Konus of Knosa
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Notes from The Archives
ENTRY 1: January 22, 1989 Game Date
JOURNAL OF KONUS OF KNOSA
"Start with spells, finish with steel. That is our way"
Our party takes stock of the patrons gathered in the Pan Spring Inn from our table in a shadowed corner. A mix of residents, travelers and merchants engaged in genial chatter dominate the scene. We have all arrived at the village of Korden fresh from our training and errands. After greetings and a drink to wash the dust from our throats, Draper introduces a monk named Beldain who was a ward of our friend Caldane and comes with his recommendation. He seeks his destiny on the trail and wishes to accompany us. We take stock of him and conclude he would be an asset. Now that our group has swelled slightly in size we settle in to discuss our next undertaking.*
The midday lull is broken when an excited group of men burst into the common room to tell of the fall of the castle known as Eagle’s Crown to the dwarves. This causes consternation in the townsfolk, who are fearful of the dwarves and their motive in taking a stronghold just a few day’s ride from their town. The dwarves have sent word to Lord Urnick, the baron of this region. Among their demands are an immediate conference with the baron to air their grievances and state their terms. They will maintain a defensive posture in their new stronghold in the interim.
Many hurry to leave the inn to tend to their affairs before the unexpected news affects prices and travel. The remainder debate the impact of the attack and the baron’s response while the innkeeper turns a brisk trade. War can be a thirsty business! Dominia draws our attention back to the matters at hand and reveals that she was contacted by a certain Rannon, a local noble, regarding a job guarding a shipment of supplies to trappers in the Singing Hills. Details are lacking so we will make the journey to the village of Heep to meet Rannon face to face before making a decision on employment. We share a room at the Pan Spring and rise early to resupply, the prices already creeping up as we pack our saddlebags and rucksacks. We gather our mounts from the stable and manage to leave the town in good spirits and good graces taking the main road north towards Heep.
A day's journey brings us to Vostag’s Crown, a town close to the fallen keep of Eagle’s Crown. The town is in turmoil, mostly an armed camp in response to the dwarven advances. Townsfolk without solid roots are making their way to safer environs and any strangers, especially well-armed ones, attract attention. We are told by the baron’s soldiers that travel north toward the fallen castle is restricted. An overbearing sergeant begins to tell us that we will be needed in the militia to help defend the town. A smiling Valinor throws an arm around his shoulder and leads him a few paces away from his men. After some subtle gestures from our half-elf, and a shared chuckle, they return and to everyone’s surprise our party is told we can leave the town immediately! In fact, the soldier and Valinor embrace like old friends before we exit at a trot under the questioning glances of the other men-at-arms. I am sure we will be miles away before our warrior-mage’s charm wears off the sergeant. It is clear that the main road will be impassable in the current climate so it is fortunate that, with the aid of our Druid, we find an old path Dominia heard about from some rummy she met in town. I mistrust Dominia’s sources often and I am often proven wrong. It makes for a day of slow travel picking our way along what seems like a game trail. We are forced to dismount frequently to clear trails as the path seems little used. At least there will be no soldiers or dwarves to distract us.
The lay of the land begins to rise and outcrops of rock and broken hills slow us further. Our path opens into a shallow ravine whose slopes are littered with stone debris, large and small. The center of the gully is a stream bed, dry now, but likely a torrent in the rainy season. Without any discussion, wineskins are in hand and I take a moment to pull some stubborn brambles from my leggings. Nearby, Valinor sits to remove a stone from his fancy leather boots. Our respite is violently cut short by attacks that seem to spring from the very rock itself! Horses scatter as the roar of a large and ugly stone troll splits the air. As Etha would have it, Draper stands but a pace away from the beast and is struck by two glancing blows while struggling to wield his mace. I move in a crouch to its flank, my two-handed sword in hand- a large weapon for a large beast! Before I am in range, the troll clamps its filthy maw onto my brother cleric’s shoulder driving him to one knee. Ethans endure. More coarse bellows echo in the ravine and a brace of barrel-sized rocks crash nearby. Beldain nimbly vaults a boulder and strikes two unarmed blows with the speed of an adder. He has garnered the troll’s attention but not his fear. The sounds of chants mix with the howls of three more trolls as this fight gains intensity. I swing a wide arc to catch the body of the beast. Big as it is, I can hardly miss it. He wears no armor but his gray flesh is proof against many attacks, but not mine. I smile to see his look of surprise when he realizes one of his arms hangs uselessly by a small patch of skin. Valinor stands toe to toe with another troll, his longsword weaving a flashing pattern and allowing no openings without a bloody price. Beldain finds himself cornered, caught amidst a pile of large stones and facing an angry adversary. The troll tenses to attack and then suddenly goes limp, shuddering as he slowly falls to his knees before slipping prone. Our diminutive elven rogue stands behind its corpse, the bloodied dagger in her hand flickering with a faint magical light. The welcome smell of magic fills the air as a sizzling arc of bright energy flies from the fingertips of Dominia and drops a troll, smoking and twitching. Daneel has gained the high ground and invokes a wall of green flame that surrounds and consumes an enemy. He watches intently as the troll is reduced to ash. As I have come to expect, our druid’s face betrays no particular reaction. By now my adversary is barely standing. No quarter is asked or given as my sword completes its task. The last stone troll is hemmed in and sorely wounded. The end to this is plain for all to see and Valinor finishes the battle with an almost gentle cut that drops the last troll.
All is quiet now in the gully save the snorts of our nervous mounts and some low chanting as Draper prays for Etha’s succor to mend the wounds of combat, especially important for any who suffered a bite from the stone beast’s tainted mouth. I lift my prayers as well as I bind the jagged wound near the cleric’s neck knowing that divine power will speed its healing. Dominia wastes no time in reminding us that the trolls must have a lair nearby and quickly makes her way up the broken slope to some dark openings in the hillside, Beldain moving warily by her side. The rest of the party gathers and checks the mounts to be sure our supplies are securely in place. We should move on soon, the din of combat and the smell of fresh blood are on the wind and it won’t be long before other scavengers and predators make their way here to stake a claim for food or territory. Dominia and Beldain rejoin us carrying a few makeshift sacks of what our wizardly rogue tells us amounts to thirty pounds of silver coin, near one hundred gold pieces of every vintage, and a wooden whistle that glows of magic. The haul is distributed amongst the saddlebags and we mount up. With a quick nod of his head Daneel hands the reins of his horse to me and in an instant, changes from a lean elf to a harrier hawk. He circles lazily as he rises above our heads and then wings away, showing us the direction to ride as we pick our way through the boulders and away from the ravine. We quicken our pace in the afternoon sun, it would be best to put as much distance from the site of battle as the remaining day will allow.
AMBUSH at STONE TROLL RAVINE
Stone trolls are found in highlands, mountains and rocky terrain. They can be very challenging when encountered in their natural terrain. They have long gangly legs that allow them to move quickly through difficult rocky terrain. Their natural camouflage helps them to gain surprise on their enemies, they can crush prey from a distance with rock attacks, and their quickness allows them to catch prey that tries to flee. If the trolls are played smartly, the majority of them will stay above their enemy and pummel them with rocks, then close in quickly to finish off wounded prey.
This is a hard encounter suitable for a group of four-six, 8th-10th level characters. One troll can be removed or added to adjust the encounter for lower or higher numbers of characters or smaller or larger groups.
A clan of stone trolls claim an upward sloping, rocky ravine as their territory. A dried stream bed serves as a trail along the bottom of the ravine. The dry stream bed and the slopes surrounding it are difficult terrain. A group of four stone trolls lair in a cave 30 feet above the ravine floor. The trolls can easily climb up and down the ravine slopes without hindrance.
One stone troll watches the ravine at all times, looking for prey that wanders down from the highlands. It uses stone camouflage to hide perfectly in the rocky surroundings and its keen smell to detect prey as it approaches. It waits motionless against a large boulder to surprise prey as it walks past.
As long as the trolls in the lair above the ravine floor can hear, they will join the fight one round after combat starts. Two trolls will attack their enemy with rocks from outside the cave, while the other troll dashes down the cliff and enters combat on the second round. They all fight to the death.
The cave that serves as the troll’s lair is a filth pit of bones and rotting animal hides. If the debris in the cave is searched the party finds a sheathed broken longsword, a destroyed backpack that holds two potions of healing, a sack that contains the a dozen crow beaks, a 50-foot length of silk rope, a set of tarnished silver dishes (20 gp), 1032 silver pieces, 101 gp, and a magic wooden whistle that can summon a dust devil if it is played for 1 minute by someone with a musical instrument tool proficiency.
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The Journal of Konus of Knosa