Having recuperated their strength at the Temple of Tyr, Wulf and MacTavish were ready for a second try at clearing Sokal Keep. But first, they needed help. Aeryn, Beck Darkmantle, and Vola were unavailable. Bishop Aram Braccio provided an extra hand by giving them charge of a halfling caught looting the temple (we had a new player who wanted to try D&D). They picked up a further party member in Phillipe (Bob, trying a cleric after the demise of Jerkxes), a mild mannered but strangely menacing cleric of Talona, whom the people of New Phlan were eager to get out of of town before his goddess of plague noticed them.
The four took their boat to the island and continued their explorations, noting as they landed two columns of smoke rising from the Old City…possibly signal fires. Searching the barracks, they were confronted by the bound spirits of the keep’s garrison, which terrified CoT and the halfling so much that they fled to the courtyard. Wulf held his ground and attempted to communicate, but was unable to communicate until he used one of the mysterious words from the parchment the party had found [[Sokal Keep, Part 1 | in the last episode]] (he wasn’t sure which one). The haunts begged him to free them from their eternal garrison duty, and one led him to a loose floorboard under which was stored a gemstone wrapped in diary pages describing the fall of Sokal Keep.
The party moved on and prepared to enter the main Keep building. Just as they did, a column of Orcs marched through the open gates of the Keep. vastly outnumbered, the party rushed into the entryway they had found and barred the door. A party of five orcs and a hobgoblin officer was soon attempting to batter its way in while the group hastily checked out two of three possible exits: an old chapel and a seemingly-empty armory, neither of which they explored in detail.
At this point, the orcs battered down the door and two of them leaped inside, only to be cut down instantly by Wulf and Phillipe. The remaining three orcs prepared to follow them, but were stopped by their CO who ordered them to attack at range with javelins. The party were sitting ducks in the narrow hallway, and were soon forced to abandon it, conducting a fighting withdrawal to the chapel as more orcs and hobgoblins arrived on the scene.
At this point, the halfling made a rookie mistake. Rather than retreat to the chapel with the rest of the party, he fled via the unexplored third exit, which turned out to lead to the old officers’ quarters and a hungry Cloaker. All too soon, the Cloaker had engulfed the halfling and the party now had to deal with both the Orcs and the monster. Indeed, a second squad of Orcs had already entered the hallway. Bravely, Phillippe leapt into the entryway and struck down the Hobgoblin officer with the power of Talona via Inflict Critical Wounds. After he brained an Orc with his mace, the rest of the squad fled outside as Wulf moved through to engage the Cloaker.
As the Hobgoblin officers tried to rally their Orcs for another assault, the party tried desperately to slay the Cloaker and rescue their Halfling. Unfortunately, their efforts to kill it also harmed the hapless thief, and he died before the Cloaker could be killed. The monster then turned on Wulf, who ran for the chapel with the rest of the party, who by this time had retreated there and locked the hallway door. There they waited, used the last of their spells, and prepared for the next attack.
It was not long in coming. Guided by the cunning of the Hobgoblins, the Orcs launched a two-pronged assault, one group breaking down the hallway door and the other coming through the officers’ quarters. This second prong ran into trouble when the Cloaker attacked it, but the monster had been badly weakened by the party and didn’t last long. The three remaining party members were now dealing with eight Orcs and a Hobgoblin. The clerics fell one by one. Only Wulf was left fighting the three remaining Orcs, and his strength was not enough. After cutting down a final foe he sank to his knees in defeat.
Phillipe, MacTavish, and Wulf awoke to find themselves prisoners of the Humanoid war-party, who had spared them in hopes of learning how to end the curse on Sokal Keep and claim it for themselves. A Hobgoblin officer tried via threats, blows, and stilted Common to get them to read the diary pages they’d found, but the party refused. Philippe punctuated his refusal with an unfortunate comment about the Hobgoblin’s mother, who responded by cutting out his tongue and using to make a tasty stew for the rest of the party.
Eventually, Wulf managed to free himself and the rest of the party, and under cover of darkness they reclaimed their boat and returned to New Phlan, poorer but still alive.
Quote of the Evening:
HOBGOBLIN (having kicked the crap out of Wolf and MacTavish): You read this!
PHILLIPE (tied and helpless): Why bother? It’s just a list of guys your mom <charming>