Session 8: Cragmaw Castle Ambush

A few minutes after Ivor entered the castle, the group decided to enter after him. Unfortunately, from the edge of the surrounding wood, no one heard the ringing of the alarm bells being sounded from within.

They crossed the short clearing with Turenim in the lead, followed by Pippin, Lee, Atilius, Moula, and Snowg. They then made their way up the short flight of steps on to the terrace in front of the main entryway, and arrows began to fly out of the arrows slits in the towers. Turenim, Pippin, and Lee were each hit with an arrow before they could make it through main entryway. Atilius was able to avoid an arrow headed for him, and he and Moula were able to make it in before the next volley. Meanwhile, Snowg decided to duck back down the stairs and circle around the castle towards the north.

Stepping over the two corroded and collapsed bronze-covered wooden doors, the group entered the castle's foyer, moving out of range of the arrow slits. Surveying the area in the dim natural light filtering in through the arrow slits and cracks that surrounded the castle, they saw doors standing closed to the north and south, with a crumbling mound of rubble partially obscuring the southern hall. To the east was a broad corridor ending in two more doors leading south and east. The corridor was cluttered with dusty rubble and fallen plaster from a partial collapse of the ceiling overhead.

The doors to the north and south opened almost simultaneously as four hobgoblins and three goblins appeared, all with their bows aimed. Moula, Lee and Atilius were each hit with an arrow in the first onslaught. Turenim cast guidance on himself.

Moula ran to the south and attacked with her two scimitars, slicing through one of them. Atilius rushed towards the north door, casting burning hands through the doorway. All of the goblins in the room were scorched, but managed to dodge behind the doorway's cover. Lee ran past Atilius and dropped one of the goblins with Talon. Meanwhile Turenim cast Cure Wounds on Lee and Healing Word on Moula. Pippin ran into the north room, tripped over some rubble, and went sliding, but managed to tumble into the room, drawing his two short swords at the last minute and impaling a hobgoblin with each.

With all the enemies, but one to the south down, Moula left the last goblin to Lee and ran across the hall to assist Atilius, slicing one of the goblins. Atilius threw a firebolt at one of the goblins, catching it right in the mouth as it screamed, engulfing its skull in flame. Lee traded attacks with the last goblin, with both taking damage. Pippin ran across the hallway to assist Lee, slipped on a goblin bedroll, but jumped off it before crashing into the tower wall, and instead leaped off the wall and sliced through the back of the last goblin's spine.

Moula noticed a stash of weapons, among them a surprisingly light quarterstaff engraved with stylized feathers. Sheathing her scimitars she grabbed the quarterstaff, replacing the one that was previously broken by the hobgoblins in the woods.

As soon as the group tried to catch their breath the eastern door swung open and six goblins were crowded inside the dark room, all with bows at the ready, letting loose a volley at Turenim, who was still standing in the center of the foyer. Only two of the arrows hit Turenim, as he urged the goblins to stop and put down their weapons.

Moula ran back to Turenim's side to shield him. Atilius moved toward the doorway, looking to catch all six of them in his burning hands. Unfortunately, as he moved through the rubble his foot snagged on a tripwire and the ceiling came crashing down on him.

Turenim reached into the rubble and cast spare the dying on Atilius, bringing him back from the brink of death. Lee and Pippin ran to the corner and began firing arrows through the doorway with their bows. Moula jumped over the rubble, through the doorway into the dark room and engaged the goblins by the light streaming in through the doorway, immediately dropping one with her new quarterstaff.

Turenim cast cure wounds and healing word on himself and Atilius, bringing Atilius back to consciousness. Another goblin fell to Lee and Pippins' arrows. The remaining goblins dropped their bows and drew their swords, all swinging at Moula, with many blades slicing into her. The onslaught was too great for the monk, and she fell.

Atilius stepped into the doorway and dropped the four remaining goblins with his burning hands. But arrows started coming at the group from the darkness and Atilius spotted a light coming from a door across the dark chamber. Turenim rushed in and cast spare the dying on Moula. A goblin hiding behind the door tried to smash the door into Turenim, but Turenim used his guidance to slam the door back into the goblin.

Atilius prepared a magic missile and waited until he could see his enemies. Turenim cast light on his mace, revealing a high, narrow hall that looked as if it might have been part of a chapel or shrine at one time. Angelic figures were sculpted along the room's upper reaches, looking down on the floor below. To the north, heavy curtains blocked a matching pair of archways. Between the archways was a cracked but ornately carved stone brazier.

A fat, cantankerous goblin stood by the side of the eastern door across the hall, firing his bow, as did a pair of goblins peeking out of the west curtain. Another large goblin was coming out of the east curtain, with a mace and shield.

Atilius used his magic missile and brought down the fat goblin across the hall. The other large goblin shouted, "Now my pet! Get that one," and pointed at Atilius. A grick dropped down from the ceiling, and grabbed at Atilius with its tentacles. Atilius reacted by casting shield from his glass staff of defense, deflecting the attack.

Lee hit the grick with an arrow and a hail of thorns, but only did a little damage. Turenim tried to swing at the grick, but accidentally flung his damaged mace at it. The mace bounced of the grick and Turenim managed to catch it. With the grick distracted, Pippin slipped his two short swords into the grick's head, and Atilius narrowly managed to avoid the creature as it fell around him.

Turenim cast healing word on Moula. Moula returns to consciousness and recognizes the symbols of Oghma, among others, decorating the chamber. The goblins hit Turenim with arrows, bringing down the healer.

Moula killed the goblin who had commanded the grick. Lee hit one goblin by the west curtain and his hail of thorns killed the goblin and the one next to it. Atilius grabbed the last potion of healing from his pack and forced it on Turenim, bringing him back to consciousness.

With only the one goblin who had been hiding behind the door remaining, and the group in bad shape and hopeful for a reprieve, they heard from outside the east door a loud voice commanding: "I said get it in there now!"

Two hobgoblins entered from the east door, pulling on two long chains. At the end of the chains was a large monstrosity, with body of a large bear and the head of a giant owl. The hobgoblins set it loose on the group and in screamed ferociously.

Lee recognized the creature as an owlbear and commanded everyone to back away from it. Moula, Pippin, Turenim, and Atilius all backed away and held their actions.

Lee spoke to the owlbear calmly with palms outstretched. The owlbear looked freaked out to Lee. Lee slowly pulled out a ration and slid it across the floor towards the owlbear. The owlbear snatched up the ration and headed for the open doorway leading towards the exit.

With the owlbear gone, the group turned their attention to the two hobgoblins. Pippin stepped out of the shadows and stuck his swords into one of the hobgoblins. Meanwhile Moula hit the other hobgoblin with a swing of her quarterstaff. Lee pulled his bow out and fired at the same lone, wounded hobgoblin.

"Do I have to do everything myself?" demanded a fierce old bugbear who stormed into the room with a large wolf at his side. Obviously King Grol himself, his stooped shoulders and hunched his back revealed his age, but he appeared surprisingly agile and strong as he stride forward, swinging his morningstar. "Snarl, get him!" he commanded, pointing at Turenim.

Turenim cast guidance on himself as the wolf sprang on him, tearing a chunk out of his throat. Meanwhile Grol swung his morningstar at Atilius, but missed.

Pippin snuck around to Snarl's rear and stuck the wolf fatally with his swords. The wolf rolled off of Turenim and fell on Pippin, who was barely able to squeeze out from under the beast.

Moula crushed the last hobgoblin's skull with a swing of her quarterstaff and swung around and swung at Grol, but Grol shrugged the attack aside with his morningstar. Atilius cast scorching ray, hitting Grol with one of his beams.

Moula swung twice at Grol with her quarterstaff. He parried her swings with his morningstar, but she managed to kick him low, under his armor. Grol swung wildly in return at Moula, and she avoided the blow. Pippin tried to sneak up on Grol, but could not get past his armor. Atilius hit Grol with a fire bolt, but Grol shrugged it off. Lee dropped his bow and swung at Grol with Talon, slashing through the heavy armor.

Snowg dashed into the room carrying a jingling sack, pulled out a potion and fed it to Turenim, who was bleeding out from Snarl's vicious bite. The potion of healing barely restored him to consciousness. "Come quick," Snowg urged Turenim. "There's something I think you need to see!"

Stinging from Talon's bite, Grol smashed his morningstar into Lee, knocking the old ranger out cold. Pippin, enraged at the site of Lee going down, sliced through Grol's hamstrings, bringing the king to his knees. Moula finished the king of the Cragmaws with a blow to the head.

The battle was over.

As the group finally began to catch their breath and recover, Snowg quickly told them that he had snuck around the north side of the castle. While hiding he saw Ivor leave the castle through a hidden exit and head straight for the woods. Once Snowg was sure that Ivor was gone, he came in through that canvas entryway. Just as he was entering the canvas parted and out came a dark elf dressed in black leather armor and robes with a bald head and two swords at his side. Fortunately he did not see Snowg and went straight into the woods, in the same direction Ivor had gone. "But there's something you need to see right away!" Snowg urged Turenim again.

As Turenim went off with Snowg, Lee suggested that it now all made sense and that The Black Spider must be Lolth, the deity of the drow, and that Wave Echo Cave must be under Cragmaw Castle. Atilius then suggested that instead of seeking redemption, Ivor must have turned to the dark side in worship of Lolth.

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