The adventurer’s needed a small breather after finally dispatching the goblin guards. Then, from the guardroom, they cautiously ventured east, then around the corner to north, following the excited babble of goblin voices beyond a door at the end of the corridor.
The corridor widened into a long, narrow chamber. They found doors set in the northern and western walls, and iron double doors standing to the east. Faint bloodstains streaked the floor between the western door and the northern door.
With barely a pause, Brok decided he should knock on the northern door, calling to those within in goblin as he did. And the door was opened by the scarred and burned hobgoblin executioner himself wearing a black leather mask over his abominable face and head!
The bluff barely lasted a breath, however, and soon Brok and the black-masked executioner were exchanging blows in the doorway. Before long Brok and Agresiv had forced their way into the room, battling the grim, foul-mouthed executioner and his side-kick goblin warrior, while a couple of goblin snipers took pot-shots from behind the cover of the rack – upon which wailed Splug!
The party took a few solid hits. The executioner hurled gruesome insults and stabbed Brok with a burning poker, which burned and burned. But the brave party struck back hard at the goblin torturers. Mana even tried to go after one of the shooters with one of the executioner’s own weapons: a hot poker! He grabbed it out of the burning brazier and brandished it at the goblin and his crossbow. The monster easily stepped aside, slipped back and shot Mana solidly – almost point-blank. Then Mana, fulfilling his role as the cowardly shaman being Mana, dropped the useless poker, backed away and dove under the torture table to take cover from the shooting goblin while waving his lightning-shooting totem with at his wiry, snarling enemy.
Meanwhile, Agresiv cornered one of them. It ran into the cage in the corner of the chamber and locked itself in, hoping to shoot the adventurer’s from the safety of its cage. The warforged took it as sport to pursue the goblin and with a mighty heave, smashed open the gate of the cage. The trapped goblin squealed in fear. The powerful fighter easily grabbed the miserable creature and slowly dragged it over to the iron maiden, into which he stuffed the hapless, evil monster. It perished inside with a whimper.
They found valuable treasure from the executioner, but no clues yet as to the location of their paladin mentor, whom they believe to have been abducted to the keep.
The heroes questioned the goblin, Splug, who they rescued from the torture table, but he professed to know nothing of Gozer, their mentor. Splug eagerly offered to show them the way out, but “out” was not where our adventurers wanted to go! Splug squealed and begged for mercy when Mana threatened to kill him. Splug persuaded them that he was a “good” goblin, which, as luck would have it (or was it by design?), was the only thing he could have said to touch Brok’s heart and the bugbear even offered him a weapon so he could help them. Noorwyn too, argued for his life, but the gnome was less trusting and found that Splug already had three daggers on him (although he had declared he had no weapons). So Noorwyn hobbled the miserable Splug and then tied the goblin to himself.
From there the party opened the east door of the narrow entrance room of the torture chamber. Brok tried to be sneaky. He silently inched his way down the long, narrow hall beyond the door. It opened up on a small room and he peeked around the corner. Two goblins sat at a table, playing cards, their weapons close at hand. Across the room to the east, thick tapestries covered the walls. On the table between the goblins sat a small bronze bell.
Brok signalled the others that there were two enemies. Then he introduced himself to the goblin guards by jumping out from his hiding spot up onto the goblin’s card table and putting his foot solidly on the bell! Agresiv followed hot on his heels and the two guards were dispatched of fairly quickly, but not before they were able to yell a warning to whoever might be lurking beyond the tapestries…
Mana entered the card-playing room and was curious about what was beyond the tapestries. Noorwyn was following behind, slowed by the hobbled goblin tied to him for safe-keeping. Mana, being Mana, shape-changed into an elk and casually walked behind the nearest tapestry into the hall behind it.
Agresiv looked over his shoulder, “Interesting,” he mused.
There was a door on the south wall of the hall immediately behind the tapestry. As Mana-the-elk entered the hall – all by himself – the door burst open revealing a crowd of alarmed goblins! Caught like a deer in headlights, the musky wapiti was momentarily at a loss but he tried to play it smooth. The elk-shaman coolly sauntered on down the hall past the goblins (who were perhaps even more surprised to see the elk than the elk was to see the goblins), following the hall in a U-turn around two left corners, past a solid-looking door further to the east, to stop in front of another door on the north wall that also burst open with a crowd of goblins behind it!
Luckily for the shaman, however, it was only a matter of moments before Agresiv and Brok each moved in to take a position in front of a threatened doorway. The goblin warriors and their gang of miserable minions were all too easily overcome.
Meanwhile, Noorwyn was dragging Splug down the hall towards the solid eastern door that Mana had passed by. The authoritative gnome demanded to know what was behind it. Splug cowered and pleaded, “It’s Balgron the Fat. He’s horrible! Please don’t take me in there, please!” Heedless of the whining monster, Noorwyn reached for the door. It was locked!
By this time, the others were on the scene and everyone wanted to know who or what was behind the locked door. The monstrous barbarian threw his weight at the barrier, feeling certain that treasure and perhaps information leading to Gozer was almost within his grasp. With a roar and a heavy push he forced the door open.
The room beyond was indeed the personal quarters of Balgron the Fat. A goblin warrior challenged the party from the centre of the room and yelled over his shoulder to a corner curtained-off by more hanging tapestries, “They’re here!” Mana and Noorwyn heard sliding stone quietly moving from behind the old, strung-up rugs, and they alerted the others. Brok immediately rushed to the curtained-off corner with Mana close behind while Agresiv engaged the goblin warrior. Noorwyn, tied to Splug, remained in the doorway.
Behind the tapestries they found a chest and the bare walls of the corner of the room. With a quick search Mana found and opened a secret door. At the end of a long, downward staircase they saw what could only be Balgron, standing at a dead end. Leaving Mana and Noorwyn to deal the goblin guard, Brok and Agresiv pursued Balgron to the bottom of the stairs. Balgron pleaded for his life, offering his key to the treasure chest and the password to the lower levels of the Keep, if only they would spare him. They questioned Balgron about a paladin taken prisoner. He seemed to know nothing and Brok decided the password wasn’t worth it. They drew swords!
Mana had been left behind the tapestries with the goblin guard, while our gnome friend remained hobbled with
Splug. The shaman, however, was certainly not about to go toe-to-toe with the goblin warrior. While unable to speak the monster’s language, Mana (being Mana) put up his empty hands, made a clear gesture towards the chest and then motioned to the door. The goblin got the hint. Glancing down the stairs and clearly seeing the fate of his superior at the hands of the barbarian and the warforged, he grabbed the small chest and ran for the door.
Although Brok was in the middle of dealing with Balgron, it did not go beyond his notice that Mana had (yet again) chosen to forego the loot – this time on behalf of everyone! Noorwyn tried to get himself and Splug manoeuvred into a position to stop the fleeing, treasure-bearing goblin. And Brok dashed back up the stairs in hot pursuit. Luckily, the monster did not escape with the treasure and both goblins soon met their gory end. The gold and magic in the chest was worth it!