Saturday, May 23, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #12- The Visions

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 2)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)


With their foe down and out, the party proceeded to search the chamber much more thoroughly, although Jonesomon and Vergarious opted to go check on Feedbag and their camp. Thrax went to check out the fallen Archon, who seemed to be made out of some type of blue wood. The inky pool was also stirred and poked to ensure there was no treasure (or additional cerulean plasmids). A small workbench against the the north wall was relived of a few items (jars of honey and mortar/pestle) by Ranza. But of most interest were the five bodies they found along one wall, preserved and sealed behind hardened dream honey. These they removed one by one by dissolving the honey. And they then relived each of their valuables, as the bodies rapidly decayed upon exposure to the air. The five were:

  • A 3rd Imperium Officer, dressed in bronzed armor and purple/gold cloak. In one hand he held a finely made  spear;
  • An old bearded hermit in a rough woolen shirt and leather kilt. Under the kilt they found a leather pouch full of herbs, which Gnarl and Hobbs identified as healing herbs; 
  • A female hunter or ranger dressed in green, In her quiver were two arrows made of a strange black wood and with wicked barbed heads;  
  • Green skinned female changeling wearing a massive ring with ruby, diamond and emerald; and a gilded bronze medallion of the green man; and
  • Farm boy of about 12 years, dressed in homespun and with  rusty sword tied around his waist with an old rope. Tucked under his shirt was a page torn from a story book, about a brave knight who gave up his sword and honour for the love of a princess. Scribbled around the margins were notes suggesting the story, and the powerful sword described therein ,were real. There was also a sketch map showing the location of a tower just the the north of the barrow, where the sword supposedly lay.  

Based on the rate of decay once the bodies were freed from the wall, the party guessed the hermit had been there longest, followed by the officer and then the two woman. The boy was relatively 'fresh'. 

The looting complete, the party moved on to the terraced marble waterfall chamber. The chamber towered over a hundred feet high, for at the top of the terrace was an alter of sorts. And above that alter floated a massive gold thing; an object that seemed to be in constant swirling motion and made of fluid gold. Putting together some of the things the Archon said, the party figured this must be the gate the Faerie. They carefully avoiding touching it, but blissfully looted some offertory and ritual  items that lay to one side; a paint, gold chalice, garland of crystallized flowers, silver bowl, brass jug and ultramarine cluster broach. They also carefully searched behind and around the gold gate, looking for secret of hidden compartments and doors. But to no avail. Tossing a piece of the fallen Twilight Archon into the gate, they watched it disappear but with no other changes. 

Gnarl now became curious about the one room they'd bypassed; the one filled with deep turquoise water, misty with salts and suspended material. The wood gnome poked around at the water a bit to ensure himself it was safe tho touch. The party there tried various combinations of poles and mirrors to explore the bottom, looking for anything of interest or danger. At this point, however, a ghostly figure drifted into view. It began speaking to the party in old D'war (which Tharx could actually understand) telling them he was the One of Witness; what did the party wish to know about the tomb? They asked about the operation of the gate, and how it could be destroyed. The Ghost told them a mortal must pass through the gate to the Twilight realm, and then return through it once more. That would open it and allow the dark faerie of that realm to pour through. The passage for a mortal, however, was quite dangerous and only the strongest and most powerful were likely to survive. As to closing it, that would require great power beyond his keen. Having answered their question, the ghost now dissipated and disappeared.

With that episode over, they party turned back to the pool. Thrax decided to brave the waters, and waded in until almost neck deep. Within moments, his awareness of his immediate surroundings began to fade, and a vision appeared before his eyes. He saw the Yellow Cloud Prophet, lying on a brier under glass in a woodland glade, surrounded by seelie fey. The vision then faded, and he found himself mentally back with the rest of the party. Curious, the rest of the party now decided to try for a vision. They saw:

  • A golden-skinned woman with hair of autumn foliage looks into a mirror. She pushes her hand into the mirror, and lifts out a human child, who is screaming.
  • A giant sits in a ruined hall, feasting on sheep and goats. Crying children can be heard in the background. 
  • A black dog stands next to an obsidian standing stone. It walks away to the NW, turning to look behind as if expecting the viewer to follow.

Thrax also tied putting on his stag mask, to see if it added any additional visions. He, like Gnarl with the wolf mask, ended up fighting a spirit animal, but nothing else occurred.

Heading back up to the tomb level, the party spent time searching the cairn room again, still not sure they'd found the actual tomb of the Woad Chief. But they uncovered nothing new, and decided it would be best to head back to civilization to regroup and rest before any further adventures. Gathering donkey and companions, they returned to the mainland to recover their hidden cart and treasure. Unfortunately, the cart and the 'red herring' treasure was gone; Gnarl determined men had followed them up the river and took both back the way they came. They immediately assumed it was the men from Farend they'd encountered a few days earlier. But at least they didn't find the copper, so they loaded poor Feedbag down with treasure (leaving behind any excess unnecessary goods) and headed home. They made the trip (with a stop at the satyrs fountain to heal up) without undue trouble and were back in Brakenrae in  number of days.

One there, they sold some treasure and stocked up on supplies and cold iron weapons. A trip to Jaskin identified their potion (true seeing) and provided no additional information on the dream honey and the waters from the barrow.  They also paid a visit to the  antiquarian, Timpanious, and hired him to search for more information on the Yellow Cloud Prophet. Asking around town for possible buyers/experts for some of their unusual treasure items, the party learned Clodwin, Thayn of Kreland's Ford, would be their best bet for selling the painting (and the now non-smoking animal masks). For information on the lanterna bush, Thorguld of Wickerwood would be their best bet. A glance at the map showed these were (of course) in opposite directions. So the party decided to first head for Kreland's Ford, then travel north  through the Forest to search for the sword and tower from the farm lads tale, then come back though Wickerwood. By the time they returned, hopefully Timpanious would have information to pass along regarding the Yellow Cloud Prophet. And so another great expedition began ...

TOTAL XP
6820

GAINS
Ring with ruby, diamond and emerald (1000sp)
Gilded bronze medallion of the green man (10sp)
Marble pestle and mortar (20sp)
2x wax-sealed glass jars of dream honey (100sp each)
Silver bowl (20sp)
Brass jug (10sp)
Ultramarine cluster brooch (100sp)
Painting by an Old Master (500sp)
Golden wine chalice (200sp)
Garland of crystallized spring flowers (250sp).
Lightbringer (Spear +1, light 3 times a day, shocking grasp 1d8+3 once per day)
2x Healing Herbs (as Potion of Healing)
2x Arrows of Burrowing (+1 to hit, continues to dig in for 3 rounds, doing 1d6 damage each round)

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Spirit Stag

LOSSES
none

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #11 - The Twilight Archon

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 2)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)
Jonesomon (Specialist 2)
Vergarious (Changling 1)



With Jonesomon in the lead (and a mysterious just appeared Vergarious taking up the rear), the party moved out of the mask room and down the passage. Just around the turn they came to another chamber; a vaguely circular room from which emanated a low buzzing sound. Three bee hives lined the perimeter, while in the centre sat a closed censor or brazier. Gnarl halted the party before anyone entered, recalling that bees could be neutralized by smoke. The wood gnome thought the animal masks may help, so he bravely pulled off his face filter and donned the wolf mask. After a moment or two he drifted into a misty dream world, where he was confronted by a large grey wolf. He tried to speak with it, but the creature leapt at him, fangs bared. Gnarl skewered the beast, which then dissipated into mist. Gnarl then returned to reality to find everyone standing around staring at him strangely, but otherwise none the worst for wear. 

Since the mask didn't seem to be of any help, the party moved in the room to investigate, taking care to not disturb the hives. There was little else to see, so everyone backed into the corridor again while Gnarl used his spear to open the censor. Out of it poured thick blue smoke, which quickly filled the room and forced the bees in the hives into somnolence. Curiously, the smoke did not pour down the passage towards them, staying within the confines of the room. 

Content now that they would not be leaving danger in their rear, the party moved on. Next was a room with a stone ladder set in the wall, going up. At the base arose a torrent of clear water which then flowed off down the passage that continued to the right. Washed up on the shore was a burnt out torch, which confirmed this ladder was the one that led down from the stone pile in the barrow above. Pushing on, they followed the stream to where it emptied into another chamber. This was filled with deep water, and a dry passage was visible to the left. In the lead, Thrax heard what sounded like a watery lullaby coming from the dry passage, and he momentarily started to drift to sleep. He pulled back and informed the party, who then all stuffed candle wax in  their ears to block the sound. Thrax returned to the pool, had the party tie a rope around him and jumped in; his armored body sank to the bottom like a stone. Working over to the dry passage he tried to pull himself up, but the water was too deep for him to get a good strong grip on the edge. He was pulled out, and Hobbs stripped off his armor and gear to jump in and swim over. He found the water was about 10' deep, and noted a large brass plate at the bottom. The curious badger swam down and touched it, suddenly disappearing. Thrax jumped in and tried to use his axe to pry up the plate, thinking Hobbs may have slipped into a trap. He too disappeared. Everyone else carefully made their across without touching the plate. deciding little could be done for their missing comrades right now, they opted to push on. 

[Hobbs and Thrax found themselves back outside the barrow next to their campsite, and some sort of force-field prevented them from re-entering through the main passage. They discovered it was possible to enter through the chimney over the black alter stone, and so made their way back to their comrades after a few hours, deftly avoiding an angry bee swarm along the way.]

In the next room was a plain stone fountain, filled with water from spouts in the wall. It was unadorned and contained nothing. A quick wax-removal check proved it to be the source of the soporific lullaby, so the party moved on with ears still plugged for now. A few twists and turns later brought them to a T-intersection. Here the passage, plus the branches and rooms to both sides glowed with an eerie blue color. But the water singing was now behind them. To the left the passage sloped down to another pool, this one a deep and hazy turquoise. To the right it led to a small room, an apparent offertory chamber. On a marble and bronze table stood three carefully placed groups of items; three small gold bars, a potted luminous lantana bush and  two glowing shards of ice in  glass cases. All of which were immediately scooped up by the looters party. A stone door stood in the west wall, and on the ceiling were a series of impressionistic carvings of the same mysterious blue humanoid creature they'd seen elsewhere. 

Expecting trouble, the party arrayed themselves for battle, and then Thrax pulled open the stone door. Nothing jumped out at them, so all advanced carefully into the circular chamber beyond. Directly opposite they could see another chamber, this one containing a series of marble and gold terraces down which poured water. But of immediate interest was the pool of inky blue liquid in the middle of the room. In it stood a tall lithe sylvan figure, seemingly made of midnight blue wood. It greeted them in a voice reminiscent of wind through the leaves, not hostile but distant in manner. After some questioning, they learned the creature was the Twilight Archon, servant of the dark fey lord Duke Irioch. The Archon had been here for a thousand years, since the time of the Woad Chief, watching the gate through which the dark fey had entered the realms of Men. They learned the Woad Chief had opened the gate for the first time, passing through to the twilight world and letting the unseelie follow him back. The unseelie were defeated and pushed out by an alliance of the D'war people and the good fey, and now the Twilight Archon waited for a new champion, powerful enough to open and survive passage through the gate. He was unimpressed by the party, and gestured to other unworthy ones encased behind hardened honey along one wall of the room. 

The conversation became more and more antagonistic, and the party opted to pull back down the two passages leading from the chamber (Gnarl and Jonsomon to one, the rest of the party back to the offertory room) and prepare for battle. Archers placed arrows of cold iron on their bow strings, and the two changelings combined their magical powers to throw a double power color spray at the Archon. The Archon retaliated with blue bolts of lighting, and two cerulean plasmids crawled out of the inky pool and threw themselves at the two separated halves of the party. Hobbs was bludgeoned unconscious, but the party did prevail and brought down the Twilight Archon and it's servants in a hail of cold iron and magic ... 

TOTAL XP
860

GAINS
3 gold bars (3 x 100sp)
Lanterna Bush (80sp)
2 Glow crystals (2 x 150sp)

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Spirit Wolf
2 Cerulean Plasmids
The Twilight Archon

LOSSES
none

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #10 - The Bee's Knees

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 2)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)
Jonesomon (Specialist 2)


With Jonesomon walking point and Gnarl carrying the lantern behind him, the party moved along the narrow passage. They first came to a side passage exiting to the left, and noted a second one on the right a short distance away. Just ahead the main passage opened up into a larger chamber. Checking first the passage on the left, they found it led to a small room, empty except for a statue. This was a crudely carved image of a great tribal warrior waering a cape decorated with bees, and covered in some sort of thick yellowish translucent layer. Like dried sap or amber. Attempts to scratch or break it were unsuccessful, and when Hobbs tried to burn it with a torch, the material crackled and popped, leaving an odor of burnt sugar. Suspecting it was honey, Gnarl tasted a tiny spec and confirm it's identity. He also felt a little giddy and euphoric, so Hobbs proceeded to lick the stuff for an even loftier high. But thankfully no ill effects. Knowing now what it was, the party started a bucket brigade using Thrax's helm to ferry water from the lake to dissolve the material. But just at the floor where it glued the statue down. That allowed them to move the statue and search below and behind it. But found nothing. 

Leaving the statue for now, the party moved on to the next side corridor. Along the way Ranza, who was at the back of the column, tripped a lever at floor level. This caused the ceiling behind her to collapse, and a massive collection of skeletal remains rained down, barely missing her. A cursory examination uncovered nothing of interest, so a few of the party simply cleared a path through the remains to leave a clear route for fleeing should that prove necessary. Meanwhile those at the head of the column proceeded to examine the branch to the right, which led into a small room full of skulls. These were piled on the floor, on plinths, and in alcoves and on shelves. Each was marked with a blue "X" on the forehead, and most showed some form of head trauma. Some shifting of skulls was done, but when nothing interesting was found everyone moved on to the next location, the large chamber at the end of the north-south corridor. 

This chamber was roughly lozenge shaped, and in the centre was a 3-4' high pile of large stones. Moving in to explore, the party found that that was pretty much it for the room. Nothing else of note to see. Hobbs climbed up on the pile and started to shift a few stones, uncovering nothing more than more stones. So he started rolling away more, until suddenly a blue skeletal arm shot out of the pile, immediately followed by the rest of a large blue skeleton. It swung down the rusty axe it held in one hand onto Hobbs skull, laying the little critter down for the count and bleeding out.  The rest of the party charged forward to engage, and the unnatural foe was soon dispatched. After a quick examination of the axe and scraps of armor/clothing (which all proved worthless), the party started to pull apart the stone pile while Thrax administrated first aid to Hobbs. This work was interrupted once when two skeletons pulled themselves out of the pile in the corridor, lunging forward to attack. These were, however, dispatched with ease. Eventually, enough stones were moved to uncovered a 5' square patch of the same translucent yellowish material covering the statue. Another bucket brigade brought in enough water to dissolve it, revealing a shaft with a stone ladder built into the side. Gnarl dropped his torch, which fell 40-50' feet before going out with a hiss, indicating water below.

Before going further though, the party hauled Hobbs out into the sunlight to see if he would recover. Someone got the idea to try giving him some of the donkey's milk. And miracle of miracles, it brought him back from the brink. Feedbag was apparently more than just a normal donkey. 

While waiting for Hobbs to recover, the rest of the party decided to clear out all the skeletons and skulls and dump them in the lake. Didn't want anymore undead surprises. They also went to haul out the statue, thinking of dumping it in the lake to dissolve the hardened honey layer. Manhandling it must have disturbed something, for suddenly a swarm of bees broke through the honey covering the statues eyes and swarmed out to form a short humanoid figure. This lashed out with it's arms, and when it hit delivered a hundred bee stings all at once. Unsure of how to handle it, the party fled out into the sun while Thrax kept a rearguard. It followed them outside, but once out in the sun and warm air, the bees that formed it's body dissipated and buzzed way. Going back inside,m they now found the statue was essentially an empty shell, which they proceeded to haul out and also dump in the lake. 

Setting camp overnight to let Hobbs recover, the party arose the next morning and headed back into the barrow. They decided to enter the stag-eye secret door. It entered into a steeply sloped  spiral passage, which soon dumped them into a small antechamber. The ceiling here was of the same hardened honey material, supported by large oak tree trunks in each corner.  The walls themselves were bare earth covered in thick roots, while at the opposite side of the room was a wooden door-frame leading into another passage. Gnarl examined the oak trunks but observed nothing of significance, while the others examined the door frame. It was carved with half-naked, tattooed human warriors bringing offerings to a lithely muscular sylvan figure. 

Moving on, the party started down the corridor until Jonesomon in the lead noted a glowing blue blob undulating along the wall towards them. They retried back into the antechamber, and the thing followed. Gnarl tried to engage it in conversation, and in response it sprouted a pair of pseudo-pods and lashed out at them. So they responded with missile fire until it was dead. After poking a the remains for a few moments, they once more moved off down the passage. It led to a narrow chamber,  along the right wall of which were four masks. These wooden masks were carved in the stylized likeness of animals; bear, stag, bear, wolf. Out of the open mouth and eyes of each drifted a blue mist. Cautious of the mist, Thrax torn a strip off his cloak to cover his face before entering the chamber and lifting. Nothing happened to him, but Hobbs and Gnarl decided discretion was the greater part of valour, and used their bow/spear to knock two of the masks off the wall and haul them closer.  Each noted the blue mist seem to emanated form the interior of the masks, which made them wary of putting them on. Thrax meanwhile took the stag mask and Ranza the boar. but each likewise did not put them on. But everyone did jury-rigged a filter for their faces before following Thrax into the room and down the opposite corridor ...

TOTAL XP
200

GAINS
none

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Woad Skeleton
2 Regular Skeletons
1 Cerulean Plasmid

LOSSES
none

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #9 - Island in the Mist

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 2)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)


While the rest of the party searched the bodies scattered around, looking (unsuccessfully) for loot, Ranza and Thrax started systematically combing through the ruined villa for hidden passage, doors, or other points of interest. In the very last room they found something; a stone set in the ground with a rusty iron pull-ring in the centre. Calling over the rest of the party, they lifted the stone and uncovered a 10 foot deep shaft with a rotten wooden ladder set in the side. It appeared to end in a dirt cellar. Heading down via a rope, they found the cellar was bare except for a pile of old canvas bags. Rustling around in these, they first found one that was filled with the silverware: goblets, platters, cutlery and goblets. And buried under the pile was a large, iron bound, wooden chest. It was locked with a rusty iron padlock. The keyhole was covered in a purple wax seal that depicted the 3rd Imperium eagle and dragon. After Hobbs made an unsuccessful attempt to pick the lock with a dagger, greater force was exerted with a crowbar to break it open instead. And lifting the lid, they found the chest filled with copper coins; these showed the eagle and dragon on one side, and the Imperator Vilorian II on the other. Best guess is they'd uncovered a long lost and forgotten military pay chest. Hobbs and Ranza started to shovel the coins into sacks to get them to the surface, but the job was interrupted by a surprise attack above them on Thrax and Gnarl by a half dozen bush imps. Hobbs and Ranza scrambled up to help, and the little buggers were slain or run off without too much trouble.  

The party finished gathering the loot and loaded it into Feedbag's cart before heading down the slope towards the lake. About halfway there they stumbled upon a ruined pool and fountain. It depicted a stone sprite with green scummy water dribbling out of its mouth, standing amidst some rocks. The pool likewise held a few inches of scummy water. The party worked over the fountain looking for any special properties or  clues, but apart from a small collection of silver and copper coins, they could find nothing. The same was the case for the ruined dock and boathouse once they reached the lake; nothing but tumbled stone. 

Having thoroughly explored the ruins, the party decided to move on, once more following the stream north to the next series of lakes, with their ultimate destination being the rocky tor and a hopefully productive conversation with the witch. There was more tough slogging in pouring rain, and night was falling as they passed the next lake and started up the stream towards the base of the hill. Passing around an overhanging tree, however, they were surprised to find themselves facing down a small band of men standing on the left bank above them. The band held drawn bows, and challenged the party. In the ensuing exchange, the party figured these were more of Ofra's men from Farend. Tensions did relax and the men offered to share their campsite, but the party opted to continue further up the stream to avoid accidentally revealing too much in conversation around the shared fire.

Next morning , the party continued on to the next lake under clearing skies. Reaching the shores, they were immediately struck by the out of place fog bank that sat in the middle. Gnarl hunted down a nearby crow and used his speak with animals to ask the corvid some questions. In between cawing, the bird revealed than an island lay in that fog. An island that would move around to different lakes on a timescale measured in days or weeks. The island was pretty bare and consisted essentially of a rocky shore and a large mound in the centre. That description got their attention; sounded an awful lot like a burial mound. But how to confirm? After much discussion, they decided to build a raft and ferry themselves, Feedbag and their supplies to the island over a few trips.  They opted to bury the copper coins to lighten their load, and also hid the cart under some brush. And fearful of the nearby band from Farend, they made a big and obvious deal of burying a smaller stash of coins as a red herring to distract anyone who followed them.

Building the raft took all day, a task interrupted when a wild boar crashed out of the woods and tried to maul Hobbs. They killed the animal though, and Gnarl dressed the kill and smoked to meat for later use. Curiously, while doing so, he found the reason the boar behaved so wildly. A broken spear  tip stuck in it's hind quarter must have driven the poor animal mad with pain. They immediately suspected the other party downstream, and assuming they were close redoubled efforts at the raft and got everyone and everything across to the island. The island itself matched the crow's description. The mound did look a lot like the barrow of Guri-bin-Gur, and at the south end they found an upright stone slab. A liberal application of muscle power and a block and tackle pulled down the stone and opened up a narrow passage into the mound. There was a alcove to each side, and it appeared to open up into a larger space about 20' in. Thrax and Gnarl went ahead to check out the alcoves, each of which held a primitive stone sarcophagus standing against the back wall. On the floor in front of the right alcove were strange tracks which Gnarl noted looked like skeletal feet. That was troubling, but the pair opened both without any worry (except a poison needle that nicked Gnarl in one hand for little harm). In each were the skeletal remains of a women with a little cheap jewelry, and behind one of the skulls was a small additional cache of crude jewelry. But otherwise there was little of note.

Moving further down the passage, the party entered  a larger chamber. In the centre stood a black stone block on which a faint shaft of light fell from above. The walls were covered in a series of paintings much like those in Guri-bin-Gur's tomb; scenes of hunting and war and revels. Notably, there were no images of the Woad Chief's burial. Walking over to examine the black stone, the party found scattered around it some very old dried flowers. Gnarl thought this thing looked a lot like an alter, so he set up a burnt offering of the boar's flesh. He noted the smoke drifting up towards the shaft of light (obviously a narrow chimney leading outside), but also towards the north east corner of the room. Going over to investigate, they found a painting of an elk swimming across a lake, wild eyed as it was being hunted by men on the shore. Poking around the party discovered the elk's eye's could be pushed in, which opened a secret door, This led to an earthen tunnel with a fairly steep grade going down. Intrigued, the party decided to close the door for now and continue exploring this level first ...

TOTAL XP
2606

GAINS
8 goblets (8 x 25sp)
2 serving platters (2 x 50sp)
50 cutlery (50 x 3sp)
4 candlesticks (4 x 75sp)
Silver plated bracelet (1sp)
Golden anklet (60sp)
Wolfhead bronze brooch (30sp)
Gold-plated necklace (65sp)
3140cp
48sp

KILLS/VICTORIES
4 Bush Imps
1 Wild Boar

LOSSES
none

Friday, April 24, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #8 - Out in the Wilds

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 2)
Jonesomon (Specialist 2)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)


The party spent several weeks around Brakenrae, healing up and resupplying. Gnarl tried his hand at brewing blowgun poison to no avail. They also chose to spend some of their hard looted treasure on better accommodations, renting a small cottage just outside the town wall. But the call of adventure and treasure soon came, and they headed out with Feedbag and a cart of supplies in tow to search for the barrow of the Woad Chief. Not sure where to find it, they knew it lay somewhere north of Guri Bin Gur's barrow, so they decided to start there. They tried getting information out of the satyrs of the fountain, but they were tight lipped about what may lay to the north. Looking for other clues, they followed the one forest path as yet unexplored. After a couple of hours, they came around a bend and encountered a large crow in the middle of the trail. It hopped away, seeming to lead them into the trees. Hobbs and Gnarl use their woodsy skills to stealthy follow it in, with Jonesomon coming up the rear. The raven led them into a thicket. The three followed it in, and a large black widow spider descended on Jonesomon and felled him with one vicious bite (through thankfully the spider's poison did not take hold). A short vicious fight followed as Ranza and Thrax bullied in to assist, and the spider was brought down with little other injury to the party. 

A pair of bodies were found, wrapped in webs and hanging from the branches. Hobbs cut them down, which when unwrapped  revealed a pair of very dried and drained husks, both of which with their eyes plucked out. Jonesomon relieved one of a pouch with a few coins and gems. Gnarl also successfully removed the spiders venom sac for future use. Ranza meanwhile turned her attention to the raven. Using the potion of clairvoyance from Thrax (who mysteriously now disappeared in a glitter of fey magic), she scared the raven into the sky to have a look around through it's eyes.  The changeling got a pretty good view to the north. A rocky tor lay to the north and east, while north and west was a string of small lakes. The land was almost completely forested, except for three small open areas to the north-west, north-east and directly north. While she could see no barrow, the party decided to follow the stream north from Guri-Bin-Gur's tomb, which Ranza had observed lead into the string of lakes. There certainly wasn't another easy way to travel, as no roads, paths or trials could be seen. First stop though was back to the fountain of Pan, to bring Jonesomon back to full fetter and to rest for the night under the watchful eye of the fountain guardians. 

Next day they started along the small  stream, laboriously leading Feedbag and the cart through the cold waters. The light was more than half gone before they reached the first lake and started around it's edge, their ultimate goal being the north west clearing to see what there may lie. Halfway up the lake, they came across a small herd of red dear.The animals were upwind and did not notice the intrusion, so everyone hid back in the woods while Gnarl used his speak with animal to great the alpha buck and question it about the area. He learned the clearing they were approaching contained a village of men, while the one closest to their east contains ruins inhabited by small vicious humanoids. Gnarl graciously thanked the noble animal, and the herd cleared out as the party passed by. 

Several more hours of slogging through the rushing waters of the stream brought them nigh on the clearing. Gnarl and Hobbs  slipped forward to have a look, finding in the clearing a village of crudely built huts at the centre of a circle of standing stones. They saw a number of people wandering around, but no signs that this was a organized military camp or anything obviously threatening. So the two went back to get Ranza, Jonesomon and Feedbag, and they all entered the clearing as non-threateningly as possible. They'd made it halfway to the stone circle when they were noticed, and a hue and cry was heard in the village. Very quickly, a couple dozen men and women stood armed and ready at the edge of the circle. They party stopped, and visually and verbally indicated they came in peace and meant no harm. Out the crowd stepped a familiar figure; Ofra the erstwhile tomb robber.  He greeted the party are cordially as before, and introduced himself as the spokesman for the people of Farend. And inquired as to the party's purpose in being there. He was told quite truthfully they wished only for a place to stay the night and perhaps a little information on the area. Ofra agreed to let they camp inside the stone circle, which provided protection form the fey. After the party had settled in, Ofra and two others (Aminius and Loppa) joined them around the fire. The party learned Farend was a village of outcasts, criminals and others looking to avoid the company and attention of others. Of the surrounding area, he confirmed what the deer had told them of the ruins inhabited by creatures he called bush imps. He also noted something lived atop the rocky tor, but could not say for certain who or what. He knew nothing of any barrows or other burials though. 

Next day the party took leave of Ofra and friends, backtracking along the river and then looping back north to get to the villa on the lake. That took all day, so they camped for the night some distance from the ruins, not wanting to risk a battle with the fey in the rapidly falling twilight. Next morning they approached he ruins. From a distance they could see the ruins of a tumbled down villa Jonesomon dated to the Third Imperium 300 years before. It stood at the top of a rise, and down the slope towards the lake lay the remains of a columned garden with a ruined stone dock at the waters edge. The party moved around behind the villa, and once more Hobbs and Gnarl slipped ahead to scout. They came across a trio of little greenish humanoids in the process of torturing some small woodland creature. Hoping to take them out quickly, the hedgefey and wood gnome rushed forward but could not lay any blows. A general melee ensued as Ranza and Jonesomon rushed in to help. One bush imp was cut down, but the other two slipped away and fled into the overgrown ruins. But the party was not alone for long, for soon they were surprised by a dozen of the little savages pouring out of the bushes. A hard fight ensued, with sword and spell used to bring them all down. One was spared for questioning. The creature was obviously crazy, reacting not at all to threats, saying only it was going to rejoin the chaos of death. The party tired to squeeze information out of it, focusing on the imps treasure and location of any barrow, but to no avail. The imp did let slip that a witch lived atop the tor, and maybe they should ask her (maniacal laughter followed). This was enough for Gnarl, who relieved the creature of a silver flask it carried on it's back (containing, he soon learned, a potion )  and then sent it on to the great chaos ...

TOTAL XP
843

GAINS
2 gems (25sp & 75sp)
11sp, 6cp
Silver flask (20sp)
Potion of True Seeing 

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Giant Black Widow Spider
11 Wood Imps

LOSSES
none

Friday, April 17, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #7 - Rivals and Rewards

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Gnarl (Wood Gnome 1)
Jonesomon (Specialist 1)
Vergarious (Changeling 1)
Ranza (Changeling 1)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 1)
Thrax (Fighter 1)


A glance down the tunnel showed that things were not quite right. There were faint signs of torch light flickering further down the passage, from an opening on the right Gnarl had not seen when he looked a week ago. While everyone else covered him, Jonesomon cautiously moved down to investigate.  He didn't get far before a figure emerged from the opening, raised a bow with arrow nocked and said "Stay friend; don't make me shoot" The specialist listened and retreated, going back to discuss with the rest of the party. The new fighter Thrax decided to take his chances, and walked down the corridor towards the man. The two exchanged friendly but cautious banter, even breaking bread and sharing tea. But the man (Ofra) was adamant that Thrax not approach too close; as it turned out, he and his companions had stumbled into the now open tomb and were doing a little looting. When Thrax decided to push his luck, the man shot and narrowly missed with an arrow, after which the fighter took a likewise close swing at him with his axe and shoved past him into the far end the corridor (which ended a chamber with a hole in the ceiling and a mysterious mist on the floor.) 

With party members now to both sides, Ofra was ready to keep talking. They reached an agreement that the tomb robbers (of which there were five) would split their spoils with the party and the two groups would depart without bloodshed. From this deal the party gained a curious bone harp, a small bronze amphorae and a gilt bronze bangle. Ofra then his men to the end of the hallway, tossed a rope and grappling hook up to the hole in the ceiling, and they climbed hand over hand up the rope and out the hole. Questioned, Ofra was coy about the dangers of the mist and why they were avoiding it, but the party guessed it wasn't safe based on their behavior. Jonesomon meanwhile had gone out on top of the barrow, only to see the men leave through the main entrance. Apparently they'd missed some other way down to the tomb level in their previous exploration. 

With that done, the party turned to the now looted tomb, On the walls were images of domesticity; women cooking, caring the children, serving food and drink to the warriors, and so on.  The tomb itself was simply four stone slabs topped by two others, one of which had been pushed onto the floor. Inside were three skeletons dressed in tattered and rotten remnants of clothing; a fourth had already been pulled onto the floor. 

Leaving this now looted tomb behind, the party pried away the stone slab they'd passed in the corridor. This revealed another tomb of similar design, but with paintings depicting Guri Bin Gur riding off to war, boar hunting and other mounted pursuits. When they lifted off this tomb lid, they found inside the remains of a horse. On it's head was a rotted gilt bronze chamfron, and lying at it's side a saddle in still excellent condition. Removing these, the party then shifted the horse's skeleton aside. This uncovered a small hole, about 2 feet across, in the bottom. Jonesomon volunteered to  crawl in and see where it ended up, finding that the tunnel went down for a bit before angling up again. But he never made it to the end, as he nearly bumped right into a transparent mass. He backpedaled as quick as he could, followed by the thing. It exploded out into the horse tomb close on the specialist's heals, and lashed out at Vegarious who was standing nearby. The blob felled the changeling, who dropped unconscious to the floor. Everyone else lashed out at it, largely with torches and oil until it had become engulfed in flames, and sizzled and popped to a burned goo. Hobbs scrapped away the remains, and then he and Gnarl crawled through the tunnel. 

At the end, the diminutive duo found a third tomb. It was like the other two, but had no paintings on the wall. The two guided the rest of the party to where they suspected a door was hidden in the hallway, which Ranza found easily and with everyone elses help was able to pull down the stone slab and open up an easier way in and out. They then lifted off one of the tomb lids, expecting the worst. But instead simply found the remains of a man dressed and equip with a glittering array of gold and silver grave-goods; helmet with silver boar crest, sliver inlaid spear, ornate bronze shield, and many others. After admiring for a moment, they carefully and respectfully stripped the body of Guri Bin Gur of all it's glittering accouterments. When done that, Gnarl glanced out into the hallway and saw that the mystery mist was now drifting down the hallway towards them. Knowing that couldn't be good, they gathered their loot and fled the barrow. 

The loaded up Feedbag's cart with treasure and the unconscious Vergarious, then headed for the satyrs fountain to heal their fallen comrade. That done, they turned back towards Brakenrae to celebrate their success.   And this time they could afford to stay in the inn rather than the stable! They also started looking for a more permanent and private base of operations, thinking about buying or renting a place out of which they could stage their adventures. Thrax also took the bronze amphorae to Jaskin the alchemist, bargaining with the prickly man and getting a good price on identifying the contents; a potion of clairvoyance.  Hobbs meanwhile played with the saddle, and figured out that this Saddle of Domestication could be used to tame and ride almost any suitable wild mount. Jonesomon marched off to talk to the local antiquarian, a man named Timpanious to learn more about the legend of Guri Bin Gur and his companions. Timpanious explained the blue figure in the paintings was the Woad Chief, leader of the D'war people in Guri Bin Gur's time. The yellow figure was the Yellow Cloud Prophet,  likewise a noted figure from that time. The three had lived in the years just before the first invasion of the forest by the dark fey, which was only defeated by an alliance between the D'war people and the seelie faerie who arrived alongside their dark cousins.  


TOTAL XP
7038

GAINS
Gilt bronze bangle (10sp)
Bone harp, gold and silver inlay (200sp)
Gold Torc (250sp)
Decorated helmet with a silver boar crest (250sp)
Silver inlaid spear (50sp)
Sword belt with gold fittings [rotted] (25sp)
Sword with silver inlay (50sp)
Ornate bronze faced shield with a grinning sun (150sp)
Tattered remains of fine cloak with gold thread (25sp)
Moonstone cloak pin (150sp)
Two gold finger rings (25 & 75sp)
Gold arm ring (150sp)
Silver drinking cup, stag hunt (75sp)
Scattering of coins from Guri Bin Gur's Tomb (9gp, 234sp)
Platinum coins from gelatinous cube (8pp)
Potion of Clairvoyance 
Saddle of Domestication

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Gelatinous Cube

LOSSES
none

Friday, April 10, 2020

Forest of Wyrd Session #6 - At the Root of the Matter

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Baihu Cerrit (Magic User 1)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 1)
Jonesomon (Specialist 1)
Ethanna Brightward (Wyrd Paladin 1)
Vergarious (Changeling 1)


Ethanna raised her torch and cautiously led everyone down the passage. Ahead it opened into a chamber. Glancing around the corner, Ethanna could see an exit at the far opposite corner. But of more immediate concern was the large mass hanging from the ceiling and taking up most of the room. It was a waxy and white woody shape, much like the roots they'd just chopped through in the passage above.  Knowing the troubles they experienced there, the party did not rush in but took time to contemplate their course of action. It had been immobile when Ethanna first looked in, but their presence seems to be stirring it, and now roots started to reach out and flail about the room.

The party first tried flaming oil, Baihu hurling a pair of fire bombs at the thing. The fire did not seem to have much effect, much as the roots above. Ethanna then borrowed Vergarious' bow and took a few shots, hitting deep with one. She was also surprised to see the thing shift over towards her and flail out with it's roots. So everyone retreated back up the corridor to plan further. Gnarl stuffed a pile of cloth and other combustibles in one of his many sacks and lit it on fire. But rather than throw it at the creature, it got tossed over into the far corner, hoping that it would sense the heat and be distracted. It did react, sending many of it's tendrils over to investigate.  This was the opportunity for which the party was waiting. Led by Ethanna, they rushed in to attack the main body of the beast. Things went pear shaped quickly though. The mass shifted and twisted away from their blows, and it wasn't long before both Ethanna and Baihu were grabbed by the roots and lifted into the air, helpless as their arms and legs were pinned.  The acidic sap, same as that on the roots above, also started to burn through their skin. Jonesomon and Vergarious soon joined them in the clutches of the creature, leaving only Gnarl free. Vergarious was able to free an arm and tried to lash out with his flail but to no avail. The wood gnome first cast entangle, causing the few remaining limbs to get twisted up together and unable to lash out at him. He then used his blowgun to fire a lucky shot right at the base of the root where it hung from the ceiling. This did the trick, and the creature went limp and released the four who'd been captured. 

Unfortunately, both Ethanna and Baihu has succumbed to the acidic sap and were dead. Jonesomon and Vergarious were unconscious, but a little emergency aid from Gnarl keep them alive. While he waited for the pair to regain consciousness, the wood gnome explored the room. There was nothing of interest with the root creature, but along the north wall was a primitive painting. It was in poor condition, but seemed to depict the life of the hero Guri-Bin-Gur. It showed the hero and his companions hunting deer, wrestling cave bears, fighting in battle, and other legendary deeds. The far right panel depicted the death and burial of Guri-Bin-Gur. At this point the panel strangely started to emphasis one of his companions, a man who was now a bright blue colour. There was a third prominent figure coloured in yellow. At the end of the panel a pair of barrows were depicted; one was quite obviously the barrow of Guri-Bin-Gur while the other to the north seemed associated with the blue man. A piece of the painting was missing at this point, but hinted at the presence of a third barrow to the west,

Gnarl also glanced down the next passage to see a stone slab door to one side and a leather curtain further down on the opposite side. But he did not explore further, instead returning to the root chamber where he began to haul out the bodies of Ethanna and Baihu and placed them in the donkey cart. Luckily the roots barring the way had died along with the main root mass below. By this time Jonesomon and Vergarious had regained consciousness and crawled out on their own. Gnarl then led the donkey and and cart back towards the satyr's fountain where he hoped to gain healing for his companions.  They tossed silvers into the water and then Jonesomon and Vergarious lowered themselves in to soak. After about an hour the hurts from their near death experience were lifted, but both were still quite weak. During this time, the satyrs reappeared. Or rather, a different pair of satyrs, Rifus and Malock,  appeared out of the woods. After a short conversation, Gnarl and the others realized they were still back in the past around the time of the spring equinox. They had not 'yet' been to the fountain, and this pair of guardians were the ones on guard before the pair they'd meet on their other visit. All very confusing, and led to much discussion of what they could do. There was talk of using this as a second change to stop the kids Alish, Peta and Sim from being kidnapped and brought to Faerie. And maybe dealing with the irritating little s*&t who'd bedeviled them on that adventure. Even stranger than the fact their circumstances allowed such a wild plan was the fact this idea came from the hard nosed Jonesomon! There was some worry about space-time continuum and what happens if they meet their future (past?) selves. But for now they decided to 'stay' in this time frame, head back to Brackenrae to resupply, rest and recruit new companions before coming back and finishing the exploration of the barrow. But not before building a pair of funeral pyres for their fallen companions to send their souls to their ultimate rest in style.  Gnarl, deep into his cups, was inspired to say a few words for the dead:

Brightward and Baihu
We hardly knew ya
Before the pallid root creature
Reached out and slew ya
So we venture on in your name 
Seeking fortune and fame
Our cups raised in memory to ya

The party spent a week in Brackerae and loaded up the donkey cart with food, torches and other supplies. A number of cold iron weapons were commissioned as well. A pair of new companions were likewise brought on-board, a changeling named Ranza and a badger hedge-fey names Hobbs. They then headed back to the barrow of Guri-Bin-Gur. It appeared just as they'd left it, their dug entrance still there and inside much the same, dead root creature and all. And so they steeled themselves to proceed deeper into the barrow ....

TOTAL XP
100

GAINS
nil

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Palid Root Creature

LOSSES
Ethanna Brightwand
Baihu Cerrit