The PCs all live in the Town of Ludval, a small town surrounded by hills, on the plains. They have all volunteered for their own reasons, once a sponsor appeared and put up a reward of 100 gold each, to rid the town of the Ogre and its Hobgoblin allies that have been demanding protection money from their town.
“Rasper” the minotaur, “Ovf” the Elven Cleric, “Trellis” the Elven Ranger and “Grace” the Half-Elven Witch (and her cat, Mister), had volunteered to rid the town of Ludval of the Ogre/Hobgoblin threat, and look for signs of the men who deserted from the Morsang Garrison Army and fled to these same hills. At the end of the first day, they found a splash of blood on the trail, leading to a tortured and dying human, surrounded by three hobgoblins, who referred to someone as “the Master”.
At the opening of the battle, Trellis fired a powerful shot and put one of the hobgoblins out of the fight, while Rasper charged into the fray, even while the young minotaur shouted for backup. Though Ovf moved up to lend aid, a hobgoblin spellcaster cast a spell that ruined her nerve, and she fled the battle, though was able to regain her senses and rejoin the fray, but not in time to save the dying guardsman, who had been tortured to near death by the hobgoblins.
Meanwhile, Trellis proved that her first shot had been a fluke, and wasted many arrows into bushes, rocks, and into the sky. Grace gave the hobgoblin caster the Evil Eye, confounding his ability to hit anyone with weaponry, but the hobgoblin commanded him to Vomit… which Grace understood, but swallowed hard and refused to spend her turn clearing her belly. In turn, Grace attempted to Charm the hobgoblin spellcaster, but he also refused to be her friend, and the two stalemated.
Finally, Rasper ignored his own opponent and charged the caster, inflicting nasty wounds on the caster with his horns. The caster, nearly dead, fled the scene, and his companion attempted to do so as well, only to find his leg missing after Rasper’s axe found the hobgoblin as it attempted to rush past him. A third hobgoblin was spotted coming up behind the group, but after seeing the battle scene, he too turned and fled.
The now-dead human was inspected and found to bear the insignia of one of the guardsmen who deserted. He also bore a tattoo on the bottom of his foot, indicating that he was a secret worshiper of the evil god Asmodeus. When he passed on, Ovf witnessed a black mist leaving his body, even as the man’s eyes burned in his sockets. She surmised that he soul was claimed, and that he was going to a very bad place, or possibly his soul had been captured to fuel the power of a demon or other evil being.
The newly-minted adventurers then decided to pursue the hobgoblin spellcaster who fled. His trail led to a stony entry and an engraved stone slab that blocked it. After listening at the slab to determine what lay beyond, Trellis heard a faint sound of scraping coming from one side of the hill, and as she inspected a scraped section of ground, she fell into a shallow crawlspace. The others followed her through, and while Trellis nearly got bitten by a rat, they all crawled through the short passage until they reached a room of the ruins that the hobgoblins had claimed as their living quarters. They could hear and see the wounded caster arguing with another hobgoblin about reporting to the master, and as they did so, the adventurers snuck into the room, and Trellis fired an arrow into the spellcaster’s back, finishing him.
Before the rest of the party could react, the last hobgoblin fled, most likely to alert its master to the threat. The adventurers gave chase, which led down a short corridor to a burial chamber, where an Ogre was arguing with a human. Grace poked her head in, but the hobgoblin who’d fled knifed her, leaving a nasty scratch. Grace ducked back in, and Rasper tried to throw the door open, even as the hobgoblin tried to close it. This resulted in a brief stalemate, until Ovf darted around the door and poked the hobgoblin with her sword. The hobgoblin retreated and brandished his own longsword. The door no longer blocked, Rasper shoved it open and joined the melee.
Meanwhile, the argument between the Ogre and human ended in the Ogre charging the human and stepping on a pile of twigs, which exploded, scattering the remains of the human across the wall and blasting the singed Ogre towards the adventurers. On reflex, Trellis shot the Ogre with an arrow, but then attempted to reason with it, claiming she wasn’t an enemy, even as it charged her and very nearly bashed her head in with a mighty swing of its huge club.
Rasper, flanking the remaining hobgoblin with Ovf, quickly cleaved it in three, and then both of them joined the fight against the Ogre, even as Grace gave it the Evil Eye, and then retreated to a safer position.
In the final round, Grace cast a spell that doubled Rasper’s size, but it was the badly wounded Trellis who finished off the Ogre with her elven curveblade, with some help from Ovf, who nicked the Ogre, distracting him, as Trellis plunged her blade into its gut. The Ogre fell to the floor, its life blood gushing from its body. However, their interaction with the Ogre was not yet over. The party decided they wanted to talk to it, and Ovf used her blessed magics to stop the Ogre’s bleeding and it regained consciousness.
They threatened, argued, and attempted to extract information from the Ogre, and determined that it thought that it was not, in fact, an Ogre. Eventually it allowed them to tie it up, and they discovered after a thorough but disgusting search of its body, that the loincloth it was wearing was in fact a scrap of guardsman vestments, which they removed as proof that they had found yet another deserter. The clothing of the last deserter was found among the messy remains of the human that had been blasted apart, and the party began to search through the ruined crates, sacks and debris that had surrounded the last human just prior to his death. They discovered some silver and copper coins among the mess, stopping only to behead the Ogre, who had begun to strain his bonds, snapping much of the rope that the adventurers had bound him with.
Upon his death, the Ogre reverted to a human, proving that he was, in fact, polymorphed by some means. The adventurers searched the rest of the burial room, locating hatches at the bases of the three statues in the room, and also located some unlabeled potions in a side chamber, which seemed to be some sort of prayer room. Some of the other potions had been smashed and despite their alchemical skills, Ovf and Grace could only identify two of the remaining potions and none of the smashed ones, of which only residue remained. While two of the hatches contained offering bowls of stone, clay and tin, the third hatchrevealed a ladder downward to a refuse-filled passage leading into the darkness.
Grace decided to descend down the filthy ladder to scout the corridor. As it led deeper and deeper into the darkness, the other adventurers followed, eager to explore the creepy place. The dark corridor led to an enormous gathering chamber, one that was probably used for religious ceremonies. While there was little in the chamber itself aside from pillars of stone, at the other end of the downward-sloping room was a door, which glowed with blue runes. The party declined to approach the door, and instead located two side passages leading beyond it. The side passage led them to a narrow passage 20 feet above the next wide corridor, which was guarded by undead guards.
After an abortive attempt at destroying the armored skeletal guardians, the party snuck past them using another, similar passage, and move down the wide corridor, moving quickly past a long array of stone statues wearing metal armor, which they declined to inspect, as they were more interested in yet another blue-runed door at the end of the wide corridor. Grace, calling upon arcane knowledge she reluctantly gained from her mother, the Witch of Ludval, deciphered the runes and opened the great doors, which unfortunately opened with a massive grating sound.
The party waited in the shadows hoping that the loud noise did not bring the undead guardians they previously skirted by, but alas, their hopes were dashed, and they were spotted in the shadows. As the undead shuffled closer, Rasper seized his great axe once more, then dropped his horns and piled into the closest skeleton, shattering its ribs but not quite destroying the fell magics that held the undead thing together.
The combat continues…