We were down our resident Ranger and Giant Spider duo this week due to illness. I guess this means I’ll just have to make more dungeon delves.
- The party return to the caravan, tremors undertow, to find Ziggy fully recovered, Unfortunately Scruffy was not feeling great as a side-effect of the toxic spores they encountered earlier and Dharivol left to look after her (going AFK for a bit).
- The group speak to Farmund to organise a trap for the incoming Xorn which lead to Ramar’s adamantine longsword being used as a fishing-lure, and the dwarven company forming ranks to fire on the elementals when they emerge from the ground.
- Things happen in a rush as Ramar uses Crusader’s Mantle imbuing the dwarfs’ crossbows with radiant energy, and Weezl tries to use magic to excavate the creatures. They deviate at the last moment from heading towards the caravans back towards the longsword and Weezl casts Erupting Earth for the first time (which was incredibly clutch, seeing as the effect JUST caught the creatures 20 ft underground).
- The creatures are caught standing in the resulting ditch and Weezl attempts to Charm one, which she does, but then she struggles to communicate with the creature proper. It does take an arrow in one of it’s arms, via Ziggy, just before this.
- The other takes a barrage from the dwarves, doing middling damage from the arrows (10d6) and somehow astronomically more damage from the radiant damage (10d4). The creature sinks back into the earth the first second it gets.
- Weezl summons two giant eagles which carry the charmed and injured Xorn, and Ramar stresses that it will not survive if it tries its luck further. It gives up its struggle and eventually leaves via the earth as well. A little time passes and it appears the threat is over, and the group are congratulated on their skills.
- That evening, during their watch, Ziggy notices a mound in the earth moving, slowly, toward the caravan. A Xorn does emerge, with two arms raised in a non-threatening gesture. It’s other hand is clenched.
- The creature shambles forward and stops a short while away, leaving a large chunk of light, shining material on the ground. When questioned, it does say that it’s still hungry but that is a pain it can withstand, however it would not so easily overcome the pain of losing its mate – and thanks the party for their temperance. They say a few words and it leaves quietly, leaving behind the large chunk of mithril that the party do collect.
- The rest of the trip on the caravan goes by reasonably uneventfully, with only another day and a half left. The party note a few unusual creatures (including a bird that’s just a bird, it’s seriously just a bird, it’s not watching you guys. No, really. I’m dead serious. It’s a weird toucan guys. That’s really it. It’s asleep. It’s not watching you. The sleeping bird is completely non-threatening no matter how many rolls you’re going to make to check this thing out… (I understand I’ve made you paranoid, I’m sorry!)) and weather patterns but it’s otherwise business as usual and rather quiet. The dwarves are sad to see the party go, both for their proficiency and also the simple fact that they’ll have to start the night watch again. They break out some decent food and drink for the farewell the evening before, and the next day they say their goodbyes proper.
- Farmund says they are always welcome if they ever want to help out on the caravan again, he’ll be passing back through in about a month or so. So they may see each other then. He also gives them to advice that “When things look odd, don’t forget to look up” as there are also signs to be found there.
- The party, and Weezl mostly, say their goodbyes to Volk and Panzer who give them (along with instructions) the results of their alchemical research. They seem sad to see them go but also offer to do any work for the party if they ever find anything else that is quite interesting.
- With that the party head off proper into the Untamed Wilds.
- The party successfully manage to navigate and forage, with Ziggy and Ramar keeping a good watch (despite neither of them being proficient).
- The crew ignore a few packs of animals and navigate some environmental hazards without losing much time. Weezl does spy, in her wayfaring, some druidic messages left in the trees saying “Protect” or “Protection”. It’s hard to tell which word it is since the “dialect” is different to what she’s used to. They follow the direction of the branch the message was left on eventually coming up some incredibly thick vegetation – similar to a hedgerow. They push through without harming the plants, and Weezl notices sprigs of mistletoe in the brush – which is rather odd.
- Everyone pushes through the wall of plants with only minor scrapes and scratches and discover a small glade, in twilight (despite the early afternoon). Despite not being able to see through the canopy of trees above the area is shrouded in dim starlight and you swear you can see dots of silver stars in the trees above.
- In the middle of the clearing, amongst shrubs, plants, mossy beds and hills, is a large tree and before it a statue. It is large and resembles a large, somewhat alien, giant elk. The elk, made of dark stone, is covered in moss and leaves, and is somewhat decorated – with things dangling from it’s large, ornate horns. The elk also has a tail, and six legs instead of the usual 4. Ramar, concerned about this creature’s appearance, tries to ascertain what it is exactly, and (with a Nat 20 Nature check) realises something strange – it’s not that this is an off-shoot of a giant elk, a creature often seen as a symbol of the Feywild or a potent of some great event, but rather this appears to be whatever giant elk are derived FROM. This creature, this being, appears to be a progenitor of that species.
- The group investigate the area for a little bit, and then decide to also decorate and offer tribute to this thing, placing a small pouch’s amount of gems on the statue – and they all somehow catch and glow with starlight. Weezl draws a picture of the creature in her journal and makes another sketch which she rolls up and places on the statue.
- After the time they spend decorating they notice on the nearby plants and shrubs that they are now bearing fruit – their favourite fruits in fact. They are large, ripe and incredibly delicious. Weezl takes one of each and stores them in her bag, and then everyone retires for some rest.
- They sleep in the quiet, peaceful glade and awake sometime later – still to twilight. They are incredibly well-rested. The residual aches and fatigue from their time on the caravan are gone completely. They also notice they have blankets of leaves placed over them and pillows of leaves under their heads, and standing among them are tiny humanoid creatures. They are mostly featureless, pale, and silent. They glow lightly and two place small green emerald stones near both the paladin and druid. They figure that these are kodama, children of the forest, and the gemstones are faintly magical (with the ability to put out small fires).
- Once this occurs, half of them start pointing towards Weezl, unrelenting as they point to her pack, which she empties… going through all her belongings until she finds her puzzle box which holds her water elemental stone.
- She takes the stone with her to a small clean pool of water, and swims with the stone, along with Imi. They play for a time and the druid turns into an octopus, swimming about with the stone. Sitting at the bottom of the pool, at a loss with what to do with the stone (which seems to be imparting emotions to her: enjoyment, happiness, contentment), she sees Ramar doing a rendition of a certain disney song on the shore and she decides to Let It Go (sorry, Matt, I couldn’t help myself).
- The stone shoots from her grasp, floating and bobbing joyfully in the water, then settling back into her hand and going dull and gray… and behind Weezl’s head, apparent to everyone on the shore, is a small glowing jellyfish – native to the plane of water. It dances joyfully in the water, going in and out of the gem, causing it to go bright and blue, or dull and gray, respectively. The jellyfish seems to have a few abilities thanks to its nature and is a happy, little thing.
- The group have some more fruit and then leave on their way, this time the wall of plants opens to them. They walk out into brighter light, possibly noonday sun, and Ramar panics that much time could have passed if they were in the feywild. With no way to check, they file the thought away and continue on their journey.
- They eventually come across tracks, many tracks of medium sized humanoids, and what appears to be the tracks of a humanoid giant creature. The odd thing is that they simply walk in a straight line through brush and small trees alike, leaving a broken path in their wake.
- The party follow the path, sneaking along with Pass Without Trace, which leads them to a large clearing in the woods… the tracks lead to the center of this… village?
- Ramar spends time atop a tree with a spyglass discovering an empty village that appears old and run down. Most of the buildings are not whole, and the only things repaired and completely intact are two watch towers on either sides of the clearing.
- They sneak in, noticing more paths leading in and out of the village, but they only seem to travel one way. They sneak in and out of the small homes which are empty. Very empty. Aggressively salvaged even. In some they notice that the “damage” to the buildings is actually the lumber being cut away, some of it stored in other buildings for later use. Ramar and Ziggy take a pile of 50 lbs that has been stored. It’s good wood, I guess.
- Ziggy notices a small stone structure in the center of the village, it appears similar to an obelisk, though parts are damaged. With a (Nat 20 Investigation check) he does a full-on Batman level investigation, mentally piecing together the broken shards (from a distance) and figuring out that it once had tiles in the shape of a sun, some writing, and an arrow pointing to the west – to a path leading out of town.
- The path is well trod, with the giant footsteps leading BOTH ways, different to the others, which appear to be a singular one-way circuit that runs in and out of the village. They start to head up the path which leads up a hill, winding all the way, but they instead follow the trail which runs directly up the hill (hoping to hide their own tracks). They hear heavily collisions on the distance… moving away.
- On the way up the track, the party notice a large number of traps, all triggered… either full of bodies or seeing them hanging up above from snare traps. The bodies do not have much on them, at least in terms of anything identifiable.
- Weezl notices that plants near the track are withered, blackened and dead. The sounds of animals are few and fair between with the only the quiet drone of insects to keep them company.
- The path ends at the base of a hill-like mound with a stone doorway inset in it, covered (hidden) by vegetation. They cut it away to notice the remains of words and decorations that have been mostly removed… either by force or by weather they do not know. Ziggy figures out that the decoration is meant to be that of a Sun, a symbol to the god Lathander – the Dawn Lord. The passage reads, in whole “Those Who Bring The Dawn Are Welcome Here.”
- Ramar casts Sunlight! Wait, no, that’s a level 3 spell, he takes that back, he casts Light. Does that work? Sure. Sure, it works. And the door slides open with a slow rumble of mechanisms and grating stone.
- The inside of the door leads to a corridor made of white-gray marble. Everything is made of the material. The sides of the corridor appear to be dotted with specks of diamond, and when they all enter the corridor, the door shuts behind them and the walls suddenly burst with a blinding light. Ramar and Ziggy are blinded for a short while, as Weezl manages to cover her eyes, and also notes small motes of light that land on everyone and dissipate.
- The corridor opens to a room, in the room are low flicking torches of white light and the walls are decorated with a depiction of evening, breaking into dawn. Battle, turning to peace. And eventually a sun. In the center of the room is the statue of a handsome, athletic, man. 6 feet tall at a kneeling crouch, with his hand outstretched, palm up.
- A placard is underneath the statue reading: “Reveal Your Darkness And Your Light.
Beauty Shines Brightest In The Dawn And The Way Becomes Clear.”
- The statue’s eyes glow with a dull white light, and the only path forward is barred with a heavy metal portcullis.
- The group discuss what to do, and eventually Ziggy steps forward, noting the kind acceptance on the statue’s face – a statue that is a strong depiction of the god Lathander himself. He places two medallions in the statue’s hand, stating that one is dark and one is light (the Anti-Custodian symbol from Lucis, and the Covenant of the Dawn’s symbol from Cricken). He hears a gentle voice in his head saying “State your darkness… and your light.”
- Ziggy flounders for a moment, especially when the statue grasps his hand but noticing that he can still, easily, remove it if he wants to. Ziggy panics and lies, a white lie, but one none the less, and despite the words being unspoken, everyone knows an untruth was uttered. He then says that he steals, he’s good at it, and when you’re good at stealing it’s hard not to do it. The face remains kind, patient, and the lights in the room dim… there’s a pause “Now, state your light.” The party coaches Ziggy a little and he tells the statue that he has a winery, they’re helping people, he’s killed an evil wizard and saved a town. He keeps talking and the room grows lighter and he looks down to see a glow above his heart.
- The walks to the portcullis at the back of the room, touching his heart, causing the glow to move to his hand, and places it on the portcullis, which removes one of the dark splotches on the metal. A click is heard, similar to a lock opening.
- Weezl wants to think some more and Ramar steps forward. He thinks for a while and says, mentally, that his failing is the people he’s failed to save and the secrets that he keeps. The frank admission plunges the room into near pitch darkness. Even Ramar’s Light spell threatens to gutter out. He then says that his light is the laughter he shares with his friends and the people he has saved, and the good he’s done. And the room brightens, more than it was previously. And he too, unlocks his part of the door.
- Finally Weezl steps forward and the statue lowers its’ hand to accommodate her. “State your darkness…” and the druid pauses, for a time she doesn’t know what to say. “I don’t do bad things” she says, near tears. She says that a lot of people died that she couldn’t protect and she left her family, and they probably need her, though she’s sure they’ll be okay. The room dims… “And your light…?” “Imi” she says, immediately. Her friendship, her fun, her sisterhood with her companion means everything to her. The good things come easier to her and she shares much. She too gains a light and uses it to unlock the door, causing the portcullis to rise.
We kind of had to just leave Dharivol and Scruffy in the background here, there may be a pop quiz later to see how they, too, passed.
- The door opens to a winding path, leading up stairs (which the DM drew incorrectly… but they’re really leading UP guys). Leading to another door. Ziggy checks for traps, and there aren’t any, and they knock on the door. There’s no reply, and they open it, only to be hit with a wave of stench – dead and rotting flesh.
- Three ghouls attack Ziggy clawing wildly, a bobbing ominous light of a Will o’ Wisp hovering behind them.
- The melee that ensues is mostly still in the corridor leading into the room. Ramar and Ziggy manage to exchange places when the rogue dodges claw swipes, and Weezl runs up the walls with her boots of spider climb, firing arrows.
- They bully their way into the room, felling monsters, and two more Will o’ Wisps appear (from Invisibility) and shock the party with lightning. Arrows are loosed from the rogue, and the paladin slashes his way further into the room, and the druid turns into a giant scorpion – dropping from the roof onto the melee.
- The Wisps retreat through the walls and ambush the party away, after some solid shit talking (they all feel one is definitely lying when it says that knows Ramar’s mother). So, along with the effect of Zone of Truth they notice that the undead are burned to nothing when they fall in combat – the holy place turning them to dust and then to nothing when their will is crushed.
- The room they’re in, they discover, is something of a tomb. Both sides are dotted with small alcoves, protected with thick glass. Each of them house a beautifully decorated urn, a placard, and an object of some kind… except for one. Ziggy notices one at the end of the room is broken, with glass, scorch marks and blood everywhere. A placard is on the ground, unread.
… and the session ends there.
Okay, that was a solid 2 hours of writing! I feel that was really long, and I apologise, as always. I just want these to have most (not all, because that’s insane) detail since we had an absentee. Hopefully everyone will be feeling better and we can have everyone together next time.
God, it was so fun making a dungeon delve again, I think I’m going to have to do this more often. Also, I forgot just how much time they take up! I can’t help but theme these things and I spend way too much time doing so. Either way, I really hope everyone is enjoying it as much as I am. I also have to say, I’m really impressed with how quickly Evan figured out both puzzles. Having Ziggy go up to the statue first was ballsy and I’m really happy to see how that all played out.
So, what will happen next time? What is in this holy place? Why are undead here? Why did the Will O Wisps have to be dicks?* What else do these Untamed Wilds have in store for the adventures? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!
*(Answer: I thought it was funny to trash talk everyone as a floating blob of ectoplasm)