From the journal of Arjhan
After a tense night spent readying ourselves for troll-battling, we gave Stumpy the best burial we could manage and pressed on. It wasn’t long before we found a small village, and learned that the late Stumpy was actually the son of Lord Stumphas, the local ruler. The villagers seemed to believe Stumphas would be extremely displeased to learn of his son’s death by troll, which is perfectly understandable. They feared that Stumphas would blame them, though I’m not sure how a bunch of dirt farmers could be expected to defend against marauding trolls.
Recognizing our obvious battle-skill, the villagers began hinting that they could really use the help of some seasoned adventurers against the trollish menace. We had no real reason to track down this King Tornak – he’s never bothered us – but the villagers were so obviously in trouble that we decided to help ’em out. Plus, their desperation might make it easier to bargain with them.
Well, it did, but we overlooked one sad fact: dirt farmers are, appropriately, dirt-poor.
Eventually we agreed to hunt down the trolls in exchange for large quantities of some sort of local beer, which the villagers assured us goes amazingly well with ale-spiced snake jerky.
We headed off in the direction of some caves the villagers believed Tornak and his trolls to be dwelling in. Along the way we passed where the troll corpses had been spotted the previous day . . . only to find them missing. Disturbing. We reached the caves in good order and sent Silvio and F’lar ahead to scout things out.
I don’t know if F’lar tripped or sneezed or what, but suddenly there were shouts and yells, and we were charging into battle. The cave proved to contain a half-dozen or so large and aggressive trolls, with an eight-legged, green-eyed basilisk lurking behind them. Garth, F’lar, Kuruk, Uthrag and Grint engaged the brutes in melee as Silvio, Solath and I held back and peppered them with ranged attacks. Silvio was particularly effective, shouting some Elvish word that made his arrows burst into flame as they left the bow. Trolls really don’t care for fire.
We were holding our own when suddenly one of the trolls grabbed F’lar, picked him up and battered Grint, Garth and Kuruk with him before before flinging him aside. Though he was groggy from being used as an impromptu club, I managed to shock F’lar back to his senses with a draconic snarl, and we pressed on.
The trolls were tough enough, but the basilisk was really annoying – it hung back and focused its lethal gaze on us through the ranks of trolls. Fortunately it proved not be a stone-eye basilisk, but its gaze caused crippling pain, somehow poisoning us from afar. After a short while of this, Silvio and I decided to return the favor, and an arrow through the eye ended the threat of the basilisk.
I guess seeing his friends being physically beaten with his other friend must have pissed Uthrag off, because suddenly he let out a roar and started literally shoving trolls back right and left. A few went down, but we got an object lesson in trollish biology when one got right back up – the bastard had healed while lying there, apparently dead. After that, Silvio and I were very careful to blast the trolls with either fire or acid even if they looked dead already.
It was a tough fight, but we managed to take down all the trolls in the cave. It was about then that we noticed the passage at the back that lead to another cave . . . and heard the sounds of more trolls coming from that direction . . .
With barely enough time to bind our wounds, we headed north to the next cave. This proved to be bisected by a shallow – and extremely odorous – river, which cut us off from the northern side. Said northern side contained several more trolls, including a pair in strange headdresses whom I guessed to be shamans, and several small (well, human-sized) trolls. There was also a massive, bull-like creature with metallic plates covering its hide. A gorgon.
The battle started, with Silvio, Solath and I hurling death and destruction across the river as the trolls advanced. As we formed a line, the gorgon charged us, exhaling some vile greenish vapors. It caught Kuruk, Solath and Garth, and I saw their skin acquire a grayish cast – oh, that was bad. To make things worse, the shaman-trolls (troll-shamans?) started chanting something incomprehensible and pointing at people, causing bloody wounds to spontaneously appear on their bodies.
Unable to close with the spellcasting trolls and hemmed in by the river, we decided on a tactical withdrawal. Solath, moving stiffly, managed to throw up a spell that clustered the trolls and kept them out of our hair while I dragged a nearly-immobile Kuruk to safety. Garth held them back until the rest of us were back through the passageway into the previous chamber.
And as we got through, Solath turned entirely to stone.