The adventure continued, but hit a snag. The adventurers were quite worn out from their earlier encounters with the Hobgoblins that inhabited the Goldmine of Sarrieth Dreadbane – many were gravely wounded, and the spellcasters were nearly out of spells. After several minutes of debate, the party decided to camp right where they were, in a natural pit in the cave, right next to a door to the next room. Garek took the first watch, whilst the others tried to get some sleep. It wasn’t long into the first watch that a hobgoblin stuck his head out the door. Garek did his best to intimidate the goblin – it seemed to work, as he pulled back and closed the door.
However, 20 minutes later, three goblins came out wishing to talk. Garek woke Portia up to talk to them. The unarmed goblins spoke to her and gave her an offer – to avoid pointless fatalities on both sides, the hobgoblin chief would fight their strongest warrior in a one-on-one battle to the death. Portia agreed, on the condition that they were allowed to rest so that their warrior would be at his peak. The goblins agreed, but didn’t seem happy about it.
8 hours later, the party awakened, somewhat refreshed. Portia and Garek stalled for more time so that the casters could prepare their spells. Tamera revealed that she had some healing magic, and proceeded to heal Garek a small amount. After an hour, the casters were ready. Lissa healed Garek the rest of the way and followed the goblin envoys through the door to a cavernous opening, apparently the throne room of the Hobgoblin chief. The chief, a burly hobgoblin dressed in Scale Mail armor and wielding a greatsword, stepped forth to meet Garek in battle.
The fight ensued, and Garek sprang at him with his new-found magical Greataxe. Tamera strummed her lute to create an ambient background for the battle, and also to subtly boost Garek’s morale. The Chief swung his mighty greatsword and sundered Garek’s Greataxe; a flash of light engulfed the cave as the magic was destroyed. Unphased by this, Garek pulled out his Ranseur and continued his assault. This, two, was soon sundered under the goblin’s axe. All the while, they traded hits, and the others waited to spring in should Garek fail. Seeing that Garek was seriously injured, Donovan finally broke and threw a Fire Bolt at the Chief, killing him. The goblins stared in stunned silence for awhile; however, the new chief ordered them to leave, and they all slowly filed out of the cave. Garek went and sat on the chief’s throne, exhausted by the fight. At this point, he also claimed the chief’s sword.
After a few minutes, the party decided to go check out the parts of the cave they hadn’t explored. At the end of one of the paths, they found a treasure chest full of gold and silver pieces and various gems, as well as magical boots (Boots of the Winterlands) and magical Spectacles (Spectacles of Minute Seeing). They also stumbled across a deceased Cleric of Reidman, who carried with him a Potion of Cure Light wounds and a scroll case. After exploring for awhile longer and claiming some rocks with gold dust in them, the party left the cave. On the way out, Donovan read the letter inside of the scroll case picked up from the dead priest.
The letter described the priest’s mission to seek out some hidden ruins rumored to be located around this area. The writer cautioned that the ruins may contain very powerful magical items of divine significance, which should not fall into the wrong hands. The letter was signed by Elden Merril, High Priest of Reidman. Realizing the possibility of powerful magical items, and figuring the cleric must have mistaken the goldmines for the location of the ruins, Donovan suggested they spend a few days looking for signs of the ruins before returning to Sarrieth to claim their reward. The party agreed, and so they searched for three days. During this time, Tamera asked if she could tag along with them, and explained her skills: though she was mostly a traveling musician and stand-up comedian, she could also fight a little and cast spells. She said that she had bombed as a comedian, though, and so started adventuring. No one seemed to object too strongly to her coming along, though Portia remained somewhat suspicious. She continued to exchange jokes and discuss the nature of humor with the party.
Tamera’s bad joke of the week: Four Orcs walk into a bar. The Fifth one ducked.
She later wondered if it would be funnier if the fifth orc simply crashed through the bar, as this seemed reminiscent of Orcish fighting tactics.
After finding no sign of the ruins, the party decided to return to Lady Sarrieth. They arrived at her manor at nightfall, and her servant, Wardwin, led them to the dining hall where she waited. A feast was already laid out. Sarrieth asked how the mission went, and Portia told them that they were successful. Sarrieth then instructed her servants Wardwin and Roger to fetch their reward, which was a large chest of 10,000 gold. However, upon picking up the chest to leave, Garek noticed that it felt way too light, despite the jingle. He plopped it onto the ground and opened it, revealing a small pile of copper and a note on top. The note read I.O.U 10,000 Gold Pieces, and had strange runes on it…the note exploded in Garek’s face, also catching Portia and Lissa in the blast.
Sarrieth seemed quite disappointed that they survived the blast, and instructed her servants to kill them. Thus, the battle began, with Roger and Wardwin confronting the party unarmed and unarmored. Donovan opened dramatically by jumping onto the table and nailing Sarrieth with a critical blast of electricity, which also created a beam of light to guide his next targeted spells. Sarrieth screamed in agony, revealing her sharp fangs, then likewise jumped on the table and fired an explosive bolt of energy at Donovan, injuring him dramatically. Portia, Garek, and Ari confronted Wardwin and Roger, while Lissa rushed to heal the injured Donovan and Tamera attempted to buff the party with her spells.
Garek eventually dispatched Wardwin, and then with a dramatic snap cut Roger in half. Meanwhile, Sarrieth had Donovan held helpless with a spell. She took this opportunity to bite him with her fangs, draining some of his life blood, which trickled down her face. Lissa managed to dispel the enchantment, but then Donovan was dominated. Before Sarrieth could turn her pawn against the party, Garek swung his new Greatsword, cleaving into the vampire. With a shriek, the Lady Sarrieth dissolved into a misty form, which then drifted past the stairs into a narrow slit near the floor. Donovan quickly came to his senses.
Worried that she was not dead, the party began to search the house looking for her. They eventually came to the kitchen, finding a hidden door in the cupboard. The door opened up to stairs leading down, into a dark corridor. They first saw a large, iron door, which had a space for a keyhole, but was quite locked. Realizing that none of them could pick locks, Garek resolved to simply dismantle the door with his tools, as it had hinges on the outside. After a few minutes, he succeeded, ripping the door out of the opening, and the party was allowed to continue on. Donovan opened the next door, and was surprised by a Fire Trap. He flung the door open, revealing three more vampires inside, who called out to them: “WHO GOES THERE?” Donovan responded with a Fireball, scorching them. Ari jumped forth and stabbed one with her silver rapier, destroying the scorched vampire. Garek and Portia quickly dispatched the others. Each of them likewise took on a gaseous form, and drifted into different coffins. The party dispatched the vampires by opening the coffin and cleaving off their heads.
The final door was unlocked, and led to a place where a coffin was put under a stone grating. A chest, full of platinum pieces, lay on the other side of the grating. Garek first bored through the head of the coffin with Lissa’s Halbered, eliciting a shriek from inside. They stabbed it several more times, getting no response. Finally, Donovan fireballed the room, destroying the coffin and eliciting a piercing shriek. Not much was left where the coffin formerly was.
Donovan claimed her spellbooks and a monocle that sat at her desk in the tower.
For good measure, the party dragged the coffins outside and opened them, in hopes the sun would obliterate all traces of them. Update: the next morning, the coffins were filled with ashes. Realizing that Sarrieth probably didn’t send the letter she had promised, the party resolved once again to leave for Valens, the Castle City of Valendia, in the morning.