After a good night’s rest and an early breakfast, the party paid a visit to some local shops in the town of Goblin’s Tooth to stock up on equipment. In addition to a 50-foot rope, a grappling hook, and a few leather backpacks and pouches, they also purchased a pair of throwing daggers for Rhúnen the Rogue. After gearing up, the party set off for the woods once again to finally rid the Goblin lair of the mysterious “hizra-krontos.”
After traveling for several miles along the dark, damp forest path, they spotted a patch of brightness up ahead in the trees next to the path. Remembering the previous day’s mishaps with traps, Rhúnen checked carefully and discovered a vine stretched taut across the path. The party pulled back a safe distance from the tripwire and Gasha the ranger fired a crossbow bolt at the vine, striking with perfect accuracy and slicing it cleanly in two. Immediately the vine snapped apart, a swooshing sound came from the nearby brush, a cracking noise like splitting wood came from above and a huge tree trunk fell onto the path right where the vine had been. Whew! The party then checked out the light patch and found that 9 feet up a tree trunk a section of bark had been removed to reveal the lighter-colored wood underneath. The ranger inspected closer and identified the bark as having been scratched off by large claws—probably bear claws. She then checked the surrounding ground and found what looked like the tracks of a large bear. While some of the bear tracks headed north (back the way the party came), fresher ones headed south.
The party continued for a few more miles. They noticed the path was on a slight incline and that they were moving toward higher, drier and hillier ground. As the ground became less muddy, the bear tracks became more difficult to follow. Finally the path ended at a small clearing next to a hillside. The mouth of a dark cave opened into the hillside.
The party was understandably very cautious here. First Rhúnen sneaked over and checked out the cave opening. She found no traps and there was no activity around the cave mouth. Then the party carefully approached, weapons drawn and ready. They poured two flasks of oil in a line in front of the entrance then tossed a lit torch into the cave. If a bear came out, they planned to light the oil and attack it with missile weapons. The torch fell on the floor of the cave, revealing a 20 foot wide roughly elliptical chamber. Rhúnen again sneaked in and checked it out. The room was empty, save the mauled corpse of a goblin lying in a twisted heap. Another opening led deeper into the hillside. The rogue bravely took the torch and proceeded into the caves. If she encountered the bear, she would run back and lead it into the flaming oil. She found another cavernous room which appeared to be the goblins’ common area, with firepits and floors littered with broken pottery, furs and trash. In one corner were a bunch of bedrolls piled up to make what looked like a bed for a large creature. Inspecting it, Rhunen found that it had hairs all over it and smelled like… well, she wasn’t sure what bear smelled like, but this sure smelled like a large mammal. At the back of the common areas was a narrow passageway leading to what seemed to be a small throne room where the goblin chief’s wooden throne sat. Under the throne was a earthenware pot filled with coins. Behind the thrown the battle standard of goblins tribe a poorly tanned leather banner, bearing the crudely painted device of a jagged knife. Various bones, teeth and scalps, many of them human, were attached to the banner. But no sign of the bear.
Rhúnen returned to tell the party what she found. Rather than going into the cave, Xeon decided that they should camp outside the cave and wait for the bear. He cleverly took six of his darts and buried them in the ground pointing upward at the entrance to the clearing. The ranger, cleric and dwarf began to set up a rope and vine tripwire near the camp next to the cave entrance while Rhunen went back into the cave to search for some stones. At that moment, just as Xeon was planting the last dart in the ground, the bear came round a bend in the path and saw the mage user crouching in front of it at the opening to the clearing. Xeon immediately ran toward the others yelling “Bear! Bear!”
The rest of the party closed in for the attack. The bear rushed at them and trampled over the darts. It howled in pain as one of the darts stuck into its paw. The dart didn’t seem to do a lot of damage, but it sure made the bear angry! A heroic battle ensued in which Gasha rained crossbow bolts on the bear; the cleric held back chanting a blessing to improve the whole party’s morale and attacking ability; Xeon singed the bear with a magic missile and then unleashed his remaining darts; and the dwarf slashed the bear with her battle axe and took much damage from the bear, including a monstrous crushing bear hug. Rhúnen fumbled with her newly purchased daggers, sending one into the woods and accidentally flicking the other one backward over her shoulder where it narrowly missed the chanting cleric. Fortunately, this meant that the rogue could use her next turn to pick up the fallen dagger and throw it again, this time embedding it in the bear! Finally, a well-aimed bolt from the ranger’s crossbow brought the bear down in a great furry heap.
It was nearly nightfall at this point, so the party decided to rest in the cave, after giving some healing to the dwarf. They blocked the entrance to the throne room with the wooden throne and camped out there for the night, with each party member taking turns with two-hour watches until daybreak.