Chapter 5: Oubliette
Immediately following the raid on the clutch of the Lizardfolk, the party, severly wounded and with malnourished captives of the lizard men, find a suitable spot off the Fen-Way to camp. The party camps for a full day and with the help of magical healing is able to reach near full power. They begin the over two day trek to the Honeycomb, along with captive Vermese guards, Jepp and Durga, who seem untrustworthy.
Clinton navigates the party as best he can towards the Honeycomb based on his memory and limited knowledge of the area.
On the second day, the party hears noises not far from their path. Porkins and Pat investigate, and spy two goblins arguing over a caught squirrel in the woods and skirts around them. Unknown to them however, the noise made by the Paladin attracks attention of followers…
On the morning of the third day, the tips of a near Honeycomb spire is sighted through the woods, when a robin lands in front of the party with a note attached. The note indicates that the party is being followed by Worg riders, that the party should double back to attack, and that the Worgs must not escape.
Making the decision to scout on foot, the party indeed spooks the Worg riders. Breeda, a female ranger, scouting from a tree, joins the attack. Clinton, now the only mounted member of the party, manages to stop one of the worg riders, but the second easily escapes. After the chase, an army of goblinoids is heard charging their the position. Breeda leads the party on a run to the outskirts of the Honeycomb, followed by a squadron of goblinoids. The archers stationed in the pockmarked spires of the Honeycomb manage to halt the advance of the goblinoids until the party can make it to the Central Spire, the command center of the complex.
A page leads the party to the Map Room, where Lord Basil reviews the tactical situation with Earl Hillibrand, the elven diplomat Jendril, and Bobin (who journeyed with Hillibrand to the Honeycomb to assist in setting up a forge).
Basil gives the party the promised reward for capturing Goodwin, but warns the group that they may not have time to spend it. The goblinoid army has learned that the Lakewood knights are using these woods as a base of operations, and have now zeroed in on the position. Rangers estimate the goblinoids outnumber the resistors at the Honeycomb four to one.
But the corpulent leader has a plan. The elves recently captured Ket Keep as a buffer against goblinoid attacks on their village of Brennevin. If a small group can make it to the Keep and convince the elves to abandon their position to flank the goblinoids at the Honeycomb, the combined forces should be able to break the siege.
Basil had planned to send Bobin, Orik, Jendril and Hillibrand through the woods in an attempt to sneak through the enemy picket before it is fully in place and head northwest. With the party as volunteers, they can now send another group through the unexplored tunnel network under the Honeycomb, as carvings on the walls indicate that the tunnels may also lead in that direction.
The tunnels are likely to be dangerous however, as a three man team went to explore just two weeks earlier and never returned.
After reshuffling the groups so that Parquinryde joins the overland team, while Bobin joins the underground team, the party is led to a dungeon in the North Spire known as the Oubliettes.
The Oubliettes is a round underground chamber with eight cells. Goodwin, Cherra, and Renda (the rogue from the Bloomery) are kept in cells here. Durga and Jepp are added to the cells. Orik, interrogating Goodwin, explains that Bordin fell in battle on the way to the Honeycomb, having been ambushed by the goblinoids.
Before he fell in battle, Bordin made it clear that the party was to receive Goodwin’s items, having found him in the logging camp. Orik hands over a backpack including:
Ring of protection +1
Glamoured chain main +1
Elixer of Hiding
The underground party enters the tunnels hidding in one cell of the Oubliettes. A rope ladder leads down into a large circular room as bats circle the chamber and head up a hollow spire. The party follows tracks through the guano covered chamber through a round archway into a tunnel entrace. This first tunnel is lined with rows of skulls looking into the hallway. A choker, hidden in one of the cubbies, attacks Porkins and drags him into a chimney behind the wall. Radcliff and Clinton are able to rescue Porkins, with Radcliff summoning a fearsome hellish centipede. The Choker’s nest is found, with treasure including a rune covered platinum bracelet, a vial of blackish liquid, and a piece of chalk.
The party continues to explore the tunnels, leading to a huge octoganal chamber dominated by a central statue, features worn by dripping water. The chamber is littered with piles or rocks at irregular intervals. Bobin thinks this may be the remains of some ancient battle with bodies buried under the rocks.
Meanwhile, at the surface, the overland team rappels down the northern spire and makes a run for the treeline. They proceed a few hundred yards into the woods, avoiding columns of goblins and hobgoblins that are marching toward the treeline and setting up position, preparing for an assault at dusk. This party spots pairs of Bugbears wearing large wicker backpacks heading to the spires. One of the bugbears spots the party and the pair attacks. During the attack, Jendril causes fear with a spell but one of the bugbears resists and opens the wicker backpack, which contains trained stirges that were to be used to soften the defenses of the Honeycomb. After a short but fierce battle, the party has defeated the enemies but has already taken damage, and continues into the woods while attempting to avoid conflict with the goblinoids, who luckily are making enough noise that they did not hear the battle.
Back in the tunnels, the party finds a long tunnel leading to a southern entrance of a perfectly circular vertical chimney with a 5′ ledge around the circumference. Exit tunnels head out to the north and northeast, and a metal chest dangles over the abyss in the center of the chamber via a chain. The party, interpreting chalk drawings as a warning of a trap, skirt around the eastern side of the chimney and proceed northwest towards a dank smell of decay and death.
Following the tunnel, the party enters a large irregular round cavern with a strange three section chain bridge joined in a central ring. Just eight feet below the bridge, the chamber floor consists of refuse and bones from hundreds of creatures. While Pat crosses the bridge, the rusty ancient chains snap, dropping him into the bone pit. Not long after two carrion crawlers emerge but are luckily dispatched by the party with no real damage. The only treasure found in the room is a gold nosering from a dead, half-eaten orc.
Back on the surface, the second team continues to weave through the woods and the goblin army. However, a ring of hobgoblins are seen approaching, spaced every 20 feet, beating the bush to flush out victims. Orik and Jendril climb a tree while Parquinryde attempts to run through, hoping they won’t chase a stray dog. Hillibrand attempts to climb but falls in front of one of the Hobgoblins. Speaking goblin and using his powers of persuasion, he buys a reprieve while the confused hobgoblins agree to take them to their leader.
Back in the basement, the party stumbles upon a shiny new buckler shield, with no straps. Proceeding, they meet the skeleton of an unfortunate victim of the tunnels- inside a gelatenous cube. The cube consumes Bobin, then Porkins and Patrick, before Clinton is able to deal the final blow smashing it into smaller globules. The cube contains coins and an ornate long, brass bottle with a sealed stopper.
The party confusingly explores the maze of tunnels, finding an ancient throne room and eventually a tunnel opening into a large cavern. A ledge skirts along an eastern wall into the darkness. Across the cavern chasm of 50 feet, the wall is pockmarked with tunnel openings. The party follows the ledge for hundreds of yards northwest, under a waterfall…
Back on the surface, Orik tries to distract Hillibrand’s hobgoblin escorts. Hillibrand convinces three of his escorts to investigate while just one hobgoblin marches him to the rear lines to meet “the Commander”. Orik dispatches two hobgoblins while Jendril attempt to get a jump on one remaining. However, the hobgoblin slashes hillibrand in the stomach, sending him to the ground bleeding, and gets Jendril in the chest before Orik and Parquinryde (circling back) can disatch him. Orik drags his fallen comrades under cover as he tends to his friends, trying desparately to save Jendril as she coughs up blood.
In the tunnels, the long tunnel ends at an ancient stone drawbridge in two parts (the nearer side raised). The path also curves east and up, where moving, musty air can be felt. Pat readies a bottle of whiskey in celebration at reaching the surface. The party heads for the exit, which is covered in vegetation, the setting sunlight barely visible from outside. The party hacks their way through the vines when a strange, zombie-like bugbear is seen at the entrance. The group prepares to engage this enemy when a yellow flower on a vine turns towards Radcliffe, and sprays him with a yellow must.
Our story ends for now, with Orik building a makeshift sledge for Parquinryde to carry Jendril, and a frame for him to drag Hillibrand, in a last effort to reach the rear lines of the enemy as night falls. Meanwhile, in the tunnels, Radcliffe walks zombie-like into the vines of the Yellow Musk Creeper, its green tendrils working their way into his mouth and nose towards his brain…