Great-grandchild of the sister's gibbon's friend of the nephew of the Campaign that Would Not Die, now in 3.25e
Møøse Trained By: Hugh Foster

The Ruins on the Hill

DM Note: Only Ric, Allan and Arthur tonight, so bijou and dangerous, even for the attentive....

Ruins of Morvramorn, 9th September 2100, 11am

After another day crossing the now-dry ground, the road led them into a belt of thick woodland, which began to slope upward towards a hill ahead. The next day, they reached the edge of it, guided skillfully by Viggo to cover where the trees ended. Ahead, the woods dwindled to a band of recently-cut stumps. Beyond that, the ground rose to a low hill. 80’ or so from the edge of the forest was the edge of a set of very ancient ruins, crowning the hill. Trees dotted the ruins, and the wreckage of a gatehouse was nearby on their side, with the ancient Tellaran road fading into the grass a few yards out from the walls. Near the middle of the hill, a flight of worn stairs descended beneath the surface, presumably to the old cellars.


Crouched in cover, the party eyed the ruins, noticing immediately a furry humanoid huddled moodily on the heap of rubble which was all that remained of the eastern gatehouse tower. After a moment, they recognized it as a gnoll. Herb nudged the others and pointed; he'd spotted another one, lurking in the badly-holed but still standing western tower.


Carefully, Baylock and Talian worked their way along the edge of the trees to the west to get a better view. As they did so, they noticed a third gnoll who appeared to be lurking on the descending stairs. Following them, Herb stood on a stick with a crack and there was a tense moment as one gnoll attempted to convince the other that he had heard something. They moved down the hill a bit to take a look. After a while, they seemed to lose interest, but stayed where they were.

Slowly and carefully, Baylock worked his way around to directly behind the stairs, while Talian took cover in a crumbling corner of wall; Herb and Viggo stayed where they were. Choosing his moment, he slashed at the gnoll's neck from behind and down it went on the steps.


At the same time, Talian, Herb and Viggo rose from cover and sent arrows zipping up the hill at the two gnolls on guard. One of the gnolls staggered, and both shot arrows before turning to run back to the tower. Viggo shot the one they'd seen first as it scrambled back up his pile of rubble and it fell.

DM Note: The usually hapless Arthur played a blinder here; noticed the trap, managed not to fall in, shot his foe through significant cover. Then declared he was chasing the last gnoll, which was directly the other side of the trap. Herb has the Flaw Inattentive, and everyone was warned... he got a Spot roll to realize, fluffed that, and walked straight into the trap after all!

Baylock heard a noise and turned; a fourth gnoll, presumably on guard on the other side of the hill, was running up the slope towards him. Dropping his sword, he swung his bow off his back and shot at it, managing only to put a rather fetching scar on its' cheek. Dropping the bow in turn, he scooped the sword back up and stood ready. The gnoll sprinted up, jabbed with its spear and looked shocked as the weapon was turned by some kind of invisible shield, and was run through.

Herb advanced to keep within range of his smaller bow, and stopped dead as the ground suddenly gave way right at his feet. A pice of tatty cloth had been laid over a pit and covered in soil and leaves, and he teetered on the edge, lined up his shot, drew and shot the gnoll lurking in the tower through the ragged gap in the stonework it had believed sufficient cover. It gave a cry and backed out of sight, but into Talian's line of fire. The elf wounded it again, following up with a stream of taunts. The gnoll's courage failed and it fled out of the back of the tower. Herb started after it, but in his eagerness forgot the pit. He stepped straight into it and disappeared from view with a painful thump.

Trying not to laugh, Talian sprinted forward to get a good line and drilled the last gnoll as it fled. Herb climbed ruefully out of the trap, bruised but game.

After checking their foes were dead and relieving them of a few coins, the group cautiously descended the stairs. They went down a good fifty feet, after which light became visible below bottom and snarling, yipping gnoll voices could be heard along with the ominous metallic scraping of a blade being sharpened.

Gnolls removed for clarity

Cautiously, they moved forward. Ahead, they could see some of a large room and some gnolls, two playing dice and one sharpening a spear. Talian, leading, tiptoed forwards, eyes peeled but was taken by surprise by a soft click and a couple of bronze darts whipped across in front of his eyes and smacked into the opposite wall.

He lifted his bow and dropped the first gnoll with one shot; Baylock wasn't so lucky and missed as he and the others ran in. Viggo tackled the sharpening gnoll to the right while Baylock charged at the suddenly-unopposed dice player, levelling his blade at its' throat. It glanced down at the dicecup and die in its paws, back up at the long, darkened sword and lifted its paws in surrender.

Viggo, greataxe flailing, was struggling with his gnoll, but Talian put another shaft into it from behind and it went down. Then he glanced at Baylock and his prisoner. "Kill it," he said flatly, "they're enemies of the elves." Baylock didn't comment on that - after all, these days, some elves were everyone's enemies - but gestured at the gnoll, then up the exits. "How many more?" he snapped. The creature whined, "er, er, about a score." Baylock considered. "What's down these?" he said pointing at the passages. The gnoll gestured with its dice; to the east "Spooks - we no go that way," west "the jail, naughty gnolls and prisoners, dinner," the left passage to the north "guard room" and the right "sleeping room". Baylock shifted his grip. "Did you find anything when you moved in here?" The gnoll considered. "Grimwood did." "Grimwood?" "Yeah," said the gnoll, "big boss, Grimwood." Baylock stopped to consider and, concluding he'd finished questioning the gnoll, Talian drove his sword into the back of its neck, dropping it immediately.

By the looks of it, this had been the tower’s wine cellar, and two disintegrating barrels (technically, tuns) rested on trestles at the back wall. The ends were gone, and they appeared to be used as food storage; several chunks of horribly obscure meat were stacked in each. Between them was a new but crude rack, holding four shortspears.  Either side of the barrels were two cooking fires, banked to a low level, surrounded by worryingly humanlike bones.

Odd heaps of rubble dotted the floor where the ceiling had started to cave in, and rough, freshly-cut wooden props had been put in. Some bedrolls and gear were stacked in a corner, showing signs of having been used on a recent journey.  Three sacks were heaped the other side of the door.

Half-Plate, modelled by some dude who's not there

A search of the bedrolls and packs turned up some gold stashed wrapped in a washleather bag, and a coarse burlap sack containing some armour. Baylock examined it; it had once been a suit of full plate, around his size – however, enough pieces were missing that it could at best be called half-plate, as well as all the straps. Repaired, it could be sellable. The sacks contained fresh, good wheat grain – nothing spectacular but all grain had to be imported into Tzallis and this commanded at least double normal price – these could fetch 5gp or so each if sold right. They weighed 7lb each. All this was stacked for retreieval on the way out.

Selecting the right-hand corridor, the party headed down it, listening carefully. Once more, their stealth was insufficient and the sound of running paws echoed from ahead. Glancing at each other, they agreed that the room was a better place to prepare to meet the attack, and they backed hurriedly down the corridor and took up positions.

Moments later, five gnolls came hurrying down the passage, the front two hefing spears and the back pair with drawn bows. As they came level with the stairs, Herb and Viggo sprang to meet them. Herb's ancient sword smashed the leading gnoll to the ground, and Viggo engaged the one next to him, backing slightly into the staircase to avoid being shot at.

As the gnolls advanced into the room, Baylock came scrambling over the top of the barrel, ignoring the tortured creaking of the centuries-old wood, and dropped into the midst of the bowmen at the back, sword flashing, as Herb stepped forward over the remains of his foe and engaged the other bowman from the rear. Shocked by the sudden arrival of the black-clad demonkin, Baylock's gnoll broke and tried to flee, dying in its tracks as he struck at it.


Seeing Viggo in difficulties, Talian ditched his bow and sprinted across the room to shank the gnoll in the back, but as it jinked desperately to avoid the ranger's huge axe he struck wide. With it surrounded, they co-ordinated their strikes, and the gnoll was brought down a moment later.

DM Note: Arthur does it again; a critical with the first strike, a Cleave and a kill with the second. He should have played Fighters earlier!

The last one, surrounded, flailed desperately as Talian turned at a sound to see three more emerging from the left-hand passage to take the party in the rear. He was just wishing he'd not dropped his bow on the far side of the room when Herb - who was becoming fond of the headlong assault - charged past him into the midst of them. Despite being wounded, he lashed a right-and-left that took two of the three down in one movement.

The last one spun and fled, disappearing up the corridor. They heard its paws and barking cries recede into the distance.

Session Date: 1st September 2020; in Cyberspace!