The Fortune Hunters hid in the shadows and thick webs of the now empty spider lair. The battle with the spiders had taken its toll, so bandages were applied and a short rest was taken to regroup and regain strength.
Using Leaf – The Imp Familiar as a guide, the party moved deeper into the goblin caves. The found many of the passages had holes carved into the walls. Brother Eravin theorized that wooden structures once were built into the walls. These probably housed the goblins of old. The Imp used its echo location senses as a bat and invisible flight to make an excellent scout. Using his familiar powers, Stem could see through his minion’s eyes.
The tunnels led down into the earth. A rat was spotted and expertly shot by Stem. But there were signs of more. A great many rats had a network of warrens and tunnels too small for the humanoids to fit in. They were keeping their distance but seemingly threatening the party at he edges of the light. Some strange mushrooms were growing in some of the tunnels. They were of two colors – red and green. The rats seemed to be eating the green mushrooms but leaving the red one’s alone. Padraig did not recognize the mushrooms but warned against eating any of them.
The way forward was blocked by a cave in. There was space to crawl through, but Padraig would have none of that. He worked for about half an hour using his strong arms and legs to move the boulders and piles of rock blocking the way. Soon the way was clear for easier passage. While Padraig was working Leaf was flying around invisibly and searching the huge room on the other side. The large cavern with a 60 foot ceiling was filled with patches of mushrooms and had three tunnels leading out but seemed safe with no creatures about.
With the way clear, Padraig strode confidently into the room and promptly triggered a covered pit trap. A huge hole opened up n the floor and the barbarian fell 20 feet down to land on the hard rock floor in a cloud of dust and debris. Before he could even get up a horde of rats flooded out of small cracks in the walls to attack him.
Up above the rest of the party could not see the bottom of the pit due to all the dust in the air. Stem tied a rope to a stalactite and threw it down into the pit, yelling for Padraig to come to the sound of his voice to find the rope. Padraig, hurt from the fall and angered by the trap, leaped up, entered a rage, and began to smash the rats with his long axe. Knowing that Padraig was hurt from the fall, Brother Eravin cast healing magic on Padraig twice as he battled the rats. Padraig fought his way to the rope but smiled and chose stay and fight instead of climbing to safety. He was not running from rats. That was be a cowardly and dishonorable thing to do.
Meanwhile there was trouble up above as 4 piercers had snuck up on the party. They were very difficult to see, blending in with the cavern’s ceiling. They were only visible when they were moving. Stem hit one with a couple of arrows and Delphinian blasted some fire magic up at them. Eventually one fell but the others were getting close.
Padraig smashed the last rat and smiled grimly at his work. 21 dead rats and 4 dead giant rats lay scattered about the floor of the pit. He spun around and with one quick motion climbed the rope to join his comrades at the top of the pit. There he found them in a stalemate with the piercers. Neither side was moving but waiting for the other to make a move. Padraig, still raging yelled a war cry and ran into the room hoping to flush them out. One of the piercers dropped but luckily missed Padraig. The barbarian spun around and brought his axe down on the piercer ending it.
With the battle won, the Stem sent Leaf down each passageway to scout it out. He found a long winding passageway led down to a watery cavern with 7-12 Kuo Toans lurking in it. Another passage to the North led to a huge wooden double door with mighty chain and padlocks securing it shut. There was writing on the door that neither Stem not Leaf could read. The final steep sloped passage led down to a cavern filled with the broken remains of timbers and wooden structures. It seems that all the goblin construction of the old skullcrusher clan was ripped out and thrown down into this cave. Stem spied a Spectator there – a magical creature summoned as a guardian.
The party waited a bit and considered their next move…