This forum seems to be the most convenient way for me (Ben) to keep notes on our ongoing journey in the Elemental Menace campaign. I will attempt to recount the events in a similar fashion as to which Francis has done in his prior posts, albeit with maybe a little more personal insight into my character. At the moment I’m not sure who has access to what, and of course Francis has final say, but speaking for myself: if anyone has anything to add/modify on these posts I make, please feel free to do so, given that my memory will undoubtedly have holes in it and straight up misremember things. That is especially true with this post in particular as this is all recall from the morning after. In future sessions I will have this open as a note taking tool and then write it into a more cohesive account. With that said, here we go.
Starting with the 8/8/2017 session, immediately following the events of the Long Road post:
Having dispatched the single zombie, The group journeys further into the cave and are greeted by a rockslide! Braxton and Gerdan manage avoid serious injury, while Tehn completely evades the falling rocks. Before the trio can recover, the two zombies who upturned a crate full of rocky debris down on our adventurers hop down from the ledge and set upon them with malicious intent! The zombies prove to be of little difficulty, and after having dispatched them, the group is faced with a choice, inspect what lies beyond the ledge, or proceed further down the main passage of the cave. Braxton elects to climb up the slope and inspect what lies beyond, when he crests the slope, he sees an area with a stone and several corpses and skeletal bodies littering the room.
Seeing no immediate threat, Braxton turns to tell his companions that the coast is clear. Unfortunately, before he can finish his first sentence, a skeletal hand grasps his leg,
and pulls him down into the area with the stone, now populated with three now animated skeletons.
Gerdan and Tehn rush up to the slope to aid their companion, who is now slowly being dragged towards a ceremonial altar by a skeleton. They manage to free Braxton from the icy grip of the skeleton dragging him, but not before another with a cleaver deals a severe blow to Braxton prone on the ground. Gerdan bravely faces off with an armored, shield wielding skeleton, buying time for Tehn and Braxton to defeat it’s undead comrades. Sadly, the time comes at a cost, as the brave paladin is incapacitated by the shield skeleton who laughs in its eerily fleshless way. Due to the fighting, Tehn suffers a serious leg wound, and now he and an equally seriously wounded Braxton must face off against the skeleton that has bested their comrade. In a last ditch effort, the two execute a coordinated strike and manage to kill the fiendish thing, Tehn sending the skull sailing off the body with an explosive kick. Stabilizing their friend Gerdan, Braxton looks around the area for anything significant to justify their near death experience and finds two things of note:
1. Within the pile of bodies, one corpse bears a paper with Sid’s mark.
2. A peculiar vase with a stopper, that when moved one hears water inside, despite it’s apparent emptiness.
The group elects to take the body, paper and all, back to town for burial and to take the vase back for appraisal by Arthur.
Upon arrival in Red Larch, our heroes hit up the bakery for celebratory crumble cakes (the taste of which is slowly growing on Tehn), only to learn that more tragedy has befallen the community. The sheriff’s daughter, Miriam, has gone missing! The group visits the mother of the girl to hear her account of events, Tehn is touched by the mother’s plea, and without consulting his comrades, immediately volunteers his services to aid in the search for Miriam. The comrades decide to go along with the strange elf, but not before concluding their current business in town.
So, the group visits Arthur and inquires about both the vase, and the body with Sid’s marker. Arthur surmises that body was that of a man by the last name of Gravedancer, who was another individual under Sid’s employ.
The vase turns out to be a Decanter of Endless Water. Which upon being unstopped, tipped and given one of three command words: stream, fountain, or geyser; water will pour forth respectively in amounts of 1gal/round, 5gal/round in a 5ft long stream, 30gal/round in a 20ft long by 1ft wide stream.
The group trusts Arthur with the arrangement of Gravedancer’s burial, and elects to keep the decanter rather than sell it to Arthur/Sid.
The group then decides to go the Allfaiths Shrine and relay their findings to Tehn’s friend Imdarr Relvaunder. He is most interested in the undead haunting the area, and offers to enlist the help of the Order of the Gauntlet which our group politely declines.
After recovering from their wounds, the group meets up with the Sheriff and is escorted outside of town to where the Sheriff has based the search effort for his missing daughter, Miriam. Not knowing whether to suspect bears or bandits, as both have been seen in the area the girl was known to be in, the soldier, the paladin and the monk follow a game trail looking for clues as to the girl’s whereabouts. After a mile or two of searching, they indeed find a campfire in a clearing of the wood. Around the campfire sits 4 men roasting a boar on the fire, an obviously abused and angry bear in a cage, and a girl imprisoned in a smaller cage. Gerdan, Braxton and Tehn listen to men as they talk, who turn out to be bandits who have not only killed one of the two locally known and loved bears of Red Larch (capturing the other) but have also kidnapped Miriam! Our trio sets up to ambush the group and free the girl, but Braxton and Tehn are a little gunshy from their prior combat experience, and Braxton attempts to boost both of their morale with another of his inspiring pre-battle speeches this one attempted as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, quiet and brevity have never been Braxton’s forte and midspeech, a couple of the bandits hear him! But just as the men would begin to investigate the voice they heard emerging from the wood, the caged bear breaks the shoddy lock on its cage, and begins mauling one of the bandits.
In the ensuing chaos, Braxton decides to leap out and challenge the remaining three bandits attacking one, Tehn tries to circumvent the whole fight, and run to Miriam’s cage, getting her free, but before he can, Gerdan charges straight through the melee and expertly cleaves the ropes holding the cage closed with his hand axe, instructing Miriam to run to Tehn for safety as he whips his axe with lightning speed into the back of a bandit. Tehn, after throwing a dart to distract a bandit, picks up Miriam and carries her away from the battle. While Tehn hates leaving a fight, and worse, leaving his comrades behind to deal with rather steep odds, he prioritizes the lady’s safety and elects to run back to the search effort’s base camp, carrying Miriam the whole way.
Back at the campfire, Braxton manages to take care of one bandit, Gerdan grabs the boar on the fire and throws it at the other remaining bandit, splaterring meaty juices on the knave. Braxton finishes off his bandit just as the bear has finished eating its bandit. The bear turns to the boar and starts feasting on the succulent pork, letting Gerdan and Braxton capture and restrain the remaining bandit. The men have a brief standoff with the bear after it finishes the boar, but Braxton improbably manages to engineer a peaceful parting by rolling a crumblecake to the bear, who accepts the offering and departs to wander the woods as one of what was once two.
Back at base camp, Tehn, too worried for his road companions, is utterly oblivious to Miriam’s obvious romantic interest in him as her savior, and completely overjoyed to see his comrades emerge from the woods victorious and with a prisoner, no less! The Sheriff and other members of the town thank the group for the rescue, the Sheriff offering payment for their services, which they decline much to the increasing adoration of the Sheriff.
Miriam, still intent on gaining Tehn’s attention and undying love, begs the group (Tehn especially) to attend a celebration held in their honor. The group agrees, and then retires for the night with Tehn wondering how much crumblecake will be at this party, and if there are different kinds.