Monday, April 16, 2012

Exploring the Hills

The party ventured forth once again into the Awayn River Valley. Their first objective was to find a cave of crystals that the wizard had determined must exist for Blackthorn's druidic rituals. Blackthorn was happy to tell them the location, provided they assist him with a problem. The guardian of an elder grove needed assistance, and the party was to figure out how to help. They headed towards the southern hills, but first had to cross the Cyclopean bridge.

The bridge was ancient, with the caving "They Shall Know Peace," in Hellenic, along with figures of humans being productive in various tasks. A slag pile of rusted metal armor and weapons lay next to the bridge approach. As the party crossed the bridge, the ranger was nearly pulled to the grown as a trap was sprung, his armor weighing him down. Simultaneously, a wolverine was conjured onto the bridge and it attacked mercilessly. Luckily the ranger resisted the magnetic pull and was able to slay the beast with help from the party.

After crossing the bridge, the party was once again attacked, this time by a goblin cleric riding on a dire wolf with her goblin minions. The battle went on for some time, and the dire wolf nearly ripped the throat out of the ranger before the party's cleric could call on Diancecht for healing. Eventually the goblin cleric and wolf were slain and the party discovered the cloak of the rangers father. Like with his sword, the man was nowhere to be found.

From the hills, the party ventured down into the valley into the elder grove. An agitated and badly injured owlbear attacked and the party was able to disable it before the dryad Carmentis appeared to tell her story. The owlbear, Hooty, was her guardian and she was in charge of the grove. 

Carmentis was sent to guard the elder grove as punishment for her inappropriate relationship with a baccae named Terissa. Lately she has been tormented by satyrs who persue her in the grove and who have tormented Hooty. Carmentis gave the general location of the satyrs and her lover, hoping the party may possibly slay the satyrs and bring her lover to her. No promises one way or the other, just an agreement to assist each other. In exchange, Carmentis gave the party a supply of elder boughs to show Blackthorn. The boughs are also known to be spell components for activating stone circles.

Blackthorn thanked the party for assisting Carmentis and sent them on their way to the crystal cave, where they found the crystals they needed for the broken light houses, along with a dead goblin who had fallen to Bran the Trappers arrows. Apparently it had made its way to this cave on its dire wolf before the wolf chewed through the strap attaching the goblin and went on its way. The goblin possessed a note, possibly to Crannog, informing him that the Tarans suspected nothing and would be easy to defeat in the upcoming Samhain raid. Also in the cave was a mountain lion who attacked the distracted party as they studied the note.

The party then made their way to the northern hills, finding additional evidence of iron ore deposits and another trap that nearly flattened the summoners eidolon. They discovered a field of blue poppies (another spell component) and witnessed a battle between two plant creatures that ended with the deaths of both. Finally, they discovered a tall statue of Daghda on a fountain overlooking the town, covered completely in vines, bushes and debris. Upon clearing away the debris, the water in the fountain magically began running clear. Those in town who could see the Daghda statue were nearly brought to tears as their patron of good harvests greeted them the next morning.

Finally, the last act of the party was to take the surveyors to the new iron ore veins. Everything went well over the next couple of days, including a quick dispatch of an angry brown bear, but on their return trip, they were ambushed by four dire wolves. The wolves must have been overconfident, as the party was neither surprised nor acted slowly to attack them. With precision lacking in previous battles, the wolves were dispatched in a difficult battle that found most of the party fighting from the ground by its end.

Cyclopean Stonework

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