Thornkeep (Druid's Head)

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Assault on Woodbristle

There were four of us gobbies that were sent out by the Big Chief to go refound Zog’s glorious empire:

There’s me, Reeda, with my faithful hound Slasher.
There’s Jimbob, and his wall-climbing pet Slinky the lizard.
There’s Gook, who likes to sneak around and can’t speak the Human language.
There’s Content Not Found: lobby, who hangs from under a bat instead of walking!

It took us years of walking through woods before we came across a human place. There was lots of talking by an elf up on a stand somewhere, but we avoided that. Instead, we got a local goblin to lead us to Galask who is the chief goblin in town.

Galask said that remains of the Zog empire can be found in tunnels under the castle in the middle of the human town. He sent other goblins a few days ago, but they haven’t come back yet.

Gralask says there’s a bazaar near where we can get stuff. Content Not Found: lobby looks at some of the bottles and says which ones to buy.

A wailing goblin woman(?) was wailing about her daughter that was killed by halflings. The halflings live in the Woodbristle homestead a few miles south of town. She would give us magic gloves if we kill the halflings.

Ages later we get to Woodbristle. It is a hobbit hole surrounded by a barricade of thorned bristles. We kill the halflings without too much trouble and go back to collect the magic gloves. Jimbob says that they are cursed and we shouldn’t put them on. Maybe we should kill the wailing woman, it will be a lot quieter then.

We sell the hobbit stuff and then me and Jimbob buy Goblin Dogs to protect our new home in the Woodbristle homestead. It will become our stronghold for the beginning on the new Zog empire!

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Lobbi’s Musings #1
The Crone and Halfling’s Homestead

The Crone and The Halfling’s Homestead

Many distances we travelled in search of Zog’s lost kingdom, must be nearly all the way across Echo Wood.

There’s three of us. There’s me and Bats. We’ve been sent by the chief (although I’m sure the boss female had something to do with it, to remove her competition from the tribe).
Reeda’s in charge. He wears a hat and can read! No wonder they sent him away. He has an awfully dangerous imaginary friend called Slasher that looks like a stinky dog.
Jimbob also has an imaginary friend, a big lizard called Slinker. It can walk on ceilings!
And sometimes Gobbledygook turns up. We often can’t find him. We calls him Gook ‘because he’s got such a stupidly long name. Gook the Spook? He wears black and hits things. Normal goblin, then.

Just before givin’ up, we snucked up on a human tribe settlement called “Thornkeep”. We managed to stay hidden as a nasty female elf was pleading with the humans about somethin’. I think they may have been planning on eating her or her friend. Dull humans did not see us as we snucked about, not even noticing where the thrown stones were coming from.
We saw theres was goblins walking round the place, in full view of the humans! This is unnatural an’ needs investigatin’. We speak to one of the little runts, ‘oose name I didn’t bother to ask. He explained that Great Chief Graalsk was in charge and worked with the humans! Must be a complex scheme by a sneaksy goblin to kill them all. We go to meet the Great Chief.

He’s big. He has a female but I’m sure he can be convinced to change, especially if she meets an unfortunate accident. If a play this with waitin’, I could be the boss female of a tribe that can tell humans what to do! I can’t get him alone now but perhaps proving myself first may be best.

Great Chief Graalsk tells us that one of Zog’s palaces was below the Thornkeep’s chief’s hut on the hill at the centre of their camp. His mate’s cagebrother went in a couple of days ago. He tells us where, and asks us to look out for his brother-in-law. He seems concerned something may happen to him. If he dies in the tunnels, however, this will weaken the boss female and increase my chances of taking over. Accidents can happen.

We head off to the Goblin Bazaar to stock up before following this lead.
Whilst buying food, we hear a wailing coming from an old crone goblin. She looks at least 23 years old! She says her daughter was killed whilst trying to trade with the halflings of Woodbristle Homestead when they set their accursed dogs on her. You just can’t trust those halflings. Following the ancient tradition that you always do what an old crone says when you meet them, from carrying her across a river, carrying her firewood, or kissing her, we decide to get vengeance on her behalf. She offers us some magic gloves as well if we succeed.

We immediately head of on the long and arduous journey to the Woodbristle Homestead.
The homestead is burrowed into a hill that is surrounded by a dense thicket for defence. We can also hear the barking of at least three dogs somewhere inside.
I summons Bats whilst the others enter the lair with their two imaginary friends. Dunno where gook’s gone. Reeda, either being really clever or really stupid, chooses not to wait for dark, the usual goblin play time.

I fly round the homestead on Bats and notice a smoke-hole and two other entrances. Landing to block the chimney with my bedroll, I re-mount and resume patrolling. I feel vulnerable not doing this at night and Bats is also uncomfortable flying in the open in daylight.
A long time passes, but I start to see smoke coming out under the door of one of the furthest entrances. Eventually a door opens and a Halfling comes out with three dogs. All three dogs rush into the same entrance the others goblins went through, whilst I drop an exploding bat on his head. He emerges singed but very much alive. He uses a sling to throw a stone at me as I hit him with another two bombs from above. He uses a potion to heal himself before running into the tunnel after the dogs.
I land and look down the tunnel. The others are fighting the dogs whilst the Halfling (we later learn his name was Divram) stands behind them. I throw another bomb down the corridor at him with splashes of fire hitting the rear two dogs. Another bomb quickly follows. Divram charges towards me, but I take off again on Bats before he gets to me.
Having run out of exploding bats, I shoot at him with my crossbow but miss.
Slasher them comes running out of the burrow and brings Divram to the ground, but being well trained leaves him whole for hanging or curing. Gook runs out soon afterwards and whilst I fly above, Gook proceeds to loot Divram. I suppose he likes the black leather armour and shortsword – should I tell him it’s only soot from my bombs? I can always resize the armour later as Halflings are such a weird shape with very small heads and ears. Divram also had another magic healing potion that disappears into a deep goblin pocket.

I unblock the chimney and we find another four halflings collapsed unconscious in the fire room. We despatch them and hang them in the larder with Divram and the dogs, as well as another two halflings the others apparently encountered inside.
We decided to take over the Homestead as our new home. Piling all the stuff we don’t want in a handcart, we set off for the long journey back to the Goblin Bazaar to sell our loot and collect our reward.

We manage to trade the loot for 108 pieces of gold. Reeda and Jimbob invest in a pair of goblin dogs so we can start training our own guard dogs for our lair. These and the goblinbriar palisade should make for formidable defences.
It turns out the magic gloves offered by the crone are cursed. Should have remembered the end of the stories I have heard.

The “kitchen” will make an excellent laboratory for my studies, and Bats seems quite at home sleeping in the smoke-hole. Even some of the halfling supplies are useful. They also have an abundant fungus garden with tasty mushrooms and ingredients. I’m sure Bats’ guano will be a great fertiliser for them.

(27 gold pieces each and 250xp)

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Reeda's Update
Under the Castle

We entered the dungeon complex under the castle in town.

Gook went ahead to set off any traps without hurting the rest of us. He found a room with a floor that collapsed showing spikes a long way below, but he jumped off the floor before it disappeared.

We found lots of rooms and stairs between them, going up and down and down and up.

We found some skeletons, some zombies, some dangerous thing with the zombies, a strange thing that liked shadows. We destroyed all of them!

We found an idol which made my Celestial Eagle go pop, but was quite happy with my Fiendish Eagle.

We found two scrolls which are quite tough to cast: one to make me Invisible, and one to protect me with Electricity.

We found lots of stones that show blue light at the bottom of a pool which my Dolphin collected for me.

Gook tried to steal some coins off a body in the bottom of a trap he found, but we saw him taking the money but we don’t know if he saw us seeing him.

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Lobbi’s Musings #2
Uncovering Undead Under Thornkeep

Uncovering Undead Under Thornkeep

We return to speak to that mighty specimen of goblinkind Great Chief Graalsk and get better directions to the entrance his brother-in-law used – it is at the rear in the bank below Thornkeep’s hill. The humans know about it but rarely use it. Graalsk would make a great catch. I might start preparing some cages.

Taking our leave the three of us return to our new home (Gook having disappeared again) and install the new guard dogs. Reeda in his great wisdom decides we should head straight off to this entrance without any rest, just taking time to carve some halfling to eat on the way.

If this is the Empire of Zog, Zog can keep it! Turns out it’s a maze infected with undead!

We enter the tunnel described. The dull humans do not even notice us. Some flagstones have been removed revealing stairs leading down. It’s nice to be back underground in the dark. There are other passages that appear to have been blocked off. We smell rotting pig. Yum!

Down the stair Gook is again summoned and disturbs two large carnivorous centipedes living in the pig’s carcass that has been staked with iron to the floor. We suspect this is a goblin trap. Gook despatches them both. Slinky took damage and the bite appears to be poisoned. I harvest the poison sacs – never know when they could be useful. Graalsk’s concubine comes to mind.

The next room has eight caryatid columns, lots of doors and a balcony. The statues appear demonic. I offer in sacrifice a halfling’s liver to the one that resembles the great Urgathoa. Jimbob conducts a ritual of respect at another. We look to Reeda as to what to do next. Hopefully it’ll be rest and food.

I summon Bats and fly up to one of the doors above. Beyond is a dread-inspiring room with shadows and darkness. I walk to the far door but feel something pass through me and I feel week. I quickly leave the room. I’m hungry and tired, need to rest to replenish my supplies.

Gook tries to put some gobbets of dead centipede into the indents of a big door, but is thrown back by a jolt of electricity. Shocked by a shock. Hehe.

More doors, more rooms, more corridors. Bored. Still hungry. Still tired. We find a room with a collapsed floor. We stand at the top and all watch Gook loot a human skeleton wearing rusted mail and a backpack. He carefully hides the gold he finds. We all look at one another. I’m too weak, tired and hungry to care.

Despite trying to use a rope, Reeda false down into the room. That’s what spending time reading does for you. We laugh and I perk up. When are we stopping to eat? Gook hands Reeda a scrap of paper he found on the body but keeps the gold. I think this indicateds that Reeda is the one summoning his imaginary friend Gook.

Next is yet another room. This place is huge. It has a long thin blue pool lit by magic tiles in the floor under the water. Water flows into the pool from a statue of a sphinx. At the far end of the room are two staircases leading up to a door. Whilst I test the water in the pool, 4 skeletons appear on the stairs and start shooting arrows at us. Still feeling weak from my encounter with the shadow and armed only with a crossbow and a spear, I am hit and retreat round the corner. Shortly I am joined by Reeda. Perhaps he should have let us rest so I could make more bombs? Just sayin’. I sit against the wall to eat and rest. Reeda recovers the glowing tiles from the bottom of the 5’ deep pool with the aid of a conjured dolphin.

It appears the skeletons have been despatched by the others. Each skeleton has a shortbow and club, and we recover 2 full quivers of arrows. Who is equipping these monsters?

Reeda, in all his great wisdom, decides we should rest here. What a good idea! However, even after rest I still feel weak.

Up the stairs is a room which contains a large demonic statue with fiery red eyes. Reeda says to leave the eyes as the statue has very powerful magic. Another corridor, this one has some magic effect that makes you deaf. This leads to yet another large room with a raised dais and a sarcophagus with a broken lid. Just how immense is this place?

Gook, Jimbob and Slinky go off to investigate the sarcophagus. Reeda creates a celestial bird that explodes in a burst of feathers as it gets close to the demonic statue. Suddenly corpses claw their way out of the sarcophagus like locusts. One is different and appears to control the others. Boss undead nearly kills Slinky with one hit. The two lesser creatures, believed to be zombies, start eating Slinky as the Boss pursues the fleeing Gook and Jimbob towards us.

We await the creature in the pool room and manage to destroy him as he comes through the doorway. Teensy bit of collateral splash damage to those in melee with the creature – must find a way to prevent this if I’m to survive. We need a Shaman, turns out this undead creature was a wight! He wears a silver signet ring with an emblem of his noble house and carries another magical bit of paper. We think he was once a human male.
We return to the sarcophagus room and despatch the two zombies. Slinky has completely disappeared. Both zombies wear well-made hide armour and appear female, one possibly a half-elf. One has nice hair that will suit me better than the halfling’s I am currently wearing.
Inside the sarcophagus is a picture on paper of the indents we found on the door back aways that jolted Gook when he touched it. I laugh when I remember the look on his face as he went sliding back along the floor. Words are also on the paper. We leave it with Reeda.

The next door leads back to the room with the shadowy creature. This time, looking out for it, we see the living shadow and drive it back with the glowing tiles Reeda took from the pool. It dissipates under a sustained combined barrage but leaves behind a small lapis lazuli.

Where the hell has the Chief’s wife’s brother gone? Has he been killed and eaten or is he lost elsewhere in this seemingly endless dangerous maze. We await Reeda’s orders as I check out the walls of this chamber…

(600xp)

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Reeda's Notes

We searched lots more. There’s plenty of empty places to sneak.

We found a statue in a room, Gook checked it out and brought some slinking slime for us to deal with. Then we got up onto the statue to get at the magic that was hidden in its chest.

We found the first real sign of the mighty Zog empire, for inside was the Guardian of Zog, a powerful sword made with magic! Gook was entrusted with wielding the mighty blade in the name of the new Zog empire!

Later Gook‘s scouting found some goblins. They had a magic user with them which was dealt with quickly by Slasher. After a bit more beating the other goblins tried to give up, but Zog doesn’t want any weedy cowardly goblins in his Empire, so they were killed.

The camp had the loot which they had helpfully collected into one place for us, giving us more money to buy good stuff with; and a chain shirt which will protect me better than the leather armour that the old tribe gave me.

We are going to rest for a little while in our new camp so that we can be prepared for what awaits us deeper in these underground ruins.

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Lobbi’s Musings #3
Fungi, Fire, Fog and Fraternity

Fungi, Fire, Fog and Fraternity

It seems the walls in the shadow’s chamber are made of some interesting stone. I’ve taken samples in case I can find a use for them in my experiments.

We rest again, although afterwards Reeda is still suffering from his injures and I am still feeling weak.

We go through the last door on the upper balcony level. It leads to a room with a huge (at least 20’) statue of a humanoid in an alcove. Hard to tell what it was as the face and chest appear to have been melted with acid long ago, possibly in an attempt to make it look more like a goblin. No goblin would be caught carrying a book, though, as this statue is. It has two red stones for eyes. I think he will soon be blind…

Reeda somehow knows that there is something magical hidden in a compartment in the statue’s chest, about 15’ up. How he knows these things is unnerving. Perhaps there is something to this reading after all, if carried out with the proper protections? He sends his summoned Gook into the room to the statue to check it out. I try not to take my eyes off Gook or blink but he still manages to disappear from sight. Apparently Gook goes across the floor but returns reporting that there was a door in the chest of the statue but that molten stone had flowed over it, sealing it shut. %{color:purple}As he retreats, two fungi drop from the ceiling above where he was standing and start crawling towards him. We’re not sure what affects them, but Reeda lets loose with acid whilst I try fire. To our surprise, both seem to affect the myconid. Reeda summons a fire beetle that is quickly smashed in one hit but one of the fibrous creatures. They are more powerful than we thought but slow, so a fighting retreat prevents them from reaching us. I think this is the first time we have acted together combining tactics to engage an enemy. It wasn’t going to last so I mount Bats, fly over, and land on the statue to try to free the door whilst the fungi are busy but the stone is not even scratched by my hammer blows. One of the fungi gives up the pursuit and heads back in my direction so I lob a bomb at it, scoring a direct hit and so the mushroom explodes.
Whilst the others despatch the remaining moving mushroom I prise out the eyes. They are red rubies worth a fantastic amount – about 100gp each!
Despite a joint effort, we are unable to yank the door in the statue open. I suggest trying Acid Splash as obviously similar seems to have affected it before. Reeda obliges and orders Gook to fetch the contents. Inside is a cold iron shortsword (sized for a goblin). Reeda states that it has crude writing in common down the shaft that says “Zog”, and that it is magical. He is starting to freak me out. How does he know these things?
Also inside is a small leather pouch containing another three rubies of similar value.
Reeda offers Gook the sword, provided he agrees to be the “Protector of Zog”. From the way Gook was salivating and nodding, he would have agreed to anything. He adds Sword Zog to his collection of shortswords.

Gook always seems to do exactly what Reeda says. This is not natural in a goblin. This confirms my hypothesis that he must be one of Reeda’s summoned imaginary friends.

After a journey down yet another corridor, Gook comes across a room filled to chest-height with glowing purple mist. The floor of the room is made up of glossy black stone slabs. We stand at the entrance with Reeda about to summon a creature to enter the mist first when Gook volunteers to stick his head (the least useful part of a goblin) in the mist if a rope is tried to him first to pull him back if required. We tie a rope around his neck but retreat to a safe distance as Gook turns to face the mist. The rope is not long enough so Reeda drops his end.
Gook peers into the purple glowing mist and sees a huge dangerous horse that rears up and breathes cold on him, causing damage. He jerks his head out of the mist. I’m glad we’re far enough away not to take any collateral damage.
Jimbob tried to ride slinky around the room above the mist but Jimbob is also attacked by the horse. We cannot see it and Slinky is convinced it is a large lizard and not a horse. We believe magic may be at play. Reeda also mentions that are magic runes on some of the black floor slabs, equidistantly spaced. Still freaking me out – he has a trick that I must learn.
Reeda tried damaging the slab nearest the door (which has a rune on, he says) with acid. The stone pits but it does not affect the magic. Gook pokes and prises at it with one of his swords, and Reeda states all the runes have gone dark.
We enter the room and Gook finds a purple stone in the centre of the room. It is glowing, and as he picks it up the mist turns white as it was only coloured by the shining stone. Gook hands me the stone – it is a glowing pale purple/violet garnet worth about 50gp.
After a winding corridor of more natural shape, I can smell food coming from the cavern beyond. Gook again disappears, going scouting. There is a large natural cavern beyond with plenty of columns. It is scattered with food, bedrolls and other items/detritus from a campsite. It appears we have found the goblins we are looking for, or at least their base camp. Gook spots figures hiding behind pillars – it seems they have seen him before he saw them. A challenge is shouted from the cavern: “Who dares enter Murg’s Empire?” Gook returns to us and we lie in the mist-filled room in ambush. A goblin approaches, waits, but leaves before entering the mist. Gook sneaks after him, but it appears neither can see the other as he returns towards the cavern. He hears voices raised in discussion and approaches closer. However, Gook is carrying too many shortswords now and scrapes one across the wall. This alerts the enemy goblins to our presence, and with a cry of “Get Him!” crossbow bolts fly towards Gook, as well as magic that he manages to resist. All the crossbow bolts miss. Their leader is a spellcaster!
I run forward to assist, stopping behind Gook (I’m not that stupid) and lob a bomb into the spellcaster’s face, also damaging two of the other four goblins.
Slinky and Slasher rush in and takes down a goblin. Nice to know we are backing each other up. In retaliation the enemy leader spits fire at Slasher, damaging him (it?). I now have my aim and hit the leader with a targeted bomb right between the eyes as he is now in melee and I don’t want to damager my colleagues. He grins and refuses to go down but a crafty swipe from Slasher finishes him off, still grinning but with a surprised look no his face. Gook runs round the back of the group to attack and, caught up in the moment, I also rush in but my last bomb misses. Must be an effect of my continuing weakness.
The remaining three goblins try to surrender but this just seems to enrage Reeda and we redouble our efforts. I am reduced to firing crossbow bolts at them but manage to take one down. I must develop an alternative to my bombs to use in combat. Slasher takes another and Gook takes down the final one from behind.
A combination of exertion and the fumes from my chemicals seems to have got to me as I cannot remember what happened next. My memory fades as the bodies were being looted of the leather armour and crossbows. The last I remember hearing is the mention of a potion on the leader…

I don’t know what happened but it must have been inspirational because when I recover from my fugue state I have worked out a way to allow others to use my potions and I feel more powerful. Bats also looks different – he seems to be growing hands.
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Finks of Gobbledegook

I fly through the tunnels like a fart – silent and deadly! There’s a statue all melted and wierd at the far side of a room, no guardians, must be a trap. I cross the room spotting the fungifings as soon as they move, oops that means they’ve seen me. I climb the statue and find the secret compartment but it’s sealed and the fungi are getting close. Better part of valour – let your comrades take the hit- I leap out of attack range and head back toward my cowering comrades.
Next bit’s a bit confused but we kill the critters and get the treasure – Ive got a magiky sword, it’s even sharper than my good sword wot I won from the Hobbits. And it’s got a name so now I am the master of ZOG. That name sounds familiar somehow but I forget from where.
My fellow warriors urge me onwards and I find a room filled with coloured mist. The others are afraid but I enter the mist and challenge the mighty horse spirit that lives within. He forces me back and inflicts severe damage on me. Jimbob and Slinky try to attack but are driven back.
Reeda seems to think that stabbing the floor will ,make a difference so I join in. All of a sudden Reeda declares the room safe, I don’t know how he did that but I respect him for it. I move in and find a purple gem which was giving all the colour to the mist. The room has been killed now.
More tunnelly bits and now there’s more Goblins, but not our Goblins so I’s on me guard. They seen me though and attacks so I retreats somewhat and warns me comrades. There’s a big fight and I gets behind them to wreak my revenge. They never see me coming Ha – Ha.
Now we got all this loot to sort out. I wonder who these Goblins were, I hope they weren’t the ones we were asked to help out.

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Lobbi’s Musings #4
Elementals, Experiments, Excavators & Endings

Having re-equipped ourselves from the supplies of the defeated goblins, Gook explores the stairs at the rear of the cavern. This leads to a balcony overlooking a pool and 3 more goblins playing dice. One more sneaky attack later and we are again gathering loot, although Jimbob somehow has deafened himself with a crossbow. %Fortuitously, there is a potion that will restore my strength. One quaff later and I’m feeling much better. Still hungry, though.
Reeda searches the algae-filled pool using his summoned creatures but neither the dolphin nor Gook find anything. The dolphin complains less. I think.
I manage to cure Jimbob’s deafness by sucking the bloodclot out of his ears.
Next is a deep cavern with water at the bottom. Many yellow crystals are scattered and growing here. I start to collect them but leave the small barrel of pitch. I fly across but Jimbob is attacked by stirges on the way over. One carefully placed bomb soon sees our supplies re-stocked with baked stirge filled with fresh blood.
Leading from the other side is a corridor with a collapsed/unstable ceiling. A goblin appears to have been crushed by a falling boulder. We hook him out and relieve him of his magical chainmail.
Beyond squelchy Gook and I discover a dead-end. We tell the others we are looking for a secret way through whilst stopping for food and for Gook to dry off. Eventually we found a door that led us back to the big room with the shocking door.
Reeda believes we have the right gems to open the magic door.
We have to return to the scary statue and dripping Gook pries out the orange garnets.
Slasher (I can’t help noticing he has changed into a gorilla) inserts the gems and the door swings open. The gems seem to be absorbed by the door and there is a lever on the other side. Slasher tries to remove one of the gems but is hit by an electrical shock.
Stairs down lead to pool of glowing blue water that is suggested to be a scrying pool. Some look into it and clam they see lots of treasure.
Down further stairs is a large chamber holding another pool, this one stagnant with an oily sheen and an acrid smell coming from it. A glass glowing globe is held over the pool at the ceiling that is quickly removed. I go to examine the pool but a pseudopod rises and hits me hard. I lob a bomb into it but nothing reacts.
There is a door on the opposite with a robed human statue on either side.
Squeaky Gook is again sent exploring. He guides us into a room containing cells that open. We later find the activating lever and believe someone must have opened them manually. Three mutated goblins rush the advance party and battle ensues. We keep clear of the pool and come up with a plant to draw them near the pool to use the water creature against them. Not sure what goes wrong but I have plenty of time for a snack. The mutie goblins die before they get close to the pool. The one with octopus legs is just gross.
Gook again goes exploring. He returns back through the door with the statues either side of it, looking singed but happy.
We enter another room, this time with some sort of burrowing machine wedged in one corner. It seems to have entered through the far wall.
Suddenly there is movement in the rubble and what must be an earth elemental arises!
Gook is hit hard and hides behind Reeda. We all run back the way we came, apart from Gook who goes off down the excavated tunnel.
Reeda is at last persuaded to return to Thornkeep so does not re-summon Gook.
We head off to buy supplies. If we sell the spoils at half of the new value, the three of us will end up with 904gp, 9sp and 3cp. I guess the spare cp goes to Reeda.
Now where can I buy some chemicals???

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Lobbi’s Musings #5
Zog’s Laboratory

We sell our loot (including the leftover gems as Reeda has assured us he can open the door again) and its time for a shopping spree in Thornkeep. Whilst shopping in town I notice Jimbob is wearing a nice new chain shirt that stinks of dwarf. Fits well, though. He might even be attractive if he didn’t smell of lizard all the time.
I find a shop that sells the reagents I’m after and stock up. I’m now ready to go home and make some new bombs. It galls me to buy them but, if that is what it takes to obtain them, I am willing to do so. For now.
We overhear talk around town of the Halflings we got vengeance on. Luckily no-one appears too interested in their fate or retaliation but it may no longer be safe to leave our supplies there whilst we go off reclaiming the Kingdom of Zog. Reeda does not seem interested.
Then, a familiar booming voice stops us in our tracks. It appears our Chief has sent his bodyguard, the hobgoblin Sideshow Hob, to check up on us. He states he is just an “official observer” and not here to get involved. Yeah right, even if it’s just to take a cut. Hob has his pet riding dire board Hogwart with him in town and no-one is attacking him. Mmmm. Fresh boar.
We take Hob on a guided tour of Thornkeep and our new home, and agree to take him to see what we have discovered of the Kingdom of Zog so he can report on our progress. Reeda seems subdued by his presence, not saying a word.
Reeda tries to summon a creature the other side of the rainbow door but it does not work. So much for his knowledge and his books. We need another set of gems. Shame we sold them all. We decide that coloured glass may work so head back to town. There is a glassmaker but they are closed. We spend the night drinking in a nearby tavern called The Thirsty Ogre. No-one throws us out or tried to kill us. They even serve us. Weird.
Locals speak to us and we hear rumour of a ghost near Echo Stream on the Mosswater Road, that Mosswater lake is covered in poisonous algae, and that the local wizard’s guild have been trying for centuries to break the code on the rainbow door. Reeda is still being very quiet, perhaps due to the presence of Hob.
When the shop opens we buy a bag of glass beads of many colours as marbles to disguise that we are buying any particular colours. This is Hob’s idea and perhaps he could be useful after all. He’s certainly too crafty to stay a Chieftains bodyguard for very long. The shopkeep seems to fall for Hob’s deception and looks on patronizingly whilst charging us an extortionate fee for waste material. She and the alchemical shop are now prime choices for thievery and arsony.
We return to the rainbow door and the glass baubles work.
On to the observation area and Hob “asks” me to go exploring. I look to Reeda about summoning Gook but he has just a blank facial expression and says nothing so off I go. I discover the flame trap that hit Gook. It hurts. I am temporarily disabled and unable to continue in the vanguard. The flames come from one of four bronze statues lining the side of a corridor. Hob tries covering the flame jet with his shield but the fire just melts right through it.
In the theatre observatory we come across a goblin cleaner with 3 upturned flasks implanted in his head. As I call to him he looks annoyed before one of the potions discharges into his head and he becomes invisible. Seems like a great potion delivery system.
We sneak and search the area when Hob notices fresh footprints in the blood on the table in the cell room. He swings wildly and misses but is attacked in return causing the janitor to become visible, although at the cost of receiving a solid blow. Frothing at the mouth but surrounded, the tough little axe-wielding goblin is eventually dispatched. He is carrying 3 flasks of alchemist’s fire, wearing hide armour, and carrying a magical battleaxe (small size). Reeda again stays silent, perhaps the books are getting to him and making him think. No good can come of it.
Whilst the others sit and rest, I head off through the southern door. Chests in the corridor contain 20 empty liquid vials. I can see the point, but they don’t beat a toad for throwing and splashing. There is also more alchemist’s fire, acid, and a bag of diamond dust (500gp). No-one has caught up with me so I listen at the far door. I can hear a distant voice calling for “Snargletongue” or similar – possibly the janitor. If so the caller is going to be disappointed. The next room is full of tables of alchemical equipment, some suspended over flames, being used to create many alchemical concoctions. Here are some (two) completed Tanglefoot bags, a thunderstone, and thee smokesticks.
I feel at home here. Perhaps we should relocate to this part of the reclaimed Zog’s Kingdom? It would save moving all this equipment out. The others looked in the wishing pool and saw what they dreamt of, I held back and found it for real. Perhaps this is a gift from Zog? If the town wizards guild has not figured out the rainbow door then that entrance is safe, and that just leaves anything further down that we are planning on reclaiming anyway.
Distantly I hear the sounds of fighting as the rest of our group engage the earth elemental in the excavator’s room. I rush back to help and soon the elemental turns to a pile of rubble. This leaves us free to investigate the drilling machine. I find a crystal in the middle that may power it. Jimbob says it has conjuration magic. I know we can sell it for about 800gp. Also in the rubble are two books on Alchemy ( plus 2 circumstance bonus if used). I make a show of looking at the pictures to work out what they are for but I’m sure I caught Jimbob reading the titles.
We return to the workshop and Slasher opens the far door. He is immediately hit by a bomb thrown by the human at the back of the room. There is a mechanical snake guarding the door at the end of a short corridor and preventing entry into the room. The fighters cluster at this bottleneck whilst I carry on throwing bombs and fire at the human at the back. Major damage is taken all round (including Reeda giving a CLW potion to the unconscious Hob) until the snake is destroyed and the melee fighter rush forwards to surround the enemy alchemist. In a last ditch attempt to escape he drinks a potion of levitation and floats up above the party. Unfortunately for him this takes him out of melee and into a clear shot for another bomb. This proves the final blow as he collapses to the floor. A lacklustre Reeda and Slasher seem distracted and not performing at their usual level. They just seem to be not paying attention, almost as if their minds are elsewhere.
Back to my favourite part: the looting. We find a magical flask (an Arcanolembic), 2 Cure Moderate Wounds potions, two alchemist’s fire, two flask of acid, studded leather armour, a Wand of Acid Arrow, a masterworked dagger, an iron key, a formulae book, 154gp, an Unguent of Timelessness and the rest of his Alchemy lab (plus4 bonus in total).
The broken iron cobra is destroyed beyond value but it looks like it could hold 4 vials it could inject. A fascinating idea, like the goblin head injector system. We also find the Sword of Zog ( plus1 short sword) that Reeda let Gook carry, as well as his masterworked leather armour. Is the Sword of Zog cursed?
(+800 xp)

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