ENCOUNTER ONE FOR WHISPERS OF THE LICH KING – a SOBH Campaign
You are on the road to the Mill Bridge outside Wolford when another band of adventurers emerges from the woods. You recognize them by reputation (decent, reliable, competent) and quickly realize you are heading to the same destination: Aylard’s homestead in the Oak Hills.
It seems the old seer approached both parties a fortnight ago with an offer of work. You recall he appeared deeply troubled but declined to discuss specifics, saying he would provide you with an explanation if and when you accepted. (Seers are notoriously enigmatic) Apparently, the promise of decent pay and hints at the treasure were an offer you all found hard to refuse.
Half a mile on, you spy a column of black smoke rising over the trees. A quarter mile, you smell it. You exchange glances, ready weapons without a word, and advance cautiously up the dirt road to the Seer’s farm.
A hundred paces off, you see the houses and barn are ablaze. The sound of fighting behind the main house rises over the crackling of the fire – the clash of steel on steel, shouting, the yip and snarl of Gnolls.
What started as a good day has obviously soured. Just how rancid it has turned remains to be seen.
- The Free Company and the Winnow of St. Cuthbert Approach the Farm
2. Gnoll Raiders
TURN ONE saw both forces advance. Barda the War Priest rushed headlong in his zeal to attack the Gnolls near the barn, leaving his companions behind. Meanwhile, Derick of Dunswich, Norbert the Novice, and Leofrick Night Hunter work their way up the road toward the three raiders.
The Gnolls are unafraid. The pack rushes forward, slavering for blood.
TURN TWO. Althalos and Piotr watch as the Gnoll Warrior smashes Barda with his morning star. The War Priest goes down hard, un-moving. A triumphant howl rises from the woods. The Gnoll Shaman giggles mockingly.
At the road, St. Cuthbert’s faithful are trading blows with the raiders.
TURN THREE. The over-zealous War Priest dispatched, the Warrior and Shaman lope toward the skirmish at the road. Leofrick swiftly cuts down his opponent, then rushes to help his brothers.
Piotr and Althalos finally move forward, Piotr running to aid Derick. Unfortunately, the fighter ran straight into the jagged edge of a Gnoll’s axe. He goes down like a sack of wet laundry.
TURN FOUR sees Norbert join the fray at his mentor’s side. Encouraged, Derick goes on the offensive and slays the raider archer that had harried his every step. A Gruesome Kill! The other raider turns to flee, but Althalos leaps over Piotr’s body swinging his staff. Another kill!
Tables turned, half their force dead, the Shaman and the Warrior turn tail (literally) and flee. The Seer’s farm is safe.
Or is it?
Althalos, Derick, Norbert, and Leofrick advance cautiously.
Forced out by the flames, a giant spider leaps out of the burning barn and menaces Derick. “Really?” he sighs. “I thought we were done here.”
The battle won, the adventurers search the area.
You find Aylard’s body in the yard behind the house. His staff beside him, a finely crafted short sword in his cold, gnarled fist, he is surrounded by five dead Gnoll warriors. The old seer died hard. Searching his bloodied robes, you discover a scroll and an old iron key. Your name is imprinted on the wax seal. The key has the woven knot of St. Cuthbert engraved on the bow.
Breaking the scroll’s seal and reading, you come to understand it is an account of Aylard’s last vision: a nightmare cloud of ravens circling the skies over strange, jagged mountains, the full moon tinged the pallor of poison green, a gaunt, cruel face under a rusty crown, a legion of undead ravaging the land, slaughtering every living creature. The scroll ends with mentions of recent sightings of the newly deceased roaming near the ruins of St. Cuthbert’s Abbey. The site is two days journey west of Wolford on the old King’s Highway. The last line on the scroll trails off: “Kneel in the chancel at the feet of the saint and there you will find strength for your journey.”
It seems your adventure will continue.