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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 19, Part 2

March 19, 2015

Troll Hunt v4.0

Hot Dog!After reuniting the stolen infants with their parents, the PCs prepared for another expedition to locate the trolls that had been terrorizing the southern Greenbelt. The previous three journeys had ended with PCs getting captured or killed, but hopefully this time they would fare better!

Iofur the druid’s player was not present, so I figured his character was there but was mostly providing spell support for the mid-winter journey – endure elements and the like. The group rode west along the Skunk River, crossing the water near Melianse’s pool, and then headed south, skirting the edge of the slowly-recovering blighted hollow. I rolled a random encounter for that hex, and then – finally, for the first time in the campaign – rolled a “trolls” result! And in a good location, too – the trolls probably thought of the river as the northern border of their territory. I decided that the band of trolls in the area were guarding the river, and would try to ambush the PCs as they crossed.

Rivers Run Red 19aSince Iofur was an NPC and it was in the middle of winter, I told the group that they were crossing the river with the lily pad stride invocation (a druid spell), rather than swimming across. Lily pad stride is not a great river-crossing solution because it requires skill checks, but at least that way Simon the cleric didn’t have to use up any spell slots on water walking. In any case, no one complained about the setup.

Trolls are not very stealthy, as it turns out, and as the expedition approached the southern bank of the river, several of the giants were spotted by the humans. Satampra the swashbuckler and Breen the monk used Acrobatics and ki leaps to quickly reach the shore and engage the enemy. But to their horror, they found that there were a half-dozen trolls hidden in the brush, and not just the two or three that were initially spotted!

As the monsters swarmed around the two adventurers, they called down an artillery strike upon Mestinous the elven wizard to lob a fireball into the area, trusting in their good Reflex saves and evasion ability to protect them. Their gamble paid off, as they managed to avoid the blast entirely, although the trolls were not so lucky. But the monsters still had numbers on their side, and they pressed the attack. Soon the monk was down to a single hit point, and he made an incredible ki leap across the water to get back to the cleric for some healing.

Flaming spheres were conjured, a fire elemental and a lantern archon (Mestinous’ new favorite) were summoned, and the wizard used his sword to create another fireball. When Satampra got into trouble, he climbed a tree and drank a cure potion while fending off the talons of an angry troll. Boliden the barbarian eventually made it to the riverbank and engaged a troll in a savage battle of claw vs. claw. But the troll could rend and Boliden could not, and he lost the exchange.

As grim as matters looked, the fire damage was piling up. While the monsters started to fall to the flaming spheres and summoned critters, the one troll that had a shot of living tried to make a break for it. He didn’t make it. The PCs had triumphed, and had additionally kept any word of their movements from reaching Hargulka. They did, however, lose a horse to the river during the battle.

Ho Dag! Ho Dag! Ho Diggety Dag!

Rivers Run Red 19bThe group’s explorations eventually lead them to a mountain of fallen trees that was riddled with nooks and crannies. Some exploration of the area around the large mound revealed the tracks of a large lizard – could this be the home of the hodag that they were looking for? A lumberjack in Tatzylford had told the group during their last visit there that he was attacked by such a beast in the forest, and that had he stabbed the monster with his spear and fled. The group rode around for a bit, clearly trying to avoid exploring the inside of the giant tangle of trees. They were really hoping to find the hodag on open ground.

Eventually Satampra was appointed scout, and started poking around on his own. He made several Perception checks and never came close to finding the hodag’s lair within the pile. I encouraged the rest of the party to join in the search, but only Simon bothered, and his checks weren’t much better. After letting them waste a few hours there, I decided the hodag had been out hunting, and was now returning home. It must have not found much to eat, because when it saw the humans riding some juicy horses, it charged into battle.

The group was scattered, and Satampra and Simon were still searching the deadfall when the hodag came at Boliden. It rushed out of the forest and ripped open his horse’s belly before the barbarian could react. He spilled to the ground as his mount went down. As he grabbed his axe and surged to his feet, the lizard was upon him with teeth, claws, tail, and horns. Breen, Mestinous, and Iofur rode to the rescue, while Satampra and Simon heard the commotion and extracted themselves from the mound of fallen trees.

The hodag was a terror in combat, with five attacks, and large damage bonus on each, and the ability to throw someone with its gore attack. During the battle, Satampra wondered aloud how the hell that lumberjack managed to survive a run-in with the beast. It brought down Boliden and Breen and looked poised to run rampant through the spellcaster ranks when Mestinous pulled out his mega-magic missile wand and started blasting. The hodag was no dummy, and tried to run – but Mestinous caught it with a create pit spell. It avoided the pit initially, but then slid into the hole on its subsequent turn, and was killed before it could climb out.

They retrieved the lumberjack’s spear from where it was still stuck in the hodag’s side, and eventually located its lair within the deadfall. While victorious, they had lost another two horses during the battle, and were down to three mounts to carry six riders. Breen declared that he couldn’t double up on his horse, because he had taken so many vows (in order to boost his ki pool) that he couldn’t be touched by others. That was fine, said Mestinous. He hated riding, and preferred to walk, anyway.

After resting and completing their exploration of the area, the party rode south. Soon they started to see giantish runes carved on the trees and painted on the rocks. “Keep Out,” said Mestinous, translating one set of runes for his companions. “Death Awaits You,” read another such message. Yet another stated, “Here Be Trolls.” The group was officially in troll country.

Next: troll country!

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3 Comments
  1. Pinkius permalink

    Haha! Troll Country, but it doesn’t quite mean the traditional meaning! Is Funny!
    I’m somewhat impressed the party managed to down 6 trolls without their druid’s help, or was he under your control during the fight? What level is the party? 6 trolls is cr 10ish, for an average sized party, it’s not like they’re going to fight much else in the same day though.

    • Yeah, they blew most everything, or at least their highest-level stuff. They’re 6th right now, but they will be 7th very very soon. The thing is, trolls can dish it out but aren’t very sturdy, especially when you have lots of fire damage.

      I was kinda sorta controlling Iofur, but he didn’t really do anything except summon a flaming sphere and a small fire elemental. Of course, against trolls, that’s pretty effective.

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  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 19, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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