[Actual Play] Swords Against Chaos 35 (Mystara B/X); The Search for the Wolfskull Tribe

It was on the 2nd of the Eyrmont, when Winter had begun to set its claws in the north, but the south was still an impenetrable sea of ochres, ambers and browns, that the Lame Ones travelled for Rugalov by the River, combing the Dymrak for any signs of the Khlosluk that had taken the Rancher’s Brother.

Of the boars, stirges and other nuisances they found in the forest, I will not waste much time, for they were easily dealt, and many feared even to approach the Lame Ones. Their march through the forest was unimpeded.

They came upon a great tree, hung with rotting corpses and surrounded by skulls, and carved with obscene sigils in the Goblin Tongue, dedicating it to the monstrous deities of the Red Blade Tribe. It was Niffa who stepped forward, ignoring the urgings of Edmin the Pious, and defaced its ancient bark with a silver blade. “The Red-Blade Are No More” was carved into the tree, a silent warning for the other tribes of the Dymrak.

When they travelled further south, through that vast sea of leaves, spreading out in a wide, sweeping pattern, covering square, fruitless miles, their visibility reduced to mere yards, they did at one point come across an overgrown trail that led deeper into the woods. There, with polished skulls on wooden poles, hung with fetishes and surrounded by spoilt offerings was marked a hill with a gaping cave-mouth as “The Domain of the Old Ones.” And the Goblin Rune for ‘Beware!’ Too curious by far, the Lame Ones made their way to the cave.

It was Niffa’s Elven Eyes that dimly glimpsed Six Monstrous Schorpions in its cavernous depths. The creatures were feasting on the corpse of an elk, too pre-occupied to notice the scout. Retreating to extreme range, Niffa unleashed a spell of sleep on the creatures. The Lame Ones advanced cautiously.

Only 2 of the 4 had been felled by the enchantment, the rest stirred and moved for them. Arrows and bolts glanced from armor 2 fingers thick. Mardek trembled and the fighting men grimaced, preparing themselves for a hard fight. Only the Sleeping spell of Shing, invisible, felled the creatures before they could wreak havoc on the front row. Warily, the Lame Ones butchered the creatures.

Inside they found amidst the great pile of drained carcasses of men, animals and goblins, a small chest of elaborate make, ruined by the dampness. Inside, platinum pieces minted in some distant empire, and a message in an unknown tongue, of great age, that disintegrated the moment it was opened.

It was on the Sixth Day that they encountered a Gnollish Encampment. Exiles from the Altan Tepes, 9 strong, disfigured with ritual scars, they were breaking their fast when the Lame Ones came upon them. “Do you know of the Khlossluk?” asked Niffa the Mad Elf. And the Gnolls wasted little time in proclaiming their great hatred of the Goblin Tribe, but of the location of their lair they knew little. But the Gnolls were willing to leave one of them behind to lead them to the lair of the Jaggadash in exchange for Gold. “We could simply force you,” threatened Niffa. At this the Gnolls bristled and grabbed for their weapons, but the Lame Ones were steely eyed and stared them down. The Gnoll Chieftain could not brook such a challenge in front of his men, and so it laughed it off as if in jest, and asked for gold. The Lame Ones muttered darkly, but eventually agreed. When the Gnolls asked for a hundred gold however, Niffa offered 10 and their lives instead. And thus began the fight.

For a brief span both sides exchanged blows. Some of the Lame Ones took wounds from arrow-fire, even impervious Niffa, and ruined her spell. A spell of Sleep laid low but 2 of the Gnolls. But at the end of the melee one of the gnolls had perished, and many of them had wounds, so they surrendered, and asked that a hostage be sent with the Lame Ones to bring them to the lair of the Jaggadash. And as they nursed their wounds and gathered up camp, Niffa threw a platinum piece at the chieftain, and told him these were the wages of co-operation. Humiliated, the Gnolls withdrew.
After they had left, Merkull muttered that they could have helped themselves to their possessions. Niffa took no heed.

It was 9 days to Rugalov, and on the 11th of the Eyrmont they arrived, bearing treasure and weary, to sell their spoils and pay their retainers and rest before they would set out once again for the lair of the Jaggadash.

501 posts. It’s been a hell of a ride. Let’s see me reach a thousand next!

The Tally
6 Stirges
3 Boars
3 Orcs
12 Giant Rats
6 Giant Voles
6 Giant Schorpions
9 Gnolls

The Book of the Living.
[B] Niffa (Elf 3, 19 hp)
[E] Shing the Golden (MU 4, 12 hp)
[F] Hummingbird Twiceborn (Mys 4, 11 hp)
[G] Edmin Os Traytor (Clr 3, 12 hp)
[NPC] Sarah (Thf 4, 16 hp).
[NPC] Merkull (Ftr 4, 25 hp)
[NPC] Lucius Sulla (Ftr 2, 13 hp)
[NPC] Mardek (Ftr 1, 5 hp)
[NPC] Thorbin Stonefist (Dwr 1, 5 hp)

The Book of the Dead:
[A] Ilyanka Pjottrsdöttr (Clr 1) – Beheaded by Giant Chameleon
[B] Liliath the Elf-maiden (Elf 1) – Skull-split by the horrid Bugbear
[C] Cold-Souled Fenrig (Thf 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[D] Balan the Lame (Dwr 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 4, 24 hp) – Throat ripped out by a Cave Bear
[B] Earendil (Elf 1) – Struck down by vile Orc Sorcery
[G] Azalesh Slyly (Clr 1) – Shanked by common robbers
[NPC] The Wardog Biter (Dog) – Cut down by the Orc Menace
[NPC] Aziz the Impetuous (Ftr 1) – Struck down by an impostor’s hand
[NPC] Hyacinth the Fair (Ftr 1) – Felled by an Arrow
[NPC] Kellhus (Mys 1) – Drained by Stirges

The Rolls of Honour:
[A] Egil Soft-pate (Ftr 1, 18 Str) – Long may he Reave!
[C] Sir Ioric (Ftr 3, 17 hp) – Retired in glory, long live the Duke!
[NPC] Erren (Thf 3, 10 hp) – She wanders the roads, looking for who knows what.
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 5, 25 hp) – Refused to leave the tavern and preferred to keep drinking


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