Amalina and Winter join Gylwinth, not letting her approach the door alone just in case the troll is more alert than we may expect. Her axe at the ready and hound by her side, the woodwoman takes a breath and nods at Gylwinth as she waits for Findegil's signal.
Gylwinth creeps toward the door. It is no small cobble of wood; this door is ten feet high and nearly as wide. There is no hinge - it must either be tumbled to the side or dragged down, and it likely weighs a lot.
My biggest pet peeve in PBP is a door which requires some skill to open. So I'm going against my own feelings about this, but since you are trying something clever which has the possibility of avoiding combat but still raking in the XP, I think we need to take this step.
The door will require two people to pull it down - one on either side. Both of you make an Athletics check.
Then, Findegil will need to make an attack roll with Disadvantage, since he cannot see into the darkness of the cave to what he is shining his light on. The good news is that armor will give the enemy no advantage, so effectively your to-hit number is 10. You get one try to make this work.
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
Gylwinth mouse up to the other side of the door and pulls it down in tandem with Amalina.
Athletics: 1d20 ⇒ 18
If the door starts to topple down, she will move back away from the door as she readies her bow and knocks an arrow.
Stepping up with Gylwinth, Amalina grabs and pulls on the door only to have the thing catch a bit of overhanging stone and stick in place. Sweat pours off her brow and her cheeks go red as she glances toward the waiting Findegil. Taking a deep breath she pulls again, this time trying to rock the big wooden slab to the side just enough so it will slip past the obstruction. For a moment nothing happens and then she feels the wood scrap past the block and she keeps pulling....
Athletics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Inspiration Athletics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Feeling the door give way, Amalina quickly steps back and out of the way to avoid getting crushed by door or beast. Unfortunately she can't avoid the smell. Coughing at the stench, she steps back a little further.
"Gods! What a foul stench." She says, wrinkling her nose and trying to wave the smell away as she readies her axe.
"Come out foul shadow spawn!" She taunts, hoping to draw the creature nearer the door. "Face your doom o' coward of darkness and know that you will die at the hands of two maids and a Knight of Gondor!"
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
"Shine the light inside!" calls Gylwinth.
Findegil's sword strikes at where he cannot see, almost as if it knows where to go!
Longsword with Disadvantage: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 151d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Damage: 1d10 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
You're trying to use the shield to shine light into the cave, not attack it with your sword. Regardless, I'll apply your Proficiency bonus to your base roll, so your Disadvantage result is a 10, which is just enough to succeed!
Findegil redirects the waning daylight into the maw of the cave using his massive shield. The concave inward side intensifies that light, such that it shines a wide beam into the murky dark. You still cannot see well enough into the black depths of the cave, but Winter's ears perk up, and Amalina and Gylwinth hear a quiet moan, like wind that has been squeezed through a narrow opening. Nothing else happens.
Findegil tries to peer into the blackness, and listens for any movement.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Adv. Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Waiting outside of the cave for several seconds as the final rays of the sun slip past the horizon, Amalina and Winter watch and listen, her weapon ready, for any sign of an angery, live troll. As the wait continues she lights her lantern and covers her nose and mouth with a cloth. Then holding the lantern high, she cautiously approaches the dark opening.
"I think we may have done it." She says softly and steps forward. She attempts to move quietly, but the lantern handle suddenly squeaks as it swings in her grip.
"Got to remember to oil that later." She mutters to herself, frowning at the offending lamp.
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Amalina progresses a further twenty feet before her lantern casts away the darkness shrouding the now petrified stone troll. It reeks otherworldy a stench that may never come off, and poor Winter's sense of smell will be incapacitated for days. Nevertheless, the troll appears to have no allies hiding in the reaches of the circular abode, only a rough bed of mouldy timbers and mosses, an array of rusted weapons scavenged from prey over the past several years of occupancy, and a large pile of bones picked clean of flesh and now used for some unknown purpose.
You find amongst the troll's possessions no usable weapons or armor, but a scattering of coins confiscated from the dead, totaling 31 gold, 211 silver, and 400 copper, 11 ingots of iron, 6 ingots of copper, and 9 pieces of assorted jewelry worth approximately 25 SP each.
Night has descended on the party by the time you get the loot bagged. The mist has coalesced into a cold rain.
Each member of the party receives 1800 XP for defeating Berk, a greater stone troll + 200 bonus XP for compelling storycrafting.
Trying not to choke on the horrible fumes of the now dead troll, Amalina's eyes still go wide at wealth she and the others find scattered around the small cave.
"I've never seen so much wealth before." She says, amazement filling her voice. "Although my people do trade, we often do so in barter. Only occasionally do we carry coins of silver and copper, and almost never gold." She adds carefully holding a couple of the gold coins up to the lamplight.
One is marked with an arc of seven stars on one side with the profile of some long dead king, as evidenced by the crown he wears, on the other. The second coin, a bit smaller than the first, is stamped with a different profile on the front and a ram's head on the back.
She runs her fingers over the worn coins and the slightly raised contours of the Sindarin script that circles each one. Although she can't really read the tengwar script, the coins histories and connections to ancient fallen realms fascinates her in some small way.
"How long must these coins have been here, waiting to once again see the light of day? How many hands have they passed through?" She wonders aloud, her curiosity overcoming the foul smell of the cave as she helps gather the various treasures into several small sacks.
Looking at the ingots, she pauses for a moment. "Perhaps these ingots might make a good gift for Bedar and his two companions? I fear they lost much on the road, and I know dwarves value such metals." She says slipping a copper ingot into the sack.
With the goods finally stowed with the horses, Amalina does her best to help set camp in the dark and get a fire started in the damp rain.
"At least we've plenty of wood." She says, swinging her axe into one of the fallen trees recently removed from the middle of the road.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
Something releases inside Gylwinth as Amalina comes out and smiles with the news that the troll is no longer. Deep inside, Gylwinth feels full of hope.
As she started on this journey, as she met her companions for the first time really, Gylwinth's heart had been filled with doubt, doubt and fear. In truth, she did not understand how she could help, whether she could help, or whether she'd just be a burden.
But Amalina's smile dismissed her fears, dismissed her doubts. She felt one with the rest of them.
Gylwinth's smiles back, her eyes wet with flowing emotions, and says: "This is good omen! If only we could trap this light and carry it with us through darkness and night!"
As she notices the rain, she says: "Looks like we'll spend the night here, in this musky cave... Should we bring the horses in?"
"The creatures of dark heart love to build hoards. Smaug was merely the most famously wealthy.", Findegil notes sombrely.
"This wealth should see use in the hands of Free Folk once again."
He turns to Gylwinth:
"That was a most cunning ploy and it worked admirably. Well done! If the horses will enter, they should."
|2 people marked this as a favorite.|
Looking at the horses doubtfully, Amalina shrugs slightly and wrinkles her own nose at the thought of spending more time in the awful smelling cave.
"I expect the horses would rather spend a night in the rain, rather in a cave that reeks of one of their most feared predators." She says glancing from horse to cave entrance. "I think I'd agree with them." She adds with a friendly laugh. "I'm used to a little wet camping and my clothes have already soaked in enough of the trolls foul smell that it'll take days to air them out." She places another piece of wood on her fire. "If they choose to stay outdoors, I'll stay with them and keep watch."
Crafting a couple of short poles from tree branches, she sets up a small shelter near the fire using her makeshift poles and heavy traveling cloak. Then starts warming a bit of water over the fire for tea.
"Care for any?" She says, adding some dark leaves to the warming water. "It's a blend that Radagast shares with all of his apprentices. A combination of black tea, rose, and dried Anduin Persimmons. It's best with a bit of honey, but I'm afraid that's a luxury we don't have on the road."
Fire eludes even Amalina's efforts; the dampness of this area cannot be understood until it is experienced. Fortunately, Gondril is well-prepared for this climate, and she produces kindling dipped in wax which lights easily and burns long. Together with the few dead limbs which can be stripped of bark and take fire, you are able to nurse a small fire throughout the night. The smell that clings to Amalina and Winter keeps everyone from getting any sleep, but the excitement of trading stories about having outwitted the troll makes the night pass quickly.
Feel free to exchange any stories you have about your travels on the road. I'll get the next part of the adventure posted probably tomorrow.
For her part, Cereidh flips through the coins from the troll's lair, curious if any feature depictions of sovereigns and heroes that Men have forgotten. Unlikely as it is that she met them herself, wandering content through the Mirkwood, it's still possible that they'll spark some fond memory of the change of the seasons.
Lore: 1d20 ⇒ 12
Cereidh holds up a verdigris-eaten copper coin with a triumphant half-smile. On it, there's the weathered visage of a grim young man. "Hah! See the fate of an Elf-Friend who grows too cocksure in his striving to fight out battles for us. A fair scion of Man, lost too soon to the remnants of the Necromancer's work. I hunted alongside him, before he became too afraid of the passing of his years. I've always wondered that if he'd seen me aging alongside him, instead..."
"Still." She tucks the coin away. "Given what we've seen. It's a small comfort that he's remembered at least this much. Let us all hope to live as long. Let the other shining coins be spent, and their namesakes live on that much longer."
Sipping her tea, Amalina lays wrapped in her blankets listening to Cereidh's tale. Winter is curled up at her side facing the fire. She gives the blanket a quick tug which does little to budge the big hound who has somehow ended up with more and more of her warm bedding. How does he do it? She wonders, eyeing the resting hound with friendly suspicion as he stretches and presses closer against her leg.
"To memories of old companions and long lives." Amalina says following Cereidh's tale and taking another sip of tea. "It must have been long ago you hunted with this Elf-Friend." She says looking at one of the other coins she found in the trolls hoard. "All of these appear to be quite old."
"When I was looking at the maps in Rivendell, I saw mention of places like Cardolan, Rhudaur, Arthedain. The sister kingdoms that were once Arnor. They seemed to stretch across this entire land west of the mountains. Yet, it all seems to be gone. Turned to ruins." Her voice is a little awe struck talking of the old northern realm of Men. She watches the flames of the fire for a few seconds. "My people have never had such...far reaching realms. Such grand cities or castles. We're part of the forest as it is part of us. We have no towers of stone to mark our boundaries." She flips the coin. "Or coins to commemorate our past heroes and kings."
"As I witnessed during the dream, my folk have fought the Shadow for years and years. Lost many lives. But we are a people small in numbers, spread thinly, living in a harsh place. I would not be surprised our ways will one day disappear from the land." She looks sad and puzzled again at the coin. "But I wonder how is it that such a strong people as once ruled this land, fell so far that there is nothing to remember them but ancient maps, fallen ruins, and a few scattered coins?"
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
Gylwinth gathers around the fire with the others, not wanting her clothes to scare the horses. As they talk, she wishes to participate, but Amalina's questions seems so appropriate that it sounds as though she uttered it herself. She turns to Cereidh and listens carefully.
Eastern Eriador Maps included in the campaign header.
Amalina, roll D8.
Following the long night, the company travels the next day uneventfully. The dreariness of the season and lack of sleep make it a very long slog. At several points the packhorses need to be pulled along through muddy stretches, and the drizzle is ceaseless. Truly, such a landscape is only fit for a troll. You make slower progress than hoped, and spend an additional night in the wilds. This time you are all able to sleep at least a few hours between watches.
By midday - it's actually hard to tell - you notice the landscape begin to change. The hillocks are shorter, the crags less rocky, and in the distance, you see barren grassy fields. Finally, the River Hoarwell is in sight.
Deep, fast, and aching cold are the waters of mighty Mitheithel as it flows down from the Misty Mountains in the early winter. Called Hoarwell by the Men of Eriador,the river runs in a great curve from its headwaters above the Ettenmoors, along the western edge of both the Coldfells and the Trollshaws, before eventually joining with the River Bruinen and flowing away south. The only safe crossing of the Hoarwell is the Last Bridge, an ancient stone structure consisting of three arches spanning the river at the bottom of a deep gorge which rests along the south-western edge of the Trollshaws.
You find the Dwarven camp site some forty paces back from the road, along the eastern bank of the river. While the signs of recent activity corroborate the Dwarves' tale of woe, you find no bodies and nothing of value remains. Winter sniffs out several fragments of torn clothing, but the rains have cleansed the land of blood.
Result of Arrival Roll: Arrival in Poor Spirits
The company is beset by foul moods and short tempers that they must work hard to throw off. Each has disadvantage on all ability checks pertaining to social interaction, until such time as they succeed in one of these rolls. This penalty will apply if they seek an Audience at the destination. If there is a single upside to this dark mood, it is that they are so spoiling for a fight that each member of the company receives advantage to their Initiative rolls until they take a short rest.
Cereidh straightens abruptly from the underbrush. "Well. We may not get much rest tonight - I wouldn't anyway - there's a way after these villains. Look, here, the broken branches, and the deep prints." Her eyes gleam. "I could lead us after them leading us to them. But we should expect a Troll to meet us, if not more than one. Hm. These two wagon tracks. The dwarves and these villains, then? No more unexpected actors?"
Findegil takes comfort in the tales of his companions, though he feels exhaustion and soon looks to sleep.
Perhaps his body knew of the aches to come.
Shadow-Lore DC12: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Investigation or Survival, DC13: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 91d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Investigation or Survival, DC18: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 41d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Lore DC12: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Investigation, Riddle, or Survival DC15: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 191d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 151d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
"The Last Bridge.", he mutters as he sees the ancient stonework.
Looking around, his eyes spy much, and is able to confirm the words of Cereidh.
"Two set of wagon tracks, and someone tried to hide them. It reeks of foulness - and cunning."
Lore: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Lore: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Weary, muddy, and grumbling from yet another rock trapped in her boot, Amalina has little to say of the vast view of the gorge and river from the ancient stone bridge. Perhaps under better circumstances she would be able to appreciate the stunning vista with the white water roaring below as it races between the high cliffs. Instead she simply tries again to wipe some of the mud that covers much of her body after she slipped and fell pulling one of the horses out of a particularly deep mudhole a few miles back. Her efforts result in little more than smearing in around further. She thought maybe the the drizzle would wash some of it away, but alas it has done little more than keep the mud good and moist making it impossible to clean off.
Giving up on the mud with a heavy sigh, she instead clears the pebbles from her boots and begins squishing around the ambush sight with the others looking for signs of where the attackers may have gone.
"We've gotten lucky." She says as Cereidh and Findegil point out the tracks. "The weather hasn't completely wiped out the trail yet." She squats down to get a closer look. "It looks like the troll and heavier wagons went north with the spoils and any prisoners they may have taken."
She nods at Cereidh. "Agreed. We should be on our way." Then glances at the dreary gray, cloud covered sky. "And I doubt there'll be any sunlight if we encounter the troll during the day. This time it'll likely be blade and bow that deal with the beast."
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
Lore: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Lore: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Gylwinth's improved spirit is bashed without mercy by the last few days of travel. Morose, she does her best to take in the wonders of this renowned landmark: "This bridge... Always has been the path bringing east to the west and west to the east. Master Elrond is right in sending us to make sure it remains an open and free channel..."
As the group finds the trail, she comments, simply, about trolls: "If you see one troll track, then it's probably one troll, as trolls do not mislead. Just ransack, murder, without subtlety..."
Since you rolled a 20... Gondril lends her voice to the deliberation. "We could track to the east and circle north to take advantage of the breeze. I fear the lingering stench that sticks to Amalina and Winter may give us away no matter where we enter from, and straying too far from the trail invites other perils. On the other hand, she does smell like troll."
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
Amalina opened her mouth to argue with Gondril regarding her and Winter's current aroma. But then looking at her clothes and the hounds muddy matted coat, she simply closes her mouth and starts walking east and north as the scout suggested.
"I still don't know why you had to roll around in that cave..." She mutters to the hound as they walk away. Winter simply responds with a quick yip, tail wagging as he trots on down the trail, nose working furiously to track their quarry.
Cereidh stares at Amalina for a second. "I do wonder - when we spring the ambush, or when we get so close it's to be a sure thing that we're found out ... Amalina, dear friend Amalina. Would you and Winter try to lure the Troll away from the rest of the band, pretending to be another Troll, perhaps with some loot they shouldn't like to share with any lesser associates of the Troll that we're after?"
"After all, playing pretend with these things - agents of the Shadow, I mean - worked so well last time."
"Trickery is an uncertain weapon but a weapon nonetheless. I do no object to the attempt, if it is made."
Her boots still squishing along the muddy track, Amalina listens to Cereidh's suggestion. Her brows furrow as she mulls over the idea of trying to separate the troll from its allies. Slowly, eventually she gives a slight nod.
"I could give it a try." She say hesitantly. "Although I'm not sure I can bring my voice deep enough to really resemble one of those big, ugly beasts." She frowns in thought and continues walking along the trail. "Perhaps...if I used a jug, or crafted a simple tube of bark to make my voice a little more resonant...hmmmm." She says, mostly to herself.
Suddenly she frowns and holds up the group while she scans the track and calls Winter back to her side.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Ways of the Wild - Adv. Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Well those aren't helpful rolls.
Two hours in to your northeastwardish trek through the densely forested canopy of the Trollshaws, Amalina is forced to recognize that she is lost. Without the sun, contantly cloudy as it is, direction loses meaning. The company is wandering. Even Gondril throws up her hands.
You have two immediate choices: Turn back, and hope you can recover your own meandering trail, which may be easier but waste precious daylight, or press onward and hope to reclaim your bearings.
Either way, Amalina, roll Survival again.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Ways of the Wild - Adv. Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
With a simple nod to Findegil, Amalina and Winter continue scouring the area to try and pick up the trail again.
|Gylwinth of the Crimson Moon|
Gylwinth wraps her cloak around her to keep the dampness at bay. "I too suggest we press on. Every day lost is a day more between us and them, methinks..." she offers as they meander in the thick forest.
"So the plan is to get the Troll alone and dispatch it first, am I right? We will need to stay well off from Amalina if that is the case, no? How will we know we're close enough, yet not so close? I like the plan, surely, but- I guess I don't see the whole plan yet..." she comments.