AiS 044: Bandits in the Wood

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In a flash, the quickling was gone—disappearing into cover as quickly as it had arrived. The party were ready now, however. Orithur smashed it with the arcane power of his ring of eagle’s strike and then begun animating the surrounding vegetation to trap the creature in place (or at least slow it down). Another magic missile attack by Alice grievously injured the creature and eventually it transpired it had crept away in the confusion of combat. Warg—particularly—seemed angry at this event and dearly wished to slay the beast. 

During the battle, Thangrimm had poked about the creature’s lair and recovered some treasures and at battle’s end the party regrouped in the cave. With the quickling still out there most of the party wanted to stay the night in the cave—it was at least defensible—and their arguments won around Orithur who wanted to get as far away from the place as possible. Quickly, they fortified the cave as best they could creating a makeshift barricade out of fallen logs and the like. 

The quickling wasn’t done with the party, though. During the night, it crept closer to the cave and shot at Grogor with its bow. The shot was a good one and Grogor, who had been on watch at the time, staggered back with an arrow in his shoulder. Unfortunately for the quickling, Johann had seen it and shot back; his shot got dangerously close to the nefarious creature and Alice’s arrival in the cave mouth wielding her wand of magic missiles forced the creature to flee—but not before it promised horrible revenge on the party at some unspecified date in the future.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully. In the morning, the party changed their plans and headed cross country to Don Galir. There they hoped they’d be able to get help for Warg and his “brain pains”. Again, though, their journey was not destined to be event-free. As they travelled through the forest, the party became aware of figures gathering among the trees around them. Peasants, wearing mishmash of studded leather armour and the like, had surrounded them, but their inept woodland skills had enabled the party to spot them. As the party came to a halt, a muscular half-orc carrying a gigantic axe emerged from a tree ahead of them. 

The newcomers demanded food, and in exchange they would let the party be on their way. Inevitably, a fight broke out. The party quickly bested many of the newcomers; they were ill-equipped to fight and mostly fled before the battle-hardened adventurers…all except the half-orc who stood toe—to-toe with Thangrimm and in a ferocious exchange of blows almost killed the doughty dwarf. However, by now most of his companions had fled or been cut down by the angry heroes. As the battle turned in the party’s favour a cacophony of screams from the party’s left heralded the arrival of a small group of ragged, partially starved women and children who rushed to aid their menfolk. With the newcomers’ arrival, the party realised they weren’t necessarily dealing with hardened bandits and a parley quickly ensued. When several of the party used their healing magic to revive their one-time enemies the “bandits’” mood changed somewhat and tensions rapidly dissipated.

It transpired the party’s foes weren’t proper bandits. A few weeks ago, their hamlet had been attacked by raiders and burnt to the ground. Crorg—the group’s half-orc de-facto leader—had been in the hamlet with his fellow adventurers when it was attacked. Although all his friends were slain Crorg managed to lead a small group of peasants to the relative safety of the woods. There they had been surviving—barely—and in desperation, had accosted the party in search of food. With this revelation, the party discussed what to do next…