Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Recap: Into the Woods

We managed to get a session together for Maze of the Blue Medusa over the holiday weekend! Which is good because the rest of September is looking pretty busy. I might have a couple off weeks for running games, but that certainly doesn't mean I won't be busy...

Also, I realized this weekend that this campaign probably only has 4-5 more sessions left in it. This might be the first start-to-finish campaign I post on this blog. Maybe. If I can ever schedule another Dragonborn Quest.

Edit: This series was written before allegations about the authors of this module were released. To respect the players of the game, as well as the brilliant writing of Patrick Stuart, I've decided to keep these posts up. However, all links and art have been removed. Thank you for understanding.

This story is part 7 of a series. The campaign was completed.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 |

Maze of the Blue Medusa: Into the Woods

Cast of Characters
Jon: Dungeon Master
Megan: Aniria Lightningblood, Firbolg Tempest Cleric, accidentally destroyed her home, now an adventurer, rushes in to things
Makayla: Coria Kelvardil, Moon Druid Elf, traveling the world and cataloguing all the animals she can find, cartographer
Jackie: Derrik Evanwood, Human Bardbarian, punch things, woo women, deal with alcoholism, collect magic swords
Tom: Alan Xanthudides, Human Phoenyx Sorcerer, not-so-secretly a noble with a bad family, trying his best not to burn the place down, actually quite good at social graces

When we last left our heroes, they had finished mapping out the maze's art gallery and had returned to the island outside the maze for some well-needed R&R.

After finding an inn and sleeping a solid 10 hours, Derrik decided to get drunk. Aniria started talking to trees, Alan explored a bit before joining Derrik, and Coria, uncomfortable without a distinct plan in mind, decided to help the local farmers with her Plant Growth spell.

The group learned a bit about the island they had found in the middle of the maze. It was a simple place called Elatior, and in the past year it had been surrounded by floating fortress ships ran by the Chameleon women who lurked in the maze. They used their ships as libraries, and were collecting and cataloguing things from the maze that they found interesting or sacred.

They also learned that the islanders worshipped the maze, and their priests, the Bondye Reparté, were essentially caretakers of the maze who wore plain robes and masks to avoid allowing the dungeon inhabitants from falling in love with them. The party agreed that this was completely reasonable, and Derrik got upset that he hadn't realized before that he could make a Goddess fall in love with him.

The group drank and partied for nearly a full 48 hours. They gave the local economy quite a boost. Derrik learned that by combining his tree-mind-reading sword and his get-people-drunk sword, he could learn what it felt like to be drunk like a tree. Aniria asked a palm tree what it was like being a palm tree, Alan learned a bit about the local economy, and Coria avoided the parties and instead helped the farmers.

They woke up late, with slight headaches (except Coria) on their third day on the island. Fortunately, due to the wealth they had found in the dungeon, nobody was after their heads and they were staying in the best accommodations that the primitive little village could offer them. Derrik awoke to find he had written several ballads about what it felt like to be a drunk tree. He signed the manuscripts, and the group hoped they could give them as a prize to Lady Crucem Capilli, who had requested a curio with it's owner's written permission to take it.

They headed back up to the temple of the island, which sat atop a hill in the center. The Bondye Reparté gave Derrik and Alan some of their masks to make sure they weren't followed back up to the surface by any stray Goddesses. Apparently, bringing a Goddess into a small farming community would be a bad idea. Alan put his on, but Derrik decided not to.

The group travelled down the stairs, which eventually switched and made them go up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, back in the maze, they found Chronia Torn, who expressed concern about her new friends being gone so long. The party realized in horror that they had nearly caused a time-accelerating Goddess to leave the maze.

The group decided to explore the Gardens, which they hadn't yet looked into, before heading into the reptile archives. Coria prepared her Blight spell, and Alan got the fire ready. There was an entrance near Chronia's room, so they decided to go there first.

Immediately, they ran into vines choking the area. They found a huge snail shell, with snail included. Aniria tried to make friends with it, having moderate success. They climbed through a room full of light-absorbing roses, which Derrik decided to cut using his plant-mind-reading sword. It turns out they only though in emo poetry.

In the next room, they met a polite locust named Celadine, who traded them some information for a length of Alan's rope. As he chewed on the rope, he told them that there were three sections to the dungeon; they were currently in the Northeastern section. The southern section was where most of the garden utilities were, and the northwestern section was a bit closed off. Celadine wasn't sure what was in there.

The group decided to go through a room with a very bright floor. As Aniria felt her way along the walls, she suddenly lost her footing and fell into a large pit in the center of the floor. Coria crawled over to her, tossed her some rope, and Derrik pulled the unfortunate firbolg out. The group found the edge of the pit and felt their way around it.

Reaching the other side, they found themselves in a small den of sorts, strange nick-nacks covered the walls and a hunched little old lady bustled about. She was mostly bald, but from her head sprouted antler-like lines of ink that formed mysterious runes. Even Derrik, with his comprehend languages spell, couldn't understand them.

She introduced herself as Aelfadred, the Glyph Witch. The adventurers spoke to her for a bit, learning that she was the one who had made the bird-masked "Oku" thieves that had hounded them earlier. She was also cursed, and had a set of 5 cursed doors that she encouraged them to try - each door would cure another one's curse, so it was like a fun game to find a curse that wasn't terrible.

The group declined, and Aniria went into the next room, where the Oku had set up shop. The bird-masked rogues were all chatting to each other, passing ideas around until they were practically useless. Coria was delighted at the absurd ideas the Oku would come up with if given the simplest suggestion.

Their leaders were two Oku that seemed to have the opposite of personalities: Santicle was a bravado-laden fool, while his partner in crime, Bittervetch, was a sullen but intelligent bore. It seemed like the whole group couldn't decide on anything except that they wanted money, and that their old leader, a bird/man named Akerstrom, was much better at guiding them.

The group asked if any Oku would be interested in guiding them into the southern part of the Gardens. At first, none responded, but after some coin was offered, they became more than willing. An Oku named Dog Mercury volunteered, as most of the others were still bitter about the last fight they had with the group.

The party made their way down through Chronia's entrance halls, passing through a black-floored room they had avoided earlier. Coria turned into a Giant Eagle to avoid stepping on the trapped floor. Everyone else just ran. Along the way, they ran into Lady Crucem Capilli, who asked where the curio was that she requested.

Derrik proudly handed over the sheet music he had written. Lady Capilli smiled like she was addressing a petulant child. She explained that she wanted things from the maze, not the adventurers. However, all would be forgiven if she was brought a new item: a living creature, one that had given its consent to be there. And if they didn't bring it back the next time she saw them... well, she would burn this place to the ground.

A bit shaken, the group made their way into the garden's southern section. It was dark, and the vines had overgrown everything. Derrik lit a torch, Aniria lit herself with a Light spell. Alan used his "finger-fire", and Coria used her eagle-eyes.

They discovered a stone couch, which Alan decided to take a breather on. He noticed the couch was magic, but couldn't figure out how. Aniria heard a grunting noise from behind a door and decided to open it.

Inside was a tiny, angry pig. Aniria immediate fell in love with it - even though it kept trying to bite her, she picked it up and held onto it. Outside the room, someone moved the couch in front of the door, and Aniria used her new Stone Shape spell to make a different exit.

Alan quickly discovered what the enchantment on the stone couch was, as two cannibals were making out on it. They seemed preoccupied, though, so the group let them be.

They explored a gardener's hovel, and were looking through the back of the dwelling when vines began to reach towards them from the walls: Pellory was back!

Coria slashed with her talons, and Derrik ran in using his plant sword. Aniria and Alan hung back and blasted the plant-creature with spells. After a few vine slashes, the creature had finished off Coria's Eagle form. Coria responded with a Blight spell.

The spell proved extremely powerful against the plant-based foe. Pellory withered into dust, and the foe was no more. Coria grabbed a jar of herbicide from the hovel, and the group went on their way.

In the next area, they met with a large worm named Germander. Despite a voice like the devil choking on cinnamon, Germander proved to be quite friendly and sociable. They traded information and learned that a demon was guarding one of the next rooms. Germander also warned them against opening doors with yellow mold on it - it was a trap.

Finally Germander demanded that Aniria put the little pig back. It was apparently pure evil, and could never be tamed. Aniria was heartbroken, and with a sad sigh placed the angry pig back in its room, blocking the door with the stone couch. Also, Dog Mercury had run off at some point. The group seemed to be losing hirelings.

The group carried forward, avoiding the yellow mold doors. They began to hear laughing and cackling, and realized that the demon must be close. They crept forward into a room full of pipes and flowing water, with a huge frog-demon howling with laughter as he leapt from pipe to pipe.

Aniria tried to talk to the demon and figure out what was happening, and they realized that this monster was re-routing the pipes to prevent the plants from being watered. The group tried to convince him to leave by saying that Lady Capilli would be burning down the maze, but that didn't seem to bother him. He just wanted to cause pain via plumbing.

The group realized they weren't getting anywhere and decided to attack him. The demon, whose name was Carnifax, spoke a little singsong rhyme that made Derrik unable to speak. Alan blasted it with a fire spell, but another rhyme put Alan's magic out of commission.

Coria shifted and attacked with her Giant Elk hooves, and Derrik swung with his battle axe. The demon responded with more verse, causing Coria to shift back and Derrik's axe to be unusable. The group kept striking away, however, and before long the demon was bloodied and bruised.

Carnifax made an attempt to escape, but Coria busted out her Blight spell once more. The demon shriveled into dust, and everyone got their stolen abilities back.

Meanwhile, Alan, whose magic had been shut off and left him with nothing to do, had been trying to fix the pipes. He finally figured it out, and the water began to flow through the plumbing and over a group of water wheels in the back of the room. A low rumbling sound filled the room as water was restored to the gardens.

Having finished that task, the group realized they would either need to find another way out, or locate some willing creature to join them when they saw Lady Capilli... unless they wanted to fight a dragon who could destroy the entire maze.

We stopped there for the night. It always amazes me how much we get done in these sessions! So many rooms to explore.

I should mention that the players pretty much steamrolled the gardens. I assumed they would be lower level when they went here, so I'm not surprised. Blight turned out to be a clutch spell.

As the end of the year approaches, we might have less time to play D&D, so I'm not sure when we'll play next. Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

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