Having been cut off from his fellow travelers, Ferris found himself face to face with a bugbear and its master. As Ishmael strained to lift the porte cullis, Froyo and Zedd rushed through the opening to Ferris’ aid. Among the stench of spoiled food and stagnant air one would come to expect from a hobgoblin’s lair lingered the pungent smell of vinegar and pickles. Suddenly, from the lair’s storage containers emerged two unexpected allies. Covered in pickle juice, these two stowaways began to engage the Bugbear’s master. Our adventurers made quick work of the duo and were quickly alerted to the presence of other hobgoblins in the chamber’s sleeping quarters. Having been given an ultimatum, the three hidden hobgoblins surrendered and allowed Froyo to search the barracks.
The group voted to have one of the captives executed, so to minimize risk, and used one of the two remaining to search the leader’s chamber for traps. Despite his pleas and reluctance to enter the room, a search was conducted which revealed a chest filled with gold, two shackled children and a giant spider. The spider immediately attacked the group, almost as to protect the children, but among the confusion the hobgoblin darted for the children. As the spider was defeated, the hobgoblin executed the first child, using the other as leverage, ordering everyone out of the chamber. Sadly, while trying to rescue the child, the goblin caught us and executed the child then took his own life.
Once the group had finished looting, the last captive was offered an ultimatum; his life in exchange for a guided tour of the immediate area along with information on the children rumored to have been enslaved in the keep. The guide led the group through the main barracks, the kitchen and provided details on how to find the chamber where he had seen children being kept, and in exchange was released. Following the direction the hobgoblin had offered, our adventurers came to a door with beautifully crafted artwork made entirely of gold portraying two winged children, implying that they were on the right track. The detailed artwork was quickly looted, even as golden tears ran down the faces of the children they were plucked away. Once past the doors, our adventurers approached a statue of what resembled an ancient monastic knight, complete with sword in hand. This would be the site of Ishmael’s untimely demise. A pressure plate was activated as the group stood before the statue and when it activated, the statue swiped side to side, cutting down the giant. Coincidentally, there just happened to be a lowly farmer seeking his own adventure in the keep, who just happened to be in the same place as our adventurers. Introduced as Jacen, this farmer proposed he join the group so as to be able to share his knowledge of farming. Soon after his arrival, the decorative door locked tightly, leaving the group with limited options, but even faced with these difficulties the group pressed on.
In the next room, the group encountered a horde of undead as well as what appeared to be a leader of the group. The leader retreated to the room behind it as the rest engaged the group. There was a bloody battle that was eventually won but not before claiming the second life of the day as our newly found, pickle stained friend was overrun by the undead. Once the dust had settled and a quick thought was said, the remaining members of the group discussed options for the next step. A total party kill room lay ahead if they continued or they could return to site of Ishmael’s demise to attempt the door that had locked behind Jacen when he joined the group.