Monday, October 28, 2013

Westmist Session #57 - Back to the Garden

Back in civilization for a couple of weeks, Kern and Darnorth were itching to get some in some more exploration and looting. So the pair (along with Bjorn and Sweet Jenny) decided to go back to their old haunts in Stonehell to see what could be seen.  An uneventful entry through the secret entrance was followed by swift passage to the third level. Where they were stopped cold by the pair of once again arcane locked double doors that barred access to the rest of the level. Not to be delayed by wizardly trick, Darnorth put his pink dwarven boots to the doors and they flew open. Heading on, the two decided to go back to the strange subterranean garden previously visited by Kern and Erijay. Heading to unexplored sections, they soon encountered a pair of the strange mushroom folk. At first apprehensive, the two fungal fellows soon took a liking to the adventurers and told then ‘You like Urushiol; you come see Urushiol’, gesturing deeper into the faintly lit chambers. Following the two shuffling ‘shrooms, the pair found themselves in a large chamber. Signs of destruction (fallen pillars, tumbled and melted rock) were scattered about, covered with thick layer of fungi and greenery. At the far end stood a huge lavender mushroom surrounded by mushroom men. On top sat a slim female figure with faintly elfin features, apparently dressed in some sort of thorn covered armor. In a slightly mad, shrill, and shouting voice, the creature Urushiol questioned the party, asking what they were doing in her ‘realm’.  Darnorth turned on his charm, insisting that they were simply curious explorers [who by the way had nothing to do with some previous slaughter of the mushroom-like emunyfolk]. Asked by Darnorth if there was any issue with which she required help, Urushiol asked them to deal with the giant spiders with man hands in the far corner of the dungeon garden. The mention of spiders made the dwarf blanch, but after consulting with Kern they decided to take the challenge after negotiating the promise of a monetary reward. Before they left, Urushiol had the emunyfolk give the three adventurers smaller helmet sized versions of her lavender mushroom. They were told to wear these on their heads, so any emunyfolk they encountered would know they were friends. Figuring it couldn’t hurt, on went the fungal caps.
A pair of emunyfolk led the group towards a group of rooms to the south west. There would be found the spider things in rooms filled with webs. The two mushroom men then left the trio (plus mule) on their own to deal with the arachnids. In just a short distance, they found the corridor filled with a web tunnel, just big enough for them to advance single file. This they did, before coming into a room when the tunnel branched east and west. There were also a pair of web “caves”, and out of these emerged two of the largest spiders yet encountered. About the size of a mule, their front legs ended in human-like hands. In a dry raspy voice, one spider demanded an explanation for their presence. “Just exploring” came the reply again. The spider began insisting that the party turn back as they were not welcome to explore their lair. As tempers began to rise, no one in the party noticed the second spider, which was behind the party, starting speaking in a magical tongue. Bjorn instantly fell to sleep, and battle was joined. Darnorth hacked into the negotiator with his axe, while Kern slyly pulled out the preserved medusa head from his sack, closed his eyes and held it up to the second spider. Popping the head back in the bag, he cautiously opened his eyes to see the spider had turned to stone. By this time, the other spider, grievously wounded, had turned invisible and scuttled away on the webbing overhead. Stopping just long enough to slap Bjorn awake, the party raced deeper into the webbed tunnels in pursuit, following the ichor dripping from the wounded spider. Entering another room with web caves, they encountered another spider which soon fell to their blows. The wounded one, still invisible, scuttled away again and soon outdistanced the party.
Turning back, Kern led them back to a door of the webbed tunnel, bypassed in their chase. After checking for traps and locks, the merchant bravely threw open the door and discovered all the spider slaughter had probably alerted others in the dungeon. Including the three spell spiders on the other side of the door. Kern was webbed in the doorway, blocking anyone else from getting through to deal with the spiders. Bjorn, however, casually threw a sleep spell at the beasts and put them all to sleep. In a hurry to get back and collect treasure (silver and potions) from the other spider caves, Darnorth burned the webs holding Kern. And gave the merchant a pretty bad 3rd degree burn in the process. While Kern cursed the foolishness of dwarves, they all loaded Sweet Jenny with coin and headed back to report ‘mission accomplished’ to Urushiol. She accepted the news with her usual curt screeching, and had the emunyfolk dig out some jewelry from under her mushroom and presented it to the party. And then ordered them out of ‘her domain’ now that they have finished being useful. The party graciously parted, and once out of her sight turned back to explore the rest of this bizarre secret garden.

Heading back to a room Kern and Erijay had passed up due to the stench inside, Darnorth of the dwarven cast iron stomach opened that door, and the smell of purification and rot drifted out. The dwarf barreled into a ruined kitchen still filled with rotting meat, including the partly decomposed corpse of human female. Darnorth plucked the axe from her hand, and tried to no avail to smash down the locked door against which the corpse slumped. He called for Kern to try picking it, but the merchant didn’t think he could hold his breath that long. So to the dwarf’s disgust, he kicked in the door with ease. On the other side was a ruined pantry with the skeletal remains of a human male in plate armor. Who was lying on a bag full of gems and coins of silver and gold. Which were scooped up by the party and dragged back to pile on Sweet Jenny.  Another door led out of the second corpse room, but it resisted lockpicks and kicks, so the party dashed back through the stench room to loop around to what proved to be a thoroughly uninteresting room.
Checking a few other spots, Darnorth discovered a bronze atomizer filled with some sort of magical plant ‘Miracle Grow’ in one room. In the next room,  two swamp things formed out of the mud and lurched to attack, and were swiftly sent back to their puddles. While catching their breath after that battle, the party was surprised to see a pair of emunyfolk watching them from the open entrance into the room. These two conferred for a few moments, and then turned and ran, presumably back to Urushiol to report eh party’s disobedience.  While their initial thought was to make chase, in the end cooler heads prevailed and flight was the action of choice. Trying first to loop around, they were blocked by a wall where there hadn’t been one when Kern and Erijay had mapped this section. Another odd change to the dungeon. Looping around it, they were almost free of the garden when a loud shrieking sound split the room they were passing through. This was answered by another shriek, and before they knew it Urushiol could be seen chasing them. She let off a loud wail, which caused Sweet Jenny to bleed from the ears and howl in pain. But by now they had passed out of the garden and back to the ‘normal’ dungeon, and Urushiol didn’t seem willing to follow them out.

Back to town, they cashed in their earnings, and were disgusted to find that the jewelry Urushiol gave them as a reward was worth a measly 200gp. Kern’s mutterings of revenge were stilled only when Synthni identified his potion as oil of etherealness.

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