Vecna, Devron, Onexia, Gudrun, and The Dan were already in the Luck Bandit Hideout. Revelle and Tancred took a route to follow them until they reached the Corpseknife Badlands, when they took the high road and avoided trouble. They too rode a giant beetle, and brought along Revelle’s hunting beetle Mr. Stab as well. On their journey, they saw several axes set into trees, painted with runes that the Shieldsplitters were gathering.
Revelle and Tancred were challenged by door guards, and there was a misunderstanding and the dwarves took them out; more bandits arrived, realized the mistake, and summoned Vecna to vouch for them. Soon they were all inside enjoying crab chowder. They got up to speed on the situation and decided to climb up into the mountain in the dark, and attack the goblins at first light.
While they rested, they reflected on the Legend of Fuggov Pass and regained some resolve.
The Dark Mountain Paths
As they headed out they saw some goblins with gliding gear and firebombs watching the hideout. Revelle and the Dan snuck up on them and pounced, taking them out. The Dan festooned himself with the volatile fire bombs, and Revelle tied on an unconscious goblin to interrogate below. They tried to climb down, and the Dan lost his grip. As he fell, he flung bombs away from himself.
Some of the dwarves evaded the falling firebombs, others got somewhat toasted, but the Dan fell into a chemical fire from the faster-falling bombs and bounced, coated in flaming material. Everyone got their fires put out, and they interrogated one of the goblins kept alive for that purpose. He told them of the gas harvesting and flying machines, but he wasn’t very helpful; they snapped his neck and moved on.
Evading more patrols, including gasbag airships that were flimsy but potentially dangerous, they approached the ridge that turned out to be the lip of a crater where the mountaintop should be. They saw it had been heavily harvested, with gas derricks set up and filling bags and tanks, goblins everywhere, plenty of airships. A much greater than expected force!
Into the Crater
The goblins had many devices where they used pedaling to generate energy to fuel lightning guns or steering machines. The dwarves sabotaged one of the towers so it would fry all the goblins involved if they tried to use it, then moved on one of the fuel tank/bombs. Onexia was a skilled mechanician, and Tancred was an engineer, so they had a distinct advantage.
The goblins fired up the tower and all died, and the dwarves got the massive tank unmoored and rolling, and Tancred’s expert gunner skills punctured the tank and actually got it to fire like a rocket, so it shot down into the shaft in the center of the crater and exploded, causing untold damage.
Now that the goblins were roused, the dwarves turned to thoughts of escape. They slaughtered an airship crew, including its tough leader (who almost slew Tancred as that brave dwarf ignored him and managed what passed for pre-flight on the goblin craft.) The rest of the group ground him up with the rest of the goblins, and as they attempted to escape, they saw a massive goblin construct that defied description charging up the crater wall towards them; held together with crackling blue energy, it was a goblin construct god, Deus Volt. Dozens of goblins crewed the obscenity; it was built for harvesting, construction, and war, and it appeared to be a fusion of independent constructs.
Onexia used the lightning cannon on their stolen airship to delay pursuit, as other dwarves doggedly pedaled the mechanisms to make energy and Tancred steered the craft. As Deus Volt built up a killing charge to blow them away, Onexia interrupted it with the lightning gun; some of the charge traveled up the beam and blew up the gun, rocking the ship badly and doing some damage. Still, they were on their way to escape when the goblins’ much bigger warship with dozens of goblins aboard generated a lot of propulsion power and came after them.
Tancred sniped at their tough pilot with limited success, and as the bigger ship got close enough to use its superior lightning gun, Tancred shot the gunners; but as one fell, another clambered into the seat.
The bigger ship gun came to bear, and the dwarves leaped from the airship, aiming for trees, some lucky few slowing their fall with anchor lines. They thudded down into the woods with dispersed dwarf-fall, and managed to find each other and retreat as fast as they could, limping and clutching their various wounds, as the airship burned and the goblins gathered to form hunting parties.
They found their way back to the Luck Bandit Lair, but trouble was sure to be hot on their heels.