Neither Hare nor Thar
The adventure takes place in Mos Kheer
- Christopher Human Ice mage, Party Leader and Military Scientist Micheal Young
- Veor Human Ice mage. Bernard
- Prydera Dwarven Mind Mage, Scribe Clare
- Rowan Elvish Binder, Helen Saggers
- Ben non mage Human Ian Anderson
- Tegan Human Earth Mage Kelsie
- The Trolls of Mos Kheer
- introduced by Teahnreu Kipchak (Sleeps With Trolls)
- Drive off Mosquito and return Winter to the tundra.
- Wool and Ivory
We meet Teahnreu Kipchak ** (hereafter called Kipchak - not to be confused with his people, the Kipchak) and discuss the problems faced by his people and the Trolls. He is a shamen and can communicate with the trolls in his sleep. Basically winter didn't come. The humans in the area have a truce with the Trolls. They don't eat each other's herds and they don't bother each other. But the moose have been swimming a long time, and the mosquitoes are biting badly. Everyone is getting a bit tetchy. The Winter Spirits have left the Troll's domain and are weak in the Kipchak domain.
...** also known as Sleeps with Trolls
The Kipchak and Trolls live North-West of Larkmoor, and we consider options for travelling there. We finally decide to take the boat, and Veor's horses. We agree to meet Kipchak at the next full moon by a tall building in a village called Leimen. He is going to sleepwalk his way home. We stock up on a few things and prepare to leave on the morning tide.
Days 2 - 24
We travel by boat (2 weeks) and barge (1 week) and then ride (2 days) over the hills to Leimen. The weather seems very mild. We take it easy, travel slowly and talk to people about the weather.
Sortly after midday we meet Kipchak and two companions in front of the church in Leimens. They have eight horses and no spares. We stock up on tents and provisions and head into the plains.
The water holes are very boggy. There are lots of insects and the swallows haven't flown south. It's a long day riding and we travel as fast as our horses can go, but eventually we get to a tent township. It's a smelly place filled with people, chickens, dogs, goats and of course horses. Their houses are sunken in the ground. Even smellier in there. They feed us and give us fermented mare's milk. Rowan listens in and finds that people are worried about their health. There are fleas and bedbugs, so we set up our own tents and set watches and settle down for the night.
The Camp gets noisy at dawn and Kipchak says we need to be off so we pack up and head out with him. His two companions remain behind. We ride NNW. It's boring riding, as we slowly get rise up onto the plateau. We are breathing faster due to the altitude. Once we are on the plateau we set up camp and set watch again. Kipchak doesn't stand watch as he is going to try and talk to the trolls tonight.
In the morning we see three trolls in the distance. We cast some spells and head out. We skirt ponds on hillocks. The plateau looks flat but in fact there are many many waterlogged dips so anyone could be hiding out there. There are swarms of nasty insects in the hollows. We meet up with the trolls. There is an adult female, Siasusem and two younger trolls, Hindegal (female, 12') and her young brother Vineke (11'). We introduce ourselves. Hindegal is off in a space of her own talking to plants and birds. She is a shamen. We aren't to eat reindeer, horses or mammoths. We sit down and Siasusem lights a pipe. The smoke clears away the insects - what a relief. Kipchak and Hindegal discuss how far he travelled in his sleep to get us and she seems very "with it" all of a sudden. Hindegal can take people to the spirit planes. You can enter the spirit world at any time of day or night. There we will be our totems. Hindegal will help us find out what our totems are. Hindegal is interested in Tegan's sleeplessness and nightmares. We need to be at the Troll home to dream, so we head of for a three hour ride. We see rotting vegetation and dead carcasses of deer and reindeer on our journey. The trolls are ill. The animals are ill. Infections aren't healing. The troll home has no structures - just another piece of tundra.
We set up our sleeping furs on a patch of sand and Kipchak looks after the horses. We drink strong alcohol, and settle down. Hindegal starts to chant in a magic language. It's hypnotic, and we enter the spirit world. Christopher is a wolverine with a horse, Ben a tiger and Veor is a musk ox. Tegan, Rowan and Prydera are shimmering blobs. Hindegal is a moose. An arctic hare bounds up and says hi - he seems super-real. The hare invites Ben to go with him, but Ben doesn't go. That was Hare - with a very capital H. Mosquito rules the swamp. We need to clear (?) Mosquito. Winter can defeat Mosquito and winter is missing
We see Kipchak - he is a ghost. He can't see the shimmering blobs - just the ones who have their totem. He seems real rather than ghostlike to Tegan. We are standing in a circle of snow - everything else is swamp.
Prydera changes into a beaver. Tegan changes into a wolf. Rowan changes into two owls
We ponder things. Tegan notices a predator coming towards us. A Lynx arrives and hisses at Ben. Lynx tells Chris to be quiet. Chris attacks Lynx, rips off Lynx's ear. Lynx runs away. The rangers have a bump of direction telling them where "home" is (here). They also detect that there is a problem to the west and have a bump north.
We head west. I swim into the swamp. Wolverine tries to ride his horse (Storm) who is unimpressed. We all move in the way best suited to our totems. Most tip-toe around the pools, but I swim and the owls fly. I talk to a frog. Owl seems some "smoke" blowing against the wind. Wolf hears a hum. Moose retreats into the pond, and I dive down deep. Moose decides that as it is daytime and the noise isn't deafening this must be Midge not Mosquito. Midge swarms over everyone who didn't retreat into the ponds. Owl flies high. Some die trying to burrow into Wolverine's ice armour. Wolf bites some. Moose talks to Midge. Midge tries to talk to Wolf. Wolf jumps in the water. Midge talks to Tiger. Midge mistakes Wolverine for an armadillo. Once Midge discovers he's a wolverine he heads off to the next pond. It's hot. Air temp = 30°C and Water temp = 25°C. There are herbs nearby to help with insect bites. Hendegel heads off to find some. We follow. Musk Ox is suffering badly in the heat. We explore our abilities. Tiger leaps on a frog and gets beaver instead. We slowly head back. Musk Ox is doing really badly.
We return to our bodies. Damage carries over and our max fatigue is down for a few hours. Kapchak has made dinner. We eat with him. Hendegel wants us to visit the ice trolls - they sound very scary. We compromise on going to visit the forest trolls.
Rowan: You only have to fend them off for 15 seconds. After that... Prydera: After that you're dead.
We discuss how to get to the trolls. There is a three day option and a two day option and I am confused. We also ask Kapchak and Hendegel about the spirit wall. Only dark shaman cast hostile magics in there.
We sleep the night. Hendegel has been sleeping and talking to the Inuit trolls who are on the way. They are having trouble with Kraken - can we help? We say yes. The Inuit shaman's brother is dead, the Kraken is eating seals. In the early evening we travel back to the spirit world.
We head NW. We travel in a rather odd way and go further than it seems. We get to rough highlands and crossing a scree slope Moose and Musk Ox slide down and Musk ox breaks a leg. I slide down afterwards and soothe pain on Musk Ox. I can't heal in the spirit world as it would take too long. I supervise making a sled to carry Musk Ox and Moose goes to make peace with the ice trolls so we can go to their home to heal Musk Ox. The ice trolls are heading our way - a flock of ptarmigan. They require a toll - grain or meat. It is difficult to move the Musk Ox as there is no rope and no way of making rope. Moose helps make him a summer ox which lightens him considerably and Owl instils flight on the sled and we carry him up the hill to the ice troll's cave.
We exit the spirit world. I heal Veor (29 hours). Tegan summons goat to pay our toll. The ice troll seems to have some kind of blending talent. We sleep.
Tegan summons more goats who attack us. Veor is healed, it is evening - dark and cold. We don't much want to travel but we don't wish to remain with the ice trolls either. Hendegel says there is a shortcut, so we might get there by morning. We decide to take the short cut after worrying for a moment if the ice trolls will eat our bodies while we are travelling.
We enter the spirit world. There are ptarmigan there but they wander off. Following Moose's shortcut over a ridgeline. There is a blue tinge to the snow in the basin. Probably ice - glacial perhaps? There are likely to be crevasses. Musk Ox leads the way and we follow along. Musk Ox negotiates the dangerous areas well. Moose and Musk Ox take turns leading as it is hard work. This is damn hard work and my paws are getting very sore. I try riding Storm but that doesn't work any better than when Wolverine tried so I ride Musk Ox. I have to ride sideways. Thanks Veor. Everywhere is dark blue - the night sky is a deep indigo colour. Its very tiring for Musk Ox, Moose and me. We get to a tricky bit and Tiger carries me across it badly. Wolf helps him out of the hole he lands in. We carry on over the ice to the edge of the ocean and meet a Walrus on the ice. Walrus moves us along from his fishing hole. "Home" is under the ocean about 200ft out and 15-20ft down. Musk Ox resists strenuously (given how tired he is) the idea of continuing to home. He wants to rest first. Kapchak arrives. We see seals in the water. I swim down and talk to one. Its confused and tries to eat me but turns into a swarm of floating sparkles. Musk Ox is tired and icy and fails to communicate his problems well. In the end we have to wait for his ice armour to wear off. Everyone then swims out to home. Storm has some problems getting down to home and we exit the spirit world.
We aren't underwater. Its very very dark. We are on rocky ground. There are big shifting rocks and it smells badly of fish. The Inuit trolls looks like giant walruses. They are speaking some strange woppish language.
We sleep. Tegan gets her creeping senility removed. We wake up. It's still dark. There is a very damaged Walrus. We talk to the shaman (who is in perfect health). Kraken has lots of nasty weapons, it's an octopus, about 80 ft across. Hooks on tentacles to drag you down. Storms. There is an old ship wreak near where he is. Hasn't been seen in the spirit world. We discuss our lack of ability to fight under water and damage a Kraken. The Inuit shaman casts water breathing on us. We rest up for a while and power up. Storm gives back people's fatigue and stays here.
We enter back into the spirit world, underwater. We float up to the surface. It isn't quite as dark here as in the real world. Owls can't fly and ride Moose back to shore. We clamber up onto the ice. Wolf can't draw mana. We head off towards where Hendegel think the Kraken is. We make good time due to ice traversal. We see a few seals - mostly faded ones that pop out when we get close. We talk to a few which get scared when we mention Kraken. Then we ask how to get to the shipwreck and one starts to lead me there. The seal then forgets where the shipwreck is and decides to eat me. I swim back to shore. We talk to a couple of puffins. One makes lots of bad jokes until Wolverine jumps on it. It flies into the air. They don't seem to know anything about anything. It thinks it is a Kraken and it wants to find out where there is more brass so it can make brass rubbings. He wants us to give a message to TDP about winches and port holes. We say we will pass on the message if they move away from the snacks and let the entrees eat them. He wants us to ask TDP to make a ship with a proper brass keel and decent brass fittings and he will go. If TDP doesn't make a good boat for them to sink then he will come back and rub the entrees. Wolf tries to find out what kind of magic the puffin can do. The puffin makes a puff of air. Wolf and I suggest that Wolverine bites its head off. Puffin suggests this is a great idea and they should take turns. Wolverine bites its head half off. Puffin says it tickles. They have at it. The puffin does a surprising amount of damage and seems very tough. It almost kills Wolverine and Tiger pins the puffin. The puffin oozes through Tiger's claws and we end the fight. The other big puffin is still flying up above and taunts us. We go back "home". We have some troubles swimming out to "home" and Wolf gets dragged down by a shadowy thing which looks like a seal with strange tentacle things and human feet. I try talking to it and try and pull Wolf from its mouth. Wolf wakes up and the shadowy thing disappears. We all leave the spirit world.
The Mare of the North Wind
- You are Trolls and friends of a Troll
- Trolls roam the four corners of Alusia. I see you have come north.
- Bring me ear tufts from the Fur Trolls of the Southern Continent;
- The shed skin of a Jungle Troll; or the tail of a Great Western Troll;
- Any one of these three will show you are truly friends to all Trolls.
- Behave like Trolls
- Also, Trolls fight Fire, heal any wound, and thrive in desolate wastes.
- They take men from villages, to mate if Troll, or eat if human.
- You’d better do all that.
- Hmm, and you had better prove that you are heroes:
- Hold a Bridge of my choice for 3 days and nights against all comers.
- You can use wit, guile and brute-force, but don’t harm the bridge.
- Foul news travels faster than fair, and a storm faster than a breeze,
- Beat me in a race – any distance, any where, by foul means or fair.
- Finally, save a village of Trolls from their worst fear,
- At noon, 3 days from now, and right … there. <bump of trollhome>
- And the bravest and most handsome of you may keep me company,
- While the rest of you fulfill these tasks – if that’s alright with you, Storm!
two missing evening of scribe notes
Sorry haven't typed them in yet.
The story continues.
We are in the swamp. We cook dinner (yeah!) and have a bad night's sleep. We decide to go to visit the North Wind again and get details about the bridge we need to hold, and try and find Winter while we are there. So we have breakfast and head back into the spirit world. Because we didn't come from a troll home we are very tired and beaten up. We head back the way we came. We arrive mostly utterly exhausted. The North Wind arrives after about 30 minutes and seems confused as to what she asked us to do. She says she will bring us a stream. We all sleep for about 8 hours.
People (that is to say totems) go exploring the North Wind's valley, looking for winter and food and so on. I dam the stream and make a slide. We discuss not reminding the North Wind of the rest of our tasks. Hendergel says we have to guard the bridge as it is the bridge between life and death and if we don't lots of troll undead will start appearing. So we talk to the North Wind and she says we need to guard the bridge for the three days of the third new moon of the third season. Hendergel wants to consult with another shaman about how to get there. Veor says that we could get the troll shaman to tell us the story and Hendergel could translate and not need to admit she needs to know herself. The North Wind remembers the rest of the tasks as well. We try to talk our way out of the acting like trolls task but the North Wind won't brook any changes to it. In the evening we head south. The going is much easier than yesterday. The sun sets. We carry on. We come out to the real world about midnight. It's dark and stony. There are buildings and people around us. We are in the middle of a city. Four trolls wearing uniforms and carrying weapons. Hendergel talks to them. They are very rude to her. We go to the sleep house. It looks like an inn. We knock on the door. A troll with a Volksprach accent speaking common lets us in complainingly. There is no fire in the common room. He sends us off to an empty clean dormitory and we sleep. Hendregel is given a very poor room.
We have yet another cold breakfast, although it is very good and we can have as much as we like. The innkeeper might tell us how to find a lore-master who can tell us the saga. We pay him a generous rate and he directs us to Old Suzy. We head off to visit her. It seems like a normal sort of city except for the fact that it is inhabited by trolls rather than humans. As well as Trollish we hear Volksprach and Common, We arrive at a herbalist's shop. She can tell us the sagas and how to guard the bridge. We go to her garden to hear the tales. The saga comprises both information about setting souls to rest and directions to get to the bridge. It takes all day and all we are offered is citrus drink. We head back to the inn for dinner. We talk with some human merchants, and discover we are in the mountains north of Aquila. We eat and sleep.
Another good - but not cooked - breakfast. We go back to visit Old Suzy. She gives us a strange kind of cold tea, which makes you feel good, but has an odd taste. She tells us about how the men guard the bridge. She talks about threes and threes and threes, and about treaties between peoples and that on the last three days the trolls guard the gates and the troll dead don't come out. It is the men who go. There are two other peoples (perhaps humans) who guard the bridge at other times. We are to let all people from life to death through and not let people through from death to life. We can only be sure which is which by where they started from not which way they are going when we see them. There are six braids to the bridge. She doesn't know if there will be other trolls there to help us or not. In an aside we discuss the mating rituals of trolls. Troll society is matriarchal and women also marry outside the village. Sometimes the matriarchs arrange marriages by travelling out to find mates for their daughters, sometimes men show up and are interviewed. Hendergel is currently on her journeyman's journey to become a shaman and this is also her rite of passage into womanhood. So she is likely to have a mate found for her soon. More discussion but I doze off. Christopher gets some potions that will help us recover fatigue a bit better. We stay the night at the inn again and leave in the pre-dawn after another cold but good breakfast.
We are back in the spirit world. We keep heading east. It will be three days travel. We walk for eight hours and end up in a desert. It's very hot. We walk an hour in the desert. We come out into the real world. There are trolls. We try to use the phrases we learned from Hendegel today. "Don't eat me, I'm an apprentice troll." Tegan and I do very badly, i wonder what we said. They try and sell us water. Veor gives them ice instead. It's dark and cold overnight, and we sleep in a sunken building (which is a cave in the spirit world).
We head into the spirit world again. Its a long hot day, but Veor does stuff to make us feel better. We have to make an ice flying carpet. I fall off it a few times. Flying is hard and beavers aren't good at it. We arrive at the next troll home at night fall. The trolls aren't very friendly.
Cap is down 11 Veor is on -10 FT Ben is on 0 FT Prydera is also down 9 EN
We fight the trolls and scare them off. We steal rugs and oils. In the spirit world we find two more rugs which we take. We head on to the jungle trolls and meet a snake by the "home" who won't let Ilor through. Ilor stays with the snake and we head into the jungle trolls home. Tegan and I somehow end up at the rug trolls home. It has something to do with the two spirit rugs - they are both "homes". Hendergel comes and gets us. We spent a few days there healing and teaching in return for a skin with a story. Rowan visited her stick inside the snake every day. We went through a death ceremony and head to the graveyard. It is expected to take 3 days but only takes 12 hours. We meet a few squirrels along the way which need rescuing. Tegan is very sceptical and says the squirrels are evil and trying to take over the world. When we're not watching they turn themselves inside out. Yeah right. We arrive at the graveyard and leave the spirit world. The locals are guarding the bridge. The next day the Michaelines arrive and take over. They guard for three nights. Tegan goes wolf hunting every day and ends up with one. The first night we do ok but two skeletons, one troll and a bunch of undead squirrels escape.
Tegan: bravest adventurer for leaping into the trolls mouth to rescue Rowan.
Tegan goes out and gets another wolf.
The second night its more dribs and drabs and we clear up easily.
We make cunning plans for the third night which we expect to be pretty bad. We succeed with some major injuries. I have a broken pelvis. Ben has a broken leg and concussion, and one of Tegan's wolves has a broken pelvis. Tegan has no sense of touch or smell for ages. Tegan makes me a stretcher and Rowan itemises the wolf and after an hour we head back to the village. Everyone is in the church. After a while they emerge and prepare for a big feast in the main courtyard. The day passes and I spend it healing myself. The next day life is getting back to normal and I finish healing, and Chris takes those who can walk and follows the troll that escaped. He finds where it killed and ate a shepherd and his flock. They head up the hill to a small cave.
Rowan makes a wood golem and Tegan soaks it in tallow. They block most of entrance with ice and Chris heads in to do an assassination and then escape. He gets in does a few blows and gets caught by the troll. However he does pretty well. The flaming wood golem is sent in. Chris cuts the trolls head off while the golem burns him. We win!
The next day Ben is still a tiger so I can't heal him so we just wait. The day after he is human again! I can start healing him. The next day I finish healing him and that night we head into the spirit world to find the skeletons. Cupcake takes us to where he lost the trail - only a few minutes down the path. We track after them for a while and then loose their tracks for a bit but then pick them up again. We find a small area that isn't part of the Troll spirit wall - its part of someone else's. The skeletons are on the edge of this area. Chris, Ben and Tegan drive them back to the rest of the party. They aren't as fast and tough as they were on the bridge. We head to the ice trolls, a very long day.
We sleep all day and head back in that night. We head to the inuit trolls. There are lots of seals. We go back to the real world. The troll I tried to heal last time is noticeably better. We sleep the day away. We go back to the spirit world. We go to the North Wind, after looking unsuccessfully for an underwater place to race to. We rest up for a day and then we go find a loch with a cave down a couple of hundred underwater. We head back to the North Wind's valley. I race the North Wind to rescue Wolverine from the cave. The North Wind makes a tornado but I manage to win anyway. The North Wind gives us back Winter.
We travel back 3 days to Hendegal's home. It's still hot and humid and nasty. The patch of ice is smaller. We rest for a day. Then we go searching for mosquito. We release Winter in the middle of Mosquito. There is an explosion of winter and Chris and I are blown a long way away (in different directions) and have to travel slowly back. Rowan and Ilor are blown further away by the winds. We all head back towards home. We go back to the real world. There is a blizzard. Veor makes an igloo after some prompting and we go inside. We sleep. Next dawn there is a adulthood ceremony. We are all given troll clubs. When we are strong enough we will be able to wield a troll club. We are also given 1/2 a dozen carved things which affect ranger abilities.