At the end of last session, we left the PCs standing over the bloodied corpses of a small group of ogre bandits. After looting the corpses of the fallen, the looked to the safety of the man rescued from the orgres’ noose. The main identified himself as Aeron, one of the garrison of Fangwood Keep. The keep had recently been attacked – and taken – by a band of pirates known as Vos’ Strikers. Aeron was the only survivor of the attack and had been trying to raise the alarm when he was caught by the ogres.
Hearing this bad news – and being in no state to assault the keep – the party returned to the cave they had fought the orc shadows in and rested for several days to regain their strength. During this time, they pumped Aeron for information and learnt that secret passages honeycombed the keep (and how to access those tunnels and roughly where they led). Once Aeron has supplied them with as much information as they found relevant, he continued his journey into Ratik and the party resolved to retake the keep and to find out the pirates’ objective.
A few days later, the party were ready to continue their journey and a day later reached the keep without incident.
However, the keep stood across a fast-flowing river atop a barren hill – while a bridge crossed the river, sneaking up on the castle (at least during the day) seemed impossible. Taking the initiative, Tzaran transformed into a hawk and scouted out the local area. He found a ford about five miles upstream from the party’s position. He also discovered that hobgoblins seemed to be now in charge of the fort – the bodies of human warriors lay scattered about the courtyard around many small holes dug into the hill. Clearly, something had happened since, Aeron fled the keep.
In any event, the party headed upstream and found the place Tzaran had discovered. They crossed the swiftly flowing stream by felling a tree and using it as an impromptu bridge (but amusingly, Dregak fell in during the crossing). It was now night and the party camped near the river. The next day, they made their way slowly through the dense forest to the keep. Waiting until night, they then crept up to the keep and found the entrance to the secret tunnels.
Bravely, Krorz led the way and shortly the party were inside the keep. They had a shock to discover the secret passages inhabited – by a pirate! It transpired the pirates had themselves been slaughtered by hobgoblins and that the pirate – Akre – was the only survivor of the band (or so he thought). He offered to join the party, and gave them valuable information about the hobgoblins’ dispositions. With this extra information, the party decided on a campaign of hit and run attacks, using the secret passageways to stay hidden and to sow confusion among their enemies.
Their first target was a barracks room; quickly they slew the three hobgoblins within before help could reach them. Retreating back into the secret passageways – thus preserving their secret (at least for now) they then climbed a ladder up to the second floor where they found several rooms full of armour. Shockingly in the second of the two rooms two suits of plate armour animated and attacked the party. Although, Delvier was badly injured in the fight he managed to pin one of the suits of armour to the ground and Dregak’s adamantine glove and Ulmo’s magic carried the day.
Using another secret door in the room, the party pounced on several hobgoblin guards. The hobgoblins guards were quickly reinforced by more hobgoblins from a nearby room, and although Ulmo’s magic slew their dogs the sounds of more reinforcements heralded the imminent arrival of yet more foes…