Episode 36: the Liberation of Whitebridge, Part I
The party made ready and followed Jules out into the frigid winter night. The plan: sneak their way up Coin Row, the wealthy district of Whitebridge, avoiding the mobs of goblin looters where possible, to the Mayor’s residence. Jules and Keen planned to sneak into the mansion, find and kill the hobgoblin overlord, thereby breaking the hobgoblins’ hold on the horder and liberating Whitebridge. To do so, the rest of the party was to provide a distraction to draw out as many goblins from the Mayor’s residence as possible.
As the group approached Coin Row, Keen saw a group of goblins moving in and out of a large, two-storey home, dragging out the entire contents of the building: furniture, crockery, clothing, tools, and so on. Other goblins would pick through and pick up anything with metal and walk north into the night, apparently delivering the items…somewhere.
Realizing that every home between them and the Mayor’s residence was probably full of looters, the party decided to try to get to the rooftops and make their way north undetected. Keen, Jules, and Ara easily scaled the wall of the closest manor home and Levani vanished from the ground and reappeared next to them using Step From the Ashes, leaving Yuna and Magnus below. Yuna was able to scale the wall through sheer strength, hauling herself from window ledge to window ledge until she reached the top, but Magnus was unable to find purchase. Ara reached over the side and placed the Immovable Rod in the air next to the wall, and with difficulty Magnus was able to use it to get most of the way up, and his companions hauled him onto the rooftop.
The group, with Jules and Keen in the lead, carefully made their way from rooftop to rooftop, moving north. An inch or more of crunchy, slippery snow coated the roofs, and more than once the party nearly met with disaster as Magnus and Yuna struggled to keep their footing. Midway up Coin Row they narrowly avoided detection as Magnus slipped and fell, his feet dangling over the edge of the roof of one home, but luckily the looters were intent on their work and didn’t notice.
At last they arrived near the north end of Coin Row. Keen and Jules slipped off the rooftop, snuck across the open space and made for the wall surrounding the Mayor’s residence, and signaled the rest of the party to begin their distraction.
Levani set off a thunderwave, shattering the leaded glass windows of the homes all up and down Coin Row (these having only recently been replaced after being shattered by the explosion in the sky some weeks before), and alerting the horde in the area, and soon the ground below them was swaring with goblins.
Jules unexpectedly gave Keen a forceful kiss, and then slipped over the wall to the Mayor’s residence. Keen followed, landing silently and together they narrowly avoided detection by a dozen goblins who raced out of the Carriage House, out the gate and into the street, drawn by the sound of Levani’s magic. The door to the House was left standing ajar, and an eerie orange glow emanated from within.
The two rogues made their way into the rear of the building through the servants’ quarters, and began searching the mansion for the Overlord.
Meanwhile, Yuna and Levani continued to use a combination of spells to cause confusion and misdirection amongst the goblin mobs. Levani detonated an unsuspecting crow asleep on a nearby tree using Eldritch Blast, a spell granted to her by the power of the Trazjte ur Flasch, the evil compact from which she had been running all this time, and a spell which she had never used before. To her horror as she unleashed the spell a black, oily laugh echoed in her mind, and a voice said “There you are.” The implications of this are as yet unknown.
The distraction worked until the arrival of a pair of large, blueskinned Hobgoblin Captains, who took control of the chaos. Barking at the small goblins, they ordered one group back to the Carriage House; it was at that momenta that the party on the rooftops was discovered, and battle was joined. Several goblins sent a barrage of crossbow bolts towards the roof, two catching Yuna in the shoulder. To her surprise however she suffered no damage, as Magnus had somehow absorbed the effects.
Magnus and Ara made their way to the ground to meet the Hobgoblins in melee while Yuna and Levani unleashed a torrent of spells against the goblins. Just then a huge explosion rocked the Mayor’s residence and the Carriage House exploded in a fireball, raining timber and debris across the lawn; the black silhouette of a dragon rose into the air, its maddened roar striking terror into all. With shouts of “It’s loose! It’s loose!” the bulk of the goblins in the street panicked and ran into the night. Ara and Magnus dispatched the hobgoblin captains. Magnus extracted the residium slivers from the hearts of the hobgoblins.
Watching the shape of the dragon turn towards the mansion, its body black against the bright orange flare of the burning Carriage House, Levani urged her companions that it was time to get out of town.
Inside Keen and Jules had been quietly searching the mansion, and came upon the formal dining room filled with sleeping, drunken goblins. Jules made ready to sneak in and quietly dispatch them; Keen called her back, kissed her through her long orange beard, and together they set about their work. It was then, just as Keen had his hand on the hilt of a sleeping goblin’s scimitar, that the explosion of the carriage house rocked the mansion. The cacophony startled the goblins awake, and as the dragon roared they too panicked, throwing down their weapons and nimbly escaping from the two rogues.
Keen and Jules made their way to the grand staircase in the foyer of the mansion and ran headlong into the Hobgoblin Overlord, a massive goblinoid standing perhaps eight feet tall, in full plate mail and wielding a vicious two-handed glaive. Jules and Keen attacked, and traded blows with the Overlord when with a deafening crash the dragon alighted on the roof, smashed its way down into the second floor. Timbers snapping and walls collapsing the dragon burst through the wall at the top of the grand staircase, and with a frenzied, crazed laugh it smote the Overlord with its mighty claws, sundering the plate and digging deep into the surprised hobgoblin’s flesh.
Keen watched as the copper dragon reared up, its head brushing the high ceiling of the foyer; in an instant he saw that a large chunk of residium crystal had been embedded into the dragon’s breast, a spider web of blue/black veins snaking their way out from it and up the dragon’s neck.
The dragon roared once more and unleashed a torrent of fire, filling the room. Keen lept to cover, avoiding the blast, but the hobogoblin Overlord was consumed utterly, its charred and blackened body collapsing backward down the staircase. As the searing light of the blast abated Keen saw with horror that Jules lay unmoving, the left side of her body cooked and blistered.
Keen gripped the hilt of the Punisher and stood to face a crazed dragon alone and unaided as all around him the blazing mansion, began to crumble.
Players’ Dice Offense Rating: Jailable
Group Stealth Performance Rating: Surprising
Dragon Surprise Rating: Surprising
NPC Behaviour: Surprising, Inappropriate!
RP Rating: Awesome!