Our adventuring party searching for The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth realized that travelling off-trail, directly through the jagged peaks of the Yatil Mountains, was taking too long. They had no clue where Tsojcanth was located. And they ran out of food.


Out of Food

The party’s two-week supply of provisions was nearly out after the Ogre fight. They searched their cave for food, but what the ogres deemed food appeared foul and disease-ridden.

They decided to spend a day foraging the area for edible plants and game. I had each roll the seldom-used Survival skill, including their gnome henchmen.

The party managed to scrounge up 14 man-days of food. With eight persons in the party, that was not even 2 days rations. And that was with a nat 20 roll by gnome Del-Li.

After travelling a couple more days, they consumed their supplies again, and spent another day foraging. Del-Li did well again, so much so that I ruled that he was particularly talented at scrounging, and would have improved rolls in the future. His player named him Del-li “Catessen”.

The Hermit

Gary Gygax noted specific places along the trails for mandatory encounters, to be randomly rolled on a table of 20 entries. This time I rolled “The Hermit“. This encounter was clearly intended by Gygax to help parties find their way to the Lost Caverns. Typically Gygaxian in nature, The Hermit is beneficial, but no pushover to murder-hobo PC parties.

Sitting before a small cave is a gaunt, dirty, disheveled man with matted hair and beard. He wears a tattered cloak over soiled loincloth, hair shirt, and rough leggings. Worn sandals are strapped to his feet. This seemingly harmless old coot has the psionic power of mass domination, at the 19th level of mastery (see the Players Handbook, Appendix I). He can dominate 5 creatures, each of 20 HD or 20th level. He will use this power only if attacked, severely threatened, or abused. Those attacked must save vs. Spells at -4 or obey his commands. Orders that conflict with a character’s alignment or that command suicide will not be obeyed. Those dominated will obey his commands for 95 turns (approximately 16 hours). The time of a character’s obedience is reduced 1 turn for each point of intelligence, wisdom, or charisma above 14. The hermit is not evil and seeks revelation in mountain solitude. If the party pesters him with questions, he will be happy to give them directions that will aid them in finding their goal — just to be rid of them.

The group spoke with the hermit and learned:

  1. A tall mountain is called Iggwilv’s Horn.
  2. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth are said to lie south of that peak.
  3. A narrow track does go to the caverns, for when Iggwilv ruled, there was much coming and going to and from the caverns.
  4. Rumor has it that the caverns are a nexus of planes, and many odd monsters now inhabit the caverns.
  5. There are at least two levels of caverns in the place.

Yebarinscrud offered a Wand of Light to the Hermit, who in turn offered a parchment page from an adventurer’s journal, a lone survivor from a past expedition to the caverns.

“The small cave was the secret, for in back, hidden by (here the text is blurred beyond any reading)… and we descended. There was no certain path, so we (smudged)… and this is told of above, for it is where Yaim and Brelid met their end. Our persistence paid. The right way was beyond and narrow, so (writing covered with dark stain)… —earn lies straight pas— (more stains)… — pe the span swiftly to plunge to doom where the wat— (here smudges and stains obliterate several lines)… They were right. It is more dismal here than above. Only the two of us su- (blotch)… We pray that the lucky (smudge) is true, for we are now going to attempt entry fo— (large rusty smears have wiped out the next words)… of no help. I managed to escape. Why did we (here the remaining few words are smeared and unreadable, save for the last word)… beautiful.”

The Hermit also indicated that the very distinct mountain called Iggwilv’s Horn could be found to the southeast.


The party returned to the Gnome Vale to resupply and recover. Soon they were back on the trail again.

This time, they turned south. And were attacked by two wyverns – a mated pair they would later learn.

The wyverns attack fiercely. I enjoyed this encounter, as the wyverns remained airborne, doing flybys at the party, biting and stinging with their venomous tails. Their positions were constantly in movement, forcing the party to use different weapons and tactics.

Wilhelm Pembroke cast Phantasmal Killer on the larger wyvern, forcing it away for a time. Yebarinscrud was squarely stung (critical hit) by a wyvern, failed his saving throw, and was only saved from a one-shot death through his Dwarven resistance to poison.

The party realized the wyverns were attacking so ferociously because they were guarding their nest.

They found 3 valuable wyvern eggs, which they later sold to the Gnome Vale. Delmar spotted a pristine suit of elven chainmail, which was perfect for his class, the thief, as elven chain is tough, light, and quiet.

Closing in on the Prize

Continuing south, the party encountered a “Gray-Furred Giant Snake”. What a strange encounter. I decided the snake was frightened by the party, and slithered into the rocks. The party let it go.

More south, the group encountered a Mountain Dwarf Band. With 107 members! The leader, a noble, conferred with Yebarinscrud as to their purpose. The noble indicated that a mountain fitting the description of Iggwilv’s Horn was not far to the south.

And soon, the party discovered the peak they sought!

The party soon located the cavern entrance and proceeded inside.

Entering the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth

The party found the entrance opened into a large room with many tunnels leading off into different directions. Each exit from that chamber had a strange carved face on the wall nearby, as if guarding the way.

The group, however, was not comfortable leaving the side passage behind them unexplored. They pushed their way through the tight corridor into a small cavern room.

You have entered a small cave—perhaps 20′ or so by 30′ in length. Its walls and floor are covered with streaks and blotches. There seems to be no exit.

The PCs were beset by a swarm of blood-sucking stirges!

The stirges fluttered in a cloud, looking to attach themselves for feeding. The magic users found that Magic Missile was a potent weapon, since they had several missiles for each casting, and each missile’s lowest damage was able to kill a stirge.

Still, a few striges found their mark, sucking blood. The characters had to take care slaying stirges that had landed, for fear of wounding their comrade by accident. Tagren the half-orc pulled one from Yebarinscrud’s back, crushing it in his vise-like grip.

Soon the stirges were all dead, and the party ready to resume.


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