The heroes fell back to plan and regroup. They ascended the tower hoping to bottleneck the goblin foes. Maggie and Albi tiptoed across the palisade roof and slit a small gash in the throne room’s canvas ceiling. Maggie heard Rippnugget say “Bring the longshanks to me and we shall talk like we did with the others.”
A goblin waving a soiled white flag entered the tower and bid Bandaro, Drakken and Ragnok follow. The intrepid trio entered the throne room and the goblins parted. Ripnugget from his macabre chair welcomed one “longshank” to advance before him in parlay. The warchief selected Bandaro. Bandaro bandied words but refused to step forward. As the stand off seemed near boiling over, fire rained from above. Albi flung a firebomb onto Ripnugget and his honor guard while Maggie simultaneously slashed the warchief’s face with a flung dagger.
A massive melee began. Bandaro charged a pair of Ripnugget’s honor guard. Ragnok moved to the center of the room and suffered dozens of small stabs and gashes. Drakken fought defensively and waited for Ripnugget to near. Ripnugget mounted his giant black lizard and was healed by his warchanter. Maggie answered with another unseen dagger to the goblin boss’s neck yielding a spray of dark blood. Ripnugget roared and quaffed a healing potion.
Ragnok invoked his divine power and grew to massive proportions. He continued to suffer countless slashes and arrow stings but any goblin within reach paid the ultimate price as his massive blade smashed and scattered foes. Albi dropped another well-placed firebomb, halving the goblins’ numbers. Bandaro continued to battle a pair of relentless goblin commandos.
Ripnugget and his mount charged the oversized Ragnok but failed to get within his reach. Drakken, however, was poised to reach the warchief when he neared. The tiefling grappler launched himself at the goblin and pinned his dogslicer arm. A dagger whizzed by Drakken’s head…and struck Ripnugget in the eye. The warchief’s head whipped back and his metal jester’s cap clattered to the ground.
Ripnugget’s mount was not slowed. It grabbed Drakken’s thigh and pulled him from its back and shook the tielfing violently. Ragnok crushed the lizard’s flank with his mighty blade, but Maggie’s dagger again delivered the killing blow.
The remaining goblins died or fled. Even Bandaro’s foes were finally defeated. Bound by the foot of Ripnugget’s throne, the heroes found a nearly dead forest elf. The prisoner was healed and he introduced himself as Kynaan, a woodsman and protector of the Sandpoint Hinterlands.
Once their wounds were healed or bound, the heroes explored the rest of Thistletop. They found a small room with a goblin bed and a venomous inhabitant. A four-foot-long black adder lashed at Maggie but she evaded. Bandaro rushed in and slashed the snake but it slithered into the throne room. Albi, startled, dropped a firebomb on the creature – snake flambe! Back in the room, Maggie disabled a sophisticated (for a goblin) trapped chest and collected an alchemist’s lab, a healing potion, and several silver and gold coins.
In the structure’s remaining space, the heroes found a courtyard with numerous giant lizards. Maggie raced across and slipped through a door, while the others stood at their doorway attracting the giant reptiles. Maggie recovered Kynaan’s gear and even found the cleverly hidden goblin hoard, including more coins than she could carry.
As the heroes battled the lizards at the doorway, Maggie attempted to scale the courtyard wall. The rotting, slippery wood delayed her and another lizard charged forth. It grabbed her boot and she could not shake its bear trap-like jaws. Bandaro, Ragnok and Drakken rushed the monster and finished it off. Maggie breathed a sign of relief and proffered her looted treasure – all except a new jade necklace that she slipped under her black leathers.
With the lizards defeated, the companions moved through the rest of the complex. Bandaro and Ragnok tried a barred door at the base of 15-feet of stairs, but it would not budge. The party returned to another downward stairway and Maggie advanced silently. At the base she found a large chamber with goblin-painted walls…and an attacker. A hulking figure launched an arrow into her leather armor. She fell back from the force more dazed than injured. She pulled free an black-fletched arrow the size of an axe handle. An arrow she recognized. An arrow of Bruthazmus!