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
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.)
Friday, November 6, 2015
Blade of Vengeance, Part 4