Sartar - Kingdom of Heroes

Almost TPK

Time after time, we underestimated the danger, and my companions paid for it with their lives.

First we underestimated the intelligence of the dark trolls. It was by sheer dumb luck that we noticed their devious traps set to deter us from tracking them. Then, ambushed by a single dark troll that go the better of us, we underestimated the threat and let him escape. Then, upon finding the entrance to the trolls’ lair, we asked out loud if trolls were smart enough to be able to make use of such a carefully crafted dungeon, concealed by a convincing illusion. We were answered by a hail of arrows. Retreating to the forest, we assumed that the trolls we too slow and blundering to see us lying in wait in the forest. Then our ambush was betrayed the troll-kin whom we let escape earlier. Finally, we underestimated the threat of the trolls as their enormous elder trolls emerged from the cave.

The only smart thing we did the entire mission was to hide above the cave entrance and wait for the troll patrols to leave the area before sneaking in. We grew confident in our ability to sneak throughout the underground complex, staying one step ahead of the troll patrols. We finally confronted some trolls in a room containing a pool of some mystical nature. It’s exact properties still elude me. The trolls were elusive, but we tipped the scales of battle in our favor. Unfortunately one of them escaped through a corridor above the level of the floor. It wasn’t long before we heard the sound of several troll patrols headed our way. At that moment we had a choice. We could take the spoils we had won and escape the way we came, or venture into the last corridor we had yet to explore. Battered, bloodied, and low on resources…we chose poorly.

To even approach the corridor, we had to leap over an odd pool. The skald slipped and fell into what we thought was water. His slow enveloping descent, coupled with his screams of pain, told us we were wrong. As we thrust our arms into the acid like substance and pulled him to safety, the massive gelatinous cube rose up out of the hole in the cavern floor and advanced on us. It’s advance was relentless. We attacked it as best we could, but it’s unrelenting push and punishing pseudopods continued to beat us back. With our backs to a steep, slippery slope from which there was no return, we were forced to make a choice; allow ourselves to be enveloped and digested by the horrific cube, or take our chances sliding into the black void. Only the sound of rushing water gave some hint of what was to come. We chose the unknown over being digested.

We hit the water with a splash. The water was shallow but the current was swift. We slid along the channel along a surface coated with some slick material…and then it started to burn. The cursed cube had forced us into a channel lined with green slime. Our gear and skin alike began to bubble and dissolve. A dropped torch tumbled ahead revealing a steep drop off with only a couple of tree roots offering salvation. Only Erinmacht and I were able to grab hold. Our friends tumbled over the waterfall, and to what end I know not.

Unfortunately, the roots turned out to be nothing less than the tentacles of a roper. We struggled for our lives and tried to strike back against the creature. The last time I saw Erinmacht, his screams were being muffled as his head and shoulders disappeared into the gaping toothed maw of the beast. With a loud crunch, the screaming died to a low gurgle. I knew there was no hope in defeating the beast. I cut my way free of its grasp and dropped into pitch darkness.

I felt around and escaped on a mixture of fear, instinct, and luck. The beast pursued me down a corridor until I came upon a heavy door. With the last of my strength, I opened the door and barred it behind me. Safe for the moment, I lit a torch and found myself in a strange chamber with an oddly runed archway. Having no choice, I stepped through it. I became dizzy and light headed, and I felt as though my soul was leaving my body.

I woke up under the warm sun lying in the tall grass of an unfamiliar land. There are people here and they don’t appear to be aggressive. I hope they can help me as I am exhausted, hungry, thirst, and feel as though I am near death. How will I ever find my way back to my clan…

We came to collect dark troll skulls, and they are likely collecting the skulls of my dear friends.

Last journal entry of Grigor.
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Grigor Learns About Trolls

Grigor has spent the last few days tracking the movements of dark skull trolls near Old Man Village and the surrounding areas. He learns the trolls are active at night, raiding the sheep of the Greydogs, Orlmarth and Enhyl clans. They seem to have a lair somewhere in the Weeping Sisters. Lawspeaker Orlgard Korlmarsson remembers there are a few small caves in the Weeping Sisters, but nothing large enough for a troll lair. The Weeping Sisters are rumored to hide a tomb of a hero from ages past during the Empire of Wyrm’s Friends. Trolls are active at night. Trollkin do not function well in daylight.

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The Wooing of Killer Branduan

Daro Honeybadger weaves a comical limerick about Yinkina’s wooing of Killer Branduan. Then he crafts an epic poem of the duel between Erinmakt and Branduan, with the tragic results for One Eye Branduan. Word from the Grey Dogs is that Branduan has gone off to the Temple of Humakt at Indrodar’s Necklace near Sword Vale in Lismelder lands. They say he has become a bitter man and sworn his allegiance to the god of death.

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Morgan Proves Himself Valuable

Morgan finds that the most injuries to the thanes come from training with Erinmakt and he heals those who are foolhardy enough to engage in such activity. Most of the time, such activity is women’s work, but thanes always appreciate a warrior who can practice combat medicine. The thanes seem to appreciate him. Then, Morgan truly gains their respect when he engages in mock battle with Erinmakt and holds his own!

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Erinmakt "Trains"

Erinmakt practices his axe-fighting skills with the thanes of the clan. However, several severe bruises and a broken bone later he finds nobody is willing to train with him. The thanes are not as tough as his Uroxi brothers from Prax. Training by himself is boring, so Erinmakt carouses. The thanes seem friendly and Erinmakt’s cup is always full. Good times. However, the next morning, he awakens to his face and body painted with henna – images of boobies and cock and balls and other such sundry juvenile images. Erinmakt beats the crap out of several thanes, but nobody will admit to knowing who committed the crime. Then, Chief Gordangar Kenstrelsson intervenes and sends Erinmakt out on patrol with Grigor.

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Capture of Killer Branduan - Success at Last!

After the Lawspeaker Orlgard Korlmarsson expressed concern about the risk of a blood feud if the group attempted to capture Killer Branduan, the Clan Ring decided to call a Clan Moot of all the adults to discuss it first. Erinmakt attempted to convince the Clan Ring that there was no need for a Clan Moot, but the anti-Uroxi sentiment in the Clan Ring showed and Grigor agreed that the Clan Moot was the way to go.

The group was asked to go patrol Orlmarth Clan lands. They came upon some young shepherds who were missing a sheep. Yinkina spoke with the remaining sheep and they told her that the black sheep had wandered into the nearby grove of trees. The group tracked the sheep into the woods and found signs that trollkin had killed it.

the party tracked the trollkin towards the Three Sisters along the border with the Greydog Clan. They spotted a group of 5 Greydog Thanes led by Killer Branduan heading towards Old Man Village. The group attempted to sneak up on the Thanes, but failed (stealth is not their strong suit). The Thanes greeted the group and asked for safe passage to parley with the Orlmarth Chieftain Gordangar Kenstrelsson.

The group escorted the Thanes to the stead of the Chieftain at Old Man Village. Insults were exchanged between Branduan and Erinmakt. (My personal favorite was when Branduan told Erinmakt there was no difference between his words and his passing of gas.)

Branduan merely promised the safety of the Orlmarth Clan Champion Erinina Copper-Axe and gave a deadline for the Orlmarth to accept their offer to exchange Erinina for ransom before raids could commence. Gordangar assured Branduan that they would hold a Clan Moot and have their decision within the week.

The group decided to accompany the Thanes back to Greydog Village to check on Erinina. Branduan and Erinmakt exchange insults again. Branduan challenges Erinmakt to a duel, which Erinmakt refuses based upon the fact he had entered Greydog lands under promise of safe passage. The Greydogs still thought Erinmakt was a coward. Erinina begs them not to ransom her.

The group returns to Old Man Village and decide to rescue Erinina. As they are leaving they notice that the Greydog Clan lands are guarded by Spirit Hounds.

As the group plans, they realize they have no idea where she is being kept or how well guarded she is. Then, a plan begins to take form. First they will dress up little guy in rabbit furs and send him running across Greydog lands to distract the Spirit Hounds that guard their clan lands. Then, the group will sneak into a grove of trees near Greydog Village while Yinkina will proceed openly to Greydog Village and ask Branduan to come with her to the grove for a tryst.

Branduan is all for it! However, a Priestess of Ernalda catches wind of what is happening and comes to put a stop to it. Yinkina suggests they leave straight away and Branduan agrees.

A sudden thunderstorm of Orlanth breaks and lightning and thunder and wind and rain are coming down from the skies. Branduan decides that it would be awesome to take Yinkina to the top of Irnar’s Peak to consummate their love. Yinkina is able to convince him that the grove of trees would be better for what they had planned.

The group tries to ambush Branduan, but Morgan whispers too loudly and gives them away. Branduan prepares to fight, but Yinkina casts Tasha’s Hideous Laughter and has him laughing uncontrollably. As he recovers, Erinmakt intimidates him into surrendering.

However, by this time, the Priestess has a rescue party out looking for Branduan. The group ties up Branduan and hustle him towards Orlmarth Clan lands with the Greydogs in hot pursuit. Meanwhile the thunderstorm rages. They deal with Branduan’s stalling tactics by knocking him out and carrying him. To slow their pursuers they roll boulders down the hill at them, maiming some.

As they arrive at Old Man village they see the lightning striking the Red Moon of the Shepelkirt. Go Orlanth! Then they see the Red Moon glow with sickening red light and wither the storm clouds. Oh no! A bad omen for sure.

The group are heralded as heroes for capturing Branduan. The tricksey capture was worthy of Eurmal. The group lies about their role in the avalanche that maimed the Greydogs, but Branduan calls them on it.

The group goes to exchange Branduan for Erinina. At this time the Greydogs demand wereguild for the clan members that were maimed by the avalanche. The group agrees to pay ten troll heads.

Erinmakt and Branduan exchange words again. Branduan again challenges Erinmakt to a duel, but this time Erinmakt accepts. Branduan is a skilled fighter, but the berserker rage of the Uroxi is too much for him and he falls with his head cleaved through to the eye. Morgan heals him enough to survive and the Greydogs take him away to recuperate.

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A Cattle Raid Gone Awry - Epic Fail!

Erinmakt the Flatulent is banished from Clan food and shelter for 2 weeks for his rude and uncouth behavior towards Carl Gundarson’s wife (and his complete lack of repentance).

He misses out on the feast of the lamb and barleywine left over from the sacrifice, although Yinkina did bring him a bowl of lamb stew.

Chieftain Gordangar Kenstrelsson suggests that the party take Erinmakt with them to either go cattle or sheep raiding against the Greydog Clan or to further explore a dwarven dungeon discovered in the Starfire Ridges. The party decides that there is more glory in cattle raiding the Greydog Clan.

Erinina Copper-Axe is worried that they don’t have a plan and agrees to Yinkina’s offer that she accompany them on their raid, insisting she has a plan and that Grigor knows it. Grigor pulls a plan out of his ass that seems to satisfy Erinina. Does Erinina have the hots for Yinkina?

They sneak through the woods surrounding the Weeping Sisters to reconnoiter the Greydog Clan lands. They hear some bones crunching and flesh rending and try to sneak up on the source of the horrific sounds. They give away their presence when Erinmakt earns his sobriquet – the Flatulent.

A tense negotiation with the band of two dark trolls (think orcs) and six trollkin (think goblins) ensues. They offer to give the trolls a cow if they help by luring the Greydogs away while they steal them. The trolls do not trust the party and demand a hostage as security. Erinmakt volunteers Cookboy as a hostage. Cookboy climbs a tree to wait with the two dark trolls guarding him while five of the trollkin lure the approaching Greydogs away. (Apparently, the Greydogs were hunting the trolls who had stolen one of their sheep).

While most of the Greydogs go in pursuit of the trollkin, the party attempts to steal some cows in a barn outside of the Greydog Village walls. Unfortuneately, due to all the commotion made by the trollkin, the Greydogs are alert and on guard. The party is spotted as they approach the back entrance. Grigor runs off and the guards give chase.

Yinkina talks to the six cows and attempts to convince them to come with them into the night. The cows said"Nooooooooo." Yinkina was able to coerce the cows out of the barn, but by that time 4 Greydog clan fyrd were rushing to stop them. Erinmakt turned to fight a delaying action, but the Greydog were skilled warriors and he was stabbed twice. He then tried to bullrush his way to safety, but was stabbed deeply again and fell. Erinina rushed to his aid, picked him up and tried to run, but by this time 4 more Greydog warriors were on the scene and they repeatedly stabbed her until she too fell.

Grigor returned to the woods and tried to convince the dark trolls to come with him to get their cow. They refuse and insist he bring the cow to them. Grigor goes off in frustration, draws his bow and prepares to shoot the dark trolls from the shadows of the dark forest. However, he had not counted on the trolls nightvision and they rush into the woods and advance on his position. He shoots one with an entangling thorn vine and flees the other.

When Grigor catches up with Yinkina he learns of the disaster. They agree to return the 6 cows to the Greydogs and bargain for the release of Erinina and Erinmakt.

Chief Kornos Longbrewer of the Greydog Clan had already agreed to release Erinmakt to deliver a message to Chief Gordangar Kenstrelsson: return our cows, give us an additional 20 cows now, promise an additional 20 cows tribute each year, and promise not to raid us and we will return Erinina and promise not to raid you.

Grigor points out that the Greydogs appear to have trouble with trolls and that maybe they could assist them in exchange for Erinina. Chief Kornos Longbrewer agrees to this: give us 10 cows and 10 dark troll heads now, promise to give us an additional 10 cows tribute each year, and promise not to raid us and we will return Erinina and promise not to raid you.

Back at Old Man Village of the Orlmarth Clan, the Ring agrees to the party’s plan for redemption – they will try and capture the Greydog Clan’s Champion – Killer Branduan Hodirson and seek to exchange him for the return of Erinina.

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