The Uneasy Alliance

Adventure Log #4: Mini Quest - Cave of the Horse, Part 1

Almond and Bard attempt to find a stolen horse, Almond dazzles Bard with his stealth skills, and the heroes possibly murder innocent blind people.

In a far flung region of Galsopp is a small, nameless mountain town that sits atop a vast network of underground caves.  A group of bandits utilizes the tunnels to conduct their nefarious endeavors, including the theft of the local knight's prized war horse.  Unable to pursue the villains without leaving the town undefended, the knight enlists the aid of two adventurers: the mighty halfling Almond Leafybottom and the hero Bard the Bard.

The heroes journey to the entrance of the cave, which the locals use as a dumping ground for all manner of refuse.  Feeling the presence of many scurrying rats, Bard attempts to call a swarm to him.  However, he discovers to his dismay the the rats here are untrusting and speak a dialect he doesn't understand, and no rats come to his aid.  Feeling nervous, Bard suggests that they approach with stealth.  Almond agrees, but tells Bard that he is not very good at stealth.  As Bard turns to reassure Almond, however, he finds that the 7 foot tall halfling has disappeared.  Feeling extremely nervous, Bard creeps to the mouth of the cave.  Just as he peeks around what appears to be a large pillar, the pillar turns around and reveals itself to be Almond in a makeshift gillie suit.  In awe of Almond's talent, Bard follows him into the cave.

The two heroes immediately notice the cave's dank air and jagged ceiling.  The also perceive that the floor is covered in long dead vines.  Along the back wall grows a thick growth of tangled green vines.  After searching the area for loot and finding nothing, they deduce that the vines cover some kind of concealed doorway.  The pair cautiously approach the vines (well, Bard uses caution), and Almond suggests that they pull the vines away.  No sooner does he say the word "vines" than a large section of vines pulls itself from the wall into a humanoid form.  Four smaller forms rise out of the dead vines on the floor, one in each corner of the cave.

Almond immediately roars and swings his two handed warhammer into the large vine figure, which takes a sizeable chunk out of the monster's midsection.  Bard leaps back and fires his crossbow at one of the small forms, but he misses.  The small vines advance slowly.  The large vine being gathers a huge ball of vines from the wall behind it and slams it into the ground.  The vines surge forward, creating a thick, tangling carpet that attempts to ensnare Almond and Bard.  Almond smacks the large creature again, taking another chunk.  He realizes that these are blights, vengeful spirits inhabiting the vines.  Bard struggles with the vines, but casts Dissonant Whispers on the nearest of the advancing small vines, which immediately crumbles.  Bard decides not to question how a being without ears died from a music based attack and continues to try and break free.  As the lesser blights continue their approach, one enters the vine carpet and gains a thick exoskeleton of green vines.  Almond slams the large blight again, and Bard breaks free of the vines, turning his crossbow on the larger spirit.  With a shudder, the large blight collapses, and the others hasten their advance.  Two blights rush up to Almond.  One of them attacks, dealing minimal damage, but the other is so cowed by Almond's hulking figure that it is unable to do anything.  Almond smashes both blights with his club, pounding them into vine paste, and Bard kills the last blight with another arrow.

Almond and Bard celebrate by pulling the rest of the vines off the wall, revealing a door.  Bard offers Almond a healing potion, but as Almond has a stupid amount of hit points, he respectfully declines.  The two lament that the blights left no loot, but Bard takes a cutting of Blight Vine anyway; one never knows when such things could be useful.  The two descend into the next room, with Almond making note out loud that Bard has magical powers.

They enter a cavern with an altar on their left and an image of a door carved into the opposite wall.  As Almond goes to inspect the door, Bard approaches the altar, which has a shallow basin.  Above the altar is written:

IT HAS A GOLDEN HEAD, IT HAS A GOLDEN TAIL, BUT IT HAS NO BODY

After pondering the words for a moment, Bard remembers hearing this riddle before, and tosses a gold coin in the basin.  With the sound of rushing water, the basin fills with water, and drains away, taking the coin with it.  The carving of the door swings inward, revealing that it is, in fact, a real door.

The two go down a hallway with multiple corners.  Almond uses his top notch stealth skills to check around each corner, until they come to a door.  Almond immediately opens the door, and the two enter a room with a door to their left, a chest to their right, a cooking fire with a roasting goat in the center of the room, and three sleeping hulks behind it.

The mass on their left wakes up and turns around, revealing a huge face with empty eye sockets.  It roars in a guttural language that neither adventurer understands, which wakes the other two forms.  In typical heroic fashion, Almond rushes forward, grabs the goat off the spit, lights it in the fire, and throws it at the center creature.  Bard fires an arrow into its chest, adding to its pain.  The creature roars as the flaming carcass and arrow slam into it; at the same time the heroes notice that the creature seemed to track the missiles with its face when they came in close range, as though it could "see" them.  The middle creature and the one on the left rush forward in the general direction of the heroes, locking onto them as they get close.  The far creature shambles along the wall, trying to get close to the others.  Almond suggests a retreat, but Bard says to hold fast, and that he has an idea.  Almond immediately smashes the middle creature to a fine pulp with his warhammer.  Bard casts Bardic Inspiration on Almond to bolster his next attack, then turns and casts Dissonant Whispers at the beast on the left.  Echoes of death and despair overcome the creature, and it crumples to the ground dead.  The two heroes turn to face the last of their foes; to their surprise, however, the creature bursts into tears and runs from the room.

The two heroes ponder for a moment if they had perhaps acted too quickly, but are soon drawn to the chest in the corner of the room.  After approaching it cautiously and checking it for traps and trickery, Bard opens the chest, revealing 60 gold and a strange set of pan pipes.  Examining the pipes, Bard is thrilled to discover that they are Pan Pipes of the Sewers, which can be used three times a day to summon a swarm of friendly rats.  The heroes split the gold, and Bard, with Almond's blessing, pockets the pipes.

As the scene fades on the two adventurers, and the DM wonders how he randomly rolled loot that fits so perfectly with the persona of one player's character, we are left to wonder: what happens next?  We shall find out soon enough …

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