The first part of the evening was spent investigating the kobold lair. No secret doors were found, but the adventurers discovered that the two large walls of foliage seen to the north and south of the waterfall outside of the lair covered additional entrances. The raised dais was inspected also and while its existence might hint at something that once was, there was no altar or religious symbols there now.
After ensuring their own safety by poking through each corner of the lair the party settled in the northeast corner where the fat goblin had made his home. The chest found in this area was inspected and no traps were found, so Jenneth used the silver key found in the goblins pouch to open the chest. The chest contained the following items:
600 gold pieces
+1 dwarven chain mail, claimed by Bogar.
A scroll, which reads:
My spy in Winterhaven suggests we keep an eye out for visitors to the area. It probably does not matter. In a few more days, I'll completely open the rift. Then Winterhaven's people will serve as food for those Lord Orcus sends to do my bidding.
The existence of the scroll prompts many questions. Is the fat goblin Irontooth - the large metal tusk protruding from the mouth of the fat goblins mouth give a strong hint that it is. Why is there a goblin with all of these kobolds? There are supposedly goblins at the keep north of Winterhaven - is this somehow related? Who is the spy? Is it the quarrelsome elf back in Winterhaven? If the kobolds were raiding freight caravans where are all the goods? There was certainly no evidence of any quantity of stolen goods here, just the chest with the items locked inside.
The party decides their priority is to get back to town and see Lord Padraig immediately. The party collected their tokens for proof to Lord Padraig, including the iron tusk. Oester collected the bandoleer with one remaining glass ball from the kobold slinger outside, and while a selection of armor and weapons are collected to return to town with, most are bundled and left behind. The kobold bodies are packed into the lair and the party moved out to the north for about two hours before camping for the evening.
DM note: Did anybody claim the sling and sling bullets?
To get back to town today the party knew they would have a full day ahead of them so they got an early start and moved quickly. The day passed uneventfully but when about two hours away from Winterhaven an oppressive sense of gloom almost managed to drive Eldred to his knees. Most of the rest of the party felt the same sense of gloom, although not to the extent of Eldred.
As the party neared Winterhaven the sense of gloom also appeared to be affecting the farmers and villagers similarly. The guards at the gate were especially nervous as they quickly opened and then shut the gates to Winterhaven behind you. In town there were few people out and the same sense of dread permeated the area here as well.
The party's first stop was at Valthrun's Tower. Valthrun the Prescient quickly opened the door and ushered you in, and sent his house boy to notify Lord Padraig of your return. Upon Padraig's arrival Valthrun apologized for not originally telling you all of what he knew about the keep, but he stated that he is not in the habit of telling everything he knows to strangers. Now that you have now proven your worth to Lord Padraig, Valthrun, and the town he will tell you what he knows.
Valthrun relays to you that many centuries previous there had indeed been a rift to the Shadowfell constructed. At that time soldiers were able to conquer the followers of Orcus and keep the rift from fully being opened and then built the keep itself on top of the rift. Or so the stories say, for no one really knows for sure what might be down there.
One of the stories about the mysterious keep is that of Lord Keegan. He was given the position as the Lord of the Keep but after several years he apparently degenerated into insanity and killed all those who lived at the keep, including his own family. The stories say that he still roams the hallways, wailing in grief over the tragedy of his life.
The stories of the haunting of the keep kept anybody else from taking residence there, and the keep soon fell to ruin. Empires have come and gone since and the knowledge of the existence of the rift has become long forgotten. Today stories of the haunted keep are enough to keep most people away, but the presence of goblins living there serve to dissuade the remainder.
The party then showed the letter to Lord Padraig and told him off the kobold lair. Lord Padraig had believed the Irontooth was already dead because the mysterious elf had presented proof of Irontooth's death. All agree that the elf must be the spy and that whatever is causing the feeling of gloom must be related to whatever is going on up at the keep.
It was late so the party agreed to depart first thing in the morning. The party made several visits - Sister Linora at the temple was able to provide a vial of holy water, Thair Coalstriker and Bairwin Wildarson were interested in the location of the two weapons and armor hordes left from the defeated kobolds, some miscellaneous supplies were acquired, and the evening was finished in the hushed ambiance of Wrafton's Inn.
DM Note: Through four encounters the party has acquired 575 XP, plus each party members earns another 250 XP for completing Lord Padraig's quest to defeat the kobolds (825 XP total).
The group has collected 29 GP and 134 SP from various kobolds, 600 GP from Irontooth's chest, and another 600 GP from Lord Padraig for the 60(!) Kobolds killed.
When the morning arrived the party headed north out of town, past the cemetery, and up the road towards the keep. The road was not used much any more and has become overrun with brush that slows your passage, but after about two hours you come to a bend in the road and off the road the party can see the keep, or at least the ruins of what is left of the keep. It sits on a high hill and there is little doubt as to its strategic location - someone standing in a tower from this hill could see most of the valley.
There are no obvious goblins in view from the road, so the party worked their way through the woods and up to the outer wall - or at least what is left of an outer wall - of the keep. As the party peered in a group of four goblins appeared to the rear of the keep, only to disappear behind one of the larger buildings. With no other goblins in view, the party moved up to peer into the large ruin.
It was obvious that something had happened here. Your guess is that a set of trap doors had been buried for a long time, only to have been uncovered and opened some time in the last few weeks. There are no goblins present now, but there were large set of steps leading down from the trap doors ... so down you go.
As the party moved down the steps they could see there was a large room at the bottom of the steps. As the adventurers crept to the bottom of the steps the party saw a medium size room with four sturdy pillars, a hallway to the left and right and a hallway straight ahead. At the beginning of the hallway straight ahead dozed a single goblin wearing leather armor, holding a spear and javelins.
Akta bravely rushed straight ahead with the intent of killing the Goblin Warrior before a warning could be given, only to take two steps and step onto the hidden tarp the covered a rat swarm trap. With the pit preventing the party from charging directly ahead several of the party began their attack by circling around the area of the pit, but the Goblin Warrior was able to use this extra time to give a shout back up the hallway.
Before the party could attack two Goblin Sharpshooters appeared up the hallway behind the Goblin Warrior and began to fill the air with bolts. The party was able to move up the hallway to damage the sharpshooters only to have a third sharpshooter appear. Two more Goblin Warriors appeared from up the hallway to the east in an attempt to circle behind the party, and after an intense battle the adventurers finally conquered the goblins.
As you look around you find:
Three Goblin Warriors, wearing leather armor, wielding a spear, and carrying five javelins.
Three Goblin sharpshooters, wearing leather armor, wielding a short sword, and carrying a hand crossbow and 20 bolts.
The goblins were carrying a total of 48 GP and 58 SP and each party member earned 115 XP.
Next week the party will inspect the newly discovered rooms and decide where to go next.
DM Note: The party is currently at 940 XP and will likely go over 1000 XP after the next encounter.