Saturday, November 14, 2009

Runequest Campaign: The Trouble with Trolls Part I

The combined force attacking the Temple of Zorak Zoran had been joined by two others, ‘Bob’, a sneak thief born and bred in Pavis, hired as a scout, and Embla, an enormously tall (6’11”) and glamorous merchant woman, hired to use her detection magic to find the gems the temples had had stolen from them.

With Garrath Sharpsword’s force occupied by about 10 Great Trolls in the main entryway and the Flintnail Rubble Tracker dwarf force having run into heavy opposition coming down the back door, it was up to Xaraya’s force to press on into the temple alone. The shaman Stars Like Night went discorporate, while Bob advanced stealthily down the hall, taking advantage of his Dark Sight ability. About 50m down, Bob was lucky to notice two holes, one of either side of the hall. Theorizing these might be spy holes, Bob jabbed his dagger through one of the holes with great force. It just happened (01 on the roll) that a troll was just “looking” through the hole at that point and the dagger went through the hole and the gap in his helmet into his ear and brain, killing him instantly. Bob hurried back up the passage as trolls broke through the wall on either side, rounded a corner and concealed himself against the wall.

Xaraya heard the commotion and ordered the force to prepare missile weapons. As the trolls rounded the corner they stepped into a hail of fire, which took several of them down at once. Bob used surprise to come from behind and stab a one troll in the head, taking him down too. The trolls did not have a chance to stop their charge and switch weapons before they were all down, dead or dying. This was despite Embla snagging her staff sling on the tunnel wall and having to pick up her fallen weapon.

The force advanced cautiously to the watch posts, to discover two small tunnels running parallel to the main one (which was easily big enough to let Great Trolls walk down). Learning that Garrath had dealt with the Great Trolls but was going to the aid of the dwarves, Xaraya’s force conferred on strategy. Stars Like Night had returned to tell them that a large force of trolls was gathered in a chamber at the end of the tunnel to meet them, while another force was fortifying the temple chamber itself, beyond. Xaraya decided to scout out one side tunnel with a torch, while Bob advanced down the other with his dark sight.

Xaraya’s torch attracted troll attention. A trollkin and dark troll came up the tunnel. At this point, Xaraya decided to try diplomacy and announced in halting Darktongue that they were supporters of the true Queen. Despite some language difficulties, it seemed that the trolls were sympathetic, for they did not attack, but disappeared back into the darkness.

Meanwhile, Bob had discovered that the force in the main chamber was about 13 strong – a Death Lord, two Great Trolls, 4 Dark Trolls and half a dozen trollkin, gathered in two lines of battle (trollkin in front). Embla was deputed to sneak down the second tunnel and use her confusion magic if necessary, while Grom led half the force forward to try diplomacy again.

This time it was the party that was met by a hail of missiles, which for the most part bounced off their armor. Embla immediately Confused a Great Troll, much to the distress of the Death Lord, who fired off a Fear spell at Leotychidas, whose shield still burned with his Lantern spell. In a great loss for the party, the Fearshock stopped Leo’s heart, and only timely first aid from Skye saved him. But this meant that their only immediate light source was out, with his shield providing untargeted light. The party’s missile users fired back, and Njall the Wind Lord loosed a Lightning spell. Once again they had great success, and the Death Lord was hit by the full force of the lightning. Grom and others started forward, but were saved by Solibar noticing a pit they would have fallen into if they’d continued. The party’s missile force continued to have great success and Njall’s second and last Lightning spell crisped the Death Lord such that half the remaining trolls that could stand broke and ran. Bob’s attempt to launch and impromptu fire bomb failed, and as he moved in to finish off the second Great Troll, he slipped and was knocked out by a blow to the head by the troll’s massive maul. Grom jumped over the pit and saved him by finishing off the troll.

By this point, Garrath had revealed that he and the dwarves were withdrawing back to the Strongpoint. Although Xaraya’s force had probably succeeded better than had been hoped (taking out over 20 trolls and trollkin, including a Death Lord) for just two severe injuries, the loss of their hands-free light source suggested that discretion should be the better part of valor, and they gathered up Leo and Bob to take them back to the Strongpoint.

Exiting the temple via the sewers, the force was met by a Kyger Litor trollkin who told them to come to the Kyger Litor stronghold, where Garrath revealed he had lost 4 men and the Dwarves 6. They would be reinforced by Dharrgagg, a Karrg’s Son and some of his bravest fighters. A war council sent out Stars Like Night and some trollish spirits, which concluded that there were three areas the trolls were guarding: their barracks by the “back door,” the Temple itself and a mysterious area deeper in the temple that seemed to be guarded by spirits only. Embla was able to use her skills to draw what sounded like a remarkably accurate map of the temple, and the War Council decided on a two-pronged attack this time. Xaraya’s friends, the dwarves and some trolls would lead the attack on the back door, while Garrath would lead the attack on the temple, where the fighting was likely to be heaviest.

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