Hello folks. Welcome to part 2 of my series, the Adventures of Rhyll’Zt Zau’Und. If you are a newcomer, this is my serialisation of a short Dungeons & Dragons Campaign, where I play a Drow Ranger. If you need more explanation, then you should read PART 1 before continuing.
So last time we left off with screams coming from elsewhere in the village. Unfortunately, our Idiot Barbarian (Nanoc) was closest and thus was the one most likely to get the best bearing on it. He charged off in one direction. We obligingly followed, all the while my Drow muttering about how this was not a good way to go about things. Which proved right about 3 seconds later when he veered in another direction realising he was going the wrong way. We got to the source of the screams. It was the bank. All locked up and secure. Until we booted the door down. To protect whoever was inside, you realise? Definitely not to rob the place.
We searched the place. The front vestibule was undisturbed. So we ventured down the stairs to the strong room, our Tiefling Sorcerer guarding the door we had so recently destroyed to make sure nothing snuck past us (We reasoned that since there was only one door and two windows, all of which were secure before we arrived the intruder may still be inside so we blocked their path). The strong room was in a state of chaos. Strong boxes opened, stuff everywhere and a tunnel at the back of the room. The Gnome and I were the only ones small enough to enter so we did. I, in an uncharacteristic moment of valour, offered to take the lead. However, (un?)fortunately the Gnome didn’t hear me and went in first. Fortunate for her as her sticky fingers were able to pocket gold without any of us noticing. Just keeping it safe, you understand.
The tunnel got narrower the further in we got. And it was oddly smooth. Almost like it wasn’t a natural formation (We were very wrong on that count). It came to a point where the tunnel was too narrow for even the gnome to pass, and figuring digging all night would be a waste of our precious time, we returned and spoke to the party. By this time a crowd of villagers and medieval renta-cop guards were on their way to find out what the commotion was.
After explaining the nature of the narrowing tunnel to our brains trust barbarians, they decided to go and calm down the crowd and request volunteers for digging. I will come back to them in a minute.
Our Tiefling came into do an inspection of the scene himself, and found plant detritus which he showed to me. Now, my character isn’t the worst ranger in the world. He is actually pretty good. In an urban setting. He isn’t very wilderness oriented. Fortunately he has enough capability to know some stuff and he recognised the plant as something that grows naturally near his home town. Albeit, this seemed to be a much larger version. We then came up with a theory. It was plants! They were tracking vibrations and grabbing people and taking them underground. The GM Swears Blind he hasn’t seen/read Day of the Triffids, or Tremors, or Dune. Pete, the Barbarian player, and I recalled a web comic we have previously read, from www.Steaksmoothie.com that seemed entirely appropriate.
via » Dunkey.
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So, we had a theory. That was when I informed the party that the Headman had some of the “Magic” water and a plant pot in his desk, which was shortly followed by the first “How did you know that” round of questioning of the evening. I informed them that I found this when I broke into his office but it seemed irrelevant at the time, however if plants were the problem then I would go and get them.
The angry mob had arrived by this time and no doubt they would have happily strung up the nearest Drow, however the negotiation unit of our crack team was on the job, so I was able to slip past (Stealth check …with advantage) as the Barbarians shouted at and basically terrified the villagers into becoming a digging crew. Yup, we put the villagers to work. Checks alignment – Neutral, yup am fine.
I walked up to the Village Hall and decided I didn’t have time to sneak. I walked up to the guards and asked to Speak to Alonzo. They recognised me as was in disguise again. (True story). Alonzo deigned to meet me in the Foyer, though I suggested that some things needed to be private and that we go to his office (absent the armed guards. I could probably take one or two but it would be a waste of time and effort). Alonzo agreed and didn’t bring any guards. I told him that I needed the magic water and the plant pot in his desk. That led to the second round of “How do you know…” and I simply told him I was very good and it was my job to know things. Else why would I have been sent to help. A couple more half truths and a few lies later and we were fine.
Apparently the Headman is a herbalist in his spare time. I asked for a copy of his notes and the plant pot and water as we suspected plants were responsible. I also suggested that a safety measure that may work would be stay on first floor or higher as the evidence pointed to a root grabbing the banker, who was inside at the time. Alonzo was happy to comply.
My character returned to the bank where a Barbarian motivated work gang was widening the hole. I spoke to the Tiefling sorcerer, told him more information would be presently forthcoming and we retired for the evening. It’s D&D – sometimes you need a long rest.
The next morning we decided to break the cardinal rule of Dungeons & Dragons and split the party. The Barbarians & Gnome decided to investigate the scene of one of the disappearances (I think it was the first one?) which happened in a garden in the village. The Tiefling/Sorcerer and I decided that we were going to go visit the so called magic spring and see if there was anything weird going on there. So, Think Tank (my new name for the Barbarians) proceeded to the house. They found it abandoned. Abandoned for a long time. The ventured through finding it in disarray, dirty and damaged. Nothing too unusual. When they got to the garden, however, they found something interesting. A giant root bulged out of the garden, with no obvious source. Fortunately they had a shovel, leftover from the digging effort (which still progressed, the villagers were just a bit afraid of Nanoc to defy him), and dug around the root. It was as big as Nanoc’s arm (“A Mighty root,” he cried!) Part of it headed towards the Bank and part of it in another direction. They tried to cut it. They discovered swords and mauls are not great for cutting. Nanoc promptly visited the neighbour, politely knocked on the door and demanded, “Weak Human, give Nanoc an Axe so I can chop wood!”
This was met with about as much skepticism and a healthy dose of confusion as you might expect. A bit of explanation later, about evil roots and people being dragged under ground (met with similar confusion) was rewarded with an axe and a muttered instruction to go away and not come back until you are returning it. Nanoc returned to the garden and began chopping the root. The root shook with every impact and there was hissing! (Oh no, a giant snake…or a tyre!) The root was indeed mighty, and the axe didn’t make much more than a chip, so Nanoc the Neighbour went on another scavenging errand. Since the axe alone was not making much headway, they decided that theirnext attempt was going to be fire.
Forgetting that the second Barbarian was a Gold Dragonborn with a 2D6 Fire Breath attack (Dex save for half damage), they decided to borrow some oil from the Neighbour. The door was not immediately answered, the folks inside just sorta hoping the 8 foot barbarian would just get bored and go home. However, common sense prevailed remembering that he was in fact 8 Foot tall, musclebound and had an axe that could chop down doors and as such, they answered.
“Nanoc would borrow Oil!” This was met with disbelief. “Stupid weaklings! Nanoc seeks to burn the plant that is harming your people! Supply me with oil so that I may wield fire!”
With an audible sigh, the occupant disappeared into the house returning with a bottle of oil, which they handed through the minimum crack in the door they could get away with before slamming it shut. Nanoc returned to the garden, poured oil on the root and lit with a Tinderbox. (Yup, with a Gold Dragonborn watching on as he tried to strike a light. 2D6 firebreath. Just saying…)
The fire caused screaming from the plant, which proved our hypothesis that our adversary was some plant based monster or elemental. The fire was extinguished somehow, very quickly. Sorcery most like. However, the fire and pain in the plant allowed Nanoc and Dragonborn to cut the root in half. It shrieked again and the two ends retreated. Which was weird. We’ll come back to them in a bit.
Meanwhile my character and the tiefling trudged outside of town to the magic spring. On the way we stopped at one of the disappearance sites, and noted that the grass in that area was newer where it had regrown. We had a clue, something to look for now. We then continued on to the spring, where we found lots of weird looking plants that neither one of us could recognise. They were all fairly close to the water, and we had the distinct impression we were being watched…We compared the seeds and fruit from the plants here with the seed from ALonzo’s plant pot and found them to be the same. We decided we needed a bigger sample. We tried uprooting one of the plants (They were about my height). Between us we managed precisely nothing. The plants were stuck in the ground pretty solid, so uprooting was not an option. I asked the GM if there were any overhaning branches that I could throw my 50 foot rope over to then tie to a plant and use my own weight in a counterweight system. I was very pleased with the idea. Nope, no branches. Bugger. Ok, what about cutting off a branch. As a ranger, I should have an axe. More useful in the wilderness than a sword, realistically. Did I have an axe? Nope. I had a Short Sword, Scimitar, a Whip and 10 throwing daggers. In my defense, I did create an urban ranger rather than a wilderness one. I began sawing with my short sword, which was an onerous task, but I got a sample. Plants don’t normally scream when you cut them. This one did, but I was becoming accustomed to strange leafy occurrences. I also decided to empty my waterskin and grab some of the magic water (What could go wrong?).
Then the Tiefling noted we were being watched. By one of the plants, apparently. Realising that none of my weapons were suitable for fighting Swamp Thing, instead I lit one of my torches and cursed my rushed character creation as I had forgotten Oil at startup. I have 3000 ball bearings and 1 bag of caltrops. To prevent cavalry charges, you understand…but not oil. Fortunately a tinderbox and torch was sufficient. I figured fire would be my best weapon. We advanced on the Spy! And thrust the torch into its face, and it screamed and shook. We got some more samples and returned to the town.
We met back at the tavern and by this point Alonzo’s notes and town history had materialised. Apparently the herbalist grimoire of Alonzo was a lot of wild speculation about the water making bigger plants. We could study later. We swapped adventure stories and then asked about the home owner that the barbarians visited. Apparently he had worked on a farm outside of the village. An abandoned farm, where all the animals had disappeared from early in the disappearances. Figuring that maybe he brought something from the farm to his garden, we decided it was our duty to investigate it.
On an unrelated note – has anyone seen Tremors? Why do I ask? No reason.
We got to the farm, it was twenty minutes away. The farmland was wild and overgrown. The farmhouse was a tumbledown ruin. We found patches of new grass, and patches of weeds and some roots. But nothing that might indicate what was going on. I decided that was the time I was going to have a glance at the history and see if there was anything in there. I didn’t get far. The others were poking around the fields, and we got the sense we were observed again. And then the ground started shaking a bit near Nanoc. And then a root ripped from the ground and grabbed his leg. His defense was mighty, but the root was mightier and started pulling. Our Dragonborn remembered he had a breath attack (actually quite fortunate he didn’t use earlier) and exhaled a 15 foot column of 2D6 fire, scorching the root and freeing Nanoc. The singed root shrieked and withdrew. And then reappeared around the Dragonborn and pulled him under the earth. And suddenly, he was gone…
And that was the end of Session 2, some of which I embellished a tiny bit but was basically true.
What do you think is going on? Let me know your thoughts.
Stay tuned for part 3.