Breach

Nature Walk

In which we fight the fey descendents of the Flash and tickle trout

We almost immediately set out to deal with the flight1 of quicklings Sharm told us about, but were distracted by the prospect of a self-propelled wagon. Which is to say, it blew Nute’s mind. Setting the wagon aside for the moment, we murdered some quicklings, but one got away. He shall be dubbed Zephuros. His days are numbered.

We then returned to Abelurn victorious. There was blowing of horns, brandishing of trophies, and painting the red stripes of triumph on our wagon. Nute tied one bell to each wheel hub as a mark of the team’s triumph in battle2.

Even though we didn’t quite finish the quickling job, Sharm seemed satisfied enough to give us a bottle of Doom-Wine3. For some reason, it seemed appropriate that Charisse drink it. She promptly fell into convulsions and glimpsed a portion of the weave of the world, which unraveled in reverse order before her eyes:

A great white tree stands in the Hamilcon commons. It grows from a sapling, revealing the bare ground. A monster from the sea, resembling a great crab, decays on the place where the tree will grow. A figure pours a vial of water on the planting, as the concept of a great glacier shimmers in the air. A chant to Pelor beseeches him to bestow his quickening light on the acorn, and the acorn is planted. In another time and place, the figure receives an acorn from an old tree formed into the shape of a woman.

We pick up on some of the vision’s meaning, and go off to seek an audience with the dryads living in Ulnar’s Forest to the east. But when we try to collect Watcher, we find that the Mostly Unseen University is in lockdown after someone was eaten. (Charisse and Nute pay for a sending to Watcher to establish this.) Since Watcher did not ask for help, we do not interfere and continue to the forest.

There, we are guided to Old Mother Sylvia by Windy and manage to sweet talk our way out of being eaten by Shroomy. We are presented with a test—survive two weeks in a strange wood with just a belt knife. Here, Nute’s experience surviving in the Labyrinth comes in useful, though he contracts the flux after eating some strange eggs. We also make another friend, whose name I cannot recall (she was a shapeshifter). I shall call her Brown Hair, the Rabbit Lady.

Sylvia seemed impressed by our performance and somewhat favorably inclined towards us. She gave us the acorn child we desired, but still discouraged the prospect of another meeting. However, she bears great animosity or fear (not sure which) towards the Chained God (who killed one of the great trees, Sylvia’s mother), so she may be a useful future ally.

To do list:
  • Mostly Unseen University people-eating. Nute suspects the minions of the Chained God and wants to storm the walls, but that’s normal. We do know that the customs of those who follow Bane, Vecna, and Gruumsh might eat parts of people occasionally.
  • Expand our gate library/look up Balthazar/forge working relations with the Keepers. I’ve lumped these together because expanding our gate library is likely to touch on the other two items if we work solely from our current knowledge.
  • Figure out what Watcher’s schematics have to do with the Chained God. Was his maker a chained one (follower of the Chained God)? Or were the chained ones conspiring against Watcher?
  • Start a general inquisition against Chained God followers (possibly ask around the City of Brass, or follow up on the cities neighboring Abelurn)
  • Continue on our vision quest.
    • Plant the acorn child and figure out some way to guard it and nurture it.
    • Pass the Doom-Wine on to someone worthy, as we pledged. Remember, we can’t use it again.
    • Sea monsters in north, resembling giant grabs, emit gas which bedazzles the mind.
    • Water & glacier
  • Follow up on evil people “twisting dryads into horrible undead forms.” Not sure if we’re talking about carpentry or tree-necromancy here.
Lower priority list:
  • Complaint department in the ninth circle of hell
  • Training seminars for death
  • Track down Zephuros
  • Wagon improvements!

Footnotes:

1 In the same sense a group of crows is a murder.

2 One bell per wheel per victory. Them’s the rules—an adapted custom from Nute’s adopted tribe.

3 Made from droplets of dew falling from the Raven Queen’s loom of fate, collected on the summer solstice. (Doom is being used as an archaic synonym for fate.)

Comments

I’ve written the above post from a mostly in-world standpoint. Here are some metagame comments:

The dryad wood was pretty awesome, particularly shroomy and the dryad/tree ecology being tied back to the Chained God plot. The fantastic elements of the camping trip were also great, with the brown-haired rabbit lady having a particularly fairy tale vibe. I also always appreciate the chance to roll athletics and endurance. Kevin’s conversation with Sylvia had weight behind it, to my ears.

The Mostly Unseen University plot hook felt weird, since I very much wanted to follow up on it, but at the same time couldn’t do so in good conscience without Mike.

I’m not sure why the wagon is so appealing. Maybe it represents a chance to gain a reputation or a permanent place in the social dynamics of the game world, or maybe I’ve just been conditioned by the vehicle system in crpgs. The mount->boat->airship progression serves to mark the rising importance of the characters. Anyway, I’m quite serious about integrating the wagon into gameplay, provided everyone else isn’t actively disinterested. At a minimum, it’s a convenient place to stash our goods, and can serve as a plot hook (someone searches it to gain intel, there’s a stowaway, we are fined for garish displays, people recognize us and run to meet/make trouble for us, etc.).

I’d like to see us act and be recognized as Inquisitors. Kicking down the door and purging the Chained God’s presence (like in the slaughterhouse fight) feels important in a grandiose save-the-world way. Eventual recognition for our actions and the social power that brings will mark our transition from belligerent busybodies to big damn heroes1.

Nick, what form of player-generated content would you find useful? Setting info (names, history, myths), nascent plot ideas (the water from the vision must be blessed by the Ice King2; from his melting glacier all life-giving water flows), or half-completed set piece encounters which we think would be neat (map, tokens, suggestions for hazards and included monster roles)?

Footnotes:

1 Obligatory tvtropes link.

2 Mr. Ice Monster?

Nature Walk
 

I’ve pretty open to player-generated content. Your background for the wine and the name of the forest are now canon. Essentially if the flavor doesn’t contradict a plot hook I already have planned I would be glad to have it. I would love to hear set piece encounters you guys would find interesting. I already plan to remedy the lack of minions you pointed out last time (turns out I have had one counter with minions prepped since the second session but you guys haven’t triggered it yet).

I am less open to altering plot hooks already in play. I will consider your ideas, but I usually have something at least partially planned out when I throw out the hook.

Seems like you are enjoying the campaign, I’m glad. I think this is my best so far.

Nature Walk
 

like i said in session and was promptly ignored, not-nute was nice to us when we saw him this session. he was an ass before.

Nature Walk
 

Georgiana: Sorry about missing your comment about not-Nute (Frederick?). I wonder if his attitude shift was because we were gallivanting about with Watcher, or if he was too worried about the crisis to be a jerk to visitors.

How is your cleric working out? Is a healing-focused build like that fun to play?

Nature Walk
 

yeah, frederick. or it could be a change in personality because it is a different person (some sort of shapeshifter, maybe?).

i like playing support characters a lot (or strikers. i don’t really like playing defender or controller roles), so i enjoy playing my heal-y cleric. sometimes it’s weird how only like 4 of my powers do actual damage. it works out though because i never go first

Nature Walk
Mirdan

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