The beaten and bruised party made the trek back to Elbat Dnuor that night, finding the city in an uproar. Soldiers and guardsmen rushed through the streets in an almost panic, and soon a courier found the leaders and brought them to General Davik Azazeal. The general reported that survivors from the farm had made their way back to the city a mere hour before the PC’s, alerting the council to the danger that the trolls presented, and Davik was busy rallying the troops to sally forth and face the foe. He was of course overjoyed to see the return of the kingdom’s rulers, and saddened to hear of the loss of Noruas the Gunslinger.
Though Gavriil the Arcanist made sure to inform Davik that the trolls had been beaten, he nonetheless insisted upon sending out the Seventh Lodovkan Platoon upon the morning to the battlefield, to ensure the defeat of the monsters. Not giving an argument, the PC’s slept through the rest of the night. Upon the morning, they informed their council of the short trip they’d be making to Restov to get Noruas Raised, and then left, arriving in the early morning of the fourth day of travel. Several thousand gold later (approximately the cost of just about everything they’d looted from the Ruined Keep of the Dancing Lady), their Gunslinger stood again before them, immediately brandishing her rifle in a bout of brief confusion!
The trip back to the capital was uneventful, and once the group had returned they had some work to get done. General Azazael reported that his army was still stationed at the Fangberry Farm, but that they had sent out scouts to track down the trolls and find where they came from. The scouts had yet to report back, but they estimated that it would not take long before they had more information. With this in mind, the group decided to set about a week’s worth of downtime activities– Gavriil crafted a Wand of Cat’s Grace, Noruas began making her Mithril armor from the metal smelted down out of her looted statue, Eneko the Bard/Cavalier retrained some more of his abilities, and Elysia the Ranger decided to visit the guildhall of the White Wolves, discussing with them the possibilities of organizing their members into a defensive force for the city.
At the end of this time, General Azazael called the kingdom’s council back into session to discuss matters of state. First on the roster was a diplomatic envoy sent from Varnhold to their east– Caspar Morgarion, Grand Diplomat for Maegar Varn. Caspar was sent by Varn in order to help establish proper borders between the two nations– Varnhold had seen Tolemac’s rapid expansion in their direction, and were somewhat concerned as to the PC’s intentions. Fortunately there was no issue in working out an agreement between the two nations; each left the meeting happy with a border set along the Tors de Levienes mountains and Lake Silverstep. Next on the table to discuss: The scouts had come back!
General Azazael gave the scouts report to the council: The trolls were tracked to the south back to their lair, what looked to be some kind of fortress in the side of a cliff. Unfortunately the scouts were unable to investigate the fortress, due to the armies of trolls and lizardfolk camped outside. The scouts stayed long enough to observe two of these armies mobilize in a general northern direction, possibly back towards Tolemac, moving at a slow pace. The General informed the council that there were approximately four days before they believed the armies of trolls would reach their borders, though where exactly they were headed was not yet determined.
After much discussion, the council came up with a plan: General Azazael would lead the Seventh Lodovkan Platoon along with a group of White Wolves, commanded by Swordlady Jamandi Aldori, out into Tatzlford to set up a defensive location, at which point they would send out scouts to warn of the approach of any trolls. Eneko, Noruas, Elysia, and Gavriil would themselves travel just outside of their kingdom borders to the south-west, posting themselves and an army of undead which they controlled through Necromancy– a large number of castings of Lesser Animate Dead for three days straight, coupled with Command Undead to gather those remaining zombies from the hilltop around the Stag Lord’s Fort gave the group a decent force of undead to bear, and when augmented by the PC’s themselves I tweaked some rules to let them act as a single army. The PC’s sent out scouts as well, and thus both groups were alerted when the trolls were within sight.
For the army stationed in Tatzlford, they happened to be in just the right place, as the trolls were headed for the town. The undead commanded by the players were forced to relocate on the fly however, as they spotted their foes on the other side of the Tuskwater lake! Fortunate smiled upon them as they were able to move into position before the trolls reached their kingdom, and the armies engaged in battle. It was over quickly, the undead tearing the trolls apart with no casualties on their own side, Gavriil’s spells helping to burn the trolls to ash before they could regenerate. On the other side of the kingdom Jamandi Aldori and Davik Azazael led their armies into combat against the second troll army, and had just as much success– the Seventh Lodovkan Platoon suffered minor losses, but the White Wolves cut through the ranks of monsters with ease, and these trolls too were burned to ash with the alchemist’s fire that the kingdom had outfitted their soldiers with.
The immediate threat contained, the armies regrouped in the capital and decided to press their advantage– south, towards the troll lair! They paused only long enough to gather reinforcements in the way of warriors sent from the Sootscale Kobolds, led by Chief Sootscale himself, before marching south and preparing for the decimation of Hargulka’s armies.
Players, do not read!
Not a bad session– the story moved along nicely, and I was happy to get a chance to throw in some communication with Varnhold along the way; I’d like to have them establish some kind of relationship with the neighboring kingdom before they disappear and have to be investigated. The mass combats….I could take them or leave them at this point. Especially when it is one army on another army, both small like these, I feel too much is left up to chance and die rolls; one of the armies was able to decimate the trolls they faced utterly while in the ranged phase, taking them out in a single roll. I can only imagine that this problem is mitigated with different opening strategy choices (taking defensive tactics to give a bonus to the army’s AC and a penalty to their offensive rolls) and larger HP.
We’ll see next session how battles between several army units will fare– the PC’s now have the Lodovkan Platoon, the White Wolves, the Sootscale Kobolds, and their own undead unit labeled the Trollsmashers to bring to bear upon Hargulka, who will have some combination of armies that adds up to 150 trolls, as well as a unit of Lizardfolk (Gavriil’s player mentioned briefly that once they finished off the trolls they’d catch the Lizardfolk tribe on their way back to the capital). It’ll turn out different I’m sure– and the fact that the PC’s have so many kingdom leaders in command of their armies makes it all the more deadly to have a unit disbanded with the possibility of killed or captured leaders. At the very least if the worst occurs I can always rest easy in knowing that they were warned– they were able to capture one of the troll commanders in battle and pump him for information, so they should realize the possibility is there for the enemy to do the same.
Not much longer for book two I imagine– possibly three to four sessions to bring it to a close. And then we will be on our way to The Varnhold Vanishing!