The cast of heroes
Arken (Half-Elf Cleric) – leader of the partyBardan (Human Fighter) – the muscle
Knil (Elf Ranger) – the tracker
Rioja Hyrule (Human Mage) – the wizard
Korum Proudfoot (Halfling Thief) – the scout
NPC (Human Ranger) - the traveller
Let’s go shopping (day 23)
Each party member awoke and rose at their time of choosing. As stated in the previous log entry, not many deals were forthcoming during the morning, but the afternoon saw the traders more willing to make a deal or two. The party, with gold burning holes in their pockets, had now decided upon what they were really after and headed back to the merchants in a more positive frame of mind (the hangovers were gone now too!). Rioja visited a wizard’s emporium and came away with two scrolls; “Find Familiar” and “Forget”, Ye Olde Booke of Cantrips and two Potions of Invisibility. The spells were quickly copied into his spell book and practised. Knil purchased a fine suit of studded leather armour, a composite bow, spare bowstrings, 20 +1 arrows, 30 normal arrows and a few dozen arrows with a variety of different bodkins, and a couple of quivers to keep them all in. He also tried to purchase a cloak, but Rioja identified it as being cursed and not of much help to the party. The trader paid Rioja 20gp for his aid in identifying what it was – some sucker would be sold a pup in the future no doubt. Korum saved most of his gold as he was saving up for something special, Bardan had no luck tracking down a suitable new weapon, and Arken spent some more time at the temple; no doubt praying for the others not to get into any mischief.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around town looking for clues to whether there were any trolls around. Fortunately, there were several posters in the town square advertising the fact that there were, and that they were dangerous!
The party retired to the tavern for another evening of drinking and eating. They were able to talk to many townsfolk who confirmed the rumours found on the posters.
A Day of Rest (day 24)
Whilst the rest of the party gathered supplies and lounged around, Rioja headed into the scrubland surrounding the town. He had been studying his new spells and wanted to practice them before getting underway on their journey again. He made all sorts of woodland creatures jump with his cantrips but, most importantly for him, he was able to summon a familiar to aid him in his magical studies. Whilst returning to the town after his excursion, a small black cat introduced itself to him; Kima would be his new companion on the forthcoming magical journeys ahead.
The party packed the wagon, brushed down the horses and turned in for an early night.
The Journey to the
(day 25) Troll
The band of adventurers set off early the next morning. They were stopped and questioned again at the gates. When they responded that they were going troll hunting, the guards laughed and said they would be lucky to return, as no-one had in the past. The posters around the town were not merely idle threats! However, if they did manage to bag a troll, then the mayor of the town might be able to provide a small bounty for it.
Leaving behind the walls of safety, they headed in a south-westerly direction towards the large tract of forest that was renowned for harbouring trolls. After a short time, however, the trail began to narrow and the cart kept on getting stuck in the hardy vegetation that reached about three feet in height. The party decided they would return the cart and horses to the wizard’s tower and continue the journey on foot. However, as they headed back they thought about the safety of the horses and their possessions, so they stashed them in the last room of the dungeon instead, with enough fodder for a week or two.
This slight detour took a bit of time, so they had to make camp in the confines of the dead forest surrounding the tower. Korum remembered the Darkness and suggested that they might want to set fires this time and post guards. Several fires were lit and Korum took first watch. As he suspected the Darkness returned, but it was not moving this time. Arken cast a Continual Light spell over the party’s camp to help keep the night horrors away as a matter of precaution. Knil took third watch. As he did his rounds, a strong wind sprang up, blowing out one of the fires. He attempted to relight it, but upon it taking flame, another fire went out; the wind was coming in from all directions at once. Another fire was blown out by the end of his watch. Rioja spent his watch nervously eyeing the Darkness. It was starting to swirl around a bit now. Chewing his nails until the end of his shift until Bardan took over, he was glad of the respite from sitting alone. On the final watch, the Darkness had started to move more rapidly, trying to seek ways past the Continual light and the last couple of fires. The rising sun couldn’t have come too soon.
The Journey to the
– part 2 (day
The party awoke from their night of fitful slumber and continued their journey to the
By late morning they had passed beyond the boundaries of the dead forest
surrounding the wizard’s tower and were back on the trail that the wagon could
not cope with. By , they had
crossed most of the grassy plains and reached the edge of a large valley.
Across the other side of the valley was the forest, full of huge trees. Just as
they were about to make their way down the valley side, they espied a lone
traveller wearily making his way up towards them from the valley floor. They hailed
their greetings and approached the traveller. He was a little worse for wear,
and was walking with the aid of a staff. As it was close to meal time, they
asked if he would share his story in return for some food and drink. He agreed,
but the story he told was full of woe. Troll Forest
His village, to the west of the forest, was under constant threat from trolls. He and six others had been chosen to hunt them down and destroy them. Three of the best fighters from the village met a troll when out scouting, and yelled for help. The other three fighters joined them, but all that was heard by the traveller were screams and a shout to get away whilst he could. He ran for his life. The adventurers commiserated with him on his tale of woe and said that they would help him exact revenge upon the trolls. They also asked him if he had encountered the Darkness, but he said he had slept up a tree the night before and nothing untoward had happened. He suggested that if they needed shelter for the night, as they would be unable to cross the valley fully by nightfall, there was a building a short distance away they could hole up in until the following day. He led the party to the building on the lower valley floor just as the sun dipped below the valley sides.
The building was a solid two storey affair, with one entrance and no windows. The vegetation had been cut back to a distance of about twenty feet around the building so nothing could hide or approach through the three foot scrubby grass without being seen. A fire was set between the door and the stairs inside that led up to the second storey, where the party made camp. Shifts were again set for the night. Korum’s first watch passed uneventfully except for the fact that the wind had started to pick up again. Arken, now rested, cast a fresh Continual Light spell that enshrouded the entire party and most of the stairs. The third and fourth watches also passed uneventfully except for the rising wind. However, on the final watch, Bardan could hear the sounds of a young girl screaming in the distance. He tried to wake the others but no matter how hard he tried, he could not; they seemed to be in some sort of magically induced sleep. He felt compelled to leave the safety of the building to investigate the sound; he grabbed his trusty axe and went outside to investigate. He found the young girl, but upon picking her up she disappeared into thin air. This shocked him out of his charm and he returned to the safety of the barn and his companions.
The Journey to the
– part 3 (day
A quick breakfast got the party moving again in the direction of the site of the combat where their new guide had encountered the troll. It took about four hours to leave the valley and climb the opposite side, and progressing into the trees that were very large and spaced quite widely apart. Knil, sharp eyed as ever, spotted markings on some of them that suggested primitive territorial boundaries. As the party moved deeper into the forest, a smell arose and became gradually worse until they stumbled over a scattered array of human body parts that looked as if they were ripped apart. The guide was ill but was able to confirm between retches that these were indeed the remains of his fellow villagers who set out to hunt down the trolls. Between the body parts, there were the tracks of a single, large bipedal creature. Arken asked the party to gather the scattered remains and broken weapons together so that he could perform last rites on them. He also cast “Speak with the Dead” which allowed him to piece together the last few moments that the villagers had together. The corpse of one of the men revealed that the creature that attacked them was about fourteen feet tall, was covered in coarse hair, had large talons on the end of arms that were about seven feet long, and it had a hideous face. Asking him if he had any last requests, he said that the party should warn his brother to get out of there. Once the villager had been released to whatever afterlife he was entitled, the guide looked at the rest of the remains and pointed to the multi-pieced corpse that was the dead fellow’s brother. However, that said, there was a small consolation – there was one person missing from the haul of cadavers.
After burying the unfortunate victims, the guide mentioned that there were only a few hours of daylight left and that if they wished to reach his village by sunset they would have to hurry. Spurred into action again, the party force-marched to the village just in time to be shown to one of the now empty cottages on the outskirts of the village; it had belonged to one of the fighters who had died at the hands of the troll. As they approached the cottage, Arken cast Continual Light on one of Rioja’s little wooden unicorns. An old lady saw this and hurried away lamenting the arrival of witches and devil worshippers in her village.
A watch was set, but due to Bardan’s experiences the night before, only two watches were set. The Darkness appeared almost as soon as the sun set, and this time it had grown in intensity. Movements and flickering could now be seen within its confines. Arken was excused watch duty, so he rested as much as he could and cast Continual Light on a couple more unicorns belonging to Rioja and Korum.
Bardan and Rioja took first watch. Close to , they heard screams and the sounds of collapsing buildings coming from the village. They chose to ignore them and kept each other from taking a step outside the cottage. Knil and Korum’s watch passed relatively uneventfully.
The Village (day 28)
When dawn spread its rosy fingers over the small hamlet, the cocks crowed as normal and the party were awoken by the ranger and thief. They tentatively ventured outside but saw nothing of the anticipated carnage heard during the night. They tracked down their guide and asked him if he had heard anything unusual during the night but he replied that he had neither heard nor seen anything untoward.