This session we started two men down. Tragic! Since the game only runs every two weeks though, I’m not eager to miss a game session unless we absolutely have to. So, we assume that Odd Whispan and Grimshenko are tagging along behind, writing them passively out of the scene.
The players have scavenged the site of the Black Pond after vanquishing Felmad the Ill-humored and his band of exiled satyrs. They know that there quest must take them through the fey crossing locating in the depths of the pond, but, after asking them, we realize that none of the characters can really swim. After the characters sheepishly look at the water, they decide that you actually don’t have to swim well to get to the bottom, so Samson, Bradis and Hrung each grab some rocks and, well, sink to the bottom.
Sinking becomes rising as the approach the bottom of the pond. They scrabble now upwards, clawing for air as they break surface and arrive in the Feyvale. Almost blinded by the luscious colors, they catch their breath on the shore.
The Feywild would give them scant time to take in the scenery. hovering above them are what at first seem to be thousands of orange pulsing lights making a high pitched keen. As the orbs descend, though, they see that this a huge swarm of very small faeries. The cleric and the wizard each recognize the faeries as bitterswarm fey…just before the group descends upon Samson. They aren’t very strong, doing a touch of damage here and there, covering him almost completely. The bite, pull his hair, poke him, full of diminutive rage.
Arcana checks reveal that the bitterswarm thrive on the misery of non-fey creatures. Their blood, or what passes for it, is said to be dangerous as well. Hrung confirms this by taking a close peek at the fey and see that they have translucent skin and are almost completely full of some fluid. They move Samson into the pond which diverts some but not all of the swarm from him. Bradis attempts to use icy terrain as an airburst over the pond, which I rule to be a power trick (more on this later). He fails the Arcana roll, preventing the trick from going off.
Hrung and Bradis examine the area for help. They both see some tickleroot bushes. Hrung ignores the find, but Bradis makes a connection…if the bitterswarm fey love anguish, they must hate laughter. The mage rubs the tickleroot on his skin. Uncontrollable laughter spills forth. Hrung looks at him oddly, then grabs some and rubs it on him and Samson. The bitterswarm angrily flitter off.
The group hears clapping. “Well met, clever ones! I’ve seen the bitterswarm melt more than a few unlucky souls at this very pond!”
The clapping and the laughter belong to Inosel. She asks why the PCs are not at CommonHome, breaking the Treaty of Khitosa knowing that their lives are now forfeit if they are found. Inosel is not threatening them, but warns them that her superiors will not believe their story that they are not from CommonHome, and will most likely destroy them on sight.
The party tells Inosel of their quest, withholding mention of the Unicorn’s Horn, which they think is an actual Unicorn that they must trick or kill. Inosel tells them precisely where it is, and Grimshenko (played by me) tells the players that the Unicorn’s horn is actually a statue. She tells the players to hurry and leave before they are found out. They leave the bitterswarm and the pond behind them, and begin travelling.
The players decide to stealth as much as possible to their destination. Eventually they come to a grove. Some of the trees are completely defoliated and withered. There are two female humans crying next to each other, and several man-sized tree creatures stumbling aimlessly about the grove.
“Sister! What have we done? All we wanted were brothers, and now we have despoiled our land! We will be slain!”
At that point, Hrung sees their faces, which are human in skin tone, but etched with barklines like a tree, and does a sharp, reflexive inhale.
“You!” The dryads spot him instantly. “You will be the ones we say desecrated the grove!”
The dryads commence the attack, but after a few solid hits on the Rogue, the PCs make short work of their minions. A few times Bradis attempts to reason with them, and when it’s down to just the two dryads versus the PCs, he finally gets through:
“Look, you can attempt to blame us for your actions, or you can attempt to flee.”
“But they will find us and destroy us for our crimes!”
“Well, look at your brothers lying on the ground. Your death here is almost certainly assured.”
The sisters look at each other, consider, and flee, teleporting into the trees.
This encounter everyone enjoyed, but I maintained that it was the players that really made it awesome. I hadn’t expected Bradis to parlay with the sisters. They will return later.
Checking out the area of the grove the dryads ruined, Hrung almost gets homesick. This one small patch of land looks almost like something from the blasted landscape of thee Slaughtervale. The players wonder what sort of foul magic this is, then they make camp.