Peter W sent me the second and final part of the battle report, so here it is for your delectation. I’ve included the map of the position from last time. I have to say that with that many trollkin involved, and the knowledge of more trolls around the place, I’d have been very scared indeed. It seems like the ambush passage is above the adventurers there, splitting the party nicely. Well played, Peter.
Grugnah pushed two terrified food trollkin armed only with crude, sharpened sticks, down from the ambush passage. Simultaneously, four value trollkin had scaled down into the entrance passage from above and were ready to harry the characters from the rear whilst four warrior trollkin rushed down the passage from the Waiting Cave with Forbor. Grugnah had ordered Relger to stay with her and attack when the best opportunity presented.
In the very first round, one of the food trollkin, shaking with terror, criticalled Harjoon Far Rider in the arm with his crude spear, wrecking his arm and leaving him senseless on the floor. This would leave our Eurmali, Henbold Trollchum, facing two trollkin by himself on the young rogue’s very first expedition. Chief Baranthos had ordered him to accompany his elders to weed out these Troll raiders to prove himself of some worth to the clan. This was not what Henbold had in mind!
At the front, Varenstran Storrensson and Garmast Ironleg, both capable Orlanthi fyrdsmen, set about the Trollkin in a relentless and exhausting back and forth of strike, feint, and parry. At the rear, Varrek an Odayla hunter from the Orlmarth clan who had been the party’s guide up into the Starfire ridges was fighting off the trollkin with Hofal the Outsider. Here and there was the crackly of magical energy and the faint sheen of spirit magic on blade or body. At one point, Garmast became confused about what was going on and paused to make sense of it leaving a stranger next to him fighting two Trollkin – for some reason he could not fathom. The realisation dawned on him when he saw that this stranger’s tattoos matched his own that it was the Trollkin that were foes and so he re-joined the fray. By now they were cutting through the trollkin at the front when Forbor roared a curse and struck Garmast blind. Calling on the power of Orlanth’s movement rune, Varenstran pressed bravely and recklessly forward and engaged Forbor in combat, swiftly cutting him down. At the rear, the contest between Varrek, Hofal and the value trollkin was almost over whilst in the middle Henbold had cut and dodged, literally for his life, managing to defeat the two food trollkin whilst standing guard over the still form of Harjoon.
Varrek and Hofal quickly closed up with Harjoon, casting a Heal Wound to save his arm but all were concerned as they could hear movement and the roar of more trolls. At the front Garmast could barely see from his blindness and Varenstran realised that even in the gloom there was a wall of impenetrable darkness in front of him that simply absorbed any illumination from his Light spell. Even as he realised this, Relger burst through windmilling two flanged lead maces, rolled an 01 and smashed Garmast. Despite his blindness, Garmast almost unbelievably rolled a special parry, probably saving his life. To Varenstran it did not seem a parry, so much as Garmast hearing a noise and turning to face it with his shield just happening to intercede with the crushing blow from Relger’s dully gleaming lead mace. Even so, Garmast was thrown across the passageway. His femur was pulverised and he was left unconscious on the floor against the wall in a heap. It was fortunate that Garmast is called Ironleg for a reason – he has the constitution of an ox and the build to match. The damage was not enough to wreck his leg but he was out of the fight. At the rear, Grugnah charged Varrek. In the next moment Relger roared his rage and called upon Zorak Zoran to strike Fear into Varenestran. And yet… he was stunned when his violent lord failed to answer. Having rolled an 01 to strike Garmast, he rolled 100 to cast his Rune spell! In the very next moment Varenestran rolled an 03 critical doing 22 damage to Relgers leg with his broadsword. Somehow the blade cut through flesh, bone and sinew in one perfect killing blow. Relger died in the same instant, wondering why Zorak Zoran has forsaken him. At the rear Grugnah realised the attack had failed but was already committed. Varrek parried her blow and drove his spear deep into her arm causing her to faint from the shock of such a grievous blow.
The fight was over.
Exhausted, some of them collapsed to their knees or simply lay on the floor the chests heaving as sweat stung their eyes. Varrek and Varenestran, were more cautious than the less seasoned warriors and quickly marshalled healing and attention for Garmast. Harjoon was back on his feet and able to draw on his magical crystal to help heal the wounded. Garmast’s sight slowly returned. They all realised through that their reserves were low. Many felt faint or had splitting headaches from being almost drained of magical energy. Water skins were passed around.
Moving into the Waiting Cave, they found a terrified and bound Orlanthi farmer in amongst the bones and litter. His name was Korostal; he had been out poaching in Orlmarth lands with a friend, hoping to replenish their winter stores when they were overwhelmed by trollkin and brought here a day or so before. Varenestran was able to vouch for Korostal as his older brother’s sister-in-law is Arndala – wife of Jenstal. Varenestran had feasted at Jenstal’s stead and attended their betrothal. So it is amongst the Colymar – there’s rarely more than one or two degrees of separation! The trolls had made Korostal watch whilst they ate his clan brother alive. The characters were on edge though when they heard that four, not three, Dark Trolls had watched the feast. There was another – called Makal – who was nowhere to be seen. Korostal begged them to return him to his brother Jenstal’s stead, just the other side of Black Spear in the Thunder Hills (this will hook into ‘The Dragon of Thunder Hills’ from the RQG Adventures Book).
As the characters explored the complex and made some sense of the Ernaldan frescos they found the Grand Mace. Garmast reached to wrench it free but even in just touching it he felt a greater and chilling affinity to the element of Darkness (+1d6 Darkness). He stepped back. Henbold however was excited – he revels in the darkness. He grasped the mace’s haft and embraced the rush of shadow, using it to inspire and bring forth a half-remembered tale he had been told. With the boost of a Darkness rune inspiration, Henbold specialled his Elder Race Lore and wondered aloud if this could be the Grand Mace of Hurigg Blacktooth.
The characters resolved to recover the mace but only if they could free it now. They were running out of magical reserves for Light spells and their torches did not have very long left and were starting to gutter. They had no ambition to return later to find more trolls had returned – as they surely would if this prize remained to be recovered. Harjoon offered to summon forth an Earth elemental to shake the Mace free. He had not tried this before so spent a little time preparing the ritual. It worked… a small Talosi answered his call and he commanded it to free the Mace from the ground. The elemental was pleased to do so… this fragment of darkness was like a thorn in the pure and holy Earth of this place. It spat the Mace free. Harjoon commanded the elemental to excavate further. It did so and sifted to the surface some human bones around the wrist of which was a golden bangle marked with Earth, Fertility and Harmony runes. The Orlanthi were moved to gather these holy relics respectfully and return them to the temple at Clearwine for a proper burial.
Gathering the Mace and some booty the characters left the cave and found that one of their horses was dead with its skull stoven in, Harjoon’s high llama was nowhere to be seen and their remaining horses were wandering around on the hillside picking at tufts of grass that peeked above the snow. The fourth Troll had gotten away! This was a crushing blow – it was late in the day, they were tired and they had not set anyone to guard their mounts. Harjoon, a Praxian, was bereft at having lost his llama companion. Varrek, a hunter, found the llama’s trail in the snow. So did Harjoon but leading in the other direction – Harjoon rolled a 00 on his Track. Varrek and Harjoon then got into a row about which way to go to recover the llama. Neither could convince the other. However, it was not Varrek’s llama, it was Harjoon’s. Garmast resolved to go with Harjoon for a short while to recover the llama if they could. Needless to say, they were going in the wrong direction. An hour or two later they returned exhausted, cold, sullen and hungry to the rest of the group who had got a small fire going in a ruined stead on the high ground overlooking Old Man.
So, there you go – one heck of a lot of action. I admire Harjoon’s sticking to his decidion to follow the wrong tracks. I mourn Relger once more – I like the games in which he lives past at least one PC, and preferably gets to eat people. So does he, of course.
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