After a night to recover, we set the giant up with plenty of hobgoblins in reach, and at least half of our supply (and all of Cog’s) of flatgoat. Mel splinted the giant’s broken leg. So it seemed that he’d be fine… which left us with the question, would we? Denerik was not enthused about the prospect of encountering a rock troll. It seems they are immune to fire (Al was rather disappointed by this revelation). But vulnerable to acid (Al perked up again).
We cleared some rocks which had been used to partially block off the tunnel system, then worked our way down into the tunnels.
Roderick smelled something. Maybe troll?
As we continued to tromp, the cavern widened so that we could go two abreast. And Mel noticed that a large rock up ahead looked just a bit too symmetrical… FIGHT
Aargh! A rock troll just ran over all of us! Maul was hit as she got up, but the rest of us were back on our feet and OK for the time being.
Mel did a lot of damage (especially after being given Bull’s Strength and Enlarged), but the damage was all non-lethal. The troll was rather unhappy about the acidic rays coming from Al, but Al managed not to get stomped by it before Mel was able to take it down. That was “down but not out”, mind… but unlimited Acid Splash spells, and a few minutes later… dead – and somewhat liquefied – troll.
We continued the trek down into the hole. It seems that some of this area had been worked by hand – Denerik thought it likely hobgoblin work (and was very critical of it).
And then something really scared Denerik – “Al, deal with it!”, she cried.
Cue a puzzled look on Al’s face (especially as she didn’t see the monster in time)… what could scare a dwarf so? A rust monster, that’s what! It damaged, then destroyed Mel’s banded mail. Not cool! Al fired off a set of magic missiles, Maul hit it with a sound burst, and then Cog finished it off with a very impressive sneak attack.
We returned to the hobgoblin’s cave, picked up some “disposable” weapons and armour, then headed back down; we located the hole that probably belonged to the rust monsters. Cog snuck in, found two more, and drew them out, whereupon Al toasted them (and not in a polite, “to your health” kind of way).
Continuing to explore, Cog noticed some timber that really didn’t look like it was holding up – it groaned as we pass – then eventually we found ourselves back in something that looked like a “natural” hole.
And after a lot more going through tunnels, Denerik finally noticed mushrooms – edible cave mushrooms. The start of the abbey’s lower mushroom fields.
We sent the stealthiest of our number on a brief recon mission, and then on what was to be a very slightly less brief recon mission. As Cog has recounted, this second mission became anything but brief: two hours worth of “not brief”… but we got the info we needed.
We learned that in Walker’s Abbey, there were 30 prisoners being held, with 70 guards and… the dead ones, too. In charge were “Render, Torver and Durn”. Denerik gave us a bit more info – and a family connection: “Render Goblingrinder, Durn Goblingrinder… I am Denerik Goblingrinder”. Cog had also learned that Denerik’s brother was still alive, and in the other group of prisoners. Cog also told the dwarf with whom he’d made contact that we would take the info back upstairs, and to pass word to the other shift of prisoners. Denerik was worried that Cog had told them to share information, concerned about leaks… but there wasn’t anything to be done about it now.
So we headed back up, checking in with Gragnog on the way. We also checked in with the guard outpost, and told them about Gragnog. then headed back towards town.
As we went, Denerik explained that treachery in the monastery would come as a big shock, so we needed to be very careful who heard about this. And so, we returned to the Granite Tower independently of Denerik, so she could report on her “surveying” work.
Mel, of course, was now in need of some new armour. She got serious about putting her well-deserved proceeds of our adventuring so far towards being fitted for a set of full plate (although the dwarven armourer was keen to earn even more of said proceeds: “have you considered mithral? Mithral would look great on you.”)
While she was being fitted… what a coincidence! “Hi Denerik! Fancy meeting you here!” Denarik invited us to dinner… and suggested that Cog have another bath first (Cog was very pleased at that idea… Al would have thought prestidigitation was enough, but nooo). At dinner, we were not in the least surprised to find that the Master Abbot had also dropped by.
Unofficially, the Master Abbot was willing to supply us with a small supporting force, but he would like us to try to get inside and take control of one of the gatehouses. And so, we made our plans…