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20170623 Recap Against the Slave Lords - The Stockade Level One

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Against the Slave Lords – The Slavers Stockade Curtain Wall and Gatehouse 20170623

Man-Tis (Tri-Kreen Barbarian – Ross), Raistlin (Elf Wizard – Arthur), Gird (Human Monk – Art), Souldun (Human Warlord – Vic), Bannor the Bloodguard (Human Fighter – Brendon) and Cryrano (Drow Rogue - Kenji).

Leaving the coast and the temple complex of the slave lords, our heroes travel overland along the main trade road toward the desolate hills. After dealing with the hazards of the road and rescuing a half dozen slaves being temporarily held in a small village, as well as saving a small village, the group is back on the road. They are almost at the slavers stockade when a merchant catches up to them on the road. Needing a break, the merchant halts his wagons and sees if the party is interested in trading. Cyrano spins his daggers and is distracted for a moment as one of the merchant’s guards, a dark skinned female archer, glances Cyrano’s way. Cyrano manages to not impale his other hand as he loses his left dagger for a split second and then catches it as it spins past his nose. Raistlin buys a potion. Gird uses an air of calm to persuade the merchant to lower his price on a couple more healing potions. Gird also purchases a number of sound deadening bombs.

It isn’t long until the group makes their way up the steep road to the plateau where many other groups are encamped in front of the massive fortress complex. The six to seven hundred foot long complex is built on the top of a natural ridge with the only way in through a single drawbridge in the middle of the curtain wall, then a tunnel through the main gatehouse with the four story keep beyond. The group wisely decides to wait until dark and then trying to look like any other group of travelers moving from one camp to another, they drop down into the stream bed and crawl toward the curtain wall. When they reach the end of the stream bed, Cyrano notes that due to damage to one of the towers, there is indeed a blind spot on the face of the curtain wall, just as the escaped slave had said. The slave’s make shift rope is still hanging from the post outside the damaged arrow slit he escaped through. One by one the party makes their way over the thirty feet of open ground to the wall without being noticed and then up into the second story enclosed walkway of the curtain wall.

Gird feels very uneasy. Mantis moves to the east, exploring several abandoned rooms and hallways. The rest of the group, led by Cyrano, move down the stairs. As Cyrano gets to the bottom stair, he triggers a trap with a glass ball breaking right beside him in a powerful flash, blinding both him and Souldun. A second ball breaks at the top of the stairs in front of Raistlin and scatters 3,000 glass beads onto the stairway. Gird tries to move ahead and slips and knocks both himself and Cyrano into a heap at the bottom of the stairway. Bannor waits for his vision to clear and slowly makes his way down the stair. After not too long, the group has mostly cleared the stairs, and just as they are forcing open the door and the bottom of the stairs, Mantis, feeling very “relieved” butts up against the rear of the group.

Looking through the door, the party realizes they are looking at the inside of the complex at a small courtyard between the curtain wall and the gatehouse. The tunnel through the massive four story gatehouse can be clearly seen on the other side of the courtyard just past a large muddy area in front of the tunnel. Gird notes that the gate is down, but not all the way with a space just big enough so that someone can crawl under. Gird moves up and a huge anakeg burrows up and seizes him. Cyrano creates a zone of silence, greatly reducing the chance of the guards, all surrounding the courtyard, but looking outward, rather than inward, from noticing the small party of intruders. Mantis ducks around the corner just before the anakeg sprays the doorway with acid. Bannor charges forward with Souldun chopping fiercely in an attempt to free Gird. Grid attempts to escape but is caught fast in the monster’s mandibles. Cyrano and Gird manage to knock the beast to its knees, causing it to lurch suddenly just as Bannor swings and clips the beast on the shoulder. Following through, Bannor uses an extra effort and brings his axe down in a mighty chop, cutting the beast’s head clean off. Best of all, Bannor was smart enough (or lucky enough) to be standing within Cyrano’s silenced area. Gird kips up and rushes toward the tunnel, followed by the rest of the group.

Peeking out from the other end of the tunnel, the group sees a huge parade ground between the gatehouse and the main keep. All four sides of the parade ground are dominated by walled battlements, patrolled by archers. The group sprints across the gap and make it to the garden courtyard on the otherside. Since the party moved swiftly, the archers on the surrounding walls did not have time to get off any meaningful shots. The group sees a long garden and at the far end, a pair of doors that lead into the keep proper. Since the courtyard is covered on three sides (all but the north) by a sturdy awing and the vegetation is much heavier near the edges, the group decides to move along the edges. This gives the dozen or so guards watching the garden time to move through the inner halls, up the stairs and into position, lying down on the awnings with their crossbows. A large force of two dozen more guards (including four leaders) from the gatehouse is donning their armor and weapons and getting ready to attack the group from behind. Cyrano moves up to the top of the awning and spots all the crossbow guards and warns the others who all make a dash for the doors. The guards get off a few shots and the group makes it into the hallway. Before a patrol comes, they immediately head west.

Mantis opens the western door and spots what could be a ghost. Then a plate flies out from nowhere and strikes the wall. The group rushes into the room, well more to get out of the entry hall where a pursuing reaction force would be first to go. They continue north and see a hallway with eight doorways. Gird opens a door to a room with snakes and Cyrano rushes in looking for treasure until Mantis tells Cyrano to get out of the room and close the door as snakes can’t open doors. After opening several more doors, the group finds a dead hobgoblin, several empty rooms and an escaped slave and her two children. The group is assailed by cross bow bolts and daggers seemingly appearing out of thin air. Mantis is choked from the ceiling by a noose but Raistlin teleports him to safety. Then from the rear, the door to the room with the snakes opens and the snakes rush out. A frenzied battle breaks out and Mantis downs the first snake. Several blows by Cyrano and Mantis weaken the second snake allowing Raistlin to finish it with a powerful blast of magic. Bannor is (well) hung from the ceiling by a noose similar to Mantis and Mantis quickly cuts Bannor down before he takes more serious damage. Souldun encourages Gird to strike for an opening and heals wounded party members. Cyrano spots an opportunity and strikes deeply with his dagger, banishing the ghost. Gird executes a powerful spinning crescent kick which smashes the last snake’s head against the wall, ending the battle.

The group decides to rest here, both to heal up and to let the “heat” die down. They learn from Cindy the escaped slave that the guards don’t venture here as they think the area is haunted. She also tells the group that in the northern most rooms that are across the other side of the garden courtyard is a large barracks with a couple dozen guards. She does not know what lies to the south of the garden, nor to the southwest or southeast or upstairs. She only knows that in the far northeast corner of this floor there is a large concentration of guards. Thus, our heroes find themselves deep in the heart of the main keep and hopefully the alarm has been called off. To be continued…

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Gird using his monk perception strikes the hidden ghost bringing him down to the groups level. Later knocking the ghost down for the rest of the party to finish.

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Yep, forgot about Gird's ability to locate ghosts. That was actually the second time during the adventure that Gird sensed a powerful undead. The first being right when the party climbed the rope at the beginning. Mantis was one doorway away from the really powerful ghost.

Oh, and I forgot about Cyrano catching the potion vial at the last possible second - show off... haha.

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