While the player characters proceeded to make short work of the 8 or so goblins in the ballista chamber, they also noted that a larger group of goblins was quickly assembling in an adjacent and even larger chamber with some sort of lower gallery accessible by a ramp. Many more goblins– numbering in the dozens– and at least several wolves were marshaling, and horns were being sounded, perhaps signalling that more goblins (or something else!) were being called to arms.
Both sides issued demands to the other to surrender, but neither was likely to acquiesce. While oil was prepared and the ballistas were rotated to fire into the mass of goblins, the party started to hear sounds of answering horns coming from the southern passage they had themselves come from. Sensing that they were about to be cut off, they decided to retreat, setting the oil aflame and firing flaming ballista bolts as they set fire to the engines just before setting them off (so the goblins would not have use of them later). The goblins answered with a volley of spears which caught the illusionist and the bard, but the party retreated to the gatehouse facing outside on the mountainside. The goblins, it seemed, had no stomach for following the intruders outside of the dwarven city, or perhaps hadn’t been able to follow them at all in their headlong flight.
The gnome thief was sent back inside to determine what was going on in the passages. He only got as far as the large circular chamber with the magical gate leading to the town of Ritterheim (and presumably other places as well), where he could see a large number of goblins bustling to and fro in the passages beyond. Clearly, the party had stirred up the hornets’ nest.
Wanting to give the goblins some time to lessen their activity, the party decided to journey to the nearby smithy of Klegg Ironbeard, who had previously provided them with the key used to activate the magical portal back to Ritterheim. He was still there, madly pounding away at something on his anvil, and as finally coaxed into answering a few questions. He’s one of my favorite NPCs to do, a very haunted person driven mad by guilt (or so the assumption goes; he has a tendency to be rather non-committal in some of his answers). They got a little more information, picked up some of his works bearing his maker’s mark, and returned to Glitterdark.
A brief debate ensued as to whether they should re-enter the city, or simply go into the room of magical gates and use their key to return to Ritterheim. Again the gnome thief was sent in to reconnoiter, and, having determined that the frenzied activity of before had calmed down somewhat, the party entered the gate and returned to the city, there to possibly track down the magical lantern that would activate the magical gate that led back to Glitterdark.
Another good, solid session I thought. A large tactical situation to be dealt with, followed by some stealthy recon and role-play with a key NPC. And of course the group makes the game fun in and of itself.