- Wandering through the forest, stopped by shimmery haze in forest. It’s a druid-magic barrier, which you take down with necromancy. The barrier was protecting a cute pond with pixies and animals and such and they took umbrage at being interrupted. Vallessa noticed a tar pit on the other side (which served as a hot spring/sauna thing) so she fired arrows and Lital kicked rocks so the animals were covered in tar and generally upset. Moving the tar pit disturbed some salamanders (poisonous beasts that bask in tar) who quickly froze.
- Canonical: druid magic and necromancy are metaphysically opposite to one another!
- Walking through the sparser trees towards the hills, everyone got an uneasy feeling that they were been watched, and Volterra caught the strain of a fretted instrument of some kind, and shadows tracking you in the trees. The shadows were a bunch of wood elves who had been stalking you through the trees since you trashed their “pixie party”, revealing their leader to be Llandu Whisperleaf, a Druid with human sympathies, who Vallessa killed with an arrow to the eye, scattering Whisperleaf’s buddies.
- Moving on, you were ambushed by tree-spiders, terrifying Jacek who fled into a sticky web. and dragged off. A chase ensued, Jacek was rescued, and you found yourself looking at the hill.
- A row occurred over whether you were heroes or villains, with Volterra notably quiet, Jacek trying to rationalise his behaviour and destiny and be a hero, and the other three entirely clear that they’re villains. Jacek grumpily started looking at the Dragon Claw Gauntlet and fondly reminiscing about Koldar.
- Went into the cave, where they met Tianthe Vang, a dark-skinned human sorceress-turned-druid by something called the Ritual Of Taking – she was quite up-front about having murdered Kalen to steal his (delicious, delicious) soul and druidic power.
- Most of the party seemed to get on with her, aside from Jacek who struggled with his conscience over the fact that her squad of vampire gnomes were actively intending to feed on the villagers.
- You tried to recruit her, but she was clear that she already had a master, whom she called Vooram, although she was reluctant to reveal any further details. In the end you decided to leave before Jacek’s conscience caused any interpersonal difficulties.
- After a long discussion about where to go next, Lital emotionally manipulated Vallessa into going back to Thorn so she could talk to the two Imperial Legionnaires, but first you collectively decided to deal with Golthrash
- En route, you intimidated a series of fairly rubbish kobolds who looked like they might try and mug you into running away
- When you reached the large hill in which Golthrash and her Vipers made their nest, you spent some time outside arguing/chatting while Volterra and Lital searched fruitlessly for secret caves behind the waterfall
- Going through the main entrance, you found kobolds waiting to ambush you – a mix of Ledgedivers, using ropes strung from the ceiling to make swooping attacks and drop nets on you, and Bravescales using legion-like tactics with their spears and shields to block your passage. You made swift progress through them, with some gymnastic feats from Volterra and terrain stunts from Vallessa
- Further up the inside of the hill you were caught between a black dragonic sorcerer with three Blackshield dragonic minions at the top of a steep ramp, while being ambushed from left and right by kobold shadow-warriors. There were a lot of pretty ropey moments during the fight and Daechir used his Litany of Undying Peerage to call on Grumlak the Baron of Makeshift Tombs when casting Circle of Death.
- Once you’d dealt with all of that, you headed even further up the cave network within the hill, until you reached the wellspring/pools at the top – within which Lital knew the dragon Goltrash kept her hoard. Aside from a small amount of daylight coming in from the place where the spring left the cave and became the waterfall, the place was pitch dark.
- Not impressed by the fact that you’d killed most of her gang, Golthrash attacked quickly, diving into the water and spraying you all with her acid breath. Vallessa and Lital jumped onto her head, with Lital using her magic boots to dig in and hang on. The dragon dived into the deep, murky, faintly-acidic water and the battle raged on, with the acid eventually knocking Vallessa out of the fight so she surfaced before passing out. Underwater, Lital struck the killing blow against Golthrash.
- Meanwhile, on the surface, Jacek, Daechir, Volterra and Buffy (Vallessa’s bullette companion) battled with the rest of the Vipers – a dragonic assassin, a dragonic sorcerer, and more kobold shadow-warriors. Daechir’s shadow somehow saved him from a forcebolt from the sorcerer, and things were looking somewhat bleak (mainly thanks to the shadow-warriors and Lital’s indiscriminate berserker fury inspired She Who Is War!) until Volterra used her relationship with the Three to call a brief truce, during which you negotiated with the remaining sorcerer and five shadow-warriors.
- Eventually you agreed to leave these remaining Vipers alive, in exchange for taking all their stuff (which you duly did). You then left the cave, whereupon you had another argument about where to go next – Vallessa keen to avoid Thorn, Jacek wanted to go to Shadow Port (or anywhere coastal, really), and Lital still set on returning to Thorn to interrogate those two ex-Legionnaires about whether they knew anything about her village’s destruction.
- You eventually set off towards Thorn. From about a mile away, you felt the earth shake and heard screams. A giant, whirling maw of stone had opened up beneath the village and was sucking all the buildings – and people! – into it, including Moira and the two Legionnaires. The maw seemed to be swallowing rather than chewing, as it were, and you noticed a potentially-safe way to climb down into the living dungeon…
36 - Bank Holiday Throwdown