Saturday, January 21, 2012

Erseta Campaign #12

Several (real-world) weeks of being cooped up in Ritterheim, making glacial progress towards retrieving the magic lantern that would reactivate the portal to the ruins of the dwarven city of Glitterdark, got the players more than a little antsy. So, rather than move methodically towards finding the lantern, they decided to cash in what loot hadn't been yet traded in, paid for an identify spell to be (finally) cast upon the magic dagger they retrieved in the tower of the savant, and set forth for an overland journey.

They invested in a fair map of the barony of Rittergeist, so they had a pretty good idea of which way to travel. Most of the journey was overland on fairly good roads through settled farmland, so aside from fellow travelers, merchants, farmers, and the like, there was little of interest as they made their way to Treven, the jumping off point into the forest that leads, eventually, to Glitterdark.

They picked up the same forest trail that they had earlier, but this time were fairly prepared for the section of evil forest through which it led. At the first fork in the trail, they had turned right the last time, ending up out of the forest entirely and confronted by hostile Vanarian border guards. This time they took the left fork, which they calculated would lead them on a more direct route towards their goal.

They were first confronted by a swarm of giant wasps, and although no one was slain before the wasps were driven off, one of their number was brought to 0 hit points, paralyzed by venom, and barely escaped being injected with eggs. One thing I'm noticing is that putting in tougher opponents works very well when the rules for morale checks are used. Rather than fighting to the death, once the wasps were given a bloody nose and half of them were blinded by one of the illusionist's spells, they decided they had had enough and fled. The party was still bloodied from the encounter, though, and healing from the clerics was dealt out.

Unfortunately, as they continued along the trail, the party began to be shadowed by large black squirrels in the trees with evil red eyes. This understandably unnerved them, and they decided to press on into the night before camping, hoping to lose the squirrels. Around midnight, though, they came upon a creek with a troll on the other side. Kurbag, as he introduced himself, was collecting a toll so that he could afford to have a proper bridge built over the creek, under which he could live. Still weakened from their encounter with the wasps and not eager to fight a troll in the middle of the night, the party decided that 50 g.p. was a small price to pay to cross the stream without incident. The squirrels seemed to have lost interest in them and they camped a ways away from Kurbag's crossing.

The next day they avoided a large carcass of some animal on the path that was swarming with giant ants (they happened to choose the direction to avoid the ants that did not lead towards the ant's nest, thus neatly avoiding a potentially painful encounter). They later came across a stone arch near the path, well constructed but quite ancient, that bore a faint inscription in dwarvish: "King Drogo of Glitterdark slew the ogre champion Nurakug the Horrible on this spot, and drank ale from his skull." Lamenting that he had no ale to drink in honor of the long-ago king, the dwarven cleric paused to pull down some of the vines obscuring the arch, and the party continued on.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. They finally emerged from the region of forest with the evil aspect, and ended the session at the foot of Mt. Arak, ready to once again descend into the ruined dwarven city.