Amidst great fanfare, the “Adventurer Hunter Band” was given equipment and promptly booted from The Fire Spear Tribe‘s caves, to find supplies for the tribe, their band’s totem, and acceptance into the tribe as full warriors. At the cave’s entrance, the four gathered to discuss what they might do, and where they might go. None had traveled very extensively, but they all knew a little of the local region.
At the advice of Young-and-Beautiful, the group decided to cut across the South Meadows to Lake Blackthorn and into the southern edge of The Rags, to locate the Steam Caves, harvest some valuable Cave Moss, and see if they couldn’t find a totem along the way. Stew-Guard agreed it was a worthy task, and together the young friends headed into the dusk to find their futures.
Crossing the South Meadows, the group encountered a lone Giant Bee, that ignored the group (despite their pitiful attempts to hide). “YnB” panicked and launched a sling stone at the creature as it passed, and it noticed them and closed quickly to attack. During the fight, a hidden Fodder managed a lucky sneaky blow, and Knows-It was able to strike it three times with his darts before it closed on him and stuck him solidly with its stinger. After it buried the stinger into Knows-It’s thorax, it floundered and tried to flee, but was cut down. Victory! The group took the stinger from Knows-It’s chest, and cleaned it to claim it as a totem, which Stew-Guard tucked away in his pack.
Traveling quickly to the woodlands on the southern edge of Blackthorn Lake, the group worked their way along the edge of the lake, staying quiet and as sneaky as goblins can be. Heading east from the lake along the stream, they traveled along the southern edge of The Rags, to just below the heights of the Steam Caves. Crossing the stream, they followed a narrow stony path to the summit, and approached the entrance to the Steam Caves.
The air in the cave was moist and warm. The walls and floor were covered in patches of Cave Moss, showing past harvesting efforts, but there was a great deal still available for the group. Giving Knows-It the chance to rest and recover, the group bedded down for several hours. About five hours into their rest, Stew-Guard noticed the heat and steam were beginning to build in the back of the cave, along with a bubbling sound. He shooed everyone outside (into the daylight!), and a couple rounds later, a billow of steam burst from the cave, likely having caused burn damage to anyone who had remained. In the midst of the steam burst, a Steam Weevils swarm billowed out into the daylight. The swarm attacked!
The swarm moved back and forth between party members, but eventually it was waved at and small portions of the swarm dispersed, until eventually the entire swarm dissipated. A few burns here and there were immediately treated, and after a few minutes to let the remaining steam clear, the group went back in. When everyone was rested, they decided to give Knows-It some more rest time, and the other three began harvesting moss, using the many large pools of clean water in the caves to clean their harvest, and then placing bundles outside to dry. They worked all day long, leaving the caves once more to avoid a second sudden steam burst, but there were no weevils this time. Eventually they harvested a large sack full of moss, and when they were sure it was dark enough to go out, they left the cave.
Outside, they discussed what to do. They decided that since The Ruins were so close, they might travel up higher into The Rags and see what was what. The hope was they might find a real totem for the group, or some excellent supplies. Stew-Guard led the way, following an old trail north-west past a clearing with a large waterfall, and eventually up the hill of The Ruins itself. The top of the hill was the largest and most desolate in The Rags, with brown and scraggly clumps of grass and bare, cracked ground. Even the scrub trees on its lower edges were especially dark and foreboding. The peak had two sets of tumbled stones; a low collection of white rubble to the north, and a larger collection of stone buildings and tumbled masonry to the south, overlooking the southern dale.
Approaching the northern rubble, they found bunches of thorn-bushes hiding and cracking many smooth, roughly square white stones lying among the thorns. Closely examining the stones, Stew-Guard was able to read some of the words, seeing the Common word “…Peace.”, and numerous unfamiliar names repeated. As YnB related the tale of how these were memorials for the workers for the fortress across the way, who died building their tribe’s home, Stew-Guard noticed a handful of figures approaching from the trees. The group hid among the bushes, and watched as four shambling humans slowly moved among the stones, eventually stopping to sniff the ground. After a short time, they started to scrabble in the dirt, like they were digging in the ground, and taking the opportunity to slip away, the group quickly traveled across the clearing to the ruined fort.
Approaching a broken-down wall along the northern perimeter, the large rectangle of stone was obviously human-built, but nearly completely destroyed; what still stood was obscured by vines and thorn-bushes. Several large square buildings and a large pool of stagnant water were visible, along with a large heavily-overgrown cluster of plants. Choosing the tangled and thorny mass of brambles, they entered the compound, and YnB identified the place as a wild-grown garden, potentially with healing herbs, though it would take some time to find something familiar to her. Walking along the edge, they eventually spotted a goblin-sized opening in the undergrowth. “Goblins!” cried Fodder, and the group edged him forward to search-out if there were any traps in the opening.
Poking his head through, Fodder quickly spotted a trio of goblin warriors, with green skin, hiding just behind the opening, their spears held menacingly towards the group. The group identified themselves as Fire Spear goblins, and admitted they were “Questors” seeking trophies. The green-skinned goblins were very “gobliny” (lying and sneaky), tried to convince the group they had no “trophies” and eventually identified themselves as the “Stone Lurker Goblin Tribe". This was a tribe the group had never heard of or seen before. They told the group that there were trophies over in the big building. Stew-Guard sensed there was something else moving around nearby, so he convinced the group to leave the new goblins alone and head over to the big building.
As they crossed the open area in front of the big building, they noticed another pair of three goblins move from holes in the overgrown garden, to start talking with the first three. Approaching the large wooden doors at the front of the big building, they noticed something odd; there was a carving in the door. Carved like a fat, squatting, vaguely humanoid figure (demon?), whose face was twisted into a hideous leer and its arms raised above its head. Stew-Guard didn’t like it. A lot. The group decided to open the doors, and spent some time trying to lever the large, stuck wooden doors open enough to slip through, eventually pulling them open.
In the room, five giant statues of the same long-forgotten demon-god supported a 20’-high ceiling with their arms and heads. The floor was smooth and very clean… The group stuck to the shadows, following along the large room’s right wall, but after traveling for a while, they saw no other entrance or doors, and nothing else of note. The group decided to slip back out, leaving the door slightly open behind them.
Walking west along the outside of the big building, they eventually found four normal wooden doors along the west wall, and took the most northern one. It opened to reveal a long room filled with a large number of rotted wooden bunks and chest. A quick search revealed nothing beyond another doorway along the same wall that led back out (the second west door). Struggling to open the next (third west) door, they eventually found a large chamber with four rotted rows of tables and benches, all covered in a sickening greenish-yellow mold. Two doors left this room at the far end; one south and the other north.
YnB checked to see if the mold was herbal or edible (it proved to be neither), and the group poked through the trash looking for something metal or valuable. They found nothing. The chose the south door, and after forcing it open, it revealed a large room. A shattered stone contraption against the south wall had opened numerous smallish holes in its surface, showing the night air of the southern face of the hill beyond. Broken crockery and rotted wood lay scattered everywhere. In the far right-hand corner of the room was a large pile of what appeared to be gathered garbage. Atop this pile were a pair of large squeaking Giant Rats, eyes glinting evilly at the approaching goblins.
The group entered the chamber, and quickly the rats scurried to fight them. Very quickly, a large horde of rats appeared in the holes along the far south wall, and about a dozen swarmed the group. Knows-It used his Color Spray to good effect, knocking two unconscious, including a rather large one. She eventually slew it while it remained stunned, and Stew-Guard slew another rather large one, as well. The group dug in and started using their daggers, Dogslicer and clubs to good effect, though YnB took a particularly vicious wound, and eventually fell unconscious. Stew-Guard used his healing powers to raise her back awake, and eventually all the rats were destroyed, though the group was bloodied and bruised from the encounter.
The group quickly spread throughout the chamber, looking for treasures, most making for the pile of garbage in the corner. Knows-It started scavenging through the chamber’s broken pots and other debris. He recovered some spell components; a handful of good, solid leather scraps he could use for his Armor spell, and a number of pinches of many-colored sand for his Color Spray spell. Fodder declared the room to be a ruined Witch Doctor’s chamber, and rummaged through the trash pile to find three bright glassy gemstones, a handful of smooth, shiny river pebbles (which she tossed in a pouch), and a handful of gold, silver and platinum coins. They also found a strangely black (and intact) war arrow, that YnB identified as magical. Knows-It took responsibility for the coins and gems, hiding them in his pack. YnB and Stew-Guard managed to recover the two big rat hides, something that they felt could be used as personal trophies for their standing in the tribe. The remaining rats were divested of their hides by the group, and the group decided to start a fire, roast some rat meat, and see if they could rest-up and maybe head back to the tribe on the morrow, with some sacks of rat meat as food supplies. Their first outing was a success!