Campaign Diary #3: The hunt continues!

Our gang of 7 fledgling mercenaries continues tracking the boar through the dense pine forest known as the Shadow Groves.

A hearty debate takes place as they follow the tracks of the regular boar (the ones that follow the Ghost Boar) through the forest. Since the Ghost Boar have a taste for things alcoholic, they know this from the dead druids field journal, Magnus begins to wonder if he could use his alchemist skills to brew up a batch of something the gang could use to lure them in. As the group treks through the frigid woodland Jung manages to gather up a sizable amount of the pine nuts from the Midnight Pines that dominate the forest here, but before the morning is over the group decide to abandon that plan for now and continue to track down their prey.

Around mid-day Jung, who is walking on point with Wolrf, hears the sound of boar ahead. She leaves the party to wait and stealthily moves through the undergrowth and finds that a group of 12 boar are ahead feeding in a newly upturned patch of dirt. Seeing that these are not Ghost Boar she then sneaks back to the rest of the party and reports. The gang decides that since they now know that regular boar tail the Ghost Boar they will bypass the standard porcine residents of the Shadow Grove and see if they can find traces of Ghost Boar.

Despite the skill of the trackers in the group they struggle to find traces of the Ghost Boar now that they are ahead of the regular boar. Finding an older regular boar trail they elect to follow that, knowing that the Ghost Boar tend to travel in the same circuit and hoping that this old trail is near the current path of travel.

A few hours after their mid-day meal the party hears a rustle in the dense undergrowth to their left! As they turn their attention in that direction they hear a low pig grunt in the forest to their right…

Some party members scramble to climb into the pines, some elect to hide themselves in the snow, two; Jung and Wolrf – elect to brace themselves and prepare to fight. Arrows are knocked, crossbows loaded, spell components readied… Soon from both sides massive boar emerge through the woods and brambles, literally THROUGH them, as a Ghost Boar charges the party from each side they see them run straight through trees as if the trees were mere illusions. Bolts, spells, and arrows fly; some find their targets, others do not. Magnus has a fortuitous moment when his blow (a vial of acid hurled with the catapult spell) stops one of the boars cold before it can gore Jung. Wolrf finds himself not so fortuitous. As the other Boar bears down on him Zaterra fires wild and misses, Wolrf swings with his great-sword but thrown off from seeing the beast emerge through a nearby tree he too misses and finds himself on the business end of a Ghost Boar. The hulking white Boar, standing 6′ tall at the shoulder, slams into the ahsen barbarian! In a spray of blood Wolrf is thrown to the ground.

Sidron and Torrik manage to land especially brutal blows on the beast, followed by Zattera’s expertly placed strike. This leaves the Boar on Wolrf reeling. It turns to flee and Wolrf (now on his feet) brings his large sword down smashing into it’s side and cracking it’s ribs like kindling. As it flees Gax Misty Steps to a nearer tree and a bolt of arcane fire flies from his hand striking the boar. The boar stumbles and goes down. Then with a surge of it’s will it forces itself back to it’s feet and continues to flee into the wilderness!

Meanwhile the rest of the party is dealing with the other Ghost Boar. Seeing the first flee and wanting something to show for their efforts Jung fires an arrow into one of the front legs of this Boar, injuring it and slowing it down. The party rallies and through blows and spells they soon have this second boar on the ropes as well. It too goes down and then by pure strength of will rises back to it’s feet and turns to run. Jung grabs the beast by it’s rear legs, screaming out, “Rope! Rope!” As Sidron runs to attempt to assist a club-like severed leg from the Winter Wolf they faced the day before sails between Jung and Sidron with appalling force! Knocking the beast unconscious! Jung and Sidron look back to see the source, Torrik’s disconcerting smile let’s them know that it was he that threw his trophy at the beast.

Gax fires off a few more bolts at the other fleeing Boar but to no avail, the dense underbrush making it difficult to get a good bead on the fleeing Ghost Boar.

Soon the party has their unconscious Boar firmly bound. The gang begin to debate amoungst themselves as to their next course of action. As his friends give arguments and counter-arguments to one another Gax puts his own plan into motion. Wanting to have a chat with the beast he places his hands on the head of the boar and uttering a quiet prayer healing virtue flows into the Boar. Now, Gax can reason things out using his abilities to speak with animals.

Except the Boar has completely different plans. The moment it’s awake it phases and it’s carefully tied bonds fall to the ground. The Boar bursts forward – right through Gax’s body! As it flees Wolrf having had enough and still aching from his wounds leaps forward and deftly hurls a hand-ax at the limping beast. His ax finds a home in the back of the Boar’s skull and the Boar falls to the snow… dead.

What follows next is a two pronged effort. Sidron wanting to study the boar begins a detailed examination and autopsy of the fallen Boar. Wolrf providing hands-on assistance and Magnus providing intellectual back-up. Jung and Torrik set off to follow the fleeing Boar’s blood-trail through the wilderness. Gax, upset that the group killed the piggy before he could talk to it sulks against a near-by tree.

Jung and torrik follow the trail for several minutes, the blood being easy to follow in the white snow that covers the forest floor. After 15 minutes or so they see the blood trail lead into a large thicket about 200′ ahead, as they approach they see, phasing through the dense cutting brambles, the massive Ghost Boar step out to stare at them. Considerably larger than the others they have just seen, where they stand 6′ at the shoulder this terrifying beast stands approximately 12′ tall. Jung and Torrik freeze in their tracks and watch as the large Ghost Boar phases back into the thick brambles and disappears. With very little conversation the two scouts reach a consensus: retreat! They turn and quickly make their way back to the party.

Jung and Torrik arrive back finding the other boar cut open and partially skinned, Zattera (standing guard) welcomes them back and notices their worried faces. Sidron stands up from his autopsy declaring that he can’t find any physical source of the Boar’s ability to phase through solid matter. A quick discussion occurs in which the gang decide together to abort this mission and head back to NorthWood to find other jobs, being broke and alive being better than being broke and dead! Trophies are quickly collected (Tusks and partial pelts).

The gang gathers their belongings and their wits and the flight for home begins!

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