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Return to In Search of the Unknown part 1 "These are Kobolds?"

by Greywolf-ELM

Nothing looks special about the place, other than the placement on the mountain. It is not a natural cave opening. Brush lines the path on both sides, and while not moving, seems to reach for hide, clothing, boots and skin as the Orcs walk by. The path winds back and forth in the hills and cliffs leading up to the entrance. The opening is somewhat obscured by vines and branches. Beyond the vines a ten Knuck** high and wide corridor leads straight into the rock formation.

Down the corridor about twelve Shins* in, there is an old door with some chipped wood around the edges, as if it has been forced, and opened recently. Gorga motions for the Goblins to come forward. Rhgl comes running forward in his peculiar little gait, Sharraxtharkhul and his wolf companion not far behind.

"Rhgl, go scout the doorway ahead."

Rhgl can't pass up the opportunity to show himself as faithful. "Yes great Gorga, I go sneak sneak up to the door for you." Gorga hears what Rhgl says, along with an echo in one ear. He has come to understand this as the magic of his earring. He wonders to himself how this can be used, and if Ierkh's earring works the same. Silently the goblin sneaks down the hallway, fearful of anything that might burst through the door and swallow him whole. He almost disappears in the shadows around the door, and suddenly is back in front of the Eagles.

It's amazing how quiet that goblin can move, and he's hard to see. He could walk unseen through a desert with two suns beating down on him.

The warband gathers around to hear the report.
"The door is un-trapped and unlocked great Gorga. I hear nothing beyond."

Scrag announces, "Scrag will open door." Gorga nods at him, "Good, after Scrag, the Goblins go through and scout to 12 Shins out. Next, Ierkh, then me and Tyco, Shglsnor, Gilnak, and Hobna guard the rear." With a grin Gorga continues "Weapons out, let's kill some Kobolds."

Within the first 7 shins, there are 1-shin deep wide and tall openings on opposite sides of the hallway. Searching, none yield anything other than dust, leaves and refuse. As the Goblins scout ahead 4 more shins to another set of alcoves, a disembodied mouth appears in the opening on the right, and speaks in a booming voice in Darokin Common. "Who dares enter this place and intrude upon the sanctuary of its inhabitants?"

Rhgl and Sharraxtharkhul cringe at the sudden accusation, and Margrax the wolf yips at the sudden sound. The Eagles come running forward to investigate. Rhgl is about to answer, when another disembodied mouth appears in the opening to the left and answers the first mouth. "Only a group of foolhardy explorers doomed to certain death!"

The Orcs all look around for the death that has been promised, with weapons ready.

Both mouths shout in unison "Woe to any who pass this place-The wrath of Zelligar and Rogahn will be upon them!" A raucous laughter follows from both of them. Sharraxtharkhul moves into the opening on the right, and pokes at the mouth with his spear, which passes through the mouth with no affect. The laughter and mouths slowly fade away and are now only a memory. "See Gorga, I sent them away." Sharraxtharkhul takes credit for the mouths disappearing. The goblins translate for any of the Orcs that do not understand Darokin Common.

Tyco observes, "Stupid voice. We are still here." Everyone mills around for a bit, looking for secret doors, or enemies to appear out of nowhere, and finally Gorga sends the Goblins ahead to scout again.

A few knucks ahead, there are two steps up, and an intersection of hallways leading off in all directions. The remains of a small battle lie strewn about the intersection. There are five bodies, and the goblins move to investigate.

The first human has been stripped of his armour and valuables. His weapon, a broken sword is nearby, with the blade sheared about 3 inches from the cross guard. Margrax sniffs at the body, while Sharraxtharkhul searches for anything beyond the pool of coagulated blood.

The second human is impaled against the wall just past the intersection. The killing spear still thrust through the body. A large section of wood can be seen behind the body on the wall. The robes on this one are bloodstained and ruined. Rhgl finds a small pouch with 2 gold coins of a mint he has not seen before.

The third body is that of a Dwarf, face down in the corridor just east of the intersection. In his right hand he still clutches his war hammer, and it appears that he crawled, wounded to this point, since a trail of sticky blood leads back to the battle location. A sack turned inside out lies alongside the body, now empty. Rhgl takes the war hammer, and tosses it to Gorga, who snatches it from the air, and puts it in his pack after a quick inspection.

The fourth body is that of a kobold, this kobold is slightly shorter and lighter than normal and appears to be a runt of the litter. The scales bear dark coloration, with black shading. The body is sprawled on the floor with grievous wounds and a broken sword blade protruding from its' belly.

Another dead kobold lies on the floor face down. The body has a smashed skull, apparently from the Dwarf's war hammer. No one has returned to dispose of the bodies yet. There is a small sheathed dagger on a belt that this one is wearing. There is a dark slimy substance on the blade when Sharraxtharkhul draws it out. He recognises it as some form of poison and quickly gathers up the sheath, and claims the dagger as his own.

The Orcs come stomping in while the goblins finish up searching, and Tyco pulls the spear holding the human in robes against the wall. The spear comes apart, and the body falls to the floor, exposing writing on the wall, which none of the Orcs can understand. "Quasqueton"

Gorga directs the Goblins down the right-hand hallway, and the scouting begins anew. As the Eagles round the first corner, Sharraxtharkhul marks a sigil on the wall, with his charcoal. Every 20 shins or so, he marks the wall again to help keep track of where the Orcs have been. Following the Right-Hand rule that Gorga has established, the Orcs come upon two doors. Tyco and Scrag move up front to the furthest door, and Gorga directs Ierkh and the rear-guard to wait here. Rhgl checks the door and hears some scratching sounds from beyond the door. The goblins give way, as Tyco and Scrag move up to open the door.

With a kick and grunt, the door flies open before Tyco. Four bestial looking kobolds rush forward as the door slams open; they were ready. They stand around the same height as a dwarf. Their scaly hide is broken by a ridge of horns that runs from the forehead down the length of a rat-like tail. They have a dog-like head watches the Orcs with golden eyes, and long paws that end in sharp bone talons to slash with. The bed and tapestries that used to furnish this room have been broken and shredded to make nests, which can be seen around the room.

Tyco is immediately attacked by three of them, with the forth stalking back and forth behind its pack mates. Bleeding from a couple of superficial wounds, Tyco roars and slashes back at them with his axe. Scrag tries to reach around the corner at one, but has trouble bringing the Orcish Battleaxe to bear through the doorway. Gorga stands behind Tyco and Scrag, looking for an opening to shoot an arrow. Tyco gets irritated with the Kobolds biting and clawing at him, and pushes his way into the room forcing one of them back.

Less than a minute has passed for the Eagles, when muttering is heard from the rear guard. "Ierkh, why do we wait?" After hearing the question twice, once from Gilnak, and again through the magic of his earring, Ierkh shakes his head as if he has a bee in his ear. "I hear you. Ierkh not see." This gets everyone else grumbling, as Gorga is not giving direction to them with his eyes and bow trained on the combat before him.

With the wet sound of a butcher's block, Tyco chops his Axe down into the kobold in front of him. It does not move again. The horned kobold that has been pacing behind its' pack mates, moves back a few steps, and with a roar, runs towards the fight, leaping over the fallen kobold, clawing and biting at Tyco. The muscular Orc swat's the kobold away with little effort. Scrag continues to have problems with his new Axe, and can't seem to hit anything but the doorjamb.

The goblins start to confer with each other.

Rhgl and Sharraxtharkhul in turn:
"Why do they get all the fun?"
"We were not told to help."
"Just get out of the way goblins."
"We will open the door."
"What about the other Orcs?"
"And the Ogre, don't forget him."
"They want to kill kobolds too."
"Hey, I wonder if there are any behind this door."
"I'll listen."
Rhgl leans to the door to listen; Margrax tilts <that thing that dogs do, that the censor won't allow to appear here> his head at the goblin. "Nothing here. Hey Ierkh. Want to go in here and find kobolds?" Rhgl manages to push the door open with a little help from Ierkh, and sees a hallway headed off straight, with another door on the left, 5 shins away.

Meanwhile, Scrag has worked his way into the room, and the determination of Tyco and Scrag is wearing down on the kobolds. They are hard to damage with the ridge of horns on their backs which turns away many of the Orcs axe blows.

Ierkh shakes his head sticking a finger in his ear. "Me first." Squeezing through the doorway, Ierkh heads straight for the next door, and slams it open. Three more horned kobolds rise from their nests with a snarl.

Finally able to flank one of the creatures, Tyco gives Scrag the chance he needs, to sink his axe into the face of one of the scaled beasts. Gorga manages to put an arrow into one, and the kobolds are soon dead. As strong as the Orcs are, when they finally get a good hit, the damage is too much for the kobolds to survive.

As soon as Ierkh squeezed through the door, the goblins and rear guard, Hobna, Shglsnor, and Gilnak, wanting to stay near the big guy, followed behind. The goblins moved on to the end of the hallway to scout around and find a hallway that skirts the room West and South, only to continue back West again the way they came. The three Orcs followed Ierkh into the room on the left to fight the three horned kobolds alongside the Half-Ogre. Whatever was stored here has been broken and shredded to make nests for these beasts. Three Oaken tables in the room are all that remain.

Ierkh brings his greatclub, taken from the Ogre highwaymen, down but only manages to bounce it off the wall. With his height and the ten knuck ceilings, it is hard to wield the weapon with any overhead smashes. Gilnak and Shglsnor rush into the room behind Ierkh and make their way around some tables to engage the kobolds who have moved up on him. After a few tries, Ierkh finally catches a "Hornsy" between the wall and his club, leaving little more than a smear. "Heh heh, smushed Hornsy." This lightens his mood somewhat as trying to hit the little kobolds was difficult for him in the tightly packed room.

Gorga finally notices that the rest of his warband is missing. "Those goblins will be the death of us." He pinpoints the catalyst to the separation of the warband. "Tyco, Scrag, search and follow through this other door." Gorga runs off to find his warband, as Tyco and Scrag turn look at each other, and shrug.

Meanwhile the goblins and Hobna are securing the hallway, while Ierkh Shglsnor and Gilnak take out the remaining "Hornsy's".

Gorga comes through the door to the south, and runs up to the goblins. "What happened? Why did you leave us?" The goblins look at each other, and to the open door that Ierkh has gone through.

"Ierkh wanted to come this way. Who are we to stop him? We secured the hallway as you would want Great Gorga." Rhgl looks a little twitchy while he responds, but Gorga does not refute his claim.

Back in the room, Ierkh yells. "Who say Ierkh's name?"

With a few bites and slashes spread around, the warband regroups in the hallway outside of the room that had three "Hornsy's" as Ierkh has named them.

Next Up: Return to In Search of the Unknown part 2 "Dire Weasels die easy."

Disclaimer TSR/WotC owns the rights to the b1 module I think. I'm not making any money on this
* Shins are equivalent to 5 Knucks, or about the length of an Ogre's Shinbone
** Knucks are equivalent to feet, Ogre Hands as a unit of measure