So… apparently tonight is the Superbowl. This is important to us because it means we need to order our Pizza well in advance of when we want to eat it, and for no other reason, because we’re going to play Ravenloft instead. WOOT RAVENLOFT!!!
So when last we left our terrified party, they were smashing a creepy baby skull that was left in their camp to a powder… because creepy, and most of the party was suffering under the “fatigued” modifier because of their nightmares about… creepy forest babies.
- So we pack up onto the horses, who are completely undisturbed by what’s going on and head off into the woods. The snow has stopped but it’s pretty deep out here, so our path is being dictated by snow depth, which we’re determining based on the uses of Barriston’s lance.
- Alric: Ok, just keep tahsting the snow.
Q: Shut up. I’m Batman.
- Popcorn falls asleep riding on the back of the Doctor’s horse, held up only by the fact that she had the presence of mind to loop her forearms into the Doctor’s belt.
- So… as they head down the path they encounter a barefoot woman who is “dressed entirely inappropriately for the weather” wandering around looking cold and lost.
Lady: Marcella! Marcella….
- So the Doctor decides to treat the lady for hypothermia… Popcorn, being the only female in the party volunteers to climb into the blankets in her knickers with the lady, while the doctor hydrates her.
- Marco stays behind to guard the Doctor, Kender and lady, as Barriston and Alric backtrack the lady’s footsteps in the snow on horseback.
- 45 minutes later… they encounter a swamp, and can no longer trace her steps, and so they turn back… only to find their trail in the snow has gone, and they can’t find the path.
Mayo: They’re in the Lost Woods!!!
- Meanwhile the lady warmed up, and Popcorn got out of the blankets and back in her own clothes, as Marco suggested that maybe they should follow their friend’s tracks, before they are completely obscured by this wind.
- Barriston and Alric… still lost.
- Meanwhile the lady, who was riding with the doctor, in his lap, flails out and starts screaming…
Lady: Marcella!!! MARCELLAAAA!!!!
Popcorn: Hey Butterfingers, try not to drop her!
- So apparently the swamp is now following Barriston and Alric, who change direction to avoid it, and find a cabin.
- The rest of the party, once they get the lady back on board, continue off and find a disturbingly bloodied tent and campsite.
- Barriston and Alric go into the cabin, and find… baby bones. Lots of them. They start hearing the screaming again, and Barriston looses his shit and starts pulverizing the bones.
- Meanwhile the Doctor concludes that the bloody campsite was in fact the site of a birth… making all this blood the products thereof.
Marco: Can you tell if this lady was the mother?
Doctor: I can but I’d have to… I mean I could tell by the damage…
Popcorn: In other words, she’d need to spread ’em.
Doctor: Which… is not appropriate right now… lets get on the road again.
Alric: Barriston, how about you concentrate less on bashing the inanimate bones, and more on helping me find what DID that to them.
- So the Doctor and Co take off again from the campsite, pursued by a… Kender sized long armed heavily panting… something. They kick their horses onward and move faster… loosing their monster pursuer and finding… Alric and Barriston at the cabin!
- Or… not. They hop off their horses and look in and see a baddie chopping up children in there, and another guarding them… the Doctor charges in followed by Marco. Popcorn is still on the horse…
Popcorn: Hello? A little help here? Shortie on a horse? Damn.
Marco is already inside.
- Meanwhile Alric and Barriston see a monster charge in at them!!! Another comes in but does not charge… Alric takes an arm off the charger.
- Marco arrives just in time to see the Doctor has an arm cut off and scream! Popcorn faceplants in the snow trying to get off the horse, and the horses bolt, including the packhorse with the poor lady still on board. The Doctor and Marco stumble back out of the cabin and Marco pulls Popcorn out of the snow as he flees, leaving the Doctor bleeding out in the snow.
- Barriston and Alric chase the monsters ouf ot the cabin and find…
the doctor bleeding out in the snow.
Barriston busies himself trying to heal the doctor with his Paladin skillz, while Alric tries to get back Marco.
Alric: Hey Marco! Come back!!!
Marco can’t hear him because Alric can’t shout… he’s the Batman.
Popcorn: Uh… Marco… why are we running from Alric and Barriston? Are they evil now?
- Popcorn: Well we never got a chance to check her coot, but we think she had a baby.
Alric: Why did she name it? You’re supposed to wait a few years to make sure it will live.
Popcorn: Well you gotta give it a name till it gets a name… I had a name before I had a name.
- So Barriston and Alric head off after the missing horses, while Marco once again watches the Doctor and Popcorn. The horse tracks lead right into that damned swamp again…
Alric: It’s not a real swamp… if it was the horse wouldn’t have run in there, and even if it had, we’d see and hear it dying just up ahead.
DM: Ok… so you wade into the swamp… and as you get in a little deeper, you can see and hear the horses dying.
- So they wade into the swamp, looking for the lady, and find the horses dead. They come out the other end onto a… muddy island.
- The woman is screaming again, somehere… Alric, with his nightvision can see something out there… a tower of dead foliage, with an archway. Inside the archway, they can see a 20 foot long tunnel, to an interior courtyard, where they can see a tree, the woman and a creature which is eating another baby.
Alric: I thought she already gave birth… she certainly didn’t look pregnant again. Where did it get another baby?
Barriston: Is it the armish thing?
Alric: Damned if I know….
Barriston shoots at the baby eater, but his arrow disintegrates as it goes thru the far archway of the tunnel.
- So the party heads into the tunnel… the only thing they notice is a funnel thing, which Alric informs them is labeled “That which repairs, also destroys.”
Alric: Three options… go forward, go back, or play with the funnel.
Barriston: Well considering what happened to my arrow, go forward is out.
DM: When you look back, the way you came in has constricted with plants, and is gone…
Alric: So… option three.
Popcorn: Have I mentioned to you yet how much I dislike the geography of your land?
Alric: It’s not my land. I’m from Darkon.
Barriston: Because things are SO much nicer there.
Q: I’m from tortureville! It’s all happyness and light!
- They spend some time wondering… until Popcorn decides to pour a healing potion down the funnel… and the tunnel goes back to normal, and the forceful that disintegrated the arrow visibly dissipates.
- So they go in… and find the poor lady all decapitated, and notice that the tree has… heads on all the branches. Like… alive. One of them spits at Marco, and a thorn lodges in his neck, dealing damage.
Mayo: Majere (DM)… what is it with you and Marco’s poor neck?
- Some poor other lady is scared to death. Popcorn casts magic missile at the branches that are trying to grab her, to buy her a little escape time.
Ozzy: It’s the whomping willow… with heads.
- Alric constructs a skullitov cocktail out of a skull, 2 pictures of little girls, perfume and a lighter, and throws it at the tree. It… self extinguishes.
- Marco cuts a head loose and it comes after him… so does Barriston. Alric shoots Barriston’s head thru the eye… Popcorn hits it with another Magic missile, but she’s taking heavy ag. Barriston also falls back to use a bow.
- Alric: Does anyone have a better idea than trying to cut off every single head?
Popcorn: RUN? It’s a TREE.
Alric: So… no.
They keep shooting at the heads.
Barriston: Blow it up more Popcorn!!!!
Popcorn: OUT OF BOOM!!! *Runs for cover.*
- DM: Ok, Popcorn, you hear this lullaby in your head… it’s mesmerizing. The only thing you can do is go towards it.
Strife: So do we notice the torch wandering away?
DM: Not yet… roll for initiatives.
Strife: So when do we notice?
Mayo: The torch isn’t going anywhere till bottom of initiative. I rolled a 3.
- So they keep shooting the heads… and Popcorn wanders off on her initiative. Barriston tries to retrieve her, but gets paralyzed by a trap in the tunnel. Popcorn us suddenly covered in attacking heads coming in the way she’s trying to get out and winds up very unconscious.
- The lady who was alive sort of… dissolves into an oil, and the remaining heads detach and scatter as the tree rips it’s roots out of the ground, and expels a cloud of gas, flying up and out of the courtyard leaving the location flaming in it’s wake….
Strife: ROCKET TREE!!!!!!
DM: It’s NOT a rocket.
The game is sidetracked for 20 minutes by a discussion of rockets.
DM: Ok, retcon. The tree shrivels and bursts into flame, ok?
- Alric picks up the paralyzed paladin and uses him as a human shield, as he advances down the hall toward Popcorn.
Q: As I get there, I throw the Paladin at the heads.
Strife: What is it with YOU and throwing PARTY MEMBERS?!?!?!
(Remember, Q’s charactor, Aaron, threw a Crusader at a Mindflayer in Elder Forge.)
- DM: So as you look, you all see that the heads are mostly wandering off now… well floating off.
Strife: I don’t see this.
Mayo: Because… you’re paralyzed?
Strife: Because I assume when he threw me, I landed face down.
- So all the paralysis victims are ok now, and the Doctor comes running in upon being summoned, to patch up Popcorn.
Popcorn: I hate this plane.
Marco: I agree.
- Strife: Can I summon my horse?
Strife: I summon my horse.
DM: Your horse is here.
Strife: Look at my horse! My horse is amazing!
- So they head out to the cabin to get back their other two horses, after looting the dead packhorse for as much feed as they can carry. The doctor tries to patch up Marco some…
Strife: I have the doctor help me into my armor.
Q: Your horse is amazing.
- Alaric: So far the quest to rescue the woman, has ended up with two dead women.
Barriston: This is the quest to rescue the harp.
Alaric: That’s something else.
- DM: As soon as you read the note-
Strife: It burns.
DM: -it catches on fire.
Strife: Called it.
- Alraric: I think we should camp now…
Popcorn: Is the swamp still coming after us?
Alaric: No, but you know what I’m having visions of?
Alaric: Those plants where… when you set them on fire, their seed pods explode and release seeds everywhere…
Barriston: Never heard of them.
- Strife: Spidermin!!!
Q: He would have been useful against those heads…
Strife: Yeah! Web them together.
Q: Thanks spidermin!!!
Strife: ROCKET TREEEE!!!!!
- So they camp, and in the morning… Barriston lays on hands on Popcorn, who the Doctor stayed up thru the night to heal… now everyone’s running on -2 to everything from lack of sleep.
- So we set off from camp, and we find another path… and follow it, over a bridge, into the town of Vallaki…. rejoice, having found our destination!!!
- DM: You seen an inn.
Popcorn: Can we sleep again? I’m REALLY tired.
DM: The inn seems to be locking up for the night.
Alaric: It would seem yes…
Q: Since apparently we traveled all day.
- DM: Oh… Mayo. Popcorn doesn’t get any of her spells back either, since she didn’t sleep properly.
Mayo: Ok. She’s only got one left then.
Ozzy: What… read magic?
Q: I cast Sipdermin walk!
Strife: Not Spidermin Walk… just Spidermin. I summon Spidermin!!!
- Popcorn: Do you have anything to facilitate sleep?
Barriston: More than that.
Innkeeper: I have some really strong spirits.
Popcorn: I’ll just have the Chamomile.
Barriston: Spirits… lots of spirits.
- On tonight’s horror checks… Popcorn finally rids herself of the nightmare, which means, she can get her spells back tonight!!! Apparently so does the Doctor, but Barriston is still doing really bad but sleeps thru the night because he was blackout drunk. He’s at a -3, but at least he gets to heal tonight. Marco’s in bad shape too.
- Strife: Ok so how do we handle this… I don’t know how we handle drunkenness in DnD.
Q: Neither do we, because most of us are not stupid enough to be all I want to get DRUNK!!!! If there are any girls there…
Q and Mayo: I WANT TO DO THEM!!!
- So the next morning we all have breakfast in the inn, and talk to the innkeeper.
Alaric: Have you seen a man [description.]
Innkeep: Is this about that harp again?
Alaric and Popcorn: Again?
Innkeep: You’re the third group to come looking for it… I can’t tell you any more than I told them.
Alaric: Well what did you tell them?
Innkeep: I don’t know a thing.
Alaric: Fair… then what did they do?
Innkeep: I don’t know… I never saw them again, they all seemed very eager to go out and question the townspeople.
Alaric: I guess… we’ll go out and question the townspeople.
- Barriston: Is there a smith in this town?
Alaric: You don’t want to visit the smith, friend.
Barriston: But… there’s something I want done to my-
Alaric: The smith is very LOUD.
Barriston: Oh right… my head… this hangover is killer.
DM: The doctor offers you an herb… he says it’s called “aspirin.”
- So we do, except Marco who tries to go back to sleep and says leave him alone. So we question all the people, and apparently we need to the graveyard…. says the crypt-keeper. At least, the other two parties did. No one ever saw them again after that.
- So when he’s not hung over anymore, Barriston goes to the Smith for a potion rack. Bad haggling ensues. Cue Yackety Sax.
- Strife: Are we going there just us, or are we going to go get Marco? I think we should have everyone if it ate two other parties.
Q: I’ll just run away and let them eat you, it worked last time. Actually I didn’t run away, or let them eat you… you ran away and got paralyzed. So… never mind.
- We get Marco and go to the graveyard, and start down the stairs of a crypt… and have a spell check… many of us fail.
DM: Marco, the Doctor and Popcorn all fall asleep.
Ozzy: That’s what Marco wanted to be doing anyway!!!
Alaric and Barriston drag the rest of the people up and leave them sleeping in the snow… and then they go back…
- So… there’s some psycos with a harp down in the crypt.
- When Barriston and Alaric return, the rest of the party are coming too… Barriston doesn’t notice and glove slaps the doctor.
Barriston: WAKE UP!!!
Doctor: Was that ENTIRELY necessary?
- Alaric: There’s a horde of undead down there. Man playing the harp. Drinking things from bowls. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it’s blood. We go down there, we chop them to bits. Kender, you can do that… boom thing here. There are no witnesses.
Barriston: Who’s Roger?
Alaric: I presume it’s her God.
- So… apparently the undead are a mother and 4 kids… and the harpist is still kind of alive, and they have eyeballs on a table, and the kids are not happy that the 5 of them have to share only one pair of eyes.
Popcorn: *Whispering* WHAT?
Alaric: Hopefully they also don’t have many eardrums.
- Q: Which way are the eyes on the table facing… away from us?
DM: No they’re down. Facing the table.
Mayo: That’s a terrible way to store your eyes. You’re going to scratch a cornea that way.
- Soooo… Alaric, Marco, and Barriston lay WASTE to these things without Popcorn so much as casting a single Magic Missile. They take the harp, and take off… with the foreboding sense that they are being followed.
- They stop by the crypt-keeper’s to let him know what went down.
Crypt-keeper: Thank you, I’ll go clean up.
Alaric: Be careful, they were talking about another creature, named Agustus coming back.
Popcorn: Hey Cryptkeeper. What’s YOUR name?
Barriston: Do you want us to fix you?
Crypt-keeper: Brogen, not brogen.
- So we head to the inn, and have a sleep… apparently something a little creepy was loitering during Marco’s watch… but we made it thru the night ok. Barriston even manages to stop having nightmares.
- DM: Ok… in the morning… everyone but Alaric.
Strife: I hope it’s good!
Q: It’s not good. You have treebies. It’s like rabies… from trees. Lockjaw, you have lockjaw.
DM: You all feel like something is trying to break thru the skin where you were wounded…. it hurts bad… take 1 damage Popcorn, 2 Barriston and 3 Marco… especially in your neck.
- Doctor: I can see… I’m going to need to cut into you all to get this… out of you. It’s going to hurt.
Popcorn: Can we get some of those extra strong spirits first?
Marco: Yes. That!
Doctor: Drink as much as you need, and come see me.
So he does surgery and removes seed like things from them.
- So they sleep one more night to recover… but they find, in the morning that they still have some of those seeds in them. The doctor must do surgery again. Damnation.
- They have surgery again.
Popcorn feeds her spiders.
Alaric feeds his seedlings blood.
So after that… we debate staying for another night… but decide not to.
- They leave town….and now there are suddenly caravans of circus wagons to the right of the road. The persons are of a race not native to this area, based on what we have seen. The tree heads are… dead on spikes.
Alaric: Oh good. It looks like the Vistani took care of the tree heads.
Alaric: *Points at the camp.*
- So… we leave our party trying to decide whether to see the Vistani. Popcorn would like a local star chart so she can use her Astrology Proficiency… Alaric is fifty fifty on the idea of seeing them… we’ll decide next time.
- Strife: XP!!!!! How much XP was the head tree worth?
DM: Not as much as it says… I weakened it for this module.
Q: How much XP is the doctor worth? I totally kicked his ass.
Well it’ll be cool to see where this winds up next time. We need to get that harb back to the right place, and these Vistani may be interesting… plus something’s still following us, and Marco is still having nightmares…