The Order of the Shrub

Somewhere new!

After looting the dopplegangers (50 gp total) the party left the area, rested, and the next day ran into a inn in the middle of the woods, with no road leading to it. There was music and light and laughter inside. Eventually the party entered to find it was far bigger on the inside than the outside, with all sorts of people of all sorts of sizes . . . including the Bard!

They were at the Inn of All Worlds, a place for adventurers of all types from various worlds to swap stories and recuperate. On hearing that their own world was to be destroyed soon and their quest with the egg, a Storm Giant told them to seek the Horn of Summoning (which can only be blown once) which would summon everyone at once (and perhaps could be controlled more finely). A wise person called Sardak was said to know where it was and had been in the inn before, so the party asked to go where Sardak was dropped off (since the inn can travel).

They ended up in a desert near mountains, about 400 miles south of where they had entered the inn. They saw caves in the nearest mountain but were attacked by a whirlwind! They were able to communicate with it and found out that it was trapped her by Sardak centuries ago. It wanted freedom and the party agreed to find the seal in a cave the bound it and break that seal.

After fighting some skeletons, they found a book on how to become a lich and a jar with a seal, which (on breaking the seal) contained some scrolls that talked about three artifacts: A wand that influenced undead, an axe related to dwarves, and Horn of Summoning, said to rest in the castle of Skartos (who had inherited from noble and good ancestors, but who himself was cruel and evil), 200 miles to the east.

The party also found a fountain of green liquid, which had random magical effects, so the Paladin, Bard and warlock drank their waterskins and filled them with this random potion (the ranger declined and the ghost isn’t much of a drinker these days). They decided to rest in the cave mouth of the 3rd cave, where all of this stuff was.

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food

For the record, if some food is on the blue table (like bananas) you are free to eat that food. Sorry for the confusion.

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Evil vs. evil

Well the dwarf met the angel in heaven and the wizard met the angel in the modron library and both got magical items for being allies of his husband. Then they were returned to their friends.

Problem: One looks like a hobgoblin, the other like a dwarf. But some disguise and careful bluffing got through that.

The plan was to get some trumpeters around the back of the hobgoblin camp to make a fuss as if of an elven army, while the party tried to gank the leader and the citizens then staged an attack. The captain agreed to this plan.

Meanwhile, the five priests of Zarus had convinced the populace that the way forward was power and men, women and children all accepted the earrings to gain the power to defeat the hobgoblins. One priest sent a raven, which turned invisible, to the other cities, with instructions that were whispered in a language other than common.

Anyhow, the party was waiting for the trumpeters to get into position. The ranger noticed that the trumpeters were accompanied by the captain of the guard and also changed somehow to look like hobgoblins. All well and good? But then a cry from the office of Azune. A maid found a body in a closet. It was that of the captain of the guard, who had been dead for hours! So who was out there? And no trumpeting sound came . . .

The party was debating what to do. A suicide run on the hobgoblins? But then there was infernal chanting from within the town, and the skies opened, and flying devils came out, attacking the hobgoblins and anyone without an earring. Like, say the party members at the back gate . . .

The paladin turned a flying spined devil, but this also turned Lord Amor di Cosmos! The hobgoblin was finally free and grabbed a sword from the ranger but was cut down by the paladin. A bearded devil troubled the party, but only hurt the owl in the end, before falling.

Then more fiends sprang up from the city. 3 succubi and 2 incubi. They didn’t attack anyone, but laughed and enjoyed the show. The warlock took a potshot at one, which got her attention and she and party engaged in combat and she fell.

The two remaining (now wingless) pegasi came out the back gate and the party finally fled. The hobgoblins fell to the humans, at the cost of half the humans in the town.

Then the party heard some hoofbeats and saw . . . .The Captain of the Guard and 4 trumpeters! The ghost wizard tried to possess the Captain and the latter revealed he was not an ordinary humanoid, and showed an interest in the Scarlet Egg (although the party had been careful not to mention it in town). The party attacked and the Captain tried to flee, but was beheaded by the paladin, and his form reverted to a strange greyish biped. The others fled, taking on the shapes of party members, but were cut down by spell and arrows. So whatever those shape-changers wanted to do, they didn’t do it. They miscalculated on the strength on the hobgoblins and the weakness of the party, and the latter was fatal to them.

So the party is wondering whether to warn off the refugees from the first town, or just go back to their primary mission and put good souls into the egg. They decided to leave some of their treasure behind in Tuom-rak, rather than go back to that accursed town

Tune in next week!

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Rules I didn't know

1) Spellcasters cannot cast two spells in one turn, unless one of the spells is a cantrip.

2) Similarly, if you ready an attack, you only get one attack, even if you normally can get multiple attacks on your turn (this is more for fighters and the like).

http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/01/24/extra-attack-ready/

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Angelicious!

The druid appeared on the scene but aside from the Paladin, Gideon and the Warlock, the others were gone. They got some loot and then the paladin decided to detect good and evil on the magic items (dust of disappearance, potion of fire resistance) and found a celestial trapped in an invisible globe. It had been there for centuries and could only be freed by its husband (it was unmarried, and by the terms must marry a mortal). The paladin agreed to marry it and the glass globe broke and an angel (deva) appeared. He (Athanastra) offered them transport to wherever they wanted to go and so they decided to go to a fort in the mountains that the paladin was familiar with. They travelled in style – the angel summoned 4 winged horses (pegasi). At the fort, the party warned the local baron (known to the paladin) and others about the possible end of the world, the drow, the human supremacists, etc.

Then the ranger got a new animal companion (half-bronze dragon blood hawk), the warlock nosed around a bit for lunatics (closest was a half-mad old soldier talking about worms in the desert near the mountains) and Gideon bought a dragon chess set for his master. The angel could only stay one night, so he and his husband consummated their marriage (normally a male angel, but became a female dragonborn for the night – possibly due to orders from on high possibly to fulfil a certain prophecy). The party got their weapons silvered, and also the angel gifted them with magic items before leaving (even Gideon!).

The party flew back to the city of Kuom-rak, the ranger shooting at a hobgoblin leader nearby on the way (the hobgoblins were 300 feet from the city and some humans (with earrings) were shooting at them with mystical fire bolts). The party (except the dragonborn) were disguised as humans, and their attack on the hobgoblin (plus some clever bluffing by the warlock) allowed the humans inside to ignore the dragonborn (rather than attacking him). The party were favourably received by the captain, who was telepathically warned about non-humans in the city (some of the women were staring very intently at the party).

The warlock got a shock when he saw Azune the Black again! But the latter didn’t seem to recognize him. The warlock also warned the captain about him. The party decided to rest for the day.

Except for the owl and the ranger, who both heard horses screaming. The owl screeched a warning but was taken out. The ranger found nine ladies chanting over the pegasi, who had had their wings ripped off. There was a shadowing figure sorta there sorta not.

So combat ensued. Drow, guards, etc. The paladin saved two wounded pegasi from the transformation, but the other two became nightmares. One of the drow disappeared on a nightmare (and the shadow demon left). The other was killed, but not before killing poor Gideon (in his shiny mithral plate mail, too). His body was burned beyond recognition (he was killed outright, no death saves here!).

Two human guards survived the battle, and the captain came in later and reported that the leader Azune was really some shapeshifting monster!

None of the drow had earrings, but a lot of humans have them here. The party’s cover has not yet been blown, and they are trying to warn the humans that the drow infiltration is too complete, and they have to regroup.

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Allies! Leafy allies!

The party moved the wagon to some trees and did not break branches off to start a fire (they were worried about being spotted). This turned out to be fortuitous, as the trees themselves were alive and looking for allies against hobgoblins that were building siege weapons to attack the human city that they were going toward (Tuom-Kar). The party devised a double-distraction – the wizard as hobgoblin entered as a “powerful servant of the goblin god” with the warlock slave using telepathy (as the wizard could not speak goblin). They warned of an elven attack. Then the paladin, squire and bard attacked with missile weapons from the east!

The captain fell for it and ordered hobgoblins to the east. That gave the awakened trees and accompanying wildlife a chance to attack from the west. Hilarity ensued. Hobgoblins went west, jpbgoblins went east, hobgoblins died.

The warlock worked to take out the captain to add to maximum disarray. The paladin tanked very well. Gideon looked awesome as always (and even killed two hobgoblins, one with a critical hit just before it could reach him!). The bard gave great support (singing in elvish for added distractions). The wizard got in a wicked ranged spell on one of the hobgoblins on the paladin. The warlock was right in the thick of things, bloody but unbowed.

The awakend trees at first were hurt (fire bad!), but rallied and the hobgoblins were defeated. Then the party told them about the World Egg, and the trees and wildlife went into it, leaving the party in a deforested, eerily quiet, mini-wasteland.

Loot was not determined but will be next time (now there is a motivation to show up!).

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Infection

(As a side note, my wife worries about the chemical ingredients in your potato chips – she is concerned for your health).

Anyhow, the party was joined by a warlock that appeared via a giant metal owl, which got rapidly smaller so that instead of carrying the warlock it was just sort of near the warlock and they tumbled, unhurt, to the ground.

They rested and the next day the ranger found some hobgoblin and wagon tracks. As they continued, they heard a strange knocking noise and the warlock investigated via owl and saw a monodrone modron walking repeatedly into a tree (the path was leading right to it). After rescuing the modron, it delivered a message warning of an infection of chaos in the area. The warlock also heard some laughing voices, that were behind the practical joke of reshaping the path into the tree, but then heard them fly away.

Anyhow, the ranger and owl scouted ahead and saw seven hobgoblin warriors escorting a covered wagon with goblin words on it that they could not read.

The warlock disguised herself to parley, but sadly not too well and they decided to attack the elf. In the battle the modron tried to get into the wagon and was killed by a hobgoblin. The wizard used two ghost abilities, one of which sadly killed the ranger’s dog and the other of which succeeded – the wizard is now in the body of a perfectly healthy hobgoblin (he has since taken off the hobgoblin’s armour so that he can cast spells).

On using telepathy the warlock found out that the occupant of the wagon was vary sick and the hobgoblin captain. The captain was enraged on hearing about the death of his men, but then screamed and the wizard looked inside just in time to see the captain transform into a giant red frog creature! (A red slaad).

This was a tough fight! The monster resisted lightning and thunder and also regenerated some of its damage. But eventually the party took it down, and after the paladin cured disease on some party members, they searched the wagon and found a lot of treasure. And of course, the wagon itself.

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Fun fact! Pearls and Identify

The party spent the money to get a 100 gp pearl to cast identify. In 5th edition, this spell does not consume the pearl. That means that the party can cast identify multiple times with the same pearl. So as long as they don’t lose, spend, give away or destroy the pearl, they should be ok.

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Oh yeah, treasure

The party also figured out the potions (climbing, greater healing, healing) and 3 scrolls (chill touch, ray of sickness, and false life) from the necromancer’s place last time. And the banshee was guarding pots of coins: 1800 cp, 800 sp, 80 gp plus 6 etchings each worth 25 gp (a nice beautiful set worthy of a banshee’s eye).

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On to Tuom-rak!

The party decided to leave town (the townsfolk will fill the hole with rubble and put a grate on it and guard it and hope that the drow don’t break through and anyhow, they will move soon to another location). The party is now moving to Tuom-rak, one of the six towns under the control of human supremacists.

On the road they heard some crying sounds coming from some trees to the right. Ghost Amor scouted ahead and saw another ghost, an elven woman crying. The party came up and asked her what was wrong, and she told them, at length and in detail, about how beautiful her life was until her enemies ruined it. To cheer her up Squire Gideon came forward and he used prestidigitation to look good, including making his shield shiny, but that caused the elf ghost (well, banshee) to freak out at almost seeing her own reflection and she screamed, which knocked the dwarf over. Combat ensued, and the ranger’s dog nearly died!

Then the party heard trouble back at the horses. A bearded devil and a gnoll were demanding the earring from the dwarf, as the property rightfully was not the party’s but the organization the devil represented, and the gnoll was to be the next owner of it. The dwarf stalled, then refused, and combat ensued. The party was victorious but the bearded devil warned that this wasn’t over, before being sent away. The party is thinking of possible ways to destroy or hide the earring.

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