Saturday, January 22, 2022

Forest of Wyrd Session # 56 - Of Water and False Kings

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Vegarious (Changeling 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


Reassured by the quilt that there was breathable air below, the rest of the party dove into the lake to join Ranza inside the Tomb. They accessed the interior without too much trouble, and Ranza lead them to the western door, which she proceeded to open to lower the water level. But they then realized a flaw in their plan for breathable air. Opening the outer door a second time had raised the water level overall, so even with the 2nd inside door open, the water was still 10 feet deep. Drowning became a real possibility, except for the person lucky enough to have the ring of water breathing. As people tried swimming, climbing walls and just plan holding their breath, each in turn attempted to open the closest door to further lower the water. Unfortunately it was both trapped by an electrical shock, and locked. In the end, and on the last try, Ranza was open to get the lock open. The door swung inward in a rush of water. This lowered the level just enough for everyone to get at least their head above the surface. 

The room they'd accessed was large, dominated by a trio of pillars down the centre. These were carved in the from a three woman in loose robes, glowing fainting yellow from inside, and each holding a candelabra. There were additional doors to the north and south. Jonesomon and Gnarl searched around the perimeter of the room below the water, followed by the rest of the party. The walls were jet black, yet the back wall crawled with scrolling type. After watching for a while, they realized it was telling the story of the Half Blood King and She Who Wore the Crown of Stars, a story they already knew well. As for the other doors, each was a slab of black stone, and on each was written a short epitaph the color of yellow starlight: "Here rests the Half Blood King, awaiting the time when they are called to be" on the north door, and a similar reference to She Who Wore the Crown of Stars to the south. The party was immediately suspicious; could the object of their quest be so easy to find? 

Before looking behind those two doors, the party decided to explore further down the water logged corridor. It lead to  a couple of rooms, one of which had a flight of stairs going up. The other was lit by a pair of glowing balls. These were suspended in the air, and rotated randomly, lighting up patches of the flooded floor, or alternately casting them into deep darkness. Watching closely for awhile, the party found the water above the dark patches would bubble and become agitated, indicting something not quite right about those spots. 

The party turned about, deciding initially to deal with the first room,. Along the way they had a short fight with a pair of pale and sickly batrachian creatures who leap at them from the water. These were however quickly dispatched.  Now reaching the room, they went first to the north door. Opening the door, inside they found a small chamber with a stone platform.  On top of which lay the perfectly preserved body of a man. Handsome, with dark hair and blue tinged skin, he wore armor of golden scale and a cloak of green and gold. In his hands he grasped a blue steel sword, and on his head was a crown of intertwined bronze and alien green metal, surrounded by a band of emeralds and topaz. All of which matched exactly with the description they'd received of the Half Blood King and the Crown of the Forest. But could it really be him? Gnarl boldly walked up to the body, and reached over to unclasp the hands from the sword. As he did, the figure sat up with a start, and immediately asked who they were and what they wanted. The party answered with the purpose of their quest (to gain the Crown of the Forest and release the Prince Who Would Be). And then politely inquired of the Half Blood King: aren't you supposed to be dead? They were surprised when the answer came from behind; turning there they saw She Who Wore the Crown of Stars. A beautiful woman with alabaster skin and hair of black, highlighted with starlight, and dressed in a gown of the deepest fuligin. Between them, the regal pair explained the legends were not quite true. The Half Blood King had just been imprisoned and magically placed in stasis, waiting to be recalled to life when the time was right to return to rule of the Forest. Their son, The Prince Who Would Be, was likewise in stasis elsewhere, just a baby and not the one who would rule. 

This all sounded suspicious, and the party continued to poke at the story the pair unfolded. And they became even more wary as the two started pushing for the party to lead them out of the Tomb post-haste. Ranza serendipitously cast a detect illusion and to her own eyes revealed the truth. The two were cloaked in the illusionary form of the Half Blood King and  She Who Wore the Crown of Stars. Though some of the items they wore were real (sword, gown, the crown, and some jewelry), otherwise the creatures had the form of amorphous and featureless spongy humanoids. Touching Gnarl, she let him see the same, and the whispered warning of 'it's a trap' spread to the rest of the party.  With a shout, swords were drawn and spells prepared. the false pair lashed out in turn. The party found that when they touched another person, the strange creatures took on their targets form. So soon there were two Gnarls and two Vegarious'. Luckily Ranza was able to direct their attacks to the false pair, and after a short melee the two creatures were slain. And then stripped of loot, Ranza in particular taking the gown and Jonesomon the sword, Backbiter. With the occupants now slain, the two small sepulcher were searched. Hidden under the false-kings resting place, Jonesomon found a key. It was smaller than the one they used to enter the Tomb, but of similar style. 

That mystery solved, the party pressed on. They went back down the curing corridor, and quickly crossed the shadow/light room, avoiding the rapidly changing shadowed patches. On the opposite side there was a door, and off to one side another curved corridor that seems to loop back towards the main Tomb entrance. Choosing to first deal with the door, they opened it, allowing another gush of water to pour in ahead of them. Inside the long narrow room (now under 4 feet of water) there  was a row of stone plinths, atop which were carved animal visages; bear, eagle, mountain lion, wolf, boar. At the far end of the room, barely above water, was the curve of a font. Gnarl stepped in to look at the carvings, and noted the eagle held a ring precariously in it's beak. Ranza, coming behind, looked closely and noted the beak had a powerful hinge mechanism that would likely snap shut if at all disturbed. So Gnarl rammed a soggy torch into the maw, which as predicted immediately snapped shut with bone crushing force. That dislodged the ring, which started to tumble down inside the eagles head. Hobbs, Jonesomon and Gnarl all grabbed for it at once, the specialist successfully rescuing the piece of jewelry ahead of everyone else. The ring itself was magical, a ring of stone made of iron and gold, and set with three yellow gems ... 

TOTAL XP 
12100

GAINS
Circlet with ruby [1200sp]
Necklace with 3 black opals [800sp]
False Crown of the Forest [1800sp]
Backbiter (Sword -1, missed attacks must be rerolled on wielder) 
Gown of Displacement [3000xp]
Ring of the Stone [1200xp]

KILLS/VICTORIES
2 Ranine
The False King and Queen 

LOSSES
none

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Forest of Wyrd Session #55 - Tomb of the Half Blood King

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Vegarious (Changeling 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


As the sun came up over the lake, heralding a fine spring day, the party discussed their dilemma. How to release Thrax from his geas while retaining the key to the Tomb? Various ideas were concocted, but none seemed foolproof. Then someone had the idea of sailing back over to the island to see the crazy man, Gnart. Maybe they could drag some useful information out of him.  So over they went, and once more went through the pantomime show. Unfortunately, it seemed the wild man could tell them nothing of the key or Sir Azra; but they did glean that, with his antics with hiding the stone, he was trying to tell them something about how to enter the Tomb. Which may be helpful down the road, but not right now. 

In the end, the party opted for a combination of subterfuge and violence. Rowing back to the headland, they untied Thrax and gave him the key. Then followed the fighter as he charged up the hill to the Blue Knight's camp, Jonesomon taking a somewhat circumspect route to get behind their foe. Reaching the camp, they found it much as before. Thrax called out, and the Blue Knight emerge from the pavilion and walked over to the fighter, hand out for the key. Which Thrax delivered, and was rewarded by the lifting of the heavy obligation he had been under. At which point, everyone else attacked. Jonesomon backstabbed, Hobbs charged in with swan and lance, Gnarl entangled , and everyone else laid in with various weaponry. Sir Azra, reveling his full might, put fear in their bones and caused Jonesomon and Vegarious to take off back to the raft and out onto the lake, But under the overall onslaught, the Blue Knight soon fell dead. They grabbed the key from his hand, stripped the armor to reveal a blue giant underneath, and likewise ransacked the camp to find nothing of interest beyond the warhorse (whom Gnarl engaged in conversation with speak with animal and learned his name was Quince).   They took the knights body and burnt it on a funeral pyre out a combination of respect for their opponent and fear of what might happen if they left him around. 

It getting late in the day, the party decided to stay in the camp and rest overnight, and then head the next day into the grey mist to search for the Tomb of the Half Blood King. The next morning under a leaden and misty sky, they rowed the raft to the fog for a closer look. It was visually very like the green mist, just a different colour. Hobbs took Waddle into the air to fly overhead, but could see nothing new. So they rowed the raft into the mist, and immediately all felt the same woozy, mentally light feeling as they did in the green mist. For most, the feeling passed quickly. Thrax and Vegarious, however, remained confused and had to be restrained on the raft to keep them from walking off the edge and drowning. Gnarl, relying on his well honed tracking skills, guided them by fits and starts through what he hoped was the centre of the mist, expecting the Tomb would be somewhere along that line. They wandered for an indeterminate time and in a vaguely planned fashion, until suddenly out the fog loomed an island. It was a strange island, almost perfectly circular, with a narrow band of grass and shrub around a massive translucent black glass dome that capped the centre. There was no sign of entrance, keyhole, or anything of help. 

Finding nothing above water, Ranza donned the ring of water breathing and dove into the lake to see what may lie below. She followed the strangely symmetrical island all the way down, reaching bottom about at about 100'. Circumnavigating, she at last found what they were looking for; a pair of massive stone doors, carved with a complex design of intertwined stars and leaves. And right in the middle, a keyhole that matched the key they'd gained. She inserted the key, and the doors began to open on their own. A large bubble of air emerged and rose to the surface, and the changeling was drawn inside by the inrush of water. She found herself in a large chamber, now filled to the roof with water. A pair of black marble slabs with bas reliefs of fey warriors stood on either side of the doors. She could see a larger room beyond, but as she started to move deeper, the doors behind her started to swing shut. Not wanting to be trapped, she rushed outside, barely squeezing through. Returning to the surface, Ranza described what she'd found to the rest of the party.

Now left the problem of how everyone else could get safely below without drowning. Consulting the quilt, they learned that it would be possible to breath once inside the Tomb, though it wasn't clear how long they'd have to hold breath underwater before reaching that point. So after much discussion, it was determined that Ranza would go below and explore a little more. But with an invisibility spell from Vegarious and a length of rope around he waist and tied to the surface for additional protection. 

Once more the changeling dove, entered the Tomb (leaving the key in the lock outside), and proceeded deeper into the room. The doors closed behind her, leaving Ranza trapped. Looking around, she found  one end of the room was a twisted mess of filigree metal; whatever it was originally, the in-rush of water had wrecked it. And there were doors. One to the left opened into the flooded chamber and could not be budged. One to the south opened outward easily, the water pressure forcing Ranza into a small storage room where she crashed into a collection of clay amphora, which smashed to pieces releasing their brightly coloured contents into the water. And one to the west, beyond the twisted metal, opened outward. Tying herself down on to avoid another battering from rushing water, Ranza opened the door. Again water rushed out, and when it died down she found herself staring down a long curved corridor. The water now stood about 5' deep, so here at least was the breathable air the quilt had promised. There was also a door about halfway down the corridor on the west wall. 

Raza opted against further solo exploration, and instead retraced her steps, planning to exit the doors and return to the surface. But reaching the doors, she could see on the inside a glowing green mass of slimy vines, writhing and flicking towards her menacingly. It would seem, that for now, she truly was trapped ... 

TOTAL XP 
1750

GAINS
Quince the Warhorse [500sp] 

KILLS/VICTORIES
Sir Azra, The Blue Knight 

LOSSES
none


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Forest of Wyrd Session #54 - Two Knight's Tales

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


Leaving Jonesomon and Vegarious with the raft and Feedbag II, the rest of the party climbed the bluff. At the top they found a neat little campsite. A large, brightly coloured pavilion stood at one end of the clearing. Next to it fluttered a blue and black pendant, emblazoned with a silver crescent moon. A large black horse stood at a hitching post close to the remnants of a fire. Seeing nobody about, Hobbs called out, and in a few moments a figure emerged from the pavilion.  It was a knight, over seven feet tall, and clad in a suit of blue plate. In a deep echoing voice, he said: "I am Sir Azra, Knight of the Blue; Whom might you be, and what is your quest?" Hobbs explained they were seeking the Tomb of the Half Blood King, and the Crown of the Forest therein.  Sir Azra asked whom they served, to which Hobbs gave a somewhat evasive answer. Asked his purpose, the knight stated he was guardian of the tomb. He would let them enter if they brought him the key, for it was complex and the knight would need to explain it's use. Asked where they might find the key, Sir Azra stated it has been stolen by his co-guardian, Sir Pallis, a millennia ago. Find Sir Pallis in the Green Mist, get the key, and bring it back to the campsite. As he spoke this, Sir Azra was addressing Thrax, who immediately became convinced this was exactly what they needed to do. And for now, the party agreed. One last departing question was where exactly could they find the Tomb of the Half Blood King? The knight waved a hand to the west, indicating the grey fogbank over the lake.  

Taking leave, the party returned to the raft and poled it around the point. However, it was getting dark so they decided to beach just outside the green mist for the night. Their rest was interrupted by a stealthy attack  from a pair of jack-in-the-green, who were dispatched after a short bitter fight. When the sun rose, it dawned as a bright and calm spring day. A prefect day to penetrate the sickly green mist. Paddling out to the green wall, the party first nudged in the bows where Hobbs perched. To see what would happen. The hedgefey was momently disoriented, but that feeling passed. Hoping no one else would be stricken, the party rowed all the way into the mist. Most felt the same fleeting feeling, except Ranza who became bewildered and confused, unable to tell up from down and left from right. But with the rest of the party to guide her, she was OK. 

Moving into the mist, they could see little more than a few feet in front of them. Thrax tried to use a gust from his sword to clear a path, but it had little effect. Somehow Gnarl was able to mostly keep them on track, or at least he thought so. As minutes passed like hours, there was occasional movement in the mist. At one point something slithering swam under the raft and disappeared. A short time later, a ghostly figure appeared off the port bow. Dressed in archaic armor, they first thought it was Sir Pallis. But it turned to attack, and the party swiftly slashed it back into the surrounding mist.  After yet more drifting through the eerie green air, another figure appeared ahead. As it came closer, it resolved into the form of a knight in armor, riding a giant swan. He paddled towards him, and introduced himself as Sir Pallis. Questioning the party, his initial friendly demeanor turned to rage when told they had been sent by Sir Azra to recover the key to the Tomb. Sir Pallis had a different story to tell; one in which the Blue Knight turned on him and tried to steal to key for his masters, the lords of Faerie. The party tried to reason with Sir Pallis, saying they wanted the key to get the Crown of the Forest and help the Prince Who Would Be. The swan knight seemed amenable to the idea, but eyed Thrax warily. He would not turn over the key until Thrax was dead, knowing that the fighting man was under a spell from Sir Azra. He ordered the party to drown Thrax, becoming more and more vehement as time wore on.

The party tried to convince Sir Pallis all would be good, even going so far as to have Gnarl try entangling Thrax to keep the fighter out of commission. But the knight finally lost patience. He raised his sword, set a lance to float beside him, and the swan lifted into the air. He charged straight at Thrax. Their hand forced, the party retaliated. After the knights' first pass, Gnarl entangled the swan with a mass of water lily (this time catching Thrax at the same time), while Ranza turned on both swan and knight with colour spray. The rest of the party turned on Sir Pallis, and after a tight combat the old knight was slain. They quickly trussed up the swan (so Hobbs who later use the saddle to tame it) and Thrax (until they could figure out how to deal with the geas he was under). Looting Sir Pallis of jewelry and lance, they also pulled the key from under his amour. It looked just like any other key, which certainly raised the question again about just how much they could trust Sir Azara. They now turned around to head (hopefully) out of the mist. Gnarl's direction sense was good, and they found themselves once more just off the Blue Knight's headland as the sun dipped low in the western sky.  They headed back to the cobble shore to rest for the night and plan for the next day. 

TOTAL XP 
7434

GAINS
67sp
helm with golden plume [100sp]
3x gold and ruby rings [3x 750sp]
Lance +1, Freehand
Key to the Tomb of the Half Blood King
Wattle the Giant Swan 

KILLS/VICTORIES
2 Jack-in-the-Green
1 Lost Soul
Sir Pallis the Wyrd Paladin 

LOSSES
none


Monday, December 13, 2021

Forest of Wyrd Session #53 - Jonesomon , Beavers and the Crazy Man

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


The party escorted the rescued merchants and their new guards/erstwhile captor's to Kreland's Ford. There they parted ways, the party taking their reward in portable wealth and opting to bypass the town. They didn't want to answer questions about why neo-Jonsomon was trussed up and gagged. In fact, they just didn't want to deal with any neo-Jonesomon issues, suspecting he may be known and wanted in the town for his banditry. So they slept in the woods for the night, and then started their journey north to Twitten's Hollow and, hopefully, an audience with Queen Botsum and King Thorbus. The two day journey passed without incident, and they arrived at the great white bridge. Paying the Thayn's men their toll, the party proceeded to the other side, and was disappointed to not find one of the seelie court awaiting them. Instead there was a scrap of paper, which unfolded into a rather elaborate scroll announcing that the toll for passage was the cry of a human child. That threw the party for a loop momentarily, but they backtracked to the two men on guard and somehow got one to agree to bring his newborn to the bridge that night to provide the fee (in return for payment of a fee, in silver, to himself of course) .

The guard was true to his word, and that night joined the party at the far end of the bridge. He was nervous and held the child in a death grip, but a little teasing with a bottle of warm milk from Thrax's robe elicited the necessary sound. At which point a short fat goblin dressed in brown appeared, seemed to inhale the cry, and then  proceeded to thank the party for their payment. He was about to disappear again when Ranza interrupted, to say they wished an audience with Queen Botsum. That required some negotiation and payments to the goblin  before he would make the arrangements, but in short order the party (less the father and child who'd wisely bolted by this point) was lead into the fairy shee, and in moments the full fairy court had appeared. Queen Botsum appeared to be quite pleased to see the party, and she gladly answered the question about THEIR Jonsomon and his whereabouts. The fairy queen explained that Jonesomon was no more, having merged with neo-Jonesomon to become the 'whole ' Jonesomon. Nothing short of the most powerful magics would bring him back. At which point Gnarl piped up, reminding the party he still retained his wish from the path of the black dog. And so the wood gnome used it to wish that their Jonesomon had survived the encounter rather than neo-Jonesomon. And within the blink of an eye,  neo-Jonesomon was gone, replaced by the 'real' Jonesomon. Who was more than a little confused about what was going on at this point. 

Thanking the royal couple once more, the party took their leave and headed to town for the night. Next day they headed west to follow the directions given by Eya to the Tomb of the Half Blood King. They passed over the river and turned to head south, skirting the edge of the Mere of the Green Man. The first day passed without incident, except for the very slow going in the trackless forest. On he second day they came to a large clearing in the, until then, dense and primeval woods. In the centre was an old stone well, overgrown with moss and vine. Approaching cautiously, they party found that on initial inspection it seemed to be just an old well.  But curiously, anything that went down it came right back up again. Clearing away the moss and vines reveled an inscription: "Three they be, but one they are. If two agree, then cursed though are". On close inspection, Ranza noted the word 'cursed' seemed to hover over a palimpsest of the work 'blessed'. The party wracked their brains for a bit, but couldn't make heads or tails out of the whole situation. And in the end, decided this was just a distraction from their goal. So the party headed off to the south again. 

The next day, they reached a stream flowing into the Mere, the point at which Eya had told them to head upstream. But there wasn't much of a stream, just a bare trickle. Which didn't quite match their expectations. But they followed it just the same, and soon discovered why the paucity of water. Coming up onto a rise, they looked down to the west to find a huge dam across the stream, which had caused the water to back up and form a lake miles wide. They could see something on the dam below, and headed down to see if they were friend of foe. They were in fact a trio of huge beavers, lead by a grizzled old one who called himself Farquir Old-Tooth. For not only were they huge, they spoke Common. Asked about a tomb, the beavers could tell them nothing; they just tended the dam like their fathers, and fathers-fathers, and fathers-fathers-fathers, and so on. Asked about the lake, they said may strange creatures would be found there, like strange frog men. Asked if there was any one else they could talk to, Farquir noted two cleared spots to the west. One on a small island, where a weird little man lived. And the other a high headland, where a knight on horseback dwelled. Maybe they could help? He also pointed out two misty patches over the lake, one green and one white, warning the party to avoid them. 

The beavers seemed eager to get the party out of the way so they could return to work, were glad to carve them a raft to allow the landlubbers to cross the lake. And so the party headed first for the island. Along the way, they encountered a strange round spongy thing floating above the water. As it approached, Thrax opted to use a gust of wind from his sword to blow it away, at which point the thing vanished and the party landed on the island without further incident. They were met at the waterline by a wild man; short and knobby kneed, with an ankle length beard and no clothing. He immediately was attracted to Jonesomon, trying to snatch the  ioun stone which orbited around the specialists head.  When unsuccessful, the man accosted Hobbs, indicating by broken word and pantomime that he wanted a shiny stone. Hobb complied, giving him a small unpolished gem. The man then went through an elaborate act of cupping the stone in his hands, hiding it from the light so it 'disappeared'. But then becoming very frustrated and aggravated when the stone reappeared in the light when he opened up his hands, as if the disappearance of the stone seemed somehow significant. This went on for some time, even as several of the party explored the rest of the island (finding nothing but the mans crude hut, hung all over with small rock crystals.) 

In the end, the party could not understand what the man was getting at, and decided to push off and head for the knight on the headland. Leaving the raving lunatic behind, they headed across the lake, only to have the green globe reappear. Once more Thrax used his mighty gust, but this time the thing continued to chase them. So while a few tried pelting it with arrows, everyone else pulled hard on the oars, beaching the raft below the headland and scrambling ashore as quickly as possible. At which point, the green ball disappeared again, leaving the party to contemplate the climb to the headland above ...  

TOTAL XP 
0

GAINS
none

KILLS/VICTORIES
none

LOSSES
none


Sunday, November 28, 2021

Forest of Wyrd Session #52- There Can Only Be One!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]



The line of skirmishers had retreated towards the rock face, disappearing into some hidden entrance or cave. The still invisible Ranza followed, trailed by the rest of the party The changeling found a cleft in the jumble of massive stones, at the end of which more daylight could be seen. While the rest of the party took up position on either side of the entrance, she headed carefully into the tunnel. Reaching the end, she saw an open courtyard of sorts, enclosed by the surrounding rock. It showed signs of habitation; old fire pits, benches and other small comforts. But there was no one to be seen. There were two exits, one each to left and right. And on the opposite side from the entrance tunnel, and iron ladder was bolted to the rock, leading up to the top. Ranza decided to sneak over to the ladder. As she passed the left hand exit, she observe a mass of armed men waiting in ambush. But they did not see her, at least not this time.

At about this moment, the rest of the party, huddled under the edge of the rock face, were surprised by a group of archers who appeared above them. As arrows started to fly, everyone sprang into action. Ranza, hearing to commotion outside, ran across the courtyard and back to the entrance. This time, even thought invisible, her hasty retreat drew the attention of the brigands in the tunnel. Outside, Thrax summoned his nightmare stead, grabbed Gnarl, and then flew up to the top of the rock to deal with the archers. Jonesomon, Hobbs and Slugs headed into the tunnel to support Ranza, who was facing a mass of armed men, who were being reinforced by more every minute. In addition, a ring of archers likewise peered down in the courtyard from their perch on top of the rock. And in then in the right hand tunnel, there appeared a man and a woman. Jonesomon immediately recognized the woman as Baihu, his erstwhile and long dead magic user companion. It looks like there was a neo-Baihu to deal with as well as the neo-Jonesomon. 

And then everything starting happening at once. Hobbs, using some of Gnarls magical tobacco, dropped a couple of stink clouds into the courtyard, blocking the western exit and neutralizing most of the threat from that side. He followed this with a wall of fog to blind the archers above. Ranza meanwhile, used fear to drive away many of the brigands to their front, as while as neo-Baihu's companion. At which point the magic user cast web to block the eastern tunnel, and turned in retreat. She then used her wand to summon giant bees to harass the remaining archers. Up on top of the rock, the nightmare trio ground it's way through archers until the remaining few turned and fled. Gnarl then cast entangle on the crowd of brigands trying to flee up the ladder from the retching chaos in the courtyard, effectively ending the battle. 

Once the smoke (both literal and figurative) cleared, the figure of neo-Jonesomon appeared out of the western tunnel. He and his bodyguards approached carefully, making their surrender clear. He was just starting to make a deal with the party, offering a bag of gems he threw on the ground as ransom for his life, when the two Jonesomons noticed each other. Both immediately felt weak and nauseous, but were inexplicably drawn towards each other. As the two approached, the party tried to keep them apart, but Jonesomon and neo-Jonesomon pushed everyone aside. And then, in the moment the two touched, there was a blinding flash of light. When everyone's vision returned, there was just neo-Jonesomon left. And no indication of where their own Jonesomon had gone. Was he dead? Disappeared? Flung into some other dimension? They could not tell. 

They didn't really trust the new Jonesomon though, so he was trussed up as they searched the cave complex. They rescued a trio of captive merchants, and recovered their stolen goods. The captured brigands were put to work loading the goods onto the wagons, kept hidden in the nearby woods, and they then joined the merchants payroll as guards to ensure they arrived safely at market. After rough negotiation, the party secured a finders fee of 20% on the value of the recovered goods, and agree to accompany them to Kreland's Ford. So with neo-Jonesomon bound and in tow, the party headed out. And on the way, discussed what to do next. They settled on a visit to Twitten's Hollow and the faerie court of King Thorbus and Queen Botsum, hoping that the royal pair could provide some insight in to the fate of the old Jonesomon. 


TOTAL XP 
9780

GAINS
20% Share of recovered goods [500sp]
Bag o Gems (2x250sp, 6x100sp, 8x10sp)
Leather Armor +1 [300xp]
Ring of Protection +1 [2000xp]

KILLS/VICTORIES
12+ of neo-Jonesomon's Brigands 

LOSSES
Jonesomon

Monday, November 15, 2021

Forest of Wyrd Session # 51 - What's Happened While You Were Away

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
Thrax (Fighter 5)
Vegarious (Changeling 3) 
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]


The party started their time in Upland by making inquires into what had happened in the last year and a half of 'mortal' time. Apart from a cacophony of local issues of little interest to them, the biggest news was of war. In their absence, Nimon the Gloaming Lord had raised larger forces and started to spread fire and terror throughout the Forest, especially in those areas controlled by the Earl of Brackenrae. The Earl was forced to respond, and called for help from his liege-lord, the High King of the Rock at Carnock.  He also hired mercenaries from far and wide, and through the pervious spring, summer and fall war raged under bough and bower. By the time the leaves fell, the Gloaming Lord's army had been decimated and scattered. Nimon himself disappeared, whether to Faerie or just to hiding in the Forest none could tell. But many areas of the Forest were ravaged, settlements burned, and  bands of now out of work men-at-arms had turned to brigandage. 

Now up to date on the news, the party restocked supplies (including a new donkey Thrax dubbed 'Bagfeed') and a raft, with plans to head south the Brackenrae and check in on their home and hirelings. Hobbs also went looking for a squire, and hired the slimy slug hedgefey Slugs MacKenzie. They left Upland and drifted south on the Western Finger through the day, reaching the outlet to the River of Sorrows as the late afternoon sun cast long shadows over the lake. Thrax, on watch, noted a trio of silhouetted, winged figures on a rock mastiff to their west. Two leaped into the air and flew towards the raft. Thrax roused everyone to potential action just as the two creatures flew overhead. They looked like a hybrid of a stag and a bird of prey, and as their shadows passed over the raft,  most of the party was immediately paralyzed. Only Gnarl, Vegarious and Slugs were left free to fight off the two creatures when they turned around and flew back to the raft. One of the creatures landed atop Thrax and started to gore into his chest with it's antlers, while the other tried to lift off with Hobbs in it's claws. Slugs used a slime rope to keep Hobbs on deck, while Gnarl and Vegarious turned their attention to the one attacking Thrax. This one they slew, which caused the second to release Hobbs and fly off into the setting sun. 

The paralysis passed as they continued to the south, and after an uneventful night and part of the next day, the party arrived in Wickerwood. The town was still only partly rebuilt from its' razing at the hands of the Gloaming Lord; but the Keep was a bustle of activity as stonemasons and other tradesmen worked to rebuild the structure. They were met at the dock by a handful of men-at-arms, who announced they served the new Thayn Woland, a mighty warrior lately in the service of the Earl of Brakenrae.  They also demanded a landing fee, tolls to pay for reconstruction. The party anted up without fuss, and landed to seek out Sister Taritha  at the shrine of St. Myrrha who confirmed the news. They stayed a few days in town, also seeking out Thorguld Red-nose to obtain some healing poultices before boarding the raft again to continue the journey to Brackenrae. 

Brackenrae showed signs of fighting, with areas outside town burned and crowded tent cities holding refugees and out of work men-at-arms. The town was likewise busy, but first stop for the party was their house. Which they quickly found out was no longer theirs; they had missed a year of rent and their landlord had kicked them out. Wondering where their stuff had gone, they tracked down Brutus Killpenny, their erstwhile landlord, to demand their belonging, The short bald man protested that he had sold their things to cover lost rent and pay for cleanup (their two hired men-at-arms who were watching the place weren't very good to the property.) The party accepted there was some validity to that, but Thrax was insistent on getting back the mirror in which his sister was trapped(?) That led them to the purchaser, the Wulgard, Bishop of Brakenrae at the Church of St. Viglis of the Shield. After a few rounds of embarrassed denial, threatened violence, and 'active' negotiation, Thrax got his mirror back. But the party was now once more unwelcome in town as rumor's of them roughing up the Bishop started to circulate. That probably also explained some of the frostier than usual response from Jaskin the Alchemist when they stopped by to purchase a potion of growth [2000sp].

But before leaving town, there was one more unusual incident involving Jonesomon. As he sat in a tavern that evening, two shady types approached him. The two asked what he was doing in town, when he should be laying low and waiting for a signal from them that a rich merchant had left town. A little back and forth untangled the skein. It seemed Jonesomon's time-twin (Gnarl's had died in the fighting) had turned to brigandage, and now lead a group of ex-mercenaries raiding rafts and road traffic to the west of town. These two would pass word when an especially juicy target left Brackenrae, which the rest of the band would ambush. Intrigued by this, the party decided to ambush the ambushers. The 'real' Jonesomon ordered his pair of henchmen to escort him and the rest of the party ('new recruits') back to the brigand base. The two scouts didn't make it though, as they were shived once they'd led the party within easy striking range of the camp. Following the directions they'd learned, the party struck off the road and into the deep woods, until a rock face with a barley discernable cave entrance appeared ahead. While the rest of the party waited, Hobbs and an invisible Ranza slipped ahead to look. Unfortunately, the hedgefey ran right into one of the brigands  taking a nature break in the bushes. He raised a hue and cry, and a skirmish line of men was soon moving towards the party. Gnarl turned them back with a spikegrowth, and the party turned to planning their assault now that their target was alert. 


TOTAL XP 
140

GAINS
nil

KILLS/VICTORIES
1 Peryton
4 of neo-Jonesomon's Brigands 

LOSSES
nil

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

History of the Forest of Wyrd - The First Age

In the beginning, there were the spirits of the Forest, manifestations of the nexuses of power over which the wood lay. Over time, some of these started to grow stronger and more sentient. Eventually, the greatest of the spirits became the defacto rulers of the Forest of Wyrd: the Green Man, the Prince in Yellow, and the Black Mother. The three took on different parts of the forest as their own; the Green Man took the trees and the growing world, the Black Mother the depths of the earth and caverns below, and the Prince in Yellow the skies and cloud above. For help and companionship, the Green Man uplifted seven spirits to become the Daughters of the Green Man. Likewise, the Black Mother lifted up [REDACTED]. The Prince in Yellow, meanwhile, choose [REDACTED]. And for untold millennia, the Forest stood undisturbed and in balance. Then the first newcomers came, dwellers from the Fey realm that lay as a shadowed veil behind the mortal realm. First there came [REDACTED], humans who had been enslaved in Faerie and discovered a way to form gates through the veil. These were few and caused little disturbance in the Forest, so the spirits let them be. These men were followed by seelie fey, driven from Faeire by their darker kin. These fit well with those creatures dwelling in the Forest, and they too were allowed to stay. But when the dark fey started to cross over the barrier between space and time, they brought strife and war, and so the three powers of the Forest wrested the knowledge of the gates from the unseelie, pushed the hoards back beyond the veil, and sealed the gates against further intrusion from Faerie.

After this time, the Forest once more sat undisturbed and at peace for a countless years. And then there appear at the eaves of the forest a new nation of men. These people were the D’war, those first men to spread far and settle the wide reaches of the known world. These were many, and started to shape the Forest to their own liking. As they cut trees, dug into the earth and fouled the airs with smoke, the spirits of the Forest grew angry and turned against them. And so war raged in bower and under bough, causing great death and destruction on both sides. But for all the power of the spirits of the Forest, it was man, ascendant at the prime of his power, who eventually gained the upper hand. And so the Green Man, the Black Mother and the Prince in Yellow turned to their old foes, the dark princes of Faerie. Allying with this power from beyond the veil, they opened the gates and let the unseelie hoards into the Forest. And war most terrible raged again, and the fight turned against the D’war. But they too called on allies, this time the seelie fey of the Forest, who until this point had stood aside in the fray. But they knew their kin and the darkness which they would bring to the Forest, and so joined men in the fight. Though the war was long and hard, the D’war and their allies prevailed in the end, and once more drove back unseelie fey through the gates. In this they were helped by the Prince in Yellow, who had been horrified by the fighting and destruction, and turned away from the Green Man. Likewise, the Black Mother tired of the fight and retreated to her dark places in the depths of the earth, drawing back further from the wood and away from those who dwelled in the surface world.

It seemed the war was over, but the Green Man was still angry. Under the guise of peace offerings, the Green Man tricked the high king of the D’war, Mac Em Doma. [REDACTED] This finally broke the power of the D’war, and the remnants of the tribes scattered to dwell quietly in the Forest. As they were no longer a threat, the Green Man let them be, for he was tired and needed rest.

But soon another arose to lead men. At the height of the war between D'war and Faerie, Liadan, the daughter of the High King, was captured by the dark Faerie lord, Crindis the Hidden One. They fell in love, and she secretly bore a half blood child. Child and mother stayed in the Forest when the fey father was forced back to Faerie at war's end.  And when the child came of age, he claimed rule of the forest as the Half Blood King. Men and seelie fey rallied to his side.  And for a brief time, the Half Blood King ruled all the wood at peace, and took a daughter of the Green Man (She Who Wore the Crown of Stars) as his wife. She bore him a son, the Prince Who Would Be, who could rightfully claim to lordship over all the powers of the Forest. But this golden time did not last, for the Green Man awoke from his slumber and turned once more on those who would claim his woods. He killed the Half Blood King and destroyed his realm. The Prince Who Would Be was rushed off into hiding against the day when he could return and claim his right.