Players: Tre/Tienarth, Henry/Ferris, Nick/Azrak, Jeff/Ghevont, Oliver/Glubo, Audrey/Nebula, Jared/Jed, Joe/Diritbro
It turns out that Azrak and Ghevont merely overslept last session. They boarded the next boat up to Slateholm. Fortunately, Tianarth thought to leave payment with the church in town, so that when Ghevont showed up, the restoration spell was applied right away. As the party was returning to the fort after killing the gnolls, Azrak and Ghevont were disembarking from their trip up to Slateholm. Meanwhile, Jed explained he’d needed some quiet contemplation and had avoided the party while they spent time in Slateholm.
While regrouping and considering options, Ferris introduced the party to the halfling Diritbro. They seemed to know each other from some school or training group, but the details were quickly glossed over.
After the news of how the empire’s newsman being killed on the road, the party decided to head up to the scene of the crime. After a day’s march, they camped by the side of the road. During the first watch of the night, goblins attacked. Ferris and Diritbro heard them and there was no surprise. Sixteen goblins came forward out of the darkness. Several fell quickly beneath swords. Four collapsed into sleep cast by Tianarth. The rest fled into the forest.
The party did not give chase, but they did tie up the sleeping goblins. Tianarth made Ferris invisible, and he quietly followed the path of the goblins for recognizance. After four hours, he came to a clearing in the forest. The goblins seemed to have come this way. As he crossed the clearing, the ground gave way and he tumbled down a slanting passageway on the 10×10 landing. Stairs led down in three directions. He scrambled back out to the surface and made his way back to the party. They had retired to finish their night of sleep.
In the morning, Azrak became interested in farting. He attempted a fart, missed his role and defecated in his armor. The additional stench was not noticed by anyone else in the party. He attempted a second fart with success.
Then, the party planned a ruse for the goblins. They woke one of them while simulating the decapitation of one of the already-dead goblins. Azrak was not able to pull off the acting job, but it was no matter. This goblin was belligerent, even under torture, and he expired. The second goblin to be interrogated was much more cooperative. Eventually, he agreed to lead the party safely to the goblin fortress with promises of a large ransom.
Azrak tied a rope around the neck of the goblin to stop his escape. He reasoned that having the goblin lead they way insured some safety for the party. They headed back to where Ferris discovered the hole leading down.
Right, right, straight is what the goblin told them, and they followed this direction into the underground. They came to a door that opened to an octagonal room. As the goblin cross the center of the room a pit open and he fell. Azrak held fast to the rope. This broke the goblin’s neck as he jerked about 10 feet down.
Globo pulled hard on the door in the north wall. A spear whizzed by his ear. Jed noticed a hidden compartment where the spear came from and a locked compartment of some fashion. Both thieves tried unlocking it with no luck. Additional contemplation of the compartment went on for some time with no results.
Again, Globo lost patience and opened the door to the east. Six fire beetles scurried forward. The party suffered small bites but eventually bashed all six insect senseless. Sifting through the rubble of the beetle nest for an hour yielded a few coins and a pearl.
The session wrapped at this point due to time. It should be noted that with a party of eight players, there was a tendency to spin off into non-game chatter. A good 15-minute stretch was dedicated to a string of fart jokes. Beyond about six players, the games tend to drift into non-game talk frequently. One reason may be that players cannot all sit around the table. Some must sit to the side on the couch. Also, the more players, it seems the more chance that a spark of silly conversation explodes into a whole riff of players offering joke after joke. The two old dudes find this annoying and perhaps imagine it to be suboptimal play. Yet, at the end of the session, as usual, I ask what they thought of the session. Universally, the players love it. They showed thumbs up. As entertainment is ultimate purpose of play, it’s hard to decide to make any changes.