Borderland of Adventure #33: Survivors

At the end of last session, we left our heroes yet trapped in the bowels of Xul-Jarak. They had climbed through several levels and had dispatched many orcs. However, at this point, they suddenly decided to turn around, retreat back deeper into the dungeon and try to find a place to rest overnight.



Without incident, they retreated to the lowest level (after ascertaining that no safe locales existed on the upper levels) and set about searching for a secure place to hide. Oreal went ahead scouting out a stream that led away from the pool into which the waterfall fell. The stream meandered for about 40 ft. before ending in a pool that dominated a large natural cavern. It looked safe, so he returned and led his companions into the cave.

Sadly, the cave was anything but safe. As the party entered, a green dragon-like creature (later identified as a forest drake) emerged from a hitherto unseen side passageway. It spat acid at the party (injuring most of the heroes and almost outright slaying Hemgor’s warrior-companions). It roared in anger and bloodlust as the party charged. The beast moved with preternatural quickness and attacked several times, but itself was badly wounded by Hemgor’s expertly thrust spear.

The party’s superior numbers began to tell, but sadly moments before Argens slew the beast, two more smaller forest drakes burst into the cavern from a cave to the north. Both beasts spat several times and within minutes Argens, Kalman and Kara were all slain. The survivors managed to kill one of the young, but when it seemed hopeless the three survivors – Oreal, Hermgor and Eliant – fled. Oreal and Hemgor fled in one direction while Eliant (chased by the remaining forest drake) retreated into the stream. Eliant managed to shake off his pursuer and as he lurked on the stair leading to the upper levels he was joined by Oreal and Hemgor who emerged from another passageway.

Realising that it was hopeless to attempt to rest, the three survivors once again ascended the stairs. They quickly passed through three levels before encountering three orcs guarding a chamber with two stairways leading upwards. With no option but to fight, they attacked. Eliant slew one orc, but was himself knocked to the ground by one of its companions. Oreal slew two orcs with his last two arrows and finally Hemgor slew a third. The last orc retreated up the stairs shouting for reinforcements.

With nothing they could do for Eliant, Hemgor stabbed the unfortunate cleric through the heart so that he could not be used in the Bloodspear ritual. Choosing the stairway up which the orc hadn’t retreated they rushed on, but were stopped by a blank wall. Retracing their steps, they cautiously pushed upwards and before they knew it found themselves above ground in Xul-Jarak. They could hear shouting far away and so they quickly explored their surroundings. Discovering the throne room was abandoned and that the wyvern was not in the courtyard they rushed to the breach in the walls – amazingly not being noticed by the orc sentries and quickly made it into the forest.

However, they were now alone in the wood six days away from civilisation and they had no food. Resting overnight, they decided to set off for Glister. Because they hunted as they travelled they made slow progress but on day three fortuitously encountered Haravak, the half-orc ranger the original party had encountered on the way to Xul-Jarak. He offered the two some of his food and shared his other supplies – particularly to Oreal’s delight a score of arrows.

With Haravak helping them, travel through the woods became much easier and his food supplies sped up their travel considerably. However, the signs of orcs were everywhere in the wood and as they neared the forest’s boundary they encountered a small orc patrol. The orcs were slain, but Haravk was badly hurt.

Luckily, this was the last danger they faced as they next day they stumbled from the woods and made for Glister…

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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