A heist! A heist! Again I enter where and when they expect not, and take as I please. Preparation and planning, watching and waiting. Peril all around. Then swift entry and safe exit. Well done, verdant-daughter. This too, I shall remember.
Well, there was not much more up here. That light we saw is simply a cave opening, which afforded us a breathtaking panorama of the mountains. Beautiful, but not very useful. We headed back downstairs. A day or so later, we approached the foot of them. There were guards at the bottom, but we avoided them.
I forget how. It was a fairly long session.
On the way down, we had discussed tactics. All we could really do was raid the goblin armoury (we simply presumed they had one), hand out the weapons, and either attack above or set up some traps in the kobold tunnels. There’s no doubt that the goblins would be attacking within hours – as soon as someone worked out that the armoury had been looted. (The tunnels also had the benefit that the drow would find them awkward).
That left the question: where was this armoury, and how were we to loot it?
Poor Dave! I rather suspect he had it all worked out, stealthing into the goblin camp, disguising ourselves, finding where they reported to, somehow getting large numbers of weapons out. Risky, risky, risky. And that’s just not how this party rolls.
Well, presuming that the (or at least “a”) armoury was in goblin-town, the layer below that is riddled with kobold tunnels. Finding an armoury was a matter of dowsing the location with a Locate Object spell: I was looking for a large weapon rack holding a number of small sized weapons. We chalked a mark on the ceiling directly below, and I triangulated: the rack was about 30′ up.
Locate Object: You sense the direction of a well-known or clearly visualized object. You can search for general items, in which case you locate the nearest of its kind if more than one is within range.
Then Improved Invisibility, Dimension Door 30′ up, and Dimension Door 30′ back down. I always prepare two, you know, for precisely the reason that it’s wise to be able to get back out again. Well, I teleported in right on top of the weapons rack – stupid of me. But, no disaster ensued. The armoury had patrols outside and a couple of windows, but no-one inside. Couldn’t be more perfect … well, except for those pesky windows. Drat. And, of course, 30′ of stone.
Ovthen and I put our heads together. A dwarven druid, of course, can cast Stone Shape. Ovthen can prepare four of them if he goes all out. It took a moment to convince him to not even have one Flame Strike ready to go. But, if our mission was to get the weapons, then it was going to be necessary.
The plan was: I would Dimension Door Ovthen, myself, and as many Kobolds as I could take up into the armoury. I would then do a Major Image to cover what was going on inside. Ovthen would Stone Shape a tunnel down to the corridor below with a bit of a slope on it so we were not simply dropping the weapons, and so that more kobolds could climb up to help loot (we wouldn’t bother with a tunnel that would accommodate the big folk). Finally, he would use my metamagic rod and extend a Silence spell – he had three prepared. That would give us an hour. At that point he and the kobolds would empty the armoury. Finally, he would Stone Shape the floor closed and we would Dimension Door out.
Ovthen prepared 4 castings. One was to seal the hole when we were done, leaving 1 casting per 10′ of stone. A 10th level cleric can stone shape 20 cubic feet. So we are talking a tunnel 2ft by 1 ft, or 1.5 ft diameter (roughly). Enough for a kobold to shimmy up, and for small-sized weaponry and armour to be put down.
Meanwhile, the other kobolds would be trapping their tunnels in preparation for the goblin attack, and Duke Jope and General Rainor would be doing whatever it is that military commanders do (I don’t really have more detail than that). When the Goblins attacked, well, it would rather be up to the kobolds at that point.
As to the Drow: that would probably be our job.
And so Jope presented that plan to the council. Not much of a plan, really. I played a part – discussing drow tactics briefly. It seems that some of those dull history lessons stuck. Our old family friend had a point or two to contribute, as well. Unfortunately, His Lordship badly, badly – shockingly badly blundered at one point. He doesn’t know draconic nearly as well as he thinks he does, you know. We would get no help from the master of mines, but everyone else was on-side.
But, the smith was keen to get some decent weapons, and had some burly (for kobolds!) lads. With 3:1 approval from her advisors, the cheiftainess approved the plan.
Our side of it (Ovthen and I) went – really rather well. We decided not to cast the Silence first, because you can mispronounce spells that way and it was simply crucial that these spells go off as planned. Ovthen was clanky and noisy. He should have taken off his armour, but try telling a dwarf that (in fairness, we may very well have needed to gakk a goblin or two who came to get weapons). But I had my illusion up first. I think at least one goblin outside might have heard something, but I fooled him. And then – and then I had to maintain an illusion of an uninhabited but full armoury for an hour. It was … well, just you try it. An armoury which as you try to maintain that static illusion is being emptied and has kobolds running about the shop. I faltered about three quarts of an hour in – which frankly is not bad going. I did have another Major Illusion good to go so took a deep breath and cast it.
In the end, it all worked exactly as planned. Ovthen sealed the escape chute, and we got out. 30′ below, the kobolds were carrying away the last of the weapons and we followed them back. I think our friend rather enjoyed being part of a heist again. It’s a good idea to keep him sweet, you know. Nothing worse than when companions get crotchety.
The more I think about how we handled it, the more I like it. This is absolutely how an Arcane Trickster handles a big job like knocking over a vault. You are a goblin on guard duty. Boring, boring, boring. Just at the end of your watch you check the armoury one more time, and everything is gone, just plain gone, cleaned out, and not a clue as to where it went or how. That’s precisely what happens when you get rolled by an Arcane Trickster.
The battle was … a battle. The kobolds were victorious (thank Desna) but took very heavy losses. Not one in four survived. At the end, I don’t know that their new weapons and armour did them much good – it was mainly weight of numbers (more slaves than overseers).
Dave used the mass combat rules, which I think was one of the aims of the exercise. Andrew rolled for the kobolds, of course. I think he managed three 4’s out of maybe eight rolls. The battle did not go terribly well. Dave divided the army into “kobolds with gear” and “kobolds without gear”. The kobolds with gear were defeated – but it was mainly they who the goblins were attacking.
Heaps easier than attempting to use minis. We didn’t break out the minis all night, actually.
Anyway. One or two drow were overwhelemed in the battle, but there are something like a few dozen in the fortress which – I might add – is not built on top of kobold tunnels. I confess I am afraid. I will have to rely on my bow more than on my magic, I suspect, as I cannot match them spell for spell.
The next part is ours, and it may be the harder part.