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A Neverwinter Nights Fantasy - Chapter Four

Ken McDonald, aka lazybones
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The adventurers, confronted by a quartet of bad-tempered goblins, leapt immediately to the attack.

Margos was the first to strike, stabbing the first in the side before it could even draw its weapon. The goblin crumpled with a strangled cry. The paladin used his momentum to cleave into a second, but that creature had better luck than its comrade, dodging out of the way of the thrust.

Vanguarde went with brute force, bringing his axe around in a mighty sweep that nearly clove a goblin in two. Barzoun was only a step behind, crushing a goblin's skull with a solid blow from his mace.

The last goblin looked around at the ruin of its friends and, letting out a desperate squeak, turned and ran for the room's other door. It made it perhaps three paces before Sidon drew a small throwing dagger out of a hidden sheath, and in a smooth motion planted the weapon squarely in the goblin's back. The goblin staggered hard against the door, and then fell to the ground.

"Well, that was easy enough," Margos said, cleaning his blade on a goblin's cloak before replacing it in its scabbard. "Let's go find the boss of these goblins - probably a cleric, since he had skeleton guards. We'll probably have our best chance of finding magical items and other loot in his possession."

"Vanguarde ownz puny goblinds," the barbarian said. "W00t!"

"You know, all that shouting isn't going to make it any easier for us to surprise our remaining foes," Barzoun noted.

"Bring em on!!! Vanguarde takes on all n00bs and gobins and boss kleric! Barberians kicks @$$!"

The cleric let out a tired sigh.

They checked the bodies for loot - out of habit, really, for all the goblins had was a few coins and some assorted trash - and prepared to press on. No one noticed Sidon walking over to the hearth, or the silver broach that he found hidden under a loose flagstone there.

The rogue, of course, did not share his discovery with the others.

Beyond the door lay another corridor, one that only continued a short distance before opening onto another large chamber ahead. They could see the glow of light up ahead, and eagerly (some more eager than others) crept forward, ready for anything.

This cavern was roughly rectangular in shape, perhaps twenty paces wide and nearly twice that in length. A half-dozen torches in wall brackets shed a bright glow over the place, and several exits besides the one they used were visible along the walls. A roaring firepit stood under a crack in the ceiling near the far wall, over which an animal carcass was roasting. Gathered around the firepit were a half-dozen goblins, including a garishly clad figure that could only be the cleric that Margos had been expecting. The creatures immediately spotted the companions as they entered, and the cleric shouted some command in the goblin tongue.

"He said, 'Seize the intruders,' in case you were wondering," Graf noted.

"Yeah, thanks," Margos said, drawing his sword. "That sleep spell would have come in real handy right about now," he said as a final dart at the mage, before turning toward the goblins. "For Helm's glory!" he shouted, rushing into battle.

Vanguarde, of course, was only a step behind, adding his own battle cry of "W00t!"

The two warriors crashed into the line of goblins, their blades flashing. These goblins were better prepared than their slain compatriots, however, raising their small shields to defend themselves while they moved to flank the onrushing pair. One fell, its chest torn open by Margos's blade, but the paladin in turn took a hit that tore through his armored side. Vanguarde, too, was struck, a goblin stabbing its sword into his hip after he missed with his first attack with his axe.

The cleric retreated to the far side of the firepit, where he paused to cast a spell. A bright blue glow settled around Margos, and suddenly his body stiffened, unable to respond to his commands.

"Damn it," the paladin said, as the two goblins facing him shared an evil look and moved closer. "It's not fair, I've got great saving throws, that cleric shouldn't have 2nd level spells, damn..."

He trailed off as the goblins raised their swords to attack him. "Help!" he finally cried, and it was as if the word was torn from him.

Barzoun rushed in and knocked one of the goblins back with a glancing blow from his mace. The two turned from the helpless paladin to attack the cleric, and Barzoun soon found himself hard pressed as well.

Sidon, meanwhile, had faded into the shadows along the wall, and was creeping toward where the cleric was casting spells into the melee. The goblin shaman completed a spell of blessing, boosting the morale of his troops as they fought against the intruders.

Zarath was hanging back on the edges of the battle, holding his dagger again but unable to decide how to help. He heard a noise behind him, however, and saw another trio of goblins appear from one of the side passages, drawn by the sounds of battle.

"What do I do?" the elf asked Graf, who was standing nearby.

"Defend yourself!" the guide replied, drawing his sword and moving to stand beside the mage as the goblin reinforcements charged.

Vanguarde's luck had apparently turned, as he missed for a second time against the two goblins he was facing. The goblins, on the other hand, took full advantage of their flanking of the barbarian, and one stabbed him again, its small sword thrusting deep into his side.

"C|-|33+3r! I'll get you!" the barbarian yelled in frustration, suddenly sounding very much like an uncertain fourteen year old. He lashed out with his axe once more, this time finally striking down a goblin. As he turned to face the other one, however, he failed to see the fiendish rat that appeared right behind him, and didn't know his danger until the beast's teeth dug deeply into his leg.

Staggered by his multiple wounds, the barbarian went down.

Barzoun dropped the goblin he'd injured with another well-placed blow from his mace. The second one, however, continued to menace him with his sword, and managed a glancing hit that drew blood from the cleric's shoulder. The two continued to trade attacks while the paladin watched them, unable to intervene.

"Next time I'll take a monk, they've got the best saving throws," Margos mumbled. "Stupid paladins..."

Sidon, meanwhile, had maneuvered into position to threaten the cleric. Like a dart he slipped out of the shadows and launched a devastating attack with his sword that tore deeply into the cleric's side. Crippled by the blow, the goblin leader fell back, but then, as its gaze fixed on the thief's blade, its eyes widened in a combination of surprise and outrage.

"A +3 sword of wounding? How did you get that? This is a level-1 server!"

The thief smiled darkly. "I hacked the server reqs file," he said. "Go ahead, try to hit me - I've got +6 bracers and 22 DEX, too."

"So, you want to cheat, do you," the cleric said, and his voice had grown deeper, more authoritative. "TRY THIS, THEN!"

And with its words, the cleric began to swell and change, its form morphing until it dwarfed the thief and the other combatants. Within moments the shaman was gone, replaced by a ten-foot tall monstrosity with red skin, an animal skull for a face, fiery wings, and a huge, flaming sword.

The combatants around the room had paused as they saw the change, their animosities momentarily forgotten in the drama of what was happening before them.

"A balor..." Barzoun breathed.

"I'll still kill you!" the thief screamed, stabbing at the demon with his overly-enchanted sword. The blade tore into the demon's flesh, but then the demon reached down, grabbed the thief, and in a smooth motion tore his head from his body.

"I don't like cheaters," the demon said, and as he finished his form shifted and changed, until the goblin shaman stood there again.

"My apologies," the goblin said to the companions, as its forces broke off their attack and retreated to its side of the room. The cleric's gaze traveled over all of them, over the pieces of Sidon, the held figure of Margos, the unmoving form of Vanguarde. When he looked at Zarath, he smiled, as if remembering a time long past. "I'm going to have to start being more selective about who I let on my server, I see that now. Visit the messageboards at, where I will be seeking players among the dynamic D&D community there. For now, I thank you for playing..."

And the goblin waved a hand, and the battlefield, and all of those upon it, vanished.

A Neverwinter Nights Fantasy, Chapter 4 © Ken McDonald, aka lazybones

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