Tuesday, February 2, 2016

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #24: Against the Desert Nomads

The Cast of Charcters
Zorin Redrock - Gnome Titan Fighter.  Veteran of the Barbarian Wars, and hero of Marakeikos due to the retaking of Frandor's Keep.
Janus Redrock - Gnome Titan Priest of Pangrus.  Cousin of  Zorin Gnome Titan of loose morals and  a hero of Marakeikos.
Gwendalyn Lorax  - Half Elf Druid.
Turvel Sit - Half-Elf Mage
"Whitey"  - Albino Halfling Priest of Yondalla.   Zorin's sidekick.
Coreena Ruddledater- 9 year old halfling torchbearer.
Ramsa - Mute Halfling Fighter - Gwen's Protege.

27th of SepDec 1134,  Barthey City
After taking the long way from House Indigo, they finally arrived in Barthey City, capital of the Barthey Empire.  A few days are done resupplying, relaxing, and selling magic items and the Trogs were ready to inquire with the Barthey military pertaining to the mercenary jobs that had been advertised in Marakeikos.

The recruiter was quite candid with them.  Raiders from the desert peninsula of Yarbay have travelled to pillage the eastern frontier.  Any non-Barthey citizen who agrees to work with the Empire will be paid handsomely, and Barthey will disavow any knowledge of them.    There are numerous mission goals to obtain, from discovering why Yarbay is attacking now, to the influences in Parthia, and if that doesn't work, kill everyone against the Emperor.

The Trogs are assigned to Commander Serus and are to travel to the eastern frontier, and beyond, if need be, and find out everything they can.

10th of OctDec 1134,   Eastern border of Barthey
The small towns on the eastern frontiers is a motley collections of human, orcs, and other impish looking creatures.  All pledge their allegiance to the Emperor!   Despite being welcomed during the day, the Serus' unit retreats outside of town to set up camp.

That night,  Yarbay Raiders attacked at night with accursed creatures, flying things that blotted out the moon.  They do not attack the unit,

15th of OctDec 1134,   Eastern border of Barthey
Over the next few days, the units scopes out the town.   Fewer and fewer people remain, as many disappear at twilight to head back west to Barthey.

Conflicting reports of troop movements from Barthey and General Theocrates with the main army further east. The Trogs are all made special scouts, but must still must cover guard duty for the night.
Many of the soldiers were  still up late, trying to forage for food.  There's a scream in the darkness. followed by snake like hissing and another human scream.  There was a black cloud trying to envelope a man screams, "Help, I am carrying a message!"

The CLOUD yells, "Stay back, helpless beings, this one is pledged to me!"

Somehow the Trogs defeated the darkness somehow.  The man, William, was grievously hurt,  Sand had ground away pieces of flesh at points and made tremendous sunburn.  Zorin procured a tube from him and called for medics to make a futile attempt to save the man's life.  

The rest of the night was  peaceful

William died before dawn.

16th of OctDec, Eastern border of Barthey,
The scroll in the case was from a  Barthey scout.  It made little sense and the and the map was crude, but in striking letters were the ominous words, "Oh gods guide me to this temple of Death!"

The Trogs visit Commander Serus' tent.  The Commander gave them a new mission, to find this Temple of Death in Yarbay, and handed the map back to Zorin.   A fake caravan full of Barthey operatives should be travelling north of their current location.   They are to take a boat up river to swamp to reach caravan  and the caravan should ultimately reach a portion of the army patrolling inside Yarbay.   Yarbay is ruled by tribal warlords, so once they reached the army, they should protect the Trogs on the rest of the journey.

17th of OctDec, Yarbay
Shortly after embarking on a boat to travel up river, the boat was attack by a man riding a wyvern.  Turvel managed to stun the Wyvern with magic, but throughout the course of the fight, most of the other Trogs fall into the water.  Gwen panics, frightened that she'll lose Terval like she lost Cecelia (thanks clingy flaw) .  She turned into a dolphin to attempt to rescue the others.  She managed to get a very confused Zorin up on shore.  Big  orange things show up on the shore, but Whitey is the only one who can see them (an illusion, no doubt).    Terval and Janus didn't realize the dolphin was trying to help them, and it required Gwen performing flips out of the water make them realize she was there to help.

Despite the illusion affecting him, it was Whitey who saved them from the wyvern.  The wyvern collected its wizard rider and flies off.   Gwen healed the Trogs and they set up camp along the shoreline for the night.

20th of OctDec, Yarbay.
The boat shook horribly from underneath, like it had run aground.   Three giant crabs emerged from the water and attacked!

Every eats well that night.

23rd of OctDec - Yarbay.
River began to get shallow, with reeds growing almost to the center of river.  They could see smoke rising from around the bend .  Gwen turned into a bird and scouted out the area.   One side of the river was humans with bows and horses, the other vastly more bugbears and other monsters.    Zorin decided to wait until nightfall and try to slip past them.  Surprisingly, it worked

24th of OctDec- Yarbay.  The Trogs reach a salt marsh.  They try to tie the boat up and move on.

25th of OctDec - Yarbay  The further the Trogs ventured away from the salt marsh, the hotter it was.  They had reach the edge of the Great Yarbay Desert.  

26th of OctDec - Yarbay.  They find a caravan off into the distance.  Men on horseback rode towards them.  The men spoke a language that no one could understand (Trade Parthian?  Tribal Yarbay?)  They appeared welcoming to the party, and after an impromptu game of charades, requested everyone hides their holy symbols.

One of the merchants in the caravan, Serna Lampshaw, speak Trade Prythax (aka Common) and  sells the group some dried fruit. He has not seen military around.  He is from Frasticar, which is off the map they have. 

Gwen:  "He has no fish tattoo on his arm, the he and the rest of the caravan are not nice."

27th of OctDec - Yarbay.
Sometime at dinner, everyone begins speaking Trade Prythax.  Serna introduces herself as the Commander of the secret caravan mission heading towards the army group.  They needed to stay in their roles in case the Trogs weren't Barthey operatives.

29th of OctDec - Yarbay
The Trogs receive new orders to be the advanced guard for the caravan.  They then discover signs of a large group that passed.  Numerous graves torn open by scavenging creatures.  The bodies seem to be from the Barthey army.

A big dust storm could be seen heading their way.  They raced back to inform Serna about the bodies and  dust storm, he put the Trogs in charge of the front of the caravan

Gwen checked the weather and discovered that there was no natural reason a sandstorm of that magnitude should be coming at them.

As the sandstorm closed, everyone could make out small white forms emerging from it.  Men wearing white on horseback were charging their position! 

Zorin announced "Oh shit" and order the caravan into a defensive position.

Gwen:  Ramsa was shooting at these men with an imaginary bow and arrow, much to the furor of Zorin.    Ramsa stopped and began mooning the men in white.  Zorin is a good leader.

There was a lot of expected fumbling in the sandstorm melee.  All of the white raiders were killed and only 20 of the 100 guards die.  200gps of loot is recovered off the bodies.

30th of OctDec:
Gwen: We reach an oasis.  Water is very muddy.  We are going to stay here a few days to relax.  There will be a celebration.  They kill and cook a camel!  Ahmed Kyle.  As sun sets, food is done.  They serve a very thick soup.  This is the first time we eat camel.    Nothing but fat.

Late at night, there was a horrible smell emanating from everything.  Terval saw something fly across the moon and disappear.  Soon after the smell dissipates.

31st of OctDec
That morning it appeared that somebody or someTHING stole Zorin's map.  Everyone is fighting whether we should stay or go.  The creatures appears to not be local to the legends in this part of the desert.  Most of the men (many just conscripts) were frightened.  We don't know which way to go without the map.

Gwen:  We do not know what the farting flying creature is.

Despite not knowing where to go, they all head out.

And here we begin the classic Desert Nomad (X4-X5) modules from Basic D&D. 

Next:  #25 The Tomb of Abatu... and Beyond!

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