Saturday, August 30, 2014

WH6 Trouble in Wolfsdale

The adventure from last Saturday is a bit of an experiment. I am using UK2 The Sentinel as the basis (replacing some of the weirder creatures with currently available counterparts) and not caring much about encounter balancing. So far it works great. Also, I want to see if an "adventure path" survives the changing player roster of my campaign.

Notes: The full Player's Handbook is used together with monsters from the Hoard of the Dragon Queen web supplement and D&D Basic for the DM V0.1.

Cast of Characters:

  • Bruenor "Bonebreaker", male mountain dwarf fighter (soldier)
  • Chazna Faertala, female drow druid (noble/hermit)
  • Mab "Steelfist", female human fighter (soldier)
  • Orell Underhill, male stout halfling rogue (spy)

Bruenor, Mab and Orell are still at Miller's Crossing, celebrating and relaxing at the Sleeping Mermaid Inn. At another table we have short cameos by Khelben, Valrian, Sh'razzar and Grandor. Then, Orell spies something unusual outside a window: a hooded shape with burning red eyes. The four heroes dash outside to see a fleeing person that heads toward the sacred grove. Had the person headed into any other direction, they probably would have let them go. But this just looks suspicious. Upon reaching the grove, the person tries to climb a tree but falls down and is finally caught by Mab who handily outdistanced the dwarf and the halfling during the pursuit.

The person turns out to be Chazna, a drow druid from the underdark on the run from mysterious forces who murdered her mentor and stole her circle of standing stones (see a pattern here?). The heroes march her back to the inn in order to interrogate her in a rather friendly manner. Kellion is at first a bit suspicious of the drow, but later relents. Chazna appears to be rather innocent in comparison to the vile legends about her kin. Mab decides to arrest her at the inn and see what they can do about her the next day.

On the next day, a village elder from the south arrives at Miller's Crossing. He is from Wolfsdale and reports about trouble at the village. Some has been murdering farm animals, babies and the elderly. He heard that Captain Khelben of the Dragon Guard is at Miller's Crossing and hopes for help. Khelben and company is already gone though, investigating a stone circle across Lake Crescent. But Mab promises to help. They decide to take Chazna with them, because they can't really leave her in Miller's Crossing all by herself. After all, she might be a spy - something that at least Orell suspects.

After a week of travel across the hills of the Weathered Heath, they reach Wolfsdale. There they start to investigate. Apparently, a script in blood was left at one of the almost-murder sites. But they aren't able to read the script. It's not any language that they know. Not even Chazna can help them.

The next couple of days of investigation are rather frustrating:

  • The town cleric of Arianna, goddess of stars and the hunt, thinks it's an ettercap committing the atrocities.
  • Apparently, the murderer has grown less murderous. There are survivors.
  • Patrolling the immediate area doesn't turn up anything at all.

Finally, Bruenor turns up a lead. While at the inn, he talks with the townsfolk. They tell him that they fought a goblin tribe some years ago. They never found the lair, but suspect that it's located near the lake to the south. Not having any other lead, the group decides to search for the lair. Maybe something can be found there.

After a days travel into the forested hills around the largest lake in the Weathered Heath, the heroes find a hill that is fortified with a stockade. Some people seem to be on patrol on the stockade. After making camp, Chazna decides to go into elven trance, so that she can take watch at night. Orell decides to go swimming. A small creek is running at the back of the hill, and Orell carefully hides in the water. At the backside of the hill, he leaves the water and climbs a steep rock face with many handholds that is about 10 feet high. Above the rock face he reaches the stockade and manages to get a glimpse of the other side. The "people" on the stockade turn out to be spears with helmets stuck on them. With this new discovery he returns to the camp.

After Chazna has awoken from her trance, the group advances on the stockade. Mab discovers that the front gate isn't even barred. They enter the stockade and find the entrance to a network of small caves under the hill. They encounter a couple of traps, then two mountain lions and their master, a half-orc. They kill the lions and capture the half-orc. Mab and Chazna get him to talk. He tells them that:

  • He lives here with his human mother and six half-orc brothers.
  • They captured an ettercap, but another got away using magic.
  • His mother and brothers are looking for the ettercap.
  • His mother is a mighty wizardress,
  • They chased away a tribe of goblins who used to lair here half a year ago.

Mab tells him that they have seven days to leave the area and that they should take that chance. Then the group searches the living quarters of the bandits.They find a lot of loot that the bandits captured, and also quite some riches amassed by the mother. They only take some of the coins (platinum pieces, eight aquamarines and some of the gold). The rest they leave for the family.

They also find a rough map of the surrounding area. It shows a cross about six miles to the south, indicating a villa and the note: "Villa and ettercap."

Then they move out of the lair and to the back of the hill. There they hide and wait until mother and three of her sons return. Then they sneak out to the front gate, but are discovered shortly before leaving the compound. The half-orcs attack and advance on the party. Chazna is seriously injured and goes unconscious. Mab goes on the offensive. Bruenor carries Chazna outside and then joins Mab. Orell takes up sniping position. The mother is indeed a wizardress or sorceress. She blasts Mab and Bruenor with a color spray, casts mirror image to protect herself, and her sons advance on the party. Mab repeats her threat of seven days. But ultimately, the party has to withdraw. Everyone is already outside of the compound, except Mab. When she tries to leave, suddenly a stone wall appears across the exit. But Mab isn't phased at all. She leaps up onto the stockade and then jumps down on the other side (That was rather spectecular, especially since Bruenor was immediately afterwards: "Why didn't you use the gate?" - Phantsmal force was really brilliant here.) As the heroes flee into the night, some bolts hit them. But that's just some random shots. As they enter the forest, Bruenor turns around at screams: "You have seven days to leave! Then we will be back."

To be continued...

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