The party heard that there was a contract posted up by Lexise Trisralei, captain of the Howling Dawn and a prominent member of Valenroux’s city guard.
The contract stated that a routine patrol had been missing for two weeks. They had checked in with an outpost on the northern coast, before continuing their route. Their last suspected location was in the Northern half of the Danraa Splitwoods. The party was to return with any surviving members of the patrol or failing that information on what had killed them.
During the journey, the party encountered a trio of caravans, who cautioned them that there was something foul in the woods. Strange arcane symbols had been carved into many of the trees, and the atmosphere was dark and oppressive. They were also cautioned not to stare into the sigil’s too long, and definitely, to avoid tracing the image.
They set up a camp and found signs of another group nearby. Upon investigating, they discovered a small encampment of men and after a bit of a standoff, the party fought and slew all but their leader, whom they took hostage.
With the bandits slain, the party investigated the camp, and found a few paltry items. What they found that intregied them most however, as a crate branded by the Ambit Augmenters, which contained the ingredients for making medical supplies as well as two healing potions. Mouse and Felix championed returning these items back to the A.A, both for morality and for the good reputation it would gain them. The bandit, Wrex Buckingham, was interrogated and put on a good front for a while. Felix attempted to convince him that Mouse would eat him, and while Wrex didn’t believe Felix, Mouse was certainly intimidating enough to make his lips a little looser. Wrex confessed that he and his men had encountered the wagons and crates being investigated by strange, clocked figures, who shambled along. Wrex said that he and his men had peppered the creatures with arrows, but that they had still risen and fled the scene.
The party decided, despite being wounded, they would push on into the forest and took Wrex with them. It wasn’t long into their journey when two constrictor snakes landed on Ecko and Mouse, quickly grappling them and beginning to squeeze them. Ghazan made an effort to free Mouse, but only got himself entangled. Meanwhile, Ecko demonstrated a talent she had not shared with the others before, an ability to speak to snakes. She convinced the serpent wrapped around her, Simon, to release her and be cool, which Simon happily did. Terry however, was eventually pulled off and killed by the party, much to Simons indifference.
The party now even weaker than they had been before, they retreated back to the bandits camp to rest. When they returned, they found that the bandits they had slain were missing, apparently dragged off by something. Mama Loko used a feature called Eyes of the Grave, which lets her track any nearby undead. She managed to catch a small blip just on the edge of her periphery before it disappeared.
Over the course of the night, Mama Loko felt the presence of her two deities, Sinxhu, the lung dragon god of the grave, and The Greek Skinned, a new addition to the pantheon. The rumours around the Green Skinned are still growing, but many say that she is the spirt of an Orc who gave her life in the battle of Okenhiem against the forces of the Blood Horde, a vicious orc tribe lead by tyrannical Galtrax. This orc, Gutzpitta was given a choice to ascend due to her sacrifices and the core tenants of her belief. (IRL, Gutzpitta and Mama Loko are played by the same player! Though it was my choice to bring Gutz into the pantheon)
Both these gods seemed to be tense, unhappy with whatever was lurking in the forest. Mama Loko pinged off her undead sonar a few more times but found nothing.
Ecko meanwhile, kept hearing notes playing from her musicians bow, which belonged to her father. It was an accompaniment to the erhu, a stringed instrument that her father was renowned for but which she was still learning. When she summons her pact weapon, it takes the form of an erhu that she swings with determination. Throughout the night, she would hear the four notes play from time to time, but she couldn’t place the song title for them.
The party went on their watch, and during her stage of it, Caelia felt a presence out in the forest. Something that was calling to her, though she remained where she was rather than investigating.
The next morning, the party got ready and ventured back out, with Simon the snake and Wrex Buckingham the bandit still in tow. As they travelled, they noticed more and more of these dark sigils carved into the trees around them, and the atmosphere became dark. Despite the early hours of the morning, the canopy overhead seemed to oppress, darkening the forest and mood.
Then they began to hear broken, guttural words.
“Flesh!” “Bite” “Tear” “Meat”
From the undergrowth emerged ten creatures. All humanoid with short snouts sticking out from their tattered hoods. As the fight evolved, the party found them to be gnolls, in the early stages of decay. Their skin greying, missing in places to show the exposed and rotting muscle beneath. It was a hard fight, with the creatures returning to life if they were not put down by fire, radiant, or acid damage. One of them dealt a vicious blow to Ecko, knocking her unconscious but fortunately, the rest of the party were able to slay the last gnoll, and bring her back up.
That was this weeks session of D&D. On Monday I am running a game with an all-girl party of The Witch is Dead by Grant Howitt. My players are!
Cassie – a toad, Kermit
Georiga – a cat, Catather Christy
Lia – a dog, Sherlock Bones
Nic – an owl, Lady Hootington
Thea – a magpie. Toby Magpier