the healing surges to spare. The smoke eventually made its way past the double doors and reached the goblins. As we had hoped, they both came to investigate; however, they managed to see us as they were moving down the hall.
(REMINDER: Venjin and Jett can be hidden in exactly as many places as a refrigerator can.)
Predictably, one goblin turned and ran and was aided in his escape by the obscuring smoke we had provided while the other goblin decided to stand and fight. We tried to grab him and pull him out into the hallway, but this effort failed. There was nothing left to do but charge forth and kick some ass.
The guard-room ahead quickly filled with goblin warriors and minions. Jett splashed up on top of the table and remained there for most of the battle, surrounded, while the rest of us backed him up in our usual style. The fight got a bit livelier when Balgron and his bodyguards burst forth from the doorway at the end of the room, but with concentrated fire we bloodied the fat man (who we decided talked like Eric Cartman) fairly quickly. As much a coward as his subordinates, Balgron fled back the way he came and locked the door behind him, leaving his faithful sidekicks in our care. Our Bard, Wil, played “Eye of the Tiger” to boost the parties spirits and combat ability which was awesome except that Wil shouted “Thank the Bard!” after each attack insisting that each member of the party thank him for his assistance. A euphemism is born.
After all the others were dead, an ominous threat from Venjin caused Balgron’s guard to surrender, so we turned our attention to chasing down the goblins’ chief. Merric’s lockpicks admitted us to the chamber beyond the door—it was Balgron’s filthy bedroom. We tossed it quickly for valuables, recovered some cash and a pair of enchanted boots that went to Merric, then tried to figure out where the hefty goblin had gone to.
A few Perception checks later, we found the secret door out from Balgron’s boudoir and followed the passage beyond deeper into the dungeon. The hallway opened onto an unfinished area, a large, cavernous room thick with stalactites and stalagmites. And also, as it turned out, rats.
Popping a sunrod to help us navigate in the pitch-dark cavern, we continued our search. Eventually we were swarmed by the rats who inhabited the cave—and just as that was getting annoying, Venjin stumbled across an ochre jelly. Which then became two ochre jellies. Which then became, as is the case with most things we meet, a gross sticky mess on the floor.
After we had murdered everything that was available to murder, we noticed a bronze door with the words, “Do not enter…..Really” scratched into it in common. Merric did an extensive search of the cavern and also found a hidden latch. Merric the Valiant asked if it had to be him that pulled it. It was decided that our tank should do the exploring and Jett pulled the lever that led into Balgron’s Saddam-Hussein-esque concealed spider-hole hideout. Wanting Balgron to be left alive for questioning, Jett hit him in the side of the head with the hilt of his sword. Under the combined intimidation-beams of Venjin, Wil, and Moirae, the wounded chieftain surrendered to us, and we questioned him about the Bloodreavers. He obliged us with the location of their camp, apparently just a few hours away in the dank and creepy woods surrounding the keep.
To show our gratitude for his help, we gave Balgron a swift and relatively dignified execution by beheading (Venjin taking the aforementioned head as a trophy). Then we decided to hole up and take an extended rest, during which we were again haunted by nightmares—tiring and demoralizing us to the tune of one healing surge.