Communing with Nature!

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Re: Communing with Nature!

Postby raskule » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:43 pm

Reminder, continuation tomorrow.
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Re: Communing with Nature!

Postby Ian » Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:03 pm

The party of Aruka, Callistar, Inacio Thann, and Daethan Thurgis set out to locate old elven ruins in the forest of Ardeep. They certainly found everything they could have hoped to find and more...and while one could technically say they all survived the experience (after a fashion, in that they all returned from it), all were profoundly affected--if not permanently altered--by the experience.

The "elven ruin" they discovered turned out to be the remains of an expedition of elven historians. That expedition had set up shop around a far older set of non-elven ruins, atop a tunnel system inhabited by the roots of a giant plant. While investigating these ruins, the expedition had been stricken by a terrifying illness--one so potentially devastating that Silvanus supposedly sequestered the ruin from the rest of the forest by means of a nearly-impenetrable wall of trees and brambles. The elves all eventually perished, either to disease, violence, or suicide, many of those killed rising thereafter as horrific plant-like creatures that had to be destroyed by fire. These deaths left behind only a single Green Warder named Arakhora and the journal of the expedition's leader, Rellither Escolan, to tell their story.

During their investigation, the party members were all infected by this disease as well. The ruin had become the lair of an infected hippogriff, who in turn infected most of the party before its demise at their hands, while Inacio was infected by falling into the same pool of water that initially infected the elves. The disease ravaged both their bodies and minds, afflicting them with vicious nightmares and visions/hallucinations of blinded, bloody elves with golden eyes and a mysterious, towering figure in antlers and golden silk. In a race against time and biology, the party discovered with Arakhora's help (before the hippogriff killed him) that a concoction of local plants called Cerulean Dreamstars could be brewed to delay the disease, and that the affliction was as much disease as curse--their magic alone was insufficient to remove it, just as the elves' had been.

Meanwhile, Callistar studied the old ruins the elves were originally there for, making several surprising discoveries. Built from marble of an odd and unnatural shade of purple, the ruins had been inhabited most recently by a proto-Illuskan barbarian tribe called the Yuetshi (or White Snakes) at least 10,000 years ago. Long before that, however, they were actually built by humans with a tongue not unlike Netherese; an advanced civilization, likely at least 30,000 years old, that made reference to a location called Acheron, to a creature they referred to as the Black Goat, and to a "gift" that was likely the giant plant growing in the tunnels beneath the ruins, likely the source of the disease.

Daethan, committed to destroying the plant before the party was corrupted any further (and in an attempt to save Aruka and Inacio, who were busy being devoured by infected centipedes from deeper in the cavern), spontaneously flung himself into a sinkhole carrying much of the plant's root system--accompanied by a thirty-gallon jug of heavy oil and alchemist's fire. The subsequent fire and explosion appeared to do a great deal of damage to the plant, but left the rest of the party in much the same situation as before. Eventually, as Inacio stayed behind and committed himself to pursuing what he suspected could be an alchemical cure, Aruka and Callistar left and sought help from a recent contact of Aruka's: Melia Masterson, the Chosen of Jhebbal Sag.

With help from Masterson, the elves--and later Inacio--were all cured through the use of a macabre ritual that involved "infecting" them with pieces of the Chosen, which in turn purged the infection already affecting them. With his advancement of the disease much greater than the others, Inacio was left permanently affected by it, his eyes now flecked with brilliant motes of gold.

Masterson likewise agreed to resurrect Daethan, in return for what she termed a "Blood Boon" from Callistar and Aruka. The result of the reincarnation conjuring that followed was odd to say the least, as Daethan returned in the body of a sun elf...with silver eyes flecked in gold.

Finally, Masterson determined (through what appeared to be a speak with plants-like effect) that the plant had not been killed in the explosion Daethan's death caused--while damaged and no longer posing a threat to the surface (which should be safe for some years), the bulk of it had grown far deeper than the fire could reach, and the area's Underdark is now likely riddled with it. She congratulated the party on what they had achieved, however, and after they rested, she had her follower Thaernad escort the party back to their horses for their return to Waterdeep.

~ * ~ * ~

Within a few days, the party members each receive a visit from the same stray dog. Large, powerful, and covered in a heavy brown-grey coat, the dog looks well-fed and well-kept, and strapped behind his mane-like fringe at each visit is a leather bundle topped by a rolled-up piece of parchment bound in twine. He stays only long enough for you to take the bundle from his back, then trots off to points unknown.

We have done what we can for now to end the menace of the clearing you discovered. All but a single entrance to the caves has been collapsed, the stream feeding it remains diverted, and a contingent of Sag's followers remains vigilant nearby. Meanwhile, we have begun cultivation of the Cerulean Dreamstars throughout the forest.

I thank you again for your efforts, as this threat has been allowed to fester beneath our notice for far too long. I bid you heed my suggestions in speaking with others who have experience dealing with similar threats, and to keep us appraised of any new information you might find in dealing with the problem permanently.

I have included some small tokens of Sag's esteem. Please use them in good health.

Best regards,
--M.


Each of you receive the following:
- The bundle itself turns out to be a cleverly folded cloak. Made of leather, lined with ermine, hooded and dyed with splotches of green and brown, the cloak is comfortably warm in nearly any weather, blends nicely into forested terrain, and comes with two deep pockets that appear prepared to keep you fed and watered in perpetuity.

- Tying the cloak shut is a leather thong tied about a small stone token, the token inscribed with the symbol of Jhebbal Sag and smeared with something coppery in color. While this would function as a holy symbol if you so chose, it was worn by all of Sag's humanoid followers, and would likely also serve as a means of identifying you in the future as those who have dealt faithfully with the Sagites in the past. To the Weave-sight, it appears to have a faint divinatory aura.

- A small leather pouch. The bundle holds three corked gourds and a smaller, separately-wrapped bundle of medical supplies, with the gourds separately labeled "Healing Accelerant," "Apprentice's Curative," and "Antivenom."
These are, respectively, a healer's kit, potion of lesser vigor, potion of cure light wounds, and an antitoxin.

- A pair of rings. One of the rings is made of wood that appears to still be alive, growing tiny leaves and shoots like the fabled bonsais of Shou Lung, and the Weave-sight reveals a faint aura of conjuration. The other is made of glass, and gleams with a rainbow sheen in even the slightest bit of light; it glistens brilliantly when exposed to the Weave-sight.

- Finally, you find a short, bizarre-looking torch. The wood is a strange shade of green-blue, and one end of the torch is overgrown with fluffy purple moss. A separate note is attached: It not only bestows light, but visions of the unnatural where such might otherwise go unnoticed. --M.

In addition to the material items above, you find yourselves strangely attuned to the thoughts and emotions of the natural creatures you encounter in your day-to-day lives. Masterson suggested this might happen as a side effect of Sag's treatment for your disease, and that it is likely temporary, so enjoy it while it lasts.
Mechanical Effects wrote:Wild Empathy (Ex): All four of you now have the Wild Empathy ability of a 1st-level druid. (Aruka, already a druid, gains a +2 bonus to this ability.) This effect will last until the end of your next adventure.

That's everything. Thanks for playing, and expect to see XP and loot added to your sheets soon.
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Re: Communing with Nature!

Postby raskule » Sun Dec 11, 2016 10:15 pm

Aruka will also send word to the Druids circle of Ardeep about the situation... or visit herself, which ever you prefer, Ian!
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