Uncharted - The Hunt for all the Shinies

Session 37: Servants and Masters

For the first time ever we had a full, FULL table! It was a bit squishy but I really liked the energy and I really hope everyone was comfortable. I had a lot of fun introducing someone to D&D and it was even more fun doing it in a way that helped build up some more lore and world building.

It almost makes up for the fact that I’m messed up our schedule AGAIN due to work… sorry everyone. Now, without further adieu.

  • The party find themselves in a room that is similar to a tomb… there are six small alcoves, each of them containing a beautifully ornate urn and some kind of art or armament. All except one, which looks as though it has been blasted outwards from the inside,

The room contains the following:

Left 1) Is a tree about 4-5 feet tall, similar to a bonsai with small golden fruits (a couple inches in diameter) dangling from the branches. The floor is lined with a thin golden dust – on a placard reads: Here lies Zali Greenfinger, their touch brought life where only death once reigned.

2) Is a statue, a bust of a beautiful elven woman, made of crystal. It catches and glows with the low light in the room Wisdom Save DC 14. For a moment you are completely overtaken by a sense of longing, some of you may even shed a tear unwittingly – the placard reads: Here lies Theremore Finolus, his love so strong that he outlived his elven wife despite his human limitations.

3) Is a painting, it is of a radiant dragon, with feathered scales. It fills the entire space behind the urn (5 × 10 feet) and it has a presence larger than even that. The placard: Here lies Severin Ceasar, once chosen by the Phoenix, a single moment defined a lifetime. His cleansing flame held undead hordes at bay long enough … <the>

Right 1) A shield made of glass, and behind it a suit of slight plate armor (of someone maybe 5 and a half feet tall) with large holes punched through it. The large roundshield has a sun motif which glows lightly. The placard: Here lies Samara the Unyeilding, whose light was only extinguished when she felt her duty done.

2) A spike (stake), roughly 2 feet across, of radiant energy. It hovers in the air, and you swear you can hear it crackling like a live wire. Placard: Here lies Jacob the Unwise, a man with such a singular focus that he pierced the darkest of hearts with nothing but his will alone.

3) Is empty. There is glass everywhere, with a thick layer of dust, a smattering of blood and what looks like burns. An urn is in the corner of the room, completely clean. The placard reads: Here lies Barias Doomfist, the Undying. We pray that the world finds peace so that The Dawnbringer may find his own.

Ever wonder what my game notes look like? BEHOLD AND TREMBLE!

  • During this investigation Ramar is moved by the statue, and then he and Ziggy both are very, VERY interested in the book on the pedestal they can spy in the next room. They head towards it when…

“You feel as though you are waking up from the most restful sleep, and then you realise that you’re waking up… and that in itself is incredibly surprising. You think back, to your last moments, surrounded by family, friends, children, love, affection, being so very thankful and the light rays of the sun. Of warmth. Of falling into rest, for what you assumed, would be an eternity – perhaps in the presence of the Dawnlord if you were so lucky. If your service pleased him enough.

But here you are, feeling strength in your limbs and the oddly familiar sensation of cloth and the weight of armor. You are whole and you feel well, better than even the prime of your life, but that was so long ago that you’re not sure if you’re recalling correctly.

Your eyes open finally and acclimate to the dim, flickering light. The first thing you see is a large smiling face, made of a white stone. Marble? The stone man looks kind despite his giant frame, bending as not to scrape his head along the roof of this room. He is handsome and robust, statuesque in the classical sense despite being, seemingly, a living statue.

He helps you to your feet and you find yourself standing steady and strong, his guiding hands gentle despite the unforgiving material he is forged from. And in this moment you feel your heart beat again, truly beat, as you realise this is the one whom you dedicated your life to. Lathander, the morning lord. Of beauty and rebirth. Of justice and all that is good.

And then he opens his mouth, and the tone is familiar and soft. What is it that you hear? Sorrow? “Oh, dear child. Dear, sweet child. I do regret this, I really do. But you see, there are others here that must succeed and in the grand scale of things, you are but a single human. A tiny spark…

From that look, you can see who I appear to be, and I apologise for the duplicity. I am not He. I am not your god, or any, for that matter, but simply something that must see things through now that the world’s machinations have begun to turn again. I will have you be a tool for this purpose but understand that you will be rewarded.

This new life is yours for as long as you will it, that is the gift I bring you. His gift, one borrowed. You are adorned in arms and armor of my own collection, things I assume you can use with a sense of proficiency. I hope you do not mind that I looked over your life to find your preference. I realise that you are suitable.

Assist those here. You will know them when you see them. They share a similar driving force that you once had. Do it swiftly and I will reward you with rest… and I promise that your soul will return to its rightful place. I can assure you of that.

Displease me. Betray me. Then, well, that is something else entirely and that is a completely different set of promises. I’m sure I do not need to make them.

Do you have any questions of me?”

And with that the statue of the God Lathander, though something else entirely, rests back, looking at you expectantly. You raise your hand before your eyes, clenching it experimentally and you are momentarily taken back by what you see – a sigil crafted in fine golden scales.

  • And so Binsky, the ancient? agent of Lathander rises once more.
  • She is perplexed by the experience but notes there is only one path available to her, and the statue motions towards the tomb’s depths, and she sneaks ahead.
  • Meanwhile Dharivol notes the low tones of what could be a conversation back from where they came. He asks Scruffy to head back, sneakily as possible. What occurs is a case of Low Perception VS Low Stealth, as human and giant spider meet and startle – and the spider retreats back to her buddy – to share her information that there’s a shiny, healthy human up ahead.
  • The party lays in wait, similar to an ambush, which Binsky does notice and she announces herself to the party. Her dialect is different, older and more formal, but she speaks truth – given how persuasive she is, along with the fact the Zone of Truth detected no lie. She was sent to help, though she knows not what she is to do.
  • The party as a whole is very interested in her, and her past, which the warrior does not know how to answer. She does discover that this tomb is much warmer than the climates she was accustomed to, she has a pendant with pictures of children (she had a family?), and she has an ornate and advanced pocket watch. The party then wonder when did she come from- an answer the woman does not have. The more she thinks back on her life the harder it is to recall.
  • Everyone asks if the woman knows of the people enshrined in this tomb, and while the names are not familiar, she does recognise that of Barias or at least of his songs. He was something of a battle bard in her time.
  • Ever wary, Ramar uses his divine sense to determine just what Binsky could be, but she appears human – but he does discover undead 60 feet in the direction ahead.
  • Finally the party move ahead and Ziggy takes a look at, and acquires, the book – teachings and songs of worship of the religion to Lathander. They contemplate taking the carpet, it’s quite nice, but they leave it be.
  • The corridor ahead winds around a corner where the party notice the low flickering light of green flame (GREEN FLAME).
  • With some close calls on their collective stealth and perception, the party notice the swarm of undead ahead. The room before them is large and tiered. There’s a big ass chandelier hanging above the centre of the room, and to the sides are braziers burning with the bright green flame.
  • Two score skeletons and a larger zombie looms between them and the two large, metal doors into the next room.
  • Then, there was planning, there was initiative, and there was a spectacular surprise round. Highlights, as always, include Weezl turning into a scorpion and carrying Ramar and Binsky into the room in a furious charge – leaping onto a table, and slipping off – dropping her passengers. They do recover and enter the fray, with Ramar’s Crusader’s Mantle blazing, and giving everyone extra radiant damage. The paladin brandishes his Staggering Warhammer against the skeletal undead, which proves to be incredibly effective.
  • Ziggy slides behind the upturned table, firing shots, along with Dharivol that does the same. Skeletons fall, and when Binksy fires at one of the braziers, it bursts alight in flame and laughter – as a burning Flaming Skull roars from the flames. Another rises from across the room.
  • The melee ensues, with allows flying everywhere, especially when Dharivol uses Conjure Barrage to clear half the room (doing probably 200+ damage collectively). Ramar surfs on a table with some incredibly athleticism, using the momentum to draw the zombie’s attention and to smash unwary skeletons. Weezl had a rough time in her scorpion form, rolling a record number of 1’s but she did manage to fell a few of the chattering creatures. David exclaimed when the Flaming Skulls arrived to the scene, chanting arcana but his counterspell was ineffective when the two skulls unleashed fireballs on the party. Ramar smashed a Flaming Skull into the wall with a baseball swing and Binsky launched into melee and ranged attacks, weaving in and around the battlefield. A skeleton or two get on the business end of an Action Surge and her golden weapons. Ziggy fired off shots, and went into flurries of blows with his trusty rapier, and was the last to finish the skeletons with a wall run and disarming attacks.
  • The party, in the aftermath, tidied up the room somewhat and inspect two large suits of armor which lay still at the back of the room. They were once arcane constructs but have been tampered with, making them ineffective, but Weezl does find some hidden alcoves when checking the area out. They find not one, but two, chests hidden in the compartments and Ziggy gets them open with little to no trouble – to the extent of opening the second with a series of knocks instead.
  • In the chests are scrolls, some tools (which are master crafted), and a master crafted shawm. Dharivol also inspects some weapon racks, finding decent and (even better) silvered weapons, and he replaces his two short swords and grabs a javelin.
  • They all take a short rest to recover themselves
  • The doors ahead are not locked but ARE heavy, but Ziggy surprises everyone with getting enough leverage and strength to move them by himself. Ramar in particular seems surprised by this show of might.
  • The corridor ahead leads to another room and the closer the party gets to the doors they feel more and more ill… simply sick with fear. They get into position and burst into the room… seeing two wights, a giant skeleton of a minotaur, and some eerie presence in the middle of the room, hidden amongst a jumble of broken statue pieces… and across from them a portcullis, and behind that… a chest. IT’S A ZELDA ROOM. THERE’S A CHEST GUYS. WE CAN SEE IT. IT’S LIKE ZELDA. (Seriously, everyone seemed very excited with this feature, so much so that I feel like I need to do it more.)
  • What ensues is the party going wild on these undead. The room is surrounded with more inanimate suits of armor, seemingly tampered with like the others, they’ll get no assistance from them.
  • One of the wights challenges the party – a horrifically deformed woman, who raises her cruel blade and demands their deaths for “The prince.” The other wight nods, seemingly in charge, and is quiet, wielding a strange curved blade.
  • The party is NOT happy with the lady-wight and Weezl scrambles up the walls to the roof and summons two fey Dire Wolves which gnash and bite at the creature. She largely ignores their attacks and smiles cruelly as she fires two arrows at Weezl forcing her to drop her concentration.
  • Ramar launches himself at the giant minotaur skeleton, imbuing his weapon with holy might and smites and doing a STUPID amount of damage to the undead. It tries to strike back but is largely ineffective as it staggers from the mighty blows.
  • Dharivol takes potshots and is too scared to send in Scruffy who hides behind him. They strafe and fire, doing what they can from a distance. While Ziggy fires his divination arrows and then wades into the fray, darting in and out of combat. Ramar takes a vicious cut from a wight’s strange katana, but before long the group start to win the day… until a horrifically warped and dark creature shambles from the wreckage – a Bodak. It’s presence is enough to cause enough terror to harm the party… until Weezl (still on the roof) polymorphs the creature into a slug! She drops from the roof, risking losing her concentration (on her only level 5 spell), scooping up the creature and running from the room to store it in a chest – terrified and sweating profusely.
  • Binsky manages a barrage of arrows which puts the minotaur skeleton into the dirt and the wights are soon bested as well – with the party taking great care to absolutely DELETE the lady wight from existence.
  • They gather back in the previous room to find Weezl panting and babbling about a slug in a chest which she is sitting atop of. Ramar has an idea of what the creature is and can not suffer it to live. So, they throw the slug into a reignited brazier and go into a series of attacks to fell the creature – which futilely tries to terrify them to death. It does not succeed… and when it finally, slowly, crumbles to dust (with the party seeing the carved symbol of Orcus in its chest) they hear a door opening in the final chamber. The chest room!
  • They rush in (and it’s about this time that Dom and Belinda had to duck out, since we were running a bit late (side effect of combat… sorry everyone!)) and find the chest and a now-repaired stained-glass window behind it.
  • The chest is quite large, ornate and beautiful, and has two locks. An inscription says “Follow the path of justice. The other is folly.” The artwork on the glass depicts Lathander, similar to how he looks in the first room as a statue. His right hand out.
  • Naturally, they choose the left lock, triggering the Arcane Lock and raising the DC of the lock by 10. Ziggy tosses up using some of his magical keys which may help unlock the thing, but instead relies on his own talents and a little Guidance from the druid. He hits 25 on the Thieves’ Tools check, JUST hitting the target (which was amazing) and opening the lock.
  • Inside are diamonds, diamond dust, and a beautiful cloak (of billowing). They also decide to take the chest as well, seeing as it’s probably worth something and they now have a key for then thing.
  • They also inspect the wight’s leftover katana, finding it to be a potent magic item on its own and Ziggy takes that up. He immediately finds that his vision is now so keen that the bright lights now cause him discomfort but the blade feels good in his hands.
  • And so we end the session there…

Dungeon delving! It was heaps of fun and I really feel like everyone enjoyed themselves. I’ve really missed this “old school” type of game and it was really fun seeing everyone react every time I pulled out a new map, mini or piece of scenery. It was also great having Belinda along and having a full table. I feel like combat moved quickly enough despite being quite large encounters.

So, that’s the tomb of Lathander sorted… or is it? What will the party discover down in those stony depths? What other truths might they uncover? Will they learn more of Binsky’s past? Are there more Zelda rooms? Can we actually steal that giant rug? What can Gilgamesh, the Bright King, expect of them? Find out next time!

Session 36: The Dawn
Caravans and Catacombs

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)

Session 35: The Night Watch
Caravan Adventures Part 2

We were down our resident rogue for the first time in a long time. Nevertheless the party persevered and survived some more randomness the road through the Untamed Wilds dished up for them.

We decided that Ziggy was caught in an alchemical mishap, walking past the main caravan when the brothers were venting toxic fumes, laying him out with hallucinations and visions for the next few days.

  • Dharivol did some retroactive™ trading with the goblins and acquired himself a vial of poison and antivenom from a toxin-addled goblin. The trade went down for the low, low price of 5 pitons and Scruffy’s trauma (the goblin wanted some of her venom).
  • The dawn of the 8th day saw the party recounting their escapades to Farmund who is kind of baffled by the scenery and gives them a reminder he’s only a call away.
  • Weezl’s herbalist skills were put to the test as she assisted the dwarven alchemists (we did a bunch of rolls between sessions), which resulted in her absolutely smashing all challenges put in her way. She was a massive boon to their production, and we’ll see the results of that soon enough.
  • The rest of the trip was peppered with some terrible weather in the form of an ominous fog which slowed travel somewhat and reminded the party of their previous time in Hearthshire. They utilise fire during their watch to stave off the mists.
  • During one of the evenings, the party hear the horses in distressed, and then the noise getting very high pitched and then quiet, and then nothing. The party split up, sprinting for the horses and scouting respectively. Scruffy notices that there is something above them, but in the fog they can’t see the horses at all.
  • Getting close to the ground Weezl notices the horses are now tiny. Only a couple of inches tall. They watch their feet and corral them as best they can. Ramar puts the horses in the passenger carvans, while Dharivol puts some in his hood.
  • When the party scatter, to try find a solution, they find two pixies sitting atop the caravan who appear to be amused. The party want information from them and the pixies offer a deal, give them some amusement and they’ll perhaps change the horses back and maybe tell them what they know.
  • Weezl is highly distrusting of the fey folk, which they somewhat take issue with, while Ramar pulls a prank on Farmund – putting the Alchemy Jug, full of mayonnaise, above the caravan’s door and calling him out. Chaos ensues and the pixies are pleased, the caravan driver is not.
  • The pixies stay good to their word and release the enchantment on the horses, very nearly strangling Dharivol when the horses in his hood return to their normal size. There is likely some property damage and distressed passengers when the horses Ramar stored away revert to their regular size as well. The passengers that leave have pranks pulled on them by the pixies (whose garb is more in the style of Spring – a different Court than that of Verenestra).
  • The party ask the pixies about the wood elves, and they say that they’re around, usually to the south. They may see them up the path, in a couple days travel, as there is a shrine there they should pay attention to. They also ruminate on whether or not there will be some wine, but then say there will be- since they did a good job of causing some mayhem.
  • They also ask about a forked tree (the one Ramar saw in his dream), and he and Weezl draw it into the dirt (with some creative use of Mold Earth). The pixies mess them about but eventually say that it leads down into a tunnel, in the tunnel are mushrooms and other such things. It’s a pain because it’s protected by lizardmen and other things.
  • They eventually leave and give a gift of a silvery, small loaf of bread wrapped in leaves. The Fairy Bread is tasty, nutritious and fills you with contentment. Then the party remain on watch until they are randomly yelled at by a strange albino woman, with an albino snake. For a moment Weezl thinks that it may be Excellence, though it certainly is not. The woman, hailed by the party, yells back “HAHLO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN MY CUHLT?” in a thick accent.
  • What ensues is a strange conversation with a displaced woman (Anya_) and her snake (_Snake Snake) looking for directions, food or money, and she has a “good stick” to trade (which appears to be a wand). The party chat with Anya for a time and she is largely unimpressed with them. She is also accompanied by about 10 children who keep chanting “Slaves and Drugs” which Anya tells everyone is the name of two lions (no one in the party knows what a lion is). There is a lot of confusion, especially when she says she’s been in the forest for 3 days (which shouldn’t be possible) and hails from a land called Barovia. She’s not bothered by the fog since she’s used to it. Everyone is completely miffed (though I think Matt freaked out a little bit) but she eventually seems intrigued enough to check out Hearthshire. The party offer the children the Fairy Bread, which they eat, and she gives the near-broken wand as a thank you.
  • Anya does try to get Weezl to smile for her, since she was confused and absent-mindedly scowling – the gnome refuses and Anya goes back to being her weirdo self.
  • They all wander off into the fog soon enough, each of the children holding a snake and sticks. They seem to be having fun. The chant of “Slaves and Drugs” disappears into the night, along with the leader of the “Sassy Snek Ladies” cult.

  • The weather stays in a state of fogginess for a time longer, slowing travel somewhat. The party continue along for a couple of days until they reach a shrine crafted by Wood Elves. The wood is carved beautifully, with signs that it is dedicated to luck and protection. The party notice some druidcraft (which Weezl can read) and they make their way to the tree. The dwarves have already found a few things (and what includes a large pouch of fine powder) for which they leave a sizeable amount of coin. The party frantically search, finding a small hollow near the trunk, with a disguised, small chest hidden in the recess. They open it to find a few vials of beautifully coloured dyes and 3 (I think it was 3 anyway…) small wineskins, filled with a rose coloured wine. They taste a little but save nearly all of it. They leave a decent amount of coin and Weezl draws a small picture of the party and leaves that as well (tying it all together with some reeds that mean “friendship”).
  • Weezl desperately searches for any other signs of druidcraft but instead finds a crude picture of herself carved into the tree with a large poop on her head. She does, however, find this pretty hilarious. On the way back to the caravan, Dharivol notices a small finch staring at them intently. Too intently. They go to talk to it, but don’t get much information (some birds are pretty dumb). Soon after it flies away.
  • Later at the campsite the party notice a raven also looking at them, and the party realise ravens aren’t typically in these parts. It leaves soon after being discovered. (It sounds all easy enough but these were Perception checks in the high 20s…)

  • That night the party stop early to eat, have dinner and get ready for the evening. The weather is fine, though there is a strong breeze. The dwarves all pull out some ale and get into the drink a bit, offering it up to everyone, and along with it a pinch of the sawdust-and-dirt-like substance, which somehow makes the ale taste better. They get a little more of the stuff and try it with some wine, which does make it taste pretty amazing. They talk to the alchemists about it but they don’t know how it’s made, still, they love the stuff. All they know is that it seems derived of a bark-like material and maybe some kind of stone or mineral.
  • The party’s watch is interrupted by a young man who drank a little too much, and they do Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets to play bodyguard – Ramar loses and makes the young man a bit uncomfortable during the process. On the way back, heading back to the party, he notices two silent, looming shapes, floating behind the party. He throws up a Sunlight spell, seeing what appears to be two large spherical beings with giant eyes in the middle of their face, with small tentacles appearing from it’s main body. He sprints toward the party as fast as he can, trying to warn them and the caravan.
  • The rest of the party leaps into action, with Dharivol firing an arrow at the Beholder, causing it to explode… into a large amount of spores? The spores poison some of the party, and Scruffy leaps at the other Beholder… biting it and causing that to explode as well, showering them again with spores.
  • Ramar feels a deathly chill as his body rejects the disease that should have taken him, but it does effect Weezl and Scruffy. Weezl looks moments from death, coughing blood and Scruffy is not doing much better… and nor are half of the dwarves in the caravan beneath them.
  • They see a panicked Farmund, who is deathly pale and shaking, asking for a report while coughing violently. The party quickly go about curing the poison and disease from themselves and the others, but they don’t soon forget the feeling of only being hours away from death. Imi stays by Weezl’s side to comfort her, and Dharivol is beside himself seeing Scruffy in a similar fashion.
  • They talk to Farmund about the giant spores and he is entirely confused as to why they are on the surface. He explains they’re typically found deep in the underdark and resemble Beholders- both of which you should run from. The party scout out the surrounding area, looking for any crevices or holes the spores could have come up from and don’t find a thing- but they do notice a bird watching them from above.
  • In the aftermath of the poison, they also find that Shadow the dog did not survive, along with 4 of Weezl’s pet beetles. We decided some of the beetles flew away previously but the group solemnly bury the dog.
  • The party get though their watch, and on the 11th day, rest up. They stop again early in the afternoon when they are called out to try to settle the horses. They’re spooked and they go out to do some Animal Handling; expertly handled by the druid and ranger. Ramar uses Speak WIth Animals, and the horses keep freaking out, asking them “if they feel that?”
  • They find out they are referring to tremors that run along the ground, like something quickly moving underfoot. Weezl then uses her Pipes of the Sewers, luring out a hundred rats, and feeding them so they comply, and asking them if they can help out. The rats are a bit dumb, but try to be helpful, eventually scouting out the source of the tremors. They keep telling the party to avoid a river since they’ll drown (long story, but it wasn’t important. They’re rats.)
  • The party stealth and scout ahead, eventually finding two strange earthen creatures which are leaping and forcing the ground to shift and rise. They’re frustrated, and Dharivol and Ramar (who can both speak Primordial) understand they’re hungry and looking for tasty metal and gemstones.
  • They get into position to ambush the creatures while Ramar attempts diplomacy. Immediately things go sideways when the creatures smell adamantine on him, and they also like the look of the floating skull, and they can also smell other high-quality metals on them.
  • The party try to trick them, somewhat threatening them, and the creatures eventually allow the party to leave, going back to their business. When the party start to head back to the caravan, they feel a slight tremor underfoot…

And so ends the session! It was mainly more weirdness and random encounters but a few I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

I’ve been given the go ahead to go a bit crazy with Dharivol’s story, so I’m looking forward to doing just that. I could go into that but, hey, you all might find out a few things soon enough. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I really didn’t intend for this to be such a long recap since it was quite a random session but I suppose more things occurred than I realised at first. So, if you’re still reading this, I apologise that I cannot, for the life of me, write a concise recap. It’s just not in me.

Anyway! What will befall our intrepid heroes? With only two more days of travel on the caravan, with earth elementals underfoot, with wine recipes to discover, with pixies pulling pranks?! Find out next time!

Session 34: On the Road Again

Dharivol won’t be featured much in this session as Dom had other matters to attend to. But hey, the half-elf is going to be REALLY well rested when he gets back. Also, the usual disclaimer that this will be (too) detailed because of the absence.

  • The dawn breaks, the party is introduced to the caravan, and they load up and roll out.
  • Weezl discovers a new use for her Druidcraft spell, using it to predict the weather, which she shared with Farmund the caravan leader. He’s appreciative of the insight and keeps the party’s strength in mind as they travel.
  • Almost IMMEDIATELY after they set off, the party sit atop the lead caravan with the captain and Panzer, the quieter alchemical brother. Meanwhile, Ziggy sits in the carriage, organising his Bag of Holding and pondering about what may be inside there. It takes all of about 5.8 seconds before Ramar asks if the alchemist is interested in some of their haul of purple pipeweed. It takes the dwarf a moment to recognise the herb, as they have an entirely different name for it, but he’s cautiously interested.
  • When Weezl blurts out if they’re talking about drugs, she’s send off to get a waterskin for the paladin, but she returns quick enough. A deal is struck with the alchemist, where they offer him 15 lbs of the 20 total they have in their possession, and he’ll try to concoct some concentrate and powders from the plant. He asks if any of them have any skill in Alchemy or Herbalism and the druid offers to help and learn from him.
  • After the conversation, Panzer excuses himself to get to work, leaving the captain atop the wagon with them. He doesn’t even look at the party before cautioning them on recreational drug use while on duty. As far as he sees it, you can drink, but don’t get fucked up, he’s paying for capable guards. And being (barely) a mile from town, you get the impression he’d be okay with dropping everyone off.
  • The party promises to be on good behaviour and he takes that at face value. Farmund goes into a little more detail based on his expectations on the group and how the caravan camps. The party are expected to defend the caravans and horses, and if anyone needs a bathroom break they are to escort them.

  • Over the first couple of days of travel, the caravan keeps travelling through the night (though the horses do sleep). From the 3rd day, they stop to make camp. During this trip, the caravan stops at about midday on the second day, jostling some of the party awake. Weezl is conked out, sleeping atop the lead caravan (nat 1 perception check). Soon enough she’s awoken when the dwarves, and some of the passengers, go about the business of paying respects to a shrine a little ways off the road.
  • The shrine, is a crude carving in a tree, but after a time they notice it’s meant to be of a dwarf. There is rusted armor attached to it, and worn weapons jammed into the back of the tree, and the beard/hair appears to be dyed a rusted red colour. It is… pretty confronting as far as art goes, but the dwarves don’t seem bothered.
  • They are seen leaving a few shiny baubles, stones and coins, and others take off the weapons and armor to polish and repair them, before placing them back. Others are seen investigating the nearby brush, as they’ve been told that the goblins often leave things in return.
  • It’s explained to them that the dwarves have an agreement, unconventional as it is, with the local goblin tribes who take payment to scare off creatures from the caravan’s path. They sometimes appear for trade, but that depends on what’s offered.
  • Ziggy investigates like a pro, and scaling the shrine, they find a hollow near the top that is protected with a snare. He moves it carefully and finds inside 4 small wooden carved dolls. They craftsmanship is very similar to the shrine, mostly dull blades and teeth, and the figures are a family of dwarves. The figures all have a uniform large beard and head of hair, including the small “daughter” dwarf in a pretty dress.
  • Weezl leaves one of her beautifully carved figurines – of a platypus “the paddleduck” and a note, written in goblin (in mud). She also adds a small magical stone, that when struck, yells the word “BUTTS!”
  • On the way back, the group spy another snare (that they swore wasn’t there a minute before) and under it is a small leather pouch of poisonous powder. Suspicious of its arrival, Ziggy scopes the area and finds some goblins hiding in the nearby bush. Weezl starts singing a goblin epic, about a war over rival goblin chieftan’s underpants, and the lead goblin approaches, singing and accompaniment- which sounds something similar to a pig giving birth. The goblin’s name is Lurch and he makes friends with Weezl, giving one another their customary high five.
  • She also gives him some of the halfling FX Sticks that she has, which he immediately breaks, causing them all to go off filling the area with sounds, lights, smoke and the smell of skunk. The goblins are greatly amused. They will not forget this.
  • Ziggy uses the opportunity to ask about things in the area, but the goblin is a bit miffed by the line of questioning. He then asks what he knows about elves, and is answered with “they have pointy ears.” He THEN asks if they’ve seen any and the goblins reply that they sometimes see them, and sometimes they blow up. No explanation is added as though it’s the most natural thing in the world. The party take that as a sign that they may see some elves, but they don’t have a lot to go on.
  • That evening, when the caravan stops to camp, the party are approached by two wild dogs, that Ramar decides to speak to, and then feeds. Quite quickly he has two dogs that refuse to leave his side and eat their fair share of rations. They harass the dwarves somewhat but return to the paladin, who names them Shadow (who follows him everywhere) and Favoured Son (who appears to follow instructions somewhat and appears more tame of the two). They appear to be normal dogs (I write this because everyone rolled everything they could to ascertain that information. I’m not sure what you people expect from me).
  • Ramar asks for Weezl’s Ring of Ascention (used to climb the caravan) and puts it on one of the dogs even though it can’t seem to use it to climb the vertical surface.
  • The night passes without incident, but the caravan does have two dogs following it now. When the party awake that afternoon, Favoured Son appears to have left, but thankfully Ramar put the ring on Shadow, which is eventually returned to Weezl.

  • A night later, the caravan continues to travel through the night as the road appears to be lightly flooded – not enough to effect the moving caravan but probably enough to eventually bog it down in the softening earth.
  • The group notice a crocodile trying to approach the horses, and when one lunges at the caravan Ramar leaps off to smash it in the head with his shield. They both tumble in the water as the caravan continues to roll on… only for him to be surprised as a Giant Crocodile leaps out of the water scoring a massive hit on him with its tail, almost knocking him down.
  • Ziggy and Weezl leap from the caravan, with Ziggy sticking the landing, but Weezl stacks it (but not before she turns into a Giant Scorpion mid-air). Dharivol takes potshots from atop the caravan when he can.
  • Ramar is bitten again (2 critical hits in a row… it was brutal) and grappled, and he uses the opportunity to counter, slamming his sword into the creature’s mouth with two divine smites. Ziggy uses battle manoeuvres and superior swordplay to strike, duck and weave around the creatures, almost dancing upon the water, and Weezl attacks ferociously giving the paladin a chance to escape (using the spell Misty Step).
  • Ziggy races off to catch up with the caravan after missing a strike, and Weezl sticks her ground tying up the crocodiles who attack her in a rage. Dharivol (despite his player’s absence) scores the killing blow on the giant beast and the regular croc retreats, leaving the druid to sprint towards the caravan – eventually catching up. They heal up and have an otherwise uneventful night. They give a report to the captain in the morning and the man does say they can call on him if they do need assistance, but they say that won’t be necessary.

  • Another couple of days pass without incident, most creatures seemingly avoiding the caravan, and there are a few successful bathroom breaks. However on about the 5th day, in the afternoon, the caravan stops again abruptly. The group wake up and notice a small group of owlbears blocking the path. And they are seemingly covered in large backpacks… only to discover it is a group of about 20 goblins, hugging onto this large beasts while wearing backpacks.
  • They dismount/fall/collapse off the beasts and set up something of a market- trading a number of goods ranging from poisons, to booze, to beetles, and more carvings. Ramar, seeing this, immediately runs off to create about 8 litres of mayonnaise (thanks, Alchemy Jug) and fills 3 waterskins with the stuff.
  • The leader of this group is a goblin by the name of Tongtong, which the captain shakes his head over. The goblin is tiny, nearly 2 feet tall and covered in owlbear feathers and wearing a headdress. He appears almost like a small fluffy chicken with a giant toothy maw.
  • The group go about seeing what is on offer and they notice the dwarves trading a small crate of rations, clothes, medicine and medicine kits, and tools, and receiving a great number of things in return (probably mostly junk, which the dwarves bury that night when they camp… most of it seems to get recovered only to be traded back at a later date).
  • Ziggy takes interest in the goblin goon, which is pretty much pure ethanol. He takes a swig of the stuff, with a few dwarves looking on with interest and horror, and manages to keep it down. His vision is double but he impresses the dwarves and even manages to stay upright. He gets 3 small clay pots (the size of large canteens) full of the stuff.
  • Weezl immediately finds herself at a goblin selling “trained” elephant beetles. Some of which are painted pretty colours. The goblin is strangely eloquent in its’ native tongue. She trades it the figurine of a bear, made of steelbark, which the goblin uses as a flint. Supremely happy with the trade, he gives her another 5 beetles.
  • Ramar finds a goblin selling arms and armor, and he possesses a strange wooden shield that has a carved goblin face – which changes its expression on command. He tries to offer mayonnaise, but the goblin isn’t entirely sold, despite devouring a lot of its contents. Then Ziggy offers a beautiful, crystal flute glass, which the paladin “sells” with a certain panache. The goblin, completely enamoured and covered in goop, trades the shield happily.
  • Weezl trades and gifts off a number of FX Sticks, and gives some to Tongtong who she asks for feathers. The goblin doesn’t need a demonstration for what they do, word has seemingly travelled fast and you get the impression the goblins have brought some of their best wares because of this. He takes the headdress from another goblin in the group, and when Weezl offers her the final figure of her bear collection (the baby bear) the goblin is immediately impressed. He states that he will take this figure of the strongest bear, and noticing that Weezl is the smallest in her troupe that she must also be the most powerful. He takes some of his own feathers and puts the headdress on Weezl looking a little bashful while doing so. He promises that their tribe will protect the caravan.

  • More time passes with the occasional bit of interesting scenery and strangeness. The party is pretty used to the little light filtering through and the somewhat cool temperatures. The constant shifting of the trees and vegetation is just another feature of this environment.
  • On the night of the 6th day, their watch is interrupted when a small bear, groaning, shambles out of the growth toward the caravan. It doesn’t look well, and when Ramar approaches the sick, frothing bear, he sees the plants around it begin to churn violently, and vines grasp the bear’s leg, crushing it, and dragging it back towards the forest. Ramar understands the bear (thanks, magic!) yells at them to run!
  • The paladin grabs the bear and in a test of strength pulls it with all of his might, causing it some distress. But also managing to pull it a small distance away from the vines.
  • The vines strike at the party, and another bunch of them cover the area with grasping, thorny vines, entangling them all.
  • Weezl turns into a Giant Scorpion, battling with abandon, while Ziggy darts in and around the plants, butchering them with precision. Ramar strikes and cleaves, releasing the bear, standing protectively before it. The group are grappled, again and again, using their turns to (I WANT TO) BREAK FREEEEEE, and they are mostly successful. Weezl does struggle a little, with the thorns injecting poison into her, doing massive damage and eventually causing her to lose her beastial form. Before this happens, she does manage to destroy a nearby tree causing it to fall onto the plants, pinning them to the ground, thanks to her siege-like capabilities given by her Wraps of the Mad Bull.
  • The group try to get some distance and they manage to destroy one of the plants, causing it to wither and die. They notice that their blood has been absorbed by these Assassin Vines. And then, things get crazy. Confused with her plethora of spell choice, Weezl goes to use Guardian of Nature, turning into a giant wolf… no, a kind-of werewolf… no… A GIANT TREE! Wait, the spell doesn’t do that? FUCK IT, YOU’RE A TREE ANYWAY.
  • So, things are full-on bonkers now. There’s a tree-druid, an angry paladin, and the world’s first rapier wielding gardener. The paladin then wields the tree-druid, going for a Giant Swing, and clubbing the remaining vines, the first strike is divinely fuelled, and the second attack is a Natural 1, causing him to lose his grip and throw the tree into the forest, almost taking out the rogue.
  • In the chaos, Ziggy unleashes a barrage of cuts that cleave the remainder of the vines striking him and cleaving the plant’s core – skewering it violently. In the aftermath, they heal the bear, removing its poison and giving it a waterskin full of honey. The bear thanks them all and tells them they too should look both ways before they shit… since that’s when he was amBUSHed. Words to live by, guys.
  • They return to the caravan and heal themselves, finding a distressed dog that’s left a mess atop the caravan itself. They calm it and the night passes. Morning arrives, day 7 – halfway into their travel, and that’s where the session ends.
  • … And they still have a wild dog.

UNTAMED WILDS! RANDOM ENCOUNTERS! OVERWORLD TRAVEL! LOTS OF GOBLINS! It’s been a weird session for me! I’ve gotten so used to running games set in civilisation that I just felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I feel like I’m getting back into leaning into the weirdness and randomness that is, traditional, D&D. It’s fun re-learning the game though!

I almost feel like this has been a bit of a combat tutorial, just to ease us all back into that sort of thing. And hey, y’all going to need it, there’s going to be some ruins and dungeons coming up and I fully expect to go crazy with encounter design, so bone up while you can!

So, what will befall our heroes on this next leg of their journey?! Will they find more drugs? More goblins? How many more problems will attempt to be solved with condiments? How many more pets will the party pick up before the end of this trip? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

Session 33: Hiring and Firing
Workplace Simulator

We were without our druid for a large portion of today’s game… thanks, work… but we persevered, even if it meant her quietude was incredibly out of character.

  • The game begins with somewhat of a recap and some retroactive actions/questions from our paladin. Those being addressed we move to the present (in which most of the session does NOT take place).
  • Ziggy’s research though The Fury’s draconic tomes proves somewhat fruitful. He learns more of the demi-god, dragon, Faluzure/Null and reaffirms some of what he knows about draconic history. He assumes, perhaps correctly, that the duality of evil and good between chromatic and metallic dragons no longer exists.
  • There is also some more shopping before everyone heads off to enquire about the dwarven caravan, which results in the purpose of some traps, tools, anti-venom and finally, a blinging spyglass and some bagpipe bling.
  • Dharivol makes a deal with the gnome tinkerer Delly, trading half of his enchanted spider silk for a discount on the spyglass and for several decorated mithril clasps for his bagpipe. The main ring says, in Elven, “The Hairy Bastard.” It appears that the ranger fully intends to get an enchantment put on the bagpipe at some point in the future.
  • It should also be said that the whole concept of bartering distressed Dharivol to the point that he begged for help in the middle of the discussion. Scruffy was almost accosted by a deranged older gnome, but that was smoothed out quickly enough.
  • With that business sorted, we go back to the past… to hire some staff…

I was not expecting this to go the way it did. I mean, that pretty much sums up being a DM, but at one point I completely forgot that I was DMing D&D. It was a bit of a surreal experience.

  • Long story short, there were interviews, insight checks and a variety of questions thrown out to the 9 people that showed interest in working for the new estate, and as a result only one wasn’t hired directly (though the did get her contact details).
  • There was a long, passionate debate over wages… but best that that doesn’t get brought up again… and the group even costed out 6 months of wages for their new staff.
  • So, to summarise, currently employed are the following people:

- Tomas, previously hired, to look after farming, animal husbandry, and training/managing of farm hands. [Older, human male]
- Henry, previously hired, unskilled but currently helping out with the farming. [Young, human male, currently seems to have beef with Ramar
- Quiet, previously hired, unskilled and assisting in some housekeeping and farming. [Young, tiefling female]
- Mori, previously awakened shrub… that’s right… head gardener and all-round-cute-plant. [Newborn shrub]

- Illya and William: winemakers, reasonably experienced (previously were being trained by the Hamilton Estate in Sandhill). Want to make a name for themselves. [Young human family, Illya is roughly 6 months pregnant.]
- Volus, Tekka and Pria: a trio of half-elves. Ran, as imposters, an estate in Hearthshire capitol, at least until they were found out. Tekka and Pria are both interior designers, and skilled in tailoring, textiles and fabric. Volus is a capable brewer and farmer, and apparently con-man, as he was the lead on their previous scheme. [Older male and two younger female half-elves.]
- Karth: previously from Shelter, trained under Lukas. Young soldier (trained in sword, spear and shield] and can do some farming. Hired, presumably, for his martial and tracking capabilities. Lost in a test of strength against Ramar. [Young half-orc male]
- Tara: Direct, forthright and very young. Tomas’ niece is a capable cook but terrible at dealing with mistakes. Prompted to tell of her latest embarrassment via David’s Zone of Truth. [Young human female]

And finally:
- Drenn: Ex recruit of the Helping Hand. Saw the party and thought they were more capable than the group he just joined. Quiet, and a tinkerer at heart. Was not hired, but offered a traineeship with the OrDelly Workshop where the party is paying his wages but want a return on the work they do. Basically, the workshop gets first pick of rare materials, and the party gets first pick of any new inventions. [Young adult gnome male]

- Uni: An elderly gnome with a bad leg. Professional grandmother and wine enthusiast. Also claims to be good with accounts and boasts she can run a household. Was also not hired, but the party are interested in taking her on if they ever get an inn up and running.

Seriously, this went for a lot longer than I thought it would, but I think everyone had fun discussing who they were going to take and what other roles they really wanted to fill in the future.

  • BACK TO THE PRESENT, the group heads to the Hall of Dealings, and speak to Thanduin who offers the party a bit of a hint in dealing with the dwarves – prompted by the party themselves. He directs them to a crazy-haired dwarf named “Lenny” who gives them the low-down on the trip. 5gp per day, 2gp if they wish to be guards, and it’s likely 13 days of travel to get where they want to go. When talking they take up an offer of doing the night watch, and he offers them a discounted rate again, of 1 gp/day, seeing as it is the most dangerous work. They leave in the morning on the outskirts of town.
  • The party finally make their way to an inn to rest… and are jumped by Shadow Demons (identified thanks to Dharivol’s baller religion check). They do get through the fight unscathed but the town… not so much. Which is only natural when your ranger uses Conjure Barrage in a confined space, and your paladin has a longsword that can act as a siege weapon.
  • The fight is over with the party only taking a minor scratch, but they are accosted by guards shortly after the chaos. There is some confusion, some discussion, but in the end the party did do a good deed… even if they did nearly destroy someone’s home in the process. They are fined 20 gold pieces for public disturbance, the destruction of property is waived, along with the charge of endangering townsfolk – seeing as Ramar did heal one that was hit with a stray arrow.

It was at this point that Weezl returned to us, with the words “ARE YOU STILL IN SHELTER?!” I mean, there were pretty in-depth discussions about wages going on…

  • The group drink and rest, and Ramar has a crazy dream about a forest?, a weird tree? and a hole? Who knows what the fuck that all means. There was an owl or something.
  • Rested, and not assailed by demons, the party makes their way to the outskirts of town at dawn, where they see the dwarven caravan for the first time.
  • A number of townsfolk are loading themselves up in some of the large caravans, which are like splint-mail covered shipping containers. Most of which being about 15 feet long and 8 feet high. The largest is much larger and somewhat more ornate, with a large flow-breaker “blade” attached to the chassis on the front.
  • The caravan leader, “Captain” Farmund (either call him one or the other, both is too damn formal), introduces himself and he is a rather large, tall dwarven man, with neat hair, scarred chainmail, and a well-used maul. He’s friendly, but direct, and gives a quick rundown on how things are going to work, all while barking orders to his troupe. When the group show interest in how the caravan works he calls out, in dwarven, to his two artificers Volk and Panzer (two somewhat German sounding dwarves).
  • Volk is definitely the more talkative of the two, while Panzer can’t seem to get a word in and mostly nods enthusiastically. He describes how the caravans work, how they’re pulled by horses on a treadmill which magically amplifies force, thanks to some artificial dwarven runestones (inscribed with the word “Work” on them). The lead caravan is driven by two large mechanical horses, created by the artificers themselves.
  • The party can rest in the main caravan during the day if they wish, as they’re the dwarf’s quarters as well, and partake in the night’s watch during the evening. They’re welcome to ride up top as well. He also gives each of the party members a ring with a small dwarven rune that states “ascend” which creates ladder rungs when applied to the caravan’s walls so that they can climb up top of them.
  • Dharivol asks about the wood elves from the Wilds and if they have seen them, and the dwarves say that they do cross-paths in a way. They have a tradition of leaving coin or gifts at certain places and are often left wine or other such things in return- though they have found a drunken owlbear once or twice instead.
  • With their induction complete, he welcomes them to the caravan, and the group begin their trek into the Untamed Wilds… and we end the session here.

WE DID IT. WE ARE FINALLY OUT OF TOWN. I mean, okay, this was totally my fault since I just kept coming up with stuff and I didn’t really feel comfortable speeding things along when we were typically missing a player… but we’re back in the game, baby!

Seriously, Anna could not have summed it up better when she got back from work to find us only JUST arriving at the inn they were heading to at the end of our last session. Again, my fault, I really underestimated how invested everyone would get in Worker Placement – D&D Edition.

So! Will the party manage to get through the wilds unscathed? Will they accidentally swear at the captain while riding the caravan? Will they find an entire… sleuth? parliament? of drunken owlbears? Will Dharivol break out The Hairy Bastard?!?! FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

Session 32: A Helping Hand
Helping Tie Up Loose Ends

After a hiatus we were finally back in the game. Took me a little bit to get into the swing of things and it’s ANOTHER session devoid of combat but we’re getting there. Also, another obligatory warning that this is REALLY LONG, because we had an absent paladin. It’ll be a druid next time, so, no rest for the wicked.

  • A few things were decided during the recap, such as: The Coppero crest and seal being that of a copper-coloured seal, but we have yet to decide on a crest design. The name of the estate is also yet to be finalised, but all in due time.
  • First of all, Dharivol is introduced proper to Y3S2p2s v2.0 – “David” Copperfield. He and the skull make acquaintances and the skull shows off its revised abilities. The skull has access to fewer spells but it has better energy consumption and can levitate (5 ft move speed).
  • Another thing that occurs is the awakening of Weezl’s shrub (yet to be named, but often called Shrub Kid), who is awake, aware and now hired to be the estate’s gardener. It seems very happy with its charge and seems quite confused by most things at this point in time.
  • Speaking of employees, the party are approached by both Henry and Quiet who take up Weezl’s offer to work for them. They’re clueless and the young man is both suspicious and sceptical of the offer but they try their hardest. They also gain the assistance of Tomas (who they respectfully start calling Tom… and then Mr T, or T Dog, after I make a stupid joke. That’s on me.) He previously worked for the Urnott House but wanted to repay the group for fixing him up and making him feel better than he has in years and he offers to do his best to train the young ones up to speed.
  • The group are completely sold on the idea of hiring more people, Ziggy is especially keen on getting an “Alfred”, who can sort out the housekeeping and finances. Speaking of, the wages are being sorted out (for now) by Draven provided accurate missives are sent out to the capital so that he can manage their tab.
  • In preparation for leaving the town, supplies are bought and during their trip a young man gives an unmarked letter to the new baron of Woodsrest. The letter is in neat script that states:

“Greetings Baron Copperro,

It has come to our attention that you have had a run in with some of our associates, and it has also come to our attention that you are associates of our employer. We wish to offer you an olive branch as way of apology. Find us at the storehouse detailed below.

~ The Helping Hand."

  • The group make the way to the storehouse in the afternoon and, after messing around with some enchanted barrels, manage to find their way in through a secret door in the back of the large building. In the corridor they meet a handful of rogues (mostly humans and gnomes) that seem, in a word, inexperienced? There is a lot of confusion over what to do and some seem nervous. They are not antagonistic at all and try to accommodate without losing face.
  • When the group head into the larger open area, where they find another 15 lightly equipped rogues, they speak to a woman who is at a bit of a loss at to what to do. Apparently they were meant to be given a password? There is a lot of confusion and the party pick up on her talking to an associate, mentioning things like how strange and uncommon this all is. The thieves all appear to be incredibly inexperienced to Ziggy and it appears everyone is at a loss with what is going on. They overhear that the group has lost their boss recently and then finally take the group up to an upstairs control room. Ziggy does demand they bring their boss down to him but the woman meekly says that she thinks it’s best they see the boss, mainly because she thinks the conversation isn’t for the rogues’ ears. Not the other way around. Surprised, the group comply.
  • Outside of the room is a nondescript figure clad entirely in black with a shawl and mask covering most of their features. They are of about medium height and stature and the most they can tell is that they appear female. There is a sword strapped to the figure’s back and they open the control room’s door, allowing them entry. They otherwise say or do nothing.
  • Walking into the well-lit room, Dharivol notices the strong scent of copper, whereas the rest are concerned with finding exits (Weezl notices the main front door is heavily chained shut) or scoping out the room they’re walking into.
  • Sitting before a desk, with a few seats in front of them, is a woman of lithe build. The hooded figure is wearing leathers of a pale white and purple design and a tumble of white hair, that seemingly dances on the wind, falls from her hood. She pulls back the hood revealing a young looking woman with pale blue skin, her white hair pulled back into a long ponytail that falls to the small of her back. She smiles, bright blue eyes sparkling, and they notice the deep scar that runs up the left side of her face.
  • She offers seats and a drink, popping a cork of wine, knowing that the new baron is in the business of wine making. The wine isn’t cheap, fairly top shelf, but nothing unique. Dharivol immediately takes to her. The rest of the group assume that she is a half-drow (until I point out that her features aren’t elven, not really) and are very much on guard. The woman, Fae treats the group with deference and respect but she seems nervous and appears to be pulling at the scarf around her neck.
  • They notice there are bandages around her neck and what looks like a fresh wound against her jugular, which she seems to touch at times. Despite her unease she tries to keep the tone upbeat.
  • The group press her for questions, and while she is first forthright, she starts to clam up intuitively… until she pulls out a small note, which she reads over, and then sighs heavily, telling them she will tell them anything they want to know about their organisation.
  • The group want to see the note and without hesitation she hands it over, and the group see a small note in familiar handwriting: Dannick’s. The note basically says to tell the party what you’re about, whatever they want to know, and not to bring them to harm or there will be consequences.
  • The discussion then changes somewhat in tone as the group ask what is with the situation, and Fae says that there has been a change in management – the previous leader, a man named Robin has been taken care of by The Reaper. She touches her neck at the mention of this.
  • The recruits outside are all fresh, as they don’t want any of their more experienced agents being recognised by the party. The group itself, The Helping Hand had established itself during the troubles of Hearthshire, acting as a protection group. They helped guard and smuggle, for coin, and tried to endear themselves to the townfolk and establish themselves as necessary for when/if the town ever got back up on its feet. She says that Slevv is a good man and the agents that work for him (one of which Ziggy recognised outside) are trained in their fields, while also offering protection.
  • She also says, by way of apology, that she will ensure their estate is protected while they are away on their trip to the Untamed Wilds. She also warns them about Akali, simply stating that she is dangerous. They also hear, again, that Dannick seemingly has gone to ground and everyone seems to be acting on his last orders. Fae has great respect for him and says she owes him a great debt, showing similar zeal that the rest of his lieutenants possess.
  • They wrap things up and she asks one request, that being a new leader she needs to look capable, with a smile she asks if they wouldn’t mind trying to appear a little shaken up about the meeting. It’s probably good to appear a little tough to her new recruits.
  • Ziggy hams it up, Dharivol (somehow rolls the highest performance check) and leans into his alcohol for a convincing performance, while Weezl doesn’t even bother – appearing unfazed, while being very unsure about their association with Akali and The Masques.
  • Approaching their grounds they notice a few extra people wandering nearby, where the baron calls out that they really need to work on looking less suspicious.

It should also be noted that Ziggy, by this point, has held a few Baron Meetings with the Brains Trust, ringing a bell. He also appropriated a better, more suitable baron desk when he discovered the current one to be insufficient (rolled a 1 to determine the size of the desk left by the Hinkell estate).

  • The group also hang up their enchanted paintings before leaving the town, which they now do.
  • They make the trip to Woodsholme fast enough and things haven’t changed too much. The statue of Roderick Wolfsbane has been cleared and a new fountain constructed in its place, the townsfolk all seem to move with a strict efficiency. It all looks a little militaristic. Asking around for Eleanor, to say hi, they are pointed up to the now-repaired manor which is being used as a town meeting hall. Everyone is pretty impressed with the changes.
  • They see a familiar halfling and human training some recruits, the main boisterously boasting about his archery. He calls out to Dharivol, calling him “D Dog” and Ziggy feels a weird kinship with the man – Terd Wankstein.
  • One of the guards notices the party’s approach to the manor and states that “Baron Copperro of Woodsrest is here at the service of Commander Eleanor Weiss.” And he is berated, chastised, and then somewhat forgiven for his use of words. The new baron is not at the service of anyone. They are welcomed in and notice that the room is evacuated, giving them a private moment with the drow ranger.
  • Dharivol offers an enthusiastic greeting, along with Scruffy, and the drow gives the man an embrace, while still feeling uncomfortable with the giant spider and the whole arachnid themed affair that is Dharivol.
  • They talk about what’s going on and the woman congratulates Ziggy on his position. She muses about becoming a baron herself, saying that it may help with her relations with other towns, even if she gets more respect than she expects in town. It appears she’s been busy with finding lycanthropy victims, and trying to heal them, some of which are surviving the cure- but not all. She’s tired but the town is running efficiently.
  • They ask if she knows anything new about the Untamed Wilds but she hasn’t heard much of anything. They show her their maps, and while she says they’re mostly useless as everything shifts down there, she does confirm that the ruins that Ziggy is looking for is in a volcanic region. She also thinks that the door in the picture is probably important. She also states that she first reached the surface in the untamed wilds, so, look out for deep, dark holes. She also apologises to Dharivol with how she’s treated him, and offers him a small case holding 10 arrows. They’re enchanted and she doesn’t get out enough these days to use them.
  • She offers the party a free meal if they wish it before they part, telling them to tell whichever inn that she sent them. They wish each other good luck and head on their way.

  • The trip to Shelter is mostly uneventful, but they see a small caravan heading north. On closer inspection is bears the banner of the Covenant of the Dawn. There is an older, grizzled looking man with a deep scar and white-blind eye, heavily armored and leading the caravan. His tabard also shows the symbol of the Covenant. The group hail him, showing their medallions. The man, honors their request, and asks them why they’re heading in the wrong direction – they say they’re on a mission from god (rolling stupid-high deception checks) and while sceptical the man doesn’t press. The faces on the recruits in the caravan are grim and most are armored, they are mostly young, likely conscripted into service.
  • They ask of the war, and not much has changed. The man, Gerry, is aware of the events in Hearthshire but isn’t too impressed, not with what he’s seen. During the conversation, the group notice that David is sitting, limp in the cage, his eyes completely dull. Seemingly playing dead?
  • Dharivol then asks the man if he has any gems, for their mission from god, and the man fishes around pulling out a single diamond (worth about 25 gold pieces). He says it is to be a gift for his daughter Kaela, and while the group mostly balks at taking it, Dharivol is unphased saying that the girl’s name will be noted in the annals of history for her contribution to this cause. When they leave, the half-elf proudly tells the group that it’s the first time he’s ever lied! Weezl tells Ziggy that he’s a terrible influence.
  • They also drill David about what went on there. They tell him to cast Zone of Truth, and he does, passing the save, and the group resort to threatening him for answers. He caves, saying that it isn’t logical but he has a bad feeling about the Covenant of the Dawn. He has no memories but a gut instinct that meant it would be bad news for him to be found by them. The group then try to recall any symbology featuring skulls… but the closest thing that Ziggy recalls is that of a tiny skull with gems for eyes… a demi lich. The group are currently very unnerved over whatever the fuck David is.

  • Arriving at Shelter, the group find the place looking similar to how they left it, with two notable exceptions – it’s notably calmer, that sense of readiness and alert is gone, and there is not ominous fog.
  • The group make their way to the keep, seeing the same poor guardswoman who simply begs the group to pass through without saying anything… only moments later she is relieved of duty… moments too late. They see Lukas and the man leads them to the war room.
  • They are given a warm welcome by the Fury, Tavon, and little Raygar. The Fury is whole and looking more vibrant, she looks over maps and stratagems, cradling her child. They catch up, and they ask about news of the Untamed Wilds, she doesn’t have anything to offer outside of a caravan that will be leaving for Barak Khazad in a couple of days.
  • They ask about Sonja, who has earned the nickname “The Dragon”, and has taken up leadership over the garrison, which has been called “The Dragon’s Horde.” She also says that she’s currently not allowed to participate in the tournament as she’s won it 4 times consecutively now, almost accidentally destroying some opponents in the process. Her and Lukas have made a team and seem to be getting along a lot better, Sonja appears to have settled a bit more now that she has her larger form. Fury relates that even she was a bit unsure of Sonja at times, but the change suits her, though she’s unsure that she could even beat her these days.
  • Weezl asks about Triss, worried about the woman, but is reassured that no, she isn’t dead. She did have a falling out with Sonja though, the guilt of the transformation a bit much to bear. It was apparently a rough transition, despite how well the dragonborn is doing now. Triss has taken up Lukas’ position of outrider and scout captain.
  • They then recall they were owed a story and the Fury invites the group to dinner. Upon settling in she recalls the tale of how she lost her eye:

On a scouting mission with Tavon and Leonidas up north, we had tracked several defectors that were held under the sway of a cult.

This cult, against all reason, seemed to worship dragons, and death. Among their number was a draconic looking fellow… much akin to what our beloved Sonja looks like now. Though, his scales were a mottled red, blacker than anything else.

This was the creature that caused the scar on my husband’s face, and for that I forced the creature into submission before breaking him before his men. They fled… him, not so much.
Unbeknownst to us, the creature rose again, more shadow than scale and it ambushed us again and again. And each time we killed it, but it would rise, more battered but stronger still.

We found our weapons and strategies becoming less and less effective as it grew more and more monstrous and, I believe, it became fixated on me. As it grew stronger, so did its focus… so we laid a trap for it. We knew that while it followed me we could not return to our fellows and bring this sunnovabitch back to them.

So, we went back to the cult’s hideout. They were not prepared for us.

I confronted the shade before a hoard of treasure they had been amassing. I was to keep it occupied while the boys got into position, and finally, Leonidas was to do what he does best. (The Light answers his call.) And if that failed, we were going to trap it with its’ treasure.

I regret to say that despite our best efforts I could not even hope to hold the thing’s attention for more than a moment. My slashes mostly passed through the thing’s form and in desperation I cried out to anything that could aid me.

I’m a heathen, through and through. It was the most weak-willed act I’ve committed in my life.

Imagine my surprise when I heard an answer.

It was in that moment that I realised that religion was not for me. In that moment I felt worthless. Like an insignificant speck in an uncaring multiverse. And I am NOT a cog in some being’s greater machinations.

So, I fought. And I lost. I was battered and the thing plucked my eye… as if to finally one up me for killing it in the first place, for scarring my husband.

And so, it was then that I gave in to something pure, and mine. My rage. My focus. I gripped anything with weight, anything with an edge in that hoard. I’ve been told my war cries shook the chamber with their ferocity. And when my vision cleared, I had the thing broken at my feet and in my hands, my trusty halberds.

In the end I didn’t reply to a greater power, but I did gain an ally. One day we’ll head north and rid it of the blight that plagues that land.

_ The cult was that of: Null (Faluzure), The Night Dragon, The Deathwrym_

  • The group wonder at this greater being, with theories ranging from Gruumsh to Odin, and they were all good theories.
  • The Fury laughs it off and says the truth is stranger still. Ridiculous even. What answered her call was a being calling itself The Bright King- Gilgamesh. She lifts her arm, saying “Hail to the Bright King” and golden sigils, like scale, dance up her arm, she flicks out her hand and a halberd appears in her grasp. She repeats the process, summoning and dismissing a variety of golden weapons.
  • She believes she has gained the favour to a dragon, a king of dragons, and has been given access to his hoard. Calling her ability “The Hoard of Gilgamesh.”
  • The group, looking over Ziggy’s maps, then wonder if the draconic on the map is a mistranslation. Does “Hoard or Death” mean “Hoard OF Death”? Find out next time!

So! Back in the game, and tying up loose ends, getting answers and more mysteries, and more lore and backstory. Apparently some of you forgot about the war in the north, but don’t worry, yo, I’ve got you covered.

We’ll have to fill in some details with the estate, such as produce and employees, but we’ll sort that all out soon enough. Looks like we’ll have time too because it looks like next session y’all are getting yourselves on a caravan.

It was a fun, weird, little session and I felt pretty bad there wasn’t any combat (again) but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves? Also, despite the fact that I name dropped Ziggy about 5,327 times in the recap, everyone was contributing.

Also, there was some magic item redistribution in the end, with Dharivol getting some new toys. But, what does the future hold? Will they make the caravan in time? Will Akali murder everything in a 50 mile radius? Will the group figure out that Fae is an air genasi and not a half drow? They will actually, I corrected them because they would know she’s definitely not an elf… ALAS, WILL EVAN CONTROL WEEZL, USING HER POWERS TO CONTROL THE MULTIVERSE?! Find out next time!

Session 31: House Party
Cribs: Baron Ziggy Edition

So, a weird session this week since we were down a player. At first, I intended to speed through the lands/titles section of the game and finally get everyone to the Untamed Wilds. What actually happened was a lot of free-range roleplay and a lot of in-character moments, and also the hasty creation of SO MANY MORE NPCs (which I only have myself to blame).

Also, as Ramar wasn’t able to make this session, certain things may need to be altered or added, since he is a part of this process. But, amendments are easy enough to make.

  • Firstly, there was a retroactive training montage featuring Weezl, Ziggy and Dharivol which covered the last month or so in game where she learns to use the short bow.
  • What happened is that the gnome passed the many checks (some at disadvantage) to learn the skill without incurring to much of a cost in ammunition and collateral damage. So now, our resident druid is proficient in short bows.
  • But, back to present day, the group find Salindra is sleeping off her fatigue, while they are all still reeling from a little exhaustion themselves. Alongside breakfast, Dharivol finds a letter addressed to him from the duchess herself. The letter pertains to her offer of enchanting his bow, asking for permission, and that she may need to alter the bow and get some of Scruffy’s silk.
  • Dharivol agrees and the week long enchanting process begins… which also turns into Dom asking if the bow is ready about every half hour or so.
  • The group discuss much of what they know about the Untamed Wilds, cross-referencing everything with Dharivol’s own experience. While speaking of the hazards and their plan of entry, they discover some of the ranger’s past. They learn that his wood elf father left his mother before he was born and that she died while she was young. He came across Scruffy not much later and they have been inseparable ever since. It also appears that the half-elf has taken after his father – who also appears to have been a ranger.
  • During this discussion, old session notes are brought up, along with poring over inventory sheets, and they (re)discover that their Wildfire Wine was made by wood elf monks in the Wilds itself. So, that has piqued their interest to investigate that, and also to see if Dharivol’s father has anything to do with them.
  • Later checking with Salindra they learn she never met his father, but she does know that the wood elves of the Wilds are rather nomadic. It appears that they occupy the western region of the Wilds of late. They also learn she is about 300 years old and has accounts in her library (which Ziggy went through while they were resting) written of her experience in the old country of sand elves.
  • The group also decide that taking a dwarven caravan into the Untamed Wilds and leaving it about half-way through its route is the best way to get into the Descent – the several hundred feet drop into the primeval woods.
  • They learn from Dharivol that there are cavern systems along the Descent, so there may be several ways to make their way down the sheer cliff. Taking tunnels, rather than climbing down the cliff face itself.
  • They also learn that the apex predator in the region aren’t the giant lizards that live there. No, it is the gargantuan bird that hunts them. A Roc. Dharivol has seen the majestic beast from a distance, which is easily done with its 200 feet wingspan.

  • Eventually the conversation turns to titles and deeds, and we fast forward to a meeting with one Kristoff Draven, and older human man and administrator for the crown, who talks to the party about the particulars of their arrangement.
  • He restates the offer of 3 separate parcels of land, and titles, or a singular large estate are on offer. The group take up the idea of an estate, which nets them the resumed manor of the Hinkell family, vineyards and a neighbouring orchard (“thrown in” thanks to their commitment to employing townfolk), a storehouse (complete with some old tools, wagon and cart), distillery (which requires some repair) and a homestead/workshop (similar to the homesteads seen about town.) They learn the left some time ago to return to their family in the Shimmering Gates. They also weren’t very good wine makers and seemed to cut a lot of costs in some areas and spend lavishly in others. Their brand had the unfortunate jingle “When you need a tinkle, grab a Hinkell.” Naturally, the group are interested in bringing that back to some extent.
  • The discuss the particulars of staffing and what would be required for the best start possible. They also ask about the other prominent winemakers in Hearthshire and learn that they typically reside in Sandhill. The most prominent family, with 5 wine masters, is the Velvedere family. But they learn that starting with one is likely enough, with two being ideal for later down the track.
  • It is also at this point, thanks to Ziggy using a wine merchant as a cover previously, we let fate decide the level of his expertise. One dice roll later, we learn that Ziggy himself has a natural instinct and intuition for wine tasting and flavours, in ways he is a wine master himself.
  • Kristoff states the estate’s worth in gold and says that consolidating their parcels leaves an excess, and, as thanks from the crown they are given a credit of 1,500 gold to spend of refurbishment, building and staffing.
  • Of course, this generosity helped along somewhat when Ziggy offers to take up the take of Baron. His requirements and duties are as follows: he must swear fealty to the crown and to his local lord, he must present himself for the newly installed corruption checks, must take part in local government and he’ll be given sway to hold his own initiatives and voice his own opinions in the future. His duties are somewhat lax compared to other lords but the crown are willing to accommodate the concept of an adventuring lord, seeing that his adventures, rewards and information benefit the area. It is, of course, how the duchess Helen Fairbridge first started out.
  • Finally the group learn of the other noble houses in Woodsrest. There are 3 families:
    - House Thalomir (established ~20 years) – an elven family that specialises in farming, seemingly ambitious
    - House Kerrek (established ~100 years) – a dwarven family that specialises in farming and orchards
    - House Urnot (established ~120 years) – a human family, considered to be incredibly hardworking but also has no time for politics

  • Time fast forwards to a week’s time, in which Weezl has planted her awakened plant (but has yet to meet it in game), and Dharivol finds his bow returned to him. The bow is now segmented, with its original form and that of a twisted natural wood that alternating along the weapon. The string itself is a shimmering silver string that appears invisible from some angles and like a line of glittering starlight from others- it is the enchanted webbing of Scruffy’s. The duchess promises that the bow will grow and adapt along with the ranger and his companion, and attuning to it reveals the weapon to create a stronger bond between them.
  • During this week Ziggy petitions for and holds a town meeting, introducing himself and the job prospects soon to be available at the new estate. He is very well received and a group of workers express interest. Not only that but the scion of the Thalomir family introduces herself to Ziggy and the companions, and expresses interest in working with him. Or at least sampling his wines once the vineyard is functioning. They do notice some dwarves among the crowd but do not meet the Kerreks. The group also keep an eye out for the gnome Slevv but do not spy him.
  • At the end of the week, there is also a party held at the group’s new estate (which they have not yet named), mostly on the grounds as the place is still being repaired and furnished. There they meet the Kerrek family proper, with Greeth and Kuin the family heads introducing themselves. Greeth excuses himself after pleasantries are made and Kuin, a bubbly dwarven matron, takes over the conversation. She tells them of the Urnots (at their behest) and that they shouldn’t feel offended they haven’t made an appearance, they don’t partake in politics and are mainly focused on their own work. She also warns them of the Thalomirs and their ambition. Kuin doesn’t wish to speak poorly of them but says they are more likely suited to the Hearthshire capitol itself.
  • Dharivol does entertain the crowd with his bagpipes, at Kuin’s request, and Weezl spies some movement at one of the buffet tables. She sees Henry, the now white-haired sorcerer boy, loading up a cloth with foodstuffs. Weezl helps him and despite his suspicions he allows her. He takes the food, and the druid (with a promise she won’t scare anyone), to the outskirts of the party under the shadow of some trees. There they find Quiet the tiefling, who apprehensively observes the gnome. Henry speaks simply to her and lays the food down, where she starts to devour it.
  • The pair have a conversation, largely ignored by Quiet, where the boy asks what it is exactly that the group did to him. He’s distressed over more than the colour of his hair. He seems to have more spells available to him now and keeps having dreams of a horse. Weezl brings up Unicorneleous and Henry agrees that is the name of the horse and he finds the whole thing ridiculous. The young man is quite short in his responses, tempered with suspicion and frustration. He doesn’t get any answers that satisfy him. Weezl does invite the pair to the party and he says that a vagrant isn’t likely welcome, and he’s worried for his new friend. Weezl tells him that a title doesn’t mean much, they’re easy to get, she turned one down herself! This, is also not an answer that pleases the young man. He thanks her for acceptance and Weezl says that if they want work, they’ll have opportunity for them soon. And with that she rejoins the festivities.

  • Lastly, the group talk about supplies for the Wilds and Weezl says she’d like a bag of holding, or something that they can store all sorts of vegetation and such inside. They spend time investigating avenues and Dharivol finds a few sellers at decent prices, but Ziggy goes a step better, finding a few but also gets an offer from Yuri.
  • It seems the fence has kept her eye on the new lord and the rising estate as something to keep herself busy. No one has heard much from Dannick, so they’re just doing what they do. She does however have an offer for the group, a bag of preservation. A bag that can keep things fresh, but does have half the capacity of a bag of holding. It is, in effect, a Bag of Colding.
  • She says the price is 750gp and Ziggy talks her down to 700gp, when he offers 600gp. She proffers the item, seeing as the group seek to leave soon. Just before she leaves she gives Ziggy an offer – something that she thinks will interest him for 100 gold. Something a thief could always use.
  • He takes her up on the offer, giving her the money quite quickly, and she hands him a small pouch – one that can produce caltrops daily. For the price, and their friendship, she tells him it’s a good idea not to put it in a bag of holding, and also that he should empty it daily. He’ll get his money’s worth in no time.
  • As she leaves she says it would have only been 50 gp, but he tried to dick her out of 50 gp with the bag. There’s a wink and a farewell… and the session ends there.

This was such a funny session. At one point I realised that the players were just chatting in character for a good 20 minutes, and thanks to not wanting to advance the story too much that worked out well with me. A lot of character moments and old story beats came up as well, mainly thanks to a moment where everyone went over old game notes and their inventory.

So, the estate is being finished up, so we’ll have to sort out a few more details there on what exactly is being grown and how things are being set up in regards to the buildings themselves. All in all, I’m happy with how it’s coming together and it looks like everyone’s really enjoying it.

Now just to see what happens now that we have Baron Coppero in the party. To think this is where the party has ended up.

So, will the party figure out if there is a halfling mafia? Will they become the greatest wine makers on the western coast? Will they run into cannibal elves? WILL THEY ACTUALLY LEAVE FOR THE UNTAMED WILDS??? Find out next time!

Session 30: A Hole-some Experience
Running out of Hole puns...

Such a PITy…

  • The group arrive in town, late and exhausted but laden with their delivery of narcotic plants. They meet up with Krimm, who is sleepily watching over the pit, and he directs them to the manor.
  • The party are welcomed by servants who recognise them and offer the group refreshments. Soon they are met with a half-asleep, somewhat embarrassed, Salindra who is surprised at how quickly they managed their task. She takes the delivery off their hands and offers them guest rooms in her home and reassures them that they’ll reconvene in the morning at a more appropriate hour, in a more appropriate state of dress. But for now, the party gets some rest.


  • A half-elf ranger and his trusty wolf-spider are on a high-priority mission- deliver some rare materials (herbs, plants and reagents) to the Duchess of Woodsrest. It has NOTHING to do with the defacto leader of Woodsholme not liking him very much, or the fact that the man shows her parts of her homeland and past that she wants nothing to do with… or maybe it does. Either way, Dharivol and Scruffy make their way to the town in the north with their package, arriving with the dawn.
  • The witness the town starting to stir and find their way near to the duchess’ manor, and also find a dwarven man, nodding off, near a pit. He starts awake when they approach and despite being torn at sending the awkward ranger to his liege and current employer sees no other option. When Dharivol speaks to the man in dwarven he warms up to him much more and let’s him know where he needs to go, and then Krimm is thankfully relieved of his night shift.
  • Dharivol finds a warm welcome, differing from the mixed reactions he received from folk in town, and walks into the main area of the manor – to find a small group at breakfast. Here, he meets Weezl, Ziggy and Ramar. The paladin is a bit put off by the spider, to say the least, but it’s Dharivol and Scruffy who are met with a barrage of enthusiasm when Weezl and Imi introduce themselves.
  • Food is had and words exchanged – talking about where Dharivol hails from and where the group intend to go next. They have aligned interests with the Untamed Wilds with the ranger seeing the place as his home and the group seeing it as a place for adventure- along with Ziggy’s own interests in finding a particular volcano.
  • They quickly share information they have (thanks to me forgetting to hand off a map to Dom before the game… whoops) about the location of a smoking mountain on a map that Dharivol received as thanks for saving another scout (thanks to our little demo game), and Ziggy shows him his own drawing of the ruins, asking if the fellow half-elf knows the location. He does not but he’s the best scout the group could possibly ask for, even if they collectively aren’t sure where to get enough flies to feed Scruffy. The spider has been overly shy this entire time.
  • Eventually Salindra joins the group. She thanks the ranger for his service, though she was expecting the delivery earlier, and asks if he wishes to assist in the ritual that everyone else has seemingly been talking about. Dharivol, however, believes there’s to be a spider festival (thanks to misinformation from Eleanor) and is somewhat at a loss. Though, when he agrees, Salindra offers to add a bit more of a magical punch to his bow – though the effect will only be temporary.
  • It’s here where the ritual is discussed at length. She details the ointment she needs to concoct that she believes will assist in their senses and self-control (helping to avoid the eldritch being’s madness) which WILL leave them exhausted, the need to keep the skies clear, and the positioning of the other people in the town. The town is being evacuated with the existing guard on duty to protect the townsfolk, the group are all that is there to take on this alien foe. Needless to say, the party is confused at this strange show of trust and self-sufficiency.
  • Then there are the braziers- they will create a field that should retain the strange creature and the fires will also be vital in destroying the thing when it is (hopefully) reduced to a fraction of its power. It is vital they remain lit.
  • The group go to prepare themselves for the full moon that evening. Weezl helps with the preparations required on the braziers and ritual ingredients- learning a few things along the way. The gets some odd instruction from young Daniira who seems to think that the druid can fix up the enchantments on the braziers, which Weezl learns are a bit “messy.” The incantation is rather broad, and they later learn they are also flawed, but she does manage to shore up that deficiency, at a cost.
  • Ramar goes to check up on Krimm and the pit, bringing food and ale, but finds the replacement guard instead and offers him the meal instead- making the young man’s day. And the rest of the day passes rather uneventfully.

*Then… the ritual begins. The duchess, her daughter and Krimm are located far from the ritual area, making sure the weather is controlled and that the incantation for banishing the creature isn’t interrupted. The group have the ointment applied on the eyelids and mind’s eye, and they find themselves focused and able to see into the ethereal plane. Around the pit they see invisible tendrils of force whipping about, like haphazard wind currents.

  • The group find themselves feeling quite alone, each taking up a position to protect one of the braziers apiece… and then things begin. The barrel that was holding the being shatters and the “egg” floats up above the pit. It stares at the group before shrouding itself in darkness, roiling tentacles of darkness and shrieks of madness (thankfully muted), and then there is the sickening, sharp tearing sound of reality breaking… and in its’ space is being of shifting mass as dark as the void of space, with the chill of death, and countless eyes and mouths.
  • The party are caught off-guard somewhat (low initiative, yo) but still mostly act first. Then, it all goes to shit.

So, naturally, here’s a bit of a summary since I won’t be doing a play-by-play.

  • Weezl makes the most of a 4th level Moonbeam, which does some massive damage and causing a volatile reaction with the creature- thankfully everyone is out of range and oddly enough throughout the entirety of the fight not once did it’s violent counteract strike friend or foe alike.
  • The group take some potshots but mostly stay in defensive positions… until it acts. It shifts and pulls itself through space to reach Weezl and then drops a shroud of darkness, a screaming, writhing void, on the gnome… and from it emerge 3 Nothics. The single-eyed creatures rush from the darkness to try to destroy the braziers.
  • Weezl surrounded by the star spawn and a nothic then does something amazing, Beast Shaping into a Giant Owl and flying straight up and not taking any opportunity attacks. It was the perfect retreat which helped her maintain her Moonbeam spell.
  • Then, possibly the most clutch action taken during the fight: Ramar casts Daylight. This destroys the darkness and negates some of the creature’s abilities.

The most amusing thing was Matt asking – is the daylight even effecting this thing? To which I replied “Yes, yes it is.” At the end of the fight what I detailed was this- it negated the shadow it cast as an aura, which can stop movement and cause necrotic damage, and also stopped the creature from using Hunger of Hadar (which was modified), which also meant that the being could not summon reinforcements. Which, isn’t to say the creature was neutralised but it would have been a VERY different fight without that brilliant move. After the session, Matt and everyone was super relieved to hear how much they avoided.

  • The rest of the fight was as such: there were rivalries between Ziggy, Ramar and the Nothics. They managed to mess with their braziers and do some damage to the respective PCs and they weren’t having any of it. And, thankfully Dharivol managed to riddle most of the enemies with a Conjured Barrage doing some respectful damage.
  • The ranger did draw the ire of the creature after that and was focused on, but he and Scruffy managed to avoid and deal plenty of damage as they fought and protected one another with both fear and zeal.
  • Things took a turn for the worst when the creature emitted a piercing, howling shriek, inducing terror… a Mind Break, if you will. All but Scruffy and Ziggy failed, and they were restrained by fear and took psychic damage… enough to knock Weezl from her Giant Owl form, and unfortunately she was in such a state she could not use her parachute emblem… and even more unfortunate is that she was located over the pit, adding 30 feet to her fall. She lands solidly, but soon enough gets out and becomes a Giant Scorpion, ready for round 2.
  • Abilities are used with abandon and Dharivol does a stand-up job of going toe-to-toe with this eldritch horror but finally the foe is felled with a Seeking Arrow fired by Ziggy which devastates the being…. shattering it and scattering most of it to the wind. A small shard of pitch black slowly floats to the ground- they have to destroy it.
  • Ziggy manages to grab the shard, even as it tries to break his will, he fights off the urges and suggestions it tries to force on him. But when he goes to throw it into the flame (thanks to half of the party trying to carry him to it) it fights back again, filling him with sheer terror, causing him to drop the shard.
  • Weezl then manages to grab the shard, dropping her beast form, and slamming the shard into the flames that hungrily jump up to devour it. They do so, burning the abyssal stain to nothingness, sending a shower of radiant sparks in the air.
  • And then, there is stillness, and peace, to the extent the party did not realise. In the back of their minds was a creeping tension which is now gone and now they notice that absence. Dharivol and Scruffy celebrate and Ramar fulfils a promise with a nothic, dragging its corpse to a brazier and stuffing it into it, purifying and destroying the creature utterly. He then turns his anger back to his usual friendly disposition, healing himself and the party.
  • Salindra joins the party, exhausted and pouring sweat. She thanks the party for everything and apologises that they had to experience something so horrific. The party tell her it’s no problem, it’s like any other day and they saw way worse in the capital. In their words they tell her “They’ve seen much worse” to which Dharivol retorts “WE HAVEN’T. That was the single worst experience of my life!” (Which, admittedly, was goddamn hilarious.) The duchess apologises again and he says she can make up for it by enchanting his bow permanently.
  • She then tells the group the can use the guest rooms again to get some rest and she’ll see them in the morning. For now she has to talk to the townsfolk and get them back to their towns.
  • Weezl then, inspired, casts Insect Plague for Scruffy instead opting for a cloud of flies to feed the giant spider- who happily accepts. The ranger also manages to get a bag of spider-meal for the effort.
  • Then exhaustion hits, near crippling in its intensity and the group naturally go to rest.
  • The morning finds them, still tired but more functional than before. They meet up for breakfast and find an exhausted Salindra, she’s somewhat beside herself with exhaustion, but has managed something of a short-notice reward. The gifts the group a package of rare herbs and seeds, and full access to her own gardens; a small satchel of glittering sand from her homeland – Dust of Disappearance, it’s something of a momento but she wants Ziggy to have it; and finally she and Daniira offer up a weird seed with small glyphs carved into it- the seed of an awakened tree (which Ramar says they should name Russel…).
  • And the session ends there.

So! We had a bit of a demo session last week making and running Dharivol through a small thing and now he’s into the game proper! I’m really loving the character and Dom is such a great fit for the group, I’m really excited to see what he brings. And, if you’re reading this, sorry that your first “real” fight was one of my stupid boss fights and also eldritch horror. No one signed up for that shit.

Also, I forgot that I have somewhat of a reputation for my boss fights and I have to say it was fun to mess with expectations. There was mention of anime boss battles and multi-stage fights, but hey, it was fun doing all the phases during turn one. I’m honestly really happy with how the entire ritual battle played out. I didn’t even forget that much!

And one more thing, the Hearthshire arc is officially completely finished! It’s so crazy to have nothing huge and scary lined up for that place but I’m so excited to prepare different content for everyone. I will admit, I’m going to miss a lot of those NPCs but they’re not going anywhere (or are they?) Honestly, I’m just really excited to see where the game goes from here, especially with our new addition/s to the cast.

So, what are our intrepid adventurers to do next? Shop for a vineyard? Hunt down cultists? Create the world’s creepiest pet shop? Burn down that apothecary? (Seriously, I’m fucking watching you, Ramar!) … Actually go into the Untamed Fucking Wilds?! FIND OUT NEXT TIME!!!

Session 29: A Hole Lot of Trouble
When the party directs the narrative

Apparently all stones must not be left unturned! All things must be fixed! The party looks like they want to move in here, after all.

That aside, I’m going to try to make the recaps a LOT more concise going forward seeing as the party size may potentially double in size. I’m not going to remember as much with so much more “input” going on. So, apologies in advance but I hope this suffices.

  • The party resume in the chaotic aftermath of their exorcism efforts and eventually move Henry to another room. They place the kid near Tomas (there’s an accent… so call him Tom) the one regularly injured person in the building. He, naturally, protests so Weezl heals him… rolling three 8’s in a row for a maxed out super Cure Wounds.
  • Tomas was surly before this but the healing supercharges the man and he’s pleased as punch. Thanks the party and let’s them know he’s to the east of town, working as a farm hand and he’s good at animal husbandry.
  • The party then acquaint themselves with the recently recovered spellcasters, two of which try to get out ASAP (being the two druids). They meet Tahna, the dwarven nature cleric of Chauntea, Garthis the dwarven life cleric of Moradin, Ophelia the wood elf druid (who is completely dismissive of the party) and the large goliath druid Darkath who had made it outside before being accosted by Weezl.
  • Some of the more injured patients are looked after, they obscure/remove areas where most of the eldritch scrawl was made, and then the party head off.
  • The group then make their way to the other apothecary to see what good they can do there. They meet attempts to turn them away as the smaller building is busy caring for more people effected by the madness that has plagued the town.
  • Weezl, utilising her all-terrain boots, scampers up the walls of the building to peek inside (with two nat 20’s on stealth rolls in a row), and finds a break room (kitchen) and another room with an old woman; she later discovers another room with a cloaked figure huddled in the corner.
  • To avoid being kicked out of the building, because some of the larger healers were brought out to strongarm the party to the exit, Ziggy then takes on an official air, pulls out a book and quill, and states that he has an appointment for an inspection- as an agent of the Hearthshire Apothecary and Herbalist Association… or H.A.H.A. for short…

This shit came out of goddamn nowhere. Evan didn’t even look at notes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that level of improvisation before and it was amazing. From spouting the name of the organisation, to the joke of an acronym, I was blown away and it took me way too long to recollect myself to roll with it, which I’m happy to say that I did.

  • Then came the Deception check of 26. Soon enough they meet the gnome gentleman that ignored them previously, Skevv. He runs the apothecary and was completely on the back foot at the official nature and mountain of jargon and BS thrown his way. This was only made worse for the gnome when Ramar, sounding like a godsdamned HR document, jumped in on the con.
  • Admittedly they met resistance initially because of the paladin’s Hearthsworn armor, but Ziggy and the paladin were both clever and unrelenting.
  • They manage to get upstairs, where Ramar detects two more people afflicted in the same way as the other apothecary. Ziggy does his best to manipulate the situation, but does spy some thieves’ cant from the gnome when he presses a bit hard. He sees “get help.” and “now” and two men dart from the building, which Weezl notices.
  • Minutes later they return, recollect themselves and head in, making a poor show of looking natural.
  • Weezl scopes out the room with the dark figure about the same time that Ramar makes his way into the building. She then darts through the kitchen window, where Ziggy/Archie Fatawa’s meeting is being held, and goes to meet the paladin.
  • What happens is that the two are met with a horned young tiefling woman with blue skin and an agitated demeanour. Flames lick up from her hands to her arm and she huddles into the corner. When they make a move she unleashes Burning Hands into the pair, setting the room alight. She is then grabbed and a combined Lesser Restoration effort helps ease the woman. She passes out, but the room is aflame, which Ramar fixes with a combination of salt water via Alchemy Jug, and the use of a cloak.
  • There is smoke everywhere but they press on to the next room, where the older woman sits unmoving. They approach and they hear Dissonant Whispers. Ramar hears the voices more keenly than the druid and darts from the room, and chaos ensues. Weezl attempts to cast Hold Person but it is countered. When Ramar returns he is thrown, again, from the room with Telekinesis, and eventually they bear the woman down and Restore her as well.
  • Ziggy at this point is struggling to keep everyone in one place, and when the two unconscious women are placed in the kitchen area, he is ignored by Skevv. The gnome darts off to find healing supplies, and the room is filled with healer acolytes… one of which manages to sneak into Ziggy’s blindspot and place a blade over his kidney, telling him that that’s what the establishment pays for (mirroring the half-elf’s own words) and tells them to leave peaceably. They do, but they are left worried about the establishment and the patients there.
  • The group then decide to order some iron filings from a blacksmith, and take a swim. When Ramar drops off his armor at the inn, he sees both Darkath and Zindor working the bar. Finally they float down the stream out of town. During which Weezl becomes an octopus and plays with her elemental water gem, which restores itself somewhat during the swim- becoming brighter and whole.
  • Out of tow Ziggy expresses worry about the book he’s been reading and wants a blessing/exorcism. Ramar responds with gusto, using Protection from Good and Evil, and the paladruid combination L.Resto the half-elf. If there was anything effecting him it wasn’t anymore.
  • Relieved and sharing his woes, the party support each other and head off to talk to Salindra. They meet up with the duchess at her estate and talk about the ritual and what materials are required. They learn they don’t have a lot of time and leave that night for the Purple Pipeweed. They also talk of the possibility of a cult, skulduggery, and about Skevv. They learn the gnome has bad blood with Hearthsworn but don’t know what. They also learn that the tiefling’s name is Quiet and she does not speak. They know not why.
  • With Weezl’s navigation skills and the duchess’ directions the group make quick work of the trip. They run into some baboons, rest in a cave with some giant badgers, and forage. Finally, that evening, they find a clearing and a LARGE patch of this toxic, narcotic weed. And also the group of giant boars that eat it… stoned and aggressive these beasts rush the party as they are half-way through harvesting.
  • There is a chase. During which, Ramar stores a large patch of the plant, and uses the alchemy jug to summon litres of mayonnaise. Because, the pigs had the munchies… and strangely enough… it took about half of the creatures out of the fight with the exception of the giant Miss Piggy who kept savaging the paladin.
  • It always gives a DM pause to hear your druid ask “what sex are the boars?” You can’t help but wonder “why the hell are you asking this?” What resulted was the summoning of a lady boar to attempt to draw away two of the male (of three total) boars. It almost worked. But what was more effective was Weezl polymorphing one into a snail, and Ramar’s debut with the Wand of Fear.
  • The group manage to escape to their mounts and extricate themselves without killing the beasts. They manage a fast and exhausting trip back to town, managing to return the next evening giving themselves a full day to prepare for the ritual, now that they have all their ingredients.

… and so ends the session.

Another self-directed session which was all too amusing at times. It was really interesting having NPCs that were dismissive or wary of the party, and I may have enjoyed playing some of the spellcasters a bit too much (I really enjoyed Darkath, Ophelia and Garthis). Naturally the player’s created?uncovered? more potential plot hooks. So, we’ll see what happens there. Maybe we’ll one day end up in the Untamed Wilds Admittedly, it’s my fault for putting a hole in the ground filled with demonic ooze.

Also, I really can’t get over how adept Ziggy/Evan has become at fast-talking. It’s really impressive and I’m still blown away. H.A.H.A. was absolute genius. Though this isn’t to discount everyone else’s actions in game. I feel like everyone was really on point and it really has been a joy running this game for everyone.

It also may appear that we could have potentially two or three people joining soon! I have no idea how I’m going to run this but I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing what fresh blood brings to the table. I’ve bought more resources to try speed things up on my end at least. But we should have a session 0 and see where that goes.

So, until next time… will they solve the mystery of the ooze? Will they uncover 15 more mysteries along the way? Will Weezl get to play with the next den of critters she finds? Will Ziggy actually create an apothecary organisation? Will the party have some new recruits? And more importantly- will they interview them? Who am I kidding… we all know they will… UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Session 28: The Pit (part 2): Secret of the Ooze
That's a TMNT reference.

^ by player request. Y’all can thank Anna for that one.

  • The game starts with some retroactive description of the past couple of towns the group passed though. They then start at the ooze pit and Mielikki’s shrine.
  • And then there were Moonbeams. Two, in fact, one larger than the other. They obliterated dark oozing matter, which attempted to lash out, to no avail. And soon enough, during a conversation even, with a divine arrow sealing the deal, the ooze crystallised, cracked and quickly reverted into a small pitch black sphere (roughly 6 inches across).

[Fun fact: you crazy bastards dealt 296 damage in 5 rounds. So now I think I maybe know why a lot of things aren’t weak to radiant damage..]

  • There is a conversation with an angry Krim Grayslaughter and a concerned Salindra Dustwalker, with her daughter Daniira following cautiously in tow. Ziggy was a bit more casual until things looked like they were getting pretty crazy.
  • The learn a few things about this ooze: how it’s more active, and retaliates, at night; and it is more dormant during the day. They’ve tried moving the “egg” form of the thing but find it rots and destroys anything it touches.
  • They learn that to counter it, Salindra is trying, on her own, to devise a ritual that may seal or destroy the eldritch spawn. This requires a few rare herbs and plants and the party are taken to her home so she can find some tomes so she can show them some accurate depictions. They have roughly 5 days until the full moon, when she suspects the ritual will be at its most effective.
  • On the way to the manor, the small elf girl discusses hair colours with Weezl and “defeats” Ramar when she asks if he’s one of the bad men that came through town earlier.
  • While Salindra was looking for her tomes Daniira plays the part of hostess asking what drinks anyone would like. Weezl asks for tea, Ziggy asks for some wine, and Ramar requests iced tea. While this occurs they spark a conversation with Krim, learning that his family name comes from his clan that hunts down Duergar. He hails from the east and the upperdark. So, not quite from the Untamed Wilds, or under it. But he knows enough of the area- enough to say they should be careful and there’s no point in mapping the area as things move, sink and shift.
  • Before too long, and after a number of crashes of breaking glass, Daniira returns with beverages. Weezl has some lukewarm tea, Ziggy is given what can only be described as a half-full vase of wine, and Ramar is also given some tea. When they promise the girl they can keep a secret she blows a small chilling wind on the tea, cooling it. She tries to do the same for Weezl but instead is surprised by her mother’s return and mostly blows frost onto the gnome’s face and eyebrows.
  • With the plants descriptions, and a firm goal for this ritual. Ramar spearheads a plan, involving holy water a barrel, and some creative Mold Earth, from Weezl, to seal this egg. At least until the ritual can be cast. First though, he needs powdered silver.

I was really impressed with how you guys tackled this. Going from my suggestion of “art pieces/silverwear”, which was veto’d because y’all want fancy cutlery for whatever house you end up with, to grinding silver pieces, to deconstructing Silvered Swords. It was some impressive inventory management.

  • With a plan set, the group head off to find craftsmen and learn that the process to get their materials is going to take a few hours. But they figure they can complete it before evening. (Also, Ceremony is such a fun spell.)
  • The party stop by the nearest apothecary which is run by a boy in his early teens, the back room is bustling and the occasional wail of distress can be heard. The boy, Abe, has a shaved head and thick glasses and doesn’t know much about the store. Eventually, Weezl and Ramar offer to talk to the boy’s father to see if they can help the people. Abe warns them that the people are sick and that it might be a bit hard to see.
  • While the two head off, Ziggy busies himself in the store. They have successfully come across some old Aardana root that was required by the ritual and managed a decent discount, capitalising on the boy’s insecurity. So Ziggy tries his luck finding other ingredients. He fast-talks his way into enquiring about the Purple Pipeweed, which he mistakenly calls The Purple Dragon a number of times. They both learn that it’s a prohibited substance, which leads to some awkwardness, but to make up for it Ziggy ends up requesting a pipe and some tobacco, which the boy is adept at flavouring – something he’s picked up in helping his father.
  • Ziggy also uses his memory quill to draw over the documents the boy has to gain some more intel on this pipeweed, which he sketches out for his own collection later.
  • At Ziggy’s request he concocts something both hot, spicy but with the edge smoothed out. With the bite of cinnamon and a dash of lavender. When the half-elf asks what it’s called, the boy joking says “Purple Dragon.” They both seem very happy with themselves.
  • Meanwhile, the others find a room full of mentally distressed and comatose villagers, about 20 in number, crammed into this large workshop. The feet of another 10 or so people can be heard on the floor above them. They see a man, in his late 30s, named Gabriel guiding some helpers and leaning near a window, catching a break with a cigarette. He explains the situation- that they’re running low on supplies, they’re restricted to mundane healing and even still it doesn’t seem to help those of addled mind. Many of the patients here are lashed to their beds.
  • Spellcasters in the area were among the most heavily afflicted by the madness, and things are worse at night. The paladin and druid both offer their assistance, seeing if they can try to heal some of those who are the worst off. They are introduced to a young man named Ash who has been restrained and is wasting away. The two then, in tandem, cast Lesser Restoration, being made to roll a die (adding their spellcasting modifier). They collectively hit over 30 and seemingly aid the man. He breathes easily, comes to for a short while and then passes out from exhaustion. It seemingly works, but whether it holds or not is another story. Regardless, Gabriel is amazed.
  • They ask about aiding the spellcasters and talk of Greater Restoration which Weezl can cast once a day. They shy away from doing this when they hear that the worst case is a young man, roughly 16, named Henry. The boy was always able to cast, though at times strange and unpredictable things happened around him. There is a collective “oh shit” and they nearly back out, but they step up to the challenge saying they’ll be back tomorrow.
  • Meanwhile, Ziggy hows Abe his bow and the boy is astounded at the magic weapon, they all collectively see the state of what’s happening upstairs, and the barred doors on the ‘spellcasters’ doors. They also meet Juniper, the doctor’s wife, who is assisting with the patients upstairs. They also witness the one regular injury in the place, with a farmer with a broken leg.
  • They promise they’ll be back after they get some diamond dust (which they organise easily enough with some more inventory management), and they manage to collect their silver as well. They head to the pub, then realise it’s nearly evening and they have an “egg” to sort out. They race across town, getting to the pit and using a hefty barrel, shifted earth and some holy water concentrate to build a well around the levitating egg. It seemingly holds but is agitated. Krim had been waiting for the group and says that, once it is done, that he’ll stand watch for the night. He has flares if he runs into trouble but they should get some rest. This is his job after all.
  • Ziggy thinks of the folios dealing with Azatoth but knows that opening the book near the pit isn’t the best idea. However, in his recollections, as focused as they are he finds he has absently scratched in an eldritch symbol into the book’s cover. Disturbed he puts it away and does tell the party about this before they retire that evening.
  • The group then head to “The Pub”, a large, literally large, establishment that is profoundly busy and run by a heavily tattooed but reasonably tailored goliath named Zindor. He is taciturn and gruff and all about business. The party find rooms easily enough, at half the price (thanks to their Folk hero status), and discounted meals. Until Weezl casually inquires about the goliath because of his accent. She then refers to goliaths as barbarians. This, the man does not like, and when Weezl does not back down, he throws her silver back at her, taking away her meal and says she can sleep on the street.
  • Weezl meets the boys upstairs, thanks to her boots, but it was an tense moment. She is unapologetic however and settles in unaware. Imi is then summoned, which at first alarms, then confuses, and then delights Ramar as he sees her as a fey creature with his Divine Sense, something he couldn’t do previously. His mithril bangle blooms with tiny flower buds when he uses this ability.
  • The capybara plays and gets some scratches, also getting water throughout the inn. The rest get some sleep eventually.
  • Morning finds the group and Weezl strides down into the inn with her buddy. Ramar, feeling keenly embarrassed, climbs out the window of the inn and walks through the front door. Ziggy slinks in as though nothing is amiss. And thankfully another woman is running the counter at the moment, she seats the group together and gets food served quickly enough.
  • Behind the counter, the group spy a new addition to the bar, a “List of Shame” with a reasonable approximation of Weezl placed under it. Weezl takes out her notebook and remembers accurate details but misses on the execution of her own drawing, sneaking behind the counter to place her picture of Zindor over her own. She rolled a 15 on Stealth, he rolled a 16 on Perception.
  • Coming in the door, fresh from his morning rounds, is a roar of “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” and the gnome is chased out of the building. She runs along walls and the roof to evade him, with Imi running interference.
  • Ramar eventually opts to leave, in armor, out the window again taking some breakfast and a flask for Krim. He does NOT stick the landing but the food completely survives impact, much like a drunk stacking it with a full pint.
  • The find the dwarf, who is tired, but nothing occurred during the night. The barrel lost some water but seems intact. It should last another couple of days at the rate it’s going. He’ll sort out more holy water, knowing that it’ll work, and top things up. They’ve done enough for now. He thanks them and goes to get some rest, now that run is peeking into the pit at the barrel.
  • Then it’s back to the apothecary. Upstairs they find Gabriel who is looking a bit beside himself but says he’ll come in to try help calm Henry. He recommends they don’t do anything to provoke him and that things may get unsettling very fast. Ziggy sleight of hands the Bands of Bilarro, getting that ready as a failsafe.
  • They remove the heavy wooden bar and walk into, what was probably a bedroom. Crowbars have been turned into makeshift bars that cover small windows. Tattered and torn barlap cloth cover the windows, but most of the red-maroon material is wrapped around a young man who stares absently at a wall. The room is mostly empty and in tatters.
  • Henry has dark hair with a shock of white and an awkward, wide, wild smile. His eyes state off at flicker about the room. They see the boy’s hands and nails are ruined, and they notice the scratchings and etchings into the walls and roof. At first it’s nonsense, but as a whole, 3/4 of the room is a spiralling, maddening mess of symbols. Ramar gets a familiar, unwelcome sense of vertigo when he feels the symbols pull at him.
  • Gabriel leads the conversation, to a point. He says he brought friends for him to meet but stumbles, completely out of his depth. Then the party step up. They talk to the boy, which is fine, until it’s not. He mentions a ritual, and how he’s a powerful caster, and when Ramar continues talking about the ritual, the boy is shocked and afraid, then angry. The ritual isn’t nearly ready to be complete! But soon it will be. He becomes suddenly agitated and furious. And Weezl casts Hold Person. The DC is 15, he rolls a 16. It doesn’t work, and the room turns to chaos.
  • They tell Gabriel to run and he scrabbles at the door, panicked and uncoordinated.
  • Henry raises his arm, pointing at Weezl muttering some eldritch babble, his eye grows an extra pupil which focuses on the party, his tongue splits and lashes, he has several small eyes grow on his face and arms… he casts Telekinesis but Weezl manages to stand her ground and everything else is buffeted around the room.
  • “Gotcha, ya bastard” (I think it was) says Ziggy using the Iron Bands of Bilarro. The Strength save DC is 20, and Henry… rolls a natural 20. He grabs the ball from the air, and with telekinetic force, slams it into the ground, wedging it into the floor.
  • Ramar leaps onto the boy, inspired, and grabs him and casts Protection from Evil and Good, and it manages to sever the connection, the rapture, of this alien being temporarily. The boy screams and crumples to the ground, still viciously mutating. And Weezl jumps onto the boy, with a wave of diamond dust, she casts Greater Restoration. Druidic symbols of silver-white dance up her arms and strike the boy like lightning. She rolls… getting a 26. And, she barely succeeds.

I explained after the game that the DC was 30, reduced by 5 for using Greater Restoration. I fully expected another co-op effort, and it was amazing that it barely worked. Honestly, there were so many great rolls in this game.

  • The boy’s form viciously snaps back to its original form and he lays very still. Gabriel hasn’t even gotten out of the room. Ramar then goes to lay on hands on the boy, pumping 40 points of healing into him. The shock of it heals all his wounds and most of his scars, and turns his hair stark white. The boy does not stir, but he breathes.
  • There is a weird sensation in the air, and there is a radiant glow from downstairs. Ramar sprints to see what it is while the rest regroup and collect themselves (and their belongings). Downstairs, somehow, amongst all the patients and their helpers… with mouths agape or in wonder, stands a beautiful, radiant being. A unicorn.
  • The paladin speaks to it in celestial, and it responds in kind. “For what reason have I been brought here? For what do you require of me?” It senses the illness and distress, but knows not why it is there. It knows it was summoned but not the purpose. It does then help to Calm Emotions of the people within the building. They all settle, including Gabriel. They ease. It then motions for Ramar to climb atop it, when it asks who is in most need of aid, and it teleports upstairs. It uses its horn to heal Tahna the dwarven cleric and three other addled spellcasters… completely curing them of their affliction. The unicorn then realises that its time is nearly up, and it greets both Weezl and Ziggy, bowing to the half-elf who has a symbol to Mielikki. (For it claimed its name was unimportant and that it was simply a servant of that goddess. Ziggy/Evan dubs it Unicornelius.)
  • And in those last moments it asks if there is any last favour it may perform, and they realise it can make plants, and ask for a Black Rose, which it druidcrafts for them, before flickering and disappearing from the Material Plane, back to wherever it came from.
  • Amazed and confused the group gather and ask what is going on, realising that (through the unicorn’s own conversation prompts) they are all speaking Sylvan, with their bracelets all showing tiny buds. And, from the other room, where the resting Henry lies, they hear a light giggle, “heh heh, Unicornelius.”

And holy goddamn that was a fun game. So many rolls just led to interesting moments and hilarity. We also got another persona of Ziggy’s: Archie Fatawa (this came out of his Abe + interactions with the young apothecary.) There was also a lot of talk about business and real estate and some on-point problem solving. Hopefully we’ll see what happens with that offer of land in the sessions to come.

Honestly, I’m just really loving everyone’s characters and interactions at the moment. I’m also massively impressed at some of those clutch rolls. It just made for a really interesting narrative, at least from where I was sitting.

I could go on, but this recap is long enough. I just have to say, I can’t wait to see where we go from here.


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