Critiques and comments are welcome...
“Creep, creep, creep...”
Browbow the Red closed his eyes and failed his Will (calm-self) check. “Will you stop that!”
Fedazzle looked as innocent as she could “What?”
“Your incessant mumbling.”
“I was mumbling?”
Coming up from the rear, Frog of the One and Salice of the Faroffyetunnamedelvenkingdom tried to calm their leader. “It was really more of a sing-song chant than mumbling, Browbow,” Salice offered.
Browbow looked sideways at his second in command. “That doesn’t help much.”
Fedazzle scratched her head. “I was mumbling?”
“Go with the One,” Frog advised. “He shall show you the way to inner peace.”
“Yeah, ya know,” Browbow countered. “That doesn’t go with the whole bad-boy loner fighter thing I’m going for here.”
Fedazzle looked around at her companions. “I was mumbling?”
“I don’t know how to break it to you, Browbow,” Salice said rolling her eyes. “But your traveling in a party of six others. Hence our name, the Party of Six. So you’re really not ‘lone’ or anything.”
“Yeah,” Browbow said dismissively. “I was going more for the inner loner kind of feel, you know? The party member that doesn’t talk about his past. Reliable and deadly in a pinch, but otherwise an enigma.”
Salice rolled her eyes again. “Yeah, good luck with that.”
“Hey!” Came the call from down the corridor as Nimbly the Stereotypically Small jogged up. “What’s the hold up? You know I don’t mind being out on point, but the least you could do is not abandon me up there.”
“Fedazzle was mumbling,” Salice explained.
Nimbly threw up his arms. “What, again?”
“Seriously,” Fedazzle wanted to know. “I was mumbling?”
“Yes,” Salice assured the other woman with a pat of her shoulder. “You were mumbling...creep, creep, creep.”
“Well,” Fedazzle shrugged. “We ARE on a dungeon creep. What do you want me to mumble...ride, ride, ride? Swim, swim swim?”
Before Browbow could tell Fedazzle what she could mumble, or mumble himself about having paid points into the ‘Knowledge (Ignore other Party Member)’ Skill had he known she was going to be this annoying, the groups barbarian broke things up.
“Mongo feel something not right,” Mongo of the Dangerousyethonorableasyetunnamednortherntribe intoned.
Glancing about, Browbow realized the party was surrounded by a horde of Hobgoblins. “Oh great, NOBODY successfully rolled a Spot Check!?!?!?”
“Er, why are they just standing there?” Salice whispered.
“That IS kind of odd,” Frog agreed.
“No, really,” Fedazzle insisted. “We’re dungeon creeping, what else would I be mumbling!?!?!?”
Browbow slowly lowered his hand to his sheathed sword, “Not now, Fedazzle.”
The Party of Six descended into silence. Browbow, Frog, Salice, Fedazzle, Nimbly, and Mongo all waiting for inevitable attack. Which oddly enough, was long in coming.
“Uh yeah, hi,” one of the Hobgoblins said as he stepped forward. “You guys all failed your spot check, but we all failed our surprise attack roll.”
Salice was a bit thrown off. “Yeah, but our party failing our spot check automatically gives you guys a free attack.”
The Hobgoblin raised his hands in defense. “You’re preaching to the converted, sister, but these other blokes are all ‘hey we’re old school, we’re all about second edition rules,” the Hobgoblin said. Obviously not happy with it’s compatriots.
“Oh, ok. Sooo...”
“Your party won initiative,” the Hobgoblin explained more than a little unhappily.
“So didn’t we waste our initiative with all this talking?” Nimbly was quick to point out, but Selice shook her head. “Nope, talking is a free action.”
“So is thinking,” Browbow said smiling. “Like thinking up a plan...aaaand, I got one.”
“Care to hip us to your groove, oh fearless one?”
“This corridor is too narrow for us to successfully defeat this many Hobgoblins in,” Browbow explained. “Especially now that were almost completely surrounded. We’ll retreat back to the last room. The one with the really high ceiling. Mongo and myself fighting a defensive retreat as the rest of you get gone. Salice, cast Ice Sheet on the floor after we start moving to slow the Hobgoblins. Then once in the room, Fedazzle can use her Ring of Flying to hover up near the ceiling and use her deadly bow in ranged attacks as the doorway will provide a natural choke point that Mongo and I can easily defend while Salice and Frog cast spells from relative safety. Any Hobgoblins that get past myself and Mongo, Nimbly can backstab for triple damage before they even get near the spell casters.”
The Hobgoblin spokesman was impressed. “That’s a pretty good plan. You guys have done this before.”
Browbow smiled. “Well, you know...hey, what are you guys going to do?”
The Hobgoblin scratched his head. “Well, we’re not Goblins, but Hobgoblins. So we’re big, strong, smart and organized with a fair history of being militaristic. So well probably just run after you helter skelter until we defeat you or all of us are dead.”
Browbow scratched his head with the end of his sword. “That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
The Hobgoblin shrugged. “We’re just meant as filler to keep you guys interested. I mean, all we are is just experience points. There’s no explanation in the story of what we’re even doing in this dungeon. We’re expendable. We're basically one step up the encounter scale from, your average everyday random encounter”
That’s pretty much how it came down. Browbow and Mongo fighting a strategic retreat. Holding the Hobgoblins at bay long enough for the other party members to get away and position themselves in the last dungeon room. Which when the Hobgoblins tried to break into, were handily slaughtered by the well oiled machine that was the Party of Six.
Still, regardless of the way with which the group had not only gotten out of the trap, but had defeated the horde of Hobgoblins without sustaining serious damage, Nimbly wasn’t happy.
“Forty copper, ten silver, and three gold?!?!?!” the rogue groaned after ransacking their corpses. “Thirty Hobgoblins and that’s it!?!? I can’t even pay off my bar tab with that!”
“We’re not here for the gold, Nimbly,” Selice reminded the man. “We’re here for the honor and duty of freeing the countryside from the beasts that come out of this dungeon and harass farmers, travelers, and the other good folk.”
“Hose that,” Nimbly was quick to counter in his ever logical way. “I’m a stereotypical thief. I’m here for the gold and the back stabbing.”
“Speaking of which,” Frog said poking Nimbly’s pack. “Isn’t this a little fuller than when you went off to scout for the party. You didn’t happen to find some treasure you decided not to share with the rest of us, did you?”
Silent for a moment, Nimbly suddenly burst out “I’m shocked! Shocked that you would say such a thing! We’re here for er...for the honor and duty of freeing the countryside from the beasts that come out of this dungeon and harass farmers, travelers, and other good folk. I would never do such a thing!”
Both Browbow and Salice shared a look. “Once we find the well at the heart of this accursed dungeon we’ll all find as much treasure that we can carry,” the party’s leader told Nimbly.
Nimbly once more became highly energetic. “I found it!”
“You found it?”
“I found it! It’s at the end of the corridor that where we ran into those Hobgoblins.”
The massive rush to the other side of the corridor was halted just as the group neared the end.
“Ok, hold up everyone,” Browbow cautioned. “We know that whatever’s in there is going to really test our mettle...and Fedazzle, will you stop chanting ‘treasure, treasure, treasure...”
Fedazzle looked to Frog, “I was chanting?”
Nearly out of breath caused by the running and the stereotypical lack of physical training due to her sorceress character class, Salice panted with her hands on her knees. “What...what makes you think there’s something really nasty in there?”
Browbow smiled confidently. “I have my ways.”
“It’s the end of the dungeon,” Frog replied. “And the great treasure is found therein. Therefore it’s going to have the biggest baddie yet guarding it.”
“Er, right,” Browbow elbowed Frog. “Nimbly, check the door for traps.”
“Already did boss,” the thief answered. “No traps and it’s not locked.”
Browbow looked to the party’s mage. “That’s kind of odd.”
Salice nodded and stepping forward, placed both of her hands against the wall and closed her eyes. “Let me see if I can scry through the wall.”
After over an hour of waiting, Nimbly had enough. Not to mention, he’d carved all the graffiti questioning Browbow’s lineage and Salice’s promiscuity that he could think of into the corridor wall. With a “Hose this, Batman! I’m in,” the thief opened the door and walked through to the shouted warnings of the rest of the party not to do that very thing.
A few silent seconds later, the rogue popped his head back out the door. “Hey, you guys gotta see this!”
Cautiously entering the room, the entire party was shocked.
There, in the middle of a large stone room, lit from some unseen light source high up in the cavernous ceiling, was the wishing well. The heart of the dungeon complex and the item that gave the complex it’s name.
That wasn’t what shocked the Party of Six. What shocked the adventurers was the stand run by two gnomes set up next to the wishing well with the sign that read...
Welcome to the Magical Wishing Well. 5gp per wish. One wish per customer. Keepsies only. No wish-backs.
“Well...piffle,” Salice groaned as her shoulders shrunk.
“I tried telling you guys,” Nimbly said with a smirk on his face. “But do you believe the party’s theif? Nooooo.”
“I think you just answered why with your own statement, Nimbly,” Browbow said flipping the gnomes a few gold coins. “One wish please.”
One of the gnomes slid a copper coin back to Browbow across the stand's worn, wooden surface. “In the well, bub.”
Taking the coin and a deep breath, Browbow tossed the coin into the well and uttered his wish.
Moments later, an impressive sword flew out of the well and into the warriors welcoming hands. “Just what a asked for!”
“How can you be certain?” Salice asked looking over the man’s shoulder.
Browbow held up the paper tag attached to the sword by a small string. “See, it says so right here. +3 Longsword. +5 vs. Undead!”
Nimbly whistled low. "Choice!"
I'm going to die the way I've lived...poor, screaming, and naked.