23rd Quintilis (contd.)
The three lights bobbing about in the dusk are indeed will-o’-the-wisps and they attack as soon as the PCs approach along the path through the bogs. Annoyingly, they wink out after attacking and prove difficult to pinpoint. As the party separate to tackle them, three chuuls appear from out of the waters of the swamp. Ulthar slays two of the lobster-like monsters with his trusty frost brand axe and the PCs get to witness Juma Ji’ad’s brand new wind manifestation as he flies over the battlefield. With all the chuuls dead, the two surviving wisps flee into the gloom.
There is some discussion about carrying on to the Trollhaunt Warrens in the dark but Bax points out this might be a bit dangerous, with a high chance of blundering into quicksand or something worse. The party decide to camp for the night after Hrothgar finds a safe, solid piece of ground. There is a disturbance when Sora is on watch and hears a splash but whatever caused it has vanished by the time she goes to investigate with Bax and Gil.
The PCs arrive at an ancient road with a standing stone, having used the map of unseen lands to guide their way. Gil casts a Comprehend Languages ritual (now that he has found his lost ritual book again) and translates the inscription which dates back to King Vard of Vardar.
Beyond lies the entrance to the Great Warren. Hrothgar’s attempt at a stealthy approach is compromised by the not-so-quiet Juma who follows after him, tripping over his own feet and cursing. As the gnoll nears the gate to the cave, he is hailed by the trolls inside who tell him and Juma to go away. Hrothgar shouts back that the PCs are here to give King Skalmad some vital information about Moonstair but those inside don’t believe him and refuse to open the gate. The other party members approach and make several attempts to break down the doors after diplomacy fails. Eventually Juma unscrews the hinges and the gate collapses when Sora shoves it. Meanwhile Hrothgar has quietly entered the complex via the stream.
Inside are three trolls and three Marrowmaw troglodytes who attack the PCs. Gil’s fire magic is once again very effective against the troll’s and even Juma’s dwarf wall of fire plays a vital role in stopping the giant humanoids from regenerating. When the trolls are killed, two of the trogs make a run for it; the third is flanked by Juma and Bax and can’t escape. Sora (flying), Hrothgar and Ulthar give chase, taking one of the reptilian humanoids down on the other side of the log bridge across the stream, but the second runs further into the complex. The PCs continue their pursuit, charging into the living chambers of the Marrowmaw tribe where three maulers and the shaman Kasszt join the battle. The fight is a tense one in the narrow corridors of the warrens, with Sora saving Juma from the poison rays of Kasszt and Hrothgar finally finishing off the shaman by cleaving his skull in twain. The PCs are victorious but decide to withdraw back to the entrance for a short rest.