In Memorium - The following is the surviving fragments of Randallo Talborment's last letter home to his mother. Never completed, it and many earlier letters were found on his corpse by his fellow adventurers and mailed upon their return to civilization. So Ma, where was I? I don't get much chance to write these days, so busy running the town and all. It's a busy life, being Mayor, and Chief Fire Warden, Marshal of the Watch, Head of the Thieves' Guild, Tour Guide, and Official Town Welcomer. Yeah, you're little boy made good. I'm doing a whole heck of a lot better for myself than my half-sister Candi. Seriously, who takes a Gnome bounty hunter seriously? I still don't know why she's your favourite.
Anyway, if I remember rightly Ma, we had just escaped from some dragons (yes, Ma, dragons, big ones too, the Bard with us, whazzername, um... Bae-Wynn, I think, anyway, she can back me up on this, they were dragons) only due to my expertise and sheer skill at finding secret passages.
Once we were free and clear, we still had a good portion of the underground chambers to explore, and we found ourselves a T-junction, with corridors leading both left and right. I said we should go left, of course, left being the second most luckiest direction for Gnomes, but the rest of the group argued amongst themselves for a while. I get bored quickly, as you know Ma, so I wandered off to the left and the rest of the group finally followed me, only to find a dead end. Now I know what you're thinking, your loving son probably found another secret passage, but no. Godric, he's the big fella with the loud voice and a somewhat single-minded personality, putting it kindly as I always do, decided to smash down the wall with some sort of magic fist thingie he's got, just because we hear Kobolds talking behind.
So in we burst, into this room that must have been a temple of some kind, and find half-a-dozen Kobolds. Naturally, on seeing me, they all decide to flee. The rest of the group decide to let them run, but I wasn't having that, Ma. Seriously? Kobolds? I mean, everyone knows we Gnomes hates 'em, don't we, my preciousssss? Hmm... sorry, Ma, don't know what came over me just then.
Anyway, I drop one of the Kobolds, the biggest, toughest one, no doubt the leader, with a shot through the throat with my crossbow. You taught your son well, Ma. I let the rest of the party mop up the survivors while I did the responsible thing and started looting the room. I managed to find four vials of some green liquid, probably more poison but you never know.
Of course, not being me, or not even as remotely awesome as me, the rest of the group fail to kill the rest of the Kobolds. I swear Ma, I don't know which deity I offended to end up with this lot latched on to me. If it wasn't for me they'd all be dead by now, ten times over. Again, Kobolds. It's not like they're tough or anything. Except the ones I killed, of course, I always aim for the baddest ones, it's only fair. These other 'adventurers' can't even deal with the weak and sickly Kobolds.
So off we run, following the fleeing Kobolds and into another large chamber, something like an old Dwarven mess hall. And mess is right. Dwarves, Ma, you know what they're like. No class. The one we have with us, Pint, well, I wouldn't call him a halfwit. I don't think he could figure out a fraction that high.
Now Ma, I must admit I'm not as young as I used to be. And the looting had taken it out of me, so it took me a while to catch up with the others. Without me, as you can imagine, they'd made a mess of things. The Kobolds had been holding a couple of the town's kids captive along with a half-Elf sorcerer, and he made a decent show of things I guess. Killing a few of the Kobolds, probably two or three. But the so-called warriors had done nothing, aside from Mira taking some time to practice her bowling with Kobolds, and Godric was crawling around looking for a lost contact lens or something, right in the middle of the battle. As you know, Ma, I have a tremendous talent for remaining cool and calm under pressure and I simply dived in, did a flashy roll, and came up firing my crossbow. I probably killed like, 20 or 30 of them. No sweat.
The sorcerer, Njord, told us that there were still other children being held captive, so we carried on exploring. We could have just gone home then and there, and everyone wanted to, but I convinced them to stay. Think of the children, I pleaded. So on we went.
We found an oss... an ozzz... an ossuwavary... we found a place full of bones. There was another kid in there, who the sorcerer rescued, and the Halfling Cleric, dispatched a few reanimated skeletons. Not that I was impressed, Ma. Seriously, those skeletons looked like something out of a play by that old Halfling animator, Rae Hairyhowsun.
But we were quickly surrounded by more and more skeletons, which had come back to life due to the Bard blundering around and trying to loot the place. I warned her not to, Ma, honest I did. Why can't these bigger people leave the serious business of looting to those more suited to it, like we Gnomes, especially the Talborment family. Heck, our family motto is "If it's not nailed down, it's ours", am I right?
Anyway, I have to run, Ma, the party is begging me to kill the skeletons. I've already killed four and...
At this point the letter ends with a single splodge of ink and several pages are coated in what we can only assume is Randallo's blood. Or brain matter. Or some of his innards. Who knows?
We do know, from what the survivors of this expedition reported much later, that Randallo bravely tried to hold off the advancing skeletons so that they could safely flee, but was cruelly knocked unconscious by a lucky skeleton sword swing. When his distressed friend and bodyguard, the Half-Orc Mira, rushed to save him, her hasty axe blow did not connect with any of the undead but instead chopped the unconscious Gnome clean in two, killing him instantly.
Despite the grief the party did continue, killing more Kobolds (somehow without the late Randy's help), and traversing ever deeper into the caverns beneath the Dwarven stronghold, and along the way Mira managed to kill a fierce Hellhound that also savagely assaulted her, she only survived through the Cleric's magical healing powers. The party then found a hellish forge, with a Forge Spurned creature raging towards them...