Maze Rats – The Spider Pit 3

Ursula takes the lead to climb down.
As all the spikes seem secure, she signals the others to follow.

Down here, it is once again loud and misty. She finds a footpath along the shore, going in both directions – one leads west to the waterfall, the other to the east, away from it.

East ist the direction indicated by Mrag – west seems to lead behind the waterfall.

  • Let Ursula quickly scout west
  • Let the whole group check west
  • Let the whole group set out east

#TheSpiderPit – part 28 – *Behind the water*

While the rest of the group takes a moment to catch their breath, Ursula sneaks westwards, soft-footed like a cat. It soon becomes clear that the path leads behind the waterfall and back out on the other side, where it leads along the lake, not unlike the eastern path. Anything farther than 40 or 50 feet is shrouded in darkness, but it looks like there is some outpouring from the lake along a canyon in that direction.

As Ursula reaches the waterfall, she takes a careful peek behind the water sheet. She can see a skeletal form in rags, likely a goblin dead for months, clutching a rusted sword. A small heap of bones shimmers farther in some kind of crevice.

She looks into the water and up at the roof to determine cause of death, but can see only moss. Then she discovers that part of the moss is no moss at all … it is a a shaggy-haired, sheepdog-sized slug nestled between the natural plant-life in the moist cavern. Ursula inspects the whole roof, but discerns just the one moss-slug, and several gobs of whitish slime in places, but these look harmless.

  • Back off
  • Attack slug with slingshot
  • Attack slug with hatchet
  • Offer food
  • Use other equipment

PC stats and equipment: http://bit.ly/2tcRkhw

#TheSpiderPit – part 29 – *The Hole*

Silent like a ghost, Ursula shrinks back from the waterfall. No living creature ever noticed her.

Meanwhile, the others wait for her. Reinhold is fiddling with his backpack, Harmony watches the water. “What was that?” she asks. They all look, but see nothing.

“Something moved in that lake. Looked like a tentacle. Tiny. But a tentacle.”

Uneasy, they all watch the water, but nothing stirs.

Suddenly Ursula is among them. “Dead goblins behind the waterfall. The way looks wrong.”

“By the gods, could you not sneak up on us like that? You nearly gave me a heart attack!” complains Harmony, too loud.

Ursula shushes her and hisses: “Shut up! The water carries your voice!”

Reinhold chuckles: “Déjà vu!”

The group lets Ursula take the lead along the shore, and they move east before slowly turning south as the lake curves. The darkness is unnerving, as are the noises — now that they get farther and farther away from the waterfall, the rushing recedes, and small splashes and glugs are audible. From time to time, something tiny breaks the surface, only to vanish again, but always several yards away, never close to the shore. The roof cannot be too far up, judging from how far they went down since entering the cave, but there is nothing but blackness above them.

Suddenly they reach a huge cave leading into the eastern cliffside, an uneven hole two men high and three across. Water is lapping into it’s pitch dark opening. The air at the entrance smacks moist and stale. There are two options for the path – climbing a ways up and crossing above the hole, which looks doable, but may make some noise when loose stones get dislodged – or wading through the shallow water right at the opening, which is clearly easier … but also scary.

  • Climb above the cave entrance
  • Wade across the opening

#TheSpiderPit – part 30 – *Piles of Dirt*

Step by step the adventurers wade past the gaping hole. An eerily warm draft blows out of the cave, like the breath of some gargantuan beast. A leech tests Harmony’s boot, but the elf pricks it with an arrow and the aquatic pest leaves off and sinks to the ground.

Having savely passed the cave, the adventurers instinctively make haste to leave it behind.

Soon enough they reach the stairs that lead out of the water and up a line of seven glowtorches. The stairs are built from big slabs of stone and look centuries old – as they really are, judging by the murals of Mu.

There is an odd stink to the stairs, but it is without doubt the right way, so the group walks up the stone stairs, reaching the height of the waterfall and higher.

Now they enter into a domain that shows recent use: Right beside the stairs on the right there is a half-pipe with some stinking mass running downwards to the lake. On the stairs themselves and on the eastern side there are discarded items, broken and dirty, rotting foodstuff, rusting speartips, an empty cart, and other such things.

There is also increasingly more life: bugs of varying size scuttle away from the group, insects buzz around them. The adventurers dare not speak for fear that the vermin might enter their mouths. The pests seem to develop a special liking for Harmony, and she has to swat at them with both hands, while Uko remains comparatively unmolested.

A good deal higher than the lip of the waterfall they reach the seventh and last glowtorch and find themselves in a huge pile of refuse of all kinds. The slimy half-pipe ends where a pipe-end comes out of the wall, dripping some dark matter. The stench draws tears to their eyes, tears that are eagerly lapped up by the flying insects. Reinhold starts to gag. But thankfully just two more steps higher they reach a sturdy door in the wall that has a bronze ring and, apparently, no lock.

  • Quickly get away from the stench
  • Open carefully and investigate
  • First look through the dirt for clues

#TheSpiderPit – part 31 – *organic decay*

Struggling to keep his cool, Reinhold grabs for the door handle, but Phoebe blocks his way. She pulls a strip of cloth around her face to keep away the pesky insects, then she explains: “Wait! Check the waste for clues first.”

Reinhold struggles, but he manages to avoid throwing up ( _makes a WIL save_ ).

“Clues? What clues?” He leans to the wall and tries to breathe shallow while not breathing in an insect.

Phoebe directs the others towards the foul-smelling heaps, but they are reluctant. Uko clamps a hand onto his runny nose and sits down with wobbly knees. ( _fails his WIL save_ )

Phoebe is the only able person with a long weapon, so she thrusts it deep into a dungheap and upends the pile.

Rotten meat and other organic matter rolls onto the stairs, and a swarm of isopods scuttles away. Something slimey clings to her spear. In the depth of the dirt she finds a tiny medaillon, a lucky charm as it is often worn by young girls in Woodbridge.

She topples another dunghill. This time she finds something. Under the waste there is a dead body – a human woman, partially decomposed and overgrown with a fungoid sprawl. She has been stabbed or cut, then discarded in the waste. On her right leg she wears a metal band with three links of a strong chain still attached.

Phoebe upends another dunghill, but this time her luck runs out. She has disturbed a nest of insects, and a swarm of hundreds of tiny prickflies envelopes her. All of the others shrink back towards the wall. Basil gasps in horror, and gasps in handful of bugs, so he staggers back and retches the crawling beasts back up.

Meanwhile, the swarm crawls all over Phoebe and stings – Phoebe loses 1 Health Point.

Phoebe has only three options:

Firstly: Swatting at herself and rolling on the floor to crush them all. This may take a while.

Secondly: Run – and the only way to run is back down the stairs towards the lake. This will require a DEX save to avoid a fall on the stairs.

Or thirdly: dive – dive into the dirt so the little pests cannot bite her. This will demand a WIL save to brave the stinking slime as fly armor.

What will it be?

  • Crush the insects
  • Run away
  • Dive into the filthy muck

#TheSpiderPit – part 32 – *muck orgy* (Content Warning: Unclean!)

With insects attacking every square inch of her body, Phoebe tries to swat the stinging pests, but it quickly becomes clear that this is not a strategy with future. The bites of the bloodthirsty beasts already swell her eyelids, so she’s not sure she’d find the stairs even if they’d stop lapping at her tears. Their relentless bites cost her another health point, so she decides to remove them with the one thing that she’s got plenty of: waste. Rotten waste.

She swallows her pride, easily makes a WIL save ( _12!_ ), and dives headlong into the most muddy pile of refuse at hand, smearing her head and torso with slimy muck, and rolling around in the waste.

The tactic proves successful: Scores upon scores and scores of the little flies are glued to the refuse. Their hard little wings are effectively taped together, and what was once a proud swarm soon becomes a helpless tapestry of slimy, wriggling bodies half-submerged in muck.

Phoebe raises, a terrifying humanoid form covered in the most vile substances imaginable. The surviving flies buzz all around her, but fail to find free skin. Any who try to land soon cling to the dirt, helpless like the main host.

Seeing Phoebe coated with stinking grime finally sends Reinhold over the edge, ( _WIL save 5_ ) and he pukes whatever he ate right onto the stone slabs in front of him. Basil fares little better. ( _6_ ) In shock, he swallows the rest of the insects in his mouth, then retches them up again, together with half a travelling ration.

They all avert their eyes, except for Harmony, who keeps her cool and drags Phoebe out of the waste. She knows that Phoebe won’t be able to hold her breath forever, so she simply pulls open the door and shoves her party leader into the room behind it, away from it all.

Only then does she follow to check out the room – a rectangular back room, a pantry filled with shelves full of food and drink!

Two living things are apparent.

Right beside the door there is a huge toad on a cupboard. It just sits there with it’s huge eyes, then opens its maw to shoot out it’s tongue and pick a fly right out of the air, dragging it down into the toad’s gullet.

Just two yards along the shelf there is a goblin carrying a big box full of foodstuffs. He doesn’t wear armor, but he has a big cleaver dangling from a hook at his belt. The goblin freezes as he sees the mud-monster that stumbles into the pantry.

Phoebe is still covered in waste and needs her face cleaned at least, but there is this goblin, and the rest of the gang ist still outside between the dungheaps, puking onto the stairs or trying to avoid being puked on.

*This is Harmony’s show.*

  • Pull Phoebe back outside
  • Conjure “Silencing Pyramid”
  • Simply stab the goblin
  • Push the muck-monster on him
  • Get creative (in comments)

#TheSpiderPit – part 33 – *just a cook*

Harmony gives Phoebe a hefty push, and the dirtpile in human form crashes into the surprised goblin. He was just about to draw breath for a shout, but now he gasps and gags as he goes down, with the monster from the muck falling on top of him. He has his hands full holding her away from his face, and the box he held falls on top of them both, spilling filled containers that clatter on the floor and roll in every direction.

Now Harmony can take in her surroundings in more detail. The room consists of two aisles with shelves along the walls and one shelve along the center. From Harmony’s perspective, there is the door she came in through immediately to the right, a closed door with a proper handle in the wall to her left, and a curtain in front of her, behind Phoebe and the goblin, on the far wall. This curtain is also the light source — there is a brightly lit room behind it.

The roughly head-sized toad is content with sitting there motionless and slurping back another one of the flies.

At that moment Ursula and Oswald open the door to stagger inside, and the massive form of a single goblin pulls aside the curtain to look into the pantry. He squints into the dark chamber to investigate the odd noises, and his gaze is drawn to the odd scene of his colleague wrestling with a dirt-creature.

At the far end of the kitchen, behind the huge cook, there is another curtain.
Phobe clears her mouth and nose with both hands and draws breath, but her eyes are still covered.

Harmony must take the lead, Ursula and Oswald can follow.

  • Attack the cook
  • Speak to the cook
  • Cast “silencing pyramid”

#TheSpiderPit – part 34 – *Silence!*

Harmony raises her hand and the ancient words of silence tumble from her lips. And just in time! The cook’s eyes have adjusted to the dim twilight, and he sees strangers and his own man buried under a pile of dirt.

He bellows an alarm cry, but the air has already solidified, an unholy quiet descends upon the scene, and he opens and closes his maw in a total absence of sound.

Sorcery! The cook fails his morale check and makes a gesture of arcane protection before he runs away, in a straight line towards the next curtain.

Ursula hurls her hatchet after him, but the weapon buries itself in the wall right over the door. Oswald storms after him but trips over one of the food containers and falls flat on his belly, his longsword soundlessly sliding across the floor.

Harmony steps onto one of the shelves and propels herself through the door after the fleeing goblin. She is quicker than the massive cook and closes the gap in three long, soundless strides in her own eerily quiet magical pyramid of silence.

  • Stab him
  • Tackle him
  • Grab a pot from the stove

#TheSpiderPit – part 35 – *Plot Twist: Setback*

Mid-kitchen Harmony catches up with the cook and jumps him. No effect! The goblin tramples on like a frightened rhinoceros – if anything, he becomes even faster. As the dreaded curtain to wherever draws closer, Harmony pulls on his ears, pulls on his rolling shoulders, tries to strangle him… no effect!

Only three more steps and he’s through, carrying her to the gods know where. Harmony drops down to the ground and, as a last desperate measure, grabs his ankles.

He tanks his DEX save and falls like a log, his outstretched fingers already touching the curtain.

He tries to crawl through, and Harmony is much more slender than he and cannot hold him back. He pulls her with him and wrestles the curtain aside, shouts! (Still silent)

Then she fails her STR save, he breaks free from her grip and crawls out into the next room, out of the pyramid of silence.

Harmony says: “Well, shit,” but nobody can hear it.

In the meantime, Ursula has pried her hatchet from the wall, Oswald has secured and disarmed the shocked apprentice, and the rest of the group have piled into the pantry. The toad is working overtime, eating fly after fly.

Phoebe starts to wipe herself clean with some linen cloth from the shelves, revealing a multitude of swellings from the flies’ bites.

Reinhold’s goblin skull has rebuilt it’s magical sphere and is – presumably – talking away merrily, but nothing can be heard – presumably thanks to Harmony’s spell.

Much depends on where the cook is headed and what he plans to do.

Lay of the land: https://photos.app.goo.gl/n89yi1zwiReX99e26

  • Storm after the cook
  • Look outside carefully
  • Wait what happens, clean Phoebe
  • Barricade inside the pantry
  • Head out through the other door

#TheSpiderPit – part 36 – *Trouble*

Harmony carefully peeks through the gap between wall and curtain. She is quickly joined by Ursula. The two adventurers can see a veritable feasting hall full of goblins who are, indeed, feasting. It must be somewhere between twenty and thirty. The cook has gathered a group of five or six of them and explains what’s going on in the kitchen, gesturing in the direction. The warriors seem still unsure if he is joking or speaking in earnest. Just like the adventurers back in the “Cunning Cock”, these goblins all have weapons and shields close at hand.

Finally, one of the listeners makes up his mind, grabs his arms and bangs the axehead against his shield, demanding attention from the room.

Pretty soon, they will be checking out the kitchen.

  • Hide outside in the waste
  • Prepare ambush in the kitchen
  • Prepare ambush in the pantry
  • Take the door

#TheSpiderPit – part 37 – *Whiskey*

Basil has given Phoebe a healing potion, restoring her to 3 Health, and helped her clean up the worst of the mess, while Oswald guarded the prisoner. As Harmony and Ursula come back from the kitchen, dousing the lights there, he is still unsure what to do with the shocked goblin. Killing him would feel like murder at this point.

“They are coming! We’ve got to go!” Ursula hisses. She almost enters the sphere of Reinhold’s skull, but checks herself. “You lead, boss. We will… follow.”

Reinhold sighs. “Don’t be so superstitious. This magic skull may be worth 200 gold pieces or more. We will survive a couple of uncomfortable truths spilled!” Harmony interjects: “Can we discuss this later? There are maybe thirty warriors at a table over there, and they are going to get here any moment.”

Basil and Oswald shoulder the shelf in front of the kitchen door, then Reinhold confidently opens the other door and steps through into a … bar.

He comes in right behind the counter, where a skinny goblin is in the process of filling jugs with a clear liquid that sounds an awful lot like fine Whiskey. Bottles of alcoholic beverages line the wall behind him, and two kobolds are chained to the wall, running up and down little ladders to fetch or return bottles to their spot.

The walls are decorated with an array of stolen paintings of different human art styles, as well as one clearly elven painting, and a huge bearded axe mounted on the northern wall right over a door.

There is another door in the western wall, with three stone steps leading up to it.

Four open torches burn along the western wall, lending the room a faux-romantic atmosphere.

The countertop is open in front of Reinhold and gives access to a lounge area with two wooden tables. One is vacant, at the other one there are three goblin warriors who were discussing something over drinks. As the human enters, the barman as well as his guests take a moment of stunned disbelief.

The barman is caught in the skull’s bubble together with Reinhold. He thinks: “An enemy! How did an ugly piece of human scum get in here?” Reinhold’s thoughts project: “This loser has no idea how a gentleman enjoys a good drink. I’m sure I can snap this scrawny little asshole’s neck like a twig and take his Whiskey.”

What should Reinhold do?

  • Attack
  • Act like he belongs
  • Ask for directions
  • Threaten

#TheSpiderPit – part 38 – *Con Game*

With an easy stride Reinhold – a professional counterfeiter and lover of the con game – steps into the room and nods to the goblins. “Gen’lemen.”

He raps on the counter and demands “Eight shots of your best, my man. And don’t you dare swindling us with that muddy water you served last time! I want my tongue to burn! Yo! Gang! What’s taking so long? Forget the stink and come in!”

Aghast, the goblins watch the most unlikely procession trudge in from the pantry. Male and female humans, two goblins, and even an elf! The adventureres are as wrongfooted as the goblins, so they all settle into an uneasy coexistence, unsure of what to expect.

The barman signals to the kobolds and they drag forth a bottle of blind old glass.

Reinhold, Oswald, and Ursula commandeer the barstools, Harmony, Basil, and Phoebe nudge the cook’s apprentice into the corner and sit down at the free table. Harmony has her shaving razor close to his crotch, so the poor goblin plays along, putting up a wooden performance.

As Uko passes through Reinhold’s magic skull field, he hears Reinhold thinking: “Uko can easily distract the goblins and even start a conversation with them.”

The bearded goblin takes his cue and asks the three – in goblin – if their last seat is taken. They answer in the negative, and he thanks them, pulls the stool away from their table and sits down so he more or less blocks their view of the hostage.

Hesitantly, the barman serves up the drinks, and looks shocked and troubled as he steps into the bubble with Oswald and Reinhold. The three patrons watch in sullen silence as Reinhold complains loudly about the tough times they’ve had and poor Phoebe’s misfortune in combat with the slime beast.

Uko turns to the three patrons and points his chin at the scrawny one.

“Yo, who are you? I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”

Put on the defensive, the goblin is quick to explain that he just brought in a bunch of new slaves. He’s a free trader and actually comes here often, he insists.

Uko shrugs: “What’cha bring? We got kobolds enough, and their work is worth shit anyway!”

The slaver gets nervous: “We brought not mere kobolds, but fine human wenches! Six of them, all of fine quality!” He turns to his companion for confirmation, and the burly goblin nods enthusiastically.

Uko starts to enjoy the show and makes a long, doubtful face, but the guy opposite of the two slavers springs to their defense as well, and points at the door in the western wall: “Yea, it’s true! Six hooman women, all young, all hale. They’ve already been at the sawbones and are up in the den right now to get checked by the matron.”

The barman tries to stay outside of the skull’s bubble. “What is this odd field here? Is that magic?”
“Aye, my friend!” says Reinhold. “An evil, lying magic! There is a good tale in that! But first, serve up another round – for our friends here as well!”
Outside behind the door to the pantry, there are muted sounds of wood crashing and boots trampling, as the warriors from the feasting hall break through the shelf to investigate the cook’s story, apparently. They may check this door here next – or the door to the waste and the long stairs.

  • Tell a tale of the magic bubble
  • Ask more about the slave girls
  • Flee through the western door
  • Attack the goblins

#TheSpiderPit – part 39 – *Story Time*

Masking the muted sound of trampling boots behind the door, and aided by the clinking of glass, Reinhold tells his tale: “It was a dark and stormy night… actually, it was just two nights ago and the wind was not too horrible, but anyway, we were out in the woods, close to the old elven tower on the hill…” Reinhold notices that the sounds stop over in the pantry“… my band of comrades and I had tracked a traitor of our boss, the big chief! Let’s drink to his health!”

“Aye!” the barman and the hairy goblin agree: “To the big chief!!”

So the slavers and the cook’s apprentice join in: “To the big chief!!”

The other adventurers join in as well, all drink up and smash their cups.

“Another round!” orders Reinhold, and the barman is quick to comply.

In the pantry, the door to the stairs swings open and smashes against the wall, but Reinhold speaks over the sound.

“Our gang had drawn a web of cold steel around the traitor, pulling tighter from every direction, relentlessly cutting through the underbrush, until he had nowhere to go but into!” He stands up and dramatically raises a finger, “Into the old tower! We followed, of course, alas, the fiend had grabbed some strange tool, an artifact not unlike a big spoon!” Reinhold grabs a spoon from the bar and swivels around to look straight at the slavers, pointing the spoon. “As he pointed it at us, I laughed out loud, I taunted him! An error, as you now see! From the tip of his artifact a cursed light crackled forth, striking me full into the chest!”

He jerks forward with the spoon, and the scrawny slaver ducks, mesmerized by the spoon.

Reinhold leans forward until the shimmering sphere is close to their faces and all three of the goblins lean back.

“When I came to, my friends had cut the traitor to ribbons!”

He sighs.

“But I was hexed with this curse….since that fateful night, whenever I get close to any warrior, I can hear evil taunts in his voice, and he can hear vile threats in mine – and that, my friends, will be my curse until the day I die.”

The goblins are stunned.
All have failed their WIL roles, and even the adventurers, who know the truth, find it hard to resist Reinhold’s performance.

But sooner or later questions must arise – about the tower, about the big chief employing humans, about those humans coming out of the pantry instead of through the front door – and the others must soon return from their search of the stairway.

It is time to act.

  • Bid them good bye and leave
  • Attack the goblins

#TheSpiderPit – part 40 – *The Apprentice*

“Aaahhh… time flies, when you are having fun.”

With a look of regret, Reinhold sets down his drink and tells the barman: “Don’t put that away! I’ll be back in 5! Just have to tell the big chief what’s what.”

He stands up and opens the western door, collecting Uko, the hairy goblin, Phoebe, Basil, and Oswald all in one bubble. A cacophony of voices starts up as the skull reads all the minds. It is hard to make sense of, and Reinhold doesn’t wait until the goblin can sort it out. He presses on, through the door that leads right into a stairwell. He jogs up, and the rest of the adventurers follow him.

Harmony has to make a decision about the hostage… take the cook’s apprentice with them or leave him here?

  • Take him with her
  • Leave him here

#TheSpiderPit – part 41 – *Stairwell*

Harmony hugs the assistant cook tightly, keeping one hand with the razor right between his legs. Like a drunk couple they bumble up the stairs. Her captive does not resist… if anything, he is as eager to leave this bar as she.

Scrawny slaver goblin leans across the desk and drops a remark about elven men failing at the task of keeping their women, so even an ugly little loser like this guy could claim a hot elf girl. Harmony takes a moment to smile and wink at him, spoiling his moment as he stumbles over his words, unsure of how to interpret the signal. Then she’s out and closes the door.

She nods at her hostage and puts away the razor.

Meanwhile, Reinhold has ascended the stairs and found that they end in front of a rather nice door with leather upholstery and a copper handle.

To the left, there are more stairs farther up, then they turn left to lead even further up.

  • Open the door
  • Follow the stairs
  • Ask the goblin

#TheSpiderPit – part 42 – *The Breeder’s Den*

“This here…” the goblin’s voice betrays awe, “… is the Breeder’s Den.”

He looks down. “I was never allowed in there. It is a privilege, only the big chief, his guests, and his most favored warriors are allowed to breed. The rest of us, we have to earn it in combat, but I work in the kitchen, so I will never be allowed to visit a breeder.”

“Well, your time has come,” says Harmony. “Who’s going to stop you now?”

“The slaves. The breeders are protected by the slaves.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Reinhold points to the stairs. “What’s up there?”

“It is where the big chief lives.”

“Guards?”

“I have never been up there either. I am just a small cook.”

“Besides the slaves, who looks after the breeders?”

“Well, there’s the matron. She decides which breeder is ready and which breeder needs rest, and which warrior fits best with which breeder.”

Uko asks: “What about Mrag the Crimson? Why doesn’t he get to breed?”

The goblin stares. “You know about Mrag the Crimson?”

“Come, answer the question.”

“He defied orders. He thought he knew better than the big chief and spoke up against him. He set a bad example. So to atone for his failure, he has to do guard duty for a thousand days.”

“Why wasn’t he killed?”

“He has many friends.”

“So, breeders and slaves here, big chief there. A no-brainer!” says Reinhold.

He grabs the door handle.

“Wait!”

  • Storm the Breeder’s Den
  • Sneak in
  • Take the stairs

#TheSpiderPit – part 43 – *Chains*

Ursula is chosen to take point. “Make way, I don’t want to hear your thoughts again,” she orders, and waits until Reinhold moves himself and his magical skull sufficiently to the side. Then she opens the door to take a peek.

Her senses are assailed by a cloud of cheap strawberry scent, her view is blocked by ugly pink courtains. She slips in and finds herself inside a veritable maze of curtains which separate the room into a number of “love nests”. In one of them she finds a huge goblin woman snoozing, in another there’s a younger goblin girl grimacing at a large steel mirror. The other stalls are empty.

Ursula follows the sound of voices and finds a bigger “room” between the curtains, where an enormous goblin matron clad in a shrill parody of human dresses orders four human women around and explains their future duties to them. Basically, serving the goblin women and following orders. They are all tied with chains to one pole.

Another human woman is lying unconscious with a mark across her face – she’s been knocked out.

The sixth must be Wendy, although Ursula cannot be sure: She has a sack tied over her head and is bound with chains.

Four human women stand guard bearing clubs. Their feet are tied together with chains so they can only make small steps. They look unwashed, hungry and broken. Two goblin women on a pile of pillows watch passively from the far end, another one is standing with the matron and seems to play the enthusiastic star pupil.

  • Explore further
  • Watch longer
  • Fetch the gang
  • Leave

#TheSpiderPit – part 44 – *Spider Pit*

Ursula leaves the curtain be and explores on. She came in from the east. Now she encounters another door – apparently the main entrance – that leads into this “Breeder’s Den” from the north. Every compartment has a lantern, so Ursula is worried about her shadow being spotted. While the matron explains to the new slaves how some of the old were killed for various mistakes they made, she finds two more Breeders – one washing herself with water from a metal bucket, the other one lying on her back and staring up at the ceiling – bringing her tally to seven, and maybe even more she hasn’t found yet. What they all have in common is that they are obviously bored as hell and have lost any initiative they may have had in the past. The more Ursula breathes this strawberry-stink, the more she despises the breeders.

At this moment someone enters through the north door.

One of them calls out in goblin, and the matron answers angrily. They start a discussion – she angry, he defensive. Ursula catches a glance at them – he is an armed goblin warrior, accompanied by two of his peers. She remembers one of them from the feasting hall because he stands out with his shock of reddish hair.

The matron orders them out and briskly turns back into the bigger room.

“Attention! We have intruders! All my girls, …!”
She goes on to speak in goblin. Then she abruptly switches back to Common:
“The slaves can remain in chains here. You and you, take the insolent one and throw her into the Spider Pit! Quick-quick! Then return here!”

Urula rushes back into one of the empty stalls as the matron calls her breeders to her, and they slowly start to react. Through the curtains she can see that “the insolent one” is the woman with the hood – probably Wendy. Two of the “guard slaves” have dropped their clubs and lift the chained woman to carry her away. She struggles and makes it hard for them, so a third one is sent to help them get towards that “Spider Pit”.

The matron organizes her breeders and points west, towards the back of the area.

  • Watch where they all go
  • Check out northern door
  • Fetch the gang
  • Attack the matron
  • Look for loot

#TheSpiderPit – part 45 – *5 goblins and 1 elf*

Ursula has seen enough. She quickly sneaks back to the eastern door and informs the others:

“Trouble! There are about 8 or more breeders and 10-ish slaves in chains. One is knocked out, one is going to be thrown into a “spider pit”. I think that is Wendy. They are warned of intruders and the breeders are going to hide in some kind of wardrobe. Armed goblins are looking for us.”

Phoebe pushes forward again and interrupts Reinhold’s weighing of options.

“Ok. We’ve got to stop that spider thing.”

“Clearly”, he agrees.

“That dirt makes her strangely attractive. If it just wasn’t for that stink! I don’t want to agree with her, but 400 gold is 400 gold”, the skull chatters happily in Reinhold’s voice.

“I cannot let Reinhold see that I am not 100% fit to lead”, it betrays Phoebe.

Ursula opens the door and the adventurers sneak into the strawberry fog.

As Harmony pushes the goblin cook towards the door with Uko, the bar’s door behind them is pushed open. Harmony, Uko, and the goblin turn around. At the lower end of the stairs three goblins look up at them.

Five goblins and an elf meet in front of a bar…

  • Flee into the breeder’s den
  • Run up the stairs
  • Push cook captive at them
  • Let Harmony play captive of Uko
  • Draw blades and fight on the stairs

#TheSpiderPit – part 46 – *Too late, fellas*

Harmony and Uko exchange just one glance and know the drill – they have done this before.

Uko steps in front of the captive goblin, assuming a dominant stage posture he learned from Phoebe. His meaty fist turns the elf’s chin rudely towards the newcomers as he addresses the trio in an imperious tone in goblin language: “You’re too late, fellas. I saw that one first.”

“Is this an enemy?” asks the little guy with the helmet, setting one foot onto the stairs.

“What do you think?” Uko shoots back, blocking the stairs and waving his crossbow. “Yea, this is an enemy, and I got her. Mine now!”

Harmony’s hands are close together, as if bound, and her posture signals dejection. She’s caught, and her life is completely in this goblin’s hands.

The cook’s apprentice just stands there, just as confused as the warriors, doing nothing.

The guys at the bar’s door are wavering. “Did you see the others? The cook said it was at least four of them, one of them death-ugly. The guys here in the bar think it was eight, with two uglies.”

Uko laughs out loud: “Well, we just saw the one, and she was snooping ‘round these stairs. Ain’t that right, friend?”

He steps aside to reveal the cook. Everyone looks at him. A critical moment.

The goblin nods and shrugs. “Yeah, it’s true. Snooping.”

“Well, who are you anyway?” asks a goblin with a heavy warhammer.

“Me? I’m Birk. I came with the new slaves,” Uko lies, indicating with his head where they are. “This guy’s from here.”

“I’m Gorg,” adds the cook, and the small warrior nods in recognition.

“What’cha gonna do with her now?”
“Sell ‘er right to the matron,” Uko brags with another chuckle, then shoos them away: “And you go on looking for more of those elves and hoomans. But I bet’cha if there’s more, I’m gonna find ‘em before you!”

The three goblins are satisfied. “Well, okay…” they seem unsure where to look.

The big guy asks: “Did you come from the Breeders or from the chief?”
Uko points at the door. “Breeders.”

“We’ll better check out the stairs, then…”

The trio walks up, Uko rudely shoves Harmony out of the way so there’s enough room, and they turn left to check the stairwell.

  • Surprise attack as they pass
  • Let them go

#TheSpiderPit – part 47 – *Meanwhile, back in the Den*

Ursula takes to lead to show the others the way, Phoebe follows her with Basil, then Reinhold, then, with some distance to stay clear of the skull sphere, Oswald. They pass through two layers of curtains and advance on the last one.

“Come now, go here!” a shrill voice orders, and the star pupil goblin breeder, the matron’s number two, rips open a curtain to let four slaves hobbled together pass through. The extravagant dress of the goblin is offset nicely by the wicked blade she carries in her right claw. The undernourished slaves struggle with their load, the hooded human, although now the hood has blood flecks and the person doesn’t fight, she lies limp in the arms of the others.

The goblin’s jaw drops as she sees armed humans in mid-sneak before her – Ursula, Phoebe and Basil are right in front of her. The slaves are too focused on their task to notice.

  • Attack at once!
  • Threaten the goblin
  • Try to reason with her
  • Incite rebellion among the slaves
  • Run away!

#TheSpiderPit – part 48 – *Bloody Mess*

Ursula is too close to play games – she wins Initiative and strikes at once. But the goblin catches the hatchet on her own blade. A shower of sparks shocks the slaves out of their stupor, and they freeze in their tracks.

Phoebe blindsides the goblin and buries her axe in the goblin’s thigh. As the madame’s pupil staggers, Basil uses the opportunity to strike with his warhammer. The goblin is too slow to duck – the hammer connects, good and true, ribs break in a bloody mess, and the goblin crumples to the floor. Her blade clatters away.

As quick as it began, it is over.

The slaves are torn between horror and elation – Less than five seconds ago, they were carrying a body to the spider pit, now their tormentor is bleeding out on the floor. After so long in captivity, they are not sure what to do.

Phoebe shouts into their faces to get their attention: “Yo! Girls! Wake up!”

They focus on her.

“How many of you are there? How do you get rid of those chains?”

One of them speaks up and points at the fallen goblin: “She has the key for our chains. The matron has the key for the others.”

Meanwhile, Ursula pulls the hood off the woman they carried.

Success! It is Wendy! She looks bruised and bloodied, one of her eyes has swollen shut, but she lives.

  • Take Wendy and go
  • Free these 4 slaves, take Wendy and go
  • Look for more slaves to free

#TheSpiderPit – part 49 – *Spied*

Oswald and Reinhold join the others, and Reinhold quickly finds the odd-looking key that fits in the locks on the slaves’ ankles. He beams with pride as the skull reveals to him their stunned gratefulness for this heroic rescue, despite his own less than favorable assessments of their shrunken and bony frames.

The effect is dampened as Phoebe steps into the bubble as well, and it is revealed that the freed slaves adore her even more than him, and the skull reveals her annoyance at him for thinking about her as an underling.

“Where is this ‘Spider Pit’ you were going to bring this woman?” asks Ursula.

One of the slave women answers: “It is upstairs. The spiders belong to the big chief.”

Phoebe organizes the slaves to take up Wendy again and carry her towards the door.

Suddenly, Oswald sees a lone goblin between the curtains, an armored warrior who looks on in horror as slaves are freed while a breeder lies in a pool of her own blood.

The warrior quickly turns around and runs.

What can Oswald do?

Character overview: http://bit.ly/2tcRkhw

  • Hunt and kill without hesitation
  • Quick warning to the group, then hunt
  • Let him run, but warn the group

#TheSpiderPit – part 50 – *Clubbing & Stabbing*

Oswald barks: “Enemy!” and runs after the spy, mace in hand.

Ursula and Basil both turn around to aid him, but that would leave too few with Wendy and the slaves. They hesitate for a second, then Basil hefts his warhammer and runs.

Ursula spits out a curse and stays to guard the transport.

Oswald can see the goblin disappear behind a curtain and storms through, shield first, to strike. The soft material entangles his shield though, so he loses ground.

Basil catches up with him and together they rip through the rose-colored fabric.

Parting the next curtain smoother, they reach the goblin just as he croaks for the attention of two of his peers who are going through the possessions of one of the breeders.

Oswald is on him, swings his mace, and strikes at the shoulder of the runner. The goblin shouts in pain and turns around, as Basil brings his warhammer to bear. With a wet thump the warrior crumples under the hit.

His two colleagues drop what trinkets and coins they gathered and draw their blades.

Quick as lightning the first of them stabs at Basil, but misses narrowly.

The other one hacks at Oswald’s head, but Oswald takes it on his shield rim.

Oswald strikes low and swipes his opponent’s legs from under him, breaking a bone or two. The goblin crashes onto a tiny table and breaks it into a cloud of chipped wood. Glass marbles and scented candlesticks shower the combatants.

Basil misses with the hammerhead, but strikes his goblin’s chin with the handle, so the enemy’s maw snaps shut with a resounding smack.

The humans win initiative!

Basil brings his hammer around and smashes his opponent’s off hand.

Oswald brings his mace down on the other warrior’s skull and strikes him down right there between pillows, glass marbles, shampoo bottles, and broken wood.

The last goblin is wounded and alone. The odds look bad, so he grabs the next best thing, throws it at the humans and runs. The next best thing is a lantern. The humans duck and the lamp drops to the ground, rolling away.

Basil sprints after him and catches up with him as he struggles through the next curtain.

The warhammer hits the fleeing goblin between the shoulder blades and he falls, ripping down the curtain. Only one leg remains visible as the goblin is buried under a heap of pink fabric, only three feet from the northern door.

The two humans exchange a grim nod, then turn around to find the rescue party, when they hear feeble voices calling out:

“Hello? What’s going on? Who is there?”

Human voices from right behind the western curtain.

  • Investigate the voices
  • Return to the party

#TheSpiderPit – part 51 – *The One Ring*

Basil and Oswald part the curtain and enter the larger room. The pillows along the wall are deserted, but there are four human women sitting or standing in the center of the room – each of them bound with a sturdy chain that leads from a steel band around their ankle to one central steel ring that is connected to a much shorter, much thicker chain running on into a stone pillar. Each chain is bound to the central ring with a tough-looking padlock.

“Oh thank the gods, we are saved!” one of the women exclaims.

Another one breaks into sobs, a third one says “The army is here … I don’t believe they sent the army for us!”

One of them sinks to her knees and prays while tears stream down her face.

A bit further back there is an unconscious woman lying on the floor. She is the only one not tied to the pillar, but she has been hit in the face with something like a heavy whip, so her face is swollen and her nose looks a bit crooked. She does not move, but she breathes.

Oswald and Basil exchange another look.

The breeders are somewhere around, and at any time some enemy warriors may show up.

What the hell are they supposed to do?

  • Fetch Reinhold to pick locks
  • Attack the central ring
  • Shrug apologetically and leave
  • Pick up the passed out woman, leave
  • Look for the goblin breeders

#TheSpiderPit – part 52 – *Outside*

Harmony and Uko let the patrol walk. Then, as the last goblin is about to turn the corner, he looks back at them quizzically. Uko has no other option than to push Harmony down the stairs and follow her. The cook’s apprentice follows them. In front of the bar they stop and listen for the footsteps of the patrol.

“Thanks for not ratting on us, mate”, says Uko.

“Yeah… well… no problem, man. You seem to be pretty okay guys.”

Turns out his name is Nog and he is tired of the constant abuse he has to suffer at the hands of Ragtooth, the cook, and basically everyone else, because as apprentice cook he is at the lower end of the social ladder, not too much better than a bar kobold or a hooman slave.

“Let’s follow the others”, says Harmony. “They may need our help.”
However, as they are about to open the door to the breeder’s den, they can hear sounds of the patrol coming back from the chief’s place. It would certainly look bad to be found chatting in the stairwell. It may also look bad to have the patrol return into the bar and find out they never passed through there.

  • Ambush the goblin patrol
  • Go into the breeder’s den
  • Go into the bar

#TheSpiderPit – part 53 – *Teamwork*

Harmony, Uko, and Nog open the plush door and push it shut behind them. They wait and listen, but cannot hear what’s going on outside.

“Here you are!” says Phoebe. She leads a procession of slaves carrying unconscious Wendy between them. Ursula follows to guard the rear.

“Wow! What happened?” asks Uko.

Phoebe explains that they have killed a breeder and freed these women.

Ursula adds that Basil and Oswald have found more slaves and that Oswald just got Reinhold to go open the locks on their chains.

Harmony in turn describes the situation outside the door: Patrol of three that just checked the stairwell, probably more swarming around elsewhere.

“This is Nog. He’s cool,” Uko adds, indicating the former hostage.

Phoebe purses her lips looking Nog over.

“Really, Phoeb. He’s got no life here. He’s coming with us.”

“I see. Uko, go help Reinhold. Ursula, get him there. Harm, you stay with me. Nog, what can you do?”

Uko and Ursula move off, Harmony draws her sword.

Nog hesitates. “I… I’m just the cook’s apprentice.”

Phoebe shows him the breeder’s saber.

“You take this. Protect these women. If you point it at one of us, I’ll hack you in two. Clear?”

Nog slowly picks up the saber, avoiding her stern gaze.

“Understood, sir… ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.”

Uko and Ursula reach the bigger room. The slaves huddle in one area, outside of Reinhold’s magic bubble, and clearly troubled by it. Basil and Oswald stand guard as Reinhold works on the locks.

He just managed to open one of them.

Uko kneels at the steel ring: “Let me help, big man.”

Reinhold smiles at him: “Tricky little bastards, these locks.”

The skull voices his thoughts: “Uko, my man. At least someone who knows what he’s doing.”
Ukos thoughts reply: “I don’t wanna know what he thought that drove the girls away like that.”

Reinhold laughs at that and returns to the locks.

Ursula ponders her options.

  • Stay and stand guard
  • Get the unconscious one to east door
  • Investigate the north door
  • Investigate other curtains

#TheSpiderPit – part 54 – *Guests*

Ursula feels torn between the door and the curtains. She taps Oswald: “Hey, Oz. I think our man Basil here can watch on his own. Would you mind checking out that door while I go exploring a bit?”

Oswald smiles. “Sure thing.”

He saunters over to the door to peer outside through a spyhole.

Ursula sneaks to the opposite corner to look behind more curtains. She finds two more breeder chambers, one lounge room with a fountain – and the back wall, polished rock with one wide door set in a fancy doorframe built from a different kind of stone. There is no handle.

In the meantime, Uko and Reinhold are making progress: Two more of the locks give way.

Only one slave remains bound to the central ring as Oswald closes the spyhole and warns about approaching warriors.

“It could be three of them, but I didn’t wait to see them well enough.”

  • Quickly open last lock and run
  • Hide bodies and play innocent
  • Prepare ambush at the door

#TheSpiderPit – part 55 – *not for the faint of heart*

(TL; DR: They fought and won, now the room is burning and they must run.)

The slaves sit down where they would be if they were still chained. The adventurers quickly pull the dead goblin warriors behind one of the curtains and throw a couple of pillows onto the blood stains. Then they take positions – and in the nick of time, as the door is thrown open and the first of the newcomers steps in.

A leader with a bushy helmet, he calls out for his friends in goblin and walks right over to take a look at the slaves, who can’t help but watch in fascinated expectation of things to come. The next goblin, a big, tough fellow, just follows him inside without a care. The third guy takes a look around… and spies Uko, who promptly shoots him with his crossbow. Goblin 3 stumbles in surprise and collides with goblin 4 in the doorway.

Basil and Oswald attack the lead goblin. Their surprise move succeeds, and both of them hit, wounding him. Still, he is up and pulls his sword to counterattack. He stabs at Oswald, but misses by an inch.

The big guy also draws and turns on Uko. The bearded goblin parries with his crossbow.

Reinhold breaks free of the curtains to attack the goblin Uko shot. Ursula rushes past him to confront the last of them before he can run.

Reinhold wounds his foe on the arm, then the goblin hews back at him, hitting the shield.

Ursula flashes past everyone and jumps the straggler. Her hatchet splits his head like a melon and he goes down before he even had a chance to draw.

The adventurers win Initiative for the second round. Ursula leaves her victim bleeding out on the stairs and slams the door shut to cut off any shouts and noises.

Basil and Oswald hack at the leader again. He manages to evade Basil, but Oswald nicks him in the leg.

Uko retreats from his beefy foe and keeps the crossbow up with one hand while stabbing with his dagger under it. His opponent just laughs and swings his own heavy axe – Uko can only evade the hit with a desperate jump back between the curtains.

Reinhold kicks his opponent against the wall and hacks at his head, but the wounded goblin parries in time. He twists the blade to stab at Reinhold, but the fingersmith is ready and bends the point away with his shield’s rim.

The goblin leader strikes at Oswald with his sword, but stumbles over one of the pillows and his swing goes wide.

Now the goblins find their rhythm and win initiative.

The leader changes targets and attacks Basil, striking the warhammer’s handle. The beefy goblin hunts Uko through the breeder’s beddings shouting goblin curses and smashing porcelaine and a mirror, yet the nimble adventurer dodges every swing.

Reinhold’s foe stabs at the adventurer’s pretty-boy face, but once more in vain – the shield is up in time.

Ursula hacks at the goblin and distracts him so Reinhold finally gets his blade in: The saber sinks into the struggling foe’s guts and he slides to the floor cursing, spitting, and clawing at the human intruders while Reinhold pushes the blade deeper and deeper into his belly.

Oswald hacks at the goblin leader’s arm and manages to cut his weapon hand. Basil sees his chance to take out the warrior’s legs, but alas! The hammer misses and strikes the floor.

Uko gets the strong impression that he is the weaker party in this exchange, and starts to lose hope in anyone rescuing him. He throws pillows and little bottles at his pursuer, then gets ahold of one of the lamps, striking at the big enemy. The warrior bruches it aside and grabs the little bearded adventurer.

Is this the end for Uko?

The adventurers win initiative.

Uko finally manages to smash the lamp on the warrior’s shoulder guard, and the flame lights some of the strawberry perfume splattered there from a broken flask. The big goblin ignores the burning armor and brings down his axe to split his enemy in half. Uko manages to block the strike with his crossbow again, though. A chip of wood flies off, but Ukos sweating brow remains whole.

As goblin 3 finally ceases to struggle, Oswald turns around to follow the trail of broken furniture and save Uko. Ursula attacks the goblin leader from behind. Her hatchet sinks into his neck and he falls to his knees, dropping his sword and spitting blood.

Basil storms into the satiny maze of curtains to look for Uko, with Oswald following on his heels.

The burning goblin wins initiative and steps on little Uko before bringing down his axe with an angry bellow. Once more, luck is with the bearded trickster – he curls close to the big goblin’s leg, and the axe strikes sparks from the stone floor, a mere hand’s width from his ear.

Then Uko stabs his dagger at the goblin’s leg, ineffectually striking a metal knee plate.

Reinhold is first to reach the scene and stabs at the goblin’s back without missing a beat. The hit would have felled many a young warrior, but the goblin just turns around to face this new enemy.

Basil is next, striking through the flimsy curtains with his warhammer. Alas, the material slows his swing so he doesn’t deal any damage.

Oswald tries to do better by stabbing right through the curtain. Success: He wounds the axe-wielder further.

The burning goblin wins initiative and attacks Reinhold. The shield is up, though, checking the swing before it bites.

Now the adventurer’s superior numbers tell: Uko stabs at his legs, Oswald sinks his blade into his side, Basil’s hammer forces him back, and Reinhold repeatedly strikes at his raised axe. The goblin stumbles into a curtain, and the flames lick up at the ceiling.

Now the tide turns. The adventurers hew their foe down and stab at him with desperate abandon, and Ursula and Phoebe join them, adding to their numbers, until he finally succumbs to the swarm of human attackers and biting blades.

There is no time to rest, though.

Quickly, the flames dance from one curtain to the next, and hot, sour smoke mixes with the old strawberry fog. Soon, the fire will turn the whole room into a deathtrap.

Reinhold returns to the frightened slaves and only takes two moments until the last of the locks falls open.

“Let’s go!”

But where to?

  • The eastern door (to bar & chief)
  • The northern door (to ?)
  • The pretty western door (to ?)

Maze Rats Play by Poll – The Spider Pit

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