This week the party faced an invincible swamp monster, and prevailed!
This week’s characters:
- La Fleur (lvl 2), human wizard, 556 XP
- Roderick Clearwater (lvl 2), human rogue, 489 XP
- Tapio of Gareth, human fighter (lvl 2), 556 XP
- Dargoth the Daring, human fighter (lvl 2), 630 XP
The party stood at the foot of a log causeway that was lined with willows. Dargoth noticed an owl sleeping in one of the willows, but otherwise, everything seemed calm. Of course, this made the group very suspicious and they set a marching order and prepared their weapons.
Dargoth went first, and when he came closed to the willows, he noticed its branches stretching and moving in his direction. He barely manages to step back, cutting a few twigs with his sword in defense. At the same time, Tapio (who was guarding the rear) is flooded with a black liquid over his shoulder, a gust of wind blows his hat on the swamp and when he turns around, he sees a horrible swamp monster coalescencing directly behind him! Furthermore, the owl opens it eyes and stares directly at La Fleur.
Frantically, the group attempts to fight the monster, but for naught, all their attacks are repelled: Arrows are just sucked into the monster’s muddy hide, other weapons get stuck and have to be retrieved, fire bolts are extinguished by the monsters watery surface, frost rays melt from the monsters composting heat. When La Fleur throws a Chromatic Orb, the monster simply swallows it, burps and licks its lips.
Grapping for straws, Roderick shoots and kills the owl, which he assumed was a proxy to control the scene, but it simply falls from the tree with a loud thud. Tapio attempts to run past the trees toward the ruins, but is grappled and lulled to sleep, losing his bow. Roderick gives up hope and runs for the shore, while Dargoth gets second thoughts and assumes this might be an illusion.
With Dargoth standing still and concentrating on what happens, but only figuring out that this makes him feel odd, the monster grabs muds from its stomach and throws it at La Fleur, who just barely keeps standing. Roderick meanwhile reaches the shore, turns around to support his comrades and sees … a rather odd scene: Dargoth stares at nothing, La Fleur attemps to brush of nothing from her rather clean robes, and Tapio leaning over a willow branch, sleeping. There is no monster!
When the group realized this, there was quite a lot of laughter as the tension was relieved. It was very much fun to run this scene and, according to the players comments, they enjoyed it as well. The poor owl was just an ordinary owl, sleeping in the willow, which wanted to know what all the ruckus was about.
Noticing Rodericks erratic behaviour at the shore, where he waves and shouts at them, the others are convinced that something truly odd was happening. Dargoth grabbed the sleeping Tapio, and dashed with La Fleur to the shore as well, where they all rested for a bit.
After the rest, the group simply walked over the log causeway and ignored the willows and monsters appearing. They safely reached the gatehouse, whose outer gate was torn apart by brute force and the inner gate was stuck at a low height, requiring the group to crawl beneath it.
Inside, there was a yard with four buildings, with the largest to the south-east, and a tower right next to the gatehouse. The group first investigated the tower, where they found three shadow-bats hanging from the roof. They attempted to roast them, but the bats evaded and dove for the shades beyond the buildings, with the group in pursuit. They finally found them in another tower, where they managed to burn one of them (which disintegrated as it fell down), and badly crippled a second one, which was shortly later nailed to a window frame by Roderick. When inspecting the bat, they found that it had purple fur looking like a collar beneath its head. The third bat escaped into a large building behind the first four buildings already discovered prior.
The group returned to the front yard, and decided to investigate the large building first. On their way toward the building, when passing between two of the smaller buildings, La Fleur noticed hushed voices within one of them, arguing about whether or not there was treasure in this ruins. The group assumes those are fellow adventurers and sends Tapio to introduce them, as he is the most charming of their lot.
Now, I had prepared for a nice little fight, but I made a reaction roll which showed an 11: Friendly and helpful. So, I had to quickly turn these plunderers into a group that was willing to somehow cooperate with our groups. Thus, a group of former mercenaries was born.
When Tapio enters, the opponents attempt to hide, but fail greatly, and are quickly overwhelmed by Tapio’s charm. They introduce themselves as Alrik (a Middle-Realmian), Torben (a Thorwalian) and Perainos (from Fairfields). They all worked as mercenaries for the Empire during the Orc Invasion, but when their units were annihilated, they got somehow stuck and tried to get rich quick somehow (but not very successful so far). It was Torbens superstition that kept them from the log causeway, and thus they never encountered the hallucination, but they report about a strange desk in the next building and strange noises from the fourth building.
Dargoth continued the search of the room the three had started, and quickly found a linen pouch with a few coins inside. In the house over, they found a strange tunnel that looked like it was dug by a mole, Jules reported that it smelled like rodent. Dargoth identified the wood as an exotic hardwood that was looked for by captains, and Roderick easily picked the desk’s lock. Inside, the group found a silver bottle filled with liquid (that La Fleur identified as healing potion), some coins and a gilded key (both non-magic).
I had always wrongly assumed a magic ritual in D&D5 takes an hour, but it only takes 10 minutes in addition to the normal casting time, as one player pointed out.
It was getting late at this point, so I stopped the session here. The group plans to investigate the stables next, where their three new sidekicks had seen a monster.