Saga of the Northlands

Session 6: Into The Troll Cave

In Which Several Locations Are Explored

The next day, Álfráðr, a seidmann, joins the party. They (sans Asa) decide to travel to a cave that Skogur noticed when he last cast Lay of the Land earlier. It takes them 6 hours to get there. Skogur finds goblin tracks around the cave. Apparently, the goblins passed by this area at some point and may have even entered the nearby cave. Álfráðr sticks his head in the cave and notices something strange—the light from his Diadem of Purelight dims considerably inside but returns to normal outside. Skogur and Álfráðr decide to search the area around the cave, while Ulfric and Kulgan squeeze into the cave to investigate. Eirliff remains outside and prepares a rune to cast Earthlock, in case they need to seal off the cave.

It is completely dark in the cave, and they have to walk stooped over, but Ulfric and Kulgan push forward regardless until it opens up somewhat after about 30 seconds of scuttling down the narrow passage. They light a torch to see in the darkness, but it experiences the same dimming effect that Álfráðr’s magical light did. The passage splits, and they head to the left. It takes them downward in a spiral. Kulgan hears someone/thing else in there with them scuffling around. They start to move more quietly. Unfortunately, whatever else is in there with them is also moving quietly, and they no longer hear anything.

Outside, Skogur and Álfráðr find a very small hole in the ground, deliberately hidden in some bushes. Álfráðr sticks his head inside and finds that it opens into a chamber with what looks like handholds carved in the wall.

Back in the cave, Ulfric and Kulgan hear some movement up ahead. They come up on three very surprised goblins, all dressed similarly to the ones who attacked their encampment. They kill two, but the third screams and runs away down the circling passage. They pursue, and Kulgan catches up to him, so it turns to face him. He kills it and then stomps on its face. They hear more up ahead. Kulgan picks up the goblin and flings it down the passage. After a brief pause, nine goblins rush toward them yelling and screaming. During the combat, some of them crawl along the wall to try to grapple Kulgan, but they aren’t very effective. Kulgan gets bit in the struggle. The pair kills nearly all of the goblins, but they decide that they need to get out— and fast! Kulgan kills the last one as he bull rushes through him. More goblins pursue, so Ulfric turns and hurls a dead goblin at one. After that, the goblins eventually give up the pursuit and run back for reinforcements.

Outside, Álfráðr and Skogur notice that the light is beginning to fade until it’s like twilight—but it’s only noon. They then hear some scratching, chittering, and running around in the hole. Then they’re attacked by goblins crawling out of the hole. Álfráðr gets hit in his face by some filthy goblin claws. In the ensuing battle, Skogur also gets clawed. Five goblins now surround them. Skogul kills one with Lightning Blade, but he then succumbs to the poisonous goblin claw attacks and starts to severely weaken. Even so, they manage to defeat all of them. They weave and smash the goblin bodies together and then use them to stop up the hole. They then run back to the cave mouth.

Álfráðr and Skogur arrive at the cave mouth right about the same time that Kulgan and Ulfric emerge. After some time, they hear another group of goblins running up the passageway toward the cave entrance. But it’s too late. Eirliff finishes preparing his rune and casts Earthlock, sealing the entrance permanently. A lone goblin, however, makes it out before the cave seals, and Eirlff hits the hapless creature with a Fiery Burst, and Ulfric follows suit with his axe. The goblin chitters something in its language, which no one understands. When Eirliff fiery Bursts it again, it runs. When it gets to the edge of the twilight, the sunlight turns it to ash, much to everyone’s surprise.

As they tend to their wounds, Eirliff seals the other hole. Álfráðr attempts to heal Skogur’s weakening condition but ends up botching the job and makes it even worse. They need to head back to their settlement to get him better treatment. Back there, the healers are miraculously able to ameliorate some of the poison damage done to Skogur. The party decides to stay around the settlement for a while until he heals up completely

While back home, they check in with the priest who was investigating the Alfar issue. He discovered it would most likely involve some sort of sacrifice—of people or of a very large creature. The fact that they are settled near the meadow is probably not a good thing for them. They could end up being the sacrifice! He recommends that they move, at least until after the equinox. It’s only two weeks away, so they decide to spend a couple days scouting the other side of the river for a new site while Skogur convalesces.

Eirliff and Kulgan find a slightly elevated area by the forest that looks like a good spot. Álfráðr’s group finds a not-so-great area near the fjords. While out there, though, they also spot three Anglo-Saxon ships in the distance sailing toward land. But they can’t figure out if they’re only a few days out or a couple weeks. Another group of soldiers went directly south of the river but found nothing suitable. They decide initially to move to the area near the forest that Eirliff and Kulgan found.

In the meantime, Skogur has fully healed, so he offers to scout for a more permanent settlement area. Ulfric takes the boat down to the men they have posted on the fjord. He tells them to look out for the Anglo-Saxons and sends the boat back to the settlement.

Skogur goes out to scout, accompanied by ravens, naturally. He scouts the ravines and returns to the settlement. The next day, he brings the resident cartographer with him. No ravens this trip, interestingly. He has the mapmaker mark possible locations as they go. Back at the settlement the next day, he shares the map with the military personnel to decide on a defensible spot for relocation. It’s decided that they will move to the elevated site they found earlier near the forest. It isn’t quite as far, it’s close to the river and the meadow’s arable land, and its relative height would allow them to see incoming threats at a distance. They start making plans to move there and later build fortifications.

Down on the fjord, Ulfric and the soldiers beach the larger boat, tilt it, and attempt to disguise it. The three Anglo-Saxon ships have split up, and one enters the fjord. That prompts Ulfric to send a soldier back to the settlement to warn them.



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