Sandstorm: Us or Them

Friday November 19, 2010 at 7:00pm d&d, sandstorm, game session notes Comments (0) »

The group decided they would make their way to The Crag.  Tisroc attempted his uber Locate Water spell again, and got a rather bizarre result - a water source indication which seemed to flicker a few days to the north.  As they approached, they could smell cooking meat and near the peak of a slope between some piles of boulders, they were stopped by a man with a crossbow who asked them who they were and why they were there.  The group told him and the other man present that they were travelers and, after a few questions, they were welcomed into the camp.

In the valley on the other side of the hill there was the remains of what was once a verdant oasis.  Dessicated trees lined a scorched valley, amongst which there were about a dozen tents and about 35 people, some of which were children.  They accepted the hospitality of the people there, and spoke with them for a while, learning several things.

The inhabitants of the valley were the remnant of a village further west called Rulloc.  Rulloc's well had dried up and they were forced to leave.  They were making their way toward Adther but had in mind to stop at this oasis and possibly settling here.  Upon seeing its state, however, they decided that would be impossible.  Unfortunately, before they were able to continue on their way, they were attacked by a group of gnolls.  After that, many of their able-bodied men were injured, they'd used up more supplies and would be severely slowed down - so they were kind of stuck.

Alina spoke with the village's leader, a man called Gilad, and asked if they might want her to help with their wounded.  He accepted her help, but didn't realize what she was about to do.  Over the next couple of hours Alina healed all of the injured people in the camp and had become quite a bit of a local celebrity.

The group spent the next day at the camp as well, resting up a bit, enjoying some real food and waiting to see if the camp had any further trouble with the gnolls, who were thought to still be in there area.  Alina also discovered that the spring - which was now little more than a trickle - seemed to have some sort of persistent, very faint magical aura.  This was puzzling to herself and Tisroc.

That evening, they were approached by Gilad who wished to go out on a recon mission and asked if they might help fill in during their absence in the even of trouble.  They agreed.  When Gilad and his men returned, they seemed troubled.  Come to find out, the gnoll camp in a nearby valley was much the same as theirs - containing a number of elderly, non-combatants and cubs as well as a number of injured adults.  The majority of men present wanted to go attempt to wipe them out, but Gilad wasn't sure how he felt about killing the non-combatants - and killing their able-bodies would certainly doom them in much the same way.

At this point, the group interjected, suggesting that Tisroc try to go and talk to them, to see if some compromise could be made.  Under some protest, the men present agreed to try it.

Accompanied part of the way to the gnoll camp by friends, Tisroc made his way to the camp.  He was initially beset by a group of gnolls who, despite (or perhaps because of) his passive posture in approach, began pushing him around and growling incomprehensible questions at him before the "leader" approached.  He was a massively huge gnoll who walked with a bit of a limp.  He growled at Tisroc for a while and Tisroc began trying to communicate by drawing on the ground - trying to indicate where other water sources might be found.  The leader however, lost patience, pushed him down, growled angrily at him and eventually stormed back into camp - only to return a few minutes later followed by a hunched figure in a ratty cloak that hobbled rather slowly up to him and asked him, in common, why he had come.

Tisroc was relieved to be able to actually communicate with one of them directly, and he began explaining the situation.  The elderly gnoll, in return, proceeded to tell him of their troubles.  They had been part of a tribe which had been at war with a rival tribe of hobgoblins for nearly a century, but now that war was over.  A new power had risen - powerful beings resembling jackal-like men - and dominated the hobgoblins, insisting that the gnolls unite with them for some unstated purpose.  Those that had refused were forced to flee the Salt March and were attempting to find a new life in the Dead Forest, but water was difficult to come by - the only meager source they'd found was possessed by the humans.

Tisroc returned and the group formed a plan: they would create enough water for the now-healed human village to continue on their journey to Adther, then the gnolls could come and occupy the dying oasis and the two need not wipe each other out.

The party passed this plan on to Gilad who agreed that it was a good idea now that he knew it was a possibility.  The human tribe packed up and, after profusely thanking the group for all of their help, headed out into the waste once more.

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