Down a well is where we were if memory and my map serves me correct? Having just had an epic confrontation on my hands and knees with a tiny gremlin, I continued to explore the tunnels hidden in the back of the well, following a turn in the tunnel to the south. The tunnel opened up a little into a small room with scant furnishings around a wooden box. Upon opening the box, another gremlin came flying out and failed in an attempt to stab me due to a sucessful Luck roll. What the hell a gremlin was doing sitting in a box deep underground I’ll never know. Again, combat was made all the trickier as I was forced to my knees by the low ceiling and with an effective Skill of 5, I actually took a fair few hits, taking my Stamina to single figures before I killed the little sod. It wasn’t really worth the trouble either as all I could find of worth in the room was a gold ingot worth 28gp, but so heavy I had to drop an item to take it with me, so it stayed put. Moving north through the tunnels this time I was soon pulling an arrow out of my shoulder as presumably more gremlins lay in wait further down the passage. Indeed, this was the case and thankfully, they were extremely weak so even in the confined space, they were killed without taking damage myself. More curious clay hands were found in the room, so I took one along with 3gp.
Heading back up and out of the well, feeling very much like I’d just gone on a wild-goose chase, I heard footsteps coming from above me, coming down the ladder. Not waiting to see who it was I grabbed the leg of whoever it was and pulled them down, delighted to see that another gremlin had just gone flying past me into the water below.
After climbing all the way out I continued in a Westerly direction and discovered a small bearded man in a little red jacket, fast asleep atop a mighty toadstool. I think it was fairly safe to assume he was a gnome. I gave him a quick nudge to wake him up and he subsequently fell off his toadstool. I quickly introduced myself and my quest and at the prospect of obtaining some information, I handed over 5gp. He told me that somewhere to the north he had seen the skeleton of a Goblin in a crypt, perhaps he had part of the hammer I was looking for? I headed off, looking for a northerly turning…
And lo, I did find my northerly turning, but the first thing it brought me to was an empty wooden hut and on it’s porchway sat a small blue vase. Inside, it appeared inky black, nothing could be seen, but there was something in there, so I had a rummage around and despite apparent intense pain I pulled out a small handful of objects. A Phial of Strength which gave me +5 Stamina was consumed straight away, but coming with me on my journey was 5gp and a dragons tooth.
A little further north, I thought I had found my crypt, a stone building which had a locked door requiring a silver key, which I predictably didn’t have. I did however have a shoulder though and a lucky dice roll later, the soor was smashed open. Descending some gloomy stairs I realised that I had in-fact discovered the crypt that the gnome spoke of. I lit a candle for a better look and there lay the skeleton of a goblin next to a huge stone box. However, my attempts to open the box were thwarted, the lid was a huge stone slab and without a supply of ‘Dust of Levitation’, I couldn’t shift it and so had to leave the crypt empty handed. Bugger.
Somewhat resigned to failure, I trudged onward through to the north. A sparkling in the trees caught my eye, but moving closer to investigate, I was surrounded by a large shadow. A dragon shaped shadow at that. Apparently I had disturbed a Wyvern, a Wyvern who had just spat a giant fireball at me, which thankfully missed. As I didn’t possess a flute, I had to indulge the thing in combat… Enya fan I guess. Bloody hard battle it was too, my Skill of 8 was a real crutch against the Wyverns 10/11 stats, but a load of Luck rolls got me through the fight by the skin of my teeth.
And now onto my treasure! At the lower end was a 10gp stash and a throwing knife, but more interesting was a gauntlet and a gold ring. I put on the gauntlet and was delighted to find that it was a Gauntlet of Weapon Skill and would give me +1 to my attack rolls! Gleefully I tried on the ring… which turned out to be a Ring of Slowness, forcing me to deduct 2 from my attack rolls. DAMN YOUR EYES, LIVINGSTONE!!!
After this latest disappointment, I continued north only to hear voices and cracking of dry twigs. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by bandits. Given my post-wyvern weariness and the way I’d just been screwed by Livingstone, I elected to just do whatever they wanted. Five objects from me was what they required to allow me past, each gold piece was considered a single item, so I gave them 5gp and bid them good day. I did mention a while ago about the illustrator seemingly not being able to draw a convincingly solid weapon grip, well, the bandit leader is a prime example.
Anyway, it seemed as though the bandits were the last challenge I would face in Darkwood Forest as the trees cleared and I stepped out into Stonebridge!
Rather embarrassingly though, I’d shown my face without the hammer I had set off to find. A rather unspectacular end to the journey, I was informed simply that I had failed in my quest, I was unable to face Gilibran, the dwarf king of Stonebridge, and set off to the east to rest. Curiously, I was given the option to search the forest further, returning to Yaz at the start and effectively starting the adventure again with my current character. New Game + wasn’t something I was looking for now though and so I settled for the bad ending again. My adventure was over.