Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The Favorites of Selune - Gardmore Abbey - Session 5
We ended the previous session with the Favorites of Selune having entered the Feygrove, an unnaturally dense forest on the slopes of the hill of Gardmore Abbey. They had spotted an elvish figure running away from them, and as they advanced that figure continued to recede. This session starts with the group arriving at a bell tower, catching up with that figure, who turns out to be an eladrin girl. And the reason they catch up with her is that she has attracted more attention: Two displacer beasts are now chasing the girl as well, and as the players arrive the beasts just have brought the girl down, and she is now lying unconsciously on the ground. At the end of the first round of combat three stirges also join the fray, descending on the girl who is easy prey.
Now obviously whoever wrote that scene was counting on the players trying to save the girl. And to their honor is has to be mentioned that the group does attack the displacer beasts. But as those turn out to be tougher and more dangerous than expected, the players are ultimately more interested in self-preservation than in heroics to save a girl they don't even know. The rogue makes one single attack on one of the stirges, while everybody else is just happy to leave them alone and concentrate on the displacer beasts. The wizard even complains that the girl is preventing him from using area effect spells.
With their blinking, their strong bite attacks, and the long reach of their tentacles, the displacer beasts are quite dangerous. At one point the glowing rune produced by the Deck of Many Things in each combat in this adventure results in a displacer beast getting and extra attack, and the warrior takes three hits at once, one of them a critical hit; he goes from full life to having just 2 hit points left, and although he is saved by healing, everybody is quite scared of the beasts. After three rounds of being sucked dry by stirges, the eladrin girl is dead. So after killing the displacer beasts, the adventurers now finally fight the stirges, and kill them with not too much difficulty. There is no treasure to be found, so they bury the girl. To make a token effort towards the other eladrin in the Feygrove (which they have been sent to ally with) they collect the girl's sword, which has a family emblem, to bring to her family.
Continuing further along the path, the group comes to a fork, and they hear music from a clearing ahead. They investigate and find a group of nymphs, playing and singing. The nymphs want to play a game with them: Telling secrets. They offer to tell the group a secret for every group member who tells them a secret that the others don't know. Now the campaign started with all the players growing up in an orphanage, which doesn't leave much room for background story. And only the warlord ever bothered to write one, so he can tell the secret that he is the lost son of a dwarven king. The warrior tells the "secret" everybody already suspected, that when he was wielding the artifact axe Aecris, that axe told him who to attack. The wizard says that he doesn't know his parents, having been found in the wood, while the cleric reveals that he is the child of a lady of negotiable virtue in Waterdeep. In return the group receives several hints on objects hidden in Gardmore Abbey, like the two sacred vessels they still need to find for one quest. And they get information about the mad priest of Tharizdun they ran away from and thought to be a "necromancer". They are also being sung the tragic ballad of Vandomar and Elaida, the story of a wizard who couldn't save the love of his life from perishing during the fall of Gardmore Abbey.
After this peaceful roleplaying encounter, there is another one: The Favorites of Selune find the eladrin noble Berrian Velfarren and his retinue camped at a magical fountain. It turns out the eladrin girl they failed to save was his sister, Analastra. But with Berrian not knowing how much they did or didn't do to save her, and being grateful for the respect shown by burying her and returning her sword, that goes well. Nevertheless Berrian isn't immediately ready to ally with the players and Lord Padraig against the orcs in the village of Gardmore. He first wants them to show their worth by doing some tasks for him. He wants the group to recover some documents from the gardener's log cabin, to establish the faerie connection of the Feygrove and thus his claim on these woods. But there are owlbears at the cabin, and he would prefer them to not be harmed. Fortunately he can provide the information that owlbears are afraid of displacer beasts, so the players hatch a plan to disguise themselves using the corpses of the beasts they slew earlier.
Berrian also reveals that he and his sister came here to look for their father, to which the adventurers respond by recommending him to trade secrets with the nymphs. Before he can do so, or the players explore the magical fountain more closely, or go forward with their plan against the owlbears, we end the session.