Every member of their group was injured after this fight, despite their recent 8 hours of sleep. Instead of resting up for an hour or healing up, they decided to go forward, even though Peldu had only six life left. They spent more than enough time to come up with a sold plan to get past the 100-some odd gnolls – which were the only thing standing between them and the surface world they miss oh so much. Annabelle and Urth were moving at half speed, and their attacks were unreliable after their next level of exhaustion set in. When presented with the idea of stealthing into the town, or any other idea that might get them a head start on their task, Urth dismissed the ideas and insisted that walking in the front of the town was the only way. Maybe he was feeling suicidal, or just apathetic; either way, he was feeling the lowest he has ever felt in his life. Which was the opposite for Cavanagh, who was currently playing limbo (and winning) with some elderly humans, not too far away.
So, that is what they did. They walked (slowly) into town and before the first gnoll could greet them. Tim started casting fire spells upon any building he could reach, causing fires to erupt! Women, children and elderly gnolls rushed out of their homes in a panicked-frenzy. Each gnoll always equipped their signature claws. Even the sickly took up arms to protect their loved ones. The gnoll villages were shocked by this act of aggression as they often did trade with the humans of the surface world, and never had they seen such humans act with such malice aforethought. This death march of carnage slowly swept through the town, destroying everything in it’s path (meanwhile, Cavanaugh was sweeping up some spilled garbage at the killer party). While the party was doing a lot of damage upon the village, no one was attacking the gnolls directly for some reason. The party just ignored their attacks, taking both frontal attacks and opportunity attacks as they walked on. Soon they were surrounded by twelve gnoll villagers. Urth gave Tim the apprentice the signal and out of his fingertips came a fireball, burning everything except the party members themselves, as Tim shielded them from the blast. The gnolls that didn’t die outright from the fireball ran around trying to extinguish themselves, but eventually they too burnt to a crisp.
Cavanaugh was also dealing with fire in town as he twirled burning poi around, by which he dazzled his audience with his artistic rendition of a fire-breathing dragon. They were generous with their applause, though it WAS warranted. Annabelle and Urth were both extremely slow do to their exhaustion, but Tim and Peldu were not effected by the harshness of the Underdark. So, why didn’t they move ahead, or maybe make a sniper post, or anything really? Instead they just slowly walked the pace of a zombie snail. Wave after wave of gnolls came, begging for forgiveness for whatever they had done to bring on this wrath, but their plea was unanswered due to the fact that no one spoke gnoll. Tim could have used his cool “comprehend language” spell, but he figured that screaming in pain was a universal language. Peldu took a hit to the face that almost killed him outright. He then finally decided to rage to reduce the damage he would take (a round too late). Annabelle didn’t attack anything until she finally dropped to the ground, bleeding out (and it wasn’t even that time of the month yet). Urth dropped his shield to the ground and grabbed her by the coat, dragging her slowly through town. They were more than half way through town and the gnolls kept on coming. Tim had a thought, (which was long over due) he decided to shoot fire cantrips in front of the next couple waves of gnolls to divert them, or at the very least, create a diversion. This helped tremendously, if only he thought of it earlier.
What happened next wasn’t really a surprise, when someone is burning down your town and not really defending themselves… Peldu also dropped to the ground. If only he had over 100+ damage worth of explosive powder on his person, maybe he could have BLOWN THIS TOWN UP FOR REALS!!!
!@! WTF. Urth dropped his mace and with his other hand he was now dragging Peldu’s limp body. Without any free hands to attack, he just kept taking hit after hit, inching his way to the exit. Stanwick was also dragging something of his own – it was the pig on a spit, which was cooked perfectly. As he sunk his teeth directly into its back, he thought of how he had never eaten a full pig in one sitting… but today was the day he sure was going to try. Cavanaugh, while feeling quite free and drunk, joined his new friend as they ate cheek to cheek.
Out of spells, life, energy and patience Urth made it outside of the cave dragging two of his companions corpses. He had done it at last. His eyes got wet as they set upon the moon – the beacon of his victory. The only problem was that there were two remaining gnolls swinging at him. They were no match for his mimic platemail armor. He dropped his companions and equipped the shatter mace. He now had something to fight for; his freedom was within his grasp and these challenge level 2 monsters could not stop him! The two gnolls both critically hit him which in turn caused his platemail, which was really a mimic in disguise, to bite down upon him for extra damage. This stopped him! Urth fell to one knee, then all went black as he laid lifeless next to Peldu and Annabelle who he had saved from the fires they set. Cavanaugh too laid down, for a nap as he was having a bad case of the “meat sweats” after finishing that pig.
The two remaining gnolls charged Tim, the sole survivor (in the vicinity). Tim used a cantrip causing one of the gnolls to burn up like his kin, and their kin, and so on and so forth. Tim tried to gain some distance between him and the last gnoll (in their vicinity) but the gnoll caught up to him. Tim missed his final spell, but the gnoll did not miss his claw attack to Tim’s face, causing him to fall lifeless like the rest of his party (except Cavanaugh who was getting the mailing address of strikingly beautiful maiden who interrupted his nap) Even while dying Urth was determined to live on, as he critically awoke out of death, wiped the blood off his face and waited for the cheering gnoll – who thought he had single-handedly saved his village from total destruction. Urth didn’t hide or create any kind of ambush for the gnoll. Instead, he just waited for him to notice him then proceeded to attack it when it got within reach. He used the shatter mace, whose properties included killing a creature upon a hit but destroying the mace with it. It was do or die time! Urth swung the shatter mace at the gnoll, but with his disadvantage from the Underdark exhaustion still in effect, he missed. The gnoll swung at Urth, but it glanced off his platemail armor. Back and forth this went three or four times, it was pathetic to watch, and even more so to write about.
Urth did a mighty swing and barely missed the gnoll’s armor by an inch. The gnoll was not so unfortunate as he managed to find a weak spot in the cleric of Umberlee’s armor, causing him to drop to the ground unconscious yet again. The gnoll started to go through their belongings, starting with Peldu’s when he heard a loud explosion sound!! It was the dam, the doomsday cult managed to blow the whole damn thing! The bursting dam caused the flood that created many sinkholes and deaths in generations to come. Not before killing every man woman and child in Sodomorea. The lost city of Sodomorea is what is is now called, no one alive knew the mysterious events that caused its disappearance or even if it could have been avoided. The Sodomorea castle was so well known for its vast amount of riches that archeologists are still trying to unearth it.
The gnoll ran inside the town to help his kin folk, or what was left of them. He managed to bring a couple injured gnolls out of the cave before he tried to save one that was currently still on fire. Little did he know that he was carrying the explosive powder Peldu took from the general store. It caught fire and caused huge fireworks to light up the sky like the 4th of July.
Cavanaugh and Stanwick looked up at the sky admiring the light show, thinking it was more theatrics from the harvest festival. Little did they know that was the extinction of a particular bloodline of well mannered gnolls. After they cheered and howled, the harvest fest was coming to a close. Cavanaugh and Stanwick went to their well-earned room to turn in for the night. Stanwick suggested that maybe they looked for the bard-monk’s friends, as it was already dark for some time. Cavanaugh agreed that this might be the smartest course of action, but made Stanwick promise not to mention this town to any of his “friends” as he felt it would end in a town-wide massacre. Stanwick didn’t quite understand, but agreed. As they left the town, a single tear dropped out of Cavanaugh’s eye as this was the first time since this whole adventure started where he didn’t leave a town with murder and mayhem behind. They went back to the spot where they left the spirit griffon, who was feasting upon a spirit wolf. They took to the skies again and noticed the ember glow of a cave entrance back on the mountain. They landed far off the beaten path to stealth up to the location. There they found 6 burned gnolls. The cave opening was funneling out huge jets of fire. They spotted the nude corpses of Annabelle, Tim, Urth and Peldu. (I took all their belongings as evidence to go along with their stories).
They were dead for an hour or so. “Maybe I shouldn’t have played that second game of twister?” Cavanaugh thought to himself mournfully. He wasn’t quite sure if they were fully-dead or mostly-dead, but that is a question for another day.