Session 3: Tokcha Vandalmar
The shadows of a late autumn afternoon ooze out of the underbrush that stands as a wall between the wilds of the Southern Grove and civilization. They creep across the twisted and shattered columns of long forgotten construction, now exposed to the sun after the Guardian crashed through the brambles in its desperate flight. The people that built it are long gone, their lasting legacy is the ruins that cover these lands like a pox. Slowly, the shadows ooze into the ancient paving stones of the logger’s road, the cracked and worn surface greedily drinks them in. The mangled and broken remains of the blighted creatures that pursued the ancient titan melt into the crawling dark.
The corpse of the Guardian lies burning. The dancing flames keep the shadows at bay, at least for a time. As the fire dies out, the hungry darkness begins to devour.
A baleful thrumming emanates from the shard of blackened wood taken from the Guardian. Its menacing aura drifts on the chilling breeze like spider webs, grasping and clinging to anything that comes near. Its hypnotic pattern is intoxicating. It beckons you closer. There is a beauty to the fractured ripples its touches make on the currents of magic that ebb and flow around you. You can almost hear it calling out for you to seize it and wield its terrible power.
The sound of approaching footsteps snaps you back to reality. A man approaches from the direction of Goodhearth.
Cast of Characters
- Alzaren played by Dave
- Morina Stormsbane played by Jolene
- Darius Jorah played by James
- Salvine played by Cody
- Baeren Torunn played by Brad
- Koda Oakmoss Head of Griffondale’s logging operations
- Horne Dryglen, Rino Noblebridge, and Hachi Axefarn loggers camped in the Southern Grove
- Tal A faun that lives in Tokcha Vandalmar
- [Name unknown] A dryad that lives in Tokcha Vandalmar
- [Name unknown] A druid that is part of the circle in Berrywood
- Tark & Ceri first elves who live in Tokcha Vandalmar
- Siishka Oakmoss Assistant to the Archdruid of Berrywood
- Teak of the Bear A druid from Berrywood that accompanied the adventurers into the Southern Grove
Part 1: Get on down the Road
As Darius, Salvine, Morina, and Baeren watched the corpse of the Guardian burn they were approached by a stranger. The man, who the adventurers know to be one of Clifton Barnaby’s goons, greeting them warmly. Alzaren, the charming half-elf bard, told them the tale of how he found himself in the employ of Barnaby. After a brief discussion the adventurers, now joined by Alzaren, continued on their quest.
The sun was setting as they finally arrived at the logging camp. They followed the path, which was lit by torches to the camp, but Darius heard something moving in the underbrush. Baeren and Morina went to investigate and Alzaren cast Faerie Fire to reveal the threat. Everything but a single bush, was illuminated in a shining, gold light. Morina nudged the bush with her warhammer. The bush turned into one of the small, blighted creatures the party had encountered previously and attacked. Baeren swung his mighty axe at the creature, which dodged the blow as two more sprung out from hiding to attack Morina. Meanwhile a creature of vines attacked Alzaren, Darius, and Salvine with grasping vines. Salvine was grappled by the creature’s attack but Darius and Alzaren were able to avoid the same fate. Darius unleashed a furious wave of thunder which sent knocked the creature out of its hiding spot and sent it flying. Salvine struggled against the vines, while Morina and Baeren dealt with the three twig monsters.
Morina struck out with a spell while Baeren dispatched two of the creatures with his axe. Alzaren pressed the attack on vine monster with his cutting tongue and broke the creature’s will to fight. Salvine tried to strike out against the creature, but was thwarted by the vines. Darius pursued the fleeing monster and struck a crippling blow. Finally breaking free from his bonds, Salvine sprung to his feet and with a flourish, destroyed the vine creature. Alzaren finished off the remaining twig monster with a casual word.
The party dusted themselves off, burned the vine monster, and continued on to the logging camp where the met up with the loggers, led by Koda Oakmoss.
Koda explained the troubles he’d been having and a bit about the history of logging in Griffondale. Salvine attempted to befriend a quiet Kenku, but was advised by Horne Dryglen to leave the bird alone. Koda told them the problem had mostly been those twig monsters, but that Horne claimed that cannibals ate Kurtz, a logger who was lost in the woods. This turned out to be a lie and Horne had left Kurtz to die when the pair was overrun by the twig monsters.
Satisfied the party began cooking and organizing their watches. Darius made a decent meal while Baeren and Alzaren jammed. Salvine retreated to a tree with his book of fables and Morina followed intrigued by the tome. Salvine was standoffish about the information but accidentally dropped the book while trying to show off his climbing skills. Morina seized the opportunity and took the book and created an illusionary duplicate of herself to distract Salvine. Darius figured out which was the correct form just as Salvine did. Salvine charmed Morina and encouraged her to return the book. Which she did after skimming it to learn its contents.
She loaned Salvine a book of housecat husbandry, which he took and returned to his tree. Salvine read the tale of Delvinos the Lich, who corrupted a forest to gain access to a library.
The next morning, as Baeren was performing his morning routine he discovered that the Guardian’s Axe was enchanted with power.
Part 2: Useless Elves
After a breakfast of venison steak and eggs, the party set out to Tokcha Vandalmar to speak with the druids about the blighted shard of wood. They passed through the town of Griffondale, and travelled through the forest of Berrywood. Darius summoned a new, hawk familiar (Aeiayron) to aid him in his journey while the party travelled.
Upon arriving in Tokcha Vandalmar, the party approached a faun to ask for directions. He told them to go into the tree, but did not tell them how. A dryad was able to set them on the correct path and the adventurers travelling into the heart of Tokcha Vandalmar. Darius took an interest in the intricate carvings that covered the walls of the tree and scribbled frantic notes about them.
A druid met the party in a large atrium and was startled to learn of the existence of the blight shard. She guided them to the seat of the first elves. Tark and Ceri were not of much help. Darius attempted to impress them by demonstrating a blade dance and was rewarded with knowledge of additional techniques for his efforts. Baeren was frustrated by the lack of aid offered by the elves. Tark gave Darius a book containing information that might be of benefit in the coming days, and advised them to seek the druids if they wanted more specific aid.
They were then lead to speak with Siishka Oakmoss, who assigned Teak of the Bear to assist the adventurers in finding the remaining blight shards.
Slightly frustrated, the party, now joined by Teak, set off in search of the shards.
Part 3: Not so much lambs, but definitely a slaughter
Back in the Southern Grove they came across the location where Oakhurst had retrieved the shard he eventually gave to Salvine and continued on to the heart of the Grove. At the Guardian’s Circle the encountered a grizzly scene. The settlement had been razed and the inhabitants slaughtered. Teak tried to locate the remaining Guardians, but was unsuccessful. She told the party that she would continue searching, but they needed to stay the course and address the blighted tree growing at the center of the Guardian’s Circle.
Fanning out, the adventurers approached the stone circle carefully. Baeren, Morina, and Salvine moved towards the center while Darius and Alzaren stayed on the perimeter, keeping watch. Alzaren spotted something moving in the distance and warned his allies of the danger.
Three cloaked figures, wearing robes of an unfamiliar design stepped out from their hiding place accompanied by two beasts covered in quills.
The party took a deep breath and prepared for battle.