"RUN AWAY!" Rawon's warning cry startles Grit and Raúguey, drawing their attention away from the opening at the far side of the pool. As the gooey thing in the water rushes forward, Rawon grabs Grit and shoves him toward the opening, then turns to fend off the creature's potential attack. "Force it to fight on land!"
Grit and Raúguey make fumbling progress toward the exit as the creature and Rawon clash at the water's edge. The creature lashes out at the elf with two sticky tentacles and one strikes home [3 HP damage], but Rawon returns the favor, cleaving a tentacle free from the main mass [4 HP damage]. The severed limb twitches and writhes on the muddy floor, then slithers back into the churning green-tinged waters.
Back in the corridor and the other room everyone shifts, first forward, then back as they realize there's no way more people can squeeze in the narrow tunnel and be effective. Urúvion is already creeping backwards as Grit starts to clamber through the narrow opening. "Make room back there!" he calls to the others.
"Keep watch on the other passages, we'll deal with this," says Maro from his position near the western tunnel.
Initiative: party first
Grit clears the choke point in the tunnel and Raúguey starts to squeeze through right behind him. Rawon sees the others are well-clear of the water and retreats from the slime-thing as more tentacles boil forth from the gelatinous mass. "I need a drink," he mutters as he covers Raúguey.
The big man is once again contorting himself to squeeze through the narrow opening. Finally he pops through and tumbles forward, almost crushing Urúvion beneath his bulk. "Sorry," he mutters, blushing at his clumsiness. Turning back to the tunnel he calls out, "Come on Rawon, get out of there!"
The elf wastes no time, and ducks back through the opening, just as a cluster of tentacles slaps the wall next to his head. The foursome quickly back down the tunnel and make their stand at the far end, just inside the next room (K). Faint slimy splashings and slithering thumps sound from the far end of the corridor, and the group can barely make out shifting motion in the darkness beyond the lantern light. There's a sudden loud SPLASH, and then silence.
"I guess it didn't want to come out of the water," says Ohwatoo.
"Maybe. I just wonder if that pool connects to any of the others we've passed," says Durego.
Ever the optimist, Locky says, "How about that eastern corridor? It looks much drier!"
"Sounds good, but let's make sure this thing isn't going to try and sneak in here. 10 minute break. Keep quiet and watch." Grit takes a few steps back and settles on his haunches, sword ready. Everyone else follows suit. Time passes. Nothing happens. "Guess it isn't hungry," mutters Grit. "Right, east passage!" The ranks reshuffle, and the group heads east. This passage is short, quickly opening into another chamber (M).
"Watch your step! That looks deep!" Grit gestures at an irregular sheer-sided hole in the floor that twists down into darkness. Raúguey focuses his attention on the east side of the room, where an upward sloping passage continues east. He can see another room beyond (N), and hear trickling water as well.
"It looks like this room may flood," says Maro, who is studying the dried patches and streaks of mud that cover the floor.
"Probably drains down this here hole," adds Grit.
"There's more mud-stains leading in from the east passage too," quips Locky. "Maybe there's a way out up there."
Urúvion sniffs the air. "Still smells like caves to me. Maybe there's another tunnel."
"I can see some water, but I can't make out the rest of the room without going further. What do you want to do?" Raúguey seems antsy, and Locky notices he's slowly edging forward down the corridor.
Rawon: 3 HP damage
I've drawn the extent of room N because I am too lazy to erase and redraw it next turn. There may be additional passages / features in the unlit portion of that room. The passage between N and M slopes down from N to M, with a total drop of about six feet. The crevasse / pit in M is at least 20 feet deep, and several twists and turns prevent you from seeing the bottom. It could be very deep. A pebble dropped down the shaft bounces around several times before the sound is lost.
After a quick conference, the party decides to complete their exploration of the next cave, then head back and check the barred door way back where they fought the ogres....
Raúguey, followed by the rest of the front ranks, heads up the slope and into the eastern chamber. "Another pit here, be careful!" he calls as his lantern illuminates another deep crevasse in the floor. Much like the first, it descends in a series of twists and turns that obscures whatever bottom it might have. As Locky, Urúvion, Grit, and Ingvild, filter into the room, the others consolidate their position in the outer chamber. Dagmarten notices Rawon's somewhat battered condition. "By Agnia's bow Rawon, speak up when you're hurt!" [Cure Light Wounds: 3 HP - fully healed].
Aside from the crevasse, the eastern chamber is a dead end. The pool of water in this room is crystal clear, and Grit pokes his sword into the depths, expecting to stir up some muck and little else. He's surprised to find the pool is scant inches deep! "Huh. Must be a trick of reflection," he mutters, half to himself, half to Locky, who's watching him mess around.
"Anything in there fellas?" calls out Durego.
"Looks like a dead end here, unless you feel like going spelunking," says Urúvion.
"Right. I think we go back, check that door we left barred, and if it doesn't go anywhere, we head back to town and tell them we're done here." Grit seems a bit disappointed that no one else really wants to go down the crevasses, but there are general murmurs of agreement with his plan, so the entire group reverses course, heads back through (K) and (J) to (H), keeping careful watch on the cave kraken tunnel as they go. Once there they reestablish their order, and Ingvild checks over the barred door for traps. "Nothing obvious, but woo, what a stench!"
Ingvild moves back, making space for Raúguey and Grit, who lift the bar free of the door. With a nod to the others, Grit yanks open the door and Raúguey quickly steps inside, lantern raised... and just as quickly stumbles back out, as the hideous stench of rotten flesh rolls out of the enclosed cavern beyond.
Bodies. They're scattered across the floor of the cavern like leaves on the forest floor. Nothing moves in this charnel house; the only sound is a faint trickling as thin streams of water drip into the now-fouled pool that stretches along the north side of the cave. A slow stream drains down the narrow western passage and slithers to a stop at the mound of boulders and debris that chokes the passage [completely blocked].
"Is that more kobolds?" asks Ohwatoo from his position well away from the door.
Grit shakes his head. "No. They look human... that's a kid, and a dwarf over there by the pool."
"Long dead by the smell of it," mutters Urúvion, then, "wait a minute." He pulls his cloak over his mouth and nose, steps to the doorway, and stoops by the nearest body. "This fella looks to have just died. He's pitifully thin." The elf takes a look at the rest of the bodies. Two others seem fresher than the rest, only a day or two old at most. He notes that some of the corpses are missing limbs, their stumps crudely bandaged. "They were food," he whispers with a shudder, "and these," he gestures at the nearest, "these were the last to die, trapped with the dead."
End Date: June 23, Year of the Badger, morning
End Status: Bring out your dead
End Location: In the Cold Caves