Not all adventures have an "end fight" but I planned this one to have one. Tehpaguar was the weakest member of the adventuring group he had been a part of (of which members became slavers and the Lycos Suns who had started the entire mess) but at an 8th level druid in his home turf, I knew there were going to be some tough foes - or at least multiple foes - arrayed against them.
I make up the adventures almost 3 months before the party actually gets to them so that I am not "tempted" to go and retool them. Not everything the groups face are going to be "level" specific - and some cases the encounters and issues will be easy, and others they will not.
Write up follows:
It was Workmonth the 12th at 6:45 PM and we had fought our way against ready and arranged foes into the heart of the Circle of Thorns and eventually to the very walls of Caer Dargan itself. Karis had just taken a risky drop from the dangling feet of an enlarged griffon and rolled into the courtyard of the keep while the rest of the party ran forward as fast as possible to try and catch up with the courageous knight.
Tehpaguar dragging Lavender had arrived at the entrance to the Keep's proper, with the last two wild elves standing at the door grim faced and anxious. Karis called upon Tyr to heal himself and Detheron gave him one of the precious few potions of extra-healing we still had. Kalarig shot Tehpaguar from a long distance away and the druid angrily dragged the kicking girl into the dark interior.
A swarm of frantic bats dropped from the crumbling roof of the Caer at the druid's call, surrounding Karis, Detheron, Amal, Evian, and Fodder – buffeting the adventurers and ruining their vision. Zoltan sprung forward and tried to roll around the two wild elves but was stopped, trading blows with one of them while Smokey took some smacks to the face and nose in exchange for mauling the 2nd.
We fought and struggled to get closer and free of the flying bats while the last two wild elves where whittled away – one of them breaking rank and running away into the dim Caer's interior. Karis took down the last wild elf and Detheron's flaring light spell caused the remaining bats not smacked out of the sky to break up and flutter away.
The interior of the Caer was in poor shape, most of the inner room either taken down or fallen away leaving a large expanse of open area with some stone columns holding up the weakened roof above. At the far end of the chamber was a huge statue of a 12' tall snarling wolf with its front paw pressed against what seems to be the statue of a maiden's back, her body contorted in pain and twisted away. Her outstretched hand is clutching at what seems to be a 25' wide circle of smooth off white stone – like some sort of cover. The surface is pristine, but the earth around was covered with many many signs of bloodstains.
Tehpaguar had one hand looped into Lavender's hair and was dragging the kicking girl over the ground, what seemed to be a miniature thundercloud raining over his head and sheaves of red and purple flames coming from her hands. It was when he saw the party getting closer (Evian, Zoltan, and Gwy in the front) that he began howling "Contingency! Contingency!!"
And bursting from the ground between the party and him came a 12' tall parody of human form made of rock, earth, dirt, stone, and wood. It raised its ponderous fists high and crashed them down. Earth Elemental. Damn it.
Karis tried to run to Evian yelling for her to Enlarge him while the elven spellsword watched as two of her mirror images were smashed to bloody paste by the gigantic ensorcelled creature. Zoltan tried to slip past but the earth elemental caused the ground under the thief to ripple and knocked him on his back.
Kalarig poisoned another arrow and let fly – taking the time to aim for Tehpaguar's leg – and hitting him there! The druid was now lamed and the poison was coursing through his system. Huzzah. The group tried to get close to either the Earth Elemental or to get past it to hit the druid who was some 30' from the statue with the screaming and blubbering girl. Roots were bursting from the soil and dragging against Tehpaguar's feet slowing him more. Gwyn was hit by an errant stomp from the elemental and had his scimitar pinned to the ground. Evian caused Karis to swell in size and grow larger.
Zoltan scrambled back to his feet and hurled his sword end over end – the pointed bit catching the druid in the back of the shoulder. Smokey was knocked down and then Fodder as well. Another one of Evian's images was destroyed as she broke away from the Elemental but she was able to charge Tehpaguar who was now trying to drag the half-elven/half-orcish girl through magically created mushrooms – almost desperate in his struggle to reach the capstone. He had his golden sickle out and murder in his eyes.
Zoltan tackled Tehpaguar from behind and the two of them struggled on the ground, knives flashing back and forth as they sought to stab one another. Karis attempted to wrap his arms around the elemental and hold it at bay but got his head bashed and his helmet slipped down blocking his vision. Kalarig shot at Tehpaguar – with the last of his arrows – hitting the druid twice and sadly, Zoltan once! Gwyn switched to Elf Splitter and started to assault the Elemental. And as Karis was fighting the behemoth, he was hit hard and sent reeling – and then a second stone borne fist arced around and the knight was laid low in a spray of snapping chain links. Unconscious and at -8.
Tehpaguar lifted himself high and attempted to lunge at Lavender, sickle flashing. At the last moment, Zoltan hunched himself up and blocked the blow with his own back, the thief falling down mortally wounded by the strike. Down to -4. Two party members down. Detheron dared to run underneath the flailing arms of the Elemental who was now trying to slay the dwarf, and used his last spell to stabilize Karis at -8. Things were not going well and looking grim.
And then Kalarig's shot went wide and it hit Lavender instead – the clothyard shaft punching through the girl's shoulder and sending a spray of blood flying. Tehpaguar looked exultant and was hissing "yes!!!!" when the blood flew – BUT it instead didn't just hit the ground, but it hit the pristine white capstone as well. The druid’s face turned ashen with terror.
The wolf statue began howling and something was screaming nearby. The capstone quivered and shook and bounced up and down like a coin on edge until it lifted upward from below and was cast aside like a thrown dish. It landed with a crash, cracking in half, as the hole it once covered coughed up a cloying layer of dust and a wildly gyrating spectral figure.
It looked vaguely female, translucent and tinged in green light, scouring the area around it with murderous eyes the color of black pits. It filled your soul with white knuckled terror but when the spirit focused on the open mouthed Tehpaguar her expression became truly horrific. A numbing cackling sounded from everywhere, the spirit expanded and swelled outward, her spectral jaw dropped unnaturally wide. The druid stood limp, eyes wide and then the spirit dove.
Like a streak of emerald light, the spirit infused Tehpaguar, surrounding and consuming the wild elf before he could fill his lungs scream. The speed and force of the vigilant spirit was so powerful it pulled the air behind it causing the Caer to boom and rattle as if in a vacuum, following the flowing spirit as it descended back into the hole it emerged from – the pent up energy coursing after it.
And then the ground exploded and the last thing the party saw was a wall of distorted water, smoke, grit, dust, and sparkling green hued energy slamming into them like a bull and their senses were obliterated.
Some time passed.
Detheron awoke two days later on the 14th, naked, covered in bruises and hurts, bandaged up and being tended to by Goloriana Meadowsweet. The Roof of the Caer had been blown off and many of the supporting columns and walls had collapsed. His friends and companions were everywhere, in addition to dozens and dozens of animals that were milling around to see what was going on.
Goloriana explained that two days ago there was a horrible explosion of energy from inside the forest and the wards that had held her at bay for the last two years had collapsed. She used her magic to come to the heart of the tortured forest and had seen the carnage and devastation. She has spent some time plying her healing on the Sundered Chains and reported that two of them would be unable to move for at least two or three days more.
There was talk of what was accomplished and Goloriana spoke to Detheron much about the unicorn horn he was still carrying, asking where it came from and what he was doing and vengeance and the geas and all that. And then she revealed that she was actually a unicorn herself – and the horn was that of her sister's – as the story she had told the party long ago. She said that her sister had been slain by magic and the horn sundered then. If the horn could be replaced on her head – then her sister would live once again. Detheron reaffirmed he would find the unicorn slayer and the one responsible.
Group sort of totaled up the treasures the Circle of Thorns had accumulated – a number of coins and bags and bags and bags or rare spices, roots, and herbs. There were also some 24 odd potions which we took and finally Tehpaguar's journal which had two pieces of interest in it. One was a listing of 5 places where the bronze medallions worked – and the other was a adventuring charter from 12 or so years ago about a group called the Phantom Blades – of which not only was Tehpaguar was a member of – but also Vanir, Djohrgahd, and a few others – as well as someone called Lyreth Dragonson – who was identified as the leader.
It wasn't until the 17th that we felt well enough to travel. The entrance to Dargan's Folley was still sealed and required 2 medallions to get through it. Goloriana said she would be in the area for 2-3 seasons and would watch the area for the party until they could return.
We arrived at Ponyboro on the 20th and got some rooms at the Rampant Griffon. Took care of some local business (including cold fire hydra boots and the price of leopard skins and the beauty of "Speed Holes" in the hide) and then we left on the 21st – eventually getting home to Orihalcus on the 22nd of Workmonth. We drove our cart up to our house and unloaded our belongings looking around, and then we went on our way to the Greengrocer Coalition and Solkissa.
We met the leader of the Que-Eysha tribe of wild-elves – a harsh and untrusting person named Ironshade. He took Lavender and with little thanks, paid the party and left with her – the young girl giving Detheron a ring that allows him to speak with animals 3xday.
We were introduced to a grey elf named Courth'tae who was a friend of Hedonim and had been sent to the Que-Eysha tribe for a bit and then south to the party to offer his services since the ranger would not be able to rejoin the group. Courth'tae showed some skill as an archer but the clincher was that he said he was a member of the Tower Arcane and the group could certainly use some magical power.
And we ended it here – 5:30 PM on Workmonth the 22nd – on our way back to speak with Sir Walter and square up with Kalarig and talk about the grey elf and what comes next. We lost Osgar and Puck this adventure and yet we did everything we set out to do.
There is a sizeable (real sizeable) amount of treasure and collected goods and whatnot that I will spend the week going through with Dan (Karis) and we'll see what we can do to sell it and turn it into useable coin and worth so we can divvie it up. We also need to make sure that Evian get's her share, and talk about what happens to Amal and whatnot. I'll do as much as I can with Dan over the week so the next meeting we can go through training fairly swiftly and then roll right along.