Friday, December 11, 2020

Duendewood: Untamed Wilderness

We venture into the dark, uncharted forest. After about eight days of travel, we come to a clearing... or at least a wide point in the path.

Rulf says they'd made about fifteen days before he and Kaz and Cassadia got sent back. Eva tried to cook on the first night; she showed up with a whole deer and threw it in the fire -- except for one leg that she ate raw. So, she doesn't cook anymore.

We come to a fallen tree across the path, and of course stop the carriage. Geddy, riding up front with Rulff, looks beyond the fallen tree and sees what appear to be some carnivorous plants. Ava is currently sleeping. Rulf, up front, says we're going to have to move the log.

It's a big log; Azrael looks at it and the carnivorous plants and decides that clearly the best way to clear the path is with a Fireball.

The log is now on fire, so it's going to be a bit difficult to remove. The carnivorous plant things move around through the underbrush and come up towards the carriage.

Martini opens the carriage door, and Ruin hops out; Azrael drops an acid fog cloud on them, and they disappear into the underbrush.

Ruin eases back closer to the carriage; Geddy starts singing; and Martini exits the cart to get in position to shoot or stab something. Azrael, not seeing any enemies, decides to wait.

One of the beasties slides out of the brush and bites Geddy, then attempts to swallow him. Ruin crosses the now-empty seats, dodging an attack as he moves in, and Chops into the huge plant-beast with his two-handed scimitar. Geddy casts Sphere of Invisibility, catching Azrael and Ruin again. Martini scrambles onto the top of the carriage and shoots it with his bow; Azrael crosses to the far side of the carriage, then casts Scorching Ray, burning it but becoming visible again. It attacks with a tendril, but misses Azrael. At that point, it swallows Geddy, who takes some acid damage but is fortunately not paralyzed. Geddy: "I can work with this."

Another monster slides out of the brush and attacks into the carriage, and then the third one arrives from the other side and bites Azrael, hauling him up over his mouth. Ruin slices a door-sized hole in the nearest monster, and Airwolf bursts out -- presumably carrying Geddy, but he's still invisible. Ruin on the other hand is completely visible.

Azrael boils the thing from the inside with an empowered Scorching Ray, and levitates himself up into the air. Martini, meanwhile, has rolled off the back of the carriage and made herself invisible. The last of the monsters bites Ruin, and scopps him into its mouth; he tries to tear himself loose, but fails. Geddy, meanwhile, is circling overhead on his Onyx Fly and puts a couple of crossbow bolts into the thing.

Azrael, who levitates out of habit, has also risen into the air. He tags the remaining tendriculos with Scorching Ray again.

Ruin gets swallowed but isn't paralyzed; however, the thing also reaches in and slashes Rulff, the driver, knocking him silly. Ruin turns around and climbs back out of the tendriculos' mouth, lands on the ground with his sword, and cuts the thing down.

So... the monsters are dead, and the log is on fire; it's going to take hours to burn down. Fortunately the brush in pretty damp and doesn't seem likely to catch fire.

We manage to tie off a non-burning end, and drag the log over to the edge of the trail. Rulff is very grateful to be healed, but demands that we clean the carriage before we continue.

Ava yawns and sits up: "Where have you all been?"

Martini ignores her; Azrael is busy being deep in consternation. The canopy is about fifty feet overhead, so Geddy stays on Airwolf.

Continuing, we come to a tree; the path forks around it. The right looks clear, while the left is covered in webs and scattered with bones. Geddy, meanwhile, has noticed a spider coming up behind us.

Martini lans out the window and looks back, but doesn't see anything. Geddy maneuvers for a better vantage, then shoots the spider.

Rulf: "Am I going to go to Helios this time?"

Ruin: "Stay here and keep the skeleton horses calm."

He slides off his seat and moves to look for the spider, but... Geddy appears to be shooting at a tree. Azrael levitates up through the hatch to the roof, and hovers above while he casts Acid Splash. The tree is now sizzling slightly. Martini also climbs up to the roof, looking for the spider, and shoots at it as well.

Meanwhile, a giant spider descends out of the giant tree and grabs Rulff and replaces all his internal organs with venom. Geddy attacks the second spider; it's apparently easy to hit but hard to damage.

Ruin charges the big one, which tries to bite him as he comes but misses, then Ruin charges past the thing, cutting deep as he goes. Azrael drops some Fatigue on the spider at that end and then follows up with a Ray of Enfeeblement to put a serious crimp in its style.

Martini attempts to sneak attack, but misses.

The spider turns to attack Ruin, biting him hard and weakening him badly with his poison. Geddy and Martini finally figure out that they're attacking a tree; Ruin hits the spider again but with his strength gone it's a light tap instead of his usual stunning blow. Azrael tags the giant spider with a ray of exhaustion, further weakening it.

It throws a web at Geddy and Airwolf, sticking them to a tree.

Geddy responds by trying to shoot it with a crossbow, but misses. Ruin tries to attack but he's having trouble lifting his falchion and misses.

Azrael uses Glitterdust to blind the thing, and Martini puts a couple of arrows into it... surprising it with sneak attack damage, since it's blind now. Martini is no longer invisible, but the beastie is blind so it doesn't matter. It tries to attack Martini, but misses and rips a section out of the roof fo the carriage instead.

Geddy shoots it again. Ruin manages -- barely -- to cut it with his sword. Azrael tags it with a fireball, doing a respectable amount of damage. Martini finishes it off with an arrow.

Ruin shakes off the next wave of the poison, but he's still weak. Geddy tags him with Lesser Restoration and restores some of his strength. They chop up the spider and get it out of the way. Rulff is basically a puddle of goo at this point.

Eva comes out of the carriage and is able to drive the cart, but upset that Rulff has died.

Azrael: "This is a good thing. Plenty of people wish to leave this realm."

Geddy: "Don't worry, little girl. He's in a better place now."

Fortunately, she listens to Geddy. We give Rulff a quick burial.

Ruin takes a moment to search the webbed-up skeletons. One of them is wearing +1 full plate; there's also a Potion of Spider Climb (worth 300 gp) and a Wand of Web (35 of 50 charges) (worth 3150 gp). We set the brake on the carriage and settle in for the night; Eva heads off to get dinner. She comes back out of the forest a while later, with a boar over her shoulders; Ruin shows her how to dress it, and we roast it over a cookfire before we settle in for the night.

Geddy takes first watch, and about an hour into it Eva climbs onto the front seat and starts it moving. Geddy asks, and she tells me she's taking us to see "the wisest ogre in the forest", Zorga. After driving for a bit, she stops us again, hops off, and heads off down a sidepath. Geddy wakes up Martini and then hops down to follow her.

Eva is standing in front of this rickety old shack in the woods, and doesn't see anything. "So Eva, is she here?"

Eva: "I think so, but I'm not sure." She points to a branch where an eagle and a hawk are sitting side-by-side on a branch."

Geddy: "HI!"

The eagle swoops down and turns into a big ol' ogress.

Geddy: "Ho! Hey!, Hidey!"

Ogre: "Are you with the others?"

Geddy: "You mean our traveling companions?"

Ogre: "The Wizards."

Geddy: "Oh! No, we're anti-Kaz and Cassidia."

Zorga nods and smiles and pats Eva on the head. "I see. Well, if you're Eva's friend then you're okay by me."

Geddy: "Is it safe to sleep here?"

Zorga: "Have you angered the trees?"

Geddy: "Well, I mean, we angered a spider and some plant-monsters, but..."

The hawk flies down and lands on Zorga's shoulder.

Eva: "That's Eldertalon. He's a hundred years old."

Geddy: "That's pretty old."

Eva: "Why have you come, then?"

Geddy: "Well, we're just kind of passing through after we went through the town of undead up north."

Eva: "Yeah, those stupid wizards killed everyone in the town."

Geddy: "But we took care of them."

Zorga: "You have shelter? If you're friends of Eva, you can come stay with me for the night."

So... we move into the house. The ceiling is fairly tall for us, but the ogres are a bit hunched over. Uzzik and Orrik are "her loyal protectors", and Eva assures us they aren't as scary as they look.

Uzzik and Orek stumble over to pallets and go to sleep; Ruin is passed out, and Martini's gone back to sleep. When Eva falls asleep, it's just Geddy and Zorga.

Zorga: "Tell me truly, gnome: why have you come?"

Geddy considers her for a moment, then explains: the mission for the newfound Elvish king, our intention to kill the wizards and keep them from finding the hand of Vecna.

Zorga: "It is as I feared. Powerful wizards, with a priest or wizard at their head. I flew far away from here when he came through. The trees feared him. He turned into a swarm of flies and commanded the dead like a god himself."

Geddy: "Those do sound like our targets."

Zorga: "I knew this day would come. This forest holds more than you know. There were cities here long ago, but a dark wizard tore them down and cast them away. None remember it, which is a clue itself I do believe. But I have scried, and I know."

Geddy asks what her plans and intentions are. (OOC: Natural 20 for a total of 43 on the roll.)

She's like 300 years old; she's the wise woman who advises little bands of ogres through the forest. She was touched and uplifted by a gold dragon long ago. She has scried on Vecna, "the dark one", who wants back into this world. His followers are trying hard to help him. If we'll stay for two nights, she can use the full moon to scry and gather more information -- plus, she can instruct the treants not to ambush us. They're still pissed because of the first group.

Geddy makes an executive decision to stay and offers to help with anything she needs. Eventually she goes off to sleep.

We all agree to this plan.

Geddy asks Eva how she got so good at hunting; she says she's been living here a long time. She tells Geddy she's eight, but he's pretty sure she's lying.

The day passes; Azrael is disappointed that we can't have a shrimp-boil they way they used to at their summer home. There are frogs and some other things that we collect and eat instead.

We sleep again, and then she begins her scrying. "I see him! Like all the gods, he is sealed from Midgard by a pact. But he is not like the other gods: not dead, but not alive. Unlike them, *he* might be resurrected in Midgard. I see a ritual: a hand, an eye, a sword, and a heart. He can be brought back in either plane; he can be brought back in Midgard."

The gods do not come down to Midgard (the Prime Material Plane). Long ago the gods lived here, but it devolved into a massive civil war; so they moved the gods to mMdgard and sealed themselves away. But Vecna may have found a loophole, being half-dead; because of this, he could be resurrected in Midgard.

Zorga assures us that the Treants will let us pass despite their anger at the races of men. We head back to the carriage and continue on our way. A number of treants appear and look us over, but they let us pass; apparently Zorga has some serious social capital around here. It's been ten days.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!