Previously, our heroes decided on a location for their base camp on the island Arrverden, where they will hunt the dragon Jotte. Now, it’s time to land and start the hunt...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
On the morning of their twenty-second day at sea, our heroes reach the northern shores of Arrverden. They see a wooden watchtower rise over the forest canopy to the north (in hex 11; check this log for the hex map), and they also spot the ruins of a fort or tower near the beach where they are about to land (in hex 10). The fort is made of black stone with shimmering green veins. Only stone quarried in Fandenhuler, the dark dimension that is home to the etter, has this distinct appearance. Aran and Sykka object to setting up base camp here: the etter are vile and evil things, and their ghosts are known to linger where they once dwelled. The rest of the group has no such objections; Wenning orders everyone to proceed as planned.
Our dragon-hunting heroes land and pull Wuraf’s Blessing onto the beach. Wenning sends Aran and Sykka to the forest to get wood for a palisade. The rest finishes beaching the ship and unloading the supplies. When they have finished, Halred, Wisse, Ena, Lorin, Wenning, and Whan decide to scout the etter ruins to see what they’re camping next to. They grab their weapons and approach the fort.
The ruins stand on a raised mound and--as far as our heroes can see--the fort has been abandoned for a long time. Large blocks of Fandenhuler stone are littered about it. Wisse decides to take a small chip of stone with him back to the ship: the stones radiate heat, which can be quite pleasant in these wintry days. Our heroes then enter the fort, and they find a large open hatch with a stairway that leads down. A stone lid of seven by seven feet lies next to it; it probably once served to seal the hatch. Halred and Wenning search for tracks, and they find that a large, snake-like thing has been slithering about here. Farther out, they find droplets of blood and a trow’s hand: it is obvious that whatever lives in these ruins hunts--and if it hunts trow, it may hunt humans, alps, and gettefolk as well. Wenning and our heroes agree that this is an immediate threat that needs to be dealt with at once.
Our heroes return to base camp and wait for Sykka and Aran the Coward to return. When Sykka and Aran come back with a large supply of timber, the group of eight dragon hunters sets out and enters the catacombs beneath the ruins. The stairway ends in a decrepit room. From the ceiling hang many cocoons, some with bones or limbs sticking out. A single corridor leads away from here. Our heroes follow it, and when they reach the end, they see something slither in the dark.
Aran the Coward shouts a battle cry and charges forward into the darkness...
This was an entertaining moment. Of all the NPCs, Aran the Coward is the greatest liability. He is a competent warrior but also a testosterone-fueled barbarian who has a strong dislike for stealth and magic and a passion for straightforward combat. So, when everyone realized their enemy was ahead of them and the gears began to grind to devise a plan, Aran the Coward just charged in.
In the beginning, the lack of light made the group reluctant to charge after Aran. However, when Wisse threw a torch into the dark, the foe was revealed: a large, worm-like serpent, fangs dripping with venom, about thirty feet long. The creature, a Fandenwyrm, had 1,240 Character Points (420 more than the PCs) with all combat skills at level 3 and a few nasty abilities, including paralyzing poison, the ability to grapple with multiple foes by coiling around them, and a segmented body that allowed it to ignore the effects of Disability Counters.
However, the players had a group of eight men, each between 800 and 1,000 Character Points strong. Four of them (Wenning, Whan, Sykka, and Halred) are well-trained archers. They simply put their backs to the wall and began firing arrows. That’s up to twelve attacks per round: the Fandenwyrm stood no chance and was dead within two rounds, even before it could use its poison or grappling ability.
When the Fandenwyrm lies slain, Wenning calls out Aran the Coward on his reckless action and advises him to have a care next time as charging forward may not always be the best plan of attack. Aran shrugs it off. The rest of the group immediately begin looting: there is a massive pile of remains here--the Fandenwyrm’s many victims--and doubtless there are some precious artifacts here. They find three items of interest: an ornate arrow; a simple silver circlet; and an obsidian skull. They take these items back to camp, where they will celebrate their first victory on Arrverden.