DF Whiterock Session 50: The Blighted Grove




Cool, overcast, windy

Player Characters:

Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 369 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 364 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 352 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 386 points

Significant NPCs:

Tyber Lasir, Half-Elf arms merchant
11 Dire Bats
Drow Groaning Spirit

The party started in Cillamar.  Elias had church.  Polly heard a rumor that hard carrot juice made your hair fall out, and got worried.  Zaber and Seépravir heard that a merchant caravan to Galaron was ambushed, and this might endanger the king's visit to Cillamar.  Zaber also heard that Lord Flitwick had his bodyguard murdered.

Seépravir and Zaber spread a rumor that the king doesn't like Lord Flitwick's clothes.  Seépravir then went to see Tyber Lasir about the caravan ambush.  Tyber said that some merchants and guards were killed and that he lost a lot of goods in the ambush, which happened near Ashwood Forest.  Seépravir asked for a description of one of the stole weapons, for use with the Seeker spell, and Tyber described a bastard sword with a jeweled pommel.  But the Seeker spell failed to find it.

After some discussion, the group decided to go to Castle Whiterock instead of hunting for bandits.  No carters were available to come along and carry the huge turtle shell, possibly because of the ambush.  Seépravir cast Flight and Dark Vision on everyone, and Alertness, Keen Hearing, See Secrets, and See Invisible on Zaber.  A critical success on Keen Hearing doubled the effect to +8.  Everyone flew to Castle Whiterock, except Garreth who had to push the wheelbarrow.  When they got there, Polly cast Keen Vision on herself and Zaber, then recovering from that casting took some Lend Energy from Seépravir.  At that point everyone went down a level, and across to the elevator, which had a giant turtle shell in it.  Garreth used Autohypnosis to increase his Will, and then Power Blow to briefly increase ST, enough to shift the heavy turtle shell out of the elevator.

Everyone went down the elevator, then Garreth rowed the group in a skiff (mostly because of the heavy wheelbarrow, since otherwise everyone could just fly), to the north exit from the underground river level, leading to the huge cave.  After some discussion, they decided to head west to explore a new area.  Some huge bats were swooping out of the sky at the party, but Zaber heard them coming, and warned the others.

The fight against the bats was pretty one-sided.  Polly shot one in the wing and caused it to fall out of the sky.  Seépravir tried Thunderclap to deafen a few bats, but they all resisted.  The bats swarmed the PCs, biting away.  Garreth got bit once in the face (the bat was actually smart enough to avoid his heavy armor), and Seépravir got critically bit, causing her to drop her wand.  But neither did much damage, and then everyone started killing bats.  Zaber impaled one in the vitals with his knife, Polly fast-drew her rapier and crippled a wing each on two more bats, and Garreth killed a couple with his katana.  (Though this scared Seépravir because one of the them was in her hex, and if Garreth missed the bat and hit her, it could be all fatal.)  At that point, the bats had enough, and started retreating.

The PCs decided not to let the bats escape.  Seépravir cast Great Haste on Garreth.  Zaber finished off the bat he he previously wounded.  Polly switched back from rapier to bow and shot a couple more bats in the back.  Garreth killed a couple more, Zaber killed one more, and Polly got the last one.  At that point there was discussion of finding the bat lair, but since they hadn't left any bats alive to follow home, and flying creatures don't tend to leave footprints, that appeared impossible.

After a bit of rest and some more Lend Energy spells, the group continued west across the stream.  Seépravir gave Zaber the Ring of Water Breathing so he could explore underwater, but he didn't find anything interesting.  The group followed the stream south and west, until it led them to a forest of huge mushrooms.  Polly collected 42 pounds of mushrooms, just in case they were useful or valuable.  Meanwhile Zaber kept checking the stream, while Seépravir and Garreth flew along singing and playing a flute.  (This failed to summon any wandering monsters.)  

Eventually the stream turned south and opened up into a wide pool.  Zaber searched it for a while but didn't find anything exciting.  Seépravir decided to cast Seek Magic, and found something back to the southeast.  At that point there was a discussion on whether to head for the magic, or search the rest of the pool.  The consensus seemed to be magic, but Polly decided to fly south a bit first, and spotted a something under the water.  It was about 25' under, so she wasn't sure what it was, so she got Zaber to swim under and search.  It turned out to be a rusty iron chest, with a lock.  Zaber searched for traps and found a needle trap in the lock.  He figured the poison would be washed away, and picked the lock.  The trap failed to operate, and inside the lock were several small bars of a dense bronze-colored metal.  He didn't know what it was, so he flew it back to Seépravir, who thought it might be orichalcum.  That sounded valuable, so Zaber went back to get the other bars, and the group divided them up so that nobody was encumbered.  Seépravir cast Lighten Burden on Garreth just to make sure.  Then, everyone started walking southeast in the direction of the magic.

The trail let back into the fungus forest.  After another Seek Magic to make sure they were still on target, the group found a circular clearing in the middle of the forest, about 10 yards in diameter, with all the fungus around the clearing dead or decaying.  In the middle of the clearing, Zaber (who still had See Invisible) spotted the twisted corpse of what appeared to be a female drow.  Everyone was suspicious, but eventually Zaber moved forward to investigate.

And then, some kind of translucent drow spirit creature appeared at the end of the clearing.  She radiated a Fear aura, but all the PCs made their Will rolls to avoid running.  Zaber fast-drew a knife but was out of stabbing range.  Polly tried putting a couple of arrows through the spirit, but they passed right through, without doing any apparent damage.  Garreth waited, guarding Seépravir.

And then the undead spirit let loose a horrible keening sound.  Everyone needed to resist with Will.  Everyone made their roll, but still took 3d+7 curse damage.  This was enough to knock everyone below 0 HP.  (Zaber used his Luck to take the lowest of 3 damage rolls.)  Everyone needed to make knockout and stun rolls, but they all succeeded.  Seépravir actually had to make a death check, which she did.

Seépravir used her default Theology to try to figure out what kind of undead that was, and she figured it might be a Groaning Spirit.  They tend to haunt the areas where they were murdered, and keen at any living creatures that come too close.  She cast Great Haste on Garreth.  Polly fired some arrows with Continual Light at the spirit, hoping the light would have some effect, but again arrows just went right through.  Garreth took an All-Out Attack (Double) to attempt two Kiais, but the spirit resisted both of them.  Then she stepped forward and All-Out Attacked Garreth back, with a touch attack to both cheeks.  This did some more HP damage and also caused him to resist or lose a point of ST.  He missed one of his resistance rolls and got a bit weaker.

Seépravir Great Hasted herself next, but rolled a 17, and had to use Luck to avoid a critical failure.  Zaber fast-drew a healing potion then chugged it, getting back to positive HP so he didn't have to roll every turn to stay conscious.  Polly started flying north to escape the battle.  Garreth went for another All-Out Attack (Double)  His first attack was a kiai, and this time he managed to stun the spirit.  For his second attack he fast-draw his Katana and sliced through the spirit, hoping that the Penetrating enchantment would help, but it passed through the spirit just like Polly's arrows had.  Then he fast-drew and drank a healing potion.  Seépravir tried Rapier Wit on the spirit, guessing Undercommon might be a good language, but it failed.  She then cast Slow, which succeeded, meaning the spirit skipped every other turn.

Garreth tried two more Kiais, and one worked, getting another turn of stun.  At that point all the PCs started retreating.  Seépravir and Garreth were both slowed by wounds, but also Great Hasted, which combined to normal speed.  Polly and Zaber didn't have Great Haste, but they were farther away from the spirit and had started running away sooner.  Everyone made their consciousness checks for long enough to get out of range of the spirit, and she did not pursue them.  At that point the ones who were still below 0 HP stopped to drink enough healing potions that they were no longer in danger of passing out, and then everyone went back home to Cillamar, happy to have survived.

GM's Comments:

The random encounter with the dire bats was not much of a challenge, once the bats failed to get surprise.  They had good skill but lousy damage, and their wings were easy to cripple.  The bats tried to retreat once half of them were down, but the PCs had Flight so could easily pursue, so that didn't work.

Most of the group wanted to turn around right before they found the chest with the orichalcum bars, but Polly was a bit more persistent, and rolled really well on her vision roll.

The groaning spirit was an absolute killer, and the PCs forgot to bring their cleric.  With everyone below 0 HP after the Keening attack, there was not a lot of room for error.  The combination of Kiai and Slow was enough to buy time to escape, though.  And Fast-Draw (potion) might have been a life-saver, saving a turn and thus a knockout check for both Zaber and Garreth.

Rules clarification: a sprint bonus isn't allowed with Flight; increasing Air Move requires Enhanced Move (Air).  

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