Friday, June 14, 2024

Four Against Darkness #3

This is the third episode in the story of a party of adventures who took up the fight against darkness in search of fame and fortune within the deep and evil dungeons. 

It was played using the Four Against Darkness, (4AD), a solitaire dungeon-delving game written by Andrea Sfiligoi from Ganesha Games

SPOILER ALERT: This adventure was based on the Caves of the Kobold Slave-Masters. Read no further if you are planning on playing that book!

The party consisted of Sir Dancealot the warrior, Father Braun the cleric, Little Tam the rogue and Salubran the wizard. 

The party were resting, recuperating and restocking with supplies in the town of Trumpton when, while drinking in the Gnoll’s Head tavern, they started hearing rumours of the kobold slave-masters. 

The kobold slave-masters are a plague upon the lands, capturing goblins and other creatures. Recently, they have even captured Elvyn, an old, much-loved adventurer who started to police their area, wanting to put wrongs to right. However, in a new development, an escaped goblin has revealed the location where the kobolds keep Elvyn. 

The Trumpton town council has hired the party to rescue Elvyn, offering a reward of 100 gold coins for the safe return of Elvyn before nightfall. It would be a bonus if it could be discovered why the kobolds are acting so aggressively of late. 

The party journeyed to the revealed location, entered the cave, where they found a flight of stone stairs descending into the darkness of the kobolds’ lair. It was worrying that an unnatural sense of dread permeated the air.  

The party descended with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead followed by Father Braun and Salubran. 

The party turned left and went into the first chamber. There they found a goblin chained to a wall. After a quick conversation, with Rikka the goblin, the party decided to free him. The chains were weak and rusted, so this was easily achieved. Rikka was in a sorry state because of the evil kobolds, so the party bandaged Rikka's wounds. He offered to join and help the party if he was rewarded with 20 gold coins per adventure, a deal which the party accepted. Salubran lent Rikka a dagger with which to defend himself.

The party then went to the chamber opposite. The chamber contained a pool of water. Rikka who was extremely thirsty after being chained up decided to take a drink, the other party abstained. Luckily for Rikka, the pool contained nothing other than pure fresh water.

The party continued into the dungeon still with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead, now with Rikka in the centre where he should be safe, and bringing up the rear were Father Braun and Salubran. 

They came to a pair of doors, one on the right wall of the passage and one on the left. The party chose the left door and entered. When the opened the door, they saw that the room contained a chest, presumably full of the kobold's treasure. 

As they entered the room, Little Tam was attacked by a magically-animated noose. It descended from the ceiling and tightened around her neck. But Little Tam is a rogue, and a devil with a knife; she whipped out her knife and cut the rope before it could strangle her.

The chest was found to contain 50 gold coins which the party appropriated..

The party then explored the room opposite which was a library, although rather worrying as the party didn't believe that kobolds could actually read, There were two tables filled with dusty old books, tomes and scrolls.

The party decided to search and told Rikka to do so. However Goblins don't really understand such things and Rikka didn't find anything of interest except a small scorpion which he crushed without problem with the pommel of his dagger.

Father Braun pushed Rikka to one side and performed a proper search, he uncovered a Scroll of Lightning Bolt and a document containing a clue. 

The party proceeded down a corridor and into a chamber where they came face to face with a ferocious Ogre. Before the Ogre could react, Sir Dancealot attacked explosively with his two-handed sword severely wounding the Ogre. Father Braun swung with his mace but missed completely. Little Tam sneaked round the side of the Ogre and struck the Ogre in its back with her short sword and killed the Ogre.

Around the Ogre's neck hung a gold pendant. Little Tam cut it loose with her knife and examined it carefully as only a rogue can, deciding it was nothing special but melted down would be worth 80 gold coins.

The party continued on through a short narrow corridor. The corridor was filled with spider webs. Fearing venomous arachnids, it was unanimously decided to leave well alone and not to start searching.

In the next room, the party was confronted by a pulsating sphere of glowing red energy. The party looked reluctantly on, as Salubran the wizard, pushing his comrades aside, moved forward to inspect it.

The wizard touched the sphere with the index fingers of both his hands and two clues were revealed to him.

The next room was an armoury guarded by 6 kobold minions. The party set about the kobolds with Sir Dancelot, Father Braun and Rikka all killing kobolds. By the time Little Tam got into the fight, there were hardly any kobold left, so she managed to sneak behind and attacked withd eadly effect finishing off the final opponent.

The room was full of weapons. Many of these were of a small size which fitted Rikka perfectly. So Rikka was equipped with a hand-axe, leather armour, a shield and a short bow.

The party continued in what had now become their standard marching-order with Little Tam and Sir Dancealot in the lead, Rikka in the centre where he should be safe, and bringing up the rear were Father Braun and Salubran. 

In the next room, the party encountered a Troll. He was a greedy weapon collector, and was caught unawares while he is polishing a sword.

Knowing that Trolls regenerate, and that the best way to stop that was fire, Salubran the wizard started the combat by launching a fireball at the troll. Every member of the party attacked, Little Tam missed with her attack, but the remaining party members - even Rikka - wounded the Troll and he died.

Except for Rikka who had just equipped himself, each party member picked a very good quality weapon from the troll's collection. Unfortunately none were magic.

The party decided that Salubran needed more protection than Rikka, as Rikka now had armour and a shield; so Salubran and Rikka swapped places in the marching order.

The party continued to advance through the dungeon, but found their way blocked by a fast-flowing subterranean river. The river was crossed by a rickety run-down wooden bridge covered in mysterious runic writings. On the other side of the river the party could see two imposing portals.

Salubran the wizard tried to decipher the mysterious runic writings, He was pretty sure that the strange shapes on the bridge were some sort of defensive runes. They could have been a trap or an alarm, and he knew no way to disenchant them, so he declared that it was probably better not to walk on the bridge.

Using Little Tam's rope, the party roped themselves together and decided to wade across the fast-flowing river. The current was extremely strong and both Little Tam and Salubran lost their footing and were bashed against the stone side wounding them both. 

Once across, the party took out two sets of bandages and bound both Little Tam and Salubran's wounds.

The party decided to see what awaited behind the right-hand portal.

Sir Dancealot kicked open the portal and the party rushed in.

Elvyn, the old adventurer, was in this room chained to the far wall. Eight kobold slave-masters were tormenting him with their whips.

When the party entered, the kobolds turned to them and demand a ransom of 200 gold coins in order to free Elvyn. 

To pay the ransom, the party handed over the Fool's Gold that they had found in the Chaos Lord's treasure horde in a previous dungeon. Fool's Gold is magical (but fake) gold pieces; no matter what sum the seller asks, the gold will always appear enough to satisfy their greed.

Having rescued Elvyn, the old adventurer, the party left the dungeon without trying the one remaining door. The retraced their step back to the cave entrance and thence to the town of Trumpton.

Back in Trumpton the party received their promised reward of 100 gold coins. They immediately sold the Ogre's pendant for another 80 gold, and together with the 50 gold they found in the chest gave them 230 gold of which they gave Rikka 20 gold coins as a reward for joining the party.

The party also used 20 gold coin to replace the bandages used during the adventure. 

Elvyn was aware that although he was free, the kobold slave masters were not yet defeated. Unlike Rikka, the old adventurer Elvyn was too weak to embark on another adventure, but offers to lend his magic sword Ailisia to Sir Dancealot for the next adventure.

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