The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes were magically trapped in the village of Frostwyck, learned there were a lot of witches nearby, and went to investigate some ruins. They’re hoping to find some magical help (spoilers: they do!).
Play time: 4 hours
- Drew the human fighter (2)
- Ray the human bard (2)
- Ward the human ranger (2)
- Rainen the dwarf ranger (2)
- Hugo the human cleric/wizard (2)
Having agreed to destroy a nearby bell tower of Virune for the local druids, the party set out for the abandoned village of Elk Ridge. But Drew paused to pull the bound twig-dragon out of his pack and give it to the druids so the beastie wouldn’t cause trouble later. (Darn it!)
On the path heading southeast, Ward found some grouse hopping through the woods but decided not to hunt them. Instead they went straight to the village, where they soon found a number of collapsing cabins being reclaimed by the forest. Except for the bell tower of Virune.
Go to bell
The bell tower stood 20 feet tall, shrouded in vines that were trying (and failing) to pull the tower down. The party also saw three bodies lying around the tower, bodies with lavender-gray sky that were whispering softly.
Hugo the former cleric of Virune went forward to greet these three individuals, using the name of Virune. The three creatures immediately leapt to their feet, displaying their graying skin, red eyes, and fanged mouths. They all began chanting “Virune! Virune!” and rushed at Hugo.
Combat! Big combat! The three undead things attacked Hugo with varying degrees of success. Hugo fended them off with his Shield spell, while Ward fired flaming arrows from the woods. But Drew was the MVP as he stormed forward to slash, tackle, body-slam, kick, and punch the creatures into pulp. One of them leapt onto Drew’s back, but he simply smashed one to death, and then body-slammed the one trying to grapple him, and then kicked it while it was down. One of them died immediately.
Then the sunlight burst through the overcast sky above. Hugo ran into the sunlight, and two more undead appeared. Now four creatures all turned and ran at him, still chanting “Virune!” One by one, as they entered the sunlight, they burst into flames.
Rainen then noticed a figure standing on a high ridge, watching them. She dashed into the fray with her axe and ranger spells to soften up the baddies, with Ray buffing and debuffing from a safe distance. But again it was Drew’s sword and fists that began reducing these undead to flaming piles of dust and ash.
Several of them managed to dig their claws into Hugo, who was starting to hurt a lot. His cleric spells failed to do any good, but Shield kept him alive. Soon all five undead had been shot, slashed, punched, or burned into ash.
Turning their attention to the bell tower, Hugo explained that there were holy prayers carved into the wood that preserved the tower. So Rainen and Drew climbed the tower and hacked the prayers off the wood. The vines were then able to pull the tower down easily.
Ray spotted the figure on the ridge turn and leave. So the group climbed the ridge to find her. Ward followed her tracks for a few minutes, but lost her heading back toward Frostwyck. Ray noted that she had a similar lavender-gray complexion to the vampiric undead they had just killed.
Back at the gray hill, the party reported that they had torn down the bell tower, and the druid Tatiana repaid them by letting them inside the ancient ruins. This was a large dome that had been somehow grown from magical gray wood called mystwood. Rainen recognized that she had seen this wood inside Marta’s home.
Inside the dome, Tatiana showed off the marvelous relics she had been protecting. The party found a wooden model solar system on the ceiling, an array of glass lenses, hourglasses, tubes, jars, and other apparatus of a vaguely scientific nature.
In the center of the room, they found a petrified body with tentacle-hair lying on a couch beside a lever and a small bottomless well.
Tatiana repeatedly told everyone that they could look but not touch. This was her museum! Hugo cast Detect Magic, which revealed two pings on the dead body and one on a shelf.
Ward immediately wanted to flip the lever, which he tried to do suavely while Rainen distracted Tatiana. Instead, he tripped and fell onto the lever, which flipped it just fine.
Many things happened. Tatiana did start to get angry, but then small glass lights all over the room began to glow. The model solar system began to light up and spin. The array of lenses came together to form a telescope over the dead body. Bird song music began to play on a loop.
With Tatiana stunned by this transformation of the space, Hugo deftly stole three magic scrolls from the glass tubes on the shelf.
Ward and Ray looked up through the lenses to see clouds in High Def. Then, with his face near the corpse, Ray noticed a tiny silver item caught between the petrified man’s tentacles, which he stole with extreme skill.
Tatiana then recovered her composure, and was very impressed that the group knew how to manipulate these ancient relics and she gently encouraged them to do more. Drew turned a crank on the wall, which extended the tattered canopy over the dome’s roof. Interesting, but not useful!
Drew also picked up a gray mystwood spear from hooks on the wall, noted that it had a small empty socket, and went to the corpse. The dead man held a small black eye in his petrified hands. Drew placed the eye in the spear and BOOM – magic time! Black eldritch energy empowered the spear and radiated from the eye!
Hugo and Ray then pulled out the dagger and red eye they acquired earlier and put them together. BOOM again, as the red eye flared and the thin metal coating peeled off the dagger to reveal that it too was made of gray mystwood. Both the spear and dagger shimmered with arcane energy!
Ward dropped a carrot into the small well. A moment later, the tube filled with a thick black fluid and a golden eye appeared on the surface (just like the one they saw in the stump a few days ago). Ward touched the liquid with an arrow, and the liquid drained away.
Then Ray held his empowered eye-dagger over the well, and the black fluid and eye came back. This time, he placed his hand in the black jelly-like flesh. He instantly saw a series of visions of dark underground places, creatures with one large yellow eye, and a mountain of treasure.
Drew also stepped forward to touch the black flesh, and he too saw the visions. But he came away with a strange compulsion to give treasure to the well. So he poured out all his coins. And then he tried to give the magic spear to it, but Ray snatched it away from him.
Rainen and Ward struggled to pull Drew back from the well as he tried to give it his magic lantern. But they got him away and the compulsion faded.
Tatiana decided that this was enough excitement for one day and asked them to step outside. She flipped the lever to de-activate the observatory, and then led them down a path to the druids’ cave to share a meal and let them rest.
And that’s where we stopped.
This was an amazing session. I think everyone had a really great time. The big combat with the feral vampires was very cool, because the baddies were all focused on getting Hugo, and the sunlight kept moving across the battlemap to change the environment. So much fun!
The second half of the session in the observatory was amazing. The players were very excited to poke and prod all the things in the room. I was really proud of how clever and bold they were interacting with the stuff in the room.
And the big payoff! They finally figured out how to make the mix-and-match weapons with the sockets and the eyes. They were super excited about this, as well as the chance to find more of them.