The party was set on plundering The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, but first they had to find it.

And there was the matter of the band of gnolls they encountered…



The gnolls had taken grievous losses, but kept rushing forward under the menace of their pack lord. The party launched arrows, sling bullets, and spells. The gnolls returned fire with their arrows, and jabbed with spears as they closed the distance.

The gnolls’ fate was sealed when Rolen cast Phantasmal Killer at the gnoll pack lord. The brute leader clutched his head, seized with his worst nightmares.

The pack lord stumbled away, howling in despair. This unnerved the rest of the gnolls, setting off a chain reaction morale collapse. It was mopping up for the party at this point, and only three gnolls escaped with their lives.

Left behind was a killing field of 26 dead gnolls. The party scrounged 192 silver pieces from the burned, bloody corpses, and 5 gold pieces from the pack lord.

The party was injured and depleted, but felt it better to travel a distance before camping for the night.

It was after this encounter I realized a weakness in Gygax’s wilderness segment of the adventure: The lack of “wandering monsters” in module S4.

He only placed monster encounters in fixed locations, which allows a party to rest and recover their health and spells virtually at will. Which then means they’ll be at full or nearly full strength for each encounter.

I decided that I’d check for encounters once per day, 1-2 on a D6 on the primary trails, and 1 on a D6 in the mountains. This would add some pressure on the party.

Into the Wild

The party turned east at the fork, and soon encountered an Elven Warder Band: 66 of them in total.

The leader, mounted on a horse, warily questioned the party. He was particularly suspicious of Rolen the Drow.

Yebarinscrud revealed that they had wiped out a band of gnolls to the south, and that seemed to mollify the elven leader, as they too were hunting humanoid bands.

The elven captain bade them to pass, and the elves would continue to the spot the dwarf indicated on the map, promising to catch up to the party if they’d lied.

After turning east at the fork in the trail, the party decided that the Lost Caverns wouldn’t be found off the main path, and hiked into the mountains.

It was slow going, trekking through extremely rugged terrain, up over ridges, down, and up again. Instead of 3 hexes per day, it was one hex per day.

Given that they were high in elevation, I decided the party could see for 1 hex in every direction. By the end of this session, the party had been exploring for two weeks!

At one point, they heard a mighty river far to the east. They in fact travelled so far through the mountains, they spotted another main trail (visible in image above). But the party decided to continue through the jagged peaks, turning northwest.

…where they stumbled into an ogre cave.


The party rolled poorly, and the ogres rolled well. So the characters found themselves in a fight at close range.

The party briefly contemplated a parley with ogres, despite the dismal odds. But nobody in the party spoke Giant, so that was that. The battle commenced.

Each side traded blows. Willhelm Pembroke cast his trademark Wall of Fire.

But the flames were weak, and the ogres stepped out of area of effect.

The Ogre Chain Brute smacked Tagren the half-orc, nearly knocking him senseless (rolled exactly his saving throw!). Tagren also got clobbered by a greatclub from another ogre. Even the heavily-armored dwarf Yebarinscrud couldn’t avoid a clubbing.


See Also:

Not the first time this party has encountered ogres!