The Broken Crown

Episodes 1 and 2 (the Miniseries)

An expedition to Woodcrest

Our party is on the road to Woodcrest, a tiny logging village on the border of Aarnekas, nestled in the Frostback Mountains. The town has been beset by monsters, who are disrupting the trade caravans through the village, working in unusual coordination and cutting off the village’s food supply.

About an hour from their destination, they’re ambushed by goblin archers and giant rats. The novice combatants get off to a rough start, but fight valiantly and make their way through, albeit with a few scrapes and a couple of unconscious allies, who recover on their way along the road.

In Woodcrest itself, they gravitate towards the pub, being as it’s the only thing to actually do in town. There’s a subdued atmosphere; a few weeks living on scraps will do that to people. They take beverages and stew and make inquiries into the current situation; Merrick, the halfling landlord, points them towards the town guard, Anya.

Anya is a gruff and heavy-built woman who is nonetheless delighted by the newcomers’ forthrightness. The monsters are led by hobgoblins and have taken refuge in the old town watchtower, a few hours’ walk up the ridge into the mountains. However, it’s late in the afternoon, and making an attack on an enemy in unfamiliar terrain in the dark is… ill-advised. The party take rooms for the night and sleep soundly thinking of the promise of the town’s reward.

The group set out first thing in the morning. Anya sees them off, but declines to come with them. The journey up the ridge is arduous but uneventful, and they reach the old tower shortly after noon. The tower is really now only a stump; the centuries have not been kind. It sits on a rocky shelf overlooking Woodcrest and the rest of the valley. The huge oaken doors are closed, so some of the group scout around and discover a gap at the top of the rear wall, which is sightly more crumbled than the rest.

The plan is for a two-pronged attack: half the group will scale the rear wall, while the rest will barge through the front door. Ever tried to climb a crumbling stone brick wall quietly? Yeah, it’s about as easy as you’d imagine. After several failed attempts, one adventurer manages to scramble up to find three orcs inside already alert, weapons drawn.

The battle is frenzied, with the orcs freely charging around between the top of the rubble ramp leading to the crack in the wall and the opened door. At one point Jason Dragonborne tries to jump the 15 feet down from the top of the wall, but lands on Salazar instead. Salazar himself rounds the corner to the front door to be immediately felled by two orcs with greataxes.

Somehow, the orcs are taken care of.

The only things of note in the circular tower are a campfire with something foul-smelling on a spit, and a trapdoor, with a ladder leading down into gloomy dank darkness.

At the bottom of the ladder is a stone corridor the same age as the tower, probably storage for the soldiers garrisoned here. A short way down the corridor is a narrow crack. The adventurers squeeze through (smaller people first) and find a natural cave. At the opposite end a couple of kobolds, cowering out of fear. Jason carefully makes his way through the room, noticing the tripwire just in time to not trigger it. He tries to parlay with the kobolds, guessing their shared draconic heritage would give them common ground. His knowledge of nature did not, however, include the fact that kobolds are vicious and bloodthirsty, although the thrown rocks make the point rather nicely.

The battle is quick; kobolds are wily but ultimately quite squishy. Even the winged kobold was easily taken care of once it ran out of rocks to drop on people.

Meanwhile, out in the corridor, Enna has being standing guard, which she took to mean “have a poke around”. So it’s Enna who sees the goblin who’s been sent to investigate what in Odreïn the commotion is. He immediately sounds the alarm and slams the door behind him.

Enna follows and finds two plain old goblin and one that’s slightly burlier, slightly gnarlier, slightly more boss-like. He and one of the goblins charge at the half-elf, slashing with scimitars and retreating, while the other fires its shortbow.

Clearly outmatched, Enna runs back down the corridor, in time for the rest of the party to emerge from the kobold cave. The goblins pursue. Now caught amidst the entire party, one goblin is quickly dispatched, and the goblin archer in turn receives an arrow between the eyes.

The remaining goblin immediately drops his scimitar and offers his surrender. His name is Glup; the hobgoblins had forced his band of goblins to work with them. The party debate what to do with the hapless goblin. A conclusion of murder is quickly reached until Olovit remembers he’s actually an alright guy and maybe this goblin has some good in him after all.

No small amount of coercion with pointy things later and Glup has agreed to give up his life of crime, and help attack his former hobgoblin brethren, and even give up his hidden treasure of a meagre amount of gold and a healing potion.

The party storm the next room. Inside, a hobgoblin and two further goblins. The hobgoblin immediately kicks the table on its side, sending maps and papers fluttering into the air, and begins firing arrows from his longbow. The goblins charge.

The goblins are short work, especially with Glup’s knowledge and mirroring of their hit-and-run tactics. Enna attempts to leap over the table and dispatch the hobgoblin with one swift stroke of a blade. Key word there being “attempts”; instead she succeeds in shoulder-barging the table.

As the hobgoblin is taken care of, Glup slips out unnoticed. In the storeroom is a chest containing 40gp worth of spoils.

Among the strewn papers is a letter of orders, unsigned, marked only with a stamp of a broken crown. An adventurer notices it looks somewhat like the crown from the arms of the kingdom of Aarnekas, but had never seen it broken like that.

The party makes it back to Woodcrest as night falls, and find an extremely grateful Anya, who rewards them with 175gp.

They head to the inn for a well-deserved rest.

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