Chapter 03: Cat and Mouse… and Troll

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Session Number: 26
Date: Sunday 11 October 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Enok Rgr5 (Alain) (kills: none)
Krag Clr5 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal5 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz5 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

cat_and_mouse_pursuit.jpg

A series of runs, fast walks and course changes over the next few hours puts distance between pursued and pursuers, yet when weariness forces a slowdown the creatures' shrieks are inevitably heard again. Somehow, despite all efforts, the creatures always manage to pick up the trail. Troll casts Tenser's Floating Disc for the two slower members to ride while he and Enok continue to hustle along.

The beginnings of a design form in Troll's mind. Take Tenser's Floating Disc, a cunningly shaped barrel and Fiery Burst. Mix in a bit of ingenuity and you might just come up with Troll's Floating Pod Racer! (Mark I)

pod_racer_mk1.jpg

The cat and mouse game continues and by nightfall there has been no sense of pursuit for some time. Troll fashions hammocks of sorts using Rowaine and Enok's blankets, and the party settle in for a cautious night with two watches posted.

Morning comes and with it Enok's wolf. Troll invokes another Disc for Rowaine and Krag. Enok casts Pass Without Trace and the group set out at pace for Minehome.

After 4 hours of hustling, the sounds of pursuit can again be heard. The party break into a run and on after reach a deep canyon running almost perpendicular to their path. Enok figures that the gatehouse to Minehome lies some distance to the southwest. The party turn left and follow the canyon.

There are sounds of metallic creatures ahead!

"What are we going to do?" asks Troll. "We can't run any farther".

Rowaine looks grim. "Perhaps we should make some metallic sounds of our own". The party stride forwards, preparing for battle.

The group push through the brush into the northern end of an oval clearing beside the canyon. Ahead and to the right is the gatehouse to Minehome that Enok has been searching for. However, ahead and to the left is a veritable wall of metal spiders, advancing towards the gate. There is no way that the group will make it to the gate before the spiders do.

clearing_and_gatehouse.jpg

The group stop, not overly taken with the idea of certain death. Suddenly a mammoth wall of fire appears in front of the advancing spiders' ranks, easily 100 ft long and 20 ft high. The wall forms a narrow corridor between the party and the gatehouse through which the creatures either cannot or will not advance. The group break into a run for the gatehouse and launch themselves through the partially closed door. The fiery wall burns away as quickly as it appeared and the multitude of creatures advances. "Stand back!" commands a dwarven voice. Moments later a multi-ton stone slab drops into the gate's doorframe, squashing a couple of spiders as the horde descends.

"You took your time," a voice says. It is Troll again - old Troll, though not as old as the previous incarnation, alive and well. He is clothed in ill-fitting dwarven garments.

"Listen carefully, I have more information for you, but not much time to tell it," Troll continues. "The big ones are the key. They make the little ones, and they can adapt. Your fire has served you well thus far, but beware - even now there are those that have developed a resistance to fire.

"Don't heap all your hopes on Minehome - it is not secure. You cannot stay here. I can tell you that Elondel is important, but I cannot tell you why… It seems my memory is somehow blocked. I just know that you have to get there."

He then turns to the dwarves present, one of which is somewhat underdressed. "It is a pity that this has been brought upon you. I'm afraid you have been caught in the crossfire; the spiders' real quarry is him." Troll Senior indicates Troll Junior. With that, he disappears.

The two dwarves stationed at the gatehouse were not taken by surprise by the creatures; indeed, they expected them. But they had not heard of the Monastery's plight.

Rowaine ponders… Well - we are here, but the dwarves have their work cut out for them. They may not be able to help. And Troll's words… What do we make of Elondel now?

"Is there another way back that way?" says Rowaine, indicating towards the spiders. "Perhaps farther to the southwest?" asks Rowaine.

"Yes," says a dwarf. "But it is only accessible through Minehome."

A huge crash from the other side of the stone slab grabs everyone's attention. "That must be one of the bigger ones," says the dwarf. Another impact comes moments after and the stone surface begins to crack, eddies of dust settling to the stone floor. "We have to go - NOW!" says the dwarf.

Along with the two dwarves, the group exit the far side of the gatehouse via a wooden bridge that spans the 60 ft canyon. At the far side is a beautifully worked gate into the sheer rockface, and beyond lies the dwarven stronghold. The dwarves quickly lead the group into the tunnel and raise the bridge. They then seal the entrance with a similar stone slab, blocking the sunlight.

minehome_gatehouse.jpg

Troll leads the humans until the dwarves notice their inability to see. "Pardon us! If you will just pause for a moment…" They then retrieve torches from the walls and light them. The journey into the mountain continues.

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