The Moktar Hill
Chapter i : A Tale of two guards
After Saren’s close call last session, the team decided it was time to recuperate and re-supply. Another mule was purchased (named Bobby) and Valerius decided he needed a riding horse, so Magnus the steed was also procured. Potions found in a previous session were, mostly, identified, and a generous supply of healing slaves were obtained. The party noticed that the price had gone up since last time, with the herbalist meekly informing them that the new Obamacare law was to blame.
As the group debated the merits of returning to the ruins of Zenopus, the door to the Five Fine Fish Tavern was flung open, two obviously winded and bloodied men staggered through the entrance. After they were tended to by the serving wench, they noticed the team was in full adventuring gear, and approached their table. They told their tale, being caravan guards, of the Moktar ambush, and of the 200 pound chest they saw loaded that just “had to be full of gold!”. The party decided that splitting some “easily acquired” gold was preferable to another foray under the ruins, so they agreed to help the two guards, named Trammis and Datha.
An hour’s march from Caladan took our heroes to the scene of the caravan ambush. Wagons were ablaze, the corpses of men and horses were strewn about, and even the merechant’s wife and young daughter were among the fallen. The merchant himself, and one guard were missing, according to Trammis and Datha. The Moktar war-band’s trail was easy to discern, as something very heavy was being dragged along.
“Not very bright, these Moktar.”, exclaimed Valerius.
“They fear nothing, so covering their tracks is not even thought of,”, replied Datha, “But I’ve never seen them venture this close to Caladan before.”
“They’re about to learn what fear is.”, chimed in Indel.
The trail led to a rocky hill alone on the plains. Approaching cautiously, a square entrance was seen on one side. A quick recon around the promontory showed no other visible entry. It was decided that Trammis and Datha would stay with the bearers as guards, while our heroes enetered the den of the Moktars.
Chapter ii : wolves and pits
Approaching the entrance, it was noted that is appeared to be a perfect 10′ × 10′ square, with rusted hinges on each side that once held mighty doors. There was no trace of hem now, and Indel confirmed there was no traps set to alert anyone if someone entered.
Indel scouted ahead, and noted that the floors, walls, and ceiling of the tunnel were made of some kind of metal, but no one could readily identify what kind. The passage reached a “T”. Indel looked north, and saw that the way became an apparently empty room. Turning south, Indel’s gaze was met by a smiling moktar, with two chains in it’s hands attached to rather large and vicious-looking wolves. Meranwhile, the rest of the team, including Valerius astride his horse, saw Indel’s hand sign for “enemy” and decided that a charging in would take the enemy by surprise.
Indel, Valerius, and his horse Magnus lead the charge, and all three fell into the pit that opened underneath them as they entered the hallway. Luckily Valerius and Indel avoided taking extra damage, as Magnus landed on the pit floor and not on one of them. As the pit lid reset itself, the moktar pulled a lever on the wll by him, and a loud “thunk” was heard from the pit. He then released the two wolves, and the entire situation seemed to unnerve the players.
Saren took the potion of growth, doubling to twice her size, but shredding her clothing and chain mail armor in the process. Winning initiative, she grabbed at both wolves, scoring both hits. She then proceeded to smash the two wolves together, causing both to expire from crushed skulls as bits of gore and blood spattere over Saren’s naked body. DM’sNote: Saren used her d30 roll to get the second grab with her off hand at -4, and the party agreed to use their d60 roll for crushing damage to the wolves. It made for an exciting encounter!
The moktar was handily cut down by Relric and Unloc the men-at-arms (proving their worth once more!), and then the pit leverf was released, allowing Saren to easily pull her trapped compatriots from the pit, including Magnus. Searching the room provided nothing of value, so to the north it was. Saren grabbed what was left of the two deceased wolves and led the way.
Chapter iii : shock and awe
Entering the north room, the four moktar who are waiting to ambush the party are overwhelmed by the sight of a naked giantess weilding two wolf carcasses as makeshift weapons, ans they immediately fail their morale check. While the party was tying them up, it was noticed they were losing large tufts of fur and had putrid sores where their coat had fallen off.
Valerius decided to use the potion of ESP to “scout” ahead, though the cat-like minds of the moktars were difficult to comprehend, more moktar could be sensed beyond the north room’s only exit. Staying with a strategy that had worked so far, Saren again went first into the next chamber, which contained ten more sickly-looking moktars (moktari?) A ten foot tall nude woman didn’t seem to phase them too badly, so Grimslade stepped forward and put seven of them to sleep. The other three, unsure of what to do, stood perplexed, until Valerius tried to tie them up. Quick work with swords and daggers took down one of the moktars, and the other two surrendered.
Dorin the dwarf was able to provide an explanation as to the sickly nature of the moktars. His infravision detected the emanations from a poison rock, a stone sometimes found while excavating mines, and that causes eventual death if one stays near it too long. The party was in no immediate danger, he advised, but it would be wise to spend as little time as possible near it. The team gave it a wide berth.
The moktar’s common room had a door to the west, and a tunnel heading south. The southern way revealed nothing to Valerius’ ESP, while the doorway had thoughts of authority, leadership, pain, and hopelessness, thoughts of at least two individuals. Storming through the portal, the room beyond was the apparent Chieftain’s bedroom, with a rather large moktar wearing a pelt of some unknown animal and a crude crown. Seeing his people in the common room incapacitaed or dead, the chieftain leaped over the bound human at his feet and engaged the party.
Saren led the ccounter-charge, just as the effect of the potion wore off, and fumbled her attack. Relric and Unloc lept to her defense, and their combined efforts slayed the chieftain easily. Untying the man held captive, he was the merchant abducted from the caravan. He warned the adventurers that they must leave before the poison rock affects them, and handed Saren a map showing a hidden trail to the top of Mount Ayessee just before he slipped away into death. Written on the map was the words “Poison Rock Is The Key”
“It’s time to finish this.” Saren declared, gathering up some rags to use as makeshift clothing.
The party headed out of the chieftain’s room and proceeded to the southern tunnel…