|Session 04: A Forested Frolic|
|Real World Date||May 31st, 2014|
|Game Date||March 16 - 17, Year 0|
|Location||Creston, Duskorb Forest|
|Enemies||The Nightingale Bandit, others|
|NPCs||Adreyan, Rosemary Highcastle, Lanaea, Atamant, Sebastian Glordon Highcastle the Fifth|
Session 03: A Tome of Time
Session 04a: An Inn-Based Interim
The party went to sleep at the tavern, planning to continue investigating in the morning. Namfoodle went to a hospital and got his fever cured. He ran into Rosemary at the monastery and convinced her to come with him. While most of the party explored the catacombs once more, Emilie followed a Maenad woman known as Lanaea into the forest, hoping the latter could offer some helpful information. Instead, Emilie witnessed Lanaea meeting a scary-looking elf (Atamant) and giving payment to The Nightingale Bandit. In the catacombs, it was evident that someone had been there between then and the previous time the party searched them. After regrouping in the midst of Duskorb Forest, the party found itself under siege by the trees themselves. A clean escape allowed our heroes to compile their discoveries and plan the next step.
Tahlarien, still fatigued from the ghoul fever, collapsed into a bed in the monastery's infirmary and quickly fell asleep. Concluding that Adreyan was in stable condition, the remainder of the party elected to get Namfoodle some help for his ghoul fever. As they made their way to the monastery entrance, a very tall female monk (Lanaea) emerged from the basement that houses the entrance to the catacombs. She had greenish, rough skin. She said she had been fetching mead. She didn’t seem to know about the secret entrance.
The party retired to the tavern for the night, concluding that if health services could not be found, Vic could heal Nam the next day after preparing the appropriate spell. Namfoodle found that Sebastian had been unable to pay his bill and was now working as a custodian for Cleff. Isaac and Emilie talked a bit over dinner. Isaac recounted that he fell out with his old adventuring group and had been headed to the capital in search of new friends when the wagon was attacked in Session 01. Emilie reveals that she went to school to become a crusader, but hated all her classmates, and thus was also in search of travelling companions. Kal trained the stolen cat formerly known as Hat (now Studmuffin) to fling food at Emilie. This started a food fight amongst the patrons of the tavern. Emilie and Isaac retreated to their respective rooms. Tahlarien climbed in through the window and went back to sleep.
The next day, Namfoodle went alone to the apothecary, who is a gnome that speaks very quickly and dishonestly. Realizing despite his stupor that he was being swindled, Namfoodle chose to seek help at the hospital instead. A blind, elderly cleric cured Nam free of charge. Nam became suspicious of the cleric’s intentions. He cast Detect Thoughts, which has verbal components, so the cleric could definitely tell he was doing casterly stuff. Nam didn’t learn anything significant, but he succeeded in making the cleric somewhat colder toward him.
The party reconvened at the entrance to the monastery with the intention of furthering their investigation of the late bookkeeper's office and the catacombs. We ran into the tall monk again, and Namfoodle managed to offend her by calling her a lizard. She removed her hood and we discovered that her rough skin was actually due to green crystals that seemed to be embedded in her flesh. Nam then proceeded to offend Adreyan by asking him for information and assistance without considering that Adreyan had been at death's door less than a full day before. Brooke, the woman who resembles Rosemary Highcastle, entered with food for Adreyan. Namfoodle followed her, eager to discover if she was the mark he was hired to find for Sebastian.
The others investigated the head bookkeeper’s office. Isaac found a book on the Order of the Heron, as well as some notes that suggest high tension between the late bookkeeper and the librarian, who was tired of losing books to the former. The book tells that elves were native to this land, which may explain the style of construction in the catacombs. In fact, all of the ghosts the party encountered in Session 03 were elves, and they were fighting off other shadows. Perhaps these echoes are from the time that humans settled this land. The Order of the Heron was a peacekeeping order of monks. They were the original human authority of Creston. The current monks split off from this order long ago. Perhaps the Voice of the Gods is elven in origin, if not an elf him/her/itself. Emilie found a whole shelf of mundane records that didn’t seem to hold anything interesting. No suspicious outsiders have been recorded as entering the monastery. There hasn’t even been tourism or service work done in the last six months. Another folder showed personnel. Lanaea, a Maenad, presumably the one we keep running into, joined two and a half years ago. Brooke, the human woman who matches Rosemary’s description, joined three years ago. The poem that the late bookkeeper wrote is not in the book Isaac found, nor is anything interesting.
Vic stacked some horses on top of each other outside, with moderate success.
Isaac tried to get Kal to talk on the way to the catacombs. Kal was dismissive, and Isaac didn’t press. Namfoodle caught up with us; Brooke in tow -- the latter not saying anything, and looking fatigued. Namfoodle did not explain. On the way to the back torch entrance, the party witnessed the Maenad woman. The group went into the catacombs, but Emilie chose to follow the Maenad. Something seems off about her, and at best, she may be able to help identify some of the dead in the catacombs. Perhaps as the missing people from town?
Brooke got her foot caught in the spike trap while exploring the catacombs, even though we had left it in a disabled state. Namfoodle went to turn the trap off, and sees that the lever had indeed been moved. Lanaea?
In the corpse pile room, Kal saw a glimpse of the echoes. Isaac removed the Tome from his pack a bit, and the echo flames of the library fire became more visible to the rest of the party. In time, the fire goes out and figures begin to construct the cages that presently hold skeletons. Then the memory loops. The ghast the party fought began to rise, and Isaac slammed the Tome away. The ghast collapsed once more.
Meanwhile, Emilie pursued Lanaea through the forest, calling to her. Lanaea responded by sprinting away. Driven now by curiosity more than need, Emilie was able to sneak after her and saw her meet up with a scary-looking elf (Atamant) with stringy grey hair. The two kissed. The Nightingale Bandit dropped from a tree. Lanaea gave him gold. He took it (colliding with it as material objects ought to), weighed it in his hand, and blinked out of existence, as though by Dimension Door or Teleportation. Lanaea walked further away, while the elf came toward Emilie. The elf had a huge scar down the side of his face. His left ear was a sharp knife shaped into an elven ear, embedded into his skin very craftily. His armor radiated hate and was pure black. He had a large sword strapped to his back, and a hateful glare.
Namfoodle and Kal were worried about Emilie, so they headed in the direction they believed Emilie went, leaving Brooke in the hands of Vic and Isaac down in the catacombs. Vic and Isaac brought her to Adreyan in the infirmary, who told Isaac that Lanaea often meditates in the forest to calm down. Adreyan has his own suspicions about the Maenad as well but he will not explicitly say so due to regulations of the order.
Emilie got lost, but eventually stumbled her way to the road that the wagon was on in Session 01. From there she was able to make her way back to Creston.
Namfoodle and Kal got lost following Emilie's tracks, unaware that she had made it out of the forest unharmed. Meanwhile, at the monastery, Vic concocted a plan to burn down the entire forest to reunite the party. Isaac vetoed the plan, though he was appreciative of the input. Emilie got back to the infirmary and found that everyone had left. She returned to the forest entrance again and found chalk-marked trees marking a trail inward (Isaac’s doing). At this point, Nam and Kal had reached the clearing in which Emilie witnessed the handoff. They didn't know where to go. Isaac and Vic continued chalking trees, trying to follow the broken branches. Namfoodle was beginning to think the forest was alive--more than a forest ought to be--and that the trees were moving. Finally, Isaac and Vic found the other search group in the clearing while Kal was trying to climb a tree to see better. Kal was able to see that the trees around him had bent limbs, suggesting that someone had climbed them before (The Nightingale Bandit, of course). Namfoodle indicated that since the forest seemed to be impossible to navigate, and he had detected residual conjuration magic in the area (probably from the Bandit's disappearance), perhaps the forest was where people have been disappearing to, and the party was the latest victims. Isaac said that some of the recent chalk markings had been distorted strangely.
Emilie caught up to them and everything was made clear except for the whole "magic forest" part. Then they all tried to retreat but the chalk marks had moved. Emilie was grabbed around the ankle by a root. It released her soon afterwards and took a step in her direction. Panicked, she broke out into a sprint toward the monastery. Namfoodle, on the other hand, walked slowly, indicating that he means no harm and also please stop kidnapping people. The trees all started moving slowly and shedding their bark. The party made it out, quite shaken. They reviewed the information they had gathered and discussed next steps. Namfoodle asked Brooke about Lanaea, the elf, and the nightingale bandit. All the party learned is that Brooke “had contact with [the Nightingale Bandit] earlier; who knows, he may have turned out differently.” There actually may be a tie between Brooke and the Bandit. Namfoodle revealed to her that the party suspected a connection between Lanaea, the disappearances, and the Nightingale Bandit. Brooke was opposed to this idea, saying that the Bandit does not kill. Emilie pointed out that his men tried to kill us, but Brooke says that this was only out of self-defense, and that the original arrow volley was for scare tactics only. Namfoodle proposed that he hide in the bushes until Lanaea comes back for the night, and then he would cast Detect Thoughts on her and hopefully develop a next step from there. The party agrees that that’s the best plan.
- Tahlarien still was so fatigued by the ghoul fever that as she recovered in bed, her player was forced to see a stage show for emotional relief.
- Only the DM and Emilie's player knew what was happening to Emilie for the majority of this session.