It was looking to be a fine evening in the Antler and Thistle Tavern. As Acorn tuned his lyre, he noticed it was a full crowd tonight. Davik and Galtheri were near the bar. Flint was even here at a corner table. Not to mention the dozen other locals. The salmon were running and Oril MacTarn was making his famous Tarragon, Bacon, Salmon parcels. Acorn was looking forward to the meal as much as the chance to practice his newest song.
The general hubbub of the room quieted as Horros brought out the first parcels and the pungent mix of salmon, tarragon, and bacon filled the room. As Horros brought the first tray of salmon parcels around the bar, the peace of the moment was shattered by the crack of the front door flying off its hinges to land amid the nearest tables, sending a plate of salmon to the floor. Four hobgoblins rushed into the bar, swords outstretched to attack the nearest bar patrons. “For Sinruth, For the Hand!”, they cried.
At first everyone stared in shock as the hobgoblins rushed forward and skewered Horros to a table. Acorn jumped on top of his table and yelled, “Protect the townsfolk”, as he set aside his lyre and pulled out his wand. Davik charged into the hobgoblins, luring their attention. Flint unloaded a flurry of arrows into the hobgoblins as Galtheri unleashed a devastating fire bolt.
As the townsfolk backed away, more hobgoblins poured into the room with two goblins carrying bitumen covered torches. The goblins tossed the flaming brands at the bar and a table near the fire, instantly setting them ablaze. Suddenly, the battle changed from one of protection, to a battle of protection and containment with time against them.
Galtheri and Davik continued to distract and harry the goblinoids while Flint and Acorn rushed to put out the growing flames, all the while firing off a shot on the move when the opportunity presented itself. Davik found himself the focus of the goblin’s rage. Outnumbered 5 to 1, it took all of Davik’s skill to withstand the barrage. Davik would have surely fallen to the goblin blades if it wasn’t for the timely healing of Acorn.
Galtheri managed to clear a path to the back door and ushered the patrons out as smoke filled the tavern Everyone made it except one unlucky soul who was laid out by a flying bitumen torch. The patron slumped to the ground even as his clothing and hair caught fire. There were moments when it seemed the bar would catch and take the whole southern portion of the tavern with it.
As the smoke began to take its toll on their lungs, the group finally defeated the goblins and staggered out the front door to fresh air, followed by Oril himself. Oril was besides himself with grief over the damage done to his tavern and his ruined dish. He does make an amazing salmon dish after all.
As the group gulped in the clean air, they noticed fires were raging throughout the town. They could see townsfolk running around mindlessly and guards trying to organize a bucket brigade and muster the militia to defend against the attackers. The companions barely caught their breath before a new threat came barreling around the corning.
Coming down the northern road, the party saw a 12 foot monstrosity emerge from the smoke chasing Allan Strawhand. An ogre was harnessed to a cart with 2 hobgoblins inside. As everyone stared, the hobgoblins handed the ogre a barrel with a lit fuse. The ogre hurled the cask into the fleeing Allan. The cask smashed against Allan and blasted him through a nearby window. A blast of searing flames poured out of the window as the cask exploded. The ogre roared with laughter and gestured for another cask.
Acorn was quick to suggest setting the cart on fire and taking the ogre out. Flint rolled across the floor and dipped a crossbow bolt in the tarry bitumen torches carried by the goblins. He lit the bolt, aimed down his site and planted the bolt into one of the many casks in the ogre drawn wagon. The fire immediately began to work its way down the bolt and spread across the treated cask. The first hobgoblin dove from the wagon in attempt to distance himself from the imminent blast. The second hobgoblin quickly scooped up the smoldering cask and passed it to the ogre. As he lumbered forward, the ogre caught sight of Flint and hurled the now flaming barrel in his direction. His aim was not as good this time, overthrowing by about 10 feet. Still, the cask exploded in flames and left a pile of flaming debris at the point of impact.
Sticking to the plan, Acorn unleashed a thundering note that sent the remaining hobgoblin flying from the cart. Galtheri stepped forward to summon a burst of flames on the cart, setting it and the casks afire. As the first casks began to burn through, Galtheri taunted the ogre with words and spells to draw his attention away from fleeing townsfolk. Taking the bait, the ogre charged Galtheri and smashed him against the wall of the Elk and thistle, cracking the wall and Galtheri’s ribs at the same time.
As Galtheri and Flint focused on the ogre, Davik was in a desperate struggle to contain the two hobgoblin archers. Davik managed to keep their attention, but the hobgoblin’s continued to rain barbed arrows at Davik. Acorn’s timely healing songs and thundering magical attacks combined with Davik’s reflexes and martial skill won the day. They managed to down one hobgoblin and send the other fleeing into the confusion of the burning city.
Meanwhile, Flint bounced a leaden bolt into the ogre’s thick skull, dazing him momentarily. This gave Galtheri time to retreat further into the inn and unload a torrent of magical fire on the ogre causing the casks to begin exploding in succession, bathing the ogre in blast after blast of searing flames. As the final cask exploded, the ogre sank to the ground with a final roar of defiance. The sound of sizzling fat and burning flesh overpowering.
After the battle, the party tended to their wounds and managed to stabilize the dying hobgoblin who they turned over to the city guards for questioning later. As the group rallied the town guards to oust the attackers, they noticed the goblinoids were retreating into the smoke and night. It was an ordered exit and not a retreat of failure. There was no time to ponder the implications as the party was drawn into a number of bucket brigades to salvage as many buildings as possible in addition to work teams to clear debris and look for survivors. Through the night, the heroes of the tavern found themselves working alongside Turok, a paladin of Bahamut, and Brambles, a quick shot with a crossbow. The group worked through the night and found themselves back at the Antler and Thistle late in the morning, completely exhausted.
At least Oril was ready for the returning warriors. He laid out a spread of walnut date bread, crumpets with black forest jam, potato scones, sliced apples with marmalade, kippers, and his famous fried eggs. Oril’s fried eggs are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, flour, and breading; and then fried to perfection. As Oril laid out the meal, he let the group know that if they were going to spend the evening risking their lives protecting his town and tavern then he would make sure they at least had a good meal. Unfortunately, the meal was served on charred tables and the group had to stand or sit on broken and rickety chairs