Exploration was the name of the game this session. Traveling south-east from the den of spiders the party explored the nearby hex, discovering in fact the very claw-looking tree that seemed to be marked on the map they recovered from the dead bandits bodies.
Searching around the giant tree Alanea managed to find a portion of the tree that had been disturbed recently. Valerie was quick to pick up a shovel and start digging – and after a good 10 minutes or so hit a thunk and found a wooden box wrapped in a heavy wool cloak. Jackpot!
Within the chest was a masterwork dagger, a nice silver ring (worth 75gp), a Wand of Burning Hands (CL 2nd 10 Charges left) and the remains of an old-fashioned spellbook. While most of the pages had been ruined there were a couple still legibly to Alanea and her ability to Read Magic. (Mage Armor, Reduce Person, Identify, Unseen Servant, and Silent Image)
From there the group headed southwest and found another portion of the Shrike River. Not only that, but after exploring the area there was a mostly-destroyed bridge and a small burned down wooden hut on the sides of the river. A sign post declared on each side “Nettle’s Crossing – 5 coppers – ring bell for service.”
Not one to deny her curiousity Valerie quickly rung the rusting bell. Shortly after a watery undead hand rose from the center of the Shrike River and pulled itself up to stand on top of the running river itself though seemed untouched by it. “You are not my tormentors…” hissed the creature. “Throw the body of the Stag Lord into the river…so that I may rest…”
Figuring that this tortured soul (and somewhat unique form undead as Alanea discovered through her knowledge of the undead) was the late bridge keeper Nettles, the party seemed downright amenable to the request. After all they were going to put a stop to the Stag Lord’s activities anyways. They haggled for a bit over precisely how much of the Stag Lord’s body would suffice and decided to head back to Oleg’s Trading Post since Tarvis was beginning to get low on rations.
Curiously the mischievous Fae tricks seemed to stop while the group was roaming the hills and plains areas of the eastern part of the Stolen Lands.
The group arrived back at Oleg’s without any trouble did a bit of bartering and headed back out with more rations – this time heading directly East from Oleg’s and discovering the thatch hut run by an aging and somewhat gruff and senile Lizardfolk named Bokken.
Bokken is an aging Lizardfolk with some discoloration in his scales and a bit of a sagging jowl underneath his still intimidating muzzle. Still wearing a loincloth to cover himself, Bokken walks with the aid of a nice looking cane that he traded for at some point in the past. One of his iquana-esque eyes wanders a bit when not focusing on anything in particular.
After some shouting back and forth from inside his hut to determine they were not in fact there to harm him the lizardfolk opened his hut (as long as they left their weapons outside, which the party agreed to so Valerie kept an eye on their weapons) while the group checked out the available wares.
While Korin didn’t need a potion of Cure Light Wounds at the moment he still decided to buy one, with Tarvis quickly understanding why – you need to build up a rapport with new contacts after all. Korin and Bokken chatted a bit over tea with a bit of alcohol poured in.
“Well I do some business with Oleg’s on occasion but I’ll take orders as well. I can have em ready here for ya or send em on to Oleg’s…whichever ya prefer. Ya seem like the hearty sort too. I’ll even offer ya a business deal…I like mixing in some Fangberries with my potions – adds a bit of local magic to em. Bring some back from the patches about 50-60 miles south of here and I’ll give ya a discount on my potions for a month.”
The group agreed and the bargain was struck.
The group spent the better half of a week exploring the areas between Oleg’s and Nettle’s Crossing, following the Shrike River as far east as the Shrike Cascades – a 50 foot waterfall. Deciding not to continue exploring East (since their charter did not cover farther east than this) the group headed back West and explored the Hex directly West from Nettle’s Crossing.
The group immediately saw the impressive Sycamore tree that stood easily 100 feet high. The leaf-less tree was certainly an impressive site. The group finished exploring the area and decided to sleep underneath the great tree.
Sometime after the sun went down and Korin was on the first watch of the night a dart suddenly struck him in the stomach! Howling in pain the dwarf saw that his attacker was a tiny blue-skinned critter with wide eyes and down-pointed floppy ears. Not only that there were two of them! And a Centipede the size of a pony amongst them!
As the rest of the group woke up to Korin’s yell they started gathering their things to fight. Between Korin and Valerie they made quick work of the critters (that Alanea recognized as Mites, an evil type of fae and likely the sorriest critter in existence)
Realizing that the very tree that they had decided to camp under was the home of these creatures, rather than flee like cowards they would rid the sycamore of this infestation!
Searching around the base of the tree Alanea discovered an entrance…a tunnel leading underneath the great tree. The Mites weren’t infesting the tree…they were living underneath it. Alanea and Sidney stayed up top while Tarvis and Korin climbed down quickly reaching pathways the headed West and East. With Valerie staying at the center of the T-Junction to keep an eye on the path to the East to make sure nothing came after the group, Tarvis and Korin headed West. While they quickly realized traveling under here would be a tight fight for everyone, Sidney had just-so-happened to finish working on a scoll of Reduce Person that he passed off to Tarvis before they climbed down the hole.
The first room Tarvis and Korin discovered was a workshop of sorts where three Mites seemed to be playing “catch the caltrop” by firing them at each other via catapult and trying to swallow them. Korin quickly took down two of the critters while the third fled down another hole deeper underground. Tarvis leapt after the Mite and found himself in a torture chamber of sorts.
Nine other Mites (making ten total now) filled the room. A group of five were busy threatening and torturing a Kobold that was tied against the wall, while the other group of four were cheering from the sidelines. Calling up for backup Tarvis UNLEASHED THE RAINBOW on the group of Mites nearest the Kobold – knocking out three of the five Mites along with the Kobold via Color Spray.
Korin quickly climbed down the hole as well and stood beside Tarvis shoulder to shoulder. With the dwarf having relayed the message as well Valerie also moved down the tunnels to join Korin and Tarvis, with Sidney and Alanea taking her place guarding the T-Junction.
With the three fighters of the group together they made quick work of the rest of the Mites. While they gathered up the Kobold who was still TASTING THE RAINBOW, Valerie shouldered the Kobold to bring him back up to Alanea and Sidney to take him out of the Sycamore hole.
Meanwhile Tarvis made a running jump across the 12-foot chasm that separated the ‘torture room’ from a nearby tunnel. Not wanting to try and jump that distance Korin started climbing the conveniently knotted roots that lined the ceiling…not realizing that the one he grabbed was not designed to hold someone of his weight!
As Korin tumbled 20 feet into the bottom of the chasm a dark form rose up from it having noticed Tarvis leap across. A centipede the size of a bus stared hungrily at the magus while its tails began flitting and batting at the prone dwarf.
Valerie and Alanea quickly made their way back into the tree after hearing Tarvis scream at the top of his lungs at the sight of the giant insect. Korin brought himself to his feet and hefted his trusty axe trying to bring the creature low.
Tarvis brought his wand and staff to bear trying to fight the creature off though concerned at the creatures ability to bite into the cave wall and tear stone from it.
Valerie and Alanea both arrived on the scene and tried to leap across the chasm (Valerie trying to stab her rapier into the centipedes back but missing, Alanea failing her acrobatics roll, then her Reflex Save to grab the other side, but managed to make one of her Acrobatics checks to reduce her falling damage.) but wound up alongside Korin at the bottom.
The centipede managed to strike Tarvis, nearly tearing the half-elf apart and filling his veins with a paralyzing poison that made withdrawing against the cave wall a little further down the tunnel seem like the best option…
Meanwhile the combined attacks from Korin, Valerie, and Alanea was enough to draw the centipedes attention though it did not manage to wrap its mandibles around them. Not wanting to leave his compatriots behind bravely stepped forward once more and unleashed fire from his wand of Burning Hands.
At last it was Valerie that managed to get the final blow, having stepped to flank with Korin she drove her rapier into the insect’s brain and killed it.
But this was no time to relax! Voices and movement could be heard from the tunnel nearest Tarvis!
And that’s where we will pick up next time!
XP for the session…
Total: 4600 XP
Divided by 5 = 920 XP Each
Level 2 Achieved the first time the party rests!
Quotes of the Session
“So…how much of the body are we talking?” When negotiating with Nettles regarding his request for the body of the Stag Lord
The undead merchant stroked his chin thoughtfully. “At least the head…the torso would be nice as well.”
Korin: “They better be prepared to pay rent if they wanna live in this tree!” On the Mite infestation of the Old Sycamore.
“So can we hear what’s going on back in the previous rooms?” Valerie, Alanea, and Sidney asking of the arrival of the Huge Centipede
“I’m pretty sure I just screamed like a little girl” Tarvis, noting that probably everyone heard him.
“Ladies.” Korin, after both Valerie and Alanea fail to leap across the chasm and joined him at the bottom.