019 - Gondra Calls For Aid
Tegan got up early to sell his ruby cufflinks and buy some armor. A little bit after he returns, there is a knock from the hallway. It's a royal guard, with a package for Wazo, Aaron, and Tegan . Once he's sure he has the right people he hands it over.
It is a squarish, parchment wrapped parcel, about 2ft by 1ft by a couple inches. Tegan opens it. It has a note, a small pouch containing a bluish black ring engraved with a skull, and a leather coat. Tegan doesn't recognize the skull symbol.
The note says,
Archmage Elgin Feyward of Penustad
The party has Aaron take the ring, and stores the armor and note in the bag of holding.
After a quick breakfast, they head towards Gondra.
The forest road soon becomes a swampy path. The surrounding environment smells of decay, rot, and warm humidity. The path turns to mud.
After a few hours of trekking along the muddy road, they hear a guttural noise from the right.
Aaron casts mage armor. Tegan casts guidance and listens carefully, but he can't tell specifically where the sound is. Wazo flies up 20ft (still under the tree canopy) to scout, perching in a tree by the path. Aaron has Flit go invisible and scout around, but Flit can't find the source either.
Aaron uses magical sight as the group cautiously continues ahead.
Two giant frogs hop out of the swamp to the right, towering over Aaron and Tegan. Initiative!
The toad bites her, and she struggles as it holds her in its mouth.
The other toad bites at Tegan, who retorts with Hellish Rebuke. The frog still violently grabs him in its mouth after dodging some of the flames.
Aaron takes cover behind a tree, then blasts both toads at once with an eldritch blast.
Tegan casts Spirit Guardians. He can't see his teammates so he can't exclude them from the spell effect. He is surrounded by a large sphere of vengeful angelic spirits.
Wazo uses Toll the Dead on her toad, but it resists.
Wazo's toad swims under the water as it swallows her. The acid in its stomach hurts her.
Tegan's toad is badly hurt by the spirits, but it still swallows him. He takes pretty serious acid damage.
Tegan summons a spiritual weapon, which flails blindly at the toad, then he stabs it with a green-flame blade.
Wazo hacks at her toad.
It keeps swimming, and she takes more acid damage.
Tegan's toad swims south as he takes more acid damage. The cloud of spirit guardians kills Wazo's toad, and she swims to the surface of the swamp.
Aaron blasts apart Tegan's toad, and the group collects on the banks.
Tegan and Wazo take ten minutes to heal with Prayer of Healing.
As they are preparing to continue, some kind of troll shambles near, attracted by the sounds of the fight. Initiative!
Tegan misses with a chill touch. He summons a spiritual weapon, but it misses too.
The troll bites Wazo, and although she is able to resist its bite, the necrotic damage hurts her badly. It swings wildly at her with its claws but misses.
Aaron blasts it with eldritch energy, hitting once.
Wazo stabs and cuts again, and the radiant and blade damage shreds the troll, and it is oozing blood.
Tegan commands the spiritual weapon to slice, then runs up and stabs deep with green-flame blade. The creature's wounds spurt rancid acid, and Tegan is hurt. He reacts with hellish rebuke, but the troll dodges the worst of it.
The troll bites Tegan, then flails with his claws, bringing Tegan to the brink of unconsciousness.
Aaron uses Curse of Flesh on the troll (Shard UO sourcebook), transforming it into a boneless mound of flesh. It takes acid damage.
Wazo attacks the troll/blob with rapier and dagger, but it's not dead yet.
Tegan backs away from the troll, slicing it with spiritual weapon. Dodging its opportunity attack, he uses chill touch but it seems to have no effect.
The troll bites and claws at Wazo, then spews acid, and she is nearly unconscious. It remains a boneless blob, and takes more acid damage from the transformation.
Aaron slams out two eldritch blasts, and one hits.
Then Wazo stabs it until it's dead.
The GM and Aaron decide that at his next long rest, he will replace Curse of Flesh with Charm Monster.
Tegan uses Prayer of Healing again.
The group decides to rest in a tree to recover from the battles. They take a short rest, nursing their wounds while watching the swamp with fearful paranoia. After the rest they push further through the swamp. The terrain becomes greener, and they begin to see movement out of the corner of their eye.
The group thinks there is something strange going on with the plants around them. Tegan zaps some plants with Chill Touch, but they just die.
As the group moves along, a large vine sweeps into Aaron, grabbing him. Initiative!
Wazo summons her last reserve of rage, and runs up to the plant grappling Aaron. She attacks with both weapons but misses.
Tegan calls up Spirt Guardians and moves past the plant grappling Aaron. The tiny angels assault the plant.
Plant 1 drags Wazo closer and tries to bite her, missing.
The angels continue their assault on plant 2 as it starts to swallow Aaron, but he reacts with Entropic Ward, and it misses. It still restrains him with its tentacles.
Aaron blasts plant 2 with eldritch energy, hurting it.
Wazo stabs the plant grappling her. Her rapier tears at the creature, severing the vine that held her. She notices that this doesn't seem to hurt the body of the plant, but she is freed.
Tegan moves closer to plant 1, and the angelic aura pokes weakly at it. He uses Toll the Dead on plant 2 but it resists.
The angels assault plant 1 more aggressively. It sprouts a new vine, but fails to grapple Wazo. She fends off an attack and most of a bite.
Plant 2 is wounded by the angelic aura, but it still swallows Aaron, rendering him blinded and restrained. He takes acid damage.
Aaron, inside plant 2, casts Evards Black Tentacles using Flit. Plant 2 is hurt and restrained.
Wazo misses Plant 1 with her rapier, but hits with her dagger, doing a little damage.
Tegan runs up to plant 2, stabbing it with green-flame blade; it dies.
Plant 1 takes more damage from tiny angels, then attacks and bites Wazo viciously. It attacks Tegan with a tendril, but he deflects it with Shield.
Aaron crawls out of the husk of the dead plant and stands up. He blasts the remaining plant with two bolts, carving away at the pod but not killing it.
Wazo, still grappled, attacks the last plant. Her rapier sinks into a weak spot, but she misses with the dagger.
Tegan runs up and finishes off the final plant with green-flame blade.
After the fight, the team takes another short break to heal, then presses on.
After another few hours, they see three towering, tusklike structures: one in front and two behind. Black, inky streaks wind up the tusks. A flimsy rope bridge connects the ground with the near tusk.
Through Flit, Aaron notices that the tusks are dotted with tiny windows, and rope bridges string between them. A tiny sign is hammered into the ground near the rope bridge.
Wazo flies up to the main tusk. Through the windows she sees bulky humanoids, wearing tribal gear. A spear flies out and just misses her, and there is a chatter in an unfamiliar language.
Tegan asks if Wazo can amplify her voice with magic. She flies back, but out of spear range, and calls out in common, "Vaeoto, Elgin sent us. Please no more spears? Thanks."
After conferring in their own language, in common they bid her to land and have the group enter in a dignified way, across the bridge.
The group crosses the bridge carefully, and are permitted to enter the main tusk. The chamber there is adorned with art of battles with unfamiliar creatures. The interior is like a cave carved out of ivory. The guards look like humans, but taller and more muscular.
"Why are you here to see our leader, Vaeotro?" Tegan explains that they have a letter from Elgin asking them to help Vaeotro with some kind of trouble. He offers the letter to the guard. The guard reads the letter for a moment, then gestures the group to follow. "Please, enter."
They wind through the inside of the tusk, seeing commotion as the guards escort three exotic outsiders higher, towards Vaeotro. The guard lets the group into a large chamber near the top of the tusk. Inside there is a smell of lavender and moss incense. The small windows and a lantern dimly illuminate a large mostly-human figure, sitting cross-legged on the floor. His dark skin has dark tribal markings on it.
In the group's minds, he speaks: "You are friends of Elgin?"
Everyone says, "Yes".
"I didn't think he got our message. Our home needs your help."
Tegan says, "We are at your disposal."
"Gondra is a city that grows out of the ground. Recently, it has stopped growing, and begun to rot. That is the black, ink-like substance you saw outside. Something is happening under the ground that rots the roots of Gondra. I've sent many soldiers into the caverns below, but none have returned.
Will you help?"
Tegan asks, "What do you know about the caverns from before the sickness?"
The chief replies, "They were not dangerous before the sickness started."
Showing one of the cult rings, Tegan asks if they have seen signs of the Emerald Enlightenment, or any cult activity.
"My god Bahamut has revealed that their strength is growing. I would not underestimate their capacity for evil."
Tegan says he will help. Wazo and Aaron look skeptical but don't object. Vaeoto offers the group living quarters so they can rest and heal.