The characters were asked to make a forray to a nearby Fortress that may be behind some of the difficulties in the area. Unfortunately some of the team had to lag behind – perhaps they wanted to make sure Watcher didn’t get too far behind… [DM Note: Due to poor weather, last minute family issues, and holiday chaos we had 3 of the 6 players show up (Xana the ranger, Glark the Barbarian, and Marie the Wizard) so with a little Dues Ex we managed…]
The party traveled accross the Giant’s Plans, from the south end of the Giant’s Run Mountains to the foothils about 2/3 the way up the Troll Mountains. The trip through the plains was uneventful.
Once they reached the path that lead along the side of the Troll Mountains (a path that was becoming a more important trade route…) they came upon a pair of broken down wagons and a small band of scruffy looking men. The men claimed to have broken down and were trying to make repairs. Glark (the Barbarian) wandered over to help put a wheel back on one of the carts. When he got to the rear of the cart he noticed a chest that was broken open and shiny metal (gold, silver). There did not seem to be much else in any of the carts. Much to Glark’s suprise the chest turned out to be a Mimic and he was quickly stuck fast to the beast and being crushed. The other men rushed the two females but arrows cut them down as they advanced. However, this took a while and Glark was begining to feel a little unhealthy. With a little help he broke free. The Mimic, once disengaged from Glark was quickly dispatched.
The party continued on their way, eventually spending the night in a well sheltered grove of trees. The next day was nice – comfortably warm and fairly clear. Another troubled wagon was encountered – this time a beat up wagon with wounded and tired men and horses. The party was significantlly more cautious and the men in the wagon were very suspicious. After initial careful conversation the party found that these men had run into a “toll booth” a few hours farther on. They had been robbed and barely escaped.
The party used the information gathered from the men and attacked the toll booth from the side. It consisted of a felled tree with eight gnolls and a pair of clerics (Cyric) used the tree as cover. Attacking from the flank was effective and a carefully placed entagle spell made the battle a one-sided affair. A single cleric was captured and questioned. He gave up some basic information about the tolls they collected and how often people came to relieve them. Additionally he gave up the names of two important figures in the fotress; Ranmodren the head of the operation, and Ashford the Vile, second in command.
In the final stage of the journey the party finally made it to the fortress and the town of Crag below. Being that it was fairly late at night and the party was short on spells the choice was obvious – march right into the cemetary!!! Yup, no cleric, night…all they needed was a few co-eds and they had a slasher movie! Not surprisingly a number of undead crawled out of the ground (a couple zombies and a bunch of skeletons) all around them and attacked. With some bad luck by the party they were quickly in serious trouble and beat a hasty retreat. As they sat outside the graveyard and watched (the undead seemed to stay in the area of the graveyard) a tall robed humanoid came out of a building on the edge of the area and forced the undead away.