West Marches

Dragon Hunt in the Dark Wood (2700 xp)

There’s someone at the gate asking for us. They are “dragonlike but not dragonborn.” They are a group of half dragons led by Bluetooth. Their master prefers to remain nameless. They want to bribe us to investigate a dragon in the Darkwood. He wants us to disrupt negotiations between the dragon and a wizard.

We head into the Darkwood. The first person we meet is a dryad. She invites us to tea. Then she asks the gents in the party if they’ll help her with her seed. Kirk agrees. The dryad’s tree is near an ancient elven house, which interests Jasper.

The next day, we find a Fomorian (evil giant). During the fight, a young green dragon tried to sneak up on us. Badly. However, her breath weapon was entirely too effective, dropping Aela and Jasper immediately. Fortunately, the rest of the group was able to drive her off.

After some healing potions and a rest to help Aela and Jasper, we go into dragon-hunting mode. The dragon has made her lair inside a giant living tree. The dragon apparently stopped by to grab her gold and most valuable items, but still left a bunch of stuff.

We try to find information on the wizard she was supposedly meeting with. Jasper finds her guest room, which includes information on an elven ruin, including the note “we can’t pierce the barrier.”

We decide to track the dragon. This takes more than the rest of the day. During the night, Grayson and Kirk notice a half-score of hobgoblins attempting to sneak towards our camp. They’re wearing badges with stylized mindflayers. One of them is a fireball-casting spellcaster. We take most of them out, but three got away.

In the morning, Lark tracks the two little guys back to a treeless hill with a palisade at the top. This is the hobgoblin “camp” and the wizard’s fortress

Dramatis Personae

Treasure

  • Short Sword – Dragonslayer
  • Fomorian Eyes
  • 7000 sp
  • 700 cp
  • Rod of the Pact Keeper +2

Potential crafting items:
Fomorian Eye (CR 8)

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Martell's Mine (1400 xp)

Once a year, the Martell brothers have their unclaimed freight sale. We find a nice dwarven-made rapier with Jasper’s house symbol on it. Jasper considers letting it go to auction and duelling the winner to the death. We find out that it had been commissioned by Quill, but she refused the delivery at the end. Jasper ends up buying it. Lagran buys a lot of books from an old sage.

During the sale, the Martell brothers make contact with us. They want us to investigate a mine with both silver and platinum (there’s a possibility that the mine could have mithril further down). Some of their miners have disappeared. They offer the group 1500 gp to investigate, 1500 if the mine is usable afterward, and bonuses for rescuing miners and keeping the four engineers they’re sending with us alive. Martell throws in a free bottle of ink. They provide wagons and provisions, to make the engineers comfortable.

The trip to the mine is relatively easy. The local bandits realized that their profit-to-chance-of-being-murdered ratio was unfavorable and left us alone.

While setting up camp, Ehlonna notices someone watching us, who scampers off. Kirk identifies kobold tracks.

We find the little town, Rose Rock, that sprung up around the mine. With the mine currently closed, the town’s not doing well. We spend the night; Lagran breaks some lute strings, and Jasper loses money at backgammon, but gains female companionship for the evening. Riverthorn loses money at backgammon, but finds out the previous company left due to a kobold infestation. Ehlonna finds out the kobolds are serving a red dragon. The mayor’s been planning to sacrifice some of the town’s young women to the dragon to save six hostages (one of which is the mayor’s daughter). Ehlonna wished to have “words” with him, but Riverthorn suggested beating down his door with the dragon’s skull.

In the morning, Ehlonna discovers that the baron’s sister’s head has disappeared from her bag. Then we go to the mine, leaving the engineers back in Rose Rock. They’re happy with this development.

There’s a single mine opening, about 20 feet wide, with a small collection of shabby, unmaintained wooden buildings. There’s a lot of loose stone lying around; someone’s (kobolds) been digging out new tunnels and just tossing the stone out.

We climb down into the mine without major incident, thanks to Jasper’s Feather Fall. We make noise, and the mine explodes in stirges. We wipe them out. We consider avoiding the barricade in the main shaft by looking through side passages, but decide that we’d rather go after a dragon than stirges. Kirk clears the barricade, and Jasper helps us Feather Fall down.

After we chase the kobolds away – the last we saw, the women and children were heading down the emergency exit – we search for the dragon. Ehlonna goes invisible and scouts the dragon’s lair. It’s a pretty nice starter lair, but the room is clearly big enough that the dragon has long-range plans. A couple of kobolds hear her, but they don’t find her because of the spell. The dragon, it turns out, was perched right above the door.

Jasper flies up and stabs the dragon, who then flies down to a cage with the captives and threatens them. The group drove Gralex the dragon off, rescued the hostages, and recovered the dwarven clan badges for the Martells.

Treasure

  • 2823 gp (per person)
  • Trident of Fish Command (party treasure)
  • Circlet of Blasting (party treasure)
  • Bag of Holding (Riverthorn)
  • Plate Armor of Swimming (giving it to Grayson)
  • Gloves of Swimming and Climbing (Lagran)
  • Headband of Intellect (Jasper)

PCs

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Green Goo and Froggy Eggy Things (2100 xp)
With Bonus Abyssal Rift!

After a short rest, we decided to check out a goblin warren. It looked like the demonic werewolves killed all the goblins. It’s caked with gooshy goblin bits. We find a crude chest in what we assume was the chief’s or shaman’s quarters, which we promptly loot.

Ehlonna lopped off the baron’s sister’s head. Apparently she wants to keep it around, the loony.

Then we try to work out whether and how to check out a second cave and some green goo. It turns out the two are related; someone was filtering and separating the goo from the swamp water and keeping it in a basin. People are weird. The goo is a little bit magical, but does not appear to have been enchanted.

We end up in a room of demon pods. There’s a gloopy half-dissolved goblin in one of them, a nearly formed quasit in another, and some formerly-human-looking things in another couple. Quill tries blasting one with fire, but it didn’t seem to work. Ehlonna’s Eldritch Blast pops a pod and drops its embryo. Riverthorn joins her in popping pods.

We start hearing growls and the polyps on the walls start to quiver. There’s movement in the water. Basketball-sized frog eggs with tentacles start popping out of the wall polyps. Lark skewers a couple and pops them in founts of goo. Ehlonna pops a second pair with Eldritch Blasts. A third pair grab Quill and Riverthorn. Kaimi pops those two polyps, who spew their poison goo all over Quill and Riverthorn. It makes Quill ill; Riverthorn’s had worse. For the first time in the campaign, Lark breaks out a short sword.

At that point a demonic form comes darting out of a hole in the ceiling. It spears Quill with its proboscis. Riverthorn shoots a witch bolt at it; it resists the lightning, but takes some damage. Ehlonna gives it a good blasting. It flies up the hole, and Quill papers it over with a web. More polyps pop out, and one of the pods pops, spewing stinky gas that made Riverthorn cough. Then a 15 foot tall blobby Pillsbury Dough Mama comes out of the pond. She wants to turn us into demon pods, but ran out.

We retreated from the cave, decided to camp overnight and then go back when we’re in better shape. We decide to focus on the Dough Mama, taking her out as soon as we can. We also get rid of the insect demon and scour the walls of the podling polyps. The green stuff does not respond to our efforts.

We take a good long rest after scouring the cave, then track down the source of the goo. We track it through the swamp to an abandoned temple. We find a droopy protoplasmic tree. We find fractally inky blackness, similar to the stuff attacking the titan, around here. We think it’s the Abyss encroaching into the mortal world. We head into the temple to see if we can see something to disrupt. We find a flat, weird, black and white Marilith hovering inside. We take it out, but the rift remains. We can’t figure out how to close it, so we’re going to send word to the capital to see if anyone there has any bright ideas.

Treasure

  • 1000 sp
  • 50 gp
  • Boots of Elvenkind (advantage on moving silently)(Lark)
  • Adamantine chain shirt (Elohna)
  • wand of Magic Missiles (Tranquility)
  • Jewelry worth 50 gp
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There was a Fire Fight (1800 xp)

We went to the old werewolf lair. There were demonic werewolf things, a vrock, and the Baron’s formerly-dead sister, who is now a sorceress instead of a warlock. There was a fight. It hurt.

Treasure

  • 2000 sp
  • 2300 gp
  • Wand of Magic Missile
  • Adamantine chain shirt
  • 2 potions of healing
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The Werewolves at One-Eyed Jack's (3000 xp)
Avoiding the Escort Mission

Mr. Payne has posted a notice on the board in the Copper Ram for those interested in a “lucrative opportunity.” He has a spinster aunt who he’s trying to wed to another merchant family’s widowed uncle, so he’s asked us to escort her to Ulster. He is extremely unhappy about the possibility of our talking to said aunt in order to verify that she’s OK with all of this.

Just then, a commotion breaks out at the front of the Ram. Someone yells out that someone else is a cheating son of a bitch, followed by another person yelling that they don’t want to draw attention. We ask Mr. Payne to hold on a bit while we check out the ruckus. Apparently it is a disagreement over cards. Three of the card players turn out to be werewolves.

We find out that the three had been abducted and forcibly turned outside of One Eyed Jack’s, a dive bar between here and Carcosa.

We take Quill’s new wagon down the road towards Carcosa. After some days, a couple of ogres start tossing boulders at us. They are not a challenge. They narrate their own deaths quite prettily. They are all wearing the badges of an orc chieftain.

One Eyed Jack’s is a pretty ramshackle set of buildings, but there are well-armed guards around the place. Lark thinks the feel of the place is wrong; that area no longer feels like the Golden Wood should.

We drop two guards immediately, and then the werewolves smell the blood. The werewolves have a berserker, an archer, and an alpha female with scars and a magic necklace. They also had a pixie and an oak tree that turned this area into an extension of the Dark Wood. We take all of them out with the help of Haffner the Mysterious Bear Druid. Long Jack’s is burned to the foundation during the fight.

The druid is able to save Alard, one of four dead merchants. Haffner says the werewolf pack was part of the Dark Council of the Dark Woods. He doesn’t know why her pack had come down, but she had mentioned being betrayed before her death. Haffner is not sure who could have betrayed her, but he knows where her original lair was.

Haffner is unaware of anything that could give a disease (the berserker) or scar (the alpha) to werewolves, so whatever drove her pack out is a big nasty.

We decide to head towards the old werewolf lair to see who or what has taken it over.

Treasure

  • 930 gp
  • 640 cp
  • 2200 sp
  • 25 gp in home goods
  • Fancy tapestry worth 500 gp if it gets mended
  • Random belt pouches
  • +1 silver klaive, martial weapon, 2d4 base slashing (Kaimi)
  • necklace – flame devouring amulet (the wearer has advantage on all saves vs. fire. In addition, amulet absorbs half of all fire damage dealt to target. Once it has consumed 43 pts of fire damage, the ruby will crack and it will cease to absorb damage, but the saving throw effect will continue, attunable item)(Kirk)
  • 3 gold chain bracelets worth 250 gp each
  • iron lockbox with a trapped lock (we also have the key)

Characters

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Black Mattie's Deal, Part 3

After the fight, we need some sleep. The night passes with some creepy noises outside, but without incident. This harrassment ends at dawn.

The family’s party is scheduled for this evening, but guests will start arriving in the afternoon. The staff is crazy busy all morning. This includes Jasper sending Mot out to get him a fancy outfit. The food stored for the party has gone bad.

Delia has aged around 10 years overnight, due to her breaking the deal with Black Mattie. Jasper’s watching the Lord and Lady as the “freaky elvish bodyguard.” Grayson is keeping an eye on the girl. Kirk and Riverthorn are keeping track of the twins. (Riverthorn teaches them to cheat at cards.) Ehlonna’s checking the guests to make sure we don’t get any changelings. Lagran is playing music.

The party’s kind of odd. The guests look at us oddly. Once the sun goes down, things start looking eerie. Dinner passes without incident, and the dancing starts. A drum starts to accompany Lagran’s playing, and a flute comes in after that. They’re getting closer. Lagran and Mot tell the group. We move the guests into the house.

Four figures, playing music, stagger-step towards us. Ehlonna knocks one down with an eldritch blast. The remaining three humans, two men and one woman, come to us. Their eyes have been replaced with white flowers, and there are vines wrapped around and through their skin. Ehlonna hits a second one, but the first one gets up. It looks like the first human has lost consciousness, but the plants still move. There are bright green eyes winking in and out in the distance.

They are joined by Rotwood the treant, Razor Ivy the dryad, and a pack of zombies. We make the zombies pop. Rotwood eventually fell to Jasper’s magic, after Riverthorn tenderized its woody skin. Razor Ivy had already ran away, using Rotwood as her portal.

The guests want to leave, so the town guard escorts them back to town. The family is all right, although the Camellia still looks ill. The daughter asks Ehlonna to give her the flower. She doesn’t want her family to die over this.

After eating the flower, she coughs up a small blob of green flowery stone.

The next morning, before we set out with Dehlia, we notice she’s looking younger again. Camellia looks well. The guests that are leaving aren’t as put out as they were last night.

We travel for two days. Nothing bothers us, but we see green eyes in the distance. This time, they’re just watching. We head into the swamp down the little trail. About a quarter hour down that trail, we come across an old cottage and well. Dehlia chucks the stone into the well.

More of the green flowers are growing around the well. Lagran sees Razor Ivy beckoning off in the distance. She tells Lagran that the bargain will be kept, and she is welcome to speak to Ivy again any time she wishes to visit the well.

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The Demon Came Down to Bridgetown (1800 xp)
An Interlude from Chip

Now that the orc horde has broken, Bridgetown has finally received reinforcements from Ulster. They’ve almost doubled the town’s population, including building a new temple (although the locals are still going to the old shrine).

The Baron has declared a celebration. The party is having a good time, with the exception of Cullen, who is casing the Baron. The party goes well, until a half-elven gal with an enchanted fiddle sends everyone into various types of madness. Someone manages to snap us out of it with a yell. Unfortunately, most of the celebrants are still being driven violently crazy.

We briefly see a vision of the Abyss superimposed over the fiddler, and the demon lord of madness. After it fades, the fiddler is enraged, but Aela and Cullen take her down. Once she falls, we hear a ghastly demonic roar. Once it fades, the madness lifts, and the other celebrants start to apologize.

A tall elf, Melindra, claims to want the fiddle in order to destroy it. Melindra is the name of a handmaiden of the elven gods. She desires to hire us to destroy the fiddle. Apparently, there is a temple to the demon a few miles away in the underdark where the fiddle’s dark essence will be sent back to the Abyss.

Since Melindra didn’t have a map to the temple, we decide to ask the Spider Druid of Mt. Rusk, who was at the party, if he could give us some directions.

In the morning, the fiddle has corrupted Cullen’s bag of holding. It now has teeth and has spit up all of her gear, save for her voodoo doll and the fiddle itself. It tried to eat Temic.

We end up checking the Baron’s manor. There are no guards, and we hear the faint sound of music. Either the music summoned umber hulks, or the music changed the guards into umber hulks. The baron and his wife are also there. Cullen’s voodoo doll is playing the fiddle. Eventually, we destroy the voodoo doll and umber hulks. Temic revives the Baron.

We end up getting a deep gnome from town to guide us into the Underdark. We get the magic out of the fiddle, but the Abyss waves over us and steals our deep gnome guide.

Character Roster

Treasure

  • Bag of Devouring (worth 2k gp)
  • Everyone gets a +1 weapon or an appropriate uncommon magic item
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Black Mattie's Deal, Part 2 (1440 each)

The party has just accused the Lady of making some sort of deal involving a severed head. Turns out she, 13 years ago, made a deal with Black Mattie to prevent her upcoming marriage from disintegrating like her parents’ did. BM gave her extended youth and kept her family’s business deals from going sour, and in return, she was to feed a flower to her first born child the day before her birthday for thirteen years.

The night before the daughter’s birthday, a zombie treant comes out of the river. A creepy dryad and a couple of wooden creatures that look like displacer beasts come out of the zombie treant.

At the end of the fight, we find out that Black Mattie can command banderhobs, which can track anyone if given a token, and the Lord’s and Lady’s younger twins are both missing locks of hair.

Total XP Total: 19190

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Following the Wind, Part 3 (2800 xp)
Temic's still an orc for the Fight of the Week!

We heal as much as we are able, and head to the question mark room on the map. There’s a maelstrom of pure energy bound by chains of order in the middle of the room. We can see into the Heart Room, which contains a titan that is chained to the floor in a most agonizing fashion.

“Have you come to kill me?” it asks.

Temic asks the Storm Lord, and he says yes. Temic pulls his magic spear and hurls it at the titan’s heart. Some of the smaller chains whip around and block the blow. The major chains, which are large enough to walk on, are attached to four not-quite-stone pillars around the room.

While we’re heading to the titan, the orcs burst into the room. A massive fight ensues, but we slay Goremaul, his cleric & warlock, and a bunch of mooks. Temic uses the spear of Gruumsh (formerly referred to as a sphere) to slay the titan, to its appreciation.

We are all teleported back to the beginning room. Temic is no longer an orc. Everyone is blessed by the gods.

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Following the Wind, Part 2
Temic's still an orc. This annoys him.

So we’re about to open the doors into the rest of the temple. We head down a giant-sized hallway until we find a titan-sized chair to one side of a dais. The dais may have been where supplicants stood to talk to the guy in the chair. We think the orcs had gone through this room ahead of us. There is a large door behind the chair. On the altar, there is a map written in Primordial and translation written in a combination of common and Orcish. There’s an inner sanctum, an orrery, a library, a magic room, a life room, an unknown room, and a heart room.

An orc comes squeezing through one of the doors, sees us, yells Orcish profanity, starts yelling at us, then runs off. His yelling cuts off abruptly. Temic charged after the guy.

Temic finds the orcs. They are well-equipped. There’s Goremaul (a warleader with a fantasy cybernetic arm), two shamans (these three are mounted), a couple of automatons, an ogre, and more orcs. Goremaul appears to be controlling the automatons. He yells at his minions to grab “the god stone.”

Goremaul, the shamans, and most of the orcs got away, although we took out the ogre, some of the orcs, and all of the constructs. We rested for a bit, while Temic tries to figure out the door. Kirk says it does not taste like stone (it actually tastes like the astral plane). We set to using crowbars and other equipment to force the door.

We get another weird lurching feeling from passing through the door, and end up in another circular room. We’re on a clear platform in the middle of a bunch of rotating spheres. This must be the Orrery. It is actually an orrery showing how the various planes relate to the Prime Material. The walls are made of the same astral crystal as the door, but one side of the room is cracked and has a blacker-than-black abomination oozing through. Mending does not fix one of the cracks. The Black is not particularly attracted to Ehlonna.

We go through another door and end up in a room dominated by a massive tree covered in masses of vines and giant pods with creatures growing inside. Some of the blackness from the orrery has infected this room, too; some of the vines are dead and the creatures in some of the pods have been twisted. We see a bear-sized pod that has a dragon-like thing growing inside. That particular pod is still pure, but the rot is heading towards it.

Kaimi climbed the tree and tried to cut into one of the pure pods, but the tree (or the vines/shambling mound inhabiting it) attacked. Aela damages one with an insult, but it responds by hitting her twice and swallowing her. Temic also gets swallowed, but blows himself back out of it with a Thunderwave. Kirk gets eaten twice. Lark shish-kebabs the moving treevines. One of them tries climbing towards Kaimi’s pod, but Temic summons a gale that knocks it out of the tree. We eventually manage to kill all the mobile vine clumps.

Now that the baddies have been defeated, we continue to head towards the Heart, as the whole edifice shakes.

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