The K'Horune appear as twisted humanoids, their skin grey and their hair long and black. They are human sized, with frail arms and legs. Appearances deceive however, for there is strength in these appendages; strength that could rip an adventurer apart. In the shadows of the depths these hunters are silent and cunning. It is likewise on the surface and few are those who can spot a host of K'Horune wanderers moving from tree to tree in the midst of night.
The faces of these wretches mirror the horrors they have become. They look human, but their skin is wrinkled and grey, their teeth are sharpened and their facial features are distorted and displaced in the manner of some trolls. They didn't wear clothes in the depths and this has caused some to freeze to death in the icy wastes of the valley. The K'Horune learn quickly however and now they have been killing families and sacking outlying farms. They rob the fallen of their clothing, and with every looting yet more K'Horune can exit from their place of exile.
It is not easy to survive in the depths, and when an entire race is cast into unknown darkness with limited or no supplies, cannibalism becomes the order of the day. To put it simply: In K'Horune society the weakest is not only on the bottom of the social ladder. The weakest are eaten. With their re-emergence into the realms of light, that diet has changed somewhat. Patrols from the Gethrensburg now report that where corpses were simply undressed before, they are undressed and gnawed upon now. The K'Horune are particular however and only cheek and abdominal flesh is eated, the rest they leave be.
The K'Horune retain some of the sleep patterns of their ancestral parentage; the Trolls. This means that they enter a form of mild hibernation during winter. This means they would normally be asleep now, but the unlocking of the gates have awakened the young and lightest sleepers. This also means that the old, cunning and powerful of their society are still safely asleep kilometers below the surface. Time is of the essence and this precursor invasion is nothing compared to what would come on snow melt, mere weeks away.
Magic is preserved for the elders and but one such elder has awakened to ascend from the darkness below. Her name is Ankhol-Anakhol, or "Witherfrost" among her kind, and her domain is the Magic of Frost. With her mastery of the icier aspects of magic, she is able to encase an unfortunate adventurer in ice or even call upon the skies to deliver a vast storm of sleet and ice. Her magic is taxing however and after a particularly tiresome conjuring, she has to rest to regain her strength. In times of need she is able to cannibalize her own stamina to keep going, but this is unhealthy and not something she does willingly.
The K'Horune is sensitive to light and afraid of fire. After years upon years without neither, they see poorly in daylight and are terrified of torches. If Witherfrost is nearby she will magically extinguish torches, but she is normally not, so a single torch could save the night. An adventurer can use a torch or bonfire in much the same way as a cleric would turn undead. The hissing K'Horune would circle an unfortunate victim, clawing at the air, but they would not dare approach if the PC is convincing enough in his threatening gestures (Some kind of willpower check OR, lacking that, turning "undead" as per a cleric of the same level).
At day they retreat to dark caves, or even to their place of exile, but at night they re-emerge.
#1: The first clue as to what is happening is a pair of fresh corpses, half eaten and undressed in the snow. Oddly enough their clothes and armour is gone, but their swords are left behind - still clutched in their frozen hands.
#2: Several kilometers away, during daytime, a flock of ravens circle, often diving from the skies unto the ground. Should the PCs check this out, they will discover a truly horrible scene: The previous night the half-trolls struck and an entire village was butchered. The attackers cared naught whether they slew man, woman, child or elder. They are all dead, stripped bare and half eaten.
#3: Movements in the night: After the adventurers have found some corpses and understood that something evil is underfoot (literally), they will have the final pre-encounter experience. As they assemble around the bonfire, ready to partake of their limited supplies, something stirs in the dark of the forest. A hissing sound will be heard, yet nothing happens. Should they explore they will find footprints akin to a human with terribly long and sharp nails on their foot.
Rebirth and Betrayal:
The Greater Picture:
On the Trail of Friends Thought Lost:
Epiphanies and Revelation:
Optional Ending #1: Fleeing (Cowardly)
Optional Ending #2: Slayers of the Wild (Epic Heroism)
Optional Ending #3: Sealing the Gates to "Hell" (Heroic)
Optional Ending #4: Long Live Diplomacy (Normal, but beneficial in the long run)
Optional Ending #5: For the Price of your Soul (Easy, but extremely stupid (involves Long Man Death)).