SESSION 16a: DAY 8 – THE CAVES OF CHAOS
Lucien is cautious, "One ogre is just the tracks we have found. Does not mean there are not more we have not found, or that the creature is not supported by other beasties. I vote that we explore the other cave with smaller footprints."
Talmark says, "so far we have only checked out the 2 caves. I think we should maybe see about the others first, as the last thing we need is a heap of trouble pouring out of one of those from above whilst we attempt to deal with something down here."
Malandir adds “I would prefer to face fewer enemies and feel confident that we could handle one ogre and any goblinoid companions. And once we are inside the cave, surely we won't attract trouble from the caves to the North? These caves may be full of potential enemies, but why should we presume they would all act in concert against us?”
Lucian remarks, “Observation for a time from above is a capital idea. Scout for a trail along the ridgeline first to see if there is a route they exit out of the valley to go foraging, hunting or patrolling. If so, hide out opposite it and mark which caves any beasties exit from. If there is some form of reverse-slope, we can have most stay there, taking shifts in observation at the ridge.”
He adds, “Almost every goblinoid has dark vision, so come night we will be at a disadvantage observing with the exception of Malandir. Just before nightfall we'd best camouflage our "camp" in case patrols or foragers set out at dusk, we should take precautions against "sticking out."
Kord frowns as he observes “These Caves of Chaos probably come ‘alive’ at night as all the critters with dark vision head out to forage and feed. Of the nine of us only one has stealth and any form of night vision. I agree with Lucien. We’d be at a clear disadvantage at night and I’m not confident that we’d be able to hide a camp.”
Looking around, Kord points to the local landscape, “This area is practically barren. It’s very hot in the days and cold at night. It looks to me that the lack of water and constant clearing of timber for fires means that there is limited cover for 500 or so yards from the caves and even after that it’s meager. There are numerous hillocks that we could hide behind but as the various monsters emerge at night we’ll almost certainly be discovered.”
Malandir rethinks his position, “Perhaps we would be better off inside one of the caves? Since the majority vote is for tackling the non ogre cave, lets go there, kill the inhabitants and use it as our safe haven. If the other denizens of these caves have even basic intelligence and scouting, perhaps they would ignore the cave as its usual occupants are small, maybe beneath their notice?”
Lucien nods his head in agreement. “Since it would be patently unwise to spend a few hours observing, we could force ourselves into a position of HAVING to clear a cave for safety at night as our only choice, and since it is about 11AM or thereabouts, we should get to it, having a choice to camp here if we clear, or retreating back if we cannot clear.”
Malandir agrees. “I’ll scout ahead and will call forward the group to assess and deal with anything that I find.” He proceeds with his whistle to hand on its lanyard, so that if he is ambushed or surprised by the denizens, however unlikely that scenario is, he will sound blasts of the whistle to warn the others then attempt to fall back to them.
The rest of the party stack up on the outside of the cave. Per and Fremont prepare torches and Kord casts a light spell upon himself. They are careful to not enter the cave so as to not ruin Malandir’s dark vision.
Malandir reaches a first intersection, 20ft into the cave. It’s a four way junction and he peers down each passage in turn.
Malandir observes that the natural cave quickly turns into worked stone tunnels. The passage ways here appear to be very busy and there is much rubbish littering the ground and many foot prints.
Malandir decides to proceed to the east (1-2 = west, 3-4 = south, 5-6 = south east, roll a 6).
As he proceeds down the south eastern tunnel another passage appears to the east and the current passage opens out into what looks like a room.
Malandir makes a stealth check and rolls 7 + his skill of 7 = 14 total. His opponents roll a 18 – 1 for their perception roll = 17. They know he’s there. They aren’t hiding, but rather are squabbling amongst themselves about something, and as such Malandir knows that they are there, although he doesn’t know how many as he cannot see the whole room. Suddenly one of them turns and stares right at Malandir and hisses a warning to his fellows.
Initiative Malandir: Roll 13 + 3 = 16
Initiative Goblins: Roll 19 + 6 = 25
The goblins must role a reaction test. They roll 5 on 2d6, -2 for a being in their territory uninvited. They are hostile and attack.
- The Goblins aren’t ready to fight and thus must draw their weapons as a move action. They draw their bows and with their standard actions fire at Malandir. They are in a haphazard formation and 3 of them will block a clear line of sight for the other three (-4 to hit). Six arrows streak towards Malandir. Two find their mark. One hitting him in the right leg for 4pts and the other in his left leg for another 4pts. Malandir has survived the attack but is badly wounded.