Session 17 April 2022

We scout the area around the giant torpedo disk and find a couple of dead hobgoblins. We think about a plan to use the bodies to our advantage but we decide not to get involved. Valentine leads us to the west to find new areas of interest – avoiding the tunnels with rust monsters and lava children.

After walking a while to the south (to get to the west, of course), Valentine spots a hobgoblin and a giant cannon on the other side of the trench. We approach, with Valentine in front – disguised as a hobgoblin. I can now see the big cannon, an armored ridge on the other side, and a camp. “Helloo?” says Valentine tentatively. 

“What are you doing here?”

“We’re trying to help you guys!”

“Huh? How? Why do we need your help?”

“We found some hobgoblins killed by a giant disk,” explains Valentine.

“Oh no… This level is treacherous. We’re only here to get some metal, but a lot of goblins are killed because of it.” 

“We couldn’t save the hobgoblins, sorry. We killed that UFO-thingy though,” says Valentine casually.

“Oh yeah,” says the hobgoblin. “I get that. Did you get some metal too?”

Valentine shakes her head. 

“Okay then, I’ll send some troops to collect the bodies and metal.”

As a couple of hobgoblins pass us, we make some conversation with the head hobgoblin that was already talking to us. Apparently, the hobgoblins are here to collect metal and bring that back to their homeplace, Arcturia Doom, the next level. There is a Gnome on this level that doesn’t want to share the metal at all. The Gnome’s name is Zox and calls himself Trobriants apprentice. Trobriant is the metal mage, and also a failed inventor. 

“Are you serving house Freth or Auvryndarr?”

“Neither,” responds the hobgoblin. “We serve the fire giants. And we want to obtain the ring that Zox has, it is enchanting and controlling the metal constructs here.”

“Okay, interesting. May we enter the base?”

“Yeah, please enter.”

We have to climb onto a ledge to get to the bridge leading to the base camp. The hobgoblin tells us he wants us to get to Zoxs’ palace and get his ring. We can have the other loot that resides in the castle. Of course, Farryn is VERY interested. However, when he hears we can kill the Gnome if we have to, he falls a bit silent. Apparently, the Gnome controls very dangerous mechanic scorpions. The head hobgoblin has around 10 warriors he can order to go with us today. We talk strategy for like a full hour, and we decide to attack the palace from two sides. The goal will be to get the ring from Zox, and the hobgoblins will take some metal. We can have the rest. It seems like a good plan to have the hobgoblins on our side, but I guess this info is not really much to go on, but we’ll see when we get there.

After a short break, we head out to the trenches. A group of hobgoblins si waiting on the bridge. We have to wait for a second because the worm is passing by. The hobgoblins explain that the worm passes twice an hour, one time he goes to the north, and the second time to the south. They know his routine by now, they cannot explain it, but it’s just there.

At the palace, we divide into two groups. The party takes one side, and the hobgoblins the other – we’re going to use different hallways to get in. Grond tries to bash the door, and the hobgoblins run off to get to the other side. Then, we hear a high, loud beep and many tiny mechanical feet. The scorpions are coming. I hear Calyx shouting we have to do something to keep the scorpions at bay. In my reaction, I cast a wall of force. A couple of seconds later, we can enter the palace. Valentine walks to a door and opens it. Suddenly, we’re all thrown off our feet, and Valentine gets the full force of the explosion she initiated.

Through the hallway, we can see the hobgoblins that came in from the other side, they are battling a shield guardian who was near the other door. There are only five hobgoblins left… We try to help the hobgoblins, and I throw a fireball, however, the fire immediately dissolves into thin air. “Well, well, well… NO manners here as far as I can see…”

After I’m teleported with Calyx, I can see the wizard in the back of the room, that must be Zox. I try to get to him, and see Calyx healing some hobgoblins – a couple of them are getting to their feet again with much more vigor than others. I attack the shield guardian Zox has to defend him. However, it doesn’t kill it. Zox is getting anxious: he tries to create a globe of invulnerability around himself, but the second I notice the hand gestures, I counterspell his conjuration. Unluckily for me, he counterspells my counterspell. I shriek towards Valentine: “Valentine! DO SOMETHING!”

Valentine turns around, and counterspells the counterspell of MY counterspell – still clear? Yeah, I thought so. “WHAT ARE THESE STUPID TACTICS? It is NOT fair!” yells Zox.

After a couple of hobgoblins are killed by the shield guardian, Zox yells again: “Why are you attacking me? Why are you siding with HOBGOBLINS?” 

“We know you don’t want to share knowledge with them!”

“What? I do share my knowledge!”

The moment Calyx hears this, he tries to calm down the hobgoblins and get them to back off. 

I approach the wizard and say: “What the F*CK is going on!?” 

Farryn approaches too and says: “The hobgoblins want your ring, we only want knowledge.”

“The ring you cannot take from me, but I’m happy to share all of my knowledge with you.” 

Suddenly, the air around Zox is getting thinner. He is trying to escape! I counterspell before he can get away, but he is still vanishing and slips through my fingers. “You’re entering my house without invitation and attacking me all of a sudden. That is NOT acceptable,” he says.

Behind me, Calyx is healing the shield guardian and is still keeping the hobgoblins at bay. He explains to the shield guardian that we were ‘badly informed’. 

“NO! We are attacking the guardian and wizard!” shouts the leader hobgoblin. 

I walk up to the confused group – feeling confused myself. “Okay, okay, okay, calm down everyone. I don’t get this anymore.” Farryn and Calyx are listening to me, but the rest is still fighting, even Valentine. 

Then, Farryn shouts to the hobgoblins: “We are STOPPING this attack RIGHT NOW! The ring needs to be negotiable, Zox. Plus, everyone who attacks someone else is, therefore, my enemy.”

“NO, no! The ring is NON-negotiable, and the metal is mine too!” responds the invisible Zox.

Then, the wizard and shield guardian attack at the same time, and Farryn immediately responds by toll the dead. A loud ‘ding’ sounds, like a bell, and is deafening. When I open my eyes again – squinting from the sound – the shield guardian is dead. “No, REX, NO!” 

I approach Calyx and Farryn who are near the wizard, and try to knock Zox out with a poisonous spray but miss him. “Just give up Zox!” says Farryn. 

Then, Zox is visible again but doesn’t want to talk or surrender: he casts a cold tornado. I try to counterspell again, but unfortunately, I cannot undo this level of magic. The tornado kills almost all of the hobgoblins and hurts us all a lot. “CAN WE TALK NOW? All hobgoblins are DEAD,” says Farryn exasperated.

Calyx, Farryn, and I step backward to give Zox some space to explain himself. However, Valentine rushes forward and attacks him. 

“What… What are you DOING?! I surrendered!”

“Too late! Drop your ring!” says Valentine through gritted teeth.

“No, my ring is not up for negotiation.” 

“Give it. Now. We don’t know you.” 

“But… why… I don’t understand. Why are you collaborating with the hobgoblins?” He is still standing there before us, with his hands up. “You came in with fires blazing. What should I have done?!”

I take over. “We were just misinformed, I believe.”

Valentine doesn’t listen at all and just continues to hurt Zox. She hits the gnome against the wall and knocks him out – the look of anguish is still on his face when he collapses to the ground. Farryn grabs Zoxs’ ring. Calyx shoves Valentine out of the way, looking disapprovingly at her, and takes a seat next to Zox. He grabs Valentine’s ankles and starts to perform a ritual. He murmurs: “Come back to the light, return to yourself. Be as thou wast wont to be, see as thou wast wont to see.” 

Farryn stabilizes Zox, but that isn’t working so fast, so Calyx uses his magic to spare his life.

Valentine turns around and shoots a couple of eldridge blasts at Zox’s head! I am utterly shocked. “We. Had. A. DEAL.” she says. 

Farryn stands up. He is small, but because of his anger, he seems taller than usual. “The behavior you’re displaying now is NOT acceptable in this party.” 

Calyx agrees and starts to collect gold pieces from his pockets to be able to cast revivify. I put a share of my own money on the pile, and say. “Cast the spell. I have your back.” I turn to Valentine: “This is nothing for you – I agree to take the responsibility for this confusion, but I’m not letting you take an innocent man’s life.” I stand in front of Valentine and say: “I don’t agree with your actions. If you want to attack him again. You’ll have to go through me.”

“But WE HAD A PLAN. Why did you guys change it?!” she says angrily. 

“It was based on false information!” shouts Farryn. 

“We could’ve used the hobgoblins to get through the next level.”

“Sometimes, we have to choose between what is right, and what is easy,” I say wisely.

Calyx succeeded in bringing Zox back to life and helps him to his feet. 

“Where is my ring? I need it for my inventions…” he asks. 

“Zox, what are you creating?” asks Farryn. 

“It is difficult to explain, but I call it the Simulatrix. It is a portal and I can create the metal scorpions that help me with my inventions. I need more help, so I need to build more.” 

Apparently, the ring is Trobriants’ ring, and it controls all the constructs on this level. It is really cool, but we have to leave it with Zox in my opinion. I’m also still thinking about Valentines’ actions… I believe that if she wasn’t my sister, Farryn would’ve already kicked her out of the party, but I reckon he knows I’ll be going with her if he does… 

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