Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"A Swamp Tale" Unleashed Campaign: Session Two

Session Recap by: Alex Meeres

Tonight, while Major Doncastle removed the necessary ingredients for turtlecock bisque-- a healthy and virility-increasing delicacy among his people-- Bendek and Grissok saw a posse of gatormen swimming up, perhaps enticed by the fresh blood in the shallow waters. Their crude poleaxes glistened with the poison that the Bloodrot tribe commonly used to weaken their foes.

Chieftain Swampbreath coordinated the group's plan of defense, and bolstered our spirits with a heroic ballad. Grissok, Bendek, and Joruk formed a defensive line with Tor the troll at the end. Hoping for a repeat of his recent victory, Grissok's sorcery shook the soft earth and dropped two gatormen to the ground, however the fall of his mighty pickaxe connected only with a wriggling tail. With Major Domcastle firing from afar, a deadly battle ensued. A gatorman charged at Grissok, slashing him with its poleaxe and biting through the trollkin's leather armor to sink in its filthy teeth. The other savages stood up and attempted the same, and the albino found himself reeling from the onslaught. Soon, the combined might of his new friends ended the immediate gatorman threat, although disease from the wounds carried with it the toll of fever and chills. The Major added gatorman hides to his list of trophies (and Tor added to the contents of his insatiable stomach) and the squad pressed on, hoping to reach the highway before nightfall.

Upon reaching the Twelve Day Road, the party discovered a group of massacred trollkin and an overturned wagon. The chief noted that the quitari of the fallen belonged to one of the kriels of the Gnarls-these were no locals. Still, all children of Dhunia deserve funerary rights, so the chief ordered the construction of a makeshift pyre from the remains of the wagon.

Seeing a plume of smoke in the distance, the Major intended to scout on ahead, and Chief Swampbreath gave him thirty minutes to do so before the pyre was lit. In the meantime, Grissok used his sorcery to rip boulders from the earth, upon which he carved a meager epitaph for the slain trollkin. Up the road, the former Cygnaran military man met some of his countrymen-- leigemen of Duke Dergeral, Lord Mayor of Ceryl. The two groups made camp together, and attempted to negotiate an uncertain alliance against the gatormen of the swamps. The next day, the groups went their separate ways.

Once progress had been made into Demonshead Pass, the eerie sound of distant bells was drowned out by the boisterous songs of Chief Swampbreath. Grissok explained that the bells were used by bandits and raiders in the pass to cover the sounds of their approach, information imparted to him by a trollkin highwayman acquaintance named Jostun Moorcleave. With some mind to search for the former krielmate, Grissok and the party instead encountered a woman of noble bearing and Llaelese accent, hurrying through with her two mounted guards. She declined an offer of armed escort, noting that she had coin enough to pay any bandits in the pass. Grissok had a mind to make that coin his own, but calmer hearts prevailed and the woman and her guards continued on their way. No one seemed to be bothered much by the blue-skinned sniper perched high up the canyon, least of all the Major, who nonchalantly aimed his own scoped-rifle back in its direction. The watcher in the hills did not respond to Chief Swampbreath's loud signal call, so the group continued on.

The small hamlet of Haltmoor, the last before the base of the Wyrmwall mountains, had little to trade but the Major was able to unload his gator hides and Bendek acquired more rounds for his hand cannon. Tor feasted upon the leavings from the local butcher. The Major and Grissok confirmed that the path to Raakmor kriel would be reached soon if they marched quickly. The party pressed onwards, traveling through the mountain pass.

When the group reached he shores of Haltshire Lake and followed the path up to the ruins of the defeated trollkin village, they disovered that Raakmor's Krielstone was still intact, although partially dislodged from its place and some kind of nest lay around it. Before more investigation could be done, bestial howling was heard from the direction of the lake. Chief Swampbreath lit his fell caller torch, and ordered the group to hurry to the water's edge. There, they saw a tremendous dire troll, a thing out of legend, locked in combat with a pair of horrendous multi-tentacled swamp horrors. Grissok's resolve was tested, remembering how scores of bog trogs led five or more of these fiends to drag his champion brethren thrashing into the waters of Haltshire. No amount of earth-shaking sorcery could stay the disgusting creatures' advance, nor curb their ravenous feasting.

"Today, you will learn that history does not always repeat itself," said Bendek, reassuringly. "Today, we will have victory!"

The trollkin charged the rocky beach, and helped the ensnared dire troll to free itself from the swamp horrors' grasp. Knowing the beast could prove an even deadlier foe, Joruk showed the troll his impressive size, and mimicked the troll's imposing stance. The towering brute must have decided (at least for now) that they were not food, and with a display of utter disinterest, claimed the corpse of one of the felled swamp horrors as a snack and went tromping up the hill towards the destroyed Raakmor village.

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