Thursday, January 22, 2009

Into the Demonweb Forest, Part 8

As mentioned last time, the girls had arrived at the great tree - the adventure hook I gave them almost four real-time months ago, and I was using the Caves of Chaos battle map to represent it. They defeated my home grown narleth conversion and headed into the tree itself. As they approached they saw a soft glow coming from inside and heard the growling of large felines.

2 displacer beasts (level 9 skirmisher, 800 xp)
2 fey panthers (level 4 skirmisher, 350 xp)
Map: The outdoor 1/2 of Caves of Chaos from Fantastic Locations: The Frostfell Rift

This was the big character-level+3 climactic encounter for the Demonweb Forest (I built the encounters in the forest straight off the table on page 104 of the DMG). Unfortunately for the girls, they had already blown through most of their daily powers on the narleth or the ettercaps. Fortunately for them, my choice of map didn't give my group of skirmishers any room to move at all. The party stood in the entrance of the "cave" and slugged it out toe to toe with the four big cats for what I think felt like an eternity to everyone. They focused on the panthers first while the wizard's repeated scorching bursts damaged the displacer beasts, then ganged up on one beast at a time until they fell.

For a fight with four skirmishers, this was way too static. I really should have considered the map more carefully. It's probably best I hadn't, though, because everyone was pretty tapped when the fight started and all four party members were bloodied by the time it was over anyway.

After defeating the big fey cats, the girls noticed a small glowing face watching them from deeper inside the tree, in the area from which the soft glow was emanating. When the warlord called out to it, it flew up, revealing that it was attached to a small glowing pixie. After a few more encouraging words from the eladrin, the pixie and a couple dozen of its friends emerged to flit and dance around the group.

The ranger asked the first one where she should take the shards they came to destroy and got a quizzical look. Then she pulled out a shard to show them and all the dancing stopped. The two dozen pixies lined up in two rows and pointed in unison toward the glowing area they had come from. As the ranger carried the shards toward that cave, more pixies flew out and fled out of the tree, followed closely by the two dozen dancers.

When the shards were dropped in the middle of the glowing cave, all hell broke loose. The ground shook, the tree shuddered, and black dust rose from everywhere. The girls fled as fast as they could, escaping just in time to see the tree sink twenty feet straight down with a thunderous crash. The great gout of black dust stirred up by the cataclysm swirled around them, choking them until they lost consciousness.

They awoke back in town, lying on the side of the road they had followed out of town days before. Their friend the head librarian was shaking them awake as Mungo Sandybanks looked on with a concerned look on his face...

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