Episode 10 : The Forest Of Hexenbosche
 

Two new people joined our group, one was Stefan, a priest of Lumina, who had been told that this group needed a healer and that he being the youngest of the order had volunteered to accompany them into certain danger and death. The other was a man named Wilhelm Schults, a rogue, who was a Lumina Temple guard and one who might be able to provide us with some assistance on our journey.

Stefan decided that he would try out these crystal dice of Shaam that everyone had been talking about. Stefan rolled the crystal dice, as the smoke cleared we saw a humanoid figure with a wide brimmed hat, a long nose and long ears, sitting on the grass before us, munching on the distinctly tattooed arm of Gunter Hiedricksson. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt goes berserk and attacks, slicing into the humanoid's face and serving an artery in his neck, he also breaks the humanoid's raised forearm. The humanoid leaps onto the wall top ten feet above. Werner Faßenberg cast leaping on Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt who immediately follows the humanoid onto the wall top. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt chops off the humanoid's leg, he falls one side, the leg the other, and they both then vanish, along with the half eaten arm. Stefan rolls again, this time revealing a forest, a path and giant insects coming out from both sides to attack, the image vanishes.

Wilhelm Schults then rolls the crystal dice of Shaam. A massive gash appears in his side, it is immediately attended to by the healer in waiting. Also there now appears a portal next to him, through which we see a pine forest. Three green cloaked figures appear in view. Hanz Josephson cries out to them, "Who are you? What forest is that?", "We are druids and this is the forest of Hexenbosche, the forest north east of the great lake.". "All right guys, grab your gear, I don't fancy having to walk there, walking back will be enough.". Wilhelm Schults snatches up the crystal dice of Shaam and notices that they are no longer clear crystal but are now cloudy and opaque. We grab our gear and enter the forest of Hexenbosche while the portal remains open. We send word to have our ship go north and wait for our return at the lake shore.

The druids tell us that they have been herb hunting and are about to return to their village and that we are welcome to accompany them there. This village lies across the direction we wish to travel but it is two days there and three days to the treehouse and they may be able to aid us in our venture. We pass down the gullies as the sun is setting and mist hangs low. Out of the mist comes a beast with tentacles of mist, each tentacle wielding a broadsword. We fight, each in his own way, Hanz Josephson with his sling, Werner Faßenberg with the Wand of Ice Bolts, the druids with their Walls of Water, and the others with their hand to hand weapons. We inflict massive magical amounts of damage to the mist beast, slaying it and finding upon the forest floor nine broadswords. We were to sustain only minor cuts and some frost damage. Our only other worry was when it took three rounds after we had slain the mist beast for Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt to come out of his berserk state. Gunther Sturmritter provided his sparring partner during these rounds. We continued on into the night and enter the druid's school and enclave in the Royal Forest a little after nightfall.

The druids school and enclave is home to 200 druids, 17 keepers of the forest or rangers, and four temples to the gods Lydian, Lydiana, Hesh, and Lumina. The druid's school is headed by Grandfather Edelrund and the rangers by the Protector and Sheriff of the forest, Simon Aridaxe. We were presented before these two men at the large central building of the enclave. Grandfather Edelrund began, "We were made aware that you would be coming here by magical means and that you would be aiding us in eliminating the threat posed by the three witches to the north.", Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt spoke up, "No, that is not correct. Our task is to verify the existence of these three witches only, not to eradicate them.".

"This is not good, we have been expecting heroes to aid us in fighting the menace from these witches. Perhaps our message for aid has not reached the capital yet.". "Can you tell us of the menace that you face here in the Royal Wood?". "The witches have already raised an army of 6000 tree warriors. These walking trees stand some 6 to 7 feet tall and can pile drive those they capture into the ground, or simply crush the breath from the bodies of those unfortunate enough to be caught and grappled. The witches are also raising the dead. Bands of undead warriors have attacked our outlying villages. They have corrupted the birds and wolves of the forest. We believe they use them to spy on those who enter a ten or so mile radius about the great treehouse.". Wilhelm Schults mutters, "Kill them all and let Lydian sort them out.". "Our druids can detect these creatures, and save some unnecessary deaths here.".

"We do know that the area about the great treehouse does not allow scrying, and this same area acts as a ten times multipliers for Furaam worshippers. Our people who have entered this woodland have all been ambushed and killed. Only one person has returned, and that was over a year ago. Six months ago we sent an emissary and contingent of our people to talk and find out what these witches want, but they never returned. We will now need to inform the King that you are not the heroes we hoped for and hope he does send someone to us.", a bird was brought forth and a message clipped to its leg. The messenger took flight and sped south.

We made it known that we still had our task to accomplish and we would be grateful of assistance. We were given a druid to accompany us on our journey. Werner Faßenberg requested a scent concealing poultice. We were each given two jars containing a cream, good for two uses, that contained the essence of pine, and would keep us hidden to the keenest nose amongst the pine forest. We set off into the woods. Our first days journey was uneventful and darkness was falling. The druid indicated that there was a safe spot a couple of hours ahead by the river. We continued on in the dark, and eventually heard the sound of the river flowing, accompanying this sound there was also the sound of battle. Across the clearing ahead we could see two men fighting for their lives against two cockroaches of a size beyond belief. Another man lies dead and a cockroach lies on its back, legs flailing ineffectually in the air.

A cockroach attacks a man and its pincers slice his arm clean off. Werner Faßenberg puts a Wall of Fire between the two. Weldon Greenears, the Pysk, cast sudden light. Hanz Josephson, Heinz Meier, and Wilhelm Schults all sling into the closest cockroach. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt swiftly closes the distance and, going berserk, hacks into the offending cockroach. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt hacks again at the beast, its shell is pierced and it stops moving as gizzards flow out from the hole. Hanz Josephson sends his sling slug backwards, our druid ducks behinds a tree. Heinz Meier's sling thumps a slug into the second cockroach. This one draws back and spits forth a glob of vicious fluid, through the wall of fire, and into the man beyond. Werner Faßenberg cast sudden light before it. Wilhelm Schults sends a second sling slug at the druid behind us. He huddles closer to the tree he is using for protection.

The cockroach turns about. Weldon Greenears, the Pysk, sends a shock bolt into the thing. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt begins to chop though the hard outer shell of this cockroach too. Wilhelm Schults pries his sword between the shells edges and into its vitals. The cockroaches pincers close about Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt's chest and crush him. His plate holds firm and does not collapse under the pressure. Again Hanz Josephson and Gunther Sturmritter send sling slugs into the beast. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt delivers another two blows to the cockroach, one with his longsword, the other with his shortsword. The second weapon snaps off inside the creature but now it only twitches on the ground.

Of the three we rescued, one is already dead, the second dies of his wounds shortly after the fight but the third tells what befell them. They were returning to the druid's enclave to report that the army of the tree warriors was growing and they estimate their number to be now in the order of 9000 creatures. We push the bodies into the river and part company with the ranger and continue some hours into the forest, this part is no longer deemed safe. We camp. High in the trees above our campsite Hanz Josephson's spies a falcon watching us perched in the darkness only a short way off. The druid confirms that this is a fell creature and should be destroyed. Stefan and Wilhelm Schults walk off into the woods to do their business. Stefan stumbles, the falcon watches him intently and hops to a lower closer tree. Wilhelm Schults takes aim with his sling and send a slug up into the branches above and we see the falcon's head explode in a mass of feathers. It's body drops to the ground below. We investigate the body and find a body of mummified headless falcon.

The morning comes and we use our skill to find some deer paths that take us deeper into the forest. Going along these paths and up hill we spot just off the path, some form of man made structure, a Caer. We investigate. The Caer has steps leading down into the earth. The steps are covered with a green slime and algae. In this slim we can make out the impression of boots and also claw marks. Many claw marks, they all lead up and out. Gunther Sturmritter indicates that these all head to the east. The great treehouse lies to our north and the druids enclave to the south east. We decide that we will go down into the Caer, the druid will remain up top.

We first of all start by rolling down some boulders that we have found. This results in the sound emanating forth from down the staircase of a chink of a blade striking these boulders. From the sound we judge that the blade that strikes these boulders must be about fifty feet from the entrance. The druid suggests a log and retrieves from the forest a dead log. This is sent down the staircase, the blade strikes and clunks to a stop. Other boulders rolled down do not bring forth the customary chink. We descend slowly down the staircase. At fifty feet we see the log, embedded halfway through is a blade, ten feet long, that descends from the ceiling to the floor. We also see the split halves of boulders here too. Hanz Josephson inspects the blade and sees that it is well oiled and sharpened. Slowly and carefully we descend to the bottom of the staircase, some 500 feet below.

 

 
(c) 1999 Hammerstein Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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