Episode 9 : Rumours Of Dragons And Trolls

The next day we are at the docks and find that all travel to the north is barred by order of the Head of the Maguskôl, that is all except for our ship. We are approached by four merchants who have urgent business to the north and require our services. We agree to their accompanying us for a fee. During the trip Gunter Hiedricksson cast friend on one of the merchants and having his confidence discovers that they are running contraband. The contraband substance takes the form of an illegal herb, which acts as a times two strength and endurance enhancer and can cause an addiction in humans if used more than twice in the week. These merchants have bought up most of the supply of the herb in the Kingdom of Hammerstein and are going to sell this to the trolls for gold and rubies. We have the Captain of the Ship arrest these men, they surrender without a fight and are thrown in the brig.

After four days sail we sight the northern coast of Lake Haaren, we also see limping toward us a tattered, burnt and listing fishing boat. We hove them to and board the vessel. The villages on board tell of a raid on their village yesterday morning by two groups of trolls. The first group attacked using a catapult which sent liquid fire raining down on the village and fishing vessels. The second, lead by a heavily armoured troll, attacked and butchered the village's inhabitants. We gave them fresh water and supplies and sent them on their way back to Haarendorf. We sailed on eventually coming to the village with a plume of smoke still rising from it. Brother Otto decided to roll the crystal dice, his thoughts were to something to aid in defeating the trolls, the green die turned to mist and solidified to reveal a compass. The compass pointed to the north. Gunter Hiedricksson likewise rolls the crystal dice, his thoughts are towards himself, he finds that he has had his senses sharpened so that he is acutely aware of himself. We head an hour to the east, land and approach the village on foot.

Brother Otto's compass is now pointing to the west, in fact actually to a set of bushes directly ahead of us. Heinz Meier says, "Hey, I'm sure I saw that bush quiver. Trolls maybe?". Gunter Hiedricksson waves some of the strength enhancing herb in the air, "We have the herb.". Two trolls break cover from the bush and charge us. Weldon Greenears casting of sudden light fails as does Werner Faßenberg's sleep. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt, Gunther Sturmritter, and Hanz Josephson strike or fire at the first troll, staggering it. Similarly the combination of blows delivered by Heinz Meier, and Gunter Hiedricksson on the other troll put it on the back foot. The blows rain down on the trolls quickly dropping them from consciousness. We hail our ship and return to sea with the two trolls. They are bound, chained and then questioned. One speaks a little common tongue and can tell us only they were looking for food, there are a number of troll tribes in the area, each led by a troll master, which we assume is a wartroll. We skirt the village during the night and land at the mountainous headland on the other side. The water here is deep, warm and smells of sulphur.

We step ashore and begin the climb up. As we go up Werner Faßenberg steps over a rock and almost treads in the toilet of many a troll. This leads onto a goat track spiralling up the mountainside. We ascend further. Brother Otto's compass of troll detection coming in useful in pin pointing the direction of the nearest troll. Above us, we hear the sound of a troll farting into the night. The troll stands on a ledge above us. The ledge is surrounded on three sides by an embankment and on the fourth it leads into a cave going deep into the mountain. We silently take position, Hanz Josephson and Heinz Meier sling the troll from the left side. Werner Faßenberg and Weldon Greenears, cast leaping on Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt, Gunther Sturmritter and Heinz Meier who leap from our positions below onto the top of the embankment and strike at the troll. It drops. Werner Faßenberg cast levitate on the troll and we slowly bring it back down to the ship. Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt checks the cave beyond, sees a momentary light off in the distance and smells freshly turned earth. The troll is dressed differently from our other two and also possesses a green cloak, a magical multiplier in the form of a belt buckle and some strength enhancer herb in a small pouch.

We set sail south and pick up the burnt out fishing vessel on the way. Meanwhile Gunter Hiedricksson cast friend and questions this troll. He speaks in the Arcane tongue. We find out that there is an old, wise, grey, winged Dragon, named Shaa'arek, beneath the mountain who is trapped in a cavern. The trolls are digging a tunnel wide enough for it to be released but this troll estimates that it will take them at least three moons of solid digging to make the hole wide enough. The trolls in the cavern are lead by Aruf, a troll master, and he has a dozen normal trolls with him. He has made a deal with the Dragon that when it is free it will destroy the human mages on the island. Werner Faßenberg gulps. They have also made a deal with the humans for the herb, which would allow them to dig faster, the payment was to be made with gems which were placed under a large boulder at the peak of this mountain.

Later that day Gunter Hiedricksson chose to roll the crystal dice. Again he thinks of enhancing himself, this time he falls into a sleep from which we cannot raise him. For the remainder of the trip he is reliving his whole life and now has total recall of every single day of his life, with each passing day he sees five years of his life go by. He is still asleep when we reach the Maguskôl island and are escorted to the Maguskôl, itself. We present our prisoners, our trolls and Gunter Hiedricksson is magically awoken. Yikshak Scroogestien turns to Werner Faßenberg and simply says, "Well?". Werner Faßenberg recounts all that took place. Yikshak Scroogestien listens intently but his face grows grimmer as the story progresses. Eventually Werner Faßenberg ends the tale and we take our leave.

While here we take the opportunity to use the 'proving ground', a scorched and blackened, open cut rocky amphitheatre surrounded by protective rock screens and earthen works. Here we roll the crystal dice. Gunther Sturmritter rolls thinking of armour, the vision is of the Dragon's cave, at the back of which is a pile of gold, in which there lies a golden large shield. Gunther Sturmritter rolls again, again thinking of armour, he sees the same vision but is able to see details of the Dragon, it has six legs and barbed tail. Again Gunther Sturmritter rolls, an explosion of magic takes place, Gunther Sturmritter staggers out of the cloud, his armour severely blackened and scarred. Weldon Greenears, the Pysk, with a twinkle in his eye, hands Gunther Sturmritter his armour polishing rag.

Gunter Hiedricksson rolls, again a massive blaze of electric arcing, smoke and fire. Gunter Hiedricksson lays dying on the ground. A healer flies across and administers some emergency life saving. Hanz Josephson rolls again, nothing happens, Hanz Josephson rolls again. Again there is a massive blast, he lies on the floor his chest open, his lungs shrivelled. Again the healer flies over and cast life keeping. The healer turns to the group, "That's it for today, any more death's aren't coming back!", so ends today's crystal dice rolling experiments.

In the morning Yikshak Scroogestien speaks to us before we leave for Haarendorf with the trolls, smugglers, Hanz Josephson and his accompanying nurse. "I have been made aware of events yesterday at the 'proving ground'. As most of you are not part of the Maguskôl and the fire and lightning law trails are months away, would you care to explain what took place?". Gunter Hiedricksson says, "We were experimenting with a secret weapon of ours.". "A secret weapon?", he raises an eyebrow and looks at Werner Faßenberg. Werner Faßenberg feels the focus of the parties gaze in his back and looks down. "I see.". As he turns away he gives Werner Faßenberg a scroll, "This is a letter verifying the events you have recounted to us, present it to the priest of Agastar.". He leaves, we go to the docks and set sail south, arriving in Haarendorf three days later. The crystal dice are not rolled during this time.

Our disembarkation in Haarendorf causes quite a stir. The three trolls in chains are the focus of the growing crowd. We make our way to the Temple of Agastar, doing only three laps of the Square of the Gods before the city guard moved us along for creating a disturbance. The city guard take the four smugglers away to be judged. As this is Hinrichtung, or Judgement Day, when penalties for crimes are passed out, judgement is swift. We find out later that for their crimes all four smugglers were executed by beheading.

Inside the Temple of Agastar, Hanz Josephson has his lungs restored and comes out of his coma. We present our letters and tales to the gathering of goodly priests present. They discuss battle plans, the one that looks favourable is the combination of the forces of the Maguskôl, the Arcanaskôl, an army of the King and a priestly contingent in an attack upon this Dragon. We will however have to wait to find out what is decided. We have yet to complete two more information gathering missions. To aid us, Humbrich, the High Priest of Agastar gives us three high level scrolls containing the spells Uncurse True (25th), Projection Sphere (30th), and Mind Disease Cure True (20th).

Some of us decide that we can try our luck again with the crystal dice out the back of the Temple of Agastar. We have attendant healers present. Gunther Sturmritter rolls, the vision is of the treehouse sat upon six large trees, there is a balcony about the house and looking into one room we see a table with dishes as the vision fades. Gunter Hiedricksson now rolls, there is a massive explosion, the impact crushes Gunter Hiedricksson's rib cage and we see him lying upon an flat misty plane, gasping, his life just ebbing away, the mist fades leaving nothing behind but the smell of sulphur in the air. We are stunned but there is nothing we think we can do to reach Gunter Hiedricksson or his body, now in another plane of existence.

Hanz Josephson rolls the crystal dice, there is a massive explosion, ripping off his arm. The waiting healer flies in and cures him. He immediately rolls again, and again there is a searing blast, this leaves him blind, on fire and bleeding. Again the healer comes to the rescue and fixes Hanz Josephson. Some time later Brother Otto decides to roll the crystal dice too. He does, where upon a rift opens to the Ice Plane of Hell and a large Ice Elemental comes through the portal. It is a mass of swirling light, ice and fog. Brother Otto is snap frozen and flung into the stone wall but ten feet away, were he shatters into too many pieces to count. Hanz Josephson slings the beast, Werner Faßenberg cast shock bolt, and then Gabriel Von Hendlebrodt now wielding Gunter Hiedricksson former longsword 'Berserker', goes into a berserk rage and with a whirling frenzy of multiple massive sword blows, he shatters the cohesive form of the Ice Elemental and sends what remains as twinkling ice shards upon the breeze. Werner Faßenberg stands open mouthed in disbelief looking at the red snow shaped outline of a man upon the stone wall. Gunther Sturmritter mumbles, "That 100 hurt!". We leave the Temple of Agastar and go and attend to other business we have.

The first stop is Jopbert Kordelling's Arcanaswinkel where we swap the magical braces for a magical morning star for Heinz Meier and two potions of immense healing. We pay our respects at the Temple's of the Gods we worship. Werner Faßenberg is disturbed to find that the Agastarian shield he was after for so long has been stolen. Hanz Josephson thinks that the Temple of Shaam, God of Fate, is the best place to start to find information on the crystal dice. He is greeted by a priest with a face which is coloured half white and half red. The red side faces Hanz Josephson whenever he speaks to him. "Could you tell me what these are?", says Hanz Josephson waving the crystal dice at him. "They are the dice of chaos, my son, there are but five sets and are designed to create chaos in the world, but the won't work in here. They have three colours, the green one sends you places, the blue one brings things to you, and the red one indicates the amount of pain you suffer for using the crystal dice.". "What does the worship of Shaam entail?". "The ultimate aim is to create a even state of affairs by any means necessary. Rid the effects of other Gods from the world. Sacrifice an artefact dedicated to another god in the Temple of Shaam will gain you admittance to the order.". "And what is it with the faces?". "Red to speak to outsiders, and white to speak to the true believers.". Hanz Josephson thanked the priest for his talk, and made a donation to the Temple as he left.


(c) 1998 Hammerstein Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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