Saturday, April 23, 2022

Forest of Wyrd Session # 63 - The Verdant Maze


Ranza (Changeling 5)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 6)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) and Wattles the Giant Swan 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
Vegarious (Changeling 4) 
Jonesomon (Specialist 5) 
neo-Baihu Cerritulus (Magic User ?) [NPC]

After binding their wounds and burying what remained of Slugs, the party looked up at the opening in the rock face and tired to figure out how to climb up 300' in the pouring rain. In the end Hobbs was able to convince Wattles to fly everyone up there one by one and deposit them on the narrow ledge. Peering in, they could see a rough tunnel through the rock, the end of which opened into a larger lighted space. The party headed in that direction, including Wattles who had to be coaxed along with some treats and the promise that the light ahead lead to a much less confined space. 

Which it did. The party emerged into a large space walled in by hedges, ground covered with a matt of vegetation, and open to a blue sunny sky overhead. A very strange thing to find inside a mountain. Hobbs took Wattles up for a flap, and learned that he could not actually fly up above the hedge walls to look around. Ranza cast detect illusion and discovered the sun and sky were not real, and the sense of wide open space was an illusion. Though the hedge itself was real. 

At the end of the space was a fountain, with water splashing down over a statue depicting a quartet of nymphs frolicking in the water. Careful search around them and the fountain uncovered nothing of note, so the party formed up once more to head deeper into the maze through one of two exits. After a short distance they came to a side passage,  it's length filled with tall grass waving in the non-existent wind. Gnarl moved forward and poked at it with his spear; in response the grass grabbed on tight and would not let it go. Even with Thrax's help the wood gnome could not free the spear, and it only came loose when Vegarious and Ranza put their muscle and brain to the job.  A little irritated, Thrax tossed the party lantern in the middle of the grass, catching a 5' patch alit. But then from the hedges on the far side, four humanoid creatures made of brambles and leaves emerged. These unleased a fusillade of thorns, forcing the party to retreat behind a gust of wind as Jonesomon fell dangerous close to death. He was patched up with a few healing poultices and bandages, and surprisingly a potion of healing from Baihu!

When there was no pursuit, the party decided to just bypass the grass corridor. Exploring the twisting hedge maze they discovered multiple side passages, some filled with grab grass and spike growth. And the fact that poison-spike lined pit traps were an issue in random places. They also came across an alter and a stone plinth. The alter, at the end of a passage blocked by spike growth, seemed uninteresting from a distance and was left for now. The plinth, on the other hand, held a small golden cup encrusted in strange purple gems, inside which flickered upside-down purple flames. After filling the cup with several items and substances (thinking it may be related to the cups in the temple) and getting no response, the party decided to just grab it and go. But try as they might, even Ranza and Vegarious couldn't move it. The cup was being held to the plinth by some unnatural force. 

Leaving the cup behind, the party next entered a large chamber bisected by a large patch of spike growth. Before they could look around however, another creature emerged from the wall of the hedge. This was a huge green minitour, who charged at them horns lowered and thorn club swinging. A short combat followed, ended when Jonesomon dropped falling stars on the minotaur's head, at which point the creature melded back into the hedge and disappeared. Searching the room (using Wattles to fly over the spike growth) they found two short dead end passages with statues. One was of the Green  Man, and the other the Black Mother. Each held in their out stretched hands a green leaf and a small burring brand. They were able to take the brand from the Green Man and the leaf from the Black Mother, but not vice versa. Wondering what to do with the two objects, they went back to the purple cup to drop them in the see what happened. Which was nothing. They then decided to look closer at the alter. Ranza with her spyglass could see some carvings on the front of the alter, half hidden by vines. Gnarl grabbed the hedge wall and tried to climb past the spike growth to investigate, unfortunately falling into those natural caltrops just before the end. Standing up and pulling out the thorns, he approached the vine covered alter. There was nothing on top, but clearing away the growth be uncovered images of a faerie queen having her hair done by a gaggle of nixies. Which curiously animated when touched. He found nothing else of interest on the alter, but hidden behind was a bundle of short boards. Gnarl hauled this out and untied the rope, at which point it unfolded down the passage into 30' long arched bridge. He was able to use this folding bridge to get safely across the spike growth, and then rolled it up again for future use. 

At this point, Ranza had the brilliant idea to take the burning brand and place it in the space vacated by the green leaf on the statue of the Black Mother. When she did so, the whole party was teleported into another large hedge lined chamber, standing in front of a statue of the Prince in Yellow. The Prince held his hands crossed and open in front of him. But there was no time to contemplate this last representation of the great gods of the wood, as the verdant minotaur was also in the chamber waiting for them ... 


Folding Bridge [2500xp] 



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