January 18, 121 AC (Continued)
…attacked them first, of course! Iliana let loose with her Icy Terrain spell, freezing the snow drifts and tracks solid, creating a treacherous landscape for the Kobold army. Most of their minions tripped and critically injured themselves, and many of their shield-bearers went down. Following the ice theme, I had summoned my Armor of Agathys, icy armor cleaved from the Frozen Throne of Hades. I positioned myself so that its chilling touch would wrack their bodies in agony while I set loose my curses and hexes. They had tried to flank us, sending a squad of minions to distract Matthias and Terence. Phillip stood beside me as we began hacking our way through their populace.
Iliana and one of the Kobold mages squared off with the melee betwixt them, but it was clear that the Kobold's superior numbers were going to put us through our paces. After their first was dispatched, their second bestowed them with strength and vigor and they all slipped out of the range of my icy shards. They grouped themselves too close, however, and Iliana summoned a Freezing Cloud at their muster point. I then reached out to their remaining mage and dragged his terrified form into the cloud with my Diabolic Grasp. The howl of the frigid north wind drowned out his screams as he perished.
While much effort was spent keeping Phillip and myself from getting overrun, much obliged, by the way, the Kobold artillery had pelted Terrence with glue bombs and he was immobilized. This left the other casters outflanked and surrounded. Though they had supplied us with backup, encouragement, and healing, they had left their own defenses too lax.
Iliana used her Thunderwave to try to hold them back, but there were too many, and Mardrunn was down and stunned. Phillip gave her Inspiring Words, but the surviving Kobold Minion knocked her back down to nothing. I shoved Terry into position while he extricated himself from the glue, and the remaining Kobolds were dispatched.
While the others tended to their wounds, I searched for clues and gathered the Kobolds. I left three of them alive and slit the throats of the rest, building a pyre. It's unfortunate that the world is sufficiently dangerous (and people sufficiently resilient) that there's no middle ground between leaving them to be eaten by a passing monster and leaving them to sneak up on us and stab us in the back.
We took the three we had left alive (and the goat cart) and returned to our staging area, where we ran into the search party that had headed West. We roasted a goat and interrogated the prisoners. I had broken their ankles to keep them from escaping, and, after hearing much caterwauling and complaining, Mardrunn set the bones as a show of good faith. I mean, really. They'd've recovered just fine in a couple of days.
January 20, 121 AC
Anyway, we found out the people of Bobville used "stealth" and "overwhelming force" as their chief defensive tactics, resulting in a bit of an impasse. They wantonly attack us whenever we cross their border, but we have no idea where it is. We also had no reason to believe Bob wouldn't kill us on sight (see "slaughtered 30 kobolds" and "overwhelming force"). We also discovered that Bobville was a much more diverse place. There were homo sapiens kobold, homo sapiens malice minor and major, and even homo ursus arthropodus.
Compare with the creepily named and more creepily homogeneous "The Village", in which Mardrunn (homo sapiens pumillionis) and I (homo sapiens semisylvanus) are regarded as "barely" human. In fact, the Mayor of "The Village" is a racist pigfucker whose chief political platform is "eliminating the Goblin menace". The Wizard (who keeps his name ominously quiet) assures me that it is to my advantage to encourage an end to the petty and hysterical xenophobia. I remain skeptical.
January 23, 121 AC
We attempted to negotiate a meeting with Bob and a small contingent of his army, but this resulted in 1) a strategic retreat when we heard war drums and 2) a meeting instead with one of his Hobgoblin lieutenants. I got him to describe most of the local threats (gnashy teethy things in an old supermarket, village overrun by vampires, Sidhe incursions, Forbidden Swamp, etc.) and agree to parley on future occasions when we accidentally crossed their borders. We released the prisoners and have reason to believe we did not give away the location of "The Village".
January 24, 121 AC
The search parties who went South and East have not returned. We'll have to go looking for them tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I've mastered a new power.