Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wandering in the Woods

Part 1 of the Adventure of the Three Rings (A Four Against Darkness module)

Candorra bowed before the Lord of Northport and presented the missive from the Holy Temple in Scotsile. As the lord's minister reached for a it, a commotion broke out from the entrance to the Great Hall. All eyes turned as a young novice burst rushed past the guards, panic in his voice."

"They're gone! They're gone!" he cried.

The guards tried to restrain the youth but the lord motioned for them to let him approach.

"Calm yourself." the lord commanded. The novice took a breath.

"Better. Now explain yourself."

The youth told a tale a woe. Orc reavers had attacked the abbey, which lay several miles to the east. They had killed the prior and several of the monks. They ransacked the place, even stealing the abbey's three sacred rings, and then fled into the Borderland Forest.

"This is dread news." The lord agreed. He then called for volunteers to hunt down the orcs and recover the rings/

"They're just some jewelry" Khamen thought, as he tried to remain inconspicuous. He had no desire to be traipsing into the wilds in search of murderous orcs.

"Wonderful!" the lord pronounced. "Our visitors from the Temple have volunteered."

Khamen jumped in surprise. He then turned, and to his dismay saw that Candorra had raised her hand. He responded with an audible groan of despair.

"What was that?" the lord queried.

Candorra shot an angry glance at Khamen then turned to the lord. She replied "He is just visibly upset by the injustice of it all."

The lord nodded in satisfaction. Khamen was visibly upset, but by what he saw as a different injustice.

Episode One

A few days later Khamen and Candorra were in the forest, tracking down the orcs. They were accompanied by a one of the lord's rangers, Rikk, who was well versed in the forest's perils.

Game Note: For Rikk, I used the unofficial ranger class found in the fan-made supplement Uncanny Against Darkness.

As they followed the orcs' trail, they were plagued by a swarm of bees and a whirlwind, which broke Rikk's bow. Candorra lent him her bow and they continued. Then they were fortunate to come across a young woodsman. He had seen the orcs, hiding in the trees as they passed. He agreed to show the party where they went. As our heroes continued, they passed a shrine and met an herbalist, acquiring some wolfsbane from the the latter,

Deeper into the forest they went. After a while, they could feel the earth shaking.

"Earthquake!?" Khamen pondered.

"Worse!" replied the woodsman. "Quick, hide!"

The party hid in some bushes. Moments later, a giant passed by along the path. As it passed, the giant dropped a body from his gnarled grip. The body plopped to the ground and lay still. They could still hear the giant's footsteps as Khamen snuck into the path and checked the body. It was a dead orc, probably one of the reavers. Unfortunately, it did not carry one of the rings.

The party continued. They discovered fresh orc tracks, fled from a forest fire, and passed an empty cabin. Then in clearing ahead they spotted a pile of skulls. Rikk advanced to investigate their grisly discovery. They heard a shriek from the sky above as a griffin swooped upon Rikk. It slashed him with its talons. Blood oozed from his wounds as he released an arrow, penetrating deep into the beast's chest. It howled in rage as it swung back to attack Rikk again. It rended the ranger once again. By now Khamen and Candorra had rushed into the clearing and entered the fray. Khamen struck then dodged as the griffin tuned on him. As it did so, Rikk managed to get off a shot, The arrow pierced the beast's heart and it fell dead at their feet.

In the pile of skulls they found a magical mace and a potion of healing. They used the potion to cure Rikk's profusely bleeding wounds.

They continued into the forest and came across a fork in the road. There were three paths they could take. Rikk surveyed the ground, looking for tracks. After a few minutes he announced his verdict.

"They split up into three groups, each taking a different path."

After some consultation, they decided to proceed along the path to the left.

What will the find along this path? Find out next time!

Game Note: After a series of adventures, I am no nearer to the rings than the first time. I plan to modify the module a little, turning it into 3 hex crawls. The boss of each hex crawl will be one of the reavers with a ring.