Great-grandchild of the sister's gibbon's friend of the nephew of the Campaign that Would Not Die, now in 3.25e
Møøse Trained By: Hugh Foster

Lair of the Gnolls

Wine Cellar, Ruins of Morvramorn, 9th September 2100, 12:39

Chambu invoked the healing power of the Master of the North Wind and cast his curative magic on Herb, who was grateful enough to donate a large percentage of his admittedly meagre funds to the Cause.

DM Note - Minor interesting fact, the campaign date and actual date were a single day apart this week! Also interestingly, Lizzie, Aimo and Steve were available this week; so their characters were just, like, there. You didn't see them before? You just didn't look properly...
My notes are very fragmentary for this session so there may be inaccuracies in what happened..

Chambu, Nazariel and Baggy headed up the north-western exit from the wine cellar, while the others took the north-eastern side. As they expected, they found themselves facing each other in a short east-west corridor with two doors to the north and a flight of stairs leading back down under the wine cellar to the south. "All paths lead ultimately to the same destination," murmured Nazariel, atrracting a couple of worried glances.


Carefully, they approached the door to what, if their late lamented prisoner had told the truth, was the guard room. Baggy was still shooting accusing glances at Talian, having sternly told him that his soul was in peril for murdering a yielded prisoner. Talian had simply gestured at the pile of cracked human bones in the corner of the gnoll lair and shrugged the warning off. Noting was audible, and they cracked the door and sent Spy the raven in to check; as expected, the guard room was empty - the occupants, attracted by the noise, had been among their opponents in the recent brouhaha.


It occured that, apart from Viggo, everyone in the party had Darkvision - he was the only human being. If he wasn't with them, they wouldn't have to carry a betraying light source. The ranger, already wounded, was quite happy to take post in the wine cellar, ready to alert the party if anything or one came up the stairs or down from the surface. 

Moving along, they checked the sleeping quarters, again finding no living beings, though a few paltry pennies and a single vial of what Baylock was pretty sure was an antitoxin were turned up by a search. With the current floor of the cellars cleared, there was a discussion as to where to go next. Herb and Nazariel were quite keen to explore the stairs the prisoner had described as leading to "spooks" but the others firmly voted to leave that for last. Decision made, Talian stealthily led the way down the western stairs towards the "jail".

As he reached the bottom of the stairs, Talian became aware of a gnoll standing in the space beyond the arch at the bottom, presumably in a room. He halted the party, but the gnoll was already staring into the darkness, having heard something move. Very carefully, Talian drew a bead, and shot the gnoll, even as Baggy ran forwards. Nazariel sent a Ray of Frost to her assistance.

Barred Doors

As she ran past the doorway, she caught sight of a movement to her right, and noticed another gnoll off to that side. She called out a brief warning and plunged forward, engaging the one Talian had wounded. At that moment, a third emerged from a side room down the passage and drew his weapon. Herb charged headlong into the fight - something that was becoming his trademark - and swung an enormous blow at the gnoll, missing entirely. Chambu sent a crossbow bolt past him to sink in between the gnoll's eyes and drop it. Herb carried on down the corridor, looking left and right  at what were now clearly ancient cells, most crumbled and gaping, but the bottom four repaired and closed with rusty iron bars. He heard a faint moan, which for some reason he took as a good sign.


Talian, switching to short sword, made fairly quick work of the last gnoll as Herb called back down the room that he'd found something. The elf came up next to the half-orc and looked into the cell. Inside was a dishevelled, disconsolate-looking gnoll, unarmoured, unarmed and bruised. On seeing the half-orc and elf, it backed into a corner as far away as it could and huddled down in terror. On the other side was another intact cell, with another humanoid figure in it. It was moving randomly around, until they came closer at which point it thrust a rotting hand through the bars, reaching for them. It was a zombie, probably of human origin. They glanced at each other, then shot arrows into it through the bars until it went down and stopped moving.


Turning back to the gnoll as the others joined them, Herb asked it calmly, "Why are you in here?" Like it's predecessor, this one understood and spoke a little of the Low Erlyid common tongue, though with a barbarous accent and rather distorted by its' muzzle and fangs. "I try take extra coins, from loot, get caught. Grimwood he no happy. Throw Zabtog in jail." Baylock's brows went up. "Has Grimwood found something here?" he asked, and then on a whim, "Something blue?" The gnoll - presumably Zabtog - nodded. "What I get if I tell you?" he asked, displaying the tendencies that had landed him in here in the first place. "You get let go," said Baylock. Talian glowered, but didn't argue. "If you play fair and answer honestly," added Baggy. The gnoll relaxed a little.

"Grimwood find thing here when we move in," he said in a more helpful tone. "Knife, elf knife, glows blue. Sharp, not do magic yet. Grimwood fnarglh.. grumpy it not work." Herb considered. "Draw us a map," he demanded, "show all the traps." Zabtog hunkered down, picking up a loose piece of stone from the floor and beginning to scratch out sketches. "This where we are," he said, "This main room, guard, sleep room. Stairs up - trap there." Talian knew from personal experience that this was true enough. "This go down to spooks. No go that way. Glutch and Ptom go down there, never come back." More scratching. "These stairs go down to big room. Grimwood's 'king room', ha! He be there if no raid happening. Tripwire here. That make alarm."  The party studied the map. "Right," said Baylock, opening the cell and tying Zabtog's paws behind his back with a length of rope, "you go ahead and point out the traps, as you know them all. Zabtog shrugged and set off.

The stairs leading down towards the "king room" were wide and long. Eventually, a doorless opening came into view, opening into a large dark space, at the far end of which four points of firelight could be made out. Zabtog paused. "Me not want to go in there with you," he said, "might get shot too." It was a reasonable point, so they tied his footpaws as well and left him on the stairs.

Slowly, they moved towards the doorway, Herb and Baylock leading. As they reached it, Herb (of all people) noticed a very slight movement through the aperture on the far side to him, and realized that a gnoll was flattened against the wall on the far side, waiting to surprise someone walking incautiously through. He grinned. "I can see you, you know," he said in a loud, amiable tone. A startled yelp and the sound of hasty movement from the other side greeted this.

Herb and Baylock struck, each aiming at the opposite side of the opening, their blades crossing as they stabbed at the gnolls hiding behind the other's wall. Baylock slew his, but Herb's dodged and the half-orc stepped through. As he looked around, Talian somersaulted through the door, landing next to him and striking lethally with his short sword, dropping the gnoll. Behind him, Chambu cast Sanctuary and followed as the gnolls further up the big room opened up with their shortbows. Arrows zinged and rattled around, but few were even aimed at the dwarf and those that were glanced off his armour.

DM Note: Lizzie had faded out at this point, so Nazariel was kept on a low level of involvement, as she'd started the fight I didn't bubble her.

Herb, Baylock, Chambu and Baggy charged into the room, while Baylock and Talian remained at the door, returning fire with their longer bows to great effect. Nazariel and Spy remained behind them, looking out for an opportunity to throw some useful magic.

TacMap - click it for larger image!

The room they were in was nearly a hundred feet long, widening twice as it went along to provide corners and cover. It might once have been some kind of ceremonial or summoning room, or maybe simply storage; it seemed now to be in use as some kind of 'throne room' though it was pretty dowdy. Stairs 40' from the far end  led up to an upper level 5' above the rest. Four stone urns contained fires which stink of rancid fat. Rockfalls had happened in several places, and heaps of rubble dotted the floor.

A worryingly large number of gnolls were tucked into cover and waiting for an attack; some bhind the rubble or firepots, some leaning around the corners of the bottlenecks. At the back of the hall stood a gnoll head and shoulders bigger than the others - presumably Grimwood - holding a heavy-hilted, slightly curved knife that glowed a pale blue.. Two large metal chests, clearly too well-made for gnolls, stood at the back wall; one had been pushed forward a way and a scrawny, aged gnoll with a rat on its' shoulder was crouched down in cover behind it.

Herb picked out a cluster on the right-hand side and charged at them, greatsword flashing in the firelight as he piled in and attacked. They loosed last arrows at him as he came, winging him slightly, then switched to spears, spreading out to flank him.

Grimwood the Flind

On the dias, Grimwood held the knife up and began shouting at it in the style of someone incanting. At the far end of the hall, Talian frowned and looked at Baylock, who also spoke Elvish. The gnoll was chanting in Elvish - or trying to; his pronunciation and grammar was woeful. Nothing seemed to be happening, however. Baylock laughed. "You have to get the words right, you know," he taunted.

DM Note: For this campaign, for the first time with D&D, I've gone with the RAW on hit points, disabled and death, rather than our old hit-location system which, mixed with 3e, slows things right down. Both Baggy and Herb were into negative hit points at this point, and bleeding out...

Baggy had charged right down the room, flattening one gnoll who got in the way, and vaulted onto the dias, heading for Grimwood. He waved the dagger at her, still screaming furiously at it in bad Elvish. Then he snarled, stuffed it into his belt, and pulled a weapon from some straps on his back. It unfolded to a peculiar object, two three-foot metal bars connected by a length of chain. He began to whirl these in a glittering arc of metal as he and Baggy closed. The paladin, crying an invocation to Bahamut, struck with her sword, slicing the big gnoll's leg and releasing a flow of blood - and then he unleashed a blizzard of blows, the metal bars crashing into Baggy with bone-crushing force. There was a flare of pain and everything went black.

Having cautiously entered the room, Nazariel had been slinging Magic Missiles around the combat, but her magical energies were depleted and she unslung her light crossbow. With this, she proved deadly, bringing down several gnolls.

Talian and Baylock continued to harry the gnolls with arrows; Baylock was concentrating his fire on the gnoll tucked behind the chest, who was waving his arms and clearly preparing to cast something. The tiefling wondered what the spell was, but he knew little of magic and had to wait and see. The shaman launched the spell, and clearly expected something to happen; when it didn't and he was hit by Baylock's arrow instead he looked rather taken aback.

Herb was in trouble. He'd dropped one gnoll, but two more had him flanked and pressed their advantage. Spears bit deep, and the cheerful half-orc felt the burn of a mortal wound. He crashed to the stone, unconcsious and dying.

Trusting to his Sanctuary spell, Chambu thundered down the hall and scrambled up onto the dias, working around to behind Baggy. He chucked off a quick prayer and cast a Cure spell, and the half-orc's eyes flicked open. A feeling of silky-smooth dragon scales sliding across her skin warmed and encouraged her. Still badly wounded, the paladin siezed her sword and hurled herself to her feet, re-engaging Grimwood. Behind Chambu, a gnoll was trying to get past him to get to the paladin's rear, but was blocked by the dwarf. It didn't occur to Chambu at the time that his Sanctuary had been running far longer than it should have done; maybe his generous donation to the church had not been in vain...

DM Note: Made his 10% Stabilize roll, rolled 05! Bahamut was definitely watching over the party that night.

Nazariel had, unusually for her, been trying to avert Herb's oncoming death. Her inexpert first aid seemed to be getting nowhere, but all at once his bleeding eased and his breathing steadied.

Baggy and Grimwood fought on, both horribly wounded now, covered in blood. A swinging strike with the flindbars battered Baggy, nearly knocking her out, and Chambu reached through from behind and Cured her again.Snarling, she stabbed, and Grimwood the Flind toppled backwards to sprawl on the stone

Baylock and Talian concentrated their archery on Skrrf the shaman. He was proving alarmingly resilient, but was increasingly bloodied and could be seen glancing around looking for an escape route. .

Rat Familiar

As Grimwood fell, Skrrf's nerve broke and he fled up the hall, dodging around Chambu and Baggy who were heading over to rescue Herb. His familiar rat ran too, and it appeared to have decided it was every rat for himself because it outstripped its master and reached the door where Baylock and Talian were standing. It scuttled between Baylock's legs, but Talian lunged out and stamped on it violently. A yelp of agony came from where its' master was sprinting towards them - but when he lifted his foot, it glared up at him. Familiars can be tough!

Baggy and Chambu reached Herb, and the latter used one of his few remaining spells to Cure the young warrior - only barely (1 hit point!). Despite being almost literally on the edge of death, Herb grabbed his sword, lurched to his feet and launched a screaming charge at the nearest gnoll, an act of suicidally insane courage. Incredibly, he managed to defeat and slay it, as Baggy took down the last remaining gnoll before it could reach Herb.

Next to them, Nazariel lifted her crossbow, led her target, and put a bolt neatly between Skrrf's eyes, killing him instantly and drawing a ratty scream from the corridor beyond as the familar expired from arcane flashback.

Session Date: 9thth September 2020; in Cyberspace!