Hello everyone, welcome. Today is another write up from our shortlived DnD game, with me playing the Drow Ranger/Swordsman Rhyll’Zt Zau’Und. You can follow the links below to read parts 1 and 2 if this is the first time you have seen one of these posts. As an extra special treat, Pete who plays Nanoc in the campaign kindly insisted that Nanoc’s chronicler, Aye the Chronicler of Nanoc, be allowed add his own notations. So, you will find his notations and statements embedded within the text. I may have added comments after the fact because who doesn’t love a bit of intertextual discourse! (I tried to explain what that was to Nanoc, but he failed to understand and still thinks it is intercourse in a Library…) Enjoy, and see if you can spot Aye’s notations…
Very recently in a distant land, a quest was begun upon which the Mighty Nanoc – Slayer of Ten Thousand and true son of Austro-Cimmeria, greatest Barbarian ever known, would soon embark, seeking to crush the face of all Sorcerers beneath his sandaled feet. Aye, his Chronicler, am willingly recording the saga of his journey, but upon learning of the journal kept by our Drow companion, must ensure that all tales of the daring of Nanoc are accurate.
Nanoc had travelled with his erstwhile companions to a farm, whereupon he was assailed by a sorcerous vine that attempted to drag him into the bowels of the earth, we join him as more foes once again seek to die upon his sword.
With the subterranean abduction of the Dragonborn, and the wounding dramatic blooding of Nanoc the Mighty we were just a bit flummoxed as to what we should do next. Nanoc, slayer of many, had no such trifling concerns, all he cared was that his sword would soon be wet with the blood of an accursed Sorcerer. Unfortunately our group only had one shovel between us for digging and the Dragonborn was carrying it, and in any event we didn’t have any villagers with us to put to work (though with the one Lawful Good Member of the party currently abducted by a plant monster, there were no pesky moral questions about whether we should put villagers to work…)
Then, the ground started shaking again. Now, we were ready for it. Last time this happened a root grasped Nanoc, which he managed to cut off. Another root then grabbed the Dragonborn. He does have a name but since the Nanoc character is loudest and proclaims himself a lot so he is the only one I currently remember. I could look back at my notes, but I choose to adopt the morality of my character here and view the other party members as allies of circumstance and expedience. I mean, that is the only reason to justify the fact that my character never once noticed that the Tiefling sorcerer was in fact a Tiefling sorceress. I suppose, playing a neutral Drow, all Tieflings look alike to me. (I found out from the Tiefling player, who is male, that the character was female. I don’t recall that being part of his description of his character in game one, but we are playing at a club and it can be quite noisy, though I daresay we are also noisy when Nanoc does something stupid – whilst proclaiming it – and I laugh really loud)
Hearing the sound we leapt into Action! Nanoc with his axe and me onto a nearby rock. I was too busy saving myself, I didn’t notice what other folk were doing. However, we realised the tremors were moving away from us, and we could see something, or rather three somethings, ploughing along just beneath the surface of the earth like really powerful landsharks. And they were heading to the village.
I recall Nanoc swinging his axe at the ground to find a root present just beneath the surface. A really tough root. The Mighty Nanoc leapt into action while the puny Black Elf cowered on a rock. He smote the very ground beneath his feet and his axe bit deep into the enchanted wood that squirmed beneath the surface. Much tougher than the MonsterMind Vines in the classic cartoon “Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors” but also much smaller.
I was unable to assist as the rocks I had tactically withdrawn to were a bit further away, but a combination of Nanoc’s mighty Rage, and a bit gnomish ingenuity and tiefling sorcery while he received nor asked for assistance from the foul Devilbreed Sorceror and his tiny friend, stopped the other two roots before they got to the village. Unfortunately, they weren’t the problem. We heard screams from the weak and pathetic village and since we had been instructed to solve the problem in 4 days I felt obliged to run towards danger.
The place was chaotic at best when we arrived. Vines had started plucking villagers from the streets and that wasn’t even the worst of it. We saw the barmaid of Nanoc’s Affection, and Her weak husband being marionetted by a couple of plant zombies. Let me paint a picture. There were plant zombies, basically human bodies with smaller vines covering them and serving as armour or a central nervous system. Not quite sure. And they had vines plugged into the two aforementioned hapless villagers and were making them walk like puppets. It was grim. Fortunately, as soon as we arrived the vines withdrew from the villagers and they charged towards us and we were told to roll initiative.
So, two plant zombies and 4 heroes. Easy. Except they were covered in the vine things that had proven to be quite tough. Nanoc charged, because barbarian it was the most best thing to do in that situation. At this point I feel it necessary to comment on the grammar of Aye, the Chronicler. I realise Nanoc is an idiot but I thought part of the reason he had a chronicler was so he could remember things. Most best. Where did he get his chronicling qualifications? Sending away tokens from cereal packets? Anyway, back to the story. The Tiefling cast witchbolt some accursed spell summoned from the depths of his sorcerer’s depraved soul, because sorceress. The Gnome flanked, because rogue. And I…sprinted to the general goods store because in my haste to submit my character sheet I had neglected to include oil pots in my gear. I had roughly 3000 ball bearings and one third as many caltrops (I was fearing cavalry charges when I made my character. Not sure why), which shoved into jars filled with oil would likely make devastating anti-personnel explosives, but I had no oil. So, whilst the party fought the Plant Zombies (and did not bad all things considered), I plundered the general store of oil yelling to the cowering storekeeper I would pay for my stuff later.
I returned to the melee, finding the witchbolt still going (I love that spell), with Nanoc still swinging lopping off unholy enchanted wood with every blow, the tough roots and branches no match for his superhuman strength and skill and the Gnome still stabbing. I didn’t bother with ball bearings or caltrops figuring that would shred everyone in range. I simply shoved rags in the pots and yelled to Nanoc to chuck one of them over towards me. Nanoc heard the sneak-trickster’s request and saw his plan, we would burn the abominations. He grabbed his opponent and flung him bodily towards his comrade-in-arms. The creature attempted to grapple Nanocs mighty arms to prevent the throw, which merely hampered his effort but nothing could stand before his mighty sinewed arms. Actually, I need to contradict Aye here. I think the implication that Nanoc saw and understood my plan is a slight overstatement. Fortunately he complied anyway and flung the target my way, allowing me to throw my first firebomb which hit its leg. Fire enveloped the creature, though sadly the killing blow came from the witchbolt (which still continued to blaze even through Nanoc’s throwing). The other plant zombie got mashed into pulp With a cry to Morc, God of the Austro-Cimmerians, Nanoc grabbed the beast that was attempting to wound him and with a heave of his muscled shoulders, crushed and crumpled it into a pile of flesh, bone and wood at his sandaled feet, he wished the barmaids husband peace in death, though he had been a weak arm-wrestler he had deserved a fate better than being the victim of a foul Sorcerer. And we were victorious. Also, where does that chronicler get off calling me a Trickster? I haven’t tricked anyone. Unless you count my disguise kit antics…
We checked ourselves, and I was uninjured so that was fine. I think there were other wounds, but my Drow wasn’t paying attention. The Tiefling and I wanted to examine the shrine to the west of the town square dedicated to the town founder. I gave my firebombs to the town guard and told them they were their new effective defense against the leafy intruders, for which they were grateful but still in a state of shock about the whole thing. I’ll make sure the general store knows to bill the town guard for the oil. (Seems only fair. We did their job for them and I didn’t even keep the oil).
We proceeded to the shrine and found a large statue of the Town Founder. Nanoc, who had taken a detour via the tavern to get a post battle drink(ing binge), climbed on the statue and proceeded to quite rightly sing songs to his own glory. As was customary in situations like this, the rest of the party did their absolute best to ignore him. Which wasn’t easy as he is a
n Aasimar Mighty Barbarian, is 7 and a half feet tall, which means enormous lung capacity. We didn’t really find an awful lot on the interior of the shrine, it was just a rather large statue, surrounded on three sides by walls. There were a few nooks and crannies that looked like they might be for altars, but a cursory inspection revealed nothing. And then, of course, the ground started shaking again.
Being inspired by Nanoc, or by common sense we clambered onto the statue (I did say it was quite big) on the principle that it was stone and roots couldn’t get us up there. What we didn’t bank on was a root breaching the floor that was, at its thickest (prior to tapering off), as thick as a redwood tree. I recalled that my only weapons were throwing daggers, a scimitar, short sword and whip. Truth be told I am not convinced my firebombs would have proved to be massively effective in this situation. And we’d probably need turns into double figures of continuous witchbolt, or the intervention of a currently famous God of Thunder, to scratch the surface.
Then, the vine started talking to us. In the booming sort of voice you would expect from a monstrous vine as large as a redwood.
“It’s about time you lot showed up. I have your friend…”
I confess that we may have partially disrupted the GM’s flow by starting a conversation asking who he meant. Realistically we had known each other for a couple of days, and this could potentially have led to philosophical existential debate on the nature of friendship. Our GM was having none of this derailing.
The booming voice was naturally impatient and interrupted us. “I have the Dragoborn, you idiots.”
In character realisation dawned on us. He meant him! Our villain was actually quite reasonable. “I would very much like to meet you all. Follow the vine!”
The vine retreated. This led to a brief discussion by three players about how best to follow the vine given it was straight down. However, dexterity 18 Drow played by someone who thought that Fremen riding Arrakis sandworms was cool, was not for waiting. I pulled two of my throwing daggers and leapt at the retreating vine, plunging them into the bark and using them as handles
May the passing of Shai’Huluud cleanse the world…Nanoc vowed to one day find and slay this ‘Sly Hulud’ and use his teeth to decorate his helmet.
Out of character, I acknowledge that my plan was verging on stupid but it felt right. Remember, we were entreated to solve the problem of the disappearing people on pain of something ominous, so anything that advanced that goal before deadline was fair game. My sensible colleagues pursued using more caution.
The root took us on a merry trip underground, which hurt given my foolhardy position on the vine. Fortunately no wounds were sustained and we were ultimately dumped into a cavern. In said cavern we found a number of villagers wrapped up in vines. And we met our villain, who was also accompanied by the imprisoned Dragonborn.
“Good you are here,” said our villain.
That was when we demanded information from him. “What are you doing to these people?”
He then started his villainous monologue, about being here for a long time…a long time, and that these people volunteered to sustain him.
One brief discussion about the meaning of volunteering later I asked the gm, “Does this guy look like the town founder?”
Yes. Yes he does. So, he’s been down here for around 500 years and suddenly we realised he was using the villagers as batteries.
We demanded he release the Dragonborn and the villagers. He actually was quite amenable to the idea, in exchange for the Aasimar Mighty Barbarian.
“What Aasimar?” asked Nanoc the clearly not human, and absolutely Aasimar, but utterly stupid barbarian. Mightiest of all Barbarians and blessed of Morc, his cunning knowing no limits. Yeah, his stupidity knowing no limits either as it transpires. This was not the first time someone had called him Aasimar without him realising he wasn’t human…
Truthfully, I was generally OK with trading Nanoc for the others and resolving the issue however there was a small niggle in my mind that given the villain had needed so many villagers to sustain himself, but he would be somehow satisfied with the Aasimar which led me to suspect that using a celestial battery might be a significant upgrade for him, and bad news for us. At least he is still technically human. One of my ranger favoured enemies is human… (One reading of the PHB later, crap that doesn’t give combat bonuses. Well, bugger).
Time to roll for initiative.