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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

[OCC are we doing standard XP as in +1 for travelling to new place of note etc., which this seems to be {did we stumble into a Haven even}, also very nice story crafting, oh and if standard XP does avoiding a danger like the moss count as 'faced dangerous foes and/or situations']

Ultan, "Yes, honoured cousin, we seek you out.  My Leshak companion fears that a strange moss we encountered may be an unnatural threat to this forest.  It lulls creatures into a sleep of sorts and then grows over them and consumes them.  His people have a tale of such and his memory does not recollect if it is a rare natural being or something unnatural.  We paused in our journey to seek you out to be sure you were aware of its presence."

Gyantwaka is awed for to him this is like entering a cathedral crafted by the greatest artisans.

 

 

 

Yep! +1 XP for everyone for discovering a new place. As far as avoiding the moss, I figure just the one XP I already gave to Gyantwaka, who dealt with the danger for everyone.

”Ah, yes, I know the moss you describe. It is a residue of an ancient age, and I fear that it would be unwelcome in the world without. I have implored it to stay near, to not expand overmuch, and to be content with what forest life comes to lie eternally beneath its cover. I hope it behaved for you.

”But other forest friends have told me that you have sought me out, that there seemed something momentous in your desire. So I allowed the forest paths to bring you here. Is there a cause to your need beyond a concern for our ancient moss?”

As he speaks, he motions, with his staff, into the clearing.

”But come, since you’re here, whatever your deeper reason be, come further. I haven’t been so far and long from the cycles of Man that I have forgot my elven hospitality.”

did we stumble into a Haven even}, also very nice story crafting

This does seem like a Haven, doesn’t it. And thank you!

So all +1 XP (Gyantwaka alone already has the +1 re moss)

Gyantwaka speaks*, "I am honoured you permitted us to enter this place, which sings to my senses as must have the world when the Great Spirits first danced and sang it. It did try to call to us, though we resisted with Ultan's hawk alone feeling sleepy.  We came in part fearing what would have happened had we been less fortunate and wary.  If it were men unschooled in the great green, they might now sleep beneath the moss."

The fellowship will accept his hospitality.  Leofred will also speak his gratitude, and add "Our only reason to seek you out was fear something threatened the forest and our belief you are its guardian.  We are otherwise bound to the west and hoped not to delay our journey overmuch."  (He's thinking about Elvendale Elven hospitality etc. which though grand is also drawn out).

_______________

*We've never talked language skills or common tongue, if using the “every 5 ranks of Cultures adds a tongue” and assume there is a common tongue spoken by the Andorast people and nearby cultures (whether that is the Andorast language or another).

  • Leofred knows no more
  • Ultan knows 1 more
  • Gyantwaka knows 2 more, but one of those is the “common tongue” as his native is Leshak
  • Gwenhild knows 4 more (who would have thought beyond a valiant spear she brought that to the table - it's her city background so they would be languages that travel/trade into Andorast and along the routes the Order keeps safe moves).

So I think they’re likely able to communicate with most folks they meet as long as Gwenhild is with them.

PS - I think one of the plus-sides of PBM is a bit more 'artfulness' can be put into things.

 

Loedhel serves a meal of nuts and fresh berries and acorn bread sweetened with honey. There is almost room for everyone within his domicile, which is larger on the inside than one would expect, with more rooms than are visible from outside, the fellowship sits outside the doors on large stones and branches of great trees.

Loedhel looks vaguely unsettled. "Well, the forest may be threatened. I have not been able to understand it. A great tree, close friend of mine, who has lived since the very first age... Well, she is not well. I fear that, at last, she is dying, though I can not find a cause. She says that something is freezing her roots. Something cold and deep in the earth is gnawing at her toes, and a vile venom is seeping up into her trunk and branches."

[Yeah, I like the pace of PbP and the opportunity to think (and revise) next steps in the narrative. It's its own thing, for sure, in contrast to regular old "real time" gaming.]

The fellowship is impressed by this abode and conveys this as well as the appreciation of the fare.  Gyantwaka appreciates it as if a feast-day among his kin, Leofred and Gwenhild are surprised by the tastiness of 'simple fare' and Ultan enjoys what he considers a 'classical rustic elven meal', if albeit simpler in presentation than Elvendale is wont to carry out.

Gyantwaka asks, words spilling out in a jumble, "Kind host, this troubles me. Is this tree near the site of the moss? Is there any means to protect your friend? My people also regard the elders among the standing ones as our friends and kin.  There is an evil abroad in the lands, awakening from ancient days and its works appearing in diverse ways across lands - The Dark Flame of Hate. It whispers to some and draws into its service the weak-minded, and has somehow gained influence over the gnomes of the deep earth. It has corrupted elves into twisted servants called orcs and we heard a tale from a dwarf whose people had suffered troll attacks that in a forest to the east of Elvendale it corrupted an Ent turning it into an unwilling servant that pled for death even as it slew those it was compelled to. We are among those who choose to oppose it and journey for that purpose [at this disclosure Leofred gives him a look but then realizes "oh an ancient tree is threatened, great, might as well tell me that a wagon-load of babies has been hijacked, caution what's that].

Ultan asks, "Are there passages or other means of movement beneath the forest that some creature could be using to assault the tree's roots? Have you any friends among the animals that burrow who could tell more about what goes on beneath? Have you means to detect the use of magic?"

[OCC Ultan has the Spell Lore for Detect Magic]

Leofred now recalls more of what Kal sad, "The dwarf's tale Gyantwaka spoke of, was that an Elven grove of great trees, had a keeper - of what kind the tale does not say - implicitly an elf. This keeper was enticed and corrupted slowly over centuries. The keeper then set about corrupting the grove. Once the grove was corrupt other elves noticed but it was too late. The keeper had turned some elves into Orcs, these orcs and corrupted forest creatures captured more of the elves turning them, Then turned their eyes to the remaining forest. The Ent had moved to protect his section of the woods but the corruption had infected him in the end. The trolls that attacked dwarven halls brought captives as slaves to this keeper where they are forced to work in a quarry and make arms and armaments for the orcs. Could an attempt be underway to corrupt this forest as well?" [Leofred arrived after Kal's report was given but presumably was told of it in the weeks following, he would have asked what other reports there were etc.]

Ultan attempts a Songs and Tales check to see if any tales of such an affliction of trees.

  • If relevant, his result is a Success [152] including up to "Heroic" level (d100 =72 + skill 80, and if he can muse about over dinner and after taking time +20, but that would still just be a success and then including up to "Insane" level)

____________

Hmmm, is Kal's tale now coming into play?  Took me a moment to recall another tree-being that was corrupted.

 

Gyantwaka asks, words spilling out in a jumble, "Kind host, this troubles me. Is this tree near the site of the moss? Is there any means to protect your friend?

“The tree is not near the moss, which I assure is merely a pesky remnant of an earlier age. Iaurdaergalad is of the first age, resides nearby, and is not pesky.

Ultan asks, "Are there passages or other means of movement beneath the forest that some creature could be using to assault the tree's roots? Have you any friends among the animals that burrow who could tell more about what goes on beneath? Have you means to detect the use of magic?"

”I have not discovered any passages, but it seems that something gnaws her roots from below, proceeding from the depths if from anywhere. Some brave tunneling animals have tried to investigate and have been unable to get very deep, frozen with a chill and frightened by what may lie below. Creatures sensitive to vibrations say that they can hear a grinding, a gnawing, deep in the earth, proceeding from Iaurdaergalad’s roots. I believe I hear it, when I meditate, and it terrifies me, disturbing my contemplation.”

Ultan attempts a Songs and Tales check to see if any tales of such an affliction of trees.

Ultan remembers that the forests of the First Age were larger, taller, expansive, covering all the land, and that they exuded—as if on the wings of pollen or seeds—a virtue that emboldened the free peoples against the Darkmaster of that age. So that Darkmaster bred a host of evil worms to gnaw at the roots of these trees, thereby killing them. They did much damage.

Hmmm, is Kal's tale now coming into play?  Took me a moment to recall another tree-being that was corrupted.

Not likely. And Kal misremembered things that I simply would “go with” if I didn’t see them perhaps setting too pernicious a precedent for the current tale. Kal seemed to believe that Elves, in this age, were in the process of being twisted into Orcs, whereas I think he misinterpreted some clues or poetic language. I shouldn’t have cleaned up my Discord and deleted that server. I never would have guessed it would become useful to reference that short game. Incidentally, that game ended at about where we’re at now: those PCs were just attaining Levels 2.

Ultan relays his tale to their host Loedhel and (his fey nature being to speak truths and his star elf nature being to be a bit full of himself), he goes on.

"I fear, Loedhel, that combatting evil worms in the earth is beyond the means of this fellowship.  My recollection of this tale may be the best help we can offer. If you have the ability to send a message to Elvendale [OCC  it is a day away at most after all], I am sure they would send more potent aid than we can muster.  Our chief virtue as a fellowship is primarily that we are among the least mighty wizards and warriors the free peoples could muster and thus less likely to be suspected of being a danger to the Smith of Hell, with only the fact that an elf is among this fellowship betraying the possible effectiveness it will have.  I suggest asking both for aid to strengthen Iaurdaergalad - perhaps to the point its roots can become weapons against the worms rather than prey for them - and for whatever aid they can bring against such earth-dwelling foes."

Gyantwaka thinks to himself and then draws out the gnome stones he took from Olwen, "Loedhel, I do not know if you have the arts to use these, they were taken from one serving the Great Enemy.  They deal with trafficking with the gnomes of the deep.  These creatures are summoned to serve the Great Enemy, but may not be willingly doing so and perhaps being of the earth could be called upon to aid your friend."

Leofred offers, "That man who had them is likely still in Elvendale and may wish to prove his reformation and perhaps could assist as well towards that end." [At this talk of Olwen reforming it's Gyantwaka's turn to give Leofred a look].

[OCC so Kal's tale should be eliminated from this game?  The idea orcs were elves originally plays into Ultan's passion about them]

[OCC so Kal's tale should be eliminated from this game?  The idea orcs were elves originally plays into Ultan's passion about them]

Just this real quick. I’m changing my mind: I’m going to go back and review Kal’s story and make it canon of sorts. Suddenly I actually like the idea of Elves being twisted into Orcs, especially since it’s one of Ultan’s Passions. More tomorrow.

Thanks, I was thinking that someone important to him was lost this way and he believes it "permanent and undoable".  It's his secret personal reason for opposing the Darkmaster.

Ultan is intrigued by these "gnome stones" and considers them with Arcana, perhaps coming up with something depending on difficulty.

  • Arcana outcome 144

He will also consider this curse upon the tree as well, not likely coming up with much.

  • Arcana outcome 80