Session #136 – Four Two-Headed Snakes are as Good as a Hydra

After returning to the homestead, the party split the loot five ways and went off to spend it. The coins and jewels meant 569 gp going into each of their pockets. Aderian checked on the trident he commissioned, but it was not yet ready. Jerker counted enough coins to give to Tienarth for another attempt at enchanting his armor, but the old elf was occupied. Nate donated his funds to the church, spending many hours studying holy script.

Azrak came down from his goblin lair. His goblins had recently returned from raiding empty handed, but he was encouraged to find his blackened plate armor was complete. He felt safer the suit that included plates over his arms and legs. And the flat black finish on the metal projected a fearsome stance.

News from Slateholm during the month of downtime arrived via more refugees. The empire had attempted to impose a poll tax that enraged the peasants. Led by Father Abramsh, the peasants set fire to many buildings in Slateholm. They also broke open the royal prison to set the inmates free. A people’s militia guarded the city, though it it was uncertain whether it could resist the Red Jacket Rangers.

During the restful time, the party spent some time debating the next excursion. Tienarth was unavailable, as was Ollie. Azrak was interested in spilling monster blood, and by the 20th day of the 11th month, four of them headed into the swamp north of St. Orlan: Aderian, Azrak, Jerker and Nate. Jerker’s man Garph also came along. Ferris stayed at home, as he was uninterested in disobeying Bremlai’s orders to stay out of the swamp. Jerker really wanted to know why the swamp was off limits.

They made up a cover story about a lost horse, bringing one along as “proof” in case they were challenged. They set out into the boggy mess and spent the day exploring (hex 0704). Presently, they came upon a pond, across which two figures climbed into a rowboat and began paddling. It was near the end of the day and the light faded. Jerker called out to the figures, one of which lit a lantern.

The two boatmen wore rags and the grime accumulated from endless days in the swamp. They were disgusting but friendly. These two rat-faced swamp-dwellers spoke in a thick accent, warning them off of further exploration. When challenged, they explained that nasty creatures lurked in the mud and shallow water. As an example, they boasted of meeting a dragon with many heads. The party surmised they meant a hydra, a foe they’d defeated in years prior.

Knee-deep water was no place to make a camp. The sun was setting. The two grimy swamp-dwellers explained they slept in their boat which offered no extra room. Jerker led the part south to dry land. They made a camp at the edge of the water. After an uneventful night, they headed back into the swamp to search for the hydra. (11/21)

Under a towering tree, thick with verdant leaves, they stopped to look upward at rustling. Down from the canopy came a pair of reptilian heads, followed by another pair, then another, then another. Eight heads descending from long necks thrust out at them from all sides. A short battle ensued. Rather than an eight-headed hydra, they faced four giant two-headed snakes. Aderian quaffed a potion of speed and applied a flurry of blows, and the rest fought bravely as well. Only Azrak suffered a bite, and the venom seemed to have no effect on him.

When two of the snakes were defeated, falling into a splash of fetid swamp water, the other two began to retreat. Another was killed as it pulled back. The fourth was able to slither back up into the trees and disappeared. (Hex 0704 was pacified to level 8).

Aderian pushed further into the swamp, soon stumbling into a tangle of web. He surprised two giant spiders. Aderian and Jerker both hurled boulders which mashed the arachnids into pulp. (Hex 0704 was not pacified).

Once again, they retreated to dry land to spend the night. During Azrak’s watch, two trolls emerged from the swamp intending to eat the dwarf and his companions. Azrak hollered for the rest of them to wake, and they faced down the aggressive trolls. Garph lost his nerve and ran for the swamp. During the short battle, one troll fell, only to spring back to life a moment later. In the end, Azrak poured oil over the corpses and set them alight before they could regenerate again. (Hex 0705 pacified to level 8). Garph returned with a look of fear on his face.

They tried to get back to sleep, but were woken in the early morning hours by giant wasps attracted to slain trolls. They landed on the rubbery green flesh and began tearing mouthfuls away. The four adventurers quietly debated whether to attack or retreat. In the end, they decided to destroy the wasps for the greater safety of the swamp. They rushed at the wasps to engage in battle. Twice Azrak felt powerful venom burn his skin, but the hardy dwarf shrugged it off. The wasps were killed as the sun cast dawn light over the hill, under which they sorted through the effects of the trolls killed earlier. (Hex 0705 pacified to level 10).

They found two sacks of coins and two potions. The coins they divided to make four equal shares of 1,448 gp each. After two days in the swamp, they concluded the warning to stay away was meant to protect any who dared enter from the terrors that lurked therein. They turned around and returned home. When they arrived, Garph announced he would not go on further adventures, explaining he’d seen enough danger for a lifetime.

End Notes

  • Treasure
    • Gold and sliver worth 5,790 gp (already divided)
    • Vial of Poison
    • Potion of Animal Control
  • Combat 4,200 xp
    • 4 Giant Two-Headed Snakes 1,620 xp
    • 2 Giant Black Widow Spiders 350 xp
    • 2 Trolls 1,110 xp
    • 4 Giant Wasps 1,120 xp
  • Characters
    • Aderian (fight, lead) 1,176 xp
    • Azrak (fight) 1,061 xp
    • Garph
    • Jerker (fight, lead) 1,176 xp
    • Nate (fight) 1,166 xp

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