Dungeon of the Ruined Keep

Mistress of Time, Episode 8

*Note: This story is from a WHAT (Warrior Heroes Adventures in Talomir) Dungeons Encounter played with the Warrior Heroes Dungeon Deck from Two Hour Wargames. According to the Big Bad table, the dungeon boss should have been a goblin, I chose her to be an Orc sorceress. The minions were Hobgoblins and the Low Lifes were Hobgoblins (1-3) or Giant Spiders (4-6). The Dungeon Encounter Rating was four.

The dungeon entrance was little more than a hole in the ground sloping down to a set of stairs. It was not the original or designed entrance, that was buried somewhere else under the rubble of the ruined tower. The hole didn’t have the earthy smell of a ploughed field, instead its odor was much more like the smell of putrid flesh from a festering wound.

“Do we enter?” asked Fizzrelda.

“It’s obvious this is where the wounded hobgoblin fled.” replied Zhu Paand.

“We could just let him die in his hole.” said Fizzrelda.

Meagle asked, “Why would they live in a hole in the ground? Surely building some sort of shelter here in the ruins would be better than a dark hole.”

“Maybe there’s something more valuable down there.” added Fizzrelda.

Zhu peered into the hole trying to see anything beyond the stairs, there was nothing but blackness. She stood up and said, “There’s only one way to find out, in we go.”

When they reached the stairs, they found several brands lying about, one was still smoldering. Fizzrelda picked one up and rekindled the flame.

“Give the torch to Meagle,” said Zhu Paand, “and, Meagle, stay close to us.”

“Yes mistress.” Meagle replied accepting the torch from Fizzrelda’s hand.

The stairs ended in a wide hall. The hall was empty, but before they reached the center of the room, hobgoblins entered from the other end. There were four of them, two warriors with spears, an archer and one who appeared to be in charge carrying a wicked axe. They were surprised to meet Zhu Paand and the goblins. Zhu wasted no time in casting a dazzle spell which struck the leader and the archer holding them in place as if they were encased in ice. Fizzrelda charged slipping past the spearpoint of the warrior. She made short work of the warrior, who crumpled to the ground. Zhu Paand parried the spear of the other warrior stepping in and pushing his shield away from his body, stabbed him twice, once with each dagger. In the meantime, Meagle killed the immobile archer. They surrounded the remaining hobgoblin who couldn’t move.

“He can’t move? I’ve never seen a spell like this, I thought magic just burned people to a crisp.” said Fizzrelda.

“Can he see and hear us?” asked Meagle.

Zhu Paand laughed and answered, “Of course he can, just look at his eyes and the sweat pouring down his face. Take his weapons and shield.”

Fizzrelda disarmed the hobgoblin and remarked, “He may have pissed himself as well, unless this is the way hobgoblin’s naturally smell.”

Zhu Paand curled her lips into a sneer and stared into the hobgoblin’s soul. She snapped her fingers. The hobgoblin screamed and ran past them out of the dungeon.

“Damn,” swore Zhu Paand, “I was hoping he would go the other way springing any traps that lay before us.”

Zhu examined the room while Meagle and Fizzrelda looted the bodies for coin and other valuables. The room had at one time been used to store foodstuffs for the tower. The entrance the hobgoblins had used revealed a landing for another set of stairs going down.

The next room had a clear path running down its center, the rest of the room was covered in cobwebs. Three giant spiders dropped from the ceiling and one immense spider came scuttling across the floor from underneath the webs. With almost no thought, Zhu Paand cast a fireball which set the room ablaze. Two of the spiders burned, while the huge one and one other scuttled back under the webbing which hadn’t burned.

Passing through the room of smoldering spider webs, they entered the next room which consisted of cells for holding prisoners. In one of the cells, they found the equipment and loot the hobgoblins had taken from travelers. They found a bag which they filled with coin and jewels, choosing to leave everything else behind. Fizzrelda hoisted the bag over a shoulder and Zhu Paand’s party left the room.

When they reached the room that had been used for storing food, they met a hobgoblin and an orc. The orc was a tall female sorceress, she spoke, “I see you’ve found the treasure room; did you take it all?”

Zhu Paand replied, “Not all, just enough to make the trip worthwhile. I am Zhu Paand, and to whom do I have the pleasure?”

The orc sorceress laughed, “My name is Umkado Zut. It is not often I find an elf in my center of operations.”

“Half-Elf to be exact.” said Zhu Paand. “I don’t suppose you’ll just step aside and let us pass?”

Umkado answered, “I really can’t, but you interest me.”

“Perhaps we can reach an agreement.” said Zhu Paand.

“What do you propose?” asked Umkado.

“How about we leave everything we’ve taken except what Fizzrelda and Meagle have in their purses, and we avoid testing our magic against one another. We are in a little bit of a hurry.” said Zhu.

“Hurry? What’s the hurry out here?” asked Umkado.

“It seems I’ve attracted the attention of a witch finder who may be about half a day behind me. It would be a shame for us to fight only to have the survivor burned at the stake” Zhu said, though in truth she had no idea Brother Reynard and Boris Goddur had not yet left Orlogne.

Umkado nodded, “I have heard of these witch finders and their retinues of men-at-arms. Perhaps you have done me a service by telling me they are travelling the road. Deal, leave the bag, empty their purses, and hurry away, before my curiosity demands I find out how powerful of a sorceress you are.”

Zhu Paand smiled and said, “Fizzrelda, if you please.” Fizzrelda dropped the heavy bag to the floor. Fizzrelda and Meagle turned their purses inside out; then quickly skirted past the orc and her bodyguard. As Zhu Paand passed the sorceress, Umkado whispered “We will meet again, elf.”

Reaching the hill top, Zhu found Gredra had recovered consciousness and Umsa had been bandaged and was sitting up as Joonda and Gredra had taken all of the pack saddles off of the horse except one.

“Did you find the wounded hobgoblin?” Joonda asked.

“We didn’t find him, but we managed to find our share of trouble.” said Fizzrelda.

“Yeah, more hobgoblins, some giant spiders, and an orc sorceress.” Meagle added.

“Oh?” asked Gredra.

“We need to get going as soon as possible, before she changes her mind.” said Zhu Paand. “Can Umsa travel?”

Joonda answered, “We’ve unloaded the pack horse so Umsa can ride. The spear wound missed any major blood vessels and didn’t damage the shoulder joint. By riding as much as possible, she shouldn’t slow us down any.”

Zhu looked at Fizzrelda and Meagle and then the others. “Alright, whatever loot you’ve taken, put in the pack saddle, we can divide it up later. Then, let’s leave this place at a trot.” There were still several hours of daylight left and Zhu Paand wanted to cover as many miles as possible.

This was the first dungeon encounter where I used the WHAT Dungeon Deck from Two Hour Wargames instead of regular playing cards. The new dungeon cards were so stiff, they were hard to shuffle.

Usually when encountering an enemy spell caster, I would automatically fight it out. I think that is from all the years of playing dwarfs in Warhammer where one of the first things you want to do in a battle is to silence any and all spell casters. There’s that old dwarf proverb: “if he ain’t a breathin’, then he ain’t a casting.”

This time, since I was playing a spell caster myself, I decided to put that charismatic attribute to work and try an interaction first, before hurling fireballs.

Previous Episodes

Episode 1Zhu Paand & FizzreldaEpisode 5Starting for Orlogne
Episode 2The Road to ClerseauEpisode 6A Box of Rocks
Episode 3The Blue GoblinEpisode 7To Clerseau with Haste
Episode 4Suspicious Job Offer

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Mistress of Time, Episode 8

If you enjoyed Mistress of Time, Episode 8, consider supporting the blog with a small donation. Thank you!

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One thought on “Dungeon of the Ruined Keep

  1. Interesting game. I don’t think kill, hack, and destroy is always the best possible strategy. By the way, I’ve been trying to learn Warrior Heroes: Legends, and ended up going back to some of your older posts where you explained how WHAT and other THW games work. They helped a lot, though it is still necessary for me to -GASP!!-think.

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