"You should have heard me out, wyrm," Fanax offers, as steps up next to Oni to stab and slash at Vumrot with his sword and axe. Neither weapon connects with its mark.
The blue shaded area represents a bank of dense fog which obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. A creature within 5 feet has concealment (attacks have a 20% miss chance). Creatures farther away have total concealment (50% miss chance, and the attacker can’t use sight to locate the target).
White squares represent the valley floor. It's reasonably flat (flat enough not to affect movement or combat). Brown dots represent ordinary trees. A creature standing in the same square as a tree gains a +2 bonus to Armor Class and a +1 bonus on Reflex saves (these bonuses don’t stack with cover bonuses from other sources). The presence of a tree doesn’t otherwise affect a creature’s fighting space, because it’s assumed that the creature is using the tree to its advantage when it can. The trunk of a typical tree has AC 4, hardness 5, and 150 hp. A DC 15 Climb check is sufficient to climb a tree.
Grey stippling represents boulders and rocks of size significant enough to affect movement. They are "dense rubble." It costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square with dense rubble. The DC of Balance and Tumble checks on dense rubble increases by 5, and the DC of Move Silently checks increases by +2. As a result of the movement penalty, dense rubble counts as difficult terrain; you can't run or charge through it.
Orange squares and yellow squares are light undergrowth. A space covered with light undergrowth costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and it provides 20% concealment. Undergrowth increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks by 2 because the leaves and branches get in the way, but the concealment enables Hide checks.
Dark grey squares represent the hillside. At all times, you may assume that the hillside represents a "steep slope," on which the downhill side is toward the nearest white square. Characters moving uphill (to an adjacent square of higher elevation) must spend 2 squares of movement to enter each square of steep slope; as a result, you cannot run or charge uphill. Characters running or charging downhill (moving to an adjacent square of lower elevation) must succeed on a DC 10 Balance check upon entering the first steep slope square. Mounted characters make a DC 10 Ride check instead. Characters who fail this check stumble and must end their movement 1d2×5 feet later. Characters who fail by 5 or more fall prone in the square where they end their movement. A steep slope increases the DC of Tumble checks by 2.
Dots on the hillside are also trees, with mechanical effects identical to those already described.
The darkest area of the hillside represents a cliff, roughly 40 feet high. A cliff typically requires a DC 15 Climb check to scale. This cliff is not perfectly vertical. For every 20 feet you ascend, you will automatically move 5 feet into its area. If you fail your Climb check by 4 or less, you make no progress. If you fail by 5 or more, you fall from whatever height you have already attained.
The interior of the cavern has natural stone floors. It takes 2 squares of movement to enter a square with a natural stone floor, and the DC of Balance and Tumble checks increases by 5. Running and charging are impossible, except along paths. The walls and ceiling of the cavern are unworked stone. It takes a DC 15 Climb check to move along an unworked stone wall.
23 - Fanax (Blue 1)
22a - Grimvaalk (Blue 3)
22b - Vumrot (Red)
21 - Oni (Blue 5)
20 - Zathrus (Blue 6)
18 - Gorx (Blue 2)
07 - Yonah (Blue 4)
It is currently Grimvaalk's turn.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Oni has taken 11 points of damage.Yonah has taken 18 points of damage.
Zathrus's force screen has 26 rounds remaining.
Vumrot has taken 37 points of damage.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
Grimvaalk clutches his bow in his left hand and pulls his scimitar with his right, and makes a combination of signals to his mount using his voice and pressure from his knees. Goblin and wolf move in closer to Vumrot, striking in concert to flank the dragon with Fanax.
The goblin ranger's scimitar misses the mark—maybe Grimvaalk is too busy keeping his seat with a bow in one hand and a blade in the other for him to aim as well as he'd like—but the wolf does better, snapping his jaws around one of the dragon's forelimbs and giving a powerful shake of his head and neck to rip with his teeth.
Vumrot clearly isn't happy with how his life is going. The dragon screams in bestial rage, and retreats a few step or two northward to get out from between the pincers he's been caught in. Then, taking advantage of his new position, he belches forth a cone of supernaturally cold vapor, bathing Yonah, Grimvaalk and his wolf alike in his deadly breath.
When the vapor clears an instant later, Grimvaalk is the only man standing to the west of Vumrot. He's cold and hurting, but he managed to get clear of the stirrups when his mount fell, and he landed on his feet without hurting himself. Yonah is out like a snuffed lamp, too cold even to shiver.
It is currently Oni's turn.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 11 points of damage.Yonah has taken 33 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -1 hit points.
Vumrot has taken 42 points of damage.
Oni shouts, "Keep fighting! It's desperate now!" The bugbear darts further west, snatching up Yonah's fallen morninstar—and getting another small but painful wound from Vumrot's teeth in the process, when he doesn't dodge quite as fast as he needs to. He swings wildly at the dragon as soon as he's got his hands on the weapon, but misses.
It is currently Zathrus's turn.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 14 points of damage.Yonah has taken 33 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -1 hit points.
Zathrus's force screen has 25 rounds remaining.
Zathrus hurriedly makes as if to skip across the remnants of the bonfire on the flesh of the slowly roasting goats. But at this point, they are slippery from having thawed out somewhat, and the blueskin nearly face-plants into the coals before he catches his balance by jamming one foot down into the fire instead. He moves quickly enough that the burns are only superficial, but they hurt quite a lot despite this.
Limping ever so slightly, Zathrus still makes it to stand between Fanax and Oni. Gathering his concentration, the strange goblin manifests a power, unleashing a gout of flame that has somehow become solid enough that it might actually be able to push someone along. But he misses Vumrot entirely, instead painting the ceiling of the cavern with a long swath of soot and ash.
It is currently Gorx's turn.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 14 points of damage.Yonah has taken 33 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -1 hit points.Zathrus has taken 3 points of damage.
Gorx drags his next pair of spirit allies into the mortal world. One moment there's empty air in front of him; the next, there's still empty air, but the air shares space with two spectral forms. Quickly, the shaman requests, "I want help killing a dragon!"
But with a sense of foreboding, Gorx notices that within just an instant of manifesting, one of the specters—a burly orc woman with a massive axe over her shoulder and a suit of studded leather armor—is glowering at him. She drawls something at him, but Gorx doesn't speak Orc. Probably she doesn't speak Goblin, either.
The other spirit is a hobgoblin woman. Helpfully, she offers, "I'm Thadie. Doesn't look like this gal likes you much. Anyway. Dragon slaying sounds pretty dangerous. A woman could get dead, trying something like that. Deader. Anyway, what's in it for me if I stick my neck out?"
Meanwhile, inside the cavern Grimvaalk is speculating in reply to Fanax, "Well, Gorx likely Gorx'd his part up. I think now is the time to go."
Yonah bleeds. Not that anyone asked him to.
It is currently Fanax's turn.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 14 points of damage.Yonah has taken 34 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Zathrus has taken 3 points of damage.
Despite the tone of his discussion with Grimvaalk, Fanax doesn't run just yet. Instead, the goblin steps around to flank Vumrot with Oni, and makes a quick set of attacks against the dragon. One of them ends with his shortsword stuck through scaly white hide.
From the way he screams, Vumrot must not like the feeling.
Vumrot has taken 50 points of damage.
Grimvaalk is dismounted, but doesn't allow that to stop him from continuing to fight. It's possible that he should have let it stop him, though. He fires two arrows at Vumrot, but Oni is in his way, and the dragon isn't exactly holding still while he's engaged in a melee with Oni and Fanax. Neither arrow finds its mark.
Not terribly surprisingly, the white dragon erupts into violence against everyone he can reach. Fanax gets most of his attention, but dodges or sidesteps every attack directed against him. Oni and Zathrus also come in for some attention, though, and they don't get away unhurt—Zathrus is pinked by a claw as Vumrot swipes catlike at him, unaware of the blueskin's force screen until too late. Oni gets a wing across the face, but lucks out because most of the impact is delivered by the membraneous parts of the limb.
In the midst of all the flapping, clawing, and biting, Vumrot also moves a little bit eastward, putting the cavern wall at his back. Zathrus is the only thing standing between him and freedom.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 15 points of damage.Yonah has taken 34 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Zathrus has taken 4 points of damage.
Oni realizes that all the supplies are outside, and that if Vumrot gets out and gets airborne, he and all the rest of his expedition probably are going to die, possibly in a slow and horrible way (such as by starvation or dehydration). So he takes a firmer grip on Yonah's morningstar and swings for the fences. Even if he can't kill the dragon, maybe he can make it so angry that it'll kill him cleanly. He surprises himself with a solid hit that leaves the dragon off balance, and himself too flabbergasted by his good luck to follow up and brain the creature.
Zathrus's force screen has 24 rounds remaining.
Vumrot has taken 55 points of damage.
Zathrus follows up on Oni's success, repeating his previous effort to sear Vumrot with fire. Channeling the force of his will, the blue-skinned goblin succeeds in sending a wrist-thick of semi-solid flame blasting into the dragon's scaly hide.
Vumrot shrieks in pure agony, rocked back onto his hindlegs and tail by the sheer force of impact. Half his face and a mottled expanse along the side of his neck are charred and blistered by Zathrus's effort. It's a testament to the robustness of dragonkind that he's still alive and functional.
Vumrot has taken 74 points of damage.
"If you just kill the damn dragon I will kill a goat or something for you. Please? You are embarrassing me in front of my cousins," Gorx finally tells the hobgoblin woman's spirit, a touch of wheedling entering his voice.
But apparently, this was enough to get some action. "Two goats, you little skinflint," replies the ghost, cheerfully, "Roasted slowly, with spicy sauce." Turning to go in the direction Gorx had indicated, she tosses back over her shoulder, "And my name is Thadie. Remember it."
The other ghost harangues Gorx in Orc. He doesn't speak the language, so it's so much gibberish to him, but her annoyed tone of voice and the finger she is waving in his direction give him some basis to think that he's receiving a lecture of some kind.
As Gorx is being lectured, the four goblinoids who're actually engaged in combat against Vumrot are treated to the spectral spectacle of a seven-foot-tall hobgoblin woman strolling through the fire as if it isn't there, demanding loudly, "So what's this nonsense about a—oh, shit, a dragon! That little asshole was serious! If you live, you'd better tell him I want three goats. Extra spicy. Also, you'd better not look me in the eye for the next little while. Things are about to get weird."
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 15 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -2 hit points.Oni has taken 15 points of damage.Yonah has taken 35 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Zathrus has taken 4 points of damage.
Fanax does a double take of the newcomer and is somewhat confused at the mention of goats. However, he quickly figures who the "little asshole" is and concludes this newcomer must be one of Gorx's spirits. All of those thoughts process while Fanax slides to his left to once again flank the dragon, this time opposite of Zathrus. The ranger buries his short sword deeply into the scaly monster's rump, eliciting a buck and a howl of pain that throws off his aim with his axe. Still, the resulting wound looks pretty ugly.
Grimvaalk hangs back, arrow on the string of his bow as he looks for a clear shot into the scrum around the enraged but now severely wounded dragon.
Vumrot vents his spleen on Zathrus, screeching in rage as he savages the blue-skin with tooth, claw and wing. In short order, his tormentor lies unconscious and bleeding.
Grimvaalk is delaying.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 16 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Oni has taken 15 points of damage.Yonah has taken 35 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Zathrus has taken 17 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -2
Vumrot has taken 83 points of damage.
Oni steps over to stand astride Zathrus's unconscious form, swinging for the fences again with Yonah's morningstar. But he doesn't make contact.
Thadie seems to have some residual tactical sense from whatever it is that she did in life—given the spectral armor she wears, she must have been a warrior of some kind. But she doesn't have recourse to weapons tonight, because the ghostly sword at her hip doesn't cut the flesh of the living. Instead, she glares at Vumrot, and a terrible greenish light flares in her eyes. But whatever ghastly magic she's trying to work, the dragon resists it.
Fanax has taken 5 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 7 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 16 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Oni has taken 15 points of damage.Yonah has taken 35 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Zathrus has taken 18 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.
Zathrus's force screen has 23 rounds remaining.
Grimvaalk gets a really good look at Thadie during her attack on Vumrot, despite her warnings not to look at her face. He sees the whole thing, and his mind nearly buckles under the strain. But only nearly—he endures the sight of her without harm. In the aftermath, Thadie has backed away and risen to float in midair near the cavern's ceiling, and he sees his chance.
Grimvaalk steps northward to stand over Yonah's bloodied form. From there, he has a reasonable shot at Vumrot, and he takes it, firing a pair of arrows in quick succession. The first misses, but with the second shot he corrects his name, and pinks the dragon's flank a little.
23 - Fanax (Blue 1)
22a - Grimvaalk's wolf (White 3)
22b - Vumrot (Red)
21 - Oni (Blue 5)
20 - Zathrus (Blue 6)
19 - Grimvaalk (Blue 3)
18 - Gorx (Blue 2)
07 - Yonah (Blue 4)
Vumrot has taken 87 points of damage.
Gorx hurries westward toward the cave, wand at the ready.
Beads of sweat roll down Fanax's face as he continues to dodge, duck, and dive the movement and attacks of the stubborn dragon. The young goblin hates these types of encounters but, with everyone down, there is nobody to cover his escape; there is no way Fanax would leave Grim behind. "If Gorx were here I would leave, though," Fanax whispers quietly to himself.
Seeing an opening, Fanax spins on his heels sword and axe pinned to his forearms. Stopping suddenly, the rogue slashes at Vumrot.
The dragon jerks away at the last second, though, and then counterattacks, stepping away from the wall so that he can get at all three of the living goblinoids who remain in his immediate vicinity with his claws and teeth. When the onslaught pauses, all three warriors suffer from new injuries, although in Fanax's case it's really just a superficial nick from being slapped in the mouth by an errant wing.
Fanax has taken 6 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 10 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 17 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 35 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.Zathrus has taken 18 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -3 hit points.
Oni is determined that if Vumrot escapes the cave, it'll be through his bleeding body. So he plants his feet and cuts loose with the morningstar again. But again, it's to no great effect.
Meanwhile, Zathrus bleeds a little more.
Fanax has taken 6 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 10 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 17 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 36 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.Zathrus has taken 19 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.
Zathrus's force screen has 22 rounds remaining.
Grimvaalk backs off a little bit to get himself some room to shoot, and fires a couple of arrows into the floor in front of Vumrot.
Gorx bursts through the veil of fog outside the cave's entrance, flames licking around one of his fists, and immediately hurls a fireball past Oni's face. It splashes into a sizzling mess that blisters the dragon's wing.
Yonah bleeds some more.
Fanax has taken 6 points of damage.Grimvaalk has taken 10 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 17 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 37 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Zathrus has taken 19 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.
Vumrot has taken 94 points of damage.
Desperate times call for desperate moves. Fanax is confident, but this dragon seems to be blessed. "If we're doomed at least I will fall with dignity," Fanax thinks to himself. The goblin blinks away sweat and blood and attempts to tumble past the thrashing dragon to maintain his combat advantage. He fails to evade the enraged dragon's attention, but he does evade Vumrot's flashing teeth. On the other hand, Fanax's gyrations leave him hopelessly disoriented—not only does he miss with his short sword, but he gets a really good look at the ghost's face.
It is not a nice face to look at right now, and Fanax is wracked by agony so intense that he nearly wets himself. We'll observe a discreet silence about the state of his cherished dignity.
Vumrot's counterattack begins with Fanax and Oni; the dragon bites Fanax, but actually comes close to missing just because the goblin doesn't have the presence of mind to dodge properly. It hurts much less than the ghost's influence. Oni comes away unscathed, and so does Grimvaalk; the dismounted worg rider sees Vumrot coming from a mile off, and it's not even a close call.
Fanax has taken 13 points of damage and 3 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk has taken 10 points of damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 18 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 37 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Zathrus has taken 19 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -4 hit points.
Oni whiffs another attack at Vumrot, which is a shame—he's by no means as brawny as Yonah, but if the morningstar had connected, it probably would have splattered the dragon's brains all over the floor.
Zathrus bleeds gently onto the cavern floor.
Grimvaalk mistakenly looks right at Thadie, gets an eyeful of the stink-eye she's been ineffectually broadcasting toward Vumrot, and staggers backward in agony as he's blasted by necromantic power. Cursing in Gorx's general direction, the ranger looses another desperate volley toward Vumrot. His first shot goes over the dragon's head, narrowly missing Fanax. The second leaves a shaft buried to its fletchings in the monster's chest.
Vumrot staggers. Wisps of vapor curl from between his teeth. And improbably . . . he stays on his feet, struggling to draw in one last breath.
Fanax has taken 13 points of damage and 3 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk has taken 18 points of damage and 4 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 18 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 37 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Zathrus has taken 20 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.
Zathrus's force screen has 21 rounds remaining.
Vumrot has taken 102 points of damage. He is disabled and can take only a single move action or standard action per round.
Seeing that his ghost has nearly killed his two kinsmen, Gorx yells, "Alright, alright! You'll get your goats! Knock it off before you finish what the dragon started!"
Thadie shrugs, and her face morphs back to a normal, if still ghostly, visage. And meanwhile, Yonah bleeds peacefully.
Fanax realizes that it's now or never—the dragon is wounded terribly, and there's really not much chance that Vumrot's breath isn't going to kill anyone it hits (except maybe for himself and Gorx, which is too terrible an outcome to contemplate). The scaly terror needs to die, and Fanax is all that's left to see that he does. He steps into melee yet again.
The first stroke of his sword misses; crippled by his injuries, Vumrot still wants to live and is dodging and weaving feebly but effectively. But Fanax's axe lodges itself, almost by magic, between the dragon's eyes a split-second later.
Vumrot falls. But even now, the creature refuses to die. Fanax can see by the twitching of Grimvaalk's arrowhead in the creature's chest that Vumrot's heart continues to beat. Still.
Victory is yours.
Fanax has taken 13 points of damage and 3 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk has taken 18 points of damage and 4 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 18 points of damage. It is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 38 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -6 hit points.Zathrus has taken 20 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding at -5 hit points.
Vumrot has taken 104 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Without taking time to even put his bow away, Grimvaalk draws out a wand and touches each of his downed allies.
Grimvaalk's quick action ensures that nobody will die within the next few minutes. His wolf wakes up almost immediately, although it clearly isn't in good shape even with healing, and probably will need rest before it can travel.
Zathrus and Yonah are still unconscious after Grimvaalk's efforts with them.
Fanax has taken 13 points of damage and 3 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk has taken 18 points of damage and 4 points of Charisma damage.Grimvaalk's wolf has taken 13 points of damage. It is disabled at 0 hit points.Oni has taken 19 points of damage.Yonah has taken 36 points of damage. He is unconscious but stable at -4 hit points.Zathrus has taken 18 points of damage. He is unconscious but stable at -3 hit points.
Zathrus's force screen has 17 rounds remaining.
Vumrot has taken 108 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Grimvaalk looks at the soon to be dead dragon, "Are dragon's eatable?"
Fanax simply stands, looking at the dragon, catching his breath while Grimvaalk heals the others.
Exploding suddenly the goblin begins to hack at the still breathing wyrm. Enraged, he screams, "You. STUPID. FUCKING. DRAGON." Each word is punctuated with a sword slash. For good measure the woodsman kicks the Vumrot square in what he figures is the dragons ribs.
Wiping his blades free of viscera and blood, Fanax sheathes his weapons. Taking a deep, cleansing, breath the goblin finishes by spitting on Vumrots dead body.
Looking around, Fanax offers, "I'm going to finish looking around. Why don't you make yourself useful Gorx and tend to those who actually fought."
With that Fanax walks deeper into the cavern.
Grimvaalk watches Fanax rage on the dragon, idly commenting, "Woah there. Save some of that for Gorx." He scratches his injured wolf on the head and then stays to join Fanax. As he stows his bow and jobs up behind Fanax, he turns to tell his pet, "Stay."
Grimvaalk and Fanax have no particular difficulty exploring the rest of the cavern, now that there's no compelling reason to be worried about an angry dragon coming out of the shadows and eating them.
In a short time, they finish sweeping through the parts of the cavern that Grim hasn't seen. Vumrot's "larder" full of mostly-frozen goats is somewhat depleted by his escape effort. But there are some goats still left. If they were frozen before they started to turn (and kept frozen), they might still be good to eat. They haven't been skinned or gutted, though, so it could be tricky to prepare them for consumption. Still, it might be helpful if your wounded can't move pretty soon.
Further investigation takes the pair into the unexplored parts of the cave, where they follow a winding tunnel deep into the hillside. It ends in a good-sized chamber, an alcove of which has been turned into a kind of bedroom. Vumrot's horde lies in the bottom of a circular declivity in the floor. It's mostly pinky coinage, but there's got to be half a ton of it, almost all of which is copper. A small amount of gold is segregated off to one side, along with a pile of what look like rolled parchments, small bottles, and similar detritus. It's likely that Vumrot has been sleeping on this heap of shiny treasure; it's mounded up and hollowed out in places to fit the contours of his body.
Grimvaalk looks at the pile with disappointment, "What is this? I thought dragons were supposed to have hordes of treasure. This one collected worthless pink coins like a gorx'ing cheap pinky whore."
Fanax, too, adopts a look of disappointment.
Pointing at the parchments and bottles in a half-hearted manner Fanax offers, "Those may be worth something. And the copper can be melted down."
The goblin sighs and winces a bit as he squats before the small pile of gold. Grabbing a few coins the goblin shifts them from hand to hand. Ultimately, he drops the coins back to the pile.
Standing, Fanax turns to Grimvaalk, "I suppose our real reward will be when we return Vumrots head to our elders. Either way, this is our loot and we'll need to figire out a way to carry it."
"We will, at some point, we need to talk about Gorx."
Oni stops to catch his breath, withdrawing out of the cave to retrieve his waterskin and taking a long pull while he steadies his nerves. He doesn't bother girding himself for further conflict - it seems like a safe assumption that the local wildlife will bev giving this cave a wide berth for some time to come, so sleeping inside is probably the safest option.
THe bugbear begins the laborious process of taking first his own possessions inside, then Yonah's, and helping anyone else with their own things after that. Hopefully by the time he's done, the goblins will have finished scouting the rest of the cave.
Grimvaalk frowns, "He's kin..." he trails off and sighs. "Yes, we will."
Fanax just nods and lets the point go unspoken.
"Lets go check on the others. I think we will be safe here for a bit. Unless Vumrot has a sibling I doubt there are many creatures brave, or dumb, enough to roa m this area."
Beginning to walk back towards the front of the cave Fanax smiles and offers, "At least we have plenty to eat!"
Once he is awake, though sore, Yonah sits up and looks over at Vumrot's battered corpse. Relieved that his wounds were not in vain, the bugbear calls to Oni, "Well fought, kinsman! Did you wrestle him to the ground?" To the rest of the merry band, he says, "And well fought, each of you!" He winces as he rises to his feet and kicks the dead dragon in the head one good time. "Wherever you are, Vummy boy, I hope the spirits of your ancestors mock you endlessly." He winces again and sits down.
Zathrus comes awake slowly, obviously experiencing stiffness and/or pain. He lays still for a little while, taking in his surroundings. When he does finally sit up, it's obvious from the look on his face that he's doing so because of Cha'nek. "You smell like unwashed whore," he tells the beast, even as he lightly pats him on the head.
He looks over at Vumrot's corpse, seeming to take a little pride at the burn marks on the dragon's skin. Finally, he begins the slow process of getting to his feet. "Did we lose anybody?" he asks.
Oni is pleased that his companions; all of them; made it through the night. He shakes his head at Yonah's remarks. "No, Brother Yonah. Vumrot was not in much of a mood for wrestling, but I did mostly bait him into trying to bite my head off while our smaller friends worked their magic."
It gradually becomes apparent that no, you didn't lose anyone, or at least that you didn't lose anyone other than Vumrot. The bonfire you were using to bottle him up inside the cavern and suffocate him with smoke has long since burned out, leaving only the remnants of four goats, which mostly smell like roasted meat.
Vumrot's corpse hasn't yet begun to decay, and the collection of stolen goats and sheep in his larder is still slowly thawing. You probably still have a little time, maybe even several whole days, before things really begin to stink. If you stay in this cavern longer than through tomorrow morning, though, you will want to be sure that you drag all the carrion out of here sooner rather than later (and that you take it some distance away, so as to avoid being plagued by flies and scavengers).
This said, although nobody except Gorx is completely unscathed by your misadventures in dragon-slaying, you're all in acceptable condition to travel. If you really put some effort into it, you could be headed back to the Great Horde within a couple of hours with Vumrot's head and hoard to prove that you've accomplished the task you were sent to do.
Grim packs away his bedroom and winches slightly from the effort when the straps brushed his his frostbitten skin. Frowning, he comments, "We should return to the horde soon. Every day we wait is another day they could be moving further away. Even with the goats, we may run short on supplies before we find them."
When the morning comes Fanax is all business. Everyone quickly sees that, at some point in the night he separated Vumrots head from his body. Additionally, he packed up a fair bit of coin.
Fanax says little but agrees with Grim.
"Agreed, we could be safe here for a day or so but our work here is finished."
"That's fair," says Zathrus. He shifts his weight, momentarily adopting a pained expression. "Though I don't look forward to spending time in the saddle. We ought not keep the kachaka waiting." His voice gives no clue as to whether he's being sarcastic or serious.
Late Afternoon, 30 Urthan, 973 IRThe Steppes, somewhere southeast of the Great Hordeeast by north from Vumrot's lair
It doesn't take long for you to get your things in order, behead Vumrot, shovel the coins that make up the bulk of Vumrot's hoard (at least by weight) into a substantial portion of the containers available to you as part of the pack harness on Gorx's mule, and strike camp. Pretty soon you're making your way back down out of the foothills of the Adrag Plateau. There's some up-and-down to your path, as is always the case in hills, but mostly it's down.
You angle northwestward as soon as the terrain is clear and level enough to allow you to head in a reasonably straight line, the better to get back to the Great Horde, and before noon you're settled well into the plodding monotony of long-distance overland travel. The trudging is enlivened only by a midday break to eat some leftover goat. After that, it's back to work for several more hours, until your mounts begin to show signs of fatigue and it becomes clear that those who were injured worst during your battle with the dragon will also begin to suffer if you continue for much longer.
Grimvaalk starts to look out for a likely campsite, and about half an hour later he thinks he may have found something. A stream—really, it practically counts as a river just for being more than a yard wide, at this time of year— offers good prospects for drinking water. From the sound of things, it's flowing pretty swiftly despite its small size, so you may want to stop anyway while you figure out whether it's a good idea to try fording it somewhere around here.
Yellow squares represent light undergrowth. A space covered with light undergrowth costs 2 squares of movement to move into, and it provides concealment. Undergrowth increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks by 2 because the leaves and branches get in the way.
Green squares represent heavy undergrowth. Heavy undergrowth costs 4 squares of movement to move into, and it provides concealment with a 30% miss chance (instead of the usual 20%). It increases the DC of Tumble and Move Silently checks by 5. Heavy undergrowth is easy to hide in, granting a +5 circumstance bonus on Hide checks. Running and charging are impossible. Squares with undergrowth are often clustered together. Undergrowth and trees aren’t mutually exclusive; it’s common for a 5-foot square to have both a tree and undergrowth.
Blue squares represent water, at least 1 foot deep (and possibly deeper). The current moves northward at 30 feet/round, making it rough water. A Swim check (DC 15) is necessary to move through squares with rough water that are too deep for a character to wade through. A character swimming through deep water is carried along by the current regardless of success or failure, but can spend some or all of his movement from a successful Swim check to counteract the current.
Blue 1 - Fanax
Black 1 - Fanax's Pony
Blue 2 - Gorx
Gray 2 - Gorx's Wolf (not shown)
Black 2 - Gorx's Mule
Blue 3 - Grimvaalk
Green 3 - Grimvaalk's Wolf (not shown)
Black 3 - Grimvaalk's Pony
Blue 4 - Oni
Blue 5 - Yonah
Blue 6 - Zathrus (mounted)
Gray 6 - Cha'nek the Wolf
Black 6 - Reerah the warhorse (not shown)
Fanax dismounts and lets his pony drink. Turning towards the others he offers, "Good job Grim. This is a nice spot. What does everyone think about stopping here and resting? Gorx," Fanax looks to the shaman, "can you send something to the air to get a good look at our surroundings?"
"And what about trying to fix us up after you Gorx'd it up with that ghost bitch? Can you call one of those spirits or fey or whatever to help with healing?"
Gorx frowns in concentration for a moment. The sky overhead is suddenly full of hellspawned eagles where there were none before—there are at least a dozen, and one of them is larger than any of the goblins. After calling instructions to the terrible birds in some dialect of the fiendish tongue, the shaman sends them out to scout.
As the red-eyed birds of prey climb higher into the sky, Gorx comments, "I'm not really the right kind of shaman for healing, cousins. But very well. Show me your widdle booboos while we wait for the eagles to report back."
Fanax tilts his head and adopts a "I'm about to smack the taste out your mouth" look but says nothing. Instead he simply points at the thrashing his face took.
Gorx frowns at the contusions on his kinsman's face, casts a cantrip that makes Fanax look slightly less bruised, and then muses, "Hmm. Nope, that's just your face. Sorry, cousin. I did what I could."
Fanax takes a deep breath and glances to the others calculating silently the amount of cuts he could carve into Gorx before the others stopped him. He quickly wonders if they would stop him.
Instead the goblin just shakes it off and moves to ensure all of the gear and loot is secure.
"It was your gorxing ghost bitch that almost did us in. She would have killed us before the dragon. Not sure you can even see the wounds that thing caused," Grimvaalk pauses, "Oh, wait, you wouldn't know that, cause you were out here fucking your mule or something outside the cave while we were killing the dragon."
"His name is Batbayar, and we're in love," replies Gorx, evenly. "Now, do you want me to heal your injuries, or not? The dragon chewed on our bugbear allies, as well, so if you don't want anything from me, I'm sure they'd be glad to have whatever help I can offer."
Fanax whips his head around, his face adopts a brief look of what appears to be a mix of confusion and disgust.
The goblin simply sighs and continues busying himself with checks. "Gorx, how much longer until your birds report back?"
"Awhile. I told them I wanted to know if anything at least the size of a goblin is anywhere within a couple of miles of us," replies Gorx from the back of his wolf.