The game session became a sort of ’in-between game session’, where the group finished looting the dungeon, met the local elves and had a long talk with them for the first time, and got into another big fight with the undead, where the power of the Staff of the Woodlands was demonstrated.
I’ve also been looking at making a post about magic items, and how you can make the discovery of powers progressive, spurred by the comments in for the last post (here The last post), but I haven’t had enough time to finish it.
Events of the session:
At the end of the previous session, the group had killed the aberrant plant monster that lived in the ruin, and they commenced looting and exploring the final sections. They went outside a couple of times, but neither the ranger nor druid passed their wisdom check, so they failed to notice something important. They discovered a statue of an elf, which held out a stylized map with a mountain chain with the mark of the throne on it. They found a secret room with treasure, including 50 pounds of iron and finally a room where dark seeds of the abomination were grown. They decided to burn the seeds, but the group was low on resources and had no fire magic left, so Arak, the strong half-orc cleric and Jarn, the ranger and leader, goes into the forest to get firewood. That is when they see the column of smoke that rises from the pyramid from all the burn vines inside the dungeon. They drop all the collected firewood and race back to the pyramid (I must say I liked this moment, when it dawned on the players what their actions meant).
The wizard’s familiar, Steven the sea gull (pun intended), is sent out to scout and Arak stands guard on top of the pyramid. Steven spots a large-ish band of goblins heading towards the pyramid, and Arak actually notices one of the local nomadic elves hiding in a tree. As the group is low on HP and spells they decide to retreat. After a while they make a short rest, the druid gains access to ‘pass with out trace’ and they escape the goblins, who spent some time scouting the ruin (if the characters had decided to stay other interested parties would have shown up, which would have been all kinds of fun!).
After escaping the goblins, on their way to the place where they met undead the first time, they are attacked again by a group of more than 20 undead, marching towards them. There is a 5th level spell caster and the equivalent of a boosted Wight among them. It turns out that even though skeletons aren’t that dangerous to 4th level characters, if enough attack, they become a problem…
This is where my concern from last time, concerning the Staff of the Woodlands, was partly laid to rest. The druid use the Wall of Thorns spell from the staff and kills 6 skeletons with it, and a further two are pushed into the wall with a Gust of Wind spell. It doesn’t break the encounter at all, but it takes it down to a more manageable level. They are still under a lot of pressure, but they survive. If he had used it on the two ‘bosses’, they would take significant damage, but wouldn’t be killed outright. Obviously, in open terrain it is less effective than in a dungeon, where you can seal off passage ways.
The leader, who seems to be an undead orc with a magical scale mail, has a message crystal (like a simple recording device) with the following message:
“Deploy your companies north west of the city, and keep our lines of communication open with Fort 25. Commander Osandros will deploy to the south towards the Colorless Bridge. Reinforcements will be allotted as they arrive. This is the order of Belsokh Six Fingers. For Sarakhon!”
The characters who have been studying the books they found in the hag lair, recognizes Sarakhon from the name of the enemy an elf led an army against – they were called The Bones of Sarakhon.
The next day they locate the cave where the undead came from, and where they had been lying for several centuries. They also find a copper sheet, with an etched map showing the location of both Fort 25 and Fort 26 and the ruined city they’ve passed by earlier. They speculate that the undead were making war on the elves in the area long ago.
When they emerge from the cave, an arrow with a flower attached to it, is shot at the feet of Jarn. He shoots the arrow back, and a small group of elves emerge. They proceed with a trade, and then they begin talking. The elves clearly find their settlement unwise.
The group learns some important information though:
- Hobgoblins live on the plains beyond the forest, and come into the forest to capture slaves. At some point, if they wish to live in peace, they have to deal with that threat.
- There are many goblin tribes and they are sure to end up fighting them.
- To the south lives Osganithmoth Suneater, an old green dragon, which fortunately sleeps right now, but its offspring infests the forest.
- They watch over the ruined city, to guard against the creatures coming out of it. The demons that dwell within cannot get out though for some reason. Inside there are many monsters, among others a group of giants that wandered in from the hills to the south west.
- They don’t have access to metal and are interested in trading.
- They know of a source of iron, but it is a dangerous place.
- The location where Fort 25 is supposed to be is a dangerous ashen wasteland.
When they were done speaking with the elves, we ended the session.
Perhaps Osganithmoth looks something like this… Scale seems pretty accurate! Art by Mike Azevedo. Check out more of his very cool stuff here: Link to Mike Azevedo’s art
We will finally have an extended period of down time, and they can use some of the time to get to know more of the local inhabitants. It should strengthen their connection to the community and make them feel more a part of the settlement.
The campaign also opens up, and they discussed what should be their next target: the iron mine, fort 25 or the ruined city. They decided upon the iron mine, as it would be an important resource for the settlement.
Perhaps this will be our first session without an initiative roll…? But then again, maybe not…