Sunday, January 19, 2014

Westmist Session #63 - In the Halls of the Mountain Trolls

A few days were spent in Westmist while Bjorn rewrote some lost spells in his spell book. Erijay took the time to inquire about the lightning glove she has taken from the Vrilya. Asking the usual suspects, she found herself back buying expensive brandy for Bazzrel. The voluble wizard wasn't of much help, saying that the Vrilya were a nigh semi-mythical race of which little was known.  What little had been seen of their magic showed it to be different from the magics of the surface world. Following up on this comment, Erijay cast detect magic on the glove, and it glowed with an odd light. Much the same as happened when they had testing Kern's jumpsuit. What was the connection between the two?
Meanwhile, Kern was back at the house when Riker announced that an officer from the King's Blue Company was at the door, demanding to speak with the head of the household. Kern complied, and the officer informed the master merchant that he was appropriating the house for billeting troops of the company. Thinking that that was going to put a crimp on their lives, Kern negotiated a deal with the officer. Rather than put the troops up in their own home, Kern offered to pay (no,no not a bribe) to house the men elsewhere. After some persuasion, the officer agreed and walked away with a 300gp 'housing allowenece".

With Bjorn's studies complete, the full party gathered (less Booh who was to large to fit in the narrow tunnels) and prepared to depart for Stonehell, aiming to recover Duncal from the mountain trolls. As they headed out of town, they heard rumors that the rival adventuring band who was now working with the March Baron had pledged 2000gp towards paying off the debt to the King. A act of philanthropy that had everyone in town singing their praises. It was enough to make everyone glad to be headed back into the depths and darkness again. And back they went, passing through the upper levels with little trouble, finding themselves back on the 4th level in the many pillared room. Following the map from the last delves, the party formed up (Kern scouting invisibly ahead) and headed towards the elevator down. And were stopped at once by the dropped portcullis, which stymied the attempts of the party brutes to open. Riley on the other hand lifted it with ease, and everyone passed through, heading for the room of mists. But were stopped short when a quartet of ogres emerged from that room. Darnorth tried to talk their way past the brutes, as the party was uninterested in risking a fight at this point. But the ogres were in a foul mood, tired of these surface interlopers passing through their territory. The four raised their clubs and charged, but three were felled quickly by a combination of lighting bolt from Darnorth's ring and swinging swords from everyone else. Seeing how quickly his comrades bit the dust, the fourth ogre surrendered. And the party accepted that surrender. Which was good, because at this point Gurruk heard a snuffling sound , and turned to see a huge cave bear emerge from the passage behind them. Thinking they could distract the bear, the party tried lifting one of the dead ogres and tossing it to the bear. Unfortunately, the brute was too big and Darnorth collapsed under the weight of the corpse. However, the bear wasn't too aggressive, but stood on it's hind legs and started to sniff and growl and swing it's head around. Pulling the dwarf out from under the corpse, and dragging their ogre captive with them, the party slowly retreated through the mist room.  To everyones relief, the bear stopped to feast on the dead ogres.
Moving now into the large cave with the elevator, the party questioned the ogre. He told them his tribe lived in this part of the caves, ruled by one called 'Clacker". It was Clacker who was upset that the party was passing though his caves. To the west were the caves of the bezerkers. Asked about the trolls, the ogre said the trolls sometimes hired the ogres as guards and grunts. They party also learned that the trolls were great lovers of gold, and it was a gold mine they had dug in the depths of the mountain, mainly using gnome and human slaves. But some years ago, the slaves had dug too deep and released an evil spirit in the mines. To keep it in, the trolls had collapsed the entrances into the mine, and had been trying to figure out a way to regain their past glory and wealth ever since.

Grateful for the information, the party decided to let the ogre go as long as he didn't tell Clacker about them ("Ugg agrees. Say cave bear ate friends!"). That done, Kern sized up the elevator control panel and set the switches in the right order to de-energize the cage and set it moving. Back on the fifth level, the party sized up their map once again and figured they would look for a connecting route to the troll halls that didn't involve passing through the minotaur guardroom. The first branch led into a large chamber with the ruined remains of wooden furniture and mining implements. The exit to the west was blocked by fallen rubble. When Darnorth examined it, he noted that it looked like the tunnel was deliberately collapsed, not a random accidental cave-in. Erijay began poking around looking for a secret exit, but instead found a round stone plug in the floor,  about 2 feet in diameter. She and Darnorth grabbed some old miners picks from the rubble and (after Kern and checked it for traps) pried the plug up. Underneath was a shallow hole, and it it lay a pile of gold nuggets. Which were quickly scooped up (after a paranoid Kern again checked for traps) and distributed to the party. Rylee refused to take any, figuring that if they tried negotiating with the trolls, the creatures might not like the idea of the party pilfering their gold. If Rylee was empty handed, he could offer to be searched to cover the party's collective behinds.
After digesting this bit of wisdom, the party realized there was no obvious way to bypass the minotaurs. In the hopes of sneaking past them, Rylee cast silence on a coin and gave it to Kern. Who then sneaked ahead to see what the minotaurs were up to. He found them clustered around the hook-hung bodies, tearing one to pieces and having a little feast. Figuring this was a good a time to sneak by as any, Kern waved the rest of the party forward. Under the cloak of the silence spell, they slipped around the corner into the room, and headed for the closest exit. One of the minotaurs smelled manflesh though, and the whole pack turned to face the party, snorting and steaming. They didn't advance though, so the party slowly backed out of the room and into the tunnel for which they'd been heading. Now past that obstacle, Kern once more took the lead, finding another mined out chamber. This one was largely empty, but for a boulder carved in the shape of a man in one alcove. The figure was crude, but dressed as a miner and carrying a pick and hammer. It was solid, except for the mouth which was a slot. Kern shone his continual light coin in the slot, and he saw it curved down into the boulders belly. Darnorth, out of curiosity,  dropped a coin in the mouth. He noted momentarily a burst of better vision, so Rylee tried it next. The cleric of Habuu immediately gained the ability to see in the dark. So the other humans (Kern, Bjorn and Gurruk) all dropped a coin in, and the party now proceeded without light sources.

Passing several dead end passages, Kern stopped at the next chamber to listen. Hearing nothing, he once more turned to beckon the party forward. And nearly put his foot down on a red jelly-like thing on the floor. Backing away, Kern retreated to the rest of the party while the jelly followed. Shooting at it with a crossbow bolt, Kern scored a hit. Which broke the thing into 5 smaller pudding which lashed out with pseudpods at the party. Who responded with a cycle of oil and torches until the things were dried husks on the floor. Stepping over them, the party continued on and Kern soon saw ahead a huge cavern. 20' high and stretching beyond the limits of his vision, from it emerged a strange sound; the sound of sheep and goats bleating.  The merchant slipped forward invisibility and silently (using the coin still). Further on he found a pen with sheep and goats, a set of double stone doors 15' tall, and a huge rusting rock crusher. And next to the rock crusher, two ogre like creature. Taller than ogres though, they wore crude metal and leather armor over thick, knotted skin. Each sported a pigs tail and carried a two handed sword. Kern now moved back towards the party to confer. Figuring these must be the mountain trolls, the party decided to slip forward and watch further before deciding what to do. Just then, anther odd creature burst out of the double doors. It looked much like the other two, but sported three heads! Two of the heads seemed to be in some sort of crazy argument (based on what Darnorth heard using his helm) while the third  called out to the other creatures, telling them to 'go join the feast'. With grunts of 'thanks Onkel Harold', the two left though the double doors. At which point, Onkel Harold went over the the sheep and goats in the pen, picked one up and started eating it alive.
Figuring talking rather than fighting might be worth it this time, Darnorth stepped forward with a rakish smile, hopping the brute spoke Common. As in insurance policy however, Bjorn stayed back in the shadows preparing the ritual to summon an elemental with his censor, while Erijay began casting an arcane lock from her spellbook to bar the double doors and prevent any reinforcements arriving. Onkel Harold did speak rough Common, and Darnorth opened negations.  After a while, the three headed troll suddenly turned to go back through the double doors saying 'he had to talk to someone'.

The party let him go, and prepared for the worst. After awhile, heavy footsteps were heard on the other side of the double doors. Erijay quickly moved forward to hold them open so whoever it was didn't take offense at being trapped by her arcane lock. Out of the doors strode a multitude of mountain trolls, led by a huge one in a golden crown. Next to him stood another oddity, an old troll hag, holding her head under here arm rather than on her shoulders! The huge troll announced himself as King Sveg, and asked what the party wanted. Darnorth again spoke up, and offered to re-open the trolls gold mine by killing the evil spirit that inhabited the old workings. In return, the party wished only one particular slave of the trolls. Looking at the troll king's entourage, they spied the weedy Duncal, and pointed him out. Puzzled as to why they would want such a weak specimen, the King none the less (after consulting two Vrilya who were now seen in the mass of trolls) agreed to the bargain. King Sveg warned that it would not be an easy task. First, once in the mines, the party would not be able to leave until the demon spirit had been banished. Second, the spirit was immune to many spell (including those of Gammlemmor Olga, the troll hag with the head under her arm). Third, it also regenerated when hurt, ever faster than the rubbery skinned relatives of the mountain trolls.
Undeterred, the party sealed the bargain. Rylee quietly dispelled Erijay's arcane lock, and King Sveg invited the adventurers to attend his feast now underway, and then to rest in his halls before heading to the cursed mines. To this everyone agreed, and they were led into the depths of the troll's halls to a huge banquet hall set with food and drink. And after feasting, they settled in for an nights rest before starting new in the morning.

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