Monday, November 17, 2014

A Druid's Cabin in the Woods

In our Land of Azurth game this weekend, the party left Rivertown headed for the Enchanted Wood, hoping to put a stop to the poachers--and win a reward. With the elven ranger in the lead, the group eschewed the trail to follow the Babbling Brook (which actually babbles), hoping to come across a talking animal that might be able to tell them where to find the poachers. Ironically, A non-talking mockingbird told them (via Speak with Animals) about things that were neither man nor beast hunting in the woods and a horned shadow that crossed the moon on those nights. They found tracks a couple of days old that looked like human hands but with claws, supporting the mockingbird's story. Dagmar the cleric's knowledge of religion provided the clue that the Horned One, Lord of the Hunt, was an archfey that fit the description of the shadow.

They followed the tracks to a hidden trail then to a ritual circle formed from wooden posts and a great oak festooned with deer skulls. The party decided to hide out in the woods and stake out the circle. While they were waiting, a talking rabbit wandered by. He told them that a witch and a group of cultists used the circle and some sort of box was involved in the ritual. He also told them about a druid ("The friend of the forest") that lived on the other side of the wood.

Art by John Hower

The party got the rabbit to show them to the druid's abode, but not before the cleric and ranger got briefly enrapted by the glossolalia of the Spouting Spring (they were saved by the frox thief throwing a big rock into the water, disrupting the sound). They found the druid's door magically locked, and the druid seemingly unconscious on the floor inside. A disagreeable bluejay living in a bird house told them after a visit from a witch who drew some sigil on the door, the druid had not been out of his house. Erkose the Figher broke a window so that Waylon the frox could climb in. The druid was still alive, but barely arousable. Waylon was able to force the door to open from the inside. Dagmar deduced that a potion--herb-based but magical enhanced--cause the druid's current slumber. She and the ranger were able to locate a plant to at least ameliorate its effects. The druid, Llailogan, confirmed that the witch Ursa had poisoned him.

In his short intervals of wakefulness, he told them that Ursa had a pact with the Horned One and was trying to return the world to a savage state. She used a ritual given to her by her lord to create manhounds. Are the "jaded gourmands" of the rumors working with her?

Since darkness was falling, the group stayed in the druid's house overnight. They hear the baying and howls of dogs in the night, and faintly, a strange music that the bards notes seems to have a rather large assortment of instruments. Passing the night without ever seeing the manhounds, the party resolved to set a trap for the cultists and set out the next day to do that.


Jack Guignol said...

"The druid was still alive, but barely arousable."

Wand of Viagra might help. Oh err, that's what a friend told me, at least.

So this was a session with no fightin'? Sometimes those sessions are the best, which seems odd but there it is. Sounds like the game is off to a really fun start.

Trey said...

Typical of you English profs to make everything sexual. ;)

Yeah, no fighting! They managed either by blind-luck or cautiousness to avoid all the locations where potential fights were lying in wait. Since I had been mostly planning of a "done in one" session, all the random, wandering encounters were unlikely to be fights. Everyone got to use their niche skills, though (except the fighter) so it worked out ok.

Jack Guignol said...

"Typical of you English profs to make everything sexual. ;)"

It's true; Freud might have more cache in my field than yours at this point.

"Everyone got to use their niche skills, though (except the fighter) so it worked out ok."

I'm curious: did the fighter's player feel sidelined? In any case, between the fairly good skills fighters get to choose from and the open-ness of the kind of skills you can get from a background, it seems like even without a brawl fighters could still be pretty entertaining.

Trey said...

That's a good question. I didn't get a chance to ask him, but he didn't seem like he was having a bad time. He did help strategize for all the sneaking and what not they did, but he didn't have any rolls besides perception checks. I think he and the thief are the most combat-loving as well, so next session will probably be more to their liking.

christian said...

Blue jays are loud, shrieking jerks.

Sounds like a great adventure, bluejays aside. :)

Trey said...

This bluejay was sort of a jerk, and sounded like my best (which isn't very good, admittedly) impression of a Mel Blanc Brooklyn accent from a Looney Tunes cartoon.

Chris C. said...

I really dig the talking animals -- very cool way to have roleplaying in a wilderness.

Trey said...

Thanks Chris. It's good to do something different from time to time.