Dungeons & Dragons Online

The Almost All Goblinoid Party Part 4: The Boss and the Baneposter

Through a contrived series of events I won't recount, I wound up on a 5e Spelljammer server which also happened to be the stomping grounds of a certain greentext youtuber, and started running an Icewind Dale campaign there. This is the ongoing story of a party sliding into Chaotic Evil shenanigans, and the GM enabling it.

> Be me, GM, setting dynamite on the railroad

> Be not me, Avar the Human Enchantment Wizard, bane of my existence

> Elton John the Goblin Celestial Chain Warlock, fairy pervert

> Neddie Elyeti the Bugbear Arctic Druid, having a crisis of faith

> ORK the Half-Orc Zealot Barbarian, eat your heart out

> Stughok, Bugbear Assassin Rogue, from the town of Agua Fria

Interlude: The Bitch is Back

> The party returned to Icewind Dale from Luskan, light on gold but full of new weapons and supplies, ready to take on the cold again. They’d missed the last lottery, but luckily none of them got picked, and drinking in the city of Bryn Shander they soon learned what had gone down in their absence

> The white dragon Arveiaturace destroyed the town of Dougan’s Hole, with only a handful of refugees left in Bryn Shander. That same dragon flew over to Easthaven and demanded its loot back, along with the head of the wizard Dzaan

> Except the loot wasn’t there, and Dzaan had been dead almost a month by that point

> He’d been unmasked as an evil Red Wizard of Thay, killed a band of mercenaries he hired after refusing to pay them, and got burned at the stake. The dragon is now taxing the town until it recoups the value of its stolen hoard, with interest

> The party remarked what a horrible turn of events they were lucky to avoid, and jetted off

Baneposting

> Next on the checklist: Stughok’s loyalty mission

> He’d come to the Dale to find his friend Roderick, the human who’d taught him his thieving ways, his boon companion of days past, who took the fall when Stughok murdered a powerful merchant and was sent to the most secure prison in the Sword Coast: Revel’s End

> Luckily, the question of how to infiltrate the place solved itself. Bryn Shander’s speaker was getting paranoid about wizard conspiracies targeting the Dale, and needed someone to go to the prison and interrogate a wizard there. Guess who volunteered

> They journeyed again north, to the edge of the Sea of Moving Ice, where the prison tower jutted out from the cliffside. Stughok was turned invisible as the rest of the party announced themselves and were allowed in, after surrendering their weapons and magic foci of course

> Stughok scouted out the place and made contact with Roderick. He’d wasted away these last few years, but was elated to know his friend had finally come. Meanwhile, the rest of the party got down to interrogating Prisoner 237

> Designation: 237. Name: Vaelish Gant. Affiliation: Arcane Brotherhood. Crimes: Kidnapping Bryn Shander’s speaker, conspiring with goblinoids, attempting to take over Ten-Towns. Sentence: Life. Security: MAGI-MAX

> He was released from his antimagic cell under the supervision of the warden, who sat in on the party’s interrogation

> They had a wide array of options to interrogate him. Elton John was persuasive and charismatic, Avar was a fellow human wizard, and Ned had been around when Gant tried to take over Ten-Towns. They had to weigh their respective abilities and approaches to get what they wanted out of him

> So of course they send ORK in first

> His attempts at blunt intimidation fell short when the wizard responded to his crude threats in fluent Orcish. When he graduated to violence, the warden magically paralyzed him and had the next party member come in

> Avar walked in silently, and spoke directly into the wizard’s mind. He claimed to be an invisible projection of a member of the Arcane Brotherhood, preparing to free him. And he was doing a Bane imitation

> “They will expect one of us in the wreckage brother…”

> The wizard was confused more than anything else, since the warden also obviously saw him, and was similarly confused. After several minutes of cryptic baneposting, he exited the interrogation chamber

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> Elton John came in next, walking back and forth on the table to see level with the prisoner. His psychological approach wore down the prisoner with question after question, refusing to let him answer properly, and forced the victim to regress to his childhood traumas by playing games of ‘I’m not touching you’

> It wasn’t very effective

> When he let slip that his sentence might get reduced in exchange for cooperation, the wizard was perfectly willing to sell out his old compatriots, drawing pictures of several, including Dzaan and Vellynne, along with dossiers on each

> When they had all they needed, they sent in Neddie, who was a welcome change from the party’s combative attitudes, until he began to preach about the Frostmaiden and how he would die slowly and painfully in the cold

> In the next day, they also negotiated for Roderick’s release claiming he used to be an Arcane Brotherhood agent, and that his knowledge of their ciphers was essential. The ruse worked and he was release on temporary parole, and the party planned out how to fake his death

To Be the Goblin King

> The goblins of Icewind Dale had grown bolder and more organized in recent months, ranging farther for loot and victims. Rumor had it they were building a fortress in the mountains. Now, they had sent Ten-Towns a diplomatic envoy, seeking to make a treaty with the humans

> The humans were having none of it, and called in the Giantslayers

> Their mission: to infiltrate the fortress under the guise of diplomacy and slay the cunning goblin chief Yarb-Gnock. 100gp for his head, and 5 silver for every goblin ear. Left ears only, we’re professionals here

> Thus the party climbed the mountains past Ten-Trail, to the goblin fortress of Karkholok, ever-clamoring with constant repairs, under the banner of peace

> Their tour took them through under their puppet-robot, past the Walk of Doom, and to the chief’s quarters, where a feast of goat was prepared for them. The chieftain, who looked for all the world like a child in a metallic goblin costume, ordered his guards out

> “My lord, is that wise?”
> “LEAVE OR I SHALL THROW YOU OFF THE WALK OF DOOM!”

> So the party was left alone with the chief, who immediately broke down and asked the party for help

> He was actually a gnome who disguised himself as a goblin to avoid being eaten by them, and one thing led to another, and he became their leader

> Like you do

> He begged the party to help him escape. ORK decided it would be much more fun to take over

> The Giantslayers walked out of the room carrying the chief, and ORK declared himself the new chief by right of conquest. The goblins fell into chaos, some protesting and others declaring their allegiance to their new cannibal overlords. Soon enough, ORK’s presence had pacified them

> At his order, the goblins massed for inspection. In a flat, open space. While the rest of the party stood atop a wall

> They sensed this wasn’t going to end well. When ORK demanded that the goblins all hop into a pit and pour oil on themselves, the goblins rioted and struck at the party. Too bad for them, Avar had just learned Fireball

> It was a slaughter. Wolves and goblins were incinerated en masse, while ORK withstood dozens of blows without flinching. The rest of the party contented themselves with picking goblins out of the crowd and taking potshots. Soon enough, the few survivors threw themselves over the Walk of Doom rather than face down ORK

> The party looted the remnants of the camp in the aftermath, and would have exterminated the goblin children if they hadn’t already escaped during the fighting. They picked up their goblin ears, a random head, some trinkets, and the defunct puppet-robot, and returned to Bryn Shander with the goblins’ thankful ‘captive’

In The Hall of the Mountain King

> On their return to Bryn Shander, the party got paid, and Stughok and Avar immediately decided to go a-burgling. They stalk invisibly through the streets, casing the smith’s and the alchemist’s before spotting a pair of footprints in the snow

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> They follow the prints into an alley and surround the invisible creature from both sides. When Avar reveals himself, it breaks its own invisibility. Another duergar, which puts its hands up and cries, “I surren-” as Stughok knocks it out from behind with the pommel of his rapier

> They bring the unconscious deep dwarf back to the inn and send a runner to the sheriff, letting him know they’re going to be interrogating it. The rest of the party wakes up and eagerly joins in, pioneering a new technique called, “Control Water-boarding”

> It breaks in record time, spilling the beans about its master, the duergar warlord Xardorok and his badass superweapon that’s totally going to destroy all of Ten-Towns in five days

> The party went into action, bringing in the sheriff, sending word to the other towns and massing the people. An army of six hundred spears gathers, drawing most of the town militias, except for the people of Caer Dineval, who refused to lend aid

> With the army preparing to march behind them, the Giant Slayers lead from the front and head straight for the duergar fortress in the mountains. They will serve as a recon and strike team, with the army following to lay siege and clean up
> It’s a race against time, as they burn three more days getting through the tundra and mountains. They just need to stop the superweapon, a massive robot dragon, from getting loose in the next day
> Xardorok’s fortress is built directly into the mountain, a half-mile high slab of imposing stone. There’s three ways in. One going in from the Underdark. Another at the top of a narrow switchback. The last a gigantic hatch atop fortress, the dragon’s launch tube

> The party performs reconnaissance with their familiars sneaking in through the windows, opening the doors from the inside. It’s quiet. Too quiet. And there doesn’t seem to be anybody here

> Then Stughok spots the condensed breath

> A dozen duergar warriors ambush from invisibility, with the party trapped in a chokepoint. Ned goes down. ORK jumps into the fray. Stughok pins down stragglers. Elton and Avar keep firing from range. When the last enemy falls, the fortress is dead silent once again

> Well and properly spooked, the party delved further into the fortress, and found a duergar woman eating in the kitchen. The chefs drew weapons, but the lady stopped them and managed a truce with the party. She was a captive from another duergar kingdom that the warlord was trying to seduce, and she traded a safe escape from the fortress in exchange for information on the warlord. Ned left the fortress to brief the army

> They continued to tear through the fortress, fighting duergar melded with tortuous machines, until they cleared the top levels, blocked off the dragon’s launch tube, and descended to the bottom level

> Stughok scouted ahead invisibly, and found the forge. A trough of magma flowed, pumped out of the earth by a machine powered by the heart of a dragon. Atop a platform, a regal deep dwarf reclined on a simple throne, sipping a chalice of mushroom wine, his gauntlet and crown covered in black crystal
> Stughok knew his chance when he saw one, creeping up to the platform and behind the warlord, his laser pistol ready to blow the boss’s brains out in a single round. Then Xardorok spoke

> “Ah, Shtughok, that musht be you”

> He froze in place
> “Pleashe, take a sheat. Now ish not the time for fear. That comesh later”

> Driven to fear by the baneposting, Stughok ran… in the opposite direction he came, deeper into the fortress, still invisible
> Meanwhile, the party got tired of waiting for him to come back, and burst into the other side of the fortress. They cut through a mob of albino ape-things, some reanimated by spores, and rescued a captured myconid, though the battle was fierce enough that ORK was downed and nearly killed

> Finally, they reunited with Stughok, and resolved to take out the boss. There were a band of duergar just outside the forge, wrangling an elephant-sized beetle, which would make a good distraction
> As soon as they revealed themselves, the duergar just released it and ran into the underdark. The beetle’s eyes betokened madness, the party fled it, and wound up separated, with Elton John and ORK facing down Xardorok alone

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> “Ah, ORK, Elton John. It is a pleashure to finally meet you. I had hoped more of your companions would be present, but I suppose this will have to do”

> Faced with this threat, Elton John transformed his face to match the deep dwarf, and pretended to be the real warlord. It was not very effective

> “You may be wondering, my dear Giant Shlayers, how it ish that you happened to capture alive one of my shpies, with all the information you needed, jusht in time to prevent the unleashing of my shupreme weapon. Why my fortresh was almosht empty, and why I allowed you to reach the depthsh of my shanctum. FOR YOU SHEE! You have only been gueshtsh within my home, here by my own will. The dragon hash been fully armed and operational for shome time. But now, you, the mosht dangerous shycopathsh in all the Dale, along with almost all of the regionsh warriorsh, are here, daysh away from your precious Ten-Townsh. Too far to shave them”

> The forge was swept by steam, which dissipated to reveal the mechanical dragon, jet black, with blazing eyes that revealed a wicked intelligence. The rest of the party burst in to join the confrontation

> “I have watched you all closhely. Thank you for revealing to me the location of the Oshtorian Anti-Air Cannon, and for leaving it almosht totally unguarded.”

>Stughok: Wait, were you watching us in the bathroom?!
> Xardorok: YESH!

> S: NOOO!

> X: And may I shay, NICE COCK BRO!

> “But now, my friendsh, it must all come to a closhe. Resht, assured, this will be extremely painful… for you” as the warlord grew to the size of an ogre, and lights came on, revealing a dozen duergar crossbowmen with sights raised

> The battle was joined, and the robo-dragon warmed up its VTOL jets. They could only scratch it before it rocketed up, and its laser breath melted open the silo doors that the party had shut. It was too late

> Xardorok proved a dangerous opponent, but numbers were against him. Though ORK was slain, his spirit companion joined the fray to finish the job, and Stughok finished him off with a well-placed laser through the heart

> X: Farewell, ORK, my lasht and greatesht opponent

> S: Wait, I was the one who killed you!

> X: In another life… bleh

> S: REEEEEEE

> The remaining duergar fled the field, back into the Underdark. The party regrouped, and gathered over the body of their fallen compatriot. Before they could mourn, Elton John’s familiar … *sigh* … farted into his mouth, reviving him

> Now the party is in the bowels of the duergar fortress, having failed to prevent the launch of the mecha-dragon, days away from the people they promised to protect. What will the party do next? Will they be in the least broken-hearted over the destruction to come? That story must wait for another day

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