So, I attended my first AD&D session for nigh on 20 years last night, but I wasn't the only one. A coulpe of other new members appeared on the same day and we were all invited to participate in an AD&D Ver2 campaign. As with all new campaigns and gaming groups, it takes a little bit of time to get into and remember all the place/character/player names. Anyway, here is a write up of our first adventure in this campaign (it has only been running for a couple of weeks prior to us joining). Place and character names have been purposefully left out due to not being able to remember any but my own so far but, as time goes on, these details will be fleshed out.
Session 1: The Quest Begins (
18th April 2012)
PrologueIn a previous session, the party had come into possession of an orb that supposedly contains the nemesis of a great evil. They had discovered a few clues on how to activate it; namely, it required a Unicorn’s horn, a Troll’s heart and another unknown ingredient.
A Chance MeetingThe three new characters, a human wizard, an Elf fighter and the Halfling thief, Korum Proudfoot, were hired to guard a caravan that was due to travel from one town to the next (an estuary port). The members of the original party, a human fighter and a half-Elf cleric, were also hired as extra muscle, but their intent was to be able to travel safely to the port. Upon setting off, the party got to know one another and the story of the orb came up in conversation. The original party members had clues as to where a mythical Unicorn may be found – the southern plains. All agreed to join in the quest for finding these items.
The portThe caravan journey was uneventful and the party arrived safely in the port. After such a dusty, boring journey the party decided to whet their whistles in a local inn. After throwing a couple of GPs each onto the counter, the party managed to book themselves a cosy room or two with ale and breakfast thrown in. They then started asking around for ways to get to the large inland lake which was situated on the border of the plains, up river from the port. Word soon got to them that a certain one-eyed salt would be able to aid them. With this information gained, the Halfling went out to pick some pockets to gain a little extra cash to pay for his room, and the fighter and cleric decided to pay a visit on this one-eyed captain.
After many unsuccessful negotiations with other captains for passage up river (most failed due to cost or unwillingness to travel that way), the old captain was found. He was drunk and belligerent and would not hire out his boat (which he called a ship). The party decided to try to buy the vessel from him, in which they succeeded in doing but then found that they didn’t have a crew. The one-eyed captain mentioned he might be able to serve in this capacity; for a fee! The party decided to retire to the inn for the night and continue their journey on the morrow.
The fishing villageUpon awakening, the party packed their belongings and headed to the harbour to board their new boat. The captain was good for his word and welcomed them aboard their new acquisition. The hold was well stocked with rations and many, many kegs of beer, which the captain started helping himself to as soon as he was able. Despite being a drunk, he was an able captain, sailing with any breeze that sprung up and with the oars manned by all except the Halfling in calmer weather; they made good time reaching the fishing village.
Upon arrival, the cleric approached the local authorities and paid them the harbouring stipend and a hefty bonus of 20GP to make sure that their boat didn’t sail away before they returned from their journeys south onto the plains. The old captain was left to his own devices; the boat was well stocked with beer!
The cleric sought out a tavern and started asking around if anyone knew if there were any Unicorns in the vicinity. After guffaws of laughter from the patrons of the tavern, he decided to leave the establishment to find the rest of the party and help them look for transportation to the southern part of the plains. In the meantime, the Halfling had investigated the local stables (no unicorns there!) and the others had noticed a handful of carts and wagons situated close by.
When they all met up again, a drunken reveller erupted from the tavern and started cavorting around with a chair leg held to his forehead proclaiming that he was a unicorn. He was ignored and the party entered the tavern to try to arrange transportation.
There were several merchants sat at a table and these were approached first. None of them wished to help to begin with, but eventually one was talked into negotiating a price. Negotiations did not go well, and his price remained high despite the cleric’s liberal use of magic to persuade him otherwise. The merchant promised to meet them the next day with his cart and made his way home. The cleric and fighter decided to follow him, caught up with him, and with a liberal use of muscle power and healing spells persuaded him he could do it cheaper than his previously quoted price. They let him go on the promise of transportation for the morrow.
Meanwhile, one of the merchants pulled out what he said was a Unicorn horn. It looked like a horn from the mythical creature but the Halfling did not trust the merchant and said he would have his friend check it over on the morrow. The party retired to their boat for sleep, setting watches, but the night passed quietly.
After a good night’s sleep the party made their way to the stables where they were due to meet the merchant, only to find his wagon gone. This caused them a little consternation, so they returned to the tavern to find another who may take up their offer of gold for passage across the plains. The cleric checked over the Unicorn horn and declared it magical, but the party would not pay the price being asked. They stole it instead!
Another patron of the tavern mentioned that he was a guide for the Plains and knew them quite well. After a quick negotiation, the party agreed to his price. Whilst the guide was hitching up his horse to his cart, the Elf checked out the tracks from the other merchant’s cart. They headed due south but were around four hours old, so the party set off in pursuit of the missing merchant as he was travelling in the general direction they were headed.
The PlainsThe tracks were quite clear for a while, and the journey remained uneventful until the late afternoon when the Elf espied a cart in the middle of nowhere. They approached it cautiously but found it to be completely empty. The cart was surrounded by dozens of sets of hoof prints but nothing else. The guide mentioned that there were many horse traders on these plains as it was good country for raising stock. The party decided to wait for a horse trader to appear so they could salvage the second cart. They didn’t have to wait long for a dust cloud to appear on the horizon. A band of a dozen horse traders rode up and hailed the party. The adventurers negotiated for three new horses (two to pull the abandoned wagon and a spare) and hitched them up in a caravan. They travelled on for a few more hours until the light started to fade and stopped to make camp for the night. They asked their guide if he had seen any Unicorns, but he just gave a wry smile and said that he hadn’t. He was then presented with the stolen horn, but all he did was grab it, snap it in half revealing it was a simulacrum and asked how much they paid for it. When it was revealed they hadn’t paid a copper for it, he sounded his relief and mentioned that this was a common merchant’s trick.
The first nightThe adventurers set two watches and a couple of camp fires and settled down for the night. During the second watch, the Elf and half-Elf spotted movement in the darkness all around them. They couldn’t make anything out using their infravision so lit a few more torches and woke the rest of the party. When shapes appeared in the darkness, the party approached them with torches, but the shapes retreated from the flames and melted away again. The Halfling lit a fire arrow and shot it from his crossbow at the shapes but even though the bolt hit nothing solid, the darkness edged away from it. Similarly, a light spell from eth cleric only served to push the shadows back temporarily. The night seemed to last a little longer than it should have done and the adventurers started their journey next day a little more tired than when they went to their bedrolls.
The second nightThe second day was no different to the first; unending horse country to every horizon. The guide started to doze in his seat, but the horses seemed to know where they were going, so the party let the carts plod along whilst they stopped off to gather firewood, dried horse dung and whatever else they could find for making fires and torches. Towards evening they spotted a small farmstead in the distance. They approached with caution but were greeted at the threshold by a friendly goodwife who offered them use of her home for the night in return for just good company and tales of the outside world. The party repaid her kindness with providing the food for the evening meal and plenty of beer. The goodwife provided a few dust covered bottles of excellent quality wine. She mentioned she didn’t get many visitors and that her husband was away south on a fool’s errand looking for Unicorns! He had been gone a while but had not returned yet, although he mentioned he may be gone for a couple of months.
The party set watches throughout the night but nothing happened until third watch when the half-Elf cleric spotted movement in the darkness again. He awoke the rest of the party and they secured the wagons and horses by setting more fires around them for safety. Their responses to the encroaching shadows within the dark were the same as the night before, but they did notice that the darkness could actually move around the sentinel fires like water flows around a stone. This was disconcerting as the fires would need to be set in complete circles and corridors to stop the darkness’ approaches. However, before the dawn approached, the darkness slipped away.
The third nightAfter saying their goodbyes to the goodly woman, leaving her more food and beer in return for more of her good wine, the party set off again. They soon picked up a trail and decided to follow it as it didn’t take them too far off their own path. The guide had slept throughout the previous night’s encounters, so was fully refreshed. Nothing much occurred throughout the journey, other than the occasional stop to water the horses and collect more combustible materials. Towards evening they spotted a small hamlet of four or five buildings in the distance. They approached it cautiously but found there was little movement to be seen. The ground was covered in horse tracks, but strangely the tracks became an orderly track between the buildings only to become chaotic again on the other side of the village. The Halfling jumped off the wagon and cautiously crept into what seemed the principal building. After carefully picking his way around the inside he declared it empty of inhabitants and traps – the inch thick dust layer probably went some way to alleviating any nervousness they had.
The party stripped the house of all its wooden furniture and pulled the wagons and horses into the nearby barn, where they proceeded to light a fire at each entrance and in the middle, thus dispelling all shadows that may have lurked in the corners. They settled down to sleep, setting watch in turns again.
Well into the third watch, the half-elf again spotted movements outside. He awoke the rest of the party who took up defensive positions. He opened the door a crack, but a strong gust of wind blew the door fully open and extinguished all of the fires within the barn. He quickly cast a light spell and the darkness was pushed back fifteen feet. There was movement within the darkness again, but this time it seemed to coalesce into a more or less humanoid shape; two arms, a head and body. The cleric pulled back from the edge of the light and decided to apply his shield arm with doubled up chain mail. He approached the light/dark boundary again and placed half of his arm (that with the shield and mail) over it. The fighter held his other arm in case he needed to be pulled back in a hurry. The dark shape started to coalesce again and leapt at the proffered arm. The cleric cast an offensive spell and the Halfling, who was on the first floor, shot a bolt at the shape. The bolt passed straight through the shape and it could be heard thudding into the ground beneath it, but the Spiritual Hammer dealt a blow to the dweller in the dark and it retreated. Magic could harm whatever was hidden in the darkness.
The fires were relit and the rest of the night passed without incident.