Friday, November 6, 2015

Blade of Vengeance, Part 4

Days 10-13:
  • Erystelle and companion creatures return to the ruined human village of Scrubton, then take the track southwest. Fight a pair of giant ferrets along the way; at this point E. fixes on the strategy of casting sleep on these lesser creatures and putting them to the sword as soon as possible.
  • Reaches a high, open hillside in the forest which allows survey of the forest and river for leagues distance. Spots titanic twin pillars to the north; and also a huge dragon flying about a league away. Hastens back into the woods for cover and makes camp. Overnight fends off 3 wild boars.
  • Travels some 3 leagues north through the trackless forest and reaches the river, where an attack by 5 giant flies occurs. Camps out and rests before assaulting the pillars, which glow with a supernatural light through the trees at night.
  • In the morning, crosses the river by swimming and assisted by a magic web cast between trees from back to bank. Travels a league northwest to the area of the pillars; finds it entirely circled by thorny brambles which twist and thrash out when a torch is brought near them. Wizard eye scans the inner area but finds no secret paths. E. begins hacking against the brambles by sword, and manages to cut through, but not without the brambles striking back and drawing blood. E. correctly guesses that the brambles might grow back quickly, and calls the animal companions through the cut passage.
  • The existing pillars are only part of what once stood here; the upper halves have been shattered and lie in rubble. The surface are covered in ivory with engravings of celestial bodies; stars and moons and comets. A small dirty pool lies between them with weeds and bugs. E. casts read magic on the glyphs and determines that they are symbols of magical navigation, but to where one cannot say. Invokes the magic rhyme from the shargugh (“Before me lies the silver moon...”, etc.) but nothing happens. Rests for the day by the pillars and fends off an attack by stirges. Falls asleep in the afternoon.
  • Awaken at night and the place is transformed: although the prior night was a quarter waxing, the moon shines full overhead. The pillars pulse with magical power. The pool is a bright crystal pond, reflecting the moon. The bramble barrier is gone. The weeds are now bright shining flowers, ever petal casting a glittering, twinkling light. E. says the magic words; nothing happens. Inspects the burned page from the hermit. Stands in the pond and says the rhyme; nothing happens. Kneels and speaks; nothing. Lies prostrate and speaks; nothing. Holds a shining flower in the hand and speaks; nothing. Touches the pillars and speaks; nothing. Frustrating all possibilities, takes the opportunity to avoid the brambles and retreats to the riverside and weeps and curses.
  • Decides to follow the river south; travels 4 leagues and gets attacked by more giant flies. Makes camp.
  • Travels further south, fending off a pack of 5 wolves with the usual sleep spell. A league later finds a bridge over the river with a rustic nearby domicile. Hails the woman with a wolf on the porch. A man joins her and casts detect evil on Erystelle for safety. E. shows the tale of woe, and oncoming monsters and destruction while the couple listens silently.
  • As E. speak, the wolf growls and turns; the place is under attack by a huge troll and a score of gnolls! As they rush through the couple's orchard, E. casts web and manages to catch the troll and a pair of gnolls (fails save; and fails attack check to break out). The man and woman cast hold person spells, paralyzing a half-dozen gnolls in place. As the gnolls approack to within melee distance, the woman casts animal growth on the wolf, horse, and bobcats, and they each swell to giant-sized (double hits and damage). E. casts magic missile and strikes 4 of the gnolls. The animals dive among them, tearing limbs and bodies in pieces. A few run but get cut down before they can escape. E. turns to the struggling troll and blasts it with a lightning bolt, then hacks at it by sword. The man appears with a lit torch and sets the web and troll pieces on fire, and they also throw the paralyzed gnolls into the flame like cordwood.
  • Ragnal and Rhonda Redleaf are immensely grateful, cast healing spells on Erystelle and the injured bobcat, and turn over their entire supply of healing herbs to E. in gratitude. Asking for advice or information, the pair suggest that E. visit an old ent that lives nearby and ask him. For now however, E. stays the night and sleeps in a bed for the first time in many days, with the animals all sleeping peacefully nearby. However, all are aware that the monster depradations seem to be getting worse.
  • (DM's note: I decide that the module-indicated 3 wandering monster checks per day is likely excessive. Will be switching back to core OD&D rule of 1 check per day at 2-in-6 in the woods.)

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this adventure; I wish I was playing.

    JLL

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    1. Erystelle says: "Me, too -- I need help!"

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  2. Way to preempt my comment with your very last bullet point! I was just about to mention that encounters with hostile wildlife seemed overly abundant and ask whether the module called for that many or if your dice were just really hot.

    I'm curious about using a web spell to help cross a river, though. I can see the idea of using a properly anchored rope or chain to pull oneself across a river while resisting the current, but wouldn't a web's stickiness be a hindrance to using it that way? Was it used in some other way that I'm not considering? Or was it more just hand-waving the difficulty per Rule Zero because it was a cool idea?

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    1. You're totally right on both points. With the spell, I was definitely being extra-generous. My first instinct was also that the stickiness would foil that -- but I wanted to encourage some creative spell-use, and crossing the river wasn't really a dangerous barrier in the first place, so I said yes to it. Pretty sure it wouldn't always work like that, and I don't mind a small bit of variation in spell utility.

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