Accidental Heroes©

Unbound by Thorns

Mudwig, “Jewwee”, a gnoll named Snaggletooth, and several other humans are captured and bound by a large group of gnolls. They are taken hostage and lead to a labyrinth made of 10 foot high walls of thick overgrown thorny briar bushes. The gnolls set the party loose within the labyrinth and the snickering gnolls inform the captives that they have one hour before they come hunting after the them. Mudwig and Jewwee team up and strike off together, and they hear a man scream in the distance. Traversing the maze of thorns they are come upon by a swarm of possessed thornbushes that lunges out and attacks them. After dealing a devastating surprise attack against Mudwig, the duo quickly dispatches the briar demon. They travel through the opening the demon left in the thorny walls into a vast open area. There the duo sees a stream that leads to a wooden bridge. As Jewwee crosses the bridge a large minotaur barrels out of the bushes and notices Jewwee’s standing upon the bridge. The minotaur asks Jewwee why he is in his home. As Jewwee tells the minotaur that he was captured by gnolls the minotaur roars his hatred for the invasive gnolls. Jewwee attempts to offer the minotaur a truce and asks for aide in escape of the labyrinth but the minotaur demands a payment of treasure. When Jewwee declares his goods were stolen by the gnolls the minotaur draws his battleaxe and charges him. Jewwee is able to dodge the attack and Mudwig rushes forward to assist his archer companion. They both overwhelm the minotaur and render him unconscious. Jewwee bandages the minotaur and rouses him long enough to ask him the direction of the exit of the labyrinth. The minotaur points west and falls unconscious once more. Mudwig confiscates the minotaur’s weapon and ties him to his back and drags him along with them. They successfully find their way to a gateway to the east. As they near the gate they are come upon by two small gnoll hunters, who attacks the group. Jewwee and Mudwig quickly dispatch the furry pair and begin to approach the door. Suddenly the gnoll named Snaggletooth is revealed and asks the duo to take him with them. At first they decide to attack him, but then they quickly change their minds and allow him to join.
Mudwig is able to pry the gate open with a crowbar he found in his traveling pack and the group successfully escapes the labyrinth of thorns. They all rest about a mile away from the labyrinth and Snaggletooth informs them that the gnoll den is only a mile away and that he has a blood feud against the leader of the gnolls who took his mate and cast him to death. The party agrees to help him with his mission and head towards the den the next morning. Snaggletooth leads them to a secret entrance that leads to a small pool that streams down into a central cavern. The party repels down the watery tunnel with help of a climber’s kit. The minotaur still strapped to Mudwig’s back comes conscious and condemns the party for taking him form his home, and when he sees Snaggletooth he reaches for his weapon but it has been taken by Mudwig. Snaggletooth reassures him that he is on his side against the gnolls. When the party inform the minotaur that they have brought him to the lair of the gnolls he goes frantic but is calmed when Jewwee promises him much treasure. The group travels easily up a set of slippery stairs.
At the top of the stairs is a large chamber that contains about ten gnolls in deep sleep, and a prominent statue of a cross-legged gnoll holding a spear. Jewwee frantically scrambles up the statue quietly after he notices two large rubies representing the eyes of the statue. He attempts to pry a ruby loose but fails. At the same time, Mudwig notices several hanging cages behind the statue and makes his way towards them. He jumps up and latches onto one of the cages and pries it open with his crowbar and loots the skeleton occupant, making enough noise to rouse two gnolls from their slumber.
Seeing the treat, Jewwee climbs to the top of the statue and unleashes four arrows in a skillful strike. Two arrows land in each respective gnoll’s head and they fall back to an eternal slumber. Jewwee scans the room and notices a tunnel that leads into another gnoll lair…

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The New Packleader
Sleep in the Den

Jewwee climbs off the statue and quietly heads towards the small opening. Snaggletooth whispers that the Packleader is not present and suggests going to the next room, though Jewwee ignores this. The opening is about fifteen feet up so Jewwee begins to climb up some slippery rocks very carefully. Mudwig clambers off the cages and heads towards the statue, seeing the jeweled eyes still intact. He scales the statue and steals the jewels without waking the gnolls. Jewwee finds a nifty cloak on the remains of a halfling skeleton inside the tunnel and a small holy symbol made of silver is clutched against the skeletal breast. Mudwig notices Snaggletooth creeping towards the next chamber and stealthily follows. Jewwee climbs down and sees the minotaur, Tarheel, watching him from the stairs. Tarheel motions with his hands to the next chamber and Jewwee creeps past the gnolls, pausing momentarily to peer into a bone pit, but continues and comes upon Snaggletooth and Mudwig peering about the chamber. Inside is a large area filled with skeletal tokens of huntings, and symbols painted in blood are smeared on the walls. Across the room is a dim fire with a heaping pile of lavish pelts. Jewwee and Mudwig find a large coinpurse filled with gold and a small statuette smeared with dried blood. Jewwee notices a small passage way at the end of the room and he grabs a burning stick from the fire and heads into the tunnel. The tunnel stretches from a few dozen feet before Jewwee hears the soft sound of running water. The three find themselves back into the first large chamber at the base of the stairs. Mudwig and Jewwee decide to ambush the gnolls in thier sleep and kill them all. As they head back up the stairs, Tarheel is startled by the encroaching torchlight and accidentally slips on the wet stairs with his inconvenient set of hooves. His tumble rouses the sleeping gnolls above but Jewwee douses his torch and stealthily climbs up the stairs as Mudwig shoves an axe into Tarheel’s hands. He sees the remaining eight gnolls huddled around his earlier two kills and he launches two surprise arrows at the two strongest looking gnolls. His attack lands, catching them off guard, and then he summons a cloud of darkness to provide cover against the oncoming gnoll attack while Mudwig, Snaggletooth, and Torheel charge in with weapons drawn. After a rough battle the group overpowers thier gnoll attackers and loot thier bodies. Snaggletooth takes a great club as prize and Tarheel takes a hauberk of leather.
The group holds up for moment to bandage thier wounds but as they are doing so they all hear the echoes of cackles from the bottom of the stairs. Snaggletooth states he knows that voice and charges off. The three left quickly pursue. When they reach the base of the stairs they see three larger gnolls at the far end of the chamber across the small stream and they are leading a bonded drow man by rope, cackling loudly. Jewwee sends off two arrows through the dark towards the creatures. His efforts fail as the two arrows zip past thier targets.
Snaggletooth immediately charges towards them and attacks the lead gnoll, the largest of the three. The gnolls instantly jump upon Snaggletooth and drive him to the ground. Mudwig and Tarheel charge in to aid thier companion, while Jewwee provides cover from afar. The drow man cuts his bonds with a hidden dagger and suddenly disappears from vision. Tarheel dives upon the fallen Snaggletooth in an attempt to protect him from the onslaught while Mudwig attacks with sword and shield. The drow man reappeares behind the gnoll fighting Mudwig and slashes the beast, then he summons his own cloud about him and moves closer into the fray. Jewee continues to rain arrows from behind the scene. Tarheel lashes out at one of the gnolls, driving him off of Snaggletooth momentarily. Mudwig injures one of the gnolls badly and the drow man emerges from the cloud and dispatches the wounded beast, not only did he cut it down but a ghostly conjuration of the remained at the drow’s beckon. Jewwee lands a deadly shot upon one of the gnolls and Mudwig soon after cuts it down. The drow sends his ghoulish conjuration towards the larger gnoll and detonates the ghoul in a eerie blast upon it and stealthily positions himself behind the beast during the distraction. Snaggletooth is able to stand and lash out at the fellow gnoll beast before falling back to the ground in wariness, but the opposer is not subdued. Jewwee sends one more series of attacks that finally kill the great gnoll beast. The gnoll falls upon the drow but the drow pushes the falling beast’s corpse to the side. Mudwig immediately begins looting the body. He sees some crude armor and mediocre weapons but he also notices a coin purse and reaches for
it. But as he is about to peer at the bag’s contents it suddenly disappears from his hands. He instantly turns to the drow man who lies and says he did not take it. Mudwig rushes towards him and slams him to the ground. Tarheel steps behind the drow and demands his name. The drow
reveals himself as El’katur. Jewwee arrives on scene and declares he saw the whole theft. El’katur claims the gold was his but Tatheel insists he share, which El’katur reluctantly agrees to. Jewwee takes the time tobandage up Snaggletooth’s wounds as Mudwig and El’katur argue with another.
Once the dispute is settled Snaggletooth thanks the group for helping him settle his blood debt and them claims himself new Packleader. He tells the adventurers that he will show them a way out of the cave. He leads them to a portion of the cage that opens into a waterfall that falls into a large pool of water. He gives friendly farewells and tells them there is a village eight miles to the northeast.
The four leave Snaggletooth behind and head out, but not before Tarheel breaks down emotionally and declares his new sense of loss. Jewwee tells him that if Tarheel follows he will find much treasure, which greatly pleases the minotaur and he accepts the invitation. The group find a small set of footpaths, one leading northeast and follow it for several miles. The path becomes overgrown with plants but they press on and eventually find a well traveled road. As they continue north they see a small village looking on the horizon. They spot a lone carriage heading towards them on the road. El’katur disappears once more as the carriage approaches. Jewwee hails the man but he only spits back in his direction and questions his appearance. Mudwig bluffs the man into thinking Jewwee and Tarheel are his slaves. The man accepts this humbly but is taken aback by Jewwee’s forwardness. The man tells Mudwig to keep his slaves in check whilst in town and soon excuses himself under the pretense that his time is wasting to deliver his shipment of corn. After the man departs they all head towards town. Once in eye’s distance of the village they notice several drows toiling the various crops surrounding the village. The drows all wear flabberghasted looks upon thier faces as they see Mudwig, Tarheel, and most importantly the well armed and equipped drow named Jewwee…

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